The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 31 May 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Smooth operator?

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s tour will strengthen India’s relationship with Southeast Asia – but is he playing the field?

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi landed in Indonesia on Tuesday, kicking off a short Southeast Asian tour spanning Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It’s a tour of firsts for the leader. This was Modi’s inaugural visit to Indonesia, where he and the country’s president Joko Widodo shook on at least nine government agreements spanning science and technology to defence. After Indonesia Modi will then make history in Singapore as the first Indian PM to make a keynote address to the meeting of the Indo-Pacific’s defence ministers and military chiefs. It’s all part of India – a world-power aspirant – flexing its muscles in Southeast Asia. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia may well be interested in hearing about the prime minister's recent informal summits with the Chinese and Russian presidents too. 

Aviation

Image: European Business Aviation Association

Sky’s the limit

A global aviation-industry event in Geneva has been dominated by one company that has made a rather big announcement.

It’s been all about Bombardier at this year’s edition of the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, which wraps up today. The event brings together aviation experts from around the globe who come to see some 400 exhibitors and 55 aircraft on display. The Canadian aerospace company made waves when it announced a contract with Hong Kong’s HK Bellawings for up to 18 jets, which could be worth more than $1bn (€860m). Bombardier also announced two new additions to its business-jet line: the Global 5500 and Global 6500, both powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl engines and promising to be more fuel efficient – and tread lighter on the planet – than previous models. Not a bad year so far, then.

Hospitality

Image: Alamy

Port of call

Luxury cruise ships are being lined up due to an envisaged accommodation shortage during the Tokyo Olympics.

Hot on the heels of Papua New Guinea announcing that it has hired three cruise ships to make up for the shortfall in hotels at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in November, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced that it has chosen Geneva-based MSC Cruises – the world’s largest privately owned cruise line – to run a hotel ship during the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. The MSC Lirica, a 65,000-tonne vessel will be used as a temporary hotel, docked at a pier in Tokyo Bay. The ship, which can accommodate about 2,000 passengers, has a theatre, an English-style pub and a spacious dance floor. The government says the Lirica will be one of several ships being used for floating accommodation during the Tokyo Olympics. Given that not everyone wants to sleep in a cabin (however close to the pub it might be), perhaps Tokyo could have planned better.

Design

Image: Cultureshock Media

Fragile foundations

Can the London Festival of Architecture build some optimism in a capital bulldozed by Brexit?

“Identity”: there probably couldn’t be a better word to theme the London Festival of Architecture, which kicks of tomorrow and runs until 30 June. With the UK in a political shambles, the concept of Britishness is becoming increasingly fragmented and London, the nation’s creative hub, certainly hasn’t escaped the backlash from plans to leave Europe. At this festival, architects from the UK and beyond will have the opportunity to respond to the situation by looking at the concept of identity through a design lens. There will be keynotes from big names such as Amanda Levete and Sou Fujimoto, as well as open days at smaller London studios. We hope that the dialogue is more optimistic than that surrounding the UK entry at the coinciding Venice Architecture Biennale. There the Brits presented a largely empty pavilion, which some visitors felt aptly summed up the general lack of ideas on these shores. 

From Monocle 24

Image: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

Food Neighbourhoods

São Paulo, Consolação

Monocle’s Sheena Rossiter takes us on tour of the São Paulo district of Consolação, home to the city’s counterculture movements and global cuisine.

From Monocle Films

Boutique Norway

Monocle heads to Norway’s third largest city, Stavanger, to discover how this boom town’s oil reserves are spurring on those entrepreneurs looking to add variety and quality to this once-understated retail scene.

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