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Voice of America, 00-03-13

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY / ISLAMIC HEADSCARVES BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ISTANBUL)
  • [02] YUGOSLAV WAR CRIMES (L-ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)
  • [03] CHINA-E-U/TRADE (L-ONLY) BY STEPHANIE MANN (BEIJING)
  • [04] E-U / AUSTRIA (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [05] E-U / I-M-F (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [06] RUSSIA / COUNCIL OF EUROPE (L ONLY) BY PETER HEINLEIN (MOSCOW)
  • [07] HUNGARY POLLUTION (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [08] SPANISH ELECTION BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [09] SPAIN ELECTION UPDATE (L ONLY) BY GIL CARBAJAL (MADRID)
  • [10] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [11] MONDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] TURKEY / ISLAMIC HEADSCARVES BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ISTANBUL)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45625
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Turkey's government is vigorously enforcing its controversial ban on Islamic-style headscarves in government schools and offices. But as Amberin Zaman reports from Istanbul, a growing number of Turkish women are insisting on their right to cover their heads in accordance with the Islamic holy book, the Koran, and are beginning to fight back.

    TEXT: In a small Istanbul apartment facing a mosque, a group of young women gather to discuss their next move. Some are college students. Others are teachers. All have been forced out their schools because they wear the Islamic-style headscarf. Turkey's coalition government, led by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, has vigorously enforced a ban on the headscarf in government-run schools since it came to power nearly one-year ago. Hundreds of students and teachers who refuse to remove their scarves have been forced to abandon their education and their careers. One of the women gathered here in this tiny apartment, Ozlem Besci, is the president of a group called the Women's Rights Association to Combat Discrimination, called Akder for short. The group was formed more than one-year ago to combat the ban by convincing the Turkish public that their headscarves have nothing to do with promoting political Islam. Miss Besci was a medical student at Istanbul's Cerrahpasa Faculty, but she says she was forced to quit class during her third-year because she refused to remove her headscarf.

    /// BESCI ACT ONE - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    Miss Besci says she was offered a scholarship by faculty members if she took off her headscarf. She rejected the offer. Aysel Tastepe is a 38-year-old school teacher. She and more than 300 other teachers have lost their jobs during the past two-years because of the headscarf ban. Miss Tastepe says about 200 of these teachers are being tried for violating a special anti-terror law.

    /// TASTEPE ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    Miss Tastepe says many of her colleagues suffered from nervous depression as a result of the ban. She says some of them have resorted to wearing wigs over their headscarves to get around the regulations. Akder's president, Miss Besci, says the headscarf ban began to be implemented following recommendations by Turkey's military-dominated National Security Council in 1997. It is part of the effort to crack down on what Turkey's staunchly pro-secular generals called - the growing threat of Islamic radicalism. Turkey's first Islamic-led government was forced to step down that same year amid charges it was seeking to introduce religious rule. Pressure has been mounting ever since on Turks who are overtly religious and politically active. Miss Besci says a recent Akder study shows there are at least 30-thousand university students in Turkey who wear the Islamic headscarf.

    /// BESCI ACT TWO - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    She says most of them have bared their heads in order to pursue their education. Miss Besci also says she and her friends cover their heads simply out of religious observance. But many pro-secular Turks view the Islamic headscarf as a symbol of religious radicalism. Analysts say women in Turkey enjoy greater freedom than any other women in the Islamic world. And they say it not surprising that women in Turkey find efforts to legalize the headscarf in government institutions as an attempt to undermine their rights. One candidate who was elected to Turkey's parliament last year on the ticket of the Islam-based Virtue Party provoked a national uproar when she appeared at the swearing-in ceremony wearing a headscarf. Merve Kasvakci was booed out of the chamber by members of Prime Minister Ecevit's Democratic Left Party before she could take the oath of office.

