Tony Hall is expected to begin work as the latest director general of the BBC on Tuesday. His appointment follows the high-profile resignation of his short-lived predecessor George Entwistle, who left after a mere 54 days in the job over the Newsnight/Lord McAlpine debacle.
Away from the UK, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton hosts a meeting on Tuesday between Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic. The meeting is the latest, and possibly final, stage in long-running EU-mediated negotiations between the two countries aiming to end the ethnic partition of Kosovo, which seceded in 2008.
- February 15, 2018
- February 14, 2018
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Stateside on Tuesday, President Barack Obama hosts the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, while the South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se visits the US to meet with his counterpart John Kerry, with discussions expected to focus on South Korea’s ever-belligerent northern neighbour.
Moving to Wednesday, Man City striker Carlos Tevez is due in court again after being charged with driving while disqualified and driving without insurance after allegedly being caught driving on the outskirts of Macclesfield a mere seven weeks after receiving a six month driving ban.
In more City-related courtroom drama, Simon Brodkin, better known as BBC Three prankster Lee Nelson, appears charged with pitch encroachment after allegedly taking to the pitch to warm up with the side ahead of their March 16 clash with Everton at Goodison Park.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the brother of troubled Paralympian Oscar Pistorius appears charged with culpable homicide over a 2008 incident in which a female motorcyclist died. Pistorius denies the charge, and at the last hearing, broadcaster SABC was denied its request to televise proceedings.
Thursday sees the latest meeting of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council as the Eurozone crisis rumbles on. On the same day capital controls, imposed to prevent a bank run in Cyprus, are set to expire (although an extension was likely at the time of writing), the ECB’s main decision making body announces its latest interest rate decision. The usual press conference follows.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are off to Scotland on Thursday. The expecting couple’s jaunt includes a visit to the Emirates Arena, the Quarriers Stopover project and, naturally, the Donald Deward Leisure Centre in Drumchapel. On the same day, the Queen hosts a reception for the British film industry at Windsor Castle; no word yet on whether she’ll be played by Helen Mirren.
Dovetailing nicely with International Fun At Work Day, the United States unleashes its latest Employment Situation stats on Friday. Although America’s recovery from the financial crisis remains shaky, recent job figures have been promising, with fewer layoffs and applications for unemployment support falling.
International talks on Iran’s nuclear programme resume on Friday, with the UK, US, Russia, France, Germany, China and the EU sitting down with the Islamic Republic for negotiations expected to run until Saturday. Iran's chief negotiator Said Jalili dubbed the last round of so-called E3+3 proposals ‘more realistic’ than previous attempts at engagement.
The basic state pension increases by 2.5 per cent (£2.70 a week) from Saturday, while working-age benefits and tax credits rise by a below-inflation 1 per cent. Benefits were set to rise by 2.2 per cent before the Government won a crucial vote to cap them for three years, although with state pensions costing a whopping £74.22bn in 2011-12, the welfare budget will continue to be a major source of state spending.
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin pays a visit to Germany’s Angela Merkel. The Russian leader reportedly dubbed the Cyprus Bank Levy – of which German officials were key engineers – ‘unjust, unprofessional and dangerous’.
Finally, Montenegro goes to the polls on Sunday in a presidential election marred by controversy. Incumbent Filip Vujanovic runs for a third term, a decision not supported by the junior coalition Social-Democratic Party, which says that Vujanovic, who has already served two terms, is ineligible for another run at the top job. And that’s your week.