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Voice of America, 00-03-30

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] BALKAN STABILITY (L-ONLY)(CQ) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [02] CONGRESS / COLOMBIA - KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY PAULA WOLFSON (CAPITOL HILL)
  • [03] KOSOVO TOOPS (L-ONLY) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)
  • [04] U-S - KOSOVO INCURSION (L ONLY) BY KYLE KING (STATE DEPARTMENT)
  • [05] TURKISH YOUTHS AND POLITICS BY YONCA POYRAZ DOGAN (WASHINGTON)
  • [06] CHINA-EU-WTO (S & L) BY ROGER WILKISON (BEIJING)
  • [07] EUROPE SPY (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [08] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [09] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] BALKAN STABILITY (L-ONLY)(CQ) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260778
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// EDS: REFILING TO FIX BILLION (NOT MILLION) IN INTRO ///

    INTRO: International donors meeting in Brussels have pledged two-point-four-billion dollars to help the economies of southeastern Europe. Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, the money exceeded organizers' hopes and will be spent over the coming year for a variety of projects.

    TEXT: All six projects Croatia presented to the regional funding conference met with approval. Foreign Minister Tonino Picola says Croatia's reform government is getting the support it needs. He calculates the projects are worth 133-million dollars, plus a 55-million-dollar program to resettle returning Serb refugees to Croatia.

    /// PICOLA ACT ///

    An important part of this government's agenda is to encourage [the] returning process. We don't want to divide our citizens according to ethnic beliefs and ethnic lines. So this is a start. We want to encourage people to return to Croatia, but we want some more. We don't want to return people to a social and economical vacuum. It's not enough to just offer someone just the right to return, you have to provide every man and woman with a decent standard of living, infrastructure, water supply, power supply and -- if we are targeting rural zone[s] -- let's say a stable with a couple of cows inside.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Croatian program to resettle 16-thousand-500 Serbs who have already applied to return home is an example of the "quick start" program, the focus of the conference organized by the European Commission and World Bank. The conference hoped to get one-point- eight-billion dollars for these types of programs. They exceeded their expectation when the 44 countries and 36 organizations present pledged two-point-four- billion. The quickest start is at the Blace border crossing between Macedonia and Kosovo. Seven-million dollars were pledged, and work is already getting underway clearing room for trucks to park. The only condition is that the projects should be completed within one year.

    // OPT //

    Other projects funded here include the Albania Water project, the Montenegro Transport Rehabilitation Project, the Bosnia and Herzegovina power interconnection project, and another one for Bosnia to reintegrate demobilized soldiers into civilian life. For the entire region there is a land mine awareness program. // END OPT // The United States devoted part of its money at the conference to teaching history. State Department official Dan Hamilton describes how the United States is spending its "quick start" contribution of more than 77-million dollars.

    /// 1st HAMILTON ACT ///

    Our contributions are mainly in the area of democracy and human rights, to facilitate a number of regional projects, to build an N-G-O [non-governmental organization] network across the region to facilitate projects that promote media -- free and independent media -- projects throughout the region. Those types of things, particularly at the teaching of history.

    // OPT //

    All countries of the region agree to examine their history. We are launching a board of eminent historians for the region that will have its first meeting on May 11th and 12th in Greece. // END OPT //

    /// END ACT ///

    Leaders of the Serbian opposition to President Slobodan Milosevic met with officials from the United States and European Union at the margins of the donors' conference. They were told selective sanctions targeted at the Milosevic government would be kept in force. No money for Serbia -- even for the opposition -- was pledged at this conference.

    /// REST OPT ///

    On a bilateral basis, the director of the Balkan Stability Pact, Bodo Hombach, says there is support in Europe for building a "humanitarian bridge" in the opposition-run city of Novi Sad. The bridges over the Danube River were bombed last year and are blocking river traffic. Mr. Hombach says the bridge would be built to carry ambulances and buses as well as power lines, but not tanks. Mr. Hamilton says the United States wants no part of building bridges in Serbia.

    /// 2nd HAMILTON ACT ///

    We, as you know, think that the Danube should be cleared, but we don't agree that a bridge should be financed. We think Milosevic has his own resources to build a bridge. If he wants to, he should build it himself.

