The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 2 January 2017

Image: Getty Images

New year, same old story

The New Year’s Eve attack on the Bosphorus-side nightspot of Reina began an hour after midnight, just as Istanbul was hoping that its annus horribilis of 2016 would become a distant memory. And amid the city's collective mourning and bold pronouncements by government to fight terrorism “to the end”, the attack has also underscored 12 months of Turkey’s endemic intelligence failings to cope with its multitude of threats, from terrorism to coup plotters. For example, December alone saw murderous blasts in two major cities and a Russian ambassador shot dead in public by an off-duty policeman. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will look to consolidate power further in the year ahead with a constitutional referendum but ensuring security has evidently become beyond his government’s grasp.

Image: PA Images

Hong Kong’s resolution

In Hong Kong, 2017 kicked off with protests: thousands of people marched in a New Year's Day demonstration against the government’s legal bid to unseat four pro-democracy lawmakers. The four legislators are accused of protesting against the Chinese government during their swearing-in oaths after Beijing announced that anyone who does not take their oath according to the People’s Republic of China’s guidelines ought to be barred from office; in November two newly elected separatist lawmakers were ousted for the same reason. Beijing’s interference has raised concerns about the sanctity of Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” autonomy, which was granted when the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. Police say an estimated 5,000 people took part in yesterday’s march, some waving flags that read “Hong Kong independence” in opposition to Beijing’s meddling measures.

Image: Getty Images

Fresh start

Some 17 years after introducing the 35-hour working week, France is updating the law for the digital age. As of yesterday, employees at companies with more than 50 members of staff will have the "right to disconnect" from emails outside working hours. Studies carried out by Colorado State University and the University of British Columbia have found that after-hours office emails cause stress and exhaustion. Meanwhile, burnout has increased over the past few years, affecting 12 per cent of the French workforce. However, some business figures fear the new law could cause problems, particularly for companies that work in other time zones. Those that disagree with the new law may even be able to ignore it – there is unlikely to be any penalty for flouting it.

Image: PA Images

Raising a cheer

When a wildfire devastated Fort McMurray in Canada last year, tens of thousands of people were forced out of their homes and nearly 2,400 buildings were destroyed. This year will see a property boom in the northern Albertan oil town, with 160 homes under construction in neighbourhoods across the city (once temperatures warm in the spring, numbers are expected to increase further). The city was hurting even before the wildfire due to the declining global prices in oil; many residents, who rely on the nearby oil sands for work, had found themselves out of a job. This year’s spike will not only provide homes but employment too.

From Monocle 24

Joe Dunthorne

We meet Welsh novelist, poet and journalist Joe Dunthorne, who made his name with debut novel Submarine, later adapted into a film by Richard Ayoade. His second book, ‘Wild Abandon’, won the Society of Authors’ Encore award.

From Monocle Films

Healthy architecture

How can architects, designers, retailers and city planners embrace a new vernacular that delivers places that leave us feeling better about our lives? Our fourth Quality of Life Conference film explores the notion.

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