The week ahead: Wimbledon, Twitter joke trial and the Spanish bank bailout


A guide to the big diary news stories of the week ahead provided by Foresight News

Shin pads at the ready: it’s Wimbledon time! The Championships return on Monday and Scottish failure/British hopeful Andy Murray will need a new plan of attack after Argentina’s David Naldbandian proved at Queen’s you can’t kick your way to victory.

If Bradley Manning thought he’d waited long enough already for the chance to clear his name, he was wrong; as well as the seemingly never-ending series of pre-trial hearings, which continues on Monday, Manning was presented with the prospect of his court martial being delayed from September to November or even January next year by presiding judge Denise Lind at his last hearing, where a request to throw out the charges against him was also declined.

Requiring a new Chief Inspector of Constabulary after Sir Denis O’Connor announced his retirement, a furious Theresa May decided to get her own back for the PolFed conference picture snafu by nominating the tubby policeman’s bête noire Tom Winsor. Home Affairs Select Committee chair Keith Vaz, who hadn’t been on TV for days, had other ideas: now Winsor and Vaz are set to go mano-a-mano at a pre-appointment hearing on Tuesday, and Theresa’s revenge must wait.

The echo of the last ‘Hurray!’ rang across the courtyard as the Red Arrows’ smoke faded in the afternoon sky. Wearily, The Queen turned from the balcony and followed her family into the palace. ‘That’s it, isn’t it?’, she asked The Duke of Edinburgh. ‘Yes dear, that’s it’, he said. ‘Well. After Northern Ireland, anyway’.

Wednesday sees an appeal hearing at the High Court in the case of Paul Chambers, the man convicted under the Communications Act for a tweet that joked about blowing Doncaster’s Robin Hood airport ‘sky high’. Chambers, whose case has become something of a cause célèbre for anti-censorship campaigners and general fans of legal proportion, lost an earlier appeal at Doncaster Crown Court and today’s hearing takes place before a specially constituted three-judge panel.

The UN Human Rights Council convenes on Wednesday to receive an update from the Commission of Inquiry on Syria on the appalling May 25 Houla massacre. The meeting follows an emergency session of the Council held in the wake of the killings, in which China and Cuba predictably voted against a resolution condemning the Assad regime. The regime continues to deny that it played any role in fomenting the violence.

Plans are also provisionally in place to hold the inaugural meeting of the Syria Contact Group, including UN envoy Kofi Annan and members of the UN Security Council, in Geneva on Saturday, though Russia’s insistence that Iran be present threatens to derail the discussions.

Back in the UK, Wednesday also marks one month until the start of the bargain bin Olympic Games, taking place this year in London, in case you haven’t heard. Expect to see a lot of household favourite Seb Coe (perhaps flogging Olympic merch from the back of a Transit van) while enduring a series of Day Today-style vox pops from a general public forced to explain what the continued passage of time means to them.

The EU’s leaders meet on Thursday at the European Council, where discussions are expected to focus on the details of the Spanish bank bailout, agreed earlier this month, which hasn’t had quite the intended effect. A report on the safety of EU nuclear power plants is also expected to be presented by the European Commission, which was launched in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima power plant crisis.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could be extradited to Sweden from Thursday to face long-standing allegations of sexual assault. Assange has been fighting moves to extradite him on the grounds that it’s politically motivated and related to Wikileaks’ unearthing of sensitive US diplomatic data, but his application to appeal was rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court. However, the mercurial Assange also has until today to take his never-ending battle to the European Court of Human Rights, though his recent flight to the Ecuadorian embassy in London could complicate matters even further.

On the day that the FSA finally says goodbye to Hector Sants, the Bank of England is due to publish its first financial stability report of 2012. The biannual report, due on Friday, assesses the stability and resilience of the financial sector and follows up on last December’s effort, which warned that the risk to UK banks emanating from the eurozone remained a ‘significant and immediate threat‘.

Moustachioed World Bank president Robert Zoellick’s term comes to an end on Saturday, five years after the former Goldman Sachs MD took over from amorous former president Paul Wolfowitz. Zoellick exits with a stark warning against short-termism in the management of Europe’s debt crisis, suggesting that the eurozone must prepare for its own ‘Lehmans moment’. YouTube sensation Dr Jim Yong Kim takes over from Zoellick on Sunday.

There’s been some recent good news for Ed Miliband ahead of his appearance at the Fabian Society summer conference on Saturday: after last month’s revelation that he was slightly less unpopular than the Prime Minister, David Miliband has finally given up the Count of Monte Cristo act and backed his brother.

The people of Iran may not immediately feel the effects of the EU’s oil ban when it comes into force on Sunday, but spare a thought for Californian gourmands, for whom a last-minute binge on foie gras ahead the implementation of a ban on the same day is liable to produce instant ill-effects.

And finally, as Cyprus prepares to take over the presidency of the European Union on Sunday, its government seems set to acquire the European accessory du jour.

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