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Voice of America, 00-03-07

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

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





    INTRO: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today (Tuesday) he is concerned about what he calls the "ambiguity" of the political future of Kosovo. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: When the United Nations Security Council created the U-N interim administration in Kosovo it promised "substantial autonomy" for the province. However, the head of the Kosovo mission, Bernard Kouchner, says the phrase "substantial autonomy" must be defined and U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan agrees. Mr. Annan told reporters the main split in Kosovo now involves ethnic Albanians who want independence and Serbs who want some affiliation with Serbia. As long as the political future is unclear, Mr. Annan says, it will be difficult to involve those two groups and other minorities in the political process.

    /// ANNAN ACT ///

    If the future political settlement is not clear, it is going to be difficult for us to get those two communities to deal with each other and with us.

    /// END ACT ///

    Speaking of local elections in Kosovo that have been promised for this year, Mr. Annan says all Kosovars should be registered, including those who have left the territory. He conceded that registering Serbs who have left will be difficult but he said the U-N administration in Kosovo and the Security Council are trying to find a solution.(Signed) NEB/UN/BA/LSF/gm 07-Mar-2000 16:07 PM EDT (07-Mar-2000 2107 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: There has been more violence in the divided Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica and officials there are reporting dozens of injuries, among them at least 16 French NATO peacekeepers. Tim Belay reports that the renewed violence is the latest in a month-long period of ethnic conflict.

    TEXT: Young ethnic-Albanian men and teenagers in Kosovska Mitrovica are being blamed for starting a fight while United Nations officials were registering Serbian residents on the Serb-dominated northern side of the city. The registration is part of a plan to return ethnic- Serbs to their homes on the Albanian-dominated south side of Mitrovica. Kosovska Mitrovica is divided between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. It has been the scene of repeated ethnic tensions that left at least 10 people dead and dozens injured in recent weeks. Since last week, the northern Mitrovica district where the firing broke out has been heavily fortified by NATO-led peacekeeping forces. The troops were successful in returning some Albanians to their homes after a two-day standoff with angry Serbs. The atmosphere remained extremely tense but quiet returned after the shooting. (Signed)
    NEB/TB/GE/JP 07-Mar-2000 13:45 PM EDT (07-Mar-2000 1845 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The United Nations refugee agency, U-N-H-C-R, says there has been a sharp increase this week in the number of ethnic Albanians fleeing into Kosovo from other parts of Serbia. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the agency says the Albanians come from several towns in an area of southern Serbia which borders Kosovo.

    TEXT: The U-N refugee agency says more than 600 Albanians from the Presevo region in Serbia registered Monday at a U-N-H-C-R office in the eastern Kosovo town of Gnjilane.

    U-N-H-C-R spokesman Kris Janowski says the new arrivals told aid workers they fled because of continuing tensions and sporadic clashes between Serb police and ethnic Albanians in southern Serbia.

    /// JANOWSKI ACT ///

    The latest arrivals reported that they fled following firefights around the village of Dobrocin, where two Albanian woodcutters were killed on January 26. More shooting incidents were reported Friday and over the weekend, they said. On Sunday, 76 new arrivals registered in Gnjilane and reported that many more people would follow as soon as they felt it safe to cross the border.

    /// END ACT ///

    The U-N refugee agency has registered more than one- thousand-650 ethnic Albanians in the past six weeks. But the agency believes the real number of arrivals could be much higher. It says many of the people do not register but simply go to other parts of Kosovo in search of shelter and employment. Since last summer, the agency says at least six- thousand ethnic Albanians have left southern Serbia. Spokesman Janowski calls that a conservative estimate. And he says the number may increase because tensions in the area are rising.

    /// JANOWSKI ACT TWO ///

    There have been increasing reports of instability along the provincial border in recent weeks, including accounts from displaced Albanians of harassment and intimidation by Serb police and military in southern Serbia.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Janowski says the refugee agency also has received numerous reports of armed Albanian groups operating in the region. These groups reportedly have broken away from the Kosovo Liberation Army which fought for Kosovo's independence from Yugoslavia. (Signed)
    NEB/LS/JWH/KL 07-Mar-2000 10:22 AM EDT (07-Mar-2000 1522 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is wrapping up a three-day visit to the Czech Republic, where she has outlined her vision for peace and stability in southeastern Europe. From Prague, VOA's Kyle King reports.

