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.
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Leading the week
The dwindling field of would-be challengers to Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination head to Alabama for the fourth debate on Wednesday (December 6) as Nikki Haley continues to strengthen her position as the Trump alternative. This week she picked up the endorsement of the Charles Koch-backed super PAC AFP Action, in the latest sign that non-Trumpers favor her over Ron DeSantis, who will be hoping his televised debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom injects new life into his campaign ahead of the debate. Trump is once again expected to be a no-show, and is reportedly attending a fundraiser in Florida on the night. The final list of candidates who have made the cut to participate is due on Monday (December 4), and while Doug Burgum and Chris Christie appear unlikely to meet the criteria, Vivek Ramaswamy could still qualify and already has plans to be in Alabama for an event on Tuesday (December 5) ahead of the debate.
Back in DC, arguments are scheduled on Monday (December 4) in one of the highest-profile cases of the Supreme Court’s current term, a Department of Justice challenge to the proposed billion-dollar settlement for Purdue Pharma. At heart of the case is the question of whether members of the Sackler family, who made billions from sales of OxyContin as it fueled the devastating opioid crisis but have agreed to pay some $6 billion to alleviate the ongoing epidemic, should be shielded from future litigation as part of the settlement. On Tuesday (December 5), the court will hear arguments in another important, if less high-profile, case challenging a tax on offshore earnings introduced as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by Donald Trump in 2017.
Speaking of billions, the CEOs of some of Wall Street’s largest financial institutions are scheduled to appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday (December 6) for its annual oversight hearing, which comes at the end of a year in which serious questions were raised about the stability of the banking system following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March. Given the line-up of witnesses, who include finance ‘rock stars’ Jamie Dimon, David Solomon and Brian Moynihan, the hearing is likely to be closely watched by the industry in the run-up to the monthly jobs report on Friday (December 8).
After fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed this morning as the latest one-day extension to what was an increasingly fragile truce expired, the conflict is likely to once again dominate news next week, particularly amid indications that Israeli operations now look set to include southern Gaza. Qatar, which hosts Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and has become a center of diplomatic activity over the conflict, has said efforts to renew the truce continue between the two sides, despite the renewed bombing campaigns.
With French president Emmanuel Macron due to arrive in Qatar tomorrow (December 2), Doha will continue to be a focal point in the coming days. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected in Qatar on Monday (December 4) for talks on the conflict, which is also likely to dominate the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders’ summit taking place there on Tuesday (December 5). It’s also worth keeping an eye on a meeting of Caspian foreign ministers hosted by Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday, which Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is expected to attend.
Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears before the country’s Covid-19 inquiry for a marathon two-day session on Wednesday and Thursday (December 6-7) as the current phase looking at government decision-making winds down. After his former health secretary Matt Hancock was raked over the coals in a similarly long session last week, Johnson can expect harsh questioning over his decisions at each stage of the pandemic, with the ‘partygate’ furore which dogged his premiership undoubtedly due to resurface. Johnson may also face questions on entries in Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance’s diary – made public as part of the inquiry – which said Johnson agreed that Covid was ‘nature’s way of dealing with old people’ and that the former prime minister was ‘bamboozled’ and ‘confused’ by the science during the pandemic.
Sunday (December 10) sees Argentina’s new president Javier Milei take office following his victory in November’s run-off. Milei, whose win was lauded by the likes of Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, was in Washington, DC earlier this week, where he met with officials from the IMF and the Biden administration. Having confirmed plans to scrap the country’s central bank, Milei later surprised many by announcing that he intends to appoint the mainstream center-right former finance minister Luis Caputo to be his economy minister, leading some analysts to conclude that Milei’s flagship policy of replacing the Argentine peso with the US dollar may not be an early priority for his fledgling administration.