Bucharest boys muscle in on Dutch trade: In Amsterdam alleys Annika Savill met some of the growing numbers of young Romanians 'rented' by Western men

THE TRADE in human flesh from East Europe has begun in earnest in Amsterdam. It is conducted not through ringleaders and brothelkeepers, but over the bar counters of a dark and cobbled alley called Paardenstraat at an average of pounds 50 a trick. A slow but steady post-Cold War influx has enabled the rentboys from Romania to take over what was once a placid backwater of Dutch sexual laissez-faire. Never before exposed to gay sex, the Romanian boys, aged between 17 and 22, are in it only for money. Europe's belt of sleaze, stretching through the traditional centres of Amsterdam and Berlin, has carved out new notches in Prague, Warsaw and Bucharest.

A letter to my fellow countrymen: In August 1961 the Cold War escalated with the building of the Berlin Wall, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons seemed certain

This is a letter of hate. It is for you, my countrymen. I mean those men of my country who have defiled it. The men with manic fingers leading the sightless, feeble, betrayed body of my country to its death. You are its murderers, and there's little left in my own brain but the thoughts of murder for you.

Competition: Twice Told Tales

The exhibition in Manchester by photographer Greg Leach, who was artist in residence at Strangeways Prison, ended this week. For those who missed his study of inmate life, there is still the chance to sample his book, entitled Twice Told Tales, about the way advertising dominates cityscapes. Ten signed copies of the book can be won by answering the following question: which was the first company to be advertised on the Berlin Wall? Answers to Leach Comp, Listings, The Independent, 40 City Road, London, EC88 1HY. Winners of Pol Comp: M Maceluch, Coventry; C Ellis, Cirencester; C Heaton, Lancs; L Harris, Dyfed; P Jones, Gwent; P Lamble, Devon; P Cronin, Lincoln; D Sargent, London; J Dinning, Essex; R Isaac, Grimsby. Answer: Christopher Biggins.

Peasant protests join Chiapas battle-cry: For the first time in its six decades of unbroken power, Mexico's ruling party may be threatened by the growing demands of the country's dispossessed, writes Phil Davison in Mexico City

RICARDO MARTINEZ, a 22-year- old Nahuatl Indian from the eastern state of Veracruz, huddled beneath a black plastic roof in a makeshift encampment in Mexico City's Plaza de la Solidaridad. Behind him was a portrait of the dour revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata, and nearby a placard denouncing the 'anti-agrarian policies of Salinas' (President Carlos Salinas de Gortari).

'Kristallnacht' synagogue builds a glittering future

A milestone in the reconstruction of the spectacular New Synagogue in Berlin has been passed with the unveiling of a lecture hall. The synagogue was wrecked by the Nazis on Kristallnacht in 1938 and destroyed by Allied bombers. Since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Jewish community in the city has grown from 6,000 to 10,000, due to immigration from the former Soviet Union.

Joy and anger on Berlin's historic night: Adrian Bridge explains why there were no official celebrations to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of the Wall

LIKE ALL Berliners who were here at the time, Gunter Kessler will never forget it. He heard the news at 10pm. He then called his girlfriend. An hour later they were both at Checkpoint Charlie, part of an incredulous crowd that had come to see if it was really true: the Berlin Wall was open.

Petition wall

A passer-by writing a message to the Government on a giant wall petition outside the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall yesterday. The 'wall', erected by the World Development Movement on the fourth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, calls for cuts in defence spending to help defeat poverty at home and abroad.

Bosnia: Mayor rules out 'Berlin Wall' for Sarajevo: Hopes grow for rebuilding of Bosnian capital

THE MAYOR of Sarajevo said yesterday that his people would never accept the partition of their city, no matter how humiliating their condition after 17 months under Serbian siege.

21 MPs who hold Major's fate in their hands - Page 6

'I know that in the Ayes Lobby there will be the Goliaths and that in the Noes Lobby there will be a handful of street politicians. The instinctive prejudices and wisdom of street politicians hold the key to Europe's future, not those of the good and the great.'

Bottom Line: Oriflame's attractions

ORIFLAME International, the cosmetics company that relies on door- to-door salespeople, impressed the stock market yesterday with a 34 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 11.9m for the year to 31 December.

Gardening: Cuttings: Chelsea Flower Show

THIS year's show - the 80th - begins next Tuesday and runs till Friday. Among the highlights will be the largest collection of maritime plants in a seascape garden ever seen at Chelsea and a remarkable range of modern pelargoniums initially raised behind the Berlin Wall. Tickets available only on Thursday: credit-card hotline, 071-379 4443. No tickets available on the gate.

Letter: The diversity of 'Eastern Europe'

Sir: We have a high esteem for the standards of the British media, and appreciate its best efforts to convey an objective and balanced view of the former Communist countries. However, there is an extensive and unfortunately indiscriminate use of the term 'Eastern Europe'.

A box in the corner makes the world a better place

THERE surfaced in Scotland last week the peculiar case of David and Alison Guest, who do not possess a television. The authorities insisted a blue light had been seen flickering in an upstairs window, and harassed the Guests for 17 years for their failure to pay a licence fee for a television they insisted did not exist. Eventually the Guests proved they did not have a TV. They do not want one. They lead a high Victorian life: their sons play musical instruments, they say, and the family talks a lot.

Honecker query

BERLIN (AFP) - Less than two weeks after releasing Erich Honecker from prison and letting him fly to Chile, a German court said it might ask the former East German leader to testify in the trial of others who built the Berlin Wall.

Honecker 'has ticket to Chile'

Berlin (AFP) - Diehard Communist supporters of the former East German leader Erich Honecker, who is ill with cancer, said they were buying his air ticket to Chile, in the expectation that he will be released from trial next week.
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