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Voice of America, 00-02-02

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] KOSOVO - CLARK (L) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)
  • [02] KOSOVO-U-N POLICE (L-ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)
  • [03] ARMENIA REACHES OUT BY ED WARNER (WASHINGTON)
  • [04] AUSTRIA / GOVERNMENT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)
  • [05] AUSTRIAN GOVERNMENT (L-UPDATE) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)
  • [06] AUSTRIA REACT BY NICK SIMEONE (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [08] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [09] AUSTRIAN POLITICS STIR CONTROVERSY BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] KOSOVO - CLARK (L) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258752
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The leaders of the U-S Senate Armed Services committee say U-S troops may have to come home from Bosnia and Kosovo unless European nations keep promises to send money and police to help maintain peace in the region. The unusually blunt talk came as NATO's military commander told the senators that broken promises are stalling further progress in the Balkans. V-O-A's Jim Randle reports. Text: The NATO commander told senators the multi- national peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo have mostly accomplished their military tasks. But four-star U-S General Wes Clark says a tremendous amount of work must be done to stop rampant crime and violence in the troubled places that once made up Yugoslavia. General Clark says American soldiers and troops from several dozen other nations do what they can, but are not properly trained, equipped or organized to investigate crimes or prosecute bandits. He says it would take about six-thousand experienced foreign police officers to keep the peace in Kosovo alone, but less than two-thousand are on duty. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner says there seems to be "no end in sight" to the problems in Bosnia and Kosovo, and the lack of progress has him "gravely concerned." Senator Warner says the United Nations, European Union and European nations must move faster to rebuild civilian structures in the Balkans.

    /// Warner Act ///

    The United Nations and other organizations are, as of today, not living up to their commitments in a timely fashion.

    /// End Act ///

    The Committee's Ranking Democrat, Carl Levin, says European nations say they want to take on more defense responsibilities. But he says the European Union has not kept promises to send 35-million dollars and many police to help in Kosovo.

    /// Levin Act ///

    On my scorecard, the European nations and the European Union are flunking the test.

    /// End Act ///

    Senators Warner and Levin made it clear that money for future U-S Balkan operations might be contingent on getting more help from European nations. Senator Max Cleland says Washington did more than its share during the Kosovo air war, and is now being a "patsy" for (EDS: being taken advantage of by) European nations that are not pulling their weight (paying their share). The Georgia Democrat says the United States should extricate itself from the Balkan "quagmire" as soon as possible and leave the Europeans to solve the problem. Several senators at the hearing complained about the 10-billion dollar cost of U-S operations in Bosnia, five billion more for the Kosovo air war and billions more annual expenses in Bosnia and Kosovo. Washington currently provides 58-hundred of the 44- thousand international troops in Kosovo. Military commanders plan to cut the peacekeeping force to about 20-thousand in the next few months, which would reduce the U-S commitment to about 39-hundred soldiers. Committee Chairman John Warner says this is the first of several hearings on U-S deployments in the Balkans. The congressional scrutiny comes as some Army officers complain that garrison duty in Bosnia is keeping large units away from the constant, intense training needed to maintain their fighting edge. (Signed).
    NEB/JR/JP 02-Feb-2000 16:15 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 2115 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] KOSOVO-U-N POLICE (L-ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258759
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Commissioner of the U-N police force in Kosovo, Sven Frederiksen, said today (Wednesday) that crime in Kosovo is down although the level of hate there remains very high. VOA Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: Mr. Frederiksen told reporters that the overall crime rate has fallen dramatically in Kosovo. Using murder as an example, he said that, seven months ago, there was an average of 60 to 70 murders a week. Two weeks ago there were seven and last week, Mr. Frederiksen said, there was one murder reported. However, the U-N police official said the level of ethnic hatred in Kosovo remains very high.

