The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 15 November 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Big deal

Theresa May’s cabinet endorse a draft Brexit agreement but the knives are still out for Britain’s prime minister.

UK prime minister Theresa May has convinced her cabinet to accept a draft Brexit agreement, despite internal criticisms. The agreement will see the UK acting as a de facto member of the EU until 2020 and includes a £39bn (€45bn) exit bill. While the acceptance of the draft agreement is a coup for May, pro-Brexit politicians fear it will subject the country to Brussels’ rules while removing the UK’s input in their formulation. “You’ve got Tory MPs openly talking about a leadership challenge but what are the alternatives?” George Parker, political editor of the Financial Times, tells to The Briefing. “They could leave the EU without a deal – and end up with economic chaos.” With her cabinet on board May must now convince the House of Commons of the draft agreement’s merit.

Economy

Image: Alamy

Share it out

Nations should invest in their small towns and rural communities – or suffer a backlash from those who feel left behind.

Despite France’s economic success and growing diplomatic clout, a quiet minority of French mayors is quitting to draw attention to the plight of rural communities, which aren’t faring so well. State funding for French towns fell from €42bn in 2014 to €30bn in 2017 and the future of smaller fiefdoms throughout Europe look shaky thanks to dwindling populations and a lack of investment. While the issue is coming to a head in France, it’s also becoming a pressing matter in places such as the UK’s post-industrial north and swathes of rural Germany. Economic success is too often pegged to goings-on in capital cities but Europe’s leaders need to acknowledge nations as a whole. Especially those looking to avoid an electoral backlash from a silent rural majority.

Society

Image: Alamy

Starting the day right

In Japan, the most important meal of the day just became even more important.

Children who skip breakfast don’t perform as well as their peers. So says Hiroshima prefecture in Japan, which has just launched a free breakfast scheme for elementary schools. Yesterday 45 students at Ajinadaihigashi Elementary School sat down to a breakfast of staples such as bread, cereal and miso soup, served by local volunteers and provided for free by supermarkets and food companies. The prefecture hopes to roll out the programme at other schools soon, with the goal of teaching students about nutrition and encouraging them to eat properly at home before they leave the house. Japanese schools clearly take nutrition seriously, given that the local government said 5 per cent of 11 to 12-year-olds in the prefecture are skipping breakfast; in the UK the figure is closer to 30 per cent.

Culture

Image: Shutterstock

Desert display

Dubai continues to push its creativity at its annual design week, which is expected to be its best yet.

Dubai Design Week is in full swing, coming hot on the heels of last weekend’s opening of the city’s Jameel Arts Centre. The D3 waterfront precinct is a fine spot to take in the work of the region’s top creative talents and the event is bolstered by a strong international contingent, including Paris and Los Angeles-based designer Marc Ange and UK sculptor David Harber. While there’s an obvious push to encourage visitors to photograph the works on display – and share them online – there is also a deeper dialogue. We praise the organisers for spotlighting graduates, prompting discussion about education and empowering female designers. Now the festival has come to prominence on the world stage, it’s time to build on the momentum to facilitate a home-grown design economy in Dubai.

From Monocle 24

Image: Emiliano Felicissimo

The automated future

Monocle Reports

Are robots taking over the workplace? From artificial intelligence to cybernetic workforces, technological innovations are having a dramatic impact on the nature of employment. We examine how companies such as Amazon are investing in warehouse automation and how we might prepare for a robotic future.

From Monocle Films

Perth: opportunity and regeneration

As Perth attempts to shed its reputation for being nothing more than a mining city we explore the architecture, art and hospitality initiatives that are shaping this outpost.

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