Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
North Koreans mark 'Day of the Shining Star'
Officials in North Korea have been preparing to mark tomorrow's 70th birthday of former ruler Kim Jong-il, who died on December 17. With Kim's son Kim Jong-un now at the helm, the country's propaganda machine has gone to great lengths to build up the man who led the nation for 17 years after taking over from his father, Kim Il-sung. A monumental bronze statue of Kim Jong-il was unveiled in Pyongyang this week as part of events marking his forthcoming birthday, which has been newly dubbed 'Day of the Shining Star'. The sculpture (left) depicts Kim and his father on horseback.
Deadline day for applications to host 2020 Olympics
Today is the deadline for the cities nominated by their national Olympic committees to host the 2020 Olympics - Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo - to lodge applications and letters of guarantee with the International Olympic Committee. In May, it will name those given candidate status. Rome quit the race yesterday on the Italian government's orders.
Verdicts due in football bribery cases
From tomorrow, courts in the Liaoning cities of Dandong and Tieling will deliver verdicts in a string of soccer corruption cases that involve several senior football officials and veteran referees. One suspect is former Chinese Football Association vice-chairman Yang Yimin , who is accused of accepting more than 1.2 million yuan (HK$1.47 million) in bribes, including two 100,000-yuan bribes from the Shandong Luneng club in 2004. Yang (left) wept in court when charges were put to him in December.
Congress probes Obama's 'dangerous precedent'
The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on US President Barack Obama's controversial recess appointments to posts at the new consumer agency and the National Labour Relations Board. Committee chairman Lamar Smith, a Republican, was reported as saying Obama's move had set a 'dangerous precedent' that threatened the Senate's powers of oversight 'and the separation of powers that is fundamental to our constitution'.
BNP Paribas results unlikely to impress investors
French bank BNP Paribas reports its full-year results, the latest European bank to unveil earnings not expected to impress investors. UBS, Switzerland's biggest bank, and Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest, both reported slumps of more than 75 per cent in fourth-quarter profits. Attention is focusing more closely on French banks because they are perceived as having greater exposure to Greece. Societe Generale reports tomorrow.
Greece to miss deadline on debt rescue
Euro-zone finance ministers will discuss Greece on a conference call after scrapping a meeting planned for today because they lacked political assurances from Greek leaders that they will stick to the tough terms of the country's latest multibillion-euro rescue package. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos (left) is struggling to specify how Euro325 million (HK$3.33 billion) of the Euro3.3 billion demanded in savings will be achieved.