    /// FREDERIKSEN ACT ///

    The hate is so extreme you can almost feel it. So it will take time before crime is back at a normal level. But we came from a sky-high level of all kinds of crimes and we are down dramatically but at a too high level still.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Frederiksen, a native of Denmark, said a main priority of his officers is the protection of ethnic minorities in Kosovo. The U-N official said the international civilian police force in Kosovo is still badly understaffed, having less than half of its 47-hundred authorized strength. Forty-two nations are currently contributing police officers to the Kosovo mission and he urged them to send more. The United States has promised to send 100 additional civilian police officers. U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently said it is "urgent" to bring the international police force in Kosovo up to full strength. Although praising the work of NATO forces in Kosovo, Mr. Frederiksen said the answer is not to increase the number of military police, pointing out that they are still soldiers.

    /// REST OPT ///

    The ultimate goal of the U-N police force in Kosovo is to train local residents to serve as police. Mr. Frederiksen said 19-thousand people have applied for those jobs and that a thorough screening process is planned.

    /// FREDERIKSEN ACT ///

    When we have the names of people we believe are qualified to be police officers, those names will be published on lists all over Kosovo. Everyone will have a chance to come forward and say, "Oops, this one is a war criminal," or "This guy is a regular criminal." Of course we will have to verify such things and if someone is a murderer, he will never be a police officer, he will be arrested.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Frederiksen said organized criminal activity remains a serious problem in Kosovo. He said The U-N police have established relationships with other law enforcement agencies in an effort to combat organized crime. (Signed NEB/BA/LSF/TVM/PT 02-Feb-2000 17:02 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 2202 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] ARMENIA REACHES OUT BY ED WARNER (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45369
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: At the global economic summit in Davos [which ended 2/1], the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met and agreed compromise is possible on Nagorno- Karabakh, the Armenian-populated enclave within Azerbaijan. Lacking natural resources, land-locked Armenia would benefit from peace and stability in the Caucasus. If its borders are opened, it could also serve as a key trade route for many countries. V-O-A's Ed Warner in Washington reports some possibilities ahead for Armenia.

    TEXT: Pressure is coming from many quarters. Russian Acting President Vladimir Putin and U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to settle their longstanding dispute over the Nagorno Karabakh enclave. European countries have made the same plea. As a result, some analysts say a compromise is in the works. Among them is George Bournoutian [boor-noo-tee- `ahn], professor of Armenian history at Iona College in New York State. He says Armenians are ready to find a solution. With that, new vistas would open up for the small Christian country squeezed between two hostile Muslim nations, Turkey and Azerbaijan. In support of Azerbaijan, Turkey closed its border with Armenia, stifling trade:

    /// FIRST BOURNOUTIAN ACT ///

    If the Karabakh problem is settled, Armenia's main trade partner could become Turkey. The Turkish government and Turkish businessmen have expressed a great desire to do trade with Armenia. Armenia is the corridor between east and west, and Armenia could serve as a corridor again for goods coming to Turkey from all the Central Asian republics.

    /// END ACT ///

    Professor Bournoutian says Turkish officials have been visiting Armenia and intimating they might be willing to discuss the long suppressed Turkish role in the deportation and slaughter of Armenians during the First World War. That would be an important step toward reconciliation. Paul Henze [`hen-zee], a longtime analyst of the Caucasus, is skeptical of Armenians making peace with Azerbaijan:

    /// FIRST HENZE ACT ///

    Usually, when a particular Armenian group moves in that direction, another group takes advantage of the situation and moves against them. The longstanding President Ter-Petrossian recognized the necessity of eventually working out a relationship with Turkey and establishing peace with Azerbaijan. But Ter-Petrossian was ousted by people who were opposed to this kind of settlement.

    /// END ACT ///

    Nobody knows for sure, but some analysts say Nagorno- Karabakh could have been a factor in the shooting of eight top government officials in the Armenian Parliament in October. So far, the motive of the gunmen has not been revealed. Mr. Henze also says the large, powerful Armenian diaspora, especially in the United States, is likely to oppose any compromise on Nagorno-Karabakh:

    /// SECOND HENZE ACT ///

    The Armenian diaspora here has been much more extreme in general than the Armenians in Armenia. It does not cost the diaspora anything. They are not suffering. The people in Armenia are suffering continually. But this is the way diaspora politics often work, particularly in the U-S Congress.

    /// END ACT ///

    But the diaspora will not exercise a veto over Nagorno-Karabakh, says Professor Bournoutian. He believes Armenians have acquired a new realism:

    /// SECOND BOURNOUTIAN ACT ///

    Armenia for the first time in its history has not put all its hopes in one country. They are trying to spread themselves and make different agreements with different countries. I think Armenia is keeping its options open with Azerbaijan and Turkey and Russia and the United States.

    /// END ACT ///

    Professor Bournoutian says Armenia has traditional close relations with Moscow, which supplies arms and other help. Russian troops are also stationed in Armenia. How Russia would respond to Armenia's opening to Turkey depends on the war in Chechnya and the leadership in Moscow. Armenia would benefit from knowing more of its own past, says Paryur Hayrikyan, director of the Armenian human rights commission who is currently visiting the United States. He urges opening the K-G-B files of the Soviet era so the full extent of communist activities will be exposed as well as any lingering influence today. Imprisoned for several years under the communists, Mr. Hayrikyan says improving human rights is the best way to assure peace and stability in the Caucasus. (Signed) NEB/ew/gm 02-Feb-2000 13:07 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 1807 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] AUSTRIA / GOVERNMENT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258746
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Austria's president, Thomas Klestil, is suppose to approve the government program agreed between the conservative People's Party and the rightwing Freedom Party. But as V-O-A's Ron Pemstein reports from Vienna, there has been a delay.

    TEXT: When they announced their agreement Tuesday night, Wolfgang Schuessel and Joerg Haider were ready to present their more than 100-page governing agreement to President Klestil on Wednesday morning. The meeting has not yet taken place. Instead there has been more foreign reaction to the participation of Mr. Haider's Freedom Party in the governing coalition. Israel says it will recall its ambassador from Vienna. Israel is concerned with Mr. Haider's past statements praising Nazi policies. Belgium says it will also withdraw its ambassador. The Belgians are angered by current statements by Mr. Haider calling their country corrupt - where parents have to worry about their children. The European Union's 14 countries and the United States have also threatened to take action if Mr. Haider's party joins the government led by the conservative People Party. It is expected that the coalition will be led by party leader Wolfgang Schuessel as federal Chancellor. Mr. Haider will remain governor of the southern province of Corinthia, but his Freedom Party is expected to have five ministries in the coalition agreement, along with five from the People's Party. President Klestil has given no public indication of why he has not received the proposed government program. His office did deny a Vienna newspaper report that the president and outgoing social Democratic Chancellor Viktor Klima encouraged the European union to issue its threat to isolate Austria diplomatically if the Freedom Party joins the government. Mr. Klima's office also called the report absurd. In any case, the foreign pressure on Austria has bought sympathy to Mr. Haider among people who did not support his party in last October's election. They resent outsiders telling a democratic country how to form its government. The October election put Mr. Haider's party into second place, behind the Social Democrats and ahead of the People's Party. Weeks of negotiations to renew Austria's left-of- center coalition broke down over power sharing issues. There is really no other choice for President Klestil other than to call another election. But the People's Party warns another election will only put Mr. Haider's right wing party into first place.
    NEB/WTW/RP/JP 02-Feb-2000 12:12 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 1712 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] AUSTRIAN GOVERNMENT (L-UPDATE) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258757
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// EDS: UPDATES CR 2-258746; NEW THROUGHOUT ///

    INTRO: Austria's president, Thomas Klestil, is set to approve a new governing coalition between the conservative People's Party and the right-wing Freedom Party, despite increasingly negative reaction, both at home and abroad. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Vienna, the president had little choice but to accept the coalition.

    TEXT: Thousands of Austrians gathered outside the offices of the People's Party, blowing whistles and shouting slogans denouncing political union with the Freedom Party, led by Joerg Haider. They shook keys at the party headquarters, in imitation of similar protests used against Communist leaders in Prague more than a decade ago. In Vienna's usually-tidy government sector, graffiti have been spray-painted on the president's office, as well as across the street at the office of the federal chancellor. The paint reads, "Against OeVp - FPOe" - the (German-language) initials of Austria's two governing parties. Resistance is now futile. After long hours of silence on Wednesday, President Thomas Klestil's office announced he would approve the coalition between the People's Party chancellor candidate, Wolfgang Schuessel, and Mr. Haider's Freedom Party. The only condition is that both men agree Thursday to a declaration of democratic principles, drawn up by the president. Mr. Haider says he will do that. The principles are designed to stop the withdrawal of diplomats from Vienna. Israel says it will recall its ambassador from Vienna if the coalition takes office. Israel is concerned about Mr. Haider's past statements praising Nazi policies. Belgium says it will also withdraw its ambassador. The Belgians are angered by current statements by Mr. Haider, calling their country a corrupt place, where parents have to worry about their children's safety. The European Union's other countries and the United States have threatened to take similar action if Mr. Haider's party formally joins the People's Party in government. Mr. Haider will remain governor of the southern province of Corinthia, but his Freedom Party is expected to have five ministries in the coalition agreement, along with five from the People's Party. The foreign pressure on Austria has brought sympathy for Mr. Haider from people who did not support his party in last October's election. They resist outsiders telling a democratic country how to form its government. The October election put Mr. Haider's party into second place, behind the Social Democrats and ahead of the People's Party. Weeks of negotiations to renew Austria's left-of-center coalition broke down over power-sharing issues. That arithmetic left President Klestil with no other choice than to call another election. He could not do that; the People's Party feels another election will only put Mr. Haider's right-wing party into first place. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/WTW 02-Feb-2000 16:34 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 2134 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] AUSTRIA REACT BY NICK SIMEONE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45372
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: There has been swift and sharp reaction to the rise in Austria of the right-wing Freedom Party led by Joerg Haider, who has been criticized for taking a stand against immigration and comments praising Nazi Germany. The United States, the European Union and Israel have all threatened to reconsider relations with Vienna if his party is allowed into power. This angers many in Austria, who point to the strong backing they have given to Mr. Haider's Party at the ballot box. Correspondent Nick Simeone reports.

    TEXT: Reaction to the events in Austria has been swift. The Italian and French prime ministers are warning of an Austrian threat to European values. An aide to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder warns against opening the door to a party denounced as intolerant and extreme. Washington has followed, making it plain that relations with Austria will be re-examined if the Freedom Party is allowed into power.

    /// RAINER ACT ///

    Most people in Austria think that both the European Union and America are over reacting.

    /// END ACT ///

    Christian Rainer, editor-in-chief of Vienna's "Profile" news magazine, says reaction to the rise of Joerg Haider and his Freedom Party has taken the country by surprise. It's quite a different reaction from six years ago when a rightist coalition described as neo-fascist came to power in Italy without protest from other E-U members.

    /// RAINER ACT ///

    There are some Austrians who are pointing out that Austria is not measured with the usual standards, neither by the European Union itself nor by the United States. We have to face the fact that Russia or some Asian or even South American countries will never be measured with the same scale of values as European governments.

    /// END ACT ///

    And this raises the issue of a possible double standard that could prove awkward. While European Union nations take issue with a democratically-elected party in Austria, Europe and the United States continue doing business with many nations that are not democratic - such as China - as well as others that have appalling human rights records or are accused of supporting terrorism. James Hoge, the editor of "Foreign Affairs" magazine thinks the rest of Europe is over-reacting.

    /// HOGE ACT ///

    I think it would behoove Europe to give some real thought to what it's going to do and be cautious because they may throw out the baby with the bath water here (EDS: take action that is counter-productive). This is, after all, a democratically elected political party. The Haider party has been around for quite some time. He doesn't represent just himself and it may be that these views have to be both represented and hopefully tempered.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Hoge describes the situation in Austria as an example of what he calls the politics of identity - the beginning of the kind of issues he believes countries across Europe face in the coming years.

    /// HOGE ACT ///

    This isn't so much a rollback to the days of Hitler, as it is a response to people's concerns about who they are and who they're going to be and what their countries are going to be like with the rather sustained migration of people from other parts of the world with other religions and cultures coming in.

    //// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    The threat that Austria could become a pariah state if Mr. Haider's Freedom Party enters government was enough to send thousands of protesters into the streets of Vienna Wednesday. Others, though, are angry over attempts by outsiders to intervene in the country's affairs. /// END OPT /// The issue is starting to provoke protest from abroad - the Austrian consulate in Krakow, Poland was splattered with eggs Wednesday. Still, Christian Rainer, editor at Vienna's "Profile" magazine does not expect to see a worldwide boycott if the far right Freedom Party enters government.

    /// RAINER ACT ///

    We'll probably have some very few people in front of Austrian embassies somewhere. I'm not expecting any major demonstrations or anything like that in European countries or in the United States. Austria just isn't important enough.

    /// END ACT ///

    He may be proven wrong. Israel says it will recall its ambassador in Vienna if the new government is allowed to take power, and Belgium is already suggesting people avoid ski vacations in the Austrian Alps. (SIGNED)
    NEB/NJS/JP 02-Feb-2000 18:02 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 2302 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258758
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Wednesday), after the Federal Reserve Board warned that the U-S economy faces quickening inflation if it continues to grow at its current rate. The warning was issued as the central bank raised short-term interest rates a quarter point - for the fourth time since last June. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The interest rate hike (increase) was not unexpected. But the stock market turned volatile after it looked like it might hold on to early gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 37 points, one-third of one percent, closing at 11-thousand- three. The Standard and Poor's 500 index lost a fraction. However, the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite was able to hang on to a modest gain of one- half of one percent. The U-S central bank sees inflationary pressure building in the U-S economy and wants to slow it down. Analysts say that might make some investors a bit nervous.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Economist Lawrence Kudlow believes the "Fed" (central bank) is not finished with credit tightening. There is more to come. He says monetary officials have a definite model for U-S economic growth that they want to achieve - ideally, under three percent - which falls far below what actual growth has been:

    /// KUDLOW ACT ///

    Given that model, I think you have to expect another quarter point in March. I think economic growth in 2000 will be somewhat slower than 1999. But it's going to be in the three percent zone. And yes, that game is not over.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    The latest on the economy shows the leading indicators were up a strong four-tenths of one percent in December, suggesting the record U-S economic expansion will continue. The index is designed to gauge future economic performance.

    /// REST OPT ///

    On the corporate earnings front, leading media company Time-Warner easily beat Wall Street estimates. Its earnings reflect strong growth in cable T-V and publishing operations. Time-Warner plans to merge with America Online by the end of the year, creating what Time-Warner executives describe as the world's first Internet-age media and communications company. Food giant Nabisco reported a 16 percent jump in fourth quarter profits, slightly above expectations. Nabisco says stronger sales, especially of the popular Oreo cookies, spurred earnings. And, U-S drug-maker Schering-Plough narrowly beat expectations with a 20 percent profit increase, due mostly to sizzling sales of anti-viral and anti-cancer drugs. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/JP 02-Feb-2000 16:44 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 2144 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [08] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11661
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The results of the New Hampshire presidential primary and a suspension of executions by the state of Illinois are the two major editorial topics in Wednesday's U-S press. Other subjects include the latest crisis in Northern Ireland's peace process; a growing dispute between the European Union and E-U member Austria; and the Alaska Airlines crash. Now, here is ________ with a closer look and some samples, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Senator John McCain defeated Texas Governor George W. Bush by a larger-than-expected margin in the Republican race for president in New Hampshire's primary, while Vice President Al Gore beat Bill Bradley but by a much closer margin. Many papers are commenting on the result. According to the state's largest daily, the Manchester Union Leader, "[Mr.] Bush's loss spells trouble for the G-O-P in November."

    VOICE: Now that New Hampshire G-O-P primary voters have decisively chosen John McCain over the establishment's candidate, it is evident that Republicans may be in trouble in November. ... Voters in this state [agreed] ... with the Union Leader's assessment that [Mr.] Bush is too weak to be President. /// OPT /// ... Now that New Hampshire voters have shown that the emperor has no clothes, voters in Delaware, South Carolina, Arizona, Michigan, etc. are likely to realize the same thing... /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In his home state of Texas, the loss by Governor Bush draws this reaction from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    VOICE: In ... a near year-long presidential campaign, New Hampshire may turn out to be what George W. Bush called it last night: "A bump in the road." But it was a big bump. Arizona Senator John McCain decisively beat the Texas governor not only among ...independent voters... but also among affirmed Republican Party members, predicted to be [Mr.] Bush's strength. ... If [Senator] McCain can come within ten points of [Governor] Bush in South Carolina ... the once-thought unassailable [Mr.] Bush will have his work cut out for him in the March seventh primaries.

