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Voice of America, 99-10-29
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From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>
 MACEDONIA ELECTION PREVIEW (L-ONLY) BY TIM BELAY (PRISTINA)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: Presidential elections are scheduled for Sunday in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Tim Belay reports from Pristina.
TEXT: This is the second presidential contest in
Macedonia since it became independent in 1991. Six
candidates are competing for the job now held by
veteran leader Kiro Gligorov.
Macedonians say the two top candidates are 43-year-old
Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski of the ruling
conservative coalition and 50-year-old Tito Petkovski
of the opposition Social Democratic Union of
Macedonia, which was formed by Mr. Gligorov.
The election may take place in two rounds. The general
election is Sunday and if no candidate wins a clear
majority, a run-off election between the top two
finishers will be held two weeks later.
Mr. Trajkovski is said to have improved his public
standing during the Kosovo crisis when Macedonia
reluctantly accepted around 300-thousand Albanian
refugees from Kosovo. Mr. Trajkovski spoke out
against the criticism that Macedonia was not being a
good host to the refugees. The refugee crisis was an
economic strain on Macedonia and politically tricky
since the government did not want to tip the fragile
ethnic balance between Macedonians, Albanians and
 CLINTON-KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY DAVID GOLLUST (WHITE HOUSE)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: President Clinton says he is concerned about the attack by ethnic-Albanian Kosovars on Serb civilians earlier this week but not ready to call for an increase in NATO's 50-thousand member peacekeeping force in Kosovo. VOA's David Gollust reports from the White House.
TEXT: Mr. Clinton said the mob attack on a convoy carrying Serb refugees in the city of Pec concerns him, but he is not sure that adding to the peacekeeping force will solve the problem. In a talk with reporters here, the President said the peacekeepers have been doing a good job in most areas of the Serbian province, though their successes have attracted little news coverage. He said the incident in Pec, in which vehicles were burned and at least 18 Serb refugees wounded, may mean the NATO force needs to be re-allocated, rather than expanded:
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NEB/DAG/KL 29-Oct-1999 13:37 PM EDT (29-Oct-1999 1737 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
 TURKEY / KURDS (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: More members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or P-K-K, have surrendered to Turkish authorities. Amberin Zaman in Ankara reports that the latest surrender is seen as a move by the P-K-K to show that its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, is serious about making peace.
TEXT: The eight P-K-K members were whisked away by
police after their arrival at Istanbul's airport.
The group was led by a member of the P-K-K's political
wing, Haydar Ergul. In a news conference in Brussels
on Thursday, Mr. Ergul said his group had timed its
surrender to coincide with Republic Day celebrations
in Turkey to prove its commitment to Turkey's unity.
Earlier this month another such "peace mission" led by
the P-K-K's former European spokesman, Ali Sapan,
surrendered to Turkish authorities at the Iraqi-
Turkish frontier. That group was arrested and its
members now face trial on charges of promoting
The P-K-K members began surrendering in response to a
call from their leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who has been
trying to present himself as a peacemaker since his
capture by Turkish agents in Kenya last February.
A Turkish court tried, convicted and sentenced Mr.
Ocalan to death on treason charges. The P-K-K
leader's appeal is being reviewed by a Turkish court,
which is due to deliver its opinion November 25th.
So far, Turkish officials have rejected Mr. Ocalan's
peace initiatives, which include ordering his
guerrillas to withdraw from Turkish territory and to
end their 15-year armed struggle for Kurdish self-
rule. Turkish officials dismiss the peace moves as no
more than an attempt to prevent Mr. Ocalan's
In a statement issued through his lawyers Friday,
Ocalan rejected those claims. He said his P-K-K
guerrillas had targeted what he called the "oligarchic
republic," not the hoped-for "democratic republic" in
which the Kurds of southeastern Turkey could become
peaceful and productive citizens.
Analysts say the P-K-K leader is trying to position
himself and his movement in time for a meeting of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,
which will be held in Istanbul next month. Human
rights will be a key topic at the meeting.
Turkey continues to reject any negotiations with the
P-K-K, which it considers a "terrorist group." In
addition, the Turkish army is keeping up its pressure
on the P-K-K rebels inside Turkey as well as the
Kurdish-controlled region of northern Iraq, where the
P-K-K has numerous bases.
Still, there are signs the Turkish government may be
easing its policy toward Kurdish groups it considers
non-violent - notably the pro-Kurdish People's
Democracy Party that won elections in a number of
municipalities in southeast Turkey last April.
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel met with the
Kurdish mayors in Ankara last month in a move that has
been widely seen as recognition of their party's
Even so, opponents are accusing the People's
Democratic Party of acting as the political wing of
the P-K-K. That claim got support this week when Mr.
Ocalan's brother, Osman, was quoted as saying the
party could not act independently of the P-K-K's
29-Oct-1999 09:45 AM EDT (29-Oct-1999 1345 UTC)
 E-U / BEEF (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: European Union scientists have unanimously concluded there is no basis for France to ban British beef on health grounds. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports the European Commission will demand that all 15-member countries accept British beef.
TEXT: France claimed there is a chance that British beef may still contain mad cow disease with a suspected danger to human consumers. The 16 scientists advising the European Commission had already ruled that with strict safeguards, British beef is now safe to eat everywhere in Europe. The scientists met this week to reconsider their opinion in the light of a 600-page French report to the contrary. The European Commissioner for health, David Byrne, says the scientists all agree there is no reason to change their minds.
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NEB/RDP/JWH/JP 29-Oct-1999 14:37 PM EDT (29-Oct-1999 1837 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
 GERMANY / SLAVE LABOR (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: Officials in Berlin say Germany's government and private industry may have to increase their offer of compensation to those forced by the Nazis to work as slave laborers during World War Two. But as Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin, German industry has so far refused to budge from an offer earlier this month that was rejected by the victims' lawyers as an insult.
TEXT: Count Otto Lambsdorff, the German government
negotiator in the compensation talks, gave a stark
warning to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the
leaders of the main German political parties in
private talks this week.
He said that if the three-point-three-billion dollars
offered at the last round of talks was not increased,
the consequences for United States-German relations
could be devastating. According to a spokesman for
Mr. Lambsdorff, German companies could soon find
themselves under pressure in the U-S market. And he
warned that they could no longer hope to get
Washington's support in trying to block new class
action lawsuits in U-S courts.
Party leaders from across the German political
spectrum agreed that the offer should be improved. No
figures were discussed, but party leaders said the
government's proposed one-point-one-billion dollar
contribution would have to be increased as well.
Since both sides had agreed the German government
should pay one-third of the bill and German industry
the rest, German companies would have to raise their
two-point-two-billion dollar offer.
The next round of talks with United States government
representative, Stuart Eizenstat, and the victims'
lawyers takes place in Germany next month.
But Wolfgang Gibowski, spokesman of the industry
foundation for helping slave labor victims, has said
the companies will not increase their offer.
Despite efforts to get more German companies to join
the three dozen firms already pledged to contribute to
the fund, sources say more participants will not mean
Instead, industry officials are hoping that if more of
the hundreds of German firms that used forced labor
during the Second World War are prepared to take part,
the amount each company has to pay in will be reduced.
 FRANCE / IRAN VISIT (L ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, made a conciliatory, if veiled, overture to the United States Friday, saying that Tehran favors improved ties. Julian Nundy reports from Paris, where the Iranian leader is completing a three-day visit.
TEXT: Iran's President Mohammad Khatami gave a signal
that he would like more open ties with the outside
world -- saying that dialogue must replace the sword
in the next century.
The Iranian leader spoke first at the United Nations
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
headquarters in Paris and then at a news conference.
