What to expect other than Brexit this week


It’s Monday, it’s a new week, and while we know Brexit is likely to dominate the news again in some form over the next seven days, we thought you might like to know what else is coming up.

1) D-Day on doping

What’s happening?

The world anti-doping body will announce on Tuesday whether it found anything in its inspections of a Russian laboratory conducted this month.

Why does it matter?

In 2015, Russia’s anti-doping body was suspended for three years after a major scandal over state-sponsored doping.

But then in September, the lab was allowed to restart its work – on condition that inspectors be allowed in, and that they be allowed to analyse data.

Those findings – which should help detail whether inspectors believe wide-ranging doping is continuing – will be made clear on Tuesday.

This will happen only after the world anti-doping body, Wada, can get all its staff out of Russia. Its director-general told Reuters news agency this was “not just out of safety concerns it is also to ensure that there is no interference”.

Russia has always denied there was a state-sponsored doping plan. It will be worth watching how they react this time: will Wada’s findings vindicate Russia, or incur its wrath?

Either way, Russia could face sanctions, for not letting inspectors access the lab by a 31 December deadline.

2) And the Oscar nominations go to…

What’s happening?

On Tuesday, the Oscar nominations are announced.

Why does it matter?

The shine has gone off the Oscars a little in recent years, not helped this year by a short-lived and poorly received plan for a ‘popular film’ award, as well as the bungled naming of a host.

As things stand, no host has yet been confirmed, and if it stays that way, it will be only the second time in 91 years for the awards to take place without a host.

So organisers will hope the headlines this week will be about the awards themselves, rather than any associated controversies.

The frontrunners are Alfonso Cuarón’s widely praised Mexican domestic drama Roma, and the musical drama A Star is Born…but could we see a surprise name lead the nominations?

3) An open door to Trump challengers?

What’s happening?

Senior Republican Party figures will gather for their annual winter meeting in New Mexico between Wednesday and Friday.

Why does it matter?

It’s more intriguing than it sounds, trust us, especially because the US is gearing up for the 2020 election (yes, we know, it’s that time already)

One small matter that is expected to come up: will the Republican Party do anything to stop any potential challengers to Donald Trump?

As things stand, the US president is running for re-election in 2020. But there’s nothing to stop opponents within his party running against him in the primaries that begin in a year.

So far, no-one has said they will do so. But whispers continue that Mr Trump’s 2016 opponent, Ohio governor John Kasich, may make a presidential bid. There have also been rumblings of a possible run from former Arizona senator Jeff Flake.

All the signs are that the Republican National Committee will not discuss a rule change this week that would block challengers to the president. This may open the door for people to stand against him.

As for Mr Trump, he could well speak at the meeting – he did so last year, and launched a searing attack on the media.

4) The world gathers in the Alps

What’s happening?

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, takes place all week.

Why does it matter?

Davos is considered the number one gathering for global movers and shakers, and has become a byword for those who oppose the idea of globalism.

This is one place Mr Trump won’t be this week, after he and his team cancelled their plans to attend, citing the ongoing partial US government shutdown.

Who else is attending? We’ll hear from Brazil’s new far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro, at his first international event, as well as from Germany’s Angela Merkel and China’s Vice-President Wang Qishan.

Oh, and David Attenborough.

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