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Voice of America, 98-12-11

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] MONTENEGRO/FEARS BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] EUROPEAN SUMMIT (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [03] YEARENDER: EURO BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [04] FRANCE FRONT (L-ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [05] PINOCHET EXTRADITION (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [06] EDITORIAL: ALBRIGHT ON NATO IN THE NEXT CENTURY
  • [07] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [08] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] MONTENEGRO/FEARS BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=12/11/98
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42124
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THERE ARE GROWING FEARS THAT THE TINY YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MONTENEGRO COULD BECOME THE NEXT FLASHPOINT IN THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS CRISIS IN THE BALKANS. TENSIONS ARE ESCALATING BETWEEN MONTENEGRO AND SERBIA -- THE DOMINANT OF THE TWO REMAINING PARTNERS IN THE YUGOSLAV FEDERATION. V-O-A'S DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS.

    TEXT: WHEN YUGOSLAVIA BEGAN TO BREAK APART AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS DECADE, MONTENEGRO WAS THE ONLY ONE OF SERBIA'S ERSTWHILE ALLIES THAT OPTED TO REMAIN IN THE FEDERATION. BUT TENSIONS SOON DEVELOPED BETWEEN BELGRADE AND THE MONTENEGRIN CAPITAL, PODGORICA, AS SERBIAN INVOLVEMENT IN THE WARS IN THE NEWLY INDEPENDENT REPUBLICS OF SLOVENIA, CROATIA AND BOSNIA SPARKED INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION AND STIFF ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST BOTH FEDERAL PARTNERS.

    SIMMERING TENSIONS BURST INTO THE OPEN LATE LAST YEAR AFTER THE ELECTION OF 36-YEAR OLD POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMER MILO DJUKANOVIC AS MONTENEGRO'S NEW PRESIDENT.

    YUGOSLAV LEADER SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC HAS REFUSED TO RECOGNIZE THE DJUKANOVIC VICTORY AND APPOINTED THE MONTENEGRIN LEADER'S MAIN POLITICAL RIVAL (MOMIR BULATOVIC) AS FEDERAL PRIME MINISTER.

    BELGRADE NOW REFERS TO MR. DJUKANOVIC AS A TRAITOR, BENT ON BREAKING UP WHAT IS LEFT OF YUGOSLAVIA.

    THERE IS TALK OF SECESSION IN PODGORICA. THE NEW MONTENEGRIN GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY TAKEN STEPS TO LOOSEN TIES WITH SERBIA. MONTENEGRO IS ALSO HOSTING AND SUPPORTING SOME OF THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS AND BROADCASTERS RECENTLY BANNED IN BELGRADE.

    MONTENEGRIN LEADERS SAY THEY FEAR BELGRADE'S RESPONSE COULD BE DEVASTATING AND POTENTIALLY VIOLENT. THEIR FEARS WERE HEIGHTENED LAST MONTH WHEN PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC DISMISSED THE YUGOSLAV ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF, MOMCILO PERISIC, A MONTENEGRIN -- WHO REPORTEDLY DISOBEYED ORDERS TO IMPOSE MARTIAL LAW IN MONTENEGRO LAST JANUARY TO PREVENT THE INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC.

    IN TESTIMONY BEFORE A U-S CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE (THIS WEEK), MONTENEGRIN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST SRDJAN DERMANOVIC SAID BELGRADE IS NOW PREPARING FOR A CONFRONTATION WITH MONTENEGRO.

    IT IS ONLY BY PROVOKING CRISES, HE SAID, THAT PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC CAN MAINTAIN HIS GRIP ON POWER.

    //DERMANOVIC ACT///

    THE ONLY TERRITORY LEFT FOR EXERCISING THIS METHOD OF CREATING CRISES TO STAY IN POWER IS MONTENEGRO AT THE MOMENT.

    ///END ACT///

    MR. DERMANOVIC BELIEVES THE TROUBLE COULD BEGIN NEXT MONTH, WHEN MONTENEGRINS LOYAL TO MR. MILOSEVIC PLAN A PUBLIC CELEBRATION TO MARK THE ORTHODOX NEW YEAR. MANY IN PODGORICA, HE SAID, BELIEVE THE EVENT COULD SPARK RIOTS AND CLASHES, AIMED AT JUSTIFYING A CRACKDOWN BY BELGRADE.

    JAMES HOOPER, WHO HEADS THE PRIVATE BALKAN ACTION COUNCIL HERE IN WASHINGTON, SAYS THAT SCENARIO IS PLAUSIBLE.

    ///HOOPER ACT///

    MILOSEVIC CAN CHOOSE AMONG ANY NUMBER OF PROVOCATIONS, IF HE WISHES, WITHIN MONTENEGRO TO JUSTIFY A MOVE ON HIS PART AGAINST THE MONTENEGRINS. AFTER ALL, HE HAS ALREADY LAUNCHED FOUR WARS AGAINST OTHER NEIGHBORS -- SLOVENIA, CROATIA, BOSNIA THEN KOSOVO. A CONFLICT WITH MONTENEGRO WOULD BE THE FIFTH WAR. I THINK IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE. IN FACT, I BELIEVE IT IS LIKELY. THE ONLY THING THAT WILL STOP HIM IS A CREDIBLE RED LINE DRAWN BY WASHINGTON AND NATO, WARNING HIM AGAINST INTERFERING IN MONTENEGRO'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS.

    ///END ACT///

    MR. DERMANOVIC NOTES THAT THE MONTENEGRIN GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY REQUESTED THE DEPLOYMENT OF OBSERVERS FROM THE EUROPEAN SECURITY ORGANIZATION IN A BID TO DISSUADE BELGRADE FROM INTERVENING.

    ///DERMANOVIC ACT///

    A DIRECT INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE IN MONTENEGRO, COMBINED WITH DECISIVE THREATS TO MR. MILOSEVIC IN THE EVENT HE TRIES TO CAUSE ANOTHER CRISIS, IS NECESSARY AS (FOR) A POLICY OF PREVENTION.

    ///END ACT///

    THE REQUEST FOR O-S-C-E OBSERVERS IS NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION. BUT JAMES HOOPER SAYS WASHINGTON AND ITS NATO ALLIES HAVE YET TO EVINCE A SENSE OF URGENCY ABOUT THE MONTENEGRIN SITUATION.

