2017: Dates to circle

Mark your calendar: Key events in 2017, from anniversaries to elections

DESIGN: MIKE M DIZON
Right: Many will be watching to see what sort of administration Mr Donald Trump will reveal after he is sworn in on Jan 20. The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan (right), Mr Agus Yudhoyono (far right) and the incu
The original iPhone
Many will be watching to see what sort of administration Mr Donald Trump will reveal after he is sworn in on Jan 20.
Many will be watching to see what sort of administration Mr Donald Trump will reveal after he is sworn in on Jan 20. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan (above), Mr Agus Yudhoyono and the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok.
The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan (above), Mr Agus Yudhoyono and the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok.PHOTO: JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan, Mr Agus Yudhoyono (above) and the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok.
The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan, Mr Agus Yudhoyono (above) and the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok. PHOTO: ST FILE
The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan, Mr Agus Yudhoyono and the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok (above).
The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan, Mr Agus Yudhoyono and the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok (above). PHOTO: REUTERS
After the Budget debate in February, MPs will discuss, from March 1 to 10, the spending plans and policies of the various ministries in the annual Committee of Supply debate in Parliament.
After the Budget debate in February, MPs will discuss, from March 1 to 10, the spending plans and policies of the various ministries in the annual Committee of Supply debate in Parliament. ST FILE PHOTO
Mr Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term as president of France.
Mr Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term as president of France.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
President Hassan Rouhani is seeking a second term as Iran votes on May 19.
President Hassan Rouhani is seeking a second term as Iran votes on May 19. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
British soldiers lowering their country’s flag for the last time at the Cenotaph monument in Hong Kong on June 30, 1997.
British soldiers lowering their country’s flag for the last time at the Cenotaph monument in Hong Kong on June 30, 1997.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The state flag and the presidential flag flanking the president’s chair. Singapore’s next presidential election will have to be called by August.
The state flag and the presidential flag flanking the president’s chair. Singapore’s next presidential election will have to be called by August. ST FILE PHOTO
The Singapore F1 race will be held in September for the 10th time, amid questions over whether it will continue in Singapore in the coming years.
The Singapore F1 race will be held in September for the 10th time, amid questions over whether it will continue in Singapore in the coming years. BT FILE PHOTO
Apec leaders will meet in Danang, Vietnam, in November for their annual summit. If Mr Trump attends the Apec summit, he is likely to travel on to the Philippines to meet Asean leaders as well.
Apec leaders will meet in Danang, Vietnam, in November for their annual summit. If Mr Trump attends the Apec summit, he is likely to travel on to the Philippines to meet Asean leaders as well. ST FILE PHOTO
Transport infrastructure projects to be completed by the end of the year include Downtown Line 3, from River Valley to the Singapore Expo, and Changi Airport Terminal 4.
Transport infrastructure projects to be completed by the end of the year include Downtown Line 3, from River Valley to the Singapore Expo, and Changi Airport Terminal 4. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Transport infrastructure projects to be completed by the end of the year include Downtown Line 3, from River Valley to the Singapore Expo, and Changi Airport Terminal 4.
Transport infrastructure projects to be completed by the end of the year include Downtown Line 3, from River Valley to the Singapore Expo, and Changi Airport Terminal 4. ST FILE PHOTO

Insight looks at key events that will make headlines this year, from anniversaries to elections.

JANUARY

JAN 9


The original iPhone.

  • Apple's co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, unveiled the original iPhone (left) 10 years ago today. More than one billion iPhones have been sold since, and the iPhone 8 is expected to be launched later this year.

JAN 20


Many will be watching to see what sort of administration Mr Donald Trump will reveal after he is sworn in on Jan 20. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

  • Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States for a four-year term, after a heated election and transition process. Many around the world are apprehensive about his new administration and its policies, and in the US, groups opposed to Mr Trump are planning to hold protests.

ALSO IN JANUARY

  • The Committee on the Future Economy is expected to release its report. It will outline opportunities as well as strategies for workers, businesses and the Singapore economy as it enters a more challenging phase of growth.
  • Japan's Parliament is expected to debate new laws, including one to allow Emperor Akihito, 83, to abdicate by next year.

FEBRUARY

FEB 15


The three seeking to be Jakarta governor in February are Mr Anies Baswedan, Mr Agus Yudhoyono and the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok (above). PHOTO: REUTERS

  • Total Defence Day is commemorated on this day every year - the anniversary of the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in World War II - to remind Singaporeans of the role everyone plays in defence. This year's celebrations take place on the 75th anniversary of the fall, and will see the reopening of Memories at Old Ford Factory, a museum at the site where the British surrendered in 1942.
  • Indonesia holds elections for several leaders of regions across the archipelago, but the most hotly watched contest will be for Jakarta governor. Incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, is up against former education minister Anies Baswedan and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's son Agus. Ahok's chances have been dented by his ongoing trial for alleged blasphemy in a campaign marred by appeals to racial and religious sentiments.

FEB 20

  • Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver the Budget statement, which is likely to follow up on some of the recommendations from the Committee on the Future Economy. After a week's break, the House will sit again to debate the Budget.

MARCH

MARCH 1-10


After the Budget debate in February, MPs will discuss, from March 1 to 10, the spending plans and policies of the various ministries in the annual Committee of Supply debate in Parliament. ST FILE PHOTO

  • Following the Budget debate, MPs will discuss the spending plans and policies of the various government ministries in the annual marathon Committee of Supply debate in Parliament. These two weeks are traditionally when public agencies announce their key plans for the year ahead.

MARCH 5

  • China's National People's Congress is expected to open its annual session that will see key national priorities and plans discussed over 10 days. As it is the last session of the 12th Congress, there will be some stock-taking of the past five years.

MARCH 11

  • The results of five state elections in India - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur - held in February and March will be announced. The outcome will be seen as a test of support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government ahead of the 2019 general election and as a gauge of the impact of its controversial demonetisation exercise. Elections will also be called in Gujarat later this year.

MARCH 13

  • The National Service Bill was passed in Parliament this day in 1967 as a fledgling nation sought to expand its defence force. But mandatory enlistment was initially resisted by some, and there were protests against the move. New rules introduced later that year allow some men to postpone their call-up in special cases. Today, NS is a key pillar of national defence and a rite of passage for Singapore men.

MARCH 15

  • A general election in the Netherlands seen as a bellwether for the rest of Europe, this is the first of several polls at a time when rising support for nationalist and anti-immigrant parties is a challenge for incumbents, and has forced them to lean to the right.

MARCH 26

  • Hong Kong's 1,200-member election committee will vote for the territory's fifth Chief Executive to replace incumbent Leung Chun Ying. Former judge Woo Kwok Hing and former lawmaker Regina Ip have declared their candidacy, and financial secretary John Tsang has tendered his resignation ahead of an expected bid.

ALSO IN MARCH

  • Malaysia's Parliament will meet to discuss redrawn electoral boundaries, as a precursor to a general election that is widely expected to be held this year.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting the process of formal talks on Britain's departure from the European Union following British voters' decision in a referendum last June.

APRIL

APRIL 23


Mr Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term as president of France. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

  • France votes for a new president. If no candidate gets 50 per cent of the vote, a second round will be held on May 7 between the two with the highest votes. Incumbent Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, and opinion polls show former prime minister Francois Fillon and leader of the far-right National Front Marine Le Pen are likely to make it to the run-off. But many fear a Le Pen win would see a very different France that would turn its back on free trade and movement of people.

APRIL 26-29

  • Leaders of all 10 Asean members gather in Manila for the 30th Asean Summit and related meetings. They will take stock of the grouping's progress and efforts at integration as it marks its 50th anniversary this year, and discuss progress on a code of conduct in the South China Sea to keep tensions in check in the disputed waters.

ALSO IN APRIL

  • The Employment Claims Tribunal and Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management will be established in Singapore by April. They will help more employees manage a wider range of employment disputes.

MAY

MAY 1

  • Workers around the world mark Labour Day, and in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is expected to speak at the May Day Rally. One focus this year is likely to be support for workers and helping them reskill and adjust to the pains of a slowing economy and the prospect of job losses.

MAY 19


President Hassan Rouhani is seeking a second term as Iran votes on May 19. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

  • Iran holds its presidential election and President Hassan Rouhani is seeking a second term. The centrist leader has encountered flak from hardliners over reforms and his country's signing of a historic nuclear deal in 2015 that saw the lifting of Western sanctions. A win will strengthen his position and pave the way for further reform.

MAY 26-27

  • Leaders of the Group of Seven - the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom - meet in Sicily for their annual summit, which will pay special attention to Africa and migration this year amid the challenge of continued migrant flows that have caused much disquiet in Europe. APRIL 1
  • Singapore pulls the plug on 2G mobile networks. The spectrum used for 2G will be used to boost the capacity and speeds of newer 4G services.

