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Voice of America, 99-09-08

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

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


  • [03] CN-109 MIDEAST-REG (TURKEY)



    INTRO: The International Red Cross says it is ready to send aid and rescue teams to help earthquake victims in Greece, if needed. But as Lisa Schlein reports, the Geneva-based agency says the Greek Red Cross appears to be coping with the emergency.

    TEXT: Red Cross Official Martin Faller says 28-rescue teams are on the spot with Germany, Austria and Luxembourg ready to fly in additional rescue teams and dogs at a moment's notice. He says the Red Cross is also ready to fly in relief supplies from abroad.

    /// FALLER ACT ///

    Everybody is on standby. We have stocks nearby. We have stocks in Italy. We have stocks in Albania and other places. So, we would be ready to dispatch from these stocks. We are ready to fly in relief supplies from other countries, procure them locally, whatever is required. We are ready to fly in dog teams, to fly in experts. //OPT// But, for the time being, the Greek Red Cross is coping pretty well with the situation. //END OPT//

    /// END ACT ///

    The Red Cross has distributed tents, blankets, bed sheets, water, and other relief supplies to the earthquake victims. It says it will also start distributing five-thousand ready-to-eat meals. Mr. Faller says people will not be able to go into their homes until they are certified safe by civil engineers. The Red Cross Official notes the Greek quake is completely different from the one which struck Turkey last month and devastated a region as large as Switzerland. He says the number of casualties in Greece is relatively low because the quake hit a much smaller area. Also it occurred in mid-afternoon when people were able to escape from homes and other buildings to the safety of the street.

    // REST OPT //

    Regarding Turkey, the Red Cross is appealing for 27- million dollars to help a quarter-million homeless people get through the winter. Mr. Faller says about 50-thousand people probably will have to spend the winter in tent camps.

    /// 2ND FALLER ACT ///

    It is estimated there will be about 70 to 80- sites, with each of the sites perhaps with 500- people. And, these sites, of course, will also be equipped with soup kitchens, with baths, with all the facilities which are required for tents.

    ///END ACT///

    Official figures put the number of people killed in last month's earthquake in northwest Turkey at more than 15-thousand. But, Mr. Faller says at least 10- thousand people are still missing. He adds many are probably dead. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LS/PCF/RAE 08-Sep-1999 08:19 AM LOC (08-Sep-1999 1219 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The international community's top representative in Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, has urged NATO ambassadors to maintain the alliance's troop presence in the country to allow him to pursue civilian reforms. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels.

    TEXT: As NATO troops build up their presence in Kosovo, there are calls to reduce the 26-thousand NATO soldiers in Bosnia. It has been nearly four-years since the Dayton Peace Agreement and the memory of hostilities there is fading. Wolfgang Petritsch was the E-U representative to the Kosovo peace efforts. He comes to NATO headquarters now as the top international representative for Bosnia. He urges NATO ambassadors to maintain their security presence there.


    I do know Kosovo, and I have worked myself there, [it] is an important urgent issue, but I believe there things are well under way and the way they are being tackled is very good. But this must not go to the detriment of the continued efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I believe we are in a phase there where we are moving from reconstruction to reform.

    /// END ACT ///

    Ambassador Petritsch says reform is needed in Bosnia's politics and economics to strengthen the still struggling common institutions among the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. He says that is why he wants the continued security presence of NATO troops in Bosnia.


    For the security environment that we need in order to be successful there, S-FOR is, was, and continues to be the single most important and crucial factor there. And I wanted to signal here and convey to my colleagues that cooperation with NATO, with S-FOR on the ground there is of the utmost and crucial importance to me.

    /// END ACT ///

    NATO Defense ministers meet in Canada later this month to discuss whether the NATO-troop strength in Bosnia can be reduced further. Ambassador Petritsch says he is responsible only for the civilian aspects of the Dayton agreement and he has no specific recommendation to make about the number of soldiers needed for security. Ambassador Petritsch says another problem is what he calls the natural fatigue of donors to Bosnia after four years. But he tells reporters the problem of corruption is hurting Bosnia more than a lack of foreign investment.


    Corruption, organized crime are potential dangerous issues, not just for the money that comes in the wrong channels but also for the very fabric of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the economy, for the political institutions. We are not going to be able to build modern and democratic political institutions unless we get rid of the corruption.

