The World This Week: Latins hold their own summit

IGNORED by leaders at last week's summit of the world's richest nations, Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking nations launch their own summit this week, hoping to carve out a place in the international scheme of things for their own development plans.

Brazil's President Itamar Franco and King Juan Carlos of Spain will open the two-day Ibero-American summit on Thursday in the Brazilian beach paradise of Salvador de Bahia. The 21 leaders will try to hammer out a regional development plan that will win the backing of industrialised countries.

A spokesman, touching upon the neglect of Latin nations shown at last week's Tokyo meeting of the world's industrial powers, said their aim was to 'reinsert themselves on to the international agenda in the developed world . . . We want to point out we are still moving ahead in our political and economic development'.

The presence of Cuba's President, Fidel Castro, should liven things up - Brazil's small Cuban exile community is already protesting.

At last year's summit, Mr Castro was bombarded with insults by Cuban opposition protesters, who are getting more vocal as Cuba's fortunes decline. But Mr Castro's aims - more aid from rich nations for Latin America and more democracy in world lending institutions - will be supported by many.

There are headaches for Spain's newly re-elected Prime Minister, Felipe Gonzalez, who is due to announce his new government by tomorrow, ahead of the ceremonial opening of parliament on Wednesday. Mr Gonzalez's hopes of a broad coalition to tackle the country's economic crisis were dashed when both the Catalan and the Basque parties refused to join him. Mr Gonzalez now faces the prospect of steering a minority government through an obstacle course of piecemeal policy deals.

Haiti's political parties will be seeking common ground when they meet at the UN in New York on Wednesday to discuss how to restore democracy, and to approve the transition process agreed recently by the ousted president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and the military chief, Raul Cedras, who toppled him.

Russia's constitutional assembly convenes today for a full session which President Boris Yeltsin hopes will be the last. He wants the amended draft constitution to be approved, but the parliamentary chairman, Ruslan Khasbulatov, resists the handover of powers to the president.

The appeals court in Paris rules tomorrow on whether it will reconsider last year's jail sentences for four former public health officials convicted in an HIV-tainted blood scandal. They were charged with knowingly distributing HIV-positive blood to haemophiliacs, resulting in more than 1,200 contaminations and 300 deaths. On Wednesday, Bastille Day, campaigners against Aids start handing out condoms on the Riviera, and plan to cover 250 beach bars, discos and campsites.

The International Olympic Committee reports on the venue of the 2000 Games some time this week and is rumoured to put Sydney ahead of its main rival, Manchester. This could cause nail-biting as the committee's president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, visits Manchester today and meets John Major - who has pressed Manchester's case - on Wednesday.

A Rolls-Royce showroom opens in Moscow on Friday, the latest in the company's efforts to offset falling trade at home with a boost in foreign sales. But if it's choice Muscovites want, they'll have to wait. The operation kicks off with just three vehicles.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links