Four things to expect this week

It’s Monday, it’s a new week, and while we won’t pretend to know everything that’s going to happen over the next seven days, we have some sense of what’s coming up.

Here’s your briefing on some of the most important and interesting stories happening in the week ahead.

1) Where next for Brexit?

What’s happening?

On Tuesday, British MPs will hold a day-long debate and then a vote on the prime minister’s amended deal on how to leave the European Union in late March.

Why does it matter?

First of all: apologies, as we know we say that each week is an important one for Brexit. But… this week really is an important one for Brexit. Again.

You may remember that MPs voted down Theresa May’s deal two weeks ago. She is now working to win them over, which is easier said than done.

MPs will also vote on amendments to the deal. Among the amendments being discussed is one to prevent a “no-deal” Brexit happening (this means the UK would leave the EU with no transition period and a sudden rupture in UK/EU relations).

None of these amendments have to be adopted, but it would be very uncomfortable indeed for the prime minister if one of them got significant support.

A reminder: on Tuesday, there will be only 59 days until Brexit and there’s still no plan in place for how it’s going to happen.

2) Facebook’s status update

Image copyright Getty Images

What’s happening?

Facebook will reveal its yearly results on Tuesday.

Why does it matter?

Well… it’s not been the best of years for Facebook, and Tuesday’s news could highlight just how bad it has been for one of the world’s most valuable companies.

Concerns over “fake news” and data breaches (not least that of 87 million people in the Cambridge Analytica scandal) have played their part in Facebook’s slowing growth.

Might it now miss its revenue targets?

Here’s the bad news for Facebook: 2019 could get a whole lot worse for them.

3) A very big deal indeed

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

What’s happening?

A free trade deal between the EU and Japan comes into effect on Friday.

Why does it matter?

Wait! Come back! It’s more interesting than it sounds.

First of all, this is not just a big deal, but an enormous one.

Free trade agreements are designed to cut trade tariffs (a sort of tax) between member countries. So now that the EU and Japan have a free trade deal in place, it means items like machinery parts will become cheaper in Europe (possibly making cars cheaper), and there’s good news in Japan: the price of food from Europe is about to get a lot cheaper.

So how big is this deal? It covers about a third of the world’s GDP and affects roughly 600m people.

4) The window slams shut

What’s happening?

Football’s winter transfer window closes on Thursday.

Why does it matter?

It’s that happy time of year again for football fans.

There might be a lumbering centre-half out there who can bolster your defence or twinkle-toed forward who could help that push for the top.

Alternatively, you could waste £12m on a reserve striker who knackers his hamstring after two games and goes back home on loan in the summer.

Here’s the place to look for all the done deals.

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