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Voice of America, 00-02-18

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ALBRIGHT - CROATIA (L) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)
  • [02] ALBRIGHT / CROATIA (L UPDATE) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)
  • [03] ALBRIGHT / SERB OPPOSITION (L-ONLY) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)
  • [04] ALBRIGHT / ALBANIA (S-OVERNIGHTER) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)
  • [05] E-U / DANUBE (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [06] NORTHERN IRELAND - WEAPONS BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [08] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] ALBRIGHT - CROATIA (L) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)

    DATE=2/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259301
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    //Editors - The inauguration of President Stipe Mesic is set for 1:00PM,local time, 7:00AM,EST.//

    INTRO: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is in Croatia where dignitaries and heads of state from more than 50 countries have gathered for the inauguration of the country's new reform minded President, Stipe Mesic. From Zagreb, VOA's Kyle King reports the Secretary will also use her visit to discuss the new government's reform efforts and meet with leaders of the Serbian opposition.

    TEXT: Secretary of State Albright's visit to Croatia is her second this month and officials traveling with the Secretary say she will use the trip to show strong U-S support for reform measures the month-old government has already taken. In contrast to the nationalistic policies of the late President Franjo Tudjman, Croatia's new government has promised to allow the return of Serb refugees, cut off support for Croatian separatists in Bosnia, and cooperate with the International War Crimes Tribunal. Croatia's new President -- Stipe Mesic -- has promised to give the country a fresh start and join western institutions. In the last week, Croatia's new Prime Minister has met with NATO and European Community officials to discuss prospects for future membership. U-S officials are hoping a democratic transformation in Croatia will provide an example for the people of neighboring Serbia, which is still dominated by the hardline policies of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. U-S officials say the Secretary does not plan to announce any major new aid programs, but will discuss ways to support Croatia's reform agenda and promote investment. In addition, the Secretary will discuss the plight of thousands of Serb refugees who were driven out of Croatia following the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation. On the sidelines of today's inauguration, the Secretary will discuss regional security issues with Germany's foreign Minister Joshka Fischer and other officials. She is also scheduled to meet with leaders of the Serbian Opposition. U-S officials say the policies of Croatia's new government are in stark contrast to the situation in Serbia, where the autocratic policies of President Milosevic have led to international isolation. Saturday, Ms. Albright travels to Albania, where she will thank the government for the support it provided to the international community during the conflict in Kosovo. (signed) 18-Feb-2000 03:14 AM EDT (18-Feb-2000 0814 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] ALBRIGHT / CROATIA (L UPDATE) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)

    DATE=2/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259311
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// UPDATES WITH SWEARING IN CEREMONY ///

    INTRO: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says the inauguration of Croatia's new president, Stipe Mesic, sends a message to the people of neighboring Serbia that they too can have democracy. The secretary joined heads of state and dignitaries from dozens of countries today at the President's swearing in ceremony in Zagreb. VOA's Kyle King has this report from the Croatian capital.

    TEXT: // MUSIC // With heads of state and foreign dignitaries from more than 50 nations looking on, Croatian President Stipe Mesic took the oath of office in Zagreb's historic Saint Marc (Sveti Marko) Square.

    /// MESIC ACT IN LANGUAGE ///

    Speaking before an enthusiastic crowd under a nearly cloudless sky, Mr. Mesic promised to uphold Croatia's constitution and preserve the integrity and independence of the country. In contrast to the nationalistic policies of the late president, Franjo Tudjman, Croatia's new government has promised to join West European institutions, allow the return of Serb refugees, cut off support for Croatian separatists in Bosnia, and cooperate with the International War Crimes Tribunal. U-S officials are hoping a democratic transformation in Croatia will provide an example for the people of neighboring Serbia, which is still dominated by the hardline policies of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. During a brief meeting on the sidelines of the inauguration, U-S officials say Secretary of State Albright and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer agreed this is the time for the Serb opposition to move forward and that Croatia is a good example. Earlier in the day the secretary met with Serb opposition leaders who traveled to Zagreb to attended the inauguration. U-S officials say the Secretary does not plan to announce any major new aid programs during her visit. She is expected to discuss ways to support Croatia's reform agenda and promote investment. U-S officials say the plight of thousands of Serb refugees who were driven out of Croatia following the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation is also high on her agenda. Saturday, Ms. Albright travels to Albania, where she will thank the government for the support it provided to the international community during the conflict in Kosovo. (Signed)
    NEB/KK/KL 18-Feb-2000 09:58 AM EDT (18-Feb-2000 1458 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] ALBRIGHT / SERB OPPOSITION (L-ONLY) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)