    TEXT: Ms. Albright used the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth the first Czechoslovak president, Thomas Masaryk, to call for greater cooperation in bringing southeastern Europe into what she called the democratic mainstream.

    /// OPT ///

    Ms. Albright said she was drawing on the philosophy of the President Masaryk, who is hailed as the father of Czech democracy.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    It is characterized by a belief in the ability of every individual, regardless or race, creed, gender or ethnic background. And it is based on a belief that if free peoples are to survive, they must work together.

    /// END ACT ////// END OPT ///

    Ms. Albright says democracy is the key to Western strategy in southeastern Europe and she cited progress in Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro. The secretary blamed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for many of the region's troubles and said the Serb people have no future under his leadership.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT TWO ///

    He is a repeat offender. He has intimidated and repressed domestic dissent. He has been indicted for crimes against humanity. He has isolated his country, made it the poorest in Europe, and betrayed the best interests of the Serb people by starting and losing four wars.

    /// END ACT ///

    Ms. Albright said a solution could not be imposed on Serbia, but said a democratic Serbia would be warmly welcomed and assisted by the international community. The Secretary expressed concern about recent violence in Kosovo's northern city of Mitrovica, where clashes between Serbs and ethnic Albanians left several people dead in the past month. She said the international community was concentrating its resources and strengthening security in an effort to give what she called cooler heads a chance to prevail.


    We are not asking either side to forget legitimate grievances. We are saying that no grievance can be redressed by shooting up a U-N bus, or driving a grandmother from her home, or hurling rocks at international forces - or eggs for that matter.

    /// END ACT ///

    Ms. Albright was jokingly referring to an incident on Monday when two eggs were thrown at her in the Czech city of Brno. Ms. Albright used her last full day in the Czech Republic to hold talks with Foreign Minister Jan Kavan and to lay a wreath at a statue of Thomas Masaryk.

    /// OPT ///

    During a news conference, the Czech-born U-S Secretary of State expressed gratitude that President Vaclav Havel suggested she would be an excellent replacement for him, but firmly rejected the idea. /// END OPT /// Wednesday she travels to Bosnia where she will discuss international efforts to bridge lingering animosities between the Muslim, Serb and Croat communities. (signed)
    NEB/KBK/KL 07-Mar-2000 10:59 AM EDT (07-Mar-2000 1559 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    /// Eng Eds; Please cut tape to conform to text. Cut phrase from last sentence in graf 4///

    INTRO: U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright travels to Bosnia-Herzegovina later today / Wednesday to discuss efforts to bridge lingering animosities between the Muslim, Serb and Croat communities - more than four years after the war ended there. VOA's Kyle King is traveling with the secretary and files this report.

    TEXT: Secretary of State Albright begins her visit to Sarajevo by meeting with Bosnian Croat opposition leader Kresmir Zubak and then visiting the strategic northern city of Brcko.

    /// OPT ///

    During a foreign policy speech on the last day of her visit to the Czech Republic Tuesday /// END OPT /// Ms. Albright cited the city as an example of the progress that has been made in peace efforts.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    A few years ago, we were told that tensions in the divided Bosnian town of Brcko would surely derail the Dayton (peace) Accords. Those predictions were wrong. Tomorrow I will be in Brcko to meet with Serbs, Croats and Muslims to inaugurate its new governing statute.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    Brcko occupies a unique strategic point in Bosnia, a narrow passage that connects the eastern and western parts of the Bosnian Serb entity called the Republika Srpska. /// END OPT /// The once prosperous town was the scene of fierce fighting during war and was in Serb hands when the fighting ended in 1995. But its location was so important control was handed over to an international supervisor. During her visit, Secretary of State Albright will take part in the inauguration of the new governing statute that will regulate how the once fiercely contested town is controlled.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Thursday in Sarajevo, Ms. Albright will meet with European Union Commissioner Chris Patten and E-U High Representative Javier Solana. She is also scheduled to travel to Banja Luka, the capitol of the Bosnian Serb Republic for talks with officials and opposition leader Biljana Plavsic. Friday, she flies on to Brussels, the final stop on her ten day European trip. (signed)
    NEB/KBK/JO 07-Mar-2000 15:01 PM EDT (07-Mar-2000 2001 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were sharply lower today (Tuesday), with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing below 10-thousand for the first time in seven days. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrials plunged 374 points, over three and one-half percent, to 97-hundred-96. The main culprit was an earnings warning by Proctor and Gamble - the largest U-S maker of household goods. Proctor and Gamble shares traded at one-third their value, shaving at least 100 points off the Dow average. The Standard and Poor's 500 index dropped 35 points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite briefly crossed over the five-thousand mark for the first time, before succumbing to profit-taking and a loss of over one percent.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Market-watchers predict most of the money will continue to flow toward the fast-growth companies that make up the Nasdaq market. Analyst Greg Smith says it makes sense in an economic world that is changing dramatically because of technology. He believes many of the benchmarks that people normally use to define a company's value are no longer relevant:

