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Voice of America, 98-05-08

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] EURO STOCKS (S-ONLY) BY PAUL FRANCUCH (LONDON)
  • [02] FRANCE CORRUPTION (L ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [03] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [04] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [05] NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE (PART NINE) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (LONDON)
  • [06] TURKMEN PIPELINE (CQ) BY MEREDITH BUEL (ASHGABAT)

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

    DATE=5/8/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-231916
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: HIGHER PRICES ON WALL STREET HELPED DRIVE PRICES UP ON EUROPEAN MARKETS FRIDAY. FOR THE CLOSING NUMBERS, HERE'S V-O-A'S PAUL FRANCUCH IN LONDON.

    TEXT: LOSSES TURNED TO GAINS ON LONDON AND FRANKFURT MARKETS FRIDAY, AS INVESTORS SHRUGGED-OFF CONCERNS THAT GOOD EMPLOYMENT FIGURES IN THE UNITED STATES COULD MEAN HIGHER INTEREST RATES IN AMERICA. AS WALL STREET HEADED HIGHER, EUROPE FOLLOWED. THE "FINANCIAL TIMES" 100-INDEX IN LONDON GAINED 32 POINTS AT THE CLOSE -- A ONE-HALF OF A PERCENTAGE POINT GAIN. THE FRANKFURT "DAX" INDEX GAINED 106 POINTS -- IN VALUE TERMS, A SIGNIFICANT TWO PERCENT. PARIS WAS CLOSED FOR A HOLIDAY FRIDAY.

    IN CURRENCY TRADING, THE U-S DOLLAR CONTINUED TO GAIN STRENGTH. IT WAS UP A HALF PFENNIG AGAINST THE GERMAN MARK AND NEARLY A CENT AGAINST THE BRITISH POUND.

    GOLD CLOSED UP A DOLLAR-AND-A-HALF IN LONDON, SELLING AT JUST UNDER 300 DOLLARS AN OUNCE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PCF/JO
    08-May-98 2:23 PM EDT (1823 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] FRANCE CORRUPTION (L ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=5/8/98
    TYPE=NEWS ANALYSIS
    NUMBER=2-231908
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// WILL HOLD THROUGH WEEKEND USE ///

    INTRO: FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC IS CELEBRATING THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ELECTION TO THE ELYSEE PALACE. BUT THE ANNIVERSARY, ALONG WITH HIS OWN GAULLIST POLITICAL PARTY, IS IN DISARRAY -- BOTH REJECTED BY THE VOTERS AND HIT BY CORRUPTION SCANDALS. AS JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS, THE OCCASION IS A BITTER ONE.

    TEXT: ALL OVER FRANCE THIS PAST WEEK, THE FAITHFUL OF THE "GAULLIST RALLY FOR THE REPUBLIC," OR "R-P-R," PARTY HELD WHAT WERE CALLED "REPUBLICAN DINNERS" TO MARK PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC'S THIRD ANNIVERSARY IN OFFICE. THEY WERE HARDLY A TIME FOR REAL CELEBRATION, HOWEVER.

    MR. CHIRAC WAS ELECTED IN 1995 FOR A SEVEN-YEAR TERM AT A TIME WHEN HIS R-P-R PARTY AND ITS PARTNER, THE CONSERVATIVE UNION FOR FRENCH DEMOCRACY, SEEMED ALMOST INVINCIBLE.

    AT THE TIME, THE TWO PARTIES HELD 80 PERCENT OF THE SEATS IN PARLIAMENT. THE ONCE-POWERFUL LEFT-WING THAT HAD HELD SWAY IN FRANCE FOR 14 YEARS UNDER THE LATE PRESIDENT FRANCOIS MITTERRAND WAS IN TATTERS. TAKING OVER FROM THE SICK AND ELDERLY SOCIALIST HEAD OF STATE, MR. CHIRAC SEEMED YOUTHFUL, ENTHUSIASTIC AND ENERGETIC. ONCE, MR. CHIRAC AND HIS SUPPORTERS HAD FULL CONTROL OF FRANCE. HOWEVER, THINGS CHANGED. JUST 12 MONTHS AGO, IN WHAT MAY WELL BE SEEN AS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF HIS POLITICAL CAREER, MR. CHIRAC DISSOLVED PARLIAMENT AND CALLED NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS A YEAR EARLY.

    CONTRARY TO ALL THE OPINION POLL PREDICTIONS, HIS CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT WAS TROUNCED AND THE FRENCH BROUGHT BACK THE LEFT. FRANCE THEN FACED A POTENTIAL FIVE YEARS OF UNEASY LEFT-RIGHT POWER-SHARING -- UNTIL THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2002. IN EFFECT, THE NEW SOCIALIST PRIME MINISTER LIONEL JOSPIN BECAME FRANCE'S MOST POWERFUL POLITICIAN.

