The Week Ahead: Skater awaits Olympic fate

THE American skater Tonya Harding is determined to take part in the winter Olympics which open in Lillehammer, Norway, on Saturday, despite a ruling by the US Figure Skating Association that grounds exist for disciplinary proceedings against her.

Ms Harding has 30 days to reply to the association's allegations that she was involved in an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.

This means that the hearing may not be held until after the Olympics. Her fate therefore lies with the US Olympic Committee, which says it will decide within the next two weeks whether Ms Harding remains in the team alongside Ms Kerrigan.

Ms Harding's supporters are in aggressive mood: 'If she's not able to skate, it will show that big bullies get their way,' says Elaine Stam, president of Ms Harding's fan club.

The plenary session of the European Parliament opens today in Strasbourg and goes on until Friday. MEPs are expected to debate a proposed ban on large motorcycles, equal rights for homosexuals, measures to combat international terrorism, the setting up of a European drug-monitoring centre, sexual harassment at work, a proposed social clause in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and enlargement of the European Union.

The disgraced former Communist leader of Bulgaria, Todor Zhivkov, 82, who has had a seven-year jail term for embezzlement postponed because of his heart problems, goes back to court tomorrow on new charges of inciting racial hatred. Also charged are the former prime minister Georgi Atanasov and the former interior minister Dimitar Stoyanov. The case stems from Zhivkov's policy in the mid-1980s of forcing Bulgaria's million ethnic Turks to adopt Slavic names, and he could be sentenced to eight years in prison.

The Armenian President, Levon Ter Petrosian, visits Britain tomorrow until Friday for talks with John Major and the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, on developing political and economic ties.

While in town Mr Ter Petrosian will discuss the urgent matter of funds with Jacques de Larosiere at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Mr Hurd visits South Africa from Wednesday until Friday for talks with President F W de Klerk and Nelson Mandela.

Mr Mandela makes a return visit to Robben Island on Friday to mark the fourth anniversary of his release after 27 years in prison, most of which were spent on Robben Island.

Japan celebrates Northern Territory Day today and the Prime Minister, Morihio Hosokawa, is expected to call for the return of the disputed Kurile Islands, claimed by Russia. On Thursday he heads for Washington for two days to talk to President Bill Clinton about opening up Japanese markets.

Italy bans the purchase, sale and possession of contraband cigarettes on Thursday, on pain of a hefty fine. Also on Thursday the Berlin Film Festival opens with Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha. Sophia Loren is due to be awarded a Golden Bear in honour of her life's work.

Austria's President, Thomas Klestil, 61, embarks on his much publicised two-day visit to Egypt today, unaccompanied by his mistress and political adviser, Margot Loffler, 39, who is being packed off for a long holiday under pressure from the Foreign Minister, Alois Mock. The President will be back in Vienna by Thursday to attend the glittering high point of the social season, the Opera Ball.

His waltzing partner is expected to be neither Ms Loffler nor his estranged wife, Edith, 60, who last week cleared her securities and jewels from the presidential safe, but his eldest daughter Ursula, 37, an air hostess.

Brazilian congressmen vote tomorrow on a bill that could make or break plans to bring down inflation and secure a vital agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Just the sort of thing most Brazilians will be glad to put behind them once the week-long carnival begins in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific