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Voice of America, 96-12-25

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] F-C-C / PHONE CHARGES (L ONLY) BY VICTOR BEATTIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] FRANCE TERROR (S ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [03] SERBIA/DEMOS (L) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (BELGRADE)
  • [04] TURKEY/KURDS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

  • [01] F-C-C / PHONE CHARGES (L ONLY) BY VICTOR BEATTIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=12/24/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-207920
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, THE AGENCY CHARGED WITH OVERSEEING THE U-S TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY, IS PROPOSING REFORM OF THE ACCESS CHARGES LOCAL TELEPHONE COMPANIES COLLECT TO HANDLE LONG-DISTANCE CALLS. V-O-A'S VICTOR BEATTIE REPORTS IT IS THE GOVERNMENT'S FIRST EFFORT TO IMPLEMENT A NEW TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAW THAT FOSTERS MORE COMPETITION IN PHONE SERVICE THUS DRIVING DOWN CONSUMER PRICES:

    TEXT: THE F-C-C IS PROPOSING TWO ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF REDUCING ACCESS FEES -- FEES REGIONAL TELEPHONE COMPANIES HAVE CHARGED SINCE THE 1980'S WHEN THE MONOPOLY OF THE A-T-AND-T CORPORATION WAS DISMANTLED BY COURT ORDER. THE FEES ARE CHARGES LOCAL PHONE COMPANIES IMPOSE FOR LONG-DISTANCE CALLS CARRIED ON THEIR NETWORKS. FIRST, NEW ENTRANTS IN THE LOCAL PHONE MARKET WOULD COMPETE WITH THE CURRENT REGIONAL PHONE COMPANIES TO CONNECT LONG-DISTANCE CALLS. THE F-C-C WOULD GRADUALLY RELAX AND ULTIMATELY REMOVE PRICE CAPS AND ACCESS FEE SCHEDULES WHILE RELYING ON COMPETITION TO DRIVE FEES DOWN.

    THE SECOND APPROACH COULD INVOLVE THE FEDERAL AGENCY IMPOSING A SCHEDULE OF LONG-DISTANCE ACCESS CHARGE REDUCTIONS. CURRENTLY, ACCESS FEES AMOUNT TO ABOUT 23-BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN ADDED COST OF ORIGINATING AND TERMINATING LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS. ROBERT STEWART OF M-C-I, THE LONG-DISTANCE CARRIER, SAYS THE ACTUAL COST OF SUCH OPERATIONS IS ABOUT THREE AND ONE-HALF BILLION DOLLARS.

    MR. STEWART SAYS M-C-I APPLAUDS THE F-C-C PROPOSAL AND HOPES IT IS IMPLEMENTED BECAUSE IT MEANS MORE COMPETITION AND BENEFITS TO THE CONSUMER:

    // STEWART ACTUALITY //

    IT WOULD MEAN A MORE COMPETITIVE MARKETPLACE. IT WOULD MEAN THE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER CUSTOMERS SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS AND TO SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCE THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS. MORE IMPORTANTLY, FROM THE COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT, IT WOULD ELIMINATE WHAT ESSENTIALLY REPRESENTS CORPORATE WELFARE PAID FOR BY TELEPHONE CONSUMERS TO CORPORATIONS AND IT'S THAT KIND OF CORPORATE WELFARE FOR ONE OF THE MOST PROFITABLE INDUSTRIES IN AMERICA, THAT IS THE LOCAL TELEPHONE MONOPOLY, THAT WE'RE INTERESTED IN SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCING.

    // END ACTUALITY //

    LOCAL TELEPHONE COMPANIES SAY THEY HAVE ALREADY BROUGHT DOWN ACCESS CHARGES SIGNIFICANTLY. ROY NEEL OF THE UNITED STATES TELEPHONE ASSOCIATION, THE CHIEF TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR LOCAL TELEPHONE COMPANIES, URGES THE COMMISSION TO STRIKE A BALANCE ALLOWING THE INDUSTRY FLEXIBILITY TO PRICE SERVICES COMPETITIVELY WHILE PRESERVING RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE BASIC PHONE SERVICE.

    THE SO-CALLED BABY BELLS, THE REGIONAL PHONE COMPANIES WHICH EMERGED FROM THE BREAKUP OF A-T-AND-T, SAY THE CHARGES CAN AND WILL COME DOWN, BUT ARGUE COMPETITION, NOT REGULATION, WILL DO THE TRICK. M-C-I'S ROBERT STEWART AGREES THE FEES ARE DOWN SOMEWHAT:

    // STEWART ACTUALITY //

    BUT, THE ISSUE IS GETTING THEM CLOSE TO COST. RIGHT NOW, THEY RECEIVE ABOUT 23-BILLION DOLLARS IN ACCESS CHARGES FROM THE LONG-DISTANCE INDUSTRY FOR PERFORMING A SERVICE THAT COSTS THREE AND ONE-HALF BILLION DOLLARS. WE THINK THAT 23 HAS GOT TO GET A LOT CLOSER TO THAT THREE AND ONE-HALF FOR CUSTOMERS TO SEE THE TRUE BENEFITS OF COMPETITION.

    // END ACTUALITY //

    THE TASK OF DETERMINING WHAT IS AN APPROPRIATE ACCESS CHARGE IS AN ISSUE THE F-C-C IS ASKING THE PUBLIC TO COMMENT ON BEFORE DECIDING WHAT COURSE OF ACTION TO TAKE. THE FINAL DECISION IS EXPECTED TO TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS.

    // OPT //

    THE F-C-C AVOIDED FOR NOW THE ISSUE WHETHER SUCH ACCESS FEES SHOULD BE IMPOSED ON INTERNET COMPUTER NETWORK SERVICE PROVIDERS. CURRENTLY, COMPANIES LIKE AMERICA ON-LINE DO NOT PAY ACCESS CHARGES TO HAVE THEIR CALLS CONNECTED.

    THE REGIONAL PHONE COMPANIES SAY THAT SHOULD CHANGE IN PART BECAUSE INTERNET PROVIDERS ACCOUNT FOR AN INCREASING AMOUNG OF PHONE TRAFFIC. HOWEVER, AMERICA ON-LINE CHAIRMAN STEVE CASE SAYS SUCH A CHARGE WOULD AMOUNT TO A MODEM TAX. MR. CASE AND OTHERS SAY THEY ARE PREPARED TO SHOW THAT LOCAL PHONE COMPANIES ARE, IN FACT, MAKING MONEY FROM THE INCREASED SALE OF SECOND PHONE LINES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/VIC/CF
    24-Dec-96 10:15 PM EST (0315 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] FRANCE TERROR (S ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=12/25/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-207928
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE BANNED ALGERIAN "ARMED ISLAMIC GROUP" HAS THREATENED FRANCE WITH MORE TERRORIST ATTACKS, UNLESS PARIS INTERVENES TO OBTAIN THE RELEASE OF ONE OF ITS LEADERS. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: IN A LETTER ADDRESSED TO FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC, THE ARMED ISLAMIC GROUP, OR G-I-A, THREATENED TERRORIST ATTACKS ON FRENCH SOIL. THE INTERIOR MINISTRY SAID WEDNESDAY THAT IT BELIEVES THE LETTER IS GENUINE.

    THE G-I-A IS BELIEVED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR AN ATTACK IN FRANCE THREE WEEKS AGO WHEN A BOMB KILLED FOUR PASSENGERS ON A PARIS SUBWAY TRAIN. IT ALSO CARRIED OUT A CAMPAIGN IN 1995 THAT LEFT EIGHT DEAD.

    USING BLUNT, VIOLENT LANGUAGE, THE G-I-A SAID "WHEN WE CUT OFF YOUR HEADS, TEAR APART YOUR BODIES AND SEND YOU RUNNING, WE BELIEVE WE ARE CARRYING OUT AN ACT OF DEVOTION THAT TAKES US CLOSER TO GOD."

