The Week Ahead: Keating off to build bridges in Indo-China

AUSTRALIA'S Prime Minister, Paul Keating, tours Indo-China this week. He arrives in Laos tomorrow and Bangkok on Wednesday, and on Friday he attends the opening of the Friendship Bridge, which was built with Australian aid money to link Thailand and Laos across the Mekong river.

The King and Queen of Thailand are to open the bridge on Friday, then cross to Laos on what is thought to be King Bhumibol Adulyadej's first foreign visit in 27 years. The bridge will give Thailand a land route to Vietnam and China and offer landlocked Laos access to the sea.

On Sunday Mr Keating visits Vietnam, the first Australian leader to do so since 1968, when Australia was fighting alongside US troops against the North. His talks with the Prime Minster, Vo Van Kiet, will be on trade and human rights.

Also heading east, the Dutch Prime Minister, Ruud Lubbers, visits Indonesia today until Thursday. And the US Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, visits India on Wednesday and Pakistan on Friday. Both missions aim to reduce tension: between the Dutch and the Indonesians over a massacre in 1991 in East Timor, and between Washington and New Delhi over US plans to deliver 38 F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

The Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, visits Brazil from Wednesday until Friday and is expected to sign an extradition treaty - the previous one having lapsed earlier this century. The new treaty could be enforced retrospectively, thus firing hopes in Scotland Yard that handcuffs may finally close on the wrists of the Great Train Robber Ronald Biggs. Biggs fled to Brazil in 1970 after escaping from the prison where he was serving 30 years. On Friday Mr Hurd is to make his first trip to the Falklands.

Argentines vote on Sunday for a constituent assembly whose main purpose is to amend the constitutional requirement that the president can stand for only one term. The new constitution will allow a second term, enabling President Carlos Menem to fulfil his ambition to remain in power after his term ends next year.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the Vatican on Thursday in memory of victims of the Holocaust.

Kansas City decides today whether to legalise riverboat gambling following a court ruling overturning a law that approved it.

From Friday US soldiers will have to step outside for a cigarette: smoking will be banned in all military workplaces. Does that include trenches, one wonders?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss