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Voice of America, 98-12-16

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] SERB FUNERAL (L ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (PEC)
  • [02] ITALY / OCALAN (L ONLY) BY SABINA CASTELFRANCO (ROME)
  • [03] BRITAIN / REFUGEES BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [04] BRITAIN / IRAQI STRIKE (S-ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [05] IRAQ / BRITAIN (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [06] YEARENDER: GERMANY '98 BY RON PEMSTEIN (WEST EUROPE BUREAU)
  • [07] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [08] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] SERB FUNERAL (L ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (PEC)

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-243081
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: SEVERAL THOUSAND SERB RESIDENTS STREAMED THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE WESTERN KOSOVO CITY OF PEC ON WEDNESDAY TO MOURN THE DEATHS OF SIX YOUNG MEN IN A CAFE MASSACRE EARLIER THIS WEEK. AS PHILIP SMUCKER REPORTS FROM PEC, THE SERVICE WAS LEAD BY PRIESTS FROM THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH.

    TEXT:

    /// FUNERAL SOUNDS / CHANTING - FADE UNDER ///

    THE HUGE FUNERAL PROCESSION MOVED THROUGH THE STREETS OF PEC WITH 20 ORTHODOX PRIESTS AND SIX LARGE WOODEN CROSSES IN THE FRONT. INCENSE AND SAD SONGS FILLED THE CHILLY WINTER AIR BENEATH SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAIN PEAKS. WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND OLD PERSONS LINED THE STREETS AS THE PROCESSION MOVED TO THE EDGE OF TOWN FOR A SOLEMN BURIAL.

    SERBIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH PAVLE SAID THE SORROW OF THE CITY'S SERBS WOULD BE EVEN GREATER IF THE SIX YOUNG SERBS WERE DISCOVERED TO HAVE BEEN KILLED FOR NATIONAL OR RELIGIOUS REASONS.

    HE SAID THE KORAN OF THE MUSLIM RELIGION MAKES THE KILLING OF INNOCENTS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. BUT THE SERBIAN PATRIARCH STOPPED SHORT OF BLAMING ETHNIC ALBANIAN GUERRILLAS FOR THE KILLINGS.

    SERBIAN POLICE IN PEC SAY THEY ARE STILL LOOKING FOR CLUES AND SUSPECTS IN WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST KILLING OF SERB CIVILIANS IN ANY KOSOVO CITY THIS YEAR.

    WITNESSES SAY TWO MASKED GUNMEN WEARING BLACK SLIPPED INTO A PEC CAFE-BAR LATE MONDAY AND SHOT RANDOMLY INTO A CROWD OF 14 YOUNG PEOPLE. RESIDENTS SAY THE GUNMEN ESCAPED IN A DARK-COLORED CAR.

    MANY SERBS IN PEC -- AS WELL AS STATE MEDIA -- BLAME THE ETHNIC ALBANIAN KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY FOR THE KILLINGS. THE K-L-A IS FIGHTING FOR KOSOVO'S INDEPENDENCE FROM SERBIAN RULE. UNTIL NOW, ITS TACTICS HAVE BEEN TO ATTACK POLICE PATROLS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE AND TO AVOID GUN BATTLES IN KOSOVO'S LARGER CITIES.

    PEC'S ETHNIC ALBANIAN RESIDENTS EXPRESSED FEARS THAT THEY WILL BE THE VICTIMS OF RETRIBUTION. SCHOOLS AND SHOPS WERE CLOSED AND MOST ALBANIANS REMAINED INSIDE ON WEDNESDAY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PS/JWH
    16-Dec-98 1:44 PM EST (1844 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] ITALY / OCALAN (L ONLY) BY SABINA CASTELFRANCO (ROME)

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-243069
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE LEADER OF THE TURKEY'S OUTLAWED KURDISTAN WORKERS PARTY (P-K-K) HAS BECOME A FREE PERSON AGAIN AFTER AN ITALIAN COURT RULED HE COULD NO LONGER BE KEPT UNDER HOUSE ARREST. HOWEVER, AS SABINA CASTELFRANCO REPORTS FROM ROME, THE KURDISH REBEL LEADER WILL NOT BE LEAVING ITALY FOR THE TIME BEING.

    TEXT: KURDISH REBEL LEADER ABDULLAH OCALAN HAS BEEN IN ITALY SINCE HE WAS ARRESTED ON NOVEMBER 12TH AS HE ATTEMPTED TO WALK THROUGH PASSPORT CONTROL AT ROME'S AIRPORT WITH FALSE PAPERS. HE HAS BEEN LIVING UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN A ROME VILLA AND WAS BARRED FROM LEAVING THE ITALIAN CAPITAL.

    BUT A ROME COURT OF APPEAL ON WEDNESDAY SET THE P-K-K LEADER FREE.

    ITALY HAD ARRESTED THE KURDISH REBEL LEADER BASED ON AN INTERNATIONAL ARREST WARRANT ISSUED BY GERMANY WHICH WAS LATER WITHDRAWN. SO, THE ITALIAN JUDGE RULED HE COULD NO LONGER BE KEPT UNDER HOUSE ARREST.

    THE ITALIAN SPOKESPERSON OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT OF KURDISTAN SAID THAT DESPITE WEDNESDAY'S RULING, THE KURDISH LEADER IS PLANNING TO STAY IN ROME FOR THE TIME BEING. ALTHOUGH HE IS NOW FREE TO TRAVEL ABROAD, THE REBEL LEADER HAS NO VALID DOCUMENTS.

