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Voice of America, 99-09-10

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

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





    //EDS: Check latest CN and update intro if needed. //

    INTRO: Violence continues in the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica, where French peacekeepers are trying to prevent further clashes between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. Thursday, dozens of people were injured in the most serious confrontation in the city in weeks. Tim Belay reports from Pristina that the unrest comes in a climate of continued problems for minorities in the province.

    TEXT: NATO riot control troops were dispatched from the capital, Pristina, when fighting between ethnic Albanians and the Serbian population in Mitrovica threatened to overwhelm French peacekeepers.

    /// OPT ///

    The French military says nine gendarmes (police) and six French soldiers were injured when two hand grenades were thrown at the bridge that divided the city. Three protesters were hospitalized with serious injuries. As many as 60 others were hurt (Thursday)/// END OPT /// Observers say the confrontation probably was in reaction to a plan by international organizations to move Albanian families back to their homes on what has become the Serbian side of Mitrovica. Dennis McNamara is in chare of humanitarian affairs for the United Nations mission in Kosovo. Mr. McNamara (Friday) called on the Albanian leadership in the province to help stop the ethnic violence.

    /// ACT MCNAMARA ///

    Not just for speaking out, as some have done against such attack, but for actually taking more concrete steps to prevent these attacks at the community level. We don't see many of those steps being taken at the community level by community leaders.

    /// END ACT ///

    But Sandra Mitchell, who oversees human rights work in Kosovo for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - O-S-C-E - says security is no longer the main reason Serbs and other minorities are leaving Kosovo.

    /// ACT MITCHELL ///

    This is a significant change in the last few weeks. They are now telling us that they want to leave because they see really no future for themselves here. This is the result of job discrimination, housing issues and very local things that are going on within the community.

    /// END ACT ///

    A report from the O-S-C-E and the United Nations concludes that most of the Serbs and other minorities who have already fled Kosovo did so out of fear. But many of those who remain say they want to leave because they are being denied access to medical care, education and employment. (Signed) NEB/TB/GE/ENE/JO 10-Sep-1999 13:44 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1744 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Thousands of draft evaders who fled Serbia to avoid being forced to fight in Kosovo now find themselves with no place to go. Most face arrest if they return to Serbia, yet no NATO country has offered them sanctuary. VOA's Pamela Taylor has more in this report.

    TEXT: The United Nations Refugee agency (U-N-H-C-R) estimates more than 100 thousand people fled Serbia during the three months of the NATO bombing campaign. Most were women and children. But according to the Budapest-based Refugee Action Project, between fifteen and twenty thousand of them were draft evaders, most of whom crossed from Serbia into Hungary. These men have broken at least one law in Serbia. After the NATO bombing began, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic got a law passed that prohibited all men between the ages of 16 and 65 from leaving the country. Under the law, Serb draft evaders could face up to 20 years in prison for giving a false address or refusing to respond to the draft call-up. American journalist Mark Schapiro says although the men are safe in Hungary, they are in what he calls a `terrible limbo'(terrible dilemma):


    What you've got is a situation now where men who refused to fight against the Kosovar Albanians or NATO itself, are left with nowhere that welcomes them. Many had actually served in the Yugoslav Army during those previous wars in Croatia and Bosnia and had seen what the army had done in those countries and were repelled by the idea of participating in another war.

    // END ACT //

    (OPT) Mr. Schapiro was editor of the now defunct Prague-based political magazine `Transitions'. He spent several months in Hungary researching the plight of what he calls `Serbia's lost generation'. Back in the United States, he sold his story to the magazine `Mother Jones'(END OPT) Mr. Schapiro says Budapest has become the Casablanca of Europe -- draft evaders and refugee families are now a familiar sight as they go from embassy to embassy in search of visas to take them further West. But draft evaders are not the only Serbs who have taken temporary refugee in Budapest. Several opposition leaders are also there, along with university professors, artists and journalists. Stojan Cerovic is one of the journalists. An editor with the influential Belgrade weekly `Vreme,' Mr. Cerovic is now teaching at Budapest's Central European University. He says many draft evaders could probably take the chance of returning to their homes now because the Milosevic government realizes there is nothing to be gained by punishing them.


    Now it seems the government is trying to find a way somehow to at least put the whole problem aside. They are not really making a huge campaign about it (draft evaders). They are actually downplaying the whole problem.

