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February 9, 2024

News diary 12-18 February: Indonesia elections, Jon Stewart returns to Daily Show, BAFTAs

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

Next week brings another test of Rishi Sunak’s leadership as by-elections take place in the Wellingborough and Kingswood constituencies on Thursday (February 15). The votes follow the ousting of Peter Bone, who succumbed to a recall petition after being suspended from Parliament last year, and the resignation of Net Zero review author Chris Skidmore in protest at the awarding of new oil and gas licences.

The prospect of seeing his majority further reduced in an election year will be unwelcome enough for the prime minister, but with the ballots coming in the same week as the Rwanda bill returns to the House of Lords – where two days of debates and potential amendments are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday (February 12 and 14) – they also represent an opportunity to gauge how much impact one of the government’s flagship policies is having on its ability to return MPs. Labour’s top brass will fancy their chances of completing the first two victories in a potential February by-election hat-trick, though the presence of candidates from Reform UK on both ballot papers is a reminder that neither of the two main parties can afford to be complacent with a general election campaign looming. Results from the two votes will be announced on Friday (February 16).

The first set of quarterly GDP statistics this year are also out on Thursday (February 15), just days after the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said the UK may have entered recession at the end of last year. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey may respond to suggestions the MPC’s policymaking was partly to blame during a speech at Loughborough University on Monday (February 12), where he’ll also have the opportunity to address the Treasury Committee’s critical views on Threadneedle Street’s quantitative tightening policies.

Thursday’s growth figures will not only confirm whether the UK is on track for a recession but also inform Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s decision-making as he enters the final stages of planning for next month’s Budget. In a bumper week for economic indicators there are also employment and wage stats on Tuesday (February 13) and inflation figures on Wednesday (February 14), with the former notable for including data from the ONS Labour Force Survey for the first time since its use was suspended last autumn over concerns about the quality of response data.

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Awards season makes its way to London next week as David Tennant hosts the BAFTA Awards on Sunday (February 18), often seen as a bellwether of critical opinion for the Oscars in March. Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Oppenheimer has emerged as the favourite to sweep the ceremony, with Nolan, leading man Cillian Murphy, and the film itself tipped to win Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film gongs. Other nominees for Best Film include French legal drama Anatomy of a Fall, coming-of-age dramedy The Holdovers, and Martin Scorsese’s historical epic Killers of the Flower Moon. Emma Stone, star of Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark comedy Poor Things, stands as the likely frontrunner for the Best Actress category, with Oscars rival Lily Gladstone a surprising omission from the nominees list for her role in Killers of the Flower Moon. Even so, Barbie megastar Margot Robbie, whose Oscar snub caused a minor Twitterstorm last week, could have an outside chance of taking home the prize.

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Looking abroad

Following a week where developments in the Middle East have to a degree overshadowed the conflict in Ukraine, expect a renewed focus on Kyiv’s efforts to withstand Russia’s military campaign, starting on Wednesday (February 14) when the defence ministers from the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group are due to meet in Brussels. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will chair the gathering and hold a news conference after, as he makes his first foreign trip since returning to work following his secretive treatment for prostate cancer in December. The talks come after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a long-mooted shakeup of the armed forces yesterday amid calls for a change in approach, replacing commander in chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi with General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the country’s land forces.

The conflict is likely to feature prominently at the NATO defence ministers’ meeting on Thursday (February 15), when Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov will join alliance counterparts for the afternoon session, as well at the Munich Security Conference – dubbed the ‘Davos of Defence’ – which opens on Friday (February 16) and lasts through the weekend. Although the final programme is usually only announced just before the conference opens, confirmed speakers already include NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Israeli president Isaac Herzog.

Presidential and legislative elections take place Wednesday (February 14) in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world by population and the world’s third-largest democracy. Incumbent President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is term-limited, though his 36-year-old son Gibran Rakabuming is the running mate of leading presidential candidate and current defence minister Prabowo Subianto, who’s hoping the third time’s the charm after being defeated by Jokowi in 2014 and 2019.  Although Prabowo, who has vowed to build on Widodo’s policies, has a comfortable lead in polls, it’s not clear he has enough votes (50 per cent overall and at least 20 per cent in each province) to avoid a runoff that won’t be held until June 26. The new president will take office in October.

