The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 6 July 2016

Image: Philippe Huguen/Getty Images

Moving the goalposts

Tonight will see Wales – the surprise success of this year’s Euro 2016 football championship in Lyon – face Portugal in the semi-final. Few anticipated that a team that hasn’t appeared in a major football tournament since the 1958 World Cup and represents a nation of just three million would make it so far. The triumphs of the Welsh team also come at a rather strange moment politically. In last month’s referendum, 17 out of 22 regions in Wales voted to leave the European Union, despite huge sums of EU funding being channelled into the nation's poorest areas, which have been long overlooked, largely, by successive UK governments. The level of support for the Leave campaign has caused much soul-searching at home. But while the nation’s political and economic struggles won’t be resolved anytime soon, the recent glories of the Welsh football team have offered a glimmer of light amid the gloom for many across the country – and provided a much-needed boost to its reputation outside its borders. Pob lwc, Cymru!

Image: Kohichi Ogasahara

Tokyo’s pen pals

Anyone who’s spent time in Japan’s capital knows the city is a paradise for fans of pen and paper, with countless sleek and well-stocked stationery shops dotted around the city. So Tokyo provides the perfect setting for Isot, the largest stationery and office-supplies fair in Asia, which begins today. The three-day event, now in its 27th year, is held in the Tokyo Big Sight convention centre on the shore of Tokyo Bay. Though not open to the public, the trade fair bills itself as the “best gateway to enter the Japanese/Asian-Pacific market”, bringing together more than 2,200 exhibitors and buyers from all over the region. Not in the trade? Check out some of our favourite Tokyo shops – including Kakimori in the city’s Kuramae neighbourhood, Ito-ya in Ginza and Shosaikan in Aoyama – to get your stationery fix.

Image: Carlos Osorio/Getty Images

Stamp of disapproval

Canada Post continues to plough through its publicity problems. Like traditional mail services everywhere, the country’s beleaguered national postal service has been struggling for years as an increasing number of people move online. Yet the 149-year-old firm hasn’t won much public support with attempts to ease the strain on its finances. The halt of door-to-door deliveries in some areas in favour of communal postboxes proved particularly contentious and was even a campaign issue during last year’s general election. This year Canada Post finds itself in a drawn-out labour dispute with its workers’ union over a new contract; the firm claims the union’s demands will cost more than CA$1bn (€690m) to carry out. Yet once again it could be the public that suffers: yesterday Canada Post issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the union, which could see mail and parcels go undelivered and no new items being accepted from Friday.

Image: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Grey area

As ageing populations stretch city infrastructure the world over, Beijing is trialling a potential solution to its looming crisis. Elderly residents of the Chinese capital are to be offered a spot in subsidised care homes in neighbouring Tianjin and other cities in Hebei province with rooms to spare. About 23 per cent of Beijing’s 21.4 million residents fall into the senior age bracket and the vast majority live in the city centre, leading to long waiting lists at centrally located care homes. There is one potential problem, however: it might take some time to bring Beijing’s elderly around to the idea of moving out of the capital to an unfamiliar city.

From Monocle 24

Minima Moralia

Artists and creatives are vital to city life but many are being priced out. We visit Dalston Roof Gardens in east London to inspect an affordable, compact studio that can be erected almost anywhere. Its mission: to combat the scourge of rising studio prices.

From Monocle Films

The Monocle Travel Guide Series: New York

New York can easily live up to its movie-star good looks but it can be a city that surprises, too. Monocle has had a bureau in the Big Apple since its launch in 2007 and this has made us passionate about the city and its ambitions. The Monocle Travel Guide to New York, published by Gestalten, is a celebration of all that we love about the city. Available now at The Monocle Shop.

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