Abortion in Ireland
The Irish government’s Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill takes effect, which permits free access to abortions up to 12 weeks of gestation after Irish citizens voted overwhelmingly to overturn an effective ban on abortion in a May 2018 referendum (1 January).
New Brazilian president
Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist elected in 2018, is inaugurated for a four-year term in office (1 January).
New US Congress
Members of the country’s 116th Congress meet for the first time since the Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018, presenting Donald Trump with a new level of political opposition (3 January).
At 5:19am GMT, the Earth reaches the point in its elliptical orbit nearest to the sun (3 January).
Hollywood’s elite gather, with stars ranging from Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga to Michael Douglas and Jim Carrey among those nominated for awards (6 January).
Eurozone interest rates
The European Central Bank holds its first meeting of the year as it heads into a period in which many expect it to end its long-term policy of suppressing interest rate rises (24 January).
Costa Book of the Year award
The Irish novelist Sally Rooney is tipped as a frontrunner (29 January).
English football clubs rush to sign new players before the winter transfer window closes (31 January).
High street trading
After a torrid 2018, the spotlight will fall on chains such Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, which release trading figures as uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues.
Six Nations gets under way
France and Wales will kick off the rugby union tournament in Paris (1 February).
Asteroid passes close
NT7, a two-to-four kilometre-wide asteroid discovered by astronomers in 2002, is expected to pass close to Earth. Nasa representatives have said there is no chance of a collision (1 February).
Dior at the V&A
An exhibition celebrating the life and work of the Christian Dior is expected to be the largest retrospective on the French fashion house staged in the UK (2 February).
Hatton Garden heist
The trial of the alleged conspirator of the 2015 burglary begins (4 February).
Stansted activists sentenced
Fifteen people who prevented the departure of a deportation flight at Stansted airport are sentenced after being found guilty in December 2018 (4 February).
Alan Partridge returns
Steve Coogan’s fictional BBC broadcaster returns, fronting a One Show-style programme.
UK interest rates
The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee meets for the first time in 2019 (7 February).
London fashion week
The annual showcase of the best of British design returns with catwalk shows and other events (15 February).
The annual ceremony take place in London, hosted by Jack Whitehall for a second year running (20 February).
Birmingham pub bombing inquest
Long-awaited hearings are expected to open into the 1974 IRA bombings, in which 21 people were killed and 182 injured in two city-centre pubs (25 February).
Around 27,000 dogs and more than 150,000 dog lovers will attend the world’s biggest celebration of all things canine at Birmingham’s NEC over three days (7 March).
The high court will hear legal claims against the construction of a third runway at Heathrow airport (11 March).
UN environment assembly
As international cooperation falters and fears grow that time is running out for radical action to tackle climate change, the fourth assembly will take place in Nairobi (11 March).
Assuming Britain’s departure from the EU is not delayed, it will leave at 11pm UK time in accordance with article 50 of the Lisbon treaty (29 March).
Ukrainian presidential election
Voters go to the polls after the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, vowed that the imposition of martial law would not mean the vote being postponed (31 March).
New Ian McEwan novel
Machines Like Me, set in an alternative version of the 1980s where Alan Turing has made a breakthrough in artificial intelligence, is published (18 April).
Presidential and legislative votes take place in the world’s most populous Muslim country, where 187.1 million people are eligible to cast their ballots (17 April).
Japan’s Emperor Akihito steps down, marking the end of an imperial era for the country. The 83-year-old said in 2017 that his health and age would make it difficult to continue fulfilling his duties (30 April).
Local elections in England and Northern Ireland
Voting in some councils and mayoral districts take place (2 May).
One of the fashion world’s main annual events, formerly a fundraising gala in aid of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, takes place in New York City. This year’s theme is camp (6 May).
Premier League concludes
The 2018/19 season of English football’s top flight comes to a head with games that may determine who wins and who is relegated (12 May).
Chelsea flower show
The highlight of the British horticultural calendar opens, featuring 700 exhibitors, 20 show gardens, new gardening product launches and other events (21 May).
New Jeanette Winterson novel
Frankissstein, a new novel by the award-winning writer, is tipped to breathe fresh life into Mary Shelley’s horror story (23 May).
European parliamentary elections
The first European elections to take place since Brexit, assuming the UK has left the EU by then, take place in 27 EU member states (23 May).
