Press Gazette’s guide to the big stories of the week ahead provided by www.foresightnews.co.uk.
As we enter week two of silly seas Easter Recess, there are a few non-petrol and -pasty related events to look forward to. On Monday, UN-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan briefs the Security Council in New York, following his recent talks with the Syrian government, which has agreed to accept Annan’s proposals for peace provided ‘terrorist acts’ against the regime come to a halt. Annan’s plan, which calls for a UN-monitored ceasefire, has been criticised by the Syrian opposition and western governments, who worry it will merely buy President Bashar al-Assad more time to continue his crackdown on dissent.
Monday also marks 30 years since Argentine troops landed on the Falkland Islands, sparking a 74-day conflict that would cost 649 Argentine and 255 British lives. The conflict ended with an Argentine surrender on June 14, and buoyed the electoral fortunes of Margaret Thatcher. The anniversary comes amid a ratcheting up of tensions between the two nations, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently accusing the Argentine government of ‘rattling cages’after it accused Britain of sending a nuclear-armed submarine to the South Atlantic.
The British Chambers of Commerce outlines its Q1 predictions for GDP, inflation, interest rates and unemployment on Tuesday, hot on the heels of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s prediction that Britain is set to re-enter recession. Granny-hating pasty taxer George Osborne will be hoping for an improvement on the BCC’s last survey, which said that Britain’s economy was at risk of contracting in the first half of this year, with manufacturing sales and orders at their weakest level since 2009.
On Tuesday, a Sudanese peace summit takes place in the South Sudanese capital Juba to discuss ‘pending issues’ between the world’s youngest nation and its northern neighbour. A recent flare-up in border violence, ongoing disputes over oil revenues, as well as Sudan’s refusal to recognise the rights of citizens born in what is now Southern Sudan, mean that the summit’s agenda looks somewhat formidable. The effectiveness of the talks is already in doubt after Sudanese President Omar al Bashir’s indicated that he will not attend, citing an attack in the Heglig area which his government blames on the South.
Network Rail faces an unlimited fine on Wednesday when it is sentenced for a breach of the Health and Safety Act over the 2007 Grayrigg train crash in Cumria in which passenger Margaret Masson died and 86 others were injured. The firm admitted responsibility for the accident, which a Rail Accident Investigation Branch inquiry blamed on a ‘degraded and unsafe’ set of points, for the first time at a court hearing in Lancaster last month.
In the wake of last week’s crushing by-election defeat in Bradford West, the London Mayoral election is fast becoming a must-win for Labour if Ed Miliband’s leadership is to survive into the next election. Party candidate Ken Livingstone’s campaign hasn’t got off to the best of starts, so vote-winning performances in the upcoming round of pre-election debates are essential, and Thursday’s transport hustings should be safe ground for fare-cutting Ken.
The radical boat-rockers on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee announce their interest rate decision on Thursday, and they’re sure to continue on the path of the low rate after this month’s encouraging 0.2% fall in the consumer prices index.
Topiarists beware: a hosepipe ban is due to come into force on Thursday in drought affected parts of southern and eastern England, with similar measures soon likely to be necessary further north after the Environment Agency confirmed recently that parts of Yorkshire had moved into ‘official drought status’ after the driest year in the county since 1910.
After having hearings delayed three times, the Hollywood-inspiring arms dealer Viktor Bout is finally sentenced in New York on Thursday for crimes including conspiracy to kill US nationals and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles. Bout, who reportedly sold arms to the Colombian FARC group, maintains his innocence and last week requested that the presiding judge, Shira Scheindlin, not sentence him at today’s hearing.
Just when graduates thought getting a job was hard enough, from Friday any foreign student graduating from a UK university will need to find employment from a UK Border Agency-accredited company and have a starting salary of at least £20,000 to stay in the country.
Jetting off to those Continental destinations could prove more traumatic than usual on Friday if you’re flying out of Stansted Airport. Around 150 airport baggage handlers have arranged to not turn up for work as they dispute contractor Swissport’s plans to cut their pay in the first of three days of strike action.
In a period of austerity and fears over petrol shortages, harking back to a more genteel time with the Oxford and Cambridge boat race should help raise the British public’s spirits on Saturday. The banks of the River Thames will be lined with supporters cheering on the university crews, consisting of scholars parachuted in from around the world, as they strive for the quickly-forgotten annual accolade which is this year presented by reclusive Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi hosts Japanese and South Korean counterparts from Saturday to discuss regional cooperation and prepare for a trilateral leaders’ meeting. The prospect of a North Korean rocket launch in mid-April to mark the centenary of Kim Il-sung’s birth, first president of North Korea and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un, is sure to be on the agenda.
And Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams presides over his final Easter Eucharist on Sunday at Canterbury Cathedral, after announcing on March 16th that he would step down from his position at the end of 2012 to become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.