    // OPT //

    SINCE THAT SHOCK, THE INFLUENCE OF FRANCE'S CONSERVATIVES HAS DWINDLED EVEN FURTHER. REGIONAL ELECTIONS IN MARCH, WHEN THE EXTREME-RIGHT "NATIONAL FRONT" TOOK 15 PERCENT OF THE VOTE AND USED THIS TO MAKE-OR-BREAK MAJORITIES ON FRANCE'S 22 REGIONAL COUNCILS, FORCED THE TWO CONSERVATIVE PARTIES INTO RETREAT. NOW THEY ARE BICKERING AND DIVIDED. // END OPT //

    TO ADD TO THEIR DESPAIR, A SERIES OF CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS HAVE TOUCHED THE VERY TOP OF THE CONSERVATIVE ESTABLISHMENT. JEAN-FRANCOIS MANCEL, WHO WAS THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE R-P-R UNTIL LAST JUNE BUT WHO WAS EXPELLED FROM THE PARTY IN MARCH FOR STRIKING ALLIANCES WITH THE NATIONAL FRONT, SPENT TWO DAYS IN A POLICE CELL OVER THE PAST WEEK BEFORE BEING CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION OVER BUSINESS DEALS, STRUCK WITH A COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY WORKING FOR HIS LOCAL COUNCIL

    IN ADDITION, INVESTIGATIONS INTO APPARENTLY ILLEGAL FUNDING OF THE R-P-R PARTY SEEM TO HAVE REACHED A WATERSHED. ACCORDING TO THE RESPECTED DAILY "LE MONDE," ONE FORMER SENIOR PARTY OFFICIAL TOLD INVESTIGATORS THAT MR. CHIRAC HIMSELF CHOSE THE METHODS USED.

    AGAINST THIS BACKGROUND, MR. CHIRAC IS PERCEIVED TOO AS HAVING BEEN CLUMSY ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE BY INSISTING UNSUCCESSFULLY ON A FRENCH CHIEF FOR THE NEW EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK DURING THE EUROPEAN UNION SUMMIT IN BRUSSELS LAST WEEK. THE MOVE IS WIDELY BELIEVED TO HAVE UNDERMINED ONE OF FRANCE'S CLOSEST FRIENDS, THE GERMAN CHANCELLOR HELMUT KOHL. NOW, ACCORDING TO THE LEFT-WING NEWSPAPER "LIBERATION," PRESIDENT CHIRAC HAS JUST FOUR YEARS -- UNTIL THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2002 -- TO RECAPTURE PUBLIC FAVOR AND, IN ITS WORDS, "TO MAKE HIMSELF YOUNG AGAIN." (SIGNED)
    NEB/JWN/PCF
    08-May-98 12:15 PM EDT (1615 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=05/08/98
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-10703
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    ////

    EDS: PERISHABLE MATERIAL, DATED AFTER 10 P-M E-D-S-T ! !

    ////

    INTRO: THE HUGE AUTO MERGER BETWEEN CHRYSLER AND DAIMLER-BENZ OF GERMANY RATES A THOROUGH REVIEW IN THE FRIDAY EDITORIALS COLUMNS OF MANY U-S PAPERS. ANOTHER POPULAR TOPIC IS THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS WHITEWATER INVESTIGATION AND RELATED SUBJECTS INVOLVING PRESIDENT CLINTON'S CONDUCT.

    ONE CAN ALSO FIND COMMENTS ON: /// OPT /// ELECTIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES; /// END OPT /// THE UNABOMBER VERDICT; THE CURRENT MIDDLE EAST PEACE EFFORT; AND ONCE-RARE AMERICAN ANIMALS LIKE THE BALD EAGLE MAKING A COMEBACK. FOR A CLOSER LOOK AT THESE TOPICS AND SOME QUOTES, WE'RE JOINED NOW BY ___________________ WITH TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.

    TEXT: THIS WEEK'S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE GERMAN AUTO MAKER DAIMLER-BENZ, MAKER OF THE MERCEDES BENZ AUTOS AND TRUCKS, AND CHRYSLER, THE SMALLEST OF THE BIG THREE U-S AUTOMAKERS, WILL MERGE IS ATTRACTING PLENTY OF ATTENTION FROM EDITORIAL WRITERS. FROM FLORIDA, "THE MIAMI HERALD" SAYS OF THIS "CARMAKERS' WEDDING:

    VOICE: [IT] ... IS MERELY THE LATEST EVIDENCE OF THE 'GLOBALIZATION' OF THE WORLD ECONOMY. YET IT WILL RECEIVE MUCH MORE SCRUTINY THAN THE PREVIOUS DEALS DID. NOT ONLY IS IT BIG AT 36-BILLION DOLLARS, BUT THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY CARRIES A HIGHER PUBLIC PROFILE THAN THE OTHER INDUSTRIES - - PHARMACEUTICALS, PETROCHEMICALS, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, AND SO ON - - WHERE HUGE MERGERS ACROSS INTERNATIONAL BORDERS ALREADY HAVE OCCURRED. ...... WHILE THE DEAL MAKES SENSE FOR THE COMPANIES - - AND PROVIDED A WINDFALL FOR THEIR SHAREHOLDERS - - THE LARGER QUESTION IS WHAT IT PORTENDS FOR EMPLOYEES AND CONSUMERS.

