News diary 30 July-5 August: Zimbabwe goes to the polls after Robert Mugabe resignation and Brighton celebrates Pride

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

On Monday, Jeremy Hunt is in Beijing to participate in the China-UK Strategic Dialogue, a high-level meeting last held in London at the height of the “Golden Era” of bilateral relations.

That meeting was co-chaired by Hunt’s predecessor Boris Johnson and marked the start of a series of diplomatic wins for the UK which culminated in the £9bn worth of trade deals agreed during Prime Minister Theresa May’s 2018 visit to China. Hunt will be seeking to keep the sheen on the Golden Era, and any encouraging words on trade at the conclusion of this summit would be a fillip for the Foreign Secretary.

Donald Trump continues a recent round of diplomacy with European leaders by hosting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for talks at the White House. The pair met at the G7’s June meeting and the US President praised Conte, whose coalition government includes the far-right Liga party, for his stance on immigration. After a surprisingly positive meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker last week, Trump will relish another opportunity to find common ground with his Italian counterpart.

Voters go to the polls in Zimbabwe for the first time since the shock resignation of Robert Mugabe in 2017 and for the first time in 38 years without Mugabe’s name appearing on the ballot.

Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured), the vice president known as the “Crocodile” who assumed power after Mugabe’s removal, is seeking to cement his position and ensure that the ruling Zanu-PF party continues to dominate Zimbabwean politics. Challengers come from the Movement for Democratic Change party, still the leading opposition to Zanu-PF despite the death of Morgan Tsvangirai, and the National Patriotic Front, a group formed by Mugabe’s supporters earlier this year.

Fresh from last week’s record-breaking heatwave, the Met Office releases the annual State of the UK Climate report on Tuesday. The report provides an assessment of UK climate trends, variations and extremes based on the latest available data; last year’s edition revealed that 2016 was the 13th warmest year on record for the UK and showed a “clear” trend towards warmer temperatures, according to Mark McCarthy, head of the Met’s National Climate Information Centre.

And back in the States, Donald Trump returns to campaign mode for a rally in Florida where he’s due to proffer support for the Sunshine State mid-term election hopefuls including Senate candidate and sitting Governor Rick Scott.

However, with robust growth figures, further revelations from former attorney Michael Cohen and cosy relations with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un all making headlines last week, it could be another freewheeling performance from the President.

On Wednesday the Registrar General for Scotland publishes its annual Review of Demographic Trends for the country, which includes statistics on births, deaths, life expectancy, migration, marriage and civil partnerships, and households and housing. And the Office for National Statistics publishes annual information about the adults and children living within workless households in the UK.

In Germany, a new law takes effect that allows the resettlement of additional migrants to Germany who are direct relatives of refugees already living in the country. The new law is seen as an attempt to strike a balance between providing humanitarian support and responding to pressures from conservative factions within Germany, which include Angela Merkel’s coalition partners the CSU, to control migration after more than a million refugees were accepted in 2015.

On Thursday the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee announces its latest interest rate decision. The rate hasn’t risen above 0.5 per cent since March 2009; a 15-month interlude at 0.25 per cent in the wake of the Brexit referendum result was in place until last November, and the possibility of the MPC deciding to increase the rate to 0.75 per cent today was raised when chief economist Andy Haldane joined a minority of members voting for a hike at the committee’s June meeting.

Also on Thursday, the inaugural European Championships begin. Hosted by Glasgow and Berlin, the multi-sport event is being touted as a highlight on the global sporting calendar, with around 4,500 competitors set to compete in athletics, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, triathlon and golf. The pick of the action will take place at the athletics events in Berlin, where organisers say 250,000 tickets have been sold for the events.

Britain’s most notorious prisoner Charles Bronson appears at Leeds Crown Court on Friday to enter a plea on a charge of assault. Bronson, who now goes by the name Charles Salvador, is alleged to have carried out an attack at HMP Wakefield in January of this year.

As World Cup excitement finally wanes, attention returns to domestic action this weekend as the football league season begins. In the pick of the Championship fixtures on Friday, Chelsea and England legend Frank Lampard takes charge of his first competitive game as Derby manager against playoff mainstays Reading. It promises to be one of the most competitive campaigns in years, with three recent Premier League mainstays in Swansea City, Stoke, and West Brom all hoping to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

On Saturday, 300,000 people are expected to take part in the community parade at the annual Brighton Pride festival. Celebrating the iconic rainbow flag this year, the march proceeds along the seafront and finishes at the city’s Preston, where pop superstar Britney Spears headlines an evening concert for revellers.

Former US President Barack Obama celebrates his 57th birthday today, and it’s being marked in his home state of Illinois with the first ever “Barack Obama Day”. Also celebrating is Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, who turns 37.

On Sunday, water company United Utilities introduces a hosepipe ban across much of the North West of England, with around seven million people affected. United Utilities are seeking permission to draw water from Ullswater and Windermere in the Lake District in order to counter the “exceptional shortage of rainfall”.

The company attracted controversy after announcing the ban when it revealed plans to pay out more than £180m in dividends to shareholders. Oldham’s Labour MP Jim McMahon was among the critics, calling on the company to reinvest the money into the water network after failing in its “principal responsibility” of maintaining the supply.

The FA Community Shield, the traditional curtain raiser for the Premier League ahead of its return next week, sees FA Cup winners Chelsea take on champions Manchester City at Wembley. The match is the first opportunity for new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri to prove his side can be contenders for this year’s title, with Pep Guardiola’s City looking to pick up where they left off last season. The two teams last met in the Community Shield in 2012, with Manchester City winning 3-2.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Source: Digital Journalism
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