    DATE=2/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259326
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    // Eng Eds: Please edit tape - cut graf just before opt //

    INTRO: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has met in Zagreb with Serbian opposition leaders from Yugoslavia to discuss what lessons can be learned from the democratic transformation in Croatia. As VOA's Kyle King reports, Yugoslavia's opposition leaders are cautious, but say they might be able to win this year's elections if they work together.

    TEXT: Secretary of State Albright used her talks with the sometimes feuding Serbian opposition leaders to urge them to work together on common election programs. German Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer and his Dutch counterpart also took part in the session, which included Zorin Djindic and several other key Serbian politicians. A senior U-S official at the meeting said the opposition leaders believe Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is weakened but desperate to hold on to power. Mr. Djindjic told reporters after the meeting the opposition had gained support and needed to turn that support into concrete action if it wanted to win. Speaking at a later news conference with the newly- inaugurated Croatian president and prime Minister, Ms. Albright said she was hoping for success.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    Its my hope that some day soon we will all go to Belgrade and celebrate a democratic transition very much like the one we have celebrated today.

    /// END ACT ///

    U-S officials says Serbian opposition leaders at the meeting with Ms. Albright expressed fear for their safety, but believed there would be elections and said they would persevere in their efforts. Elections are due later this year.

    /// OPT ///

    Earlier this month, the United States and the European Community moved to bolster the Serbian opposition by relaxing a flight ban into Yugoslavia while tightening restrictions on travel by associates of President Milosevic. /// END OPT /// U-S officials say there is a sense among the Serbian opposition that they can learn from what is happening in Croatia to promote something similar at home. However opposition leaders caution there are key differences between the situation in Croatia and Serbia (Yugoslavia's dominant republic). U-S and European officials say another session with the Serbian opposition leaders is expected in March, possibly at the U-S / E-U ministerial meeting in Portugal. (signed)
    NEB/KBK/JO 18-Feb-2000 16:19 PM EDT (18-Feb-2000 2119 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] ALBRIGHT / ALBANIA (S-OVERNIGHTER) BY KYLE KING (ZAGREB)

    DATE=2/19/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259328
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visits Albania Saturday, where she will thank the government for its support during the crisis in Kosovo. V-O-A's Kyle King is traveling with the secretary and files this report.

    TEXT: The secretary had wanted to include a stop in Albania during previous trips to the region, but officials say security concerns prevented such a visit. In Tirana, the Secretary will meet with Albanian officials to thank them for the role they played in support of the international community during the crisis in Kosovo. Albania became a staging area for International troops during the conflict. Albania also hosted thousands of refugees, putting a major strain on the country's economy, which is one of the poorest in Europe. Officials say Ms. Albright will use the visit to try to develop ways to promote greater prosperity in Albania. (signed)
    NEB/KBK/JP 18-Feb-2000 16:38 PM EDT (18-Feb-2000 2138 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] E-U / DANUBE (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=2/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259313
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Commission has made its own inspection of the gold mine in Romania where a broken dam caused a spill of cyanide compounds into the Tisza and Danube Rivers. V-O-A correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels that the Commission is concerned about possible accidents at mines in other parts of Europe.

    TEXT: The European Commission says it is clear there will be long term effects on the environment from the January 31st spill of cyanide and heavy metals into the Tisza and Danube Rivers. The Commission plans to set up an independent task force next week to coordinate help for Hungary and Romania. Both countries told visiting Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem they are eager for assistance -- such as the mobile laboratories offered by the United Nations Environment Program to take river measurements. The spill from the Baia Mare gold mine has killed fish and wildlife in the rivers. Commissioner Wallstroem says the accident will not affect Romania's membership negotiations with the European Union, but the spill is a warning to the E-U to investigate other mines throughout Europe.

    /// WALLSTROEM ACT ///

    It's not because of the accident we would say that `no, you cannot become members within the time frame expected.' You know, we just had this other accident in Spain, a member state, and it could happen in other countries. So we will just have to intensify our work to see that we can prevent those accidents and maybe we need much stricter rules on this to take care of waste from mining activities.

    /// END ACT ///

    The gold mine is a joint venture between the Romanian government and the Australian Esmeralda Company. Commissioner Wallstroem says there is nothing in the design of the mine that was faulty and the Commission will look at the locations of other mines in Europe to see if they could pose a threat to the environment. She says old mines no longer in use could also present a problem. There are similar mines in Sweden, Italy, Portugal and Spain -- all members of the European Union.

    /// OPT ///

    During her visit on Thursday, Commissioner Wallstroem encountered people in Romania and Hungary who have fears and suspicions about the accident. She says governments need to do a better job informing people.

    /// WALLSTROEM ACT - OPT ACT///

    If you don't tell people the truth or if you don't give them the right information, you will also have a situation where there are a lot of myths and half-truths and a lot of misunderstandings spread. People of course will think if their cow dies because of the accident or if a cow died a couple of months ago that's also according to the accident. We don't know if this is because of spills from the mining activities but you have to give people good information because otherwise it creates fears.

    /// END ACT - END OPT ///

    The European Commission is staying clear of determining legal responsibility for the accident. Commissioner Wallstroem says the principle of the "polluter pays"(companies are financially responsible for damage from environmental accidents) will take a long time to work through the court system. Financial help from the European Commission will be limited to experts and cannot be used to pay any legal damages. (Signed) NEB/RP/GE/ENE/JO 18-Feb-2000 10:40 AM EDT (18-Feb-2000 1540 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] NORTHERN IRELAND - WEAPONS BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/18/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45483
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Earlier this month, the British government suspended local government authority in Northern Ireland for an indefinite period. The suspension was prompted by lack of progress on an issue that has plagued politicians in the British province for decades: how to get rid of weapons held by paramilitary groups such as the Irish Republican Army. In this report, former London correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the issue known as decommissioning.

    TEXT: "Decommissioning" is shorthand for the hand- over, or verified disposal of weapons held by paramilitary groups. Once again, politicians are grappling with that issue which has proven to be the main obstacle to a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. The largest, most sophisticated and well-organized paramilitary group is the Irish Republican Army which for decades has waged a guerilla war against British rule in Northern Ireland. Paul Beaver - senior defense analyst with the British publication "Jane's Defense Weekly" - says the I-R-A has a variety of weapons including several shoulder- launched surface-to-air missiles known as SAM-7's. He says the paramilitary group also has a devastating sniper rifle - the American 50-caliber "Barret."

    // BEAVER ACT //

    It can kill at little over two kilometers. So that's a real problem, because it penetrates body armor worn by police or by the army. They also have a series of heavy machine-guns of 50-caliber and 30-caliber - again, procured in the United States: a number of `Armalite' rifles, probably as many as 200 - now that's the civilian version of the M-16. They have about 600 `Kalashnikovs.' They have a number of Belgian `Fall' rifles - both light machine-guns and rifles. Pistols, `Brownings,' `Makarovs,' `C-Zeds,' some `Webleys' - a variety of weapons. The problem is, of course, they are not only in one location. They are spread out around the Island of Ireland and possibly even in the United Kingdom. And the other thing, of course, which they have is a little over 200 pounds (about 100 kilograms) of `Semtex' explosives.

    //END ACT //

    Mr. Beaver says the I-R-A bought most of its weapons in the 1970's and 1980's through surrogates of the Soviet Union - such as Libya and Syria. In addition it raised huge amounts of cash from the Irish nationalist community in the United States allowing it to buy weapons on the international black market. On the other side of the sectarian divide, are Protestant paramilitary groups known as `loyalists' because they remain loyal to Britain, favoring continued British rule in the province. These groups include the "Ulster Freedom Fighters" and the "Ulster Volunteer Force." Mr. Beaver says they have far fewer weapons than the I-R-A. For example, if the I-R-A has a total of about a thousand weapons, it is believed the protestant loyalists have only about 150.

