A guide for journalists to the big stories of the week ahead written for Press Gazette by Foresight News.
The week kicks off with a debate on the UN Human Rights Council’s latest report on the situation in Syria. The report, to be considered on Monday, gravely notes that the Assad regime has ‘committed…crimes against humanity’ including, ‘murder and… torture, war crimes and gross violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law’.
Across the pond, the Occupy Wall Street movement celebrates its one-year anniversary. While Occupy may have alienated some of its notable multi-millionaire backers of late, the protest movement pitched against the wealthy 1% plans to reassemble in New York’s financial district on Monday, promising ‘non-violent civil disobedience at the Stock Exchange’.
Closer to home, the annual British Social Attitudes report lands on the same day, providing a mega-compendium of public opinion on topics including the role of government, religion, racism, sexuality and spending. The last report found a country uncomfortable with investment in public services, big on looking out for its own and rapidly losing interest in the fate of the planet, to our infinite credit.
On Tuesday, Shrien Dewani faces an extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates. Dewani is wanted in South Africa to face a charge that he was complicit in the killing of his wife Anni on their November 2010 honeymoon. The hearing was adjourned back in July so that further medical evidence on Dewani’s state of mind could be considered.
William Hague makes his first post-recess appearance before Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, where he’ll be grilled on the latest foreign policy developments. With civil war continuing in Syria and violent unrest flaring across the Middle East and Africa, there should be plenty for him to discuss.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge conclude their latest royal jaunt this week, stopping off at Tuvalu on Wednesday for the final leg of their tour to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Before jetting back to London, the Royals will reportedly be required to make a series of minor utterances or beverage choices which the British press can then misconstrue as signs of a baby on the way.
British prisoners Brett James, Nicholas Wells and Jeffrey Lee will learn the outcome of their challenge to indeterminate sentences on Wednesday, as the European Court of Human Rights delivers its judgment. The three are subject to indeterminate sentences for public protection, but claim under Article 5 (right to liberty and security) that there was a failure to ensure their access to rehabilitative courses in prison, of the kind that could have allowed them to demonstrate improvements in behaviour and secure their release.
Last week another fall in unemployment followed a (very slight) upward revision to quarterly growth figures, so some more good economic news when inflation rates are published on Tuesday, and the state of public sector finances are revealed on Friday, would be a relief for embattled Chancellor George Osborne after some recent, high-profile criticism.
A pre-inquest review into the death of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko takes place in London on Thursday, where High Court judge Sir Robert Owen will give directions. St Pancras coroner Dr Andrew Reid, who presided over earlier hearings, said last year that the inquest should have a ‘broad scope’, though then-Justice Secretary Ken Clarke’s request last month for a reduction in the estimated £4m cost may result in some significant scope-narrowing when it finally gets underway.
After being ordered last month to pay quirky tech upstarts Apple over $1bn for infringing several of its patents, Korean firm Samsung now faces the further ignominy of having a ban imposed on sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet at an injunction hearing in California on Thursday. Apple’s move towards absolute ubiquity continues on Friday, when its new iPhone 5 goes on sale and renders all forms of technology, ever, including the wheel, utterly obsolete.
Wally, the reclusive, bobble hat-wearing hero of the Where’s Wally? books, can look forward to being the most popular cartoon on Facebook when his 4.2 million fans wish him Happy Birthday as he turns 25 on Friday. If he’s anything like most 25 year olds, he’ll be easily found still living with his parents and waiting for his innovative tech start-up to hit the big time… any day now.
Alex Salmond follows up his vigorous opening speech to the Scottish Parliament, in which he set out his intention to introduce a Bill on independence next Spring and issued an emphatic warning to David Cameron, with an appearance at a mass rally, organised by the Independence for Scotland campaign, in Edinburgh on Saturday. Joining Salmond are MSPs Margo MacDonald and Patrick Harvie, broadcasters Ruth Wishart and Hardeep Singh Kohli, and acclaimed drums and pipes band Clanadonia.
On Saturday the abandonment of another manifesto pledge, for reform of the House of Lords, is likely to loom large over proceedings at the Lib Dem conference. Thoughts will be turning to 2015 at the Lib Dems’ third conference since entering into coalition, so party leader Nick Clegg may need to prepare for some uncomfortable questions during the Q&A session scheduled for Sunday.
Belarusian President’s Alexander Lukashenko’s good-humoured and proportionate response to a Swedish stunt last July which involved parachuting teddy bears bodes well for Sunday’s parliamentary elections in the former Soviet state. Despite opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich’s absence from the race (he was disqualified over allegations he had forged signatures to get his name on the ballot), the vibrant political plurality Lukashenko has fostered in Belarus since taking control of the country back in 1994 means few observers are prepared to call the outcome of this election.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is due to arrive in New York, where he’ll be addressing the UN General Assembly when it opens its annual debate later in the week. Although his agenda while in the States has yet to be fleshed out, a meeting with his US counterpart Barack Obama is on the cards with escalating protests over the inflammatory Innocence of Muslims video likely to feature.
Finally in New York, Bill Clinton is opening the annual meeting of his Clinton Global Initiative, this year featuring addresses both from President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, whose foreign policy credentials go from strength to strength. Cherie Blair and former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will be discussing ‘Women in the Economy’ on the opening day of the meeting.