    TEXT: IN MAINE, "THE PORTLAND PRESS HERALD" POINTS OUT THE BENEFITS TO BOTH PARTIES.

    VOICE: WHILE ANALYSTS NOTE THAT PAST CROSSBORDER AUTO MERGERS HAVE HAD PROBLEMS, THE TWO COMPANIES HAVE VERY LITTLE OVERLAP IN MARKET SEGMENT OR SALES. /// OPT /// DAIMLER SELLS LUXURY MODELS, MOSTLY ABROAD, WITH ONLY A ONE PERCENT SHARE OF THE U-S MARKET WHILE CHRYSLER HAS SUCCESSFULLY ENTERED THE PICK-UP, MINIVAN AND SPORT-UTILITY SEGMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES. ONLY ONE PERCENT OF ITS SALES ARE ABROAD. /// END OPT /// THE MERGER SHOULD BE GOOD FOR BOTH FIRMS AND THEIR WORKERS AND CUSTOMERS.

    TEXT: "THE NEW YORK POST" SEES AN EVEN GREATER SIGNIFICANCE IN THE ANNOUNCEMENT.

    VOICE: IT IS A POLITICAL SYMBOL OF GREAT IMPORTANCE: ONE OF GERMANY'S MOST POWERFUL COMPANIES HAS JUST CAST A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN THE AMERICAN WAY. ..... HOW EXTRAORDINARY THAT DAIMLER-BENZ SHOULD HUNGER FOR AN AMERICAN COMPANY THAT HAS LONG BEEN A SYMBOL OF INDUSTRIAL MALAISE.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: "THE NEW YORK TIMES" REMEMBERS NOT SO LONG AGO WHEN CHRYSLER WAS NEARLY BANKRUPT AND WAS BAILED OUT BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS, TO BECOME A COMPANY STRONG ENOUGH TO ATTRACT A FOREIGN SUITOR.

    VOICE: CONGRESS BAILED OUT A SLUMPING CHRYSLER IN 1980. EIGHTEEN YEARS LATER, A HEALTHY CHRYSLER PROPOSES TO SELL ITSELF TO HIGH-BIDDING FOREIGNERS. THAT MAY TROUBLE SOME AMERICANS WHO FEAR THE LOSS TO FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF ONE OF THE NATION'S MAJOR COMPANIES. BUT IT SHOULD NOT BOTHER SHAREHOLDERS, WHO WILL BE PAID WELL IN SHARES OF THE MERGED COMPANY. NOR SHOULD IT UPSET AMERICAN TAXPAYERS, WHO WERE NOT HARMED BY THE BAILOUT.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: TURNING TO DOMESTIC AFFAIRS, THERE ARE SEVERAL EDITORIALS COMMENTING ON THE INVESTIGATION OF PRESIDENT CLINTON BY SPECIAL WHITEWATER COUNSEL KENNETH STARR, AN INVESTIGATION SOME PAPERS, SUCH AS "THE MIAMI HERALD," FEEL, HAS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH.

    VOICE: THE WHITEWATER GRAND JURY IN ARKANSAS ....... CLOSED UP SHOP, SHUT DOWN - - ** WITHOUT BRINGING CHARGES ** [ITALICS FOR EMPHASIS] AGAINST PRESIDENT CLINTON OR FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. REGRETTABLY, INDEPENDENT COUNSEL KENNETH ... STARR DIDN'T ALSO PACK IT IN [CONCLUDE HIS INVESTIGATION]. IN FACT, HE SHOWS NO SIGN OF WINDING DOWN HIS FOUR-YEAR, 40-MILLION DOLLAR INVESTIGATION. .... THE CLINTONS MAY, BY NOW, BE INURED TO THESE INVESTIGATIONS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEVER SHOULD BE. THEY ARE WITNESSES TO JUSTICE RUN AMOK AND TO THE PARTISAN CULPABILITY OF THOSE WHO DO NOTHING TO SET IT RIGHT.

    TEXT: "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" SUGGESTS THAT PERHAPS THIS INVESTIGATION MAY CONTINUE NOT ONLY AFTER PRESIDENT CLINTON LEAVES OFFICE, BUT WELL INTO THE NEXT CENTURY.

    VOICE: ..... WHITE HOUSE SOURCES TELL THE TIMES' WASHINGTON BUREAU THAT [MR.] STARR MAY BE DOGGING BILL CLINTON THROUGH THE END OF HIS TERM AND PERHAPS BEYOND. ..... THAT'S DEPRESSING. /// OPT /// NOT THAT WE DON'T WANT TO SEE ANY LEGITIMATE ISSUE THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED AND PROSECUTED IF WARRANTED. BUT WHITEWATER SEEMS TO HAVE TAKEN ON A LIFE OF ITS OWN. /// END OPT /// COULD [MR.] STARR, NOW THAT HE'S HIRED A SPOKESMAN, GIVE US SOME HINT OF JUST WHAT IT IS HE'S AFTER AND WHEN HE MIGHT GET IT? OR WHEN HE'LL QUIT IF IT BECOMES CLEAR HE'S NOT GOING TO GET IT?