    ///HOOPER ACT///

    AND I AM DEEPLY CONCERNED THAT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE IS YET ANOTHER CONFLICT IN WHICH NATO STAYS OUT FROM THE BEGINNING, SITS ON THE SIDELINES, AND THEN AFTER THE SITUATION HAS CHANGED AND A LOT OF VIOLENCE HAS TAKEN PLACE, THEN NATO DECIDES TO GET INVOLVED. BUT MEANWHILE, MR. MILOSEVIC HAS ALREADY AFFECTED THE AGENDA, HAS ALREADY CREATED A NEW HUMANITARIAN DISASTER.

    //OPT//

    AND IN THE CASE OF MONTENEGRO, IT WOULD MEAN UNDERMINING A GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS MADE, I THINK, EXTRAORDINARY PROGRESS IN REFORMING THE POLITICAL SYSTEM TOWARD DEMOCRATIZATION AND TOWARD OPENING UP A MARKET ECONOMY IN MONTENEGRO. //END OPT//

    ///END ACT///

    MR. HOOPER IS AMONG MANY BALKAN EXPERTS HERE WHO SAY THE THREAT OF A CRISIS OVER MONTENEGRO DEMONSTRATES THE NEED FOR MORE WESTERN SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION GROUPS IN SERBIA ITSELF.

    WE NEED TO SHOW THE SERBIAN PEOPLE, HE SAYS, THAT WE NO LONGER REGARD PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC AS OUR DE-FACTO PARTNER, THAT WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO A NEW DEMOCRATIC DAWNING IN SERBIA AND THAT WE ARE FOLLOWING POLICIES THAT LOOK BEYOND A DICTATOR.

    MR. HOOPER SAYS THE EMERGENCE OF A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT IN BELGRADE WOULD REMOVE THE THREAT TO MONTENEGRO, AND BOLSTER THE PROSPECTS FOR LASTING PEACE IN BOSNIA AND KOSOVO. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DBR/JO
    11-Dec-98 2:41 PM EST (1941 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] EUROPEAN SUMMIT (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=12/11/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-242841
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE LEADERS OF THE 15 COUNTRIES IN THE EUROPEAN UNION OPENED A TWO DAY SUMMIT MEETING IN VIENNA. RON PEMSTEIN REPORTS THE LEADERS AGREED ON DEFENSE BUT DISAGREED ABOUT MONEY.

    TEXT: THE VIENNA SUMMIT IS NOT THE VENUE WHERE THE EUROPEAN UNION'S BUDGET BATTLE WILL BE SETTLED. THAT WILL PROBABLY HAPPEN IN LATE MARCH IN BRUSSELS WHEN THE LEADERS WILL BE ON A DEADLINE TO REFORM THEIR FINANCES FOR THE NEXT DECADE.

    AS GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER JOSCHKA FISCHER PUT IT, THERE IS NO NEW MONEY HERE. IT'S NOT A MATTER OF FINDING MORE MONEY HE SAYS BUT DOING MORE WITH THE MONEY YOU HAVE. THAT MEANS THE LAST SUMMIT OF THE AUSTRIAN PRESIDENCY HAS ALL SIDES DEFENDING THEIR CURRENT POSITIONS. GERMANY, AUSTRIA, SWEDEN AND THE NETHERLANDS COMPLAIN THEY PAY A LARGER SHARE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION'S 100 BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET THAN THEY RECEIVE BACK IN BENEFITS. THEY WANT TO REDUCE COSTS BY CUTTING THE EUROPEAN UNION'S FUNDS TO SUPPORT POORER REGIONS. SPAIN, ALONG WITH GREECE, PORTUGAL AND IRELAND DEFEND THEIR AID FUNDS, FEARINGTHEY WILL DISAPPEAR IN THE NEXT CENTURY WHEN EVEN POORER COUNTRIES FROM CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE JOIN THE UNION. IN CONTRAST TO THE GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, THE SPANISH FINANCE MINISTER SAYS MORE MONEY IS NEEDED TO FUND EXPANSION.

    GERMANY ALSO SUGGESTS ITS CHECKBOOK CANNOT REMAIN OPEN TO FUND THE EUROPEAN UNION'S GIANT FARM SUBSIDIES. FRANCE REFUSES TO PENALIZE ITS FARMERS. FRANCE SUGGESTS BRITAIN GIVE UP THE THREE BILLION DOLLAR REBATE WON IN THE 1980S BY PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER. THE CURRENT BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR DEFENDS HIS COUNTRY'S AID AND HIS SPOKESMAN SAYS FARMERS CANNOT BE COMPENSATED FOREVER.

    THE EUROPEAN LEADERS DID AGREE TO IMPROVE TAX COORDINATION ESPECIALLY ON SAVINGS ACCOUNTS TO PREVENT SOME COUNTRIES FROM BECOMING TAX HAVENS. RIGHT NOW, GERMAN SAVERS PUT THEIR MONEY IN LUXEMBOURG WHICH DOES NOT IMPOSE TAXES ON THEIR ACCOUNTS AS GERMANY DOES.

    ON THE FIRST DAY OF THEIR TWO DAY SUMMIT, THE LEADERS SUPPORTED THE BRITISH-FRENCH DEFENSE PLANS FOR EUROPE TO TAKE MILITARY ACTIONS WHEN THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT WANT TO PARTICIPATE. BRITAIN'S TONY BLAIR EMPHASIZES NATO EQUIPMENT WILL BE USED IN SUCH OPERATIONS. THE LEADERS ALSO HAILED FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR HELMUT KOHL AS AN HONORARY CITIZEN OF EUROPE. MR. KOHL IS THE SECOND PERSON TO RECEIVE THAT HONOR AFTER JEAN MONNET, THE FRENCHMAN WHO PIONEERED THE ORIGINAL COMMON MARKET.

