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
The fallout from the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling overturning the right to an abortion enshrined in Roe v. Wade is set to continue dominating the news this week as state legislatures and courts consider abortion bans, so-called ‘trigger laws’, and appeals from abortion providers and civil liberties groups. Total bans have already taken effect in seven states, most of which do not include exceptions for rape or incest, and up to 26 states are expected to eventually enact varying levels of restrictions on reproductive rights in response to the ruling. Mississippi’s trigger law is set to take effect on Thursday (July 7) – pending a court challenge – while temporary restraining orders have been issued in Louisiana and Utah, though these may yet be overturned. Hearings in cases challenging abortion bans are scheduled to take place on Wednesday (July 6) in Kentucky and Friday (July 8) in Arizona and Louisiana.
In an unexpected development last week, President Joe Biden announced that he would support an exception to the Senate’s filibuster rule to allow Democrats to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation designed to codify the right to an abortion. That bill failed to pass in May, falling short of the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster. Nevertheless, spokespersons for Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema reiterated their opposition to any exceptions to the filibuster rule in the wake of Biden’s announcement, dashing any renewed hopes of passing meaningful legislation when the Senate returns from July 4 recess. Other possible courses of action include a vote on bipartisan legislation that would codify Roe by prohibiting an ‘undue burden’ on abortion access, while limiting the right to post-viability abortions, or votes on narrower issues including rape and incest exceptions. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is yet to lay out his post-recess strategy, but the likelihood of any of these limited measures receiving full Democratic support remains slim.
Before the Senate returns and serious news gets going, it’s the Fourth of July, and one of America’s finest holiday traditions, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest, returns to its usual spot in Coney Island on Monday (July 4) for the first time since the pandemic. In the men’s competition, it is all about one man: Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut. The competitive eating phenomenon, who last year set a new record by wolfing down 76 (yes, 76) hot dogs in 10 minutes, is seeking his 15th title. Almost unbelievably, there’s still room for improvement; a 2020 study calculated that a human being could theoretically consume 83 hot dogs in the allotted time.
His closest rival is likely to be Geoffrey Esper, who despite being the #2 ranked eater in the world, only managed 50 hot dogs last year. He does have form coming into this year’s contest, though, with a string of recent wins on the Major League Eating circuit under his belt. Also keep an eye out for rookie James Webb, who will become the first Australian to compete at Coney Island after winning the Pleasonton qualifier with a solid 41.5 hot dogs.
In the women’s competition, reigning champion Michelle Lusco will need to better her 2021 performance of 30.75 dogs if she’s to challenge seven-time champion Miki Sudo, who skipped last year’s competition due to pregnancy (the father is fellow competitive eater Nick Wehry) but has previously managed 48.5 dogs.
Following last week’s G7 and NATO summits where Ukraine dominated discussions, the conflict will continue to cast a shadow over international news next week. On Monday and Tuesday (July 4-5), Switzerland will play host to the Ukraine Recovery Conference, where attendees will discuss the scale of the damage caused by Russia’s war and what will be needed to eventually rebuild the country. The UN Human Rights Council will debate the situation in Ukraine on Tuesday (July 5), and the suspected Russian missile attack on a busy shopping mall in Kremenchuk on June 27, denounced as a war crime, and this morning’s strike on an apartment block in Odesa are almost certain to come up.
G20 foreign ministers – including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s Sergey Lavrov – gather in Bali on Thursday and Friday (July 7-8) to discuss preparations for the G20 summit in November, amid conflicting reports regarding the potential presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Lavrov will meet one-to-one with several counterparts, including Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, though Moscow has downplayed speculation in recent days over the potential for talks with Blinken, who is expected to meet with Wang in advance of planned talks between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping.
In the UK, fresh from an international tour he hoped would distract from issues at home, embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a panel of lawmakers on Wednesday (July 6) to answer questions on a range of topics, including integrity in politics and rule of law. The committee has no shortage of issues to raise: the international law-breaking Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and steel import tariffs, two by-election losses related to sexual misconduct cases, and allegations over a mooted foreign office job for his then-girlfriend are all just from the past fortnight, let alone the scandal over lockdown rule-breaking known as Partygate.
But the government’s handling of Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher’s resignation may end up taking center stage. Pincher resigned from his role last night after allegedly drunkenly groping two men at a private members’ club, and early reports suggested he would not be thrown out of the party or face investigation because he had ‘done the decent thing’ and resigned. That line seems unlikely to hold until Wednesday, but Johnson will face questions as to why Pincher was appointed in the first place: he was forced to resign from the whips’ office in 2017 over complaints about his behavior, and more recent allegations of misconduct were reportedly raised with Number 10 in February before he was given the job.