The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 30 January 2018

Business

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Call to arms

Australia is keen to boost its defence industry but can it compete with the big guns?

The Australian government announced yesterday that it will channel billions of dollars in state-backed loans towards domestic defence companies, with a view to becoming a top-10 global arms exporter (it now sits at number 20). The Australian Defence Force isn’t big enough to sustain a vibrant industry on its own so looking further afield – namely to the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region – makes sense. But it’s not clear whether the country will be able to compete with the defence giants. “It will be interesting to see what systems will be designed, developed, built and exported from Australia,” says Nick Brown, Monocle’s defence correspondent and editor in chief of IHS Jane’s International Defence Review. “Competition from the massive defence prime contractors is fierce and Australia buys a lot of its equipment off the shelf, much of it from locally branded versions of those primes: BAE Systems Australia, Boeing Defence Australia and so forth.”

Fashion

Fitting winner

When it comes to an elite line-up of hi-tech sportswear, Munich tradeshow Ispo is ahead of the pack.

Ispo, the Munich sportswear tradeshow that is the biggest of its kind in the world, is in full swing. There is something for everyone here: unlike fashion-industry tradeshows, which tend to feature either designers or textile manufacturers but rarely both, at Ispo you can find the full supply chain under one roof. B1, one of the glossiest halls, is peppered with upmarket brands that create functional yet chic outerwear, a rapidly growing category. A quick dash across the capacious hall will take you to the Textrends pavilion, which is filled with textile manufacturers displaying swatches of hi-tech fabrics. Many of these samples are waterproof, soft, light – and good-looking. “There has been a big shift in mills and suppliers becoming much more trend-driven,” says Louisa Smith, a textile trend consultant who works with Ispo. “Taiwanese mills are very good because sportswear textiles have historically been their focus,” she says, citing Taipei company Eclat and Italian firm Eurojersey as a couple of standouts.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Show-stealer

Donald Trump is preparing to deliver his first State of the Union address but could Joe Kennedy steal his thunder?

Tonight all eyes – and op-eds – will be on Donald Trump as he delivers his first State of the Union address to Congress. Yet there will be another speech drawing attention tonight: the Democratic response. This year it will be delivered by representative Joe Kennedy III (the grandson of Bobby Kennedy and great-nephew of JFK). While 37-year-old Kennedy hasn't yet made his name on the national stage, this will give him the opportunity to change that. In the past the response to the State of the Union has been used to showcase presidential hopefuls – both Bob Dole and Marco Rubio have delivered it. On a night when the spotlight will be on Trump, the young and well-spoken three-term Democrat could steal some attention. Is Kennedy one to watch for 2020? Tonight will provide a clue.

Culture

Proud producers

A major exhibition chronicles Greece’s manufacturing traditions.

Despite being the eurozone’s worst-performing economy over the past decade, Greece’s factory output is growing at its fastest pace in more than nine years. “People think industrial manufacturing is dead in Greece but there are plenty of producers weathering the political turbulence and doing justice to brand Greece,” says Giannis Stogiannidis, chief researcher of a new exhibition, 160 Years of Made in Greece: Industry, Innovation, Novelty at Athens’ Technopolis centre. From textiles and construction to lumber, weaving and paper, the show comprises rare photographs and historical documents to showcase the nation’s history of design and manufacturing. A special section is dedicated to the companies investing in reviving Greece’s manufacturing traditions, such as Varangis furniture and the paint company Vivechrom.

From Monocle 24

Image: Mark Blower

Jane Morris, editor-at-large at ‘The Art Newspaper’

Culture with Robert Bound

Jane Morris explains the importance of Andreas Gursky's work, which is some of the most highly priced photography in the world.

From Monocle Films

Property’s next move

The property sector is growing and it’s no longer business as usual. Will we see London reinvent flat rentals or Copenhagen up the quality of housing? The property market is ready for a shake-up.

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