The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 9 May 2016

Image: Martin Westlake

Singapore aims high

For a city-state like Singapore, space is always at a premium. So the recent announcement that the Lion City will be spending AU$2.25bn (€1.45bn) on expanding defence bases in Queensland makes sense in purely practical terms. The 25-year deal will see the number of Singaporean troops down under increase from 6,000 to 14,000 as the existing military bases are enlarged to handle more training exercises and weapons testing. The expansion will not only provide a boost to Singapore’s defence capabilities but will also have economic benefits for Australia. Perhaps even more importantly, the deal also signals tighter defence ties between the two countries at a time when concern over China’s military might is at an all time high in the region.

Image: Sharon Mollerus

Money worries

Following a 48-hour strike in Greece, eurozone finance ministers are holding a meeting in Brussels today to finalise a deal for a Greek bailout. Greek and EU officials have so far been unable to reach an agreement regarding austerity measures to be put in place if Greece misses targets for new loans under its €86bn bailout. The impasse can only be resolved if Greek reforms are agreed upon by all creditors, yet the IMF and European Commission remain at a deadlock. At the end of last week the IMF expressed concern that the proposed budget surplus target of 3.5 per cent of GDP by 2018 – a stipulation agreed to by the EU and Athens – is unrealistic and should be reduced. It’s an opinion that was echoed by demonstrators over the weekend. The clock is ticking: Greece needs financial aid to pay the €3.5bn in debts this July.

Woolly thinking?

Donning woolly knitwear on the humid streets of Hong Kong may not sound ideal but that hasn’t stopped the philanthropic Australian company Woolmark from moving into the city. “In Australia we make wetsuits with wool, and merino wool is widely applied to sportswear,” says CEO Stuart McCullough about the material’s versatility. McCullough was recently in Hong Kong to open The Wool Resource Centre, the organisation’s first global centre dedicated to promoting the material. The new trade-focused space in Kowloon includes a fabric library alongside a showroom featuring clever designs by winners of the International Woolmark Prize. Not even the economic slowdown in China can dim McCullough’s advocacy for wool. “Lots of consumers turn to wool during a dip in the economy because they are looking for something more ‘keepable’ than fast fashion.”

Image: Sir Kensington’s

Can-do attitude

An ingredient once used by the most obscure of home cooks is catching the attention of chefs and food companies in New York. Aquafaba – the technical term for the leftover liquid in a can of beans or legumes – can be used as an egg white substitute. It was once a completely discarded byproduct but the food industry is now catching on as chefs are introducing it to menus in desserts (eggless soufflé, anyone?). Meanwhile, New York-based Sir Kensington's, a young condiments brand, has partnered with a nearby hummus company, Ithaca Hummus, to use its aquafaba for a new eggless mayonnaise. Chefs may be excited about the possibilities of a new ingredient but it's also a triumph over food waste, as aquafaba would have otherwise remained in the bottom of the bin.

From Monocle 24

Kids’ table

Author, activist and culinary entrepreneur Claus Meyer has just opened his first restaurant in New York – and a group of children were the first to try out its fare.

From Monocle Films

The perfect workplace

As employers increasingly acknowledge the quality of life of their workers, Monocle contemplates the topic of the modern workplace. In this visual essay, Edits editor Josh Fehnert explores what can be done to create offices that make clocking in a joy.

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