    THE GERMAN LEADER FOR 16 YEARS WAS DEFEATED FOR RE-ELECTION LAST SEPTEMBER. HE CLAIMS HE IS NOT A MONUMENT. WHEN YOU ARE A MONUMENT, HE JOKES, BIRDS COME AND SIT ON YOU AND NOT ONLY SIT, THEY DO SOMETHING ELSE AS WELL. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/KL
    11-Dec-98 1:45 PM EST (1845 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] YEARENDER: EURO BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=12/11/98
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42119
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: ON JANUARY FIRST, A NEW WORLD CURRENCY COMES INTO BEING IN 11 OF THE 15 MEMBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. THE EURO WILL BE A LEGAL CURRENCY ALONGSIDE NATIONAL CURRENCIES BUT WILL NOT REPLACE THEM WITH BILLS AND COINS UNTIL THE YEAR 2002. CORRESPONDENT RON PEMSTEIN IN BRUSSELS TAKES A LOOK AT THE CREATION OF THE EURO AND ITS POSSIBLE IMPACT.

    TEXT: THE WORLD'S ECONOMIC FUTURE MAY HAVE BEEN SHAPED LAST MAY SECOND WHEN THE BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER, GORDON BROWN, ANNOUNCED THE 11 COUNTRIES THAT BOTH QUALIFY AND DESIRE TO JOIN EUROPE'S SINGLE CURRENCY.

    /// BROWN ACT ///

    THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE COUNCIL IS THAT 11 MEMBER STATES, BELGIUM, GERMANY, SPAIN, FRANCE, IRELAND, ITALY, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, AUSTRIA, PORTUGAL AND FINLAND FULFILL THE NECESSARY CONDITIONS FOR ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION. THIS IS NOT SIMPLY THE END OF A PROCESS, IT IS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA FOR EUROPE.

    /// END ACT ///

    CHANCELLOR BROWN'S OWN BRITAIN, ALONG WITH SWEDEN AND DENMARK DECIDED NOT TO ADOPT THE EURO IN THE FIRST ROUND. GREECE WANTS TO JOIN THE SINGLE CURRENCY BUT THE GREEK ECONOMY DOES NOT MEET THE BUDGET STANDARDS SET FOR JOINING THE EURO. THE 11 COUNTRIES HAVE ALL AGREED TO HAVE A COMMON INTEREST RATE OF THREE PERCENT. THEY ARE FREEZING THE EXCHANGE RATES BETWEEN THEIR NATIONAL CURRENCIES. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THEIR FINANCE MINISTERS AND CENTRAL BANKS ARE LOSING ALL CONTROL OF MACRO-ECONOMIC POLICY TO THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY.

    THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK WILL SET COMMON INTEREST RATES FOR THE 11 COUNTRIES AND DETERMINE THEIR BUDGET DEFICITS WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NEEDS OF INDIVIDUAL GOVERNMENTS. WHILE THE EURO AND CENTS WILL NOT CIRCULATE FOR A FEW YEARS, PRICES CAN BE SET IN EUROS. SO CAN BOND CERTIFICATES. BANK ACCOUNTS CAN BE OPENED IN EUROS AND BY REQUEST EUROS CAN BE CHARGED ON CREDIT CARDS. IT WILL BECOME EASY, FOR EXAMPLE, TO COMPARE PRICES ON THE SAME TELEVISION SOLD IN FRANCE, GERMANY OR THE NETHERLANDS WITHOUT USING A CALCULATOR BECAUSE ALL THREE COUNTRIES WILL OFFER PRICES IN EUROS.

    SUCH WELL-KNOWN CURRENCIES AS THE GERMAN MARK, THE FRENCH FRANC OR THE ITALIAN LIRA WILL BECOME LESS USED UNTIL THEY BECOME INVALID IN THE YEAR 2002. EUROPEANS ARE LEARNING A NEW VOCABULARY.

    IN THE NETHERLANDS

    /// DUTCH WOMAN ACT ///

    IN DUTCH, EURO

    ///END ACT///

    IN GERMAN, THE COMMON CURRENCY

    ///GERMAN MAN ACT ///

    DIE EURO, DIE GEMEINSAME WAERUNG

    ///END ACT///

    IN ITALIAN

    ///ITALIAN MAN ACT///

    EYRO

    ///END ACT///

    WHILE DENMARK IS HESITATING ABOUT JOINING A COMMON CURRENCY THIS DANISH WOMAN HAS A WORD FOR IT.

    ///DANISH WOMAN ACT///

    EUR

    ///END ACT///

    WILL THE EURO REPLACE THE DOLLAR AS THE CURRENCY OF CHOICE IN SUCH COUNTRIES AS CHINA OR JAPAN FOR THEIR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS? WILL FRANKFURT OR BRUSSELS REPLACE LONDON AS THE WORLD'S FINANCIAL CAPITAL BECAUSE BRITAIN IS NOT ADOPTING THE EURO? THESE WILL BE THE QUESTIONS TO WATCH IN 1999 AND 2000. INTERNATIONAL MONEY SPECULATORS MAY TRY TO PUT THE EURO UNDER PRESSURE.

    EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JACQUES SANTER NOTED LAST SEPTEMBER THAT THE RUSSIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS DID NOT SHAKE CONFIDENCE IN THE PLANNING FOR THE EURO.

    ///SANTER ACT///

    THIS CRISIS WELL DOCUMENTS THAT THE EURO IS STRONG AND THAT THE EURO ZONE REACTED VERY FIRMLY AND THAT'S ALSO A STRONG SIGNAL FOR THE CREDIBILITY OF THE EURO FOR THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL MARKETS. THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO STRESS. SO I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE EURO IN THE FIRST QUESTION WILL BE LAUNCHED ON TIME ON THE FIRST OF JANUARY 1999 IN THE 11 MEMBER STATES. I CAN ONLY SAY THAT I AM VERY GLAD TO SEE AND NOW TO WITNESS THE IMPORTANT DAY IT WAS ON THE SECOND OF MAY THIS YEAR AS WE LAUNCHED THE DECISION WITH 11 HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT, THE EURO. OTHERWISE THE SITUATION COULD BE QUITE DIFFERENT AT THIS VERY MOMENT.

    ///END ACT///

    ONE PROBLEM THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK FACES IS THAT THE POLITICIANS WHO CREATED IT, FRANCOIS MITTERAND AND HELMUT KOHL ARE NO LONGER AROUND TO GUARANTEE STABILITY. THE FRENCH AND GERMAN SOCIALIST FINANCE MINISTERS ARE ALREADY PRESSURING THE BANK TO KEEP INTEREST RATES LOW TO SPUR GROWTH AND BRING DOWN UNEMPLOYMENT. STILL, GERMANY AND FRANCE ARE EUROPE'S LARGEST ECONOMIES AND THE ONES WHO WILL GUARANTEE SUCCESS FOR THE EURO. THE NETHERLANDS GOES ALONG BECAUSE ONE FOURTH OF DUTCH TRADE IS WITH GERMANY AND DUTCHMAN WIM DUISENBERG WILL BE LEADING THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK.

    BELGIUM WANTS TO EMPHASIZE ITS EUROPEAN IDENTITY AFTER SO MANY YEARS OF STRIFE BETWEEN DUTCH AND FRENCH SPEAKERS. LUXEMBOURG WANTS TO GUARANTEE TRADE WITH ITS NEIGHBORS. ITALY'S POOR FINANCES MADE IT A WEAK CANDIDATE FOR THE EURO, BUT THE ITALIANS DID NOT WANT TO BE PUT ON THE MARGINS BY FRANCE AND GERMANY. FOR THE ITALIAN ECONOMY, THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK IS SEEN AS A GUARANTEE OF PRICE STABILITY. SPAIN, PORTUGAL AND IRELAND ALL SEE MONETARY UNION AS A GUARANTEE THAT SUBSIDIES FOR AGRICULTURE AND POOR REGIONS WILL CONTINUE TO FLOW FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION. AUSTRIA HAS TIED ITS SCHILLING TO THE GERMAN MARK FOR YEARS AND WAS EAGER TO JOIN THE EURO. FINLAND, ALONE AMONG THE NORDIC COUNTRIES, WANTS TO DEMONSTRATE ITS EUROPEAN CREDENTIALS BY ADOPTING THE EURO.

    WHILE GREECE IS YEARS AWAY FROM QUALIFYING FOR THE EURO, BRITAIN, SWEDEN AND DENMARK ARE STILL SUSPICIOUS OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AND THEY WILL WANT TO SEE THE EURO'S PERFORMANCE BEFORE THEY AGREE TO JOIN THE SINGLE CURRENCY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/KL
    11-Dec-98 12:25 PM EST (1725 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] FRANCE FRONT (L-ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=12/11/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-242824
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: JEAN-MARIE LE PEN, THE LEADER OF FRANCE'S EXTREME-RIGHT NATIONAL FRONT PARTY, SAID FRIDAY HE WILL EXPEL HIS DEPUTY AND FOUR OTHER TOP OFFICIALS FOR MOUNTING WHAT HE CALLS "A PLOT AGAINST HIS LEADERSHIP." JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: IN AN EMOTIONAL STATEMENT DESIGNED TO PUT AN END TO AN OPEN REBELLION WITHIN THE ANTI-IMMIGRATION NATIONAL FRONT PARTY, THE PARTY'S FOUNDER, JEAN-MARIE LE PEN, SAID HE WILL EXPEL FIVE OFFICIALS.

    THESE OFFICIALS -- STARTING WITH BRUNO MEGRET, WHO WAS MR. LE PEN'S NUMBER TWO, UNTIL THIS WEEK -- INCLUDE THE HUSBAND OF ONE OF MR. LE PEN'S OWN DAUGHTERS.

    MR. LE PEN, SAYING HIS BATTLE TO KEEP IMMIGRANTS OUT OF FRANCE IS AIMED AT PRESERVING THE FRENCH NATION, SAID MR. MEGRET AND THE OTHERS HAVE DONE MORE HARM TO THE NATIONAL FRONT THAN THE PARTY'S WORST ENEMIES.

    MAKING ONE ACCUSATION AFTER ANOTHER, MR. LE PEN SAID, WITHOUT NAMING THE HEAD OF STATE, THAT THE PLOT AGAINST HIS LEADERSHIP WAS IN EFFECT MOUNTED BY PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC. HE SAID IT WAS ORGANIZED BY "POWERFUL CAPITALISTS" CLOSE TO THE ELYSEE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE.

    ///LE PEN ACT IN FRENCH -- FADE UNDER NARRATIVE///

    UN GROUPUSCULE, MANIPULE PAR DE PUISSANTS CAPITALISTES PROCHES DE L'ELYSEE, MUTIPLIE DEPUIS DES SEMAINES ET DES MOIS DES MANOEUVRES SUBVERSIVES.

    ///END ACT///

    IN ADDITION TO STARTING THE EXPULSION MOVES, MR. LE PEN CALLED ON NATIONAL FRONT MEMBERS WHO HAVE ALREADY RESPONDED TO A CALL FROM THE DISSENTERS IN THE MOVEMENT FOR A NATIONAL CONGRESS NEXT MONTH TO WITHDRAW THEIR SIGNATURES.

    SERGE MARTINEZ, ONE OF THE NATIONAL FRONT OFFICIALS ALREADY SUSPENDED, SAYS THE PARTY HAS BLOCKED THE DELIVERY OF THOUSANDS OF LETTERS ADDRESSED TO HIM THAT HE BELIEVES BACK THE CALL FOR A CONGRESS THAT WOULD SETTLE THE LEADERSHIP DISPUTE.

    MR. MEGRET SAID EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT HE HAS THE SUPPORT OF A MAJORITY OF NATIONAL FRONT MEMBERS.

    ANOTHER SUPPORTER OF MR. MEGRET IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE SAID MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL FRONT'S INTERNAL SECURITY UNIT INVADED HIS OFFICE LATE THURSDAY, TERRORIZING PARTY OFFICIALS WHO WERE THERE AND TEARING UP POSTERS AND DOCUMENTS. NOW, THERE ARE HINTS THAT THE NATIONAL FRONT DISPUTE COULD MOVE TO ANOTHER, LEGALISTIC TERRAIN. OFFICIALS CLOSE TO MR. MEGRET HAVE SAID PUBLICLY THAT THE SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE LE PEN FAMILY COST THE NATIONAL FRONT 21 MILLION FRANCS, OR MORE THAN THREE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS, EACH YEAR.

