The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 19 February 2018


Image: Getty Images

Cosying up

The Canadian prime minister is playing catch-up in India as he looks get trade talks back on track.

Justin Trudeau is in India this week – his first state visit to the country – in a bid to boost bilateral relations. On one hand the seven-day trip looks like a slam-dunk: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has long been on an economic push for his country and the two leaders recently sat down at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Yet Canada is on the back foot here considering trade ties between the two countries took a hit last year, when India tweaked their regulations on imports of lentils and peas, which dramatically disadvantaged Canadian farmers. Considering that 11 of his government ministers have made the trek to India over the past two years, Trudeau will now be keen to turn actions into transactions.


Putting down roots

Italy’s youth is digging in at home as they resist emigration and opt to live off the land.

Young Italians looking for work during the country’s recession often emigrated – but recently, more graduates are choosing to stay rooted in their land instead. About 50,000 Italians under the age of 35 are now employed in farming businesses and the number of those choosing to start up their own agricultural operations has increased by 35 per cent over the past two years. That rise has made Italy the country with the highest number of young workers in the agricultural sector in Europe. Though the move into the sector might be driven by lack of opportunity elsewhere, the bump in numbers is certainly a boon for the country’s growing ambitions at home.


Image: Getty Images

Drinking problem

Street corners in Hong Kong are drying up as the government finally tightens a boozy loophole.

Hong Kong has once again been voted the world’s freest economy by the Heritage Foundation – for the 24th successive year, no less – but there are signs that the business-friendly city is taking a more grown-up approach to regulation. Lawmakers have this month voted to finally close a longstanding legal loophole that means there is no age restrictions on buying alcohol from shops. Six months from now the age limit will be set at 18, the same as it is in bars and clubs, as the government attempts to curb underage drinking and pour some water on “Club 7-Eleven” – a colloquial term among Hong Kong youth for buying cheap liquor from ubiquitous convenience stores to be consumed on the street. It’s a case of more red tape, less Red Stripe.


Sin sells

Light up and crack open a cold one with Taschen’s new hardback trek through the sin-slathered ads of yesteryear.

Taschen’s latest coffee-table botherer – 20th Century Alcohol and Tobacco: 100 Years of Stimulating Ads – is a masterpiece of sourcing and amassing the key advertisements that made the golden age of the “sin sector” sing. It’s a chronological canter through Edwardian ads for London Life cork-tipped cigarettes (“Most Extraordinary”), lush Orientalism for Cascade Pure Whisky (“Mellow as Moonlight”) and the squinting ruggedness of the Marlboro Man (“Come to where the flavor is”). There’s sex too, courtesy of Miller Lite’s “The Perfect 36-24-36” (in bottles, naturally). Big budgets led to bold campaigns, brands became behemoths and, with the stern Surgeon General’s tightening of the rules by the end of the century, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut turned graphic, surrealist and iconic. The creative class came of age courtesy of scotch and smokes and this book has the stylish scoop.

From Monocle 24

Surf photography

The Stack

Award-winning photographer Craig Levers seems to be living the surfers’ dream: his house overlooks one of New Zealand’s best beaches, he edited New Zealand Surfing Magazine for eight years and has ridden the waves with the best Kiwis in the business. But, as Levers explains to our contributor Clair Urbahn, shooting the swell isn’t always a barrel of laughs.

From Monocle Films

The secret to building affordable homes

As part of our new series we visit the architecture practice of Andreas Martin-Löf, which is reinventing residential housing in Stockholm.






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