Friday 12 August 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 12/8/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Turkish American News

Strained relations

In the mind of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan there’s no question that Fethullah Gulen, a former political ally turned opponent now living in exile in Pennsylvania, was the instigator of last month’s failed coup. This week five Turkish MPs turned up in Canada to warn that bilateral relations would be hurt if Gulen was allowed to seek asylum there. In an interview on The Monocle Daily the deputy chair of the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee Kani Torun described Gulen’s followers as a “Messianic cult disguising themselves as moderate Muslims”. He added that schools set up by Gulen’s movement – called Hizmet (or “Service”) – are used to recruit terrorists to undermine a democratically elected Turkish government. The touring delegation is part of the country’s response to a perceived lack of support by Western nations last month. Time will tell whether Torun’s mission is successful but the sudden patching up of relations between the strongmen of Turkey and Russia certainly doesn’t help his cause.

Image: Boris Roessler/PA Images

Safety measures

Following the arrival of more than one million refugees in Germany last year and a recent series of attacks claimed by Isis – the first on a train near Würzburg, another at a music festival in Ansbach – federal minister of the interior Thomas de Maizière yesterday presented new security measures to increase safety across the nation. De Maizière says that Germany won’t respond with hate and let terrorists triumph; instead he proposed a list of practical actions, including hiring thousands of new police personnel, tightening laws for asylum seekers, increasing cyber security and introducing improved social support for refugees to combat radicalisation and aid integration. “No one can guarantee absolute security but we must do what we can,” says De Maizière, who hopes the Federal Government will adopt his proposed amendments within this legislative period.

Image: Jon Hicks/Getty Images

Hitting a high note

Sydney Opera House is iconic for its exterior architecture. Its interior, however, is infamous for the blunders that plagued its 14-year construction, which original architect Jørn Utzon deserted just seven years in. This week the New South Wales government announced that it will be pouring AU$202m (€140m) into the venue for the biggest renovations in its 43-year history. Improvements to acoustic clarity within the main concert hall and the addition of new events and creative spaces will enhance its obvious function as a world-class performing-arts centre. However, sensitivity to Utzon’s design principles should be heeded while refurbishing the World Heritage Site. While Utzon believed that the building would have to be adapted to changing cultural needs, the Sydney Opera House mustn’t lose the essence that has made it one of the greatest monuments of the 20th century.

Image: Richard Levine/PA Images

Sugar crash

The US’s sugar high might be coming to an end. New labelling regulations set to come from the US Food and Drug Administration will disclose added grams of sugar for products such as cereals and other packaged food items at grocery stores – and major food companies are starting to react. While the label regulations won’t be mandatory until July 2018, companies are already working on reformulating recipes in order to reduce added sugars. This week fruit-and-nut-bar company Kind began posting information about added sugars for more than 60 of its products; it plans to remove between 14 and 56 per cent of sugars from much of its selection. Even bigger players such as General Mills and large beverage companies are revamping their merchandise in anticipation of the changes. It looks like the policy is already having the desired effect.

Image: Andrew H

London: building bridges?

In recent years there have been many proposals for new bridges in London, from the Garden Bridge to the Nine Elms crossing. We ask why it has taken so long to build a new bridge over the Thames.

New-generation animators

With the success of Pixar came an avalanche of computer-generated animation but not all animators are following the hi-tech pack. Monocle Films travels to the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and southern England in search of storytellers who think outside the computer box.


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