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Voice of America, 99-11-08

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

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





    INTRO: Article 19, the international lobby group against censorship, says the media has played a significant role in shaping recent conflicts in the Balkans. The group has updated its report on the turmoil in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and the status of media in the three republics before, during and after the conflicts. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports.

    TEXT: The author of the report, Mark Thompson, says the conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia were created, nurtured and encouraged by competing political forces. And, Mr. Thompson concludes, the media played a major role in manufacturing the conflicts by manipulating public opinion. He is not optimistic about international efforts to combat disinformation and break the state monopoly on the media.

    /// THOMPSON ACT ///

    The message now reflects a post-war environment - with the exceptions being made for Kosovo - but the nature of control hasn't really changed or diminished.

    /// END ACT ///

    The international community has tried to foster development of an independent media in Bosnia and Croatia. But Mr. Thompson sees few results so far, especially in the effort to create a public broadcasting service in Croatia. He suggests an uncoordinated and indecisive approach slowed progress there. He warns the international community, now trying to help develop Kosovo's media, to heed the lessons of Bosnia and Croatia.

    /// THOMPSON ACT ///

    There is a unique opportunity to establish a broadcast network from the ground up because of the NATO operation and the mandate it has. However, within a few weeks of NATO taking over in Kosovo and the United Nations mission assuming the responsibility, it was already becoming depressingly clear that the media mandate is going to be contested by different international organizations. And that sort of contest is taking priority over undertaking the most urgent tasks there of reestablishing a Kosovar broadcaster. So in Kosovo, the mandate exists for a very decisive media development role but it's not clear the organizations entrusted with the mandate are able to implement it.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Thompson calls for international pressure on the state-run media in Serbia. He says international support for reform-minded journalists is also important. But he warns that too much explicit foreign help to the reformers can be twisted by the government to portray them as traitors -- endangering their lives and their campaign for more freedom. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/GE/JO 08-Nov-1999 12:21 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1721 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Berlin has started its two-day celebration of the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Berlin, former President George Bush became an honorary citizen of the city.

    TEXT: /// MUSIC UP AND FADE UNDER /// Some old music to welcome the three statesmen of November ninth, 1989. The occasion in the red brick city hall was to award President Bush what Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev already hold, honorary citizenship of Berlin. Speaking through an interpreter, and standing in front of a giant photograph of people sitting on the Berlin Wall 10-years ago, former German Chancellor Kohl paid tribute to Mr. Bush.


    We Germans would not have been able to achieve the reunification of our country, at least not within such a short time, if George Bush, the President of the United States, would not have been there and if he and his country had not stood firmly by our side during these decisive hours. We did not forget that you supported and helped us to overcome the reservations of some of our western allies against re-unification because of our recent German history.

    /// END ACT ///

    Berlin is remembering the events of 10-years ago when the wall that divided East and West Berlin was opened on the evening of November ninth. Reunification of the two German states followed less than one-year later. Former Chancellor Kohl and former Presidents Bush and Gorbachev are Germany's guests of honor for the celebration. All three men will speak Tuesday to a special meeting of the German Bundestag, the parliament which is now located in Berlin. In thanking Berlin for the honor, Mr. Bush announced his own project to further American-German relations.

    /// BUSH ACT ///

    My time for contributing to this work in the public arena is now past. The torch of public service in the Bush family has been passed on to two of our sons who make Barbara and me, I might add, very, very proud. But I still want to find a way to engender this legacy of freedom and peace for our children and our children's children. As such, it gives me great pride to announce today, together with Helmut Kohl, the formation of a privately funded fellowship, a program for the next generation of German and American leaders.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Bush-Kohl fellowship is designed to let young German and American professionals work for 12-months in each others' countries. Sunday, Mr. Gorbachev was awarded an order of merit by Germany's President for his contribution to freedom for Central and Eastern Europe. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/GE/RAE 08-Nov-1999 12:10 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1710 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Ten years ago, the Wall that divided Berlin for 27 years came down. Hundreds of thousands of Germans celebrated that momentous event and the subsequent unification of Germany. (In the fourth of a series of reports,) V-O-A's Gil Butler looks at one spectacular result of the fall of the infamous Wall -- the rebuilding of East Berlin, especially the sections of the city that had been a no-man's land between the democratic West and the Communist East. Now it is the largest urban project in Europe.


    TEXT: ///(AMBIENT SOUND UNDER TEXT)/// The most visible sign that something is going on is in new construction and reconstruction of some of the old buildings in East Berlin. The most prominent project was rebuilding the Reichstag - the historic lower house of parliament that was set afire in 1933 giving Adolf Hitler the excuse to take dictatorial powers. The Reichstag now boasts a huge glass dome allowing visitors to ascend a spiral walkway for a great view of Berlin. Earlier this year, Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, began holding its sessions in the refurbished Reichstag building and Berlin was functioning once again as Germany's capital. There are more than three thousand building sites in Berlin. The most extensive is the area around Potsdamer Platz, where the wall was taken down in the center of the city and where there was a no-man's land between East and West. Construction cranes are raising commercial buildings, government offices, a new railway station, shops and apartments. About four billion dollars have been invested here. Many of the projects have already been finished, and most will be completed by 2002. But the new central railway station is not expected to be ready by then. It is replacing several existing stations and the task of shifting rail lines is quite complicated. Project spokesperson Ariane Ribbeck (female) talks about the plans in a bright red visitors' center called the "info box "

    /// ACT. RIBBECK (ENGLISH) ///

    The Wall ran through where we stand right now. We had the Wall. So on the side of where West Berlin used to be there was a kind of no-man's land or wasteland which was not used after the Wall was built. So of course, now that the Wall is down, there was a big gap right in the middle of the city that had to be closed.

    /// END ACT ///



    This is a project that is not East and not West Berlin. It is maybe the first part of the city which will just be Berlin. And you can't say, oh, it used to be West or East Berlin. It will take ten or twenty more years where you wouldn't notice any difference. But if you compare it to ten years ago, I think it is already a lot alike.

    /// END ACT ///

    There are no plans to preserve the small remaining section of the Wall in the reconstruction area, though one of the old East German watchtowers will remain as a reminder.


    It is very difficult because it is just in the middle of the city and if you would keep all the walls then you couldn't build the new city and make it grow together.

    /// END ACT ///

    In other parts of the former East Berlin, you can still see bits of the Wall. Michael Burda of Humboldt University thinks eastern Germany's historic big cities have a bright future.

    /// ACT. BURDA (ENGLISH) ///

    My prediction with respect to East Germany is that Leipzig, Dresden and of course, Berlin will do very well. We already see that now, even ten years after.

    /// END ACT ///

    This is the Brandenburg Gate, the entrance to East Berlin, traditionally. This is where huge construction projects in the former no man's land will terminate. There will be tunnels under the Tiergarden to take some of this traffic away from what is expected to be the new center of Berlin. (Signed)


    NEB/MGB/SP/KL 08-Nov-1999 16:32 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 2132 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    /// ENG EDS: Pls cut tape to conform to text. Cut most of graf after 1st Clinton act. ///

    INTRO: President Clinton, marking the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, is appealing for bi- partisanship in U-S foreign policy. He says remaining united in a commitment to remain engaged in the world is the best way to consolidate democratic gains of the last decade in Europe and elsewhere. V-O-A's David Gollust reports from the White House on the President's speech.

    TEXT: The President's remarks were aimed largely at the Republican-led Congress, which has put many of Mr. Clinton's foreign policy initiatives on the chopping block as it moves to complete the federal budget the coming fiscal year. Addressing an audience at Washington's Georgtown University - which included among others the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic (Milos Zeman) and Slovakia (Mikilas Dzurdinda) - Mr.Clinton said the United States is at the height of its power and prosperity and has an unprecedented opportunity to consolidate the foreign policy gains of the last decade. While he said a majority of Americans support an appropriate level of foreign policy spending, some disagree and they are "disproportionately represented" in Congress. He cited a history of bipartisanship in U-S foreign policy dating to the start of the Cold War, and said it must continue in order to continue the process of democratization and integration of Europe that began after Soviet Union's collapse. He said that foremost among current challenges is building a partnership with a stable and democratic Russia:


