10 major events taking place around the world in 2019

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Brazil's president takes office January 1

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

Nigeria votes

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 re-election

Cuban constitution poll

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.

Britain exits the EU

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

Algerian presidential poll

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

Japan's emperor abdicates

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.

Indian general election

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.

New European parliament

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

Japan hosts Rugby World Cup

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.

Athletics championships in Doha

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.