The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 30 July 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Old habits die hard

As Zimbabwe votes for a new president, will it elect to leave Robert Mugabe in the past?

Zimbabwe heads to the polls today in the country’s first presidential election since Robert Mugabe was unseated by the military after 37 years of running the country – as well as the economy – into the ground. His replacement, president Emmerson Mnangagwa, from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, will be running against more than 100 political parties. Yet eight months after the coup, Mugabe’s legacy still hangs over the day. Some of the strongman’s supporters have formed a new party, his face has appeared emblazoned on signs and T-shirts at rallies while opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has courted Mugabe’s backing. But the key question is, will this be an election free from the former president’s old trick: vote rigging?

Aviation

Image: Getty Images

Back on top

Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer Antonov is set for a boost following a new deal with Boeing.

The 2014 Ukrainian revolution wreaked a heavy toll on business: many companies had grown heavily dependent on Russia. Antonov, the manufacturer of the world’s largest planes, was one company adversely affected by the breakdown in relations with its neighbour. But on Friday the Kiev-based firm announced a deal with Boeing’s parts manufacturer Aviall to set up a joint production plant in Ukraine in November, and recommence production by 2019. As 60 per cent of Antonov’s parts were imported from Russia, its output ground to a halt following deteriorating ties with Moscow (the company’s president, Oleksandr Donets, now aims to bring those parts in from North America, Europe and Israel). It’s a symbolic moment: Antonov has been the pride of Ukrainian industry since 1946 and the country will be much revived by its prized aircraft-maker spreading its wings once again.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Foregone conclusion

Hun Sen remains in power in Cambodia – which is a surprise to precisely no one.

Cambodia’s sham election yesterday yielded a result that surprised no one; prime minister Hun Sen’s CPP party regained power after crippling the democratic process. In the run-up to the election, Sen carried out a crackdown on the press, disbanded the country’s main opposition party and ordered that none of the 20 stooge candidates were to openly criticise the ruling regime. So it has been for the past 33 years; Sen is prepared to go through the motions of democracy in order to receive kickbacks from the international community. The move to form and launch an opposition party has now been fully crushed, with its members either imprisoned or on the run. With Sen rumoured to be ascension-planning, in order to hand more power to his sons, a peaceful transition to a real democracy is unlikely to come to Cambodia any time soon.

Transport

Image: Alamy

Super good

Actor Seth Rogen is set to lend his voice to his native city’s transport system.

Transit announcements in Vancouver are about to take an amusing turn. Comedian, actor and writer Seth Rogen, famed for co-writing Superbad and starring in films such as Knocked Up, is to become the voice of the city’s public transport. Rogen will remind people of good transport etiquette and announce stations on the city’s Canada Line and SkyTrain (where an opportunity to rename it the Pineapple Express has been missed). The transit agency revealed that the Vancouver-born Rogen will be taking on the role after TransLink abandoned its plan to hire Morgan Freeman for the job in May. Rogen has noted that he still uses public transit when in town and that he’s eager to participate in Canadian culture however he can (although the partnership will only be temporary).

From Monocle 24

Steve Watson and Marta Roca

The Stack

We welcome Steve Watson to talk about the 10th anniversary of his indie magazine subscription service Stack and Marta Roca with her delightful dogs title Four and Sons.

From Monocle Films

Urban growth: Solitair tree nursery

Cities are often seen as the flipside of nature: synthetic, sleek and sometimes impersonal. For places that pine after being greener, the Solitair tree nursery provides a blueprint. Monocle travels to Belgium to visit it and discover the value of investing in the future.

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