Tuesday. 15/1/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Shutterstock

Politics

After the event

After the murder of Gdansk’s mayor, what will become of Pawel Adamowicz’s legacy?

The Polish city of Gdansk is mourning the death of mayor Pawel Adamowicz after he was stabbed at a charity event by, reportedly, a recently released criminal. As the investigation continues, it’s already clear that the murder will have a political knock-on effect. Adamowicz, a popular and comparatively liberal politician, had held the post since 1998 and was an ardent defender of LGBT and migrant rights – a marked contrast to many politicians in the increasingly conservative country. There is sure to be a left-right tussle for the mayorship but will Adamowicz’s legacy carry on with an equally progressive successor? “It’s entirely possible, both because of the backlash that there’s bound to be but also because of the political complexion of Gdansk,” says Mary Dejevsky, a former foreign correspondent and expert on eastern Europe. “It’s a thriving, modern city in a country that looks as though it’s going backwards, a bit, politically.”

Image: Getty Images

Geopolitics

Status update

Greece’s PM is facing a backlash following Macedonia’s pending name change – and hoping that he emerges with his own title intact.

It should have been a good week for Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras after Macedonia approved constitutional changes to its name on Friday, putting a major diplomatic win for Greece’s embattled premier within reach. Instead he is now facing a no-confidence vote later this week after his coalition partner abandoned ship over the weekend, in protest at the new name (the Republic of North Macedonia, in case you were wondering). Assuming Tsipras can rally the five votes needed to clear that particular hurdle, he then faces the challenge of getting parliament to ratify the controversial Macedonia deal. But given that he’ll be heading up a minority government, one thing is for sure: national elections scheduled for later this year will be taking place much sooner than planned, possibly as early as May.

Image: Getty Images

Fashion

Sole complaint

We might not have seen the last of sneakers but menswear brands are better off standing out rather than trying to stay in step.

Last year fashion critics declared that we had reached “peak sneaker” and asked when the trainer bubble would burst. The answer – if recent Italian menswear events are anything to go by – is: not yet. Though there were perhaps slightly fewer trainer offerings at Florence’s Pitti Uomo and Milan Fashion Week Men’s than in previous seasons, they were still ubiquitous. Nowadays it’s tough for brands to design a distinctive-looking trainer. It’s also a shame for classic luxury labels to be making sporty shoes that fail to chime with their brand’s DNA. Though labels shouldn’t ignore customers’ desire to dress casually, the trainer has become a quick-fix solution for those hoping to attract younger shoppers. Instead brands should stick to what they do best; that is what will get points for coolness and keep customers loyal.

Image: Getty Images

Society

Off day

Australia’s PM has made a controversial change to the rules regarding new citizens (and it’s not the one about dressing up).

New arrivals down under would be excused for donning board shorts and flips-flops – sorry, thongs – in an attempt to fit in. However, Australia’s informal national dress has fallen out of fashion with Canberra’s starchy government. Prime minister Scott Morrison has imposed a new dress code banning beachwear for those taking part in citizenship ceremonies. While demanding smarter attire isn’t likely to cause much of a backlash, another element of Morrison’s new regulations, released over the weekend, will: the PM has made it compulsory for all local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, rather than on alternative dates in January. Though celebrated by many as a way to commemorate the arrival of Europeans in 1788, it’s also seen as a day of mourning and protest for a significant number of Australia’s indigenous population. Morrison’s populist move is sure to add fuel to the fiery debate surrounding the 26 January holiday.

Image: Artem Svetlov

Moscow’s trolleybuses

The Urbanist: Tall Stories

Trolleybuses have been used extensively in Moscow since they first appeared in 1933. Now the city’s government wants to get rid of them, citing traffic concerns and maintenance costs.

Lebanon: state of the nation

With a cosmopolitan capital, picturesque countryside and improving – albeit fluctuating – security, Lebanon is on the up.

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