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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 5 May 2017

Terrorism

Image: Getty Images

In its sights

A drone-maker is tweaking its technology to clip Isis’s wings.

The same fine-tuning that keeps drones away from airports and sensitive military outposts is being used in the fight against Isis. After reports emerged that the group is using commercially available drones to drop bombs and ferry weapons around its territory, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, began hardwiring its machines to be useless inside swathes of Syria and Iraq – and the pressure is on other factories to follow suit. Isis has released propaganda showing off the store-bought unmanned aerial technology in its arsenal to give credence to the idea that, even as the US-led coalition pushes further into western Mosul, the terrorist group still has resources at its disposal. As the US mulls over how to deal with the threat of drones, cutting off the group’s unmanned air power at source is an effective solution from the private sector.

Media

Image: Getty Images

Star wars

A Canadian publishing giant is hoping its well-known brands can help rescue profits.

Concern about the health of Canada’s newspaper sector increased this week as one of its largest media companies, Torstar, announced a CA$24.4m (€16m) dip in profits in the first part of the year. The company, which owns marquee titles such as The Toronto Star and Metro commuter newspapers, cited its struggle to maintain traditional newspaper advertising streams, which continue to be siphoned off by online competitors. Could Torstar’s new chief executive, John Boynton, who took up his post in March, have what it takes to fix the struggling media empire? He has been sober in his assessment of the latest results which, conversely, are an improvement on the losses posted at the end of 2016. Yet he has also stressed that the company’s position is still strong thanks to its robust brands and the fact that the business, unlike other media companies, carries no bank debt.

Transport

Image: Shutterstock

A class above

How air travel out of LA just got even more la-di-da.

Starting from next week, Los Angeles’ wealthiest will be able to travel out of LAX from the new Private Suite: a separate airport terminal nestled on the edge of the main runway. It comes at a price, mind you. Membership starts at $7,500 a year (€6,835) and in exchange travellers will be shepherded to and from planes by BMW and go through their own dedicated security line – all in a space that looks more hotel than airport hangar. While the service will only be accessible to the few by design, the new terminal could indeed have benefits for those using LAX’s regular terminals as the company behind Private Suite is paying the airport millions in licensing and fees. That revenue is earmarked for other terminal upgrades – though BMW service for all is still a long way off.

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

Catwalk campaign

Karl Lagerfeld sticks close to home with his latest show.

This week Chanel opted to present its 2017/18 Cruise Collection in Paris. Though the fashion house usually travels further afield for its shows, this time Karl Lagerfeld preferred to stay home. Greece came to France in the form of Greco-Roman statues, olive trees and antique columns; the clothes were all about Grecian aesthetics too, with tweed tunics, sunglasses trimmed with gold laurel leaves and pleated palazzo pants. The show took place just days before France’s presidential election on Sunday and many observers couldn’t help but contrast the representation of ancient Greece, the cradle of European culture and the place where democracy is born, with the current political landscape. Was the show a comment on the election in disguise? Perhaps. Lagerfeld’s own show notes proclaimed “To create the future, you have to pay attention to the past.”

From Monocle 24

Special interview: Richard Florida

The Urbanist

Monocle’s Toronto bureau chief Tomos Lewis talks to renowned urbanist Richard Florida about his book ‘The New Urban Crisis’ and solutions for the cities of tomorrow.

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