No doubt hoping to ride the wave of forgiveness generated by global superhit ‘Sorry’, the all-singing, all-dancing Liberal Democrat conference continues this week, with Business Secretary and man keeping his options open Vince Cable slated to speak on Monday. Crooner Clegg gets his moment in the Brighton and Hove sun on Wednesday, while elsewhere on the star-studded Lib Dem conference circuit, partial-News Corp employee Steve Coogan continues his crusade against the Murdoch press at a Hacked Off campaign fringe event on Tuesday.
Former England captain John Terry’s FA racism hearing is expected to kick off on Monday at a top secret location. The hearing, slated to run for three days, will see the ever–popular centre back face charges over his alleged use of ‘abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour’ towards QPRs’ Anton Ferdinand in an on-pitch incident. Terry was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at a criminal trial that ended back in July and is reportedly working on his memoirs, allowing him ample time to reminisce about good times past.
Beyond the confines of these sceptred Isles, Monday sees big questions over the legality of Egypt’s fledgling Parliament come under consideration at the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court. The Court will consider an application challenging the legitimacy of the lower house of parliament, and Monday’s hearing is expected to consider a request by lawyers for the Muslim Brotherhood to recuse the judges in the case on the grounds that they are biased.
It’s a busy day for the leader of the free world on Tuesday, with Barack Obama opening the general debate of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly for breakfast, before heading off to address his predecessor’s Clinton Global Initiative at lunch, as you do. His media-savvy Republican challenger Mitt Romney also speaks at the Clinton Initiative, in an appearance skilfully timed to clash with Obama’s televised address to the entire world. Among the global heavyweights due to speak at the UN on Tuesday, you can expect to savour the combined wisdom of Presidents Hollande, de Kirchner, Zuma and Rajoy. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai are also due to speak, following unrest in both states over Sam ‘Im’ Bacile’s ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film.
One leader who resolutely won’t be speaking at the UN on Tuesday is Kim Jong-Un, the well-rounded North Korean totalitarian who’ll be opening the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s rubber-stamp Parliament, on the same day. Although nothing is known about the possible agenda for the ultra-secretive state’s notional legislature, analysts have seen tentative steps towards a (highly limited) liberalisation of the country’s economy in the announcement of new special economic zones earlier in the year.
On Wednesday, Rebekah Brooks, the flame-haired former editor of The Sun, is due back in court in the latest instalment of the ongoing phone-hacking saga. Brooks will appear at two separate hearings at Southwark Crown Court on charges of perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to intercept voicemails, and at Wednesday’s hearings we will discover whether, as expected, she plans to fight the accusations.
Also on Wednesday, a two-day appeal hearing begins in Edinburgh for convicted wife-killer Malcolm Webster. He was sentenced to 30 years in jail in July 2011 for the 1994 murder of Claire Morris, which he had disguised as a car accident to claim an insurance payout. Webster was also convicted of subsequently attempting to kill his new wife, Felicity Drumm, under similar circumstances.
Greeks are set hold another strike to protest against austerity measures being enacted in response to the Hellenic Republic’s financial woes. Expect more images of anarchic youths clashing with riot police in downtown Athens.
Finally on Wednesday, the UN Security Council in New York is set to hold a high-level meeting on the Middle East, with the ongoing descent into civil war in Syria likely to dominate discussions.
On Thursday, it’s Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s turn to take the podium at the UN’s General Debate, where he is expected to clarify his until-now ambivalent position regarding the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme.
Europe and the USA go head to head on once more in the Ryder cup, which tees off at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois Thursday. All eyes will be on Northern Irish pin-up Rory McIlroy and, of course, resurgent Tiger Woods.
Mariano Rajoy’s efforts to prevent Spain from following Greece, Ireland and Portugal into the bailout zone are put to the test on Thursday with the presentation of his budget for 2013, with investors last week offering further hope to the Prime Minister as a successful bond auction raised €4.8bn and eased government borrowing costs. However, Friday’s release of an external ‘stress test’ of Spanish banks could have Rajoy penning that begging letter to the ECB after all.
Hot on the heels of Thursday’s National Accounts release come second quarter Labour Productivity figures on Friday, when everyone will be too distracted making spoof videos to notice.
With public debt in France nearing 90% of GDP and spending at 56% of GDP, President Francois Hollande may need to come up with more than a 75% top rate of tax when he presents his own highly-anticipated 2013 budget on Friday. Perhaps the French people will be making some painful efforts of their own next year.
Libor may soon be no more, if the final recommendations of a review by Financial Conduct Authority chair-designate Martyn Wheatley follow through with his suggestion last month to scrap the rate and replace it with a borrowing rate based on trades. Wheatley’s review, which was commissioned by Chancellor George Osborne in the wake of the £290m fine handed to Barclays for manipulation of Libor, is expected to be published on Friday.
Loyalist parades take place in Belfast on Saturday to mark the 100th anniversary (which falls on Friday) of the signing of the Ulster Covenant. The city saw a return to sectarian violence earlier this month when a lawful parade was disrupted by protests and descended into rioting, with both loyalist and republican groups participating.
Champagne bars in Manchester will be braced for the arrival of Labour members on Sunday as the Party takes up the conference baton from the Liberal Democrats. It’ll be difficult for Ed Miliband to top last year’s ‘producers and predators’ speech, but whatever he says, we’re expecting his Conference Speech (Remix) video to be tearing up YouTube within minutes of his leaving the podium.
Finally, this year’s National Police Memorial Day, taking place on Sunday, is sure to be especially poignant following the deaths of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone in Greater Manchester last week. A ceremony is scheduled at York Minster.