    TEXT: In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal calls the McCain victory "astounding" but laments that: Surely America must develop a better way of selecting its president."

    /// OPT ///

    VOICE: It defies logic that states as small and unrepresentative as Iowa and now New Hampshire can determine the top tier of candidates, while the much larger and delegate-rich states lie ahead.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In the Rocky Mountains, however, The [Colorado Springs] Gazette says the campaign is boring and most Americans are n o t paying attention:

    VOICE: Our View: Ho-hum politics. ...Even as we join the rest of America's news media in reporting the surprising outcome of Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, we have our doubts about just how closely our readers have been following it.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: USA Today, published in a Washington, D-C suburb, says the message from the voters of New Hampshire is: "Get serious about campaign-finance reform," while the New York Times says the results mean, "For Now, a Real Campaign." And the [New York] Daily News says of the results: "New Hampshire rattles the race." And the Boston Globe says of the New Hampshire voters, "the crucial point is that these people know what they're doing."

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: As for the Gore - Bradley race, which elicits much less comment, the New York Times suggests:

    VOICE: ... many experts counted Bill Bradley out only a week ago, but his close showing against Vice President Gore amounts to a license to prolong his challenge despite the animosity of the party's Washington establishment.

    TEXT: The day's other big topic is a decision by Illinois Governor George Ryan to suspend all executions by his state until the state's sentencing system is reviewed. More than a dozen men facing death have had their convictions overturned for various reasons in the last several months. Says the [Minneapolis, Minnesota] Star Tribune:

    VOICE: It's preposterous to think that a few quick fixes can render the death penalty error-free. Illinois is not the only state that has dispensed the death sentence by mistake. Since 1973, says the Death Penalty Information Center, 69 innocent people across America have been convicted and sentenced to death. ... This unsavory fact should bring uneasy sleep to the governors of death-penalty states ... [inspiring] ... them to call a halt - - no, an end - - to capital punishment.

    TEXT: The Detroit Free Press adds that, "even in an era when it's politically popular to punish criminals ... there is no justice in putting innocents to death." While The Boston Globe notes: "There are plenty of good reasons to oppose the death penalty ... But [none]... is more compelling than the finality of a system in which deadly errors can never be taken back, staining the hands of us all." Internationally, there is concern about the latest crisis in the Northern Ireland peace process caused by the Irish Republican Army's failure to begin turning in its weapons. Maine's Portland Press Herald writes:

    VOICE: Unless something approaching a miracle happens, the Good Friday agreement providing a "home rule" framework for peace in Northern Ireland could fall apart this week. Many leaders are working to see that doesn't happen, for it potentially could lead to a resumption of terrorism there after a two-and-one half year-halt.

    TEXT: Newsday on New York's Long Island suggests the basis of the impasse is the: "I-R-A's Dangerous One- Upmanship..." while The Los Angeles Times says:

    VOICE: The decommissioning [of weapons] should begin at once, and all parties should, with good sense and a willingness to capture a historic moment, renew their commitment to work in the political realm. ... To fail would mean stumbling back to uncertainty and violence. This is a time for political courage."

    TEXT: In Austria, a controversy is growing over the possibility that the anti-immigrant Freedom Party, led by Joerg Haider, may be included in a newly formed coalition government. The European Union is saying it may isolate Austria if the Freedom Party becomes part of the government. /// END OPT /// the St. Petersburg [Florida] Times, while agreeing that Mr. Haider's views are repugnant, warns:

    VOICE: The trouble with the E-U's attempt to fight racism and xenophobia by isolating Austria is that it looks like an attempt to meddle in a nation's electoral affairs. [Mr.] Haider's views are abhorrent, as are those of Christoph Blocher, leader of the ultra-right People's Party in Switzerland. ... The reality is that Austria and Switzerland are part of a multi-race, multicultural market. Trying to close their borders to people who are poorer or browner will not - - and should not - - work.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Christian Science Monitor, calling Mr. Haider an angry politician, suggests the E-U has three good reasons to threaten Austria:

    VOICE: lurking racism in other E-U nations, leftover resistance in Austria to facing its Nazi past, and lingering issues of continental unity. ... [Mr.] Haider's record includes praise for Hitler's employment policies and former Nazi SS men. Such views (which he has tried to recant) make him dangerous because he also blames Austria's minor social problems on foreigners, especially East Europeans and North Africans. That's an echo of the Third Reich.

