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Voice of America, 99-08-13

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

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





    INTRO: Despite the end of the Kosovo conflict, many parts of the Yugoslav province are still unsafe. The World Health Organization says the rate of deaths and injuries caused by land mines and unexploded ordinance is higher in Kosovo than in other places that have been at war. V-O-A's David McAlary reports.

    TEXT: Kosovar refugees returning home are facing the threat of mines and unexploded bombs. World Health Organization physicians report in the British Medical Journal that about 150 people were maimed or killed by such devices in the month after June thirteenth-- when the refugees began their return. They say 122 more casualties have been reported since their article was submitted for publication. Most of survivors of the explosions are younger than 24 -- many injured during Kosovo Liberation Army efforts to remove mines. In some areas of the province, such victims account for one-third or more of the patients in surgical and orthopedic wards of hospitals. The head of the World Health Organization's Violence and Injury Prevention Unit -- Claude Romer [ro-MAYR] - says the casualty rate exceeds that found in many other countries affected by anti-personnel mines -- such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Mozambique.

    // ROMER ACT //

    The data that we've collected through a systematic analysis of hospital data we've made definitely show that there was a number which was to some extent much higher than in many of the heavily mined countries in the world. It seems that it is confirmed because more and more it seems that the situation is getting a little bit worse.

    // END ACT //

    W-H-O physician Ardiana Gjini [JEE-nee] in the provincial capital of Kosovo, Pristina, attributes the high casualty rate to the fact that many refugees have been on the move, ignorant of the problem.

    // GJINI ACT //

    The factors of this high incidence are mainly because of the movements of the population and because of the low level of awareness. A huge number of refugees came back very quickly -- in two or three weeks - and people are moving a lot and they are not aware of landmines or do not have any training on mine awareness.

    // END ACT //

    The doctors expect many more deaths and injuries from mines and unexploded ordinance over the next several months as the Kosovar population returns to the fields and pastures and the collection of firewood begins.

    // GJINI ACT //

    Maybe with the winter to come and next spring we're going to have more casualties.

    // END ACT //

    The W-H-O team is calling for better surveillance to monitor the situation and increased efforts to make the public aware of the dangers, especially children. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DEM/ENE/JO 13-Aug-1999 16:18 PM EDT (13-Aug-1999 2018 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 8/14/99. 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: Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is leading the country "into certain disaster" and should resign. That was the message in an open appeal issued by the Serbian Orthodox Church on August 10th. Church leaders also called for the resignation of Serbian President Milan Milutinovic [`Mee-lahn Mee-loo-`teen-oh-vich], who, like Milosevic, has been indicted for war crimes by an international tribunal. This is not the first time that Serbian Orthodox bishops have called for an end to the Milosevic regime. In June, Kosovo Bishop Artemije [Ahr- `tem-ee-yeh] said the church was calling for the resignation of Milosevic, "not because we lost the war in Kosovo, but because we think the problem could have been resolved peacefully." In the new appeal, church leaders called on Milosevic and Milutinovic to resign immediately to "make way for other people to take over. . .and take the people out of the [dead end] into which they have been taken." The bishops' statement comes as Serbs continue to protest against Milosevic and his disastrous policies. Across Serbia, hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for rallies or signed petitions demanding a change in government. And on August 19th, a major rally is planned for Belgrade, the capital. It is easy to see why Serbs want to be rid of Slobodan Milosevic. In more than a decade of rule, he has turned the most prosperous country in eastern Europe into a pauper and a pariah. He has instigated several wars, each of which has left his country smaller, poorer, and more isolated. Most recently, his systematic repression and terror against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo brought the devastating NATO bombing campaign. In Kosovo, the victims of Milosevic's aggression can expect help from the United States and other countries as they try to rebuild their homes and lives. But people in the rest of Serbia are well aware that they can expect no such help so long as they continue to be ruled by Milosevic and others under indictment for war crimes. As Serbian Orthodox Bishop Artemije put it, "Slobodan Milosevic has done a lot of evil to everyone." That is why increasing numbers of Serbs are demanding Milosevic's resignation. 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. 13-Aug-1999 13:39 PM EDT (13-Aug-1999 1739 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: France's longest-ever stock market battle -- over the merger of three of the country's top banks -- is drawing to a close. Julian Nundy in Paris reports the signs are that the end result will satisfy no one.

