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News diary 27 May-2 June: 'Fake news' grand committee sits and Julian Assange in court over US extradition

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

Lawmakers in Austria convene for a special parliamentary session on Monday to hold a confidence vote in Chancellor Sebastian Kurz triggered by the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache on 18 May.

Strache, leader of the governing coalition FPÖ party, stepped down after a video emerged which appeared to show him offering government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

All FPÖ ministers then resigned after Kurz made critical comments about his former deputy’s actions and called for early elections this autumn, and the Chancellor now faces the prospect of losing the vote if his former coalition partners vote against him.

The domestic football season ends as Aston Villa and Derby County meet at Wembley in the Championship playoff final. The match is known as “the richest game in football” – Fulham pocketed some £170m ahead of their promotion to the Premier League after winning last year’s final.

Aston Villa have been absent from the English top flight since 2016 while Derby County have endured an 11-year wait for promotion.

The International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News, which draws its members from nine national parliaments (including the UK’s), meets in Ottawa on Tuesday for two days of hearings.

The Canadian Parliament’s ethics committee has invited numerous witnesses, including Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Google chief exec Sundar Pichai, Apple chief exec Tim Cook, Amazon chief exec Jeff Bezos and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, though it’s currently unclear whether any of them will turn up.

The meeting comes amid widespread scrutiny of technology and social media firms over privacy and the role they play in disseminating unreliable news.

European leaders gather for a special informal dinner following the European Parliamentary elections. The summit will focus on who will succeed current European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with German European People’s Party leader Manfred Weber still the leading Spitzenkandidat.

Several countries oppose the Spitzenkandidat process, in which the leader of the European party with the most European Parliament seats traditionally assumes the Commission presidency.

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and current chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier are reported to be surprise candidates for the role should the Commission choose not to follow the Spitzenkandidat process.

On Wednesday, London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea meet in the Europa League final at the Olympic Stadium in the Azerbaijani capital. Both sides have criticised UEFA’s decision to stage the match in Baku, some 4,000km away, and expressed frustration at the low ticket allocations for fans.

Arsenal was forced to omit Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from the squad over concerns for his safety due to tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, a situation the club said was “unacceptable” and which drew criticism of UEFA from beyond the footballing community.

Following Theresa May’s announcement on Friday that she would resign as Conservative Party leader on 7 June, the Prime Minister reaches what is reportedly a personal milestone, surpassing Gordon Brown’s 1,049 days in office.

The Prime Minister’s announcement came after the Government postponed publication of the EU Withdrawal Bill amid a collapse in support for the proposed legislation among Conservative MPs and the resignation of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom.

EE users looking to update their phones will be waiting until Thursday, after the company announced the impending launch of its 5G network in six UK cities. The news comes after Vodafone announced it would be launching 5G in July, with reports that both networks have pulled Huawei phones from their 5G plans after international fears that the Chinese company’s hardware is being used as tool for the Chinese government.

The ICC’s Cricket World Cup gets underway with England and Wales sharing hosting duties. The Three Lions have never claimed the one-day format’s biggest prize but head in to the competition as one of the favourites.

The tournament’s curtain raiser sees England taking on South Africa at The Oval, with defending champions Australia kicking off their campaign against the West Indies on 6 June.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is scheduled to appear in court in London as part of extradition proceedings on US charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

At his last hearing, Assange said that he would not “surrender [himself] for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.”

The extradition is unlikely to be settled today, but a firmer timetable could be revealed. The United States, after last week announcing 17 new criminal charges including Espionage Act violations, has until a 12 June hearing to outline their case.

Friday marks the beginning of Pope Francis’ three-day visit to Romania, with the Pontiff based in Bucharest for the first day of his trip. In Bucharest, the Pope will meet President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, followed by a mass in Saint Joseph Cathedral.

The visit marks a warming in Catholic-Orthodox relations in a country that is almost 82 per cent Orthodox, and during the trip the Pope will also beatify seven bishops who became martyrs after being killed in an anti-religious campaign under Romania’s former communist government.

The annual IISS Shangri-La Dialogue begins in Singapore with an opening speech from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The major conference deals with defence and security issues, and this year’s keynote speakers include Acting US Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan and Chinese National Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe.

Fenghe’s appearance marks the first time in nearly a decade since the Chinese have sent a high-profile figure to the event. The dialogue comes amid strained relations between the US and China over trade, questions around Huawei, and China’s activity in the South China Sea.

Madrid’s Stadio Wanda Metropolitano plays host to one of the most hotly anticipated Champions League finals in recent years on Saturday, as Tottenham take on Liverpool. Spurs have never lifted the European Cup, and their manager Mauricio Pochettino has hinted that victory in the Spanish capital could prompt his departure from the club.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on the other hand are chasing their sixth Champions League crown and hope to avenge last year’s 3-1 final defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.

Across the pond, Britain’s Anthony Joshua defends his world heavyweight boxing titles against Andy Ruiz Jr. Joshua was initially scheduled to face the undefeated Jarrell Miller, but a failed drugs test for the 30-year-old sees Ruiz stepping in at short notice. The fight marks Joshua’s first appearance in an American ring.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton is scheduled to address the Oxford Union, where he is likely to face questions over US policy towards Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.

Reports surfaced last week suggesting that tensions were rising between Bolton and his State Department counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is said to be unhappy with what he perceives as calculating moves by Bolton outside of his remit as National Security Advisor. The remarks also come ahead of President Trump’s State Visit next week.

Elections take place in six Mexican states on Sunday, with hundreds of council positions up for grabs along with the governorships in Puebla and Baja California.

Some 3m voters are eligible to vote in Baja California, where the city of Tijuana attracts many of the migrants seeking passage across the US border, while the election in Puebla is being re-run after the death of governor-elect Martha Érika Alonso and her husband, the state’s ex-governor Rafael Moreno Valle, in a plane crash.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters

Comments

1 thought on “News diary 27 May-2 June: 'Fake news' grand committee sits and Julian Assange in court over US extradition”

  1. I would better choose Instagram over Facebook and WhatsApp. Damn everywhere I can see fake news and fake thumbnails. And youtube has become even worse than all these networking sites.

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