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Voice of America, 99-10-18

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

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





    INTRO: More than two months have passed since a major earthquake hit northwestern Turkey, killing at least 17-thousand and destroying tens of thousands of homes and buildings. But as Amberin Zaman reports from the city of Adapazari, the Turkish government has yet to fulfill promises to provide adequate shelter for hundreds of thousands left homeless by the quake.

    TEXT: The harsh Anatolian winter is approaching. Fall rains have already started converting this tent settlement into what thousands of refugees here call a "mud city." Many express anger at the government for failing to keep its promise to shift them to all weather shelters ahead of the rains. Ayca Sumbul is a young mother with three children. She lost her husband and home during the seven-point-four magnitude earthquake. She complains bitterly about living in a flimsy, canvas tent provided by the state run Red Crescent.

    /// Act Sumbul, in Turkish, Fade under ///

    Mrs. Sumbul says she can't even find milk for her baby and often has to feed her child with water instead. But finding water in this once bustling commercial center can prove hard as well. Aziz Duran is the mayor of Adapazari. He says that with nearly 80 percent of all buildings destroyed during the earthquake, his city was the worst affected in the region. That is why Mayor Duran says Adapazari is having the hardest time recovering from the disaster.
    /// Act Duran Act in Turkish, fade under
    Mayor Duran says less than half of the city's estimated 260-thousand residents receive water at the moment and that sewage pipes, which burst during the quake, pose a serious health hazard. Mr. Duran acknowledges that the lack of all-weather winter shelter for tens of thousands taking refuge in tent settlements poses what is perhaps the most serious problem of all. Over the past month, hundreds of angry tent dwellers have taken to the streets to protest their miserable living conditions only to be dispersed by baton wielding police. Indeed, there are few signs that life is returning to normal here as claimed by government officials in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Most businesses in Adapazari remain closed Erol Ozturk is the president of the Adapazari Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Ozturk says that hundreds of businesses and factories were destroyed during the quake, thereby depriving thousands of people of their livelihoods.
    /// Act Ozturk Act in Turkish, fade under Mr. Ozturk says according to the Chamber's estimates, the total economic damage caused by the tremor in his town is in excess of two-billion U-S dollars.
    /// Begin Act of Typewriter sound, fade under ///
    Here in a small igloo-shaped tent, journalists for the local Adapazari daily newspaper continue to report on developments in the city. Ferruh Bulut is the news editor of the paper and says the tent has been serving as their newsroom because their offices were damaged during the quake. Mr. Bulut remains deeply cynical about government pledges to provide adequate shelter for his fellow victims in time for the first seasonal snow.

    /// Act Bulut in Turkish, fade under ///

    As Mr. Bulut puts it, Turkish politicians never seem to tire of coming here and making promises they never keep. And his newspaper, he vows, will likewise never tire of exposing their failures. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/JP 18-Oct-1999 10:00 AM EDT (18-Oct-1999 1400 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Javier Solana, the European Union's new representative for a common foreign and security policy, is taking up his duties in Brussels. V-O-A correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels that former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana has experience in dealing with a defense alliance.

    TEXT: Javier Solana managed to keep 19 NATO countries together throughout nearly three months of war in Kosovo. Now his challenge is to build a defense consensus among 15 countries, including four declared neutral members. He also has the challenge of getting the European Union to speak with one voice on foreign and security matters. He started his first day as the European Union's high representative by declaring his confidence that his new job will not bring him into conflict with the European Commission's external affairs commissioner, Chris Patten. Both men have failed to make clear which one of them will be Europe's authoritative spokesman on foreign and security issues. Mr. Solana says they are committed to cooperate in their work. Mr. Solana will lead the European Union's effort to build up its own defense identity cooperatively -- but separately -- from NATO. He tells reporters it is time for Europe to assert its economic power in the world.

    /// 1st SOLANA ACT ///

    We do not start in a vacuum. The European Union is already a global player on the world stage. Europe is crucial partner in the formulation of the major trade policies, financial trends and monetary decisions. It is high time for Europe to become a more active and more influential global power.

