The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 16 November 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Brace yourself

After her address in Downing Street, Theresa May is still in the thick of the Brexit battle.

The UK is on tenterhooks after prime minister Theresa May delivered a news conference following her most turbulent day in office to date. Many suspected that a hastily arranged evening news conference would see May throwing in the towel but she emerged with an address restating her commitment to see Brexit through. Exactly how remains a mystery. Resignations, dissent and her deeply divided Conservative party cast doubt on her ability to convince the House of Commons to pass her Brexit agreement. “We have a prime minister who has boxed herself in and left herself absolutely no room for manoeuvre,” says Lance Price, former communications director for Tony Blair, on The Briefing. May – along with the rest of the UK – is running out of options.

Geopolitics

Image: Getty Images

Looking for an advantage

The Maldives will play host as China and India seek to gain the upper hand in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives are known to most as a tropical holiday destination for the well-heeled. But in recent years an escalating jostle between China and India for dominance in the Indian Ocean has seen the island play host to the two Asian giants. On Monday, Maldivian president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will be sworn in – and making their presence known will be Indian premier Narendra Modi and China’s tourism minister Luo Shugang. “The last Maldivian president was very pro-Chinese; this leadership looks to be pro-balance,” says Gareth Price, senior fellow at Chatham House. “Despite that, India may struggle to compete in terms of resources, strategy and experience, especially as China’s presence is bolstered by a large number of tourists on the island.”

Transport

Image: Alamy

Sky’s the limit

Canada’s proposed Centre for Air Travel Research could make flying safer and smoother.

Plane seats are increasingly cramped and the cost of on-board snacks and having a bag stowed in the hold have increased. But Canada appears to be taking air passengers’ wellbeing more seriously. Minister of transport Marc Garneau yesterday announced the Centre for Air Travel Research, which will be the world’s first facility devoted to studying the air-travel experience. The Ottawa-based centre will develop new technology and enable airlines and manufacturers to study journeys from check-in to arrival. Canada’s government hopes to make air travel safer and smoother. Their global counterparts should make similar investments to ensure that passengers feel less like cattle.

Environment

Image: Shutterstock

Sustainable sustenance

Tokyo 2020 is aiming to top the podium when it comes to reducing food waste.

When Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics there will be a lot of mouths to feed. The main dining hall in the athletes’ village is expected to cook up 45,000 portions a day – and that’s just for the athletes. But not all of it will reach the finish line: more than 2,400 tonnes of leftovers and spoiled food was tossed out during the 2012 London Olympics. To minimise food waste in two years’ time, the Japanese government plans to set up a hi-tech system that tracks peak mealtimes and athletes’ dietary preferences. It’s also conducting surveys at international sports events to find out how many meals end up in rubbish bins. It’s an idea that could prove to be a winner on a broader scale: it might help solve Japan’s problem of throwing away more than six million tonnes of food every year. An Olympic legacy worth its weight in gold.

From Monocle 24

The London bus

The Urbanist

We devote an episode to London’s most recognisable form of transport: the bus. Authors Travis Elborough and Joe Kerr discuss their book ‘Bus Fare’.

From Monocle Films

Monocle Preview: December/January issue, 2018

As the festivities ramp up, find a perch by the fireplace to enjoy the December/January issue of Monocle. We've got Christmas shopping guides for cities from Tokyo to Vancouver and gift ideas aplenty; you can also toast 2019 with our Soft Power Survey, which is full of the nations to watch. Cheers!

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