    /// OPT ///

    Ayse Dogan, a school teacher who lost her job, says one of the most upsetting aspects of the headscarf controversy is that religiously-observant men are not discriminated against in the same way.
    /// OPT DOGAN ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER

    /// OPT ///

    She says the religiously-observant men can serve in parliament, work as teachers, or freely pursue their education. /// END OPT ///
    All the women at Akder say they are confident that with time, the Turkish public will learn to trust them and respect their right to fulfill their religious obligations in their own way. The women see their battle as part of a broader struggle for greater democracy in Turkey. But their critics insist that the women want to use democracy to eventually impose Islamic rule. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/RAE 13-Mar-2000 11:44 AM EDT (13-Mar-2000 1644 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] YUGOSLAV WAR CRIMES (L-ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260131
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Prosecutors at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague have started laying out their case against a Bosnian Serb general charged with genocide. They say General Radislav Krstic commanded troops that murdered thousands of Muslims in 1995, after the fall of the United Nations-declared safe area at Srebrenica. Lauren Comiteau reports from the Dutch capital.

    TEXT: Radislav Krstic showed little emotion as prosecutors said he gave the orders that led to the crimes. Five years ago, Bosnian Serbs overran the U-N-declared safe area of Srebrenica. What followed, said Prosecutor Mark Harmon, was the abandonment of all sense of humanity, with the Bosnian Serb army committing atrocities of a type and scale not seen since World War Two.

    /// 1st HARMON ACT ///

    This is the case about the triumph of evil, the story about how officers and soldiers of the Bosnian Serb army -- men who professed to be professional soldiers, men who professed to represent the ideals of a distinguished Serbian past -- organized, planned and willingly participated in genocide. Or stood silent in the face of it.

    /// END ACT ///

    Prosecutor Harmon says the legacy of those foul deeds has stained the reputation of the Serbian people and shattered the lives of a generation of Bosnians. The only way to eradicate that stain, he says, is to hold individuals like General Radislav Krstic responsible.

    /// 2ND HARMON ACT ///

    He chose, instead, to violate with impunity every fundamental duty imposed upon him as an officer and a commander, and that is the reason he sits before you today in judgment.

    /// END ACT ///

    Prosecutors estimate that more than seven-thousand-500 Muslim men and boys are missing and presumed dead as a result of the Bosnian Serb's genocidal campaign. The exact number will never be known. General Krstic allegedly commanded the troops that deported between 20-thousand and 30-thousand Muslims over the course of two days. Much of the prosecution's evidence will focus on proving that the general was in a position of power, able to stop the crimes or punish those who committed them. Judges got a glimpse of the evidence Monday morning. Jean-Rene Ruez was the first witness to take the stand. As the war-crimes investigator responsible for the Srebrenica investigations, he explained to the judges video footage taken by a Serb journalist. Much of it eerily captured the scene leading up to the massacres.

    /// RUEZ ACT ///

    All these men have been identified by face and they are all missing. Someone will come and testify about their identification. [fade after courtroom sound...]

    /// END ACT ///

    Judges also got to see pictures of General Krstic entering Srebrenica with General Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serb army. General Mladic has also been charged with genocide for the crimes at Srebrenica, but has evaded arrest. Prosecutors expect to call some 50 witnesses over the next four weeks of the trial. (Signed)
    NEB/LC/GE/WTW 13-Mar-2000 10:23 AM EDT (13-Mar-2000 1523 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] CHINA-E-U/TRADE (L-ONLY) BY STEPHANIE MANN (BEIJING)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260113
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: China's trade minister is optimistic a trade agreement can be reached when the European trade commissioner visits Beijing later this month. V-O-A Correspondent Stephanie Mann reports from Beijing a Sino-European trade deal is one of the few remaining obstacles to China's membership in the World Trade Organization.

    TEXT: Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng says not many issues are left in the negotiations to conclude a trade deal with the European Union. At a Beijing news conference, Mr. Shi was asked about the issues that have so far blocked a Sino-European agreement. Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Shi, declined to specify the areas of disagreement.

