Tuesday 12 September 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 12/9/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Lofty ambitions

Bavarian investor Hans Rudolf Wöhrl has added his name to the (now) long list of firms keen to buy at least a share of bankrupt airline Air Berlin. His company Intro has offered up to €500m for the entire business, to be dished out in instalments, with an initial €50m ready on the day of any potential takeover. The list of interested parties is hefty and includes German flag-carrier Lufthansa, British budget carrier Easyjet, holiday groups Condor, Tui and Germania, and even Austrian entrepreneur Niki Lauda. That list could get longer still: offers can be handed in until this Friday, with a decision to follow next week. While Lufthansa is the favourite, the head of Germany’s competition commission recently spoke out against it. An intriguing two weeks are in prospect.

Image: Shutterstock


Greek gold tragedy

It’s no secret that Greece’s socialist Syriza government has backtracked on most of its campaign promises. The latest U-turn revolves around foreign investment, which until now wasn’t high on prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s list of priorities. After a meeting with Emmanuel Macron and a few French business leaders last week, Tsipras announced that Greece would be moving from Grexit to Grinvestment (no, we don’t see it catching it on either). Unfortunately the pledge hasn’t convinced Greece’s biggest foreign investor, Eldorado Gold. The Canadian mining company yesterday announced that it is suspending operations in Greece because of longstanding delays in issuing gold-extraction permits. To date it has invested €835m in four mining projects in northern Greece; on the cusp of economic recovery, this golden fumble is a luxury that Greece can’t afford.

Image: Getty Images


Warring factions

The UK’s biggest arms fair, the biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), kicks off today at London’s Excel centre. Over the course of four days a who’s who of the defence supply industry will be on hand, hawking everything from weapons to tactical gear and security technology. While a number of UK politicians will be attending – including UK defence secretary Michael Fallon, who is a keynote speaker – the event isn’t without controversy. Protesters have been demonstrating against it – saying that it facilitates the sale of weapons to oppressive regimes – and erecting blockades outside Excel since last week, resulting in more than 100 arrests. London mayor Sadiq Khan has also criticised DSEI, saying he is “opposed to London being used as a marketplace for the trade of weapons to those countries that contribute to human-rights abuses”.

Image: Getty Images


Sucking it up

It’s the last (plastic) straw for Seattle. Over the coming months, all food-and-beverage businesses in the Emerald City with have to forgo plastic straws and utensils in lieu of recyclable options. The ban, which will take full effect next year, follows similar regulations in beachside communities such as San Diego and Miami aimed at combating waste and protecting sealife. More than 70 per cent of seabirds have swallowed plastic at some point in their lives according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The advocacy non-profit Lonely Whale Foundation spearheaded an effective “Strawless in Seattle” campaign that prompted the new moratorium; the Seattle Aquarium has already done away with plastic straws. With an initial 200 businesses expected to heed the ban, this month alone a million straws will be out of circulation – and far from the ocean wave.

Autumn preview

We take a look at what we might be listening to, watching and reading this autumn. Robert Bound is joined in the studio by John Mitchinson, co-founder of Unbound, broadcaster and DJ Georgie Rogers, and Tim Robey, film critic for ‘The Telegraph’.

Japanese architecture: Toukouen hotel

We travel to Japan’s least-populous prefecture, Tottori, where we explore one of its most-famous hotels.


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