Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week…
In an attempt to resolve the presidential crisis rocking Venezuela’s fragile political system, Canada hosts a meeting with the Lima Group of Central and South American countries on Monday. The group is calling on Nicolas Maduro to relinquish power to Juan Guaidó, echoing the positions of several European countries and the US. A ‘deadline’ for Maduro to call fresh elections, set by European nations including the UK, was due to expire on 3 February.
In London, Michael Seed appears in court charged with one count of conspiracy to burgle and one count of conspiracy to conceal or disguise criminal property, relating to the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit burglary in April 2015. Seed is presumed to be “Basil”, the seventh participant of the highly-publicised robbery, which was later dramatized in the 2018 film King of Thieves starring Michael Caine.
After considerable controversy surrounding the longest government shutdown in US history and a related spat with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address on Tuesday. The address, rescheduled from 29 January, is the first chance for the President to lay out the agenda for his third year in office and is expected to focus heavily on border wall funding, the sticking point behind the government’s shutdown.
Tuesday also sees the publication of the NHS’s annual statistics report on alcohol use and misuse in England. The report tracks a wide range of alcohol-related incidents, including hospital admissions, deaths, prescriptions, behaviours and expenditure. Last year’s report found that although less people had drunk alcohol in the week preceding 2018’s survey than in 2007, the number of hospital admissions and deaths relating to alcohol consumption was considerably higher.
On Wednesday, the US hosts a meeting of the foreign ministers from the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the 79-nation grouping established in 2014 with the goal of “degrading and defeating” the terror group. The other 78 members will likely seek clarification from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the wider US strategy in the region after the withdrawal of troops from Syria began last month.
Fresh from accusing the Irish Prime Minister of leaking details from a private conversation, Dominic Raab returns for a second grilling on Brexit on a bumper day for select committees. Joining the former Brexit Secretary before the European Scrutiny committee is Suella Braverman, at one time a junior minister in Raab’s department, while elsewhere current Cabinet members Liam Fox and Greg Clark are questioned on the work of their departments.
Sadiq Khan is joined by Transport for London Commissioner Mike Brown at this Thursday’s plenary session of the London Assembly for a discussion on transport issues in the capital. The mayor is likely to again find himself fielding questions from Assembly Members about the delayed Crossrail project after new chief executive Mark Wild said last week that the new line had little chance of being completed this year.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee announces the first interest rate decision of this year, though market expectations of an increase fell after last week’s Commons vote. Speaking at Davos before the vote took place, Governor Mark Carney signalled that there should be no presumption of either an increase or reduction to the bank rate in the event of a no-deal Brexit, suggesting that the market reaction will be proved correct. After the MPC decision is announced, Carney holds a press conference to discuss the Bank’s latest quarterly inflation report.
All eyes will be on the US Capitol Building on Friday as former Trump attorney Michael Cohen gives evidence to the House Intelligence Committee. Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison at the end of 2018 for offences including campaign finance violations. On the same day, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker also appears before a House Committee. Whitaker this week told reporters that the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election is close to being completed.
A packed weekend of sporting fixtures begins on Saturday with the resumption of the Premier League. Liverpool welcome Bournemouth to Anfield as they look to extend their lead over Manchester City, with relegation threatened Cardiff travelling to Southampton in a key clash at the other end of the table. The Six Nations also continues with Scotland facing Ireland and Wales taking on Italy.
Northern Rail guards take strike action once again as part of the long-running dispute over driver-only operated trains. Passenger frustration with the frequent disruption to services was reflected most recently in the Which? consumer watchdog’s annual rail survey, which saw Northern ranked bottom for customer service.
Britain’s answer to the Oscars takes place on Sunday as the Royal Albert Hall plays host to this year’s BAFTAs. British contenders feature in all major categories, with Olivia Colman (Leading Actress), Christian Bale (Leading Actor) and Richard E Grant (Supporting Actor) tipped for success.
Awards season also continues across the pond as the music industry gathers for the Grammys. Event organisers found themselves fending off controversy earlier this week after a list of reported winners was leaked online.
And the highlight of the second round of the Six Nations sees England welcoming France to Twickenham.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster