The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 23 November 2016

Image: Johannes Eisele/Getty Images

Trading standards

If US president-elect Donald Trump pulls his country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as he claimed he would earlier this week, he risks offending some much-needed allies in the Asia-Pacific region. However, as the only major Pacific Rim nation not part of the TPP, that would suit China just fine. A big part of the Obama administration’s support for the TPP was its belief that it would bring the Pacific nations closer together – and a little further from China’s orbit. Beijing is likely to see this as an opportunity to make its own trade deals in the region, comforted by the knowledge that the US has taken a step back. International trade deals may not be popular right now but Trump’s move may make the US poorer in the long-term.

Image: Halifax International Security Forum

Security questions

The Halifax International Security Forum ended on a rather uncertain note this past weekend. If the US presidential campaign churned up conflicting notions about global security and the nation’s role within it then the premier gathering of the world’s defence and security figures in Nova Scotia did little to quell concerns. The guesswork continues as to what president-elect Donald Trump will do in terms of defence, cyber security, military and intelligence involvement overseas. Two things did become clear, however: firstly Trump’s vow to reinstate waterboarding will be met with legal action, launched from within his own party according to senator John McCain, who addressed the conference; secondly Canada will not be dictated to by a US defence policy that stands counter to its own, as Canada’s minister of national defence, Harjit Sajjan assured. As long as the US’s future on the international stage remains uncertain so too will the reaction of key security players around the world.

Image: Op IMPACT/DND

Blame game

Canada has blamed a recent series of defence delays and stymied strategies on the Iraqi government. Canadian forces in Iraq announced plans to open a hospital in the north of the country this summer but by October the facility was still not up and running, despite the attack in Mosul being well underway. According to defence minister Harjit Sajjan last month’s delay was the fault of the Iraqi government for holding up the process. The hospital is now open but officials have continued reason to be frustrated: last year the Canadian government promised to provide weapons and ammunition to Kurdish forces fighting Isis; officials have now stated that the weapons have yet to be delivered because Baghdad hasn’t approved the arms shipment. As of yet the Canadian government hasn’t revealed the reasons behind the delays, causing a strain between the two nations that is certainly not helping to solve the conflict on the ground.

Image: Chris Lusher

Headline acts

Hong Kongers are all set for a colourful weekend. Music festival Clockenflap takes over the Central Harbourfront from Friday, with UK acts London Grammar, MIA and the Chemical Brothers sharing top billing. Meanwhile, more sober heads will be listening to another UK visitor: Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s final governor, who is dropping by to join a fiery debate on the city’s crumbling pillars of governance. Tongues are already wagging after the well-respected pro-Beijing politician and potential candidate for chief executive, Jasper Tsang, suddenly disappeared from the panel. This medley of music and politics will join hands on Saturday afternoon during the city’s annual gay-pride march. Locals usually need little excuse to take to the streets but this particular march from Causeway Bay to Central will be no walk in the park in this socially conservative city. Organisers will be counting on Hong Kong’s international community as a reliable support act.

From Monocle 24

Image: Alexi Hobbs

Meeting Moshe Safdie

We share a few tall tales with one of the last great modernist architects, Moshe Safdie, consider the legacy of seminal UK typographers Edward Johnston and Eric Gill, and talk to the architect who has achieved that rarest of things: a well-designed trade-show booth.

From Monocle Films

Hospitality lessons

Whether you’re in the airport lounge or at the cinema, feeling at ease is hugely dependent on your surroundings. Monocle Films meets the design experts crafting the warmest welcomes.

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