The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 9 October 2018

Geopolitics

Image: Getty Images

Shot across the bows

Greece’s prime minister seems intent on rubbing salt in old war wounds – but Germany is on the defensive.

Greece is reported to be dusting off its long-running demand for €280bn in German war reparations for damages during the Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1944 – and this time it’s serious. Berlin paid a fraction of what Athens wanted in 1960 and considers the case closed but the issue resurfaced in 2000 and again in 2015. Now, with the EU-led bailout over, prime minister Alexis Tsipras will be discussing the subject during German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s visit to Greece later this week. With Tsipras’s ratings low and the controversial deal over Macedonia’s name looking uncertain, he is hungry for a PR win ahead of next year’s election. This desperate jab at Germany is unlikely to be the ticket.

Travel

Image: Alamy

Waves of opportunity

Silversea’s rising tide has the power to lift all boats in the premium cruise sector.

Having recently become part of the Royal Caribbean flotilla, premium cruise brand Silversea just announced that it’s upping the size of its fleet with the addition of three new vessels. While it’s surely good news for the German and Dutch shipyards that announced the orders on Monday, it could be even better news for the sector as the Royal Caribbean investment means Silversea might have the opportunity to offer a much-needed shake-up for a market that remains stubbornly grey. As the Pritzker family are among the biggest shareholders of both Royal Caribbean and Hyatt Hotels, Silversea might call on their expertise and think about how the next generation of vessels might take a page or three from their Park Hyatt collection. Imagine a floating version of the Park Hyatt Tokyo?

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Test the water

Carrie Lam could claw back some popularity – and some land – if she gives the go-ahead to a project that tackles Hong Kong’s housing shortage.

Tomorrow Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam is due to make her annual policy address and there’s a lot riding on its good delivery. Recent weeks have seen Lam’s popularity dip following the response to Typhoon Mangkhut – specifically the order that business continue as usual as roads were filled with detritus. But there is an opportunity to turn the page with a bold solution to the biggest problem facing Hong Kong: its housing shortage. All eyes will be on whether a green light will be given to a new land-reclamation project that could see HK$1trn (€100bn) spent on building into the ocean.

Architecture

Image: Getty Images

Fresh perspective

Melbourne’s answer to the Serpentine Pavilion aims to generate questions about city life.

As another summer season of London’s Serpentine Pavilion draws to a close, things are ramping up for its Australian cousin in Melbourne, with the unveiling of the design for this season’s MPavilion. This year the Aussie take on the UK-born concept enlists the talents of Spanish architect Carme Pinós (pictured, left); she has delivered a powerful statement on how to make our cities more inclusive, creating an origami-inspired structure purpose-built to facilitate the gathering of people. Talks to be held in the space will focus on women in leadership, which is part of a global push for gender parity in the largely male-dominated profession of architecture.

From Monocle 24

Image: Alamy

Community cinemas

The Urbanist: Tall Stories

Despite the arrival of streaming services and multiplex theatres, good independent cinemas are thriving. This week we examine the charm – and power – of the community cinema.

From Monocle Films

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.

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