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Voice of America, 00-01-06

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

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





    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed again today (Thursday), with technology shares selling off for a third straight session. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The blue-chips (big companies) continue their upward momentum. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 130 points, just over one percent, closing at 11-thousand-252. The Standard and Poor's 500 index went up one point. But the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite - in what is beginning to look like a running story this week - dropped almost four percent. Again, Internet-related shares took a pounding. Many analysts expect the technology sell-off to continue for a while, after the sector's stellar performance last year.

    ///begin opt///

    Analyst Douglas Cliggott of the J-P Morgan investment bank says 1999 created a false sense of security that valuations of high-technology stocks would continue going up:

    ///CLIGGOTT ACT///

    There was very, very high expectations across the board in terms of "tech" earnings coming into the new year. So far, we've gotten a couple of disappointments. We think as the first quarter progresses, we're going to get more disappointments from a lot of "tech" companies.

    ///END ACT -end opt///

    Shares of chip-maker Intel traded down, after personal computer-maker Gateway warned of lower earnings because of Intel's failure to produce more of its fastest chips. Dell stock also fell. Dell is the biggest user of those Intel chips. Profit warnings are littering Wall Street. Earnings estimates for the year were lowered on U-S telephone giant MCI-Worldcom.

    /// rest opt for long ///

    Sales last month were better than expected for many U- S retailers - despite growing competition from online merchants. U-S shoppers packed malls and department stores during the Christmas holidays. Tiffany, the second-largest U-S jewelry chain, says it will beat earnings forecasts for the fourth quarter. Leading U-S toy company "Toys-R-Us", however, did not have a very merry Christmas. Its sales were off two percent. "Toys-R-Us" is struggling to compete with big discounters like Wal-Mart. The latest on the U-S economy shows new home sales fell over seven percent in November - the biggest decline in almost two years. Rising interest rates are blamed for the slow-down. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/JC/PT 06-Jan-2000 16:50 PM EDT (06-Jan-2000 2150 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S editorial columns are filled with comments on the future of a little Cuban boy whose arrival in the United States turned into a game of political football between Washington and Havana. There are also lots of comments on what many see as a silly government ruling about safety of workers at work in their homes. Internationally, the Israeli Syrian peace talks and the aftermath of the Indian Airlines jetliner hijacking are also being discussed. Rounding out the editorial topics for this Thursday are some thoughts on the new Russian leader; an opportunity in Croatia; the Y-Two-K experience; and an American is jailed in China. Now, here is ___________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The U-S Immigration Service [I-N-S] has ruled that a six- year-old Cuban boy who was brought to the United States on a raft by his mother, who drowned during the trip, will be reunited with his father in Cuba. Elian Gonzalez, quickly became the object of a diplomatic dispute between the Cuban and U-S governments. Anti-Castro Cuban groups in Florida and the boy's U-S relatives are demanding that he be allowed to remain in the United States. But the nation's editorial writers overwhelming agree with the government's decision to reunite him with his father. "The Orlando [Florida] Sentinel" says in part:

    VOICE: Sometimes the most obvious course points to the best outcome. That is certainly true in the case of Elian Gonzalez...[whom] United States officials announced Wednesday ... will [be allowed] to return home January 14th. That is where the boy belongs, not playing a pawn's role in an intense game of diplomatic chess ... The two nations have bigger issues to tackle than wasting rhetoric and energy on a single child's fate.

    TEXT: "The [New York] Daily News" is even more emphatic calling the U-S government's lengthy study of the case - organized child abuse - and ending its commentary - Let the boy go home - now. "The St. Petersburg [Florida] Times" says - if we believe in family values, if we believe in the rule of law, there was only one correct decision. In Milwaukee, "The Journal" adds - Elian deserves to be reunited with his father. In South Florida, where a huge expatriate Cuban community continues an intense dislike of the Castro government, "The Miami Herald" calls the decision premature and a rush to Judgment.

