The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 28 September 2016

Image: Julie Jacobson/PA IMages

Arrivederci, Renzi?

Will Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi still have a job by the end of the year? He has staked his position on the outcome of a constitutional referendum that would limit the powers of Italy’s senate and make the business of passing laws a little easier. But by promising to resign if he lost the vote he has upped the stakes somewhat. Despite rowing back in an interview last week, Renzi knows a defeat would put his premiership in trouble. Not that the populist Five Star Movement, Renzi’s most potent opponents, are necessarily in a position to pounce. Following the election of Rome's Five Star mayor Virginia Raggi a series of scandals and mishaps in the capital has damaged the party's reputation.

Image: Yuri Cortez/Getty Images

Troubled waters

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed more than 200,000 people and devastated the country, the world responded by opening its heart – and its wallet. That year Haiti rose to the top of the recipient list for Canada’s aid; to date Canada has sent CA$1.2bn (€809m) to the traumatised nation. But many countries are losing patience with Haiti due to its inept governance and the corruption that has stymied recovery. Canada contributed CA$11m (€7.4m) to its failed presidential election last year; the next one is scheduled for 9 October and this time Canada has declined to provide additional funding for it. The US is also fatigued by the ongoing political calamity in the country: last week the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would deport Haitians who’d entered the country illegally, a practice it had halted after the earthquake.

Image: Getty Images

Hit redial

The publication of BlackBerry’s quarterly results today will be a crucial moment for the company’s CEO John Chen. A year ago Chen vowed to make BlackBerry’s hardware division profitable again or ditch it entirely. Its profits from handset sales slumped once again in the quarter ending 31 May; it lost $21m (€19m) on sales of just half a million handsets, a far cry from its quarterly peak of 13 million phones in 2012. So will BlackBerry, headquartered in Waterloo, west of Toronto, switch focus? The signs suggest that it will. The slogan “Software is the new BlackBerry” appeared on the firm’s website earlier this week, ahead of today’s results and recent deals with the US Senate, army and Department of Defense have buoyed its software division, which is on track to meet the company’s target of 30 per cent growth annually.

Image: Gold Coast Motor Show

Start your engines

Hong Kong’s sports month begins this weekend as motoring enthusiasts put their foot down at the inaugural Gold Coast Motor Festival. The two-day event, modelled on the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, brings together classic automobiles and modern supercars at the Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel in the New Territories. The following weekend sees Formula E make its debut on a 2km street track winding around the city’s iconic harbourfront. (Electric cars have become an increasingly common sight across the region, prompting Tesla to open its biggest service centre in Hong Kong.) But fuming pedestrians need not despair: the Walk21 conference will spend the whole of next week discussing how to create Asia’s most walkable city. Anyone still needing to cool off can jump into the water for the mid-month Cross Harbour Race, which lures hundreds of swimmers to Victoria Harbour every year.

From Monocle 24

Image: Asif Khan and Oke Hauser

Asif Khan

We talk to architect Asif Khan about an installation of miniature forests in east London and find out why he believes vegetation is key to rethinking the design of our cities.

From Monocle Films

Kenzo Estate

The Kenzo Estate in Napa Valley, California, is owned by Kenzo Tsujimoto, founder of video games giant Capcom. Monocle Films visits to see how the company is aiming to break into the global wine market.

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