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Voice of America, 00-03-24

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] BALKAN AID CONFERENCE (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [02] YUGOSLAV WAR CRIMES (L-ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)
  • [03] E-U SUMMIT / BALKANS (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (LISBON)
  • [04] E-U SUMMIT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (LISBON)
  • [05] NORTHERN IRELAND SHOWDOWN BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [06] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY JOE CHAPMAN (NEW YORK)
  • [07] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] BALKAN AID CONFERENCE (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=3/24/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260580
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The man in charge of carrying out a Western aid plan for southeastern Europe says the international community should give more financial aid to the republic of Montenegro and Kosovo province, two regions that are relatively independent of Yugoslav ruler Slobodan Milosevic. Bodo Hombach made the remarks at the end of a two-day conference on the Balkans that took place in Hungary. Stefan Bos has details from Budapest.

    TEXT: Mr. Hombach made it clear that Serbia, the larger of the two republics remaining in Yugoslavia, will never benefit from the aid plan as long as Yugoslavia's president, Slobodan Milosevic, remains in power. The plan, known as the Balkan Stability Pact, is meant to bring stability and economic development to southeastern Europe. Mr. Hombach, who is coordinator of the stability pact, told VOA that he wants Montenegro, which is considering independence, to receive part of a 1.5-billion dollar aid package set out for the next 12 months. The official said that the Western countries involved in the pact should also begin negotiations with the opposition parties in Serbia so that aid projects can be started quickly, if and when Milosevic is forced to relinquish power. Mr. Hombach said he recently traveled to the southern Hungarian town of Szeged, near the Yugoslav border, and discussed the issue of aid in a post-Milosevic era with dozens of Serbian mayors who are opposed to the Milosevic regime. The Budapest conference on the Balkans drew an angry response from a Yugoslav government official. The Yugoslav ambassador to Hungary, Balsa Spadijer, told VOA that the international community should stop intervening in Yugoslavia's domestic affairs.

    /// SPADIJER ACT ///

    I don't think this is a successful way to influence the developments of another country. Suppose that Yugoslavia would organize such a meeting, of course another country would find that a real interference in its political system.

    /// END ACT ///

    The ambassador says that one year after the beginning of NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, the country is still struggling to rebuild itself. He says debris from the bridges bombed by NATO is blocking the Danube River, Europe's most important waterway. And the West, he says, not Yugoslavia, will have to pay for the clean-up operation. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SB/KL 24-Mar-2000 17:44 PM EDT (24-Mar-2000 2244 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=3/24/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260552 (CQ)
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    // Clarifies lead: Aleksovski was a commander in Bosnian Croat army, not a Bosnian Croat //

    INTRO: Judges at the U-N War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have added four-and-a-half years to the sentence of a commander in the Bosnian Croat army convicted of mistreating Muslim prisoners under his care in 1993. Lauren Comiteau reports from The Hague, where judges called the original sentence manifestly inadequate and put the man back in jail.

    TEXT: This is the second time Zlatko Aleksovski has stood before judges to be sentenced. Last May, he was found guilty of physically and mentally abusing Muslims while commander of the Kaonik prison camp in central Bosnia in 1993. Judges ruled then that as a commander, he also failed to prevent or punish the crimes of his subordinates. Aleksovski was sentenced to two and a half years in jail. But judges immediately set him free because Aleksovski had been in jail for almost three years and had already served his time. After nine months of freedom, Aleksovski voluntarily returned to The Hague from his home in Croatia for his appeals hearing. Aleksovski had wanted his conviction overturned, which the judges denied. But prosecutors had also appealed, arguing that 2 and a half years was not a harsh enough sentence for the crime Aleksovski committed. Judges agreed and sent Aleksovski back to prison. Judge Richard May explained the reasons.

    /// ACT MAY ///

    His offenses were not trivial. Instead of preventing it, the appellant, as a superior, involved himself in violence against those whom he should have been protecting, and allowed them to be subjected to psychological terror. He also failed to punish those responsible.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    Most importantly, said Judge May, Aleksovski knowingly risked the lives of prisoners by selecting them to dig trenches and to be used as human shields. /// END OPT /// In increasing his sentence to 7 years, judges said retribution was a factor - not as revenge, but as an expression of outrage by the international community. Upon hearing his sentence, Aleksovski choked back tears, waving to his wife as he left the courtroom. She sat in the public gallery quietly crying.

