The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 8 November 2018

Environment

Image: Alamy

Splitting opinion

Despite strong resistance, Tokyo is about to fire up an idling nuclear reactor. Isn’t it time for Japan to find an alternative?

In spite of grassroots opposition, a rally in Tokyo and a 15,000-strong petition, Japan’s nuclear watchdog yesterday approved a 20-year extension to the operational life of the sole nuclear reactor in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The ageing Tokai No 2 plant is one of dozens of reactors across Japan that have been idle since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011; in line with the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s own 40-year limit, Tokai was due to be shut down at the end of November. The restart will cost an estimated ¥174bn (€1.3bn) and local governments have yet to give their consent; that’s because 960,000 people live within a 30km radius, making it the most densely populated nuclear site in Japan. The 2011 disaster showed that earthquake-prone Japan should be focusing its considerable wealth and technological prowess on developing alternative energy sources. Seven years on, this isn’t a good sign.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Bonjour, mes amis

Why the president of France is keen to make friends in the Spanish capital.

Europe’s liberals have touched down in Madrid: the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe party (ALDE), a centrist European political group, begins a three-day congress in the Spanish capital today. EU prime ministers, MPs and MEPs, among others, are in town to debate and strategise ahead of 2019’s European Parliament elections. While more than 1,000 are expected to attend, all eyes will be on Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! representatives for signs of a potential collaboration with ALDE to push a liberal agenda. As the most prominent pro-Europe politician, Macron will be fighting against a tide of far-right nationalist and Eurosceptic parties in May’s election; teaming up with ALDE could provide an essential boost.

Aviation

Image: Getty Images

Tricky take-off

Canada needs some new fighter jets – but plans to secure them are up in the air.

Canada has been trying to replace its ancient CF-18 fighter jets, most of which date back to the 1980s, for nearly a decade. Now, after years of vying for the CA$26bn (€17.3bn) contract, France’s Dassault Aviation has pulled its bid. The reason? Cost. France is not a member of Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing network that includes both Canada and the US and has strict security requirements for its technologies. To meet the requirements, Dassault would have to outspend its US competitors that are already familiar with the encryption and data-sharing know-how needed to patrol North American skies. Last year Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said he wouldn’t do business with Boeing due to a dispute with Canadian manufacturer Bombardier – but times have changed. Boeing is a likely finalist for the contract, along with fellow US manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Transport

Image: Brisbane City Council

Ferry impressive

Kudos to Brisbane, which is about to improve upon an already exemplary river service.

Already one of the world’s most elegant commuter services, Brisbane’s CityCat public ferries will welcome a handsome new addition to the fleet next year. The announcement came this week that the high-speed catamarans, which skip merrily along the subtropical city’s Brisbane River day and night, will be joined by a double-decker derivative of the original model, known as the SuperCat. The souped-up vessel is illustrative of Brisbane’s ability to draw economy from its river: the commuter service is used by millions of citizens but also tourists, who flock to numerous regenerated waterfront areas. Too often, post-industrial cities such as London and Paris fail to maximise the value of their waterways; this shimmering example of how to do it well should make waves.

From Monocle 24

Amastan Paris

The Entrepreneurs

Amastan is reshaping the idea of a hotel stay in the City of Light. It is the vision of self-starter Zied Sanhaji who, armed with his family’s entrepreneurial spirit and his own know-how from a range of hospitality jobs, opened the doors a few years back. The boutique property encourages creativity and connection, with all the charm and top service you’d expect from a venue with just 24 rooms.

From Monocle Films

Munich: The Monocle Travel Guide

Munich manages to have one foot in the old world and another firmly planted in the new – and that's part of its undeniable charm. Monocle's travel guide will help you navigate this cross-section of history and modernity and point you in the direction of our favourite emerging hotels, lively kitchens serving Bavarian classics and the best places to grab your culture fix.

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