    /// END ACT ///

    Other delegates say they have the money to rebuild Novi Sad's bridges, but no plans to do so while Mr. Milosevic remains in power. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/WTW 30-Mar-2000 14:40 PM EDT (30-Mar-2000 1940 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] CONGRESS / COLOMBIA - KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY PAULA WOLFSON (CAPITOL HILL)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260781
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The U-S House of Representatives has approved a controversial plan to help Colombia fight drug trafficking. V-O-A's Paula Wolfson reports the aid package is part of a 12-point-seven-billion dollar emergency spending bill that passed the House (Thursday) by a vote of 263 to 146.

    TEXT: This bill covers a wide range of emergency expenses. But to most House members, it is simply "the Colombia bill." The measure provides one-point-seven billion dollars to train and equip the Colombian military for anti- drug operations. It also gives extra aid to neighboring countries in South America facing a destabilizing spillover of drug violence. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has long championed increased U-S support for Colombia's anti-drug efforts. In a rare move, he joined the debate and delivered a personal appeal to his colleagues.

    /// Hastert Act ///

    We can't ignore this issue. We can't ignore it in this Congress. We can't ignore it on our street corners. We can't ignore the place this stuff [EDS: illegal narcotics] comes from.

    /// End Act ///

    But there were many voices raised in dissent. New York Democrat Jose Serrano was among them:

    /// Serrano Act ///

    This looks to me very much like something from my younger years when we got involved in Vietnam. Let's understand. This Colombia situation is a civil war!

    /// End Act ///

    /// Begin Opt ///

    The debate gave members a chance to voice their fears and frustrations. There were tears in the eyes of California Republican "Duke" Cunningham as he talked about his only son, who has spent years in drug treatment facilities and in prison. He said he would vote for the Colombia plan, despite lingering doubts about the operation.

    /// Callahan Act ///

    I would rather have my son or my daughters -- if I knew they were going to get the mumps or the measles -- I would rather prevent them from getting the mumps or measles in the first place, as I would like to stop our children from getting drugs.

    /// End Act // End Opt ///

    The emergency spending bill also includes just over two-billion dollars for peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, and a similar amount for other national security projects. Ohio Republican John Kasich tried and failed to persuade the House to link the Kosovo funding to Europe's promise to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

    /// Kasich Act ///

    This is not designed to increase their commitment. This is not really designed to increase burden-sharing. This amendment is only designed to say to the Europeans: "you made a pledge to us...keep it!"

    /// End Act ///

    All in all, the House produced a good bill for the Pentagon. Lawmakers refused the Kosovo linkage. They defeated an effort to cut spending to send military trainers to Colombia, and they added on an extra four- billion dollars to help the Defense Department meet miscellaneous expenses.

    /// Opt ///

    The current budget surplus will be tapped to pay for the emergency spending bill. And that is creating problems with Senate majority leader Trent Lott. Although legislation is being prepared in the Senate, Mr. Lott says he would rather wait and fund these programs in the next fiscal year [EDS: which begins October 1st]. /// End Opt /// (SIGNED)
    NEB/PW/JP 30-Mar-2000 14:47 PM EDT (30-Mar-2000 1947 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] KOSOVO TOOPS (L-ONLY) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260789
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Pentagon officials say they are sending more U-S troops to Kosovo and more tanks and artillery to nearby Macedonia. The deployment comes as NATO and U- S officials express growing concern that more ethnic violence may break out in the troubled area along the border between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia. V-O-A's Jim Randle reports.

    TEXT: The new deployment adds 125 reconnaissance soldiers to the 59-hundred Americans already deployed in the Kosovo protection force, or KFOR. Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon says this new unit is specially trained and equipped to find and report military movements over a wide area, in daylight or darkness.

    /// BACON ACT ///

    To basically provide more eyes and ears to Brigadier General Sanchez.

