News diary 13-19 August: Imran Khan to be sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan and North and South Korean officials to meet

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week…

Officials from North and South Korea meet in Panmunjom on Monday to discuss the implementation of the declaration made between President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un at their meeting in April.

It was during those talks that the North and South agreed to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons, with Kim stating it was time for “a new history” between the two nations. This latest round of talks are also likely to be used to discuss a possible third summit between the two leaders.

Just days on from the announcement that the United States plans to create a “Space Force”, Donald Trump is expected to make further inroads in transforming American defence policy during a visit to New York on Monday. As part of his schedule, the president is expected to sign the National Defense Authorization Act into law – legislation which is part of a multi-billion dollar effort to transform America’s military.

The issue of defence has become a key focus for the Trump administration, with the President rounding on his NATO allies just last month and accusing them of not paying their fair share in the alliance.

In the UK, the trial of Delroy Forrester, who is accused of murdering his niece Jasmine, opens at Wolverhampton Crown Court. The 11-year-old was found at an address in the city in February with a number of injuries and was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Forrester entered a not guilty plea to the charge of murder during an appearance in May.

On Tuesday, Imran Khan (pictured) is expected to be sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan after his Tehreek-e-Insaf party secured the most seats in elections on 25 July.

Khan’s campaign attracted no small amount of controversy, with a comment that he disagrees with the “Western feminist movement” attracting particular ire. Despite the negative press, Khan’s campaign secured support for his principal pledge to end corruption in the country.

Back in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a Citizens Dialogue event, with “the future of Europe” up for discussion. After more than a decade in power, Merkel’s popularity in Germany is on the wane.

Hundreds of people are expected to protest in Hamburg next month as part of the “Merkel Must Go” demonstrations, with the most vociferous criticisms continuing to centre on immigration policy. Perfect timing, then, for Merkel to have reached a new migration deal with Spain.

Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet is also scheduled to meet on Tuesday for discussions on council spending. The body is planning to make swathing cuts as it attempts to plug a £70m hole in its finances, which was attributed to “weak budgetary control” in a government report earlier this year.

The council’s current situation raises broader concerns over the uncertain future facing local government, which is a worry that was also voiced by the National Audit Office in March.

Wednesday marks a poignant moment in modern British history, as Northern Ireland remembers the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. On August 15, 1998, a car bomb planted by the Real IRA detonated in a busy shopping area in the town, and killed 29 people as well as two unborn babies.

To remember those who lost their lives, a reflective gathering takes place at the site of the attack. The service features 32 rings of a bell in remembrance of the 31 lives lost that day, with the final toll for those who continue to lose their lives in terror attacks.

As the anniversary approaches, families of the deceased have expressed anger that neither the Irish Taoiseach nor the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley currently plan to attend the anniversary events. A survivor of the bombing has also called on the country’s political parties to use the anniversary as an opportunity to restore the power-sharing government in Stormont.

The Office for National Statistics publishes the latest UK Consumer Price Indices on Wednesday. This month’s figures are always closely watched because July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) is used by the government to set the average increase of regulated rail fares next year.

In the last release, the ONS found that rising prices for fuel and domestic energy produced the largest contributions to change in the rate, with falling prices for clothes, toys, and hobbies providing the largest downward effect.

Voting opens in the diverse Welsh Conservative leadership election, as Suzy Davies and Paul Davies (no relation) bid to succeed Andrew RT Davies (no relation) in the top job. RT Davies stepped down in June this year, with many suggesting his pro-Brexit stance was the ultimate reason for his downfall.

The foundations were likely laid in April of last year, though, when he made the “reckless” decision to welcome a particular UKIP member into the Welsh Conservative group. He had previously hoped to lead the party into the 2021 Welsh Assembly election.

The latest round of Brexit negotiations between officials from the European Commission and UK take place on Thursday, amid ongoing criticism of the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposal and a potential “no deal” scenario.

Theresa May has now taken personal charge of discussions with the EU and downgraded the role of the Brexit department, a move which has done nothing to persuade the International Trade Secretary that a deal with the European Union is still achievable. The European Commission’s subsequent reaction to Liam Fox’s comments suggests they weren’t taken all that well.

Thousands of students across the country will tentatively open sealed envelopes as A-level exam results are released. Universities will also begin to announce their intake numbers for the academic year 2018/19, as students find out whether they have achieved the grades to enter their first-choice university in September. For those students who have just missed out on their predicted grades, the Independent has put together a helpful guide on what to do next.

Also on Thursday, the ONS publishes its monthly UK Retail Sales figures. The publication comes on the back of a difficult few weeks for the high street.

On 10 August, House of Fraser announced it was calling in administrators before Mike Ashley and Sports Direct confirmed a £90m rescue package. Home improvement giant Homebase has also confirmed plans to close up to 60 stores, with Maplin and Toys R Us having already gone to the wall in 2018.

In the US, Forbes publishes its annual list of the highest-paid actresses, which last year saw La La Land star Emma Stone replace Jennifer Lawrence as the highest earner.

Despite Stone’s healthy $26m fortune, she lagged far behind that of the highest paid actor, Mark Wahlberg, who in Forbes’ 2017 list had an estimated value of $68m, highlighting Hollywood’s gender pay gap.

The same can be said though for the wider world of celebrity, with “Judge” Judy Sheindlin and Kylie Jenner the only women making the top 10 of Forbes’ highest-earning celebrities last month.

With Parliament still in recess, members of the Science and Technology committee release the findings of their investigation into e-cigarettes on Friday.

The inquiry has focused on the impact of the devices on human health, while also exploring the suitability of regulations guiding their use. The use of e-cigarettes continues to divide opinion – a study published earlier this month warned that vaping could in fact be a gateway to smoking for teenagers, while supporters of the devices argue they are an important tool for people who are looking to quit smoking.

Friday also marks the first anniversary of the terror attack in Barcelona, which targeted the Las Ramblas area of the city as well as the nearby town of Cambrils. Catalunya will fall silent to remember the 16 people who lost their lives. The Spanish media published images of the attackers and leaked information from the formal investigation last week.

Fresh from his €100m summer switch from Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to make his debut for Juventus on Saturday. The Portugal captain makes his competitive bow as the Bianconeri kick-off their Serie A campaign against Chievo Verona.

If Ronaldo can guide The Old Lady to their eighth consecutive Scudetto this season, he would become the first player to win the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A.

Tyson Fury continues his boxing comeback as he faces off against Francesco Pianeta at Belfast’s Windsor Park. The self-styled “Gypsy King” returned to the ring for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years as he defeated Sefer Seferi in June, with a repeat performance likely to lead to a heavyweight title match by the end of the year. Numerous reports have already suggested Fury is close to agreeing a deal to face American Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt.

Sunday is expected to mark the beginning of Hajj. One of the pillars of Islam, the pilgrimage to Mecca is compulsory for all Muslims and must be carried out at least once in a lifetime. The precise date of the Hajj is determined by the sighting of the new moon, which is anticipated to be today.

Finally, many happy returns to Former US President Bill Clinton who turns 72 today.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

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