    SOME OF THE SUSPENDED OFFICIALS STILL CONTROL SOME OF THE PARTY'S FINANCES. FRENCH MEDIA SAY ONE OF THEM EVEN HOLDS THE LEASE OF THE NATIONAL FRONT'S HEADQUARTERS AND OF MR. LE PEN'S OWN HOUSE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JWN/PCF
    11-Dec-98 7:21 AM EST (1221 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] PINOCHET EXTRADITION (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=12/11/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-242833
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: FORMER CHILEAN LEADER AUGUSTO PINOCHET MADE HIS FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE FRIDAY SINCE HIS ARREST NEARLY TWO MONTHS AGO. HE ARRIVED IN A LONDON COURT TO HEAR THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN REPORTS FROM LONDON THE FORMER GENERAL SAYS HE REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE THE JURISDICTION OF ANY COURT OUTSIDE HIS OWN COUNTRY.

    TEXT: THE 83-YEAR-OLD FORMER GENERAL ARRIVED AT THE COURT IN A FOUR-CAR POLICE CONVOY WITH A HELICOPTER ESCORT OVERHEAD. INSIDE, AS HE ADDRESSED THE JUDGE, MR PINOCHET DISMISSED SPAIN'S CHARGES AGAINST HIM AS LIES AND SAID HE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE JURISDICTION OF ANY COURT OUTSIDE CHILE.

    THE SPANISH JUDGE WHO REQUESTED HIS EXTRADITION HAS FORMALLY CHARGED MR. PINOCHET WITH CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY DURING HIS 17-YEAR RULE IN CHILE.

    THE COURT SET THE EXTRADITION HEARING FOR JANUARY 18TH AND SAID MR. PINOCHET WOULD BE ALLOWED TO GO OUTSIDE HIS RENTED VILLA IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE TO EXERCISE. BUT HE CANNOT LEAVE THE GROUNDS OF THE ESTATE.

    MR PINOCHET'S LAWYERS HAVE ALREADY STARTED THE LEGAL BATTLE TO BLOCK EXTRADITION TO SPAIN.

    A GROUP OF 250 PINOCHET SUPPORTERS CHARTERED A PLANE TO COME FROM CHILE TO DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE AS A SHOW OF THEIR ALLEGIANCE TO THE FORMER LEADER. RELATIVES OF VICTIMS OF MR. PINOCHET'S GOVERNMENT WERE ALSO ON HAND TO WITNESS SOMETHING THEY SAY THEY NEVER EXPECTED TO SEE.

    THE ELDERLY PINOCHET, WEARING A BROWN PIN-STRIPED SUIT, WAS WHEELED INTO THE COURTROOM AND LISTENED SILENTLY TO THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM -- RANGING FROM TORTURE AND KIDNAPPING TO GENOCIDE.

    IN A HUSKY VOICE, HE IDENTIFIED HIMSELF TO THE COURT AS A CHILEAN SENATOR AND FORMER COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE REPUBLIC. SPEAKING IN SPANISH, MR. PINOCHET TOLD THE JUDGE HE REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE THE JURISDICTION OF ANY OTHER COURT BUT A CHILEAN COURT TO TRY HIM AGAINST WHAT HE CALLED THE LIES OF SPAIN.

    /// OPT ///

    AUGUSTO PINOCHET WAS ARRESTED NEARLY TWO MONTHS AGO WHILE HE WAS RECUPERATING FROM BACK SURGERY AT A LONDON CLINIC. A LOWER COURT IN LONDON RULED HE WAS IMMUNE FROM EXTRADITION TO SPAIN. BUT THE HOUSE OF LORDS OVERTURNED THAT DECISION. THEN ON WEDNESDAY, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY JACK STRAW ANNOUNCED THE SPANISH EXTRADITION REQUEST COULD GO AHEAD. /// END OPT ///

    IRONICALLY, EVEN IF MR PINOCHET WERE CONVICTED IN A SPANISH COURT, HE WOULD NOT GO TO PRISON. SPAIN DOES NOT JAIL ANYONE OVER THE AGE OF 75. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/RRM
    11-Dec-98 12:03 PM EST (1703 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] EDITORIAL: ALBRIGHT ON NATO IN THE NEXT CENTURY

    DATE= DECEMBER 14, 1998
    TYPE= EDITORIAL
    NUMBER= 0-08100
    CONTENT=THIS IS THE FIRST OF FOUR EDITORIALS BEING RELEASED FOR
    BROADCAST DECEMBER 14, 1998.

    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:

    NATO LEADERS WILL ISSUE A NEW BLUEPRINT OUTLINING THE MISSION OF THE ALLIANCE WHEN THEY MEET NEXT APRIL. AS U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT SAID, NATO'S INTERESTS MAY BE AFFECTED BY A WIDE RANGE OF RISKS, INCLUDING THE SPREAD OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, ETHNIC VIOLENCE AND REGIONAL CONFLICT.

    IT WAS NECESSARY FOR NATO TO ACT IN BOSNIA AND KOSOVO -- EVEN THOUGH NEITHER REGION IS INSIDE NATO'S BORDERS -- BECAUSE CONFLICTS THERE AFFECT ALLIANCE INTERESTS AND THE STABILITY OF THE REGION. NATO MUST FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE BETWEEN AFFIRMING THE CENTRALITY OF NATO'S COLLECTIVE DEFENSE MISSION AND RESPONDING TO SUCH CRISES.

    NATO'S PRIMARY MISSION WILL ALWAYS REMAIN DEFENSE AGAINST AGGRESSION. BUT AS SECRETARY OF STATE ALBRIGHT SAID, THE ALLIANCE HAS A BROADER PURPOSE. AS SHE SAID, "MY VISION FOR A NEW AND BETTER NATO CAN BE SUMMARIZED IN ONE SENTENCE: WE WANT AN ALLIANCE STRENGTHENED BY NEW MEMBERS; CAPABLE OF COLLECTIVE DEFENSE; COMMITTED TO MEETING A WIDE RANGE OF THREATS TO OUR SHARED INTERESTS AND VALUES; AND ACTING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OTHERS TO INSURE STABILITY, FREEDOM AND PEACE IN AND FOR THE ENTIRE TRANSATLANTIC AREA."

    TO DEFEND AGAINST NEW THREATS, NATO MUST MODERNIZE ITS MILITARY FORCES. ONE THREAT THAT THE APRIL 1999 NATO SUMMIT IN WASHINGTON WILL NEED TO ADDRESS IS THAT POSED BY THE SPREAD OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. NATO MUST IMPROVE ITS EFFORTS TO STEM SUCH PROLIFERATION.

