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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 11 July 2016

Image: MOD

Flight of fancy

The UK now has its very own version of Air Force One: the government has taken a jet from the Royal Air Force’s Voyager fleet and refitted it to the tune of £10m (€11.7m). It will be used for VIP travel, including flights for official government business, as well as transport for the royal family. The revamped Airbus A330, which shed its 291 Economy seats in order to install 58 Business Class ones, made its maiden voyage this past weekend when prime minister David Cameron travelled to Warsaw for the Nato summit. Of course, Cameron’s first flight on the aircraft could also be his last as he now has just over two months left as PM.

Image: Timothy Schenck

Head for The Hills

New York is preparing to unveil the latest of its resilient urban parks. On 19 July The Hills will open on Governors Island, about a kilometre from the southern tip of Manhattan. The masterplan by urban-design and landscape-architecture firm West 8 encompasses 352,000 sq m of land and includes 42,963 shrubs, 54 species of local plants and nearly 3,000 trees. Aside from sweeping views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, the new public space also boasts New York’s longest slide (it’s three storeys tall). Rising 30 to 70 metres above sea level, The Hills is designed to withstand future storms and rising sea levels, ensuring its existence for years to come.

Image: Eugene Hoshiko/PA Images

Go fish

In November the world’s largest fish market, which is based in Tokyo’s Tsukiji district, will move to its new home in Tokyo Bay’s Toyosu. However, this October, before the demolition crews arrive, a Japanese documentary offering a rare look at the traditions and customs of the wholesale market – which handles 1,800 tonnes of seafood worth ¥1.5bn (€13.5m) each day – will be rolled out in domestic theatres. Produced by Shochiku and directed by Naotaro Endo, Tsukiji Wonderland will be a final send-off for the 81-year-old landmark. The new facility will be state of the art but it can hardly match the intimacy and atmosphere that drew so many visitors and made Tsukiji a symbol of Japan’s culinary customs for generations.

Higher volume

Bookshops in China are turning the page after the central government unveiled a co-ordinated initiative to promote reading. A set of national guidelines published last month aims to increase the number of bricks-and-mortar shops nationwide, promising tax breaks and reduced rents. The detailed release also calls for more around-the-clock opening hours following premier Li Keqiang’s appeal for bookshops to “light up roads for night readers”. Leading the way is Fang Suo Commune, which opened its fourth shop in Qingdao in June and has plans to launch a fifth in Shanghai next year. Beijing’s new guidelines will surely help the Chinese capital play catch-up with Tokyo – Monocle’s top-ranked city in our annual Quality of Life Survey – which boasts 1,300 independent bookshops.

From Monocle 24

Image: Steven dos Remedios

Buenos Aires

Stroll around Argentina’s capital any day of the week and you’ll see how much people love eating out: restaurants and cafés never seem to close. It’s also a city that offers far more than meets the eye, including the intriguing gastronomic underworld of semi-secret “closed-door” restaurants that rely on word of mouth to bring in diners.

From Monocle Films

Bean and gone: Tokyo cafés

Look past the dominance of the big chains in Tokyo and you will find a world of fiercely independent coffee shops. Monocle’s Fiona Wilson pays tribute.

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