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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 7 June 2018

Geopolitics

Image: Getty Images

Brace yourselves

US delegates at tomorrow’s G7 summit should expect their allies to come out swinging.

G7 summits never seem to go off without some kind of fracas. This year’s gathering of leaders from the world’s seven advanced economies – which gets underway in Charlevoix, Québec, tomorrow – promises to be no exception. The agenda, crafted by the Canadian hosts, intends to focus on climate change and issues surrounding gender. These hopeful topics are likely to be overshadowed by Donald Trump’s recent antics, including his tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and his attempts to renegotiate the terms of the Nafta accord. The US delegation can expect an array of complaints from its exasperated allies. Despite a setting that is among the most picturesque and tranquil in Canada, this year’s summit is likely to be anything but.

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Sour grapes

Australian winemakers want their PM to resolve the country’s diplomatic spat with China before their exports dry up.

A diplomatic row is interrupting the flow of wine from Australian vineyards and producers into China. Shipments are reportedly facing delays at Chinese ports following Australia’s accusations that Beijing is meddling in its domestic politics. Winemakers are justifiably piqued – about half of total exports in Australia’s AU$2.5bn (€1.6bn) wine industry are usually destined for its biggest trading partner. This week, wine-producers met with the Australian government demanding that prime minister Malcolm Turnbull resolve the problem personally with a trip to Beijing to restore goodwill. Australia is facing mounting difficulties in its relationship with China, finding itself caught between a vital trading nation and its military allegiance to the US. Hopefully the leaders can uncork an amicable solution and show that their bilateral partnership still has legs.

Infrastructure

Green with envy?

Singapore may be pushing its sustainability standards but Elon Musk won’t be involved.

It’s not often that Elon Musk doesn’t get his own way but that seems to be the case in Singapore. A Tweet that Musk posted in May which said the Singaporean government is “not supportive of electric vehicles” prompted a response from the city-state’s Land Transport Authority on Tuesday, where it outlined its approach to clean mobility in the country – which hinges on electric buses, taxis and its sophisticated transport network. It would seem that Tesla’s luxurious EV’s are just not green enough for Singapore’s stringent emissions rules – people who are looking to buy a Tesla have to pay carbon surcharges, where motorists in Norway and elsewhere zoom around after enjoying tax incentives for making a green choice. We think Singapore has a point: putting more personal-use cars on the roads – even Musk’s electric ones – probably isn’t the best solution for inner-city quality of life.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Running on air

Legendary novelist Haruki Murakami is putting down his pen and reaching for the mic as he takes to the airwaves.

Best-selling Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami is known to surprise his fans. First there was his stint as an online agony uncle, during which he received more than 37,000 queries and replied to about 3,700 of them (the answers were published as a book). Now the world-famous writer has announced that he will host a one-off radio programme on Tokyo FM on 5 August. The theme of the show, called Murakami Radio, is “Run & Songs”. Murakami is a keen runner and a lifelong music-lover – he once ran a jazz bar in Tokyo. He will play songs he likes to run to and talk about his record collection, music and writing. Listeners can post music-related questions online until 10 June and Murakami will answer a select few on the show. “I want to pick and play the kind of songs that you might not hear on any other programme​ and that would make you feel at home,” he says. “I hope you enjoy it.”

From Monocle 24

Coco-Mat

The Entrepreneurs

As we’re increasingly being told by serious researchers and popular science writers alike, a good night’s sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing. But it’s something Paul Efmorfidis has known for decades. The entrepreneur had an epiphany as a young man after he made a bed of seaweed in his native Greece and had the best sleep of his life. In 1989, he founded the mattress brand Coco-Mat to bring natural, sustainable and comfortable beds to the world. Today the company has shops in 17 countries.

From Monocle Films

Made in London

Globes, spoons and weaving: Monocle Films drops in on three makers that are helping to reinvigorate the UK capital’s artisanal heartbeat.

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