    // END ACT //

    So far, however, the Milosevic government has rejectd calls to grant amnesty to draft evaders. (OPT) Mr. Cerovic never received a draft call-up himself and says he therefore feels free to travel between Belgrade and Budapest. However, his family has taken up residence in the Hungarian capital. (END OPT) But Mr. Cerovic says all Serbs in exile should realize what most in Serbia firmly believe -- that President Milosevic's days are numbered.


    People do expect that (Slobodan) Milosevic is actually going to leave power, either forced out or outvoted, maybe he will lose the elections. (The) Milosevic (rule) really is actually at the end. I mean the whole adventure of his epoch is ended. It might be a matter of months, definitely not weeks. But I also don't think he has years and years ahead.

    // END ACT //

    The real problem, says Mr. Cerovic, is to convince Serbs who have left that there is a country worth returning to.


    It is not quite clear that even without Milosevic the future of Serbia will be much better. You know this opposition doesn't look very promising and the country is in terrible shape. And even with the best government, it will take years and years (to recover).

    // END ACT //

    But Mark Schapiro believes many Serbs will return if only because they have been made to feel so unwelcome everywhere else. He says many people outside Serbia fail to make a distinction between Serbs who supported the policies of Slobodan Milosevic and those who did not:


    They feel on the one hand that the whole world perceives all Serbs to be somehow complicit in the aggression that has been waged over the last decade, or near decade. And that they have been tarred (tainted) with the brush of the policies of a government they have disagreed with from the very beginning.

    // END ACT //

    Mark Schapiro says Serbs in exile are becoming increasingly frustrated. They cannot go home and no country wants them. (Signed)
    NEB/PAM/ENE/KL 10-Sep-1999 13:09 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1709 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    /// ACTS IN S-O-D ///

    INTRO: When ethnic conflict in Kosovo first hit the headlines earlier this year, ethnic Albanians were being expelled in large numbers by Yugoslav army and Serb paramilitary forces. More recently, ethnic Albanians returning to Kosovo have been engaged in what are described as "revenge attacks" on Serbs and other non-Albanian minorities. One group in the province has been attacked by both Serbs and Albanians the Roma, or Gypsies. V-O-A's Judith Latham reports.

    TEXT: Many Balkan specialists say pre-war Kosovo was 90 percent ethnic Albanian and 10 percent ethnic Serb. But those numbers do not take into account Kosovo's minority groups - ethnic-Turks, Muslim Slavs, and the Roma. The European Roma Rights Center says more than 100 thousand Roma were in Kosovo when the war started, although that figure is disputed by others who say it should be much lower. A former law professor from Bulgaria who directs the European Roma Rights Center, Dimitrina Petrova [dee-mee-TREE-nah PET-troh-vah], says the Roma have been persecuted by both Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. And she accuses international organizations of failing to protect them.

    /// PETROVA ACT ///

    The targeting of Roma has been systematic. It has been a typical pattern of eviction, of burning people out of their homes. The other thing is the unwillingness of KFOR to extend its protection to the Roma. In a situation when they could intervene, they have simply stood by and watched while Albanians have looted Romani and Serbian homes. Virtually all the Roma of Kosovo are victims. (OPT) They're either in Kosovo now in a most precarious situation, or they are forced migrants in a world where Roma are not welcome at all, or they have lost their lives. They're casualties of war. (END OPT)

    /// END ACT ///

    TEXT: The spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Kris Janowski, says international groups are trying to protect non- Albanian Kosovars, including the Roma. But, he says, it is a very hard job.

    /// JANOWSKI ACT ///

    The Roma are in a particularly difficult situation. There's a lot of prejudice against them. It is extremely tragic. Many of them are terrified, and many of them do not feel welcome and beg us to take them out. We've done all we can. Of course, our organization, which is a civilian humanitarian organization, cannot protect inhabitants of Kosovo, be it Roma or Serbs, against attacks by others. However, KFOR has guarded many Gypsy and Serb communities. But it's extremely difficult. You cannot possibly put a soldier outside everybody's house.

