The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 25 July 2016

Image: Getty Images

Munich mourns

Munich went into lockdown on Friday night after a gunman killed nine people and injured a further 27 in the Olympia shopping centre on the fifth anniversary of Anders Behring Breivik’s mass murder in Norway. Yet widespread panic didn’t break out: officials urged the public to resist spreading rumours or false information about the shooter – who turned out to be 18-year-old Iranian-German Ali David Sonboly – and the situation was efficiently brought to an end (the suspect took his own life). The handling of the case, headed by police chief Hubertus Andrae, is now being touted as a masterclass in how to handle an attack. After finding evidence of Sonboly’s fascination with mass shootings and his carefully laid-out plan, German politicians have called for tighter control on gun sales in a country that has the world’s fourth highest rate of gun ownership – following the US, Switzerland and Finland – despite having some of the strictest regulations.

Image: Getty Images

Mountain impasse?

When the Constitutional Court of Austria ruled that its May presidential election results were to be overturned, many in the country were nervous. The new election, slated for 2 October, could see the introduction of the far-right populist party FPÖ, which only narrowly lost last time around. People outside the country are nervous too. Across the border South Tyroleans are wary that a win for FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer could once again raise the issue of increased controls at Brenner Pass. The mountain pass forms the border between Italy and Austria and is one of the principal trade routes between the two countries, as well as between Italy and Germany. Austria had previously floated the idea of erecting a wall at the pass to stem the flow of migrants into the country, which South Tyroleans believed would hurt trade. “If there are controls at the pass, an important symbol of EU unification, it could kill Europe,” said Arno Kompatscher, the governor of South Tyrol, last week in Rome. “We hope that the issue of migrants and fears related to them will not influence the election campaign.”

Image: Swire Properties

Raffel ticket

Australia’s latest export to China has taken a cultural twist with the appointment of Suhanya Raffel as head of the M+ museum in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. The current deputy director of Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales takes over stewardship of the under-construction modern-art museum from Swede Lars Nittve, who stepped down earlier this year. The experienced Australian will add a Pacific eye to what has been a strongly European influence up to now: the museum building is designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and its permanent collection will feature the impressive Sigg collection of contemporary Chinese art, donated by Swiss businessman and former ambassador to China Uli Sigg. With the delayed opening currently scheduled for 2019, Raffel will have plenty of time to make her own mark on M+.

In the groove

Japan was in the midst of a growth spurt in the 1960s. Back then a house and car were the ultimate status symbols but most people made do with affordable mass-produced items. One such product – the portable record player – is the subject of a new exhibition at the Lifestyle Design Center in Tokyo starting this weekend. Fumihito Taguchi, owner of Tokyo record shop Enban, drew from his personal collection of about 100 of these portable players (for flexi discs and vinyl records) that were sold between the 1960s and 1980s. The array of designs, some resembling toys, others precursors to hi-fi home stereos, reflect the broad demographic of consumers who were the target audience, from schoolchildren to audiophiles. The exhibition runs until 28 August.

From Monocle 24

Jimmy Cregan

Eureka is a weekly spotlight on business origins brought to you by the team behind The Entrepreneurs. In this episode, Jimmy Cregan of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee explains how he first discovered cold and caffeinated joys in Australia. After roping in his sister, going hundreds of thousands of pounds in debt and creating a viral rap video, his UK-based brand is now a runaway hit.

From Monocle Films

Puerto Rico: state of debate


Puerto Rico is struggling with a faltering economy and an ongoing argument over its status as a US territory. Monocle Films meets the residents attempting to rethink the island’s future.

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