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Voice of America, 99-12-06

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

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


  • [01] CN-103 KOSOVO REPORT

  • [01] CN-103 KOSOVO REPORT

    MAIN:CN-103 Kosovo Report (UPDATES CN-078 NEW LEAD AND INFO GRAF 7) Two reports by Europe's top security organization have detailed human rights abuses by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Serbia's Kosovo province. One of the reports by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, contain eyewitness accounts of a Serbian campaign to force nearly one million Kosovo Albanians from the province. It accuses Serbian forces of accelerating the killing, rape, and kidnap of ethnic Albanians after NATO began its air strikes against Yugoslavia. Serbia's deputy information minister rejected the reports (in an interview with British radio) calling them an attempt to justify NATO's intervention in Kosovo. The second document describes abuses against Serbs and other minorities carried out by ethnic Albanians after NATO forced the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo. It says the former Kosovo Liberation Army is responsible for some of the violence that escalated after NATO-led peacekeepers took control of the province in June. The leaders of the now-disbanded group have rejected the charge. In London, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook appealed to Kosovo's ethic Albanian leaders to stamp out the violence.

    /// rest opt ///

    He said the latest findings show that Kosovo remains infected with, what he called, the disease of ethnic hatred and violence. The British minister called for an end to such actions. A leading human rights group, Amnesty International, calls the reports a welcome development. The group says it could serve as a precedent to strengthen O-S-C-E's effectiveness in protecting human rights. (prev, amnesty intl news release) ens/kes/st 0- HEAD:CN-103 Kosovo Report Two new reports by Europe's top security organization detail human rights abuses by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Serbia's Kosovo province. 0- SUMMARY:CN-103 Kosovo Report Two new reports by Europe's top security organization have detailed human rights abuses by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Serbia's Kosovo province. One report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, contain eyewitness accounts of a Serbian campaign to force nearly one-million Albanians from Kosovo province. The second describes abuses against Serbs and other minorities carried out by ethnic Albanians after NATO forced the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo. Ens/kes/st 06-Dec-1999 14:42 PM EDT (06-Dec-1999 1942 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The outlawed Irish Republican Army announced Sunday that an I-R-A representative had met with officials to discuss disarmament. David Weber reports from London on what is seen as a vital step forward in the exhaustive effort to bring lasting peace to Northern Ireland.

    TEXT: The Irish Republican Army announcement brought an almost palpable sigh of relief to the province. The decommissioning of I-R-A guns was the pivot on which more than two-years of negotiations had turned. Pro-British hardliners insisted there could be no sharing of government with the I-R-A's political wing, Sinn Fein, until disarmament began. The I-R-A held out for joint government first; then, it promised it would discuss disarmament. After much argument, the Unionists decided to take a chance. Last Thursday the province swore-in its first mixed cabinet of Unionists and Republicans since 1972 when London took over running Northern Ireland. The brief I-R-A announcement did not say where or when its representative met with the independent international disarmament commission. The I-R-A promised that further decommissioning talks will take place. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DW/RAE 05-Dec-1999 10:49 AM EDT (05-Dec-1999 1549 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The failure of 135 countries in Seattle last Friday to launch a new round of negotiations to expand world trade could have far-reaching implications. Economics correspondent Barry Wood reports that some experts believe the recent U-S China trade deal may now be at risk.

    TEXT: Organizers of protests last week at the World Trade Organization meeting are taking credit for blocking a new round of trade negotiations. Environmentalists and trade unionists believe the failure in Seattle will boost their efforts to have Congress reject the landmark trade deal that was negotiated last month with China. Asia specialist and former U-S trade negotiator Michael Samuels shares that sentiment. He says before the Seattle meeting he was confident that Congress would approve the required normal trading relations (N-T-R) measure for China.

