The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 15 June 2017

Aviation

Image: Getty Images

Stealth aircraft

The US has been rather quiet on replacing Air Force Two, which isn’t surprising considering Trump’s Boeing bust-up.

Early in his term US president Donald Trump picked a fight with Boeing over the potential cost of a new Air Force One, which may explain why the replacement of the four Boeing jetliners that serve as Air Force Two are being pushed through in a rather hush-hush manner. Trump’s plans include a $6m (€5.3m) request to create a budget office dedicated to determining what will replace the modified 757s – known as C-32As – that currently make up the fleet used by the vice-president and on some occasions even by the commander-in-chief. The four planes have been in service since the late 1990s and have had a few technical glitches along the way: they notoriously left former secretary of state John Kerry stranded more than once. It’s time for a rethink; let’s just hope Trump isn’t allowed to dictate the branding.

Property

Image: Alamy

Ups and downs

Hong Kong’s premium property prices could be heading for a sharp fall.

Hong Kong’s property prices are the highest in the world per square metre. They have shot up 90 per cent in the past two decades and have risen 23 per cent in just the last 12 months. Yet a recent report by Deutsche Bank suggests that average property prices in Hong Kong are likely to fall by almost half in the next 10 years. This may come as a shock to investors but will be welcomed by residents, of whom only 16.9 per cent are able to afford to buy a property, according to the report. The main reasons for the predicted decline in prices are the city’s ageing population and the rising number of developments, which are bound to reduce demand in the housing market. Rather than sitting on the rollercoaster, perhaps renting is a more stable option?

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Write on

Author Margaret Atwood is awarded an esteemed peace prize.

This year the venerated Peace Prize of the German Book Trade – which has been awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair since 1950 – will go to the Canadian author, essayist and poet Margaret Atwood for her keen political sensibility. The prize has previously been awarded to Susan Sontag, Max Frisch and artist Anselm Kiefer for their public efforts to promote understanding, compassion and peace. Heinrich Riethmüller, chairman of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, made the announcement at this week’s Berlin Book Days but Atwood will have to wait until October’s ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Fair for her prize money. Canada’s most eminent author is probably best known for The Handmaid’s Tale, her dystopian novel about a totalitarian society that draws on many present-day realities and anxieties, which has recently been turned into a successful Hulu television show, starring Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss.

Business

Image: Getty Images

Board member

Hasbro’s revamped Australian Monopoly reveals Orange is the new Gold (Coast).

Today global toy company Hasbro is releasing a revamp of the Australian version of its classic board game Monopoly. And its redesign has revealed Australia’s most desired neighbourhoods, which will occupy the Fifth Avenue of real estate on the board. Results from a poll by Hasbro and the Australian tourism board have revealed that, besides the obvious Sydney Harbour, a quiet country town called Orange in New South Wales has come out on top, ahead of Queensland’s Gold Coast and Victoria’s Great Ocean Road thanks to its high quality of life. The penalties and opportunities on Community Chest and Chance cards also reflect everyday Australian life, such as getting stuck in peak-hour traffic and winning the Melbourne Cup sweep lottery when your Aussie meat pie or kangaroo token land on the right spot.

From Monocle 24

WeWork

The Entrepreneurs

Founded in 2010, WeWork has become a global co-working behemoth. Operating almost 200 offices around the world from Bogota to Berlin the company now has a staggering valuation of $17bn. Two years ago we featured WeWork’s co-founder, Miguel McKelvey, who this week returns to share the secrets of the company’s rapid growth, why its membership has expanded beyond just start-ups and what he thinks the workplace might look like in the future.

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