    ABDULLAH OCALAN IS WANTED IN TURKEY ON TERRORIST CHARGES. BUT IUALY HAS REFUSED TO SEND HIM BACK BECAUSE THE ITALIAN CONSTITUTION WILL NOT ALLOW EXTRADITION TO A COUNTRY WHICH HAS THE DEATH PENALTY.

    WEDNESDAY'S DECISION TO SET THE KURDISH LEADER FREE IS LIKELY TO INFURIATE TURKEY WHICH WANTS TO PUT HIM ON TRIAL FOR TREASON.

    THE REBEL LEADER HAS REQUESTED POLITICAL ASYLUM IN ITALY. AN ITALIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY COMMISSION IS EXPECTED TO TAKE A DECISION BEFORE THE END OF THIS MONTH. ITALY ALSO HAS ASKED THE EUROPEAN UNION TO HELP SET UP AN INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL TO TRY THE KURDISH REBEL. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SC/JWH
    16-Dec-98 10:46 AM EST (1546 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] BRITAIN / REFUGEES BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42164
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING A GROUP OF ROMANIAN GYPSY REFUGEES SMUGGLED INTO BRITAIN IN A TRUCK HAS HIGHLIGHTED THE PLIGHT OF REFUGEES ACROSS EUROPE. IN LONDON, V-O-A CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN TAKES A LOOK AT HOW BRITAIN IS TACKLING THE PROBLEM.

    TEXT: LAST MONTH, THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT APPROVED A BILL TO REVAMP THE WAY IT PROCESSES AND ASSISTS ASYLUM SEEKERS. ONE OF THE FIRST ACTIONS WILL BE TO RELOCATE REFUGEES OUT OF LONDON AND DISPERSE THEM AROUND THE COUNTRY.

    FOR A LONDON NEIGHBORHOOD, LIKE BRENT, IT COULD BE A WELCOME RELIEF. BRENT IS CONSIDERED THE MOST RACIALLY DIVERSE BOROUGH OF GREATER LONDON. SEVENTY PERCENT OF BRENT'S POPULATION ARE NOT BRITISH-BORN. BUT BRENT ALSO IS ONE OF LONDON'S POOREST BOROUGHS.

    SOCIAL SERVICES CHIEF MIKE BOYLE SAYS THE COST OF PROVIDING FOR MORE THAN TWO-THOUSAND-500 REFUGEES SURPASSES THE GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTION BY MORE THAN ONE-MILLION DOLLARS.

    MR. BOYLE SAYS LOCAL SERVICES ALSO ARE STRAINED BY HAVING TO DEAL WITH WITH THE EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF REFUGEES FLEEING TORTURE, RAPE, WAR, AND POLITICAL HARASSMENT BACK HOME.

    /// BOYLE ACT ///

    THE MENTAL SCARS THAT THEY HAVE SUFFERED AS A RESULT OF THAT TREATMENT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR US TO MANAGE.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. BOYLE TALKS OF THE ANXIETY FOR MOST REFUGEES WAITING TO HEAR IF THEIR ASYLUM REQUESTS WILL BE GRANTED. HE SAYS NEARLY ALL HAVE THEIR FIRST APPLICATIONS REFUSED AND MUST RE-APPLY. THAT PROCESS NOW TAKES SEVERAL YEARS.

    THE NEW IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM BILL AIMS TO REDUCE THE BACKLOG, WHICH TOTALS MORE THAN 52-THOUSAND APPLICATIONS.

    /// BOYLE ACT TWO ///

    THE VAST MAJORITY OF ASYLUM SEEKERS WHO COME HERE JUST WANT TO LEAD A QUIET LIFE AND HOPE THAT THEIR ASYLUM APPLICATION WILL BE GRANTED. THEY'LL NEVER GO HOME. VERY, VERY FEW. MOST BELIEVE THEY ARE HERE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. THEY BEGIN VERY QUICKLY TO ADOPT THE CULTURE OF NEW COMMUNITIES AND SEE THEIR FUTURE THROUGH THEIR CHILDREN

    /// END ACT ///

    THE NUMBER OF REFUGEES ARRIVING IN BRITAIN HAS RISEN STEADILY SINCE THE END OF THE COLD WAR. NICK HARDWICK IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE REFUGEE COUNCIL. HE POINTS TO THE FRAGMENTATION OF YUGOSLAVIA AND GENERAL TURMOIL IN THE BALKANS AS ONE FACTOR .

    /// HARDWICK ACT ///

    TWO THINGS HAVE HAPPENED SINCE THE END OF THE COLD WAR. CONFLICTS THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY FROZEN HEATED UP AGAIN. SECONDLY OF COURSE, IT'S EASIER TO GET OUT. AND THIRDLY THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE OF SOME STATES IN THE REGION HAVE ENCOURAGED PEOPLE TO LEAVE.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    MR. HARDWICK SAYS DISTANCE ALSO PLAYS A ROLE IN THE TYPE OF REFUGEE ARRIVING IN BRITAIN.

    /// OPT // HARDWICK ACT ///

    ON THE WHOLE, THE FURTHER AWAY THE PEOPLE ARE COMING FROM, THE MORE WEALTHY THEY TEND TO BE. OBVIOUSLY IT COSTS MORE TO GET HERE. SO IF YOU LOOK AT THE PEOPLE WE GET FROM AFGHANISTAN, THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO CAN GET HERE ARE THE MIDDLE CLASS, POLITICAL ELITES BECAUSE THEY'RE THE ONLY PEOPLE WITH THE MONEY TO DO IT. WHEREAS THE NEARER YOU GET TO EUROPE, THE CHEAPER IT BECOMES AND THEREFORE THE GREATER RANGE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING.

