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Voice of America, 99-08-05

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://>




    VOICED AT: .....// Corrects U-N sted U-S in last graph //

    INTRO: The General commanding U-S Peacekeeping forces in Kosovo says many of the ethnic Serbs who have fled the troubled province may return quickly. General John Craddock says there are still one or two ethnically-motivated killings and several arsons in the U-S patrolled sector of Kosovo each day, in spite of the presence of nearly eight thousand peackeeping troops. V-O-A's Jim Randle reports from the Pentagon.

    TEXT: General John Craddock says revenge killings and other violence against ethnic Serbs by enraged ethnic Albanians returning to Kosovo have sparked a Serb exodus from Kosovo. But he says many Serbs are moving only as far as the nearest village that has a significant number of fellow Serbs. He says ethnic- Serbs who left Kosovo for other parts of Serbia have found little welcome and no help there, and may soon return to their old villages. General Craddock also says ethnic Albanian refugees who fled Kosovo startled aid organizations and NATO forces by returning faster and in larger numbers than expected, and Serbs may do the same thing. Kosovo is a province of Serbia, which is the largest of Yugoslavia's two republics. The 10-week NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia was designed to end violence against ethnic-Albanians by Serb troops and police. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians fled to neighboring nations after Serb troops, police, or paramilitary forces attacked their villages with tanks, machine guns, and artillery. General Craddock says his troops are trying to stop the cycle of violence and revenge by figuring out where the next attack is likely to strike, and using heavily armed formations of peackeepers to keep the two sides apart.

    /// CRADDOCK ACT ///

    We don't expect these people to like each other; we just want them to coexist. And they have done that in this area for a long time. I spent two hours yesterday walking the streets of one town, that was a mixed town that had a lot of destruction, there is a lot of hatred there now. At night, shots ring out and explosions will occur because one side is trying to intimidate the other.

    /// END ACT ///

    General Craddock says 58-hundred U-S troops, along with 21 hundred Greek, Polish, and Russian soldiers give him enough force to prevent major new outbreaks of interethnic violence in the U-S sector. He says the troops are keeping a special watch on Serbian Orthodox churches after bombs and arson leveled several of them. General Craddock says much of the peacekeeping job is to prevent or investigate violence, which could be better done by civilian police. But so far, only 16 U-N sponsored police officers are deployed in his sector. He hopes to see more soon. General Craddock spoke by telephone from his headquarters in Urosevac. (Signed) NEB/JR/TVM/gm 05-Aug-1999 17:32 PM EDT (05-Aug-1999 2132 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A United Nations team of scientists says environmental damage caused by the conflict in the Balkans is posing a serious health risk to some people in the region. More from our United Nations correspondent Max Ruston.

    TEXT: A team of 12 scientists carried out the environmental study during a visit to Yugoslavia in late July. Team leader Pekka Haavisto, from the U-N Environmental Program, says several toxic and hazardous substances were found in some soil tests in the country, as were dangerous levels of mercury. He says samples are now being analyzed and a final report will be submitted to U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan within the next few weeks. Mr. Haavisto says Yugoslavia has a long history of poor environmental conditions, even before the NATO bombings of the country began. He says it is not yet clear what led to the presence of the hazardous substances his team discovered. In addition to examining environmental conditions, the U-N team is searching for ways to clean up hazardous areas. Team members say it is particularly important to clean up polluted ground water, as that could pose a threat to large sectors of the population. Mr. Haavisto says he is aware that such efforts are politically sensitive, as Western nations have ruled out reconstruction aid for Yugoslavia as long as President Slobodan Milosevic remains in power.

    /// Haavisto Act ///

    In my mind it is common sense that we do something to avoid further problems for the environment or for human health and that can be totally separated from the reconstruction issues. I am fully aware of the political conditionality connected to the reconstruction issues, but I think it is common sense to avoid further problems for the environment or human health.

