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Voice of America, 99-09-17

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

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





    INTRO: The Kosovo Liberation Army (K-L-A) says it has met a deadline to disarm, two days ahead of schedule. Tim Belay in Pristina also reports that ethnic Albanians are preparing to celebrate the successes of the rebel army and pay tribute to K-L-A members who died in fighting Yugoslav armed forces.

    TEXT: The NATO-led peacekeeping force, K-FOR, says the Kosovo Liberation Army has already turned in more than 10-thousand weapons. These include grenades, grenade launchers, automatic rifles, and heavier weapons like mortar cannons. The stockpile is being guarded by K-FOR troops. The K-L-A's military leader, Agim Ceku, told Kosovo's NATO Commander, Mike Jackson, that the rebel army has handed over all of the weapons it had agreed to, and done so ahead of schedule. NATO monitors will spend the time before Sunday's official disarmament deadline trying to verify the K-L-A statement. After Sunday, K-L-A members are supposed to stop wearing their force's uniform. But a spokesman for NATO's peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, Major Roland Lavoie, says some members of the rebel army -- called U-C-K in the Albanian language -- will continue to wear uniforms and carry weapons while the verification process takes place.

    /// LAVOIE ACT ONE ///

    There will also he a number of U-C-K parades and funerals leading up to Sunday's deadline for demilitarization, at which the wearing of uniforms and the carrying of a limited number of weapons in public has been approved by K-FOR.

    /// END ACT ///

    The major event planned for Saturday is a victory parade in Pristina, and it is expected to be a day of ceremony throughout Kosovo. Ethnic Albanian officials say they want to honor the accomplishments of the K-L-A, which they describe as a combat force that has shown it is able to cooperate with the international community. But Major Lavoie says the NATO command in Kosovo still is not ready to confirm statements from the K-L-A that it has turned in all the weapons it was expected to.

    /// LAVOIE ACT TWO ///

    I don't want to pre-empt what Genera] Jackson and General Ceku will announce formally this weekend. I know you have waited a long time. [But] if you could bear with us two days, I would prefer to let General Jackson himself give his appreciation for the total number of weapons and to qualify his degree of satisfaction.

    /// END ACT ///

    K-L-A political leader Hashim Thaci and a delegation of other Kosovars have just completed a workshop on democratic coalition building in Washington. During their visit, U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called on the group to work for a lasting peace in Kosovo. (Signed) NEB/TB/JWH/ENE/WTW 17-Sep-1999 13:03 PM EDT (17-Sep-1999 1703 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army denounced the United Nations today (Friday) for allegedly ignoring the interests of ethnic Albanians in the Yugoslav province. K-L-A leader Hashim Thaci [pron: thah-`CHEE] made the remark at a news conference at U-N headquarters, as we hear from correspondent Max Ruston.

    TEXT: K-L-A leader Hashim Thaci says tension remains high in Kosovo because the United Nations has not regularly consulted with the province's ethnic Albanian population. Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Thaci places most of the blame on Bernard Kouchner, the top U-N representative in Kosovo.


    We have to say that many of these negative phenomena that we are faced with come from the fact that the Albanian factor, that the indigenous Kosovar factor, has been left aside and ignored by the international presence and UNMIK [the U-N interim administration in Kosovo], too. And we had better point fingers that this has been done by Mr. Kouchner.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Thaci says Mr. Kouchner has not done enough to restrain continuing Serbian activities in and near Kosovo. As an example, he says, little has been done to stop Serbian soldiers from moving in border areas that were to have been demilitarized zones. The K-L-A leader is in New York for talks with U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Mr. Thaci is expected to urge Mr. Annan to be more aggressive in preventing Serbian interference in Kosovo. U-N officials say Mr. Thaci's charges against Bernard Kouchner are not well founded, as the United Nations has held extensive consultations with all factions of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. They say his comments may be motivated by the rivalry between those factions. Concerning Kosovo's future, Mr. Thaci says he would like to see an independent Kosovo. But he says for the time being he will abide by Security Council resolutions reaffirming Kosovo's status as a province of Yugoslavia. (Signed)
    NEB/UN/MPR/WTW 17-Sep-1999 15:41 PM EDT (17-Sep-1999 1941 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up today (Friday) but down for the week. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-803, up 66 points. For the week, the Industrial Average lost 225 points, more than two percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed Friday at 13-hundred-35, up 17 points. The NASDAQ index gained more than two percent. Friday was a so-called "triple witching" day, meaning the simultaneous expiration of stock options, index options and futures contracts. It often causes volatility, both up and down in the stock market. This Friday, the "triple witching" caused some positive moves. Stock prices also got a boost from Abby Joseph Cohen, the influential market analyst at the Goldman Sachs investment firm. Ms. Cohen said the recent rise in the value of the Japanese Yen will not hurt the U-S stock market.

    /// Rest opt for long ///

    Arnold Kaufman of the Standard and Poor's investment research firm expects continued nervousness on Wall Street about whether the U-S central bank will again raise interest rates early next month.

