About five years ago at a school in Sandy Hook, 20 children and six members of staff were fatally shot by a gunman. US president Barack Obama addressed the nation and wept in sorrow at the loss of young life and in abject frustration at his own inability to address a cycle of gun violence that was out of control and yet entirely predictable. Yet what did this new nadir, this abhorrent slaughter of innocents change when it comes to Americans’ access to guns? Nothing. On Sunday night in Las Vegas the country faced another barrage on a scarcely imaginable scale. Regardless of the killer’s motive, his access to a huge arsenal of automatic weaponry gave terrifying scale and force to his murderous intent. The fear here is that nothing will change yet again; the time for policy change is now.
United Arrows’ fashion stores have been a big draw for more than two decades in Japan. Now the Tokyo-based retailer is taking its reputation for refinement into a new field: reimagining living spaces. United Arrows is teaming up with Global Base, a Tokyo specialist in renovating old apartments, to offer customers services ranging from interior design to made-to-order furnishings. The fashion conglomerate has ventured into the sector before – most recently in 2012, working with Nomura Real Estate Development on a collection of tables, sofas, chairs and cabinets – and has plenty of experience creating superlative shop interiors. With a market of 2.7 million existing apartments in Tokyo, United Arrows’ entry could be just the thing to upgrade living spaces in the Japanese capital.
China already owns a majority stake in Greece’s largest port, Piraeus and, from later this month, the two countries will be sharing more than cargo piers. Tapping into the cultural cache of their respective ancient civilisations, an exhibit swap will see the Acropolis Museum sending a marble sculpture and a piece of pottery from antiquity to the Shanghai Museum in exchange for a Qing Dynasty painting and a bronze wash basin to be displayed until April 2018. It’s all part of the Greece-China Year of Cultural Exchanges and Co-operation in Creative Industries and provided these fragile gems don’t run into choppy waters, sharing schemes like this can only serve to bring the two countries closer together.
After accusations of spreading fake news and fears of electoral meddling, Russia’s relationship with the EU continues its fraught trajectory as data and privacy become the next battleground. As part of expanding anti-terrorism laws known as the “Yarovaya Law”, from 1 July 2018 all international telecoms and internet companies operating in Russia will have to store users’ data and make it accessible to the country’s law-enforcement authorities. This sits at odds with EU law that has protections in place for confidentiality online, meaning that companies such as France’s Orange would have to break fundamental privacy rules to operate in Russia. Critics say the new protocol is a scheme to drive away European competitors.
Steve McCurry is one of the most iconic photographers of the past several decades. He has explored Asia and the Middle East extensively and his work spans conflicts, ancient traditions and contemporary culture. He sits down with Monocle’s Henry Rees-Sheridan to talk about capturing the world and his most celebrated image, ‘Afghan Girl’.