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Voice of America, 99-01-15

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] A SERBIAN END GAME? BY PAMELA TAYLOR (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] KOSOVO FIGHTING (L-ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (PRISTINA)
  • [03] KOSOVO MISSING (L-O) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)
  • [04] FRANCE FRONT (L-O) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [05] FRANCE GERMANY NUCLEAR (L-O) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [06] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)

  • [01] A SERBIAN END GAME? BY PAMELA TAYLOR (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=1/15/99
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42377
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A POSSIBLE RETURN TO ALL-OUT WAR IN YUGOSLAVIA'S KOSOVO PROVINCE WAS AVERTED WEDNESDAY WHEN ETHNIC ALBANIAN GUERRILLAS RELEASED EIGHT SERB SOLDIERS THEY HAD BEEN HOLDING CAPTIVE. THE GOVERNMENT OF PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC TRUMPETED THE RELEASE AS A SERB VICTORY. AT THE SAME TIME, THE AUTHORITIES IN BELGRADE BEGAN AN ANTI-AMERICAN DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN AND CONTINUED THEIR CRACKDOWN ON INDEPENDENT SOURCES OF NEWS. DIPLOMATS AND ANALYSTS SAY ALL THESE ACTIONS ARE EVIDENCE THAT MR. MILOSEVIC IS A DESPERATE MAN. V-O-A'S PAMELA TAYLOR REPORTS.

    TEXT: LAST WEDNESDAY, SERBIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS DISPLAYED A DOCUMENT IN BELGRADE THEY CALLED A C-I-A [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY] PLAN TO TOPPLE PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC. THE ACTION WAS IMMEDIATELY DENOUNCED BY AMBASSADOR ROBERT GELBARD, THE TOP U-S ENVOY IN THE BALKANS, WHO ACCUSED BELGRADE OFFICIALS OF LYING. THE DOCUMENT WAS WRITTEN BY DANIEL SERWER OF THE U-S INSTITUTE OF PEACE, A FORMER U-S DIPLOMAT WHO SPENT FIVE YEARS SPECIALIZING IN BALKAN AFFAIRS. MR. SERWER TOLD V-O-A HIS REPORT, WHICH WAS CIRCULATED ON THE INTERNET, WAS DOCTORED IN THE OLD COMMUNIST MANNER -- REPRODUCED UNDER A C-I-A LETTERHEAD LOGO AND CRUDELY MARKED "TOP SECRET."

    /// FIRST SERWER ACT ///

    IT IS NOT A C-I-A PAPER. IT IS NOT A PAPER ABOUT OVERTHROWING ANYBODY. IT'S A PAPER ABOUT INSTITUTIONS, AND THE SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS, AND ONLY SOMEONE WHO IS TERRIBLY AFRAID OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS IN YUGOSLAVIA WOULD REACT IN THE WAY SOME HAVE REACTED IN THE SERBIAN GOVERNMENT.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE OFFICIAL U-S GOVERNMENT VIEW HAS BEEN THAT THE FORGERY IS TOO RIDICULOUS TO WARRANT A DIPLOMATIC RESPONSE. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN JAMES RUBIN:

    /// RUBIN ACT ///

    THESE HYSTERICAL, PARANOID RAVINGS ARE NOT UNFAMILIAR IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD. WE HAVE NEVER TAKEN GREAT STOCK IN THE WORDS OF SERB LEADERS. WE HAVE FOCUSED ON DEEDS, AND I THINK THE ABSURDITY OF THIS IS CLEAR ON ITS FACE, AND I SUSPECT IT WILL QUICKLY REBOUND AGAINST THEM ALL BY ITSELF.

    /// END ACT ///

    DANIEL SERWER, HOWEVER, IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE MOTIVE BEHIND THE FORGERY.

    /// SECOND SERWER ACT ///

    I AM CONCERNED THERE MIGHT BE A REASON, AND THAT THIS INCIDENT MIGHT FORESHADOW A FURTHER CRACKDOWN. WE'VE ALREADY SEEN A CRACKDOWN ON THE UNIVERSITIES, ON THE OPEN MEDIA. I FEAR WE MAY SEE A FURTHER CRACKDOWN ON THOSE WHO SUPPORT DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS IN SERBIA.

