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Voice of America, 00-01-17

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

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





    INTRO: The commander of U-S forces in Kosovo has sent a letter of condolence to the family of a murdered 11- year-old ethnic Albanian girl. As Tim Belay reports, a U-S soldier in Kosovo has been charged with the girl's death.

    TEXT: The top U-S military official in Kosovo, General Ricardo Sanchez, expressed what he called his "heartfelt sympathy" to the girl's family on behalf of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo and the U-S army. General Sanchez says the U-S army will -- in his words "spare no effort in bringing this matter to justice." The army says it will name an officer to investigate the murder. The U-S soldier charged in the case, Staff Sergeant Frank Ronghi, is accused of murder and of committing indecent acts with a child. Sergeant Ronghi is a weapons squad leader from Fort Bragg in the U-S state of North Carolina. He has been transferred to the U-S army's prison in Mannheim, Germany. The girl lived in the town of Vitina, about 15 kilometers from the giant U-S military camp in Kosovo. News of the murder provoked shock across Kosovo, which is home to more than 40-thousand troops from the NATO- led peacekeeping force. Outside the girl's home, neighbors gathered to offer sympathy and support to her family. Some complained about the behavior of U-S troops. But the victim's father says he feels no anger toward U-S soldiers in general. The peacekeeping force is no longer met with the euphoria which marked its arrival. But the NATO-led troops generally are given a warm reception by Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians who see them as protectors against the possible return of Serb forces. (Signed)
    NEB/TB/JWH/WTW 17-Jan-2000 13:09 PM EDT (17-Jan-2000 1809 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal says she is satisfied the man known as "Arkan" was killed Saturday in Belgrade and is the same man the tribunal indicted for war crimes. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, where Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte met with reporters.

    TEXT: There has been speculation in Belgrade that the man killed Saturday could have been a double for Zeljko Raznjatovic, known as Arkan. But War Crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte says she has no doubt her indictment against Arkan is moot.

    /// DEL PONTE ACT ///

    I am waiting for our independent information but what I have received this afternoon is that it is though Arkan is dead and I regret, because I would prefer that Arkan can also come to the Hague for trial.

    /// END ACT ///

    Serbian police have given no information about the identity of the killers or what possible motive there was for killing Arkan and his bodyguards. There have been reports that Arkan may have been negotiating with the War Crimes Tribunal to give information about Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, another man indicted for war crimes, in return for leniency. In television interviews, Arkan said he would fight before surrendering to the Hague Tribunal. The War Crimes prosecutor denies any contacts with Arkan about President Milosevic.

    /// DEL PONTE ACT //

    We have no contact with Arkan. Arkan has given us nothing at all. We are inquiring in this case without any contribution from Arkan.

    /// END ACT ///

    Ms. Del Ponte was in Brussels to seek more financial support from the European Commission. She once again denies she is seeking an indictment against NATO for its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

    /// DEL PONTE ACT ///

    I am not investigating about NATO. /// OPT /// I received a complaint about some cases in the NATO bombing, but I have no jurisdiction about the intervention at all in this case, about the intervention of the bombing of NATO because that is not my jurisdiction. /// END OPT /// My jurisdiction is violation of humanitarian law and war crimes. We are just analyzing the complaint in the information, and the documentation that we received. That is all, but no inquiry.

    /// END ACT ///

    Arkan was secretly indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal for his involvement in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, but the indictment was not made public until after NATO's bombing started against Yugoslavia last March. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/GE/RAE 17-Jan-2000 12:22 PM EDT (17-Jan-2000 1722 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Iran's foreign minister is in Ankara for three days of talks with Turkish officials, which likely will be dominated by security issues and Turkey's expanding ties with Israel. Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara.

