The world This Week: US and Russia set for summit

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The Independent Online
THE summit between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin is expected to go ahead as planned on Saturday and Sunday in Vancouver, barring a dramatic and unexpected crisis in the Russian power struggle. The meeting will be Washington's most concrete gesture of solidarity with President Yeltsin. Aid to Russia is the prime concern, and President Clinton will unveil his aid proposals to help Russia's nosediving economy.

On his way to Vancouver, Mr Clinton chairs a conference on Friday in Portland, Oregon, on trees. State governors and leaders of environmental and logging interests will try to reconcile the demands of industry with the preservation of the forests and its wildlife, notably the spotted owl. At neither of these events may we expect any drinking: an alcohol-free weekend is being held throughout the US from Friday to Sunday.

Foreign Ministers of the EC troika (Britain, Denmark and Belgium) led by the Dane, Niels Helveg Petersen, visit several Middle East capitals between tomorrow and Friday for talks with political leaders, including those of the Palestinians, on the next round of peace negotiations. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, on a mission with a similar purpose, arrives in Germany tomorrow, in Britain on Wednesday and flies to the US on Saturday. Mr Mubarak also wants the West to waive some of Egypt's huge debts, and has been introducing market reforms to that end.

The UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, has summoned the recently elected Cypriot President, Glafcos Clerides, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, to New York tomorrow to jump- start stalled talks on the divided island. The two leaders, who both trained in London as barristers, are old pals from days of intercommunal haggling in the 1960s, and Mr Boutros-Ghali hopes their long acquaintance might at least break the ice - if not the impasse.

In Jamaica's general election tomorrow, the ruling People's National Party, led by the Prime Minister, P J Patterson, is expected to be returned despite - or perhaps because of - a distinct softening of its left-wing socialism in the year since the ailing Michael Manley retired as leader. The conservative opposition Jamaica Labour Party, led by Edward Seaga, predicts chaos and violence on polling day after a hectic campaign in which eight people died.

First there was his war, then his book, now his film. Norman Schwarzkopf, the Gulf war allied commander, is bouncing back into the public eye and launching a screen career. On Friday he storms into Vietnam flanked by Dan Rather and a film crew to make a CBS documentary about the Vietnam war. How will he handle a campaign the Americans lost?

Screen stardom will be on everyone's mind at today's Oscar awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Audrey Hepburn will receive a special posthumous award for her film and humanitarian work and the director Federico Fellini is to receive a life achievement award.

After the show, those in the business of turning money into light may cast their eye south of the border at an investment opportunity in Mexico. Thursday is the last chance to place a bid for six Mexican state media companies that are being privatised. They include El Nacional newspaper, television channels 7 and 13, the Cotsa Cinema and theatre chain and the America film studios.

This could be the moment to pick up a slice of the action in the genre that has become an international succes fou: Mexican soap opera. It could even fill the gap left by the pornographic Danish satellite station Red Hot Television, which must cease transmission to Britain on Saturday.