    /// END ACT ///

    Europe was embarrassed during NATO's Kosovo operation when the United States contributed the overwhelming majority of the aircraft, the precision-guided munitions and the intelligence. A war-games exercise is planned for next February, to see whether Europe can run an operation with NATO equipment but without the participation of the United States. Mr. Solana says it is time for Europe to show it can back up its words.

    /// 2ND SOLANA ACT ///

    We have to set up a more effective decision-making process for the common foreign policy. With that aim, as you know, we have just created a unit in charge of planning and early warning. We have to move towards a more active and less declaratory foreign policy. Our words have to be matched by deeds.

    /// END ACT ///

    As Mr. Solana notes, none of this is going to happen overnight. He is counting on support from the European Union's 15 governments including the Presidency. As chance has it, a neutral member, Finland, is the current six-month president of the European Union. One of the reforms suggested for the common defense policy is that Mr. Solana lead the now-dormant West European Union as the E-U's defense arm. This is scheduled to happen by the end of next year. That will complicate the role of the European Union's four neutral countries, which are not members of NATO or the W-E-U. If anyone has experience in building coalitions with difficult partners, it is the former NATO Secretary General, Mr. Solana. He's expected to have an easy relationship with George Robertson, his successor at NATO headquarters. Both men worked together closely during the Kosovo conflict, when Mr. Robertson was the British Defense Secretary. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/GE/WTW 18-Oct-1999 13:28 PM EDT (18-Oct-1999 1728 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Three elder statesmen have presented the European Commission with proposals to reform the European Union before it takes in new members in four years. V-O-A correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels on the reforms and the need for them.

    TEXT: The rules - originally designed for six members are not working well for the current European Union membership of 15. It is clear that with plans to expand by 12 or 13 countries in the next decade, that the European Union is going to have to change the way it makes decisions. It is already difficult to reach unanimous votes when European leaders or ministers meet. The president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, appointed three elder statesmen to suggest ways to reform European structures before an inter-governmental conference is held at the end of next year to approve the reforms. As expected, the so-called "wise men" suggest that Mr. Prodi and his successors, as head of the European Commission, be given greater powers to choose their commissioners independently of European governments. They also say decisions will have to be made by qualified majorities - with no countries being given the power to veto them. Those reforms will be controversial among the leaders. For instance, Britain has pledged to block any plan within the European Union to impose a single tax system. The chairman of the wise men, former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, says since the last inter- governmental conference in Amsterdam two years ago, the prospect of the European Union growing to more than 20 countries is closer to reality.

    /// Dehaene Act ////// Opt act ///

    We think that since Amsterdam, the process of enlargement has accelerated to that extent that, in fact, the distinction between first and second paragraph make no sense anymore and we have to work at a comprehensive reform and a global reform. But secondly, we underline also that the enlargement must go on within the timing put forward for that enlargement and that in our view, in no way you can say, wait with the enlargement until we are ready with our institutional reforms.

    /// End Act ////// End opt act ///

    The European Union has not given a date for enlargement to new members but countries such as Poland and Hungary are preparing to join in the beginning of the year 2003. The leaders have also given preliminary approval to start membership negotiations with six more countries next year. It is conceivable that countries in the second wave of enlargement could pass the original six that have already started talks with the European Union. Another member of the wise men, former German President Richard Von Weizsacker, says the European Union must be prepared to welcome the new members.

    /// Von Weizsacker Act ///

    We couldn't possibly achieve peace and stability in Europe without including the eastern part of our continent, which due to the Cold War has been expelled so far, but if that enlargement is so essential for the European purpose of peace and stability, then we in the western part of Europe, we the members of the European Union as it exists today, have no other task to take more seriously than to reform its institutions.