    TEXT: With the final conclusions due to be announced Tuesday, a process that was originally expected to put French banks in the world's top league may produce a messy stalemate. Six months ago, the Societe Generale bank, one of France's most successful retail banks, announced it had negotiated a merger with Paribas, a bank that specializes in foreign-currency dealings and big business accounts. Analysts described the plan as logical, and one that would put the new company in a strong position to compete with other European and world banks. Then, another French retail bank, the B-N-P, announced a hostile takeover bid of both Societe Generale and Paribas. B-N-P's clear aim was to become the strongest French retail bank by taking over Societe Generale. French media reports say B-N-P has won a majority in Paribas -- the bank it did not want - but has failed to take a majority in Societe Generale, which was its real target. The battle has prompted unprecedented media warfare, during which all three banks spent a total of 165- million francs -- 26-million U-S dollars -- on an advertising campaign to explain their positions, and many more millions in legal and other fees. The battle was brought to an official close earlier this month, leaving Paris stock market authorities to count ballots cast by shareholders of the two banks under attack. In leaks to the French media, analysts say the solution will satisfy no one. They say B-N-P will take around 60 percent of Paribas and around one-third of the capital of Societe Generale. B-N-P says that, even without a majority shareholding in Societe Generale, it will have enough to take control of a new tripartite alliance. Ironically, given that all three banks have been privatized over the past 13 years, it is the French establishment -- in the form of the Bank of France -- that will now have the task of sorting out their free- market jousting. (Signed)
    NEB/JWN/JWH/WTW 13-Aug-1999 10:29 AM EDT (13-Aug-1999 1429 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: International law experts have been meeting at the United Nations in New York over the last three weeks to discuss plans for the creation of a permanent international war crimes tribunal. The proposed court has broad international support, but continues to face opposition from some U-S lawmakers. V-O-A's U-N correspondent Max Ruston has the story.

    TEXT: Well over 100 countries voted last year in Rome to approve a treaty creating the International Criminal Court. Of the seven countries that voted against the court, the United States is considered the most crucial. Supporters of the court say it is hard to imagine the court becoming a truly effective international organization without U-S support. Since that vote took place, there have been regular talks aimed at resolving some of the U-S objections to the court. Those objections center on U-S concerns that U-S troops and citizens will be vulnerable to politically motivated prosecutions. One of the strongest opponents of the court is U-S Senator Jesse Helms, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His spokesman, Marc Thiessen, talked (Friday) to reporters at U-N headquarters about the criminal court.

    /// THIESSEN ACT ///

    It is an institution that is answerable to no state or institution for its actions, and that will pursue its own agenda. It will create a bureaucracy of prosecutors and judges that are answerable to no one except their consciences. That is a fundamental threat to the vital security of the United States.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Thiessen is confident U-S lawmakers will not ratify the treaty unless, in his words, U-S citizens are given 100 percent protection from politically motivated prosecutions. The Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court, Philippe Kirsch of Canada, says Washington should not be overly concerned about that issue, as the court provides multiple levels of protection against abuse. Primarily, he says, the treaty stipulates that if a country has fair national courts, then citizens of that country accused of international crimes, such as genocide or crimes against humanity, should be tried in those courts.

    /// Kirsch act ///

    There are many, many safeguards in the statute that would prevent undue politicization of the court. The prosecutor, to be able to initiate an investigation or a prosecution, has to have the approval of a pre-trial chamber of three judges. If the state concerned questions or challenges that then it has to have a second approval of a pre-trial chamber. If the state still contests that then there has to be an appeal. The state may launch an appeal and then an appeal chamber has to pass judgement on the same thing.

    /// end act ///

    But for many lawmakers in the United States, that is not strong enough assurance. Discussions are taking place in an attempt to establish compromise solutions that would increase the likelihood of U-S ratification of the treaty creating the court. Supporters of the court say that even without U-S ratification, there is enough international support to create the court. But Senator Helms' spokesman, Marc Thiessen, says if the court is created without U-S support, it will be weak and ineffective. He says the United States has the power, through the U-N Security Council and other channels to, in his words cripple the court so that it will die of its own inefficiency. (signed) NEB/UN/MPR/LSF?JO 13-Aug-1999 15:46 PM EDT (13-Aug-1999 1946 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up sharply today (Friday) as traders celebrated the latest report on U-S inflation. V-O-A Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-973, up 184 points, almost two percent. For the week, the Industrial Average gained 259 points, about two and one-half percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed Friday at 13-hundred-27, up 29 points. The NASDAQ index gained more than three percent. Stock prices moved up strongly in response to the latest U-S inflation report. A monthly index of wholesale prices was up just two-tenths of one percent, below expectations. The index's so-called "core" rate, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, was unchanged in July.

