On Sunday a national referendum saw Colombia reject a peace deal that would have ended 52 years of warfare with the Farc guerrilla rebels. The shock outcome, which the No camp won with just 50.24 per cent, has raised fears that the nation will once again sink into a political war that has already claimed the lives of about 220,000 people. But Farc leader Timoleón Jiménez and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos stated that they will continue to negotiate in Havana, Cuba, with an eye to securing a satisfactory peace deal. The rejected proposal, which would have seen the Marxist rebels become a legitimate political party and serve no prison sentences for their past belligerence, was deemed too lenient by former president Álvaro Uribe, whose Democratic Center party led the No campaign and demanded a new deal. “Everyone wants peace,” he said, but “judicial lenience must not constitute impunity.”
Estonia’s emergence from the Iron Curtain and onto the political and economic stage of modern Europe has been one of the great success stories of the EU. Until last week, however, the Baltic state lacked a place in which its long and sometimes turbulent history could be explored, celebrated and shared. That changed with this month's opening of the Estonian National Museum, built on a former Soviet airbase by Paris-based architects Dorell Ghotmeh Tane. This location no doubt carries a symbolic historical message but details such as the external panels on the façade, which reference the country’s national blossom, the cornflower, make this project as much about defining Estonia’s present as it is its past.
Anybody who’s ever attended the dizzying extravaganza that is Milan’s Salone del Mobile will struggle to believe that the Italian city needs another design festival. Yet Lombardy’s capital begs to differ and, in a move that echoes the biannual fashion calendar, has launched Fall Design Week: nine days of events, installations and exhibitions. The festival, which runs until 9 October, spans the well-trodden districts of Brera and Lambrate but also plots fresh locations on the design map, including the market of Viale Monza and Palazzo Morando. The city council upholds that this isn’t simply another Fuorisalone: instead of new product releases the focus is on talks that showcase ideas and proposals. Only time will tell if editors and design professionals will make space in their diary for yet another autumnal Milanese outing.
With member nations of the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Johannesburg this week unanimously agreeing on the closure of domestic ivory markets around the world, conservationists are hoping to put poachers and illegal traders out of business. But defiance is not illegal. Japan says it won’t shut down its market – in ivory name stamps, traditional musical instruments, sculptures and jewellery – and that its tough domestic regulations thwart the risk of black-market trading. Tokyo also contests suggestions of a decline in the elephant population of Southern Africa. It said as much when it arranged for large shipments of ivory from Southern African elephants after international trading was banned in 1990. Sound familiar? Look no further than Japan’s whaling programme to see what limitations come with voluntary international bans.
In the first of two film reports from the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, Monocle Films talks to Chilean architect – and this year’s curator – Alejandro Aravena about his chosen theme “Reporting from the Front” and his hopes for stimulating the debate on improving quality of life in the built environment.
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