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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 1 June 2018

Defence

Image: Getty Images

Armed struggle

As Singapore’s defence summit gets underway everyone’s waiting for what the US’s representative has to say.

Defence ministers from around the world gather today in Singapore for the city-state’s annual three-day defence summit, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi takes the stage as the keynote speaker but it’s US defence secretary Jim Mattis, speaking on Saturday, who will likely dominate the headlines. At last year’s summit Mattis warned about the dangers of a nuclear-armed North Korea; many are hoping this year that he sheds light on the possible meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that’s anticipated to be held on 12 June in Singapore. He’s certain to credit Trump’s hardline diplomatic approach (although Washington still has to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, few would disagree that tough talk from the US has made a difference). Now comes the hard part of working out a lasting solution.

Art

Image: Getty Images

Body of Christ

Communion took on a sweet taste in Buenos Aires recently, as its culture minister ditched consecrated bread and instead plumped for bloody cake.

Despite being the birthplace of Pope Francis, Argentina remains more secular than many of its more enthusiastically Catholic neighbours. But that’s not to say that religious voices refuse to be stirred – especially when there is cake involved. Buenos Aires’ culture minister Enrique Avogadro has landed himself in hot water after a video of him eating a contentious sweet went viral. The offending cake he took a bite from had been an art piece in an exhibition (before being carved up and eaten, that is) and was shaped like the crucified body of Christ, complete with red-frosting stigmata. Avogadro has been forced to apologise although he has also said that art should sometimes make people feel uncomfortable. He’s probably praying for the World Cup to redouble its speedy arrival – when all eyes will shift to a certain Lionel Messi.

Transport

Image: Getty Images

Digging in

Sweden and Denmark are planning a new tunnel to connect the country in a shrewd move that will ease congestion and boost their economies.

City officials in Copenhagen and Malmö are keen to strengthen their connectivity – and they’re planning to throw €4bn into the effort. This week a new working group called the Oresundsmetro Executive, featuring representatives and experts from each city, was convened to work out a proposal to build an international metro system that will connect the Danish capital with the Swedish city via a 22km tunnel and a 20-minute journey. It’s hoped that it will take some of the burden off an already existing overground train line. Hannes Lagger, director at Arup consultancy who is involved with the proposed project, tells Monocle that the high cost of the metro is nothing compared to the return. “They need to find a way to decongest the [Oresund] bridge. Yes, it’s €4bn but the economic value will probably be €20bn,” he says. Easing traffic means a speedier flow of goods between the two countries, which can only be a good thing.

Culture

Digital be damned

If you’re a fan of palpable and pleasing-to-the-touch, head to Tokyo’s Takeo Paper Show – though don’t expect to find any obvious evidence of paper.

Takeo, a 119-year-old Japanese paper purveyor, is staging a three-day exhibition of the stuff – without a single book, newspaper or lithograph in sight. Held most years since 1965, the Takeo Paper Show, which begins today, features the original work of nine Japanese textile, graphic and industrial designers who collaborated with domestic factories to turn pulp into looping sculptures, quilts and containers. This being Japan, technology plays a central role. “Hi-tech advancements in moulds, lasers and printing techniques have made it possible to shape paper in new ways,” says Kenya Hara, who runs the Hara Design Institute in Tokyo. None of the work is expected to end up in a catalogue any time soon but Takeo wasn't trying to add to its product line-up. The show is more of a reminder: no matter how much pain digital media inflicts on publishers, paper is here to stay.

From Monocle 24

Sir David Chipperfield

The Urbanist

We catch up with the British architect at the Venice Biennale 2018 to talk about his new urbanism book On Planning – A Thought Experiment.

From Monocle Films

Property Prospectus: Mokotow

The Mokotow district in Warsaw has recently turned into a magnet for the capital's creative community. Monocle explores how a shared spirit is at the heart of the area's vibrant neighbourhood.

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