    /// OPT ///

    In an important legal ruling, appeals judges also overturned an earlier ruling and found that the conflict between Bosnia and Croatia at the time the crimes were committed was an international one. That means the victims of the crimes were supposed to be protected under the 1949 Geneva conventions that govern the treatment of civilians during war. /// END OPT /// The ruling effectively ends the legal proceedings against Aleksovski, who will be a free man by the time he is 45. His is the third case this court has completed in its 7-year history. (Signed)
    NEB/LC/GE/JO 24-Mar-2000 09:33 AM EDT (24-Mar-2000 1433 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] E-U SUMMIT / BALKANS (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (LISBON)

    DATE=3/24/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260557
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: European Union leaders meeting in Lisbon are calling for a better strategy in giving aid to Kosovo and the wider Balkan region. But as V-O-A's Ron Pemstein reports from Lisbon, the European leaders decided not to divert E-U money from agricultural spending to help the Balkans.

    TEXT: The European Commission has pledged to spend more than five-billion dollars over the next six years for reconstruction in the Balkans. That promise has become more difficult because the European Union leaders have refused to transfer money from agricultural spending to foreign policy. European Commission President Romano Prodi confirms the leaders made this decision not to make the change in spending. Mr. Prodi says through an interpreter, there is enough money available to keep the promise he made last year in Istanbul, but the leaders' decision can prevent the commission from dealing with changes in the Balkans.

    /// Prodi Act w/ Interpreter ///

    The problem will arise if further financial commitment turns out to be required to maintain peace, to generate development and to insure that the Balkans and Eastern Europe get out of the difficult situation which prevails at the moment, but that is something for the future. But for the decisions we have taken already, the funds have already been set aside.

    /// End Act ///

    The leaders have directed that their foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and European Commissioner Chris Patten become coordinators with the Balkan Stability Pact. The Pact holds a donor's conference next week in Brussels to direct funds to its first projects in the Balkans. Mr. Solana tells reporters he feels more international money will become available if Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic disappears from the scene.

    /// Solana Act ///

    There's money now and you can imagine if that were the case, if Milosevic were to leave, you can imagine there would be extraordinary fund to help the Serbian people. The Serbian people have an important role to play in the Balkans and the European perspective. They just have to first to change the regime and I'm sure they are going to do their best.

    /// End Act ///

    /// Rest Opt ///

    The European leaders are also calling on the Serbian people to take their future in their own hands and reclaim their place in the family of democratic nations. The European Union, the leaders add, will not only support the democratic opposition in Serbia, but also develop a comprehensive dialogue with civil society. The E-U leaders also set a deadline of this summer for the European Commission and the Danube Commission to start cleaning up the Danube River. At the same time, the European Union refuses Yugoslav demands to reconstruct bridges over the river damaged in last year's NATO bombing. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/GE/JP 24-Mar-2000 10:25 AM EDT (24-Mar-2000 1525 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] E-U SUMMIT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (LISBON)

    DATE=3/24/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260561
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: European Union (E-U) leaders have established ambitious goals to make Europe a more economically competitive society over the next 10 years by using the internet. V-O-A's Ron Pemstein reports from Lisbon about the deadlines the leaders have set at their summit meeting.

    TEXT: By the end of this year, European Union leaders have agreed they will adopt legislation on the legal framework for electronic commerce. They pledge to reduce the access costs of using the internet at the local level. By next year, they plan to give access to the internet for all schools. Also by the end of next year, Europe will create a high-speed network for the exchange of electronic scientific information.

    /// Opt ///

    By 2002, they promise to have all teachers in the European Union be skilled in the use of the Internet. Also by 2002, the leaders promise to remove obstacles to the mobility of researchers and to attract high quality research talent in Europe. And by 2003, they promise to put all government procurement programs on line. /// End Opt /// Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres says through an interpreter that Europe wants to create 20- million jobs by the end of the decade and match the performance of the United States.

    /// Guterres Act w/ Interpreter ///

    We're particularly aiming at access for S-M-E's -- small and medium size businesses -- so they can have access to everything they need to get a foothold on all markets. We have measures for complete integration of the financial markets.

