Friday 21 December 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 21/12/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Shutterstock


Feel the burn

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be attending a ceremony today to mark the closure of his country’s last black-coal mine: the Prosper-Haniel colliery in North Rhine-Westphalia. Although the closure may sound like a victory for environmentalists, Germany still has numerous open-pit mines that extract brown coal, which is cheaper and dirtier than black coal. ClientEarth energy lawyer Ida Westphal notes how “villages, homes, old churches and forests are still being bulldozed to make way for ongoing coal developments, even as the EU pledges to move beyond coal.” Germany remains the EU’s leading producer and burner of coal and, despite attempts to end its reliance, the country still has a long way to go in reinstating its green credentials.

Image: Getty Images


Political animal

Japan is planning to revive its whaling industry in dramatic fashion. Later this month Tokyo will announce that it’s pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), an organisation formed in 1946 to protect endangered whale species. The decision reflects Tokyo’s longstanding frustrations with the IWC’s focus on conservation. It’s also hardly a surprise: every year Japan has killed hundreds of the creatures for research since the IWC passed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. Tokyo says that it’s keeping the country’s centuries-old traditions alive but demand for whale meat has shrunk in recent decades. The pressure is now on the IWC to figure out how to stay relevant if more pro-whaling nations decide to drop out.

Image: Shutterstock


Wary glances

There is a rising tide of unease in Australia surrounding Chinese activity in the country. In May, then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull decried China’s “brazen” and “aggressive” interference in Australian affairs over the past 10 years. Those who are twitchy about that notion won’t be pleased by the news announced this week: Chinese investors now command the second-biggest property portfolio of Australian land after the UK. Despite Australia banning Huawei – whose executive is embroiled in a spying scandal – and bringing in land-purchase reforms (making it harder for rampant foreign investment), this finding will set off alarm bells in the Australian business and security industries.


Dream flight

There’s a new business battle being waged in the skies between private-jet manufacturers. While Gulfstream’s G650 has long dominated the industry, Montréal’s Bombardier has blindsided its competitor with the first delivery of its Global 7500 jet. Featherlight materials mean that the jet can carry amenities once reserved for converted commercial aircrafts, such as a full-sized bed and marble floors, without limiting its range. Bombardier has turned its focus on its business-jet division as the key to cost-cutting corporate restructuring, which saw 5,000 layoffs in November. The new jet is expected to lift revenue by a much-needed $3bn (€2.6bn) by 2020; Bombardier believes that the ultrawealthy will be enticed more by the prospect of a good night’s rest than anything else.

Image: Alamy

Yukiwa – Japan’s silver service

Yukiwa, a 106-year-old family-run business is known throughout Japan for manufacturing elegant items (from napkin rings to a European sherbert trolley) that offer both restaurants and homes pieces with extra panache.

Monocle Films / Global

Copenhagen: healthy city growth

The concept of kolonihave, a blissful combination of an allotment and a summer house, has shaped Danish cities since the late 17th century. Today avid growers convene in these colonies to find a peaceful place to commune with nature – and a community of diverse characters.


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