    // SECOND BEAVER ACT //

    The loyalists do not have heavy weapons. They do not have heavy machine guns or rocket-propelled grenades. They tend to have pistols. They tend to operate in their terror campaign in small groups against individuals. They don't blow things up. They target the catholic community and kill, torture and extort from that community.

    // END ACT //

    It is precisely because of this disparity in weaponry and sophistication that the onus is on the Irish Republican Army to begin the process of `decommissioning' - handing in its weapons. Loyalist extremist groups have consistently said they will follow the I-R-A's example once it begins to disarm. But although the I-R-A and loyalist paramilitaries have stood by their cease-fires for several years now, there has been very little progress on the `decommissioning' front. The April 1998 "Good Friday" Agreement stipulates that paramilitary groups must hand in their weapons by May 22nd of this year. And it is because there has been no movement on the weapons issue that the British government suspended local government institutions in Northern Ireland, re-instating direct rule from London. British officials believe that may exert pressure on the I-R-A since Irish Republicans have always favored devolved rule from London as a first step toward a united Ireland. Noel Doran is deputy-editor of Belfast's daily "The Irish News" - espousing the views of the Catholic community. He says the definition of `decommissioning' has been broadened.

    // DORAN ACT //

    All that is really being asked is that the Republicans should make a credible start to the process. Unfortunately, they don't see it in those terms. Their attitude is that they must stick firmly to the letter of the "Good Friday" Agreement, which means that they believe they don't have to do anything until May.

    // END ACT //

    Other experts believe the real reason the I-R-A paramilitaries refuse to begin the `decommissioning' process is that they see the handing over of weapons as an act of "surrender." Historian and I-R-A expert Brendan O'Brien (author of the book "The Long War") says that is a major factor.

    // O'BRIEN ACT //

    Once they decommission, the I-R-A is in effect disbanded. Down the ranks, some of them do see it as surrender. But I think the more level-headed of them realize that `decommissioning' is part of a balanced agreement with gains and losses all around. The gain for them, is they get into government. The loss, if you like, is `decommissioning.' A gain is reform of the police force (Royal Ulster Constabulary) - a loss, is they have to accept Northern Ireland as a political institution - and so on. There are gains and losses all around for them and for others. So - my view is, that while `in their gut' they don't like it, and in the gut of the men down the line they do see it in terms of surrender, tactically, they know it is part of an agreement - and the question is when can they use it to maximum effect?

    // END ACT //

    Experts agree there is very little chance the I-R-A will resume a full-scale terror campaign reminiscent of the darkest days of the so-called "Troubles." But many believe the problem will come from splinter groups such as the `Continuity I-R-A' and the `Real I- R-A' - groups that have never agreed to cease-fires and want to continue the armed struggle. Experts say after the `decommissioning' issue is resolved, then the thorny issue of paramilitary splinter groups must also be adequately addressed in order to get - once and for all - the bullet and the bomb out of Northern Ireland politics. (Signed)
    NEB/ADEN/KL 18-Feb-2000 16:05 PM EDT (18-Feb-2000 2105 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=2/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259330
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were sharply lower today (Friday) - one day after Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan dropped a heavy hint that short-term interest rates will go up again. Even the normally sturdy technology stocks sold off. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: All the major indices lost nearly three percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 295 points, closing at 10-thousand-219. The Industrials are down less than two percent for the week. The Standard and Poor's 500 index slid 42 points. And the Nasdaq composite, which closed at a record high Thursday, dropped over 130 points. The latest on the U-S economy shows no problem with inflation. Consumer prices last month rose a smaller- than-expected two-tenths of one percent, despite higher oil prices. But the stock market shrugged off the good news. Investors worried about rising interest rates after a central bank warning that inflation is bound to show up in the booming U-S economy.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    Despite the Nasdaq's sharp one-day slide, market strategist Alan Kroll says higher interest rates can be expected to affect the "blue chips" in the Dow Jones more heavily than the Nasdaq stocks:

    ///KROLL ACT///

    As long as the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) is active, the Fed is looking to make sure that inflation is not coming back, the weight of its actions will fall on the so-called older economy. The newer economy - its ability to keep indices like the Nasdaq going - is dependent upon their ability to deliver large earnings growth rates.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    Analysts said investors also were a little cautious about taking new positions before a three-day week- end. U-S financial markets are closed Monday for "Presidents' Day."

