The Week Ahead

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The Independent Online
WE ALL know the outcome of the battle of Waterloo: Napoleon suffered his greatest defeat. But when The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visit the battlefield south of Brussels today they may be bemused to discover that the site has been turned into a virtual shrine to the French emperor and that tourists sometimes leave the museum with the impression that Boney actually won.

The royal pair are making a private visit at the invitation of the Duke of Wellington, who has land in the region granted to the first duke after his victory in 1815. But if the Queen were thinking of buying any souvenirs for her grandchildren from the museum shop, she will find it difficult to come up with any gifts commemorating either the Iron Duke or his Prussian ally, General Blucher, whose late arrival saved the day.

There are any number of Napoleon pictures, busts, imperial eagles, regimental flags and colours, plates, matchboxes, badges and keyrings. But of Wellington? Not one. 'Wellington was forgotten, rubbed out like a disgraced Communist leader,' complained the Brussels-based English weekly The Bulletin.

In what promises to be a more flamboyant royal occasion, Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito marries Masako Owada, an Oxford-educated diplomat, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday. The day, a national holiday, will be followed by three days of banquets and receptions. The government will spend pounds 2m on the wedding and pounds 10m on security.

Oft-postponed presidential elections in Nigeria are due on Saturday to mark the final step in the return to civilian rule. The two main candidates are rich Muslims: Bashir Tofa, for the National Republican Convention, and Moshood Abiola, who owns an airline and a newspaper group, of the Social Democratic Party.

The race is expected to be close, but Mr Tofa may have stolen a march by picking a Christian Ibo as his running mate. Nigeria's military, who have governed for a decade, could still intervene: the High Court rules on Wednesday on a military-inspired proposal that the poll be stopped because of fraud during the primaries.

In Burma, where the military are also reluctant to loosen their grip, delegates assemble today in Rangoon to draw up guidlines for a new constitution. The military rulers say the convention is part of the transition to democracy, but opponents dismiss it as a charade designed to legitimise military rule. Pro-democracy parties won a huge victory in 1990 but the junta refused to let them take office until a new constitution had been agreed.

The repatriation of more than a million Mozambican refugees from throughout Africa begins on Saturday, with the return of 200 from Zimbabwe. The operation will take three years and cost pounds 131m. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is far short of the necessary funds, and the UNHCR is counting on a donors' meeting in Maputo tomorrow and Wednesday to swell the coffers.

The 17th Asian Hairstyling and Makeup Competition takes place in Hong Kong from today until Wednesday. Twenty countries will compete for what the organisers call the largest and most reputable hair and beauty event in Asia. Less reputable but perhaps more eagerly awaited, a judgment is expected today in the custody case between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Farrow accuses Allen of being an unsuitable father.

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