    Russia's transformation has just begun. It is incomplete. It is awkward. Sometimes it is not pretty. But we have a profound stake in its success. Years from now, I don't think we will be criticized-any of us - for doing too much to help. But we can certainly be criticized if we do too little.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Clinton listed stability in the Balkans as the second major challenge. He listed as a third and final priority for the United States in Europe: the building of a lasting peace in the Aegean region and true reconciliation between Greece and Turkey. The President - who visits Greece and Turkey along with Bulgaria in a European trip beginning later this week - made clear his support for European Union membership for Turkey as a way to bridge the gap between the European and the Islamic worlds:


    The future can be shaped for the better if Turkey can become fully a part of Europe as a stable, democratic, secular Islamic nation. This too can happen, if there is progress in overcoming differences with Greece especially over Cyprus, if Turkey continues to strengthen respect for human rights, and if there is a real vision on the part of our European allies. That is if they are willing to reach out and to believe that it is at Turkey where Europe and the Muslim world can meet in peace and harmony.

    /// END ACT ///

    The President said the United States also needs to - among other things - support Israel and the Palestinians in their drive for a framework of final peace agreement by February, help bring China into the World Trade Organization and press ahead with debt relief for the poorest countries in Africa and elsewhere. That, he said will require not only adequate resources from Congress but also maintaining America's will to lead. (Signed)
    NEB/DAG/JO 08-Nov-1999 17:27 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 2227 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Former U-S Senator and mediator George Mitchell is back in Belfast to wind up his critical review of Northern Ireland's peace process. The key transfer of home rule powers to Northern Ireland has been stalled by a dispute between pro-British Unionists and Republicans. At issue is the timing of disarming the Irish Republican Army paramilitaries. V- O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London.

    TEXT: Mr. Mitchell has consulted with the British and Irish Prime Ministers and U-S President Bill Clinton after nearly two months of talks with Northern Ireland's political factions. Now he is back in Belfast for a final round of discussions before making his report public. So far, everyone involved in the sensitive negotiations is keeping silent. Britain's top official for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson says nobody can underestimate the complexity of the issues on the table.

    /// MANDELSON ACT ///

    What they must agree in the coming days is the very architecture of the new Northern Ireland.

    /// END ACT ///

    The plan calls for setting up an executive council to administer Northern Ireland once London transfers home rule powers to it. But Ulster Unionists refuse to let Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, join the all-party council until the I-R-A gives up its weapons. Sinn Fein says the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement has no such precondition. A top Irish newspaper is speculating Mr. Mitchell will produce a formula this week that would break the deadlock and gets the peace process back on track. He has had luck in the past. The former U-S politician helped broker the 1998 agreement that ended Northern Ireland's 30 years of sectarian violence. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/GE/JO 08-Nov-1999 12:27 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1727 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A federal court judge's preliminary ruling that the huge Microsoft corporation is a monopoly is a favorite topic of the nation's editorial writers this Monday. There is also a good deal of comment about the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and some thoughts on the latest argument about missiles between the United States and Russia. Rounding out the top ten topics is more criticism of the U-S failure to pay its United Nations dues; the problem of corruption in Nigeria and praise for one of the less well known figures in the U-S civil rights movement. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The decision Friday by a federal court judge in a preliminary finding in the government's trial of the Microsoft Corporation has captured the attention of both the stock market and the nation's editorial page writers. The judge ruled that Microsoft is operating as a monopoly in the field of computer software operating systems. Stock in the giant Washington State-based firm fell substantially on world stock markets since the announcement. Boston's Christian Science Monitor reacts this way.

    VOICE: What sings with clarity in a federal judge's findings about Microsoft's bully tactics is that the company stifled innovation in the computer industry. If it couldn't buy up a budding rival's hot ["popular"] product, Microsoft used its market clout to beat it back. Consumers were denied many creative advances, the judge found. In coming months, the court will decide if Microsoft broke the law and, if so, how to fix the company. . But the courts and Justice officials must be careful themselves not to stymie innovation by imposing a bureaucratic hand that can easily misread the unpredictable, creative momentum of the fast-paced computer industry.

