Friday 25 May 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 25/5/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


In two minds

Giuseppe Conte, the little-known law professor with no political experience to speak of, was granted permission by Italy’s president earlier this week to form a government. That government will be a coalition between the Five Star Movement and the League, two populist parties with broadly conflicting – though equally radical – views and policies. So, Europe now has another headache to contend with. As Gianni Riotta, regular columnist for Italian daily La Stampa, wrote in his column for the second edition of The Monocle Spring Weekly: “Europe has a difficult choice to make… They may cut [the new coalition] some early slack, accepting a little window dressing to pacify the populists. Or they can pull no punches, setting the stage for a nasty confrontation.” To read more from Riotta and to find out what else is happening this week, pick up your copy of The Monocle Spring Weekly: Edition 2 which is out today.

Image: Alamy


Careless whispers

Diplomatic ties between Australia and China appear increasingly frayed after a Chinese state-controlled newspaper this week called for Beijing to postpone a visit by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop has found herself at the centre of the storm after a meeting on Monday with Wang Yi (both pictured) prompted her Chinese counterpart to reference the two sides’ strained bilateral relations in a public statement. Bishop’s tougher stance with a key trading partner mirrors suspicion at home of Beijing’s growing political influence – an MP had to quit in December over ties to China. Meanwhile a bill aimed at preventing foreign interference in Australia is currently going through parliament. Author Clive Hamilton called it “silent invasion” in his bestselling book on the topic, published in March, but now it seems more politicians are willing to speak up.

Image: Sebastien Roy


Game changers

Today marks the final day of Montréal’s innovation-focused C2 Conference, an event that in recent years has grown in stature along with its host city’s own technology sector (the two Cs stand for “commerce” and “creativity”). Yesterday saw an eager crowd gather in the main hall, snacking on power bars made from crickets, to listen to Dr Joëlle Pineau – the head of Facebook’s AI research lab in the city – talking about the industry’s future. Next door, Canopy Growth founder Bruce Linton tackled Canada’s impending legalisation of marijuana. Behind all the buzz and activity is a clear sense that Montréal’s reputation as a hub of entrepreneurship is increasingly being recognised internationally. Something the organisers of C2 will certainly be happy about.

Image: Getty Images


Speculative effort

Andrés Iniesta’s decision to join Vissel Kobe after 22 years at Barcelona represents a big day for Japanese football. With Vissel’s owner – Hiroshi Mikitani, founder of e-commerce giant Rakuten – looking on, the 34-year-old Spanish footballer signed a three-year contract worth a reputed €25m annually. In recent years J-League clubs have moved away from recruiting big-name players from overseas, preferring instead to develop homegrown talent. By bringing in one of the most gifted midfielders ever produced by Barcelona football club (which Rakuten sponsors), Mikitani is, of course, hoping to lift Vissel’s fortunes. But he’s also betting on the Spaniard passing on his methodology to the club’s young academy players, inspiring the country’s next generation of footballers and drawing global attention to the J-League. Not an easy feat but if it works, that’s money well spent.

Image: Studio Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde

Dutch architect and artist Daan Roosegaarde has launched the Smog Free Project, working with NGOs, local officials and citizens to bring cleaner air to public spaces.

Melbourne: The Monocle Travel Guide

Modern Melbourne is a swirl of superlative cultural outposts, pristine parks, mouth-watering menus and faultless all-Australian wine lists. Join us on a jaunt around this handsome metropolis.


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