    /// SMITH ACT ///

    When you look at a stock, when you look at a company in the stock market, you have to think about how they're going to fit into a world that's going to be driven by E-commerce, and its opportunity not only to continue to survive but to actually prosper in that world.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    The latest on the U-S economy shows worker productivity in the fourth quarter of 1999 grew at the fastest pace in seven years while labor costs fell. But even positive inflation news could not halt the steep "blue-chip" slide.

    /// REST OPT ///

    The Dow average, which includes mostly industrial and financial service stocks, was also hurt by the persistent concern over higher interest rates. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan reiterated Monday that the central bank will keep raising rates until the U-S economy slows. Wall Street banking analysts are showing special interest in talk of a possible big merger in the German banking industry. Deutsche Bank and rival Dresdner are said to be discussing joining forces to create the world's largest bank by asset value. Executives from the two German banks are expected to hold a news conference Thursday. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/gm 07-Mar-2000 16:43 PM EDT (07-Mar-2000 2143 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Today is known as "Super Tuesday" in the United States, when 16 states hold primary elections or caucuses to decide which candidates will compete for the presidency in the general election in November. Indications are the two front-runners in the Republican and Democratic party races -- Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore -- will be the big winners (in today's primaries). Other topics drawing comment in American newspapers include the conviction of a top Gore fund-raiser; the return of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to his native land; concerns about violence in Kosovo, and the scheduled Israeli pullout from Lebanon. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Newspapers in every corner of the nation are keyed on the primary elections being held in several key states today, where hundreds of delegates to the national political conventions will be chosen. The Grand Forks [North Dakota] Herald, where a Democratic caucus will be held, finds a change from previous years.

    VOICE: Something magical has happened this year. Americans have gotten turned on [become energized by] to politics. This has been clear since Iowa and New Hampshire, when candidates first came face to face. Public interest has grown since that time, and it will reach a new peak today... Today's Super Tuesday could mean the end of competitive campaigns in both parties. ... [but it] shouldn't be regarded as the end of the political season. ... Indeed, it is really the beginning.

    TEXT: Today's [New York] Daily News doesn't like the way Texas Governor George Bush ended his campaign in New York.

    VOICE: Memo to George W. Bush's aides: Please spray your boy with a little Glade air freshener. The stench from the swine-like campaign he is waging has become unbearable. ... Republicans who truly care about this city, this state and this country will cast their ballots for John McCain.

    TEXT: The Atlanta Constitution, in calling for a big turnout, evokes the experience of black South Africans voting in their first election a few years ago.

    VOICE: When South Africans got their first chance to vote as a multiracial democracy, 87 percent of them turned out. Some voters in wheelchairs waited in steaming heat for more than seven hours. ... When Russians were given ballots for the first time, 66 percent voted. Many of them braved icy conditions to mark their ballots, because they so valued a right denied to previous generations. But when we Georgians go to the polls today, anything over 38 percent will be considered a great turnout. ... You should go to the polls. ... Don't be a no-show at democracy's most important gathering.

    TEXT: Connecticut's Waterbury Republican-American, witnessing a primary in its state, is especially concerned about the prospect of "crossover" voting in which Democrats are allowed to vote in the Republican primary and vice versa. The paper also has qualms about so-called blanket primaries where all candidates are listed on a single ballot.

    VOICE: Do crossover and blanket primaries make any sense? As party functions they don't. Opening the door to independents and members of other parties obliterates any meaning to party affiliation. It renders the party structure and influence useless.

    TEXT: Turning to a related issue, the convictions on several counts of a principal Al Gore fundraiser, Maria Hsia, for fund-raising illegalities, The Manchester [New Hampshire] Union Leader is appalled.

    VOICE: Upon hearing of Hsia's conviction, [Vice President] Gore expressed sympathy for her and called her a "friend." Nice to know [Mr.] Gore calls "friend" a figure whom [the] ... chairman of the investigation into the 1996 Clinton-Gore fundraising scandal described as "an agent of the Chinese government." ... Either [Mr.] Gore is so unforgivably naive that he socializes with Chinese Communist agents without knowing it, or he is unforgivably cavalier about national- security interests.

