The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 1 February 2017

Image: Andrew Harrer/Getty Images

Having his own way?

Another day, another democratic norm ignored. Donald Trump’s decision to fire the acting attorney-general for questioning the legal basis of his immigration ban did little to appease those who worry about the state of democracy in the US. The language used by the White House to describe Sally Yates’s actions was also striking: it claimed she had “betrayed” the Department of Justice. It provides yet more evidence – if more were needed – that this president is prepared to act in a manner that traditional politicians would baulk at. That’s something his supporters won’t mind. As far as they see it, their man is simply trying to implement the policies he promised. If that means he has to fire officials who disagree with him, all the better. Yet as Trump is discovering, such behaviour does little to win over the majority of Americans who voted for someone else.

Image: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

Canada first

While securing international trade deals is on the agenda for governments around the world, in Canada a trade deal is set to revitalise commerce between the country’s provinces. The internal free trade deal – expected to be formalised within the next week – is being described as the most ambitious proposal of its kind in a generation; it would streamline the movement of goods and services from province to province. Some things, such as the sale of alcohol and certain financial services, will be exempt from the new pact, which will come into force on 1 July – the day Canada marks its 150th birthday. The hope is that as new international trade deals come into force, such as Ceta with the EU, their benefits will be more evenly shared across Canada.

Image: Courtesy of Kalashnikov

More ammo

The new year has started with a bang for Kalashnikov Concern, the largest arms manufacturer in Russia. This week the company announced that it will be hiring 1,700 new employees in 2017, increasing its staff by 30 per cent in order to keep up with an increase in export orders. Kalashnikov Concern, which manufactures military and civilian weaponry, as well as the infamous rifle with which it shares its name, is headquartered in Moscow and Izhevsk. Though the company hasn’t made public where in the world its increased orders are coming from, sanctions against Russia mean that the US hasn’t been placing any. However, should Donald Trump soften his country’s stance on sanctions, as many worry he may do, Kalashnikov Concern could very well be looking to staff up even further.

Image: The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Municipal motto

Wanted: a new slogan for a large Japanese city that lacks charm as a tourist destination. That’s the plea the Nagoya Municipal Government has sent out to residents after its studies showed that the central Japanese city may be well known for its Shinkansen-network station and airport but lacks the cultural or historical appeal of other more remote regions. The city – which gets about 40 million tourists each year, mostly from around Japan – is hoping that a rebrand can raise its profile as it prepares to host the Asian Games in 2026 and welcomes the arrival of the new ultrafast maglev train in 2027. The goal is to attract 49 million tourists annually by 2020. Slogan submissions are due by 28 February.

From Monocle 24

Image: Robert F. Bukaty/PA

Kit colours

Kassia St Clair is a design journalist specialising in colour. She joins us in the studio to explain why kit colour matters and how the commercialisation of sport has made it an extremely bright industry.

From Monocle Films

Skopje: starting again

A nation defining its identity – or architectural vandalism? We head to the capital of the Republic of Macedonia to investigate a controversial building project.

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