The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 27 July 2016

Image: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

JetBlue-sky thinking

Premium positioning appears to be paying off for New York-based carrier JetBlue Airways, so much so that it has placed a $3.6bn (€3.3bn) order for 30 Airbus A321 aircraft to bolster its Mint sub-brand, which offers lie-flat seats on its transcontinental routes. The agreement announced on Tuesday will see the carrier gain 15 aircraft with the current engine model from 2017 and another 15 jets replete with more fuel-efficient engines by 2020. We think it’s only a matter of time before European carriers begin to offer more premium narrow-body products on their medium-haul flights, which would help passengers to arrive fresh and perky for business.

Image: Vincent Yu/PA Images

Courting trouble

Friday sees the nomination period close for candidates wishing to stand in elections for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and some wannabe lawmakers are already getting a crash course in judicial procedure. Today the high court will decide whether three aspiring politicians should be allowed to challenge a new electoral requirement brought in by the government to exclude pro-independence supporters from running for office. This week’s legal battle comes only a few days after a poll by the Chinese University of Hong Kong revealed that nearly 40 per cent of young people in the city support independence from China after 2047. Denying young people democracy went awry for the government two years ago; fortunately the courts tend to show more street smarts.

Image: Anthony Behar/PA Images

No more Mr Nice Guy?

This evening president Barack Obama will address the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. He is expected to call for a positive vision for his nation – a far cry from Donald Trump’s foreboding portrayal of a country on the wane – and to support Hillary Clinton in her bid to assume the presidential role. So far Obama has largely been reluctant to attack the Republican nominee by name, stating that the billionaire candidate needs no additional publicity from him, thank you very much. But following Michelle Obama’s well-received address in Philadelphia on Monday night – in which she targeted Trump and his campaign – perhaps her husband will change tack. If so, it will be an important move as there is no certainty that Trump can’t win in November. Obama, and all recent Democratic converts to Clinton’s nomination, know that their opponent leaves them in uncharted territory – and that they will need to approach him head on.

Image: Bernd Cierpiol/Alamy

Alcohol anonymous

While Anheuser-Busch has embraced US patriotism as a marketing strategy with the decision to change the name of its flagship beer Budweiser to America for the summer, Costa Rica will be moving in the opposite direction. The Central American country’s supreme court has recently ruled that it is illegal for any national symbols to be used when advertising alcohol; also banned are historical or cultural Costa Rican references, including traditional Tico music. Although Florida Bebidas, the brewer behind Imperial – one of the country’s most popular beers – released a statement saying that the decision required it to make some changes in its upcoming ad campaigns, it noted that it would obey the ruling.

From Monocle 24

Cartonography

Sean Rafferty is a Sydney-based artist whose zesty collection of fruit cartons was recently added to the National Library of Australia. Monocle’s Adrian Craddock meets with the artist to discuss his unusual pastime.

From Monocle Films

Vatican foreign policy


Like many sovereign states, the Holy See pursues an active foreign policy. Monocle Films visits the Vatican’s foreign ministry, where world peace is always on the agenda.

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