    THE TWENTIETH CENTURY HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT EUROPE AND AMERICA ARE FAR MORE EFFECTIVE IN ADVANCING THEIR VALUES AND INTERESTS WHEN THEY WORK TOGETHER. WHEN THE TWO SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC FAIL TO AGREE, STALEMATE AND EVEN CRISIS ARE THE RESULT. AS SECRETARY OF STATE ALBRIGHT SAID, "FIFTY YEARS FROM NOW, WE WANT A SUCCEEDING GENERATION TO SAY THAT WE LEARNED OUR LESSON AND APPLIED IT WELL TO THE MANY CHALLENGES WE FACED IN THE NEW CENTURY."

    ANNCR:

    THAT WAS AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. IF YOU HAVE A COMMENT, PLEASE WRITE TO EDITORIALS, V-O-A, WASHINGTON, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. YOU MAY ALSO COMMENT AT WWW-DOT-VOA-DOT-GOV-SLASH-EDITORIALS, OR FAX US AT (202) 619-1043.
    11-Dec-98 12:11 PM EST (1711 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=12/11/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-242855
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S STOCK PRICES WERE DOWN TODAY (FRIDAY) AS INVESTORS REACTED TO WARNINGS ABOUT DISAPPOINTING U-S BUSINESS PROFITS FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER. THERE ALSO WAS SOME UNEASE ABOUT PRESIDENT CLINTON'S POLITICAL FUTURE, AS HE FACES POSSIBLE IMPEACHMENT. CORRESPONDENT ELAINE JOHANSON REPORTS FROM NEW YORK:

    TEXT: ON THE FOURTH STRAIGHT DAY OF LOSSES, THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE CLOSED FRIDAY AT 88-HUNDRED-21, DOWN 19 POINTS. THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX WAS VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED, UP ONE POINT, CLOSING AT 11-HUNDRED-66.

    STOCK PRICES MAINTAINED THEIR DOWNWARD TREND DESPITE SOME POSITIVE ECONOMIC SIGNS FRIDAY. NEW FIGURES SHOW RETAIL SALES WERE UP TWO-TENTHS OF A PERCENT IN NOVEMBER, WHILE FOOD AND FUEL PRICES WERE DOWN.

    BUT WARNINGS ABOUT CORPORATE EARNINGS CONTINUED TO CLOUD THE PICTURE. SOFT DRINK GIANT COCA-COLA SAID ITS PROFITS FOR THE OCTOBER-DECEMBER PERIOD WOULD BE ABOUT FIVE CENTS A SHARE BELOW WALL STREET EXPECTATIONS.

    ANALYSTS SAY DEMAND FOR COKE IN THE WORLD'S MORE TROUBLED ECONOMIES HAS FALLEN OFF.

    //REST OPT//

    COCA-COLA'S LOSSES AND THE CONTINUING UNCERTAINTY IN GLOBAL MARKETS MAY NOT NECESSARILY MEAN SLUMPING FORTUNES FOR OTHER MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS. INVESTMENT ANALYST AL KUGEL SAYS A LOT OF COKE'S BUSINESS IS TIED UP IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES:

    //KUGEL ACT//

    COKE IS DEFINITELY A GLOBAL COMPANY. BUT THEY DO BUSINESS IN MORE COUNTRIES THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER COMPANY. AND THEY'RE DOING IT IN A PRODUCT THAT'S EXPENSIVE BY THE STANDARDS OF THE THIRD WORLD. SO, IT'S REALLY HAPPENING IN THE LESSER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, WHEREAS MOST OF THE MULTINATIONALS DO A LOT OF THEIR BUSINESS IN THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES AND PARTICULARLY IN EUROPE.

    //END ACT//

    MEANWHILE, COCA-COLA ANNOUNCED IT IS BUYING CADBURY SCHWEPPES SOFT DRINKS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES FOR ABOUT ONE-POINT-85-BILLION DOLLARS. THIS WILL GIVE COKE RIGHTS TO CADBURY BEVERAGES IN OVER 120 COUNTRIES.

    RUMORS CIRCULATED AGAIN ON WALL STREET THAT ROYAL DUTCH SHELL IS WORKING ON A DEAL TO BUY U-S OIL COMPANY CHEVRON. AND AGAIN, NEITHER SIDE HAS COMMENTED. BUT THE RUMORS BOOSTED CHEVRON STOCK FRIDAY, AS THEY DID WHEN THE STORY FIRST SURFACED EARLIER THIS WEEK.

    EXECUTIVES FROM THE SAN-FRANCISO-BASED CHEVRON COMPANY ARE MEETING WITH ANALYSTS IN NEW YORK ON TUESDAY TO DISCUSS SPENDING PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR. (SIGNED)
    NEB/NY/EJ/LSF
    11-Dec-98 5:11 PM EST (2211 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=12/11/98
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11048
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    CONTENT=

    ////

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

    ////

    INTRO: PRESIDENT CLINTON IS THE FOCUS OF MANY OF FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS IN PAPERS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES. THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS IN THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CONTINUE IN WASHINGTON, AND THE PRESIDENT IS ALSO ABOUT TO LEAVE FOR A HISTORIC TRIP TO ISRAEL AND - - FOR THE FIRST TIME - - TO PALESTINIAN-CONTROLLED AREAS OF GAZA AND THE WEST BANK.

    OTHER TOPICS INCLUDE EXCUSING INTERNATIONAL DEBT FOR THE CENTRAL AMERICAN NATIONS HIT BY HURRICANE MITCH; /// OPT /// THE MOVE TOWARD JUSTICE FOR CHILE'S EX-LEADER AUGUSTO PINOCHET; DEALING WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN; /// END OPT /// AND THE ON-GOING FEARS THAT THE YEAR TWO-THOUSAND WILL BRING AN APOCALYPTIC COMPUTER BREAKDOWN. NOW, HERE IS ________________ WITH A CLOSER LOOK AND SOME EXCERPTS IN TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.

    TEXT: THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS CONTINUES TODAY IN THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, WITH AT LEAST ONE, AND POSSIBLY FOUR, ARTICLES [CHARGES OF IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES] OF IMPEACHMENT EXPECTED TO BE PASSED ON TO THE FULL HOUSE. EDITORIALS CONTINUE TO DWELL ON IT.

