The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 18 July 2016

Image: PA Images

The aftermath

It was the ultimate political gamble. After a faction of the military occupied two bridges in Istanbul, with military aircraft flying low over Ankara, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged his country – via text message and a video address – to leave their homes and assemble in the name of “democracy”. It was reckless because it pitted a civilian population against armed soldiers. More than 290 people died in Friday’s failed coup; had events unfolded differently that number could have been much higher. Still, the nightly flag-waving demonstrations in cities across Turkey are a sign that Erdogan’s grip on many hearts and minds has only tightened. He has now embarked on another reckless gamble: the president claims that the coup was ordered by religious leader Fethullah Gulen, living in self-exile in Pennsylvania, and is pressuring the US to extradite the cleric. He is stirring up anti-American sentiment with fierce rhetoric. Here is the frontline of Nato shaking its fist at the most powerful member of the alliance; the consequences could be dire.

Image: PA Images

Empty streets

After a weekend mourning the victims of Nice’s worst terror attack in history, anxious residents are wondering what happens next. Bloodstains are beginning to fade on the Promenade des Anglais just beyond an empty stage set up for the now cancelled Jazz Festival. While police have taken six people linked to the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, into custody, the future of the city’s tourism sector remains uncertain. Forty per cent of Niçois work in the tourism industry, which makes up half of the local economy and has only just begun recovering following November’s attacks in Paris. On the promenade in Nice, a restaurant worker volunteering at a makeshift memorial says that fear of another attack is ubiquitous: “I think people need to prepare but I pray for no more.” Other locals such as Claudia, a long-time resident of the city, are actively trying to persuade holiday-makers to visit: “We need you to come to Nice,” she says, laying flowers at the memorial. “We need your compassion.”

Image: Alamy

Unexpected departure

Overseas travel holds little appeal for many young Japanese. Why? Safety concerns and the language barrier are the main reasons. Only 5 per cent of Japanese in their twenties had a passport in 2015 – a decline from 9.5 per cent in the mid-1990s – according to the Japan Tourism Agency’s most recent data. Narita International Airport Corporation and the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) are worried enough to act: starting Friday and running through mid-January, they are giving away ¥10,000 (€85) to each of the first 500 people aged 18 to 22 who are looking to obtain or renew a passport. The money is nearly enough to cover passport application fees but there is a catch: recipients have to book a domestic or overseas flight that passes through Tokyo’s Narita Airport and buy their tickets from JATA-member travel agencies.

Image: Patrick Wack

Greener fingers

Fancy yourself a bit of a modern farmer? Then you’ll be happy to hear that the Tainan City government in southwestern Taiwan has been encouraging urban dwellers to become rural entrepreneurs since 2011, promoting courses and subsidies for farm-related businesses. Official figures published last week show that the top crop of modern farmers earn in excess of TWD1m (€28,000) a year – about double the average urban salary. Young Taiwanese have long endured wage stagnation: “22K” (the equivalent of €620) has become a byword for the average monthly pay and poor career prospects, which are prompting graduates to seek opportunities abroad. This report attests to the fact that greener pastures can be found closer to home too.


From Monocle 24

Eureka #6: Daniela Castellanos

‘Eureka’ is a weekly spotlight on business origins brought to you by the team behind ‘The Entrepreneurs’. In this episode Daniela Castellanos describes her move from Colombia to London to sell bags made by indigenous artisans. However, things didn’t exactly go to plan; Castellanos explains how she navigated from failure to launch and grew an up-and-coming fashion brand.

From Monocle Films

Hospitality lessons



Be it an airport lounge or a cinema, feeling at ease is hugely dependent on your surroundings. Monocle Films meet the design experts crafting the warmest welcomes.

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