Five things to know for the week ahead

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    It’s Monday, it’s a new week, and while we won’t pretend we 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) US and China trade blows

    Image copyright AFP

    What’s happening?

    US tariffs on $200bn (£150bn) worth of Chinese goods – covering everything from suitcases to scallops – come into effect on Monday.

    Why is it important?

    You could be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu here. This is the third set of tariffs Washington has placed on Chinese goods this year alone.

    But this round is by far the largest and targets consumer products such as furniture and toilet paper, meaning households may start to feel the pinch of higher prices.

    US companies are also worried about the effect these price hikes may have and have warned of possible job cuts.

    2) Two decades of questions, answered

    Image copyright GOOGLE/EPA

    What’s happening?

    Google is holding an event in San Francisco on Monday to mark the 20th anniversary of its search engine.

    Why is it important?

    Google has grown into one of the world’s most valuable companies over the past two decades.

    It began as the brainchild of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who revolutionised web searches when they realised that the huge amount of material on the internet could be tamed by ordering results by popularity.

    This year’s anniversary marks an opportunity to reflect on the search engine’s growth into something that millions of people use all over the world.

    And if you can’t remember what life was like without it – don’t Google it – read our piece here.

    3) World leaders head to New York

    Image copyright Getty Images

    What’s happening?

    Leaders from around the world will meet in New York for the annual General Debate at the United Nations on Tuesday.

    Why is it important?

    It brings together leaders from dozens of countries, all with their own agendas and priorities.

    Each member country will usually deliver a statement about its perspective on world events. It is an opportunity to better understand where different nations stand on key issues and what their priorities are.

    But there will be some notable absentees. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President XI Jinping, and Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi won’t be making the trip.

    On the sidelines, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in is planning to meet with US President Donald Trump.

    4) Ryanair cabin crew plan to strike

    Image copyright Reuters

    What’s happening?

    Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands are planning to hold a co-ordinated one-day strike on Friday.

    Why is it important?

    Unions have warned that this will be the “biggest strike the airline has ever seen”.

    The row over pay and conditions has led to a number of strikes already this year, and hundreds of flights have been cancelled across Europe.

    The prospect of a compromise appears dim, as the union representing cabin crew rejected an offer from the airline on Wednesday.

    If there is no agreement before Friday then it will mean yet more travel disruption for passengers.

    5) Top universities revealed

    Image copyright Getty Images

    What’s happening?

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings will be released on Wednesday.

    Why is it important?

    This is one of several league tables that have become very influential, encouraging the idea that there is a hierarchy of quality in higher education.

    But academics are sceptical about their reliability and there is some criticism over how universities interpret the tables.

    Either way, students applying to university will be sure to scrutinise them.

    Last year, the University of Oxford and Cambridge University occupied the top spots. These were followed by a slew of US institutions such as Stanford, Harvard and Princeton.

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