The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 2 November 2017

Government

Image: Shutterstock

Wheels in motion

A new presidential system – passed by a whisker in April – is set to churn up Turkey’s political landscape.

The process is underway to commence Turkey’s grand step off a political cliff edge. The incoming presidential system, approved by a hair’s majority at a referendum in April, will be implemented over the next two years ahead of elections in 2019. It grants executive powers to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – a possible Putin-esque shift that could see him keep power until 2029. A shake-up of these proportions has prompted the state to open new offices, hashing out exactly what such a system will look like. Erdogan may call an early election, hoping to claw back support from the admittedly weakened-looking support base revealed by April’s referendum. After all, new forces wait in the wings: nationalist politician Meral Aksener has announced her bid for the presidency and is tipped as a fierce contender.

Politics

Image: Shutterstock

Shooting his mouth off

Trump’s verbal venom following the latest attack in New York is only adding fuel to the fire – for a change.

Donald Trump was predictably quick to make a knee-jerk comment on the terror attack in New York. Blaming the dual totems of Isis and immigration, he vowed to step up his trademark policy pledge of “extreme vetting”. Of course, whether that would have been enough to stop 29-year-old Uzbek suspect Sayfullo Saipov, who legally entered the US in 2010, isn’t at all clear. Even if immigrants and refugees are put through a robust process that doesn’t change the fact that, short of monitoring everyone once they enter the country, there’s no guarantee of spotting radicalisation if it takes place inside the US (as has been the case in previous terrorist attacks). There are important questions about why and how this attack occurred that need answering – but now is not the time for populist firebrand politics.

Technology

Image: Getty Images

Good boy, Aibo!

Sony is letting its robo-dog off the lead again, nearly 20 years after it first appeared on the market – and now with added bells and whistles. Woof!

After more than a decade’s absence, Sony’s legendary robot dog Aibo is making a comeback. Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai made the announcement at a briefing yesterday, saying that he asked engineers to revive the project a year-and-a-half ago. This latest incarnation of the robotic pooch, which first appeared in 1999, is more interactive than its predecessors. Souped-up with AI, cameras, sensors and a more fluid range of movements, it builds up knowledge about its new home (and its inhabitants) and is soon running to greet its owners, high-fiving and wagging its tail. Pre-orders started yesterday in Japan and the new Aibo will go on sale – in the Year of the Dog, appropriately enough – from 11 January for ¥198,000 (€1,500). And Hirai has another reason to be cheerful: Sony is forecasting its best-ever annual profits by the end of the year.

Urbanism

Image: Alamy

Talk of the town

How do you breathe new life into a city? Open the doors to arts and culture, of course. Just ask Palermo.

Sicily is heeding some lessons from the success of its recently wrapped five-weekend-long festival Le Vie dei Tesori. The event, which opens the doors to architectural treasures normally hidden from tourists’ eyes, may have been born 11 years ago in Palermo but this was the first edition to be extended to other cities across the region. Given the enthusiastic reception from visitors, the organisers in Palermo have decided to extend programming to weekends year-round. With the itinerant art biennale Manifesta set to appear in the city next year and a group of volunteers planning to finally launch a proper music festival, it looks like the efforts of those who have fought to revive a troubled city by way of its cultural heritage are at last paying off.

From Monocle 24

100 episodes, 100 great films

The Cinema Show

We’re celebrating our 100th episode by counting down our list of 100 great films featuring contributions from Xavier Dolan, Barry Jenkins, Kelly Reichardt, Nicolas Winding Refn, David Lowery and Raoul Peck.

From Monocle Films

Clear vision: Czech glass

Contemporary Czech designers are embracing regional Bohemian glass-making traditions while investing in new techniques to create modern products with soul. Monocle films pays a visit to some of the country’s most clear-thinking glass alchemists.

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