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Voice of America, 99-10-07

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

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




    NUMBER=1-00786 SHORT # 1

    INSERTS AVAILABLE IN AUDIO SERVICES THEME: UP, HOLD UNDER AND FADE Anncr: On the Line - a discussion of United States policy and contemporary issues. This week, "What Next in Yugoslavia?" Here is your host, ---- . Host: Hello and welcome to On the Line. In more than a decade of misrule, Slobodan Milosevic has turned one of the most prosperous countries in Eastern Europe into a pauper and a pariah. During its failed attempt to ethnically cleanse the province of Kosovo, Yugoslavia sustained some sixty billion dollars of damage from NATO bombing. As President Bill Clinton has made clear, Serbia will receive no help in rebuilding so long as Milosevic remains in power. For the past several weeks, the Alliance for Change, a coalition of opposition groups, has led nightly marches through Belgrade, calling on President Milosevic to resign. Yet the political opposition has not agreed on a common strategy for removing Milosevic. Meanwhile, NATO peacekeeping troops remain in Kosovo, as well as Bosnia, to prevent any resumption of fighting. Peter Galbraith is former U.S. ambassador to Croatia and currently a professor at the National War College. He says that Milosevic's days are numbered. Galbraith: I don't think that Milosevic can stay in power over the long term. I would be reluctant to set a specific time frame for his departure, but the fact is that he is the leader who has been responsible for the misery and the impoverishment of his country. He has launched four wars this decade. He has lost all four. He has given up the most of the territory of the former Yugoslavia, most of the population. Now he has lost effective control of Kosovo, a part of Serbia itself. Mihajlo Mihajlov, a former Yugoslav dissident, is a senior associate at George Washington University's program on transitions to democracy. He says that Milosevic is stronger than ever. Mihajlov: My impression is that it is naive to expect that Milosevic will to lose his power in one or two months. Nothing, in fact, endangers him. He controls entirely the army, police, and TV. The opposition is divided, without any real alternative program. Demonstrations are very small in comparison with the demonstrations three years ago in 1996-97. It was a huge, three-month long demonstration in all the biggest Serbian cities. Dusko Doder is co-author of the new book, Milosevic, Portrait of a Tyrant. He says that some unforeseen event will be Milosevic's undoing. Doder: The opposition leaders are weak but the opposition is strong to Mr. Milosevic. And I think what you have to expect is that there may be something totally unexpected that is going to inflame public opinion. What they are organizing is not going to work but, you know, winter is coming. There is going to be a shortage of fuel; there are going to be shortages of many things. People are going to resent many things. And just an incident can inflame opinion. And I can see for Mr. Milosevic two alternatives, either like King Alexander [the Serbian king who was overthrown] or like Nicolae Ceausescu [former dictator of Romania who was killed when Communism was overthrown]. A tyrant cannot leave office and stay alive. Host: Former U.S.ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith says that that the breakup of the Federation of Serbia and Montenegro would remove Milosevic from power because the country that he is president of, Yugoslavia, would no longer exist. For On the Line, this is ------. Anncr: You've been listening to "On the Line" - a discussion of United States policies and contemporary issues. This is --------. 07-Oct-1999 17:27 PM EDT (07-Oct-1999 2127 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Central European countries are marking the 10th anniversary of the end of communist dictatorship and the beginning of democracy and free-market economies. Three countries -- Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary -- all entered NATO this year and are well on their way to joining the European Union in the next four-years. Correspondent Ron Pemstein has reported on these countries since the 1970's and recently revisited their capitals to see what has changed. He sends this report from Budapest.

    TEXT: Warsaw at the end of the 20th century. There are automatic teller machines at the airport. There are also machines to obtain local currency with a bankcard at the airports in Prague and Budapest. Unfortunately, the two machines at Budapest's airport were temporarily out of service when I needed them. No one says a free market will always be perfect. It was not possible to obtain Polish currency so easily when I first arrived in Warsaw in 1974. It was not possible either on my last visit in 1994. That is change for the better, if you are a traveler. On the other hand, some things do not change. A helpful taxi driver offers to carry your substantial luggage to his Mercedes. He sets his meter to run so fast that the fare into Warsaw's city center is two- and-one-half times the normal taxi charge for the same distance. It was the same scene in Prague. By the time I reached Budapest, I learned it was better to take the airport mini-bus. Increased wealth in these central European capitals has its costs. There are more cars than the last time I drove in the cities. Budapest is so choked with traffic it is difficult to breathe. Sixty-thousand new cars were sold in Poland last July and it seems as if all of them are in the center of Warsaw at once. All three central-European capitals have decided to deal with the traffic problem the way Western Europe deals with it. They put up parking ticket machines. It costs a little bit to stop the car briefly in the city center and costs a lot more if you want to park your car there longer. The Poles have managed to cheat their elected local government just as they cheated their communist government in the old days. Copy machines are now everywhere in Warsaw and the latest fraud is to change the time and date on the parking slip and make a copy. If you do have money, life in central Europe can be more comfortable. On a Sunday morning in Warsaw I met Anna, after she left the `Marks and Spencer" department store after buying a jacket for her son. Anna knows the prices are no bargain at the British store's new branch.

