Ukraine talks, UK poll, Myanmar leader in court, Dixons results
The FT's Veronica Kan-Dapaah previews some of the big stories the Financial Times is watching this week, including a Paris summit aimed at ending conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the UK's Brexit election, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in court, and Dixons Carphone results
Written by Simon Greaves and James Sandy. Filmed by Nicola Stansfield. Edited by Petros Gioumpasis. Produced by James Sandy
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Here are some of the stories we'll be watching this week. The leaders of Russia and Ukraine will meet at a summit in Paris. Aung San Sui Kyi is set to appear before the International Court of Justice. UK voters will take to the polls for the third time in five years, and we'll have half-year results from UK retailer Dixons Carphone.
First up, the presidents of Russia and the Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, will meet for the first time on Monday. They'll be at talks to end more than five years of war in eastern Ukraine. The summit is being hosted in Paris, and the leaders will be joined by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It will be the first meeting between the four in more than three years. Our world news editor has more.
There is fresh hope to end the conflict in Ukraine since Mr Zelensky has been elected, in May. He has stepped up efforts to contact Vladimir Putin via direct phone calls, and there has been an exchange of prisoners of war. Thirteen prisoners of war have been exchanged on both sides. And also Mr Zelensky has agreed to Russia's demand to hold local elections in eastern Ukraine but only if the border can be restored to Kyiv.
It's still going to be very challenging, and we can't be sure that there will be complete success, but at least it will revive the talks that have been stalled for quite some time, for more than three years.
Myanmar leader Aung San Sui Kyi will appear at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Tuesday. Her country is facing charges of genocide. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following a crackdown by Myanmar's armed forces in 2017. Ms Sui Kyi's international reputation has suffered as a result, but she has overwhelming support at home. The FT's former Bangkok correspondent Michael Peel has been keeping a close eye on the case.
Lawyers say that often attorneys-general general, as the chief legal officers of governments, will lead a state delegation in a case like this but that it's very unusual for a head of state or government themselves, which San Sui Kyi effectively is, to do so in person.
The reason why she's going? Well, a lot of analysts speculate that this is because of domestic politics. Elections coming up, and although this might seem strange, even grotesque to many people in the world, her position on the Rohingya in Myanmar is seen as pretty mainstream or even quite moderate because there is this very strong narrative against the Rohingya, which is very widespread in Myanmar.
On Thursday, UK voters will go to the polls for the third general election in five years. Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for the vote in an attempt to break Britain's political deadlock over Brexit. If the Conservative party wins, he has promised to push his divorce deal through parliament and take Britain out of the European Union by January 31.
Other campaign issues include immigration, terrorism, and the future of the National Health Service. But Brexit appears to be the subject that's most causing trouble for the pollsters, as Miranda Green explains.
We do know a few things that mark out this election as different. One is a very high level of undecided voters. This makes the result even more difficult to call. And we're living through a period of extreme volatility in how people actually vote, where traditional loyalties to the main parties are breaking down. This is making people watch the polling industry even more closely than usual for clues, and we expect a big, new, detailed poll early in the week. But whether it actually pushes behaviour so that that picture changes in the last 48 hours very much remains to be seen.
And finally, UK retailer Dixons Carphone will publish half-year results on Thursday. The group announced a 22 per cent drop in full-year profits back in June, and investors were told to expect more pain in the coming year. A slowdown in the UK housing market has meant that consumers are less likely to buy large electrical goods such as fridge freezers and washing machines. Changes in the mobile-phone market have also hurt profits as Jonathan Eley reports.
Mobile phones have become so expensive that people are upgrading a lot less frequently. When they do, they're now more likely to buy a handset and a SIM card separately, and that reduces the commission that Dixons Carphone gets from mobile-phone networks. As a result, the company has had to take big charges against the carrying value of its mobile-phone business. Its chief executive has pledged to, as he put it, stem the bleeding in mobile this year, but the division will probably still lose money overall.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times here in London.