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News diary 2-8 December: Trump returns to UK and BBC Panorama examines Prince Andrew allegations

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week… 

OMonday, the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change opens, bringing together government representatives, academics and activists to discuss and implement the “next crucial steps in the UN climate change process”.

Student activist Greta Thunberg is currently sailing across the Atlantic to attend, after the conference was moved to Madrid from Santiago following serious anti-government protests in Chile.

BBC’s Panorama airs an interview with Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts), where she is expected to provide further details of her allegations against Prince Andrew. Giuffre claims that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York as a teenager whilst being used as a sex slave by serial offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Giuffre’s now infamous picture with Prince Andrew has become the defining image of a scandal which continues to engulf the Royal Family. The Duke of York repeatedly denied the allegations in his much discussed Newsnight interview earlier this month, and has since decided to step back from his public duties.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosts a joint meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, with Turkey’s incursion into Syria set to loom large over the talks.

Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters, allies in the fight against ISIS, was facilitated by the US decision to withdraw its troops from the region and notably criticised by Macron. Erdogan, meanwhile, is reportedly planning on seeking further EU funding at the meeting, dangling the threat of sending more refugees to Europe if he doesn’t get his way.

Before the summit proper gets underway, The Queen hosts a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace. The welcome event is the second visit to the palace of this year for US President Donald Trump, who’ll be greeted with his fellow statesmen by an extensive cast of royals which includes three of Her Majesty’s four children.

Prince Andrew’s exclusion from the guest list released ahead of the reception follows The Queen’s reported displeasure at the Duke’s handling of the allegations against him.

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) publishes the latest results from its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, which looks at literacy, maths, science, financial and global competencies of 600,000 15-year-old students across 79 countries. This year’s results focus largely on reading, and in the UK may be seen as a verdict on former Education Secretary Michael Gove’s dramatic overhaul of the UK education system.

The NATO leaders’ summit on Wednesday is once again likely dominated by Trump. The US president, fresh from his first visit to Afghanistan (pictured), has repeatedly complained about what he considers the unfair amount the US contributes towards the alliance, and may tout a new cost sharing formula.

Given the summit’s proximity to the 12 December election, there will also be considerable interest in whether Trump weighs in on the upcoming vote, something the Conservatives are reportedly desperate to avoid.

Meanwhile in Washington D.C., the House Judiciary Committee holds the first of its impeachment hearings into Trump’s alleged wrongdoing in relation to Ukraine, focusing on the constitutional grounds for impeachment.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is expected to submit a report to the Judiciary Committee this week to summarise the inquiry’s findings so far, allowing the Judiciary Committee to build upon the fact-finding phase to determine whether the President’s actions represent an impeachable offense.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has responded to Trump’s claim that he has not been given due process by inviting the president and his lawyers to testify.

The case of an army veteran who faces murder charges over the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings comes before Londonderry Magistrates Court. The veteran, known as Soldier F, is charged with the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of four others.

Recent reports suggest that further prosecutions could soon be brought over the Bloody Sunday killings as authorities in Northern Ireland launch a review of potential cases.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishes its Red List of Threatened Species on Thursday, which catalogues and highlights species that are extinct, extinct in the wild or in danger of extinction.

A recent, separate study suggests that a third of tropical plants in Africa are on the cusp of extinction, and the IUCN currently warns that 28,000 species are under threat, including a quarter of mammals.

Saudi Aramco is expected to publish its final offer price ahead of its anticipated stock market debut in the coming weeks. The state-owned oil producer said last month that it planned to offer around 1.5 per cent of the company’s shares with an upper range of 32 riyals, or around $8.60, indicating a value of around $1.7 trillion.

That valuation would fall below the reported $2 trillion targeted by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman; the Aramco IPO was a key pillar of his Vision 2030 plan to transform the Saudi economy.

On Friday, Today presenter Nick Robinson chairs the final head-to-head between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Coming six days before the election, the debate could be crucial for the Labour leader, especially with the party’s poor polling among Leave voters reportedly leading to a mid-campaign change of strategy last week.

Both men can also expect to face questions on the IFS think tank’s conclusion that neither manifesto sets out credible spending plans. Viewers narrowly favoured Boris Johnson’s overall performance after the first leaders’ debate, though there were significant splits on characteristics such as trustworthiness and appearing Prime Ministerial.

Members of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, meet in Vienna to discuss how to salvage a deal that has been unravelling since the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw last year.

The meeting follows Iran’s fourth breach of JCPOA limits, intensifying tension between the European desire to uphold the deal and American readiness to pull out. Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif will be in Italy on the same day.

The eagerly-anticipated heavyweight title rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua takes place in Riyadh on Saturday. Ruiz caused one of the biggest upsets in boxing history in June when he dethroned the previously unbeaten Joshua in New York.

In the build-up to the fight Joshua has dismissed suggestions that a repeat result could prompt him to walk away from the sport. The winner will likely advance to a title unification fight against Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder in 2020.

Interstellar comet C/2019 Q4, known as Borisov, passes close to Earth. The comet is expected to pass within 180m miles of Earth, making it bright enough to be seen using amateur telescopes. Borisov is the second-ever object identified as having originated from outside of Earth’s Solar System.

On Sunday, the new West Coast Main Line rail franchise begins, operated by FirstGroup and Trenitalia and rebranded as Avanti West Coast.

The franchise, which will run until 2031 and also includes High Speed Rail (HS2), takes over from Virgin after Stagecoach, which owns 49 per cent of Virgin Trains, was banned by the Department of Transport from bidding for a renewal earlier this year citing “non-compliant bids”.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Tom Brenner

Comments

1 thought on “News diary 2-8 December: Trump returns to UK and BBC Panorama examines Prince Andrew allegations”

  1. Odd interpretation of the JCPOA as it appears to invert the issue. Isn’t Iran the only party to have upheld the agreement whilst the other party’s have reneged? As for the so called breaches, weren’t they a part of the agreement should western nations renege? I think the Iranians knew JCPOA was, as most western agreements, publicity for a domestic audience, designed to fail.

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