The World This Week

ONE OF the most extravagant commemorations of Christopher Columbus's arrival in Latin America 500 years ago takes place tomorrow in the Dominican Republic with the inauguration of a giant lighthouse from which 146 spotlights will beam into the sky the shape of a cross that will be visible for 150 miles. The inauguration will include the transfer to the lighthouse of the coffin said to hold Columbus's remains from Santo Domingo's cathedral.

The memorial lighthouse, built to a 1929 design of a British architect, has become an obsession of the blind 86-year-old President Joaquin Balaguer, and is said to have cost the Dominican Republic more than pounds 50m. It has become the focus for a mounting backlash against the Columbus celebrations and many cities were paralysed by strikes and protests last week in which two died.

Many complain that arrival of the great navigator in the Americas did not for them launch an age of discovery but the start of slavery and colonialism and the destruction of indigenous culture. Left- wing protesters plan to disrupt the celebrations. President Balaguer had hoped for a glittering array of international leaders to be present, but controversy surrounding the project caused many to cry off and only President Carlos Menem of Argentina and President Alfredo Cristiani of El Salvador are expected to turn up.

Critics fear that an intolerable strain will be placed upon the Dominican Republic's precarious power system. The capital is already convulsed by daily power- cuts, often for eight hours at a stretch. Inhabitants of the capital's poorer quarters expect to be plunged into darkness when the spotlights are turned on.

The Pope, who was to have attended the grand lighting-up ceremony, will now not arrive in Santo Domingo until Friday and is expected to sidestep government- sponsored Columbus festivities. He says he will celebrate instead 'the evangelisation of the Americas' at the Fourth General Assembly of Latin American Bishops which opens in the city on Friday.

Precarious, indeed chaotic, is the situation in the republic of Georgia where general elections are due to take place on Sunday. The elections were intended to seal a return to normality after the crisis of the first year of independence from Russia, but the serious fighting in Abkhazia has thrown everything into confusion. Eduard Shevardnadze, who is expected to stand for president in the election, says it is the biggest crisis he has ever experienced and he sees no solution to it.

Mr Shevardnadze seems powerless to prevent the heightening tension with Russia, caused by Georgia's threat to seize Russian military hardware on Georgian territory and turn it against Abkhazia.

The Commonwealth of Independent States, meanwhile, whose leaders meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday, will try to tackle the proliferation of conflicts between and within the former Soviet republics, including that between Russia and the Ukraine over the Black Sea fleet. The meeting was postponed from last month because of disagreement over the agenda, and the organisation, despite plans to set up a peace-keeping force, seems unable to exert any control over the region's rows.

Guyana's elections today could lead to the first change of government for nearly 30 years. The veteran leader of the opposition People's Progressive Party, Cheddi Jagan, finally stands a chance of winning against President Desmond Hoyte who leads the People's National Congress which has ruled since 1964. Strenuous international pressure persuaded Mr Hoyte to implement electoral reforms which may cost him his job.

There is little expectation of an upset in today's election in Kuwait in which men over 21 who can trace their roots in the emirate back to 1920 (about one in seven of the population) will vote for 50 MPs. Women cannot vote, parties are not permitted, and the parliament will act more as a watchdog than a legislative body.

The American presidential campaign enters a new stage on Sunday with the first of three debates between the presidential candidates George Bush, Bill Clinton and probably Ross Perot. The 90-minute debate before a live audience in St Louis, and two more next week, could be crucial to the outcome of the presidential race, and is considered to be Mr Bush's last chance.

The trial opens in Miami tomorrow of a white policeman William Lozano who killed a black motorcyclist in 1989. The killing sparked off serious riots in Miami. On Thursday the Nobel Prize for Literature is announced in Stockholm.

Letters and other documents belonging to George Washington and Immanuel Kant go under the hammer at an auction in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Saturday. And in remembrance of another revolutionary figure, celebrations are to be held in Cuba on Friday to mark the 25th anniversary of death of the guerrilla leader Che Guevara in Bolivia.

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice