The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 30 June 2017

Military

Image: Getty Images

Troubled waters

Why has China got a new battleship? All eyes turn to the South China Sea.

China’s flexing of its military muscle is continuing unabated. This week saw the unfurling of the latest addition to its naval arsenal: a 10,000-tonne destroyer that has been built in the People’s Republic and was launched at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. Although the destroyer will still need to be tested before it can be rolled out, it’s part of a marked modernisation of the Chinese fleet of late, including the launch of its first domestic aircraft carrier back in April, which will likely enter service around 2020. And the reasons for all this posturing has a lot to do with the South China Sea – and the oil and gas there – where the Asian nation continues to assert its sovereignty despite the protests of several other regional powers. This latest addition shows it is strengthening its hard-power hand.

Culture

Image: PA Images

Take two

And the award goes to… women and ethnic minorities. Welcome to the Academy’s remake.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the organisation behind the Oscars – has taken a clobbering of late for being full of old, white people and failing to recognise diversity in film. Hence the scrambling to shake things up this week as it released its annual list of the individuals invited to become new members. It includes a record-breaking 774 people, of whom 39 per cent are women and – wait for it – 30 per cent aren’t white. And they’re from 57 different countries. Some believe the problem can’t be reverse engineered without causing additional controversy. So does the Academy, as some suggest, run the risk of inviting individuals whose film credentials might not otherwise merit invitation? “It’s tricky to please all sides but the Academy’s doing a fantastic job in ushering in new talent,” says Sofia Neves of WestEnd Films, a London-based film-sales company. With Moonlight actress Naomie Harris and Slumdog Millionaire’s Irrfan Khan two of the new entries, we think change can only be a good thing.

The Americas

Image: Getty Images

Confederation celebration

It’s the Canadians’ party and they can cry if they want to – but the 150th anniversary should be cause for merriment.

Tomorrow is not only Canada Day but also the country’s 150th anniversary. However, many Canadians seem reticent to join the sesquicentennial fun. A recent poll suggests that many voters feel the government had spent too much on the festivities – CA$500m (€337m) to be exact – while several groups have protested the omission of First Nations communities in any commemoration of the year their land was effectively taken away from them. It’s a shame because there is, arguably, much to celebrate: a prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who has become the flag-bearer for a liberal worldview, an economy that is the fastest-growing in the G7 and a cultural output that has created some of the country’s most potent soft-power ambassadors, from Drake to Imax. So put your party hats on, eh?

Conference

Respect your elders

At the opening event to this year’s Monocle Quality of Life Conference in Berlin, age was a concern.

Who should our cities be built for? That was the pivotal question addressed in Berlin yesterday at a panel discussion on mobility, urbanism and design fit for ageing populations in our urban centres. The event, held at Soho House Berlin, was part of Monocle's Quality of Life Conference, and saw editor in chief Tyler Brûlé and editor Andrew Tuck sit down with Thyssenkrupp Access Solutions chief executive Inge Delobelle, psychologist Dr Paul Keedwell and architects Mads Mandrup and Deane Simpson. Too often elderly citizens are shunted into care homes away from the city centre – but what if we prioritised building thriving facilities right in the city centre for our pensioners? They would have proximity to not only shops and services but also the cut and thrust of the city, which studies suggest helps with everything from depression to dementia. “If you're becoming increasingly frail, the fact that you can mix with people from different generations can be very beneficial,” said Keedwell. “That's why we're going to see more and more people who want to grow old within the city.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Tomas Princ

Resite 2017, part two

We bring you interviews with the mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnacova; architects David Bravo and Ivan Kucina; lighting designer Leni Schwendinger; and city architect for Warsaw, Marlena Happach.

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