The Week Ahead: Clinton throws big bash for Mandela

THE White House is to throw its biggest party since Bill Clinton took over, on Tuesday, to welcome Nelson Mandela, South Africa's President. About 4,500 people are invited and 200 will attend a state dinner after the bash.

Mr Mandela will be making a hard-nosed bid for foreign investment. He has gone out of his way to emphasise his country's stability and his market-friendly policies to attract desperately needed capital. Washington is expected to stump up more aid.

Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko start a four-day visit to France today that diplomats say could clear up misconceptions. Many French see Japan as an aggressive economic power - the Socialist former prime minister, Edith Cresson, ruffled feathers in Tokyo when she likened the Japanese to busy ants, breaking trade rules and waging economic war. Many Japanese see France in the vanguard of the European Union, which they regard as a protectionist fortress.

Support for the extreme right in Austria is growing ahead of general elections on Sunday. Polls indicate Jorg Haider's Freedom Party, with its xenophobic message, could increase its vote from 16.6 per cent to 20 per cent. Alois Mock, leader of the conservative People's Party, in a ruling coalition with the Socialists, hinted he might ditch his troublesome partner and hitch up with Mr Haider's party. 'It would do democracy in this country no harm if the Socialists went into opposition for a few years,' he said, throwing the Socialist Chancellor, Franz Vrantizky, into a spasm of anxiety and prompting a furious row within Mr Mock's own party. The Socialists have dominated Austria since the Second World War.

There will be a memorial service for Crown Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, head of Germany's former imperial family, the Hohenzollerns, in Berlin cathedral on Saturday. A number of European nobles are expected to pay their last respects to the prince, who died last month.

Some recognition, too, for another crowned head. Romania's exiled King Michael, who has been invited by Romanian opposition leaders to a seminar in Bucharest on Saturday to mark 50 years since he toppled the dictator Ion Antonescu in August 1944 to join the Allies against Hitler.

An inaugural Japan Teddy Bear Festival opens on Sunday in the Fish Dance Mall in Kobe.

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