    /// OPT ///

    "THE MIAMI HERALD" FOR ONE, WRITES:

    VOICE: IN PREPARATION FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON'S ARRIVAL IN GAZA CITY TOMORROW, THE PALESTINIAN CENTRAL COUNCIL YESTERDAY (THURSDAY) MOVED TO REPEAL THE ARTICLE IN THE P-L-O CHARTER CALLING FOR ISRAEL'S DESTRUCTION. IT'S A PITY THAT MR. CLINTON CAN'T GET THE SAME COURTESY FROM THE ... HOUSE REPUBLICANS. THEY SEEM DETERMINED TO IMPEACH HIM - - PERHAPS WHILE HE'S IN THE MIDEAST - - TO FURTHER HIS OWN NEAR SELF-DESTRUCTION. ... TO REITERATE OUR VIEW: THIS PRESIDENT ACTED RECKLESSLY, IMMORALLY, STUPIDLY. HE LIED TO HIS FAMILY, HIS CABINET AND STAFF, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BUT LYING ISN'T NECESSARILY PERJURY. THUS A CHORUS OF PROSECUTORS SAY THAT A DEFENDANT WHO LIED - - EVEN UNDER OATH - - ABOUT PRIVATE, CONSENSUAL SEX WITH ANOTHER ADULT NEVER WOULD BE CHARGED. HOUSE REPUBLICANS KNOW THIS ... BUT HAVING GOT THE BIT IN THEIR TEETH, THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPIT IT OUT. [ROUGHLY: "HAVING BEGUN THIS PROCESS, THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO STOP IT"]

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: IN GEORGIA, "THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION" SAYS: "CENSURE WOULD CARRY MORE WEIGHT THAN IMPEACHMENT FAILURE."

    VOICE: THOSE ADVOCATING IMPEACHMENT BY THE HOUSE ... LEAVING IT TO THE SENATE TO HOLD THE TRIAL AND DECIDE WHETHER TO CONVICT ... PLAY INTO [MR.] CLINTON'S HANDS. WHEN THE SENATE VOTES NOT TO CONVICT, AS IT WILL, [PRESIDENT] CLINTON CAN CLAIM VICTORY AND VINDICATION. AND AGAIN, HE DOES NOT DESERVE VINDICATION. THE BETTER OPTION WOULD BE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR A STRONG RESOLUTION OF CENSURE .....

    TEXT: "THE NEW YORK POST" SAYS IN ITS LEAD EDITORIAL HEADLINE: "FORGET CENSURE: IMPEACHMENT IS CENSURE," ALTHOUGH THE PAPER AGREES THAT THE SENATE WILL NOT CONVICT HIM OF ANYTHING.

    VOICE: THE WAY OUT IS NOT A CENSURE RESOLUTION. ... THERE IS NO PROVISION FOR CENSURE IN THE CONSTITUTION, /// OPT /// IN PART BECAUSE THE FRAMERS DID NOT WANT THE LOCALLY-ELECTED HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO PUNISH THE PRESIDENT, SINCE HE IS ELECTED BY EVERYONE. /// END OPT /// THE WAY OUT IS IMPEACHMENT.

    TEXT: THE NATIONAL DAILY "USA TODAY" COMPLAINS THAT THE FULL HOUSE IS BEING FORCED TO VOTE ON THIS CRITICAL ISSUE WITHOUT ENOUGH TIME TO STUDY IT.

    VOICE: ... ON THE PRESENT SCHEDULE, THE REST OF THE HOUSE, PRESUMABLY LESS INFORMED, COULD HAVE ONLY FIVE DAYS AND AS LITTLE AS ONE HOUR OF DEBATE TO DECIDE WHETHER TO IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT. THE PUBLIC, WHOSE ELECTORAL CHOICE STANDS TO BE NEGATED, WILL HAVE NO TIME TO ASSESS CONGRESS' ACTION OR BE BROUGHT INTO HARMONY WITH IT. THIS IS A SCHEDULE DRIVEN BY POLLS, PARTISANSHIP AND A LACK OF LEADERSHIP. ..... TO REACH A DECISION TO IMPEACH A PRESIDENT WITHOUT PATIENT, PUBLIC DELIBERATION OF THE SPECIFIC CHARGES AGAINST HIM IS A DANGEROUS PROPOSITION.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: IN MAINE, "THE PORTLAND PRESS HERALD" SAYS "CENSURE [IS THE] RIGHT CHOICE ...." WHILE "THE NEW YORK TIMES," WHICH ALSO CALLS FOR CENSURE, AND INVITES REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BOB DOLE OF KANSAS TO HELP BROKER A DEAL, SUMS UP:

    VOICE: WHEN HE RETURNS FROM ISRAEL NEXT WEEK MR. CLINTON MAY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEAL A CENSURE BARGAIN WITH AN HONEST AND FULL CONFESSION TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BUT DEMOCRATS AND MODERATE REPUBLICANS SHOULD NOT LET THIS SERIAL EVADER USE A SQUISHY [HERE, PROBABLY A MEANING OF: "IMPRECISE"] WORD FOR HIS LIES. FOR WHILE THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES PROLONGING MR. CLINTON IN OFFICE, CONGRESS DOES NOT HAVE TO HEDGE ITS DEMANDS FOR CONTRITION THAT IS FULL, CANDID AND, AT LONG LAST, NOT MISLEADING.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: TURNING TO MR. CLINTON'S TRIP TO ISRAEL AND THE GAZA STRIP AS WELL AS THE WEST BANK, "NEWSDAY" ON LONG ISLAND SAYS THE TRIP IS TOO IMPORTANT TO CANCEL, AS SOME ARE SUGGESTING, DESPITE THE RIOTING IN PALESTINIAN AREAS, AND THE POSSIBILITY OF A NO CONFIDENCE VOTE HANGING OVER THE NETANYAHU GOVERNMENT IN ISRAEL.

    VOICE: OF COURSE HE MUST GO. THE REASONS ARE BOTH SUBSTANTIVE AND SYMBOLIC - - AND ESSENTIAL TO THE CONTINUATION OF THE MIDEAST PEACE PROCESS. AND POLITICALLY, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT HE APPEAR TO BE DOING STATESMAN'S WORK WHILE HIS POLITICAL ENEMIES ARE MANEUVERING TO IMPEACH HIM. .... IF HE FAILS TO SHOW UP IN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES THIS WEEKEND, HE COULD UNDO EVERY BIT OF THE PROGRESS HE FOUGHT HARD TO ACHIEVE ..... LAST MONTH AT WYE RIVER PLANTATION.