    // SAMUELS ACT //

    I am not so convinced of my view anymore, largely for two important reasons. Number one, the opponents (of more U-S China trade) taste success because of their success in Seattle. And number two; the business community left Seattle with a very bad taste in its mouth for the Clinton administration. And without support from the business community this effort to get N-T-R for China will fail, and I think the administration knows that. And it did very little to deal positively with the business community in Seattle.

    // END ACT //

    Some trade experts say China will remain outside the W-T-O if Congress fails to grant it the permanent normal trading status that is a key principle of the W-T-O system. Until now, China's normal or low tariff, access to the U-S market has had to be renewed each year. U-S officials are downplaying the failure in Seattle. Commerce Secretary William Daley points to the World Trade Organization's intention to address the problem of barriers to freer trade in services and agricultural goods at an upcoming meeting in Geneva. But trade consultant Samuels doubts that anything will be achieved in those negotiations.


    So they will launch talks in those areas in the next few months. But my suspicion is that little will be accomplished. And that it will take a few years, at best, for the pieces to be put back together again and launch a meaningful trade negotiation that will be called - a round.

    // END ACT //

    Another trade expert is less pessimistic. Jeffrey Schott of the Institute for International Economics was in Seattle for the failed ministerial meeting. He believes it is possible that the new round of negotiations could still be launched in the next 12- months.

    // SCHOTT ACT //

    Well, that really depends on whether domestic U- S politics trumps short-term economic interests. And it often does. In that event you might see delays until after the U-S presidential election next November clarifies the leadership role the United States can play in these talks. Hopefully, we can do a little better than that and resurrect the compromises necessary to start talks through an accelerated process of consultation in Geneva.

    // END ACT //

    The failure to launch a new round does not mean that existing W-T-O agreements that have greatly expanded trade will be repealed. But at minimum, analysts say the momentum towards freer trade has been halted. They also say the very visible and high-level stalemate in Seattle puts the W-T-O and the cause of free trade on the defensive. (SIGNED)
    NEB/BDW/RAE 06-Dec-1999 14:48 PM EDT (06-Dec-1999 1948 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The White House is rejecting charges that tactical errors by President Clinton led to the failure of last week's World Trade Organization conference in Seattle. Spokesmen say the President remains confident there will be a new round of global tariff-cutting talks. V-O-A's David Gollust has more from the White House.

    TEXT: The White House insists that progress was made in Seattle conference, despite the inconclusive outcome. And it rejects suggestions that the meeting reflected a failure of U-S leadership, even though it was marred by policy disputes and violent street protests. Trade experts and Congressional Republicans have criticized Mr. Clinton for, among other things, allegedly trying to advance the White House ambitions of Vice President Al Gore, by insisting that future trade agreements incorporate labor and environmental protections. Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart says labor and environmental safeguards have always been part of the President's trade agenda, and the Seattle meeting foundered even before there was serious talk on those issues:

    /// 1st LOCKHART ACT ///

    They never got to labor and environment. There were significant differences on other issues as they moved forward [in the talks]. These are difficult discussions. They always are. It's an ambitious challenge that the President has laid down, to launch a new round so soon after the last round. And we will continue working, and the President is optimistic that we're going to get this done.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Clinton has also come under attack for allegedly being too sympathetic to the anti-WTO protesters, some of whom went on a window-smashing rampage in clashes that led to hundreds of arrests and millions of dollars in property damage. Mr. Lockhart says there is no indication the protests had any bearing on the conference outcome, and that Mr. Clinton continues to believe the views of peaceful protesters deserve to be heard:

    /// 2ND LOCKHART ACT ///

    The vast majority of the protesters who went to Seattle had a legitimate message, and delivered it in a legitimate way. There was a small minority who acted in a criminal way, and [they] should be treated as such and should be condemned as such. But I don't think that in the end -- despite all the attention they received -- that they were central to the difficult negotiating issues that the discussions foundered on.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Lockhart gave no time-frame [estimate] but predicted that forthcoming WTO meetings will produce an agenda for a new trade round. He also forecast eventual success for the President's drive to win congressional approval for the bilateral trade accord with China that preceded the WTO conference, and which he said is needed to maintain U-S economic expansion. (Signed)
    NEB/DAG/WTW 06-Dec-1999 15:20 PM EDT (06-Dec-1999 2020 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America





    INTRO: European Union foreign ministers have approved plans for strengthening Europe's defense policy. The documents are expected to be adopted by European leaders when they meet later this week. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels on the European Union's military plans.

