The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 10 January 2017

Image: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

Canada making capital

Justin Trudeau has added another notch to his governing belt. His first year in office saw him score diplomatic win after diplomatic win. From his open-armed welcome of refugees to his well-publicised political friendship with Barack Obama, the prime minister didn’t waste any time boosting brand Canada abroad. At home, however, he still faced challenges. With both the Canadian dollar and global price of oil remaining stubbornly low, Trudeau’s critics used the country’s struggling economy against him. Yet the newly released job figures show that 200,000 jobs were added in 2016 (with 54,000 in December alone), making it the best year for job creation in Canada since 2012. But Trudeau should hold off celebrating just yet: 2017 will see a new US president take office who isn’t as keen on free trade as Obama, which could mean trouble for Canada’s economy.

Image: Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images

Up in the air

Talks on the reunification of Cyprus shift into their second day in Geneva as the two sides of this divided island set out their respective red lines for what could be a historic deal. It’s looking fragile so Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and his Greek counterpart Nicos Anastasiades would do well to take some inspiration from the old Nicosia International Airport, which acts as the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus. The airport was closed when the nation split in 1974 but during its brief tenure this modern facility was a point of pride for both Greek and Turkish Cypriots; islanders still recall having their graduation dinners in its swankier restaurants. If talks on a united federal Cyprus do move forward, a jointly administered restoration project to get Nicosia’s airport back in action could help rebuild some common ground.

Image: AKAstudio-collective

More’s the Pitti

This week all eyes in the fashion world are on Florence, where the 91st edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo begins today. Pitti used to be merely the meeting point for buyers and brands but over the past few years it’s established itself as a place where designers come to shine. As opposed to London and Paris, Florence reflects a sense of integrity that many find reassuring at a time when the whole system is changing. We’ll be looking out for guest of honour Paul Smith – who’s showing his PS by Paul Smith contemporary collection – as well as the official premiere of Z Zegna by Alessandro Sartori (the brand’s new creative director) and appearances by Tommy Hilfiger, Tim Coppens and Cottweiler. Stay tuned for more Pitti coverage from our team in the Tuscan capital this week.

Image: Patricia de Melo Moreira/Stringer

Portugal reflects

Three days of national mourning commenced on Monday with Portugal bidding a final farewell to former president and prime minister Mário Soares. A brave opponent to Salazar's dictatorship, he is regarded both domestically and internationally as the father of the country's modern democracy. Upon the news of his death on Saturday at the age of 92, Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa addressed the nation in a speech that remarked how Soares had “fought for freedom” his entire life. Even though he became the first civilian to be democratically elected in more than half a century after the 1974 revolution, younger generations long felt disconnected from the political giant – which was made painfully clear at the polls during his last run for office in 2006. The news of his death shone a spotlight on his tremendous legacy: not only did he unshackle the country from fascism but he also led it towards a united Europe. His state funeral takes place today, giving Portugal a chance to offer its thanks.

From Monocle 24

Image: James Rodjant for E. Tautz

How do you put on a fashion show?

We go backstage with British label E Tautz at London Fashion Week Men's to find out how they put together their autumn/winter runway show. We meet the crew behind the catwalk, including creative director Patrick Grant, hair and make-up, the commercial team and the models.

From Monocle Films

Retail special: stationery shops

A new generation of stationery entrepreneurs are preserving and reviving the art of writing. Monocle Films travels to Prague, Vancouver and London to visit three shops that share a love of paper.

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