    /// END ACT // END OPT ///

    MANY REFUGEES, DESPERATE TO LEAVE THEIR HARDSHIPS BEHIND, OFTEN PAY EXORBITANT FEES TO SMUGGLERS WHO SNEAK THEM INTO BRITAIN IN THE BACKS OF TRUCKS. IMMIGRATION AGENTS RECENTLY STOPPED A TRUCK WITH ROMANIAN REFUGEES HUDDLED INSIDE.

    THE GOVERNMENT IS ALSO TRYING TO EASE THE BURDEN ON COMMUNITIES AROUND LONDON WHERE MOST NEW REFUGEES ARE CONCENTRATED. BUT SOCIAL WORKERS WARN THAT SENDING NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING REFUGEES TO FAR-AWAY TOWNS MAY CREATE NEW PROBLEMS. MOST TOWNS LACK SPECIAL LEGAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF TORTURE OR WAR.

    SOME LOCAL COUNCILS ALSO COMPLAIN THAT REFUGEES ARE BEING SENT TO THEIR COMMUNITIES WITHOUT PRIOR CONSULTATION. THE RECENT MOVE OF KOSOVAR ALBANIAN REFUGEES FROM BRENT TO THE NORTHERN CITY OF LEEDS SPARKED AN OUTCRY WHEN THEY WERE PUT NEAR A SERB WELFARE CENTER. MOST OF THE ETHNIC ALBANIANS WERE FLEEING SERB PERSECUTION BACK HOME.

    TOWN COUNCILS AND SOCIAL WORKERS ARE CALLING FOR A NATIONAL SYSTEM TO BETTER COORDINATE THE PLACEMENT OF REFUGEES TO AVOID UNNECESSARY TRAUMA FOR THEM AND THE COMMUNITIES WHERE THEY ARE PLACED. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH
    16-Dec-98 11:53 AM EST (1653 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] BRITAIN / IRAQI STRIKE (S-ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-243108
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: "OPERATION DESERT FOX" HAS BEEN LAUNCHED AGAINST IRAQ BY BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES. IN LONDON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR SAYS THE MILITARY ACTION AIMS TO DEGRADE AND DIMINISH IRAQ'S NUCLEAR, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CAPABILITY. CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN HAS MORE FROM LONDON.

    TEXT: PRIME MINISTER BLAIR SAYS THE MILITARY ACTION IS NOT AGAINST THE IRAQI PEOPLE BUT AGAINST THE IRAQI REGIME. HE SAYS THE AIRSTRIKES ARE AIMED AT DIMINISHING IRAQ'S ABILITY TO USE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

    /// BLAIR ACT ///

    IF HE WILL NOT THROUGH REASON AND DIPLOMACY ABANDON HIS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION PROGRAM, IT MUST DEGRADED AND DIMINISHED BY MILITARY FORCE.

    ///END ACT //

    THE MILITARY ACTION FOLLOWS THE REPORT FROM U-N CHIEF INSPECTOR RICHARD BUTLER TO THE U-N SECUITY COUNCIL THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN HAS BROKEN HIS PROMISE MADE JUST LAST MONTH TO COOPERATE UNCONDITIONALLY WITH U-N INSPECTORS.

    ///OPT THE REST///

    U-N WEAPONS MONITORS WERE EVACUATED FROM BAGHDAD EARLIER IN THE DAY WEDNESDAY IN ANTICIPATION OF THE MILITARY STRIKE (SIGNED)
    NEB/LK/RRM
    16-Dec-98 6:25 PM EST (2325 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] IRAQ / BRITAIN (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-243051
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: BRITAIN IS TAKING THE U-N INSPECTORS' REPORT VERY SERIOUSLY ABOUT IRAQ'S LACK OF COOPERATION. AFTER THE LAST CONFRONTATION, BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES SAID THEY WOULD CARRY OUT AIR STRIKES WITH NO MORE WARNINGS TO SADDAM HUSSEIN. V-O-A'S CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN REPORTS FROM LONDON THAT TENSIONS HAVE INCREASED QUICKLY.

    TEXT: BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ROBIN COOK TOLD BRITISH RADIO THAT HIS GOVERNMENT IS TAKING VERY SERIOUSLY THE U-N INSPECTORS' REPORT THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN IS NOT COOPERATING AS HE HAD PROMISED.

    /// COOK ACT ///

    IT IS QUITE CLEAR FROM THE REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF UNSCOM, RICHARD BUTLER, THAT HE (SADDAM HUSSEIN) HAS NOT KEPT TO THAT COMMITMENT. INDEED FAR FROM ALLOWING UNCONDITIONAL AND UNRESTRICTED ACCESS, THE REPORT DOES DETAIL NEW RESTRICTIONS THAT HE HAS INVENTED.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. COOK SAYS THE REPORT SHOWS SADDAM HUSSEIN IS NOW REQUIRING LETTERS FROM U-N INSPECTORS DETAILING WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR BEFORE THEY WILL BE ALLOWED INTO CERTAIN SITES.

    LAST MONTH, THE IRAQI LEADER PROMISED UNCONDITIONAL ACCESS FOR THE U-N INSPECTORS. BAGHDAD HAS CONDEMNED THE NEGATIVE U-N REPORT AND CALLS IT AN EXCUSE TO CARRY OUT AIR STRIKES.

    BRITAIN'S FOREIGN SECRETARY REFUSES TO GIVE ANY MORE PUBLIC WARNINGS TO SADDAM HUSSEIN. ALL HE WILL SAY IS THAT WASHINGTON AND LONDON ARE CONSULTING.

    THE OTHER PERMANENT MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL -- FRANCE, RUSSIA AND CHINA -- HAVE USUALLY OPPOSED MILITARY ATTACKS AGAINST IRAQ. MR. COOK SAYS PREVIOUS U-N RESOLUTIONS GIVE THE AUTHORITY FOR SUCH ACTION WITHOUT THE NEED OF A VOTE ON THE ISSUE.

    /// COOK ACT TWO ///

    ON THE BASIS OF SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS, THERE CERTAINLY WOULD BE SUCH LEGAL AUTHORITY AND WE ARE NOT CONTEMPLATING ANY ACTION THAT WE HAVE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE IS ILLEGAL.

    /// END ACT ///

    U-N WEAPONS MONITORS IN BAGHDAD ARE BEING EVACUATED, JUST IN CASE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH
    16-Dec-98 6:36 AM EST (1136 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] YEARENDER: GERMANY '98 BY RON PEMSTEIN (WEST EUROPE BUREAU)

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42161
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: GERMANS BROUGHT THE 16 YEAR LEADERSHIP OF HELMUT KOHL TO AN END, AND BROUGHT BACK TO POWER THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS. RON PEMSTEIN COVERED THE GERMAN ELECTION CAMPAIGN AND SENDS THIS REPORT ON WHAT THE CHANGE MEANS FOR GERMAN POLICY.

    TEXT: GERHARD SCHROEDER IS THE FIRST POST-WAR GERMAN LEADER WITH NO MEMORIES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR. AS THE GOVERNOR OF THE NORTHERN STATE OF LOWER SAXONY, HE WAS PICKED AS THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE TO OPPOSE CHANCELLOR KOHL BECAUSE HE RADIATED PERSONALITY. HIS DEEP VOICE, HIS EASY SMILE AND HIS WAVY HAIR MAKE HIM A NATURAL FOR TELEVISION.

    AS A LIFELONG SOCIAL DEMOCRAT, MR. SCHROEDER CULTIVATED BUSINESSMEN AS GOVERNOR. HE TALKED IN THE CAMPAIGN ABOUT HIS POLICY OF THE NEW MIDDLE AND OF REVERSING POLITICAL STAGNATION IN GERMANY AFTER 16-YEARS OF CHANCELLOR KOHL.

    GERMANS WERE READY FOR CHANGE, ESPECIALLY IN EASTERN GERMANY WHERE CHANCELLOR KOHL HAD RUN STRONG IN THE YEARS AFTER UNIFICATION OF THE TWO GERMANIES IN 1990. NOW WITH UNEMPLOYMENT AT 17-PERCENT IN THE EAST, THE VOTERS TURNED LEFT, TO MR. SCHROEDER'S SOCIAL DEMOCRATS.

    THE OPINION SURVEYS PREPARED MR. SCHROEDER FOR POSSIBLY A GRAND COALITION WITH THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS LED BY SOMEONE OTHER THAN CHANCELLOR KOHL. INSTEAD, GERMANS VOTED TO GIVE THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS AND THEIR PRO-ENVIRONMENT, ANTI NUCLEAR ALLIES, THE GREENS, A 21-SEAT MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT. CHANCELLOR KOHL'S PARTY SUFFERED ITS WORST SHOWING IN GERMANY'S POST-WAR HISTORY.

    CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER PROMISED TO MAKE THE FIGHT AGAINST UN-EMPLOYMENT THE TOP PRIORITY OF HIS COALITION GOVERNMENT WITH THE GREENS. HE PROMISED TO REFORM THE TAX SYSTEM. INSTEAD, HIS FIRST WEEKS IN OFFICE BROUGHT CONFUSION. POLITICAL ANALYST FRANZ-JOSEF MEIERS IN BONN TELLS VOA WHAT WENT WRONG.

    /// MEIERS ACT ///

    I THINK THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WAS THAT THERE WERE HIGH EXPECTATIONS RAISED BY CANDIDATE SCHROEDER DURING THE CAMPAIGN. SECONDLY THAT THE ADMINISTRATION WAS ILL-PREPARED AFTER 16-YEARS OF OPPOSITION TO BUILD UP IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, A FUNCTIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND THIRDLY THEY ADDRESSED TOO MANY ISSUES AT THE SAME TIME SO THERE WAS A KIND OF OVERLOAD WITHIN THE FIRST TWO-MONTHS OF THE ADMINISTRATION WHICH THEY WERE ILL-PREPARED TO TACKLE.

    /// END ACT ///

    CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER WANTED TO RAISE SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES ON LOW PAYING JOBS. HIS ALLIES, THE GREENS, WERE ENRAGED AND CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER WAS FORCED TO RETREAT. TAX REFORM WAS DELAYED UNTIL NEXT APRIL.

    FINANCE MINISTER OSCAR LAFONTAINE STARTED FIGHTS WITH THE INDEPENDENT GERMAN FEDERAL BANK WHICH REJECTED HIS ATTEMPT TO BRING DOWN INTEREST RATES TO SPUR GROWTH.

