What does 2013 have in store for us? Of course the year ahead will bring unexpected suprises and breaking news but some events are easier to mark in the calender, as we already have done here at the Guardian. Take a look below for just some of the events, announcements and anniversaries to look out for in 2013 and the key data sets you'll need.

January - rail fares rise by an average of 4.3%

Going back to work after the holidays can be tough but with the above inflation rail and tube fare increases which came into effect on the 2 January it just got that little bit worse for tens of thousands of commuters.

The cost of an average rail season ticket in Great Britain has now risen to £2,191, equivalent to 8% of the median UK salary and considerably higher than the £1,441 fuel cost of driving to work.

Rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales have increased by an average of 3.9%, the third successive year in which the rise has outstripped retail price index (RPI) inflation.

February - Oscar winners announced

There may be other glitzy film awards and honours in the 2013 film awards season but none so coveted as the famous golden statue. The 85th Academy awards will take place in Hollywood on Sunday 24 February.

Steven Spielberg's biopic of Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis appears to be a firm favourite for best film, with seven Golden Globe nominations. Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty which tells story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden is another contender after winning best film and best director at the New York Film Critics awards.

Oscar nominations will be announced on the 10 January but, in the meantime, take a look at the list of Golden Globes nominations. As Xan Brooks writes, "the Globes are important in that they establish a consensus – setting up the main contenders for the protracted awards season that follows".

March - 16th meeting of CITES

The 16th meeting of the ­Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will take place on the 3-16 of March.

In the early 1990s, an annual import value of almost $160bn was estimated for all wildlife products including wild-sourced timber and fish products according to CITES.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species shows the number of extinct, threatened and other species of animals in each Red List Category in each country. Explore the table below to find out more about threatened species by each place.

April - Housing benefit cap comes into force

The housing benefit cap comes into force on the 1 April as does the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act and the Patent Box (a reduced rate of corporation tax applying to income from patents of 10%).

Last year, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published an impact assessment of the effects of the benefit changes showing that 67,000 households would be effected by the government's plans.

Social policy editor, Patrick Butler explains what this means for households:

According to the government's impact assessment, households will lose an average £83 a week at the outset in 2013. It also states that:

• 45% will lose up to £50 a week (in 2013-14)

• 26% will lose between £50 and £100

• 12% will lose between £100 and £150 a week

• 17% will lose more than £150 a week

May - UEFA Champions League final takes place

The UEFA Champions League final takes place on 25 of May. Can Barcelona win and move up to third in the all-time winners' table alongside Liverpool?

A list of the world's top 100 footballers by the Guardian put Barcelona's Lionel Messi in top position. Of all the 100 players ranked, 12 play for Barcelona and 10 each for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

June - G8 summit

The UK assumes G8 presidency in 2013. Iit last assumed presidency of the G8 in 2005, when the 6-8 July Gleneagles summit was overshadowed by the news on 6 July that the Olympic Games had been awarded to London and then by the 7/7 bombings. This year's summit is due to take place on 17-18 June at Lough Erne resort, Co Fermanagh.

But who are the countries that are meeting and how do they compare? We've gathered some basic data on each country including population, unemployment rate and GDP growth. You can see the figures in the table below.

July - the NHS is 65 years old

On 5 July, the NHS will be 65 years old. The Guardian's annual government spending graphic shows that £97.46bn was spent during 2011-12 by the NHS - down by 0.9% in real terms with cuts of 1.17% in primary care and 1% in dental services. However, there have been rises in hospital spending, A&E and community health care.

The PESA NHS (Health) numbers suggest that total NHS DEL increased by 0.02% in real terms in 2011-12, although this comprises a 0.5% increase in Resource DEL and an 11.2% cut in capital DEL. This probably suggests that there is some NHS money that is not being channeled through the Department of Health? Or is it because DEL is only part of overall spending? Explore the graphic to find out how much is spent by each department.

A royal baby is due

Whether you like it or not, news of the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy will make recurring appearances through 2013 and in July, named as the due month, it will be positively impossible to avoid.

Bets on the sex and name of the baby have been flowing since the announcement. Paddy Power currently gives 5/1 odds on the names Elizabeth and Victoria. Unfortunately, if you're thinking of putting your money on Hashtag or Fergie, the odds aren't good at 500/1.

August - Edinburgh festival kicks off

Come August and the arts world focuses its attention on one city: Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh festival, one of the largest and well-know arts festivals in the world, plays host to a collection of cultural performers and productions.

From opera to jugglers and baroque quartets, the festival is a celebration of the arts. A report into the impact of the event found that that visitors spend £261m every year in Edinburgh and in Scotland as a whole. Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell gives more detail of the findings:

Four million tickets are sold (or don't exist when it comes to the 250,000 people who congregate near the castle for the free open air festival fireworks display each August). Of the £261m in additional spending by visitors, £41m went to hoteliers, B&Bs and Edinburgh residents who cash-in by letting their flats, and £37m was spent in bars, cafes and restaurants.

September - Portuguese government due to repay bond redemptions and interest of €9.73bn

On 23 September, the Portuguese government is due to repay bond redemptions and interest of €9.73bn (£7.92bn) as per the rescue package established with International Monetary Fund in April 2011.

As a whole, Europe owes €10,840,197,700,000 - or €10.84 trillion. But it is more meaningful to look at the number as a percent of gross domestic product, or GDP – how much that debt is as a proportion of the whole economy, which is almost equivalent to measuring your mortgage compared with the whole economic value of your household.

That gives us a European average of 84.9% in the second three months of this year - up from 83.4% in the first quarter. But that figure hides a lot of variation: Greece, at the top, owes 144.3%, up from 132.3% (although it has seen big GDP drops over the same period), followed by Italy at 126.1% and then Portugal at 117.5%. The UK is just above average at 86%. There's nothing inherently bad about having a huge debt - it depends who you owe it to and whether you can manage the payments. Bigger countries are also in a better position: essentially, if you owe the bank £50,000, you've got a problem; if you owe the bank £50,000,000, the bank's got a problem.

October - the Man Booker prize is awarded

Hilary Mantel won the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to her previous Booker-winning novel, Wolf Hall but who will win the 2013 prize?

The impact a Booker win has on sales is impressive, as the table below shows. Weekly sales for past winners rose anything from 463% (Mantel's Wolf Hall) to a staggering 1918% (Howard Jacobsen, The Finkler Question). Even for the most modest seller on the list - Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss, which won in 2006 - the vast majority of sales came post-Booker (2,397 units before, 182,044 after).

November - The Scottish government publishes its prospectus on Scottish independence

The Scottish government is due to publish its prospectus on Scottish independence in November 2013, setting out all the key policy, economic and political structures it wants to see in an independent Scotland in a single document. That paper will form the basis for the SNP's independence referendum campaign for autumn 2014.

The first results from Scotland's 2011 census showed the numbers of usual residents broken down by age and gender, with figures going back for every census since 1911 (there was no census in 1941, due to the outbreak of the second world war).

The interactive graphic, below, shows how Scotland's population distribution has evolved over the last century. Click the arrows to cycle through years and see how age distribution changes.

December - Nobel peace prize

Last year the European Union was announced as the 2012 Nobel peace prize winner and the winners list for 2011 was split between three women: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee from Liberia and Tawakkul Karman from Yemen. But who will win the 2013 Nobel peace prize?

The EU was awarded the prize in recognition of "over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe", and becomes the 25th institution to receive the prize since its creation in 1901. See the full list of winners from 1901 to 2012 below.

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