Monday 5 June 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 5/6/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Root causes

Just two days before Saturday night’s terror attack in London, the UK Home Office said it would not consider publishing a report about foreign funding of Islamist extremism until after the general election. Yet in the aftermath of the attack Prime Minister Theresa May didn’t mince her words: “Enough is enough,” she said, insisting that the terror the country now faces is “bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism”. It was a curious choice of words, especially given the report is thought to focus largely on Saudi Arabia and the influence its hardline Wahhabist ideology has in fostering extremism among religious groups in the UK. Keeping this report under wraps has been interpreted as a way to not threaten lucrative arms deals with Saudi nor to lose ground to the opposition Labour party leader who criticises the trade. But in the final days of campaigning before Thursday’s general election voters must surely question that special relationship and ask what “enough is enough” actually means.

Image: Getty Images


Trouble at the top?

Hong Kong is counting down to the inauguration of its first female chief executive but with little under a month to go Carrie Lam looks to be packing her cabinet with XY chromosomes. Only one woman is currently earmarked to fill one of 16 possible positions. Frenzied media speculation about the conscription of a Stanford-educated former pop star and bestselling writer went nowhere. Yet an unequal balance of men and women is not Lam’s main concern. Two cabinet positions remain empty and a string of knockbacks have forced her to lean heavily on her former colleagues in the civil service. Five years of political unrest have clearly taken the shine off public service in Hong Kong.

Image: Getty Images


Smooth ride

Good news for pilots and airline passengers: commercial aircraft may soon be able to predict turbulence even in clear skies. The new laser-beam technology, developed by researchers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa), can find tiny water droplets and dust particles (both hints of trouble ahead) in an aircraft’s path more accurately than current onboard radars, which detect turbulence only if there are clouds. Better technology could give pilots and flight attendants more time to alert passengers and stash cabin-service equipment, which would prevent injuries. A Japanese transport ministry white paper estimated that more than half of airline accidents in Japanese airspace were due to unexpected turbulence. But Jaxa researchers aren’t ready to commercialise their idea, known as SafeAvio, just yet. They need to figure out how to fit the technology into the nose cone of an aircraft, which could take another few years.

Image: Alamy


Tasty Apple in the orchard

The minimalist glass, concrete and timber Apple flagship shop on Singapore’s Orchard Road seems to have impressed the thousands who flocked there on its opening week. But with vacancies on this once-wealthy shopping strip at a five-year high, the Foster & Partners-designed shop may not be enough to revive Orchard Road’s fortunes. The island nation is being hit by a tourism slump, while Singaporeans are choosing to shop at more convenient suburban malls, where retailers also enjoy cheaper rents. So what is the fix for Orchard? Landlords should look to Bangkok where experiential and daring retail is making the Thai capital a shopping mecca in Southeast Asia. Orchard can’t rely on its big-brand pull anymore and landlords must work to weave together a healthy food-and-beverage mix and impressive design and retail offerings that surprise at every turn.

Horn of Africa – Ethiopia

In the second of a three-part special looking at the Horn of Africa, we explore a country in a state of emergency: Ethiopia. Protests have put the government under pressure and hundreds have been killed. So what’s next?


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