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Voice of America, 99-03-04

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] KOSOVO CLASHES (L ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (MIJALIC, KOSOVO)
  • [02] RUSSIA / BRITAIN (L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)
  • [03] U-S PILOT / ITALIAN ACCIDENT (L) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (PENTAGON)
  • [04] CABLE CAR VERDICT/WHITE HOUSE REACT (L) BY NICK SIMEONE (WHITE HOUSE)
  • [05] E-U / U-S TRADE (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [06] E-U-BALTICS (L ONLY) (BRUSSELS)
  • [07] FRANCE / PARITY (L ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [08] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [09] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY GARY EDQUIST (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] KOSOVO CLASHES (L ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (MIJALIC, KOSOVO)

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246253
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: IN KOSOVO, TWO SERB BROTHERS ARE AMONG FOUR PEOPLE KILLED IN THE LATEST INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE IN THE TROUBLED SERBIAN PROVINCE. PHILIP SMUCKER REPORTS FROM THE KOSOVO VILLAGE OF MIJALIC.

    TEXT: OFFICIALS SAY THE TWO BROTHERS AND A SERB POLICEMAN WERE KILLED IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS OVERNIGHT. THEY SAY A SERB ARMY OFFICER WAS KILLED IN AN EARLIER CLASH.

    SOURCES IN THE ETHNIC KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY (K-L-A) SAY THE TWO SERBIAN BROTHERS WERE KILLED WHEN THEY TRIED TO DRIVE PAST A REBEL CHECK POINT NEAR THE TOWN OF MIJALIC.

    THE TWO MEN APPARENTLY WERE ON THEIR WAY TO MEET THE THE SON OF ONE OF THEM. THE SON, A YUGOSLAV ARMY DESERTER, HAD CALLED HIS FAMILY TO SAY HE WAS HOMESICK AND WAS COMING HOME.

    ETHNIC ALBANIAN REBELS SEIZED THE ON WHEN HE ARRIVED AT THE SCENE LATER, WEARING A YUGOSLAV ARMY UNIFORM. THE REBELS REPORTED THE ARMY DESERTER TOLD THEM HE WAS TIRED OF FIGHTING AND WANTED ONLY TO RETURN HOME.

    ON THURSDAY, SERBIAN POLICE MASSED NEAR MIJALIC, VOWING TO GO IN AFTER THE ARMY DESERTER IF HE IS NOT RELEASED. DOZENS OF ARMORED VEHICLES WITH HEAVY MACHINEGUNS LINED THE ROAD LEADING INTO TOWN.

    A GERMAN MONITOR WITH THE KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION (FERDINAND SCHAFLER) SAID THE ARMY DEFECTOR IS NOT A HOSTAGE.

    /// SCHAFLER ACT ///

    I HAVE TO STRESS THAT THIS MAN IS NOT A HOSTAGE. HE WAS GOING TO THE K-L-A SIDE OF HIS OWN OPINION. HE EXPLAINED YESTERDAY TO OUR PATROL THAT HE HAS NOT SEEN HIS FAMILY IN FOUR MONTHS. TWO O-S-C-E (ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE) VERIFIERS HAVE SPOKEN TO HIM PERSONALLY.

    /// END ACT ///

    ETHNIC ALBANIANS AND SERBS LIVING IN NEARBY VILLAGES WERE LEAVING THE AREA LATE THURSDAY, IN FEAR OF A POSSIBLE ATTACK BY THE SERB FORCES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PS/JWH
    04-Mar-99 1:32 PM EST (1832 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] RUSSIA / BRITAIN (L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246245
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: BRITAIN AND RUSSIA HAVE PLEDGED TO WORK TOGETHER TO PERSUADE SERBIA AND ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO TO SIGN A PEACE DEAL. BUT AS V-O-A'S EVE CONANT REPORTS, A VISIT BY BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ROBIN COOK TO MOSCOW HAS FAILED TO CONVINCE RUSSIA TO COMMIT ITS TROOPS TO A PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN KOSOVO.

    TEXT: BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ROBIN COOK URGED RUSSIA THURSDAY TO BACK A NATO PLAN FOR SENDING PEACEKEEPING TROOPS TO KOSOVO IF A PEACE DEAL IS REACHED.

    /// COOK ACT ///

    I DON'T THINK THERE IS ANY DOUBT THAT RUSSIA WOULD WISH TO PLAY A VERY STRONG PART IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A PEACE AGREEMENT FOR WHICH RUSSIA ITSELF IS WORKING HARD. AND I AM THEREFORE CLEAR THAT RUSSIA WILL BE PRESENT IN ANY INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE ON THE GROUND IN KOSOVO.

    /// END ACT ///

    BUT RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IGOR IVANOV REPEATED HIS STANCE THAT RUSSIA WILL JOIN PEACEKEEPING FORCES ONLY IF THE YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT REQUESTS IT. BRITAIN HAS BEEN URGING RUSSIA TO USE ITS INFLUENCE WITH THEIR TRADITIONAL SERB ALLIES TO PERSUADE THE YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT TO PERMIT INTERNATIONAL MILITARY FORCES ON ITS TERRITORY.