    // SHI - TRANSLATOR ACT //

    Talking about the negotiation between China and the European Union, except for those elements that China is unable to commit itself to irrespective of the W-T- O member it is negotiating with, there are not many remaining issues.

    // END ACT //

    China needs the consent of all 135 W-T-O members before it can join the global trade rule-making body. The European Union is the most important of the 10 members that have yet to sign a trade deal with China. Over the last two months, the two sides have held talks in Brussels and Beijing, and European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy plans to visit Beijing March 27th to continue the negotiations. Before earlier rounds of talks, E-U officials said the outstanding issues center on Beijing's refusal to allow European companies greater access to China's insurance and telecommunications markets. The E-U has also been seeking lower tariffs on some specific goods, such as English gin, Scotch whiskey, French cosmetics and Italian leather products. Trade Minister Shi said the Chinese side has tried to react positively to the European concerns. And he expects he and Mr. Lamy will be able to resolve the limited number of differences and conclude the negotiations. (Signed)
    NEB/SMN/FC 13-Mar-2000 03:35 AM EDT (13-Mar-2000 0835 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] E-U / AUSTRIA (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260127
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel traveled to Brussels to meet Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Guetteres to urge an end to Europe's political isolation of his government. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels that the Austrian leader's progress was limited.

    TEXT: To indicate the chill between Austria and its 14-partners in the European Union, Portugal's Prime Minister did not want to appear in public with Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel. The current President of the European Union, Antonio Guetteres, met the press in the foyer of the European council building, while Chancellor Schuessel talked to reporters in a separate session in the main hall. Prime Minister Guetteres wanted to brief Austria on the preparations for next week's European Summit meeting in Lisbon. But because of the European Union's political sanctions against Austria, Mr. Guetteres did not want to travel to Vienna to do that. The sanctions have been imposed because Chancellor Schuessel's Peoples Party has a coalition government with Austria's rightwing Freedom Party. Prime Minister Guetteres tells reporters, the political sanctions against Austria will remain in force until the Freedom Party changes its extremist image.

    /// GUETTERES ACT ///

    The question relates to the nature of the F-P-Oe (Freedom Party) and what I would hope is that the nature of the F-P-Oe will change.

    /// END ACT ///

    The nature of the party that finished second in last year's parliamentary election is a platform of xenophobia and anti-immigration. The Freedom party's leader, until he resigned two-weeks ago, was Joerg Haider - who continues to ridicule French President Jacques Chirac and the government of Belgium. Chancellor Schuessel insists the Freedom Party's nature is already changing because Mr. Haider signed the government program pledging respect for human rights and European values. Mr. Schuessel says, through an interpreter, the bilateral sanctions against his country are hurting all Austrian citizens.

    /// SCHUESSEL ACT W/ INTERPRETER ///

    The upshot of the measures taken by the 14 are different then. In a number of countries, students are excluded from exchange programs; artists are no longer invited in other cases. There was one taxi trade union boss who said that no Austrians would be taken in taxis anymore because of the dangerous virus they were carrying. This is traditional type of discrimination that certainly does affect the rights of Austrian citizens.

    /// END ACT ///

    Chancellor Schuessel calls for the Portuguese Prime Minister to issue a statement clarifying the sanctions.

    /// OPT ///

    They are supposed to cover the level of political relations between E-U members. They do not affect Austrian attendance at E-U meetings. Chancellor Schuessel received permission from Mr. Guetteres to address the 14-leaders at next week's Lisbon Summit. He says, through an interpreter, his government's performance has done nothing to merit the sanctions.

    /// SCHUESSEL OPT ACT W/ INTERPRETER ///

    I spelled out our position, the position of our new government, which has been in office for five-weeks now, and has done absolutely nothing which could compromise the positions of the Treaty in anyway, and quite the opposite, in some areas we have gone beyond our obligations.