    /// END ACT ///

    General Ricardo Sanchez is the commander of U-S troops in KFOR. U-S forces supporting KFOR from neighboring Macedonia will be getting 14 more tanks and six additional pieces of artillery. Mr. Bacon says that will help protect American troops and deter `mischief' in the border area. The moves reflect NATO concern about the potential for ethnic violence in the Presevo Valley, a mostly ethnic Albanian area next to Kosovo. U-S officials say they are disappointed Kosovo Albanian militia groups have not kept promises to end an insurgency in that section of southern Serbia. Extremist Albanians are accused of storing weapons and provoking the Serbs. Earlier this month U-S peacekeepers, who patrol southeastern Kosovo, raided Albanian areas and seized arms. The United States and its NATO allies bombed Serbia last year to force Yugoslav troops and police to leave the Serbian province of Kosovo. The Serb forces were accused of waging a campaign of arson, murder and terror against secession- minded ethnic Albanians who made up a majority of the province's population. (Signed)
    NEB/JR/TVM/PT 30-Mar-2000 18:30 PM EDT (30-Mar-2000 2330 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] U-S - KOSOVO INCURSION (L ONLY) BY KYLE KING (STATE DEPARTMENT)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260783
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The United States says it would take very seriously any Yugoslav violation of an agreement that forbids Serb forces from approaching Kosovo's administrative boundary. The warning follows reports that a Yugoslav tank may have crossed into a five- kilometer wide buffer zone around Kosovo earlier this week. From the State Department, V-O-A's Kyle King reports.

    TEXT: NATO officials say British troops crossed over Kosovo's administrative boundary into Serbia proper on Wednesday to investigate the report that Yugoslav armored vehicles may have been in the buffer zone. Under terms of the agreement that ended the conflict in Kosovo last year, Serbian police are the only Yugoslav forces allowed on the Serbian side of the five-kilometer wide zone. NATO officials say British troops investigating the possible incursion into the so-called Ground Safety Zone took photographs of tracks that were possibly made by an armored vehicle. The photographs are now being evaluated by experts. NATO officials have been keeping a careful eye on the zone following reports that armed ethnic Albanian militiamen have been training in the area. Analysts fear clashes between the militiamen and Serb police or Yugoslav army troops could trigger a new crisis in the region. State Department spokesman James Foley says the United States and its allies are concerned about the threat posed by extremists on both sides of the boundary. Mr. Foley also expressed concern about reports of possible incursions into the buffer zone by Yugoslav military units.

    /// FOLEY ACT ///

    We take very seriously any violation of the FRY's, Yugoslavia's obligations under the military-technical agreement that the FRY signed with K-FOR last June. This agreement states that, quote, under no circumstances shall any forces of the FRY or Serbia enter into, reenter, or remain in the area of Kosovo or the Ground Safety Zone.

    /// END ACT ///

    U-S and NATO officials have not said what action they will take if Yugoslav military forces have violated the agreement. But Wednesday's inspection of the zone was led by a British general, a possible signal that NATO is taking the incident seriously. (Signed) NEB/KBK/gm 30-Mar-2000 16:32 PM EDT (30-Mar-2000 2132 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] TURKISH YOUTHS AND POLITICS BY YONCA POYRAZ DOGAN (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-46053
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT: NOT VOICED

    INTRO: Public interest groups in Turkey and the United States are working together on a project that could have long-range implications for the way politics is practiced in Turkey. The two groups -- both non-governmental organizations, or N-G-Os -- are trying to get more of Turkey's young people to vote. V-O-A's Yonca Poyraz Dogan [PRON: 'YOHN-JA 'POY-RAHZ DO-'AHN] has the details:

    TEXT: What if more than half the population in a country of 65-million people are under 25 years of age and its top politicians are more than 75? In the case of Turkey, experts are saying it means that the country's young people need more representation in the political system. Now two public interest groups are addressing the issue. One is the International Republican Institute (I-R-I), a Washington-based non-profit organization that runs pro-democracy programs outside the United States. The other is the Ari [PRON: `AH-RUHR] Movement, a non-government public interest group based in Turkey. Both want to get young people more interested in politics so they can have a bigger say in the way Turkey is governed. I-R-I's program officer, Kristen McSwain, has been meeting with young people in Turkey and listening to their concerns. What needs to be done first, she says, is to get Turkey's youth to take part in the political decision making process.

