Tuesday 5 February 2019 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 5/2/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Tentative truce?

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is meeting with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan today and tomorrow in Ankara. It is hoped that the meeting will help turn the tide on what has been a rocky relationship between the two neighbours. The agenda is expected to include the ongoing dispute over the Aegean maritime border, a new push for the stalled peace talks to reunify Cyprus and the case of eight Turkish offices who fled to Greece after the 2016 coup. There is a rivalry between the countries that stretches back centuries but perhaps it’s their respective domestic travails – Erdogan is facing economic difficulties while Tsipras is now head of a minority government – over which the two might find some common ground.

Image: Getty Images


Standing united

The Lima Group – a diplomatic alliance of 12 countries designed to resolve Venezuela’s political and economic crisis – assembled yesterday for its most consequential meeting yet. The partnership is growing in influence: other nations, whose public responses to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela were initially sluggish, are now following it. Many of the US’s recent manoeuvres towards Caracas, for example, are clear echoes of longstanding Lima Group policy. “We are at a critical point in the history of Venezuela,” said Alan Duncan, the UK government’s representative, at yesterday’s meeting. “The Lima Group has shown enormous courage, and generosity, and a united voice in response to the manmade crisis in Venezuela.” The next, unpredictable stages of the Venezuelan crisis will be a further test for this fledgling diplomatic bloc.

Image: Alamy


Got your number

Odonyms (or road names) exist for a very obvious reason: so that you know which road you’re on. They have been around, and considered basic common sense, for thousands of years. But one town in Germany is fiercely resistant to such thinking. Hilgermissen in Lower Saxony has never had street names – just a long chain of house numbers – and, being quite happy in this state of confusion, 60 per cent of the 1,200-plus voters rejected the council’s proposal to adopt them over the weekend. The reason? Nostalgia. Residents enjoy their status as an artefact of urbanism, of life before standards and regulations. While the practice would be untenable in any large settlement, in this little town it’s more personal quirk than terrible nuisance. Never mind the frustration of Amazon delivery drivers.

Image: Getty Images


Animal attraction

Today marks the first day of the lunar new year and the dog is handing over the reigns to the pig. The portly farmyard animal is revered in China as an auspicious symbol of wealth, despite coming last in the mythical race that determined the order of the Chinese zodiac. But it is not only native pigs that are looking forward to the next 12 months: this year looks to be particularly auspicious for Peppa Pig. The UK cartoon character makes her cinematic debut on the mainland today in Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year. The film, which comprises five episodes and a live-action story, is sure to tickle pink the Chinese children who have clocked up a staggering 60 billion views of the television series. Add on Peppa-themed zones in Shanghai malls and localised toys and this little piggy is quickly becoming a runaway phenomenon.

Madrid Fusión

We’re at Madrid Fusión, one of the world’s largest international gastronomic events, to meet some of the top names in today’s hospitality industry.

Sami side of life

The new Sami parliament in Finland is a proud symbol of how far the indigenous people of Europe’s north have come over the past century, from being a culture struggling for survival to a thriving community.


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