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Voice of America, 00-01-07

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

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





    INTRO: The U-S press continues to comment on the fate of a young Cuban boy who was rescued from the ocean off Florida after surviving a shipwreck that drowned his mother. The decision by the U-S government to return him to his father in Cuba is generally supported in a new round of editorials. On another issue, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is widely discussed this Friday, as he answers charges of political influence peddling. Other editorials talk about the future of Russia after Boris Yeltsin's resignation; the threat of global terrorism; some new criticism of a French icon. Now, here is _________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The fate of six year-old Elian Gonzalez remains a favorite topic of editorial writers, most of whom favor his return to Cuba and his father. Among them, the San Jose [California] Mercury News:

    VOICE: He's not a political refugee. He's a little boy who lost his mother and stepfather. He needs his father. That his father lives in Cuba may not be to the liking of those who have left Cuba, but Elian is not their son. Except for the zealotry of anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in south Florida . this matter would have been straightforward. . Eventually, the Immigration and Naturalization Service recognized as much. It said Elian should go home to Cuba with his father, Juan Gonzalez. Stopping traffic in Miami, as protesters did Thursday, should change nothing.

    TEXT: In New Jersey's capital, The [Trenton] Times calls it "the right decision," while the Chicago Tribune hopes the I-N-S decision will lead to "An opening to a new Cuba policy," which the Tribune says is needed, given current inconsistencies:

    VOICE: [This] week the U-S summarily deported 400 boat people to Haiti who had been intercepted just a few days before. Chalk up that blatant inequity as one example of the illogic that permeates much of U-S policy toward Cuba. And while negotiation is an essential diplomatic tool, with regard to [President] Castro the U-S has adopted the posture of hard-line Miami exiles: There can be no compromise or accommodation with [President] Castro whatsoever. . Cuban exiles have the right to their rancor against [President] Castro. But the U-S also has the obligation to develop an independent policy that makes sense and achieves results, rather than just maintain the present hostilities indefinitely.

    TEXT: From Texas, a qualified dissent on the U-S government ruling, from Friday's Houston Chronicle:

    VOICE: We have maintained all along that the case . should be handled as a child custody case, not as an international political football, and that the best interest of the child should be the overriding factor. Now the . Immigration . Service has arbitrarily decided that the boy should be returned to the custody of his father . It may be the right decision, but it certainly wasn't made the right way, and the boy's relatives in this country are contesting it. . The very minimum in any routine child custody case would be for a magistrate to interview a parent to determine his or her fitness for such a role . in [such a proceeding's] absence, the boy's relatives in Miami are absolutely right to continue fighting it out in the courts.

    TEXT: Among several Friday papers calling for the boy's return to Cuba and his father, are: The [Memphis, Tennessee] Commercial Appeal, the Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal, the New York Post, Maine's Portland Press Herald, and the Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] Post-Gazette. Turning to presidential politics, Arizona Senator John McCain, a Republican candidate, is the subject of many editorials as he defends himself against charges he intervened with the government on behalf of a large campaign contributor. Calling Mr. McCain's plea on behalf of a would-be Pittsburgh television station owner "a misstep," the Washington Post writes:

    VOICE: Senator . McCain badly overstepped the rules, or what ought to be the rules, in intervening with the Federal Communications Commission in a licensing case in which a major campaign contributor had a multimillion-dollar interest. It was plain . that he was writing on behalf of a particular outcome. . His actions would have been an abuse of his position even if he were merely a senator .. [But] the power he wields as chairman of the Commerce Committee makes the abuse the worse.

    TEXT: The Wall Street Journal has a different idea of what the greatest wrong is:

    VOICE: The real . scandal is that Uncle Sam is spending billions of dollars to give unelected bureaucrats [Editors: understood: such as the members of the Federal Communications Commission] power over large swaths of the private economy, inhibiting honest commerce and opening the door for political shakedowns [illegal payoffs]. Somebody has to serve as the public's ombudsman and ensure that the private sector doesn't permanently grind to a halt under the onslaught.

    TEXT: In yet another criticism of the government, this time the Labor Department, several papers continue to scoff at what most say was a foolish proposal, now withdrawn, that said companies would be responsible for the safety of their workers working at home. Boston's Christian Science Monitor sees some merit in the idea, but not from federal oversight.

