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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Recruitment Genius: Multi Skilled Engineer - Electrical / Mechanical / Maintenance

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A multi-skilled engineer with a...

Recruitment Genius: Electronic Service Engineer - Television & HI-FI

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Engineers for field & bench ser...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer - Award Winning Agency

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada