The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 24 May 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Better safe than sorry

Run-off votes in the US will have supporters on both sides breathing a sigh of relief.

The US midterm elections in November continue to take shape after this week’s slew of run-off votes for nominations on both sides of the political divide. In Texas – a state that is increasingly purple and has been eyed as a target for flipping House seats – anti-Trump activist Laura Moser lost out to Lizzie Fletcher in the Democrats’ seventh-district vote. Many in the party think playing it safe is their best bet for scooping up disaffected Republican moderates. There was also a breakthrough in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams won the Democratic party’s gubernatorial nomination – the first black woman to win a major-party nomination for governor in any state. Republicans in Arkansas are also breathing a little more lightly after incumbent governor Asa Hutchinson saw off a challenge from the controversial former TV reporter Jan Morgan – whose outlandish rhetoric, she’d hoped, would tap into Trumpian sentiment at play in the state.

Aviation

Image: Shutterstock

Spreading its wings

Japan Airlines has teamed up with an agriculture company to help grow its business.

Japan’s high-flying national flag-carrier is about to become a lot more grounded with a move into agricultural tourism. Japan Airlines Corp will offer customers agricultural experiences and the chance to buy local produce as part of a newly announced partnership between the airline and Wago, a Chiba-based agriculture firm. The company, known as JAL Agriport, plans to open a farm near Narita Airport where visitors can pick strawberries and dig for sweet potatoes; meanwhile shops and cafés will sell produce grown there and around Chiba. If the green-fingered venture takes off, JAL could soon follow the lead of Korean Air by serving its own fresh farm produce to passengers in flight. As the skies above Asia become more competitive, full-service airlines are having to live up to their name.

Architecture

Image: Getty Images

Free spirit

The design world descends on Venice to take in the Biennale’s latest theme – and its global interpretations.

Hordes of journalists are currently navigating the Venice Biennale of Architecture as the event gears up for its public opening this weekend. Monocle has well-heeled boots on the ground here, with our team visiting the many exhibitions aiming to unravel this year’s theme: “Freespace”. Ireland’s Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have approached the concept from several directions, while the Brits have literally formed a free space by leaving the innards of its pavilion empty, instead building the exhibition around and on top of the structure. Other approaches include the Russians’ riff on the country’s iconic railway network and an exploration of how best to transform the waiting spaces of its train stations. Because this event lasts until November there’s months’ worth of exploration to be had here. But if you’re unable to make it to the Giardini in person, fear not: look out for our extensive coverage in The Monocle Spring Weekly newspaper.

Society

Image: Getty Images

Fight for your right to party

LGBT organisers in Singapore are circumnavigating the city-state’s strict regulations by planning more inclusive celebrations.

Singapore’s LGBT rights event Pink Dot SG is making big plans for its 10th edition, which takes place in July, by adding a two-week citywide festival to its calendar. A diverse range of supporters, from independent cinemas to art galleries and bookshops, are expected to organise private gatherings in the hope that they will be more difficult for the government to control than the flagship rally, which is held annually on public land. The bullish move comes after the conservative city-state imposed tighter regulations last year that effectively forced organisers to exclude non-Singaporeans from turning out to show their support. “The authorities often tell us to keep the status quo because society here is not ready,” says Pink Dot’s Paerin Choa. “But there are enough Singaporeans who are showing that they are ready with actions, either by attending the rally or organising their own events.”

From Monocle 24

London, Fitzrovia

Food Neighbourhoods

Film critic, broadcaster and a regular Monocle contributor Karen Krizanovich takes us on a culinary tour of her home neighbourhood in London: Fitzrovia.

From Monocle Films

Hackney Revival

Monocle's editor in chief, Tyler Brûlé, ventured to Wilton Way – a small thoroughfare in east London's Hackney, to get a read on the ingredients that underpin a community.

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