    THE BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY TOLD REPORTERS HE IS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT PROSPECTS FOR AN END TO FIGHTING IF THE SIX MEMBER CONTACT GROUP UNIFIES TO SUPPORT THE PEACE PROCESS. MR. COOK ALSO SAID RUSSIA WAS NOT ALONE IN ITS STANCE.

    /// ACT COOK ///

    ON THE ISSUE OF THE MILITARY IMPLEMENTATION, RUSSIA'S POSITION REMAINS THAT THEY WISH FIRST TO HAVE AGREEMENT FROM BELGRADE BEFORE THEY COMMIT THEMSELVES TO TROOP LEVELS. BUT ON THIS, THEIR POSITION IS NOT THAT DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF BRITAIN OR THE WEST.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. COOK SAID BRITAIN WILL COMMIT EIGHT-THOUSAND TROOPS AND LEAD THE PEACEKEEPING FORCE. HE ADDED NATO WILL LOOK FOR WHAT HE CALLS "CREATIVE" AND "IMAGINATIVE" SOLUTIONS TO ALLOW RUSSIAN TROOPS TO SERVE ALONGSIDE NATO TROOPS.

    /// OPT ///

    THE BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ALSO DEFENDED HIS COUNTRY'S PARTICIPATION IN AIR RAIDS ON IRAQ. THE RAIDS HAVE BEEN FIERCELY CRITICIZED BY RUSSIA. /// END OPT ///

    MR. COOK WILL FLY TO SOUTHERN RUSSIA ON FRIDAY TO MEET PRIME MINISTER YEVGENY PRIMAKOV. THE TWO MEN PLAN TO DISCUSS A NUMBER OF ISSUES, INCLUDING RUSSIA'S FOREIGN DEBT PROBLEMS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/EC/JWH
    04-Mar-99 12:12 PM EST (1712 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] U-S PILOT / ITALIAN ACCIDENT (L) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (PENTAGON)

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246263
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: MARINE CAPTAIN RICHARD ASHBY HAS BEEN ACQUITTED OF ALL CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH A CABLE CAR ACCIDENT LAST YEAR IN THE ITALIAN ALPS. HE WAS AT THE CONTROLS OF A PLANE WHICH SLICED THROUGH A SKI GONDOLA CABLE. THE GONDOLA CRASHED TO THE GROUND, KILLING ALL 20 PEOPLE ON BOARD. V-O-A'S ANDRE DE NESNERA REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON.

    TEXT: THE EIGHT-MEMBER MILITARY JURY DELIBERATED FOR ABOUT SEVEN HOURS OVER TWO DAYS BEFORE DELIVERING ITS VERDICT: NOT GUILTY OF ALL THE CHARGES.

    THIRTY-ONE YEAR OLD CAPTAIN RICHARD ASHBY WAS ACQUITTED OF 20 COUNTS OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, AS WELL AS DESTROYING CIVILIAN AND MILITARY PROPERTY, DERELICTION OF DUTY AND IMPROPER FLIGHT PLANNING. HAD HE BEEN CONVICTED ON ALL COUNTS, CAPTAIN ASHBY COULD HAVE SPENT THE REST OF HIS LIFE IN PRISON.

    DURING THE THREE-WEEK TRIAL AT CAMP LEJEUNE, NORTH CAROLINA, THE PROSECUTION ARGUED CAPTAIN ASHBY WAS ENGAGED IN WHAT WAS KNOWN AS "FLAT-HATTING" -- MILITARY JARGON FOR FLYING TOO LOW AND TOO FAST. PROSECUTORS DESCRIBED THE MARINE AS A RECKLESS PILOT WHO VIOLATED THE MISSION'S SPEED AND ALTITUDE RESTRICTIONS.

    BUT THE DEFENSE COUNTERED BY SAYING CAPTAIN ASHBY WAS A REASONABLE PILOT FLYING A REASONABLE MISSION. THEY SAID THE MAP ISSUED TO HIM BEFORE THE FLIGHT DID NOT HAVE THE GONDOLA SYSTEM ON IT. THERE WERE ALSO QUESTIONS AS TO WHETHER THE PLANE'S ALTIMETER -- THE INSTRUMENT WHICH RECORDS THE PLANE'S ALTITUDE -- WAS WORKING PROPERLY.

    THE EIGHT OFFICERS SERVING ON THE JURY DID NOT WANT TO COMMENT ON THEIR DECISION TO EXONERATE CAPTAIN ASHBY. BUT FOLLOWING HIS ACQUITTAL, THE MARINE PILOT SAID THE WHOLE AFFAIR HAS BEEN A TRAGEDY FOR ALL INVOLVED. HE SAID HIS THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS.

    // OPT //

    HOWEVER CAPTAIN ASHBY'S LEGAL WOES ARE NOT YET OVER. HE STILL FACES OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE CHARGES STEMMING FROM THE DISAPPEARANCE OF A VIDEOTAPE SHOT BY HIS NAVIGATOR DURING THE ILL-FATED FLIGHT. // END OPT //

    DURING A BRIEFING HERE AT THE PENTAGON, SENIOR SPOKESMAN KEN BACON TOLD REPORTERS THE WHOLE COURT MARTIAL PROCEDURE WAS CANDID AND OPEN. HE SAID AS A RESULT OF THE FEBRUARY 1998 TRAGEDY, THE MILITARY HAS TAKEN THREE SIGNIFICANT STEPS.

    // BACON ACT //

    THERE IS NOW A CLEAR, MINIMUM FLIGHT CEILING OF TWO THOUSAND FEET (650 METERS). BECAUSE OF THAT RESTRICTION, THE PLANES DO NOT DO ANY LOW LEVEL FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN THE ALPS. AND THIRD, AFTER EVERY FLIGHT, THERE IS A THIRD-PARTY REVIEW OF THE FLIGHT TAPES TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE WAS FULL COMPLIANCE WITH ALL THE FLIGHT RULES AND REGULATIONS.

    // END ACT //

    THE CRASH AND ITS AFTERMATH HAS STRAINED RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY. RIGHT AFTER THE ACCIDENT, ITALIAN OFFICIALS DEMANDED THAT U-S LANDING RIGHTS BE REVOKED AT BASES IN THEIR COUNTRY.

    MR. BACON ACKNOWLEDGED THE ACCIDENT WAS -- IN HIS WORDS -- A VERY DIFFICULT EPISODE FOR THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY. BUT HE SAID THE TWO COUNTRIES ARE EXTREMELY STRONG ALLIES AND SHARE THE SAME GOALS OF RESOLVING THE ISSUE AS FAIRLY AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE: A REFERENCE TO COMPENSATION CLAIMS BY THE FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS -- CLAIMS THAT STILL HAVE TO BE SETTLED IN THE COURTS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/ADEN/GE
    04-Mar-99 4:03 PM EST (2103 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] CABLE CAR VERDICT/WHITE HOUSE REACT (L) BY NICK SIMEONE (WHITE HOUSE)

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246260
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE WHITE HOUSE IS TRYING TO PUT THE BEST FACE ON THURSDAY'S ACQUITTAL OF A U-S MARINE WHOSE PLANE CUT THE CABLES OF AN ITALIAN SKI LIFT LAST YEAR AND CAUSED THE DEATHS OF 20 HOLIDAY MAKERS. ITALY HAD DEMANDED THE MARINES BE TRIED IN ITALIAN COURTS. CORRESPONDENT NICK SIMEONE REPORTS THURSDAY'S ACQUITTAL COULD END UP SOURING FRIDAY'S MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VISITING ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MASSIMO D'ALEMA,

    TEXT: LAST YEAR'S ACCIDENT IN THE ITALIAN ALPS CAUSED AN UPROAR IN EUROPE AND STRAINED RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY WHERE DENIALS FOR FOR THE CASE TO BE TIED IN THE ITALIAN COURTS HAD TESTED THE BONDS OF THE NATO ALLIANCE.

    THURSDAY'S ACQUITTAL OF THE PILOT OF THE MARINE FLIGHT CREW HAS BROUGHT THAT ANGER BACK TO THE SURFACE. FROM MEMBERS OF THE ITALIAN PARLIAMENT TO ORDINARY CITIZENS, ITALIANS ARE EXPRESSING INDIGNATION THAT CAPTAIN RICHARD ASHBY HAS BEEN CLEARED OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, WITH SOME EXPRESSING A SENSE THAT THIS VERDICT BY A U-S MILITARY JURY SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXPECTED.

    TRAVELING IN BOSTON, ITALY'S PRIME MINISTER MASSIMO D'ALEMA TOLD REPORTERS HE FOUND THE VERDICT DISCONCERTING. AND ITALIAN OFFICIALS SAY HE PLANS TO BRING UP THE MATTER IN HIS MEETING WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON HERE AT THE WHITE HOUSE FRIDAY.

    ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS ARE BRACING FOR THE POSSIBILITY THAT A TRAGEDY WHICH HAS STRAINED U-S/ITALIAN RELATIONS OVER THE PAST YEAR COULD END UP CLOUDING OTHER ISSUES ON THE AGENDA, INCLUDING A LOOMING CROSS ATLANTIC TRADE WAR AFFECTING ITALIAN IMPORTS. WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN JOE LOCKHART.

    // LOCKHART ACT //

    THE UNITED STATES DEEPLY REGRETS THE TRAGIC DEATH OF THE 20 VICTIMS BUT I THINK IT IS A TESTAMENT TO THE STRENGTH OF OUR RELATIONS THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP STRONG BONDS BETWEEN THE COUNTRIES AND DEAL WITH THIS IN AN HONEST AND STRAIGHT FORWARD WAY.

    // END ACT //

    PEOPLE SEEKING COMPENSATION FOR ACCIDENTS DURING NATO TRAINING EXERCISES MAY BE COVERED BY A TREATY SIGNED BY NATO MEMBERS AND CLAIMS AGAINST THAT ACCOUNT HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE. BUT RELATIVES OF THE VICTIMS HAVE COMPLAINED THAT PROCEDURES FOR COMPENSATION COULD TAKE YEARS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/NJS
    04-Mar-99 3:23 PM EST (2023 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] E-U / U-S TRADE (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246233
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: IN THE ONGOING DISPUTE OVER BANANAS, THE EUROPEAN UNION HAS ANGRILY REJECTED AMERICAN ATTEMPTS TO IMPOSE RETROACTIVE TARIFFS ON EUROPEAN EXPORTS. RON PEMSTEIN REPORTS FROM BRUSSELS ON THE GROWING DISPUTE IN U-S/EUROPEAN UNION TRADE.

    TEXT: THE 500-MILLION DOLLARS IN AMERICAN TARIFFS WILL INCLUDE 100 PERCENT DUTIES ON SCOTTISH CASHMERE SWEATERS, ITALIAN CHEESES AND FRENCH LEATHER BAGS. THE UNITED STATES WANTS TO IMPOSE THESE TARIFFS TO PUNISH THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR ITS NEW RULES ON BANANA IMPORTS THAT FAVOR COUNTRIES, MOSTLY IN AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEAN. THE UNITED STATES COMPLAINS THESE RULES, LIKE THE OLD ONES, DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SOUTH AMERICAN BANANAS MARKETED BY AMERICAN COMPANIES.

    THESE TARIFFS WILL NOT BE IMPOSED UNTIL THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION RULES LATER THIS MONTH ON WHAT DAMAGES, IF ANY, THE UNITED STATES CAN COLLECT.

    THE EUROPEAN UNION'S TRADE COMMISSIONER, LEON BRITTAIN, SAYS THE IMPATIENCE OF THE UNITED STATES IS BEING DRIVEN BY DOMESTIC CONCERNS.

    ///BRITTAIN ACT///

    THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE DONE SO REVEALS MORE CLEARLY THAN EVER THAT AMERICAN POLICY IS NOT BEING DRIVEN BY CONCERN FOR ITS COMMERCIAL INTERESTS, STILL LESS BY SOLIDARITY WITH ITS CLOSEST ALLIES, BUT BY INTERNAL POLITICAL PRESSURES FROM AMERICAN COMPANIES AND CONGRESS.

    ////END ACT///

    MR. BRITTAIN CALLS THE TARIFFS "ILLEGAL MEASURES" AND SAYS THEY WILL FORM PART OF THE EUROPEAN UNION'S COMPLAINT BEFORE THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (W-T-O). HE DOES NOT RULE OUT THE EUROPEAN UNION IMPOSING ITS OWN TARIFFS AGAINST AMERICAN EXPORTS.

    ///SECOND BRITTAIN ACT///

    WE WILL TAKE ACTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE W-T-O, BUT WE WILL ALSO USE THE W-T-O. AND OF COURSE, IF THE ACTION THAT WE TAKE RESULTS IN OUR WINNING A CASE, THEN WE WOULD BE LAWFULLY ENTITLED TO RETALIATE.

    ///END ACT///

    ON ANOTHER ISSUE, MR. BRITTAIN WELCOMES DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA ON CHINESE ACCESSION TO THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION. BUT HE REMINDS THE UNITED STATES THAT NO DEAL BY THE TWO COUNTRIES CAN BE IMPOSED ON OTHER COUNTRIES. ANY PREFERENCES NEGOTIATED, HE SAYS, MUST BE EXTENDED TO OTHER MEMBERS OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION.

    //REST OPT//

    THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION IS ALSO REJECTING AS "EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE" AN ACTION BY THE U-S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO BAN THE SUPERSONIC CONCORDE AIRCRAFT FROM LANDING IN THE UNITED STATES. THE MEASURE NEEDS APPROVAL BY THE U-S SENATE AND THE PRESIDENT TO TAKE EFFECT. THE U-S CONGRESSIONAL MEASURE COUNTERS A EUROPEAN PLAN TO FREEZE THE NUMBER OF AIRPLANES RETROFITTED WITH NOISE REDUCTION MUFFLERS PERMITTED TO LAND AT EUROPEAN AIRPORTS. MOST OF THOSE MUFFLERS ARE MADE BY AMERICAN COMPANIES AND ARE INSTALLED ON OLDER AMERICAN AIRPLANES.

    AN E-U SPOKESWOMAN SAYS THE FREEZE IS DESIGNED TO REDUCE NOISE AT EUROPEAN AIRPORTS AND IS NOT INTENDED TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY COUNTRY.

    BANANAS AND AIRPLANES ARE CURRENT TRADE ISSUES. OTHERS INCLUDE EUROPEAN BANS ON HORMONE-TREATED AMERICAN BEEF AND DIFFERENT STANDARDS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE EUROPEAN UNION ON THE NEXT GENERATION OF "MOBILE," OR "CELLULAR" TELEPHONES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/PCF
    04-Mar-99 9:06 AM EST (1406 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] E-U-BALTICS (L ONLY) (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246250

    CORRESPONDENT=RON PEMSTEIN CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: ESTONIAN PRESIDENT LENNERT MERI WAS REASSURED THURSDAY BY EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JACQUES SANTER THAT THERE IS NO SLOWDOWN IN THE EUROPEAN UNION'S PLAN TO EXPAND. RON PEMSTEIN REPORTS FROM BRUSSELS THAT ESTONIA IS A STEP AHEAD OF ITS BALTIC NEIGHBORS -- LITHUANIAN AND LATVIA -- IN THE DRIVE TO BECOME AN E-U MEMBER.

    TEXT: ALONE AMONG THE THREE BALTIC NATIONS, ESTONIA IS ON THE SO-CALLED "FAST TRACK" TO EUROPEAN UNION MEMBERSHIP. BUT NO ONE KNOWS HOW "FAST" THAT WILL BE.

    THE EUROPEAN UNION'S DIFFICULTIES IN REFORMING ITSELF, ESPECIALLY IN THE AREA OF AGRICULTURE, HAVE PUT ITS ENLARGEMENT DRIVE IN THE BACKGROUND.

    UNTIL THE EUROPEAN UNION AGREES ON HOW TO FINANCE ITSELF THROUGH THE YEAR 2006, THE MEMBER STATES DO NOT WANT TO FOCUS ON ADDING NEW, POORER COUNTRIES FROM CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE. A SUMMIT MEETING WILL BE HELD IN BERLIN LATER THIS MONTH TO MAKE THE FINAL COMPROMISES ON THE BUDGET.

    EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JACQUES SANTER TOLD ESTONIAN PRESIDENT LENNERT MERI THAT HE'S CONFIDENT THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL REACH AGREEMENT IN BERLIN, AND THE ENLARGEMENT PROCESS WILL NOT STALL.

    ///SANTER ACT///

    THERE IS NO SLOW DOWN IN THIS ACCESSION PROCESS AND FROM OUR SIDE, WE WISH THAT THE MOMENTUM OF THIS PROCESS IS MAINTAINED, EVEN IF WE HAVE ... TO FULFILL OUR ... TASK TO REFORM OUR INTERNAL POLICIES, OUR AGRICULTURAL POLICIES, OUR STRUCTURAL FUNDS AND SO ON. AND I SAID TO THE (ESTONIAN) PRESIDENT THAT I AM QUITE CONFIDENT THAT WE WOULD REACH AN AGREEMENT OF 15 FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION AT THE BERLIN SUMMIT AT THE END OF MARCH.

    ///END ACT///

    //OPT//

    ONE FACTOR BOOSTING MR. SANTER'S CONFIDENCE IS GERMANY'S AGREEMENT TO DROP ITS INSISTENCE THAT INDIVIDUAL E-U MEMBER STATES HELP SUPPORT FARM PRICES INSTEAD OF RELYING ON THE EUROPEAN UNION AS WHOLE. THAT BURDEN WOULD HAVE FALLEN MOST HEAVILY ON FRANCE WHICH HAS BEEN HOLDING UP AN AGREEMENT ON AGRICULTURE, THE BIGGEST ITEM IN THE EUROPEAN UNION'S BUDGET.

    //END OPT//

    ESTONIAN PRESIDENT MERI TELLS REPORTERS HE'S SATISFIED -- NOT FRUSTRATED -- BY THE PACE OF HIS COUNTRY'S NEGOTIATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE EUROPEAN UNION .

    ///MERI ACT///

    THE PROCESS IS GOING FINE. FROM TIME TO TIME ESTONIA CAN RUN FASTER THAN EUROPE BUT I DON'T SEE ANY REASON WHY EUROPE SHOULD RUN.

    ///END ACT///

    ESTONIA HAS FULFILLED MORE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION'S REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP FASTER THAN MANY OF THE OTHER SIX COUNTRIES ON THE FAST TRACK FOR MEMBERSHIP. ESTONIA HAS ASKED THE EUROPEAN UNION TO MAINTAIN ITS TRADE ARRANGEMENTS WITH LATVIA AND LITHUANIA, IF ESTONIA BECOMES A MEMBER BEFORE THE OTHERS DO.

    PRESIDENT SANTER SAYS ANY DECISION ABOUT PUTTING THE OTHER BALTIC COUNTRIES ON THE FAST TRACK WITH ESTONIA WILL BE LEFT TO THE EUROPEAN UNION HEADS OF STATE WHEN THEY MEET IN HELSINKI AT THE END OF THE YEAR. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/PCF
    04-Mar-99 1:01 PM EST (1801 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] FRANCE / PARITY (L ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246255
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: AFTER INITIAL OPPOSITION, THE FRENCH SENATE VOTED THURSDAY TO APPROVE A PROPOSED NEW LAW THAT OBLIGES POLITICAL PARTIES TO PUT UP EQUAL NUMBERS OF MEN AND WOMEN CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION TO PARLIAMENT AND OTHER POLITICAL BODIES. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: JUST THREE WEEKS AGO, THE NORMALLY RESTRAINED FRENCH SENATE THREATENED TO BLOCK THE PROCESS OF WHAT THE FRENCH CALL "PARITY" TO GUARANTEE WOMEN AN EQUAL PLACE ALONGSIDE MEN IN ELECTIONS.

    THE LARGELY CONSERVATIVE UPPER HOUSE OF THE FRENCH PARLIAMENT REJECTED A BILL THAT HAD NOT ONLY BEEN UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED BY THE LOWER NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BUT HAD ALSO BEEN CO-SPONSORED BY FRANCE'S SOCIALIST PRIME MINISTER AND CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENT.

