The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 23 February 2016

Image: Getty Images

Boris blunder

Boris Johnson’s barnstorming announcement that he was backing a “Brexit” on Sunday has kept tongues wagging in Westminster and UK newspapers furiously busy. But across the Channel there is a distinct sense of frustration in the European media and the calls claiming that the UK is starting to push its luck are growing louder. On Monday, Stefan Menzel from German financial daily Handelsblatt said, “When leading British politicians act so irresponsibly, then it can no longer be the Europeans’ problem... Europe’s patience with Britain is approaching its end.” Meanwhile, over the weekend left-wing French newspaper Libération spoke exasperatedly of “British hysteria”. As the June referendum approaches, the hysteria will only be ramped up further. But the UK should be careful not to anger too many on the continent because whatever the outcome, it will need friends there.


Image: Alamy

Cinema scope

Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s recent announcement that the country would be looking for increased foreign direct investment is spurring hopes for its big-screen industry. Only a handful of films from overseas appear here due to strict laws regarding foreign ownership and censorship left over from the days of President Suharto’s autocratic rule. As restrictions fall by the wayside, foreign firms are looking to beef up the number of international blockbusters screened in the country. But with these foreign films rushing to fill Indonesia’s screens, the country should consider its own output. Indonesian films have thrived in recent years, with quality franchises such as The Raid gathering much international acclaim. Hopefully this creative nation can find a way to balance exposure to the world’s best cinema with a drive to add its own Indonesian flair to the mix.

Setting up shop

In Japan’s department-store sector an overhaul of the big-box retailer is under way. In March the country’s biggest department-store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi plans to open Isetan Haus, a new mid-sized shop in Nagoya targeting consumers in their 30s and 40s. It’s part of the company’s move into a format that could give it a better shot against fashion retailers such as Beams, United Arrows and Ships and a new breed of lifestyle shops and retail emporiums. Isetan Haus will occupy three floors in the new Dainagoya Building in Japan’s fourth-largest city and add to Isetan Mitsukoshi’s line-up of offshoots (menswear shops at Haneda Airport and two Isetan Salone shops in downtown Tokyo) from its Isetan Shinjuku flagship shop.

Silent partner?

Turkey and Saudi Arabia agree that, for the future of Syria, Bashar al-Assad must go and the US-led coalition isn’t doing enough to make that happen. Following the build-up of Saudi military in Turkey’s air bases, the two countries have now announced that their state-owned defence companies are forming a joint venture focused on the design and manufacturing of radar, electronic warfare and electro-optics technology. Despite a 50 per cent stake each, the new company is named the Saudi Arabian Defense Electronics Company – perhaps giving some indication of who is calling the shots when it comes to these closer ties.

From Monocle 24

Image: Eva Rinaldi

On Australia’s love of radio: Double J’s Myf Warhurst

Myf Warhurst is a well-loved Australian broadcaster with about 20 years of experience under her belt. She began her career as a music-hungry teen at Melbourne’s Triple R before heading to Sydney to present shows on Australia’s favourite station Triple J and then on to sister station Double J, where she hosts the lunchtime show. Monocle’s Daniel Giacopelli speaks to her about music broadcasting and why it’s so important to Australia.

From Monocle Films

Australia’s roadhouses

The roadhouses along the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia are vital, serviceable sanctuaries for the truck drivers who frequent them. Monocle Films hits the road to meet the characters who rely on these outback pit-stops.

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