    /// End Act ///

    The team also visited several sites in Yugoslavia's Kosovo Province, including a fertilizer plant, an oil refinery, a transformer factory and fuel depots. Soil, air and ground-water samples were taken at those sites and have been sent to independent laboratories for analysis. The Yugoslav government has accused NATO of causing widespread environmental damage with its bombings and has demanded a U-N investigation into the issue. (Signed) NEB/MPR/LSF/TVM/PT 05-Aug-1999 17:25 PM EDT (05-Aug-1999 2125 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 8/6/99. 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: A Belgrade radio station has returned to the air to challenge Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's propaganda machine. For a decade, Radio B92 had been a main source of independent news for Serbs. But after the Kosovo conflict began about four months ago, the Milosevic regime took over the radio station and used it to broadcast its own propaganda. Now, under the name Radio B292, the station is once again operating free of Yugoslav government control. Radio B292 is still not completely independent. It is broadcasting under an agreement with Studio B, a television station run by the Belgrade city government, which is controlled by opposition figure Vuk Draskovic. But station officials have promised to try to live up to the reputation of the original B92. As Dusan Masic, B292 news editor, put it, "Our motto is, `If it happens, you will hear about it.' " For too long, Serbs and others in Yugoslavia have not been able to hear from their own news media what is going on in the country. Only from international broadcasters like the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and others could they learn the full extent of the ethnic cleansing, rapes and mass killings perpetrated by the Milosevic regime against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. For these crimes, Milosevic and his top aides have been indicted by the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Because of the devastation brought on by Milosevic's policies, there is a mounting demand in Serbia for a change in government. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs have held rallies and signed petitions demanding that Milosevic resign. It will be the job of Radio B292 and other independent news media to report accurately and objectively on these activities and the government's response to them. The people of Serbia have a right to know. It is their future that is at stake. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States 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. 05-Aug-1999 13:04 PM EDT (05-Aug-1999 1704 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Members of the Kurdistan Workers Party -- or P-K-K -- say they will comply with their condemned leader's call to stop fighting for Kurdish self rule and withdraw their forces from Turkish territory. Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara.

    TEXT: In a statement issued through the pro- Kurdish DEM news agency, the P-K-K high command says it openly declares its full compliance with Abdullah Ocalan's appeal. A Turkish court sentenced Ocalan to death in June, following his capture in Nairobi earlier this year by Turkish special forces. On Tuesday, he called on his fighters to abandon their armed struggle for Kurdish self-rule. He said the violence stood in the way of finding a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish problem. Some analysts say the decision by rebel P-K-K members to comply with Ocalan's demands will make it even more difficult for the Turkish government to justify refusing to acknowledge that there's a Kurdish problem. Turkey instead says what it terms "terrorism" is behind the 15 year long Kurdish rebellion in its largely Kurdish- populated southeast region. Responding to Ocalan's call on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said his government would not negotiate with what he described as "terrorists." Yet Mr. Ecevit tempered his remark by acknowledging that peace was in everybody's interest. Analysts say easing current restrictions on broadcasting and education in the Kurdish language would constitute a major step toward satisfying Kurdish demands to respect what they call their "ethnic dignity." They warn that unless the Turkish government makes some conciliatory gestures -- however symbolic -- toward the Kurds, the P-K-K will likely resume its armed campaign. Meanwhile, Turkey's hawkish chief prosecutor, Vural Savas, asked an appeals court on Thursday to uphold the death sentence for Ocalan. The appeals court is expected to review Ocalan's case early next month and observers say it is likely to uphold the death sentence. Both the Turkish parliament and president need to approve the death sentence before it can be carried out. Turkish public opinion remains divided on the question. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/PCF/KL 05-Aug-1999 10:12 AM EDT (05-Aug-1999 1412 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Russia is reacting cautiously to the appointment of British Defense Secretary George Robertson as NATO Secretary-General. V-O-A's Peter Heinlein reports the Kremlin remains suspicious of NATO -- its Cold War adversary -- in the wake of the Kosovo air campaign.

    TEXT: Foreign ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin says Russia will withhold judgment on George Robertson's appointment to head the Western military alliance. He told reporters, "We will judge Mr. Robertson, and NATO as a whole, by their actions." The newly named NATO chief told a news conference (Wednesday) that improving relations with Russia would be among his greatest challenges. Those ties were badly damaged during the 78-day NATO military action against Yugoslavia, and they remain largely frozen, except for Russia's participation in the international peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Bosnia. The semi-official Interfax news agency quoted military and diplomatic sources as saying Russia generally welcomes Mr. Robertson's emphasis on better relations. But as Alexander Goltz, defense correspondent for the weekly news magazine Itogi, says, the new secretary general faces a daunting challenge in reviving the NATO-Russia founding act signed with such great fanfare two years ago.

    /// GOLTZ ACT ///

    Mr. Robertson stands before a very big challenge because relations between Russia and NATO, which are the cornerstone of European security, were spoiled dramatically by the NATO operation against Yugoslavia. The main challenge is that the Foundation Act which was signed by Russia and NATO countries in '97 showed that it is inadequate to current situation. Both sides paid no attention to this act.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Goltz says that even though the current state of Russia - NATO relations is poor, Russian policymakers are encouraged by Mr. Robertson's reputation as a strong supporter of strengthening the European pillar of alliance security.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Foreign ministry spokesman Rakhmanin told reporters (Thursday) that ties between Russia and the United States also are on the mend. He said Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed a wide range of topics (Wednesday) during a telephone conversation. Mr. Rakhmanin said the talks covered the Middle East peace process, Kosovo, and disarmament. U-S and Russian delegations are due to meet in Moscow in two weeks to discuss the future of the START-Three arms reduction agreement, as well as possible modifications to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. (Signed)
    NEB/PFH/JWH/KL 05-Aug-1999 11:54 AM EDT (05-Aug-1999 1554 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up today (Thursday) as the desire for stock bargains apparently overcame fears of higher interest rates. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-793, up 119 points, more than one percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index closed at 13- hundred-13, up eight points. The NASDAQ Index gained one percent. Stock prices were extremely volatile, plunging early in the session, recovering by mid-day, selling off again and then closing with a gain. Analysts say there is still uneasiness on Wall Street about interest rates and inflation. The July employment report which will be released Friday could provide an important clue as to whether the Federal Reserve Board, the U-S central bank, will raise short- term interest rates.

