Tuesday 18 June 2019 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 18/6/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Gabriel Leigh

Air support

After several heady years of record-breaking aircraft orders, this year’s Paris Air Show is looking like a much more reserved affair. But don’t be fooled by the quieter mood: this marks a pivotal moment for the most important airplane makers and no outcome is a given.

Reeling in the wake of two 737Max crashes, with no clear date for recertification, Boeing looks less like the proud maker of some of the world’s best airplanes and more like a company clumsily doing damage control (and whether it’s actually controlling the damage is questionable). As Airbus asserts its growing hold on the long-range single-aisle market with the launch of the highly capable A321XLR, Boeing is deliberating over whether it will build its own anticipated mid-sized plane from scratch, the NMA – an imaginative acronym for New Midsized Airplane. No doubt Boeing executives wish they could go back to 2011 and decide to build an all-new plane then, instead of the Max.

Boeing needs to move decisively. The only way out of its current funk is to admit its mishandling of the 737Max, reform its internal safety culture then push on with a revolutionary new plane to show the world that it still means business.

Image: Shutterstock

Diplomacy / The US & Iran

Enrichment activities

Relations between Washington and Tehran were further strained yesterday when the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced that it intends to break the rules set out in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. After ramping up its enrichment of low-grade uranium, Iran expects to have stockpiled 300kg by 27 June – violating the restrictions agreed in the JCPA. “The Pentagon does not want any major conflict with Iran but the chances for diplomacy here are narrowing,” Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at the University of Bradford, told The Briefing. “Meanwhile the European response to the US position has not been very tough.” The solution, then, may rely on some deft diplomacy from European leaders. Any takers?

Image: Reuters

Geopolitics / Ukraine

When the laughing stops

It’s showtime for Ukraine’s new comedian-turned-president as he meets his heavyweight European counterparts in Paris and Berlin this week. After winning April’s election with a landslide, Volodymyr Zelensky (who was previously most famous for a television role in which he played… the president of Ukraine) has said that making peace between government forces and Russia-backed separatists in the eastern region of the country is a priority. Yesterday he caught up with Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace and today he’ll see Angela Merkel and German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier. As both France and Germany are part of the Normandy format – a diplomatic effort to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine – the five-year war is likely to be the main topic of conversation. Of course, whether Vladimir Putin is truly onboard with a ceasefire is another story.

Image: Getty Images

Politics / Hong Kong

In like a lion…

The outcry in opposition to the extradition bill in Hong Kong has left chief executive Carrie Lam battling to save her political career. Calls for her resignation came over the weekend as about two million citizens, according to organisers, took to the streets. Then, yesterday, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong – who recently served a prison sentence for his involvement in the 2014 Umbrella Movement – added his voice to those insisting that she step down and the bill be repealed. Meanwhile there has been muted support for the embattled leader from the mainland. Lam’s chances of remaining in office hinge on whether she will listen to the overwhelming majority and dispense with the proposed law. But whether the chief executive has the inclination (or the power) to do so remains to be seen.

Image: Getty Images

Urbanism / Canada

Charter starter

Ontario premier Doug Ford isn’t shy when it comes to wielding his influence over Toronto: he has slashed city council almost in half, embarked on a takeover of its subway and redrawn transit plans. So it’s no wonder many Torontonians feel that the province exerts too much power over the future of Canada’s largest city. Empower Toronto, a panel discussion taking place this evening, offers a platform to explore the idea of the provincial capital becoming a “charter city” in the vein of New York. The move would allow Toronto to determine its own land-use, revenue collection, elections and local governance structure. While charter cities are more common in the US, it appears that Torontonians are keen. Initially the meeting was due to take place in a church basement; it’s changed venues many times since to cope with skyrocketing demand for seats at the table.

Image: Shutterstock

M24 / The Foreign Desk

China’s surveillance state

Everybody is subject to a certain amount of surveillance, whether it’s CCTV cameras in our streets or websites monitoring our online movements to better sell advertising. But what happens when governments use this information to learn things we might not even know about ourselves? China is at the forefront of much technological development, and surveillance is no different — the Communist Party of China is rolling out one of the biggest monitoring systems the world has ever seen. When does supervision become spying? Andrew Mueller is joined by Karoline Kan, Kai Strittmatter and Josh Cowls.

Monocle Films / France

Gallic revivals

Revamping forgotten brands is a growing trend in France, where entrepreneurs are tapping into pre-existing DNA and ready-made heritage. Monocle meets the brains behind some of these French revivals.


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