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Voice of America, 99-08-16

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

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





    INTRO: Russian president Boris Yeltsin has pledged to take tough measures to restore order in the troubled northern Caucasus. But he has ruled out declaring a state of emergency. As we hear from VOA's Peter Heinlein in Moscow, Russian government forces in Dagestan are reporting progress in battling a Muslim insurgency.

    TEXT: On day 10 of the Dagestan campaign, Russian news agencies say troops inflicted heavy casualties on Muslim insurgents. The Interfax service reports that phase-two of the anti-insurgency plan has begun. A dispatch from the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, says government troops have surrounded several rebel-held villages and are laying mines along escape routes. Helicopters and jet planes are also reported resuming air strikes on mountain strongholds used by rebels to raid government positions. The heightened military activity in the Dagestani Mountains prompted neighboring Chechnya to impose a state of emergency, effective Monday (today). But President Boris Yeltsin says there will be no similar declaration in Russia.

    ///Yeltsin act in Russian, then fade to...///

    He says "I state firmly as president of the country that there will be no emergency. Everything is calm and normal." At the same time, however, he pledged to restore order in the restive northern Caucasus region.

    ///2nd Yeltsin act in Russian, then fade to...///

    He says, "Of course we will take tough measures in the northern Caucasus. We will restore order in Dagestan and in other republics." Mr. Yeltsin said his new Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has the character and determination to do the job. Before his appointment as Prime Minister, Mr. Putin served as head of Russia's domestic intelligence service, the main successor to the Soviet KGB. The day he was nominated, he predicted the rebels would be defeated within two weeks. But a week later, the war has widened, and is threatening to spill over to other republics in the region. The Dagestani government, however, issued a hopeful sign Monday. In a statement posted on its internet website, the government says there has been a steady tendency in boosting the success of federal forces in the region.

    //rest opt//

    In another development Monday, two Polish biologists working in the Dagestani Mountains were reported missing and believed kidnapped. A car belonging to the women was found abandoned on a high mountain bridge Sunday. Two Dagestanis travelling with them are also missing. The northern Caucasus has been plagued by kidnappings and other violent crime since the end of the war in Chechnya in 1996. Western journalists have been warned to stay out of Dagestan during the current outbreak of hostilities, and most accounts of the fighting there are based solely on government sources. (Signed)
    NEB/PFH/PCF/PLM 16-Aug-1999 07:02 AM EDT (16-Aug-1999 1102 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, is in Belfast to confer with security and police officials about recent violence. Correspondent Laurie Kassman in London reports Mrs. Mowlam is checking on possible breaches of the peace process cease-fire.

    TEXT: The question is whether the Irish Republican Army paramilitaries have violated the cease-fire. Under the year-old Good-Friday peace agreements, any political party linked to paramilitary groups can be excluded from the peace process if the cease-fire is breached. That means Sinn Fein could be excluded if the I-R-A is judged to have breached the agreement. Mrs. Mowlam is meeting with top police and security officials in Belfast to determine if the murder last month of a Catholic who allegedly informed on a gun- running operation violates the cease-fire. She says a final decision will not be made for several days. The I-R-A says it did not sanction the gun-running operation and upholds the cease-fire. Mrs. Mowlam's consultations will also cover street violence sparked by marches and protests Saturday and Sunday in Londonderry. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/RAE 16-Aug-1999 09:15 AM LOC (16-Aug-1999 1315 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up today (Monday) although trading was generally lackluster. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11- thousand-46, up 73 points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 13-hundred-30, up three points. The NASDAQ index gained a fraction of one percent. Although the major averages were up, analysts say many traders turned cautious in advance of Tuesday's release of the U-S Consumer Price Index for July. A lower-than-expected Producer, or wholesale, Price Index triggered Friday's explosive rally. There was speculation the Producer index might influence the Federal Reserve Board Governors to refrain from an interest rate increase when they meet next week. But some economists say it is wrong to assume that the wholesale price index will carry over into consumer prices, especially since the consumer index contains prices for services, which the wholesale index does not.

    ///Rest opt///

    Peter Henderson of the Henderson Brothers investment company says a higher-than-expected reading on consumer prices could do some real damage to stock prices.


    The only things that have moved the market in the last few weeks have been economic data related to inflation. With the "Fed" about to decide whether to raise interest rates next week any economic number now will be very significant.