    FOREIGN MINISTER JOSCHKA FISCHER, A LEADER OF THE GREENS, ENRAGED NATO'S NUCLEAR POWERS WITH A SUGGESTION THE ALLIANCE CHANGE POLICY AND PLEDGE NOT TO BE FIRST TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    ONLY IN RECENT WEEKS HAS CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER STARTED TO PUT HIS OWN STAMP ON THE JOB. HE HAS WARNED GERMANY CAN NO LONGER PAY FAR MORE TO SUPPORT THE EUROPEAN UNION THAN THE UNION PAYS GERMANY IN BENEFITS.

    GERMANY WILL LEAD THE EUROPEAN UNION IN THE FIRST SIX-MONTHS OF 1999. MR. MEIERS IN BONN DOES NOT EXPECT GREAT CHANGES.

    /// MEIERS ACT ///

    I CANNOT EXPECT A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE OF THIS PAYMENT GOING FROM GERMANY TO BRUSSELS OVER THE NEXT THREE MONTHS. THERE WILL BE A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING IN BRUSSELS AT THE END OF MARCH WHERE ALL THESE DECISIVE ISSUES WILL BE ON THE TABLE, INCLUDING THE FUTURE BUDGET OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. I THINK IN REALISTIC TERMS, ONE CAN ONLY EXPECT A RATHER MINOR REDUCTION OF GERMANY'S NET CONTRIBUTION AND THE PROSPECT THAT THE HEADS OF STATES AND GOVERNMENTS WILL AGREE TO FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION'S RE-DISTRIBUTIVE POLICIES, INCLUDING THE COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY AND THE REGIONAL FUNDS SO THAT THERE WILL BE A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL FOR GERMANY IN THE SENSE OVER THE NEXT YEAR THERE IS A PROSPECT OF A PROGRESSIVE DECLINE OF GERMANY'S NET CONTRIBUTION TO THE E-U BUDGET BUT THERE WILL BE NOT A BIG BANG COMING OUT OF THE GERMAN E-U PRESIDENCY.

    /// END ACT ///

    CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER HAS WARNED THAT UNTIL THESE INTERNAL ISSUES ARE RESOLVED, THERE WILL BE NO EXPANSION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION'S MEMBERSHIP TO CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE.

    SPEAKING IN BRUSSELS THROUGH AN INTERPRETER, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER FISCHER RIDICULED FORMER CHANCELLOR KOHL'S PROMISE THAT POLAND WILL ENTER THE EUROPEAN UNION IN THE YEAR 2000.

    /// FISCHER W/ INTERPRETER ACT ///

    WE TAKE HELMUT KOHL'S DATE, THAT IS THE ONLY ONE I AM FAMILIAR WITH, THAT IS THE YEAR 2000, POLAND IS GOING TO BE A MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. NOW DOES ANYBODY IN THIS ROOM REALLY BELIEVE THAT? DOES ANY ONE PERSON IN THIS ROOM, BELIEVE THAT? DOES ANYBODY IN POLAND BELIEVE THAT EITHER? NO. DOES HELMUT KOHL STILL BELIEVE THAT? NO. SO WHAT PRESSURE IS BROUGHT TO BEAR BY PUTTING A DATE ON ALL THIS?

    /// END ACT ///

    FOREIGN MINISTER FISCHER SAYS A REALISTIC DATE FOR EUROPEAN UNION EXPANSION WILL ONLY BE POSSIBLE TO FORECAST AT THE END OF 1999 OR IN THE YEAR 2000.

    GERMANY WILL NOT ONLY HAVE THE PRESIDENCY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. IT WILL ALSO LEAD THE GROUP OF EIGHT INDUSTRIAL COUNTRIES. IT WILL ALSO CARRY OUT THE LONG PLANNED MOVE OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM BONN TO BERLIN.

    THERE WILL BE OTHER PROMISES FOR CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER TO CARRY OUT. CLOSING DOWN GERMANY'S NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS OR EASING GERMANY'S RESTRICTIVE IMMIGRATION LAWS TO ALLOW CHILDREN BORN OF IMMIGRANTS IN GERMANY TO BECOME CITIZENS.

    FRANZ-JOSEF MEIERS SAYS WHEN IT COMES TO GERMANY'S FOREIGN POLICY, CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER IS GENERALLY ADHERING TO HIS PLEDGE OF CONTINUITY.

    /// MEIERS ACT ///

    CERTAINLY THERE ARE SOME NUANCES, SOME MINOR CHANGES, DIFFERENT EMPHASIS PUT ON FOR EXAMPLE, THE NON-FIRST-USE (OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS) ISSUE, THE QUESTION TO WHAT EXTENT GERMANY SHOULD STILL BE THE NET CONTRIBUTOR TO THE E-U BUDGET, BUT OVERALL I THINK THE FUNDAMENTAL PREMISE, THE BACKBONE OF GERMANY' S SECURITY POLICY HAS NOT CHANGED AND THAT IS FIRST CONTINUED MEMBERSHIP WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND NATO -- AND SECOND THE CONTINUED IMPORTANCE OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC RELATIONSHIP, THE CONTINUED PRESENCE OF THE UNITED STATES IN EUROPE, IN GERMANY AND FINALLY GERMANY'S COMMITMENT TO MULTI- LATERAL COOPERATION SO IN PRINCIPLE, NOTHING HAS CHANGED AT ALL.

