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
As lawsuits over abortion bans play out in over a dozen states, the Supreme Court’s historic ruling overturning Roe v. Wade is set to continue dominating the news as Congress returns from recess. Court hearings are scheduled this week in Utah (July 11) and Texas (July 12) over challenges to their respective abortion bans, and though temporary restraining orders have been issued in Idaho, Kentucky, and Louisiana, over half of the states are expected to eventually enact restrictions. Litigation is likely to continue for years as abortion advocates challenge Republican legislation, only for those rulings to be appealed by GOP lawmakers and attorneys general.
The issue is also likely to be discussed at this week’s National Governors Association summer meeting in Maine (July 14-15). Dolly Parton is set to deliver a virtual address, though a comment on political issues would be extremely unusual for the singer-songwriter beloved on both sides of the aisle. In Iowa, however, Governor Kim Reynolds and Fox News host Tucker Carlson are much more likely to raise the issue at Friday’s (July 15) annual Family Leadership Summit.
With the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) having failed twice in the Senate and Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema remaining steadfastly opposed to abolishing the filibuster, the prospect of Congress passing even a narrow bipartisan bill appears unlikely. Nevertheless, the Senate Judiciary is holding a hearing on the consequences of SCOTUS’s decision on Tuesday (July 12) followed by hearings in the Senate HELP and House Oversight committees on Wednesday (July 13) on post-Roe America and the impact of the ruling on women’s health and reproductive freedom.
NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) jointly release the first tranche of full-color science images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope on Tuesday (July 12), including the deepest image of the universe ever taken. The $10 billion infrared observatory reached its prescribed orbit in January and completed its alignment in April, marking the official start of a mission that has been in development since 1996. Webb’s purpose is to detect radiation from the ‘dark age’ of the universe and expand our understanding of how planetary systems formed and galaxies interact and grow.
Reverberations are likely to continue into next week following the shocking news that former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has died after being shot while speaking at a campaign event earlier today in the city of Nara. Abe had been Japan’s longest-serving prime minister before stepping down in the summer of 2020 due to health issues, and the former LDP leader remained a prominent national figure up until his death. At the time of writing, upper house elections scheduled for Sunday (July 10) were still due to go ahead, with Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki among voices arguing that postponing them would damage democracy in Japan, where such incidents are almost unheard of. Funeral arrangements may emerge in the coming days, and world leaders are likely to descend on Japan to pay their respects in due course.
President Joe Biden’s first trip to the Middle East since taking office begins on Wednesday (July 13), with stops planned in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Saudi Arabia.
One of Biden’s first engagements upon arriving Wednesday is expected to be a visit to Palmachim air base to inspect Israel’s new laser-defense system, dubbed Iron Beam, where he is likely to reiterate US support for Israel’s defense against rocket attacks. Biden is expected to hold formal talks on Thursday (July 14) with new prime minister Yair Lapid, who has taken over from Naftali Bennett until fresh elections, the country’s fifth in three years, scheduled for November 1. Biden is also rumored to be planning a meeting with former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is said to be plotting a return to the post, despite his significant legal woes.
Biden is expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on Friday (July 15), when Abbas is likely to raise concerns over the investigation into the May 17 shooting of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, likely by an Israeli soldier. It follows this week’s announcement from the State Department regarding the shooting, which prompted a furious response from Abu Akleh’s family, who are seeking a meeting with Biden during his trip. Later that day, Biden arrives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where his schedule – at least according to Saudi officials – includes talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Biden has faced criticism for holding the meeting, given his previous comments over MBS’s role in the gruesome killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018.
Saturday (July 16) will see Biden participate in a regional summit with leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. The White House will likely want to use the gathering to reaffirm its engagement in the region and to assuage concerns that attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal imply a softening of position regarding Iran’s destabilizing influence on the region. Biden is also likely to urge oil producers to increase output amid spiking energy prices linked, in part, to the war in Ukraine.