    /// END ACT ///

    While the civilian authorities in Sarajevo work on corruption and institution building, they want NATO troops to stay in Bosnia to keep the peace. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/RAE 08-Sep-1999 11:25 AM LOC (08-Sep-1999 1525 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] CN-109 MIDEAST-REG (TURKEY)

    ME-08 TURKEY - HADEP LEADER The new leader of Turkey's only legal pro-Kurdish political party says he senses a softening on the part of Turkish authorities to address the sensitive issue of Kurdish cultural rights. Ahmet Turan Demir was speaking after being elected leader of the People's Democracy Party, HADEP, at a party meeting in Ankara. He was the only candidate. Mr. Demir said the decision by Kurdish rebels to lay down their weapons and leave Turkey has created an atmosphere for peace and given the government a chance to address Kurdish demands for increased cultural rights. The new HADEP leader takes the place of Murat Bozlak, who was forced to resign two months ago when a Turkish appeals court upheld a one year prison sentence against him for a speech which the authorities say supported separatism. (ap,reu, file 7/22) ME/dca/reb 08-Sep-1999 14:24 PM EDT (08-Sep-1999 1824 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Russian forces are stepping up an offensive in the southern Dagestan region, one day after President Boris Yeltsin angrily demanded prompt measures to crush a Muslim insurgency. V-O-A correspondent Peter Heinlein in Moscow reports that Dagestani leaders are also expressing impatience with the slow pace of the fighting.

    TEXT: Russia's Interior Ministry Wednesday reported ground combat in and around 11 villages in the Novolak region, about 50 kilometers northwest of the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala. Further south, fighter jets and artillery were said to be pounding two other villages seized by Muslim extremists nearly a year ago. The government news service, meanwhile, reported rebel fighters were advancing on Dagestan's second largest city, Khasavyurt. But the insurgents answered with a message on their internet website denying any move toward Khasavyurt or any other major population centers. The message accused Russian authorities of intentionally exaggerating the situation to frighten the local population. A flurry of upbeat assessments from the government Wednesday followed a sharp rebuke from President Yeltsin. In a televised outburst, Mr. Yeltsin accused Russia's generals of "carelessness" for being caught off guard by the rebel invasion, and by a bomb attack on a military housing complex that killed wives and children of soldiers. Dagestani leaders are also expressing impatience with the apparent stalemate in the combat zone, where a small but well-equipped band of rebels remains firmly entrenched despite air strikes, artillery shelling and ground attacks by a federal force many times its size. Dagestan's vice-premier, Gadgi Makhachev, Wednesday urged Russian forces to take the fight into neighboring Chechnya, the breakaway region used by the rebels as a base of operations.

    /// MAKHACHEV ACT ///

    He says, "We must finish this war as soon as possible. If we keep going the way we are, not a single village will be left in Dagestan. It's time to move into Chechnya. They are destroying our villages, we must destroy theirs." Officials in Moscow, however, have made clear they have no intention of repeating the mistakes made in the disastrous war in Chechnya in the mid-nineties. That 21-month conflict left an estimated 80-thousand people dead, most of them civilians, and ended with a humiliating withdrawal of Russian troops from the region. (Signed)
    NEB/PFH/GE/KL 08-Sep-1999 11:17 AM EDT (08-Sep-1999 1517 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The European Union this week backed away from setting dates for accepting the first of several applicant countries from formerly communist Eastern Europe. V-O-A's Barry Wood reports that next month the commission of the 15 member E-U will give a progress report on how five applicant countries are doing in bringing their economies into conformity with the E-U.

    TEXT: The mid-October progress report will give grades on how well Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Hungary are doing in complying with membership conditions. A more detailed report card will be issued next year. The conditions are very specific and have to do mostly with government regulations over matters from air quality standards to subsidies to farmers. When the E-U opened negotiations with this first group of former-communist applicants in March 1998, the year 2002 was mentioned as a possible entry date. Without saying so officially, E-U officials now say that date is too ambitious and 2005 or 2006 is more realistic. At a weekend meeting in Finland (September 6), E-U foreign ministers again endorsed Eastern expansion but declined to set entry dates. An E-U official (Hans van den Broek) said it would be unhelpful to set dates without having most of the accession negotiations completed. A second wave of applicants-Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia-are hopeful of joining the fist group. But experts say that is unlikely. Zbyszko Tabernacki of the Planecon Consultancy in Washington believes that while the first group will be ready to join by 2005, there could be further delays.