    ///Rest opt///

    The inflation report led some Wall Street analysts to speculate that the Federal Reserve Board - the U-S central bank - may not find sufficient reason to raise short-term interest rates later this month. However, despite the very small increase in wholesale prices, Larry Rice of the Josephthal investment firm, believes the central bank will go ahead with a one- quarter percent increase in interest rates.

    ///Rice act///

    I believe that the "fed" is more focused on wage inflation that they have seen recently and the prospect that there will be accelerating wage gains going forward.

    ///end act///

    A battle is developing for control of Reynolds Metals, North America's third-largest aluminum producer. On Wednesday, Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum company, offered five-point-six billion dollars for Reynolds. On Friday, an investment firm named Michigan Avenue Partners offered to buy Reynolds. The investment firm did not disclose the dollar amount of its offer but said it is higher than Alcoa's bid. In the forest products industry, the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation of the United States has outbid the Boise Cascade Company for ownership of Forex of Canada. Louisiana-Pacific will pay 512 million dollars for the Canadian firm. The U-S Trade Commission has ruled that American steel makers are facing unfair competition from imports of low priced steel from Brazil and Russia. The decision means high tariffs will be imposed unless those nations voluntarily restrict their exports. Antitrust authorities in Italy confirm they are investigating the Coca-Cola company for possible anti- competitive practices. The investigation began after complaints from Pepsico, Coke's arch-rival, and an Italian supermarket chain. The recent rally in the stock market is helping new stock issues. Quest and Active, two companies that produce software for electronic commerce, both began trading stock Friday. The value of Quest's stock almost tripled and Active's stock rose 45 percent.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/JO 13-Aug-1999 17:48 PM EDT (13-Aug-1999 2148 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A story that began in 1925 in Tennessee has resurfaced in Kansas this week and dozens of daily papers are commenting on this dispute over teaching the theory of man's evolution. Other editorials deal with the threat of war -- possibly even nuclear war -- in the sub-continent; the defense of Taiwan; the mass shooting in Los Angeles; and a small but possibly significant vote in Iowa Saturday, and how it could affect next year's presidential race. Now, here is __________ with a closer look in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: In 1925, two of the most famous U-S orators of the day, attorney Clarence Darrow and presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, argued the case of a Tennessee high school teacher fined for teaching the theory of evolution. That theory, widely accepted by scientists, says that man evolved from simpler forms of life over a very long time. However the Christian holy book, the Bible, says God created man and woman essentially as they are today, and many Americans believe that literally. They are called adherents of Creationism. Which brings us to Friday editorials about a decision this week by the Kansas Board of Education to stop requiring science teachers in Kansas schools to teach all of the theory of evolution. In the Kansas State capitol, The Topeka Capital-Journal says:

    VOICE: It is a gross understatement to say that across the country and even the world, the image of Kansas has taken a beating from the board of education's decision Wednesday to de-emphasize evolution in the state's standards for teaching science. ... To make matters worse, the board's action is being badly misconstrued by the world's news media. The board did not prohibit the teaching of evolution. ... [It removed] evolution from statewide science standards, leaving local districts to decide what to teach about the origins of life.

    TEXT: The Board's decision is called "willful ignorance" by The New York Times, and draws this rebuke from The San Francisco Chronicle:

    VOICE: Anyone who values science education should be alarmed at the vote by the Kansas Board of Education to dilute the teaching of evolution...

    TEXT: In Texas, where the State Board of Education rejected a similar, curriculum change, the The Fort Worth Star-Telegram focuses on the strategy of this philosophical battle.

    VOICE: ...[The] restrictions on the teaching of evolution reflect the new strategy that Creationists have adopted in reaction to the U-S Supreme Court ruling that barred states from requiring the teaching of Creationism. Since they can't force Creationism into curriculums, they are concentrating on forcing evolution out. ... This science-versus-religion conflict is uncalled for and counterproductive.

    TEXT: In overseas developments, several papers are fearful that war may be in the future for India and Pakistan, with tensions between the two long-time rivals rising day by day, following India's downing of a Pakistani military plane. "Sliding Toward Nuclear War" is the headline over The Washington Post's lead [principal] editorial:

    VOICE: The latest shootings on the India- Pakistan border signify big trouble. They suggest that last month's cooling of war threats exchanged by the two countries is transient and unstable. Worse, they suggest that the two consider the threat of another, fourth war-which in their new circumstances could well be nuclear-a plausible line of policy. India and Pakistan are carelessly and arrogantly ignoring their responsibility to step back from the nuclear brink.

