The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 23 August 2016

Image: Getty Images

Biden his time

US vice-president Joe Biden is en route to Turkey for a visit that’s rather overdue. Biden is the highest-ranking politician to touch down in Ankara since the country foiled a military coup in July and the reticence by Turkey’s allies has gone down rather badly. During tomorrow’s visit Biden needs to patch things up but also stick to his guns: the Obama administration has been criticised in the past for its over-pragmatism in dealing with Turkey, tolerating its authoritarian slide to maintain US interests. While the extradition of religious leader Fethullah Gulen will lead discussions – though likely be fruitless – Biden needs to address a boiling anti-US sentiment that’s been stoked by Turkey’s media and ill-chosen words from the leadership.

Image: AP/PA

Change of tune

A musical era came to an end in Canada on the weekend as The Tragically Hip played its final concert in Kingston. The beloved band revealed that it would be their last performance following lead singer Gord Downie’s terminal brain tumour diagnosis in May. The importance of The Tragically Hip in Canadian culture can’t be overstated: while the nation’s roster of international music stars is seemingly endless there is no group that is more adored at home. As such the sold-out show brought the country to a near standstill. Though only 7,000 fans – including prime minister Justin Trudeau – could attend the gig, the CBC paused its coverage of the Rio Olympics to broadcast and stream the concert. Nearly 12 million people tuned in as crowds gathered in squares and at street parties across the country to sing along and bid goodbye to the national icons.

Image: Corey Arnold

Havana reunion

While some Cubans are looking to flee their homes under the Cuban Adjustment Act (which affords Cubans legal residency in the US) as relations between Havana and Washington are being re-established, others are lining up for the chance to visit the Caribbean island nation, which lies less than 145km from the coast of Florida. That’s where CubaOne comes in. The foundation was launched by four Cuban-Americans this summer to reconnect 22 to 35-year-olds with their Cuban roots. Modelled after Birthright Israel – which flies young Jewish people to the Middle Eastern country – CubaOne organises free trips to Cuba for groups of up to 10 applicants. The Fort Lauderdale-based foundation recently returned from its second seven-day trip, with the next two happening in October and December. "These trips are about connecting my generation in the United States with our peers on the island," says co-founder Cherie Cancio.

Image: Taro Terasawa

High ideals

Shiseido Parlour in Tokyo’s Ginza district is where you would take someone you wanted to impress. It’s a waitstaff-in-bow-ties kind of restaurant that’s been serving yoshoku, or Japanese-style western cuisine, since 1928. Now Japan Airlines is planning to bring this old-fashioned idea of fancy food – beef stew, omurice (Japanese omelette rice) and hamburger steak – to the economy cabin of its Honolulu-bound flights. Betting on better meals winning over new customers on one of JAL’s most popular international routes is a gamble. Perhaps that is why the airline is also rearranging the economy-class layout on Boeing 777s heading to Honolulu so that couples can have two seats to themselves by the window instead of a standard trio with the odd stranger. The competition is already jumping to respond: ANA will add new Airbus A380 superjumbo planes to its Honolulu-Japan routes from 2018 or 2019.

From Monocle 24

Fiona Stewart and Ben Coleman

Fiona Stewart and Ben Coleman are the mother-and-son duo behind Green Man festival. Since launching in 2003 it has remained one of the few UK festivals to be fiercely independent and this comes across in the quality of the show it puts on.

From Monocle Films

Fighting the freeze

Monocle Films travels to northern Norway for an exclusive insight into Cold Response, Nato’s gruelling cold-weather military-training exercise.

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