    THE G-I-A TOLD MR. CHIRAC TO STOP SUPPORTING THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT AND TO HELP OBTAIN THE RELEASE OF ABDELHAK LAYADA, ONE OF ITS LEADERS, WHO IS HELD IN AN ALGERIAN JAIL. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JN/PCF/LWM
    25-Dec-96 8:06 AM EST (1306 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] SERBIA/DEMOS (L) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (BELGRADE)

    DATE=12/25/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-207935
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATORS WERE BACK OUT ON THE STREETS OF BELGRADE WEDNESDAY DESPITE TUESDAY'S VIOLENCE IN THE SERBIAN CAPITAL THAT LEFT DOZENS WOUNDED. OPPOSITION LEADERS SAY THEY HAVE NO INTENTION OF HALTING THE PROTEST CAMPAIGN THAT BEGAN FIVE WEEKS AGO AFTER THE GOVERNMENT ANNULLED OPPOSITION VICTORIES IN MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. FROM BELGRADE, VOA'S DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS.

    TEXT: ///ACT, DEMO FREE SOUND///

    ANOTHER HUGE CROWD OF OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS CONVERGED ON BELGRADE'S REPUBLIC SQUARE LATE WEDNESDAY DESPITE SNOW, FREEZING RAIN AND SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES.

    THE PROTESTORS WERE IN A TRIUMPHANT MOOD, SEEMINGLY UNDAUNTED BY THE THREAT OF MORE VIOLENCE IN THE WAKE OF TUESDAY'S CLASHES HERE.

    LOCAL MEDIA REPORTS SAY NEARLY SIXTY PEOPLE WERE INJURED AFTER RIVAL GROUPS OF PROTESTORS CLASHED AHEAD OF A PRO-GOVERNMENT RALLY ORGANIZED BY SERBIA'S RULING SOCIALIST PARTY. THERE WERE ALSO CLASHES BETWEEN OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AND SERBIAN RIOT POLICE.

    MOST LOCAL AND FOREIGN ANALYSTS ARE BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE BLOODSHED, SAYING THE AUTHORITIES SOUGHT TO PROVOKE INCIDENTS TO JUSTIFY A CRACKDOWN ON THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT.

    BUT A MAJOR OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE WAS AVERTED HERE -- LARGELY, SAY LOCAL ANALYSTS, BECAUSE OF THE EFFORTS OF OPPOSITION LEADERS WHO PLEADED WITH THEIR SUPPORTERS TO REMAIN CALM.

    TRIVO INDJIC OF BELGRADE'S CENTER FOR EUROPEAN STUDIES SAYS THERE IS NO DOUBT THE OPPOSITION EMERGED THE VICTOR IN TUESDAY'S TEST OF WILLS WITH THE GOVERNMENT.

    /// INDJIC ACT ///

    WELL, I THINK THE OPPOSITION IS WINNING, BECAUSE THE OPPOSITION CONTINUES WITH THE PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS, AND MILOSEVIC HAS ONLY EXPOSED HIS BRUTAL, UGLY FACE AGAIN. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THAT HE PLAYS SUCH A ROLE IN SERBIA.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE SERBIAN LEADER'S NEXT MOVE IN THE CRISIS IS THE SUBJECT OF CONSIDERABLE SPECULATION HERE. MR. INDJIC SAYS THE PRESIDENT MAY DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY AND BAN DEMONSTRATIONS. OTHERS BELIEVE HE IS MORE LIKELY TO ADOPT A CONCILIATORY APPROACH, SEEKING A COMPROMISE WITH THE OPPOSITION LEADERSHIP.

    MILAN PROTIC OF THE INDEPENDENT CENTER FOR SERBIAN STUDIES SAYS ALL THE PRESIDENT'S ATTEMPTS TO DEAL WITH THE CRISIS SO FAR HAVE FAILED, AND MR. MILOSEVIC HIMSELF MAY NOT YET DECIDED ON HIS NEXT MOVE.

    /// PROTIC ACT ///

    HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO, HOW TO GET OUT OF THIS TERRIBLE SITUATION THAT HE PUT HIMSELF IN. AND I DO NOT THINK AT THIS POINT THAT HE KNOWS WHAT HIS NEXT MOVE IS GOING TO BE.

    /// END ACT ///

    OPPOSITION LEADERS ARE VOWING TO CONTINUE THE PROTEST MOVEMENT UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES THEIR VICTORIES IN LAST MONTH'S MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. MR. PROTIC BELIEVES THAT STRATEGY COULD LEAD TO DEMOCRATIC REFORMS HERE AS LONG AS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY KEEPS UP THE PRESSURE ON THE BELGRADE GOVERNMENT.