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

    There has been no sign that the other European leaders are ready to restore Austria to its previous position. As Prime Minister Guetteres puts it - there is nothing new there. (SIGNED) NEB/RP/GE/LTD/RAE 13-Mar-2000 09:43 AM EDT (13-Mar-2000 1443 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] E-U / I-M-F (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260134
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: European Union finance ministers have unanimously chosen the director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Horst Koehler, as Europe's candidate to become managing director of the International Monetary Fund (the I-M-F). V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports the Europeans hope this second choice from Germany will overcome objections from the United States, which vetoed an earlier candidate.

    TEXT: Portugal's Finance Minister Joaquim Pino-Moura says Europe sees no need to clear its choice with the United States. He says (through an interpreter) that Mr. Koehler is Europe's clear choice for the job of running the I-M-F.

    /// PINO MOURA W/ INTERPRETER ACT ONE ///

    This is a strong candidate, a credible candidate, a candidate throughout his career, his present career and his previous career, [who] has all of the qualifications necessary to fulfill the necessary criteria. First of all, he's got the unanimous support of all the European Union. And he also has a very broad range of support. I'm not just talking about the United States of America, I'm talking about the emerging countries and other countries whose position is important when it comes to a solution to this post.

    /// END ACT ///

    The United States has not publicly commented about Mr. Koehler's qualifications. The United States rejected the first German candidate, Deputy Finance Minister Caio Koch-Weser, as not an eminent political figure. It is not clear if Mr. Koehler's 18 months as European Bank director will be seen as more impressive. Mr. Pino-Moura quotes President Clinton as saying the United States has no objection to a European as managing director of the I-M-F, or to a German citizen. By tradition the I-M-F has always been led by a European, and the World Bank by an American. The Portuguese finance minister (again speaking through an interpreter) says the Europeans will work harder for Mr. Koehler's confirmation than they did for Mr. Koch-Weser.

    /// PINO-MOURA W/ INTERPRETER ACT TWO ///

    Well, what the Finance Ministers decided, was that there would be a commitment at the European level behind this candidate, Horst Koehler. He's our unanimous choice, and this will entail the commitment of every government to do everything they can to push forward that candidacy, expressing their own opinion at the I-M-F and by mobilizing as much support as possible behind the candidacy of Horst Koehler.

    /// END ACT ///

    The French Finance Minister, Christian Sautter, tells reporters Mr. Koehler's experience in dealing with Eastern Europe could prove valuable for the International Monetary Fund in dealing with Russia after the Presidential elections there on March 26th. Germany expects a vote on Mr. Koehler by the end of the week. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/WTW 13-Mar-2000 13:23 PM EDT (13-Mar-2000 1823 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] RUSSIA / COUNCIL OF EUROPE (L ONLY) BY PETER HEINLEIN (MOSCOW)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260133
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Council of Europe has accused Russian troops and Chechen rebels of war crimes and has condemned Russia's destruction of the Chechen capital, Grozny. V-O-A's Peter Heinlein in Moscow reports the group of European lawmakers made their comments after a fact-finding mission in Chechnya.

    TEXT: The group's leader, Frank Judd of Britain, says Russia is likely to lose its membership in the Council of Europe next month unless it takes urgent action to investigate alleged military atrocities in Chechnya. Mr. Judd and the parliamentary delegation spent two- days touring the region. He says the lawmakers were shocked by what they saw.

    /// JUDD ACT ONE ///

    We were deeply disturbed by the distress and the trauma suffered by civilians as a result of indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by the Russian military.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Judd says there is also evidence of atrocities by Chechen fighters.

    /// JUDD ACT TWO ///

    We believe that serious human-rights violations have taken place in Chechnya on both sides. Eyewitnesses have given us accounts of arbitrary killings and harassment by Russian forces, as well as totally unacceptable acts of violence by Chechen fighters.

    /// END ACT ///

    The British lawmaker says he can think of no excuse for what he calls - the systematic destruction - of the Chechen capital, Grozny.

