5 essential things you need to know this week: Ukraine, Roe v Wade, Eurovision and more

Marchers hold up signs during a Mother's Day rally in support of Abortion rights at the U.S. Supreme Court.

War is continuing to rage in Ukraine and pregnant people in the United States are still facing threats to their most basic human rights this week.

In addition to that, there are vital elections going on across the world, while the British government is pushing ahead with plans that could further jeopardise the safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers.

It might seem like a lot – but we’ve got you covered. To kick off the week, here are five things you need to keep an eye on this week.

1. Eurovision is back with a bang

The Eurovision Song Contest logo

The Eurovision Song Contest is heading to Canada. (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The eyes of Europe will be on Italy this week as some of the world’s finest, most spectacular performers descend on Turin to battle it out for the Eurovision crown.

The Eurovision Song Contest attracts revellers from all across Europe, but the last couple of years haven’t gone totally to plan. The campy contest was cancelled outright in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic – it went ahead in 2021, but COVID restrictions meant it wasn’t exactly what we had been used to.

Eurovision is finally back with a bang this year, and it looks like it’s going to be a good one. The first semi-final will take place on Tuesday (10 May) and the second semi-final will go ahead on Thursday (12 May) before the grand final on Saturday night (14 May).

Tune in to see some of the biggest, most bombastic songs known to humankind.

2. The Philippines is preparing to elect a new president

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty)

Voting got underway in the Philippines on Monday morning (9 May) in the country’s presidential election, and millions of people queued up to elect their new president.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is heavily tipped to win the presidency – he’s the son of Ferdinand Marcos Sr, the Philippines’ former dictator. His closest rival is Leni Robredo, the current vice president.

One of the issues that has come up on the campaign is same-sex unions, which are currently not legally permissible in the Philippines. Both have supported same-sex unions, but Marcos Jr has been careful to draw a distinction between unions and marriage.

3. War continues to rage in Ukraine

Refugees from Ukraine wait for the bus after they crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border at the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland on April 8, 2022.

Refugees from Ukraine wait for the bus after they crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border at the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland on April 8, 2022. (WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty)

The war in Ukraine has gone into its third month, and it shows no sign of abating as Putin continues his reign of terror in the country.

In the last few days alone, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russian forces after a strike on a school in the Lunahsk area killed 60 people.

However, the UK’s ministry of defence has said Russia is now using ageing, unreliable weapons as its stockpiles start to run low – news that will likely be welcomed by the Ukrainian people.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia celebrated Freedom Day on Monday (9 May), where Putin addressed the waiting crowds.

4. Roe v Wade fallout continues

The US Supreme Court is seen during the daytime

The US Supreme Court seen in Washington, DC, on 21 February 2022. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty)

There was widespread shock across the world last week when Politico leaked a draft opinion from the Supreme Court which showed that the judges were considering overturning the landmark Roe v Wade ruling, which made abortion legal across the United States in 1973.

The fallout is likely to continue this week, with activists and legal advocates working to strengthen the rights of pregnant people ahead of a final Supreme Court decision, which is expected in June or July.

Both Canada and Mexico are now preparing for an influx of Americans travelling for abortion care if the ruling comes to pass. If Roe v Wade is overturned, abortion would likely become illegal in more than 20 states overnight.

5. The UK government faces legal challenge to its Rwanda plan

Priti Patel smirking

Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel . (Getty)

The UK government’s much-criticised plan to send asylum seekers who arrive via the English Channel to Rwanda is already facing its first legal challenge.

An appeal lodged in court on Tuesday (3 May) by InstaLaw says the home secretary’s plan is in breach of international law and the UN refugee convention, according to The Guardian

It’s becoming increasingly clear that human rights organisations aren’t willing to back down without a fight – there’s a strong determination to hold the government to account and to interrogate its plan to send asylum seekers it deems “illegal” to Rwanda.