The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 29 May 2017

Politics

Image: PA Images

Tour de force

The new French president is not afraid of throwing his weight around – but how will he fare against Putin?

Emmanuel Macron hasn’t wasted any time in meeting high-profile leaders following his French-election victory just a few weeks ago. He’s already had a congenial sit-down with Angela Merkel, a public power struggle in the form of a furious handshake with Donald Trump and a reportedly frank discussion with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding an imprisoned French photographer – not to mention numerous other tête-à-têtes. Today, however, could be Macron’s biggest diplomatic test as he plays host to Vladimir Putin at Versailles. After all, Macron’s presidential campaign was hit by repeated cyber attacks thought to be the work of Russian operatives. While Putin is known for his antagonistic approach in meetings, Macron has the home-turf advantage and, having been elected on a markedly pro-EU ticket, isn’t likely to concede ground in discussions on Syria, Ukraine and terrorism.

Transport

Image: Getty Images

Scooting around

Battery-powered scooters are giving cities around the world an eco-boost.

Electric scooters are increasingly wheeled out by green-minded cities looking to clean up their transport mix with bike-sharing schemes and charging points. These battery-powered bikes are a common sight in Asian cities and now the concept is highly charged for international expansion. Taiwanese market leader Gogoro will be expanding its scooter-sharing presence in Europe this summer when it rolls out its zippy two-wheelers on the streets of Paris. “We receive requests from cities all around the world everyday,” says vice-president of communications Jason Gordon. Gogoro’s first European foray was in Berlin last summer when it teamed up with Bosch subsidiary Coup. Can the Taiwanese upstart unseat the iconic Vespa? Attendees at this year’s Monocle Quality of Life Conference can decide for themselves on a sustainable scoot around the German capital.

Art

Image: Getty Images

Please do not touch

Italy exhibits a possessive streak in a ruling on museum stewardship.

An Italian court’s decision to overturn the nomination of five museum directors last week has got cultural commentators talking. The case, in part, was an objection to non-Italians being at the helm of key sites of cultural patrimony – including the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua – and was ultimately ruled on several bewilderingly complex legal technicalities. While this shows that the country’s infamous bureaucracy is alive and well, it has also stoked up the controversial question of whether foreign curators should be allowed to lead heavyweight cultural landmarks in Italy. Many still think not, even if the current minister for culture, Dario Franceschini, has long been an advocate for opening up management positions to an international crowd in a bid to modernise the sector.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Bright idea

How Vivid Sydney staves off doom and gloom for the city’s tourist economy.

After a triumphant start on Friday, Vivid Sydney will keep the harbour city’s iconic waterfront in the spotlight until 17 June with a spectacular nightly light show and a guestlist that includes appearances by Gallic pop two-piece Air and director Oliver Stone. The event has proved a boon for Sydney's winter economy since its inauguration in 2009 and it’s an initiative that many cities would do well to learn from, not least because it attracts millions of people every year despite taking place in the off-season. Photogenic and commanding international media coverage, the event’s success rests on an expansive programming outlook that pulls in a diverse audience. It’s what keeps the city’s hotels packed, the restaurants bustling and those inbound flights – especially from China – full, even as the beaches cool off.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

Foraging in Sao Paulo

The Menu

Unusual ingredients from the concrete jungle of Sao Paulo, Icelandic burger king Tomas ‘Tommi’ Tomasson and the week’s top headlines from Europe.

Loading...

/

15

15

Live

00:00 01:00