The Week Ahead: Gatt set for its last lap

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IT IS the last lap for Gatt and Sir Leon Brittan, the EU's chief trade negotiator, and the US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor meet today in Brussels to try to clear the remaining obstacles to a world trade deal before next week's deadline. The Americans are going some way to meet French objections to the Blair House accord on cuts in subsidised farm exports, and if there is agreement on agriculture, the rest may fall into place.

Negotiators will be struggling in Geneva all week to try to fold all Gatt's mind-boggling complexities into one package to boost the world economy.

At the EU summit in Brussels on Friday and Saturday, leaders of the Twelve tweak their final positions to complete the deal. France is to announce whether the accords on farm subsidies are to its liking. But their deliberations may be immobilised by Belgium's 24- hour general strike on Friday.

German judges rule today on two cases that have shaken the country since unification. Two skinheads in Molln were charged with murder and arson after killing three Turks with petrol bombs, and the East German spymaster Markus Wolf faces up to seven years in jail for running an espionage machine against Bonn during the Cold War.

South Africa's multi-party transitional executive council takes over on Wednesday, while President F W de Klerk holds meetings in London with the Queen, John Major and the Labour leader, John Smith. Mr de Klerk makes his way to Oslo on Friday where he and the African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela jointly receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The other Nobel prizes will be awarded in Stockholm on Friday.

Chile holds legislative and presidential elections on Saturday. Among the seven main candidates, Eduardo Frei and Arturo Alessandri, scions of strong political dynasties, represent right-wing parties while the left-wing candidate is the liberation theologian Eugenio Pizarro. The principality of Andorra holds its first democratic elections on Sunday.

As if Michael Jackson had not enough troubles, tomorrow is the hearing of a lawsuit by three songwriters who claim that parts of three Jackson songs were taken from songs written by them. Wednesday would have been the 50th birthday of the Doors singer Jim Morrison and 6,000 people are to attend a poetry reading and the screening of two unseen Morrison films at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.