    /// END ACT ///

    TEXT: U-N spokesman Kris Janowski says the Roma will have serious difficulty either returning to Kosovo or finding a permanent safe haven in neighboring countries. The European Roma Rights Center says when Serb forces expelled non-Serbs from Kosovo, many Roma were forced like their ethnic Albanian neighbors -- to seek refuge in Macedonia, Albania, or Montenegro. At the same time, Romani leaders acknowledge that some Roma cooperated with the Serbs. But now, they say, the Albanians are treating the Roma as if they were ALL Serb collaborators. The European Roma Rights Center says it has collected evidence of murders, beatings, abductions, rapes, and house burnings. (OPT) A field study by the European Roma Rights Center indicates that 80 percent of Kosovar Roma have been expelled or have fled. Researchers at the Center say that about half the Roma left Kosovo with the ethnic Albanians during the Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing after the NATO bombing began. And then, with the advance of the KFOR troops, there was a counter-wave of ethnic cleansing by returning Albanians, driving even more of the Roma from Kosovo. According to the Center, about 20,000 Roma are now trapped in Kosovo, and the vast majority of those are internally displaced or have sought refuge in U-N- protected camps. (END OPT) Kosovar Albanian community leader and newspaper publisher Veton Surroi [VET-TAHN sir-ROY] has criticized ethnic Albanian attacks on Kosovo's Serbs and Roma.

    /// SURROI ACT ///

    I think they are not revenge attacks actually. I think it's a bit worse. (OPT) They are part of a campaign of groups who have in their mind to actually persecute the Serbs and certainly the Roma. (END OPT) But, it's also part of a long-inherited, I suppose, European racist attitude. Even if there were a collective responsibility, I do not agree in any way with collective punishment. And I think those individuals who have sided with Mr. Milosevic should be prosecuted by courts and not by these kinds of attacks."

    /// END ACT ///

    TEXT: Mr. Surroi calls those committing violence in the name of the Kosovar Albanian cause "criminal gangs," and he includes some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army in that description. He also rejects the goal of some Kosovar Albanians - the creation of an ethnically pure "Albanian" Kosovo.

    ///(OPT) /// SURROI ACT ///

    I think we ought to be identifying models that we can build on, models of tolerance, showing the rest of the country here that there are communities where the Roma live without any problem, and they should live. With the Serbs, it will be a long process. It will be very painful for everyone, but I think what is necessary is to show tolerance for everyone and intolerance for violence against minorities. (END OPT)

    /// END ACT///

    TEXT: Balkan experts say the suffering and dislocation caused by the Kosovo conflict could take decades to reverse, not least for the province's Roma and other minorities, who are caught in the middle.
    NEB/JL/AWP/BK 10-Sep-1999 14:19 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1819 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: At the United Nations today (Friday), the top U-N official for Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner (coosh nair), told the Security Council the U-N Interim Administration Mission for Kosovo is hampered by lack of infrastructure and the deep hatred between Kosovar Albanians and Serbs. Correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from New York.

    TEXT: Mr. Kouchner says the U-N mission in Kosovo is rebuilding from almost nothing against massive odds. He says the U-N mission has re-opened 400 schools serving about 100 thousand children. Some universities are also open again with Kosovar Albanians and Serbs attending on alternate days. The U-N mission has also restarted some public utilities such as electricity. But Mr. Kouchner says only one-sixth of the electricity needed for the winter season is currently available.

    //// KOUCHNER ACT ////

    We are just starting to collect garbage all over Pristina after three to four to five months. There were mountains of dirt. Of course, there were dangers to public health.

    //// END ACT ////

    Meeting with reporters after his Security Council briefing, Mr. Kouchner said it will take months to repair the broadcasting infrastructure. The U-N official said three hours of television will be available each day before the end of September. About four hours a day of radio are currently available. Still, Mr. Kouchner says, there is little access to the Kosvars.

    //// KOUCHNER ACT ////

    It is easier to talk to you through all the television channels of the world than to talk to and to explain our position to the Kosovars. Close to us - five kilometers from Pristina -- there is nothing. Not only not electricity. No phone. No television. No radio. Nothing.

    //// KOUCHNER ACT ////

    After a slow start, Mr. Kouchner says the U-N mission is hiring and training police. But he says security remains a problem, especially for the Serbs. The U-N official estimates that about 97 thousand Serbs remain in Kosovo. Animosities between the ethnic groups run so deep, Mr. Kouchner says, that it has taken him months to get the various leaders to participate in the weekly meetings of the Kosovo Transitional Council. The Council is designed to bring all groups in Kosovo together to consult with the U-N mission on issues of importance. (Signed) NEB/NYC/BJS/BA/PT 10-Sep-1999 18:53 PM LOC (10-Sep-1999 2253 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Russian troops captured one of several villages in Dagestan seized last Sunday by Islamic militants. V-O-A Moscow correspondent Eve Conant reports heavy fighting continues in other villages held by insurgents in Russia's southern Caucasus region.