    /// JUDD ACT THREE ///

    Frankly, I find it beyond comprehension that at the beginning of the 21st century, a European city like Grozny could be systematically destroyed by the forces of its own government.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    Russia's state-run television on Monday largely ignored the Council of Europe's findings. Viewers saw nothing of Mr. Judd's criticisms. Instead, they heard comments of Russian lawmaker Sergei Rogozin, who accompanied the European delegation. Mr. Rogozin is chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of Russia's parliament. He accused the foreign visitors of making up their minds beforehand, and rejecting evidence that failed to fit their conclusions.

    /// OPT ROGOZIN ACT- IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///

    He says the delegation was, in his words - looking on purpose for some violations, especially on human rights issues. /// END OPT /// The Council of Europe came close to suspending Russia's membership in January, but agreed to postpone its decision until April after the Kremlin promised to investigate allegations of war crimes. But after his tour of Chechnya, a visibly shaken Mr. Judd says it is time to back up those promises. He told reporters his delegation has heard statements of intent. What we are looking for now - he said - is evidence of significant and substantive action. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PFH/JWH/RAE 13-Mar-2000 12:28 PM EDT (13-Mar-2000 1728 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] HUNGARY POLLUTION (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=3/12/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260109
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Three United Nations experts are expected to arrive in Hungary today (Monday) to help officials cope with the second environmental disaster in six weeks, caused by chemical pollution from neighboring Romania. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest that hundreds of thousands of Hungarians have been affected by the latest spill.

    TEXT: Mayors of 13 Hungarian cities and towns along the Tisza River have warned people not to drink the water, as the Environment Ministry struggles to contain a 20-kilometer spill that includes zinc and lead well above permitted levels. Officials say the spill occurred Friday when torrential rains and rapidly melting snow broke a dam near the Romanian Baia Borsa mine, close to the borders of Ukraine and Hungary. On Saturday the 20-thousand tons of heavy metals moved further downstream in Hungary's second largest river, the Tisza, which was already polluted by a previous cyanide escape from another Romanian mine. Foreign Ministry official Istvan Horvath says Hungary wants help from the European Union to prevent further pollution of one of Eastern Europe's most important eco-systems. Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Horvath says that Hungary will ask an E-U task force being formed Monday to investigate dozens of Romanian industrial sites and other potential ecological trouble spots.

    /// HORVATH ACT WITH TRANSLATION ///

    The representative of the Hungarian Government is going to place a request that this task force as a top priority should deal with proposals mentioned by the Government commissioner...That an international expert team should be sent to Romania, to study the potential sources of risk.

    /// END ACT ///

    Hungary says the ongoing pollution could undermine Romania's bid to join the European Union. On Saturday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Gabor Horvath told V-O-A news that he would be amazed if Romanian government officials would be allowed -- in his words even in the vicinity of the negotiating table. Environmentalists fear that the new heavy metal spill will end up in the food chain. The policy officer of the World Wide Fund for Nature in Hungary, Tibor Farago, told V-O-A news that fish and other species contaminated with the heavy metals could aggravate Hungary's already high cancer rate. Hungary wants new bilateral accords with its neighbors on environmental issues, because nearly all of its water supply comes from rivers and streams that originate outside the country, mostly in Romania and Ukraine. (Signed) NEB/sb/gm 12-Mar-2000 19:06 PM EDT (13-Mar-2000 0006 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [08] SPANISH ELECTION BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45627
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Spanish voters have reaffirmed their confidence in Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's center-right government, which won more than half the 350 parliamentary seats in Sunday's election. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports the election results finally put to rest Spain's history of civil war and right-wing dictatorships.

    TEXT: The center-right Popular Party has won 183 seats, giving it an absolute majority in the 350-seat lower house of parliament. It marked a humiliating defeat for the Socialists, who had teamed up with the Communist Party in an effort to regain political power. Political commentator Felipe Sahagun says the victory of incumbent Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has more to do with the economy than with politics.

    /// 1st SAHAGUN ACT ///

    Politics in Spain, like most other industrialized countries these days, has very little to do with ideology and everything to do with their pockets, their money. So it's like changing horses in the middle of a race. If the horse is doing well, why would you change the horse?

    /// END ACT ///

    The Madrid-based political analyst says the center- right victory also has put to rest the ghosts of Spain's past right-wing dictatorship.

    /// 2nd SAHAGUN ACT ///

    The historical meaning of the result of the election is that this is the, end, finally of the civil war. Because for the first time, probably, this election demonstrates that Spaniards don't vote any more according to ideological divides.

    /// END ACT ///

    The re-election of the 47-year-old former tax inspector also confirms the power of Spain's new generation, born after the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Mr. Sahagun and other analysts say the resurgence of Basque separatist violence just before the elections has hurt the Basque Nationalist Party and diminished its influence. Prime Minister Aznar has been less keen on negotiating with the armed ETA separatists or political parties associated with them.

    /// 3rd SAHAGUN ACT ///

    The Nationalists have lost their influence in the central government. ETA committed a mistake breaking the truce, because it has helped increase the vote for the People's Party in the Basque country. That is very clear. So now the Nationalists don't have enough votes to continue in the government in the autonomous region, if they don't renew their previous pact, which made possible the truce.

    /// END ACT ///

    The victory of the center-right has also highlighted the disarray of the Socialist party and sparked calls to revamp and modernize the party. With his mandate now reaffirmed, Prime Minister Aznar does not seem too worried about the competition. He has overseen steady economic growth and has promised to give the voters what they want: lower taxes, more jobs, and less control of the economy. (Signed)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/WTW 13-Mar-2000 13:46 PM EDT (13-Mar-2000 1846 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [09] SPAIN ELECTION UPDATE (L ONLY) BY GIL CARBAJAL (MADRID)

    DATE=3/12/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260110
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: In Spain, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party has won an absolute parliamentary majority in the country's eighth general election since the death of Francisco Franco. Gil Carbajal reports from Madrid that Mr. Aznar's victory defied opinion poll predictions that he would need support from regional parties to govern over the next four years.

    TEXT: After winning Sunday's general election, Prime Minister Aznar has a comfortable majority of 183 in Spain's 350-seat parliament. His party won 44-point- five percent of the vote in an election in which 70- percent of Spain's 34-million voters cast ballots. The leader of the opposition Socialist Workers Party, Joaquin Almunia, has conceded defeat and resigned his post. His party obtained just 33-percent of the vote and was reduced to 125 seats in parliament. He had counted on an alliance with the communist-led United Left Coalition. In 1996 the two parties together had polled two-point-five million more votes than the Popular Party. This time round, their combined vote was nearly five-percent less than Mr. Aznar's party. The united left has been reduced from 21 to eight seats in parliament. Once again public opinion polls in Spain have shown how unreliable they can be. In 1996 they predicted an absolute majority for the Popular Party, but Mr. Aznar was finally forced to negotiate with the Basque and Catalan regional parties. This time the polls said he would, at best, fall five seats short of a majority. He has ended up with seven more than needed, enabling him to form one of the few remaining right-leaning governments in the European Union. The big loser in the general election is Catalan leader Jordi Pujol. He has been the arbiter of Spanish politics since 1993 when he propped up the socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez. In 1996 he and the Basque National Party supported the government of Prime Minister Aznar. Now Mr. Aznar is able to rule without their support, and can ignore their continual pressure for more autonomy. (Signed) NEB/gc/gm 12-Mar-2000 22:11 PM EDT (13-Mar-2000 0311 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260140
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A wave of selling in Asian and European stock exchanges shook Wall Street Monday. U-S stock prices closed mostly lower. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to hold on to a modest gain of 18 points, closing at 99- hundred-47. But the Standard and Poor's 500 index fell 11 points. And the technology-weighted NASDAQ composite, which had a record run last week, dropped over 140 points, a loss of nearly three percent. A report showing Japan's economy slowed for the second straight quarter precipitated a major sell-off in global markets, especially of technology stocks. Profit-taking kept the U-S NASDAQ market in negative territory throughout the trading session, for its fourth-largest point loss ever. Analysts were not unduly alarmed. Many experts believe technology is over-valued in all major markets and due for a pullback.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Joe McAlinden, an analyst with the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter brokerage firm, actually sees the economic slowdown in Japan as an unexpected bonus for the U-S stock market. He says it could mean U-S interest rates may not have to go up too much.