    /// END ACT ///

    DANIEL SERWER SAYS HE IS CONCERNED ABOUT FOREIGNERS WORKING FOR NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (N-G-O'S) IN SERBIA, AND FOR THOSE BRAVE SERBS WHO CONTINUE TO DEFY THE GOVERNMENT AND FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY.

    // OPT //

    MR. SERWER SAYS ONLY PEOPLE WHO FEAR DEMOCRACY WILL END THEIR HOLD ON POWER COULD INTERPRET HIS REPORT AS SUBVERSIVE:

    /// THIRD SERWER ACT ///

    NOBODY'S TRYING TO OVERTHROW MILOSEVIC. NO ONE'S EVEN TRYING TO SAY [VOJISLAV] SESEJL SHOULD NOT BE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA. WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO SAY IS THAT THERE ARE STANDARDS AND NORMS OF BEHAVIOR, BOTH DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY, WITH RESPECT TO HUMAN RIGHTS, WITH RESPECT TO FORGING DOCUMENTS. AND THAT SERBIA, LIKE ALL OTHER COUNTRIES, ESPECIALLY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, IS EXPECTED TO MEET THOSE STANDARDS.

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

    MR. SERWER CALLS THE FORGERY A FURTHER EXAMPLE OF A DESPERATE ACTION BY DESPERATE MEN IN SERBIA. BRITISH ANALYST CHARLES MAYNELL OF THE LONDON-BASED EAST EUROPEAN NEWSLETTER AGREES. IN FACT, MR. MAYNELL BELIEVES PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC IS PREPARING TO ABANDON KOSOVO, CONSIDERED BY MANY SERBS THE CRADLE OF THEIR CULTURE.

    /// MAYNELL ACT ///

    BUT OF COURSE, PEACEFUL WITHDRAWAL IS NOT REALLY IN THE NATURE OF HIS GAME. HE LIKES TO CREATE MAYHEM. MILOSEVIC HAS TO BE SEEN TO BE FIGHTING HONORABLY TO THE END, HE CAN NOT BE SEEN TO BE GIVING CARTE BLANCHE TO THE KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY. IF HE GOES OUT DOING HIS BEST, FIGHTING HONORABLY TO THE END, THAT WOULD OF COURSE LEAVE HIM SLIGHTLY BETTER OFF IN THE EYES OF NATIONALIST HISTORIANS THAN IF HE SIMPLY GAVE IT OVER [YIELDED CONTROL OF KOSOVO]. AFTER ALL, AVERAGE SERBS ARE FED UP WITH WAR, FED UP WITH THREATS OF NATO AND JUST WANT TO GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. MAYNELL SAYS PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC REALIZES THE ALBANIAN GUERRILLAS OF THE KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY ARE WELL FINANCED BY ALBANIANS IN THE DIASPORA. ON THE OTHER HAND, SERB FORCES, HE SAYS, ARE EXHAUSTED AND DEMORALIZED BY YEARS OF FIGHTING IN CROATIA, BOSNIA AND NOW KOSOVO.

    MR. MAYNELL BELIEVES THE BELEAGUERED MILOSEVIC GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO TURN ITS ATTENTION AND RESOURCES TO KEEPING THE SISTER REPUBLIC OF MONTENEGRO WITHIN THE YUGOSLAV FEDERATION. THE MORE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT IN MONTENEGRO HAS BEEN INCREASINGLY DISTANCING ITSELF FROM THE MILOSEVIC GOVERNMENT, AND MANY SERBS FEAR IT, TOO, MAY ONE DAY SEEK INDEPENDENCE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PAM/WTW
    15-Jan-99 3:44 PM EST (2044 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] KOSOVO FIGHTING (L-ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (PRISTINA)

    DATE=1/15/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-244236
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: TWO MEMBERS OF THE KOSOVO TRUCE VERIFICATION MISSION SUFFERED LIGHT WOUNDS FRIDAY IN WESTERN KOSOVO AND AT LEAST 15 ETHNIC ALBANIAN REBELS WERE KILLED IN CLASHES WITH SERB FORCES IN THE SOUTH. PHILIP SMUCKER HAS MORE DETAILS ON THE FIGHTING IN STIMLJE. (SHTIM LAY)

    TEXT: A BRITISH VERIFIER AND A LOCAL MEMBER OF HIS TEAM WERE EVACUATED BY AMBULANCE TO PRISTINA WITH LIGHT WOUNDS. A SPOKESMAN FOR THE MISSION IN PRISTINA SAYS THE INJURIES ARE NOT LIFE THREATENING. THE MEN WERE WORKING IN WESTERN KOSOVO, WHERE SERB FORCES AND ETHNIC ALBANIAN REBELS HAD CLASHED A DAY EARLIER.

