Thursday 7 July 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 7/7/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Florian Blümm/Alamy

All the right ingredients

Australia has the flat white, Spain has its jamón, Cambodia its amok curry and Vietnam its spring rolls: food can be a perfect national ambassador and Asian chefs and culinary critics will explore this idea at the Mekong Tourism Forum this week. It’s a clever effort by neighbours Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand and China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces (all connected by the River Mekong) to brand themselves as a unified port of call for tasty cuisines in a push to bring visitors to the region. Though each nation serves unique flavours, proximity means shared climate and shared ingredients. Green papaya salad (pictured), for example, is much-loved in both Laos and Thailand. Thus food offers a soft middle ground: sovereign identities are maintained but a cohesive cultural offering entices world travellers.

Image: Justin Tang/PA Images

Canada covering ground

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau continues to make good on his main campaign pledge to fund infrastructure, with public transport in cities across the country receiving the biggest boost. This week he announced that the government will be providing Quebec with CA$1.2bn (€830m) in federal money funds to be spent on public transit and water projects over the next three years. Much of the initial funding will be earmarked for fixing existing infrastructure in Montréal and other cities across the province; a second phase of new projects, which could include a light-rail transit system and an extension of Montréal’s Metro line, are due to be announced later. The agreement follows last month’s deal with British Columbia, whereby Trudeau signed a transit-funding deal to the tune of CA$460m (€319m).

Image: Maciej Dakowicz/Alamy

Bad fit?

Bangladesh is still in shock after last week’s terrorist attack and now there are fears that the Dhaka shootings could devastate the nation’s economy by crippling its key industry: clothes manufacturing. In the wake of the attack, retail giants including Uniqlo, Marks & Spencer and Gap have suggested that they will reassess their continued presence in the country due to security concerns, with Uniqlo cancelling “all but critical” travel of overseas-based employees to the country. While exporting manufacturing to developing countries rightfully remains a controversial topic, the industry does represent the backbone of Bangladesh’s economy: it’s worth €23.5bn, comprises 80 per cent of all exports and provides as many as four million jobs. A nosedive in production would have untold consequences for the nation.

Image: Tara Ziemba/Getty Images

Pride takes a fall

From frosted cupcakes adorned with tiny American flags to the giant fireworks displays in cities around the country, this past weekend’s Independence Day celebrations, as always, revealed an overt mix of nationalism, bravado and revelry. But a recent survey by Gallup shows that Americans aren’t as proud as they might seem, even if they beat most other nations by a country mile in this respect. The poll shows that patriotism is down for a 16th consecutive year, with 52 per cent of the adult Americans interviewed stating that they were “extremely proud” to be American compared with 70 per cent back in 2003. It almost goes without saying that those who declared themselves to be extremely proud were more likely to be white male Republicans than any other group.


Can an algorithm choose a better outfit than a stylist? And why is London better than Silicon Valley when it comes to launching a fashion-technology start-up? We tell the story of Thread with the company’s CEO.

Travel Top 50 2015/16

Our annual survey of the best in class from carriers to train nations, architecturally blessed inns to tasty food concepts. It's your round-the-world ticket to meet the hospitality stars.


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