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" IS ALSO COMMENTING ON AN IMPORTANT ELECTION SET FOR MONDAY IN THE PHILIPPINES, PITTING:

    VOICE: .... A POPULAR FORMER ACTOR ... VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH ESTRADA .... AGAINST THE RULING PARTY'S MILLIONAIRE CANDIDATE .... HOUSE [OF REPRESENTATIVES] SPEAKER JOSE DE VENECIA.... WHO TRAILS BADLY IN THE POLLS BUT INSISTS HE CAN MAKE UP GROUND OVER THE WEEKEND. THAT CLAIM IN MOST OTHER ELECTIONS MIGHT BE LAUGHED OFF, BUT THE PHILIPPINES' LONG HISTORY OF VOTE TAMPERING HAS RAISED DOUBTS OF A CLEAN ELECTION. ..... UNDER [CURRENT PRESIDENT FIDEL] RAMOS, THE PHILIPPINES HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC PROGRESS AND FIRMED UP DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS. AN UNBLEMISHED ELECTION THIS YEAR WOULD ADD TO THAT RECORD.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: TODAY'S "SUN" IN BALTIMORE IS PLEASED AT THE FOUR-LIFE TERMS PLUS 30- YEAR SENTENCE, HANDED TO UNABOMBER TED KACZYNSKI BY A FEDERAL JUDGE, SUGGESTING:

    VOICE: THE TERROR COMMITTED BY AN OBSESSED MURDERER FROM MAY 1978 TO APRIL 1996 IS PUT BEHIND THE NATION. /// OPT /// THE MAN CALLED UNABOMBER, A SHAMBLES OF A 55-YEAR-OLD RECLUSIVE MATHEMATICIAN, WILL NOT KILL, MAIM OR FRIGHTEN AGAIN. /// END OPT ///.... IT IS OVER.

    TEXT: AS REGARDS THE LATEST MIDDLE EAST PEACE EFFORT UNDERWAY, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" IS LAMENTING A COMMENT MRS. CLINTON MADE THIS WEEK, ABOUT THE EVENTUALITY OF A PALESTINIAN STATE BEING GOOD FOR ALL, WHICH APPEARS TO HAVE MUDDIED THE WATERS.

    VOICE: ADVANCING THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE EFFORT IS DIFFICULT ENOUGH WITHOUT A CONTRIVED POLITICAL FUROR IN WASHINGTON. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT IS JUST WHAT PRESIDENT CLINTON FACES AS HE TRIES TO LEAD ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN LEADERS OVER THE NEGOTIATING ROADBLOCK THAT HAS IMMOBILIZED THE OSLO PEACE ACCORDS. NEWT GINGRICH HAS WRONGLY ACCUSED MR. CLINTON OF SELLING OUT ISRAEL, AND HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON'S MISTAKEN ARTICULATION OF AMERICAN POLICY HAS BEEN INFLATED IN IMPORTANCE. ISRAEL'S MANY FRIENDS IN CONGRESS OUGHT TO GIVE THE WHITE HOUSE A CHANCE TO PRODUCE A DIPLOMATIC BREAKTHROUGH.

    TEXT: "THE WASHINGTON TIMES" IS MUCH MORE CRITICAL, SUGGESTING THE WHOLE INITIATIVE HAS BEEN BADLY MANAGED., FIRST BY SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT'S INSISTENCE THAT ISRAEL ACCEPT A U-S SOLUTION OVER GIVING BACK LAND IN THE WEST BANK, AND THEN BY APPARENTLY CONTRADICTORY COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT. THEN, SAYS "THE WASHINGTON TIMES:"

    VOICE: JUST WHEN THINGS SEEM AS BAD AS THEY CAN GET, ALONG COMES FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON TO CLEAR THE AIR ..... EXPLAINING HER VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE MIDDLE EAST: 'IT WOULD BE IN THE LONG-TERM INTERESTS OF PEACE .... FOR THERE TO BE A STATE OF PALESTINE ... A FUNCTIONING MODERN STATE THAT IS ON THE SAME FOOTING AS OTHER STATES ..... .... PERHAPS NOW IS NOT THE BEST TIME FOR MR. NETANYAHU TO COME TO WASHINGTON. HE HAS ALREADY SAID ... IT IS 'UNLIKELY' HE WILL MAKE THE TRIP. CONSIDERING THE ANTICS HERE, WHO CAN BLAME HIM?

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: ON ANOTHER, SEEMINGLY INTRACTABLE PROBLEM, THE DIVISION OF THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" IS CALLING FOR MORE EUROPEAN PRESSURE ON BOTH GREECE AND TURKEY TO GET THEIR ISLAND SURROGATES MOVING TOWARD PEACE. THE IMMEDIATE THREAT OF WORSENING RELATIONS IS THE GREEK CYPRIOT PURCHASE OF RUSSIAN ANTIAIRCRAFT MISSILES, SCHEDULED FOR DELIVERY LATER THIS YEAR, AND TURKEY'S ADAMANT OPPOSITION TO THEM. "THE TIMES" POINTS OUT, IN THE 24 YEARS SINCE PARTITION, THE ENVIRONMENT HAS CHANGED.

