The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 28 March 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

You win again

Egypt’s presidential election is unlikely to produce any surprises – or a new president.

Today voters across Egypt will head into the third day of a presidential election that is likely to produce few surprises. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the incumbent, will almost certainly win with a landslide as all his opponents have either been intimidated or locked up and the only other candidate in the running is his vocal supporter Moussa Mustafa Moussa. However, the telling statistic won’t be the result but the turnout. In the last election el-Sisi walked away with 97 per cent of the vote – but critics pointed to a turnout of a little less than half. According to Cairo-based journalist Ruth Michaelson, it’s “highly unlikely” the president will see a better number this time. Sadly for the people of Egypt this is unlikely to prevent him from amending the constitution and removing presidential-term limits. Democratic process or not, it seems el-Sisi is here to stay.

Development

Public domain

Toronto is planning for a growing population by cultivating community spaces.

Torontonians have long griped about the city’s use of Lake Ontario but thanks to the Port Lands Flood Protection Program – a CA$1.25bn (€780m) plan to protect a polluted 240-hectare area from flooding – residents are now envisioning an eastern waterfront fit for the city’s growing population. Thankfully, the transformation into a mixed-use neighbourhood includes the creation of Villiers Island, a 22-hectare swath of public space and wetlands, that’s slated for a 2024 opening. With ambitious plans such as Sidewalk Lab’s “smart city” and First Gulf’s vision for a 50,000-worker office complex nearby, people are coming to Toronto’s neglected eastern shore. And, finally, the city is developing public spaces in anticipation of such growth, rather than that familiar story of playing catch-up.

Art

Image: Getty Images

Buyer’s market

Asian art sales have given the global market a boost. Now Hong Kong is reaping the rewards.

With yesterday’s launch of harbourside fair Art Central and tomorrow’s public opening of the sixth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, the city is abuzz with artistic chatter. The two events are hosting a combined 350 galleries from around the world and, as Monocle attended Art Basel’s first preview day yesterday, there was an exuberant atmosphere at the bustling Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It’s little wonder: according to the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, published prior to the opening and penned by cultural economist Clare McAndrew, the global art market grew by 12 per cent in 2017 – a figure that’s especially impressive given that it came after two years of decline. Asia, meanwhile, accounted for about a quarter of global sales.

Business

Gaining a foothold

Kiwi outdoor brands are stepping up their global-expansion efforts with mergers and acquisitions.

Summer in the southern hemisphere has been an adventurous time for New Zealand’s outdoor-clothing brands as several gear up for intrepid overseas expansion, particularly in the US. Retailer and clothing brand Kathmandu recently acquired Montana boot-maker Oboz as it looks for a North American foothold to expand its wholesale business. The deal was announced weeks after fellow Christchurch-based brand Macpac was acquired by Queensland’s Super Retail Group along with its 54 shops across Australasia. This seasonal M&A activity started in November when the acquisitive US giant VF Corporation added Icebreaker to a stable of clothing brands that also includes The North Face. With such strong support, the Auckland-based Merino-wool specialist will be confident of being the first Kiwi outdoor label to scale the top of the US consumer mountain.

From Monocle 24

Image: Bill Wallauer

Dame Jane Goodall

The Big Interview

Renowned primatologist Dame Jane Goodall has spent nearly six decades researching our closest non-human relatives. Since her first trip to Tanzania in 1960 her work has vastly expanded our comprehension of chimpanzees. She talks to Andrew Mueller about her groundbreaking discoveries, chimpanzees’ sense of humour and the work still ahead.

From Monocle Films

Seoul: The Monocle Travel Guide

The South Korean capital is energetic and sprawling; our comprehensive guide is brimming with insider tips.

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