The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 29 November 2016

Image: Getty Images

Decisions, decisions

It’s the backlash against the backlash. In the five months since the UK’s referendum on the country’s future within the EU, the concerns of the 48 per cent of people who voted to remain in the economic bloc have been drowned out by the Brexiteers’ triumphalism. Now, however, the former Remainers are becoming more strident, not calling for a reversal of the June decision but insisting that parliament be involved in the negotiation. Yesterday a second legal challenge against the government was announced, claiming that parliament should decide whether Britain aims for a “soft” Brexit or veers towards a “hard” one (which would involve a full dislocation from the single market). The central irony is that the Leave campaign won over many with its calls for parliament to “take back control”. It looks like they may get their wish after all.

Image: Alamy

Promised landings

For Japanese transport officials there are few higher priorities than figuring out how to accommodate more international flights before the 2020 Olympics. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s latest plans call for giving Tokyo’s Haneda Airport a partial makeover: a section of domestic Terminal 2 will be converted into an international terminal with customs, immigrations and health-quarantine facilities, as well as duty-free shops. It’s a creative short-term solution that won’t require adding another runway at Haneda, which ranks fifth in the world in terms of domestic and international passengers and 19th for the number of aircraft take-offs and landings. Once the government opens new approach routes over central Tokyo for the first time, Haneda will be able to handle 486,000 take-offs and landings a year, almost a 10 per cent increase of its current capacity.

Image: Alamy

La bella vita

When it comes to Italian quality-of-life indexes, the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto Adige has seen its provinces come out on top so many times that its predominance has become somewhat predictable (it’s no mystery that we have a soft spot for this corner of the bel paese too). But this year’s ranking by ItaliaOggi-Università La Sapienza di Roma, published yesterday by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, sees the province of Trento lose the title that it has held since 2011; first place goes to picturesque Mantua. It’s been a good year for the Lombardy town, which has also been elected Italy’s Culture Capital for 2016 and excels in environmental matters too. While Trento holds onto second place in yesterday’s results, South Tyrol’s other heavy-hitter Bolzano drops six places from last year and finishes eighth. Yet as the province of Belluno in Veneto completes the podium, Italy’s northeast still comes out the overall winner.

Jewels in the crown?

Dispense with the idea that a bit of time spent in the garret can be a route to great art; there’s a rich vein of forgotten artistic talent to be found in the world’s royal ramparts too, apparently. Royal Bridges: Convergence in Dubai is a rather strange exhibition of artworks by obscure princes and minor monarchs from around the world. There are works by the latest scion of the Russian house of Romanov, which hasn’t sat on the throne since 1917, and HRHs from dissolved kingdoms such as Princess Sibylle of Prussia. There are naturally a few Gulf royals involved here too, to give this curious roll-call some stately clout. Tomorrow the works will be auctioned off by Christie’s in Dubai, with profits going to the World Food Programme. A new art movement in our midst? Not likely.

From Monocle 24

Reprinting the classics

Editions des Saint Pères is a Parisian publishing house that’s reprinting the original manuscripts of classic novels. So far it has made beautifully bound books of the scribblings of Voltaire, Carroll and Cocteau and it is about to publish the first draft of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Co-founder Jessica Nelson speaks to Holly Fisher about what you get from a book in its original format.

From Monocle Films

A Bohemian toy story

The Czech Republic has a rich toy-making history, which dedicated collectors and craftsmen are committed to keeping alive. From the atelier to the Christmas market, Monocle Films discovers an inspiring toy story where art meets craft.

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