The week ahead: Bradley Manning, Kofi Annan and Euro 2012


WikiLeaker Bradley Manning is due in court – or Fort, rather – on Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing ahead of his full court martial later this year. At his last hearing a military judge denied the defence team’s motion to dismiss all of the charges laid against Manning, with supporters of the intelligence analyst claiming that the trial process is not entirely transparent. Manning is still yet to enter a plea.

UN special envoy Kofi Annan is due to update the Security Council on Thursday on his recent visit to Syria and meeting with President Bashar al Assad, in which he called upon the Syrian government to take ‘bold steps’ to demonstrate its commitment to peace. The meeting was overshadowed by the massacre of over a hundred civilians in Houla and leaves the Security Council under renewed pressure to take action against Syria, though with Russia continuing to insist that rebel groups bear as much responsibility for violence in the country as government forces the chances of agreement on a Resolution are slim.

Injuries, suspensions and an impending high court trial – yep, the England squad is in fine shape for the start of Euro 2012 on Friday. Still, out of adversity comes opportunity; England need only to look to Greece in 2004 as an example of what can be achieved when a group is united by a higher cause.

Meanwhile, Greece have problems of their own going into their opening game on Friday against co-hosts Poland. With Q1 GDP figures due on the same day, victory could bring welcome distraction from the country’s economic and electoral woes.

And they’re at it again in France on Sunday: voters go to the polls for parliamentary elections, where the focus will be on the battle between presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon for the Hénin-Beaumont seat, with Le Pen’s Front National expected to benefit nationally from her strong showing in the first round presidential vote last month. There’ll also be the first ever French MP for London.

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