New Dutch king
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands plans to abdicate the throne on April 30 and hand the crown to her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange. The 45-year-old Willem-Alexander will be the first Dutch king since Willem III died in 1890, ushering in 120 years of Dutch queens.
Religious freedom report
The annual report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is due by April 30. The result could be blistering for governments in the Middle East. In recent weeks, the commission has focused on Egypt’s halting transition, criticizing the government’s liberal use of blasphemy laws to target Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority.
The National Rifle Association’s Annual Meetings and Exhibits kicks off May 2 in Houston. The conference comes at a time when the NRA is both fielding record new memberships, and also coming under strong scrutiny. With gun control legislation wending its way through Congress, the annual firearms expo and gun owners rally could generate a media firestorm.
With fine Sunday hats and mint juleps, Kentucky Derby Day arrives again for horse racing fans on May 4. This year’s Derby could be the cherry-on-top for Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino. The Cardinals won the men’s NCAA tournament in April, and the coach owns a 5 percent stake in Goldencents, a top Derby contender.
Perhaps the most explosive of all gun shows, the International Defense Industry Fair will kick off its four-day show on May 7 in Istanbul, Turkey. And with civil war in Syria and the possibility of conflict with Kurdish minorities, governments from across the Middle East and Eurasia could drive up demand for state-of-the-art weapons systems.