    /// End Act ///

    The Wise Men recommend that the inter-governmental conference split the basic European Union treaty into two parts. One constitutional core will still need re-negotiation by another conference, but the European Commission could draft other treaty changes. While Commission President Prodi wants these new powers, it is not clear at all that 15 member governments will agree to concede them. (Signed) NEB/RP/GE/LTD/JP 18-Oct-1999 12:29 PM EDT (18-Oct-1999 1629 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed today (Monday) in volatile trading as inflation fears re-emerged. Last-minute buying, however, cut big losses for the Dow Jones to keep it above that psychologically-important 10-thousand mark, which it reached last March. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 96 points at 10-thousand-116. The Standard and Poor's 500 index gained six points to close at 12-hundred-54. But the Nasdaq index lost one and one-half percent as high-technology and internet stocks were battered. Earnings in the banking sector came in strong. Citigroup, the leading financial services company, reported a tripling of third-quarter profits - up over 230 percent. Bank of America and J-P Morgan - the largest and fourth-largest U-S banks - also showed a leap in profits that beat Wall Street estimates. Inflation worries re-surfaced, however. The consumer price index - the chief measure of inflation in the United States at the retail level - will be released on Tuesday. Those numbers are expected to be up.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Robert Bissell, head of a capital management company, believes inflation in the United States is not getting out of control and there probably is no need to raise short-term interest rates. He says most U-S economy watchers are short-sighted and tend to mislead the public:

    /// BISSELL ACT ///

    One of the problems with looking at the next monthly number is that you lose sight of the long-term trend. We think that core inflation is just a shade over two percent. If that's true, rates should be a lot lower, not a lot higher, which is what people are reacting to.

    /// END ACT ///

    The debate on inflation is geared toward the next meeting of the U-S Federal Reserve Board - the U-S central bank -- in mid-November. The question is whether Board governors will decide to raise interest rates for the third time since June. In more corporate earnings news - Xerox, the world's biggest copier company, says its quarterly profits fell 11 percent, partly because of increased competition. However, Eastman Kodak - the world's biggest photography company - is on track to halt a two-year sales skid. Kodak reports a 17 percent jump in third-quarter profits after cutting jobs and selling businesses to compete more effectively with rival Fuji Photo Film of Japan. Ford Motor Company, the world's second largest automaker, says its third quarter profits jumped 11 percent, due to a healthy U-S economy and stronger truck sales. Meanwhile, Nissan - number two car-maker in Japan - is closing some factories and slashing about 14 percent of its workforce worldwide in a bid to return to profitability. Nissan has lost money in seven of the last eight years. It is under a three-year restructuring plan drawn up by its new shareholder, Renault of France. Renault bought 37 percent of Nissan last May. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/WTW 18-Oct-1999 18:03 PM EDT (18-Oct-1999 2203 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A survey of U-S editorial pages reveals substantial commentary Monday on President Clinton's ban on new road-building in the nation's forest preserves. Another popular topic is the departure of special counsel Kenneth Starr after a long, and costly investigation of President Clinton. Other topics considered include progress in Nigeria, the passing of a Tanzanian legend, a Nobel prize for Doctors without borders and another blow from Mother Nature in the person of Hurricane Irene. Now, here is ____________ with a closer look and some excerpts, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: President Clinton said last week he will ban the construction of any new highways, logging roads or trails in much of the nation's national forests. The move was praised by environmentalists, but criticized by the timber industry. The Chicago Tribune says the worry about the new policy is overblown.

    VOICE: The alarm by the timber and paper industry over President Clinton's announcement Wednesday that he plans to bar road-building on [about] 16-million 187-and-one-half thousand hectares of national forest is overblown and more than a bit dishonest. . Neither the world nor the logging industry will collapse: [Mr.] Clinton's decision is justified to protect an irreplaceable natural resource for future generations.

    /// OPT ///

    What the industry probably is more worried about is the potential loss of the more than 200- million dollars a year in federal subsidies it receives, mostly in the form of government-built roads in national forests. It's a scandalous form of government largesse Congress ought to ax (cancel) if it's really serious about budget-cutting./// END OPT

    TEXT: The New York Times is also pleased with Mr. Clinton's decision, calling it one of the landmark environmental acts of his presidency.

