The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 9 November 2016

Image: Getty Images

What we’re waking up to

As we write, moments before this lands in your inbox, the result of last night's presidential election remains unconfirmed. But this is what we know: tens of millions of Americans were prepared to vote for a misogynist who boasted of committing sexual assault; for a race-baiting demagogue who brazenly courted the white nationalist vote and consistently targeted ethnic minorities; for a would-be autocrat who vowed to throw his opponent in jail. Those who could have stood up to Donald Trump failed in their duty, from former president George W Bush, who stayed silent and cowardly let it be known that he'd left his ballot blank, to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who rightly accused his candidate of "textbook” racism and said he was “sickened” by his sexism yet voted for him all the same. The morning after the night before, America no longer appears to the rest of the world as the shining city on the hill. Regardless of the final result, this is a dark moment for us all.

Image: Alamy/Robert Harding

Digging deep

Space is a perennial issue in Hong Kong so the government is looking in all directions for ways to increase land availability. Now a three-month consultation has been launched to unearth public views on the construction of underground developments inspired by Tokyo’s subterranean shopping streets. Two potential sites, located beneath Victoria Park and Kowloon Park, could allow for new four-storey retail and car parking warrens in the heart of two of the city’s most congested districts, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. Meanwhile, the government is also exploring the use of rock caverns underneath Hong Kong’s hilly districts as potential new homes for “undesirable” aboveground facilities, such as sewage treatment plants. Thankfully moving housing underground has yet to be suggested although one landlord has recently imported another Tokyo innovation: single-bed “space capsule” homes for rent.

Image: Reuters/Rafael Marchante

Future perfect

It’s no secret that here at Monocle we’re big fans of those entrepreneurial spirits who give up their day jobs to go it alone. So yesterday's announcement at Lisbon's Web Summit that the EU is to pledge €400m to help get start-ups off the ground was encouraging. Aimed at giving a leg up to new business, it’s hoped the fund will tackle the shortage of investment capital that makes starting a business in the EU a little trickier than in other parts of the world. The money set aside by the EU will be matched three times by private investors to a total sum of €1.6bn. Carlos Moedas, European commissioner for research, science and innovation, said that the fund is also intended to prevent foreign venture capitalists from buying up EU businesses. “The idea is to create a fund to allow them to be created in Europe and then stay in Europe,” he said.

Police protection

Every city has an urban icon renowned the world over: London has the red phone booth, New York the yellow cab. But few are familiar with Russia’s Soviet-era police booths, which are making a comeback on the streets of Moscow. Known as “police glasses” thanks to their resemblance to a drinking glass, the elevated cylindrical huts were especially popular with traffic policemen as they offered shelter from harsh winters and an excellent vantage point. The remarkable structures became a defining feature of city crossings and were quickly romanticised in Russian culture – when meeting a friend, it was common to rendezvous at the nearest booth. After being scrapped in the 1980s and 1990s due to dilapidation, two have reappeared in central Moscow sporting a new design that, according to Russian news agency Vesti, more closely resembles a “French press than [a] drinking glass”.

From Monocle 24

US election outcome

The race is over. As the world wakes up to the news of the next president of the United States, Monocle 24 continues its unrivalled coverage of an extraordinary battle for the White House. Across our live programmes and throughout the day hear from an international network of bureaux and correspondents, plus our roster of commentators, analysts and journalists, as they make sense of the results.

From Monocle Films

How to Make a Nation

How to Make a Nation: A Monocle Guide reveals all you need to make a happy, vibrant and successful nation. It’s a book that delivers inspiration whether you are a new citizen or a freshly elected PM. Monocle Films goes behind the scenes to talk to the editors of the book and look inside the covers.

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