The World This Week: Major presses Manchester's Olympic case

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The Independent Online
THE PRIME Minister, John Major, flies to Switzerland today to press the case for Manchester to host the Olympic Games in the year 2000. Mr Major has invested much political capital in Manchester's bid - he even launched the campaign from Number 10 - and will be keen to bend the ear of the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, in Lausanne.

The clear favourite for the games is Sydney, then Peking, followed by Manchester, just ahead of Istanbul. In the manoeuvring surrounding the decision on the Games' site, Latin American and Islamic countries exert considerable weight and old imperial powers may find themselves way down the pecking order. The decision will be taken in September, and strenuous lobbying by Mr Major is regarded as essential if Manchester is to be in with a shout.

Mr Major will also meet the Swiss President, Adolf Ogi, for talks on the Yugoslav crisis and other European matters. At the EC foreign ministers' meeting in Luxembourg today and tomorrow, a ceremony opens talks on admitting Norway, Austria, Finland and Sweden. Ministers will also start work on a free-trade agreement with Russia.

The election campaign in Cambodia opens on Wednesday, and the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, arrives to inspect the process on Wednesday and Thursday. But as polling day in May draws ever nearer, the more likely it seems that the UN-orchestrated scenario of secret ballots and political neutrality will collapse into violence and render the whole exercise meaningless.

The Khmer Rouge, which is boycotting the election, is held responsible for the recent escalation in the numbers of civilians and UN personnel who have been violently killed. Among some 20 registered parties, only two really count: the non-Communist Funcinpec party led by Prince Sihanouk's son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and the party of Hun Sen's government in Phnom Penh.

The US city of St Louis votes for a mayor tomorrow - probably the Democratic candidate, Freeman Bosley Jr. No Republican has occupied the office for 44 years and Mr Bosley should be the city's first black mayor.

The space shuttle Discovery should take off tomorrow on a mission to study the ozone layer. The five-strong crew plans to look for a hole over the Arctic and to see if there has been any recent change in the light of the sun. They may also see discarded space junk from previous missions. This is an issue that the European Space Agency will tackle at its conference on space debris in Darmstadt, Germany, today until Wednesday.

The week begins with Passover and ends with Easter, prompting speculation in the United States that the leader of the Branch Davidian sect, David Koresh, may take the opportunity to come out of the Texan ranch where he has been holed up for more than a month. He says he is waiting for a message from God before he appears, and that he wants to make his move during a religious festival.

Joan Baez is expected in Sarajevo on Saturday to sing for Bosnian refugees. And a conundrum faces the producers of Japan's first performance of the 1960s musical Oh, Calcutta] which opens in Tokyo on Friday: how to reconcile the nude scenes in a show celebrating sexual liberation with Japan's ban on the public display of pubic hair.