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Voice of America, 96-11-21

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] EDITORIAL: A NEW PRESIDENT FOR ROMANIA
  • [03] BOSNIA / TRAINING (S-O) BY JOHN PITMAN (WASHINGOTN)
  • [04] E-U / FEAR (L ONLY) BY JOHN FRASER (BRUSSELS)
  • [05] EURO STOCKS (S-ONLY) BY PAUL FRANCUCH (LONDON)
  • [06] ROMANIA ECONOMY BY BARRY WOOD (PRAGUE)

  • [01] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/21/96
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-09892
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    EDITOR=PHIL HAYNES
    CONTENT=
    // EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS PERISHABLE MATERIAL AND BECOMES DATED AFTER 10 P-M E-S-T ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21ST //

    INTRO: A WIDE RANGE OF EDITORIAL TOPICS, BOTH INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC, ARE DISCUSSED IN THE MAJOR U-S DAILY NEWSPAPERS THIS THURSDAY. READERS GET A VARIETY OF VIEWS ON THE FIGHT OVER LEADERSHIP AT THE UNITED NATIONS; THE RECENT ROMANIAN ELECTIONS, AND THE POLITICAL STORM IN BELARUS. OTHER TOPICS INCLUDE: [OPT] SAFETY AT SMALL U-S AIRPORTS IN THE WAKE OF TUESDAY'S CRASH IN ILLINOIS; [END OPT] THE POPE'S VISIT TO CUBA, AND OMINOUS SIGNS FOR HONG KONG'S FUTURE. NOW, HERE IS _________________WITH A CLOSER LOOK IN TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.

    TEXT: UNITED STATES OPPOSITION TO A SECOND TERM FOR UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI IS A POPULAR TOPIC NOW THAT THE ISSUE IS BEING ACTIVELY DEBATED BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL. IN A VOTE EARLIER THIS WEEK, THE TALLY WAS 14 TO ONE TO GIVE HIM A SECOND TERM. THE ONE "NO" VOTE, OR VETO, CAME FROM THE UNITED STATES. MOST PAPERS AGREE WASHINGTON'S HANDLING OF THE AFFAIR WAS POORLY DONE. THE WASHINGTON POST SEES THE BEGINNINGS OF A COMPROMISE DEVELOPING.

    VOICE: "THE RESULTING MESS WON'T BE EASY TO CLEAN UP, BUT THE OUTLINES OF A RESOLUTION ARE CLEAR ENOUGH... MR. BOUTROS-GHALI WILL IN A NOT-SO-LONG TIME HAVE TO GO. AS WE GUESS, THAT WON'T BE RIGHT AWAY BUT, SAY, IN A YEAR OR SO. THEN, SINCE NOTHING MR. BOUTROS-GHALI HAS DONE APPROACHES THE DAMAGE THE UNITED STATES HAS DONE BY DRAGGING OUT ITS PAYMENTS, WASHINGTON WILL HAVE TO GET AROUND AT LAST TO MEETING ITS FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS PROMPTLY, AT LEAST WITHIN THE YEAR. "

    TEXT: IN NEW ENGLAND, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR NOTES:

    VOICE: "THE SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS HAD BOTH CRITICS AND ADMIRERS ON THE MERITS OF HIS PERFORMANCE. AND IDEALLY MERITS, RATHER THAN POLITICS, WOULD BE THE BASIS NOT ONLY FOR REELECTING BUT FOR NOMINATING A SECRETARY-GENERAL IN THE FIRST PLACE... SURELY A SEARCH COMMITTEE IS NO LESS NECESSARY FOR A WORLD ORGANIZATION THAN FOR A COLLEGE, MUSEUM, OR NOBEL PRIZE."

