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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 9 June 2017

UK Election

Image: Getty Images

Mayhem

British voters reject Theresa May’s vision of Brexit in a shock election result

When UK prime minister Theresa May called a snap election two months ago, the only question appeared to be by how much she would increase her 17-seat majority. At one stage during the campaign she had a 20-point lead over her rival, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, pointing to a landslide victory of more than 100 seats. This morning, after an astonishing night of shocks and surprises, it is clear that her gamble backfired. May’s majority has not increased – it’s disappeared. Britain is heading for a hung parliament and a period of great uncertainty which could end with Corbyn, a fringe hard-left figure just two years ago, leading a minority government. The result also calls into question the so-called ‘hard Brexit’. May claimed she needed to hold an election to give her a mandate ahead of negotiations with the EU, which are supposed to officially begin later this month. That mandate now lies in tatters. British politics is in a state of flux – no-one knows what happens next.

Culture

Image: Flickr

Good neighbour

A Japanese theme park that’s bringing a Studio Ghibli classic to life is bound to be a blockbuster.

In Japan, where Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 classic Spirited Away remains the country’s highest-ever-grossing film, animation can be highly profitable. Now Aichi prefecture is looking to cash in by building a theme park based on another Miyazaki favourite, My Neighbour Totoro. The project, which will be built in collaboration with Tokyo-based Studio Ghibli Inc. will sit in the 200-hectare park that housed the 2005 World Expo. At a news conference announcing the attraction Aichi governor Hideaki Omura said that the environmental angle of Miyazaki’s films was in tune with the 2005 Expo, the theme of which was ‘Nature’s Wisdom’. Omura added that in recreating Totoro’s rural world, the planners would be careful not to cut down any trees. Small details such as who will run the park have yet to be decided but such is the pull of the 1988 film – every Japanese child knows the theme tune – that it is sure to be a huge hit.

Technology

Image: Reuters

Get an upgrade

Smartphone giants are under pressure from Chinese brands that are redefining our perception of low-cost electronics.

It’s good to talk – but not as good as it used to be for the traditional giants of the mobile phone industry such as Apple and Samsung. They are facing increasing competition from a new wave of Chinese manufacturers – cheaper and with plenty of gizmos – who aren’t just selling inside their own country. The likes of Huawei, Oppo and Vivo now account for around a quarter of all smartphone sales globally, up 7 per cent year on year. ‘Made in China’ has not always been known as a mark of quality – if this sales spike continues to rise, that view may have to be revised.

Architecture

House proud

From baroque palaces to modernist homes, Turin is flinging open its doors to the public.

Open House was launched in 1992 to give Londoners the chance to visit the city’s most intriguing public buildings and showcase the impact architecture has on urban life. It is an idea that has spread: this year the capital of the Piedmont region in northern Italy became the 35th city in the world to join the cause. “Turin is a wonderful place for Open House thanks to its amazing beauty – the hills, rivers and nearby Alps – and varied architecture,” says Luca Ballarini, founder of Open House Torino. “The city has some impressive examples of Roman architecture, baroque palaces built when the city was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy, well-kept modernist residencies and contemporary architecture.” The first edition of Open House Torino takes place this weekend and will see 111 buildings, from schools to studio spaces, open their doors to the public.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

This is my London

The Urbanist

Our editor Andrew Tuck reflects on the London bridge terror attack and its impact. Even if the city moves on, will it ever be the same?

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