Monday. 18/3/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Venetia Rainey

Cannes-do attitude

The news in the UK last week may have been all about Brexit but at Mipim, the world’s biggest property fair over in Cannes, you’d be forgiven for forgetting it was happening at all (“Don’t say the B word,” joked one investor to me). London’s pavilion was actually buzzing with people checking out upcoming developments and investment hotspots – but perhaps that was down to its prime beachfront position (it also had the best free tote bag).

Rather than the B word, the focus this year was on carbon-neutral cities, which is a welcome evolution from the now-tired sustainability chat with concrete goals and proposals. Unsurprisingly, Copenhagen is leading the way, aiming to become a net zero-carbon emitter by 2025. Ambitious? Yes. But mayor Frank Jensen is bullish and insists that local governments like his have a crucial role to play in fighting climate change. Helsinki plans to follow suit by 2035 and Manchester by 2038, putting national government targets to shame.

What this means for an industry estimated to account for about 40 per cent of global energy consumption and a third of carbon emissions remains to be seen. But at least in Cannes the mood was optimistic and relaxed. There were even a few people in (smart) trainers – perhaps there’s hope for change after all.

Image: Getty Images

Security / Global

Copycat fears

New Zealand is still reeling from the terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch that claimed the lives of 49 people on Friday; it’s the country’s worst shooting since 1943. While the incident throws up questions around gun regulation, equally urgent are discussions of how to prevent or mitigate attacks on soft targets through the use of urbanism and new security measures. Michael Clarke, former head of security think-tank Rusi, worries that the incident marks a new turn in Islamophobic terrorism. “All terrorism, wherever it comes from, is very imitative and fashion-driven,” he tells The Briefing. “Now that this has happened in New Zealand, the sense that it might start to happen somewhere else is much greater than it was before.”

Image: Getty Images

Politics / Slovakia

Bucking the trend

Slovakia edged closer to new leadership over the weekend as presidential hopeful Zuzana Caputova won the first round of voting in the country’s elections. A relative newcomer to politics, the lawyer’s anti-government rhetoric and support of gay rights has garnered significant support in the past 12 months. Her run for president follows political turmoil: last year’s murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée led to mass protests and the resignation of prime minister Robert Fico. As Caputova eyes the second and final round on 30 March, Slovakia is emerging as a forward-thinking nation despite the trajectory of Poland and Austria, its two increasingly illiberal neighbours.

Image: Shutterstock

Technology / Japan

Fly drive

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s SpaceX may have only just docked an unmanned craft at the International Space Station but now another car-maker has announced that it’s also aiming for the stars. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) is teaming up with Toyota to study the possibility of collaborating on a self-driving transporter that could carry two astronauts a distance of 10,000km. The aim is to land the vehicle on the Moon in 2029. While Jaxa believes that a mixture of manned and unmanned travel is key to interplanetary exploration, Toyota hopes that the project can benefit its customers on Earth: the fuel-cell batteries that the proposed transporter would use could also power sustainable consumer vehicles.

Image: Reuters

Legal / Canada

Put that in your pipe

A historic Canadian class-action lawsuit involving the tobacco industry has hit another stumbling block. In early March, the Québec Court of Appeal upheld a decision that three cigarette-makers had hidden the risks of smoking from the public and reaffirmed they must shell out CA$15bn (€9.9bn) to 100,000 smokers. Analysts feared the decision could bankrupt the industry but two of the defendants – JTI-Macdonald and Imperial Tobacco Canada – were granted creditor protection just over a week ago, allowing them to restructure while also halting payouts to any victims. But the cigarette companies would be unwise to celebrate too soon: each Canadian province has launched suits to recoup the burdensome costs that smoking puts on the healthcare system. The first trial is slated to kick off in New Brunswick this autumn.

M24 / The Entrepreneurs: Eureka

Karen Mabon

Karen Mabon is a Scottish designer and illustrator, based in London, who’s known for her colourful and playful silk scarves. Her eponymous label was launched in 2013 after she attended the Royal College of Art. Her pieces are stocked by a number of retailers including Anthropologie, Bloomingdales and Harvey Nichols. The collection now also includes cashmere scarves, silk sleepwear and cushions, with plans to introduce more homeware and women’s clothing this year.

Film / USA

Brooklyn Navy Yard

From urban farming to robotics, we take a tour around the Brooklyn Navy Yard to see how this vast shipyard has rebuilt its industry and community once more.

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