The week ahead

TODAYThe second largest pearl ever discovered is scheduled to be auctioned in Los Angeles. The pearl, which weighs 5lb and has been named the "Palawan Princess", is expected to fetch £250,000.

Halifax will slash its penalty rate for unauthorised overdrafts from 35 to 5.


World climate change summit to begin in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Swindon will become the first town in Britain to offer free wifi to all its residents.

A Church of England vicar, 60-year-old Alex Crown, will go on trial charged with solemnising 180 sham marriages designed to help non-EU nationals immigrate to the UK.


The new UK Supreme Court will hold hearings of four appeals from the Scottish criminal appeal courts. This will be the first time the Supreme Court reviews decisions of Scottish courts instead of the Privy Council.

Astrobiologists, will reveal what they believe extraterrestrials would look like at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

Rhodri Morgan, the first minister and the Labour party leader in Wales, will step down. Morgan, who is 70, will be replaced by Carwyn Jones in both posts.

A builder and his son, Tony Scaife, 52, and Matthew Scaife, 26, will be sentenced for kidnapping a mother and her two-year-old child at gunpoint after a dispute over a 5,000 bill in Skipton, Yorkshire.


Chancellor Alistair Darling will launch his annual pre-budget report.

The Scottish Affairs Committee in Westminster will continue its investigation into the fate of Scotland's banks with evidence from senior executives at Lloyds TSB.

The British Fashion Awards take place in London.


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The deadline is scheduled to expire for Garry McKinnon, left, the Scottish hacker, to appeal against extradition to the United States. Glasgow-born McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, could be sent to the US within weeks.

The United Nations will mark World Human Rights Day.

Three teenage boys are scheduled to appear at Poole Youth Court to be tried on charges relating to the killing of a newborn deer in a Dorset park.


Businessman Christopher Birk, 31, of Staffordshire, will be sentenced for murdering his wife and trying to cover up his tracks by setting fire to her home.

Oxford University will hold the first conference on understanding atheistic beliefs for 40 years.


Miss World takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Scotland will be represented by Katharine Brown.

Jonathan Ross will host the 20th annual British Comedy Awards in London. Scotland's Frankie Boyle is up for best stand-up.

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