The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 18 February 2016

Image: Alexi Hobbs

Blue skies ahead

Canada’s national media seemed to miss the good news yesterday as the nation’s flag carrier Air Canada agreed to purchase up to 75 C Series jets from aerospace company Bombardier. While the press focused on job losses at the embattled aircraft-maker it missed the point that the orders spike will likely pave the way for bigger orders for airlines of scale and secure jobs and expertise at home. To date Bombardier hasn’t been able to clinch an anchor order but the Air Canada deal (subject to final contract) will give some much needed confidence to the nation’s aviation community and hopefully alter the generally negative narrative Bombardier’s been fighting on its home turf.

Image: Getty Images

City life

Singapore can be an awkward city to negotiate for pedestrians and cyclists: roads are fenced to prevent crossing in inappropriate places, jaywalkers are fined and cyclists struggle to navigate the streets, fearful of motorists who pay little attention to them. But things are set to get easier this month as car-free Sundays kick off in the CBD. The initiative commencing on 28 February is meant to entice weekend wanderers away from the city’s many malls and engage them with an array of activities in the city centre. Street aerobics, yoga, bike-hire services and walking tours will create a vibrant atmosphere as museums open early and food trucks roll into town. With the government looking to boost tourism this year, streets brimming with activity could see business travellers booking longer and more leisurely stays.

Image: Home Box Office, Inc

Televisual votes

As the US primaries hot up with make-or-break votes in Nevada and South Carolina on 20 February, TV programmes in the US are looking to keep the populace locked to all things election. Weary viewers in need of a tickle can tune in to a new series of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which launched on Valentine’s Day, or catch fellow comedy host Samantha Bee’s new Full Frontal series, which kicked off earlier this month. Both provide some much-needed – and hilarious – perspective on the campaign news. But perhaps most ambitious of all is Showtime’s The Circus, a weekly half-hour documentary presented in real time. Its aim? To go behind the scenes and show the human side of the election campaign.

Image: Getty Images

Smart seats

Nissan’s finest brains have applied the car-maker’s parking-assist technology to the humble office chair. A promotional video released this week unveiled the new “intelligent parking chair”, a seat on a roller that can move 360 degrees on its own. Four cameras in the ceiling keep an eye on the chair and wirelessly relay its route and destination. Unruly subjects can be “parked” at their desks with a clap of the hands. The video has already proven to be a hit even if the chairs – developed in collaboration with award-winning Tokyo agency Birdman – are not intended for commercial production. There is a point to all this: Nissan wants to show how its technology can make a difference to our daily lives.

From Monocle 24

Image: John Laurie

Byron Bay

Monocle’s Liam Aldous profiles the business scene in Byron Bay, from coffee shops and fashion brands to restaurants and a farm. Plus: we chat with the town’s mayor.

From Monocle Films

Turin: Drive and ambition

Italy’s motor city has long suffered from being painted with a grey brush but, as we found out, it is Turin’s industrial heritage that is providing the inspiration and technical expertise to stimulate a booming community of designers. We meet the creative minds who are playing on the city’s strengths to create a new image for Piedmont’s capital.

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