The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 31 August 2016

Image: Thierry Charlier/Getty Images

An Apple a day?

Margrethe Vestager is probably not the most famous politician in Europe but she proved yesterday that she could be the most powerful. The EU’s competition commissioner’s decision to penalise Apple for allegedly receiving illegal state aid from Ireland is just the start: there are about 1,000 other companies believed to be on her radar. One big question yet to be resolved is what should happen to the back-tax the EU is demanding Apple to pay. Technically it should go to Ireland but since the nation is also benefiting from this scheme it seems a little strange that it should receive a one-off payment roughly equivalent to its annual health spending. Perhaps it would make more sense for Apple’s penalty to be paid to the other 27 EU nations who have followed the rules and lost out.

Image: Stan Tess/Alamy

Tunnel vision

When it was announced that New York’s L-train tunnel – which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn – would close for 18 months in 2019, many New Yorkers were aghast. As the primary transport line between the two boroughs, carrying more than 300,000 riders back and forth each day, the necessary repair works following damage suffered during Hurricane Sandy will disrupt more than just traffic. A report from New York University’s Rudin Center for Transport recently confirmed that the closure will have a significant impact on not only residents but businesses too. Boosting bus and ferry services, as well as launching partnerships with ride-sharing companies and even speeding up the proposal of a high-speed gondola over the East River might help to address the issue. If the city does embrace these ideas it’s not unfathomable to believe that Brooklynites could actually one day be spoilt for transport options, particularly once the improved L train is back up and running.

Image: Getty Images

Safety first

As China prepares to hold its first G20 summit this weekend the host city of Hangzhou is on lockdown. Traffic controls are hitting taxi drivers and much of the logistics industry in the home of Alibaba is on hiatus, delaying usually rapid delivery times. Meanwhile, pedestrians and visitors have to join long queues at checkpoints just to access the scenic West Lake. The rest of China is also learning to live with heightened security: two airports in Shanghai are swabbing passengers for explosives before allowing them to enter departure terminals and there are reports of hotels in the southern city of Guangzhou refusing guests from five Middle Eastern countries. Yet the biggest disruption for G20 delegates is likely to be flying in and out of Hangzhou: the international airport was described as one of the worst managed in the country by China’s aviation authority last week.

Image: Pact Gallery/J C Lett

Fair deal

Marseille’s international contemporary art fair Art-O-Rama is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Founded by Jérôme Pantalacci in 2007, this intimate exhibition of avant garde talent opened at the Friche la Belle de Mai – a former cigarette factory turned cultural complex – last Friday and if you haven’t yet had a chance to visit you can do so until 11 September. Unlike most art fairs this one focuses on 20 young, exclusive galleries and lets each one take creative ownership of its booth so no two stands end up looking alike. This year’s edition is hosting galleries from Paris-based Pact to Lisbon’s Madragoa and Los Angeles’ François Ghebaly, attracting art collectors from across Europe and the US (including Moma’s chief curator of media and performance art Stuart Comer). The inaugural Roger Pailhas Prize – named after the late local gallerist, who inspired Pantalacci to establish Art-O-Rama – went to Paris-based gallery Crèvecoeur and their project “Salon dété”.

From Monocle 24

Image: Tsutom Watanabe

Style council

Monocle’s Edits editor Josh Fehnert and Fashion researcher Jamie Waters discuss hats, buttons and far-flung retailers – just some of the stories to look forward to in the October edition of Monocle magazine.

From Monocle Films

The Monocle Travel Guide Series: London

Monocle Films created this cinematic portrait of London to celebrate the publication of our very first travel guide. From great examples of urban design and lofty gardens to culinary discoveries and the best music venues, our film journeys to our favourite places in the city. The Monocle Travel Guide to London, published by Gestalten, is available at The Monocle Shop.

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