The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 29 September 2017

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Vote vengeance

Iraq’s prime minister is about to shut out a huge, and important, chunk of the populace.

From 18.00, Iraqi Kurdistan – the most economically productive region in this beleaguered war-torn country – will disappear behind a shroud. Iraq’s prime minister Haider al-Abadi has decreed that foreign aircraft can no longer fly into Erbil from later today as Baghdad continues retaliatory measures for the Kurdish independence referendum (around 90 per cent of voters backed the idea) at the start of the week. Cutting off the Kurds is a caustic decision and a foolish one. Al-Abadi is isolating a part of his country that’s crucial to the reconstruction process now Isis is withering away. Shutting the door helps no one: to keep the peace he needs to work with Iraq’s Kurds or risk a restive population who won’t back down. Otherwise, the PM could end up like embattled Erdogan in Ankara or Rouhani in Tehran – a grim prognosis.

Business

Image: Shutterstock

Good job

Swiss workers are employing career tactics to claim their lives back – and their bosses approve.

There’s a surge of Swiss employees turning part-time – some 35 per cent of the workforce – as more young people prioritise a work-life balance over high-flying careers, according to a new study. Of the 10,000 people interviewed, all under 33-years-old, only 5 per cent of women and 9 per cent of men said they were actively pursuing managerial positions, with “respect and feedback” valued over competitive salaries. (Only 10 per cent of the interviewees could picture themselves working abroad, not surprising given the incredibly high salaries in the country.) It’s been a steady shift but Swiss companies are getting on board with the growing trend: flexible working hours, job sharing and remote work are increasingly embraced.

Urbanism

Image: Shutterstock

House in order

Melbourne’s luxury housing may give the impression of a flourishing city but is its creative community suffering?

Two recently announced luxury housing projects in Melbourne reflect an Australian city continuing to prosper. The AUD$330m (€219m) Zaha Hadid Mayfair Residential Tower and Bruce Henderson Architects, The Muse, may be grand but they also reflect a growing issue for the city’s young residents: being priced out as property values soar. Some fear potential losses to Melbourne’s creative cache but the city is starting to respond. Developers are working on projects that offer affordability close to the city centre for first-time buyers. Nightingale Housing – a not-for-profit committed to giving Melbournians affordable carbon-friendly homes – is a case in point.

Culture

Window on the world

Academic research and contemporary art are brought together to examine the humble window.

Windows have long inspired artists and writers, from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Flannery O’Connor’s story The Geranium to Johannes Vermeer’s Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window. This week the window is the subject of a new exhibition at Tokyo’s Spiral Garden – titled “Windowology” – on until 9 October. It’s the culmination of Japanese manufacturer YKK AP’s research over the past decade with dozens of artists, architects and university professors into the significance of windows. It’s a topic worth exploring in a country whose temples and other traditional buildings feature shoji paper screens and fusuma sliding doors – but no windows as such. One of the highlights is Atelier Bow-Wow architect Yoshiharu Tsukamoto’s examination of windows in traditional Japanese workshops and factories that produce incense, salt, washi paper and dyed textiles.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

Checking in

The Urbanist

It’s a bit of a correspondents special: from New York to Hong Kong, Zürich and a splash of Brazil too.

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