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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 3 October 2018

Politics

Image: Shutterstock

On the march

Fancy a spot in Shinzo Abe’s cabinet? Then you’d do well to surrender to his constitutional battle.

One quality that seems to serve Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe well is caution. The decisions made in yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle were to be expected (aside from the welcome, if not slightly underwhelming, addition of one female minister). Abe hedged his bets with figures that are the least likely to rock the boat when it comes to his biggest ambition: amending the constitution so that Japan can legally use war to settle international disputes. “Abe has internal structural problems, which he is addressing,” says John Nilsson-Wright, senior research fellow for northeast Asia at Chatham House. “But the legacy issue that matters most to him is the constitution.” While his cabinet might be in agreement over that, the same cannot be said for the public.

Art

Big draw

London’s art scene is full to bursting this week and the return of Frieze is the icing on the cake.

The beginning of October is peak time for art in London: a feast of private viewings, performances and exhibitions is sweeping through the city for this week. But the heart of the action remains Regent’s Park, where art fairs Frieze and Frieze Masters open for previews today. The former is dedicating its themed section, Social Work, to art made by women in response to social problems arising in the 1980s and 1990s, a decision that feels timely given the current clamour around representation in the arts. Keep an eye out for Dhaka Art Summit’s director Diana Campbell Betancourt who is making her debut as curator of Frieze Projects. Her section offers fascinating reflections on time and money, both of which keen-eyed collectors are likely to part with in the days to come.

Elections

Image: Getty Images

Glancing blow

Québec may well have laid down a marker when it comes to the political aspirations of Justin Trudeau.

Voters in Québec have offered the most significant realignment to the province’s politics in more than 50 years – and struck a blow to prime minister Justin Trudeau in the process. As the results came in early yesterday morning it was clear that Trudeau’s Liberal party – and the pro-separatist Parti Québécois – had suffered major losses (it will be the first time since 1966 that neither will be the party of power in the state). In their place, the centre-right Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and its leader François Legault (pictured) gained an outright majority. It suggests that a further fracturing of the political mood may well continue ahead of next autumn’s general election, which could spell trouble for Trudeau.

Culture

Image: Liz Ligon

Stop, look and listen

Architects and performers have come together on New York’s High Line to create an opera that reflects the hopes and fears of city-dwellers.

City life can be a bewildering experience. So it’s all the more touching that a public performance – kicking off on New York’s High Line tonight and running until next Monday – is being staged to help citizens appreciate the act of slowing it down. The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock is a collaboration between architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, composer David Lang and others that offers an ambitious, immersive and emotive glimpse into the stories of hundreds of New Yorkers at 19.00, as told by 1,000 singers. The event is free and standby tickets are still available. “Ultimately it’s a celebratory project,” Elizabeth Diller tells Monocle in our forthcoming November issue, while acknowledging that concerns about gentrification and price hikes are never far from New Yorkers’ minds. “It’s still a kind of love affair with New York.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

Potsdam

The Menu: Food Neighbourhoods

Monocle’s Anna Siwecka cycles around the German town of Potsdam in search of some of the country’s best cafés.

From Monocle Films

Russia: state of the nation

The soft power of the world’s largest country has taken a hit of late. We look at Russia’s ups and downs in our animated nation survey.

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