The week ahead: MPs back, Breivik trial, Met police racism, 100 days to go until London 2012

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

Westminster welcomes back its wandering flock on Monday after a three-week hiatus in which we witnessed the most sensational victory in by-election history, a pastygate and a grannygate, and the first prime ministerial visit to Burma since the country’s independence. First up for MPs are Education questions and a Finance Bill debate, which continues on Wednesday and Thursday, when Labour have tabled an amendment on the granny tax.

In Norway the long-awaited trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the man who confessed to detonating a bomb in central Oslo before shooting dead 77 people at a youth camp on Utoya island last July, gets underway at the Oslo city court on Monday. A recent four-week psychiatric evaluation of Breivik found that he was fit to face trial, contradicting an initial report, released in November last year, which suggested that he was insane. Breivik has refused to accept criminal responsibility for the attacks, claiming that he carried them out to ‘save Norway’, and has entered a not guilty plea.

On Tuesday Darrell Desuze, a teenager from Hounslow in west London, is sentenced for the manslaughter of 68-year-old Richard Mannington Bowes, who was died after being attacked in Ealing in while he was attempting to put out a fire during last year’s riots. A week ago Gordon Thompson was given an 11-year jail term for starting the fire which destroyed the Reeves furniture store in Croydon on the same day Bowes was attacked, and the sentence handed down to Desuze is likely to reflect public outrage at one of the most senseless criminal acts committed last summer.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has summoned Metropolitan Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe to a hearing on Tuesday to face questions about allegations of racism in his force after 10 cases were referred to the IPCC, including one involving a recording on a mobile phone made during the August riots of an officer apparently abusing a black suspect. Committee chair Keith Vaz said last week that Hogan-Howe would be asked to update the Committee on ‘the action that he has taken’ since the allegations were made public.

Transparency advocate Julian Assange’s TV vessel ‘The World Tomorrow’ makes its debut on the state-owned Russia Today network on Tuesday. The show, described as ‘a series of in-depth conversations with key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries’, runs to 12 episodes and opens with a ‘notorious’ guest, according to the Russian channel.

The interminable countdown to the Olympics reaches yet another important milestone on Wednesday, when there are a mere 100 days to go until the start of the Games. Surely LOCOG couldn’t top the giant floating Olympic rings which were unveiled at the 150 day mark? A dress rehearsal for the Olympic Torch Relay, to test the convoy, crew and communications procedures, takes place on Friday.

William Hague and Philip Hammond are expected to be in attendance at the ‘jumbo’ meeting of NATO foreign and defence ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, where the agenda is likely to be dominated by Syria and, Turkey’s recent assertion that NATO should take responsibility for the protection of its borders after four people in a refugee camp on the Turkish side were wounded by Syrian gunfire.

The London Mayoral election has been hotting up in recent weeks, with allegations (and counter-allegations) of tax irregularities, foul-mouthed lift rants and Ken’s crocodile tears all contributing to another edifying contest for the hot seat at City Hall. The gloves will be on off again on Thursday, when Sky News hosts a debate between Boris and Ken (and Brian).

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell attends a Washington DC meeting of the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee on Friday where he is expected to outline the UK Government’s proposals for increased funding for social networking tech to be deployed in emergencies and disasters. The meeting of the two bodies, often criticised by campaigners for their approach to developing nations, runs until Sunday.

Friday also sees a memorial service take place in New York for Christopher Hitchens, the outspoken arch-nemesis of such diverse characters as George Galloway, Henry Kissinger and God. Ever the rationalist, The Hitch chose to donate his body to medical science and forego a funeral, so this invitation-only service, organised by Vanity Fair, will provide family, friends and colleagues with a chance to reflect on a life well-lived.

Fans of loud banging sounds will be heartened by Saturday’s ceremonial Birthday gun salutes, marking the actual 86th birthday of her Maj Queen Elizabeth. Salutes take place in Hyde Park at noon and at the Tower of London an hour later, in advance of the Queen’s official birthday on June 17.

The French go to the polls on Sunday for the first round of voting to pick the country’s President for the next five years. If, as is likely, no candidate achieves an absolute majority in Sunday’s vote, a second round will take place on May 6 between the two leading candidates. Although Socialist Francois Hollande enjoys a comfortable lead over incumbent President Sarkozy in the event of a runoff, Marie Le Pen of the National Front and Jean-Luc Melenchon of the Left Front Coalition look set to take a significant chunk of the first round votes.

And finally Bahrain’s Grand Prix looks set to go ahead Sunday, after Formula One governing body the FIA joined Bernie Ecclestone and former Met Commissioner John ‘Bahrain is safer than London’ Yates in expressing confidence in the security measures offered by the government there.



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