    ///Begin opt///

    Stu Hoffman, the chief economist at the P-N-C bank, says a strong employment rate will almost certainly cause a rate hike.

    ///opt Hoffman act///

    The employment report we get tomorrow will probably be decisive. If it shows signs of strength that will probably force the "Fed" to raise rates this month rather than wait any further.

    ///end act, end opt///

    Another sign of inflationary pressure in the U-S economy came from the U-S Labor Department. It says workers' pay raises far surpassed productivity increases in the second quarter of this year.

    ///Rest opt///

    U-S retail chains enjoyed another good month with a widely followed index of retail sales up six-point- seven percent in July. The strongest increases came from discount stores. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week was up slightly but analysts say the U-S labor market remains extremely tight. Starwood, the luxury hotel operator, reported a 33 percent increase in quarterly earnings. Starwood recently sold its gambling casino businesses to concentrate on traditional hotel management. Sara Lee, the diversified consumer products company, says its quarterly profits dropped by six percent, largely because of expenses involved in a recall of meat products with suspected bacterial contamination. A-T and T and British Telecommunications will jointly purchase a 33 percent stake in the Rogers Cantel cellular telephone company of Canada. The deal is worth one point four billion dollars in cash. The Bear Stearns Investment company has agreed to pay more than 30 million dollars in fines and restitution in connection with fraud at a small, now-defunct brokerage firm. Bear Stearns had acted as the clearing, or trade processing, agent of the smaller firm. Retail giant Wal-Mart had no problem selling almost six billion dollars in bonds as buyers flocked to the new issues. Since the U-S Treasury announced a sharp cutback in new bond issues, debt investors are turning to high quality corporate bonds which pay slightly higher interest rates than government obligations.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/PT 05-Aug-1999 16:38 PM EDT (05-Aug-1999 2038 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Glancing at the editorial pages of several U-S dailies this Thursday, one finds a wide variety of foreign and domestic topics, headed by relations with Cuba and several worrisome issues in Asia. There are also comments on the film of President John Kennedy's assassination, which has been purchased by the government; the on-going tax cut debate; and the wide-ranging drought in the American East. Now, here is _________ with a closer look and a few excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: There has been another small step in easing relations between the United States and Cuba -- the resumption of charter flights to Havana from both New York and Los Angeles -- and The Los Angeles Times applauds. The huge California paper, noting that U-S Cuban policy is in "dire need of overhaul" chides Congress as part of the problem.

    VOICE: The problem in terms of policy is that Congress, influenced by Florida's vocal anti- Castro population, can not come to see that the aging dictator's time is over and that the United States, with its embargo and the trade- restrictive Helms-Burton Act, is losing political influence there while making the lives of Cubans miserable.

    TEXT: In discussing a local politician's decision to invite the Cuban leader Fidel Castro to a World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, The Seattle Times Wednesday tried to put the aging dictator's situation in perspective.

    VOICE: Cuba is one funeral away from a free- market orgy that will see the Isle of Youth turn into a gambling mecca, and Americans fighting for towel space on Veradero Beach next to Canadians and Germans who've been coming for years. ... [Mr.] Castro retains the power to gall Americans because he survived 40 years of forecasts of his demise. Despised and detested, he prevailed in the face of boycotts, condemnation and the collapse of his Soviet patrols. Fidel won the battles but he will lose the war. All those crumbling pastel buildings facing Morro Castle will be condominiums before the lid is screwed down on his coffin.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Noting that flights from New Orleans, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale are reportedly also under consideration, The Chicago Tribune calls the president's game plan "precisely the right one," but adds:

    VOICE: What's frustrating is the glacial pace of change: Reality and U-S interests demand a lifting of the embargo and normalization of relations between the two countries -- and the sooner, the better.