Spanish local and regional elections
Spaniards go to the polls. Among the more interesting contests is a mayoral race in Barcelona in which one of the candidates is the former French prime minister Manuel Valls (26 May).
Cricket World Cup
England take on South Africa at the Oval in the opening match of the 10-team, 50-over showpiece, which is hosted at venues in England and Wales (30 May).
UEFA Champions League final
The most important match of the season in European club football takes place at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid (1 June).
Tiananmen Square massacre 30th anniversary
Security is expected to be tight in China as the world remembers the killing of several hundred civilians during a military crackdown on democratic protest in 1989 (4 June).
D-Day landings 75th anniversary
States, veterans and families commemorate the landings of allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in the biggest military land, sea and air operation ever undertaken (6 June).
Women’s World Cup
France take on South Korea in Paris in the opening game of the 24-team tournament, which was last won by the US England will meet Scotland in their first match two days later (7 June).
More than 100,000 music fans flock to see artists including Kylie Minogue, who will perform the Sunday teatime “legend” slot, and Stormzy, one of the only other big names to have been confirmed (26 June).
Japan hosts the annual summit of the world’s largest economies for the first time (28 June).
Wimbledon begins with new rules
Tiebreaks will be played at 12-12 in the final set, after the final set of Kevin Anderson’s semi-final with John Isner in 2018 lasted almost three hours (1 July).
Anglican Church independent child sex abuse inquiry hearings
The inquiry begins into the extent of institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse (1 July).
Trial of man charged with mailing pipe bombs to US Democrats
Cesar Sayoc, 56, an avowed Trump supporter, is charged with five federal crimes (15 July).
New Bank of England governor
A successor to Mark Carney is expected to be in place, with likely contenders ranging from the former Reserve Bank of India chief Raghuram Rajan to the Financial Conduct Authority’s boss, Andrew Bailey.
Academics warned in 2018 that the curriculum was narrowing and the country was at risk of producing “factory-farmed kids” (22 August).
Universities also begin to announce their intake numbers for the 2019/20 academic year (15 August).
The James MacTaggart lecture
Widely considered the highlight of the Edinburgh international television festival. Previous speakers have included the actor Michaela Coel, the journalist Jon Snow, and Vice founder Shane Smith (23 August).
80th anniversary of the outbreak of second world war
Commemorations take place across the world, with significant events in Poland (1 September).
Handmaid’s Tale sequel
Titled The Testaments, the followup to Margaret Atwood’s cult novel is set 15 years after the first book ended (10 September).
Liberal Democrat party conference
The party’s leader, Vince Cable, has previously told his MPs he will not stay in the role in the long term, sparking speculation about who will lead the party after Britain leaves the EU (14 September).
Rugby World Cup
Japan, the host nation, faces Russia in the opening match of the 20-team tournament, with New Zealand or Ireland the bookies’ favourites to lift the title (22 September).
Labour party conference
Brexit will continue to dominate the agenda as the party continues to try to hold on to both remainers and leavers (22 September).
Uber’s licence expires in London
TfL initially revoked the cab firm’s licence in September 2017, citing concern over the firm’s failure to report crimes, lax background checks and the use of Greyball software to dupe inspectors (25 September).
Conservative party conference
Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote at the end of 2018, but as Brexit turmoil continues, it is unclear whether the prime minister will be giving the leader’s speech to the party faithful (29 September).
Civil case against Bill Cosby begins
Judy Huth alleges that Cosby sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was 15 (7 October).
Man Booker prize
The judges behind Britain’s most coveted literary prize announce the 2019 winner (14 October).
Voting takes place for Canada’s 338-seat lower house of parliament. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party defeated Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2015 (21 October).
Voters head to the polls to elect a new president and members of parliament (27 October).
The country’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has 450 seats, but only 423 will be contested because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in the Donbass region (27 October).
Jean-Claude Juncker steps down
A new president of the European commission is appointed (31 October).
Wada conference reviews anti-doping code
The World Anti-Doping Agency is struggling to respond to allegations of Russian state-sponsored doping (7 November).
EU sanctions against Venezuela expire
The restrictive measures have been in place since November 2017 (11 November).
Nobel peace prize
Last year’s award went to the gynaecologist Denis Mukwege and the Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad for their work on sexual violence (10 December).
Star Wars Episode IX
The third and final instalment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy is released (19 December).
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