    //Kaufman act///

    Just about any sign that the economy is still vigorous will probably be taken as a negative in this market.

    ///end act///

    However, one sign of a vigorous economy was largely ignored on Wall Street Friday. The government reported new housing starts jumped four-tenths of one percent in August, stronger than expected. The Universal Health Services Corporation has issued a warning that its quarterly profits will be well below Wall Street expectations. The company blames poor performance in its hospital operations. The Ogden Corporation said its earnings will be below expectations and the value of its stock dropped by almost 40 percent. Ogden is a diversified holding company which operates airports, power plants and theme parks. The John Hancock Insurance Company says it will issue two billion dollars worth of stock in a reorganization move. John Hancock has been a mutual insurance company, meaning the firm is owned by its policyholders. In the switch to a stock company, all policyholders will be offered stock or cash. The head of the U-S central bank says he remains confident that there will be few Year 2000 computer problems and that there will be "negligible" disruption of business. However, Alan Greenspan also said there could be some mild dislocations such as the hoarding of food and cash at the end of this year if a significant number of Americans fear computer-related business problems.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/EJ/PT 17-Sep-1999 17:25 PM LOC (17-Sep-1999 2125 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Friday's editorial columns are full of comment about another mass shooting in the United States. There are also several commentaries about the peacekeeping effort heading for East Timor and about the situation in Russia. Other topics include: the latest deal with North Korea over missile testing: the U-S rapprochement with China and why it may not last: /// OPT /// the jailing of a Western journalist in Malaysia; /// END /// and a challenge to U-S policy toward Iraq. Now, here with a closer look, including some excerpts is ____________ and today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The latest mass shooting in this country, at a Baptist Church in Forth Worth, Texas on Wednesday, caused the deaths of seven people and the shooter. The incident, one of almost a dozen mass shootings that have taken place so far this year, brings yet another flood of comments. In the state where the killings occurred, The Houston Chronicle tries to give it perspective.

    VOICE: Incidents such as the slaying . at a Forth Worth . church are statistically rare in a population of 270 million people. But their frequency this year seems proof that they are part of a growing epidemic. Gunmen - adult and adolescent, suffering from various degrees of delusional hatred, loneliness and mental illness - appear at business, school, church or synagogue and open fire. The locations . are either truly random or the result of some private obsession or unpredictable derangement on the part of the killers. . Americans should not succumb to constant fear of random violence.

    TEXT: Still in the southwest, The Tulsa [Oklahoma] World is also shocked, asking:

    VOICE: Is there no place left where our nation's children are safe? . It is natural to ask what went wrong and what can be done to prevent similar tragedies. But in a case so bizarre, so senseless, so random, answers are in short supply. Americans have come to accept what we once abhorred-the idea of metal detectors and armed security guards in our nation's schools. Are we coming to that point in our churches?

    TEXT: The New York Post points out that the victims were targeted because of their Christian faith, and the gunman, Larry Ashbrook was heard to make anti- religious slurs as he shot. The Post wants to know where's the media outrage?

    VOICE: Had the victims in these cases been ethnic minorities or gays or abortion doctors, the airwaves would now be burning with denunciations of hate crimes, as well as attacks on the "vicious rhetoric" of political conservatives that must have inspired such extremists to murder. Where are the denunciations today of the unending drone of heated rhetoric from those who disparage . genuine believers in traditional religions.

    TEXT: Across the world, but still dealing with violence, the imminent departure of a U-N peacekeeping force to East Timor is drawing comment. The Miami Herald suggests that the U-N troops must remain until [the]province receives independence.

    VOICE: With a political solution at hand and a military structure to enforce it, the people of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, are poised to get the independence denied them since annexation by Indonesia in 1976. Indonesia's brutal occupation has cost tiny East Timor an estimated 200-thousand lives. Now it is up to the United Nations and the international allies to create a secure environment to which East Timor's displaced residents can return.

    TEXT: In the Midwest, The Detroit News favors a very limited U-S presence in that U-N peacekeeping force.

    VOICE: East Timor's neighbors, which have a more direct stake in its well-being, stand a better chance of restoring tranquillity on the island than a distant power like the United States. . [The] Clinton administration should resist calls for a bigger U-S role. /// OPT /// The United States is already involved in three major operations around the globe that are exerting a tremendous drain on American resources. Another . may well spread the American military too thin . /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Across the world, there is also concern about terrorist bombings in Russia's cities. In Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian remarks the bombings are causing new fears about "Russia's stability."

    VOICE: As Russian authorities scramble to attack the wave of terrorist bombings . the rest of the world should consider the threat these bombings pose, not only to the safety of innocent people, but to the cause of democracy in Russia. . In themselves, the bombings may not be as important as the economic and political chaos that has engulfed Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union nearly a decade ago. But the attacks serve to remind Russians that their leaders are not only incompetent and corrupt, but that they are undependable.

    TEXT: From the Pacific Northwest, the views of The Oregonian.

