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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 27 November 2018

Geopolitics

Image: Getty Images

Saudi’s sore point

The country’s efforts to salve an open wound look conspicuously salty.

The Saudi monarchy is continuing with its attempts to bury bad news this week as crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, tours “brotherly” Arab countries at the behest of his father, King Salman. But the prince is not exactly expecting a warm welcome: his visit to Tunisia today will be marked by several protests over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his Istanbul consulate last month. There are signs that the scandal may soon have an effect on military support for the state as well: a newly released IRC/YouGov poll in the US shows that 82 per cent of respondents are in agreement that Congress must vote to end or decrease arms sales in light of Saudi Arabia's bloody involvement in Yemen. It’s going to take more than a bit of charm at next week’s G20 summit to repair his country’s reputation.

Transport

Image: Getty Images

Pole position

BMW aims to race ahead of the competition by launching its ride-sharing service in China.

Can a Bavarian car company succeed in China where western ride-sharing giants have stalled? BMW hopes so. From next month the German firm’s subsidiary BMW Mobility will operate its ride-sharing service in Chengdu, in China’s Sichuan province, after officials granted them a licence (they will also test driverless vehicles there). BMW will hope to corner the world’s fastest-growing mobility market by poaching customers from domestic giant Didi Chuxing, which drove Uber out of the country in 2016. The car-maker doesn’t shy away from competition: in the summer it released a high-end competitor to Uber and Lyft in Seattle called ReachNow (pictured). Cracking China, however, might prove to be a long and bumpy road.

Fashion

Image: Terence Chin

What not to wear

A lack of innovation is a key factor in the demise of Aussie menswear chain Roger David – but that might not be such a bad thing.

Australian menswear retailer Roger David is preparing to close its doors for the last time this week. The 76-year-old national chain attributes its demise to rising operational costs and increased competition from global giants, such as Zara and Uniqlo. So is a tough market to blame or the retailer’s lack of innovation? Perhaps both. It’s clear that Australian shoppers are no longer drawn to its staid formats and unimaginative interiors but also that physical retail isn't dead. Brands such as Incu (pictured) have led a bold reinvention of the bricks-and-mortar model: their elegant shops contain an emporium-style edit of men’s and women’s fashion and homeware. The demise of brands such as Roger David marks the end of an era – but perhaps it’s one that belongs in the past.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

The fairer sex

Will an extra day off work to celebrate women lead to greater equality elsewhere?

Berlin mayor Michael Müller will introduce a public holiday this spring to mark International Women’s Day. On 8 March, Berliners will be granted a day off work to contemplate the achievements of women and consider how they can help tackle gender inequality with education in societies where women are marginalised. An enthusiastic endorsement is laudable and a poignant reminder that there is still more to be done to usher in a fairer society. A recent EU report showed that Germany has above-average gender parity compared with its European neighbours; at the bottom of the list are Hungary and Greece. Perhaps their respective leaders, Viktor Orbán and Alexis Tsipras, could learn something from a break to the German capital this spring.

From Monocle 24

Image: Getty Images

Northland Mall

The Urbanist: Tall Stories

What can the mastermind of the much-maligned mall teach us about cherishing our high streets? Plenty, says Monocle’s Josh Fehnert.

From Monocle Films

Athens’ favourite neighbourhoods

Do you want to visit the heart of Athens but steer clear of the tourist traps? Take a walk around Petralona, Koukaki and Filopappou to discover the best areas of the capital according to Athenians themselves.

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