With the March deadline for the UK’s departure from the EU inching ever closer, the UK government is expected to unfurl its contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit later today. Many fear near-apocalyptic scenarios should the UK crash out of the bloc without a deal (job losses, medication shortages and prohibitively expensive camembert are just some of the dangers cited); while that might be over the top, the risks should not be understated. Leaving without a trade agreement would mean no transition period for Westminster and Brussels to adjust to the new status quo. Meanwhile, the UK would be subject to WTO rules. Brexit supporters argue that there is nothing to fear from WTO terms but Vince Cable – who leads the pro-Remain Liberal Democrats – told The Monocle Minute that its rules are “very weak” and constitute a “pretty flimsy basis” for future trade. He added: “Leaving the European Union without a deal is a risk – and there doesn’t need to be a risk.”
US national security adviser John Bolton meets his Russian counterparts in Geneva today. The White House has described it as a follow-up to July’s Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki; in reality it marks a quiet round of damage control following the fallout from Trump’s perceived love-in with the Russian leader. While it is unclear whether Bolton’s meeting will be the same kind of intimate off-the-record affair that was seen in Finland, there is likely to be one elephant in the room: the ongoing probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. The indictments of two former senior Trump aides in the US earlier this week will make its presence loom even larger. Whether Bolton – known for being a no-nonsense negotiator – will give his Russian counterparts as much benefit of the doubt as his boss did remains to be seen.
The Thais can always be trusted to turn something big into something spectacular. Just as frenzy around the recent Wild Boars Football Academy cave rescue has dropped off the global news agenda, a new exhibition in Bangkok is set to bring it back into focus. Tham Luang Incredible Mission: The Global Agenda opened at the Siam Paragon mall yesterday; split across seven zones, it dissects the 19-day rescue of the 12 Thai boys and their coach, even offering visitors the chance to experience pitch black cave-like conditions via simulation. With a bronze sculpture of the brave Thai diver who lost his life in the effort, it’s an honourable tribute. That said, we do hope to hear some more topical good news stories from “the land of the smiles” after the exhibition wraps up on 9 September.
After years of discussions, delays and debate, the world's biggest fish market is finally on the move. Tsukiji fish market, which opened in Tokyo in its current location in 1935, is heading east to a purpose-built facility in Toyosu. In the short-term there’s further bad news: the famous tuna auction – which is held at an unearthly hour and has tourists queuing up from 01.00 – will be closed to visitors from 15 September. The entire project has been mired in controversy from the outset and was held up when it was discovered that the new site, a former gas plant, was polluted with toxins. The expensive clean-up now apparently complete, the much-loved institution will close on 6 October. There are mixed feelings: many will mourn the loss of a Tokyo landmark, others argue that an overhaul was well overdue.
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