    TEXT: To the Caribbean now, and a dispute between some Puerto Rican islanders living on Vieques, a small island the U-S military uses for live-bomb target practice. Today's Orlando Sentinel says President Clinton's compromise decision on the conflict is the right one.

    VOICE: Critics who excoriate President ... Clinton's balanced Vieques decision protest too much. ... Mr. Clinton ordered a controversial U-S Navy base on the Puerto Rican island to close by two-thousand and three; restricted its activities during the interim; prohibited the use of live ammunition; and committed 40-million dollars in economic-development assistance to the island.

    TEXT: The Orlando Sentinel ends by excoriating the Puerto Rican militants, who are belatedly demanding nothing less than an immediate withdrawal by the navy.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: To Alaska now, where the Anchorage Daily News agonizes over the crash of an Alaskan Airlines jetliner into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, with the loss of 88 passengers and crew.

    VOICE: When word of the crash ... came Monday, Alaskans took notice, because we knew there was a good chance some of our people were on that jet. ...Alaskans felt residual pride in the airline's successes in safety performance and reputation in the travel industry. ... Many homes are in mourning today. While Alaskans naturally look for names of neighbors, our prayers and condolences go to the families and friends of all who died, no matter where they call home.

    TEXT: Lastly the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is hailing an agreement from the United States government righting a long-ago wrong to some Native American indigenous people.

    VOICE: American Indians and other residents of Utah and the rest of the West have reason to be pleased with a two-pronged deal that is bound to help that state and the nation: the proposed return of 33 thousand 993 hectares to the Northern Ute tribe and the cleanup of millions of tons of uranium waste that is polluting the Colorado River. ... Both the return of land ... and the cleanup of an old but deadly mine are long overdue. Congress should quickly approve the agreement.

    TEXT: And on that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 02-Feb-2000 12:48 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 1748 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [09] AUSTRIAN POLITICS STIR CONTROVERSY BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/2/2000
    TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-11662
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Austria is facing a threat of international isolation this week, due to the possibility that its new coalition government will include a political party many consider sympathetic to Adolf Hitler's Nazis. Joerg Haider's Freedom Party won 27 percent of the vote in last October's parliamentary elections, earning it a second place finish. Months of negotiations between the first place Socialists and the conservative People's Party of Wolfgang Schuessel, which finished third, failed to produce an agreement on power-sharing in parliament. As a result, the People's Party said this week it was inviting Mr. Haider and his party to take part in a coalition government. Reaction has been swift. The European Union (E-U), of which Austria is a member, has threatened to isolate the country. Israel is threatening to withdraw its ambassador. In Washington, the White House is talking about changes in its relations with Vienna. The U-S press has been watching developments and is beginning to comment on the situation. We have a sampling now from ___________ in today's U-S Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: Mr. Haider is a handsome, charismatic, politician who has been gaining in popularity among the far-right for years. However, international observers are concerned about many of the things he has said, including praise for some of fellow Austrian Adolf Hitler's practices, and extolling the character of the Nazi's infamous Waffen S-S. Mr. Haider has also railed in his political speeches against foreigners, blaming them for many of Austria's problems. To some, that too closely resembles some of Hitler's early political speeches. We begin our sampling in our nation's capital, where the harsh criticism of Mr. Haider is faulted by The Washington Times.

    VOICE: While international leaders have valid concerns about Austria's leadership, hyping the threat of a new Nazi state is not the best way to deal with Austria's political challenge. Austria has the European Union, many heads of state, and the international media keeping it accountable for its wartime past and its present governmental state of affairs. Continued interaction with the rest of Europe may be a better guarantee than either Mr. Schuessel or Mr. Haider can give that the country will be ruled in a way that threatens neither its international partnerships nor domestic peace.

