Wednesday 15 November 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 15/11/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Alamy


Season of goodwill

The Christmas bonus is a time-honoured tradition but one usually reserved for those with a job to go to. Not so in Iceland: as the rate of unemployment hits a record low of 1.8 per cent, the Ministry of Welfare has announced new measures giving a little extra Christmas cheer to the country’s unemployed. This one-time payment of ISK65,162 (€535) will go to about 4,000 Icelanders who have been out of work for 10 months or longer and are actively looking for a job. Critics fear the cash could discourage people from trying to find work but the unemployment rate, which has been steadily declining since 2010, speaks for itself.

Image: Getty Images


No exit

The Filipino government has put a temporary hold on the paperwork required by citizens looking for job opportunities beyond its borders. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are a major source of income for the country as remittances are sent home – not to mention a key labour force in Asia, where 85 per cent of OFWs find employment, often as domestic workers or in the service industry. But this is the second such ban on exit stamps under president Rodrigo Duterte and is a bid to tackle an endemic problem of corruption with illegal hires and a network of nefarious recruiters. While the temporary ban could affect some 75,000 workers, the Philippines is long overdue getting one of its biggest industries in order.

Image: Getty Images


Bah, humbug

Gallic sweets, bright baubles and vin chaud: a few fixtures at Paris’s Champs Élysées Christmas market that may be absent this year if the city council gets its way. It has unanimously voted to cancel the seasonal market, a mainstay since 2008 that draws some 15 million people annually. City hall says it’s looking to create a market that better respects French heritage amid grumbles that the market has become “mediocre” with mass-produced goods. Marcel Campion, French jazz musician and founder of the market, was fighting for its future in a Parisian court on Tuesday. And sellers such as Jean-Luc Roves are frank about the market’s value: “Two thousand people will lose their jobs if the market is cancelled,” he says.

Image: Getty Images


Passing through

Israel is close to entering the golden circle of countries exempt from US visa requirements. But after two years of negotiations the latter has issued an eleventh-hour ultimatum: Israel must allow Palestinians with US citizenship to travel to America via Jerusalem (currently they go via Jordan). Israel is concerned that by acquiescing to the US’s demands it will set a precedent that may someday extend to all Palestinians. But perhaps this is what the US is aiming for: the waiver programme is a coveted thing and a nudge towards fostering closer ties between Israel and Palestinians. Donald Trump could be looking to make good on his as-yet unclear “ultimate deal” for the Middle East.

Walters Way and Segal Close

Thirty years after the death of Walter Segal, we visit two of the overlooked architect’s enduring South London projects that show off the merits of self-built homes. Writer Alice Grahame and photographer Taran Wilkhu (both residents) tell us more about their new book on the subject.

Monocle Films / Global

The secret to opening a bike shop

In the latest episode of our 'Secret to...' series we talk to Jack Pattison, co-founder of Freddie Grubb, about the key elements that go into creating an outstanding bike shop.


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