Gay marriage bill vote in France, Navalny trial in Russia, and US growth data – world week ahead
By Jasper Wenban-Smith, International Editor, Foresight News
Monday April 22
Foreign Ministers from the European Union, including British Foreign Secretary William Hague, meet in Luxembourg on Monday. Among other things, they are expected to agree to lift remaining sanctions against Myanmar (Burma). The meeting is also a chance to discuss Syria and Mali.
In Milan, a hearing is due to take place in former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s trial for allegedly paying for sex with then 17-year-old Karima el Mahroug, better known as ‘Ruby the Heart Stealer’.
Also Monday, IAEA officials who have been visiting Japan to review the ongoing decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are due to hold a press conference in Tokyo. There have been a number of setbacks at the site recently.
In Guantanamo, hearings are due to begin (and last all week) in the case of the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators.
Finally, Monday is the deadline for creditors suing the Argentine government for $1.3bn in outstanding debt to respond to Buenos Aires’ latest, court-ordered, repayment proposal.
Tuesday April 23
On Tuesday, Julius Malema, the firebrand former leader of South Africa’s ANC youth movement, is due back in court on money-laundering charges.
In Brussels, NATO Foreign Ministers are scheduled to meet on Tuesday with Afghanistan and the planned handover next year likely top of the agenda. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be in town, for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.
In France, the National Assembly is scheduled to vote on the country’s same-sex marriage bill, which has provoked major protests.
Finally in Washington DC, President Barack Obama will host the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, for talks at the White House.
Wednesday April 24
On Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to hold a cabinet meeting at which concrete legislative proposals announced in the wake of the Jerome Cahuzac affair are scheduled to be presented.
In Russia, the trial of opposition figure Alexei Navalny on embezzlement charges is scheduled to resume after it was adjourned on 17 April to allow the defence more time to prepare. Critics argue the charges are fabricated.
Wednesday is also the ‘deadline’ for the ESM Board of Governors to sign off on their €9bn share of the €10bn bailout for Cyprus announced by the Eurogroup on March 25.
In Brunei, ASEAN leaders are scheduled to hold the first of two planned summits this year, with tensions in the South China Sea likely high on the agenda.
Finally, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to deliver a public address in Texas. She has made several public appearances recently, leading to frenzied speculation about her potential candidacy in the 2016 presidential election.
Thursday April 25
On Thursday, Spain will release its latest unemployment statistics.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to hold a live Q&A with members of the public. The catch: the questions are pre-selected.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama will be among those attending the dedication of the George W Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will also be in attendance.
North Korea will mark the 81st anniversary of the founding of the country’s army. The day actually recognizes the beginning of Kim Il-sung’s guerrilla activities in 1932, since the Korean People’s Army was not founded until 1948.
Also Thursday, the trial of former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman relating to his selection in 2009 of Ze’ev Ben Aryeh to be Ambassador to Latvia. Lieberman has said he will plead not guilty.
Finally, French President will begin a two-day visit to China where he will meet his counterpart Xi Jinping.
Friday April 26
On Friday, US President Barack Obama is scheduled to host King of Abdullah of Jordan for talks at the White House. Syria is likely to be high on the agenda, with a recent announcement that the US plans to step up its military presence in Jordan in response to the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
Friday will also see the world’s largest economy release its GDP figures for the first quarter of the year. It will be the first GDP data since the automatic budget cuts – or sequestration – went into effect.
Sticking with finance, the Bank of Japan will make its second monetary policy announcement under its radical new Governor Hurihiko Kuroda.
Finally, in Ndjamena, Chad, foreign ministers from the region are due to hold a regularly scheduled meeting. The situation in the Central African Republic is likely to feature significantly.