    TEXT: Russian forces have regained control of the village of Gamiyakh in western Dagestan, pushing ahead in their efforts to rid the region of Islamic insurgents. Hundreds of gunmen crossed into Dagestan from neighboring Chechnya on Sunday and seized control of several villages. A spokesman for Dagestan's Interior Ministry said the village had been cleared of fighters. He added that a clean-up operation was underway to drive snipers out of nearby mountains. Interior Ministry officials say Russian troops are also making progress in the Karamakhi region, but news agencies report that Russian forces were driven back by the militants. The militants are believed to be well armed and still hold several villages in central and southern Dagestan. Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, says the insurgents are supported by international mercenaries. Russian forces have been ordered to rid Dagestan of the militants quickly, but many troops have complained they lack the arms and manpower to do so. On Friday, Prime Minister Putin urged Russians to, as he put it, "not become hysterical" over the Russian military's difficulty in quickly routing the militants. He said government troops were acting "according to plan" to rid southern Russia of the insurgents. (Signed)
    NEB/EC/GE/JO 10-Sep-1999 14:59 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1859 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Some three weeks after a devastating earthquake struck northwest Turkey, thousands of survivors are being sheltered in tents. As winter approaches, many are questioning when they will once again resume their lives in proper housing. As Amberin Zaman reports from Golcuk, nobody seems to know.

    TEXT: Ismail Baris is a worried man. He is the mayor of Golcuk, a town on the Sea of Marmara, where Turkey's largest naval base is located and which was among the worst affected by the devastating earthquake that ripped through northwestern Turkey on August 17. Mr. Baris says there are 20-thousand people in his town who have been living in tents since their homes were destroyed by the seven-point-four magnitude (Richter scale) killer quake.


    According to Mr. Baris, most of the tents are not resistant to harsh fall rains. Mr. Baris says that finding adequate shelter for the homeless is the gravest problem facing his cash-strapped administration. Necla Akcioglu, a middle aged housewife, is among a cluster of families camping in tiny tarpaulin tents just a couple of kilometers from Mr. Baris's office. The tent, provided by the Turkish Red Crescent is made of canvas, has no base, and can only accommodate three people.


    Mrs. Akcioglu says she and five other family members, including a tiny grandson have to share the tent. To keep out the rain, the Akcioglu's purchased some plastic sheeting which they spread over the tent, an example followed by many families here. Almost all complain that no Turkish officials visited them since the earthquake and that they have no idea when they their homes will be rebuilt, if at all. Mayor Baris says the central government in Ankara has pledged to provide as many as five-thousand all weather tents by the end of September. He says he is opposed to government plans to build pre-fabricated housing as temporary accommodation for the homeless. Mr. Baris says that it makes much more sense to start building permanent homes for survivors. These, according to the mayor's estimates, would take only five months to complete, compared with three months for pre-fabricated homes, which, he says, are more costly to build. According to government figures (released Friday), as many as 15-thousand-500 people died in the quake, with some 4-thousand deaths in Golcuk. Mr. Baris says at least one thousand bodies remain buried under the rubble of hundreds of buildings that were completely destroyed here.


