A guide to the big stories of the week ahead provided by Foresight News.
Monday marks two years since Hosni Mubarak stepped down as President of Egypt, following an unprecedented 18 days of protests on the streets of Cairo. As the anniversary approaches, the Middle East’s most populous state continues to go through a turbulent period, demonstrated by a recent rise in threats made against opposition politicians.
Sun Defence Editor Virginia Wheeler is in court on Monday to face charges brought as part of the Met Police’s Operation Elveden investigation. Former police officer Paul Flattley also appears, and the pair face allegations that Wheeler paid him for tip-offs, including for information about the death of a 15-year-old girl.
Elsewhere in the courts on Monday, tuition fees protester Alfie Meadows is set to face a second retrial charged with violent disorder. Meadows suffered a brain injury during the December 2010 fees protest, and the jury failed to reach a verdict in his first trial, with the second postponed due to the illness of co-defendant Zac King’s counsel. Campaign group Defend the Right To Protest plan to demonstrate outside Woolwich Crown Court as the case gets underway.
Monday also signals 50 years since author and poet Sylvia Plath took her own life. As the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman recently noted, Plath’s death continues to spark fierce attacks on her late husband Ted Hughes, while a Vintage reissue of her acclaimed The Bell Jar has been accused of trivialising her work.
The ever-popular Barclays publishes its latest results on Tuesday, with the bank’s chief executive Antony Jenkins set to hold a presentation and webcast on the taxpayer-backed bank’s ‘strategic review’ at 12:30pm. It’s expected that Jenkins, who recently told MPs he was ‘shredding’ the legacy of eviscerated former boss Bob Diamond, will announce a review into the organisation’s culture.
Across the pond, Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address on Tuesday. The US President has already promised that gun law reform in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting will feature heavily in this year’s address, while the still-faltering US economy is naturally a top priority. Rising Republican star Marco Rubio responds immediately afterwards.
Robert Francis QC, chair of the damning report into failings at Stafford Hospital, gives evidence to MPs on the Commons Health Committee on Tuesday. The report, criticised by families of the dead as insufficient, made 290 recommendations calling on ‘every single person serving patients to contribute to a safer, committed and compassionate and caring’ NHS.
The Bank of England’s latest Inflation report lands on Wednesday. Incoming Governor Mark Carney recently backed the Bank’s 2% inflation target, on the same day the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street opted to cool its controversial quantitative easing programme for the time being.
On the same day, Société Générale posts its Q4 results, while a snapshot of the health of the eurozone will be revealed on Thursday with the release of year-end GDP figures in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the EU’s own flash estimate for the quarter. The 27 European Union nations saw a slight 0.1% increase to GDP in the last quarter, with the 17 euro area countries recording a fall of the same size, while German growth slowed to 0.2%.
Meanwhile in Westminster, the Sky News team announces its coveted Most Fanciable MP awards on Thursday. Labour’s Luciana Berger could score a hat-trick of titles this year, with last year’s closest challenger Louise Mensch no longer in contention, while the return of ‘Gorgeous’ George Galloway to Parliament threatens Zac Goldsmith’s position at the top of the pile.
Russia welcomes finance ministers from the G20 to Moscow on Friday as it hosts a meeting as president of the grouping for the first time. The focus of the summit is expected to be on reducing borrowing worldwide, according to Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, with a 2010 pledge to halve budget deficits due to expire this year.
London Fashion Week returns to the capital on Friday, and this year’s edition features a debut show by the Duchess of Cambridge-endorsed high street brand Whistles.
In what’s becoming a recurring theme, a protest takes place in Hammersmith on Saturday against proposed A&E closures at four west London hospitals. The protest comes at the end of a ‘week of action’ against NHS North West London’s plans to close units at Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Ealing and Central Middlesex hospitals, which campaigners claim will lead to longer ambulance journeys, rising waiting times at remaining A&Es and the eventual full closure and sale of Charing Cross Hospital. A final decision is due the following week.
The final fortnightly mass for the LGBT community at Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory church takes place on Sunday after a request from Archbishop Vincent Nichols that the services move to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair. Nichols announced the end of the ‘Soho Masses’ last month, when he suggested in a letter to the community that the celebration of mass at Our Lady of The Assumption was likely to continue to be ‘contentious’.
Also on Sunday, there are presidential elections in Ecuador, where the decision to grant political asylum to popular anti-American freedom fighter Julian Assange was in no way connected to incumbent Rafael Correa’s attempts to secure a third term in office; and in Cyprus, where it’s unlikely to be third time lucky for bridal shop-owning candidate Andreas Efstratiou after Guinness World Records objected to his use of its logo on ballot slips.