    /// Opt ///

    Creation of a true venture capital market in Europe to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and initiative to help them develop new projects so we can try to catch up with the United States because we seem to have more difficulty for small businesses to move from ideas to products. /// End Opt ///

    /// End Act ///

    To make sure these ambitious projects to use the internet are kept on schedule, the European Union leaders have agreed to meet every year in the spring to make sure all 15 countries are coordinated in their efforts. They have also agreed to try to imitate the best practices, not only within the European Union, but also in the world. The Portuguese prime minister says through an interpreter that the decisions made at this summit meeting will change the way the European Union operates.

    /// Guterres w/ interpreter Act ///

    So what we've done here in Lisbon is going to change our working methods permanently. We're really going to be making sure that national policies, European policies, are dovetailed in such a way, they are working to the benefit of all European citizens. /// Opt /// It gives the Commission an important role in generating and implementing the decisions that we take. /// End Opt ///

    /// End Act ///

    The sweep of the practical measures to encourage greater use of the internet did, in the end, overshadow the European Union's continuing dispute with Austria about the participation of the right-wing Freedom Party in the Austrian government. Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel failed in his effort to get the other 14 members to lift their diplomatic isolation of his coalition government. The chancellor was told those measures will remain so long as the Freedom Party stays in his government. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/GE/JP 24-Mar-2000 11:35 AM EDT (24-Mar-2000 1635 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] NORTHERN IRELAND SHOWDOWN BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=3/24/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-46000
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: In Northern Ireland, the leader of the party that favors continued ties with Britain faces a challenge to his leadership, which could undermine efforts to get the peace process back on track. Correspondent Laurie Kassman looks at the latest test for David Trimble -- and for the peace process.

    TEXT: The man challenging David Trimble's leadership of the Ulster Unionist party is a Presbyterian minister known for his long-standing opposition to the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement. Martin Smyth argues that David Trimble is deviating from party policy that rejects sharing power with the political wing of the Irish Republican Army before the I-R-A disarms.

    /// SMYTH ACT ///

    There's something basically inconsistent to try to impose on a democratic community those in government who come with the force of arms.

    /// END ACT ///

    The challenge to David Trimble's leadership again highlights the party's deep divisions over the peace process and issues like paramilitary disarmament and revamping and renaming the Ulster police force. A weary Mr. Trimble now expresses his regrets that party dissidents could undermine peace efforts already approved by more than two-thirds of Unionist party members.

    /// TRIMBLE ACT ///

    I'm sorry to see that there are still some people in the party who are more eager to fight other Unionists than fight the enemies of Unionism.

    /// END ACT ///

    Unionists insist Northern Ireland remain a part of the United Kingdom while Republicans are fighting for independence. The 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement has managed to corral that battle into a political framework, ending three decades of sectarian violence. Protestant David Trimble and Catholic leader John Hume shared the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize for their peace efforts. Historian Michael Foy warns that Mr. Trimble's ouster would spell an end to the peace process.

    /// FOY ACT ///

    If he goes there's no Unionist leader that has the same commitment to the agreement. If he goes the Unionist consent to the agreement goes with him.

    /// END ACT ///

    But Mr. Foy suggests Mr. Trimble's position on peace is not quite in step with his followers.

    /// FOY ACT TWO ///

    It's a question of whether David Trimble can carry not just his party but the broad Unionist community. Unionist leaders have fallen in the past when they have become too detached or got too far in advance of the followers.

    /// END ACT //

    Mr. Foy and other analysts say Mr. Trimble's prestige has been damaged by his failure to win concessions from the Republican movement on the issue of disarmament. Monica McWilliams, who heads the Women's Coalition, a peace group that was involved in the Good Friday Agreement, says part of Mr. Trimble's problem is the way he sold the peace agreement to his followers.

    /// McWILLIAMS ACT ///

    Unfortunately, he (Trimble) sold the agreement (as losses) for Unionism so it wasn't surprising that so many people jumped onto the "no" bandwagon. There were the losses about prisoners getting out, the loss about policing and its name (change) and the loss of having to share government in some ways with Republicans, which I believe they think they'll never do.

    /// END ACT ///

    On Saturday, the 800-member Ulster Unionist Council will choose between David Trimble and his challenger Martin Smyth. Mr. Trimble is counting on support from enough of a majority to renew his mandate and quiet the dissidents. But depending on how close the vote is, the future of Unionist Party unity remains uncertain and so does its approach to the peace process. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/GE/KL 24-Mar-2000 11:25 AM EDT (24-Mar-2000 1625 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY JOE CHAPMAN (NEW YORK)

    DATE=3/24/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260579
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices on Wall Street rallied strongly for a time today (Friday) but the major averages closed narrowly mixed after a late session sell-off. V-O-A's Joe Chapman reports from New York.