    IN CENTRAL KOSOVO, AT LEAST 15 KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY REBELS WERE KILLED DURING CLASHES WITH SERB FORCES.

    SHOOTING RESOUNDED THROUGH THE HILLS NEAR THE WESTERN VILLAGE OF STIMLJE (SHTIM LAY) MOST OF THE DAY. THE SERBIAN MEDIA CENTER IN PRISTINA SAYS POLICE UNITS CAME UNDER FIRE WHEN THEY TRIED TO BLOCK A NEARBY VILLAGE IN THEIR SEARCH FOR REBEL UNITS.

    THE POLICE SAY THEY SEIZED A STOCK OF WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION.

    /// OPT THE REST ///

    THE RENEWED FIGHTING IN KOSOVO COMES IN THE WAKE OF AN INTERNATIONAL MEDIATION EFFORT THAT WON THE RELEASE OF EIGHT SERB SOLDIERS THIS WEEK, HELD HOSTAGE BY THE KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY.

    OFFICIALS IN THE ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE -- THE O-S-C-E -- SAY THEY HAD CALMED DOWN THE FIGHTING IN WESTERN KOSOVO BY LATE FRIDAY BEFORE THE BRITISH MONITOR AND HIS LOCAL ASSISTANT WERE WOUNDED.

    FRIGHTENED ETHNIC ALBANIAN VILLAGERS TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE LULL IN THE FIGHTING TO FLEE THEIR HOMES, ALREADY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED IN HEAVY FIGHTING LATE LAST YEAR.

    WESTERN AID WORKERS SAY FOOD SUPPLIES TO THE VILLAGES HAVE BEEN DISRUPTED BY THE RENEWED CLASHES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PS/LMK/PCF
    15-Jan-99 1:59 PM EST (1859 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] KOSOVO MISSING (L-O) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=1/15/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-244228
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE UNITED NATIONS SAYS IT HAS REPORTS OF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ABDUCTED, DETAINED, OR DISAPPEARED IN THE SERBIA'S KOSOVO PROVINCE. LISA SCHLEIN IN GENEVA SAYS THE U-N HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER REPORTS IT HAS INFORMATION THAT BOTH ETHNIC ALBANIANS AND SERBIAN SECURITY FORCES ARE BEHIND THESE VIOLATIONS.

    TEXT: THE U-N HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER SAYS IT HAS REPORTS OF 282 CIVILIANS AND POLICE WHO WERE ABDUCTED BY KOSOVO ALBANIANS LAST YEAR. IT SAYS THE FATE AND WHEREABOUTS OF 136 OF THESE PEOPLE ARE UNKNOWN. THE REST HAVE BEEN EITHER RELEASED, ESCAPED OR KILLED.

    THE U-N CENTER SAYS IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET PRECISE INFORMATION AS TO WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THOSE WHO ARE MISSING. IT SAYS THE SERBIAN MINISTRY OF JUSTICE HAS CONFIRMED MORE THAN 15-HUNDRED PEOPLE ARE BEING INVESTIGATED FOR INVOLVEMENT IN ANTI-STATE ACTIVITIES AND OF HAVING LINKS WITH THE KOSOVO REBELS.

    U-N HUMAN RIGHTS SPOKESMAN JOSE DIAS SAYS INFORMATION ABOUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY IN POLICE CUSTODY IS DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN.

    /// DIAS ACT ///

    THE FACT THAT MANY OF THEM ARE HELD INCOMMUNICADO MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE THEIR EXACT CONDITIONS. THERE IS ALSO, ON A MASSIVE SCALE ACCORDING TO INFORMATION WE HAVE RECEIVED, SERBIAN SECURITY OFFICIALS HAVE ARRESTED AND HELD IN DETENTION LARGE NUMBERS OF INDIVIDUALS FOR PERIODS RANGING FROM SEVERAL HOURS TO SEVERAL DAYS.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. DIAS SAYS IN MANY CASES, FAMILIES ARE NOT INFORMED THEIR RELATIVES HAVE BEEN ARRESTED OR RELEASED FROM POLICE DETENTION. HE SAYS THE CENTER ALSO HAS RECEIVED REPORTS OF PEOPLE BEING MISTREATED WHILE IN POLICE CUSTODY.

