The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 29 May 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

At a crossroads

The nomination of Italy’s new EU-friendly prime minister has angered the country’s populists – and his appointment is unlikely to get the approval of parliament.

In some eyes he’s a traitor, in others a courageous safeguard against Italy’s anti-European drift. What’s certain is that – for better or worse – Italian president Sergio Mattarella has become the main player in the nation’s political deadlock. After vetoing the Eurosceptic finance minister put forward by the now defunct Lega-Five-Star Movement coalition, Mattarella’s decision to appoint economist Carlo Cottarelli (pictured) as prime minister was a decisive move. However, with the opposition of both Lega and M5S, it’s improbable that Cottarelli’s government will make it past the vote of confidence, which may force the country to hold a general election as early as late summer. And the election campaign won’t be able to avoid the issue that caused the collapse of the short-lived coalition: the parties’ positions on the EU will have to be spelled out, delivering a moment of clarity and reckoning many have been waiting for.

Transport

Image: Getty Images

Flying into the future

Aviation experts and manufacturers are gathering in Geneva to explore where aviation is going next.

Today marks the opening of the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (or Ebace), a get-together in Geneva of the world’s biggest business-aircraft manufacturers, along with government officials, trade journalists and aviation enthusiasts. This year the organisers have decided to put sustainability front and centre and will announce a new initiative focused on the adoption of alternative jet-fuel options. It’s a timely move given the leaps currently being made in this field of research. Another highlight will be the Pilatus PC-24, the Swiss manufacturer’s new eight-seat aircraft. Regulars at Ebace will know the jet already but this is the first time attendees will have the chance to see the PC-24 since it was awarded certification in Europe and the US six months ago. It promises to be a happy return to Geneva for the jet, which was launched at Ebace back in 2013.

Environment

Saved for posterity

Denmark’s new national park is a massive – and welcome – expanse of natural beauty. 

One third of the world’s nature reserves are under threat; it’s good news then that Denmark is opening its fifth – and second largest – national park today. While many nations are putting their parks at risk due to offshore drilling, privatisation and other factors, Denmark is keen to increase its protected public green spaces in the Kings of North Zealand National Park on the north of the island of Zealand. The park – which has been in the works since 2005 – will encompass 5,000sq km of forest and 60sq km of lakes as well as a number of Unesco World Heritage sites. As part of the opening, more than 50 events including exhibitions and excursions will take place until 3 June. Other nations would do well to take a leaf out of Denmark’s book.

F&B

Thirsty work

Asia-Pacific tastes in wine and whiskey are keeping the region awash in quality alcohol.

A 17 per cent increase in wine imports to Hong Kong this year shows that the city with Asia’s highest wine consumption is not drying up any time soon. Thousands are expected to visit the region’s largest wine and whiskey trade show Vinexpo this week. According to the organisers, Hong Kong will play a more important role in the wine trade once China overtakes the UK as the world’s second-biggest market in 2021. After recovering from a slump in 2016, Asia-Pacific wine sales are now soaring. Yet this strong appetite for quality alcohol also has its drawbacks: Japanese beverage powerhouse Suntory has announced that it will curtail the sale of its signature Hibiki 17-year-old blend due to a critical shortage. 

From Monocle 24

Courtney Barnett

The Monocle Culture Show

This week we discuss ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’, the new album by Australian indie singer Courtney Barnett. Robert Bound sits down with music journalist Liv Siddall and Will Hodgkinson, chief rock and pop critic for ‘The Times’, to give it a spin and unpick its influences.

From Monocle Films

Night mayors

We pull up a bar stool in Amsterdam at the inaugural Night Mayor Summit to hear from pioneering night watchmen and urban provocateurs in cities around the world.

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