    /// McALINDEN ACT ///

    A synchronized global economic boom forces the "Fed" [the Federal Reserve Board] to tighten interest rates even more than is currently expected in the marketplace. So if Japan is getting a little bit of a slower start out of the gate here in the year 2000, to me that's good news. And it buys more time for this bull market [rising market].

    /// END ACT ///

    In other news, leading automaker General Motors and Italian car-maker Fiat have agreed to an alliance that will give G-M a 20 percent stake in the Italian company. Fiat will have about a five percent share of General Motors. The deal is aimed at cutting operating costs. It also would give General Motors the right to buy the remaining 80 percent of Fiat if the Italian company is put up for sale in the future. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/WTW 13-Mar-2000 17:09 PM EDT (13-Mar-2000 2209 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [11] MONDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=3/13/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11724
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: President Clinton's forthcoming visit to the South Asian sub continent, with a newly included stop in Pakistan, comes in for comment in Monday's editorial pages. The apology by the Roman Catholic Church from Pope John Paul the Second for past misdeeds, is also noted; as is the struggle for peace in the Middle East. Other topics include the latest food aid to North Korea from Japan; the China trade dispute in Congress; hopes for resurrecting the Northern Ireland peace process, and the difficult task of choosing a new head of the International Monetary Fund. Now, here is __________ with a closer look, including some excerpts, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: President Clinton leaves soon for a visit to the Indian sub-continent, with trips planned to New Delhi and Dhaka, Bangladesh. A few days ago, a short stop in Pakistan was added to the trip after a lengthy debate. On New York's Long Island, Newsday is pleased, saying it adds balance to the visit that was lacking.

    VOICE: President Bill Clinton has made the right choice with his belated decision to include Pakistan in his upcoming trip ... To visit India and exclude Pakistan, as some of his aides had urged, would have been a gratuitous snub. [Mr.] Clinton, however, must use his brief visit to Islamabad to reassert his objections to last October's military coup and insist on the reinstatement of democratic rule.

    TEXT: Oklahoma's The Tulsa World agrees.

    VOICE: There might be no more dangerous area of the world than India and Pakistan. Both countries possess nuclear capabilities, both have little regard for the other and the region has a catalyst - - Kashmir - - for war. That is why President Clinton made the correct decision [which] ....will be criticized by those who think the stop will be an endorsement of the military junta that took over Pakistan last fall. ... But as important as the relationship with India is, it is just as important to repair relations with Pakistan and urge both countries to settle the Kashmir dispute. The visit in Islamabad could help achieve that goal.

    TEXT: Monday's U-S front pages are filled with stories and pictures of Pope John Paul the Second apologizing for many long-ago sins of Roman Catholics in his Lenten Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Commenting on the Holy Father's comments, USA Today, the national daily published in a Washington, D-C suburb, says in part:

    VOICE: The inherent power of an apology is its ability to soothe, even if it comes well after a harmful deed is done. There was such power in Pope John Paul the Second's broad-ranging apology Sunday [3/12] for the harm caused by Catholics over the centuries. He asked for forgiveness for the harm done to freedom, justice and peace by the actions of Catholics dating all the way back to the Inquisition and the Crusades. ... ///OPT /// More broadly, the pope's words are part of a global phenomenon of apology for historical wrongs. And as the words of contrition accumulate, the states that stay silent stand out. Successive German governments have apologized for the Nazi regime's genocidal, expansionist rule ... By contrast, Japan resists apologizing directly for one of the century's most grave acts - - its racially motivated expansionism in World War Two. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to the Middle East, and the continuing struggle for peace, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram views the struggle as important for the whole world, not just the participants, but it singles out the three principals for special attention.

