The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 23 November 2018

Transport

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Sturdy platform

It will be full steam ahead for Canada’s Bombardier if it wins a new train contract.

Business may be about to get back on track for Montréal-based transport manufacturer Bombardier. Following several years marked by job cuts and delivery delays, it is now the front-runner for one of North America’s largest rail contracts: 999 multilevel passenger trains for New Jersey Transit, the US’s largest state public-transport system. The contract would mark a major coup for the company; earlier this year Kawasaki was awarded $3.7bn (€3.2bn) to revamp New York's metro. In 2016, Bombardier embarked on a restructuring plan to cut costs so winning the New Jersey contract would mark a major turning point. It will also ensure that manufacturing remains a key pillar of Canada’s economy.

Society

Image: ALAMY

Rural reward

As Tokyo strains with new residents, Japan’s government may offer a sweetener to those considering a move to the countryside.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe has tied Japan’s economic growth to a policy of chiho sosei – regional revitalisation. That’s been complicated by one fact: for more than two decades Tokyo has had an influx of new residents at the expense of nearly every other prefecture. Abe’s administration is now considering offering grants and tax cuts worth up to ¥3m (€23,000) each to people who move from central Tokyo to the country’s more remote regions. It’s not yet clear which regions the government will promote or how much funding in total will be set aside. But already the idea has its share of critics, including Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike. “What’s needed is for the regions to showcase their strengths and uniqueness and create an environment that people find attractive. That should be the focus of the central government’s policy approach.”

Politics

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Power up

New Delhi has made a show of reining in the region of Jammu and Kashmir ahead of upcoming elections.

This week, an alliance of parties in the Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir attempted to stake a claim for governance in the area – by fax. When that failed, the alliance continued to tweet the incumbent governor Satya Pal Malik (pictured, who was put into power by the central government in June) with its request. After both attempts fell on deaf ears, the Modi administration dissolved the state assembly amid what his Bharatiya Janata party called an “absence of stable government”. The move is seen as New Delhi’s attempt to strengthen its hand in upcoming elections by showing muscle against the recent wave of political instability in the beleaguered area. In any case, further confrontation between the Muslim-majority population in the region and right-Hindu New Delhi is likely.

Property

Image: ALAMY

Not in my back yard

Berliners are hoping for another anti-gentrification victory as they protest against the sale of homes on an iconic socialist avenue.

Berlin is no stranger to anti-gentrification marches. Last month protesters forced Google to abandon a planned campus building in the borough of Kreuzberg. Now they are hoping for another victory. The latest wave of indignation was sparked by real-estate company Deutsche Wohnen’s acquisition of 700 apartments on the iconic Karl-Marx-Allee, the monumental socialist boulevard that was East Germany’s flagship building project. Banners hanging from windows read, “Capitalist Avenue – flogged to Deutsche Wohnen for 28 million”. Tenants’ groups have announced plans to gather the 170,000 signatures needed to prompt a referendum on the sale. As Berliners prove that they won’t accept gentrification without a fight, other cities should take note – unchecked development might seem attractive in the short run but it shouldn’t be put above the interests of the people it affects.

From Monocle 24

Image: Curt Essel

Joey Dosik

The Monocle Culture Show: The Sessions at Midori House

LA jazz and soul singer Joey Dosik plays from his debut album ‘Inside Voice’ and talks about writing love songs about basketball.

From Monocle Films

Sound of Prague

The Czech National Symphony Orchestra has struck an international chord, with its redoubtable musicianship attracting big-name pop and music-score clients from Ennio Morricone to Sting.

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