    VOICE: . in scope and political audacity, nothing quite matches the proposal he announced last week to protect more than 16-million-187-and-one-half- thousand-hectares of national forest from commercial development. If his scheme survives legal and congressional challenges - no sure thing - it will almost surely be recorded as a signature (defining) environmental achievement of his administration. . This plan is the culmination of a long effort . to impress upon Congress and indeed the Forest Service itself the notion that the national forests are more than tree farms.

    TEXT: Still on U-S domestic issues, the imminent departure of the long-serving special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, is drawing a good deal of comment. The Atlanta Constitution says Mr. Starr "exits with [a] tarnished legacy."

    VOICE: . Historians and legal scholars . Will have to judge for posterity whether [Mr.] Starr's meandering investigation of President Clinton and practically everybody with whom he came in contact with in his adult life in Arkansas and the District of Columbia was worth the 50-million dollars and five years [Mr.] Starr's office devoted to this cold pursuit. . Considering all the time [Mr.] Starr took, he leaves a distressing stack of work undone.

    TEXT: In Oklahoma, The Tulsa World is even more critical of the cost and time involved in the investigation, given what the paper feels are fairly meager returns.

    VOICE: Rarely has so much money, time and effort been expended to achieve so little. So little, that is, save collateral damage done to the nation's political and legal processes-and its psyche. With his five- year, 47-million-dollar pursuit of President Clinton all but history, and a sad chapter in history to boot, Independent counsel Kenneth Starr will formally step down this week and return to private law practice. . [Mr.] Starr managed to get 14 guilty pleas or convictions, notably those of Whitewater business partners Jim and Susan McDougal and then-Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker. But [Mr.] Starr's no-holds- barred effort to bring down the president failed. [Mr.] Clinton was impeached by the House (of Representatives), which relied on Starr's information, but he was acquitted in the Senate. /// OPT ///. Is the United States better off now than it was five years and 47-million dollars ago, before [Mr.] Starr began his relentless, seemingly obsessive, pursuit of Bill Clinton? Hardly. ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: Moving to overseas topics, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's trip to Africa, the New York Times is encouraged about what she will find in Nigeria. The newspaper praises the former general, Olusegun Obasanjo, elected president in May, for early moves in improving the nation's rather desperate situation.

    VOICE: There was reason for skepticism about his intentions. Nevertheless, President Obasanjo . has won over many of his critics by distancing himself from his former military allies, taking important steps to combat corruption and restoring political freedoms. He is now beginning economic reforms. With one important exception . the oil-producing Delta region - President Obasanjo has awakened hopes that Nigeria's slide can be halted or reversed.

    TEXT: Still on the subject of events in Africa, the late Tanzanian leader, Julius Nyerere, is remembered by The Sun in Baltimore as a man who tried hard to move his country forward after independence from Britain, but with a program of socialism that eventually failed.

    VOICE: Like many other 1960s Third World leaders, Mr. Nyerere thought one-party socialism offered the best answer to . poverty and underdevelopment . He nationalized foreign banks, plantations and manufacturing plants - even though he had no trained personnel to run them. .These experiments, combined with his leadership in the non-alignment movement, won Mr. Nyerere plaudits from other socialists .[but] Long before Mr. Nyerere retired in 1985, it was evident his policies had failed .. Even as it mourns Mr. Nyerere, Tanzania is still trying to figure out how to catch up.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to events in Latin America, today's Los Angeles Times is talking about some nations that have made gains in both democracy and economics. But there is one area the paper says, that still lags behind - the justice system. VOICED: Reform won't be easy, but it cannot be delayed if the Latin nations want to establish stability under law and to work within the global community. . a new breed of justice officials and systems is positively reshaping Latin attitudes toward the police, courts and jails. The Argentine government is policing its police, particularly on the score of corruption in the ranks. Bolivia's government is changing archaic laws and limiting the oft-abused powers of state prosecutors. In giant Brazil, reformers in and out of government are transforming prisons from dismal cages to places where inmates earn wages through work and require less supervision.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: There is also praise this Monday for Doctors without Borders, the organization which won the Nobel Peace Prize last week. Boston's Christian Science Monitor feels the group is justly deserving, noting:

    VOICE: In its healing mission into lethal war zones, the group uses such commando tactics as crossing borders without permission, rallying the media to fight injustice, and opening talks between warring parties. It brings a quality of mercy that puts people above borders, a doctrine gaining popularity and [one] that was invoked in the NATO bombing in Kosovo. . Most of all, the award reminds us that humanitarian disasters are the responsibility of all of us, not just governments .

