Solar Eclipses, End of GoT, Brexit, 5G – What’s Coming Up in 2019!

2018 is done and dusted (almost). And while a lot happened in the world this year, there are some significant, historic, and entertaining things in store for 2019.

From solar eclipses, to the Cricket World Cup, to the shifting political scenario around the globe, here is what you can expect from 2019:

Key Elections to Watch Out For

President Muhammadu Buhari, from the All Progressives Congress Party (APC), will be seeking re-election as Nigeria goes to the polls on 16 February.
  • Indian General Elections: India’s general elections are scheduled to take place by May. Heading into the election, the outlook has become increasingly uncertain after the ruling BJP lost three key states (Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh) to Opposition rivals, suggesting that voters have not been entirely convinced by PM Narendra Modi.
  • Nigeria: On 16 February 2019, Nigeria will hold its general elections and elect a new president and national assembly. The 75-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari, from the All Progressives Congress Party (APC), will be seeking re-election.
  • Ukraine: The Ukrainian Presidential Elections will happen on 31 March, and the two leading contenders are incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  • Indonesia: on 17 April 2019, the elections that decide the president, the vice president and the members of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) will be held.
  • Afghanistan: The government of Afghanistan has announced that presidential elections will be conducted on 20 April 2019.
  • European Parliament elections: From 23-26 May 2019, the 9th elections to the european parliament are expected to be held.
  • South Africa: In the elections set to be held between May and August, a new national Assembly will be elected and the next president of South Africa shall be determined.
  • Australia: The next election must be held by May 2019 for half of the State Senators and on or before November 2019 for House of Representatives and Territory Senators.
  • Canada: Federal elections are scheduled for 21 October.
  • Israel: Elections for the 21st Knesset will be held before 5 November. The Knesset is the unicameral national legislature of Israel. James M Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations writes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has until November to call for elections. But a vote could come sooner.”

Space: Two Solar Eclipses

Image used for representational purposes.
  • New Horizons Flyby: NASA’S probe, New Horizons, is set to flyby the farthest object humanity has ever tried to visit. On 1 January, New Horizons, which flew past Pluto in 2015, will encounter a Kuiper Belt object, referred to as 2014 MU69 (nicknamed Ultima Thule), an icy world a billion kilometres past Pluto and more than 6.5 billion km from Earth.
  • Chandrayaan-2 Launch: The lunar exploration mission, Chandraayan-2, developed by ISRO, is scheduled to be launched on 30 January. Pallava Bagla explains in Science, “Instruments aboard the lander and rover will collect data on the moon's thin envelope of plasma, as well as isotopes such as helium-3, a potential fuel for future fusion energy reactors.”
  • Blue Moon Sighting: This rare lunar event that occurs only once every few years will happen on 18 May 2019.
  • Solar Eclipses: On 2 July, a total solar eclipse will pass over southern parts of Chile and Argentina, and parts of the South Pacific. Then in December, another eclipse will pass over the Arabian Peninsula and arc over areas of South Asia. India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Indonesia are among the best places to spot the December eclipse.
  • Rare Transit of Mercury Across the Sun: This transit of mercury that will occur on 11 November 2019 is a rare event...the next time such a transit happens will not be till 2039.

Entertainment: The ‘End’ of Game of Thrones; Awards Season!

White walkers ready to attack in a scene from the Game Of Thrones.

HBO has just confirmed that the much-awaited final season of Game of Thrones will premiere in the “first half” of 2019. Casey Bloys, HBO's president of programming, confirmed the news during the Television Critics Association's Summer Press Tour.

The awards season will bring with it a healthy dose of entertainment, drama and excitement! Here is a guide to all the major awards in 2019:

  • Sundance Film Festival: The largest independent film festival in the US is set to begin on 24 January 2019.
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding performances in American film and prime-time television will be recognised by the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on 27 January 2019.
  • Grammys: The 61st Annual Grammy Awards will be held on 10 February.
  • Oscars: Kevin Hart has been chosen to host the 2019 Oscars, which will take place on 24 February. The shortlist for the awards has been announced.
  • Cannes Film Festival: The heavily publicised and prestigious annual film festival is set to begin on 15 May.
  • Emmys: 22 September has been announced as the date for the next Emmy Awards. The Emmy is an American award, recognising excellence in the television industry.

Sports: Cricket World Cup

Virat Kohli plays a shot as wicket-keeper Jos Buttler looks on. 
  • Special Olympics: On 14 March, the special olympics world summer games will begin.
  • Indian Premier League: The 12th season starts on 23 March.
  • Cricket World Cup: Hosted by England and Wales, the 2019 Cricket World Cup will start on 30 May and go on until 14 July.
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup: United States are the defending champions for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which kicks-off on 7 June.
  • Wimbledon: The 2019 Wimbledon Championships – a Grand Slam tennis tournament – will happen in Wimbledon London, and the main tournament begins on 1 July.
  • Athletics World Championships: Scheduled to be begin on 28 September, the 2019 Athletics World Championships will be conducted at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Tech: $100 Million Fortnite Championship; Rise of 5G

Epic Games announced more details about its e-sports plans for Fortnite recently.
  • Fortnite WC: Epic Games announced more details about its e-sports plans for Fortnite, revealing today during its live celebrity-streamer ProAm tournament in Los Angeles during E3 that the competitions will all be part of what’s called the Fortnite World Cup. The prize pool, first announced earlier this year, will be $100 million, The Verge reported.
  • 5G: Smartphone companies like Samsung and Apple are talking about the 5G wave that is going to hit the globe in 2019. The technology promises speeds of about 45mbps to 1Gbps.
  • Foldable mobile phones: A phone tech trend to look out for in 2019 is the rise of foldable mobile phones. Samsung has showacased prototypes of foldable mobile phones with flexible displays a few times in the past and more is expected at CES next year.

Summits: UN Climate Change Conference (COP25)

The United Nations Climate Change Summit is set for November 2019.
  • OPEC: Scheduled for April 2019, the 176th OPEC Meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria.
  • G20: On 28 June 2019, Japan’s Osaka will host the next Group of 20 Summit. This is the fourteenth meeting of the Group of 20.
  • COP25: The 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) is scheduled to begin on 11 November 2019.

Other Key Events:Brexit: Deal or No deal?

British Prime Minister Theresa May. 

The European Union and Britain reached a deal on Brexit, but British Prime Minister Theresa May's government is under threat as many lawmakers have vowed to vote down the agreement in Parliament. London has seen anti-Brexit protests, with demonstrators dressed in colourful costumes calling for a second referendum on the question of Britain's relationship with the EU.

Officials in Britain and the EU, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, are looking at their watches as the clock ticks down to 29 March, the day Britain is due to officially exit the bloc.

Transition of Power in Japan

Japan’s Emperor Akihito (right) with Crown Prince Naruhito. 

For the first time in 200 years, a living Japanese monarch will relinquish his throne in Japan. On 30 April, octogenarian Emperor Akihito will abdicate to make way for his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito.

Saudi-US Ties, the MBS Impact

US President Donald Trump (right) with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. 

A lot rides on the outlook of US-Saudi relationship in 2019. All eyes will be on the fallout, if any, between the Donald Trump-Mohammed bin Salman “partnership”.

The Saudi-led war in Yemen, which the US supports militarily, will continue to be an easy bipartisan target for resistance in 2019.

Which is why MBS and his grip on power in Saudi Arabia will be a major story to watch in 2019.

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