    /// END ACT ///

    AS THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT MOVES TO BERLIN AND THE RENOVATED REICHSTAG IN 1999, THE TEST FOR CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER'S GOVERNMENT WILL BE WHETHER IT CAN SUCCEED IN ITS TOP PRIORITY, BRINGING DOWN UNEMPLOYMENT, ESPECIALLY IN EASTERN GERMANY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/RAE
    16-Dec-98 11:06 AM EST (1606 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-243103
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: STOCK PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES WERE DOWN TODAY (WEDNESDAY), REFLECTING SOME NERVOUSNESS ON WALL STREET ABOUT THE DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL SITUATIONS. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT BRECK ARDERY REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

    TEXT: THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE CLOSED AT 87-HUNDRED-90, DOWN 32 POINTS. THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX CLOSED AT 11-HUNDRED-61, DOWN ALMOST ONE POINT.

    ANALYSTS SAY STOCK PRICES HELD UP FAIRLY WELL IN THE FACE OF CONTINUED CONCERN ABOUT THE POSSIBLE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT CLINTON AND THE AIR STRIKES AGAINST IRAQ. STOCKS STABILIZED SOMEWHAT AFTER REPORTS CIRCULATED THAT MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ WOULD DELAY AN IMPEACHMENT VOTE IN THE U-S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    RECENT PROFIT WARNINGS BY A NUMBER OF MAJOR U-S CORPORATIONS HAVE ALSO CAUSED CONCERN AMONG STOCK TRADERS. HOWEVER, JIM MEYER OF THE JANNEY MONTGOMERY SCOTT INVESTMENT COMPANY, THINKS THE EARNINGS WORRIES SHOULD SOON SUBSIDE.

    ///OPT///MEYER ACT///

    ///OPT///

    WE COULD HAVE A SLOPPY MARKET FOR ANOTHER WEEK OR SO. BUT MOST OF THE DISCLOSURES SHOULD BE OUT BY CHRISTMAS TIME.

    ///END ACT///

    END OPT///

    THE MINNESOTA MINING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY IS THE LATEST TO ISSUE A PROFIT WARNING. THREE "M" BLAMES WEAK INTERNATIONAL SALES AND UNFAVORABLE CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES FOR THE EARNINGS FALL.

    ///REST OPT///

    MANY INTERNET-RELATED STOCKS WERE STRONG, LED BY AMAZON DOT COM, THE INTERNET BOOK RETAILER. AMAZON'S STOCK SOARED BY MORE THAN 20 PERCENT AFTER ONE WALL STREET ANALYST PREDICTED THE STOCK MAY REACH 400 DOLLARS A SHARE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. AMAZON CURRENTLY TRADES AT ABOUT 300 DOLLARS A SHARE. LIKE MANY INTERNET-RELATED COMPANIES, AMAZON HAS YET TO EARN A PROFIT.

    DEUTSCHE BANK OF GERMANY IS SETTING UP A SEPARATE COMPANY TO MANAGE ITS 24 BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF STOCK HOLDINGS. SOME ANALYSTS SAY IT IS THE FIRST STEP BY DEUTSCHE BANK TO SELL-OFF MOST, IF NOT ALL, OF ITS STOCK HOLDINGS. SEITA, THE FRENCH TOBACCO COMPANY, WILL PAY 730 MILLION DOLLARS TO ACQUIRE THE CONSOLIDATED CIGAR COMPANY OF THE UNITED STATES. DESPITE THE RECENTLY POPULARITY OF CIGARS IN THE UNITED STATES, CONSOLIDATED HAS NOT ENJOYED RISING PROFITS. KELLOGG, THE WORLD'S LARGEST CEREAL COMPANY, SAYS IT WILL INTRODUCE A NEW LINE OF PREMIUM CEREALS NAMED "COUNTRY INN SPECIALTIES." KELLOGG ALSO SAYS IT WILL CUT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN COSTS AND CAPITAL SPENDING IN AN EFFORT TO BOOST PROFITS.(SIGNED)
    NEB/NY/BA/LSF
    16-Dec-98 5:22 PM EST (2222 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=12/16/98
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11055
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    CONTENT=

    ////

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

    ////

    INTRO: THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WILL VOTE TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT CLINTON THURSDAY OR FRIDAY IS CONSUMING THE EDITORIAL COLUMNS OF THE NATION'S PRESS. HOWEVER, THERE ARE A FEW OTHER SUBJECTS UNDER DISCUSSION, INCLUDING: THE PRESIDENT'S JUST-COMPLETED MIDDLE EASTERN VISIT; SOME NEW FINANCIAL PROBLEMS IN AN ASIAN DEMOCRACY; /// OPT /// A TRIO OF MEN WHO ARE MOURNED FOR THEIR CHARACTER AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO PUBLIC LIFE; /// END OPT /// AND A ROYAL DISROBING IN THE NETHERLANDS GIVES FASHION CONSULTANTS SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. NOW, HERE IS ________________ WITH SOME EXCERPTS AND A CLOSER LOOK IN TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.

