ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events 2 – 8 April


A weekly round up of world events from Monday, 2 to Sunday, 8 April from Foresight News

By Nicole Hunt

Following the Friends of Syria (or Friends of the Syrian people, depending on who you ask) meeting in Istanbul on Sunday, UN-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan is set to address the UN Security Council in New York on Monday to update them on the progress of his recent discussions with the Syrian government and the implementation of his six-point plan.

The recent rise in diplomatic sparring between the UK and Argentina can be attributed to the fact that the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands War has been fast approaching. Monday marks 30 years since Argentine naval forces landed on the Falkland Islands, sparking the 74-day conflict over the sovereignty of the archipelago.

South Sudan has invited Sudanese President Omar al Bashir to something of a peace summit on Tuesday, though it looks increasingly unlikely that he will attend (he’s said he won’t, but South Sudan says the invitation still stands). The two countries have been trying to iron out outstanding issues surrounding oil revenues, disputed border regions and citizenship since South Sudan became independent in July 2011, but ongoing armed conflict – with each country blaming the other – has stalled negotiations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Prague to meet with Prime Minister Petr Necas, partially to celebrate 20 since the signing of a treaty of cooperation between the two countries, and partially to discuss the EU debt crisis, following the Czech Republic’s decision to opt out of the new EU fiscal stability treaty alongside the UK. The meeting comes on the same day that the EU releases the third estimate of its fourth quarter GDP figures, and as the German, French and Italian statistics offices release their quarterly eurozone economic outlook.

Angola marks the 10th anniversary of the end of its 27-year civil war on Wednesday. Over 500,000 civilians are believed to have been killed during the conflict, and another 4.3 million people displaced. After several false starts, including the signing of the Lusaka Protocol in October 1994, the conflict was formally ended with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) on April 4, 2002.

Four police officers are sentenced in New Orleans after having been found guilty last August of opening fire on an unarmed family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, resulting in the death of 17-year-old James Brissette. Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso were also found guilty of obstructing the course of justice and the shooting death of 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who had severe mental disabilities. Attention stays stateside and in the courts on Thursday, with two high-profile hearings scheduled to take place.

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is sentenced in New York, having been convicted of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to South American terrorists, conspiring to kill US nationals, conspiring to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, and harbouring or concealing terrorists.

In Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is due to appear for a pre-trial hearing ahead of his 5 June trial to face multiple charges of child abuse.

Christians around the globe observe Good Friday, though the conventional traditions of going to mass and eating fish pale in comparison to the rituals carried out in the Philippines every year, where dozens of people are nailed to crosses and hundreds of others whipped until their backs bleed in ceremonial re-enactments of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

And in the last of this week’s war-related anniversaries, Bosnia marks 20 years since the siege of Sarajevo began. While the beginning of the Bosnian war, which lasted until December 1995, is officially recognised as 1 April, Bosnians generally observe 6 April as the starting point of the conflict. A range of events are planned, from a concert with empty seats for those killed in the siege to a gathering of war reporters at the Holiday Inn that became media headquarters during the war.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi hosts his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Ningbo on Saturday for two days of talks ahead of a trilateral leaders’ meeting later this year. Discussions are expected to focus on regional cooperation, but it’s unlikely that the three ministers will make it through the weekend without the topic of North Korea popping up, especially ahead of a rocket launch planned for next week.

Sudan has set Sunday as the deadline for between 500,000 and 700,000 ethnic South Sudanese living in Sudan to obtain a residency or work permit to remain in the country or risk ‘being treated as foreigners’. Whether this deadline still stands by the end of the week may depend on how Monday’s summit goes – or whether it goes ahead at all.