Friday 7 July 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 7/7/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Testing times

All eyes are on Hamburg today as the German port city hosts the G20 summit, which brings together some of the world’s most powerful – not to mention some of its most controversial – leaders at a crucial time. With the rise of terrorism and protectionist policies, the urgency of climate change and the renewed threat of North Korea following the country’s successful ballistic-missile test earlier this week, navigating the G20 will be a challenge. It will prove particularly tough for German chancellor Angela Merkel, who is running for re-election in September. Strengthening multilateral relations is her goal but Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (with whom relations have progressively soured) are sure to throw some curveballs over the next two days.

Image: Getty Images


Good deal?

President Trump is constantly promising to put “America First” in terms of trade and manufacturing. Now he’s followed up his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order (which was, by the way, signed in with a pen of Chinese-US origin) with new guidelines. So how will the new Office of Management and Budget’s rules change what government agencies buy? Before US artisans start lining up for government contracts, know this: it will change very little, at least for now. The additions simply attempt to fix perceived loopholes in the law and the waivers that have allowed agencies to get out of buying US goods – in case of unreasonable domestic costs, for example – will remain in place, subject to review. So “Buy American” isn’t so dead set after all.

Image: Reuters


Sign of the times

The Moscow Times has closed its print edition this week after 25 years of being the go-to English-language print-media voice for happenings in Russia. The free publication transitioned from a daily to a weekly in 2015 and as of yesterday its content is now exclusively available online. Peter Hobson, a former employee at the newspaper, told us that the key reason behind the move is that it is no longer profitable: its expat reader market has dried up as the economic boom of the early 2000s has faded. “For foreigners who want to understand Russia it has provided fantastic in-depth coverage and granular coverage in a way that other newspapers haven’t been able to do,” he says, noting that its position as a niche newspaper allowed it to avoid scrutiny from the Kremlin. The newspaper’s heyday may have ended in Moscow but print journalism worldwide has never been more valuable. Meanwhile, many journalists who cut their teeth on the paper are now plying their trade abroad.

Image: Getty Images


Fashion flashforward

The past few days have seen fashionistas gather in Paris for Haute Couture Week, celebrating clothes that have been elevated to works of art – wildly ornate, bespoke creations that showcase immaculate craftsmanship. This season, however, change was afoot at the most prestigious meet on the fashion calendar. Alongside couture staples such as Elie Saab and Giambattista Valli there was an influx of ready-to-wear brands, including US-based Rodarte and Proenza Schouler. Adding these non-couture labels to the roster proved to be a win-win situation. Not only did it jazz up the week – which has been criticised in the past for being staid – but it also enabled ready-to-wear designers to show their collections two months ahead of their counterparts, who have to wait until September. The upshot? Their collections will be in shops for two months longer, which means more time to make money.

Image: Flickr

Serpentine Pavilion

It wouldn’t be summer in London without the opening of a new pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London. This time it’s the turn of Diébédo Francis Kéré, the award-winning architect from Burkina Faso.


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