The week ahead: Libya, football transfers, EDF, German election, Wootton Bassett

A journalists’ giude to the week ahead, courtesy of forward-planning service Foresight News.

Another Japanese prime minister, another resignation. Last week Naoto Kan took the decision to stand down after 15 months in office, amid fierce criticism over his handling of the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis. Kan’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) selects its new head today, followed by the Japanese Diet on Tuesday, which will elect its country’s sixth leader in five years.

Job-less Apple continues its battle to halt sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the globe’s courts on Monday.  Following Apple’s success of prolonging a ban on the product in Germany, the two computing giants are set to attend Sydney’s Federal Court for a further hearing on whether the Galaxy Tab can be sold in Australia without infringing Apple’s iPad patents.

The tantalising bi-annual feature of the football fans’ calendar is back on Wednesday, with the closure of the summer transfer window. As the hours tick down, Sky Sports’s roving reporters will steadfastly offer bulletins in the foreground of emblazoned concrete cliffs, while a colleague aims his camera at any Range Rovers that speed into the club’s training ground. Fans will be glued to their screens until the closing moments, waiting on the signing of Harry Redknapp’s latest striker; only to be told the next day that the transfer wasn’t completed on time, but the club are appealing the decision because the fax machine was playing up.

An indicator of the economy’s health is delivered on Thursday as the Office for National Statistics provides the annual ‘Work and worklessness among households’ data. The figures estimate a smorgasbord of information on working and workless households, including the ages of adults and children, ethnicity, household type, as well as the employment rates among working-age parents.

More economic news comes with the release of the British Chambers of Commerce forecast on Thursday, which comes in the wake of last week’s second estimate GDP figures which showed 0.2% growth for the last quarter. The forecast outlines the BCC’s predictions for annual growth, inflation, interest rates and unemployment; in May the prediction was for 1.4% growth in 2011 with interest rates hitting 1% by year end. Both figures are likely to be revised this week.

Thursday also marks the end of British troop repatriations passing through Wootton Bassett, the Wiltshire town which has won many plaudits for the dignified support given to the armed forces by its citizens. Repatriations are set to transfer from RAF Lyneham to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, while Wootton Bassett will receive royal patronage in recognition for its role in the ceremonies.

An international conference on Libya takes place in Paris on the same day, with Nicolas Sarkozy hosting and members of the Libya Contact Group, along with representatives from Brazil, Russia, China and India, expected to attend. Following last week’s meeting with TNC leader Mahmoud Jibril, Sarkozy pledged to continue military operations for ‘as long as our Libyan friends need them’, with Muammar Gaddafi still managing to evade capture.

On September 2, 2010, the Middle East Quartet announced that it had set a deadline of one year to establish a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Friday marks the effective deadline for a two-state solution; with direct negotiations between the two side having proved fruitless since the Quartet’s declaration and the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas stating his intention to apply for membership of the UN at the General Assembly later this month, chances of a last-minute about turn are slim.

England’s qualifying campaign for the 2012 European Championships thunders on into Sofia on Friday for the return fixture against Bulgaria, who were dispatched 4-0 at Wembley last September. The emergence in recent months of a new generation of players, not yet tainted by the ‘golden’ tag, suggests that England are well-placed to improve upon the poor showing at last year’s World Cup, assuming they avoid any slip-ups in tricky qualifying games in eastern Europe.

Sunday sees Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Unionists face another barometer on their rule with the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election. Germany’s seven regional elections, electing members to the Landtag for five years, are being watched closely as analysts gauge Merkel’s falling popularity and the rise of the Social Democratic and Free Democratic parties.



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