    TEXT: IN NEW YORK, THE POST IS NOT HAPPY WITH THE WAY THE WHITE HOUSE HAS HANDLED THE WHOLE U-N MATTER, AND SUGGESTS ONE MOTIVE WAS ROOTED IN PRESIDENT CLINTON'S RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

    VOICE: "... IT'S HARD NOT TO QUESTION THE MOTIVES OF WASHINGTON'S FAILED HALF-YEAR EFFORT TO SECURE INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR [MR. BOUTROS-GHALI'S] REMOVAL: IT SEEMS TO US THAT AN INTEREST IN OUTMANEUVERING BOB DOLE AND THE G-O-P ANIMATED THE ENTIRE EXERCISE. ... THIS HAS BEEN A SORRY SHOW."

    TEXT: THE WASHINGTON POST IS CALLING THE RECENT ELECTION IN ROMANIA THAT THREW OUT THE RECONSTRUCTED, OR RENAMED, COMMUNIST LEADERSHIP A "MIRACLE."

    VOICE: "... THE PHENOMENON OF RULERS PEACEFULLY STEPPING ASIDE, IN RESPONSE NOT TO FORCE BUT TO MAJORITY VOTE, REMAINS AN AMAZEMENT, PARTICULARLY IN NATIONS WITH NO SUCH TRADITION. THE LATEST IS ROMANIA... NOW AN ANTI-COMMUNIST REFORMER, THE FORMER GEOLOGY PROCESSOR EMIL CONSTANTINESCU HAS HANDILY DEFEATED THE INCUMBENT ... COMMUNIST ION ILIESCU... ROMANIA'S FORMER WARSAW PACT ALLIES HUNGARY, POLAND, SLOVAKIA AND THE CZECH REPUBLIC HAVE ALREADY SHOWN HOW ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SELF-RULE CAN REINFORCE EACH OTHER... DEMOCRACY, IN OTHER WORDS, CAN BE CONTAGIOUS. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT COMES EASILY OR AUTOMATICALLY."

    TEXT: ELSEWHERE IN EASTERN EUROPE, THE NEWS IS NOT ALL GOOD, AS TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL NOTES IN THIS EDITORIAL WARNING FOR WESTERN LEADERS.

    VOICE: "LOOKS LIKE IT'S TIME FOR THE WEST'S SERIOUS PEOPLE TO PUT BELARUS ON THEIR 'TO DO' LIST. THE FACT THAT THIS COUNTRY ... HAS BEEN SINKING INTO A PRIMORDIAL STALINIST OOZE HASN'T SEEMED TO PARTICULARLY CONCERN STRATEGIC THINKERS IN THE WEST. MAYBE IT SHOULD... IT STILL HAS 18 ... NUCLEAR I-C-B-MS. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BEEN FORCED TO TAKE NOTE OF THIS SITUATION, THANKS TO AN ESCALATING CONFLICT BETWEEN BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO AND A UNITED FRONT OF COMMUNISTS AND NATIONALISTS IN THE PARLIAMENT OVER A REFERENDUM THAT WOULD EFFECTIVELY GIVE MR. LUKASHENKO DICTATORIAL POWERS... BELARUS, NOT YET ON ANYONE'S TO-DO [ACTION] LIST, IS A MESS IN THE MAKING."

    [OPT]

    TEXT: HERE AT HOME, FOLLOWING THE FIERY COLLISION OF A SMALL COMMUTER PLANE AND A PRIVATE AIRCRAFT ON THE RUNWAY AT LITTLE QUINCY, ILLINOIS, AIRPORT, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES WONDERS WHETHER OTHER SUCH AIRPORTS, OPERATING WITHOUT CONTROL TOWERS, ARE SUFFICIENTLY SAFE. THE PAPER POINTS OUT THAT AMONG THE MORE THAN 18-THOUSAND AIRFIELDS IN THE U-S WITHOUT CONTROL TOWERS, 667 OF THEM SERVING SMALL COMMUTER AIRLINES FLYING TO LARGER AIRPORTS. SAYS THE L-A TIMES IN SUMMARY:

    VOICE: "MUCH REMAINS TO BE LEARNED ABOUT THE CAUSE OF THE ILLINOIS TRAGEDY, BUT THE NEED FOR MORE CONTROL TOWERS SHOULD BE HIGH ON ANY LIST OF POSSIBLE AIR SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS."