    TEXT: In the nation's largest business daily, The Wall Street Journal, there is criticism of Microsoft for the way it handled its arguments in the case, and even stronger criticism for the government's intervention in the business of computer software. Say the Journal:

    VOICE: Judge Jackson has deferred the question of whether Microsoft violated the law for a later ruling, but he hasn't left much to the imagination. If he takes his arguments and the incoherent assumptions of antitrust seriously, the only remedy is to turn Windows [the name of the Microsoft operating system] into a regulated utility, possibly breaking the company up. No wonder he has repeatedly hinted he would be relieved if the parties would settle. An appeals court would likely overturn any draconian verdict against Microsoft -- if a post-Clinton Justice Department hadn't already settled the case. . By the time Microsoft reaches the appellate level, the computing world will have moved on and historians will have to be summoned to remind us what the argument was all about.

    TEXT: Supporting this primary ruling in the long case is USA Today, which sums up a long editorial, noting:

    VOICE: Microsoft will inevitably face similar competitive threats [like the one from Netscape, a Microsoft competitor in the field of browsing the Internet] in the future. The computer industry is too dynamic for it not to. And when those challenges emerge, Microsoft cannot be left in a position to dictate terms. What form a remedy takes is less important than the goal it seeks to serve. Vigorous competition for every product and service, not enforced uniformity dictated by one software behemoth, is the best friend consumers can have.

    TEXT: Moving to the international scene, several papers are pondering the tenth anniversary of the Berlin Wall's demise, among them, The Chicago Tribune. The paper cites the expansion of NATO with the addition of former East Bloc nations Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and goes on to suggest:

    VOICE: The countries of central and eastern Europe that emerged from the other side of the Berlin Wall when it fell ten years ago Tuesday have endured revolutions of tumultuous, painful change in the decade since. And surely they have far to go adjusting to new freedoms, economic reforms and slow integration into a unified Europe. But what's important to recognize and commend ten years later are the spectacular successes they have, on balance, achieved.

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times also notes the anniversary, and goes on to examine the losers as well as the winners.

    VOICE: Other countries, spurred by the prospect of joining the European [Union]fold, have accelerated the pace of reforms. Among them are Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia. All five will probably begin membership negotiations next year. But the list of losers is just as long. It includes countries like Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the rest of Central Asia and the Caucasian republics. In most of these now-independent countries, the old Communist bureaucrats . remained in power, controlling vast swaths of the economy.

    TEXT: Turning to the problem of paying this nation's United Nations debt, today's Minnesota Star Tribune suggests the deadline for serious problems is fast approaching.

    VOICE: If in the next two months the United States does not pay at least 550-million dollars toward its grossly overdue U-N bills, it will automatically be stripped of its General Assembly ballot. Imagine that: The world's strongest, richest and arguably most influential nation will have no voice among its cousins in the world assembly. It's beyond embarrassing; it's downright senseless, a serious waste of American prestige and credibility that cannot help but hinder U-S diplomacy around the globe .

    TEXT: Florida's Times-Union in Jacksonville blames President Clinton's support for abortion rights as the problem with the U-N aid bill. Congress is holding up dues payments because it does not want U-S taxpayer money used for abortions overseas, and the President will not give in. Says the Jacksonville paper:

    VOICE: Maybe he thinks abortion is more important than world peace or human rights. Perhaps he thinks loss of General Assembly voting power is unimportant since the United States would retain its veto power in the Security Council. Possibly he thinks it is not a big deal; 31 other countries already have lost their voting rights for the same reason. He may also think he can turn the issue against the Republicans in next year's general election- - and help get Vice President Al Gore elected. This may be good politics, but it is poor diplomacy.

    TEXT: The latest controversy between the United States and Russia over missile defense systems draws this comment from The Washington Post.

