A guide to the big stories of the week ahead provided by Foresight News.
Addressing his new cabinet last week, Syrian President Bashar al Assad stated that the country was in a ‘state of war’ and spoke of the need to direct all policies towards winning the war. Violence among government forces and opposition groups continues, while Turkish military manoeuvres near its border with Syria demonstrate the increasingly fractious nature of relations between the two countries. A unity conference of opposition groups, which begins in Cairo on Monday, therefore comes at the start of what could be a crucial week for Syria, with a report with recommendations for the future of Ban Ki-moon’s Supervision Mission due to be presented to the UN Security Council the same day, before the Friends of Syria meeting in Paris on Friday.
There were calls for a Leveson-style inquiry into banking in the wake of last week’s £59.5m fine handed down to Barclays by the Financial Services Authority for the bank’s manipulation of inter-bank interest rates; the government’s willingness to instigate another lengthy and costly inquiry remains to be seen, but George Osborne did promise to publish this week a consultation in response to the report on the collapse of RBS in which he implied consideration would be given to introducing criminal sanctions for directors of failed banks.
The Commons Liaison Committee gets an hour of David Cameron’s time every three months, so it seems to have missed a trick or two with its decision to devote half of a session on Tuesday to civil service reform.
Glenn Mulcaire gets another day in court on Wednesday as the Supreme Court rules on his bid to prevent disclosure of the names of those at the News of the World who ordered him to intercept the voicemails of Max Clifford’s former PR consultant Nicola Phillips. Mulcaire is claiming privilege against self-incrimination and maintains that he is not acting out of loyalty to his former employers.
The union-TfL-LOCOG conspiracy to make travelling through London all but impossible this summer continues apace, with a ballot of London bus drivers at the three firms who were unable to take strike action on 22 June opening on Wednesday ahead of further action by Unite members on Thursday. The dispute centres on TfL’s refusal to award an Olympics payment to drivers, and the re-ballot of staff at Metroline, Arriva the Shires and Go Ahead London General closes just in time for them to take part in the third day of action on 24 July.
All eyes will be on the Monetary Policy Committee on Thursday to see whether they break an 18-month habit and go for some interest rate manipulation of their own.
It’s a good job England never benefits from any dubious goal-related decisions, because they could soon be a thing of the past if the International Football Association Board decides to approve the use of goal-line technology at its meeting in Zurich. IFAB is also set to discuss the use of additional assistant referees in competitive matches.
French civil aviation officials are due to publish their long-awaited report on the Air France flight 447 crash which killed all 228 passengers and crew in June 2009. Families of the victims rejected the findings of an interim report, released last year, which suggested that pilots were not adequately trained to control the plane when it began to stall.
Extradited Brit Christopher Tappin’s case has a status hearing slated for Friday at the US District Court in El Paso, Texas. Tappin is charged with conspiracy to defraud the US, violation of registration and licensing requirements and money laundering, after allegedly exporting batteries to Iran for use in surface-to-air missiles. Tappin maintains his innocence, and his extradition to the US and subsequent solitary confinement has added weight to calls for reform of the ‘unbalanced‘ extradition agreement between Britain and the States.
Closer to home, the General Synod, Governing body of the Church of England, kicks off its annual meeting at the University of York on Friday. While Friday through to Sunday’s highlights are likely to be free from controversy, 9 July sees the Synod take a final vote on reforms that would formally allow the ordination of female bishops, potentially ending almost two decades of bickering.
An historic vote to choose a Public National Conference is scheduled to take place in Libya on Saturday after being delayed from 19 June. The newly-elected body will be given the formidable task of forming an interim government and appointing a Constituent Authority to draft a new constitution. According to the country’s High National Elections Commission, 80% of the electorate has registered to vote, although such promising signs come against a backdrop of continued inter-tribal violence.
The deadline to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the UK to Sweden arrives at 11:59pm on Saturday.