Thursday 12 July 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 12/7/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Up against it

As the most acrimonious Nato summit in history progresses uncomfortably into its second day, another meeting is kicking off in Innsbruck. There EU interior ministers are converging for the latest instalment of talks on how to respond to the migrant ships arriving in Europe from North Africa. One of the loudest voices going into today’s meeting is Italy’s far-right Matteo Salvini, who has said simply that NGO ships containing migrants are fine to dock anywhere – as long as it isn’t in his country. Meanwhile, German interior minister Horst Seehofer will be pushing his “migration master plan”, a scheme that will place greater sanctions on refugees and requires the compliance of all member states. The protectionist tone emerging from these talks reminds us that the squabbling around the table at Nato is just one of the issues facing EU leaders.


Bus stop

For decades, car-less residents in western Canada have relied on Greyhound buses to travel between cities, towns and rural communities as the region lacks a comprehensive rail system. But this week the US-based coach company announced that it is scrapping its passenger and freight services across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and cancelling all routes but one in British Columbia come October. The company has said that a decline in ridership in recent years has meant that operating the routes isn’t sustainable. Yet the decision leaves many Canadians without options when it comes to travelling and commuting. North Americans tend to get a lot of flack for being car-dependent but without a suitable public-transport network and dwindling options from private countries, many are left with no other option. It’s time for the government to step up and address a long-running problem.

Image: Kohei Take


Working, out?

Young workers in Japan are losing their ambition to climb the corporate ladder and fewer than ever have their sights trained on top jobs. A new study by the Japan Productivity Center shows that young employees are prioritising quality of life over working achievements. Only 10 per cent of respondents expressed a desire to become company presidents (the lowest figure since the survey began in 1969), while an ambivalent 17 per cent said that they didn’t care about their position in their company at all. Japan’s work culture has faced criticism in recent years as a number of high-profile cases of karoshi (death from overwork) has led people to question lifestyles that prioritise success at the cost of everything else. While the government has introduced a set of “work-style reforms”, which includes mandatory caps on overtime, employers must also respond with measures that help young Japanese workers rediscover their drive without sacrificing their wellbeing.

Image: Getty Images


My way or the highway

As it prepares to host next month’s Asian Games, Jakarta is desperately trying to de-clog its traffic-jammed streets and highways. Previous attempts have seen locals sidestep government regulations with relative ease after a bit of lateral thinking: recently a law banning sole drivers at peak hours was canned after thrifty Jakartans starting hiring their services out as passengers. However, the government’s latest ploy might be the solution the capital needs – and it's remarkably simple. An “odd-even” policy, which restricts access to certain roads based on the last digit on a driver's number plate, has already reduced traffic and decreased pollution. Hopefully some fresh air and quicker commutes will encourage citizens to think about how to make their city more manageable, rather than focusing on how to beat government restrictions.


Brendan Murdock made his name as the founder of well-designed barbershops, which he called Murdock London. The brand was right at the forefront of a wave of new spots catering to men who care about their appearance and are willing to pay good money for smart grooming products. But Murdock has since left that eponymous firm to set up a more intriguing company: a health-and-wellness brand called Anatomē. Now he’s in the business of advising customers on their wellbeing and recommending vitamins, supplements and essential oils. The brand also has a flagship store in Shoreditch.

Celebrating fashion in Oslo

After lagging behind its design-minded neighbours, the Norwegian fashion industry has finally moved out of its comfort zone and stepped up its game. We meet Oslo’s most promising fashion houses and see how they are being taken seriously on the international stage.


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