Nato troops take on the East

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The Independent Online
ERSTWHILE foes from Western and Eastern Europe meet up today, armed to the teeth. But the only gunfire will be at a shooting contest. Nato troops join their former Communist enemies in a military training exercise in

Poland, their first such deployment east of the Berlin Wall.

The five-day exercise is the first joint operation of Western and Eastern armies under Nato's Partnership for Peace initiative, launched in January. Around 900 soldiers from 13 countries will train for peace-keeping actions during the manoeuvres at the Biedrusko military area near Poznan in western Poland.

Poland, one of several former Warsaw Pact countries eager to join Nato as soon as possible, sees the event as an important step on the path towards membership.

Quebec goes to the polls for provincial elecions today, which the separatist Parti Quebecois looks set to win. However, it seems unlikely the party's hardline separatist leader, Jacques Parizeau, will be able to take the province out of the Canadian federation and turn it into an independent country. French- speaking Quebeckers who back the party are not so keen on its sovereignty proposals. Nevertheless, economic and political fall-out is expected to follow the vote.

The treason trial of the presidential claimant, Chief Moshood Abiola, resumes today in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Strikes and riots have so far failed to force the country's military ruler, General Sani Abacha, to set him free. The Nigerian Medical Association said in a statement last week that Chief Abiola was suffering from moderate hypertension and a nerve condition, and was in no condition to stand trial for weeks.

The US capital could see the resurrection of a former jailbird, cocaine addict, alcoholic and mayor tomorrow. Washington's ex-mayor, Marion Barry, is the favourite in the Democratic primary for mayor, a job he held for 12 years until caught smoking crack cocaine in 1990.

Swedes are likely to vote in a new government on Sunday. Although support for the opposition Social Democratic Party has been falling recently, it is still set to take over from the centre-right ruling coalition led by the Prime Minister, Carl Bildt. Political commentators say the SDP leader, Ingvar Carlsson, is likely to seek to form a coalition with the centrist Liberal or Centre parties.

The Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, starts an Asian tour in Bangkok today. His trip also takes in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan.

The cover price of the New York Times is scheduled to increase today from 50 cents (32p) to 60 cents (38p), a trend very different from the price war raging among British broadsheets.

The Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, and the PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat, hope to strike the right note tomorrow. They will attend a concert in Oslo to celebrate the first anniversary of their historic peace accord. The two men, along with Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, are regarded as strong candidates for the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. Winners of the award will be announced in Oslo next month.

The Prince of Wales, with Belgian and Dutch leaders, is scheduled to visit Arnhem, in Holland, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Second World War battle there.

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