He made several conciliatory remarks in the direction
of the West in general and the United States in
Relations between the United States and Iran have been
virtually non-existent since Islamic militants took
American diplomats hostage 20 years ago, holding many
for 14 months. But President Khatami said, without
naming the United States, that he does not want to
return to the past.
However, he added that no country has the right to
impose its vision on the world.
Asked if Iran is ready to have trade ties with the
United States, the Iranian president said Tehran has
no objection. He said the absence of commercial
links is largely the result of American embargoes.
President Khatami's three-day visit to France -- the
first by a head of state from Iran since the 1979
Islamic Revolution -- is seen as an important step in
what some analysts view as his attempt to open Iran to
the outside world.
His visit was marked by a series of demonstrations
organized by Iranian exiles who argue that President
Khatami's apparent moderation is a sham and that human
rights violations, such as executions and torture,
continue as before,
As President Khatami left UNESCO, a woman who shouted
the words "murderer" and "terrorist" at him threw a
tomato that splattered over his car.
Other Iranian exiles managed to hang a banner with the
words "Down with Khatami" across the Arc de Triomphe
at the top of Paris's main avenue, the Champs-Elysees.
 NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up strongly today (Friday) - extending a two-day rally spurred by positive news on the U-S economy. Wall Street's final surge of the week came on the 70th anniversary of the 1929 crash of the U-S stock market. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:
TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 107 points, or one percent, closing at 10-thousand-729. The industrials gained two and one-half percent for the week. The Standard and Poor's 500 index also rallied for a gain of 20 points, closing at 13- hundred-63. And the Nasdaq index rose three percent, closing at a record high. New home sales in the United States fell for the second straight month in September to the slowest pace in almost two years. Higher mortgage rates dampened buyers' enthusiasm. But this hardly dampened Wall Street's enthusiasm over earlier news that the U-S economy is growing robustly, with minimal inflation to show for it.
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Source: Voice of America
 FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)DATE=10/29/1999
INTRO: The assassination of Armenia's prime minister and several other officials in parliament, and the first nationally televised face-off between Democratic Party U-S presidential contenders top the list of newspaper editorial topics as the nation heads into the final weekend of October. Other topics include China's efforts to stamp out a religious sect, Pakistan's new military government, allegations of heavy-handedness by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Miami, and a dispute in Congress between a group of women and North Carolina's Jesse Helms. Now, here is _________ with a closer look, including some excerpts, in today's Editorial Digest.
TEXT: The killing of Armenia's prime minister, Vazgen Sarkisyan, and seven other government or parliamentary officials is echoing through the editorial pages of America's daily newspapers this Friday. In Hawaii, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin feels "The attack was not a coup attempt by an organized force, but an . outburst by a few men."
VOICE: Independence came to the small, mountainous region of Armenia following the collapse of communism eight years ago, but as in many areas of the former soviet Union, political and economic stability has been elusive. The resulting frustration appears to have erupted in gunfire that assailants called a coup but was more likely an isolated attack by a small group of angry men with little if any political following. . Given the economic condition of the former Soviet republics, such explosions should not be surprising.
TEXT: There is also concern in New England, where The Boston Globe writes:
VOICE: The timing of the murders could not have been more opportune for forces opposed to a peaceful outcome in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. There has been a cease-fire since 1994, but the 800- thousand Azeri refugees who fled their homes and Armenian de facto control of what had been Azerbaijan's territory have created a cycle of resentment and vengefulness, perfect fodder for extremist demagogues in both camps. . Whether or not the assassins were acting to prevent a diplomatic breakthrough on Nagorno-Karabakh, their action has made a breakthrough more difficult.
TEXT: In the Midwest, The Chicago Tribune sees a glimmer of hope coming out of the mayhem.