    TEXT: The plans are long-range. By the year 2003, the European Union wants to have a rapid reaction force of 15-brigades, 50 to 60-thousand soldiers, who can be deployed within 60-days and sustained in the field for at least one-year. These special forces will operate in crisis situations where NATO as a whole is not engaged. European Union foreign ministers have approved the documents that will be endorsed by their leaders when they meet in Helsinki later this week. Since 11 of the 15- countries are also NATO members, the documents should be acceptable to NATO. The plan says the European Union's improved military capabilities should not duplicate NATO's. The member states in NATO should be able to play their full role in the alliance while conducting effective operations for the European Union. The documents also say members of NATO that are not members of the European Union - will also be invited to build up European capabilities. That will open the way for Norway, Poland, and Turkey, NATO members who are not part of the European Union.

    /// OPT ///

    The long-range plan also calls for collective work to repair some of Europe's shortcomings identified during the war in Kosovo. They include military early warning, establishment of a European air transport command, and a strategic sea lift capacity. /// END OPT /// The first steps will be taken in March when the European Union will set up temporary military structures to coordinate its internal effort and its communication with NATO. Finnish spokesman Reijho Kemppinen says those plans remain sketchy.

    /// KEMPPINEN ACT ///

    The things we are doing now, and are preparing to do, are something that amounts to untested waters for the European Union. We are creating new bodies, we are trying our best to develop the decision making of the Union into areas where it has never ever been active before and many are of the opinion that interim structures serve a definite purpose in that sense.

    /// END ACT ///

    NATO has wanted a formal committee to coordinate operations with the European Union. The E-U defense Chief Javier Solana already meets informally with his successor at NATO, George Robertson. If the European Union wants to use NATO equipment for its own military operations, the two organizations will have to cooperate. The European leaders in Helsinki are expected to approve the plan, but officials say the leaders may change the language on relations with non-E-U countries. Also subject to change is wording about what kind of institutions the European Union needs for a single security and defense policy. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/GE/RAE 06-Dec-1999 12:37 PM EDT (06-Dec-1999 1737 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed today (Monday) as investors locked in gains from the market's big advance on Friday. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 61 points, or one-half of one percent, closing at 11- thousand-225. The Standard and Poor's 500 index fell 10 points to 14-hundred-22. The Nasdaq composite gained three-quarters of one percent, closing at a new record high. Analysts said some profit-taking was to be expected following the rally on Friday.

    // OPT //

    But the general direction of the market, according to analyst Alan Ackerman, is still up:

    /// ACKERMAN ACT ///

    December's more likely to be a Santa (Claus) month than a Scrooge month for investors. Consumer confidence is still high. Unemployment is extremely low. The mood is optimistic. I think the market will work higher through December.

    /// END ACT ////// END OPT ///

    Coca-Cola shares were a major drag on the Dow Jones. They were down sharply after the leading soft-drink maker announced a leadership change, catching many on Wall Street off guard. Chief executive officer Douglas Ivestor says he will step down in April after two years on the job. Coca-Cola is trying to recover from a bad year, including a contamination scare in Europe and weak global sales.