    THE U-N FIGURES ARE LOWER THAN THOSE WHICH APPEAR IN A REPORT JUST RELEASED BY THE POLITICAL WING OF THE KOSOVO REBELS. THEY CITE NAMES OF 645 ETHNIC ALBANIAN CIVILIANS WHO, THEY SAY, ARE MISSING OR WERE ABDUCTED BY SERBIAN FORCES LAST YEAR. THEY ALSO CLAIM 13-HUNDRED PEOPLE WERE KILLED OR MASSACRED.

    MR. DIAS SAYS IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET ACCURATE FIGURES IN A WAR SITUATION. HE SAYS THE UNITED NATIONS RECEIVES INFORMATION FROM A VARIETY OF OFFICIAL AND PRIVATE SOURCES. HE ADDS THERE ARE BOUND TO BE DISCREPANCIES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LS/RAE
    15-Jan-99 11:54 AM EST (1654 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=1/15/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-244232
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A PARIS COURT HAS GIVEN A SPLINTER GROUP WITHIN FRANCE'S EXTREME-RIGHT "NATIONAL FRONT" PARTY THE RIGHT TO USE THE PARTY NAME UNTIL A PARTY CONGRESS LATER THIS MONTH. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS, PARTY FOUNDER JEAN-MARIE LE PEN SAYS HE WILL NOT GO TO THE CONGRESS.

    TEXT: FOR THE PAST MONTH, FRANCE'S EXTREME-RIGHT "NATIONAL FRONT" PARTY HAS BEEN THREATENED BY PERSONAL RIVALRIES BETWEEN ITS FOUNDER, JEAN-MARIE LE PEN, AND SECOND-IN-COMMAND BRUNO MEGRET. NOW, MR. LE PEN HAS LOST A CRUCIAL LEGAL BATTLE IN THE PARIS COURTS. A PARIS COURT HAS RULED MR. MEGRET AND HIS SUPPORTERS CAN CONTINUE TO USE NOT ONLY THE PARTY NAME, BUT ALSO ITS LISTS OF MEMBERS. THE COURT SAID IT WAS NOT UP TO THE FRENCH LEGAL AUTHORITIES TO DECIDE INTERNAL POLITICAL PARTY MATTERS.

    THIS MEANS MR. MEGRET AND HIS SUPPORTERS CAN CONTINUE TO ORGANIZE A CONGRESS IN THE NATIONAL FRONT'S NAME. MR. MEGRET'S FACTION SAYS IT HAS THE BACKING OF A MAJORITY OF PARTY OFFICIALS.

    AT THE CONGRESS OPENING JANUARY 23RD, MR. MEGRET COULD BE ELECTED THE NEW LEADER OF A MOVEMENT THAT HAS RISEN TO TAKE 15-PERCENT OF THE VOTE IN NATIONWIDE ELECTIONS. MR. LE PEN FOUNDED THE PARTY IN 1972, THE 70-YEAR-OLD MR. LE PEN, WHO LIKENS HIMSELF TO JULIUS CAESAR AND DISMISSES MR. MEGRET AS "BRUTUS," SAYS HE WILL NOT ATTEND THE CONGRESS NEAR MARSEILLE. MR. LE PEN HAS ANNOUNCED THE EXPULSION OF MR. MEGRET AND OF HIS ALLIES. MR. MEGRET SAYS HE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE MEASURES AGAINST HIM.

    SINCE THE SPLIT OPENED IN THE NATIONAL FRONT LAST MONTH, A SERIES OF REVELATIONS HAS APPEARED IN THE FRENCH MEDIA SUGGESTING FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT IN THE PARTY.

    AMONG THEM HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTS INDICATING MR. LE PEN HAS PUT SOME OF HIS CHILDREN AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS IN HIGHLY PAID PARTY POSITIONS. DURING THE PAST WEEK, THE LEFTWING DAILY "LIBERATION" AND A WEEKLY MAGAZINE HAVE PUBLISHED CHARGES THAT MR. LE PEN IS YEARS BEHIND IN PAYING THE RENT ON HIS HOME.