    VOICE: WHILE CYPRUS SEETHED, EUROPE DEVELOPED INTO A POWERFUL TRADE BLOC AND ESTABLISHED THE EUROPEAN UNION. ENTRANCE MEANT CLOUT, AND ATHENS MADE THE CUT [WAS ALLOWED TO JOIN]. TURKEY DIDN'T, THE RESULT OF GREEK OPPOSITION AND CENTURIES-OLD ANTIPATHIES BETWEEN TURKS AND EUROPEANS. WITH BOTH GREECE AND TURKEY MEMBERS OF THE NATO ALLIANCE, THE DISPUTE OVER CYPRUS HAS THROWN A SHADOW FAR LARGER THAN IT SHOULD. .... WASHINGTON, LONDON AND OTHER CAPITALS WITH INFLUENCE ON EITHER SIDE OF THE CYPRIOT DIVIDING LINE SHOULD MOVE NOW AND KEEP THE PRESSURE ON, TO PERSUADE ATHENS AND ANKARA TO FORESTALL AND AVERT THIS DANGEROUS MOMENT.

    /// END OPT

    TEXT: LASTLY, SALUTING THE RETURN OF THE BALD EAGLE IN SUFFICIENT NUMBERS SO THAT IT HAS BEEN TAKEN OFF THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST, "THE MIAMI HERALD" SAYS:

    VOICE: THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT TURNS 25 THIS YEAR. WHEN USED AS INTENDED, IT HAS SAVED THE EXISTENCE OF SOME THREATENED PLANTS AND ANIMALS. WHEN MISUSED, THE ACT HAS BEEN A CONTROVERSIAL TOOL TO FACILITATE BASER MOTIVES THAT HAVE ALLOWED CRITICS TO ENDANGER THE ACT ITSELF. .... THE ACT REMAINS CRUCIAL. HOWEVER, THE PROTECTION OF INDIVIDUAL SPECIES OUGHT NOT BE ALLOWED TO SUPERSEDE THE HEALTH AND VITALITY OF THE ENTIRE ECOSYSTEMS THAT SUPPORT THEM - - AND THE HUMAN SPECIES.

    TEXT: WITH THAT WE CONCLUDE THIS SAMPLING OF EDITORIALS FROM THE FRIDAY U-S PRESS.
    NEB/ANG/KL
    08-May-98 11:22 AM EDT (1522 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)

    DATE=5/8/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-231930
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: STOCK PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES WERE UP TODAY (FRIDAY) IN A STRONG REBOUND FROM RECENT LOSSES. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT BRECK ARDERY REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

    TEXT: THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE CLOSED AT NINE-THOUSAND-55, UP 78 POINTS. FOR THE WEEK, THE INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE LOST 92 POINTS OR ONE PERCENT. THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX CLOSED FRIDAY AT 11-HUNDRED-EIGHT, UP 13 POINTS.

    ANALYSTS SAY THERE WAS SOME BARGAIN HUNTING AFTER THREE STRAIGHT DAYS OF LOSSES AND TRADERS WERE ENCOURAGED BY THE MONTHLY U-S EMPLOYMENT REPORT.

    THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPPED TO A 28-YEAR LOW OF FOUR POINT THREE PERCENT LAST MONTH. HOWEVER, THE REPORT SHOWS THE NUMBER OF MANUFACTURING JOBS FELL BY 10-THOUSAND, INDICATING THE ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS MAY BE HAVING A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON SOME AMERICAN COMPANIES.

    ///REST OPT///

    ANALYST STEVEN KROL SAYS THE EMPLOYMENT REPORT, THOUGH STRONG, DOES NOT CONTAIN THE SEEDS OF INFLATION AND THAT IS GOOD NEWS FOR THE STOCK MARKET.

    ///KROL ACT///

    THIS IS THE LATEST PIECE OF ECONOMIC NEWS THAT IS VERY SUBSTANTIAL AND IT LOOKS LIKE THE FED (U-S CENTRAL BANK) WILL NOT RAISE INTEREST RATES SO THAT IS WHY THE MARKET IS BREAKING OUT TO THE UPSIDE.///END OPT///

    ///END ACT///

    THE U-S TOBACCO INDUSTRY HAS REACHED AGREEMENT TO SETTLE A HEALTH-RELATED LAWSUIT WITH THE MIDWESTERN STATE OF MINNESOTA. THE COMPANIES WILL PAY ABOUT SIX BILLION DOLLARS OVER 25 YEARS. THE COMPANIES PREVIOUSLY REACHED SIMILAR AGREEMENTS WITH THREE OTHER STATES. WALL STREET ANALYSTS HAD EXPECTED THE MINNESOTA SETTLEMENT AND TOBACCO STOCKS WERE NOT SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED.

