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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 18 September 2018

Urbanism

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Strong and stable?

Hong Kong’s sturdy infrastructure has helped it withstand a typhoon – but despite inclement conditions, workers were still expected to clock in.

Hong Kong has been quick to get back to business after Mangkhut, this year’s strongest typhoon, ripped through southern China over the weekend. The picture looked far worse in the nearby province of Guangdong where there were chaotic street scenes of flooding, fallen trees and architectural debris. Major cities such as Macau and Guangzhou, for example, suspended both work and school. So what has made Hong Kong – which continued largely as normal – so resilient? Its modern infrastructure has a large part to play, allowing it to avoid serious casualties. Hong Kong’s government has nevertheless drawn criticism for not suspending office work as legions of commuters were stuck in train stations in dangerous conditions. Other hubs should take note of HK’s efficiency but the city with the world’s longest working hours also needs to realise that working from home doesn’t always translate to slacking off. 

Finance

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Lonely Londoners

As Deutsche Bank prepares to relocate to the continent, some London analysts suggest that it’s simply an outlier.

The pound may have risen at the end of last month following possible progress in Brexit negotiations but bad news was just around the corner. Yesterday Deutsche Bank confirmed that it would move a large chunk of its assets (potentially 75 per cent of an estimated €600bn) from London to Frankfurt over the coming years. Some analysts say London should expect more Deutsche-style deserters but others are sceptical of the scaremongering. While London may lose its dominance as a financial hub, there is no one pretender to the crown that will steal all the business; it’s more likely that London will have its wings clipped and end up on a par with the likes of Frankfurt, Zürich and Paris.

Publishing

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About time

A stronger online presence could give ‘Time’ magazine the boost it needs; handily its new owner knows a thing or two about technology.

Less than eight months after its parent company, Time Inc, was sold to Meredith Corporation for $2.8bn (€2.4bn), the eponymous news publication has changed hands once more. Time magazine is now the property of Marc Benioff, a technology entrepreneur with a net worth of more than $6bn (€5bn). If Benioff, who made his fortune with cloud-computing company Salesforce, seems an unlikely pair of hands for the publication, it’s worth remembering that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has owned The Washington Post since 2013 (and under his stewardship the newspaper has been on an upward trajectory). As Tyler Brûlé, Monocle’s editor in chief, said on Monocle 24’s The Briefing, recent years have seen Time “wither on the vine” but he’s hopeful about its future: a “strong and compelling” digital proposition could, he says, make all the difference. And who better to spearhead it than a technology billionaire?

Culture

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Bid for parity

Germany’s art market is mired in bureaucracy – isn’t it time to loosen up?

It’s not always fun and games in Europe’s most powerful economy – and that’s currently being felt in the rarefied world of Germany’s auction houses. The problem? Red tape is making hammer time all the more difficult and driving business overseas. Auctioneers pinpoint the root of the problem in a cultural-heritage law from 2016. The legislation’s aim is admirable (stopping the trafficking of looted booty from conflict zones) but it’s also leading to a tangle of bureaucracy that has put people off. Add to the mix sales tax and artists’ insurance tax and it means that Germany’s auction houses are losing out to those in the UK and Switzerland. In fact, Germany only commands about 2 per cent of the global arts market. Geopolitical titan it may be but it’s being let down here.  

From Monocle 24

Image: Shutterstock

Brazil’s baffling ballot

The Foreign Desk

The lead-up to next month’s elections has been nothing short of extraordinary, even by Brazilian standards. But the results should not be overlooked given that the victor will take charge of South America’s biggest economy. Who will win – and can they clean up Brazil’s politics?

From Monocle Films

The secret to running a restaurant

In our latest edition of The Experts, Niklas Ekstedt opens up his acclaimed eatery – Ekstedt – and divulges some insightful tips on how to run a successful restaurant.

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