 JUNE


JULY

JULY 1


British soldiers lowering their country’s flag for the last time at the Cenotaph monument in Hong Kong on June 30, 1997. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

  • Employers in Singapore must offer older workers re-employment up to the age of 67 with effect from this day - up from age 65. If they cannot re-employ the workers, they can transfer them to another employer, failing which they have to offer them an employment assistance payment.
  • Hong Kong marks the 20th anniversary of its return to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit the city that was ruled by the British for 150 years before its handover. Segments of the population are unhappy with China's tight grip on Hong Kong politics.

JULY 7-8

  • Leaders of the world's largest economies, plus invited guests, will gather in Hamburg, Germany, for the Group of 20 summit. Germany's areas of focus include ensuring that globalisation benefits everybody and that the global economy remains stable. Improving healthcare will also be an area of focus. The situation of refugees and the fight against terrorism are likely to be discussed as well.

AUGUST

AUG 8

  • Asean was formed in Bangkok on this day 50 years ago, and foreign ministers from the 10 member countries will mark the occasion at the end of their ministerial meetings in Manila. The grouping may seem at risk of being divided in the face of superpower rivalry in the region, but by all accounts, it has come a long way since its formation at the height of the Cold War.

AUG 9

  • Singapore celebrates its 52nd National Day with a parade that returns to the Marina Bay Floating Platform.

AUG 15

  • India and Pakistan mark their 70th anniversary of independence.

AUG 19-31

  • Malaysia hosts the 29th South-east Asia Games ahead of its 60th anniversary of independence.

ALSO IN AUGUST


The state flag and the presidential flag flanking the president’s chair. Singapore’s next presidential election will have to be called by August. ST FILE PHOTO

  • Singapore's presidential election has to be called by this month. It will be the first election since the Constitution was changed to guarantee minorities are represented in the office from time to time. This election will be reserved for candidates from the Malay community, which has not had a president since Mr Yusof Ishak died in office in 1970. The next president's term will begin on Sept 1.

SEPTEMBER

SEPT 7

  • Indonesia and Singapore established diplomatic relations 50 years ago this day, and both countries are planning a series of activities to commemorate the milestone.

SEPT 15-17


The Singapore F1 race will be held in September for the 10th time, amid questions over whether it will continue in Singapore in the coming years. BT FILE PHOTO

  • The Formula One Singapore Grand Prix will be held here for the 10th time, amid questions over whether Singapore will continue to be a venue in the coming years.

ALSO IN SEPTEMBER

  • Germany is likely to hold federal elections this month, and the centrist parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition may lose ground to right-wing opposition parties. The issue of immigration is set to take centre stage, as Germany has taken in a significant number of refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. The winners of the Nobel Prizes will be announced this month. The awards are closely watched around the world as much for their symbolic value as for their acknowledgment of major contributions to medicine, science, economics, literature and peace.

OCTOBER

  • The winners of the Nobel Prizes will be announced this month. The awards are closely watched around the world asmuchfor their symbolic value as for their acknowledgment of major contributions to medicine, science, economics, literature and peace.

NOVEMBER

NOV 10-11


Apec leaders will meet in Danang, Vietnam, in November for their annual summit. If Mr Trump attends the Apec summit, he is likely to travel on to the Philippines to meet Asean leaders as well. ST FILE PHOTO

  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) economic leaders will meet in Vietnam for their annual summit. They are likely to take stock of measures to free up trade amid a climate of growing protectionism. Previous US presidents made an effort to attend Apec summits, and Apec leaders are likely to encourage President Donald Trump to make a trip to the region.

NOV 11-14

  • Leaders from Asean and its key partners will gather for the Asean and East Asia summits in the Philippines. Asean leaders and those of six partners in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership also hope to seal a deal on the trade pact by the end of the year.

ALSO IN NOVEMBER

  • The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 19th National Congress, a once-in-five-years meet that will see President Xi Jinping appointed for a second term as the party's general secretary. Many will be watching to see if he identifies a successor. There will also be leadership transition, with five out of seven members of the top Politburo Standing Committee set to retire due to age limits.

DECEMBER

DEC 3

  • South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first human-to-human heart transplant 50 years ago.

ALSO IN DECEMBER


Transport infrastructure projects to be completed by the end of the year include Downtown Line 3, from River Valley to the Singapore Expo, and Changi Airport Terminal 4. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

  • Some improvements to transport infrastructure in Singapore will be ready by year end. These include the Tuas West extension of the East-West Line, the 21km Downtown Line 3 from River Valley to the Singapore Expo, and Changi Airport Terminal 4, which will raise Changi's annual capacity to 82 million passengers from the current 66 million.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 08, 2017, with the headline 'Mark your calendar'. Print Edition | Subscribe