Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
Cathay Pacific announces full-year results
Cathay Pacific Airways announces its full-year profit for 2011. High fuel prices have eroded the industry's profits, with Singapore Airlines recently reporting a 53 per cent fall in net quarterly profit and Air France-KLM unveiled a US$1 billion full-year loss. Last year Cathay reported a record attributable profit of over HK$14 billion for 2010, up from HK$4.7 billion in 2009, prompting chairman Christopher Pratt (left) to declare it had become 'probably the world's most profitable airline'.
Chinese minister discusses Syrian plan in Paris
Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming arrives in France to discuss the crisis in Syria. Zhang met Gulf Co-operation Council head Abdullatif al-Zayani in Riyadh this week for talks in which they 'discussed regional developments and exchanged views' on Syria, the council said. Zhang has been briefed to explain Beijing's position on Syria, which was unveiled on February 4. The six-point peace plan calls for an immediate end to violence and for dialogue between Bashar al-Assad's regime and the opposition.
US envoy briefs officials on food aid to North Korea
US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues Robert King visits Rome to brief World Food Programme officials on last week's talks in Beijing on sending 240,000 tonnes of food aid to the hermit state, the first such assistance Washington has offered Pyongyang in three years. King (left) said most issues affecting delivery of the aid had been resolved. The accord on food aid is the most substantive sign of warming ties since the North pulled out of the six-party talks in 2009 and ramped up its nuclear and missile programmes. It comes within two months of the death of longtime leader Kim Jong-il, who has been succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un.
Congo warlord faces verdict in The Hague
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is expected to deliver its verdict on Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, accused of conscripting, training and arming hundreds of child soldiers. Lubanga, 51, is on trial with 19 others, including Congolese rebel leaders and former Democratic Republic of Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba.
Euro zone stats should point to an uptick
Economists predict key data will show the 17-nation euro zone faces increasing price pressure, but should give welcome signs of improvement in its factories. They say the consumer price index for February probably rose by 2.7 per cent year on year, up from 2.6 per cent in January. Factory production figures for January are expected to show a 0.6 per cent fall year on year, which is an improvement on the 2 per cent fall posted in December.
Wen likely to wax poetic at final media conference
Premier Wen Jiabao, pictured with Vice-President Xi Jinping (right) at the National People's Congress in Beijing, holds his final news conference as premier. Taking place in the Great Hall of the People, it will be the tenth such media conference by Wen, who is known for quoting ancient poetry and idioms on such occasions