    /// ANNA ACT ///

    I think they are relatively higher than in the U-K (United Kingdom). Because I just saw the same jacket from the new collection and I bought it in the U-K in London and it was cheaper than here. So I was a bit surprised, to tell you the truth.

    /// END ACT ///

    On the other hand, Anna is happy the department store opened in Warsaw in September, and does not require an expensive trip to London.

    /// ANNA ACT ///

    I am very glad that this shop is here, this brand, because it was in Budapest, in Prague, and we were waiting to have it in Warsaw for such a long time, so finally we have it.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Marks and Spencer store is located right next to the shacks occupied by foreign tradesmen from Turkey, Belarus, and Ukraine who sell lesser quality clothes to Poles who do not have Anna's income. All of this commerce takes place in the shadow of the Palace of Culture, the skyscraper given to Warsaw by Stalin in the early 1950's. It serves as a constant reminder to Poles of their communist past. There is still not much of a middle class in central Europe. The gap is growing between the rich who can travel abroad and spend freely and the poor who are nostalgic for the cradle-to-grave assurances of communism. The Polish government is trying to reform health care, pensions, and education to make Poland a modern free- market economy. The people left behind by those reforms have been marching in protest against a government composed of people who once demonstrated against the communist authorities in the 1980's. In Prague, the government coalition of left and center-right has failed to come to grips with these politically sensitive social problems. Newspaper editor Alan Levy has some perspectives on happiness in a free market.

    /// LEVY ACT ///

    The idea that somebody, who was deported and expelled from this country in 1971, could be putting out an English-language newspaper here was beyond my wildest imagination. I came back in 1990, 19-years and 11- months after my expulsion, our expulsion. People used to say then, you have been away 19-years, and do you see any difference. And I would say, people are happier, but I would not say they are happier than in 1971 when I was expelled. But they are not as happy as they were in 1968 during the Prague Spring. And I think that is the thing that has been forgotten in all the observances now, that the Prague Spring was a dress rehearsal for 1989, for the Velvet Revolution.

    /// END ACT ///

    Hungary had its own revolution against communism in 1956. It failed. Unlike the former Czechoslovakia or Poland, Hungary managed to build communism with a human face until the day in 1989 when the barbed wire was cut on Hungary's border between east and west. In 1974, on my first visit to Budapest, it appeared like a poorer version of Vienna. In 1999, polluted Budapest looks like a rich cousin of Vienna with a free-market explosion. Hungary is a NATO country. Austria is not. Austria is a member of the European Union. Hungary is in the front line of countries waiting to join. As in Warsaw and Prague, the young people here continue to gather at McDonalds and Pizza Hut, the pensioners worry about their limited budgets in a modern economy, and everyone goes shopping. The airport money machines may not work, but there are plenty all over the city. Oh yes, take the mini-bus from the airport. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/RAE 07-Oct-1999 10:29 AM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1429 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A Turkish court (Thursday) gave Kurdish rebel chief, Abdullah Ocalan, more time to prepare an appeal of his death sentence on treason charges. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the court granted the appeal postponement at the request of Ocalan's lawyers.