    /// PROTIC ACT ///

    IF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY STANDS BEHIND THIS TYPE OF DEMOCRATIC REFORM IN SERBIA, AND PRESSES MILOSEVIC TO STICK WITH IT, WE MIGHT SEE SERBIA IN A GRADUAL DEMOCRATIC, PEACEFUL DEVELOPMENT FROM AUTOCRACY TO DEMOCRACY --SOMETHING THAT WE ALL HERE HOPE FOR.

    /// END ACT ///

    OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS SAY THEY WILL KEEP COMING TO THE DAILY DEMONSTRATIONS UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT BOWS TO THEIR DEMANDS. BUT SOME SERBIAN ANALYSTS SAY IT COULD BE WEEKS BEFORE THIS CRISIS IS RESOLVED. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DBR/LWM
    25-Dec-96 2:00 PM EST (1900 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] TURKEY/KURDS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=12/25/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-207934
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: TURKEY'S PARLIAMENT WEDNESDAY EXTENDED BY SIX MONTHS THE MANDATE OF A U-S-LED ALLIED FORCE BASED IN TURKEY, WHOSE MISSION IS TO PROTECT IRAQI KURDS FROM POSSIBLE ATTACK BY BAGHDAD. BUT AS AMBERIN ZAMAN REPORTS FROM ANKARA, THE SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ALLIED FORCE HAVE BEEN REVISED TO REFLECT RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ.

    TEXT: UNDER THE TERMS OF THE NEW MANDATE, MILITARY FLIGHTS BY ALLIED AIRCRAFT WILL CONTINUE OVER NORTHERN IRAQ, IN COMPLIANCE WITH UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS AIMED AT PROTECTING THE IRAQI POPULATION FROM HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES. //OPT// HOWEVER, THE ALLIED GROUND OPERATION DEPLOYED SINCE THE END OF THE 1990 GULF WAR IN KURDISH-CONTROLLED NORTHERN IRAQ, HAS ENDED END. //END OPT//

    ALLIED TROOPS, BASED IN THE KURDISH-CONTROLLED ENCLAVE OF NORTHERN IRAQ WERE PULLED OUT LAST AUGUST AFTER ONE OF THE MAIN IRAQI KURDISH FACTIONS, THE KURDISTAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY, OR "K-D-P," INVITED IRAQI GOVERNMENT TROOPS TO HELP DEFEAT ITS RIVAL, THE PATRIOTIC UNION OF KURDISTAN, OR "P-U-K."

    K-D-P LEADER MASSOUD BARZANI'S ALLIANCE WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN IS CITED BY WESTERN DIPLOMATS AS ONE OF THE CHIEF REASONS WASHINGTON DECIDED TO END ITS HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS IN NORTHERN IRAQ.

    DIPLOMATS CLOSE TO THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH TURKEY OVER THE NEW STRUCTURE OF THE ALLIED PRESENCE DESCRIBE IT AS PUTTING LESS EMPHASIS ON DEFENDING THE KURDS AND MORE ON ENHANCING THE WESTERN STRATEGIC DETERRENT, NOT ONLY TO BAGHDAD BUT TO OTHER REGIONAL POWERS REGARDED AS HOSTILE, INCLUDING IRAN.

    // REST OPT FOR LONG //

    TURKISH PRIME MINISTER NECMETTIN ERBAKAN HAS BEEN UNDER MOUNTING PRESSURE FROM HIS "ISLAMIC WELFARE PARTY" TO STICK TO HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISE TO EXPEL WHAT HE USED TO DESCRIBE AS THE "INFIDEL FORCE." THERE HAS BEEN SUSTAINED PUBLIC HOSTILITY TO THE WESTERN MILITARY PRESENCE. MOST TURKS BELIEVE THAT ITS HIDDEN AGENDA IS TO OVERSEE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INDEPENDENT KURDISH STATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ -- A FEELING THAT HAS BEEN WIDELY EXPLOITED BY MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION IN ORDER TO EMBARRASS THE GOVERNMENT. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AZ/PCF/LWM
    25-Dec-96 12:41 PM EST (1741 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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