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News diary 27 August-2 September: Verdict due for Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar and Westminster attack suspect due in court

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week… 

The last week before the return of Parliament begins with the August bank holiday (cloudy with a high of 20C, per Met Office forecasts), and it will likely be dominated by the fallout from last week’s publication of 24 technical notices on the impact of a no-deal Brexit, which included eyebrow-raising warnings about bank accounts, pensions, and firms’ access to goods.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is due to hold further talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels this week.

In Myanmar, a court is due to issue a verdict in the case of two Reuters journalists, Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone (pictured), who were arrested in December 2017 and accused of violating the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

The pair had been reporting on the killings of Rohingya Muslims in a village in the country’s Rakhine state, and face a 14-year jail sentence if convicted.

The Great British Bake Off returns for a second series on Channel 4 on Tuesday. The show achieved solid ratings for the broadcaster after it moved from the BBC last year, though judge Prue Leith slightly upstaged series winner Sophie Faldo by announcing her victory on Twitter hours before the finale aired.

After his dramatic conviction last week on eight charges of fraud, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort returns to court for a separate criminal case being heard in Washington, DC.

The allegations against Manafort in this case include obstruction of justice and conspiracy, a charge to which his associate Rick Gates pleaded guilty in February this year. A trial is due to begin in September.

On Wednesday, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab faces questions from the Lords European Union Select Committee. The Lords are expected to interrogate Raab on the “state of play” in Brexit negotiations, the Irish border, the proposed Facilitated Customs Arrangement and the Government’s preparations for a “no-deal” outcome.

In Vienna, the EU’s defence ministers gather for an informal meeting at the Austrian capital’s Museum of Military History. The summit lasts for two days, with a plenary session taking place on Thursday at 9am. Gavin Williamson, bruised by reports that he suggested mounting guns on tractors as a solution to Army equipment shortages, is expected to represent the UK.

At 9.30am, the UK’s Office for National Statistics releases figures on working and workless households; last year’s figures recorded a 21-year low in the proportion of households where no one is working, and the proportion has continued to fall in each quarter since then.

The ONS also publishes the 2018 national balance sheet, which estimates the total value of the UK’s assets and provides an overall measure of the national wealth, while France and the US release final GDP estimates for the second quarter of 2018.

Polls close in Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) elections on Thursday, and the party is expected to announce the result shortly afterwards. Nine of the NEC’s Constituency Labour Party (CLP) seats are up for grabs, and most members of the Momentum-backed, pro-Corbyn #JC9 slate are expected to be elected.

The exception could be Peter Willsman, who was dumped from the slate after a recording emerged of him blaming Jewish “Trump fanatics” for using accusations of anti-Semitism to undermine the leadership.

President Trump visits Indiana for a Make America Great Again rally in Evansville. The Hoosier State will be one of the key battlegrounds in November’s midterm elections, where incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly faces an insurgent challenge from the GOP’s Mike Braun.

Salih Khater is expected to appear at the Old Bailey on Friday, charged with attempted murder offences in relation to his failed Westminster terror plot. Khater was charged after driving his car at pedestrians, cyclists, and police officers outside the houses of Parliament on 14 August, before crashing into a security barrier.

At least three people were treated in hospital following the incident although none of their injuries were life-threatening. The incident is being treated as a terrorism by investigating officers, though no formal link to terrorist groups has been confirmed by Scotland Yard.

The “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin is laid to rest in a private funeral service in Detroit. The singer died on  16 August at the age of 76, with Barack Obama describing her as “a glimpse of the divine”, and his successor in the Oval Office unsurprisingly taking to Twitter to pay his own tribute. In a rare occurrence, Trump’s use of social media was upstaged by Madonna paying her own respects during the MTV video music awards.

In sport, the domestic rugby season kicks back into action as the Guinness Pro14 and Gallagher Premiership campaigns get underway.

The crisis engulfing Northern Rail rolls on as guards take part in strike action on Saturday. The long-running dispute centres on the role of guards and the extension of Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains. Previous strikes were held in March and June.

With Venezuela’s economy in freefall, the country introduces a new minimum wage of 1,800 sovereign bolivars a month. The country has experienced widespread shortages of food and medicine this year, with President Nicolas Maduro having promised his people an “economic miracle” to solve the crisis.

The Premier League also continues with Leicester v Liverpool and Chelsea v Bournemouth the highlights of Saturday’s action.

With the Labour Party’s anti-Semitism row continuing to plague the party, Sunday’s Jewish Labour Movement conference in London is sure to be a closely watched affair as two of Jeremy Corbyn’s most vociferous critics deliver addresses.

Margaret Hodge has been at odds with the leader’s office since calling Corbyn “a racist and an anti-Semite” in the Commons last month, while Luciana Berger has said she has been made to feel “unwelcome in her own party”.

The penultimate European Grand Prix of the Formula One season takes place in Italy. Can Lewis Hamilton extend his lead over Sebastian Vettel at Monza, or will the German’s Ferrari take the win in its home race?

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Ann Wang

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