    // First Tabernacki Act //

    The issue will be whether Slovakia, for example, would manage to be included in the first group. And if that is so that may delay the entry for all the others as well.

    // End Act //

    In Poland this week (Sep 7) German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder promised to do all he can to help Poland join by 2003. Economist Tabernacki says all main political parties in Poland want to join because they see the E-U and Nato as the embodiment of Poland's drive to be re-integrated into European structures. He also sees tangible economic benefits from E-U membership.

    // Second Tabernacki Act //

    I believe this stems from the realization of the advantages of integration which are already very clearly visible in Poland, particularly in fostering stronger economic growth, reorienting trade, and attracting foreign investment-which comes in part because of the expectation that Poland will soon join the E-U.

    // End Act //

    Poland is the populous of the five Eastern applicants and has in recent years been attracting more foreign direct investment than any other post-communist country. Poland attracted ten billion dollars of foreign investment in the first half of this year. (Signed)
    NEB/BDW/TVM/PT 08-Sep-1999 16:41 PM LOC (08-Sep-1999 2041 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed today (Wednesday) in erratic trading. V-O-A Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11- thousand-36, up two points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 13-hundred-44, down six points. The NASDAQ index lost one percent. Stock prices bounced around in cross-currents of economic news and interest rate anxieties. The surprise move by the Bank of England to raise interest rates raised renewed concern that the U-S central bank might soon do the same. But a speech by central bank Chairman Alan Greenspan contained no reference to interest rates and Wall Street relaxed a bit. But then, central bank Governor Laurence Meyer made a speech in which he suggested it might be a good idea to raise interest rates again. Separately, the U-S Commerce Department released a report that wholesale inventories rose in July at their fastest rate in 10 months as sales fell. Analysts say that could indicate the rate of U-S economic growth is slowing on its own.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Kathleen Boyle of the Wheat First Union securities firm says she expects stocks will continue to lack a definite direction for the near future.

    /// BOYLE ACT ///

    I would assume that we are still going to be in this swinging market, up and down. Every day we are looking for what is happening in Asia, strengthening European economies and U-S interest rates. So we are just looking for what else will happen to stir the market up.

    /// END ACT ///

    A huge joint venture was announced which will build a one-point-three billion dollar undersea telecommunications network linking eight Asian nations. The project is being led by Global Crossing, a Bermuda-based telecommunications firm. Microsoft of the United States and Softbank of Japan will invest 550 million dollars in the venture. The companies say they want to take advantage of an expected explosion of Internet usage in Asia. The Concentric Network Corporation of the United States will pay 235 million dollars for I-T-C, a leading Internet service provider in Britain. Delphi, the world's largest auto parts company, says its has received its first air bag contracts in Europe. Delphi will supply air bag systems to Volkswagen and to the Opel company, which is the German unit of General Motors. The America Online Computer services company has reached agreement to provide the content of T-V Guide magazine to America Online's 20 million subscribers. (Signed) NEB/BA/EJ/TVM/JO 08-Sep-1999 17:19 PM EDT (08-Sep-1999 2119 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: As the violence in the South Pacific territory of East Timor continues, editorials in the U-S press are becoming more strident in their call for the world's powers to intervene. Other editorial topics in Wednesday's papers include: the Israeli Supreme Court decision outlawing the torture of prisoners; the rejuvenated Mideast peace process; the Puerto Rican prisoner clemency dispute;/// OPT /// more questions about the Waco, Texas F-B-I debacle; and a call for a reexamination of the case against an imprisoned Native American./// END OPT /// Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is ______________ and today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Most Americans never heard of East Timor until last week, but now it's dominating editorial pages. There is a sense of outrage in many commentaries at the on-going violence by militias opposed to East Timor's independence from Indonesia, and the world's hesitant response. Newspaper readers in Philadelphia are seeing plenty about the beleaguered territory in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The lead editorial headline reads:"Send in U-N help," while on the opposite page, international affairs writer Trudy Rubin's column is headlined "In East Timor crisis, echoes of Kosovo." In California, The Los Angeles Times suggests "East Timor Needs Outside Help," adding:

    VOICE: There is a strong odor of ethnic cleansing in the depredations. If the Jakarta government can't halt this outrage, others should act.

