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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 April 2007, 23:46 GMT 00:46 UK
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.


Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is talking to the BBC at his Tribeca film festival in New York

Missile offence: Russia sends its foreign minister to a summit of EU counterparts in Luxembourg as Moscow seethes over US plans to set up a missile defence system close to its borders. Insisting Russia is not the target, Washington sends its defence secretary to Moscow.


Murder victim Lucie Blackman
The trial of Lucie Blackman's suspected killer is due to end

Death in Japan: A Japanese court issues its verdict in the trial of a businessman accused of abducting, raping and murdering British citizen Lucie Blackman, while she was working as a bar hostess in Tokyo in 2000. The verdict comes after a tortuous investigation.

Indonesian mining verdict: Accused of dumping toxic waste in northern Sulawesi, the local arm of US mining giant Newmont and its executive Richard Ness hear the court ruling in the case.

Hot seat: Secular Turkey's ruling party is expected to announce its candidate for president, who is chosen by parliament. While the post carries little real power, secularists fear that the candidate from the party, which has religious roots, will have an Islamist agenda.


Vladimir Putin meets overall champion in the Mixed Fighting champion Fyodor Yemelnyanenko at a fight in St Petersburg
Vladimir Putin's strongman image won him two presidential elections

Putin's last word? The Russian president delivers his final annual state-of-the-nation speech of his second term as president. Hugely popular at home, under the constitution he cannot stand for re-election next year, and speculation is high as to his successor.


Dam project: The World Bank is expected to rule on whether it will back a controversial new Lake Victoria dam, at Bujagali in Uganda. Environmentalists say water levels in the lake are dropping and that the project would make the situation worse.

Kosovo fact-finders: A UN Security Council team arrives in the UN-run breakaway Serbian region to assess the situation on the ground ahead of a vote on its future status.

Guernica remembered: It is 70 years since the small Spanish town was blitzed by German and Italian bombers, fighting on the side of Franco in the Civil War. Picasso's painting of the same name ensured the attack would never be forgotten.

Democrats debate: South Carolina hosts the first debate between contenders for the US Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson are all due to appear.


Mujahideen march-past: Veteran Afghan fighters from the 1979-1989 guerrilla war against the USSR and its local communist allies celebrate Victory Day with a parade through Kabul, attended by President Hamid Karzai.

Facing off: Official campaigning begins for the run-off round of the French presidential election on 6 May.


Australia's Matthew Hayden in action against New Zealand
Will Australia make it three titles in a row?

Darfur solutions: Libya hosts an international conference on the war-torn Sudanese region's future. The US last week urged Muammar Gaddafi's government to try to persuade Sudan to agree to a "robust" UN peacekeeping mission for Darfur.

Over and out: Barbados hosts the Cricket World Cup final at the end of a six-week tournament overshadowed by the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer.

IDF post-mortem: Israel awaits publication of a government-commissioned report into the conduct of last summer's inconclusive war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.


Mali votes: Amadou Toumani Toure stands for re-election as president against seven rivals. He remains a hero among Mali's 11.7 million people for his leading role in ending the 23-year-old military regime of Gen Moussa Traore in March 1991, and overseeing a peaceful transition to democracy.

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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