The Week Ahead: Venturing into dark vales, bearing crosses

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The Independent Online
THE POPE is determined to visit Sarajevo as planned on Thursday but the Bosnian Serbs cannot promise to stop shelling and sniping. The Pope plans to have talks with the Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic, travel through the shell-blasted streets of the city in a special armoured vehicle, and celebrate Mass for thousands at Sarajevo's outdoor Olympic skating stadium.

The stadium and the altar will be in full view of Serb soldiers on the Trbevic mountain that overlooks the city to the south.

United Nations troops are trying to get security guarantees from all sides for the visit. But the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic warns that his forces will not guarantee the the Pope's safety, or that of anyone else. Bosnian Serbs say they fear they will be blamed if Muslims fire on the Pope, his plane, or the crowds expected to turn out to meet him. 'They are not happy with his visit and obviously co-operation is not going well,' a UN spokesman said.

The Pope is due to visit Zagreb and other parts of Croatia on Saturday and Sunday to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the Archdiocese.

Making another pilgrimage, the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, will visit China for 11 days from Sunday, following an invitation by the Chinese Protestant church. It will be the first visit to China for the Archbishop, who will also visit Hong Kong.

China has about 5 million Protestants grouped under the official Chinese church and at least as many in sects not recognised by Peking, according to human rights groups who regularly condemn the persecution of Christians throughout the country.

The International Atomic Energy Agency begins a four-day conference in Vienna today to debate the future of nuclear power as a source of energy. The meeting comes in the midst of public anxiety about nuclear energy, prompted by reports of plutonium smuggling and fears of the lingering effects of the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. Advocates are keen to rehabilitate the reputation of nuclear energy as safe, reliable and clean.

Tomorrow is the deadline fixed by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency for exchanging damaged or defaced riyal banknotes, after which stiff penalties will be meted out to anyone found in possession of defaced banknotes.

The 46th annual Emmy awards for prime-time television are to be awarded in New York on Sunday. Organisers insist that the occasion will be lighter and frothier than last year's stately affair, which was dampened by complaints about unremitting television violence. 'This year, we're trying to have more fun with it,' says producer Don Mischer. It will be hosted by two female comedy stars, top nominees include NYPD Blue, and Bette Midler will perform a number from Gypsy.

An international 'Olympic' chariot race is to be held at the Greek Acropolis of Selinunte in Sicily. A number of star athletes including Sebastian Coe and Katherin Witt are due to attend the event, which will be televised across Europe. But experts say the race could ruin the archeological site and that Selinunte was the only city not to take part in the ancient games.