The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 12 October 2017

Trade

Image: Getty Images

Evasive manoeuvres

As Canada and the US play out their aircraft-industry dogfight, the former has made an unexpected landing in Australia.

Canada seems to have raised the stakes in its trade skirmish with the US. As the Boeing vs Bombardier stand-off continues — and the US proposes a nearly 300 per cent duty on imports of passenger aircraft from Montreal-based Bombardier — Canada quietly posted an announcement to its official Public Services and Procurement website on Monday, a bank holiday, revealing that it has formally expressed interest in buying F/A-18 fighter jets from Australia. If the deal goes through it means that the Canadian military would have no need to buy Boeing’s Super Hornet jets. The move was made public, albeit in the most low-key way possible, just before prime minister Justin Trudeau embarked on a two-day visit to Washington where he, among other things, met with Donald Trump to talk trade.

Design

Red-letter day

Japan’s Good Design award-winners include a rechargeable hearing aid and a wooden hut.

In the Japanese design world the red G-Mark is a badge of honour. In the 60 years since the Japan Institute of Design Promotion started dishing out its annual Good Design awards, some 44,000 designs have been recognised. The 2017 winners have just been announced and, as always, they represent a diverse selection of Japanese industrial and product design. This year’s recipients include Panasonic’s R4 rechargeable hearing aid, Muji’s wooden hut and JR West’s sleeper train, the Twilight Express Mizukaze. The Grand award – given to the design of the year – will be voted for by visitors to the Good Design award exhibition at the Good Design showroom in Marunouchi and the announcement will be made on 1 November.

Technology

Save your bacon

A Swiss bank has come up with a way of encouraging children to manage their money – and simultaneously grow its customer base.

How do you teach kids to manage their finances? Credit Suisse has an idea: Switzerland’s second-largest bank has spent more than two years developing an internet-connected piggy bank for its customers under 12. “Digipigi” is a physical piggy bank linked to a bank account and can be monitored by a parent’s account. With 25 different expressions that change when the toy is fed money (parents can also transfer money to the account) the digital piggy bank is designed to not only encourage children to care about managing money but also increase customer retention. It might seem far-fetched but a study from the University of Zürich suggests that 80 per cent of all banking customers wouldn’t consider changing their bank and often stick with the institute their parents first opened an account with.

Food

Image: Getty Images

Changing tastes

How has the Michelin star, once considered a badge of honour, become a poisoned chalice?

Taiwan-born chef André Chiang surprised the culinary world this week when he announced that he will be closing his two-Michelin-star Restaurant André in Singapore next year – and returning his stars. The announcement comes as celebrated three-Michelin-star French chef Sébastian Bras revealed he’s also eschewing the accolade that’s recognised the world over, joining a line of chefs who’ve given Michelin a miss in recent years. For Chiang it’s about a shift in focus from accruing recognition to educating aspiring chefs in his other venture, the Taipei restaurant Raw. For others, such as Belgian chef Karen Keygnaert, staying out of the fray is a way to avoid the “circus” that a Michelin star brings.

From Monocle 24

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Before launching his influential British menswear label Universal Works, David Keyte’s career stretched from signwriter apprentice and coal miner to working with fashion designer Paul Smith. This week he shares his influences, top business tips and lessons learned.

From Monocle Films

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Monocle Films partners Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to discover the secrets that London has to offer. Charlotte Rey shows us around the vibrant capital, taking us to her top spots and favourite haunts.

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