    ///REST OPT///

    Microsoft shares traded lower after signs that the software giant is no closer to a settlement of the U-S government's anti-trust suit. Meanwhile, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has denied a report that his company would be willing to open its source code for its Windows software to competitors, if this is all it would take to settle the case. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 18-Feb-2000 17:55 PM EDT (18-Feb-2000 2255 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=2/18/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11689
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Elections in the United States and abroad are the big topic of discussion in the nation's editorial pages this Friday. Zimbabwe's recent election, handing longtime President Robert Mugabe a defeat, is a popular topic. So is today's parliamentary election in Iran and tomorrow's crucial Republican Party U-S presidential primary balloting in South Carolina. There are also comments about President Clinton's trip to the sub-continent next month, Germany's latest apology for the Holocaust, the faltering peace in Northern Ireland, and a real hot weather emergency shaping up for ice cream lovers here in the United States. Now, taking a closer look, here is _________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Robert Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe for more years than most people can remember, and his party has most of the power in parliament. So it came as quite a shock when, in a recent referendum, he lost his bid to become Zimbabwe's president for life. The Los Angeles Times suggests:

    VOICE: ... President ... Mugabe emerged severely weakened from his stunning defeat last weekend in a referendum on constitutional amendments that would have increased his powers and in effect made him president for life. The vote might have started his ruling ZANU-PF party sliding toward defeat in the April parliamentary election, and that would be a boost for democracy in Zimbabwe. ... he has squandered public trust in his government.

    TEXT: The Washington Post adds that the problem of an AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe probably affected the vote as much as disenchantment with Mr. Mugabe's leadership.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// To its credit, Zimbabwe's electorate was unswayed by Mr. Mugabe's demagogic offer of free white land. But /// END OPT /// the low turnout in traditionally pro-Mugabe rural areas may also have do with the country's most horrific crisis: Some 25 percent of Zimbabweans are H-I-V- positive, and ... the plague is especially crippling in the countryside, where corn production dropped 61 percent in 1999 because farmers are simply too exhausted by disease to work.

    TEXT: Still on elections, there is a crucial one in Iran today, with many U-S newspapers hoping for gains by the reformer faction running for parliament. Today's Boston Globe praises the potentially peaceful, ballot-box revolution.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// Today's parliamentary elections in Iran cast light on the unique predicament of a country struggling to survive the misrule of a clerical theocracy. /// END OPT /// If the so-called reformers backing President Mohammad Khatami gain a majority of seats in parliament, as they are expected to, they will diminish somewhat the hard-liners' dominance /// OPT /// and do so in accordance with the will of a voting majority. /// END OPT /// But decisive power will still remain in the hands of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his fellow conservatives ... Iran's uniqueness, on display in these elections, is of a religious dictatorship allowing itself to be changed from within by democratic means.

    TEXT: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram tells readers to watch not only the South Carolina primary, but also results from Teheran.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// Almost six-thousand candidates are vying for 290 seats in Iran's Majlis (parliament), and /// END OPT /// the outcome of that election will determine whether the pace of inexorable reform in that theocracy will accelerate or slow down. ... Thirty-eight million Iranians are eligible to vote ... It will be interesting to compare the percentage of those who vote there today to the percentage of eligible voters who go to the polls in South Carolina tomorrow.

    TEXT: Regarding the South Carolina Republican presidential primary tomorrow [Saturday], pitting Texas Governor George Bush against Arizona Senator John McCain, public opinion polls indicate a statistical dead heat. Whatever the outcome, The San Francisco Examiner is sick of the negative campaigning.

    VOICE: One thing worse than negative campaigning is candidates accusing each other of it -- over and over again. ... [the] stakes are high. The winner will become the leader and odds-on favorite to be the party's nominee. Both men are spending an inordinate amount of time accusing the other of "negative campaigning"... Zip [close] the crying lips. Put the gloves back on. And may the toughest counter puncher win.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In the Savannah [Georgia] Morning News, Richard Fogaley, editorial columnist, dissects the character of this campaign.

