The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 25 February 2016

Image: Alamy

Offside in Osaka?

Fresh Japanese sanctions against North Korea – following January’s nuclear test and the latest missile launch – looked set to scupper the chances of the DPRK’s women’s football team. The latest round of restrictions imposed by Japan included a blanket ban on North Korean citizens entering the country – a problem for the team, which is due to come to Osaka on Monday for the final Asian qualifying round for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga has now said that the visas are “expected” to be issued by the Japanese embassy in Beijing. Officials will be hoping that the diplomatic battle between the two countries isn’t played out on the pitch.

Image: Getty Images

On with the shows

Spring has arrived in Milan just in time for the start of fashion week on Wednesday, which sees everyone in the industry descending upon the bustling Italian city after New York and London’s shows. The six-day womenswear event was inaugurated by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi – a first – and continued with Gucci’s slightly delayed blockbuster show. Alessandro Michele’s new collection for the Florentine label was called Rhizomatic Scores and featured materials referencing the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries with leather biker jackets, sequin suits and floral dresses. Fay and Alberta Ferretti followed and the day came to a close with Roberto Cavalli’s show in a new 20.30 time slot. It was a packed opening day and the rest of the week will offer even more, as the likes of Prada, Bottega Veneta and Armani light up the catwalk. Look out for more Milan Fashion Week coverage this week on the Minute.

In the hot seat

The developers behind the regeneration of Baltimore’s Port Covington waterfront are seeking proposals for that staple of public space: the humble park bench. Baltimore-based Sagamore Development is spearheading the project, which will house the glittering new headquarters of sportswear brand Under Armour. In its quest to find “the next great Baltimore bench” it’s seeking a new iteration of the city’s classic wood-slatted seats. Reinventing public furniture is something that Baltimore does well. In 2014, Spanish art collective Mmmm designed and erected a rather novel (and literal) bus shelter in the east of the city: the structure is made up of the letters B, U and S, offering shelter from the rain and a place in the shade during the searing summer heat. We’re hoping the city’s new benches will be just as inventive.

Image: Alamy

Rough ride

As campaigning for Brisbane’s mayoral election next month goes into full swing, it seems commuters will be the winners regardless of the result. Public transport is taking centre stage in the debate: current mayor Graham Quirk, of the Liberal National party, promises to cut trip times with swifter ferry services; Labor plans to gain votes by bulking up the city’s transport infrastructure and creating a fare-free Friday; and the most optimistic offering comes from the Greens, who want to roll out solar-powered buses. But while improvements to an already-solid public-transport network will be welcomed, it’s the fares that concern voters most: bus usage in this growing city is on the decline due to high pricing. As Brisbane positions itself as Australia’s gateway to nearby Asia, ticket prices more in line with what visitors from Bangkok or Beijing are used to would be wise.

From Monocle 24

Image: Jessica Miller

Ghostly International

Ghostly International was founded at the turn of the millennium in the college dorm room of DJ and Detroit native Sam Valenti IV. Since then the cult-favourite record company has signed everyone from Matthew Dear to Gold Panda and evolved beyond music into design, clothing, tech and more. In this special edition of ‘The Entrepreneurs’ Valenti tells Daniel Giacopelli how he and his team have grown the business into a success and why there’s never been a more inventive time for smart entrepreneurs to enter the music game.

From Monocle Films

Summer on a plate

Monocle invites chef Jonathan Conroy into the Midori House kitchen to cook the perfect summer meal. He demonstrates the art of making a traditional Turkish starter, a Mediterranean main course and a quintessential British classic – trifle – on film.

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