    TEXT: "THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS" AGREES, ADDING:

    VOICE: .... MR. CLINTON SHOULD GO BECAUSE THE ATMOSPHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS ONLY SLIGHTLY MORE HEAVY THAN IN WASHINGTON, /// OPT /// WHERE CONGRESS IS CONSIDERING WHETHER TO IMPEACH HIM, AND BECAUSE THE DISPUTATIOUS SIDES NEEDS A SERIOUS PUSH FROM THE LEADER OF THE WORLD'S RICHEST AND MIGHTIEST NATION. /// END OPT /// NOTHING THAT MR. CLINTON SAYS OR DOES MAY BE SUFFICIENT TO KEEP THE CURRENT IMBROGLIO FROM SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL, BUT HE SHOULD TRY.

    TEXT: THE EDITORIAL CLAMOR FOR DEBT RELIEF FOR HONDURAS AND NICARAGUA IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE MITCH, IS GROWING, WITH "THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION" SAYING TODAY:

    VOICE: CENTRAL AMERICANS ARE UP TO THEIR NECKS IN MITCH'S MUD. TO SUBMERGE THEM UNDER A BURDEN OF DEBTS IS TO DOOM THE REGION TO DEEPER IMPOVERISHMENT AND INSTABILITY. THE UNITED STATES CAN'T WANT A PERPETUAL TROUBLE SPOT LIKE THAT SO CLOSE TO ITS SOUTHERN BORDER.

    TEXT: "THE WASHINGTON TIMES," WHILE RECOMMENDING ADDITIONAL AID, SAYS DEBT RELIEF WOULD ESTABLISH A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT.

    VOICE: WHILE ONE CAN CERTAINLY APPRECIATE THE HARDSHIPS FACED BY THE GOVERNMENTS OF THESE NATIONS, THE QUESTION IS WHETHER IT IS REALLY APPROPRIATE TO MIX HUMANITARIAN DISASTER AID AND THE LARGER QUESTION OF DEBT RESTRUCTURING. THE I-M-F, FOR INSTANCE, HAS OFTENTIMES BEEN FAMOUSLY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE IN THE PRESCRIPTIVE MEASURES IT IMPOSES ON DEBTOR COUNTRIES IN NEED OF RELIEF. AND AS FOR THE PROPOSED WRITE-OFF OF AMERICAN DEBT, IT MIGHT BE RECALLED .... THIS MONEY IS STILL ON LOAN FROM THE U-S TAXPAYER.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: REGARDING THE BRITISH DECISION TO CONTINUE HOLDING FORMER CHILEAN LEADER GENERAL AUGUSTO PINOCHET FOR POSSIBLE EXTRADITION TO SPAIN TO STAND TRIAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CRIMES, "THE MIAMI HERALD" SAYS IT WAS A FITTING DECISION BY BRITAIN'S HOME SECRETARY ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE U-N UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. BUT IT SEES DANGER AHEAD.

    VOICE: MORE OMINOUS IS THE CRITICISM EMANATING FROM CHILE'S STILL-POWERFUL ARMY THAT THE FREI GOVERNMENT HAS NOT DONE ENOUGH TO GAIN GENERAL PINOCHET'S RELEASE. WHAT A PYRRHIC VICTORY IT WOULD BE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IF CHILE'S CIVILIAN DEMOCRACY WERE DESTABILIZED. /// OPT /// BUT AGAIN, THIS SAGA IS NOT OVER. IT HAS BARELY BEGUN. ALREADY THOUGH [IT] ... IS A MILEPOST IN HUMAN RIGHTS.

    /// END OPT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: THERE IS ADDITIONAL CRITICISM OF SADDAM HUSSEIN'S LATEST EFFORTS TO BLOCK COMPLETE ACCESS TO THE U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS IN TODAY'S "BOSTON GLOBE."

    VOICE: // OPT /// SADDAM HUSSEIN IS AT IT AGAIN. NO SOONER HAD U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS RESUMED THEIR UNANNOUNCED SPOT CHECKS OF IRAQI SITES SUSPECTED OF HIDING DOCUMENTS OR MATERIALS RELATED TO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION THAT SADDAM'S MINIONS BARRED THEM FROM DOING THEIR JOB. /// END OPT /// PRESIDENT CLINTON MUST NOT BE SUCKERED INTO PLAYING SADDAM'S GAME. ... [MR.] CLINTON SHOULD INSIST THAT THERE CAN BE NO POLITICIZING OF THE INSPECTIONS. THE GOVERNMENTS OF FRANCE, RUSSIA, AND CHINA MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO CRAFT COMPROMISES THAT ALLOW SADDAM TO RETAIN HIS ANTHRAX AND HIS STOCKS OF THE NIGHTMARISH CHEMICAL WEAPON KNOWN AS VX.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: AND LASTLY, BALTIMORE'S "THE SUN" WONDERS ABOUT JUST HOW BAD THE YEAR TWO-THOUSAND COMPUTER PROBLEM, NOW REFERRED TO AS "Y-2-K," IS GOING TO BE.

    VOICE: THE POSSIBILITY OF DISASTER CANNOT BE DISCOUNTED SINCE NO ONE KNOWS 'AT THIS POINT' HOW MANY SYSTEM WILL FAIL WHEN SOME COMPUTERS MISTAKE THE YEAR TWO-THOUSAND FOR THE YEAR 1900. .... NOT EVERY DEVICE VULNERABLE TO Y-2-K PROBLEMS WILL BE FIXED BEFORE THE MILLENNIUM. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW WHAT CONTINGENCIES ARE BEING TAKEN TO MINIMIZE DISRUPTIONS AND DISASTERS. THE TRUTH CANNOT BE MORE SHOCKING THAN WHAT SOME PEOPLE ALREADY FEAR.

    TEXT: ON THAT NOTE, WE CONCLUDE THIS SAMPLING OF EDITORIAL COMMENTS FROM FRIDAY'S U-S PRESS.
    NEB/ANG/GE
    11-Dec-98 11:56 AM EST (1656 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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