It's a new year, and hopefully, a new and better you. But will the U.S. be a new and better nation? Here are seven big stories to watch in 2018.
1 Net Neutrality Decision Fallout
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted on Dec. 14 along party lines to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal in a 3-2 vote marked a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. and hands them power over what content consumers can access. Consumers are unlikely to see immediate changes, though internet service providers say they may engage in paid prioritization, also known as “internet fast lanes.”
2 #MeToo Momentum and The National Women’s March
On Jan. 21, on the heels of the mega #MeToo movement, the Women's March will storm Las Vegas with Power to the Polls, an event that organizers hope to use to empower progressives in the 2018 midterm elections, capitalizing on the energy from some 2017 election victories.
3 The 2018 Winter Olympics
The Olympic Winter Games will kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 9. The United States will participate in the Winter Games, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said after questions arose about security in neighboring North Korea, which has recently ramped up weapons testing. “The protection of Americans is our top priority, and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues,” Sanders tweeted in December.
4 Bill Cosby’s Sex Assault Trial
With a recent shift in empowerment against sexual assault, all eyes will likely be on the trial of disgraced comedian Bill Cosby. The high-profile proceedings are set to kick off on April 2, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Cosby’s first sexual assault trial ended in a mistrial in June 2017 after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict after deliberating more than 50 hours.
The 80-year-old entertainer is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former administrator with the women’s basketball team at his alma mater, Temple University, in 2004.
5 Another Royal Wedding
The wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle will take place on May 19, 2018, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, the fifth in line to the throne, and Markle, who stars in the U.S. TV legal drama “Suits,” announced their engagement in November. Given the international curiosity about the high-profile couple, the nuptials are sure to be a topic of interest come spring.
6 2018 FIFA World Cup
The 21st FIFA World Cup will take place in Russia from June 14 to July 15. Eleven cities will host a total of 64 matches in the tournament that's held every four years, with the final taking place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
For the first time since 1986, the United States Men’s National Team will not be among the 32 teams competing after it had a shocking 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago in October.
7 2018 Midterm Elections
The 2018 U.S. elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, marking the middle of Republican President Donald Trump's term. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested. The recent tax bill is Trump’s biggest legislative victory of 2017, but Democratic strategists are already planning how to turn it into his biggest liability, arguing the bill is unfair by giving the lion’s share of benefits to corporations and the rich.
Reuters contributed to this report.