This is the first of a new series of weekly blog posts giving journalists a heads-up on the big stories happening in the week ahead, provided by forward planning service Foresight News.
Dewani (July 18); News Corp (July 19); Commons (July 19); Workplace (July 20); Japan (July 21); Menezes (Jul 22); FIFA (July 22); Bombardier (July 23).
Monday. The quiet before the storm. Our one BC (Before Committee) story this week is the case of Shrien Dewani, the man accused of complicity in his wife’s murder while the couple were on honeymoon in South Africa. Today a hearing takes place to decide whether Dewani, who is on bail at a hospital reportedly suffering from PTSD after attempting suicide, is fit to stand trial. The case has taken a turn for the lurid recently with revelations in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary about Dewani’s alleged sexual proclivities and his communication with the convicted taxi driver Zola Tongo.
It’s the big one on Tuesday. On the day that Parliament shuts down for the summer, Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks face the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to discuss recent developments in the phone hacking affair. It’s been a busy period for News Corporation; in a little over a week the News of the World has published its last edition, David Cameron has announced a judge-led inquiry into media standards, the bid for BSkyB has been dropped and Rebekah Brooks has resigned as chief executive of News International. Rupert Murdoch, who along with Murdoch fils initially refused to attend the hearing, used an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week to condemn some of the allegations against his publications as ‘total lies’.
The commission investigating private sector workplace pensions issues interim findings on Wednesday. The report isn’t likely to provoke anything like the same level of ire as the Hutton report on public sector pensions, but with the debate on funding for social care in later years rumbling on the Government will be looking to commission chair Lord McFall to provide assurances that there’ll be money in the pot for those in private schemes.
On Thursday a verdict is expected in the trial of Tatsuya Ichihashi, the man accused of the rape and murder of Lindsay Ann Hawker. Ichihashi spent over two years on the run and underwent plastic surgery after the student teacher’s body was found in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of his apartment in March 2007; despite Hawker’s father calling for the death penalty, Japanese prosecutors indicated last week that they would seek a life term for Ichihashi.
It is six years on Friday since the Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station. Following the discovery of the phone number of a relative of de Menezes in documents belonging to News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, the Justice4Jean campaign has written to the Prime Minister to ask him to extend the phone hacking inquiry’s remit to include police conduct during the investigation into the Brazilian’s shooting.
It’s not just journalists with (allegedly) questionable ethics: football officials are dodgy too (allegedly). FIFA’s ethics committee meets on Friday to hear the cases of Mohamed bin Hammam, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, all of whom are accused of offering or accepting bribes during a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union in May. Verdicts are expected on Saturday.
Union members take to the streets of Derby on Saturday to protest at plans to make 1,400 Bombardier employees redundant. Consultation on the plans began after the company failed to win a contract to build Thameslink train carriages. RMT general secretary Bob Crow called the awarding of the contract to German firm Siemens an ‘act of political vandalism’; his union is considering a legal challenge of the Government’s decision.