    /// REST OPT ///

    THE PARTY'S SECURITY SERVICE IN THE NORD DEPARTMENT AROUND THE CITY OF LILLE HAS DESERTED MR. LE PEN. IT SAYS IT WILL NOW OBEY MR. MEGRET.

    THE SECURITY SERVICE PROTECTS NATIONAL FRONT MEETINGS AND THE LEADERSHIP. MR. MEGRET NOW HAS THE OPEN BACKING OF ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF THE PARTY'S SECURITY OFFICERS AND OF MORE THAN HALF THE PARTY'S ELECTED DELEGATES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JN/RAE
    15-Jan-99 1:10 PM EST (1810 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] FRANCE GERMANY NUCLEAR (L-O) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=1/15/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-244233
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: GERMANY'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER HAS TOLD FRENCH POLITICIANS GERMANY'S DECISION TO ABANDON NUCLEAR ENERGY MEANS THE END TO A LUCRATIVE CONTRACT FOR FRANCE TO RE-PROCESSES GERMAN NUCLEAR WASTE. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: GERMANY'S DECISION TO ABANDON NUCLEAR ENERGY IS EXPECTED TO BE APPROVED BY A PARLIAMENTARY VOTE AT THE END OF THE MONTH. THE DECISION MEANS FRANCE, A MAJOR REPROCESSER OF NUCLEAR WASTE, WILL LOSE ONE OF ITS MAIN CUSTOMERS

    REPROCESSING GERMAN NUCLEAR WASTE AT A PLANT NEAR LE HAVRE BRINGS IN ABOUT 535-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. GERMANY AND JAPAN ARE THE PLANT'S TWO MAIN FOREIGN CUSTOMERS. OTHER GERMAN WASTE IS RE-PROCESSED IN BRITAIN. IN PARIS, GERMAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER JURGEN TRITTIN SAID DESPITE A CONTRACT NEGOTIATED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DECADE, HE DOES NOT BELIEVE GERMANY OWES FRANCE COMPENSATION. BUT HE PROMISED GERMANY WOULD RE-IMPORT REMAINING GERMAN NUCLEAR WASTE AFTER IT HAS BEEN RE-PROCESSED.

    HE SAID HIS GOVERNMENT'S DECISION TO ABANDON NUCLEAR ENERGY WAS AN EVENT THAT INVALIDATED PREVIOUS ARRANGEMENTS.

    FRANCE'S SOCIALIST FINANCE MINISTER DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN HAS BEEN INSISTING THAT GERMANY MUST PAY FRANCE COMPENSATION. FRANCE'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, DOMINIQUE VOYNET, AN OPPONENT OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, SAID ONLY THAT NEGOTIATIONS ON THE MATTER ARE LIKELY TO BE LENGTHY.

    IN ADDITION TO ITS RE-PROCESSING AGREEMENTS, FRANCE HAS OTHER PROJECTS INVOLVING GERMANY. THE FRENCH STATE-OWNED MAKER OF NUCLEAR PLANTS HAS BEEN DEVELOPING A NEW GENERATION OF REACTORS FOR ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION WITH THE GERMAN COMPANY SIEMENS.

    THE ISSUE DEEPLY WORRIES FRANCE, WHERE MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF ELECTRICITY IS PRODUCED BY NUCLEAR PLANTS. BELIEVING THAT NUCLEAR ENERGY IS THE SOLUTION FOR COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT HAVE OTHER SOURCES OF MAKING ELECTRICITY, FRANCE HAS INVESTED HEAVILY IN NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JP/RAE
    15-Jan-99 1:22 PM EST (1822 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=1/15/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-244251
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: STOCK PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES WERE UP STRONGLY TODAY (FRIDAY) AS TRADERS CELEBRATED WHAT THEY SAW AS THE POSSIBLE RESOLUTION OF THE CURRENCY CRISIS IN BRAZIL. V-O-A BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT BRECK ARDERY REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

    TEXT: THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE CLOSED AT 93-HUNDRED-40, UP 219 POINTS OR TWO-AND-ONE-HALF PERCENT. FOR THE WEEK, THOUGH, THE INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE LOST 303 POINTS, OR ABOUT THREE-AND-ONE-HALF PERCENT. THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX CLOSED FRIDAY AT 12-HUNDRED-43, UP 31 POINTS.

