The Week Ahead: Duped Transylvanians are in the mood to draw blood

Click to follow
The Independent Online
AS MMM, the shady Russian investment scam, crashes in ruins, Romania's victims of the mother of all pyramid schemes, Caritas - which fizzled out earlier this year - are fighting back. People who lost their life savings and became crippled by debt are holding a protest meeting in the Transylvanian city of Cluj - where the scheme was based - on Wednesday.

Ana Potcoava, leader of the pressure group of Caritas victims, says they want the government to take responsibility for the debacle. 'We will not end the protest unless the government and the presidency take measures,' she said, and called on President Ion Iliescu to come to Cluj to sort out the group's grievances personally.

'The place for the judgement is here (in Cluj),' she says 'because the whole fortune of a nation was carted off from here in hundreds of sacks to parliament and the government.' Caritas attracted millions of depositors and some dollars 1bn ( pounds 650m) by offering eightfold returns after three months.

On a goodwill mission, the Armenian President Levon Ter Petrosian heads for the United States for a meeting with President Bill Clinton tomorrow. He will be flying away from opposition pressure at home in order to discuss with Mr Clinton Armenia's plans to restart its only nuclear power station, which was closed in 1989 after an earthquake.

Mr Ter Petrosian will argue that his energy-starved country needs the station to keeps its industry going and will insist that the plant - which was built in the Soviet era and is being revamped with Russian help - can be operated safely. Many in the West, however, are none too convinced.

On Friday, India's Supreme Court hears the bail appeal of the screen idol Sanjay Dutt who was arrested in July and charged with possessing an assault rifle and a 9mm pistol in connection with serial bombings in Bombay last year that killed 260. The arrest was a shocking blow to India's hugely popular film industry, whose links with organised crime have been laid bare. 'Sanjay is a scapegoat for the bigger people who have escaped,' confided one fan.

Courting controversy, white Zimbabweans plan to stage a reconstruction of the 'Pioneer Column', the trek north from South Africa to colonise what became Rhodesia. The plan has been sharply criticised by Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, who fears it will stir up racial tension.

A survey of housework done by men in the various countries of Europe published tomorrow claims that more men do housework as more women get jobs, but Mediterranean types are slower to do so. Sweden ('extremely active') leads the way while Germany, Belgium and Britain are 'active'. Italy and Spain have 'very low activity'. Few surprises then.

Comments