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News diary 6-12 May: Northern Ireland power-sharing talks begin after journalist Lyra McKee's murder

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

The week begins with the May Day bank holiday, meaning there’s ample opportunity to mark momentous 90s anniversaries. Monday is 15 years since the final episode of hit TV show Friends aired, and 20 years since the first elections were held for the devolved Welsh and Scottish assemblies.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a group of 132 countries which was established in 2012 to strengthen global sustainable development, publishes a major report on biodiversity and humanity’s relationship with nature.

The report is expected to highlight the ecological threat humans are posing, as well as examine the human cost of failing to change our approach to climate change.

In the United States, the deadline for President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to surrender to authorities and report to prison looms. Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion, making false statements to a federally-insured bank and campaign finance violations.

He admitted to making “hush money” payments at Trump’s direction to two women before the 2016 presidential election, something the president denies and claims was done autonomously.

On Tuesday, talks resume to restore the power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland. The country has been without a devolved government since January 2017 when Sinn Fein pulled out in protest at the Democratic Unionist Party’s handling of an over-budget Renewable Heat Incentive eco subsidy, with close-run Assembly elections two months later proving ultimately inconclusive.

Talks between the Northern Irish parties have been held without success since then, with the most recent round triggered by the death of journalist Lyra McKee (pictured) on 18 April. On Wednesday, UK and Irish ministers discuss the issue at the British-Irish Inter-Governmental conference, which last convened in November 2018.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Germany to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas “to discuss issues of mutual concern”, ahead of his visit to the UK.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are also visiting, beginning a four-day tour of the country which will include activities such as attending the British Ambassador’s annual birthday party for the Queen.

In Washington, the Conference on the Americas brings together senior figures from the US administration with a number of Central and South American leaders.

US Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak, alongside President-elect of El Salvador Nayib Bukele, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, with the ongoing power struggle in Venezuela likely to dominate proceedings.

On Wednesday, Cyril Ramaphosa seeks his first full presidential term as South Africa holds national elections. Ramaphosa assumed the presidency in February 2018, when Jacob Zuma resigned amid pressure from his party and  the National Assembly over allegations of corruption and misspending of public funds. The ANC is expected to achieve a sixth straight majority since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The announcement of a trade deal between the United States and China is on the cards this week with Vice Premier Liu He due in Washington to resume talks that were reported to have resulted in progress on tariffs and market access when negotiators met on 1 May.

A resolution to the months-long impasse would end a period of animosity between the two nations and could be a welcome opportunity for the Trump administration to focus attention in Congress away from the ongoing row over the Mueller investigation.

Mike Pompeo’s arrival in London to meet with Theresa May comes at a sensitive time for the Prime Minister as diplomatic tussling between the US and China escalates in the wake of the UK’s decision to allow Huawei to build parts of the UK’s 5G network.

The US Secretary of State is expected to voice his administration’s concerns over the decision in a visit which also includes talks with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and a speech on UK-US relations.

European leaders – with Theresa May still technically among their number – gather in Romania on Thursday for an informal summit hosted by President Klaus Iohannis. The leaders are due to agree the EU’s next strategic agenda and update the bloc’s priorities for the next five years.

In a post-Brexit Europe gripped by the rise of populist parties, much has changed since 2014’s agenda was agreed, though migration and security, climate protection and the EU’s role on the global stage are likely to remain priorities for the Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and co.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is among speakers at the launch of the IPPR’s new Centre for Economic Justice, established to build on the work of the think tank’s Commission of Economic Justice, which last year called for a radical overhaul of Britain’s economy.

The new centre’s first discussion paper is published to coincide with the launch event, which also features remarks from Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson.

And with the UK poised for the announcement of a royal birth, Prince Harry is due in The Hague to attend an event marking the one-year countdown to the start of the Invictus Games.

Ride hailing app Uber is expected to make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday in one of the most anticipated IPOs in recent history. The company has enjoyed a meteoric rise since its official launch in 2011 and now operates in more than 60 countries across the globe.

Uber’s growth hasn’t been without controversy, however – co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced to step down as chief executive in 2017 and the company is facing a fresh lawsuit in Australia over allegations of illegal operations – and drivers in the US and UK plan to stage protests and boycotts this week in protest at pay arrangements ahead of the flotation.

In the UK, quarterly estimates of GDP are released a week on from the Bank of England’s revised economic forecasts, which predicted growth of 1.5 per cent in 2019, 1.6 per cent in 2020, and 2.1 per cent in 2021.

Despite the figures, analysts have moved to temper expectations by warning that the UK’s economy remains “more or less stalled”.

Centre-left think tank Progress holds its annual conference in London on Saturday, with Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips delivering the keynote address.

Labour’s results in last week’s local elections are sure to be discussed at length after the party could apparently only match the performance of an embattled Conservative Party. Commentators suggested the results are symptomatic of the ongoing Brexit crisis, adding pressure on Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May to reach an agreement on the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement.

One of the landmark events in the competitive cycling calendar gets underway with the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia. Defending champion Chris Froome is joined in the field by Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, with both representing the newly-christened Team Ineos.

A packed weekend of sport then continues with the Heineken Champions Cup final at St James’ Park, as defending champions Leinster take on Saracens.

The Premier League season reaches its climax on Sunday with the title potentially still in the balance. League leaders Manchester City are away to Brighton, as closest rivals Liverpool welcome Wolves to Anfield.

Pep Guardiola’s City are looking to retain the title for the first time in their history, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are aiming for a first league championship in 30 years.

And London’s Southbank Centre plays host to this year’s BAFTA Television Awards, where Killing Eve and Bodyguard are tipped to be the big winners.

Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, and Keeley Hawes are all in the running for the leading actress gong, with Hugh Grant at the head of the pack in the leading actor category. Graham Norton handles hosting duties.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Family handout/PA Wire

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