A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
President Joe Biden heads to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland next week in a visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the US-brokered accord aimed at ending the sectarian violence that had been ongoing for nearly 40 years and set up the devolved government in Northern Ireland.
Ongoing discord among the parties in Northern Ireland, notably linked to the consequences of Brexit, has threatened to overshadow the anniversary. The Northern Ireland Assembly hasn’t been sitting since February 2022, and the country still has no functioning government following elections last May that saw the nationalist Sinn Fein party win more seats than the unionist DUP for the first time. But the DUP, incensed by what they consider to be a new post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, have been using their effective veto power to prevent the formation of power-sharing executive, even after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled the Windsor Framework, a renegotiated agreement which he claimed addressed all of their concerns.
Despite the DUP’s refusal to support the framework, the new deal was viewed as an important factor in paving the way for this week’s visit, which will dominate coverage of the anniversary. Biden touches down in Belfast on Tuesday (April 11) for a day and a half of events to mark the ‘tremendous progress’ made in the last quarter century. He travels on to the south on Wednesday (April 12) for a three-day visit which includes stops in County Louth and Dublin, where he addresses a joint sitting of the Irish parliament on Thursday (April 13), and a speech on Friday (April 14) in his ancestral home of County Mayo to ‘celebrate the deep, historic ties’ linking the US and Ireland.
Following his historic appearance in court in Manhattan this week, given wall-to-wall coverage on broadcast and cable networks, Donald Trump is likely to dominate headlines again when he takes to the stage at NRA’s leadership forum next Friday (April 14) in Indianapolis. The gathering comes weeks after the horrific school shooting in Nashville and features a host of would-be challengers to the former president, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, though the latter two are addressing the event remotely.
Trump may well choose to weigh in on the debate over the Tennessee shooting, which some conservatives have seized upon due to the shooter’s gender identity, having previously cited the ‘massive amount of drugs’ taken by transgender people as part of his justification for banning their service in the military. DeSantis, meanwhile, who is viewed by many as the strongest potential challenger to Trump, is likely to tout Florida’s new concealed carry legislation that is due to take effect in July as evidence of his pro-gun credentials.
Both Trump and Pence are then due to speak an RNC donor retreat taking place, as it happens, in Nashville over the weekend, with Trump slated to deliver the keynote address on Saturday (April 15) evening. The retreat comes amid reports that Trump’s indictment has led to a huge surge in donations to his campaign, though official figures due on Saturday won’t include a full picture as they only include fundraising numbers up to March 31, the day after his indictment was announced.
In India, a court is set to hold its first hearing on Thursday (April 13) in opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s appeal against his conviction in a defamation case stemming from comments he made in a 2019 speech criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi, the de facto leader of the Congress party, was expelled from parliament shortly after his conviction last month in a move condemned by his supporters as the latest evidence of the erosion of democracy under Modi’s premiership ahead of national elections next year. The case against Gandhi was brought by a BJP member and former Gujarat minister named Purnesh Modi, who is not related to the prime minister, who claimed Gandhi had ‘defamed the entire Modi community’ when he questioned in his speech ‘Why do all thieves have Modi as their surname?’ in reference to two other prominent cases.
The appeals court has already suspended Gandhi’s two-year prison sentence while it considers his case, with Thursday’s hearing expected to focus on a bid stay his conviction, which in turn could pave the way for Gandhi to return to the Lok Sabha while the case is being heard. A further hearing on the merits of his appeal is expected in early May.
The IMF and World Bank hold their annual Spring Meetings in Washington DC next week, kicking off in earnest on Tuesday (April 11) with the launch of the flagship World Economic Outlook report. The conflict in Ukraine and its economic ramifications are set to cast a shadow once gain over the gathering, which also follows recent tremors in the banking sector linked to rising central bank interest rates aimed at curbing inflation.
Ahead of the meetings, the IMF’s board approved a $15.6 billion loan package for Ukraine, and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will attend a ministerial roundtable on Wednesday (April 12) to discuss Ukraine’s medium-term needs and recovery alongside IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva and outgoing World Bank president David Malpass. Ukraine will also loom large over the traditional meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday (April 12-13), which last year saw Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen lead a walkout in protest at Russia’s involvement. Yellen is also likely to meet with her G7 counterparts during the week, when further coordinated action against Russia will likely be discussed.