    IRONICALLY, ALTHOUGH PARITY WAS PROPOSED BY THE LEFT, THE CONSERVATIVES IN THE FRENCH SENATE WERE ENCOURAGED TO OPPOSE THE LAW BY ARGUMENTS AMONG LEADING SOCIALISTS .

    CHIEF AMONG THE OPPONENTS WERE THE SOCIALIST SENATOR ROBERT BADINTER AND HIS WIFE, ELISABETH BADINTER, A WELL-KNOWN FEMINIST WRITER.

    MR. BADINTER, A FORMER JUSTICE MINISTER AND CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT WHO LED THE SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN FRANCE 20 YEARS AGO, SAID IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO ENFORCE PARITY IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES TOTAL FREEDOM TO POLITICAL PARTIES. HIS WIFE SAID FORMAL MEASURES ARE MORE LIKELY TO ENCOURAGE DISCRIMINATION THAN ELIMINATE IT. LAST WEEK, AS THE SENATE STILL THREATENED TO BLOCK THE LAW, PRIME MINISTER LIONEL JOSPIN BEGAN HINTING AT THE NEED TO REFORM THE UPPER HOUSE IN A WAY THAT COULD NOT ONLY CHANGE THE MEN-WOMEN RATIO BUT ALSO, IN ALL LIKELIHOOD, END ITS TRADITIONAL DOMINANCE BY THE RIGHT. THIS WEEK, THE SENATE, USING A TECHNICALITY, SAID IT HAD FOUND A FORMULA TO MAKE THE PARITY LAW ACCEPTABLE. WHEN IT WAS PUT TO THE VOTE A SECOND TIME BY A SHOW OF HANDS, ONLY ONE SENATOR, A CONSERVATIVE, VOTED AGAINST. MANY OTHERS WERE ABSENT; SOME HAD ALREADY SAID THEY WOULD BOYCOTT THE SESSION.

    THE VOTE MEANS THAT, AFTER ANOTHER PASSAGE THROUGH THE LOWER HOUSE, POLITICAL PARITY WILL BECOME LAW.

    WHAT IS REALLY AT ISSUE IS WHAT PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC CALLS THE "MODERNIZATION" OF FRENCH POLITICAL LIFE, SOMETHING HE HAS MADE A PRIORITY.

    WHEN MR. JOSPIN CAME UP WITH THE PARITY LAW, MR. CHIRAC, APPARENTLY EAGER TO MAINTAIN HIS OWN IMAGE AS A REFORMER, ADDED HIS SPONSORSHIP.

    WITH THE SIGNATURES OF FRANCE'S TWO MOST POWERFUL MEN ON THE BILL, THE LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT GAVE THE LAW AN EASY PASSAGE. AFTER A RARE EXCURSION INTO TROUBLESOME DISSENT, THE FRENCH SENATE, TOO, IS NOW BACK ON SIDE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JWN/JWH
    04-Mar-99 1:41 PM EST (1841 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=3/4/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246266
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: STOCK PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES WERE UP STRONGLY TODAY (THURSDAY) AS A MAJOR DEAL IN THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY SPARKED RENEWED OPTIMISM. VOA BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT BRECK ARDERY REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

    TEXT: THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE CLOSED AT 94 HUNDRED 67, UP 191 POINTS OR MORE THAN TWO PERCENT. THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX CLOSED AT 12 HUNDRED 46, UP 19 POINTS. AND THE NASDAQ INDEX GAINED MORE THAN ONE PERCENT.

    ANALYSTS SAY THE CATALYST FOR THE RALLY WAS A 16 BILLION DOLLAR DEAL ANNOUNCED BY THE DELL AND I-B-M COMPUTER COMPANIES. DELL WILL BUY I-B-M COMPONENTS FOR USE IN DELL'S PERSONAL COMPUTERS. THE DEAL, BELIEVED TO BE THE LARGEST IN HIGH TECHNOLOGY HISTORY, ALSO PROVIDES FOR THE COMPANIES TO JOINTLY DEVELOP NEW PRODUCTS. THE STOCKS OF BOTH COMPANIES ROSE ON THE NEWS.

    ///REST OPT///

    PATRICK MURPHY OF THE ROBB PECK MCCOOEY INVESTMENT FIRM, BELIEVES THE U-S STOCK MARKET IS POISED FOR A STRONG RALLY BECAUSE OF INCOME TAX REFUNDS BEING RECEIVED BY MANY AMERICANS.

    ///MURPHY ACT///

    THE AVERAGE TAXPAYER WILL BE GETTING BACK 14 HUNDRED DOLLARS. THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TRADING STOCKS HAS INCREASED GREATLY AND THEY WILL WANT TO PUT THAT IN THE MARKET. SO I LOOK FORWARD TO A NICE RALLY ALL THE WAY THROUGH APRIL.

    ///END ACT///

    THE GOVERNMENT REPORTS U-S FACTORY ORDERS ROSE ALMOST TWO PERCENT IN JANUARY, FUELED LARGELY BY A SPURT IN AIRCRAFT ORDERS.