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning briefly to the Middle East, today's Washington Post is praising the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak for declaring that some of the 42 illegal hilltop settlements set up by Israelis on the West Bank will be removed. And the Post continues:

    VOICE: . Prime Minister Barak deserves more credit than the comparison to Mr. Netanyahu's government gives him. In including in his government parties close to the settler movement . Mr. Barak is attempting something truly ambitious: to bring elements within the settler movement along with a vigorous peace process.

    /// END OPT ///

    VOICE: In the United States, another hurricane, Irene, has dumped flood waters on Florida and the Carolinas, just as they were recovering from the last Atlantic storm, prompting this from The Miami Herald:

    VOICE: What Irene lacked in wind, the storm made up in rain, tons and tons of water dumped atop one of the wettest summers on record. Lacking storage capacity and awaiting an overhaul, South Florida's basic drainage system was simply overwhelmed. The Miami River overflowed, as did a dozen smaller canals and "constructed' lakes that were once thought would protect pricey western suburbs. .And therein lies a lesson: Take no hurricane for granted -- each carries its own misery.

    TEXT: On that note we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from some of Monday's U-S daily newspapers.
    NEB/ANG/JP 18-Oct-1999 11:48 AM EDT (18-Oct-1999 1548 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The British Army, as well as clandestine military groups from Kurdistan and Kosovo, are being singled out for criticism at a conference on the use of children as soldiers in Europe. Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin.

    TEXT: The United Nations conference on the Rights of the Child defines a child as anyone who has not yet reached the age of 18. But when it comes to soldiers, the convention only calls on governments to keep children under 15 out of direct combat. But German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, in a keynote speech to the Berlin conference on Monday, described that as a double standard. He called on all governments to agree to a ban on recruitment of those under the age of 18. Other conference delegates, including the representatives of the United Nations and the European Union agreed. But some went further than Mr. Fischer by naming those who recruit child soldiers in Europe. Lotte Leicht, of Human Rights Watch and the Coalition to stop the Use of Child Soldiers, said many European governments recruit children. But she called Britain one of the worst offenders, for recruiting boys of 16 and 17 into combat units - when they are still too young to vote, drink alcohol or marry without their parents' consent.

    /// Act Lotte Leicht ///

    The issue of child soldiers is not an issue only related to Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is an issue right here in Europe. Children are enrolled in armed forces throughout Europe. One European country also uses children in combat - the United Kingdom. That means children are participating also in international efforts such as K-FOR in Kosovo.

    /// End act ///

    German Foreign Minister Fischer said the issue was being discussed in the European Union, and he believed the United Kingdom was aware of the need for everyone to come to a common position, which in his opinion should be an age limit of 18. But he was careful not to say Britain - or other governments - would agree. But Ms. Leicht made sure the conference did not spend all its time criticizing only governments. She said unofficial armies, such as the rebel Kurdistan People's Party - the P-K-K - and the Kosovo Liberation Army - K-L-A - were also offenders.

    /// Act Lotte Leicht ///

    Also we are seeing the use of children by non-governmental actors in Europe, particularly the P-K-K and the K-L-A have been accused. And it has been documented that the accusations were right, of recruiting children into their ranks. They do not recruit the children only from the countries where they operate. (They recruit) children throughout Europe. This is also a problem that governments will have to be engaged in bringing a halt to.

    /// End act ///

    Delegates said it would be harder to control the activities of rebel groups than of regular armies. But they also said changing the attitudes of governments and the societies in which the rebels operate might also put the unofficial armies under moral pressure not to use children. (Signed) NEB/JB/GE/LTD/JP 18-Oct-1999 15:15 PM EDT (18-Oct-1999 1915 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America
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