ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events 16 – 22 January

 A weekly round up of world events from Monday, 16 to Sunday, 22 January from Foresight News 

By Nicole Hunt

IMF, European Central Bank and EU officials are scheduled to arrive in Athens on Monday to conduct a week-long assessment mission of Greece’s debt-reduction measures. Everyone will be hoping the troika visit goes better this time around than it did in September, when officials left Greece for nearly a month amid rumours of disagreements with their Greek counterparts.

Following controversial elections last year which were marred by allegations of electoral fraud,Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is inaugurated for her second term.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao are among speakers at the opening day of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Wen’s speech is part of a six-day Gulf tour to discuss energy interests, which began in Saudi Arabia and wraps up in Qatar.

On Tuesday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics holds its first economic press conference of 2012, discussing China’s growth in 2011 and releasing the country’s most recent GDP figures.

In Washington, President Barack Obama meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Discussions are expected to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as Jordan has recently played host to a renewed round of discussions.

Embattled Spanish Supreme Court Judge Baltasar Garzon, who was suspended from his Supreme Court post in May 2010 amid allegations that he had overstepped his authority by investigating Franco-era disappearances despite a 1977 amnesty, goes on trial for allegedly ordering illegal wiretaps in the 2009 Gürtel case.

Attention turns once again to the EU debt crisis on Wednesday, as President Nicolas Sarkozy hosts a jobs summit in Paris, where it is rumoured that he will announce the end of the 35-hour work week. In London, Prime Ministers David Cameron and Mario Monti meet for the first time since Monti took over from Silvio Berlusconi last year.

The US Department of Defense has until Wednesday to comply with a request from the UK Government to transfer Yunus Rahmatullah to British custody so that he can be tried or released. Rahmatullah was captured by British forces in Iraq in 2004 and handed over to US forces before being rendered to Bagram Prison in Afghanistan where he has since been held without charge. The Government’s request was made in response to a writ of habeas corpus issued by the Court of Appeal.

The Arab League’s monitoring mission to Syria is expected to conclude its work on Thursday and issue a report into the situation in the country. In response to the report, the Arab League is expected to decide whether a strengthened mission must return to the country, or whether other action needs to be taken against President Bashar al Assad’s regime.

Mexico hosts the first G20 event of its presidency as Deputy Finance Ministers gather in Mexico City for a two-day meeting. The Deputies will lay the groundwork for a Finance Ministers’ meeting at the end of February.

As European banks face a deadline to submit their plans to raise some €115bn in capital on Friday, President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Mario Monti meet to discuss the new EU fiscal stability treaty ahead of an EU summit at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the troika review missions in Greece and Ireland are expected to finish, with the troika likely to issue its assessment of Ireland. The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Bata, Equatorial Guinea on Saturday. The first match sees Equatorial Guinea face off against Libya; the final is held in Libreville, Gabon on 12 February.

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Bata, Equatorial Guinea on Saturday. The first match sees Equatorial Guinea face off against Libya; the final is held in Libreville, Gabon on 12 February.

Republican candidate hopeful Mitt Romney is hoping to follow up success in the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primary with a win in the South Carolina primary. The South Carolina vote is an open primary, which allows Democrats and Independents to participate in the vote. Since 1980, the winner of the South Carolina primary has always gone on to win the Republican nomination.

The week closes with two European elections. Croatia holds a long-awaited referendum on EU accession following the signing of an accession treaty on 9 December. If accession is approved in the vote, Croatia will officially join the European Union on 1 July.

Finland holds the first round of its presidential election, with a potential second round scheduled for 5 February if necessary. Incumbent Tarja Halonen isn’t eligible for a third term, and her Social Democrat Party’s candidate Paavo Lipponen has been dwarfed in recent polls by the National Coalition Party’s Sauli Niinisto.