    TEXT: THERE IS A GRAVITY TO THE EDITORIAL COLUMNS THIS WEDNESDAY, AS THE NATION WATCHES THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS GRIND INEXORABLY TOWARD ITS CONCLUSION. IN "THE NEW YORK TIMES," FOR INSTANCE, THE ENTIRE EDITORIAL COLUMN, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM IS TAKEN UP WITH AN EDITORIAL SPELLING OUT THE PAPER'S VIEW THAT CONGRESS SHOULD VOTE "NO ON IMPEACHMENT" AND EXPLAINING WHY CENSURE WOULD BE A MUCH BETTER OPTION FOR THE COUNTRY. THE "NEW YORK TIMES" EDITORIAL ALSO COMPLAINS ABOUT WHAT IT SAYS IS THE PARTISAN BIAS OF THE PROCESS SO FAR IN THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. THE EDITORIAL ALSO WRITES ABOUT THE LACK OF CONSTITUTIONAL PRECEDENTS FOR THE ACTION ABOUT TO BE TAKEN, AS WELL AS THE CRITICAL ROLE OF REPUBLICAN MODERATES IN THE PENDING VOTE. ONE OF ITS MANY SALIENT POINTS IS THIS:

    VOICE: /// OPT /// ... AS THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES GATHER IN THE CAPITOL, OUR THOUGHTS MUST TURN TO THE QUESTION OF WHAT HISTORY WILL MAKE OF THIS CONGRESS' HANDLING OF ITS IMPEACHMENT POWERS. THAT JUDGMENT WILL HANG ON WHETHER THE DESIGNATED SPEAKER, ROBERT LIVINGSTON, PRODUCES A RESULT THAT DEPENDS ON SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT HE CAN MUSTER THE VOTES TO DO WHAT HE CHOOSES. MR. LIVINGSTON ... SHOULD KNOW THAT /// END OPT /// ONLY IN THE RECORDING OF BATTLES DOES HISTORY APPLAUD THE UNMITIGATED APPLICATION OF POWER. WHEN IT COMES TO GOVERNANCE, THE LAURELS ARE RESERVED FOR THOSE WHO DEMONSTRATE WISDOM.

    TEXT: "THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION" AND "WASHINGTON POST" ARE BOTH UPSET THAT THE REPUBLICANS SEEM FIRM ON NOT ALLOWING DEBATE OF AN ALTERNATIVE CENSURE MOTION. "THE CONSTITUTION" SAYS:

    VOICE: [AN] ATTEMPT TO STAGE-MANAGE THE PROCESS TO PRODUCE A PREORDAINED OUTCOME OF IMPEACHMENT DISCREDITS CONGRESS AND HOUSE REPUBLICANS IN THE HANDLING OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL DUTIES. THE PUBLIC ALREADY DISTRUSTS THE PROCESS AS UNFAIR AND PARTISAN ..... THE REFUSAL TO ALLOW A VOTE ON CENSURE WILL ONLY CONFIRM THAT PERCEPTION.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: "THE WASHINGTON POST" AGREES:

    VOICE: THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP APPARENTLY HAS THE POWER TO PREVENT CENSURE FROM COMING TO A VOTE .... BUT IF REPUBLICANS MEAN TO DO THIS, THEY SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE EXERCISING POWER TO PREVENT THE VERY CONSCIENCE VOTE THEY CLAIM TO BE HOLDING.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: IN NEW YORK, "THE DAILY NEWS" PLEADS, "GIVE CENSURE A CHANCE," WHILE ON LONG ISLAND, "NEWSDAY" WRITES, "IMPEACHMENT IS INEVITABLE UNLESS [MR.] CLINTON CAN PERSUADE THE HOUSE TO COME TO ITS SENSES." IN PHILADELPHIA, "THE INQUIRER" CALLS CENSURE, "A WAY OUT" FOR THE HOUSE, BUT "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" HAS LITTLE PATIENCE LEFT FOR MR. CLINTON, AS IT EXPRESSES OUTRAGE AT THE LIBERAL POSITION, WHICH FAVORS THE PRESIDENT. "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" ADDS:

    VOICE: LET US TRY TO BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS: LIBERALS SURELY HAVE MANY PROBLEMS THIS WEEK, BUT THE LARGEST IS NOT THE G-O-P (REPUBLICAN PARTY). IT IS THEIR CHAMPION, BILL CLINTON. THE VERY NATURE OF HIS OFFENSE SIMPLY SHUTS DOWN ALL THE NORMAL INSTINCTS TO ASSERT MORAL TRIUMPHALISM. ... WHAT THE PRESIDENT PLANS IN THE NEXT TWO DAYS WE WOULD NOT HAZARD TO GUESS. BY NOW, A NEW COMPROMISE WITH THE MODERATES WOULD BE WIDELY UNDERSTOOD AS ONE MORE LIE.

    TEXT: /// OPT /// LASTLY, BOTH "THE SUN" IN BALTIMORE AND "THE MIAMI HERALD" FEAR A VOTE TO IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT WILL WEAKEN THE PRESIDENCY IN YEARS TO COME. /// END OPT ///

    MOVING ON TO THE PRESIDENT'S TRIP TO GAZA AND THE WEST BANK, MAINE'S "PORTLAND PRESS HERALD" SAYS IT MADE HISTORY, AS IT REFLECTS ON THE CHANGING U-S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE PALESTINIANS OVER THE YEARS.

    VOICE: THE U-S POSITION BEGAN TO CHANGE IN 1988, WHEN [MR.] ARAFAT TOLD U-N DELEGATES IN GENEVA THAT HE WOULD RECOGNIZE ISRAEL. TEN YEARS LATER, [MR.] CLINTON HAS JUST BECOME THE FIRST U-S PRESIDENT TO VISIT PALESTINIAN TERRITORY IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP. ... THIS WEEK, HISTORY WAS MADE BY A PEACE-SEEKING AMERICAN PRESIDENT ON PALESTINIAN SOIL, THE SAME SOIL ON WHICH THE PRINCE OF PEACE WAS BORN SO MANY YEARS AGO.

