Friday 13 July 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 13/7/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Travelling circus

Donald Trump arrived in London yesterday. He came straight from the Nato summit in Brussels, where he left a trail of acrimony and bewilderment (something he has become notorious for on the world stage). A surprise announcement saw him beaming as he explained how he had strong-armed a defence breakthrough with Germany and the other member nations; however, details on how or when spending would be increased were not forthcoming. Trump also declared that relations between Nato countries are stronger than ever, despite having hinted at pulling the US out of the treaty organisation altogether just days earlier. Trump’s UK visit has come at a tough time for Theresa May: yesterday finally saw the release of the Brexit white paper, the details of which show that a “special” trade deal with the US will be more difficult than originally thought.

Image: Getty Images


On your bike

Government regulations can be the enemy of innovation, especially when it comes to rolling out new mobility solutions. While ride-sharing apps such as Uber have faced such setbacks in the past, now it’s dockless-bicycle companies that are finding it difficult to negotiate regulatory potholes. Several bike-sharing start-ups have exited Singapore after the city-state clamped down on its key selling point: the ability to pick up or drop bikes anywhere. Similar rules have seen Chinese dockless-bike pioneer Ofo pull out of cities across the US, Australia and Israel. It seems that adopting smart mobility solutions while keeping streets safe and free from clutter is a tricky balancing act. Government officials, however, aren’t always to be blamed. Hong Kong’s cycle-rental service GoBee lasted just a year before filing for bankruptcy this month. It wasn’t city regulations that caused the chain to come off; turning a profit was found to be an uphill struggle.

Image: Getty Images


Helping hands

As Venezuela continues its slide into the abyss, its neighbours are benefitting from the country’s professionals. They’re already smartening up the gruff hospitality scene in the Argentinian capital and soon they could be coming to the rescue in the Patagonian province of Río Negro, which is suffering from a severe lack of trained doctors. More than 30,000 Venezuelans have been granted citizenship by Argentina – many of whom fled due to the instability provoked by the regime of Nicolás Maduro – and about 2,000 doctors are thought to have arrived in the past year. The doctors initiative, drawn up by the director-general of migration, would see Venezuelans offered a salary and a house if they were prepared to move to the province. It’s an appealing deal – as long as the Venezuelan doctors can stand the biting winter temperatures.

Image: Getty Images


Chip off the old block

If there is one person that you can count upon to toe the party line, it’s the man who’s married to your daughter. This week Recep Tayyip Erdogan wasted no time in using his newly acquired executive powers to sack former Merrill Lynch chief economist Mehmet Simsek as finance and treasury minister. In his place? Erdogan’s inexperienced son in law Berat Albayrak. He’s also formed a new cabinet comprising staunch loyalists to ensure that there won’t be too many contrarian views (or the urge to engage in a proper democracy). For this reason – in addition to a few others – the Turkish lira tumbled to its lowest value on record yesterday. Erdogan’s “move fast and build things” model for economic growth, which features grand infrastructure projects and relies on high consumer spending, has rung alarm bells. Analysts have widely heralded an imminent collapse of the Turkish economy and if that happens, ministers such as Albayrak won’t be of much use to Erdogan.

Time to cool it

We take a step back, look at the life unfolding around us and ask: have our cities become a little too orderly?

In praise of balconies

Look up as you stroll Zürich’s streets and you’ll see these outdoor living rooms everywhere. Monocle Films visited the city to outline this architectural feature and how it improves quality of life.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00