    TEXT: The court was widely expected to uphold the death sentence that was handed down last June. Ocalan was convicted and sentenced at the end of a month-long trial that was held on Imrali island off the coast of Istanbul. The postponement has been described by Western diplomats as further evidence that Turkey is giving the man it labels a "baby killer" a free and fair trial. But Ocalan's lawyers have described his treason conviction as "unjust," especially in the light of recent peace overtures made by the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party, or P-K-K. These peace overtures include calls for P-K-K rebels to withdraw from Turkish territory and end their armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule. Last week a nine- member rebel group turned itself in to Turkish authorities on the Iraqi border in what Ocalan termed a good will gesture aimed at proving that he was sincere about ending more than 15 years of ethnic conflict. Over 30-thousand people, most of them P-K-K rebels, have died since Ocalan launched his armed campaign that was initially aimed at creating an independent Kurdish state. During his trial, Ocalan shocked many of his followers by declaring the rebellion "a mistake." Ocalan said the easing of bans on broadcasting and education in the Kurdish language and the granting of a full amnesty for his fighters hiding in the mountains of southeast Turkey and northern Iraq would be enough to satisfy the Kurds demands. Turkey's response so far has been to keep up the military campaign against the rebels, to jail the group that surrendered, and to prepare new charges against Ocalan that also carry the death sentence. Turkish officials continue to dismiss Ocalan's gestures as a ploy calculated to save his own life and to create the impression that the Turkish state is negotiating, albeit it indirectly, with the rebels. That is something, Turkish officials, categorically reject, saying they will never talk with "terrorists." The parliament and the Turkish president need to approve the death sentence before it can be carried out. There have been no executions in Turkey since 1984 in line with the country's efforts to highlight its democracy. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/JP 07-Oct-1999 11:04 AM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1504 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed today (Thursday) as traders began to worry again about U-S interest rates. V-O-A Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thouand-537, down 51 points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 13-hundred-17, down seven points. But the NASDAQ index gained about one-tenth of one percent. Analysts say there were conflicting themes on Wall Street. Some traders worried about Friday's U-S employment report for September. A large increase in the number of new jobs created could revive inflation and interest rate concerns. But other traders felt optimistic that strong corporate earnings will carry stock prices higher. The stock of Yahoo, the internet portal company, jumped seven percent after Yahoo reported earnings which were well above Wall Street expectations. The strong Yahoo earnings helped lift the stocks of many other internet-related companies.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Michael Burke of the newsletter "Investor's Intelligence" says corporate profits should be the main focus on Wall Street for the next few weeks.

    /// BURKE ACT ///

    We are coming into a period where earnings reports are coming out. We, along with most other people, are looking for pretty favorable results.

    /// END ACT ///

    The American Home Products company has reached a settlement in connection with thousands of lawsuits over the diet drugs "fen" and "phen." The lawsuits claim the company failed to warn consumers of the drugs' side-effects, which could cause heart damage. American Home Products will pay the plaintiffs four- point-eight-billion dollars over 16 years. A survey of U-S retailers shows September sales rose six-point-seven percent with large increases in sales of clothing and school supplies. General Electric reported a record third-quarter profit of two-point-65-billion dollars. G-E said virtually all of its divisions enjoyed revenues gains. Bell Atlantic, a major regional telephone company in the United States, will buy 10 percent ownership of the Metromedia Fiber Network company. It is part of a two-point-two-billion dollar deal to expand Bell Atlantic's access to a fiber-optic data transmission network. U-S securities regulators are considering a new rule which would stop companies from selectively disclosing information. Some corporations hold private meetings with professional stock analysts in which sensitive information is disclosed before it is released to the general public. The rule would require companies to disclose information to everyone at the same time. (Signed) NEB/BA/LSF/TVM/WTW 07-Oct-1999 17:10 PM EDT (07-Oct-1999 2110 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A full-scale debate over the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty occupies the editorial pages of many major U-S dailies this Thursday. Other popular topics include comment on allegations of a U-S massacre of refugees during the Korean War; the latest proposal for East Timor; Russia's full-scale war in Chechnya; and the situation in Haiti. Now, here is _________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: A vote is scheduled for next week on the test- ban treaty and three positions are emerging in the nation's press. One is to pass it; the other is to reject it and a third group of papers, including most recently Newsday on New York's Long Island, are urging the Senate to put off a vote until after next year's presidential election. In New England, The Boston Globe says "Ratify the . Treaty."

    VOICE: Because the United States ceased its own test explosions in 1992 and can maintain its nuclear weapons stockpile through simulated tests, ratification of the Test Ban Treaty should be seen as a low-cost way to enhance a basic element of national security. Partisan politics should not have been allowed to endanger ratification. The fault lies not only with Republican leaders . [but also with] President Clinton . He wasted the past two year, failing to use his bully pulpit to rally support for a treaty that deserves wholehearted bipartisan backing.

