Thursday. 3/1/2019

The Monocle Minute

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Security

The fight goes on

President Trump might be withdrawing troops from Syria but the battle against Islamic extremism isn’t confined to the Middle East.

While US president Donald Trump is keen to report a victory over Isis in Syria – and bring American troops stationed there home – the threat of radicalisation requires a global response. Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at the University of Bradford, believes that while there might be a pause in activity now, there is a further wave gathering pace around the world. “More groups – some allied to Isis, some not – are fermenting from the Sahel region of central-north Africa through to Somalia and Yemen to Indonesia and the Philippines,” he says. “The degree of relative marginalisation that you see in a lot of the globe seems to be one of the things that makes it much easier for these groups to recruit.”

Image: Getty Images

Transport

Green machines

China is set to become a driving force in the production of electric vehicles.

China is starting the year with a new set of regulations that will reduce emissions and kick-start the country’s electric-car industry. As of this month, all major car manufacturers will have to produce a certain number of electric models and units (within a system of credits) or risk being fined or shut down. The move is part of Beijing’s drive to improve air quality in its cities and become an innovator in electric vehicles in the coming years. By 2025, 20 per cent of all cars sold must be plug-in hybrids or battery-powered. Companies are scrambling to comply, with Volkswagen promising to introduce about 40 locally produced electric models within the next decade and Ford teaming up with domestic firm Zotye to make eligible vehicles. Given that China is the largest car market in the world, the new rules are likely to have a huge impact on the drive for electric transport.

Image: Getty Images

Europe

One vision?

The UK’s exit from the EU is just one of many challenges that Europe will face this year.

UK prime minister Theresa May yesterday summoned her cabinet back to Whitehall for an emergency meeting to plan for a no-deal Brexit. Next week, debates on the current deal will resume in parliament. While the UK steels itself for a bumpy start to the year, Quentin Peel, associate fellow with the Europe Programme at Chatham House, believes that 2019 will be marked by more member states becoming concerned with their domestic politics at the expense of the broader European vision, as well as an increase in Eurosceptic MEPs after the elections in spring. “There is a real fear that those who do not want more Europe, and do not want the vision that Macron and Merkel share, could end up with as much as 30 per cent of the vote in that parliament,” he tells Monocle 24. “This will make it very difficult to have a clear European majority in the parliament that would take through a European agenda.”

Image: Getty Images

Tourism

Hot ticket

Sweden’s Icehotel is a winter wonderland inside the Arctic Circle – just don’t expect to escape the chill.

Now in its 29th incarnation, the Icehotel in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi is made from 2,500 tonnes of ice from the River Torne. The space, which lies 200km north of the Arctic Circle, is redesigned every year by a team of artists from around the world. Rooms featuring sweet-shop lollipops, animals and Volkswagen camper vans carved from ice make the hotel a winter destination like no other. And, before you ask, yes, it is freezing. Guests are given a crash course in surviving the night: they are advised on what to wear and how to sleep in the provided gear, which is resistant to temperatures as low as minus 25C. Book while it's cold: the hotel will melt come April.

The Last Newspaper Reader: part two

Listen to our audio adaptation of “The Last Newspaper Reader”, a book by Michael Angele. In part two of our serialisation, we learn a seemingly simple thing: how to read a paper.

Funkhaus: on the same wavelength

We tour the stunning studios and recording halls of Funkhaus, east Berlin’s former communist broadcasting house.

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