    ////END ACT///

    Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum company, has launched a hostile bid for rival Reynolds Metals after Reynolds' board of directors rejected a friendly offer. Alcoa is offering four point two billion dollars in cash and hopes Reynolds stockholders will accept the deal. Still a mystery is another bid for Reynolds from a Chicago investment firm. The size of that bid has not been disclosed and neither Reynolds nor the investment firm will comment on it. The Waste Management Company confirms it is under investigation by federal regulators for stock sales by insiders. Several Waste Management executives allegedly sold large amounts of the company's stock shortly before the firm issued a profit warning which caused the value of the stock to drop sharply. Toys R Us, the world's largest toy retailer, says its quarterly earnings fell about 25 percent because of costs related to its internet sales division. Venator, which owns chains of footwear and sports clothing stores, says it will report a quarterly loss due to restructuring charges. Harrah's Entertainment, the casino-resort operator, will pay 425 million dollars for Player's International, a company which owns gambling casinos in the American midwest. Daimler-Chrysler, the German-American automaker, is voluntarily recalling two million minivans to correct fuel pump and windshield wiper problems.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/JC/KL 16-Aug-1999 17:28 PM EDT (16-Aug-1999 2128 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The battle over financial assistance to U-S farms is the subject of many of today's editorials. Other topics provoking comment include the U.S. policy toward Iraq; the U-S response to threats made by North Korea; and new statistics concerning AIDS. Now, here is ___________ with a closer look in today's Editorial Digest. Text: The U-S Senate has voted to give billions of dollars of emergency financial aid to the nation's farmers, who are having to deal with drought and record low commodity prices. Food exporters outside the U-S are questioning whether the assistance is being given for the sole purpose of subsidizing exports of American farm produce. This has U-S newspapers commenting on the government's intentions. In California, the Los Angeles Times is certain that U-S emergency aid to farmers will be an important issue at world trade talks in Seattle this November. Voice: The United States passed a law in 1996 to dismantle the Depression-era farm subsidies program by gradually diminishing payments to farmers.. The idea was that farmers would grow crops according to market demands, not according to the level of government support. But now market dislocations have driven government aid to farmers to levels unseen since the mid-1980s. .Still, Washington will go into the WTO (World Trade Organization) talks with a strong case. U-S price supports are being made in the form of cash payments to farmers after the harvest. They are aimed at easing their dire financial woes, rather than influencing their planting decisions. .Clearly, the WTO can expect a fight over agriculture. But it's a fight worth having if the aim is to assure the world an adequate supply of food at affordable prices. Text: The Chicago Tribune in Illinois questions whether the government's financial assistance is really being given in the interest of "saving the family farm". Voice: Those mainly benefiting from farm aid are the politically generous. and the corporate farms that supply them - a fact certainly not lost on Capitol Hill. .Many farmers are hurting and Congress should explore ways to help those hurting the most. But throwing billions of dollars at the industry because Congress can't break the habit is outrageous. Text: U-S editorial writers are also commenting on the U-S policy toward Iraq. The Washington Times, in the District of Columbia, argues that U-S Senators, in a letter addressed to President Clinton, are justified in their call for immediate steps to re-focus American attention on Iraq. Voice: Not so long ago, toppling Saddam Hussein and eliminating his weapons of mass destruction was a national security priority to the point of obsession. .Since the beginning of this year, however, Iraq has fallen off the political radar. Preoccupied with bringing another dictator to heel, this time the Balkans, the administration has clearly allowed our policy to drift even further out to sea. .As the Senators note, we have a lot of lost ground to make up for. Text: Also, reports that the Clinton administration is offering North Korea a deal has editorial writers worried. Newsday, on Long Island, New York, warns that the U-S would be making a mistake if it decides to remove the U-S trade embargo on North Korea in exchange for a guarantee that Pyongyang will not test long-range missiles. Voice: Washington fears a North Korean missile launch would generate an arms race in East Asia. .Those are justifiable fears, but they cannot be addressed by capitulating to North Korea. That would simply tell every rogue nation that the United States can be blackmailed into concessions. And that's not a game that Washington should play. Text: And finally, although there have been dramatic declines in the United States in the number of babies getting AIDS from their mothers, the Chicago Tribune points out that the situation is different in other countries. Voice: The vast majority of mother-to-child HIV infections today are taking place not here (in the U-S) but in the Third World, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, beyond the reach of AZT (an anti-HIV drug) or the medical infrastructure required to take advantage of it. .AIDS has been accurately described as the greatest public health catastrophe since the bubonic plague. It will take a comparably large and concentrated worldwide effort before we begin to control it. Text: That concludes our sampling of comment from Monday's U-S editorials. NEB/ENE/kl 16-Aug-1999 16:07 PM EDT (16-Aug-1999 2007 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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