The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 21 June 2017

Defence

Image: Getty Images

Best friends forever?

As US-Russia brinkmanship mounts, the former would do well to reassure its allies.

Escalating tensions between Russia and the US are putting the latter’s allies on edge. After the US downed a Russian-backed Syrian military jet on Sunday – which Russia has called an “act of aggression”, adding that any aircraft from the US-led coalition flying west of Syria’s Euphrates river is now a target – Australia’s department of defence announced on Tuesday that it will be halting airstrikes in Syria as a precaution. The tensions play well for some right-wing commentators back in Washington and could be seen by Donald Trump as a welcome diversion from the ongoing scrutiny around his connections to the Kremlin. But the US military should be wary of eroding its allies’ support: a loss of trust could be felt for much longer than one president’s administration.

Society

Image: Getty Images

Just add water

Planners in Toronto are on a mission to make Lake Ontario central to everyday life once more.

Toronto’s newest public space launched this week and is the latest phase in the redevelopment of Ontario Place, a former entertainment complex that opened in 1971 and drew big crowds to the shoreline of Lake Ontario before its decline. The 1.3km-long William G Davis Trail includes 1,200 new trees, 28,000 shrubs, and architectural features made from Muskoka granite. Since the project began in 2012, Toronto’s planners have grappled with the lake’s relationship to the wider city and this re-greened route around the water is a bid to make Lake Ontario a central part of city life again – not just a picturesque backdrop. It’s a project that many other cities are emulating as they too attempt to reconnect to underused rivers, lakes and ocean-fronts.

Arts

Image: Getty Images

Sing a rainbow

Taiwan is leading the way for liberalism in Asia as its capital prepares for its first LGBT exhibition.

After successfully making a case for marriage equality in the courts last month, Taipei is poised to host the city’s first LGBTQ-themed exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Moca) in September. Spectrosynthesis – Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now will showcase some 50 artworks by 22 Chinese-ethnic artists from Hong Kong, Singapore and North America. “One of the strongest messages of this show is the government’s openness and support, and that sets an example in Asia,” says Patrick Sun Kai-yit, the founder of Sunpride Foundation, which has spearheaded the exhibition’s formation over the past two years. With his eye on taking the show to Hong Kong or Bangkok in the future, he adds, “the community is very positive about the liberal future of these cities.”

Marketing

Image: Getty Images

Analogue advertising

Cannes Lions sounds a roar of approval for creative campaigns outside the digital rat race.

Between the innumerable glasses of rosé and the lavish closing gala that’s the prized ticket, Cannes Lions has become a key annual powwow for advertising execs, PRs and marketeers that bills itself as an “International Festival of Creativity”. On until Sunday, and now in its 64th year, the event hands out awards to the best creative ad work and is punctuated by talks from a diverse selection of speakers, be it Ira Glass, host of This American Life or Pussy Riot. The event promises to be something of a bellwether for where the industry might be heading but, despite a bold presence from digital businesses – Snapchat has installed a gigantic yellow Ferris wheel on the festival site – yet it's still physical, tangible media, from TV to print to product design, that garner the lion’s share of accolades.

From Monocle 24

Image: Johannes Marburg

RIBA North

Section D

The Royal Institute of British Architects has long had its headquarters in London. Now the organisation is spreading its wings to open a second spot in the north of England. Monocle’s Holly Fisher went along to find out why the RIBA decided to head north and why Liverpool is the perfect place for it.

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