The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 19 June 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Crunch time

As Angela Merkel is given an ultimatum by her interior minister, can she hold her coalition together – and save her career?

Just as one governmental crisis in Italy looked like reaching a solution, another has flared up again – this time in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel finds herself fighting to keep her fragile coalition government together and the main disruptor is Horst Seehofer, her interior minister (and head of the CSU, her CDU’s Bavaria-based sister party). At issue is immigration – Seehofer wants to turn away migrants at the German border if they have registered elsewhere in the EU; Merkel wants to do things by the book and find an EU-wide solution. Yesterday Seehofer gave her a two-week ultimatum to find that solution; otherwise, he says, he’ll push ahead. If she cannot deliver a deal before the end of June, Merkel’s coalition could crumble. Few believe she could survive that.

Society

Image: Alamy

Warm embrace

Yukon residents are being brought in from the cold with the opening of Canada’s first Arctic university.

In Autumn Canada will open its first Arctic university, running courses designed to empower and educate indigenous people in the Circumpolar Arctic region. The Yukon College will become Yukon University with the advent of its first three bachelor’s programmes, which will be tailored to local communities. With Yukon consisting of 11 self-governing nations, one course will focus on indigenous governance; another will see the university examine how to run a business in small and remote areas; and the third, northern studies, will be a humanities-style course that centres on knowledge, culture and history. A significant coup for budding Yukon academics, they will no longer have to travel thousands of kilometres – a major cost and disincentive – to attend university. While the Yukon institution is committed to addressing the needs of local communities, its unique offerings – notably its geography, experience of climate change and language diversity – may soon hold appeal for international researchers and students alike.

Business

Image: Getty Images

Opportunity knocks

Infrastructure and big-business projects could prove the key to healing the rift on the Korean peninsula.

When the first McDonald’s opened in Moscow after the fall of the USSR, the queue stretched for several blocks, with people hankering for a taste of the outside world. Similar scenes may one day come to Pyongyang, if the Construction Association of Korea has its way. The consortium – which comprises some of Seoul’s biggest companies, including the Hyundai Group – is due to convene next week to discuss potential business opportunities in the North. While some critics will question the ethics of companies rushing to drum up new business in a totalitarian state, Hyundai views it differently. The multinational has been involved in North Korean infrastructure projects since 2000 and has often taken the stance that the jobs it provides are a lifeline to its impoverished neighbour irrespective of its draconian ruling regime. Therefore a commercial sortie today would be, in South Korean eyes, a resumption of business as usual with the goal of reuniting the peninsula, rather than a first date with an evil regime.

Travel

Image: Getty Images

Cruise control

A shrewd move from Silversea Cruises may soon see more holiday-makers taking to the high seas.

Cruises have an image problem. For many travellers, taking a long trip on a boat with about 300 other souls still conjures visions of shuffleboard, perms and octogenarians. This may be about to change. Affluent holiday-makers 35 and over are coming to terms with the fact that they no longer want to sleep bivouacked on stony ground while on an intrepid tour of Malaysia. Instead, sipping ambrosial cocktails amid comfortable surroundings in an everything-on-tap environment is much more appealing. This is why the latest move by privately owned cruise operator Silversea, to give a 67 per cent stake of its business to Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCC), is a shrewd play. It is likely that the merger will provide Silversea with significant design and investment resources. With RCC backing, Silversea can better appeal to the raft of people who don’t yet know that a cruise is just what they need to escape busy – and increasingly prohibitive – city environments. Cruises might soon be floating our boat again.

From Monocle 24

Image: Shutterstock

Do we still need international summits?

The Foreign Desk

With so many international summits taking place it’s hard to keep up, let alone remain interested. The recent meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, however, reignited the media’s passion for a handshake photo opportunity. Was the interest focused on the politics, or just the novelty of seeing two unlikely leaders together? What do these meetings actually achieve? And why hasn’t communication technology made them redundant? Andrew Mueller is joined by Stefania Palma, Aaron David Miller and David Reynolds.

From Monocle Films

Clear vision: Czech glass

Contemporary Czech designers are embracing regional Bohemian glass-making traditions while investing in new techniques to create modern products with soul. Monocle films pays a visit to some of the country’s most clear-thinking glass alchemists.

Loading...

/

15

15

Live

00:00 01:00