VOICE: . the way the Armenian government defused the armed takeover Thursday, not to mention the poignant last words of Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, offer at least a modicum of hope that the turbulent region is not doomed forever to violence. "Everything is being done for you and the future of your children," [Mr.] Sarkisian, standing at the parliament rostrum, told his assailant, who then killed him. [Prime Minister] Sarkisian had been working with U-S encouragement to secure a peace with neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. /// OPT /// The gunmen said they opened fire to punish corrupt officials. But their terrorist assault seems yet another convulsion sparked by Armenia's desperate poverty and isolation, and perhaps nationalistic fears [Mr.] Sarkisian would make too many concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh. ///END OPT
TEXT: In a second editorial about violence in the Caucasus, The Chicago Tribune rebukes the current Russian attacks on Chechnya as "The Folly of Russian Fury."
VOICE: Russia insists its brutal assault on Chechnya is an internal matter. That is true. Russia insists its weapons are aimed at Islamic militants blamed for invasions into the neighboring region of Dagestan and for a series of deadly apartment bombings in Russia. That also may be true. But it becomes increasingly hard to buy that argument as the bombardment has escalated over the past month into a full-scale assault that has thrown the entire north Caucasus into chaos and created nearly 200-thousand refugees. . The region . ultimately . must be governed. A military solution only succeeds when followed by a political solution.
TEXT: In California's capital, The Sacramento Bee is also distressed, writing under this editorial headline: "Moscow's Myopia: Chechnya offensive risks a new disaster."
VOICE: Russian democracy has made progress, but that could erode if Moscow mounts an all-out ground offensive. Russian casualties grow and the Kremlin is unable to hide the truth from the people. Yet at the moment, even Russian liberals are caught up in a frenzied desire to punish Chechens and restore national pride. That's a prescription for another disaster in a troubled, nuclear-armed country that can ill afford one.
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TEXT: Still concerning Russia, today's Florida Times- Union from Jacksonville, is worried about an even broader problem with the huge nation - that it is dwindling away. The Florida paper makes its case this way: Voice: The signs are unmistakable. In mid-year 1990, the population of Russia was 148-point-three million. By 2015, it is expected to be as low as 138-point-four million, and possibly down to around 131 million. . Maurray Feshbach, a research professor at Georgetown University [says] that some 75 percent of all pregnant women in Russia have a serious pathology during their pregnancies. Infertility reportedly is increasing by more than three percent per year, over and above the 15 to 20 percent of all couples who are infertile. New incidence of syphilis has increased 77 times since 1990 for both sexes ... For the armed forces, there has been an eleven-fold increase in the number of draftees showing up with syphilis, unfit for service, during the past five years. Malnutrition may also account for serious decreases in height and weight being found in children. . The once-proud nation, after its 70-year bout of communism, seems terminally ill, despite its vast natural resources. Whether it can become smaller and still viable like former superpowers such as Spain and England remains to be seen.
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TEXT: The big domestic story drawing comment is the first nationally televised encounter before a live audience of the Democratic Party presidential contenders - Vice President Al Gore and former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley. Both men are often accused of lacking charisma, but at least in the opinion of The St. Petersburg [Florida] Times, Mr. Bradley got the better of things Wednesday night at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
VOICE: The Al Gore on display at Wednesday night's . appearance with . Bill Bradley resembled the smarmy host of a failing [television] game show. The vice president tried a little too hard to get personal with questioners. He told jokes that fell flat. He let them see him sweat. Alongside him, [Mr.] Bradley couldn't have been more serene. He appeared comfortable with himself and with his responses to the earnest questions offered by the Dartmouth audience. . and the understated eloquence of his responses on issues such as racial reconciliation belied his reputation as a somnolent orator. . [Mr.] Bradley helped his cause Wednesday .
TEXT: The New York Times divides its editorial on the encounter into "Substance" and "Style," commenting, with regard, to the former that both men need to be more honest about the costs of their respective health care and anti-poverty programs. As to "Style," The Times writes:
VOICE: Both seemed to know that in these early matches, winning or losing is less important than avoiding a crash landing. . Mr. Gore won points with his sometimes self-conscious attempts to be funny and casual. . Mr. Bradley, a former insurgent faced with showing he can breathe at the highest altitudes of political competition, displayed some new skills as well. . his well-crafted answers on race, gay rights and leadership were strikingly different from the droning set speeches of his senatorial years. . The television camera, of course, likes cool rather than hot performances, and that could spell problems for Mr. Gore in the future. Mr. Bradley . may run into a time limit on his thematic, detail-free answers.