    [END OPT]

    TEXT: THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT THAT POPE JOHN PAUL PLANS TO VISIT CUBA NEXT YEAR DRAWS THIS COMMENT FROM NEWSDAY IN NEW YORK.

    VOICE: "PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON OUGHT TO TAKE CAREFUL NOTE OF POPE JOHN PAUL THE SECOND'S DECISION TO VISIT CUBA, ONE OF THE WORLD'S FEW SURVIVING BASTIONS OF COMMUNISM AND OFFICIAL ATHEISM. IF THE POPE, A FERVENT ANTI-COMMUNIST WHO IS CREDITED WITH HELPING BRING DOWN THE SOVIET EMPIRE, CAN FIND A CONSTRUCTIVE WAY OF DEALING WITH CUBA, WHY CAN'T THE UNITED STATES?

    TEXT: IN TODAY'S NEW YORK TIMES, THERE IS NEW EDITORIAL CONCERN ABOUT HONG KONG'S FUTURE.

    VOICE: "THE SIGNS ARE MOUNTING THAT WHEN CHINA REGAINS CONTROL OF HONG KONG NEXT JULY FIRST, HONG KONG'S CITIZENS WILL LOSE MANY OF THEIR FREEDOMS. BEIJING HAS STEADILY BACKTRACKED ON THE PROMISES MADE IN ITS AGREEMENT WITH BRITAIN TO GRAND HONG KONG A HIGH DEGREE OF AUTONOMY AND MAINTAIN ITS WAY OF LIFE FOR 50 YEARS. THE LATEST INDICATION CAME LAST WEEK, WHEN A COMMITTEE OF 400 HONG KONG CITIZENS CAREFULLY CHOSEN BY BEIJING TOOK A PRELIMINARY VOTE TO CHOOSE THE NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE. THE WINNER ... WAS TUNG CHEE-HWA, A SHIPPING TYCOON [WHO HAS EXPRESSED] ADMIRATION FOR LEE KUAN YEW'S WEALTHY AND REPRESSIVE SINGAPORE."

    TEXT: LASTLY, THIS COMMENT ON THE "GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT", IN WHICH ALL THE NATION'S SMOKERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO STOP. SAYS THE BOSTON GLOBE:

    VOICE: "THIS IS ADDRESSED TO ALL THE SMOKERS HUDDLED OUTSIDE OFFICE BUILDINGS [WHERE SMOKING IS NOW BANNED] OR PUFFING AWAY AT HOME AND TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE JUST TAKING UP THE ADDICTION: THINK AHEAD TO THE TIME WHEN YOUR LUNGS ARE WASTED, YOUR HEART IMPAIRED BY THE CHEMICALS YOU ARE INGESTING TODAY. THE MOMENTARY PLEASURE IS NOT WORTH THE GREAT PAIN... ALL THOSE WHO MAKE THE DECISION TO QUIT TODAY DESERVE SUPPORT."

    TEXT: THAT PLEA CONCLUDES THIS BRIEF SAMPLING OF EDITORIAL COMMENTS FROM TODAY'S U-S PRESS.
    NEB/ANG/PCH
    21-Nov-96 11:28 AM EST (1628 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] EDITORIAL: A NEW PRESIDENT FOR ROMANIA

    DATE= NOVEMBER 22, 1996
    TYPE= EDITORIAL
    NUMBER= 0-07046
    CONTENT=THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST
    NOVEMBER 22, 1996.