    He says municipal workers are doing their utmost to ensure that the corpses do not get disposed of along with debris. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE 10-Sep-1999 15:51 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1951 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 9/12/99. 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: Responding to the European Union's invitation, Turkey's foreign minister Ismail Cem will attend the E-U's next ministerial meeting, on September 13th in Brussels. The process of Turkey's applying for membership could be started as early as December, at the E-U leaders' summit in Helsinki, Finland. Turkey's application to join the European Union has been a matter of contention for many years. As recently as 1997, the E-U blocked Turkey's membership application, on the grounds that its human rights record was not up to European standards. A further problem has been Greece's opposition. On occasion, Greece and Turkey have nearly resorted to arms over the island of Cyprus, divided between Greek- and Turkish-speaking zones. There are unresolved disputes over various Aegean islands as well. But in the wake of last month's earthquake in Turkey, the political ground in Europe has shifted. Turkish-Greek animosity seemed to be one of the unchangeable facts of international relations. But this perception did not prevent the Greeks from responding with "Herculean efforts," as U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright put it, to the earthquake that struck Turkey last month. In the wake of a tragedy whose toll exceeds fifteen thousand lives, Greeks and Turks saw themselves as neighbors, rather than neighborhood rivals. While Greek rescue teams joined efforts in the devastated areas of northern Turkey hit by the quake, the Greek government joined its E-U partners in approving emergency financial aid and reconstruction loans. And the Turks sent immediate aid when Athens was hit by an earthquake this month. While no doubt influenced by the poignant - and in many cases heroic - examples of solidarity that transcended traditional mistrust, Greece and the other E-U nations are well aware that democracy and the rule of law have made steady gains in Turkey. Recently, for example, some Turkish journalists detained for breaches of press censorship laws were released by court order. This is good news for both freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary in Turkey. Turkey belongs in Europe's political and economic union. Problems remain to be worked out, but Turkey and the rest of Europe seem to be on the way to a new and beneficial relationship. 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. 10-Sep-1999 12:42 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1642 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed today (Friday) but technology stocks were strong and the NASDAQ index closed at a record high. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11- thousand-28, down 51 points. For the week the Industrial Average lost 50 points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed Friday at 13-hundred-51, up four points. The NASDAQ index closed at a record high 28 hundred 86. Wall Street was pleased with the latest U-S inflation figures. The so-called "core rate" of inflation in last month's wholesale price figures actually dropped by one-tenth of one percent. The "core" rate, which analysts concentrate on, eliminates the volatile food and energy sectors. Many traders believe the wholesale price figures may influence the U-S central bank to refrain from another interest rate increase.

    ///Rest opt for long ///

    But some analysts, such as Al Goldman of the A-G Edwards investment company, say even another interest rate increase would not do any real damage.

    ///Goldman act///

    Even if they do raise interest rates another time, it will not create a serious problem for the economy and therefore will not be a serious obstacle for the stock market.

    ///end act///

    Analysts say technology sales may pick up because of new confidence there will not be any major Year two thousand computer problems. On Thursday, no problems were reported with a date of 9-9-99 which some had worried might cause trouble in older computer software systems. Maytag, the home appliance maker, says its quarterly earnings will likely fall short of analysts' estimates. The company cited higher costs and slower sales as reasons for the expected shortfall. The stock of St. Jude fell more than 15 percent after the medical device company made an acquisition that many analysts are skeptical about. St. Jude will pay almost 100 million dollars for The Vascular Sciences company. Analysts say the deal will reduce St. Jude's short-term earnings without guaranteeing a boost to long-term profits. Stock of the Idec pharmaceutical firm dropped more than 10 percent after Idec reported that sales of Rituxan, its new cancer drug, will be lower-than- expected. The stock of the National Semiconductor Company rose more than 10 percent after the computer chip maker reported its quarterly loss has been drastically cut while orders are up. Wrestling fans will soon have an opportunity to buy stock in the World Wrestling Federation. Vince McMahon, who runs the Federation, has filed with U-S securities regulators to issue 10 million shares of stock. The initial price is expected to be 14 to 16 dollars a share.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/E/PT 10-Sep-1999 17:22 PM LOC (10-Sep-1999 2122 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Editorials in Friday's U-S papers focus mainly on domestic topics. At issue is the appointment of a former senator to head an investigation of the government's 1993 assault on a religious cult in Waco, Texas and senator Bill Bradley's announcement that he will challenge Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. International subjects drawing comments include the situation in East Timor and developments in the Middle East. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The U-S Attorney General, Janet Reno, has appointed former U-S Senator John Danforth of Missouri special investigator to probe the F-B-I's raid on a religious cult's farm complex outside Waco, Texas, in 1993. The complex burned to the ground, killing at least 80 people -- including children. Questions remain as to what role, if any, U-S law enforcement had in contributing to that fire and those deaths. Generally, the papers are pleased with Mr. Danforth's appointment. The Tulsa [Oklahoma] World says picking the former senator was "the right move," describing him as a "respected, evenhanded Republican." In Nebraska, The Omaha World-Herald adds:

    VOICE: [Senator] Danforth was an inspired choice. He brings all the imaginable tools to the job and has all the free reign needed to do it right. It will be a relief to see him in action.

    TEXT: In Texas, The Forth Worth Star-Telegram talks about the job ahead for the former Senator, who was also Missouri Attorney General.

    VOICE: The . investigation . must be narrowly focused . We've already suggested that one part of the investigation should be to gather a list of names of government officials who knew of the use of pyrotechnic canisters and either lied about it or kept silent. Every person whose name makes that list should be fired. Immediately.

