The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 14 March 2018


Image: Getty Images

Flagging spirits

Justin Trudeau has followed up an irksome visit to India with a blundering welcome for Belgium’s royal delegation.

After a chaotic official visit to India three weeks ago, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau might be forgiven for wanting to hunker down, close the curtains and stay firmly on home soil. Alas, a fresh diplomatic embarrassment is brewing this week – and it’s on his doorstep. First, Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were greeted in Ottawa by the wrong flag: Germany’s was mistakenly dotted around an official welcome ceremony, an error officials have since apologised for. But now questions are being raised about why Trudeau won't be meeting the royal delegation – which includes 150 people from Belgium’s business, science and academic sectors – during their time in Canada. Trade between the two countries totalled about CA$6.5bn (€4.1bn) in 2017 so the relationship is not an insignificant one for Canada, especially as it seeks to capitalise on an impressive economic upswing at home. Trudeau’s popularity at home is sliding so frostiness with foreign friends is the last thing Ottawa needs.


Image: Getty Images

Rolling out the welcome mat

Monocle at Mipim: our latest dispatch from the property event reveals cities fighting for the attention of businesses worldwide.

The gloom of Brexit hasn’t cast a shadow over the London stand in sunny Cannes at the world’s leading property event, Mipim. A recent report, albeit one released by the City of London Corporation, shows that 21 per cent of decision-makers globally voted London as the best European city for business, compared with 13 per cent for Paris and 7 per cent for Frankfurt. Nonetheless, Paris and Frankfurt are working hard to boost their profile at Mipim. Frankfurt has seen a booming office property market and is touting itself as an attractive location for further property projects, as well as global businesses. Meanwhile, the Métropole du Grand Paris has invested €7.2bn in upgrading the capital and its surrounding cities to improve the standard of living even further. “Last year more than 300 different start-ups got involved in integrating the cities,” says Patrick Ollier, president of the Métropole du Grand Paris. “They are the guarantors of innovation in the digital revolution.” And where there’s innovation, there’s business.


Image: Shutterstock

Friends with benefits

The Australian and Indonesian premiers look to secure a deal that will aid their countries – and careers.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull hosts his Indonesian counterpart president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo this week before both men attend the inaugural Asean-Australia Special Summit in Sydney over the weekend. The top priority will be signing a free-trade agreement between two of the region’s largest economies; Turnbull and Jokowi are said to enjoy an easy relationship so they will be looking to shake hands on a deal before both face difficult elections next year. Nonetheless, conversation will inevitably drift towards China. Canberra is caught between its security relationship with a withdrawing Washington and its economic reliance on a bullish Beijing so it is trying to develop stronger ties with Asia’s democratic powerhouses, including Indonesia and India. But not every member of this club is interested in building a bulwark against Chinese assertiveness: the Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte will notably not be attending this weekend.


Animal magic

A caterpillar, a rabbit and some grey whales walk into an Oregon bar. The results are only slightly exaggerated.

Tourism campaigns too often feature wide shots of sweeping landscapes and scenic spots but a new promotional video launched by Oregon’s tourism commission, Travel Oregon, is shaking things up. The 90-second anime-inspired spot for Travel Oregon’s spring 2018 campaign uses vivid dream-like colours and a cinematic original score composed by the Oregon Symphony. From mountain-biking the North Umpqua Trail to swimming at Trillium Lake and hot-air ballooning over Willamette Valley wine country, a diverse cast of characters – including a cycling caterpillar, an unnaturally large bunny and grey whales forming in the clouds – are sure to capture the imagination. The film, called Only Slightly Exaggerated, was created by Oregon-based independent advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, the brains behind a handful of memorable ads from another Oregon firm, Nike.

From Monocle 24

Image: Siliva Conde

Perfecting pavilions

Section D

How do you commission a pavilion? We ask Marie Bak Mortensen, head of exhibitions at the Royal Institute of British Architects.

From Monocle Films

Wonderfruit: Thailand's blissed-out party

Wonderfruit is a festival like no other; a beacon of peace and calm where hedonism takes a backseat. Time to ditch the city attitude, grab a yoga mat and watch the sun go down in the Thai countryside.






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