    TEXT: Suggesting that no one lose sight of the dictatorial and totalitarian nature of the present government however, The Miami Herald runs this editorial tribute to the so-called Cuban four, a group of pro-democracy dissidents, in jail the past two years, who have been awarded the Inter American Press Association's highest award for promoting freedom of expression. Says The Herald:

    VOICE: Sadly, there's little chance of their picking up the award at I-A-P-A's ceremony in Houston in October.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: There continues to be concern about the tension between China and Taiwan, after remarks by the island's president, Lee Teng Hui, asserting that his government was a de-facto state and should deal that way with Beijing. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram says :

    VOICE: Beijing and Taipei are playing a perilous game with global implications over the Formosa Strait. There is nothing inscrutable or cryptic about the signals that the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China -- Taiwan -- have been sending each other with their saber-rattling ... With the scores of sorties it has flown over the narrow waterway ... Beijing is telling Taipei to stay in its place, or the motherland has the means and the will to put it there. ... Such posturing carries enormous risks. The two Chinas could blunder into a war that neither of them wants, and drag the United States into it with them. ... The United States must convince Beijing that it is committed to the one-China reunification concept and, at the same time, let both Taiwan and China know that in the crunch, it would come to Taiwan's aid.

    TEXT: There is also much tension surrounding the possibly imminent launch of North Korea's longest- range missile yet, which has caught The New York Times' attention.

    VOICE: The Taepodong-Two missile ... has a [maximum]range of five-thousand-954 kilometers, which makes it capable of hitting Alaska and Hawaii as well as Japan and American military targets throughout the Western Pacific. A ... test would rightly be taken as a return to belligerent behavior by a country that recently seemed to be signaling an interest in more constructive relations with the outside world. ... North Korea should think carefully and draw back.

    TEXT: Domestically, a popular topic is the 16- million-dollar price a federal arbitration panel has granted to the family of Abraham Zapruder, the man who photographed the John Kennedy assassination in 1963. Today's Tulsa World wonders whether it is a "fair price?," noting:

    VOICE: The film was [Mr.[ Zapruder's property. He took it on his own time, using his own camera and film. By happenstance it became probably the most recognizable, and valuable, scrap of film in history. The Assassination Records Review Board in 1997 declared that the Zapruder film should be the permanent possession of the American people. ... Lawyers for the family sought 30-million dollars from the government. ... Government lawyers offered one-million. Three distinguished legal minds selected to resolve the issue split the difference ...[noting the] testimony from auction house experts who set the value at 25-million dollars or more.

    TEXT: The San Francisco Chronicle says of the controversy:

    VOICE: That's fine for the Zapruders, but it would have been smarter to return their film and let them auction it off themselves. That would have saved taxpayers 16-million dollars.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Newspapers also are looking at the situation in Colombia, with rebels controlling large tracts of the nation, and the drug lords continuing to thwart drug- interdiction efforts. The Dallas Morning News says it's a case of "Colombia in crisis."

    VOICE: Peace in Colombia is overdue, and President Andres Pastrana deserves credit for trying to end an insurgency that has lasted since 1964. But after extending an olive branch to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the rebels have apparently chosen to use Mr. Pastrana's good will for kindling. ... On Friday they overran a city in northwestern Colombia and killed 29 people. ... Meanwhile, ordinary citizens are being kidnapped right and left. ... While U-S forces should not become directly involved, more aid is in order.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The argument goes on over how large a tax cut the American people should get now that budget deficits have given way to surpluses. The Washington Times says, "Back [support] the tax cut."

    VOICE: ... The compromise legislation [between House and Senate versions] is still substantially better than anything President Clinton has offered. As such, the bill deserves the full support of all wings of the Republican party ...

    TEXT: However, The Philadelphia Inquirer says the tax cut is a terrible idea, since it is based on "10-year budget projections [that] are nonsensical."

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: This 10-year extravaganza is just as unaffordable as before, but less blatantly generous toward the wealthy. The plan would cost 792-billion dollars over the next 10 years -- out of an operating surplus that's highly unlikely to occur. ... It's enough to make President Clinton's smaller tax-cut plan look responsible. Instead, with the operating budget still not quite balanced this year -- and a balanced budget for 2000 looking very iffy [questionable] -- this is no time for politicians to pass any kind of tax cut.

    ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, yet another controversy over the health effects of television on American children. A statement accompanying a new study on television and children by the American Academy of Pediatrics is causing quite a controversy. The Denver Post, for one, remarks:

    VOICE: Kids under two [years old] shouldn't watch it, the doctors warn, and T-V's shouldn't be in children's bedrooms. Why such warnings from the people paid to immunize our kids and prescribe amoxicillin for ear infections? Because television has a direct link to health, the academy says. ... The academy's concerns center on health issues -- development of the brain, the promotion of violence, the propensity for obesity. But important social issues also abound concerning excessive use of television, not the least of which is the erosion of the American family.

    TEXT: That concludes this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Thursday U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 05-Aug-1999 11:53 AM EDT (05-Aug-1999 1553 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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