    TEXT: The Star-Telegram is also strongly against a simultaneous congressional investigation, fearing that would be unnecessary and a costly duplication of effort. In the East, The New York Times calls Senator Danforth's selection "a promising development." The other major domestic development is the formal announcement by former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley that he is running for president. The Trenton Times in New Jersey's capital, says things have changed considerably from a few months ago, when Vice President Al Gore was considered a sure bet for the Democratic nomination.

    VOICE: Mr. Bradley . has shown surprising strength with his low-key, almost casual campaign . His staff is a talented one; his fund-raising efforts have been very successful, and polls now show that in New Hampshire, the first primary-election state, he has cut Mr. Gore's lead to single digits. Among other things, Mr. Bradley is riding a wave of national weariness with Bill Clinton and his travails, a weariness that, to Al Gore's misfortune, extends in part to the vice president.

    TEXT: And in the nation's capital, The Washington Post says The Bradley campaign has done better than expected on three key points:

    VOICE: It has amassed 12-million dollars from donors . it has assembled a competent staff . [and] Mr. Bradley is starting to do respectably in polls.

    TEXT: Overseas, there is still great concern about the violence and killing in East Timor, following August's independence referendum. The [Little Rock] Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is sharply critical of the United Nations handling of the situation, under a headline reading: "Chaos by design [rest in italics for emphasis] The U-N strikes again."

    VOICE: Whether the world is dealing with a homicidal type like Slobo [Slobodan Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia] or just a hapless one like Indonesia's President Habibi, the result is the same: chaos. And the U-N is left to make its usual futile gesture. The world is sending its sympathy and little else. /// OPT /// Did anybody really expect that, once East Timor chose independence, their old masters would led them depart in peace? Well, maybe the masterminds at the U-N did, which says everything one needs to know about their tenuous grasp on reality. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Philadelphia Inquirer is equally upset at the hesitancy of the world community to step into the situation to save lives, noting:

    VOICE: Peacekeepers [are] overdue[:] [The] Global community may not have the luxury of deferring to Indonesia on aiding E. [East] Timor. . Indeed, Australia and other nations offering their soldiers mustn't wait forever for a formal invitation from Indonesia. . Total deference to "national sovereignty" isn't justified in a case where the world community has never recognized Indonesia's blood-stained claim (to East Timor).

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Boston Globe agrees, writing under a headline reading: "Deadly delay in East Timor:"

    VOICE: In years to come the statesmen who are shirking their responsibility to save lives on East Timor will be remembered as ditherers or cynics. . not another day can be wasted placating an Indonesian regime responsible for a looming genocide in East Timor.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On the other side of the world, the prospect of an improving climate for peace in the Middle East, between Israel and the Palestinians, has coincided with a change in Israeli law in dealing with terrorist suspects. The Supreme Court has outlawed torture of prisoners, and The Chicago Tribune, calls the decision an "earthquake.

    VOICE: What critics portray as "torture" and defenders call "moderate physical pressure" has long been accepted as an indispensable weapon against Israel's Palestinian enemies. But the court said what should have been obvious: "A reasonable investigation is necessarily one free of torture, free of cruel, inhuman treatment and free of any degrading handling whatsoever." . The temptation to coerce suspects is certainly understandable . But the peril is not sufficient to justify a tool that deserves to be consigned to the darkest pages of history. Torture . yields unreliable confessions . fosters chronic abuses by security forces and it jeopardizes innocent as well as guilty suspects.

    TEXT: Thoughts from the Chicago Tribune.


    There is hope from Texas, from The Forth Worth Star- Telegram that a pair of killer earthquakes, first in Turkey and just this week in Greece, could bring the two prickly neighbors together, as never before.

    VOICE: Improved relations . could be the silver lining in the cloud of earthquakes that have shaken the two countries. Turkey and Greece have given new meaning to giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Greece was among the first countries to send aid when the devastating earthquake shook western Turkey . August 17 [th] killing and injuring thousands. . And when an earthquake hit Greece . Tuesday, killing scores, injuring thousands and leaving many more unaccounted for, a team of rescuers from Turkey was the first group of foreigners to reach Athens. ..that is a truly extraordinary thing in light of the long history of animosity between the two countries.

    ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Friday's U-S papers.
    NEB/ANG/JO 10-Sep-1999 12:25 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1625 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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