TEXT: The Boston Globe had a somewhat different view, suggesting that the vice president did well.
VOICE: If [Mr.] Gore was determined, as he seemed to be, to shake his reputation for woodenness, he succeeded. Lively, animated, connecting with the questioners . [Vice President] Gore was a bundle of energy for more than two hours. . [He] deftly inserted in nearly every answer a jab at [Mr.] Bradley .. The surprise was that [Mr.] Bradley refused to engage. He acted as if he were not involved in a two- person contest . but in a conversation directly with the voting public .
TEXT: Internationally, today's Los Angeles Times warns the government in Beijing, to keep its "Hands Off [A] Chinese [Religious] Sect" whose members are being arrested in large numbers.
VOICE: China's three-month-old ban on the Falun Gong spiritual movement has not frightened its members into inactivity, much less extinction. /// OPT /// In Beijing this week, dozens of the sect's adherents have gathered daily to protest a law now being drafted "to combat heretic cults" like Falun Gong. /// END OPT /// . Falun Gong members who daily face arrest for their beliefs display a moral courage that commands international respect. A regime that insists this peaceful group imperils national security invites international loathing.
TEXT: Still in Asia, the actions of two new leaders - one democratically elected, the other in power after a military coup - draw this comparison from The Sun, in Baltimore.
VOICE: The new government, though not democratically elected, is popular because the preceding regime was so bad. The reformers pledge to end corruption, hold the country together, restart the economy and restore national honor. That could be Pakistan . It equally describes Indonesia, where Abdurrahman Wahid was indirectly elected president . last week, replacing the transitional successor to a dictator. Whether to prosecute the corrupt former ruling elite or seek national reconciliation is a difficult choice for both. . Neither military rule nor democracy are guaranteed to liberate people or banish corruption. These two revolutionary regimes moved in opposite directions toward the same goals. The United States can only hope each succeeds.
TEXT: The Miami Herald in Florida comments on a raid by armed Immigration Service agents at a Florida factory, where dozens of potential illegal immigrants were handcuffed, but only a few were found to actually be illegally working.
VOICE: . this raid seemed excessive. /// OPT /// To pull off this bust, the I-N-S elicited the assistance of eight agencies, including the Department of Labor, . Defense, Social Security Administration . and the U- S Border Patrol. You might expect such callous intimidation from the thugs who run authoritarian states or communist dictatorships, but not from the world's leading democracy. /// END OPT /// . I-N-S Commissioner Doris Meissner and her boss, Attorney General Janet Reno, ultimately should either answer for - or stop - raids like this where the innocent are swept up with the suspicious with little regard to human dignity or civil rights.
TEXT: Lastly, yet another dispute in Congress involving the controversial senator from North Carolina, Jesse Helms, who this week ordered police to throw out a group of congresswomen who attended a hearing of his Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The women wanted Senator Helms to act on a U-N treaty that would outlaw all discrimination against women. Senator Helms has kept the treaty from a hearing since 1994. The Fort Worth [Texas] Star-Telegram is upset.
VOICE: [Senator] Helms' deplorable conduct in ordering police to remove a group of women that included 10 House members from a committee hearing smacks of behavior from an earlier stage of biped evolution. As people from here to Afghanistan (where the Taleban regime exhibits similar behavior toward women) have heard by now, [Mr.] Helms had the . women . ejected . after they attempted to deliver a letter to him. . the incident could have been avoided if [Senator] Helms had acted like a gentlemen and had courteously granted fellow members of congress an audience on an important matter.
TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of
comment from the pages of Friday's U-S press.
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