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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 01:28 GMT
The world this week
A look at what could be dominating the headlines around the world this week - and some key background on those events.

MONDAY 18 DECEMBER

Brazil's Ronaldinho playing for FC Barcelona this month
Will it be Ronaldinho a third time in a row?

Nuclear contender: North Korea resumes six-party talks on its nuclear plans in Beijing after a year in which it claimed to have tested a nuclear weapon.

Europe and Muslims: The European Union releases a report on Islamophobia in its member countries.

Footballer of the year: Brazil's Ronaldhino, Fabio Cannavaro of Italy and retired French star Zinedine Zidane are contenders for Fifa's world football player of the year award, to be announced in Zurich.

Mr Pentagon: Robert Gates is sworn in as US defence secretary.

TUESDAY 19 DECEMBER

WATCH OUT FOR:
Illegal immigrants who arrived in Spain by sea
Our series on migration worldwide with graphics and reports about refugees and migrants from Iraq, the Philippines and Somalia
Our end-of-the-year quizzes

Ultimatum: Ethiopian forces supporting the Somali government in the town of Baidoa have been given until today to leave by the opposition Islamic Courts militia or face military action. War could break out.

WEDNESDAY 20 DECEMBER

Holocaust denier: An Austrian court hears discredited British historian David Irving's appeal against his jail sentence for denying the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

THURSDAY 21 DECEMBER

Darfur refugees: The top UN official for refugees, Antonio Guterres, visits camps for refugees from Darfur, Sudan, on the territory of Chad.

Polish veto: Poland hopes to have lifted its opposition to talks between the European Union and Russia on a new cooperation pact by today. The dispute centres on a Russian ban on Polish meat imports.

FRIDAY 22 DECEMBER

Putin in Kiev: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Ukraine to meet President Viktor Yushchenko after several years' tension in relations between the ex-USSR's two biggest states.

Fat chance: Spain holds its annual Christmas lottery draw El Gordo (The Fat One) boasts one of the the world's biggest lottery prize funds.

This guide to the week ahead is not intended as an exhaustive list, and the events noted may be cancelled or postponed.




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