Friday 1 December 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 1/12/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Uncertain future

The world’s eyes are on Pope Francis today as he presses on with the second leg of his Asia tour. With a mass scheduled today in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, attended by a group of Rohingya refugees, the Pope’s skills as a faith leader and as a diplomat will be on full display. The country’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina is bound to ask him for moral support as Bangladesh struggles to cope with the Rohingya refugees, more than 620,000 of whom had fled neighbouring Myanmar during a bout of ethnic cleansing. From his efforts during the US and Cuba’s diplomatic rekindling to intervening in the conflict between the Colombian government and Farc, the Pope is often seen as a positive influence on foreign affairs. Yet many observers feel his visit to Myanmar and meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi has been a rare misstep, particularly as he failed to mention the Rohingya by name in a speech in the capital city Naypyitaw. Will today’s service be enough to remedy that?


You’ve got mail!

It’s exactly what you want to hear right before the holiday season: Cessna has unveiled a new aircraft that will ensure mail deliveries arrive on time, even in more remote locations. This week FedEx Express has signed on as the launch partner of the Cessna SkyCourier 408 aircraft, sealing the deal to purchase 50, with an option to buy 50 more. The high-wing utility twin turboprop is exactly what FedEx needs if it wants to stay competitive: with 2,721kg of maximum payload capability the aircraft can not only carry plenty of cargo but it’s also being touted for its “mission flexibility”. The bad news is that the new aircraft won’t be delivered until 2020.

Image: Getty Images


Bad news

This week has been a bad one for Canadian print media with the closure of more than 30 publications across the country. The closures were the result of a deal between two of Canada’s largest publishing companies – Torstar and Postmedia – in which dozens of local papers were effectively swapped, including Our London, Metro Ottawa and Barrie Examiner, only to be shut down with immediate effect. Understandably, the deal has caused outrage. Mélanie Joly, Canada’s heritage minister who oversees the media, condemned the deal but is now facing criticism herself for doing little to halt it. Despite pledging a boost in funding for culture and media sectors earlier this year, the government did not earmark additional funds for “traditional models” of print media, which have particularly struggled in Canada. A pledge to fund media outlets in their transition to digital – which the government has done – is one thing but local papers, especially in some of Canada’s more remote communities where internet services can be patchy, should be protected. It’s a problem with no easy answer but it’s clear the government’s efforts, despite a promising start, have so far been lacking.

Image: Jan Liégeois


No place like home

Members of Europe’s art-and-design media touched down in Antwerp this week to join art collectors and friends of interior designer and furniture-maker Axel Vervoordt for the official launch of his project Kanaal on the outskirts of the city. The project took a unique approach to rehabilitating a derelict industrial site, bringing together Belgium’s best architects to renovate the site and add additional buildings to form a residential, retail and cultural precinct. With around 80 per cent of the apartments here occupied already, it’s clear the concept is attractive enough to woo buyers to what was previously a fairly average part of town. The secret could be Kanaal’s emphasis on art. “Bringing works here from artists such as Anish Kapoor creates real value,” Vervoordt tells Monocle, adding that residents at Kanaal are already bonding over their appreciation of culture and forming a community.

Image: Giuseppe-Milo/Flickr


Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council have partnered with a start-up based in Northern Ireland called See.Sense. They are testing out a new device to see how people cycle and how it can be made better.

Monocle Films / Estonia

Property Prospectus: Kalamaja

Tallinn’s Kalamaja neighbourhood boasts a vibrant community of young professionals; Monocle Film visits to find out what it’s like to live and work in the blossoming Estonian capital.


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