    TEXT: Up more than 100 points for a time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down seven points, a tiny fraction, at 11-thousand-112. The Nasdaq composite added 23 points, about one half percent, to four-thousand-963. The Standard and Poor's 500 finished virtually unchanged. Johnson and Johnson, a Dow-Jones component stock, helped pull the average down when it closed more than 10 percent lower after announcing it will stop selling a major indigestion product (Propulsid) due to safety concerns. For the week, the Dow moved up 517 points, or about five percent. The Standard and Poor's 500, a broader and more representative index, moved up 63 points for the week, about four percent, and set three record highs. The Nasdaq Composite closed up more than three percent for the week.

    /// Rest Opt ///

    Some analysts say the technology-dominated Nasdaq stock exchange has already undergone three corrections of 10 percent or more so far this year, but that investors see these sharp dips not as setbacks but as buying opportunities. Analyst Michael Molmar believes these bargain hunters could be right, at least for now.

    /// Molmar Act ///

    Investors have clearly been conditioned to buy those dips. The mutual fund inflows, being so high in the last couple of weeks, indicates that investors have taken as a basic strategy that all dips should be bought, particularly in the technology sector, and I think that's a worthwhile strategy.

    /// End Act ///

    Many investors stayed on the sidelines through Tuesday's meeting of the U-S Central Bank and its announcement that it was raising its key interest rate target by one quarter of one percent. But with that uncertainty behind them, investors launched yet another stock market rally. Stock prices continued to be volatile, but analysts said the market was positive and investors appear to be interested in a larger number of stocks, not just a few market leaders. (signed) NEB/NYC/JMC/LSF/JP 24-Mar-2000 17:10 PM EDT (24-Mar-2000 2210 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=3/24/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11743
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=

    INTRO: America's newspapers are commenting on the historic trip by Pope John Paul to the Middle East, and his condemnation of the horrors of the Holocaust against the Jews. Another popular editorial subject is the fate of the little Cuban shipwrecked boy, Elian Gonzalez, who may be heading back to his father in Cuba soon, after a federal court decision this week. The struggle for ethnic peace in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province is also discussed, as is a huge discrimination settlement against the Voice of America and its former parent organization, the United States Information Agency. Now, here is ___________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The front pages of many U-S dailies this Friday show a variety of pictures of Pope John Paul visiting the Jewish Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, in Israel. The pope is touring holy sites in the Middle East as part of the Roman Catholic Church's jubilee as it enters its third millennium. In the editorial section, The Boston Globe is one of papers that notes:

    VOICE: Yesterday at Yad Vashem ... Pope John Paul the Second expressed a sorrow both personal and institutional for "the terrible tragedy of the Shoah [Holocaust]." The sincerity of John Paul's words may not alleviate the pain of the past, but his prayerful vision of reconciliation between Christians and Jews may yet shape the future, much as his visit to his native Poland in 1979 prefigured the fall of the Soviet empire and the freedom of his people. ...To complain that these words stop short of an explicit apology for the institutional role of the church in European anti-Semitism is to devalue John Paul's appeal for fraternity between religions

    TEXT: Friday's Dallas Morning News is especially touched by John Paul's gesture toward Muslims, which the paper believes is a symbol of the pope's efforts to build positive relations with all three of the major faiths in the holy land.

    VOICE: Pope John Paul the Second's visit to the Middle East this week has created a wealth of historic and dramatic images: Seconds after the pope completed his homily at an outdoor mass in Bethlehem, the tower at a nearby mosque called Muslims to midday prayers. Pope John Paul suspended the service and waited respectfully with hands folded and head bent. /// OPT /// ... At Yad Vashem ... Pope John Paul again recognized the horrors that Jews suffered during genocide pushed by Adolf Hitler during World War Two. /// END OPT /// ... Each step of his personal journey for peace was highlighted with hopeful scenes. ... Twenty years ago - - even ten years ago - - the pope's visit would have been unimaginable. Perhaps it is not too great a leap of faith to believe something significant will come from his prayers for peace.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly on the papal journey, The New York Times says:

    VOICE: There has been a poignancy to the televised images of an elderly, enfeebled pope ... indomitably pressing ahead through windswept masses and candlelit prayers on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week. But the impression of infirmity belies the nimbleness he has shown in making his way through one of the most complex and combustible corners of the world. John Paul has skillfully blended the sacred and the secular in a delicate balancing act. The only disappointment has been his reluctance to acknowledge more explicitly the Vatican's failure to confront the Holocaust.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The case of the little Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, shipwrecked as his mother tried to get him to the United States, is again in the editorials. She died when the boat capsized, but he was rescued and became center of an international custody battle between his relatives in Miami and his father in Cuba. This week a federal court in effect denied the Miami relatives' request for an asylum hearing for Elian. The decision on the boy's future now rests with the US attorney-general who has backed the immigration department's decision to send Elian back to his father in Cuba. In Salt Lake City, Utah, The Desert (Editors: des UH ret) News says he should be given a fair hearing.

    VOICE: In the United States, justice often travels slowly, with little respect to the mental or emotional trauma of a little boy. Yet it is significant that little Elian has yet to have his day in court. /// OPT /// So far, the question has been over the Immigration and Naturalization Service's absolute power to decide this case. Elian deserves more. /// END OPT /// The United States should give him his day in court and show the world how a legitimate government conducts itself.

    TEXT: /// OPT /// Elsewhere in the south, The Dallas Morning News says of Elian: "Return him to his father," and says of the judge's decision giving the U-S attorney-general exclusive authority over the boy's future: "It was the right call." /// END OPT /// Coping with on-going violence in Yugoslavia's predominantly ethnic Albanian Kosovo province occupies today's Washington Times. This week is the first anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing campaign there to stop Serbian ethnic cleansing against Kosovar Albanians. And the paper laments that turning the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army into a U-N sponsored Kosovo Protection Corps has been a serious failure.

    VOICE: On the one year anniversary of the beginning of the NATO bombing of Kosovo, the United Nations and NATO must face the fact that they have fostered something of an ethnic Albanian monster. ... Now the K-P-C, whose salary is being paid by the United Nations, is being accused by the United Nations of killings, torture and much besides in an internal U-N document recently leaked to the press. What to do? Backpeddle, of course. ... The United Nations ... [concern] ... is warranted, but must be accompanied by a realization that supporting a rebel army on the ground has in many instances aggravated, not alleviated the process of ethnic cleansing.

    TEXT: Domestically, the Voice of America has found its way into the editorial columns of several papers, after agreeing to pay about a half billion dollars to hundred of women who were discriminated against in hiring or promotions several decades ago. The San Francisco Chronicle decries not only the government's handling of the case, but also the incredible delay in rendering justice.

    VOICE: The record 508-million-dollar federal government settlement for 11-hundred women who were denied jobs with the U-S Information Agency and Voice of America demonstrates that discrimination does not pay. But it also shows that justice can be excruciatingly slow. The women, who will receive an average settlement of 460-thousand dollars each, are part of a lawsuit filed 23 years ago. They received no timely remedy that would have allowed them to pursue the career path of choice. ... The lawsuit was decided in favor of the women in 1984. But the government challenged that ruling with two appeals ... The drawn-out process was as punitive as the discrimination that spawned the lawsuit...

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Washington Post concurs, noting that:

    VOICE: "If the justice department had moved quickly in 1984 to settle claims of sex discrimination... it might have cost the government as much as 20-million dollars. This week the government - - that is, the taxpayers - - finally settled the case for the eyebrow- raising sum of 508-million dollars. ... A public stuck with the ... bill is entitled to know more about whose lapses of judgment or oversight allowed both the initial discrimination and the subsequent stonewalling.

    TEXT: In Connecticut, The Waterbury Republican- American, taking a broad look at the role of communism in Europe in the last century, has noted that even dedicated adherents of the Marxist Leninist philosophy admit communism has failed .

    VOICE: If the events from the October Revolution [in Russia] forward proved anything, it is capitalism beats communism every time. Don't take our word for it; just listen to members of Parti Communiste Francais, the last bastion of pure communism left in Europe, who spell it out in their report, "Has Communism Been a Failure in the 20th Century?" They say communism has been an abject failure wherever it has been tried. It's a record even the revisionist historians of today in the left- leaning media here and abroad are powerless to change. Communism was meant to liberate the workers of the world from the yoke of capitalism, but it led instead to despotism and oppression.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the Friday editorial columns of the U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JO 24-Mar-2000 12:31 PM EDT (24-Mar-2000 1731 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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