Also look out for…

February 12

  • Deadline for Trump to appeal to SCOTUS in presidential immunity bid
  • Man goes on trial over murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky
  • Northern Ireland Assembly holds plenary session
  • German Finance Minister speaks at LSE
  • Joe Biden hosts Jordanian King at the White House
  • Javier Milei meetings with Giorgia Meloni and Pope Francis
  • Iraqi PM and Nvidia CEO among speakers at World Government Summit in UAE
  • Jon Stewart returns to The Daily Show

February 13

  • Questions to David Cameron and motions on new NI regulations in the Lords
  • Erdogan and Sam Altman among speakers at World Government Summit
  • Amazon staff in Coventry begin 72-hour strike
  • Sergey Lavrov address at Valdai Discussion Club
  • ECHR judgment in case over religious slaughter of animals without stunning
  • Copenhagen v Manchester City in Champions League round of 16
  • Edward Enninful’s last edition of Vogue published
  • New Orleans Mardi Gras

February 14

  • Robert Jenrick speech to the Heritage Foundation on mass migration
  • Sadiq Khan presents final 2024/25 Budget
  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan expected to visit Egypt
  • Sergey Lavrov addresses Russian Duma
  • UN Security Council discusses Yemen
  • IEA Ministerial meeting
  • Intuitive Machines IM-1 lunar lander mission launches
  • Mclaren and Mercedes F1 car launches

February 15

  • Centrica results
  • Red Bull F1 car launch
  • Online hustings in the Welsh Labour leadership contest
  • Closing arguments in New York AG case against the NRA
  • Lula visits Egypt
  • CPJ report on worldwide killings of journalists
  • JAXA H3 rocket launch
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting begins
  • India v England third test

February 16

  • UK Retail Sales figures
  • Trial begins in separate case for Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Bruckner
  • US terrorism designation for Houthi rebels takes effect
  • Ballot opens in Welsh Labour leadership election
  • Scottish Labour Party Annual Conference begins
  • London Fashion Week begins

February 17

  • Viktor Orban delivers state of the nation address
  • African Union leaders’ summit
  • Full application in effect for EU Digital Services Act
  • UK Athletics Indoor Championships
  • Ascot Chase Day

February 18

  • Pope Francis celebrates First Sunday of Lent
  • Regional elections in Galicia (Spain)
  • People’s Choice Awards
  • NBA All-Star Game

Statistics, reports and results

February 12

  • Munich Security Report 2024
  • State of the World’s Migratory Species
  • Resolution Foundation report on UK families and savings

February 13

  • IISS The Military Balance report
  • Universal Credit statistics
  • US consumer price index
  • OPEC monthly oil markets report
  • Results from: Lyft, Coca-Cola, TUI Group, American International Group, Molson Coors

February 14

  • Cold Weather Payments 2023/23
  • Annual air pollutant emissions statistics
  • OBR Spring Budget forecast round
  • UK house price index
  • Flash estimate EU and euro area GDP
  • Monthly NOAA Global Climate Report
  • Results from: Severn Trent, Sony, Heineken, Kraft Heinz, ThyssenKrupp, OXY, Cisco Systems, Barrick Gold

February 15

  • Fuel poverty report 2023
  • UK indices of production and services
  • UK flash productivity estimate
  • Quarterly knife crime and criminal justice stats
  • UK overseas trade
  • IEA monthly oil market report
  • Japan Q4 GDP
  • Results from: Commerzbank, Airbus, Stellantis, RELX Group, Renault Group

February 16

  • HMICFRS PEEL report on Northamptonshire police
  • Results from: NatWest, Swiss Re

Anniversaries and awareness days:

February 12

  • Darwin Day
  • International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers
  • Myanmar Union Day
  • International Epilepsy Day
  • Heart Unions Week (to February 18)

February 13

  • Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)
  • Cameroon President Paul Biya, world’s oldest head of state, turns 91
  • World Radio Day
  • Galentine’s Day
  • International Condom Day

February 14

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Ash Wednesday (Lent begins)
  • International Book Giving Day
  • 100 years ago: IBM launched

February 15

  • International Childhood Cancer Day
  • Singles Awareness Day
  • 150 years ago: Sir Ernest Shackleton born

February 16

  • Kim Jong Il’s birthday: national holiday in DPRK
  • National Almond Day

February 17

  • International Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day

February 18

  • 10 years ago: protesters killed in Ukraine’s Maidan Square

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

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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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