    ANNCR: THE VOICE OF AMERICA PRESENTS DIFFERING POINTS OF VIEW ON A WIDE VARIETY OF ISSUES. NEXT, AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

    VOICE:

    ROMANIANS ELECTED A NEW PRESIDENT THIS WEEK. ACADEMICIAN EMIL CONSTANTINESCU DEFEATED FORMER COMMUNIST INCUMBENT ION ILIESCU BY A MARGIN OF NEARLY NINE PERCENT. THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT CONCEDED DEFEAT AND PLEDGED A SMOOTH TRANSITION TO THE NEW ADMINISTRATION. IT IS THE FIRST TIME IN ROMANIA'S HISTORY THAT A LEADER IS LEAVING OFFICE IN A DEMOCRATIC WAY.

    IN HIS VICTORY REMARKS, MR. CONSTANTINESCU PLEDGED TO SPEED UP MARKET-BASED REFORM. HE ALSO PROMISED TO END GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION, STABILIZE THE CURRENCY, BRING IN MORE FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND IMPROVE DEPRESSED LIVING STANDARDS. PRESIDENT-ELECT CONSTANTINESCU STRONGLY FAVORS ROMANIA'S MEMBERSHIP IN NATO AND THE EUROPEAN UNION.

    TWO WEEKS AGO, MR. CONSTANTINESCU'S COALITION, LED BY THE CENTER-RIGHT DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, WON DECISIVELY IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, SEIZING A MAJORITY FROM MR. ILIESCU'S LEFT-OF-CENTER PARTY OF SOCIAL DEMOCRACY. THE PRESIDENT-ELECT HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISES MUST BE KEPT. "IT'S MANDATORY THAT THE NEW GOVERNMENT TAKE ACTION RIGHT AWAY," HE SAID. "WE HAVE NO CHOICE. OUR FAILURE WOULD TAKE ROMANIA STRAIGHT INTO A DISASTER. EVERYBODY IS CONSCIOUS OF THAT AND OF THE OPPORTUNITIES."

    THROUGH THIS ELECTION, THE PEOPLE OF ROMANIA HAVE MADE CLEAR THEIR DEDICATION TO THE DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESS THAT BEGAN WITH THE 1989 REVOLUTION THAT OVERTHREW COMMUNISM. MR. CONSTANTINESCU HAS PLEDGED TO PUT TOGETHER A GOVERNMENT THAT WOULD STRENGTHEN THE DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM, OPEN THE ECONOMY AND ENCOURAGE PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. THE UNITED STATES CONGRATULATES HIM ON HIS ELECTION AND LOOKS FORWARD TO WORKING WITH ROMANIA'S NEW PRESIDENT.

    ANNCR:

    THAT WAS AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE HEARD ON THIS ISSUE, PLEASE WRITE TO EDITORIALS, VOICE OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. YOU MAY ALSO SEND US A FAX AT (202) 619-1043. YOUR COMMENTS MAY BE USED ON THE AIR.
    21-Nov-96 3:05 PM EST (2005 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] BOSNIA / TRAINING (S-O) BY JOHN PITMAN (WASHINGOTN)

    DATE=11/21/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-206524
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE UNITED STATES IS SPONSORING A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PROGRAM TO TRAIN-AND-EQUIP BOSNIA'S MUSLIM-CROAT FEDERATION ARMY. A 100-MILLION DOLLAR SHIPMENT OF ARMS HAS ARRIVED AT A CROATIAN PORT, AND AS VOA'S JOHN PITMAN REPORTS, THE TRAINING ELEMENT IS ALSO PROCEEDING.

    TEXT: ABOUT 160 RETIRED U-S ARMY OFFICERS HAVE BEEN WORKING IN BOSNIA, TRAINING MEMBERS OF THE NEW INTEGRATED ARMY'S OFFICER CORPS AT A CENTER CALLED THE FEDERATION LEADERSHIP SCHOOL.

    RETIRED LIEUTENANT GENERAL ED SOYSTER DIRECTS INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS FOR MILITARY PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES, INCORPORATED -- THE CONSULTING FIRM THAT RUNS THE LEADERSHIP SCHOOL.

    /// SOYSTER ACT ///

    WE'VE TRAINED SOLIDERS IN WHAT WE CALL THE COMMAND AND STAFF COURSE, WHICH PROVIDES TRAINING TO THE BATALLION AND BRIGADE STAFF MEMBERS AND TO HIGHER LEVEL COMMANDERS.

    /// END ACT ///

    GENERAL SOYSTER SAYS THE OFFICERS RECEIVE INDIVIDUAL TRAINING, AS WELL AS THE GROUP LECTURES, AND WILL ALSO LEARN HOW TO USE THE WEAPONS NOW BEING DELIVERED BY THE UNITED STATES.

    IN ADDITION, HE SAYS, THE LEADERSHIP SCHOOL IS ALSO TRAINING NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, A KEY ELEMENT IN WHAT HE CALLS THE FOUNDATION OF A PROFESSIONAL ARMY.

    GENERAL SOYSTER WOULD NOT COMMENT ON THE PROFESSIONALISM OF THE NEW OFFICERS, BUT HE NOTED THAT ONE CLASS HAS ALREADY SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED THE PROGRAM AND ANOTHER IS CLOSE TO GRADUATION. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JP/KL
    21-Nov-96 11:18 AM EST (1618 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] E-U / FEAR (L ONLY) BY JOHN FRASER (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=11/21/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-206523
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A PUBLIC OPINION POLL INDICATES ALMOST ONE-THIRD OF ALL PEOPLE IN EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRIES ARE AFRAID TO VENTURE OUT OF THEIR HOMES ALONE AFTER DARK. JOHN FRASER REPORTS FROM BRUSSELS.

    TEXT: THE SURVEY WAS PREPARED FOR A BRUSSELS CONFERENCE ON URBAN DELINQUENCY AND DRUGS, AND INVOLVED THE QUESTIONING OF MORE THAN 16-THOUSAND PEOPLE ACROSS ALL 15 E-U NATIONS.

    JUST UNDER ONE-THIRD OF THOSE QUESTIONED SAID THEY FEEL UNSAFE WHEN WALKING ALONE IN THE AREA WHERE THEY LIVE AFTER DARK.

    THE FORMER EAST GERMANS ARE THE MOST FEARFUL, WITH NEARLY TWO-THIRDS SAYING THEY DREAD BEING OUT ALONE AFTER DARK, FOLLOWED BY THE SPANISH AT 39 PERCENT.

    LEAST WORRIED ARE THE DANES, ONLY 11 PERCENT OF WHOM SAY THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT BEING OUT AFTER DARK ON THEIR OWN, WITH THE FINNS NEXT IN LINE AT 13 PERCENT.

    THE SURVEY SHOWS THAT CITIZENS IN THE E-U ARE LESS FEARFUL THAN THOSE IN AFRICA, SOUTH AMERICA, OR FROM THE MOST WORRIED REGION, CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE, WHERE NEARLY ONE-HALF OF THOSE QUESTIONED IN SIMILAR POLLS HAVE VOICED FEARS ABOUT BEING OUT ALONE AFTER DARK. HOWEVER, E-U CITIZENS ARE ABOUT AS FEARFUL OF VENTURING OUT AT NIGHT AS THEIR COUNTERPARTS IN AUSTRALIA, ASIA, AND NORTH AMERICA.

    THE REPORT SAYS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST SCARED ABOUT BECOMING VICTIMS OF CRIME ARE THOSE WHO ARE ALSO MOST VULNERABLE.

    WOMEN ARE MORE WORRIED THAN MEN, THE OLD MORE THAN THE YOUNG, CITY DWELLERS MORE THAN COUNTRY FOLK, AND THE POOR MORE THAN THE RICH.

    THE REPORT INCLUDES A COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO EXTREME GROUPS. OF YOUNG MALES LIVING IN VILLAGES, NINE PERCENT FEEL UNSAFE. BY CONTRAST, 62 PERCENT OF WOMEN AGE 55 AND OLDER LIVING IN EUROPE'S LARGER CITIES FEEL UNSAFE. OVERALL, WOMEN EMERGED AS THE GROUP MOST FEARFUL OF STREET CRIME, FOLLOWED BY CITY DWELLERS.

    /// REST OPT ///

    THE SURVEY ALSO ASKED WHETHER PEOPLE HAD BEEN EXPOSED TO DRUG-RELATED PROBLEMS. THIS INCLUDED WITNESSING THE SALE OF DRUGS, SEEKING PEOPLE TAKING DRUGS IN PUBLIC, OR SPOTTING USED SYRINGES WHICH HAD BEEN DISCARDED BY ADDICTS. ABOUT 14 PERCENT OF E-U CITIZENS SAID THEY HAD BEEN EXPOSED TO DRUG-RELATED PROBLEMS. THE HIGHEST EXPOSURE WAS IN SPAIN, WHERE 24 PERCENT GAVE A POSITIVE REPLY. THE LOWEST WAS IN EASTERN GERMANY, WITH A FOUR PERCENT RESPONSE.

    THERE WERE HIGHER RESPONSE RATES FROM THE YOUNG THAN FROM THE ELDERLY, AND FROM THOSE IN CITIES COMPARED TO THOSE WHO LIVE IN IN THE COUNTRY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JF/JWH
    21-Nov-96 11:16 AM EST (1616 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] EURO STOCKS (S-ONLY) BY PAUL FRANCUCH (LONDON)

    DATE=11/21/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-206533
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE DIRECTION WAS MOSTLY DOWNWARD ON MAJOR STOCK MARKETS IN WESTERN EUROPE THURSDAY. V-O-A'S PAUL FRANCUCH HAS THE CLOSING FIGURES FROM OUR OFFICES IN LONDON.

    TEXT: THE STRONG BRITISH POUND CONTINUES TO WORRY INVESTORS WHO SEE BRITISH EXPORTS SUFFERING IN THE LONG RUN. ALTHOUGH RECENT EXPORT FIGURES HERE IN BRITAIN WERE GOOD, THE LONDON "FINANCIAL TIMES" STOCK INDEX APPEARS TO BE SIGNALING FUTURE CONCERNS. A POSSIBLE TAX CUT WHICH MAY BE ANNOUNCED HERE IN BRITAIN NEXT WEEK ALSO WORRIES SOME INVESTORS HERE ABOUT HIGHER INFLATION. ANALYSTS SAY THESE WERE ALL FACTORS IN DRIVING THE "FOOTSIE" INDEX DOWN NINE POINTS THURSDAY.

    LISTLESS TRADING IN FRANKFURT ENDED THURSDAY WITH THE "DAX 30" INDEX LOSING JUST OVER TWO POINTS. HOWEVER, WORD FROM THE GERMAN BUNDESBANK THAT INTEREST RATES WOULD REMAIN STEADY HELPED BOOST THE DOLLAR'S VALUE OVER THE MARK. IN PARIS, A DAY OF THIN TRADING ENDED WITH THE "CAC-40" INDEX CLOSING JUST A FRACTION OF ONE POINT HIGHER.

    GOLD THURSDAY IN LONDON SLIPPED TO ITS LOWEST LEVEL IN NEARLY TWO YEARS, WITH THE CLOSING FIX AT 377 DOLLARS AN OUNCE. (SIGNED)
    NEB / PCF / WOD
    21-Nov-96 1:38 PM EST (1838 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] ROMANIA ECONOMY BY BARRY WOOD (PRAGUE)

    DATE=11/21/96
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-35018
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THERE ARE EXPECTATIONS THE INCOMING CENTER-RIGHT GOVERNMENT IN ROMANIA WILL SPEED UP MARKET-BASED REFORMS THAT HAVE BEEN LAGGING IN THE PAST TWO YEARS. V-O-A'S BARRY WOOD REPORTS ON THE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES FACING THE NEW ADMINISTRATION.

    TEXT: AT THE TOP OF LIST OF PROBLEMS THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED IS THE NEED TO STABILIZE THE ROMANIAN CURRENCY, THE LEI. BEFORE ELECTIONS THIS MONTH, THE GAP BETWEEN THE OFFICIAL AND MARKET EXCHANGE RATE WIDENED DRAMATICALLY.

    THE BELIEF WAS THAT THE CURRENCY WAS GREATLY OVERVALUED AND WOULD HAVE TO BE OFFICIALLY DEVALUED. FINANCIAL ANALYSTS BELIEVED THE ILIESCU GOVERNMENT WAS USING ALL MEANS AT ITS DISPOSAL TO PREVENT A COLLAPSE OF THE LEI PRIOR TO THE ELECTION. THE GAP BETWEEN THE OFFICIAL AND MARKET RATES HAS NARROWED THIS WEEK. BUT EXPERTS SAY THE EXCHANGE-RATE ISSUE IS FAR FROM RESOLVED.

    THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND SUSPENDED LENDING TO ROMANIA EARLIER THIS YEAR AFTER THE GOVERNMENT STOPPED SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL BANKS FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE WEEKLY AUCTION SYSTEM THAT SET THE VALUE OF THE LEI. THE CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR SAYS THE CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT MAKES IT MORE LIKELY THAT THE I-M-F WILL RESUME ITS LENDING PROGRAM. ROMANIA NEEDS FOREIGN CREDITS BECAUSE EXPORTS HAVE NOT RISEN AS MUCH AS EXPECTED, WHILE IMPORTS HAVE GONE UP SHARPLY.

    ROMANIA IS IN THE MIDST OF A PROGRAM TO SELL OFF STATE ASSETS TO THE PUBLIC. THE PRIVATIZATION IS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED WITHOUT MAJOR CHANGE. AT A RECENT CONFERENCE, DEPARTING DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER MIRCEA COSEA -- WHO HAS BEEN OVERSEEING THE PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM -- SAID PUTTING ASSETS IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE LAYS A FOUNDATION FOR RAPID ECONOMIC GROWTH.

    //COSEA ACTUALITY//

    ACCORDING TO OUR FORECASTS WE BELIEVE THAT ROMANIA, BY THE END OF THIS YEAR, WILL OBTAIN A LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT GREAT ENOUGH TO ELIMINATE WITHIN TEN YEARS THE GAP THAT EXISTS BETWEEN ROMANIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE POLAND, THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND HUNGARY, BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT OF RESOURCES. AND ROMANIA HAS THE CAPACITY TO ATTRACT A LOT OF FOREIGN CAPITAL.

    //END ACTUALITY//

    EVEN BEFORE THE ELECTION, THERE WAS EVIDENCE THE INFLOW OF FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT WAS INCREASING. A CELLULAR PHONE NETWORK IS BEING CREATED IN ROMANIA. AND, SOUTH KOREA'S DAEWOO IS CONTINUING TO INVEST IN MODERNIZING AN AUTOMOBILE FACILITY IN CRAIOVA AND A SHIP YARD ON THE BLACK SEA.

    INFLATION IS ANOTHER PROBLEM. PRICE RISES WERE EXPECTED TO DECELERATE TO 25 PERCENT THIS YEAR. BUT THAT TARGET WILL NOT BE MET, AS THE CURRENT INFLATION RATE IS NEARER TO 40 PERCENT.

    THE ROMANIAN ECONOMY IS EXPANDING AT A SURPRISINGLY FAST PACE. GERMANY'S DEUTSCHE BANK SAYS ROMANIA'S ECONOMY IS LIKELY TO GROW BY FIVE PERCENT THIS YEAR AND ANOTHER FIVE PERCENT IN 1997. (SIGNED)
    NEB / BDW / WOD
    21-Nov-96 8:33 AM EST (1333 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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