    TEXT: The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharazzi, met with Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem and the Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit. Officials close to the talks confirm the Iranian official raised the question of Turkey's ties with Israel during his talks with the Turkish officials. Mr. Kharazzi also has met with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel. The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman (Hamidreza Asefi) said earlier that Israel's growing cooperation with Turkey is a matter of deep concern for Iran. Just as Mr. Kharazzi began talks here, Israel's deputy chief of staff, Uzi Dayan, also came to Ankara to meet with senior Turkish military officials. Both Iran and Syria have harshly criticized a military training agreement signed in 1996 between Turkey and Israel. Turkey insists, however, that the deal is not aimed at third countries. Turkey's relations with Iran have also been dogged by Turkey's allegations that separatist Kurdish rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, the P-K-K, have set up bases in Iranian territory. Turkey complains that Iran is not doing enough to crack down on the rebels in its territory. Iran denies the charges. Last year, Turkish fighter jets bombed a P-K-K camp in what it said was Iraqi territory. Iran said the Turkish planes had targeted Iranian territory, killing five Iranian civilians. Iran is demanding compensation for the victims. Iran's huge population of Azeris, who speak a dialect close to Turkish and have close ethnic ties with Turkey, is another source of friction between the two neighbors. Iran fears that Turkey is seeking to encourage nationalist sentiment among the Azeris, who are believed to make up around one-third of Iran's total population. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/WTW 17-Jan-2000 11:17 AM EDT (17-Jan-2000 1617 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: This Monday is the national holiday in the United States honoring the memory of Reverend Martin Luther King, junior, one of the preeminent civil rights leader of this century. Most daily papers are remembering Reverend King in their editorial columns. Other topics include the Israeli / Syrian peace talks; China's potential entry into the World Trade Organization and President Clinton's role in that; new crackdowns on freedom in Malaysia; questions about global warming; and U-S presidential politics as the first test nears. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The Reverend Martin Luther King Junior was born on the 15th of January and his birth anniversary is being celebrated today with a national holiday. Reverend King led a non-violent civil rights protest movement in the 1950s and 60s that brought attention to the racism that had lingered since before the Civil War. His eloquent speeches, calling on the nation to live out its constitutional promise of equality, and fairness, remain famous, more than three decades after his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, in April of 1968. In his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, where he preached as pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Reverend King's son Dexter and Harris Wofford write in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

    VOICE: We've rung in a new century without terror and computer glitches, but the national soul-searching over how best to lead our lives in the new era goes on. The man we honor today showed us the way. ... He gave his life while loving and serving others, and believed the definition of success was not "our salaries or the size of our automobiles" but the quality of our service to others. ... Although we should celebrate the civil rights victories won during [Rev] King's time, he would want us to look ahead at the work yet to be done.

    VOICE: From near the Canadian border, the Grand Forks [North Dakota] Herald, reminds readers that one lesson of Rev. King's life is that one person can make a difference.

    VOICE: His leadership and example proved beyond doubt that not only can you fight City Hall, [Editors: a euphemism for "government", usually local government] you can fight the White House and the U-S Congress, too. And if the case you make wins the support of the people, the government will respond in accordance with your views.

    TEXT: Although Rev. King was an African-American civil rights leader who sought equality for blacks, the Detroit [Michigan] Free Press points out:

    VOICE: ... [Rev] King freed white Americans, too - - from the burden of bigotry, from the ugliness of segregation, from the contradictions of this country's history. Keeping the races apart required ... a willful blindness to injustice. The system scarred the souls of white people as surely as it tried to crush the spirit of blacks.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: And in New England, today's Boston Globe talks about Rev. King's vision of the future:

    VOICE: In 1967, Martin Luther King was talking about technology. He saw the "worldwide neighborhood ... brought into being largely as a result of the modern scientific and technological revolutions." As if he were speaking for listeners in the year two-thousand, [Rev.] King offered this wise advice: Bridge the gap between scientific progress and moral progress. Injustice, he argued, should have no place in a world of jets, astronauts, and life-prolonging medical advances.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Such was his contribution to redirecting the moral stance of the nation, the Miami Herald points out, the Roman Catholic Church is considering an extraordinary high honor.

    VOICE: By the unofficial judgment of history, the Rev. Martin Luther King Junior has long been a martyr to a most righteous cause. Now there's a chance that Dr. King will be declared a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church, a formal recognition that he died for his faith. .. last week, on the eve of the anniversary of his birth, U-S Catholic bishops included his name among those ... to be considered for martyrdom by the Vatican. Including Dr. King's name is unusual because non-Catholics rarely are considered for this honor. ... A Vatican decision to confer martyrdom . would be an appropriate gesture toward spiritual unity and confirmation of his impact.

    TEXT: Turning to international topics, the Israeli- Syrian peace talks continue to draw comment, including this rather pessimistic assessment from Honolulu's Star Bulletin on Saturday.

