Foresight News rounds up the key events that need to be in your news diary this week…
We’ll hear from a number of world leaders on “rebuilding trust” this week during the World Economic Forum Dialogues, a digital stand-in for the annual Davos meeting which has been moved to Singapore in May. Highlights include: Xi Jinping, Dr Anthony Fauci, Christine Lagarde, Andrew Bailey (Monday); Ursula von der Leyen, Angela Merkel, Alok Sharma (pictured), Kristalina Georgieva, Cyril Ramaphosa (Tuesday); Benjamin Netanyahu, Sadiq Khan, Moon Jae-in, Mark Carney, Bill Gates (Wednesday); Narendra Modi, King Abdullah of Jordan (Thursday); Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Liz Truss and Lee Hsien Loong (Friday).
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- May 28, 2021
Matthew Mason is due to be sentenced at Chester Crown Court after being found guilty earlier this month of the murder of Alex Rodda. Mason was convicted of killing the 15-year-old in December 2019 after bribing him to prevent their sexual relationship from being exposed. The trial heard that Mason had paid the teenager more than £2,000 over a three-week period before killing him.
US President Joe Biden begins his first full week in office. Within hours of inauguration, Biden reversed many of Donald Trump’s signature policies, including the so-called “Muslim Ban”, border wall construction, Keystone pipeline authorisation, and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. This week, Biden is expected to address family separation at the border, support for disadvantaged communities, and criminal justice reform.
The highlights from this week’s select committee calendar see Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in front of the still-active International Development Committee on the future of UK aid, where he can expect questions on the government’s priorities for its new 0.5% GNI spending target. Elsewhere, the health and science committees quiz NHS chief executive Simon Stevens on the NHS’ handling of the pandemic, just days after he said hospitals were admitting a Covid-19 patient every 30 seconds.
The IMF releases an update to its annual World Economic Outlook, the first in a series of major examinations of the global economy and financial systems this week. IMF head Kristalina Georgieva hinted last week at the likely themes of this year’s report, citing a highly uncertain global outlook and the dangers facing poorer, more heavily indebted nations. The economic update is followed by the Fund’s Global Financial Stability Report and Fiscal Monitor on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Johnson & Johnson publishes its fourth-quarter earnings for 2020. The pharmaceutical firm has been buoyed recently by the interim results of its Phase I/II Covid-19 vaccine trial, which found that the one-shot jab safely induces an immune response. Investors will be keen for an update on the Phase III results, which are due by the end of the month and could indicate how soon the “game-changing” vaccine might be available.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists holds its flagship annual Doomsday Clock update, revealing how close humanity is to annihilation. Last year, the clock’s minute hand was moved another 20 seconds forward, so that it now stands at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest to apocalypse in the clock’s 74-year history. But while the three main threats listed to humanity – nuclear weapons, climate change and online disinformation – persist, Biden’s inauguration may justify easing the threat level.
Three of the world’s biggest companies post results: the world’s most valuable automaker Tesla, which heralded today’s financials by announcing record-breaking quarterly vehicle delivery numbers earlier this month; Apple, which could be set for a record of its own after a full quarter of sales for its iPhone 12 series and new Watch products; and Facebook, whose strong revenue outlook may be tempered by fears of future regulatory squeezes and user migration to alternative platforms.
The Department for Transport publishes findings on public attitudes to travel and transport during the pandemic. With both sectors heavily disrupted over the past ten months, expect headline findings on changing views toward commuting and cycling, lingering concerns over the safety of public transport, and continuing worries for the travel industry: interim findings published in October found only 11% of people would consider going on a cruise in the next eight months.
Fourth quarter GDP, 2020 growth estimates and weekly jobless claim reports are released in the US, where the economy continues to feel the severe effects of the pandemic amid some 4,000 deaths and over 180,000 coronavirus cases a day. Though jobless claims are expected to remain close to one million and growth set to contract, President Biden’s ambitious stimulus plan has analysts improving their predictions for 2021 as the impact of economic relief is finally felt.
The Welsh Government reviews Wales’ lockdown measures, which have now been in force for five weeks. The lockdown was originally implemented on 20 December, though hopes of any possible easing have been tempered by England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland extending their own restrictions. A further review is set for 19 February.
The European Medicines Agency scientific committee for human medicines meets to consider authorising the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine for use across the EU. The EMA has already approved the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs, though the EU has received criticism for their relatively slow rollout. If the Oxford vaccine is approved, it would add up to 400 million doses to the bloc’s vaccine supply.
Saturday looks quiet, so far – the Premier League season resumes with Chelsea hoping to relieve pressure on under-fire manager Frank Lampard with a victory over Burnley at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have lost four of their last five Premier League matches and have only recorded a single league win in 2021. Their slump in form has raised questions over Lampard’s long-term future.
One year has passed since the UK officially recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus when two Chinese nationals staying at a hotel in York returned the first positive tests. Over 3.5 million people in the UK have been infected over the ensuing 12 months, and the pandemic has claimed nearly 95,000 lives.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: PA Wire/Leon Neal