The Week Ahead: Crimea's war of words over poll

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The Independent Online
UKRAINE holds parliamentary elections on Saturday and the authorities fear a confrontation with Crimea. President Leonid Kravchuk is already feeling sore about Crimea's wish for an autonomy referendum on election day: he cancelled the referendum but the Crimean leader, Yuri Meshkov, says it will go ahead anyway. Mr Meshkov wants dual Crimean-Russian citizenship for Crimeans, most of whom are ethnic Russians.

Mr Kravchuk told Russian nationalists to stop fanning the dispute over Crimea and warned that any vote on Crimea's status would be organised by Kiev, not by the Crimeans. It is likely that the parliamentary poll will need a second round of voting.

The German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, visits Moscow tomorrow and Wednesday to talk about the return of cultural objects, part of a cultural agreement between Russia and Germany. Mr Kinkel will talk to his Russian counterpart, Andrei Kozyrev, on the Balkans, European security and German aid to Russia.

Mr Kinkel visits Paris on Thursday for talks with President Francois Mitterrand and other leaders on bilateral relations and European policy.

The US Vice-President, Al Gore, addresses the World Telecommunications Development Conference, which opens in Buenos Aires today to discuss bringing modern communications to remote parts of the globe. The conference may bring smiles to many in the telephonically challenged Argentine capital, but presumably no irony is intended by the organisers, the UN's International Telecommunications Union.

In addition to lauding the virtues of privatisation, the conference offers the chance for the telecommunications industry to showcase data, voice and video transmissions and computer links. This will be a comfort for frustrated Argentines trying to get a line connected to their home.

Mr Gore returns to the US tomorrow to meet the German Christian Democrat parliamentary leader, Wolfgang Schauble, who is to spend the week in Washington and New York. Mr Schauble will meet the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Jewish representatives.

The trial opens in Los Angeles today in the civil suit against the pop star Michael Jackson. The suit involves a 14-year-old boy who accuses Jackson of sexually molesting him. Tomorrow, in a courtroom nearby, Rodney King's multi-million-dollar civil suit begins against the city of Los Angeles for injuries during his beating by police in 1991. And the abortion protester Shelley Shannon appears in court today in Wichita, Kansas, accused of trying to kill an abortion clinic doctor.

The Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, visits Hong Kong on Wednesday until Saturday to urge business leaders to invest in Zimbabwe. He will therefore miss the concert in Harare on Friday of the County-and-Western duo Don Williams and Dolly Parton.

In case anyone needs reminding, the Academy Awards ceremony takes place in Los Angeles today. Schindler's List - which has received a record 12 nominations - is tipped for an Oscar. Paul Newman will win a prize for Humanitarian Engagement, and Deborah Kerr a life achievement award.

Good news for tigers: an international group for the protection of tigers, Global Tiger Forum, meets in Geneva today and will probably announce US actions against China and Taiwan over clandestine trade in tiger parts.

Bill Clinton is best man at the wedding on Saturday of his half-brother Roger who marries his pregnant girlfriend Molly Martin in Dallas.