    STOCKS SOARED ON NEWS THAT THE BRAZILIAN CENTRAL BANK DECIDED TO LET THE NATIONAL CURRENCY -- THE REAL -- FLOAT IN THE MARKET. THE ACTION SEEMED TO REMOVE UNCERTAINTY ABOUT THE REAL WORTH OF THE BRAZILIAN CURRENCY AND WORRY THAT BRAZIL MIGHT DRAIN ITS RESERVES IN AN ATTEMPT TO DEFEND THE REAL. THE HOPE NOW IS THAT CONDITIONS THERE WILL STABILIZE, AND THAT BRAZIL'S TROUBLES WILL NOT SPREAD TO THE REST OF LATIN AMERICA. THE BRAZILIAN STOCK MARKET ROSE BY MORE THAN 30 PERCENT.

    /// REST OPT FOR LONG ///

    ANOTHER FACTOR WHICH DROVE U-S STOCK PRICES HIGHER WAS A SPEECH BY ABBY JOSEPH COHEN, ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL STOCK MARKET ANALYSTS IN THE UNITED STATES. MS. COHEN, AN ECONOMIST AT THE GOLDMAN SACHS INVESTMENT FIRM, SAID THE STOCK MARKET WILL REMAIN STRONG BECAUSE U-S CORPORATIONS ARE STRONG.

    /// COHEN ACT ///

    WE HAVE SEEN THE IMPROVEMENT IN THE STOCK MARKET BECAUSE COMPANIES ARE PERFORMING BETTER. PROFIT MARGINS IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE RISEN DRAMATICALLY, AND ARE NOW HIGHER THAN THEY HAVE BEEN IN 25 YEARS. RETURN ON EQUITY IS THE HIGHEST WE HAVE EVER SEEN IT.

    /// END ACT ///

    MS. COHEN BELIEVES STOCK PRICES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE THIS YEAR.

    THE GOVERNMENT REPORTS MODEST GAINS IN U-S INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT IN DECEMBER, EVEN THOUGH U-S FACTORIES WERE RUNNING AT ONLY ABOUT 80 PERCENT OF CAPACITY. ANALYSTS SAY IT IS ANOTHER SIGN THAT MANY AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS ARE CONTINUING TO SUFFER FROM LOWER EXPORTS BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL PROBLEMS IN ASIA AND ELSEWHERE.

    ARCO IS THE LATEST U-S OIL COMPANY TO CUT CAPITAL SPENDING BECAUSE OF LOW OIL PRICES. ARCO WILL REDUCE ITS INVESTMENTS BY 25 PERCENT, AND CUT 12-HUNDRED JOBS.

    THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY SAYS IT WILL TAKE A 730-MILLION-DOLLAR CHARGE AGAINST EARNINGS, TO COVER COSTS OF BUYOUTS FOR ALMOST NINE-THOUSAND WORKERS, MANY OF WHOM WERE CONSIDERED UNDER-PERFORMERS. FORD WILL ALSO WRITE-OFF ITS 110-MILLION-DOLLAR INVESTMENT IN KIA [PRON: 'KEE-AH] MOTORS OF SOUTH KOREA.

    PHELPS DODGE, THE LARGEST COPPER PRODUCER IN THE UNITED STATES, LOST ALMOST 42-MILLION DOLLARS IN THE FOURTH QUARTER BECAUSE OF LOWER COPPER PRICES.

    THE ENTHUSIASM FOR INTERNET-RELATED STOCKS CONTINUED. THE STOCK OF A COMPANY CALLED "MARKETWATCH-DOT-COM," A BUSINESS NEWS PROVIDER, BEGAN TRADING FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE STOCK WAS ISSUED AT 17-DOLLARS A SHARE, AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY RAN UP ABOVE 100-DOLLARS A SHARE.

    PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS PROPOSED THE CREATION OF A GOVERNMENT-BACKED PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT IN ECONOMICALLY-DEPRESSED REGIONS OF THE UNITED STATES. THE PRESIDENT PRESENTED THE IDEA DURING A SPEECH IN NEW YORK TO THE "WALL STREET PROJECT," A GROUP WHICH IS ATTEMPTING TO IMPROVE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER MINORITIES.

    U-S FINANCIAL MARKETS WILL BE CLOSED MONDAY IN OBSERVANCE OF THE MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/NY/BA/LSF
    15-Jan-99 5:22 PM EST (2222 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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