    THE G-T-E CORPORATION HAS FILED A LAWSUIT WHICH SEEKS TO BLOCK THE PLANNED MERGER OF THE WORLDCOM AND M-C-I TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES. G-T-E LOST A BIDDING WAR FOR M-C-I LAST YEAR.

    THE WOOLWORTH COMPANY PLANS TO ACQUIRE A RETAIL STORE CHAIN CALLED THE SPORTS AUTHORITY, A SPECIALTY RETAILER, IN A STOCK DEAL WORTH 570 MILLION DOLLARS. BUT THE STOCKS OF BOTH COMPANIES FELL AFTER ANALYSTS SAID THE DEAL WILL DILUTE WOOLWORTH'S EARNINGS.

    THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE IS LOOKING FOR A NEW FACILITY AND A BATTLE IS UNDERWAY BETWEEN THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY. NEW YORK IS CURRENTLY TRYING TO ARRANGE A DEAL FOR THE EXCHANGE TO RELOCATE NOT FAR FROM ITS PRESENT HEADQUARTERS ON WALL STREET IN LOWER MANHATTAN. THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY IS OFFERING SOME MAJOR FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE EXCHANGE TO MOVE THERE. BUT WHATEVER HAPPENS NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE CHAIRMAN RICHARD GRASSO SAYS THE NAME WILL NOT BE CHANGED TO THE NEW JERSEY STOCK EXCHANGE.(SIGNED)
    NEB/NY/BA/LSF
    08-May-98 5:13 PM EDT (2113 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE (PART NINE) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (LONDON)

    DATE=5/8/98
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-40306
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    // EDS: THIS IS THE NINTH IN A TEN-PART SERIES OF BACKGROUNDERS LEADING UP TO THE MAY 22ND IRISH REFERENDUMS ON THE POLITICAL CHANGES IN NORTHERN IRELAND. //

    INTRO: OPINIONS ARE DIVIDED AS TO WHETHER THE AGREEMENT REACHED APRIL 10TH ON NORTHERN IRELAND'S POLITICAL FUTURE IS REALLY A "PEACE AGREEMENT" AS ITS PROPONENTS SAY. IN THIS REPORT FROM LONDON, ANDRE DE NESNERA LOOKS AT SOME OF THE DIVERGENT VIEWS ON WHETHER THE ACCORD WILL BRING LASTING PEACE TO THE TROUBLED BRITISH PROVINCE.

    TEXT: WHEN NORTHERN IRELAND'S POLITICAL LEADERS CAME OUT LAST MONTH WITH AN AGREEMENT ON THE FUTURE OF THE BRITISH PROVINCE, YOU COULD ALMOST HEAR A COLLECTIVE SIGH OF RELIEF: AFTER 22 MONTHS OF NEGOTIATIONS, A SINGLE DOCUMENT WAS READY TO BE PRESENTED TO THE IRISH PEOPLE.

    AS WITH ANY PROPOSAL TRYING TO RECONCILE VASTLY DIFFERING VIEWS, IT WAS THE FRUIT OF COMPROMISES. NOT EVERYONE AGREES WITH EVERY SINGLE CLAUSE, BUT MOST POLITICAL PARTIES ACCEPT THAT GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WAS THE BEST DEAL AVAILABLE.

    MANY COMMENTATORS AND ANALYSTS REFER TO THE AGREEMENT AS A "PEACE ACCORD." BUT IS IT?

    WILLIAM ROSS IS A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE LARGEST PRO-BRITISH PARTY, THE "ULSTER UNIONISTS." GOING AGAINST HIS PARTY LEADERSHIP, MR. ROSS IS URGING VOTERS TO REJECT THE DEAL IN THE MAY 22ND REFERENDUM. FOR HIM, THE AGREEMENT CERTAINLY DOES NOT GUARANTEE "PEACE."

    // ROSS ACT //

    THIS IS A SURRENDER AGREEMENT. I THINK IT IS AN AGREEMENT WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY SURRENDERING TO TERRORISM AND PEOPLE HERE ARE SAYING: "OH LOOK, IF WE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS AGREEMENT, THEN WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A LOT MORE VIOLENCE, A LOT MORE VIOLENCE ALL OVER AGAIN." AND MY SIMPLE ANSWER TO THAT IS: "OKAY, WHO IS GOING TO START THIS VIOLENCE AND WHY ARE THEY GOING TO START IT?" AND WHENEVER YOU ANALYZE THE SITUATION OUT TO ITS LOGICAL CONCLUSION, YOU ARE FACED WITH THE FACT THAT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO WOULD START VIOLENCE AGAIN WOULD BE THE PROVISIONAL I-R-A (IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY). AND THE REASON THAT THEY WOULD START THAT VIOLENCE, IS BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT GETTING THE UNITED IRELAND FOR WHICH THEY HAD BOMBED AND SLAUGHTERED FOR (FOR) 30 YEARS. SO IN EFFECT, BY ACCEPTING THE AGREEMENT, YOU HAVE BOWED DOWN TO TERRORISM.