    TEXT: However The New York Times is much more concerned with what it believes are echoes of a deadly past.

    VOICE: Governments across Europe and beyond are rightly alarmed that the far-right, xenophobic Freedom Party is about to be invited to take part in Austria's next government. Austria's two other main parties, the Socialists and the conservative People's party, could have kept Freedom out of power, either by continuing their 13-year-old power sharing arrangement or by permitting the largest party, the Socialists, to form a minority government. ... The Freedom Party has risen to the cusp of power by calling for the expulsion of immigrants in language that deliberately echoes Nazi phraseology. /// OPT /// Mr. Haider has also praised Hitler's labor policies, described Nazi concentration camps as legitimate punishment camps and glorified veterans of the murderous S-S. /// END OPT

    /// ... Propelled by Mr. Haider's energetic and reckless populism, the Freedom Party has become a growing political force in Austria. It finished in second place in elections last October with 27 percent of the vote, slightly more than the mainstream conservatives.

    TEXT: As a sign of how it feels, The Los Angeles Times headlines its commentary: Specter of Nazi Hate in Austria.

    VOICE: Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Guterres summed up the E-U view: "If a party which has expressed xenophobic views and which does not abide by the essential values of the European family comes to power, naturally we won't be able to continue the same relations as in the past..." ... The E-U's unprecedented response reflects its anxiety over Austria's earlier history of anti-Semitism and partnership with Nazi Germany.

    TEXT: However, The Wall Street Journal feels the worries about Mr. Haider are, as The Washington Times, has also suggested: ... "perhaps a bit overblown."

    VOICE: Wolfgang Schuessel, the intelligent and moderate leader of the People's party, would become chancellor in any such coalition, with Mr. Haider taking some secondary role. But still, a politician who has made gains with xenophobic rhetoric and hints of sympathy toward some aspects of Austria's Nazi past offers reason for alarm.

    TEXT: The Washington Post says this is a particularly delicate problem because no matter how repugnant his views are to many people, Mr. Haider was democratically elected.

    VOICE: The ascendancy of the far-right party of Joerg Haider to likely partnership in Austria's government poses a familiar problem for democracies: how to react when groups inimical to the values of a society come to power by democratic means? Sometimes such forces threaten democracy directly; sometimes they frighten onlookers for other reasons, such as (in Mr. Haider's case) repeatedly friendly references to the Nazis coupled with fiercely xenophobic views. ... Though Mr. Haider has followed each of his inflammatory pro-Nazi statements over the years with apologies ... he and his party raise echoes of the 1930s that are a good deal too clear for comfort - repugnant is one word that comes to mind. As a matter of sovereignty, Austrians are entitled to vote for whomever they please. Other governments are entitled - indeed, obliged - to use diplomatic and other means at their disposal to make clear their condemnation.

    TEXT: For the view of Viennese politics from Florida, we check in with the St. Petersburg Times, which in a very lengthy editorial, agrees that Mr. Haider's views are repugnant, but warns:

    VOICE: The trouble with the E-U's attempt to fight racism and xenophobia by isolating Austria is that it looks like an attempt to meddle in a nation's electoral affairs. [Mr.] Haider's views are abhorrent, as are those of Christoph Blocher, leader of the ultra-right People's Party in Switzerland. ... The reality is that Austria and Switzerland are part of a multi-race, multicultural market. Trying to close their borders to people who are poorer or browner will not - and should not - work.

    TEXT: Boston's [national] Christian Science Monitor however, calls Mr. Haider an angry politician and suggests the E-U has three good reasons to threaten Austria:

    VOICE: lurking racism in other E-U nations, leftover resistance in Austria to facing its Nazi past, and lingering issues of continental unity. ... [Mr.] Haider's record includes praise for Hitler's employment policies and former Nazi S-S men. Such views (which he's tried to recant) make him dangerous because he also blames Austria's minor social problems on foreigners, especially East Europeans and North Africans. That's an echo of the Third Reich.

    TEXT: And with that analysis, we conclude this sampling of comment on the inclusion of a far-right wing politician in the new Austrian coalition government.
    NEB/ANG/JP 02-Feb-2000 14:26 PM EDT (02-Feb-2000 1926 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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