The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 29 August 2018

Trade

Image: Shutterstock

Nafta lives on

As the US and Mexico revise the Nafta agreement, Canada returns to the negotiation table.

Donald Trump would like you to think that the new trade deal announced between the US and Mexico on Monday is a death knell for Nafta. It isn’t. By apparently going solo on a new agreement with Mexico, Trump is trying to push Ottawa into a corner. “The Canadians are going to have to be very creative [and] find ways to minimise the damage,” says Hershell Ezrin, a former Canadian diplomat and a consultant at the Toronto-based Global Public Affairs consultancy. “Trump can absolutely make things nasty and difficult for the Canadians. But he is a master of overstatement so I still think there’s an opportunity for a new deal.” As foreign minister Chrystia Freeland touched down in Washington yesterday to continue the negotiations, it’s important to keep in mind that the White House is still working on a three-country deal – no matter what Trump says.

Religion

Image: Getty Images

He who is without sin

Having courted controversy during a shaky tour of Ireland, it seems that the pope has lost his ability to smooth out scandals.

It’s been a busy and not-that enlightening few days for the pontiff. Pope Francis only made it as far as the plane out of Ireland – following a trip on which he was accused of not going far enough in his apologies for historic abuse within the Catholic Church – before courting controversy again. First a prominent archbishop published a letter accusing the pope of covering up the crimes of former Washington cardinal Theodore McCarrick (which the pope refused to confirm or deny). Then he was yesterday accused by a journalist of saying that the parents of gay children could turn to psychiatrists for help. Though Francis was once viewed as a revolutionary force within the Church, the past few days have revealed that in times of crisis his famed diplomacy skills aren’t worth a damn.

Technology

Image: Getty Images

Over the top?

Europe’s biggest technology fair is a showcase for innovation but are we solving problems that don’t exist?

Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) is Europe’s biggest technology event. Unlike Las Vegas’s similarly oversized CES, however, IFA is open to the public. This year’s edition kicks off in Berlin this week and runs until Wednesday 5 September. IFA focuses as much on white goods as brown. There are likely to be smartphone launches from Honor, HTC and Sony, new wearables from Fitbit and Fossil and smart home devices from Tado and Eve. Alongside all that, get ready for fridges that can describe their contents and washing machines that are connected to the internet. The next challenge? To find a good reason for all this connectivity.

Transport

Image: Getty Images

Launch vehicle

A Japanese initiative could give a whole new meaning to fly-drive holidays – if it ever gets off the ground.

If the government has its way, flying cars might be appearing in Japan’s skies in the not-too-distant future. A group of 21 companies – including Uber, Airbus, Boeing, Japan Airlines and Japan’s biggest delivery company Yamato Holdings – have been meeting today to set out a plan to make flying cars a reality in Japan. The country has lost some ground on the development of driverless cars and hopes that this new project will make it the world pioneer. According to Japan’s trade ministry, flying cars could ease congestion, help with transport to Japan’s more remote regions and boost tourism. Uber, Boeing and Airbus are among several companies already working on flying-car services (Uber says a Paris service could be a possibility by 2023). As headline grabbing as flying cars may be, it’s hard to see how a fleet of small airborne vehicles could solve any city’s traffic problems to say nothing of the logistical headache that awaits those trying to sort out the regulations.

From Monocle 24

Eugene Jarecki, Chilly Gonzales and Beatrice Dillon

The Monocle Weekly

We meet film-maker Eugene Jarecki to hear about The King, his new documentary about Elvis and the American dream. Plus: musician Chilly Gonzales joins us to discuss his new album ‘Solo Piano III’ and we hear from artist and producer Beatrice Dillon about her recent work and appearance at Berlin Atonal festival.

From Monocle Films

Jordan's creative scene

There's a budding entrepreneurial scene in Amman, Jordan's charming capital. We profile the young people who are making things happen, whether it's by starting design studios, cafés, galleries or small businesses.

Loading...

/

15

15

Live

00:00 01:00