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times is concerned about the recent wave of stories about corruption in Russia.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// Added to the country's woes are recent allegations of corruption implicating [President] Yeltsin himself and suspicions that Western aid has ended up going to Russian criminals. .

    /// END OPT ///

    It's time for the United States and other major countries to take a measure of Russia's corruption. Some leading Republicans are hoping to score early election points by turning the hearings into a partisan broadside at the Clinton administration's Russia policy. Others . are urging that Russia be written off as a hopeless cause. . neither partisan finger-pointing, nor "disengaging" from Russia would help.

    TEXT: Back to Asia now and reaction to a deal between the United States and North Korea promising an easing of economic sanctions in return for a halt to Pyongyang's long-range missile testing. The Atlanta Journal is upset about the deal.

    VOICE: President Clinton is moving to ease the trade embargo not because Pyongyang has met any of the well-known and long-standing conditions for doing so, but because it has promised not to follow through with a completely new and different threat: to launch another test of a long-range missile. ///OPT /// Thus, the administration is going to reward the regime not for a decision to become a better neighbor to Asian nations, but simply for saying that it won't became a worse one. /// END OPT /// ... we're disappointed . Washington has decided to ..[throw] away one of the few diplomatic weapons available to spur more fundamental changes that could reduce the possibility of another . Korean War.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In Oklahoma, The Tulsa World calls the agreement "extortion" and, comparing it to parenting, says it won't work.

    VOICE: It's a familiar pattern. And a lot like a parent trying to coax an unruly child into behaving at the mall. If the kid is nice, he gets a toy. It doesn't work well in the end for kids and it won't work out well in the end with North Korea. .. The United States must remain wary of hollow promises and resist giving in to unreasonable demands.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Sino-U-S relations also come in for some scrutiny this Friday as a result of talks between the two nation's presidents at the recent Asian Economic summit in New Zealand. The Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] Post-Gazette is pleased relations between the United States and China seem to be improving. The end of recent animosity was signaled not just by warm words ..but also by positive action -the resumption of talks about China's possible entry into the World Trade Organization.

    TEXT: Not so fast, warns Hawaii's evening daily, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, which says no sooner had the two presidents talked, when there were new revelations of arms sales by China that threatened to freeze relations anew.

    VOICE: U-S intelligence has disclosed that Chinese authorities transferred medium-range missiles to Pakistan. This could result in mandatory sanctions against China. A State Department spokesman called the possible transfer of M-11 missiles, which have a range of about [400 kilometers], a matter of "grave national security importance" to the United States. How much damage the intelligence disclosure will cause is unclear; much will depend on whether the administration deems the alleged violation by China sanctionable within the law.

    TEXT: Today's New York Times weighs in with the third editorial this week by a major U-S daily castigating Malaysia for jailing a Canadian journalist, Murray Hiebert, a reporter for the Far Eastern Economic Review. His imprisonment for "scandalizing the court" is, in the opinion of the Times:

    VOICE: . not only an affront to free speech but an indication of a growing contempt in Malaysia for the rule of law.

    TEXT: Turning to developments in this hemisphere, The Washington Times has this comment on the anti- democratic trend in Venezuela, this nation's main supplier of crude oil.

    VOICE: Venezuela's constitutional assembly flirted with absolutism late last month by dissolving the Venezuelan congress. The decision triggered some unrest. Lawmakers attempted to retake their chambers by climbing over walls while rival factions clashed outside congress. This political conflict sent some alarm northward .. The assembly has now righted the wrong. In an agreement brokered by the Catholic Church earlier this month, Venezuela's constitutional assembly revoked the order it issued to shut down the congress. .. It is reassuring that the assembly had the integrity to recognize a bad decision.

    TEXT: Speaking of constitutional authority, Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union reminds all Americans of a very important anniversary today.

    VOICE: It was at four p-m on this date, 212 years ago, that one of the most important events in U-S history took place---the signing of the Constitution. "Of the 65 delegates from 12 states" reports the book All About American Holidays, ten did not attend; and of those present on that momentous day . 16 "declined or failed to sign." Thanks to the signers of the Constitution, we can express our concerns, publicly. . Set some time aside during the next few days to reflect on this great document. .

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, some harsh criticism of the so-called "undeclared war" against Iraq, and how it is harming the innocent, from The Chicago Tribune.

    VOICE: Would the average American support killing innocent civilians to punish a despicable dictator? Hardly. Yet that, in starkest terms, has been probably the most notable result of nine years of economic sanctions against Iraq for its deadly invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The Bush and Clinton administrations supported United Nations-imposed sanctions as a way to punish and undermine Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein ... However, by U-N estimates, more than one million Iraqi civilians, most of them children, have died since the Persian Gulf War as the direct or indirect result of the sanctions. [While this is happening,] Saddam remains entrenched. It's time for a change.

    TEXT: On that note from The Chicago Tribune, we conclude this sampling of Friday's U-S editorial comment.
    NEB/ANG/KL 17-Sep-1999 12:24 PM EDT (17-Sep-1999 1624 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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