    // END ACT //

    //OPT//

    MANY HARDLINE PRO-BRITISH POLITICIANS AGREE WITH MR. ROSS AND THAT IS WHY THEY ARE CALLING ON VOTERS TO REJECT THE APRIL 10TH ACCORD. //END OPT//

    BUT OTHER POLITICIANS SAY WHILE THE AGREEMENT IS FLAWED, IT DOES REPRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY AND A HOPE FOR PEACE. THEY SAY IT IS A FOUNDATION UPON WHICH PEACE COULD BE BUILT.

    ONE OF THEM IS FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER JOHN MAJOR. DURING A RECENT SPEECH TO BELFAST BUSINESSMEN'S BREAKFAST, MR. MAJOR DESCRIBED WHAT A "NO" VOTE IN THE MAY 22ND REFERENDUM COULD MEAN TO NORTHERN IRELAND'S FUTURE.

    // MAJOR ACT //

    'NO' TO MORE INWARD INVESTMENT. 'NO' TO MORE JOBS. 'NO' TO BRINGING HOME MANY OF THE BRIGHTEST AND MOST PROMISING OF ULSTER'S YOUNG PEOPLE WHO LEFT NORTHERN IRELAND TO GO AND FIND CAREERS ELSEWHERE. 'NO' TO FINDING ENOUGH EMPLOYMENT FOR THEIR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. 'NO' TO A PEACEFUL FUTURE. 'NO' TO RECONCILIATION. 'NO' TO AN END TO MURDER AND TO VIOLENCE. 'NO' TO AN END TO FEAR AND SUSPICION. FOR MOST PEOPLE, A 'NO' VOTE WILL BE A 'NO' TO HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.

    // END ACT //

    //OPT//

    MR. MAJOR SAYS A 'NO' VOTE MAKES IT MUCH MORE LIKELY THAT NORTHERN IRELAND WILL RETURN TO FURTHER BITTERNESS AND BLOODSHED. //END OPT// JOHN HUME, LEADER OF THE NATIONALIST "SOCIAL, DEMOCRATIC AND LABOR" PARTY SAYS THE AGREEMENT WILL HELP HEAL THE WOUNDS OF A DIVIDED SOCIETY AND REPRESENTS A STEP TOWARDS PEACE.

    // HUME ACT //

    THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF IT IS TO PROVIDE LASTING STABILITY AND THEREFORE LASTING PEACE FOR ALL OUR PEOPLE. CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL, BUT THAT IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT. AND I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY 22ND. IT IS A VERY HISTORIC DAY, WHEN THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND AS A WHOLE WILL COME OUT AND SPEAK WITH THEIR FEET AND SPEAK FOR THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, TO PROVIDE LASTING PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE IRELAND OF THE FUTURE.

    // END ACT //

    THROUGHOUT THE AGREEMENT, THE WORD "PEACE" IS USED VERY SPARINGLY. BUT IN READING THE ACCORD, ONE DOES GET A SENSE THAT THE HOPE FOR A LASTING PEACE W-A-S WHAT DROVE NEGOTIATORS TO AGREE ON A DOCUMENT SETTING OUT NORTHERN IRELAND'S FUTURE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/ADEN/PCF
    08-May-98 10:52 AM EDT (1452 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] TURKMEN PIPELINE (CQ) BY MEREDITH BUEL (ASHGABAT)

    DATE=5/8/98
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-40314
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// RE-ISSUING TO CHANGE LAST SENTENCE IN NEXT TO LAST GRAF: SENTENCE SHOULD READ: "IRANIAN OFFICIALS SAY A PIPELINE THROUGH I-R-A-N WOULD BE LESS EXPENSIVE AND WOULD PROVIDE A MORE DIRECT ROUTE TO MARKETS IN ASIA" -- IRAN, STED IRAQ///

    INTRO: THE CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRY OF TURKMENISTAN HAS THE WORLD'S FOURTH LARGEST RESERVES OF NATURAL GAS, AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS PREDICT THE TURKMEN PEOPLE COULD SOON BE AS WEALTHY AS THE CITIZENS OF OIL-RICH KUWAIT. BIG WESTERN ENERGY COMPANIES ARE PLANNING TO BUILD PIPELINES TO CARRY TURKMENISTAN'S GAS TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, BUT PROBLEMS WITH REGIONAL STABILITY AND FINANCING ARE PROVING TO BE DIFFICULT OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT MEREDITH BUEL REPORTS FROM THE TURKMEN CAPITAL, ASHGABAT.

    TEXT: A MULTINATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF ENERGY COMPANIES LED BY THE U-S-BASED UNOCAL CORPORATION HAS PLANS TO BUILD A ONE-POINT-NINE-BILLION-DOLLAR PIPELINE TO LINK TURKMENISTAN'S VAST NATURAL GAS RESERVES WITH GROWING MARKETS IN SOUTH ASIA.

    THE NEARLY 15-HUNDRED-KILOMETER PIPELINE WOULD RUN ACROSS TURKMENISTAN, THROUGH WAR-TORN AFGHANISTAN AND INTO PAKISTAN. THERE ARE PLANS TO EXTEND THE PIPELINE ALL THE WAY TO INDIA.

