Foresight News Summer Events Calendar: Edinburgh Television Festival, Paralympic Games and End of US Military Operation in Afghanistan


Our newspaper is on hiatus for a few weeks, but Foresight News has provided an update on the key events that will be in the news this summer …

Scotland lifts key remaining COVID-19 legal restrictions on August 9, including the legal requirement for physical distancing. Despite the good news of the easing, the Scottish government has been accused of “Mixed messages” by the Scottish Tories as to whether nightclubs can reopen without the need to cover their faces and whether people will be allowed to ‘drink vertically’ at the bar.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) holds press conference on August 9 throw a working group report based on physical science for climate change, following a two-week meeting to endorse it. The summary for policymakers should update established scientific knowledge on climate change and projections for future warming, and is likely to play an important role in policymaking ahead of the COP26 summit.

After a highly disrupted year, students in England and Wales receive their A-level and GCSE results on August 10 and 12 august respectively. As for 2020, this year, grades are assigned based on the grades assigned by teachers. Amid reports that private students widening the success gap with a higher share of top A-level scores this year, the government has already hinted when making changes to next year’s reviews to ensure consistency and fairness for those most affected by the pandemic disruption.

The new Premier League season starts on Aug 13. Defending champions Manchester City, despite unwillingness not to transfer the surrounding saga English captain Harry Kane, are the favorites of current bookmakers to keep their title ahead of Chelsea, winner of the Champions League. Manchester United are also expected to be in the game after spending money on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, while Liverpool will be boosted by the return of captain Virgil van Dijk after a lengthy injury.

Of August 16, fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated under-18s in England no longer have to self-isolate if they are ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace as close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID- 19. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced backlash from Workforce and companies for waiting four weeks from ‘Freedom Day’ to ease restrictions, which have already been lifted in Scotland and Wales.

The streets of Notting Hill will be quiet for a second public holiday in August after the carnival board opted to no longer hold a physical event this year, citing “the continued uncertainty and risk” posed by Covid. Instead, a series of free events at Carnival headquarters The Tabernacle take place throughout August, while three tickets park concerts (August 19-21) will raise funds for what organizers promise to be the greatest carnival of all time in 2022.

The Edinburgh Television Festival takes place from 23-26 August. This year’s high profile speakers include climate activist Greta Thunberg, actors Steve Coogan and Whoopi Goldberg and Channel 4 Program Director Ian Katz. The festival typically focuses on policy and production issues within the industry and may well discuss the future of Channel 4 amid reports that the American broadcaster Discovery is one of the organizations potentially interested in a takeover bid.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomes the Crimean Platform Summit to 23 august, the eve of the country’s 30th anniversarye anniversary of independence with a large military parade. The large international rally aims to increase international pressure on Russia to unoccupy Crimea after its annexation in 2014. Russia has reportedly been working behind the scenes to put pressure on deter foreign leaders to attend the event, although Ukraine insists that at least 30 countries have confirmed their participation.

After unorthodox but successful Olympics, 24 august marks the start of the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The GB team recorded their best performance at the Paralympic Games since 1988 in Rio four years ago, finishing second in the medal table with 64 gold medals. Keep an eye out for Brazilian legend Daniel Dias, already the most decorated male Paralympic swimmer of all time, who could set a new record for the most gold medals in the pool in his last Games.

US intelligence agencies must produce a report of 24 august on the origins of COVID-19. The two most likely outcomes of the report are that the virus originated from animal-to-human transmission or an accidental laboratory leak. The new investigation, ordered by President Joe Biden, indicates a significant shift in the long-held position of U.S. health officials that the Wuhan lab theory was “extremely unlikely”.

Unite reveals election result to replace leader Len McCluskey on 26 august, with three candidates vying to become the influential union’s next general secretary. McCluskey’s preferred candidate is Steve Turner, the organizer of his past election campaigns, while Gerard Coyne came close to defeating the incumbent president in the last leadership election in 2017. The pair face off against the incumbent. Sharon Graham, a leftist candidate with strong popular support who would become the union’s first female general secretary.

History awaits Novak Djokovic at the US Open in August 30, as he wishes to become the greatest male tennis player of all time by getting his 21st Grand Slam title. Djokovic currently shares the GOAT moniker with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with the three players tied on 20 titles each. Despite a recent injury alert, victory at Flushing Meadows would also make Djokovic the third male player in history to win all 4 Grand Slam tournaments in the same year, following in the footsteps of Rod Laver (1962 & 1969) and Don Budge (1938).

The US military operation in Afghanistan officially ends on August 31, as part of the accelerated schedule announcement by President Joe Biden on July 8. The country’s news has been dominated in recent weeks by The Taliban win across the country, as calls for the Taliban and the Afghan government to negotiate a deal have failed.

[Read more: UK media urges PM to offer visas to Afghans who worked with journalists as Taliban violence threat rises]

The OECD publishes its annual analysis of trends in migration flows and policies in member countries on September 1st. Last year’s Migration Outlook showed China to be the largest source of migrants to OECD countries, with India overtaking Romania in second place. Then-General Secretary Angel Gurría said in 2020 that the pandemic had “redrawn the map of international migration”, in particular affecting integration, and this year’s report is likely to further reflect the disruption caused by Covid after widespread national travel bans and border closures.

England continue their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with matches against Hungary (September 2), Andorra (September 5) and Poland (September 8). Gareth Southgate’s men currently lead Group I, having won their previous three qualifiers, and fans will be delighted to see the return squad in action judging by the surge of support which followed their defeat against Italy in the Euro final.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishes an update of its Red List of Threatened Species around September 4. Highlighting threatened and extinct species, the list continues to develop year after year due to human activity and climate change. This year’s update follows the announcement of a new green list, measuring the impact of conservation and monitoring species recovery and decline.

Rome hosts two-day meeting of health ministers from G20 countries on September 5-6, where the pandemic is expected to hit the headlines again. The rally comes against a backdrop of persistent inequality in vaccine distribution: some countries – including the UK, France and Germany – are preparing to deploy booster jabs as of this month, despite calls WHO to delay the process until low-income countries have had a chance to immunize their populations for the first time.

The News Journal is provided in association with Foresight news.

Photo: Reuters / Thomas Peter

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