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
Fresh from her attempts to correct the record on her brief reign as prime minister via a 4,000-word Sunday Telegraph piece and a sit-down interview with Spectator TV, Liz Truss is set to turn her attention outwards with a speech in Tokyo on Friday (February 17). Addressing an event hosted by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China in the Japanese capital, Truss is expected to use the platform to call for the West to take a tougher stance on China in a speech focusing on Beijing’s growing threat to Taiwan. Conveniently for the misunderstood former PM, the subject and setting of this latest intervention gives her the opportunity to resume hostilities with her successor Rishi Sunak after the pair clashed during last year’s leadership contest over how the UK government should handle China in the post-Golden Age. While the response to these interventions has not been universally welcomed, it’s unlikely to be the last time we hear from Truss in the coming weeks.
The Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall plays host to the biggest night in British film on Sunday (February 19) with the 76th edition of the BAFTAs. All Quiet on the Western Front leads this year’s nominations with 14 nods, while The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All At Once follow close behind with 10 each. The battle for best actor looks like a three-way tussle between Austin Butler (Elvis), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), and Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), while Cate Blanchett (Tar) leads the race for best actress ahead of British hopeful Emma Thompson (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande). The night already seems geared towards a showdown between The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front with both films leading the field in the race for best film, while also going head-to-head in the best director, editing, original score, and supporting actor categories.
Following Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s surprise trip to London, Paris, and Brussels this week, where the Ukrainian leader turned up the pressure on allies to provide him with modern fighter jets, the conflict takes centre stage yet again next week as we approach the February 24 anniversary of Russia’s invasion. On Tuesday (February 14), the US-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group will meet in Brussels to discuss allied military support, with Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov set to attend despite apparently unfounded rumours that he was due to be replaced over a scandal involving over-priced catering contracts for the military.
NATO defence ministers then meet later on Tuesday and into Wednesday (February 15), with Finland and Sweden participating as they await ratification of their membership bids. On Friday (February 17) and over the weekend all eyes will be on the Munich Security Conference, sometimes referred to as Davos for defence, where again the conflict will dominate discussions. Although the full speaker line-up is usually only announced just before the gathering opens, organisers have already confirmed some heavy-hitters, including US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Polish President Andrzej Duda.
In the US, the Republican race to be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024 will heat up on Wednesday (February 15) when Nikki Haley makes her special announcement in Charleston, South Carolina. The former South Carolina Governor and then US Ambassador to the UN under Donald Trump, who has previously said she would not run against Trump if he decided to have another shot at the presidency, will become only the second official candidate in the race, though more announcements are likely in the coming weeks. Senator Tim Scott, a fellow South Carolinian, is due to start a ‘Faith in America’ listening tour with an event in the state on Thursday (February 16), while South Dakota Governor Kirsti Noem, another potential candidate, heads to DC where she is slated to deliver a series of speeches, including an address at the Cato Institute on the same day. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who many view as the candidate with the best chance of defeating Trump, has so far refused to acknowledge any plans to run but is headed out of state next month with stops in Texas, California, and Alabama already scheduled.