    VOICE: The first issue should be whether local governments should expand their safety oversight, not whether O-S-H-A [The Occupational Safety and Health Administration] should expand its reach. The national government could, for instance, provide a money incentive for local governments to meet national standards. But for now, let's keep Uncle Sam out of our homes. (OPT) TEXT: Today's Philadelphia Inquirer agrees that the Labor Department was wise to rescind the advisoryletter, but adds:

    VOICE: Serious home-workplace issues underlie O-S-H- A's . warnings. . the issue shouldn't be dropped .. (END OPT)

    TEXT: Turning to international news, and the huge change in Russia's leadership, the New York Times discusses the badly needed reforms it believes Boris Yeltsin's successor, acting President Vladimir Putin, needs to pursue.

    VOICE: including the rule of law, a financial system free of corruption and a central government able to collect taxes and provide competent and enlightened administration throughout Russia's vast territory. Vladimir Putin . hasas endorsed these goals and has begun his tenure with a show of personal energy and heightened governmental activism. But it is too soon to tell if he will become the constructive democratic leader Russia needs.

    TEXT: Today's Detroit News is worried that with all the tales of Algerian terrorists trying to infiltrate the U-S from Canada the nation will overreact.

    VOICE: . authorities around the country are continuing to increase security following the recent arrest of a suspected Algerian terrorist trying to sneak in explosives from Canada to Washington state. S Senator Spencer Abraham's proposal to fund more border patrol officers strikes the right balance between maximizing security while respecting the civil liberties of Americans. . Indeed, a paltry 300 agents are responsible for the more than 64-hundred- kilometer-long northern border.

    TEXT: Today's Boston Globe is reflecting on newly released cables and other documents from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt, showing an intense dislike and distrust of French President Charles de Gaulle. The Globe laments:

    VOICE: Historians have long known about the pique provoked in [President] Roosevelt and [Prime Minister] Churchill by General . de Gaulle. The telegrams declassified this week, however, reveal mistrust and contempt that go well beyond the common conception of Anglo-American exasperation.

    TEXT: Lastly, another editorial, this one from Maine's Portland Press Herald, suggesting the elections in Croatia, and the recent death of the country's long-time leader, Franjo Tudjman, bode well for progress in that Balkan nation.

    VOICE: The new ruling coalition's leaders from the Social Democrat and Social Liberal parties have pledged stronger political and economic ties with the West and the introduction of a free press and other democratic institutions. The new government, which won overwhelming support at the polls, has also promised to cut off support to separatists still trying to link Croatian-populated areas in Bosnia with Croatia proper.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial columns of Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 07-Jan-2000 11:56 AM EDT (07-Jan-2000 1656 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up today (Friday) at the end of the first week of the new year. They held up despite some economic news that could be considered inflationary. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 269 points, up over two percent, setting a new record high closing of 11-thousand-522. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose 38 points. And the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite rebounded from a three-day sell-off with a gain of four percent. The latest on the U-S economy shows average hourly wages in December rose a greater-than-expected four- tenths of one percent. The economy created more jobs than forecast. And the labor market remains tight. The U-S unemployment rate is unchanged at four-point- one percent. But investors ignored the economic data. A lot of money moved around the stock market into the more traditional, neglected sectors. Financial services, oil and pharmaceutical shares traded higher. The technology sector is down for the week.

    ///rest opt for long ///

    The latest economic figures, however, hit the market three weeks before a Federal Reserve policy-making meeting, and there remains an undercurrent of worry about higher interest rates. John Lonski, chief economist at Moody's Investors'Service, does not believe the United States is heading toward inflation problems. But he thinks the Federal Reserve Board will raise rates anyway:

    ///LONSKI ACT///

    One strong monthly showing for wage inflation doesn't mean that price growth is about to move markedly higher over an extended period of time. I think it's relatively benign. It's nothing to get terribly concerned about. Nevertheless, this is not going to prevent the Federal Reserve from hiking interest rates perhaps one or two more times in the year 2000.

    ///END ACT///

    Federal Reserve policy-makers raised rates three times in 1999 - a total of 75 basis points. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/BA/PT 07-Jan-2000 17:01 PM EDT (07-Jan-2000 2201 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America
    Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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