What's happening this week?


It's Monday and we have a busy week ahead. Here are some of the most important and interesting stories over the next seven days.

1) Brexit votes (yes, more of them)

Image source, Getty Images

What's happening?

The UK's Parliament is expected to hold several votes on Brexit this week - including a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal.

How did we get here?

The UK was originally scheduled to leave the European Union on Friday 29 March.

However, Parliament has rejected Mrs May's withdrawal agreement twice, and also voted against a no-deal exit.

EU leaders have since offered to delay the Brexit date to either 12 April or 22 May - but it all depends on how MPs vote this week.

Why does it matter?

If MPs approve the withdrawal deal, Brexit will be delayed until 22 May. If they reject it, the EU says "all options will remain open" until 12 April - but the UK needs to set out its next steps before this date.

MPs also need to agree to change the UK's departure date - currently 29 March is still written into law as the date the UK leaves the EU.

Whatever happens, it's likely to be controversial - Brexit is one of the most divisive issues currently facing the UK.

2) Thai election results

Image source, Reuters

What's happening?

Millions have voted in Thailand's general election, and preliminary results are expected on Monday.

Why does it matter?

This was the first general election since a military coup in 2014.

The election is primarily a contest between pro-military parties and allies of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra - and it's been a colourful race. At one point, the king's own sister was set to run for a pro-Thaksin party, until a constitutional court blocked her bid, saying it threatened the neutrality of the monarchy.

There's hope this election will help usher Thailand towards democracy - although critics say a new constitution the army introduced will ensure it remains influential whatever the outcome.

3) Apple's launch event

Image source, AFP

What's happening?

Apple is set to make a big product announcement on Monday. It's widely expected to announce a new video streaming and news subscription service.

Why does it matter?

This has been described as Apple's most significant launch since the iPhone.

Rumour has it celebrities and directors, including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and JJ Abrams, are on board with the streaming service, and might even be attending the launch.

Apple's certainly be been keen to get everyone excited - it sent out invites with the slogan "it's show time" to journalists.

Either way, the launch is likely to be a sign that Apple feels ready to move beyond selling iPhones and Macs - and is trying to compete with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon video for time with your eyeballs.

4) The first all-female spacewalk

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Nasa astronaut Christina Koch

What's happening?

Two astronauts, Christina Koch and Anne McClain, will conduct a spacewalk to replace batteries powering the International Space Station on Friday. It's expected to last for about seven hours.

Why does it matter?

Nasa says they didn't deliberately set out to pair Ms Koch and Ms McClain on the spacewalk, since missions are determined by scheduling issues and ability.

But of all the people who have been in space, fewer than 11% are women - so this mission is seen as a significant moment for women in space.

Flight controller Kristen Facciol, who'll be supporting the two astronauts from Houston, has tweeted: "I cannot contain my excitement!!!!"

And, in a pleasant coincidence, the spacewalk on Friday will take place during the last week of Women's History Month.

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The spacewalk will be streamed live by Nasa from 10:30 GMT (06:30 eastern time), with the spacewalk set to begin at 12:20 GMT.