The week ahead: Tory conference,Knox verdict, Jo Yeates murder trial, Nobel Peace Prize

A journalists’ guide to be big diary stories for the week ahead, provided by forward planning service Foresight News.

Conference season may be on the wane but the Conservatives will only just be getting started as their annual get-together reaches day two. Standout sessions on today’s agenda are those featuring Chancellor George Osborne and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who’s fresh from his victory in the battle with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the resumption of weekly bin collections.

British, Italian and American media are keenly awaiting the verdict, which is expected Monday, according to a trial judge, in the appeal for Amanda Knox, the American student convicted in December 2009 of killing her British housemate Meredith Kercher, with Knox and her-then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito hoping to overturn 26 and 25-year sentences respectively. The appeal trial enters its eleventh month on Monday.

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In domestic crime news, the trial of Vincent Tabak, the man charged with the murder of Bristol landscape architect Jo Yeates, begins at the Old Bailey on Tuesday. Tabak was arrested and charged after widespread speculation in certain newspapers as to the potential culpability of Yeates’s landlord Christopher Jeffries, who eventually won a libel payout at the High Court from the publishers of the Sun, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail, among others. Tabak’s May 5 guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter was rejected by the prosecution.

Tech fans rejoice: Apple is holding an event on Tuesday at its California headquarters which it has cryptically entitled ‘Let’s Talk iPhone’. The company’s new CEO, Tim Cook, is expected to unveil the latest iPhone model in the first major product announcement since the departure of Steve Jobs.

As the eurozone debt crisis rumbles on, EU finance ministers gather in Luxembourg on Tuesday for their monthly meeting. Euro nations are in the process of voting through an extension to the powers of the European Financial Stability Facility, with the German parliament recently passing the vote with a majority of 438 despite much public opposition to an increase in German guarantees. Meanwhile Greek civil servants are set to hold a 24-hour strike on Wednesday in protest at what they describe as ‘barbaric’ austerity measures being enacted by the government as part of the IMF/EU bailout.

Back in Manchester, the highlight of the Conservative Party conference arrives with the speech by Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday afternoon. Nick Clegg’s speech to the Lib Dems was well received without repairing entirely the AV and local election damage, while Ed Miliband’s effort has been almost universally panned (a notable exception was Peter Oborne), so the stage is set for a triumphant Cameron performance. A warning note was sounded last week, however, with the release of a YouGov poll which showed distrust in Cameron’s election pledge to reduce net immigration, and a fall in his personal approval ratings. If it all goes wrong, the PM can at least look forward to the weekend; he celebrates his 45th birthday on Sunday.

Dr Rowan Williams, travels to Africa on Wednesday for a week-long pastoral visit which takes in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Williams will become the first high-profile UK official to visit Zimbabwe since 2001, and is expected to meet with President Robert Mugabe on Sunday after holding a service for members of the Anglican church.

On Thursday the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Council of Europe during its Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, following his presentation of an application for statehood to the UN last month. Palestinian interests are set to be well represented as this session; the Council will also consider a request, submitted by the Palestinian National Council, for Partner for Democracy status, which establishes co-operation with the parliaments of non-Council member states.

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is announced on Friday, which, in a fitting coincidence, is also the birthday of Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, who turns 80. Events are scheduled to take place over the weekend in Cape Town to mark the Archbishop’s big day, with the Dalai Lama scheduled to deliver the inaugural Desmond Tutu International Peace lecture on Saturday, visa permitting.

A less felicitous anniversary also falls on Friday: the aerial bombardment of Afghanistan began ten years ago today, in retribution for the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Many of the original targets are now dead, most recently the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen last week. Stop the War has scheduled a demonstration in Trafalgar Square for Saturday to mark the anniversary.

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