    ENERGY ANALYSTS SAY THE REVENUE FROM THIS PIPELINE WOULD PROVIDE TURKMENISTAN'S FOUR-AND-ONE-HALF MILLION RESIDENTS WITH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR.

    THE MAJOR OBSTACLE TO THIS PLAN IS THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN.

    LATER THIS MONTH OFFICIALS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL PIPELINE CONSORTIUM PLAN TO TRAVEL TO AFGHANISTAN TO MEET WITH THE TALEBAN AND OPPOSITION ALLIANCE LEADERS.

    THEY PLAN TO TRAVEL ALONG THE PIPELINE ROUTE, WHICH CROSSES THE FRONT LINES IN THE AFGHAN CIVIL WAR, AND DISCUSS THE PROJECT WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS.

    SCOTT BARBER IS UNOCAL'S REPRESENTATIVE IN TURKMENISTAN. HE SAYS A PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO THE AFGHAN CONFLICT IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE PIPELINE PROJECT TO SUCCEED.

    /// BARBER ACT ///

    FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS NOW REGARD THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN TO BE NOT STABLE ENOUGH TO MERIT FINANCING FROM THEIR STANDPOINT. SO THAT IS HOW A CIVIL WAR IN ANY COUNTRY -- WHETHER IT IS AFGHANISTAN OR PERHAPS EVEN ANGOLA OR ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD, SUDAN, CHAD -- CAN INFLUENCE PROJECTS JUST BY CREATING A SITUATION WHERE BANKS ARE NOT WILLING TO FINANCE AND RISK THEIR CAPITAL.

    /// END ACT ///

    CURRENTLY, THE ONLY INTERNATIONAL PIPELINES CONNECTED TO TURKMENISTAN'S HUGE GASFIELDS ARE CONTROLLED BY RUSSIA. BECAUSE OF A FINANCIAL DISPUTE WITH MOSCOW, NO GAS HAS BEEN PUMPED THROUGH THIS NETWORK SINCE MARCH OF LAST YEAR. BECAUSE GAS IS TURKMENISTAN'S MAJOR EXPORT PRODUCT, THIS HAS SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED THE AMOUNT OF REVENUE AVAILABLE, AND PUT ADDED PRESSURE ON THE GOVERNMENT TO FIND NEW PIPELINES TO NEW MARKETS. SCOTT BARBER OF UNOCAL SAYS THE TURKMEN GOVERNMENT HAS CHANGED ITS ATTITUDE TOWARD WESTERN INVESTORS.

    /// BARBER ACT ///

    WELL OF COURSE IT'S ALWAYS A CHALLENGE TO GO INTO A NEW COUNTRY, WHETHER IT'S ARGENTINA OR TURKMENISTAN OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. THERE WERE OF COURSE IN THE PAST REMNANTS OF THE OLD SOVIET SYSTEM, THEY WERE A LITTLE BIT RELUCTANT TO BECOME INVOLVED IN WESTERN INVESTORS, BUT THERE HAS BEEN A MARKED CHANGE IN TURKMENISTAN OVER THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF TO TWO YEARS.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE TURKMEN GOVERNMENT HAS FORMED AN AGENCY TO OVERSEE FOREIGN INVESTMENT ACTIVITIES. A NEW PETROLEUM LAW IS IN PLACE AND SAMPLE MODEL CONTRACTS HAVE BEEN DRAWN UP. THEY FORM THE FRAMEWORK FOR NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN TURKMENISTAN AND FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN THE COUNTRY'S NATURAL RESOURCES.

    OTHER PIPELINE PROJECTS ARE BEING PLANNED HERE. RECENTLY THE UNITED STATES, WHICH HAS EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT THE SLOW PACE OF POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS IN TURKMENISTAN, GAVE THE GOVERNMENT 750-THOUSAND-DOLLARS FOR A FEASIBILITY STUDY. ENGINEERS WILL LOOK INTO A NEW PIPELINE ROUTE -- TO TAKE TURKMEN GAS UNDER THE CASPIAN SEA THROUGH AZERBAIJAN AND GEORGIA THEN INTO TURKEY.

    THE UNITED STATES IS SEEKING A DELICATE BALANCE -- URGING POLITICAL REFORMS IN TURKMENISTAN WHILE TRYING TO DIRECT DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY'S RICH ENERGY POTENTIAL TOWARD THE WEST AND AWAY FROM IRAN. IRANIAN OFFICIALS SAY A PIPELINE THROUGH IRAN WOULD BE LESS EXPENSIVE AND WOULD PROVIDE A MORE DIRECT ROUTE TO MARKETS IN ASIA.

    TURKMEN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SUPPORT MULTIPLE PIPELINES IN THE CASPIAN REGION. THEY SAY COUNTRIES HERE SHOULD NOT BE TREATED AS POSSIBLE SPHERES OF INFLUENCE BY GOVERNMENTS OUTSIDE THE REGION. (SIGNED) NEB/MB/TM-T/WTW/KL
    08-May-98 12:54 PM EDT (1654 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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