The week ahead: Chirac trial, News Int execs face MPs again, last stand against Tesco, Mark Duggan funeral, 9/11

A briefing for journalists on the week ahead, provided by forward-planning service Foresight News.

The trial of former French President Jacques Chirac resumes today, after its suspension on March 8 because of issues regarding the admissibility of charges, which lie outside the statutory three-year limit for prosecution. The 78-year-old is accused of misusing funds during his time as mayor of Paris between 1977 and 1995. But with the challenges refuted by the French courts, and Chirac no longer able to hide behind his presidential cloak of immunity, the former head of state faces the possibility of up to ten years in jail.

Today also sees a return to the shocking death of Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter, Zenani, on the eve of South Africa’s football world cup last year. The driver of the car, 23-year-old student Sizwe Mankazana, appears in a Johannesburg court charged with drink-driving, murder and attempted murder.

With the politicians reconvening after their summer recess (have they ever been away?), many return to find the weekly agenda packed with discussions on the August riots. On Tuesday, the Home Affairs Committee holds its first session on policing large-scale disorder, calling Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his deputy Kit Malthouse as witnesses. The politicians are followed by the police, as acting Met commissioner Tim Godwin and president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde, parade their qualities on national TV in hope of being selected as the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

The Culture Committee returns to the spotlight once again on Tuesday as various News International and News Group Newspapers executives are hauled in for questioning. First up are the lesser known Jonathan Chapman, director of legal affairs at News International, and Daniel Cloke, former group HR director. The apogee of the day’s proceedings promises to be the evidence of Tom Crone, former legal manager at News Group Newspapers, and Colin Myler, former editor of the (also former) News of the World, who have both contradicted statements given to the committee by James Murdoch. The Leveson Inquiry also gets underway tomorrow.

Like the last redoubt holding out against an inexorable invasion, the HG3 postcode is Harrogate’s answer to the Korean War’s Battle of the Pusan Perimeter – only, on Tuesday, this last stand seems doomed to failure. That’s because HG3 is the only UK ‘out’ postcode, out of 2,971, which have a Tesco store. Harrogate council’s planning committee looks set to yield HG3’s status by approving yet another of Tesco’s behemoth shopping extravaganzas.

On Wednesday an alleged member of the Basque separatist group Eta, Eneko Gogeaskoetxea Arronategui, is expected to appear via videolink at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court as he faces extradition to Spain for allegedly plotting to kill King Juan Carlos in October 1997, when he opened the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Arrested in Cambridge, the 44-year-old, a keen squash player, is believed to have been living in the university town for a number of years.

A German court could bring the European economy to its knees on Wednesday, when the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany, will decide whether a law to provide €22.4bn in loans to Greece and Eurozone countries, passed in May, 2010, was legal according to the German constitution.

Details of the impending extradition of Manuel Noriega, former dictator of Panama, will be finalised in a Paris court hearing on Thursday. France has agreed to extradite General Noriega, where he is serving a seven-year sentence for laundering money from Colombian drug gangs, back to Panama. The Panamanian authorities have sentenced their former leader, in absentia, on three counts of human rights violations, each with a 20-year sentence.

The funeral of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed by police near Tottenham Hale station on August 4, takes place on Friday. Duggan’s family had held a peaceful protest outside Tottenham Police Station on Saturday, August 6, demanding information about Mr Duggan’s death. But a large, angry crowd soon saw the vigil escalate into a riot, with police cars, buses and shops set on fire and smashed. Over the following days, the disorder spread around London and to other parts of England.

Gaddafi loyalists holed up in the encircled town of Sirte have been given until Saturday to surrender themselves to Libya’s National Transitional Council. The council’s leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil has extended the deadline by a week to allow for further negotiations, in what is increasingly looking like the denouement of the protracted five-month war to remove the dictator and his clan.

Sunday is the tenth anniversary of 9/11, with commemorative ceremonies taking place across the United States. President Barrack Obama and former President George W Bush attend the ground zero ceremony, with the President going on to visit other crash sites at the Pentagon and that of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.



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