The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 1 July 2016

Image: Clement Sabourin/Getty Images

Canada’s jet set

After a series of false starts Montréal-based aircraft manufacturer Bombardier officially handed over one of its long-anticipated CSeries jets to Swiss International Airlines this week at Mirabel Airport. The CS100 airplane is the first of 30 firm orders and is due to start ferrying passengers from 15 July. Originally mooted in 2004, the aircraft is the largest the company has ever built and more energy efficient and quieter than rivals in the market. The Quebec government contributed US$1bn (€907m) to the programme when delays and cost overruns crippled Bombardier, a savvy investment move that will not only pay financial dividends but also shore up Canada’s soft-power assets.

Image: Charoen Dokkularb/Alamy

Small gains

Though big brands in Singapore are ditching well-known shopping strips due to high rents, smaller labels have been seizing an opportunity. As landlords are moving towards short-term leases to fill the leftover spaces, small homegrown companies such as Beyond the Vines and Naiise are able to move in, which is in turn bringing some fresh offerings into the tired malls. In this entrepreneurial nation, start-ups such as Invade are also jumping on the bandwagon. The Singaporean tech brand aims to connect independent retailers with landlords to help fill hundreds of thousands of square feet of vacant retail space. Retail in Singapore is down but certainly not out as young businesses lead a colourful reinvigoration of the shopping scene.

Image: PA Images

Strength in numbers

This week the US and Iceland shored up relations by signing a joint declaration on defence. The agreement promises to not only strengthen a security plan for Iceland but also to explore additional areas for increased cooperation between the two nations. Though small in size – both in terms of land mass and population – Iceland has long had an important role in global security, serving as an Atlantic outpost during both the Second World War and the Cold War. Yet Iceland is also the only Nato member without a standing military. With ongoing concerns surrounding Russian naval forces in the Atlantic and the North Sea, beefing up cooperation between the two allies is a wise move.

Image: Marcusrg

Paws for thought

City zoos around the world have come under increasing pressure as of late and the mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, is taking action. The city’s 140-year-old zoo is closing – and reopening as an educational eco-park – after criticism of its conditions and a number of preventable animal deaths. As many as 2,500 of the animals will be moved to nature preserves while about 50, which are too old to travel, will remain in the Argentinian capital. The transition is set to happen after the southern hemisphere’s winter holidays and at that time the city will hold an open call for architects, urban-planners and landscapers to submit proposals for the new park.

From Monocle 24

Image: Sam Greenhalgh

Can a referendum result be overturned?

As the UK wakes up to the consequences of leaving the European Union, we look at the chances of last week’s referendum result being overturned.

From Monocle Films

Hop, skip and jump

There are few scheduled flights that make more than one stop these days (let alone three) but African Express is making a business and a brand operating one of the last milk runs in civil aviation. Our man in Africa straps into the jump seat for a jaunt around the horn.

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