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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 19 July 2018

Defence

Image: Getty Images

Storm’s coming

The UK has unveiled plans for a new fighter jet and is banking on the rest of the world to help make it.

They say that the camel is just a horse designed by committee and that it doesn’t pay to get too many people involved in the process of making things, but not according to the Royal Air Force. With the unveiling of its new Tempest fighter-plane concept, it plans to do just that. Billed as the replacement for the RAF’s current Eurofighter Typhoon, the new Tempest will draw on partners to make it more effective in the future. “The design works on the basis of ‘open architecture’,” says Robert Fox, senior fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies. This means that the plane will be built by a consortium of BAE, Rolls Royce, Leonardo and MBDA, which will then look for global partners. “Sweden, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now being courted,” says Fox. Any port in a storm.

Culture

Image: Courtesy of ZDF

On the ball

Japan has some lofty goals and is teaming up with a German broadcaster to take a shot at them.

Inspired by the World Cup, Japanese broadcaster Fuji Television Network is set to make a 10-episode football drama with ZDF Enterprises, the production and distribution subsidiary of German public broadcaster ZDF. The new series, called ‘The Window’, will focus on the 10-week transfer period during which Premier League teams chase new signings. With a ¥2bn (€15m) budget, the show represents new territory for Fuji TV, hence the joint funding. If all goes to plan, ‘The Window’ will be broadcast globally (and on streaming services such as Netflix), taking Japanese television out of its usual geographic zone and giving ZDF a foothold in the Asian market. Cheering from the touchline will be the Japanese government. The new show plays right into its Cool Japan initiative to expand the country’s cultural exports.

Infrastructure

Image: Getty Images

On the road again

Big Sur will soon be back in business as Highway 1 is finally repaired – ending a brief period of tranquility.

A stretch of California’s iconic Highway 1 reopened yesterday after more than a year of closure. In the spring of 2017 landslides swept away a quarter mile of the road and a bridge just south of Monterey, rendering the highway impassable until the tiny town of Gorda. This left the dramatic area of Big Sur, long a draw for free spirits seeking the edge of the world, bifurcated. While the north remained connected, some of Big Sur’s most famous establishments, such as the Post Ranch Inn and the Ventana and Nepenthe restaurants, were almost completely cut off and could be reached directly only via helicopter or footpath. This brought an unintended quietness and exclusivity to the area, exempting it from the usual traffic of pan-American roadtrippers. People taking the scenic route between San Francisco and Los Angeles will be relieved, even if local residents have, for a time, enjoyed some serenity.

Culture

Image: Alamy

Pride of Britain

Brexit is marring the UK’s image abroad but London’s got a world-class museum that’s saving some face.

If London’s cultural scene ever needed a properly global voice (as the Brexit fiasco continues) now would be the time. Thankfully, the city’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) continues to provide a cultural dialogue of international importance. Launching its annual review yesterday, it celebrated a record year, announcing that 4.4 million people visited the V&A, Blythe House and the V&A Museum of Childhood between April 2017 and March 2018. Numbers are likely to increase in the future with the institution announcing a number of exhibitions for the coming years, including one dedicated to the work of British fashion photographer Tim Walker. Alongside the V&A’s upcoming Kengo Kuma-designed outpost in Dundee and a massive Dior showcase, the 166-year-old museum’s importance in showing a smarter side of the UK has never been more needed.

From Monocle 24

Auckland Central

The Menu: Food Neighbourhoods

Monocle 24’s David Stevens rounds up the culinary highlights of the largest city in New Zealand.

From Monocle Films

Made in London

Globes, spoons and weaving: Monocle Films drops in on three makers that are helping to reinvigorate the UK capital’s artisanal heartbeat.

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