    TEXT: Echoes the Los Angeles Times:

    VOICE: Countries like China, Russia, Japan and the United States need to exercise their influence, stressing to Islamabad and New Delhi the unthinkability of nuclear weapon use. The two countries should avoid provocation and moderate their rhetoric. This is a time for cool diplomacy, not hot words.

    TEXT: In Baltimore, Maryland, The Sun has some specifics about why neither side should want this war.

    VOICE: ... Pakistan should not want to fight any version of this war. It is geographically vulnerable ... and ... its sole commercial port, Karachi, is just north of the current tension and easily blockaded. India should not want this war, either, for fear of civil strife and rebellion. It has more important uses for its exchequer.

    TEXT: To another potential trouble spot now, Taiwan, where tensions are also high between Taipei and Beijing, after comments by Taiwan's President Lee asserting the de-facto statehood of his island. Tensions are also high between Congress and the President, at least according to The Washington Times.

    VOICE: ... American diplomats, eager to please China's Communist rulers, have ... slapped Mr. Lee's wrist. Beijing, meanwhile, has ... seized a Taiwanese cargo ship off the Chinese coast ...[and] test-fired a new ballistic missile ... all of which sounds quite threatening. In other words, it is not strange that friends of Taiwan here in Washington should grow concerned. Fortunately for Taipei, many of these friends are to be found in Congress, and a much needed corrective they are to the spinelessness prevailing at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue [the White House].

    TEXT: Thoughts on China policy from The Washington Times. The mass shooting of children and an adult at a Los Angeles Jewish community center this week continues to rankle editorial writers, and in Minnesota, The St. Paul Pioneer Press points out, that unfortunately, this is nothing new.

    VOICE: This country ... has a long history of racial intolerance. It's just that the murders, beatings, and home, church and synagogue burnings were never called what they were: hate crimes based on race, religion or sexual preference. Only in recent years has the motive for these crimes been identified and named. What has changed dramatically over the decades is public attitude toward the people who commit such crimes ... and the proliferation of high- powered weapons that are easy to obtain and use.

    TEXT: On a somewhat related issue, that of the new phenomenon of day trading on the stock market, which is thought to have contributed to a mass shooting recently in Atlanta, The Los Angeles Times opines:

    VOICE: As the growing number of day-trading companies describe it, playing the stock market by making dozens, sometimes hundreds, of trades a day is the golden path to getting rich. They lure customers to their special computer screens with exaggerated claims of success, keeping silent about the true odds, which heavily favor failure. In addition, some of them are breaking rules on lending practices so they can keep the trades-and commissions-coming. ... Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt says they aren't speculating, or taking calculated risks: They are gambling ... None of that means day trading is in itself objectionable and should be outlawed. ... But it becomes a guessing game ... when carried out by ill-informed gamblers.

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times on the hazards of day trading. President Clinton is offering to release from jail several members of a violent Puerto Rican independence group, accused of conspiracy in several New York City bombings years ago, if they will now renounce violence. The New York Post is unhappy.

    VOICE: Just last week, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, speaking on the first anniversary of the deadly U-S embassy bombings in Africa, vowed to wage an all-out war against terrorism. This week, President Clinton turned that promise into a joke by offering to commute the justifiably harsh prison sentences of 14 F-A-L-N terrorists...

    TEXT: As for The Wall Street Journal (the national newspaper based in New York), it believes the real reason for the clemency offer is political, suggesting it is a ploy to gain votes for Mrs. Clinton who plans to run for Senate from New York and would probably like to march in the huge, annual Puerto Rican Day parade. And speaking of politics, this last comment on tomorrow's Republican straw poll in Iowa, in which some of the state's voters will give an early indication of their preferences in next year's presidential race. Today's Manchester [New Hampshire] Union-Leader predicts:

    VOICE: ... the results will be relatively unsurprising in that Texas Governor George Bush will win handily. Millionaire publisher Steve Forbes will probably come in second. The guys to watch, however, are Dan Quayle and Gary Bauer. [Mr.] Quayle will do poorly. [Mr.] Bauer will surprise.

    TEXT: With that editorial prediction, we conclude this sampling of comment from Friday's daily papers.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 13-Aug-1999 12:52 PM EDT (13-Aug-1999 1652 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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