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August 18, 2023

News diary 21 – 27 August: Louis Theroux MacTaggart Lecture, first GOP debate

A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News.

By Foresight News

A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News.

Leading the week 

This week sees space exploration re-enter the orbit of the news agenda as Russia and India vie to land spacecraft on the moon’s south pole.

On Monday (21 August), the Lunar-25 probe launched by Russian space agency Roscosmos earlier this month is due to land on the lunar south pole, where it is scheduled to spend a year analysing lunar soil and searching for traces of ice water. Moscow will be keen to emphasise the acclaim that comes in becoming the first nation to land on the lunar southern pole amid rising interest rates and a tumbling rouble.

The Russians will not have to wait long to see their achievement matched; India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission is expected to make its own landing on the southern pole just two days later on Wednesday (August 23), having travelled around the Earth’s orbit multiple times since launching on July 14. 

Quarterly stats are released on Thursday (24 August) on immigration and irregular migration to the UK at a time when the issue continues to dominate the political landscape. Around 17,000 people have crossed the Channel so far this year after Rishi Sunak made stopping the boats one of his five priorities in Government.

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The Prime Minister had cause for alarm this week when refugees were evacuated from the Bibby Stockholm, the flagship policy vessel, after an outbreak of legionella. With reports refugees will not be admitted back on board for weeks, Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman will be scrambling for alternatives after reports the EU has rejected a return policy and some helpfully-timed friendly fire from Conservative Deputy Party Chairman Lee Anderson. 

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Ofgem will announce the next change to the energy price cap on Friday (25 August) after its last update was cited as a major factor in the fall in inflation recorded in July. The regulator’s next change will take effect in October and is expected to result in bills coming down again, and signs are good for a relatively stable winter period for consumers with many providers also recently launching new fixed-rate deals in response to falling wholesale prices.

However, ahead of Friday’s announcement the Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley warned in a Guardian interview that the price cap may not be the best mechanism to support those most in need in the context of the past couple of years of market volatility, suggesting the issue of what to do about energy bills will remain a key issue in the lead up to the next election. 

Looking abroad 

The first debate of the Republican presidential primary takes place next Wednesday (23 August) in Milwaukee as Donald Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination seek to make a dent in the now four-times-indicted former president’s commanding lead in the polls.

The final line-up will be confirmed on Monday (21 August), though Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Doug Burgum, Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie all appear to have qualified. Of course, the big question is whether Trump himself will take part, having suggested he might not while leaving the door open for a dramatic last-minute appearance in a week in which he also faces a deadline to surrender by Friday (25 August) following his indictment on state RICO charges by Fulton County DA Fani Willis. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hosts this year’s BRICS summit in Johannesburg on Wednesday and Thursday (23-24 August). Russia’s Vladimir Putin won’t be attending in person, saving South African authorities the headache of having to decide whether to arrest Putin or ignore their obligations to act on the ICC arrest warrant issued in March against Putin. But China’s Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi, and Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are all due to attend the summit, with Xi paying a rare state visit on Tuesday (22 August) ahead of the gathering. 

On the agenda for the summit is the contentious topic of expanding the grouping, with some 20 countries – including Argentina, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Venezuela – having expressed formal interest in joining, though the conflict in Ukraine will inevitably loom large over the gathering.

As it happens, the country marks its independence on Thursday (24 August), exactly 18 months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022. At the UN in New York, current UN Security Council presidency holders the United States have scheduled a meeting that day on the conflict in Ukraine. 

Also look out for 

August 21 

  • Joe Biden visits Maui, Hawaii 
  • US and South Korea begin military exercises 
  • Strike action by MOD supply staff in Scotland 
  • UK’s oldest person turns 114 

August 22 

  • Xi Jinping pays state visit to South Africa 
  • Vladimir Putin among speakers at BRICS business forum 
  • Vote on new Cambodian prime minister 
  • Edinburgh International Television Festival begins 

August 23 

August 24 

  • GCSE results announced 
  • NHS hospital consultants’ strike planned 
  • BRICS leaders meet with non-member state leaders 
  • Jackson Hole economic symposium opens 
  • PGA Tour Championship begins 

August 25 

  • Jerome Powell speech at Jackson Hole economic symposium  
  • Constance Marten and Mark Gordon court appearance 
  • NASA’s Crew-7 mission launch 
  • Reading & Leeds festivals open 

August 26 

  • RMT rail workers strike begins 
  • Notting Hill Carnival begins 
  • Gabon holds general election 
  • Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) begins 

August 27 

  • The Hundred (cricket) finals 
  • F1 Netherlands Grand Prix 

Statistics, results and reports 

August 21 

  • Rightmove House Price Index 

August 22 

  • UK public sector finances 
  • Statistics on drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2022 
  • Results from: BHP, Lowe’s Companies, Medtronic, Wood Group plc, Macy’s Inc 

August 23 

  • Flash UK PMI 
  • Births in 2022 NCHS report (US) 
  • Waterwise / BSI Water Scarcity Index 
  • Results from: Nvidia, Kohl’s, Ithaca Energy 

August 24 

  • NHS statistics on bed availability and occupancy, sickness absence rates, NHS workforce and GP workforce 
  • ONS statistics on young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) 
  • Fire prevention and protection statistics 2022/23 
  • Results from: Qantas, Norwegian Air, Hays plc, Gap Stores, Nordstrom 

August 25 

  • Bank of England capital issuance 
  • Germany Q2 GDP (final) 

Anniversaries and awareness days 

August 21 

  • International Rocket Week 
  • 10 years ago: Gouta chemical weapons attack 

August 22 

  • Russia’s Flag Day 
  • Two weeks ago: Maui fire devastated Lahaina, Hawaii 

August 23 

  • International Beatleweek 
  • International Day for remembrance of the slave trade and its abolition 
  • Three years ago: Jacob Blake shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin 

August 26 

  • Women’s Equality Day 
  • International Bat Weekend 
  • National Dog Day 
  • UK’s oldest man turns 111 
  • Two years ago: ISIS-K attack at Kabul airport 

August 27 

  • International Go Topless Day 
  • Four years ago: Harry Dunn was killed 

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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