The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 4 November 2016

Image: Getty Images

Brexit battle

Yesterday the UK’s High Court ruled that the country must hold a vote in parliament before triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin formal exit negotiations with the EU. Theresa May’s government had hoped that it could proceed without consulting parliament – the majority of which is against Brexit – and will appeal the judgment. Jolyon Maugham QC, a barrister who helped bring the legal action to London’s High Court, told Monocle 24, “What denouement could be more appropriate to a campaign about taking back control than a ruling from an English court that is a matter of English constitutional law and our elected MPs deciding the conditions under which we should trigger Article 50. That is what taking back control looks like.” While financial markets have spiked following the news, the vote will hardly repeal the referendum, which saw 51.9 per cent vote leave. However, parliament could impose conditions on government so there is now a chance for a softer Brexit rather than the “hard” one that May had scheduled to begin at the end of March next year.

Image: Contemporary Istanbul

Collect call

Istanbul might seem an unlikely city to be hosting an art party right now but Turkey’s famous tenacity is in force despite its political quandary. The 11th edition of Contemporary Istanbul (CI), the city’s oldest art fair, got going last night and will be a test of whether Turkey’s market – and its burgeoning collector base beyond a cadre of patron-industrialists – has survived the upheaval of the past year intact. In April, Art International, a globally focused annual fair in the city, announced that it wouldn’t be pitching its tents this year. But the strength of the locale will be key to CI’s success. It seems no coincidence then that the Turkish collectors themselves have been given the spotlight: 60 of the country’s most prominent collectors were asked to exhibit a work or two from their collection along with an anecdote about its acquisition.

Image: Steffen Hauser/Alamy

Senior state

Faced with an ageing population, Singapore is undertaking ambitious plans to improve the lives of people over the age of 65 – starting with Hortpark, a park in the country’s southwestern corner that specialises as a therapeutic garden for post-stroke patients and seniors with dementia. The park is part of the Ministry of Health’s S$3bn (€1.95bn) Action Plan for Successful Ageing, which was launched in 2015 to improve public transit and pedestrian and road infrastructure, and greatly increase the number of hospital beds. By 2030 a quarter of the country’s residents will be over 65 and this green space is just one of the innovative and friendly ways that Singapore is getting prepared.

Image: Mark Nicdao

Season’s greetings

In Hong Kong as in London, the arrival of autumn means art auctions. Besides European paintings and Chinese antiques, which are always a big draw in the region, art collectors are branching out and showing a growing interest in Southeast Asian works. Much of the attention is on rising Philippine artist – and winner of the Hugo Boss Asia art award – Maria Taniguchi. “The programmatic approach to the art industry in Hong Kong creates a very supportive environment for artists,” says Taniguchi, noting that she is going to partner with non-profit art space Things That Can Happen to expand the city’s creative network further.

From Monocle 24

Image: Alamy

South Africa: bringing water from Lesotho

Johannesburg is struggling to supply itself with enough water for its growing population. The modern solution? Pipe it in from abroad in what is Africa’s biggest water-transfer project.

From Monocle Films

Melbourne retail special: Gertrude Street

Australia is a country that knows how to shop and its canny citizens want more than the colourless clicks of an online spree. Melbourne’s once-overlooked Gertrude Street is now one of its most vibrant hubs and home to a mix of independent shops. Monocle Films meets six retailers who anchor the high street.

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