    VOICE: can the I-N-S know for sure who speaks for [Elian's father] Juan Gonzalez? ...Certainly there is great pressure on Mr. Gonzalez when the full force of the state is focused on returning Elian to Cuba. ...We have little doubt that Mr. Gonzalez loves and wants what is best for his son. But what is best for Elian? That question alone should determine his fate. Not international politics or mass demonstrations in Cuba or Miami. ...In I-N-S's rush to decide, it pre-empted Congress's opportunity to make Elian a U-S citizen as commendably proposed by U-S Senator Connie Mack of Florid... that Solomonic resolution would have offered assurance that Elian, even if returned to his father, would always be welcome here.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: From New York, "The Wall Street Journal" is not entirely happy with the decision, worrying with "The Miami Herald", if the boy's father is really free to say how he feels.

    VOICE: The point here is that the I-N-S has, predictably, resolved what was never really an issue. No one who thinks the boy should stay assumes Mr. Gonzalez does not like his son. What we all wonder is how free Mr. Gonzalez is to say what he really thinks back in Cuba. ...Put yourself in Mr. Gonzalez's shows. ...since divorcing the boy's mom you have remarried and have a new family, still in Cuba with you - people who might not fare all that well if you were to declare for letting your son stay in America.

    TEXT: Let him return soon to Cuban dad - is the headline over the lead editorial in today's Minneapolis "Star Tribune", while "The Atlanta Constitution" says it is about time boy returned to Cuba. In California, The San Francisco Chronicle calls the decision the right thing, adding:

    VOICE: `Family reunification has long been a cornerstone of both American immigration law and U-S practice,' said I-N-S Commissioner Doris Meissner. `This little boy, who has been through so much, belongs with his father.' We agree. Shame on all the politicians in both countries who have tried to score points off the plight of a young boy ...

    TEXT: The Fort Worth "Star-Telegram" says it is the tough but correct decision, while "The Hartford [Connecticut] Courant" suggests a court challenge to keep the boy here would be foolish, adding:

    VOICE: Instead of fighting to keep Elian, his Miami relatives should focus their energies on seeing to it that he has a safe trip home.

    TEXT: The "Los Angeles Times" is calling the ruling wise, while The New York Times describes it as a reasonable decision.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The U-S government has changed its mind about proposed new rules making employers responsible for the safety of workers doing their jobs in their own homes. Editorial columns, like this one from today's "San Francisco Chronicle", agree the government made a mistake.

    VOICE: The uproar over the federal government's interpretation of employer responsibility regarding employees who work at home shows that bureaucrats do not have a clue [have no idea] about regulating work issues in the brave new world of the Internet and telecommuting. ...workers need to be protected, but that does not necessarily mean that the employer is responsible if the workers slips on a toy his kid left in the middle of the hall.

    TEXT: "The Atlanta Constitution" calls the suggestion iron-headed, while "The Oklahoman" in Oklahoma City is delighted that the government is retreating. The Israeli - Syrian peace talks, underway in the West Virginia hamlet of Shepherdstown come in for some attention from today's "Dallas Morning News", which feels the prospects of peace loom brighter.

    VOICE: Once Israel concludes peace agreements with Syria and the Palestinians, it will be surrounded by countries that formally recognize its right to exist - a happy first in its 53- year life. ...Even with Syria and the Palestinians pacified, [however] Israel would continue to inhabit a dangerous neighborhood. Free-lance terrorists would pose a constant danger. Yet the prospect of having at least nominally friendly states as immediate neighbors is nothing to dismiss.

    TEXT: In many papers, concern continues over the fallout from the Indian government's agreement to end the Indian Airlines jetliner hijacking over the Christmas holiday by releasing several prisoners. In Kansas, "The Topeka Capital-Journal" worries:

    VOICE: Is it really over? . It is difficult for disinterested observers of this incident to conclude anything other than that terrorism won a round. . The problem is, the dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region has not ended with the plane's deboarding - and, in many ways, has only intensified.

    TEXT: Some thoughts on the new Russian leader, acting president and former Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, now from "The Boston Globe".

    VOICE: There was a worrisome portent in [Mr.] Putin's first official act - the issuing of a decree granting [President] Yeltsin legal immunity, a move reminiscent of Gerald Ford'spardon of Richard Nixon. [Mr.] Yeltsin cannot be interrogated, arrested, or prosecuted. It may be better for political stability, but it leaves the Russian public to wonder what deals [Mr.] Putin may have struck with the Russian financiers, media moguls, and backstage power brokers in the Family.

    TEXT: A chance for democratic progress in Croatia, after the recent elections and the death of long-time leader Franjo Tudjman, elicit this from "The New York Times".

    VOICE: The stinging electoral defeat inflicted on Croatia's ruling party this week is encouraging news for the entire Balkan region, especially if it is followed by the election of a reform-minded president in separate votes later this month. ...With the party's most popular leader gone and its parliamentary candidates repudiated at the polls, the path seems open to a more democratic, prosperous and westward-looking Croatia.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In Rhode Island's capital, "The Providence Journal" agrees, summing up its editorial on Mr. Tudjman and his legacy:

    VOICE: His recent death of natural causes combined with Monday's election results are a good sign. Croatia will now have a much better chance to become a legitimate and well-regarded part of Europe.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In Omaha, Nebraska's largest daily, "The Omaha World Herald" is pleased that more trouble did not accompany the New Year, and says the Y-Two-K costs were worth it to head-off a massive computer failure that had been widely predicted. /// OPT /// But the paper warns it would be simplistic to say...the Y-Two- K computer problem has now been fully defeated. /// END OPT ///

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Still in a reflective mood, as the year and the century turn, "The Chicago Tribune" notes the progress this nation's has made on the issue of race.

    VOICE: At the beginning of the 20th Century, it was a matter of some sensitivity - and even controversy - when President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington, the pre-eminent "Negro leader" of his day, to dine at the White house. By the end of the 20th Century, few Americans found it at all remarkable, much less objectionable, that President Clinton and his family customarily had Christmas Eve dinner at the home of family friend and Washington power broker Vernon Jordan, a black man. Or that the manager of Vice President Al Gore's campaign for president was Donna Brazile, an African-American woman. . America came a long way on race in the 20th Century. A good thing, too, . as each day's newspaper makes clear, the journey to full racial equality is far from finished.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, The Wall Street Journal is furious with China over the arrest of Song Yongyi, a Chinese-born U-S citizen, and now a Dickinson College librarian, doing research there on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of Mao Tse-tung.

    VOICE: The irony here is that Mr. Song was evidently seized because the authorities were afraid his research would reflect poorly on the Chinese government's treatment of its own people. Yet by arresting him, the regime has once again shown how little it has changes since the Cultural Revolution. ...What is Beijing so afraid of?

    TEXT: With that rhetorical question from the nation's preeminent business daily, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Thursday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 06-Jan-2000 11:35 AM EDT (06-Jan-2000 1635 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Pentagon officials admit NATO made a mistake in the way it portrayed an accidental bombing of civilians during a NATO attack on Yugoslavia last April. But officials insist the manipulation of pictures of the incident was unintentional. V-O-A's Jim Randle reports from the Pentagon.

    TEXT: The controversy stems from the death of at least 14 civilians aboard a train that was crossing a bridge in Serbia. U-S officials say a bomber was trying to hit a legitimate military target, a railroad bridge. They say a train full of civilians began crossing the bridge after the missile was launched, and the bomber crew did not have enough time to steer the weapon away from the civilians. Shortly after the attack, top NATO officials displayed video from the bomber to support their contention that the crew "had only a second" to steer the missile away. But Pentagon spokesman P-J Crowley now admits the pictures were shown at nearly three times normal speed.

    /// CROWLEY ACT ///

    This in no way changes the basic facts that they were not able to divert the missile before the train came into their field of vision.

    /// END ACT ///

    Colonel Crowley says "gun camera" video pictures are taken to help intelligence experts evaluate the effectiveness of bombing missions. The video from the warplane is processed by a computer, which speeds it up to save time during the evaluation. Mr. Crowley says most such pictures are returned to normal speed when they are shown to the public. He says he does not know why that was not done in this case. It was one of several incidents of NATO bombs going astray or hitting misidentified targets during the fighting over Kosovo. The error seems likely to add fuel to criticism of the NATO bombing campaign that drove Yugoslav forces out of Kosovo. Those air attacks followed a campaign of arson and murder by Serb forces that killed thousands of members of the ethnic Albanian majority in the Serbian province. (Signed)
    NEB/JR/WTW 06-Jan-2000 17:06 PM EDT (06-Jan-2000 2206 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America
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