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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 9 July 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Alamy

Friends with benefits

As Ukraine enjoys the warm embrace of the EU, a more tumultuous meeting is steadily approaching.

Leaders from the European Union and Ukraine are meeting in Brussels today to discuss, among other things, trade, the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, and Crimea. The summit, headed by Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, as well as Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko, is seen as a further boost in increasingly cosy ties between Ukraine and the bloc; in the past year, Ukraine was granted visa-free travel throughout the EU and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement – a political and economic accord – came into force. But perhaps the most notable benefit of the summit will be symbolic, as the EU demonstrates that it has Ukraine’s back. The meeting comes just a week ahead of the tête-à-tête between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and US president Donald Trump and follows numerous suggestions from the so-called leader of the free world that the White House could recognise the annexation of Crimea.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Breaking ties?

The question of Catalonian independence looms large as Spain’s new leader sits down with the autonomous community’s president.

Today Spain’s new prime minister Pedro Sanchez sits down with Catalonian president Quim Torra. Top of Sanchez’s ministerial to-do list – aside from the usual run of security and economic reform – is finding a resolution to the cry for separatism than brought Spain to its biggest constitutional crisis since the Franco era. Sanchez has projected an air of pragmatism thus far, saying it is unlikely that the issue will be resolved within six years. He has also stressed that negotiations would abide by the constitution, specifically the part that talks about the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”. Top of Torra’s list of demands is a vote on independence similar to that of 2014’s Scottish referendum – likely to be a major sticking point.

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Choppy waters

The US’s stance on immigration may be seeping into Canadian waters – and the Great White North is none too pleased.

Heavily armed US border-control agents are boarding Canadian fishing vessels in an area of contested Atlantic waters – and show no signs of stopping. Canadian fishermen allege that they’re being harassed as agents carry out searches around Machias Seal Island, which lies between New Brunswick and Maine. It’s one of few remaining disputes along the world’s longest continuous border but has historically been defined by peaceful coexistence. Now US immigration policy appears to be reigniting the old maritime dispute. The US Border Patrol has stopped 21 Canadian vessels this year. In response, a Canadian Coast Guard ship has appeared in recent days. Canadian officials are troubled that US concerns over illegal immigration and president Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy – largely confined to the Mexican border – are creeping north. The dispute, while small, is representative of the deteriorating diplomatic relations between the long-time allies.

F&B

Image: Getty Images

Formidable line-up

The World Cup in Russia has been awash with froth and ferment, both intoxicating and alluring – and that’s just the local beer.

The arrival of thousands of foreign visitors for the World Cup in Russia has been well timed for the nation’s rapidly multiplying micro-breweries and craft-beer bars. Once exclusively the domain of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, sunny terraces and underground bars selling good quality pivo are now ubiquitous. The revolution gained momentum following the collapse of the ruble in 2014, which precipitated a dramatic rise in the price of imported beer; today there are more than 100 craft breweries in operation. While craft-beer sales constitute only a small fraction of the market (which is dominated by Carlsberg-owned Baltika), boutique brews are becoming increasingly popular among young professionals. For example, in Kazan, one of the World Cup’s host cities, a bar called Fomin has 15 brews on tap that have been sourced from around Russia. The results at this World Cup may have been unpredictable but one thing is certain: plenty of fans have been waking up with sore heads.

From Monocle 24

Sport in print

The Stack

With the World Cup, Wimbledon and the Tour de France set to overlap, we flick through our favourite sports magazines.

From Monocle Films

Made in Wales

From a lavender farm in the countryside to a denim mill revitalising a harbour town, Wales is using its traditions and craft to benefit new industries. Monocle Films profiles two inspiring Welsh enterprises that are bringing international success home.

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