    /// REST OPT ///

    After weeks of speculation, A-T and T, the largest U-S long-distance telephone company, confirmed plans to sell a portion of its wireless business to the public next year. It would be the largest initial public offering in U-S history, and is expected to raise between eight-billion and 10-billion dollars. A-T and T stock -- up only 13 percent for the year -- is one of the weakest performers among the 30 companies in the Dow Jones. Its share prices rebounded on the rumor of its wireless-stock plan. Number-one automaker General Motors says it wants to buy the domestic and overseas operations of Daewoo Motor, South Korea's second-largest carmaker. The proposed takeover is in line with G-M's larger strategy in Asia, where it hopes to capture 10 percent of the market over the next five years. The U-S Federal Reserve Board has approved the nearly 10-billion-dollar takeover of the Republic Bank of New York by H-S-B-C, Britain's largest banking group. Republic's founder Edmond Safra was killed Friday in a fire at his luxury apartment in Monaco. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/WTW 06-Dec-1999 17:09 PM EDT (06-Dec-1999 2209 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: As the new work week begins in the United States, the nation's press is taking a backward look at last week's violence in Seattle at the World Trade Organization conference. Commentary also continues on a report that says nearly 100-thousand people in this country may die each year from medical mistakes. There is some criticism of the Immigration Service; and comment on the fight between Havana and the Washington over a Cuban boy rescued from the sea. Finally there are thoughts on China, Russian elections; and the Euro currency. Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is ______________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The unexpected violence on the streets of Seattle most of last week during protests against the World Trade Organization meetings continues to draw comment. The Tacoma [Washington] News Tribune suggests:

    VOICE: What these fearful demonstrators do not know is that many of the big-shot foreign ministers at the W-T-O conference, who hovered in the halls and conferred in the closed conference rooms, are fearful too. For globalization is now the huge new force stalking the Earth, creating great uncertainty as well as vast new opportunity. . Changing your ways to survive globally is unavoidable, but cultures and polities [sic] won't abdicate to foreign influences unless economic survival absolutely depends on it.

    TEXT: Writing under a headline reading: "The collapse in Seattle" the New York Times sums up its view:

    VOICE: The world Trade Organization is not the Hydra-headed monster portrayed by its severest critics. But after Seattle, it is all the more important for this administration or its successor to help enhance the W-T-O'S legitimacy through reforms of secrecy, labor rights and the environment. That is what the demonstrators demanded. That is what people around the globe deserve.

    TEXT: The national daily USA Today sums up its concern in this headline: "Seattle fiasco raises risks for a public leery of free trade" while The Colorado Springs [Colorado] Gazette adds this:

    VOICE: The lightning rod [Editors: the catalyst] was the World Trade Organization meeting. But the focus of the anger was free trade and the capitalist economy - - two things that the protesters associated with everything from Third World poverty to environmental degradation. . But those of the political left weren't the only ones out en masse in Seattle. Some widely regarded as conservatives headed to Seattle, including Reform Party presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, who views the protests as affirmation of his protectionist economic proposals. The protests remind us that, despite a broader understanding in America that free trade provides unrivaled prosperity . the old protectionist nostrums haven't faded away.

    TEXT: There continues to be comment on a report released last week that American doctors and other health workers kill almost 100-thousand people a year by accident - in a lot of cases by giving or mixing the wrong medicines. The Detroit News says proposals to improve hospital performance should approached cautiously

    VOICE: . Congress needs to think carefully about this proposal. . medicine is as much an art as a science; most errors are made in good faith as doctors try to cope with often-baffling symptoms under real-time pressures. The big story of American medicine in the 20th century has been the steady progress in its ability to cure an ever-larger proportion of the sick.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In Texas, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram suggests that:

    VOICE: Although it would be premature to hastily endorse the recommendations in the report, they clearly merit earnest attention. . The . report shouldn't be viewed as an indictment of the nation's health-care system, which is among the best in the world. But in a country where there are more than 30 million hospital admissions annually and about two- point-five-billion prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies, there is ample opportunity for error - - as well as abundant opportunity to reduce mistakes.

    TEXT: Still with medical news, today's Omaha [Nebraska] World Herald is pleased that an experimental anti-Malaria vaccine is showing promise.

