The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 10 December 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Little brother

Chinese diplomats may not think that much of North Korea but their efforts are needed to maintain stability in the region.

Beijing has been conducting high-level talks in order to convince North Korea’s supreme leader – Kim Jong-un – to give up his nuclear arsenal. It is fair to say that China holds considerable sway over Pyongyang because the hermit nation has very few economic and diplomatic allies. But do the communist nations have that much time for each other? “Leaders in Beijing see North Korea as a nuisance,” says Isabel Hilton, editor of bilingual news website China Dialogue. “They are happy for Kim Jong-un to annoy the US but they are also aware that regime collapse would cause them huge domestic problems.” Indeed, it appears that neither country is particularly happy with the current diplomatic arrangement but – for now at least – they need each other.

Awards

Image: Getty Images

Fair play

The Nobel brand has been damaged this year: can today’s Peace Prize ceremony restore some of the sheen?

The Nobel brand has lost a bit of its sheen this year. The prize, which is being awarded today in Oslo and Stockholm in the categories of peace, medicine, chemistry and physics, has long been one of the world’s most prestigious. However, the Swedish Academy was rocked by a scandal regarding sexual-assault allegations and as a result, made the controversial decision to postpone naming a winner in the literature category. While the winners of the Nobel’s other prizes will be enjoying the pomp and grandeur of today’s twin ceremonies, the institutes behind the prize will be hoping that the celebrations will push thoughts of 2018’s less-than-illustrious moments to the back of everyone’s minds.

Security

Image: Getty Images

Poking the bear

Anti-terrorism officers from Hong Kong risk angering China after a visit to the communist state’s Uyghur community.

Hong Kong’s anti-terrorism task force is ending a five-day visit to the Xinjiang region in northwestern China today – an area that has been the focus of international concerns over human rights for its Uyghur community. The visit took place at a sensitive time: the UN has also requested – but not yet been granted – direct access to the region’s “re-education camps” in which an estimated one million Uyghur Muslims are believed to be imprisoned. Although Hong Kong's task force of 43 officers is still relatively new, anxiety is growing over whether the Hong Kong government’s moves in the region might provoke a reaction from Beijing.

Architecture

Building blocks

A new centre in downtown Dallas aims to help residents to understand how the city work – and hear their ideas.

The Architecture and Design Exchange (AD EX) opened this weekend in downtown Dallas. Though it sounds like a place for architects and designers, AD EX is trying to achieve the very opposite. The centre wants to resonate with anyone who is interested in how the city functions and bridge the gap between the public’s understanding of architecture and the esoteric discourse of a close-knit group of experts. It also wants to encourage an exchange of ideas on the broader meaning of architecture, from walkability to historic preservations. In this vein, one of the opening exhibitions, Building Toys and Toy Buildings: Architecture Through a Child’s Eyes, showcases hundreds of years of buildable toys.

From Monocle 24

Image: Shutterstock

Does Europe need an army?

The Foreign Desk

A unified European army is not a new idea but whenever it’s raised it’s usually forgotten just as quickly. Will this time be any different? And, if it is, what would a united military force look like? Andrew Mueller is joined by Elisabeth Braw, Ulrike Franke and Christian Mölling.

From Monocle Films

The Monocle Travel Guide Series: Istanbul

Beneath its inimitable skyline, Istanbul is a teeming, triumphant metropolis that is constantly being remade and reimagined – as our cinematic portrait shows. Published by Gestalten, The Monocle Travel Guide to Istanbul is available now at The Monocle Shop.

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