The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 23 February 2018


Image: Getty Images

No winners here

The election campaign is heating up in Italy – and things are taking a nasty turn.

With the Italian election just over a week away, the rising fortunes of the country’s centre-right coalition have often been credited with Silvio Berlusconi’s resuscitated (and, for many, incomprehensible) popularity. Yet despite his prominence on front pages, the former prime minister is actually a waning force in the coalition. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia is leading the pack of the three main parties that make up the alliance but only by a measly 4 per cent. Meanwhile, hard-right allies Lega Nord are not far behind him in the polls and are hoping their own candidate, Matteo Salvini, will become prime minister should the coalition secure a victory. Yet even if Salvini doesn’t become PM, his party’s xenophobic rhetoric has already succeeded in shaping the coalition’s discourse, pushing it into the territory of the far right.


Image: Alamy

Paving the way

Toronto is waking up to the potential of its underused spaces.

Toronto is set to launch a novel scheme to bring life to some of the most underused sidewalks and streets in its downtown. The “parklet” programme, which received approval from city hall this week, will grant restaurants and cafés permission to open temporary food stalls on the pavements outside their venues in summer. And following the successful pilot project that limited vehicle traffic along a stretch of one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares – King Street West – the programme will allow businesses to set up miniature green spaces and coffee stands on some parking bays too. If successful, Toronto’s sleepiest strips will be brimming with life come summer.


Image: Reuters

Means to an end

Members of Spain’s Basque separatist group ETA are voting on the group’s dissolution.

It’s a quiet end to a violent era: Spain’s ETA looks set to disband. The terrorist group, which has advocated Basque independence and was responsible for more than 800 deaths in the country, will be voting on whether it should formally dissolve by summer. It’s not a complete surprise: the group, which has been active since the late 1950s, had already called time on its strategy of armed violence. The matter of dissolution – or the “end of the cycle” according to the group’s statement – will be voted on by all of ETA’s remaining members though there’s little doubt on the outcome considering their dwindling relevance.


Must-have accessory

Condé Nast’s ‘Vogue Poland’ launch is a shrewd move in a country where the luxury market is taking off.

Vogue has launched a new incarnation – its 23rd – this time in Poland. “We know the market has been waiting for it for a long time, people are very excited,” the magazine’s editor in chief Filip Niedenthal tells Monocle. “It’s a milestone for Polish media.” It’s also a calculated business strategy on the part of Condé Nast: the luxury market in Poland is booming, growing 15 per cent last year, making the country an ideal home for a new high-fashion title. The first issue, which has a print run of 160,000, has also made a splash with a cover by German photographer Juergen Teller featuring Polish supermodels Anja Rubik and Malgosia Bela (who moonlights as the magazine’s editor at large) standing in front of the Soviet-era built Palace of Culture and Science in the centre of Warsaw. For more from Niedenthal, tune in to The Stack on Monocle 24 this Saturday.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

Food Neighbourhoods 72: Athens, Emporiko Trigono

The Menu

We explore Athens’ commercial hub, home to a number of interesting food-and-drink businesses.

From Monocle Films

Vienna: Capital charisma

We take a grand tour of an age-old favourite; the Austrian capital combines regal grandeur with a new-found finesse in everything from culture to food, art and design.






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