Journalists' guide to the big stories of the week ahead

A journalists’ guide to the big diary stories of the week ahead, provided by Foresight News.

Following last week’s build-up to mark the world’s population approaching the milestone of seven billion, today is the United Nations’ expected date for the surpassing of the total. Coinciding with the event is the UN’s State of the World Population report, as well as Plan International’s celebration of the birth of a girl in India’s Uttar Pradesh, as part of its Count Every Child and Because I Am A Girl campaigns.

The death of Colonel Gaddafi and the unseemly portrayal of his final moments signified the end, proper, of his 42-year-rule as Libya’s de facto dictator, and today is the official conclusion of NATO’s operations in the North African state, and also the end of the UN Security Council mandate.

Britain’s economy lines up for another public battering on Tuesday with the publication of the third quarter GDP estimate. Forecasts for growth this year have got steadily worse in recent months, with the BCC and the Bank of England among those downgrading estimates, and this week’s figures are unlikely to cause much of an upturn going into the final quarter of the year.

Tuesday sees Foreign Secretary William Hague open and host a two-day conference on cyber security in London, which will discuss the ‘norms of acceptable behaviour in cyberspace’, with attendees including US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark and Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt.

It wouldn’t be a week of UK news without an appearance from Wikileaks boss Julian Assange, and Wednesday is all set to be as one of the most momentous to date. At London’s Court of Appeal, the Australian is set to learn whether he has successfully appealed against extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual assaults.

Enfield’s council holds a public meeting on Wednesday to gather evidence as to why some of the worst disorder took place in the town during August’s riots. The meeting is co-hosted by the independent Riots, Communities and Victims Panel set up at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The G20 summit convenes in Cannes on Thursday, coming on the back of the Eurozone’s landmark agreement to write-down Greek debts, re-capitalise European banks and extend the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF). World leaders had set the summit as a deadline for any agreement on the Euro crisis, but expect the thrashing out of the finer details, particularly of the EFSF, to continue.

Also on Thursday, the European Central Bank’s governing council comes together in Frankfurt for its first meeting since Jean-Claude Trichet departed as president. His replacement, Mario Draghi, recently signalled his intention to continue the ECB’s recent policy of buying sovereign bonds from European countries.

The Scottish Conservative Party declares its new leader on Friday, five months after the resignation of Annabel Goldie in the wake of disappointing local election results north of the border. Candidates include the party’s youngest MSP Ruth Davidson and current deputy leader Murdo Fraser, who has floated the idea of disbanding the Scottish Tories and creating a new party ‘with a distinct Scottish identity’.

William Hague is back in action on Saturday to speak at the BBC-hosted Festival of Ideas in Gateshead, a weekend which promises public debate, interviews and performances by thinkers, artists and scientists. Hague’s topic is the UK’s role in ‘a dramatically changing world’.

And in true ‘and finally’ fashion the winner of the Bad Sex in Fiction Prize is announced in London on Sunday. Last year’s winner, Rowan Somerville, was awarded the title on the back of such gems as ‘like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her’, while Tony Blair’s A Journey was ruled ineligible.

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