The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 3 February 2017

Image: Getty Images

Island strife

Just a few miles off the coast of Turkey’s resort town of Bodrum are two very innocuous-looking humps. But the world should take note: though uninhabited, save for a handful of goats, the disputed Imia or Kardak islets have brought Turkey and Greece close to war before and the spat is reigniting. Turkey has been using the Kardaks to whip up nationalist fervour after its extradition request for soldiers who fled to Athens after July’s coup was denied, while Greece has reported more than 130 violations of its airspace by Turkish military aircraft. If the second request fails, then the migrant deal and Cyprus peace deal will be imperilled and the dispute over the islets, however sensitive, will seem minor.

Strong foundations

Australia may be best known for beaches and endless sunshine but this week its much-loved Bunnings hardware brand hopes to showcase the country’s strength in the DIY game. Bunnings, which employs 40,000 people across its 342 Aussie chains and is owned by major conglomerate Wesfarmers, opens its first overseas shop this week. In suitably Aussie fashion it kicked things off with a “Sausage Sizzle” barbecue on a frosty morning at its north London location. The Bunnings brand is respected in Australia for its community-mindedness, championing the wisdom of elderly service assistants in its hiring policies and consistently raising money for charities. It’s a formula that the brand hopes will stick in the UK, where it has taken over the Homebase chain as part of a €581m expansion into the UK.

Image: Getty Images

Tech gold rush

Ah, the dream of tech money. Many cities in North America chase it; not all are prepared for the problems it can engender, including the raised cost of living currently being experienced in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. But none of it is stopping the Californian city of San Diego. Its co-called innovation economy, already responsible for some 25 per cent of its annual GDP, is set for a boom. Downtown San Diego has managed to attract a slew of software companies and building developments are underway across the city. One of them is the Pacific Gate by Bosa, set to be completed this year. The city’s first “super prime luxury residence” has already sold more than 50 per cent of its properties – a place for all those tech millionaires to rest their heads at night.

Image: Wilmotte and Associes

All aboard

There are only a couple of months to go before Station F – the world’s biggest start-up campus – opens in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. The roomy campus, designed by architecture firm Wilmotte & Associés, is housed in the disused Halle Freyssinet railway depot. Telecom billionaire Xavier Niel has invested €250m and Station F will ultimately host 1,000 small technology companies, including Facebook’s first start-up incubator. The goal is to set up an entrepreneurial ecosystem under one roof and early stage start-ups have until 5 February to submit their applications for one of its 3,000 desks. Station F’s selection board comprises 100 entrepreneurs from 21 countries who will review the applications; among them Solomon Hykes, founder of Docker in Silicon Valley, Soundcloud’s Eric Walhforss and Sprouter’s Sarah Prevette.

From Monocle 24

Image: Alamy

Sanctuary cities: US

We speak to Tanvi Misra, staff writer at CityLab, to learn about the history of sanctuary cities in America.

From Monocle Films

Retail special: tea emporiums

The perfect hot drink is not always an espresso or a flat white: more and more specialty shops around the world are opening their doors to tea aficionados in search of the perfect brew. Monocle Films visits emporiums in Berlin, New York and London dedicated to the heritage, ritual and taste of tea.

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