The week ahead: Libya, Breivik, burqa ban trial, Egypt, Labour conference

Here is our latest guide to the big stories of the week ahead provided by forward planning service Foresight News.

Six months ago on Monday (today), forces from the US, UK, France, Canada, UAE and Qatar began military action in Libya to enforce UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973. The British and French prime ministers received heroes’ welcomes during visits to Tripoli and Benghazi last Thursday, with rebel forces surrounding the last pro-Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid. The Colonel remains as yet undetected.

The Liberal Democrat Autumn conference is in full swing, with the first set piece speeches having taken place over the weekend. Party leader Nick Clegg takes part in a Q&A session today before his keynote speech on the last day of conference on Wednesday.

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Anders Behring Breivik returns to Oslo City Court today for a closed hearing, with Breivik still being kept in isolation ahead of his court appearances. Recent local elections in Norway saw the anti-immigrant Progress Party, of which Breivik was formerly a member, lose a third of its vote at the polls. The Labor Party, whose youth camp was targeted by Breivik, saw its vote share increase.

The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee meets for the second time on Tuesday, and there’ll be plenty to discuss for Mervyn and co. with the publication of the ICB’s final report on Monday followed by the arrest of UBS trader Kweku Adoboli over unauthorised trading reported to have lost the Swiss bank in the region of £1.3bn.

UN Habitat, the group responsible for monitoring and assessing forced evictions, meets in Nairobi on Tuesday, with the Dale Farm travellers’ site in Essex on the agenda. Former UN adviser on forced evictions Yves Cabannes, who visited the site last week, is set to attend.

The wider UN family gathers in New York from Wednesday for its General Debate, with world leaders tremulous over a potential bid by Mahmoud Abbas for recognition of a Palestinian state. US president Barack Obama, French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev contribute to today’s opening session, while Abbas is scheduled to make an address on Friday.

Pope Benedict XVI returns to Germany on Thursday for a visit to mark the 60th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. The Pontiff is set to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Catholic and minority religious groups during his four-day trip.

Over in France, a verdict is due on Thursday in the trial of the first women to be charged for breaching a ban on wearing face-covering niqab veils. Last week reports suggested that the Netherlands would soon become the third European country to implement a ‘burqa ban’ after France and Belgium.

The World Bank president Robert Zoellick and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde both hold press briefings in Washington on Thursday ahead of the groups’ annual meetings, which begin in the US capital on Friday. Lagarde, who offered muted support to George Osborne’s handling of the economic recovery during a recent visit to the UK, presides over her first annual meeting since Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s departure in May. Osborne and Lagarde may be able to renew their acquaintance over the weekend; G20 finance ministers are also congregating in Washington ahead of the group’s November summit.

Members of Egypt‘s ruling military council are scheduled to give evidence against former president Hosni Mubarak in his trial for the murder of protesters during the country’s January revolution. The testimony of Field Marshal Tantawi and General Enan was postponed from September 11 due to the storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

The repercussions of the Arab Spring continue to be felt throughout the region, with by-elections taking place in Bahrain on Saturday to replace lawmakers who resigned from Parliament in March because of the government’s reaction to protests against the ruling regime. Last week the withdrawal of three candidates in one legislative district resulted in Sawsan al Taqawi becoming only the second woman since 2002 to win a seat in Bahrain’s lower house.

And red fever comes to Liverpool for four days from Sunday as the Labour party gathers in the city for the second of the major party conferences. Leader Ed Miliband, who celebrates a year in office today, is all but certain to see through the abolition of elections to the shadow cabinet and is also proposing an amendment to clause I of Labour’s constitution, which, while unlikely to be remembered in the same way as the Clause Four Moment, may still mark the real beginning of the Milibandite era; an immediate post-conference Shad Cab reshuffle is very much on the cards.



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