    THE U-S LABOR MARKET REMAINS VERY STRONG WITH THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS FILING CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FALLING THREE PERCENT LAST WEEK.

    A SURVEY OF MAJOR U-S RETAILERS SHOWS BETTER-THAN-EXPECTED SALES LAST MONTH. ANALYSTS SAY STRONG CONSUMER CONFIDENCE MEANS AMERICANS FEEL SECURE SPENDING MONEY AND TAKING ON NEW DEBT.

    THE STOCK OF THE GILEAD SCIENCES COMPANY ROSE MORE THAN 14 PERCENT AFTER THE COMPANY REPORTED VERY POSITIVE TEST RESULTS FOR A NEW DRUG TO TREAT THE VIRUS WHICH CAUSES AIDS. GILEAD SAYS IT WILL ASK U-S REGULATORS TO APPROVE THE DRUG, NAMED PREVEON, WITHIN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.

    SWEDEN'S AUTO WORKERS UNIONS HAVE APPROVED THE PROPOSED SIX AND ONE HALF BILLION DOLLAR SALE OF VOLVO'S AUTO OPERATIONS TO THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF THE UNITED STATES. THE UNIONS SAY THEY WELCOME FORD'S COMMITMENT TO DEVELOP NEW MODELS AND EXPAND VOLVO PRODUCTION IN SWEDEN.

    THE STOCK OF SIEMENS, THE GERMAN-BASED INDUSTRIAL CONGLOMERATE, ROSE MORE THAN FIVE PERCENT ON SPECULATION IT WILL SOON MAKE A MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT IN SEVERAL AMERICAN DATA NETWORKING FIRMS. SIEMENS SAYS IT WILL MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THAT NEXT WEEK. ANALYSTS SAY SIEMENS NEEDS TO MAKE A BOLD MOVE INTO THE INTERNET TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS AND THAT INVESTMENT IN AMERICAN COMPANIES WOULD BE THE FASTEST WAY TO ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL.(SIGNED) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/PT
    04-Mar-99 5:12 PM EST (2212 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [09] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY GARY EDQUIST (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=03/04/99
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11174
    TELEPHONE=619-2702
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    CONTENT=

    //// EDS: MATERIAL DATED AFTER 10 P-M EST ////

    INTRO: SOME OF THE TOPICS IN U-S NEWSPAPERS (THURSDAY) INCLUDE THE MURDER OF FOREIGN TOURISTS IN UGANDA; EDITORIAL APPROVAL OF THE NO-FLY POLICY IN IRAQ; AN ASSESSMENT THAT DEMOCRACY IS ALTERING IRAN; AND A CALL FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE. NOW, HERE IS _____________ WITH A CLOSER LOOK AND A FEW EXCERPTS, IN TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.

    TEXT: UGANDA HAS LAUNCHED A CROSS-BORDER MANHUNT FOR RWANDAN REBELS WHO MURDERED EIGHT FOREIGN TOURISTS IN SOUTHWESTERN UGANDA TUESDAY. THE EIGHT VICTIMS INCLUDED TWO AMERICANS, FOUR BRITONS AND TWO NEW ZEALANDERS. THE AMERICANS -- ROB HAUBNER AND HIS WIFE SUSAN MILLER -- WERE FROM PORTLAND, OREGON, AND THE CITY'S NEWSPAPER, "THE ORGONIAN," WRITES THE TWO WERE A -- WELL-LIKED, SUCCESSFUL, ADVENTURESOME OREGON COUPLE RETURNING TO AFRICA TO RELIVE SOME OF THE MEMORIES OF A HONEYMOON THERE THREE YEARS EARLIER. THE NEWSPAPER ADDS:

    VOICE: AMERICANS TRAVELING ABROAD PROBABLY ALWAYS WILL BE TARGETS OF SUCH TERRORISTS WHO WANT TO STRIKE AT THE UNITED STATES, BUT HAVE THE COURAGE OR CAPABILITY ONLY TO HARM THE UNARMED AND UNHARMFUL. IT'S TRUE THAT SUCH ATTACKS ARE RELATIVELY RARE. YET, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER TERROR IS WAGED AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS, THE UNITED STATES MUST RESPOND WITHOUT AMBIGUITY. /// OPT /// ... IF INNOCENT AMERICANS ABROAD ARE GOING TO BE TARGETS, THE PEOPLE WHO SINGLE THEM OUT FOR TERROR AND THOSE WHO SPONSOR THEM MUST PAY FOR THEIR CRIMES. /// END OPT ///

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: "USA TODAY" WRITES THAT THE MURDER OF THE EIGHT TOURISTS IS -- ADDING TO (THE) TOLL FROM AFRICA'S SPREADING ANARCHY.

