10 major world events coming up in 2019

PARIS, France – Here are 10 major events taking place around the world in 2019:

January 1: Far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro officially starts his 4-year term as president of Brazil after winning October's election.

February 16: Africa's most populous nation and leading economy goes to the polls with a deadly Islamist insurgency still untamed and amid concerns about the health of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is standing for reelection.

February 24: Cuba holds a national referendum to ratify a draft constitution that would recognise for the first time the role of the market and private sector in its heavily controlled socialist economy.

If approved, the draft – which already has the backing of parliament – would be the first overhaul of the constitution since 1976.

March 29: Britain leaves the European Union, after 4 decades of membership, at midnight (2300 GMT) in Brussels, 11:00 pm in London, becoming the first country to quit the bloc.

April: Presidential election planned in Algeria. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 81, could stand for a fifth term despite his poor health.

April 30: Ailing Emperor Akihito, 84, formally steps down in the first abdication in more than two centuries in the world's oldest imperial family.

His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne the following day.

April/May: The world's most populous democracy goes to the polls with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, head of the rightwing and Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), aiming for a second term.

May 23-26: Elections across Europe for the Strasbourg-based European Union parliament, which will number 705 seats after the departure of Britain.

September 20: Japan becomes the first country outside of rugby's traditional strongholds to host the game's World Cup, with matches in 12 cities before the final in Yokohama on November 2.

September 27: The World Athletics Championships open in Qatar with evening-only sessions, a midnight marathon and an air-conditioned stadium among the measures in place to beat the hot and humid conditions. The games wind up on October 6. – Rappler.com