    VOICE: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has staked his political career on completing the peacemaking process by September. And Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has taken an enormous risk by pledging to proclaim an independent Palestinian state if the peace agreement is not concluded by the September 13th deadline. ...The other individual with much at stake in the peace negotiations is President Clinton. A peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would go far toward overshadowing some of the negative elements of his legacy.

    TEXT: In Asia, the resumption of Japanese food aid to North Korea may have some bearing on the further testing of Pyongyang's long-range ballistic missile. At least that is the hope of Honolulu's Star-Bulletin.

    VOICE: Japan ... was shaken when North Korea fired a three-stage rocket over northern Japan into the Pacific in August 1998. In response, Tokyo suspended food donations to the famine- stricken country. However, the government of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi has now relented, announcing that it will give North Korea 100- tons of rice. /// OPT /// In addition, it will follow through on a decision to reopen talks on normalizing relations with Pyongyang. /// END OPT /// ... However, there has been suspicion that the aid was diverted by North Korea to feed the army. Now those suspicions have been strengthened by extensive military exercises carried out in North Korea, described as the heaviest winter training cycle in recent years. This suggests that despite the famine, North Korea is providing substantial amounts of food to the military, casting doubt on the entire policy of contributing food just when Japan is about to resume its contributions. /// OPT /// North Korea continues to keep Washington, Seoul and Tokyo guessing about its intentions. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: As regards China's efforts to enter the global trading organization, while at the same time, rattling its saber toward Taiwan, the Chicago Tribune thinks Beijing's diplomacy is at cross purposes.

    VOICE: Last week China again threatened war against Taiwan, this time in an editorial in the Liberation Army Daily that promised a "blood- soaked battle" to protest China's territorial integrity. ... President Clinton has been walking a fine line, issuing muted expressions of concern over the Chinese threats while at the same time launching a major administration drive to get Congress to approve permanent "normal" trade status for China. /// OPT /// ... But in launching what may be the biggest legislative battle of his final year in office, [Mr.] Clinton barely mentioned Taiwan ... He chose ... to counter conservative critics of the bill ... by arguing that engagement with China and opening new markets there are the best way to undermine control by the communist government in Beijing. That may well be, but /// END OPT /// [Mr.] Clinton also should be making it absolutely clear that bellicose behavior is unacceptable...

    TEXT: Today's San Francisco Chronicle decries the current political squabble that is holding up the selection of a new chief for the International Monetary Fund.

    VOICE: By custom the top job goes to a European. This is an anachronism ... the United States and other non-European countries would like to change. A leader - - most likely a savvy international economist - - should be sought among the 182-member nations, not just the Euro-club. ... A new future awaits the fund, which has evolved from its early beginnings. It should moderate its policies and hear its critics, but it should not be banished from the job of repairing the global economy.

    TEXT: There is still hope that in Northern Ireland the Irish Republican Army can be persuaded to begin handing in its arms and explosives, and the Irish peace process revitalized. The Dallas Morning News still holds out hope, but barely:

    VOICE: If political sagacity were a shamrock, the I-R-A would possess a leafless stem. Under the 1998 Good Friday accord between unionists and nationalists, the I-R-A has obtained that which 10-years ago would have been inconceivable: home rule. Its political adjunct, Sinn Fein, had a place in the new provincial government. ... Today, most of the gains of the accord remain intact, as does the two and one-half year-old I-R-A cease-fire. The prisoner releases and police reforms will continue. ... The British and Irish governments will, in all likelihood, maintain their constructive dialogue. But a resumption of home rule seems a distant prospect. And all because the I-R-A refuses to make so much as a token gesture of good will.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from the pages of Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 13-Mar-2000 11:14 AM EDT (13-Mar-2000 1614 UTC)
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    Source: Voice of America


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