    VOICE: Here lies one of the paramount, and most neglected, issues of American security policy. Americans insist the new [anti-missile] program would be intended to defend just against rogue-state and terrorist missiles. But Russians see it as the core of a program that could overwhelm their own missile- defense forces. This is why Moscow opposes American- sought changes in the 1972 antiballistic missile (ABM) treaty - - changes that would propel the United States down a broad missile-defense path. The same basic considerations extend to Beijing as well. /// OPT /// . These rhetorical and symbolic exchanges . ignore the considerations of greatest psychological and political weight on each side. .. A curvy line can be drawn to ensure the United States of the missile defense it needs to conduct a global policy and to ensure Russia of the security and respect it needs while it is convalescing from calamitous systemic breakdown. /// END OPT ///

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to Africa, The Boston Globe's Editorial Page Editor, H-D-S Greenway, writing from Abuja, Nigeria, complains about the systemic corruption in that nation and in others, which is siphoning off the country's natural wealth, while leaving the populace destitute.

    VOICE: Corruption is universal, and no country or region is free of it. But Africa has four countries on Transparency International's list of the ten most corrupt in the world. Oil-rich Nigeria, the most populous and potentially among the richest countries in Africa, is rated the world's second-most-corrupt- after its West African neighbor, Cameroon. . "Corruption is a drain on the national revenue and indeed, an indirect tax on the public," says Pascal Dozie, chairman of Nigeria's Diamond Bank. Despite the country's riches, the average person lives on two- dollars-60-cents [U-S] a day. . Whether it be wholesale looting of public treasuries or the more subtle influence of money in politics in the United States, corruption is sapping public confidence in government and public institutions worldwide. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Last, a tribute to Daisy Bates, a woman who played an important role in the struggle for black civil rights in the United States. The Detroit Free Press explains:

    VOICE: [Ms.] Bates, who died Thursday at 84, was the Arkansas president of the NAACP during the turbulent 1950s. She led the fight for integrating Little Rock's Central High School in 1957, three years after the U-S Supreme Court ruled public school segregation unconstitutional. Her quiet strength in the face of the violent racism that confronted her, her colleagues and the nine children who sought equal education inspired legions of fair-minded Americans to join the fight for racial and social justice. Women like [Ms.] Bates played a critical role in helping launch the civil rights movement.

    TEXT: On that historic note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 08-Nov-1999 12:34 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1734 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices closed up today (Monday), despite pressure over a negative legal ruling Friday against Microsoft. A judge Friday decided the software giant is indeed a monopoly and has an unfair advantage over its competitors. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was able to hold on to a modest gain of 14 points, closing at 10- thousand-718. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose six points to 13-hundred-77. And, the Nasdaq index gained more than one percent - another record closing as Microsoft's rivals saw their shares surge. The trading day was overshadowed by that legal ruling against Microsoft. The leading software maker is now one of the Dow Jones 30 industrial companies. It is also a big player in the Nasdaq market. But Microsoft stock went down less than many had expected after showing some early morning weakness. It lost a dollar and change, less than two percent. Market analysts rallied behind Microsoft, saying the company will likely remain a powerhouse over the long- term.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Analyst Alan Skrainka does not believe the decision against Microsoft will lead to its break-up. He says Microsoft is still a very good company with even better growth potential:

    /// SKRAINKA ACT ///

    It's a cloud that's going to be hanging over the company for a while. But I think when you look at the most likely scenario, it may be along the lines of forcing them to license the operating systems to their competitors, making sure that when they do contract with other companies and suppliers that they don't wield their monopoly power. The company is still a tremendous leader in the technology industry and growing very rapidly.

    /// END ACT ///

    Shares of Sun Microsystems - one of Microsoft's most vocal critics - surged on the news of the legal ruling. America Online also gained. A-O-L this year bought Netscape Communications. Much of the judge's findings against Microsoft had to do with how it competed against Netscape's Internet browser. In other news, B-P Amoco, the world's third largest publicly traded oil company, reported quarterly profits had jumped 72-percent. The gains were due mostly to sharply rising crude oil prices. And, British Airways, Europe's largest air carrier, said it has a plan to reverse last quarter's 86- percent profit slump caused by transatlantic fare wars. Besides some cost-cutting, British Airways hopes to pick up more "luxury" or high-paying customers. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/gm 08-Nov-1999 16:50 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 2150 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America
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