    VOICE: ... THE MURDERS ARE POWERFUL REMINDERS OF THE HARROWING ANARCHY FOUND ACROSS THE CONTINENT'S MIDDLE. THERE ARE ISLANDS OF RELATIVE STABILITY; UGANDA WAS THOUGHT TO BE ONE. BUT FROM THE HAND-CHOPPERS OF SIERRA LEONE TO THE CLAN-KILLERS OF SOMALIA, SUCH HATEFUL ATROCITIES ARE COMMON.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: THE "LOS ANGELES TIMES" MAINTAINS IN AN EDITORIAL THAT THE "NO-FLY POLICY (IS) ON TARGET" IN IRAQ.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// FOR MORE THAN TWO-MONTHS THE NO-FLY ZONES OVER NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN IRAQ HAVE BEEN ARENAS FOR ALMOST DAILY ATTACKS ON SADDAM HUSSEIN'S AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM BY U-S AND BRITISH PLANES. THE BOMBING CAMPAIGN SHOWS NO SIGNS OF DIMINISHING. ... THE NEED TO MAINTAIN THESE PATROLS CAN HARDLY BE ARGUED. /// END OPT /// ... HOW LONG THE AIR CAMPAIGN GOES ON IS LARGELY UP TO IRAQ. IF IT RETURNS TO PASSIVELY ACCEPTING THE NO-FLY ZONES, THE BOMBING WILL COME TO AN END. IT THE REGIME KEEPS TRYING TO SHOOT DOWN ALLIED PLANES, IT CAN COUNT ON SACRIFICING MORE OF ITS AIR DEFENSE. THE NO-FLY ZONES PROTECT MILLIONS OF IRAQ'S CITIZENS. THE PLANES THAT PATROL THEM CAN DO THEIR JOB ONLY IF FREE TO DEFEND THEMSELVES.

    TEXT: "THE NEW YORK TIMES" WRITES THAT "THE POWER OF DEMOCRACY IS ALTERING IRAN." REFORM-MINDED SUPPORTERS OF IRANIAN PRESIDENT MOHAMMAD KHATAMI WON HEAVILY IN THE FIRST LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS (FRIDAY, 2/26) SINCE THE 1979 ISLAMIC REVOLUTION. MODERATES EXPECT THE VOTE TO BOOST EFFORTS BY PRESIDENT KHATAMI TO GRANT MORE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL FREEDOMS. "THE NEW YORK TIMES" ADDS -- IRANIANS ARE CLEARLY IMPATIENT TO LIFT RELIGIOUS REPRESSION AND TRANSFORM THEIR COUNTRY. THE EDITORIAL GOES ON TO SAY:

    VOICE: WASHINGTON WOULD BENEFIT GREATLY FROM THE DEVELOPMENT OF A MORE MODERATE AND INTERNATIONALLY RESPONSIBLE IRAN, AND SHOULD DO WHAT IT CAN TO ENCOURAGE CHANGE. WHILE CONTINUING TO SUPPORT EXCHANGES BY SPORTS TEAMS AND CULTURAL GROUPS, THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION SHOULD BEGIN TO EASE TRADE RESTRICTIONS AGAINST IRAN IN WAYS THAT WOULD HAVE THE MOST IMPACT ON ORDINARY IRANIANS.

    TEXT: THE U-S OLYMPIC COMMITTEE SAYS IT WILL ADOPT THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE SPECIAL COMMISSION INVESTIGATING THE 2002 SALT LAKE CITY GAMES BRIBERY SCANDAL. THE SCANDAL INVOLVES GIFTS, SCHOLARSHIPS AND PAYMENTS TO INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (I-O-C) MEMBERS IN EXCHANGE FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF SALT LAKE CITY'S BID. "THE WASHINGTON TIMES" HAS THIS COMMENT ABOUT THE ETHICS PANEL'S REPORT:

    VOICE: /// OPT /// THE ETHICS PANEL OUTLINED A HOST OF REFORMS THAT WOULD REQUIRE THE I-O-C TO BECOME FAR MORE ACCOUNTABLE, INCLUDING ANNUAL REPORTS, THE ELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS BY THEIR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES AND TERM LIMITS FOR THEIR TENURE. ALL WORTHWHILE SUGGESTIONS. BUT /// END OPT /// ... (THE REPORT) ... STOPPED FAR SHORT OF RECOMMENDING THE MOST INDISPENSABLE REFORM OF ALL -- THE OUSTER OF THE IMPERIOUS I-O-C PRESIDENT JUAN ANTONIO SAMARANCH. THIS MAN HAS RULED THE I-O-C AS A PERSONAL FIEFDOM SINCE HE WAS FIRST ELECTED IN MOSCOW IN 1980. HE IS IN SUCH DENIAL THAT HE HAS RECENTLY BLAMED THE MEDIA FOR CAUSING 'DISPROPORTIONATE DAMAGE' TO THE OLYMPIC MOVEMENT. BUT IT WAS NOT THE PRESS GIVING OUT THE BRIBES WAS IT? ... MR SAMARANCH IS A BIG PART OF THE PROBLEM. HE IS IN NO POSITION TO IMPLEMENT THE LONG-OVERDUE REFORMS THAT MUST GO FORWARD.

    TEXT: THAT COMMENT FROM "THE WASHINGTON TIMES" CONCLUDES THIS SAMPLING OF COMMENTS ON TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.
    NEB/GE/RAE
    04-Mar-99 11:19 AM EST (1619 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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