ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events 24 – 30 October

October 20, 2011

A weekly round up of world events from Monday,  24 to Sunday, 30 October from ForesightNews  

By Nicole Hunt

This week begins and ends with big trials, with German businessman Gerhard Gribkowsky’s high-profile corruption trial kicking things off in Munich on Monday. The former BayernLB risk manager is accused of accepting a £28m bribe during the 2006 sale of the bank’s shares in Formula One holding company SLEC. The shares were sold to CVC Capital Partners; Bernie Ecclestone, who runs F1 on behalf of CVC, is expected to testify on Gribkowsky’s behalf during the trial.

In other big testimony news, British lawyer David Mills is scheduled to testify at Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s bribery trial in Milan, where Berlusconi is accused of paying Mills £350,000 in exchange for favourable testimony in court cases in 1997 and 1998.

On Tuesday, a Paris court is expected to rule on whether former News of the World reporter Neville Thurlbeck and his employers, News Group Newspapers, breached French privacy and defamation laws by publishing his 2008 article about former FIA president Max Mosley’s sex life.

Moving away from the courts for the mid-week, the annual EU-China Summit takes place in Tianjin, with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton leading the EU delegation and human rights and trade expected to dominate the agenda.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) releases its State of the World Population 2011 report on Wednesday, five days before the world’s population is set to hit seven billion.

Wednesday is also the first of two interesting days at the European Parliament, as MEPs vote on the EU’s 2012 draft budget in Strasbourg. The budget controversially includes a 4.9 per cent spending increase while the euro zone debt problems increase and member states are paring back domestic spending.

On Thursday, the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents unveils the winner of this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which last year went to Cuban dissident Guillermo Harinas Hernandez, who was unable to collect his prize in December because he was not allowed to leave Cuba. This year’s nominees include five Arab Spring activists (nominated jointly), including: Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi, whose self-immolation on 17 December 2010 was the catalyst for the region’s pro-democracy protests; Egyptian youth activist Asmaa Mahfouz; Libya’s longest-serving prisoner of conscience, 77-year-old Ahmed al Zubair Ahmed al Sanusi ; Syrian activist Razan Zeitouneh; and Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat.

Irish voters go to the polls to elect their President for a seven-year term, as well as to have their say in two referendums on constitutional amendments, one of which would allow a reduction in judicial salaries while the country tries to cut costs. A by-election also takes place in Dublin West, following the death of former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan on 10 June.

The three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting begins in Perth, Australia on Friday. The Queen, who is wrapping up an 11 day visit to the country, official opens proceedings.

Italy holds the last of three bond auctions this week, hoping this month’s offering of three and 10 year bonds will garner more interest than previous auctions, which have received a lukewarm response as the country’s debt rating has been downgraded.

In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad celebrates his 55th birthday.

Israel’s social justice movement, which held sporadic protests in the summer and set up a tent city on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, has called for mass demonstrations on Saturday to protest rising living costs in the country.

Kyrgyzstan’s long-awaited presidential election takes place on Sunday. Following widespread rioting in April 2010, President Kyrmanbek Bakiyev’s leadership collapsed, and Rosa Otunbayeva’s interim government took over. Elections were initially scheduled for October 2010, but were later put off for a year as Otunbayeva officially took over as President; she is not permitted to run in this election.

Local elections also take place in Colombia, where the mayoral race in the capital of Bogota where former Mayor and Green Party candidate Enrique Peñalosa leads polls. Unsuccessful Presidential candidate Antanas Mockus, who abandoned his own mayoral bid, has thrown his support behind Independent candidate Gina Parody, but it remains to be seen whether his backing will be enough to put her ahead of Peñalosa.

Bahrain’s Royal Commission of Inquiry into political unrest earlier this year is due to issue its findings. The Commission includes Egyptian UN war crimes expert Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, Canadian ICC judge Philippe Kirsch, British human rights lawyer Nigel Rodley, Iranian lawyer Mahnoush Arsanjani and Kuwaiti law expert Badira al Awadi.

Finally, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could return to court in Cairo, depending on the outcome of a 22 October Appeals Court hearing. If the court rules against a motion requesting that Mubarak’s trial venue and judge be changed, his murder trial is scheduled to resume on Sunday. However, if the court approves the motion, the trial is likely to be delayed while a new venue and judge are arranged.