    VOICE: It was no great surprise that scant progress was made in the negotiations between Israel and Syria at Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Syrian dictator Hafez Assad has been one of the bitterest enemies of Israel and one of the least susceptible to American overtures to make peace with the Jewish State. ... Despite American arm-twisting, the Golan Heights remains a formidable obstacle to agreement.

    TEXT: In Baltimore, The Sun is much more optimistic, after publication of the U-S working paper setting forth the points on which both sides have already agreed.

    VOICE: Publication of the U-S paper summarizing Israeli-Syrian agreements ...brings one major surprise. ... that Syria agreed flat-out ["completely"] to Israel's demands. This includes "free and unimpeded flow of people, goods and services between the two countries." No exceptions listed. ... Israel will not - - and should not - - concede away all its security precautions. But the good news in the document is that the differences appear splittable, not principles more important than agreement.

    TEXT: To Asian affairs now and President Clinton's effort to gain membership for China in the World Trade Organization. The Augusta [Georgia] Chronicle writes:

    VOICE: President Clinton ... will try to persuade Congress to drop its annual review of whether to continue granting Red China normal trade relations status -- and to make that status permanent. ... Here again, as in his other trade fights (NAFTA and GATT), [Mr.] Clinton must rely on strong support from congressional Republicans because his own party's core constituencies - - are adamantly opposed to the free trade regime. ... But why should Republicans cooperate...? Conservatives have their own objections to rewarding China with a good trade deal, including Beijing's forced abortion policies, including infanticide, and persecution of Christians.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Houston Chronicle tempers its support for strengthening trade ties with China with concern about Beijing's human rights record.

    VOICE: ... as beneficial as expanded commercial opportunities in China would be to American, Texas and Houston enterprises, Congress and the administration must continue to push for progress by the government in Beijing on issues of the environment, religious and personal freedom, labor rights and free political expression.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning now to Malaysia, which recently jailed the former deputy prime minister after what many international observers believe was an unfair trial. The Washington Post writes:

    VOICE: ...the prime minister of Malaysia is now extending his anti-democratic crackdown. Last week his government hauled into court the editor of an opposition newspaper, a lawyer for the jailed deputy and several other opposition leaders. They were charged with various forms of sedition, which is to say, making statements displeasing to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. ... Mr. Mahathir may postpone Malaysia's day of reckoning, perhaps even until after his own death. But the more repressive his behavior now, the more difficult for his country that eventual reckoning will be.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Wall Street Journal is also alarmed by developments in Malaysia.

    VOICE: The arrests further undermine Malaysia's democratic institutions. The Mahathir administration appears to be exercising its wide-ranging powers in response to parliamentary and state elections last November, which showed waning support for the ruling coalition ... among the ... Malay majority.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Domestically, today's San Jose [California] Mercury News is calling for more research into the phenomenon of global warming in light of a new U-S report that temperatures are definitely on the rise.

    VOICE: The findings demonstrate the need for more intensive climate measurement and research, and for reducing the impact of human activity on the atmosphere. /// OPT /// The theory of global warming is that human-produced greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels, are altering the atmosphere to make it retain more heat.

    /// END OPT ///

    ... The panel did not address the question of whether the climate is getting warmer naturally, or with human assistance. Nonetheless, the prudent course is to reduce the potential human impact by reducing the combustion of fossil fuels, especially since there are relatively painless ways to do that.

    TEXT: Lastly, the little comment about foreign policy in the U-S presidential campaign frustrates the Boston Globe.

    VOICE: Given what the candidates have left unsaid about foreign policy and security issues, the presidential campaigns thus far might seem to reflect a nation unconcerned with threats from abroad. Paradoxical as it might seem, however, America's extraordinary prosperity and its status as the sole surviving superpower combine to make the international challenges awaiting the next president more central than they appeared in 1992. ... The conventional wisdom among political consultants is that there are no votes in abstruse foreign policy matters. When the next president takes office next January, however, his most fateful decisions are likely to be about distant parts of the world such as Russia, China, and Iraq. If foreign and security policies have not been highlighted in the presidential debates, they ought to be. DTEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment on this Monday, the national holiday celebrating the life of civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Junior.
    NEB/ANG/KL 17-Jan-2000 12:08 PM EDT (17-Jan-2000 1708 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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