It was one of the enduring refrains of the Leave campaign during the Brexit debate: Germany’s car-makers would never allow their government to damage lucrative trade with Britain, such was the putative sway they held over their ministers. It appears, however, that the states of Germany have dealt their cosy relationship with the auto industry a severe blow. According to reports by Der Spiegel, at its last sitting the Bundesrat (federal council) decided to work towards a plan whereby petrol and diesel-powered cars would be outlawed by 2030. It’s a bold move but it’s also well conceived: emissions-free cars are a reality that’s only held back by the current low prices at the pump. This ultimatum may just induce car-makers to step on the gas – or should that be charge up the battery?
The time-honoured route for budding ambassadors from the UAE is to first hone their credentials overseas; universities such as Johns Hopkins and Georgetown are firm favourites. Now, however, the country wants to take the next step in-house: the Emirates Diplomatic Academy released its first graduates last week under the guidance of Spanish diplomat Bernardino León, a former UN special representative. The academy has put 50 postgrads through nine months of international relations, learning resilience in the field and discovering how to make diplomatic missions keep better pace with technology. There’s clearly a need for more diplomats: the UAE’s foreign policy has taken a more forthright turn in the past few years, not least with its involvement in the war in Yemen and outspokenness on Iran since the nuclear deal.
Singapore and Yangon’s economic relations are rapidly tightening, particularly in view of this year’s golden anniversary of the start of their diplomatic relations. As Yangon’s biggest investor in the hospitality industry, Singapore has built hotels and key infrastructural projects to boost the developing nation’s tourism industry. In turn it hopes to tap into Burma’s growing middle class, a demographic spending more time and money in Singapore. Following June’s announcement allowing visa-free travel for residents of both nations from December, respective flag-carriers Singapore Airlines and Myanmar Airways International have also increased flight frequencies to and from Yangon and Singapore. All these incentives bode well for doubling the number of visitors from last year’s 105,000.
When a museum’s collection spans from Anish Kapoor to Andy Warhol, doubling exhibition space can only attract a renewed wave of visitors. And with a structure as striking as its brand-new, UFO-like Maurice Nio design, Prato’s Centro Pecci is guaranteed to turn the Tuscan city into a key contemporary-art player. In the works for 10 years, the new building will finally open on 16 October and house an archive and library, while the existing auditorium and performance space will be ready to host art forms from dance to music. Newly appointed director Fabio Cavallucci wants the centre to not only cover all artistic genres but also reach out to the public. The new building is ready to fulfil his second aim too: conceived as a ring around the pre-existing structure, the golden spaceship will flaunt a public garden to draw in passers-by.
Christian Marclay has been rather busy recently. When he isn’t snapping images of straws and bottle tops found on the street he’s collaborating on albums and interpretive musical performances that explore the relationship between audio and visual. Last week Marclay was at White Cube, where one of his latest works was being beamed onto a large white wall in front of the Bermondsey gallery. While the projectionists were busy setting up, Robert Bound caught up with the artist.