    TEXT: The New York Times describes the situation in its lead editorial headline as "East Timor Under Siege," but cautions:

    VOICE: An international force is clearly the last resort, to be tried only if President Habibie and Indonesia's military leader, General Wiranto, will not stop the violence. But a united, powerful threat from abroad is likely needed to persuade them to end the killings.

    TEXT: Today's San Diego [California] Union-Tribune is skeptical of Indonesia's moves so far:

    VOICE: The imposition of martial law by Jakarta is meaningless. Indonesian troops already on East Timor have condoned the rampage by pro- Indonesian paramilitaries for a week. Either the government of B-J Habibie has lost control of its army or is manipulating the situation in an attempt to delegitimize the independence vote.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The [Cleveland, Ohio] Plain Dealer says at the beginning of its commentary:

    VOICE: The international community must act without delay to force Indonesia to halt the murderous attacks now under way . in East Timor, or pay a price for failure to do so.

    TEXT: Still in the Midwest, The [Minneapolis] Star Tribune notes:

    VOICE: In the Minnesota autumn, it's easy to pretend all is right with the world. In the streets of Dili it's impossible. East Timor's capital and countryside abide in terror right now - because some people yearn for freedom and others will not let them have it.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The St. Petersburg [Florida] Times is more cautious than most other papers on the subject of outside intervention in East Timor:

    VOICE: Indonesia opposes intervention, insisting it can handle the problem itself. The United Nations should be careful. It is not an indisputable truth that East Timor should be independent. Indonesia is a series of 16- thouand-500 islands - and Timor is located among them. Also, an argument could be made that East and West Timor should be together. . If U-N troops pour into Indonesian territory against the government's will, that accommodation [a reference to Indonesia's allowing the plebiscite on independence] might end - and there could be a need to keep peacekeepers there indefinitely to prevent Indonesia from reclaiming it. /// OPT

    /// If peacekeepers are sent in, consistency will re-emerge as an issue. Sierra Leone, nestled among several small countries on Africa's West Coast, has been engulfed in civil war for eight years. . It will be hard to justify intervention in East Timor but not Sierra Leone. The United Nations should strive to be more consistent than U-S foreign policy has been in recent years. ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: That's from the St. Petersburg [Florida] Times. On the other side of the world, a decision by Israel's Supreme Court regarding the torture of prisoners has caught the attention of several dailies, including Maine's Portland Press Herald.

    VOICE: In a country like the United States, where the Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment, the prospect of security forces using torture to extract information is horrifying. In some countries, however, torture is all too routine. Until Monday, Israel - a democracy and strong United States ally - permitted . Shin Bet security agents to violently coerce suspected terrorists during interrogations. No more. The Israeli Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Shin Bet . agents can no longer employ physical force to suspected terrorists. .Israel is closer than ever to peace. The Supreme Court's decision affirms that times are changing for the better.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The New York Times says the court acted "bravely and correctly" in banning . physical coercion. . And The Washington Post exults: "[the] high court has done Israel proud by ruling out the routine violent interrogation of terrorism suspects" . adding that it is a "difficult and principled step the court has . taken."

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On the broader issue of advancing Mideast peace, The Sun in Baltimore takes note of the recent reaffirmation of the Wye River accords:

    VOICE: ///OPT /// The accord signed Sunday by Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the Palestinian Authority's Yasser Arafat . restored the momentum that had been interrupted by Benjamin Netanyahu's three years as prime minister. /// END OPT /// The timetable for agreeing on "final" status within a year - possibly by postponing the most intractable issues - seems ambitious. But the momentum is back. Instead of every setback provoking another setback, every advance enlarges the possibilities.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Today's Houston [Texas] Chronicle says even the latest car bombings in Israel will not deter the peace advance.

