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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 8 June 2018

Geopolitics

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Trumping Trump

Can the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation convince the world that it can get things done without the US president’s, well, co-operation?

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani arrived in the port city of Qingdao today for meetings with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Beijing is expected to express support for upholding the 2015 nuclear deal despite the US’s withdrawal; that will be a hot topic when the two leaders are joined by a few more over the weekend. Russian president Vladimir Putin and India’s Narendra Modi, alongside the heads of several central Asian countries, will be in town for the 18th annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a political get-together for Eurasian leaders to discuss security and economics in the region. The delegates will be at pains to show that they can secure regional peace and prosperity without US involvement. Several communiqués about being neighbourly are bound to follow but they will be overshadowed next week, when the US president arrives in Singapore for his meeting with Kim Jong-un. Getting things done in Asia without Washington is easier said than done.

Society

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Accelerated learning

Scooters are enabling a shockingly simple – and simply shocking – wave of crime in London. Who can put the brakes on?

In most cities a scooter is a simple means of getting around; in London, if you see two men on one coming in your direction, you wonder whether it’s your turn to be robbed. It’s the reinvention of the scooter as attack – and hasty getaway – vehicle. As we highlighted in issue two of The Spring Weekly, there are now an average of 60 muggings per day carried out by thieves on stolen scooters. Moped crime has reached such a scale and frequency that it is changing how people behave in the city: London’s inhabitants are becoming more conscious of where they use their phones out of fear that marauding scooter thieves might render them an easy target. This week scooters were used in several headline-grabbing robberies, which prompted calls for action. But what? The police find it hard to give chase, which encourages ever more copycats, so the onus is pushed onto scooter-owners to find increasingly rigorous means of preventing their property being pinched. It’s a crime spree that seems set to run and run, damaging the image of London 60 times a day, 22,000 times a year.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Listen up

Rising sea levels is just one of the topics to be discussed at the G7 summit. But will the voices of the smaller attending nations be drowned out?

Leaders of the G7 group of industrialised nations are bracing themselves for day one of this year’s summit, which begins today in Charlevoix, Québec. But as the drama surrounding Donald Trump’s controversial tariff decisions plays out, spare a thought for the guest nations who have been invited by the Canadian government. This year’s list of is an eclectic one: the Seychelles, the Marshall Islands, Rwanda, Argentina and Jamaica are among those who will be in attendance. The invitees reflect the host’s agenda for this year’s gathering, which covers climate change, rising sea levels and girls’ education – all issues that are particularly pronounced in many of the territories on that aforementioned list. Whether they can weather the gathering storms at the G7’s top table remains to be seen.

Tune in to Monocle 24 throughout the day on Friday for our live coverage from Charlevoix.

Tourism

Image: Getty Images

Boom and bust?

Many in the Japanese city of Fukuoka are concerned that its tourism boom will wane – but they needn’t worry.

Fukuoka in southern Japan regularly ranks in Monocle’s annual audit of the most liveable cities – and right now it’s in the midst of an unprecedented tourism boom. In the past five years the number of people travelling to the city has tripled and in 2017 Fukuoka hosted close to three million visitors. But with the influx of travellers the city is struggling to find enough places for people to stay and has instigated a hospitality drive that will see the opening of 33 new hotels. Even with these signs of growth there are jitters from some, who have recognised that the cruise-ship business responsible for 1,070 port calls to the city last year has started to cool off. Beyond this, some observers fret that after next year’s Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the city will be left with a glut of hotel rooms. Fukuoka shouldn’t worry: its rising profile as a hub for retail, food and culture will continue to bring astute travellers its way for years to come.

From Monocle 24

Smart cities and housing

The Urbanist

We speak to Jonathan Woetzel from the McKinsey Global Institute to hear how we can use technology to improve our quality of life. Plus: commuting between Austria and Slovakia and the president of the Urban Land Institute.

From Monocle Films

Property Prospectus: Uzupis

Monocle Films heads to Vilnius to explore Uzupis. This creative and quirky corner of the Lithuanian capital is more than just a neighbourhood – it’s a mini-state.

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