The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 21 March 2018

Military

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Hold your peace

Canadian troops are preparing to join the UN’s peacekeeping forces in Mali as Trudeau finally fulfils a campaign pledge.

Canada is to send up to 250 peacekeeping personnel to Mali as part of the UN’s mission to stabilise the country, five years after insurgents overran large swathes of its territory. It marks a long-awaited return to international peacekeeping missions for the Canadian military – a force that was once synonymous with peacekeeping overseas, though such missions have dwindled over the past decade. The proposed intervention in Mali fulfils a key election pledge by Justin Trudeau’s government, which has also promised to boost the number of women in peacekeeping missions. Yet the decision hasn’t been without criticism: opposition politicians have accused the government of putting its ambition to secure a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council in 2020 ahead of Canadian forces’ interests.

Transport

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I don’t believe it

Car firms will be reviewing driverless cars’ safety but is there any point if the public won’t accept them?

How close are we really to a future of roads dominated by driverless cars? It’s a question that’s being asked with renewed intensity after a driverless Uber vehicle hit and killed a 49-year-old woman who was crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona. The ride-sharing company has now said that it is halting use of all self-driving vehicles in the wake of the accident. But as automobile companies reckon with how to ensure these vehicles are as safe as promised, they’re failing to grapple with the more fundamental question of what the public wants or is willing to tolerate. Christian Wolmar, author of Driverless Cars: On a Road to Nowhere, says a driverless future is still inconceivable. “It involves an utter revolution of the way we think about our transport and our goods,” he explains.

Tourism

Image: Getty Images

Life after politics

The former US leader’s arrival in New Zealand has prompted a debate: is his visit really good value for money?

Barack Obama’s post-presidency world tour takes him to New Zealand this week. The ex-US leader will be squeezing in a speech at the NZ-US Council in Auckland and a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern before heading to Sydney on Friday. The visit, funded in part by state-owned airline Air New Zealand, has prompted plenty of debate among thrifty Kiwis about value for money. Obama is rumoured to charge $400,000 (€326,000) for speaking engagements – but that’s a PR bargain for the host country’s tourism industry, say supporters, if the former president and avid golfer hits just a few of the country’s highly regarded courses.

Employment

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Lukewarm welcome

In a populist move, Australia is becoming a lot more selective about who gets to work there.

While one door has closed, another has opened for those seeking jobs in Australia. As promised last year, the federal government has pulled the plug on its popular 457 skilled-visa programme, which was blamed for taking jobs away from Australian citizens. But a new visa programme called the Global Talent Scheme was announced in its stead. The new system, which will be piloted from July, will tighten regulations to prevent abuse of the skilled-visa scheme by employers – including fudging the requirements for applicants – while sustaining Australia’s appetite for skilled labour in certain sectors. Now only established businesses with an annual turnover of more than AU$4m (€2.5m) can sponsor individuals earning more than AU$180,000 (€112,000) and start-ups working in STEM fields such as biomedical and agricultural technology need apply.

From Monocle 24

Alexandra Road Estate

Section D

A tour of London’s brutalist marvel with the man who’s spent a decade penning a book to celebrate it and the resident celebrating her 40th anniversary at the estate.

From Monocle Films

Kyoto: The Monocle Travel Guide

Japan's ancient capital may be full of hushed streets steeped in tradition but don't be fooled: there's plenty of forward-thinking retailers, innovative chefs and modernist architecture too. Our Kyoto guide will help you navigate your way around, as well as setting you off on your own path.

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