The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 21 September 2016

Image: Seth Wenig/PA Images

All change

World leaders had the chance to start saying goodbye to Barack Obama yesterday as he gave his final address at the UN General Assembly. Most of those in the hall would shudder at the idea of Donald Trump giving the address this time next year but governments around the world are already beginning to think about what a Trump presidency would mean for them. Never before has a mainstream US presidential candidate caused such concern in friendly capitals. His potent mix of isolationism and aggression is a source of real worry among many of the US’s traditional allies, from Europe to Asia. For more on what a President Trump (or Clinton) would mean for the rest of the world, download Monocle 24’s newest show, The Global Election.

Image: Greg Vaughn/Alamy

Claws for thought

When it comes to fishing, Canada’s east coast hasn’t had much to brag about in decades. With the decline of the industry, the provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have long suffered an economic malaise. But things are on the rise: thanks to the weak Canadian dollar and an increasing demand from China, the east coast lobster market – the most profitable of all of Canada’s fisheries – is now booming. Fishermen are getting more than twice the amount for fresh lobsters than they did during the 2008 to 2009 season — CA$6.75 (€4.50) per pound versus CA$3 (€2) per pound. But there’s a possibility that the Maritimes could once again feel the pinch: the EU is set to review a proposal to ban lobster imports from North America after Sweden protested that the US lobster was an invasive species.

Image: Tuul and Bruno Morandi/Alamy

In the bag?

This Sunday 200 metres of Hong Kong’s busiest thoroughfare, Des Voeux Road in Central, will be transformed into a pedestrian-only zone. This may be exactly what the city needs to boost retail sales, which plunged by 10.5 per cent in the first half of this year – the steepest drop in 17 years. Stalls, art displays and patches of green will convert the traffic-ridden street into a shopping mile traversed only by the iconic “Ding Ding” trams. Although nothing new for citizens of cities such as Amsterdam, it’s a big step for Hong Kong. The organisers – including Designing Hong Kong and Clean Air Network – hope that the initiative will persuade the city to rezone the street. “No department wants to take responsibility,” says Dutch-born district councillor Paul Zimmerman of the proposal that’s currently at a standstill. Perhaps this weekend will prove to the newly formed legislative council that retail blossoms best when polluting buses and trucks are taken out of the equation.

Image: William Manning/Getty Images

Seats of power

Canada’s parliamentarians returned from their summer holiday this week. However, it will be the last time, for a decade at least, that they will take their positions in the grand auditorium of the chamber of Ottawa’s regal parliament building, which has been in continuous use for more than a century. An ambitious renovation programme will begin in 2018 and may take 10 years to complete. Parliament’s new temporary home will be the adjacent West Block on Parliament Hill: a bright glass-ceilinged chamber designed by Toronto-based architect Georges Drolet. As parliamentarians in the UK have found with the Unesco-listed Palace of Westminster, keeping the cogs of democracy turning within the walls of grand, historic buildings can be a rather cumbersome task. Perhaps the redevelopment of Ottawa’s majestic parliament complex may be a lesson for other western governments on how to do it well.

From Monocle 24

Image: Istvan Virag

After Belonging agency

We talk to Alejandra Navarrete Llopis and Ignacio González Galán of After Belonging agency – the curatorial team behind this year’s Oslo Architecture Triennale – about the concept behind the show and how it’s grounded in Oslo.

From Monocle Films

Moroccan evolution

Unlike its neighbours, Morocco managed to avoid the violent upheaval during the Arab Spring. Monocle Films travelled to Rabat in 2013 to discover why.

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