    TEXT: IN ASIAN ECONOMIC AFFAIRS, "THE WASHINGTON POST" VOICES CONCERN AT NEW SIGNS OF TROUBLE IN TAIWAN.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// TAIWAN HAS BEEN ASIA'S ROCK OF GIBRALTAR IN THE PAST YEAR, HAVING ESCAPED THE ECONOMIC TROUBLES THAT ENGULFED ITS NEIGHBORS. CREDIT ITS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN FOREIGN RESERVES, LOW DEBT AND A TRADE SURPLUS. BUT NOW THE GOVERNMENT IN TAIPEI IS HAVING SOME PROBLEMS:

    /// END OPT ///

    A RECENT RUN ON A BANK, BAD LOANS, THE BEGINNINGS OF A CREDIT CRUNCH AND BANKRUPTCY IN TWO FINANCE COMPANIES ALL SAP PUBLIC CONFIDENCE. THIS IS NOT A CRISIS, BUT THE PROBLEMS EXPOSE A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS VULNERABILITY IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM. .... SHOULD THE PROBLEMS WORSEN, THEY COULD PUSH THE SLOWING TAIPEI ECONOMY INTO A RECESSION JUST AS OTHER TROUBLED ASIAN ECONOMIES BEGIN TO STABILIZE.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: NOW, COMMENTS ABOUT THREE PUBLIC FIGURES WHO DIED THIS WEEK AFTER OUTSTANDING CAREERS IN SERVICE TO THEIR COUNTRY. PHILADELPHIA FEDERAL JUDGE A. LEON HIGGINBOTHAM JUNIOR, FORMER ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN MORRIS "MO" UDALL, AND FLORIDA GOVERNOR LAWTON CHILES. FIRST, "THE BOSTON GLOBE" ON JUDGE HIGGINBOTHAM.

    VOICE: [JUDGE] HIGGINBOTHAM ... WHO DIED MONDAY AT AGE 70, WAS A RESPECTED JUDGE, SCHOLAR, AND PIONEER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE. HIS COMMANDING PRESENCE ... DEEP VOICE ... AND ... POWERFUL INTELLECT WERE THE TOOLS HE USED ALL HIS LIFE TO RIGHT WRONGS.

    TEXT: "THE WASHINGTON POST" SAYS OF FLORIDA LAWTON CHILES WHO DIED JUST BEFORE LEAVING OFFICE FOR RETIREMENT:

    VOICE: ... HE HAD A SENSE OF PROPORTION, SUCH THAT VICTORY WAS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERED TO HIM. THAT'S THE RESTORATIVE THAT'S MISSING FROM TODAY'S ATTACK-DOG POLITICS; WE ARE NOT ALONE IN LAMENTING HIS PASSING.

    TEXT: LASTLY, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" FONDLY RECALLS CONGRESSMAN UDALL THIS WAY:

    VOICE: EVEN AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS IN A LESS CONTENTIOUS, LESS PARTISAN TIME, MORRIS ... UDALL STOOD OUT AS AN UNCOMMON MAN: A LIBERAL WHO ALSO WAS FIERCELY INDEPENDENT, A CRUSADER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND A GENTLE MAN KNOWN FOR HIS WRY SMILE AND DRY WIT. .... HIS MAJOR LEGACY IS ... A LONG LIST OF LANDMARK BILLS PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT, INCLUDING MISSIONS OF ACRES OF AMERICAN WILDERNESS.

    /// END OPT ///

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: AND FINALLY, IN A RATHER GRIM WEEK OF EDITORIALS, REFLECTING A SOMBER MOOD IN THE NATION, SOME HUMOR AS "THE ORGEONIAN" IN PORTLAND REFLECTS ON SOME ROYAL DISROBING IN THE NETHERLANDS THAT CAUSED QUITE A STIR.

    VOICE: MAYBE HE WAS JUST TIRED OF ANOTHER SENIOR CITIZEN WITH THE SAME NAME GETTING ALL THE ATTENTION THIS TIME OF YEAR, BUT PRINCE CLAUS - - HUSBAND OF QUEEN BEATRIX OF THE NETHERLANDS - - HAS MADE HIMSELF A DUTCH HERO OF SORTS BY REVOLTING AGAINST THE NECKTIE. ACCORDING TO NEWS ACCOUNTS, THE PRINCE WHIPPED OFF HIS TIE DURING A RECEPTION HONORING AFRICAN FASHION AND TOSSED IT AT HIS WIFE'S FEET. 'A SNAKE AROUND MY NECK,' THE 73-YEAR-OLD PRINCE DECLARED, TO THE SUBSEQUENT ALARM OF THE DUTCH APPAREL INDUSTRY. ... THE KNOTTY QUESTION, OF COURSE, IS HOW FAR "CLAUSTROPHILIA," AS THE PRINCE'S REVOLT HAS BEEN DUBBED .... WILL GO. THE TIE THAT BINDS SO MANY NECKS AND FILLS SO MANY GIFT BOXES HAS SHOWN ENORMOUS STAYING POWER. ...BUT WHO KNOWS?

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: ON THAT NOTE, WE CONCLUDE THIS SAMPLING OF EDITORIAL COMMENT FROM SOME OF TODAY'S U-S PAPERS.
    NEB/ANG/GE
    16-Dec-98 11:03 AM EST (1603 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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