    VOICE: Whenever a peace initiative appears to be gaining momentum in the Middle East, the world can expect violence by those bent on sabotaging it. . There are several extremist groups, whether they be the Islamic Movement, the Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, who want no peace on reasonable terms and who are willing to do everything in their power to cause havoc with any peace effort. . After many promising starts and discouraging stops along the way, peace actually does appear to be on track in the Middle East if - and it is a big if - [Mr.] Arafat and [Mr.] Barak can keep it from being derailed.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: President Clinton's clemency offer to sixteen Puerto Rican terrorists jailed since the mid-1980's for a bombing conspiracy, continues to draw attention. Many media analysts suggest the President's offer was made mainly to help his wife, who is likely to run for the Senate from New York and needs the Puerto Rican vote. But now, Mrs. Clinton has said she wants the clemency offer rescinded, outraging Puerto Rican leaders. The Wall Street Journal writes:

    VOICE: That clemency for 16 Puerto Rican terrorists is looking pretty screwed up just now. . this was only the President's fourth clemency grant out of thousands requested, and all relevant federal authorities were opposed. . so before the end of the week, Mrs. Clinton did what she had to do: she denounced the deal, too. . Meanwhile, there are very sincere people who argue that the sentences for some of these people are disproportionate to their individual acts and that this clemency effort has been on- going for years. Could be. But they all belong to the Clintons' politics now. That's their problem.

    TEXT: Several dailies continue to press the Senate to go around the roadblock set up by North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. One of them is The St. Petersburg Times.

    VOICE: Politicians in Washington love to boast that the United States is a leader on the world stage. But an appalling lack of leadership inside the nation's capital, where the Senate has balked for years at ratifying a global ban on nuclear arms testing and the White House has failed to press the issue, is making the planet a more dangerous place. . The news that the White House and Senate Democrats are finally planning to fight for ratification of the comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is welcome but long overdue. . Perhaps public pressure will persuade . Senator Jesse helms . to get out of the way.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The F-B-I attack and fire at a religious cult headquarters outside Waco, Texas, in 1993, that killed more than 80 people, continues to draw editorial ire. Today's Chicago Tribune says "The Time for Truth on Waco." The paper reviews all the recent revelations and contradictions of earlier F-B-I information, before noting:

    VOICE: All of which makes of the utmost importance the reported naming of the highly regarded John Danforth, the former Republican U- S senator from Missouri, to lead an independent investigation of how the F-B-I handled the Waco siege and its aftermath. . [Mr.] Danforth will need to be tough, demanding and unyielding, for he will be dealing with a government agency accustomed to having great latitude and doing things its own way.

    /// END OPT ///

    /// OPT///

    TEXT: The controversy over the F-B-I's handling of Waco has inspired some thoughts on a highly controversial killing that occurred back in 1975 at Pine Ridge, South Dakota Sioux Native American reservation and the jailing of Leonard Peltier, an Ojibwe, Indian. Mr. Peltier was found guilty of killing two young F-B-I agents on the reservation. National columnist Tim Giago, writing in the St. Paul [Minnesota] Pioneer Press, says recent revelations about F-B-I conduct at Waco, Texas, suggests that Mr. Peltier's trial needs to be reexamined.

    VOICE: The F-B-I and other federal officers .. Knew little or nothing about the culture, traditions or spirituality of the people they were assigned to police. They had been accused more than once of unlawfully breaking into the homes of innocent people and terrorizing them. . Most Pine Ridge residents just wondered when this nightmare would end. Does that excuse those who .brutally murder agents Williams and Coler? Of course not. But given the volatile situation that existed on the reservation at the time, it was bound to happen. It was almost as if a state of war existed between the feds, A-I- M [The American Indian Movement, a militant Native American rights organization] and other innocent Indian people living on the reservation. . The latest revelations about the conduct and suppression of evidence by the F-B-I in the Waco standoff . does nothing to build on its [the F-B-I's] credibility. years ago I wrote that if, as many believe, [Mr.] Peltier was not given a fair trial, then for goodness' sake, give him another trial. In light of so many discrepancies . in many cases and issues involving the F-B-I, it is entirely possible that [Mr.] Peltier was a victim of an overzealous F-B-I campaign to find and convict someone, anyone, for the death of their comarades.

    TEXT: That's from the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of today's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/BK 08-Sep-1999 12:52 PM EDT (08-Sep-1999 1652 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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