    VOICE: What we're seeing ... I suspect, is a different kind of focus by the voters. The issues matter to some extent, particularly the economy, but the persona, the character, the trustworthiness of the candidates are what the electorate is concentrating on. It's obvious the national media are charmed by [Senator] McCain. His P-O-W [Prisoner Of War] story is a sexy [Editors: in this case "interesting"] sell, and his candor and accessibility are disarming to the usually cynical reporters. [Democratic candidate, Mr. Bill] Bradley exudes a little of the same charm, but it's based as much on his challenge to the crown prince and his basketball career as on anything else. [Governor] Bush and [Vice President Al] Gore have the name recognition, the money and the early momentum. We'll see tomorrow night just how far those resources can take them. [EDS: Do not be confused by that last sentence to think there is a Democratic primary also in South Carolina. There is NOT.]

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Back to international subjects, The New York Times calls President Clinton's trip to the sub- continent next month "long overdue," but warns that a stop in Pakistan, without some pre-visit progress over ending the Kashmir dispute with India would:

    VOICE: ... send the wrong signal to other trouble spots about the seriousness of American opposition [both] to military coups and reckless intervention in the problems of a neighboring country.

    TEXT: The [New York] Daily News takes note of the latest apology from Germany about the Holocaust, made by President Johannes Rau Wednesday in the Israeli Knesset.

    VOICE: It was ... extraordinary. In a wrenchingly emotional apology for the Nazi genocide ... [President] Rau said: ".. I bow in humility before those murdered ...I am asking for forgiveness for what Germans have done, for myself and my generation, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, whose future I would like to see alongside the children of Israel." Unlike some other nations that have developed amnesia, Germany has tried to make amends for its action during World War Two.

    TEXT: From Oklahoma, another call for the Irish Republican Army to disarm and save the Northern Ireland peace process, this time from The Tulsa World.

    VOICE: It's time for the I-R-A -- and all the paramilitary groups, including Protestant ones in Northern Ireland -- to disarm. /// OPT /// That means all their assault weapons, hand grenades and explosives. /// END OPT /// It's time the I-R-A grew up and dropped its bully tactics. It's time for peace.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The debate continues over whether the United States should provide another one-point-three billion dollars in military and other aid to Colombia to help combat widespread insurrection, inextricably mixed up with the nation's narcotics growers and smugglers. The Dallas Morning News says:

    VOICE: Congress should approve [President] Clinton's aid request. ... The U-S aid would support [President Andres] Pastrana's "Plan Colombia," an ambitious seven-point-five-billion dollar strategy to solve his country's crisis. Approximately three-fourths of the aid would purchase 63 helicopters and train two special anti-narcotics battalions. The rest would pay to eradicate drug crops, to promote legal agriculture and to reform the judicial system. Contrary to critics' assertions, the aid would not augur another Vietnam-type quagmire.

    TEXT: In Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is angry that the State Department hid vital information about the possible complicity of the U-S government in the murder of two Americans by Chilean intelligence during the overthrow of the Allende government by General Augusto Pinochet.

    VOICE: What the censored [State Department] documents were about was avoiding embarrassment, and that is not a legal exception to disclosure under the act (law). President Clinton is right to push for full disclosure about U-S involvement in Chile and in other Cold War hot spots, and the Pentagon and C-I-A (Central Intelligence Agency)must also comply.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: And lastly, a really serious hot weather emergency is looming for the United States according to this editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    VOICE: A nationwide shortage of ice cream cones ... It should hit home -- wouldn't you know it -- just about the time a cone filled with your choice of ice cream ... would most hit the spot, [Editors: really refresh a person] when the temperature starts to get civil here again. ... the largest cone producer in the country, Ace ... with plants strategically located in Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas, went bankrupt last December. Its plants are closed and coneless. .. even the president of the second-biggest ice cream cone maker . has grave doubts that the effort ... to fill ... demand ... will suffice. It's enough to make you scream.

    TEXT: And on that note of impending crisis, we bid farewell to the U-S editorial pages for another day.
    NEB/ANG/JP 18-Feb-2000 11:52 AM EDT (18-Feb-2000 1652 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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