The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 17 March 2017

Politics

Image: Reuters

More misdirection

Turkey severs its ties with the Netherlands but is it just smoke and mirrors to mask its own internal turmoil?

The Netherlands’ spat with Turkey helped Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte see off a populist threat at the polls this week but the gloves are still off in this increasingly absurd diplomatic dispute. Some 40 Holstein cows are due to be sent back from Turkey to the Netherlands as a symbolic gesture of cutting ties, while Turkey’s foreign minister has apocalyptically warned of a future “holy war” in Europe. It’s headline-grabbing stuff and perhaps intentionally so: the dispute has buried a string of bad news for Turkey. Youth unemployment and the budget deficit for the month of February are at their highest since 2009 and a damning new UN report details human-rights violations by the security services in the predominantly Kurdish southeast. Next month’s constitutional referendum is crucial for president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government – and Ankara will want to spin this story out for as long as it can.

Infrastructure

Image: Getty Images

Delayed departure?

Melbourne’s new airport has got the green light. Can it mirror the success of Brisbane West?

Victoria’s government has confirmed that Melbourne will get a third airport as its existing two begin to feel the burn of increased traffic. But as residents of Sydney will confirm, the announcement of a new airport is just the first step. It has been four decades since Australia’s largest city first mooted a second airport; it remains unbuilt. Instead Melbourne will hope to follow in the footsteps of Queensland. The Gold Coast and Brisbane were winners at this week’s Skytrax World Airport awards, while the state’s small privately owned airport Brisbane West has also been a surprise success. Privately owned and with a healthy balance of international freight work and domestic passenger connections, it may be a model for Melbourne to follow.

Retail

Image: Noah Kalina

Bon anniversaire

Exclusive collaborations mark the 20th anniversary of Parisian concept store Colette.

The Parisian cult concept store Colette celebrates its 20th anniversary this month but its founders aren't resting on their laurels. Colette changed the retail landscape with its collaborations, eye for fresh young designers and versatility as a destination for fashion, beauty, design, books and food and drink. “The way to stay innovative is to think about the next day and pay attention to designers, brands and artists all around the world,” says Sarah Andelman, who co-founded the shop with her mother Colette Rousseaux. To celebrate 20 years she has organised 20 exclusive collaborations with brands such as Nike and Maud Heline, as well as “The Beach”, an artistic installation by Snarkitecture. “In 20 years many things have changed, especially with the internet and social media,” she adds. “But at the end of the day we still work the same way, with the same energy and goal: to find the best and to share it with as many people as we can.”

Culture

Image: Alamy

Art-jazz fusion

New York’s Whitney Biennial kicks off and combines jazz with politically inclined art.

The silhouettes of Raúl de Nieves’s beaded figures in one corner, the shadow of a stark sculpture by Harold Mendez in another, both complemented by the tinkle of jazz: they are just some of the highlights at the 78th Whitney Biennial in New York, which opens today. As the longest-running survey of American art, the biennial curated by Mia Locks and Christopher Y Lew brings together 63 artists in the museum’s new Renzo Piano-designed home. It also acts as a barometer for the nation’s socio-political landscape. While Harold Mendez’s “American Pictures” – a skewered tree trunk covered in crushed insects – paints a dark vision of the country’s future, other displays are more hopeful. Kamasi Washington’s melodious jazz tunes play on the idea that beauty in music and life is composed of differences, while de Nieves’s installations trumpet a positive transformation in turbulent times.

From Monocle 24

Image: James Cridland/Flickr

On track?

The Urbanist

All Olympic Games host cities must consider their legacy and whether the price of hosting is actually worth it. We look back to Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and more.

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