    TEXT: Internationally, the return of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet from 17 months of house arrest in Britain continues to draw attention. The Tulsa World in Oklahoma feels the ex-dictator should stand trial.

    VOICE: As historic despots go, the 17-year fascist rule of [General] Pinochet could be considered mild. He is suspected in the deaths of at least three-thousand people - [including] some citizens of the countries that wanted to extradite him -- and the torture of thousands of others. That hardly puts him in the same league as Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot. But that doesn't make it any less important that he answer for his crimes.

    // OPT //

    TEXT: Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union feels that both sides gained something from the Pinochet incident.

    VOICE: Both Augusto Pinochet and international human-rights groups can claim victory in the 17- month struggle to determine whether Spain could put him on trial for crimes committed in far- away Chile. [General] Pinochet won his freedom. His adversaries gained a far-reaching legal precedent. // END OPT //

    TEXT: The New York Times is upset at the slow pace of financial and other aid the Europeans are supplying to U-N peacekeeping and rebuilding efforts in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province.

    VOICE: Europe has financed traditional projects like the repair of power grids. But it has been slow to send the 45-million dollars it pledged for the day-to-day running of the Kosovo administration. As a result, [Bernard] Kouchner, [chief U-N administrator,] began the year with insufficient funds for everything from doctors, teachers and local police to garbage collectors ... and road repair crews. ... The European Union says the money is now on the way, but it should have been provided months ago. // OPT // Kosovo also urgently needs more international police officers to keep situations like the confrontation between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in the city of Mitrovica from spreading. ... The West can be proud of its role in ending terror and mass expulsions from Kosovo. But it cannot yet be satisfied with its efforts to help build a functional, law-abiding society there. // END OPT //

    TEXT: Turning to the Mideast, The Miami Herald is pleased at the perseverance of Israel to go ahead with what the paper calls its "brave Lebanon withdrawal."

    VOICE: Israel's decision to leave southern Lebanon is a gamble -- but it's a risk worth taking. Sunday's unanimous Cabinet approval of Israeli plans to withdraw troops by July strengthens Prime Minister Ehud Barak's hand to broker peace and restart negotiations with Syria, which stalled in January. ... Mr. Barak must now devote his energies to mending rifts within his coalition government and finding ways to get peace negotiations restarted.

    // OPT //

    TEXT: Still in the region, today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram is delighted at the final agreement on the sale of 80 F-16 jet fighter planes, worth six-point-four-billion dollars, to the United Arab Emirates. Lockheed Martin makes the planes in Fort Worth.

    VOICE: The U-A-E deal will have to be approved by Congress. Although some members ... have questioned the wisdom of selling sophisticated weapons to foreign countries, representatives should not hesitate to give their vote of approval for this sale. It is not only good business for Lockheed Martin, but it also serves to equip America's allies with the necessary tools to keep the peace in their own neighborhoods. // END OPT //

    TEXT: In African affairs, The Boston Globe is again lamenting the continuing border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

    VOICE: A nation where eight-million people are threatened by famine would be wise to end a senseless war immediately. Ethiopia ought to accept an African peace plan that calls for the peaceful settlement of its border dispute with Eritrea. Yet late last month fighting broke out, as it has periodically since heavy combat ended last June. ... it is clear that Ethiopia is presenting the biggest roadblock to peace.

    TEXT: Lastly, The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, decries what it feels is "the misuse of citizen soldiers" in this country. It is responding to Army plans to reduce the time state militia troops and military reserve units are called upon to serve active duty overseas, bolstering the regular Army.

    VOICE: Now the citizen soldier himself is becoming an endangered species, as the guard and ... reserve see their own ranks thinned and vacancies going unfilled. ... The only solution to the very real problems facing all the armed forces ... is a better balance between active- duty manpower and overseas commitments. We can have a smaller and cheaper Army, Navy and Air Force. And we can continue to fill the role of world policeman when diplomacy fails. But we can't, indefinitely, have it both ways. The citizen soldier is a priceless asset in the defense of American interests at home and abroad. It is wrong to squander him in defense of a policy this administration has shown little interest in paying for.

    TEXT: On that cautionary note, we conclude this sampling of Tuesday's editorials from the U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 07-Mar-2000 11:27 AM EDT (07-Mar-2000 1627 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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