    VOICE: Malaria kills as many as two-million- seven-hundred thousand people every year. And now researchers are beginning to think it causes hundreds of thousands of spontaneous miscarriages and brings lasting neurological damage to thousands of children. . The recent news doesn't amount to a cause to stand up and cheer, but guarded optimism is in order.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In a domestic news story with international implications, The Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal is criticizing the U-S government for what it calls an "affront to the American sense of justice." At issue is the three-and-a -half year detention of Egyptian national, Nasser Ahmed, held on the basis of secret evidence gathered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The paper hails Mr. Ahmed's recent release, but adds:

    VOICE: [Mr.] Ahmed's detention was made possible by wrongheaded portions of the 1996 immigration-reform law. He was deprived of the fundamental right to confront his accusers, a civil liberty extended to every U-S citizen, because of a misguided notion of what constitutes a threat to national security mixed with a strain of xenophobia.

    TEXT: The press is also busy with the case of a six- year old Cuban boy - one of the few rescued from the sea in a botched attempt to sail to Florida. His father in Cuba wants him returned but it is not clear that will happen. The [Minneapolis, Minnesota] Star- Tribune urges that he be viewed as a child and n o t as a political pawn between the U-S and Cuba.

    VOICE: All but the most partisan of observers can see good sense in the Clinton administration's declaration that Elian Gonzalez's best interests, as determined by Florida's family courts, should decide whether he returns to Cuba or remains in the United States.. Elian's father says he wants his son back .. But relatives in Miami claim that Juan Gonzalez is only saying what his government tells him to say. ..the challenge will be to focus on the personal, not the political, in weighing the needs of this young boy - - a challenge the Cuban and U-S governments have repeatedly failed with refugees.

    TEXT: Later this month the colonial-era Portuguese colony of Macao is turned over to Chinese rule. The Florida Time-Union in Jacksonville has this observation on the event:.

    VOICE: Now that the final obstacle has been cleared to transfer power in Macao, Beijing soon will rule the entire Chinese mainland. Macao, which many Americans don't even know exists, consists of two small islands and a city on a peninsula along China's Pacific Coast - - about 64 kilometers west of Hong Kong. . Macao is of no strategic importance . But it is a matter of national pride for the Chinese because its return, along with the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong to China's authority, closes the door on a long and humiliating colonial period.

    TEXT: Still with Chinese affairs, Newsday on New York's Long Island is upset with Israel over the planned sale to China of an Israeli-developed airborne early warning and control aircraft, even though there is no specific prohibition against it. Says the paper:

    VOICE: What Israel is doing may be technically irreproachable, but it's woefully shortsighted. . the extraordinary relationship Israel enjoys with the United States should not be strained by such blatant self-interest. /// OPT /// The sale of early-warning radar systems does not, in itself, pose an immediate threat to U-S security interests in East Asia. But it might in the future, if Beijing were to make aggressive moves toward Taiwan and Washington felt compelled to come to the island's defense./// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning briefly to the pending Russian parliamentary election (12/19), The Boston Globe points out:

    VOICE: There are many reasons to fret about Russia's future, but the routinized quality of the parliamentary elections to be held on December 19th suggests that the concept and practice of electoral democracy is becoming normal in Russia. . what merits appreciation, is that Russians expect to decide at the voting booth who will govern them. Each time elections transfer power, the roots of representative government in Russia take a deeper hold. This will be the third elected parliament since the implosion of the Soviet Union at the start of this decade.

    TEXT: And lastly, about the travails of the Euro, the single European currency, which has been having a difficult time of late, falling to near or exact parity with the U-S dollar, and doing even worse against the Japanese yen, The Boston Globe says:

    VOICE: Because of the Euro's steady fall against other major currencies, a more important matter - - the underlying monetary policy of the European Central Bank - - has too often been overlooked. The bank deserves considerable credit for its role in stabilizing the common economy of its eleven member nations, setting the stage for solid growth. . It has avoided policies its governors think would be inflationary and in the long run more harmful to recovery.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JO 06-Dec-1999 12:28 PM EDT (06-Dec-1999 1728 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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