    TEXT: In dissent, The Augusta [Georgia] Chronicle says, under a headline reading: "Kill test ban pact;"

    VOICE: The treaty has languished in the Senate for years despite propaganda by liberal pundits and politicians that it would curb nuclear weapons proliferation. That's an admirable goal, but it wouldn't happen under this treaty. This is why head- counts through the years show the treaty has never been close to the 67 Senate votes needed for ratification. . Senate Foreign Relations chairman Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina, . and other critics say, rightfully in our view, that a permanent test ban could strip the U-S of both its offensive and defensive deterrents.

    TEXT: Taking a third approach, that of postponement until a more thorough debate can be held, is New York's Newsday, from Long Island.

    VOICE: Wait. Stop. Sanity must be allowed to prevail. Rather than play a game of political chicken [Editors: a test of courage] with the . treaty, Senate leaders must agree to take if off the table for now. The alternative ... is that the Senate will reject the treaty. That would damage U-S interests by leading to a proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.

    TEXT: A report by the Associated Press that a group of U-S Army troops killed about 300 South Korean refugees under a railway bridge during the Korean war draws this reaction from the New York Post:

    VOICE: The 20th century has run red with the blood of civilians shed in wartime. Witness what's going on in Chechnya today, over the Balkans last spring - plus the London Blitz, Dresden, Hiroshima, Nanking and thousands of other conflicts. .[In] modern warfare, it's often difficult to assign proper guilt for civilian deaths when war spills over into civilian areas. . Matters like this need to be kept in mind as the United States considers its guilt in what's coming to be known as the No Gun Ri massacre.

    TEXT: Still with Asian affairs, there is more comment on the latest development in East Timor, a call by the United Nations to have the world body take charge of affairs in the territory for the foreseeable future. Of the plan, The New York Times says:

    VOICE: To avoid months of chaos in East Timor, Secretary General Kofi Annan wants the United Nations to take full control of the territory and spend the next two to three years readying it for independence. This is a timely and constructive proposal that deserves Washington's encouragement.

    TEXT: However The San Francisco Chronicle says funding such an ambitious proposal may be a real problem, given that the U-S Congress still does not want to pay its U-N dues arrears, of more than a billion dollars, much less fund anything new.

    VOICE: . The humanitarian crisis is so severe that the U-N must take over the water and electrical systems and defunct government agencies as soon as possible. The . Security Council, which must approve [U-N Secretary General Kofi] Annan's proposal, is expected to debate the matter today. Meanwhile, Congress is refusing to pay more than 25 percent of the peacekeeping costs. The U-N wants the United States to pay 31 percent. But now is not the time to quibble about costs. It's time to support a tiny oppressed nation that bravely demanded democracy and is now hanging by a thread.

    TEXT: Now to Chechnya, another site of conflict, Hawaii's Honolulu Star-Bulletin says "Russia should grant Chechnya independence and end the fighting."

    VOICE: /// OPT /// In August and September, Muslim militants in Chechnya invaded neighboring Dagestan seeking to enlarge the Islamic state in southern Russia. Also last month, a series of bombings in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia killed about 300 people. [Chechen president Aslan] Maskhadov enlisted into the Chechen armed forces Shamil Basayev, whom Russia blames for the bombings. Air strikes and ground attacks have given Russia control of one-third of Chechnya, while [Mr.] Masikhadov vowed defiantly that Chechnya "will not give up a single square meter of land." /// END OPT /// The Russian attack has caused more than 100-thousand Chechens to flee into the adjacent region of Ingushetia despite warnings of severe shortages in clothing, food and medicine. .. Josef Stalin deported the entire Chechen people to Central Asia in 1944, killing tens of thousands, and it was 13 years before Nikita Khruschev allowed the Chechens to return to the Caucasus. Denying them independence any longer is asking for perpetual trouble.

    TEXT: Lastly, some misgivings from the Florida Times-Union about the removal of the last peacekeeping troops from Haiti.

    VOICE: It's time to move past platitudes, and get down to facts, on foreign policy. U-S Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, recently asked the house not to call for a complete troop withdrawal from Haiti. The march toward disengagement, he insisted, is grossly counterproductive to the democratic process there. That sounds good. But what democratic process? Haiti's president dissolved parliament and rules as a dictator. . The U-S-trained police force, rather than protecting people, is preying on them. It is particularly notorious for a wave of murders and drug offenses. The remaining U-S troops are digging ditches, building roads and doing other chores that would be more efficiently performed by civilian organizations. They are a target. . Only a few troops remain, but even one soldier is too many.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial. Comment from Thursday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 07-Oct-1999 11:46 AM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1546 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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