    /// MCSWAIN ACT ///

    With the amount of power that young people in Turkey inherently have and with the demographics Turkey has -- 66 percent of the people under the age of 35 -- that's an amazing amount of power Turkish youth hold and that's not been really utilized. The members of the parliament and the president are much older and their votes don't always reflect the needs of young people, and young people don't seem to be pushing the envelope just a little bit to get their voices heard.

    /// END ACT ///

    McSwain said I-R-I and the Ari Movement first hired a research company and conducted polls in Turkey to understand the demographics, problems and expectations of young people. This was followed by conferences in various cities to give young people the information they need to become politically active. The Ari Movement was established in 1994 by a group of young and well-educated Turks. With the help of I-R- I, the Turkish group got the funding it needed to develop a bigger program. The movement's youth group coordinator, Damla Gurel, said its recent conferences generated a lot of enthusiasm.

    /// GUREL ACT ///

    At the end of the day, they always ask the same question. What should we do now? How can we help you? The interesting part is we didn't talk, we let them talk. We did't say much. We said we are here to encourage you to be a part of the decisions about the country. There are different ways you can come together and build up an institution. Don't sit and wait until somebody comes and builds up something for you. Just come together and try to develop something.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Ari Movement's chairman, Kemal Koprulu, visited I- R-I's offices in Washington recently and called on more U-S non-governmental organizations to support youth projects in Turkey.

    /// KOPRULU ACT ///

    If we look at the N-G-O movement, the dialogue has mainly been between human rights N-G-Os -- human rights N-G-Os here, and human rights N-G- Os in Turkey. This is very healthy and needs to increase. But we have many other areas in Turkey besides human rights to tackle. We need to invest in our youth. We need to provide exchange programs. This is something we're doing with I-R-I. There should be many examples like this in Turkey. It will help Turkish society, and eventually it will help in the political transformation that we are all trying to achieve in Turkey.

    /// END ACT ///

    For Turkey, Koprulu says, investing in young people is the best way to achieve a democracy based on political stability and social reconciliation. (SIGNED)
    NEB/YPD/JP 30-Mar-2000 15:28 PM EDT (30-Mar-2000 2028 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] CHINA-EU-WTO (S & L) BY ROGER WILKISON (BEIJING)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-760760
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: China and the European Union are in a third day of talks on Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organization. But, as VOA correspondent Roger Wilkison reports, E-U diplomats are saying there is still no indication that the two sides will be able to strike a deal.

    TEXT: E-U Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng sat across the negotiating table Thursday in another attempt to hammer out a deal that would pave the way for Beijing's accession to the W-T-O. E-U diplomats in Beijing say the two sides are dealing with what one described as nuts and bolts issues, primarily involving the E-U's attempt to extract major Chinese concessions in the telecommunications and insurance sectors. The diplomats say Brussels is holding out for a better deal than the one the United States negotiated with China last year. But Chinese officials say they are not prepared to give one trading partner what they did not grant to another. Striking a deal with the E-U is the last major roadblock to be overcome, in China's 14-year quest to join the W-T-O.

    /////REST OPT FOR LONG/////

    Mr. Lamy met on Wednesday with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, whose last-minute intervention was instrumental in breaking a deadlock in Sino/U-S trade talks last November. But E-U diplomats say that, so far, their exchange of views only helped lay out the E-U's terms for an agreement and that it is too early to say what effect it might have on China's bargaining position. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi, speaking through an interpreter at a regular news briefing, also refused to predict what the outcome of the talks would be.

    /////INTERPRETER ACTUALITY/////

    Currently, the bilateral negotiations between China and the E-U are still proceeding. I have no information to announce to you at this stage.

    /////END ACTUALITY/////

    The European delegation has given no indication how long it is prepared to stay in Beijing. But Mr. Lamy has let it be known that -if he cannot strike a deal that satisfies him- he is prepared to return to Brussels immediately.
    NEB/RW/FC 30-Mar-2000 04:38 AM EDT (30-Mar-2000 0938 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] EUROPE SPY (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260767
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European parliament plans to vote next month on a resolution condemning the U-S-led Echelon spy network for industrial espionage against European businesses. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels.

    TEXT: Echelon was set up in 1971 as an electronic monitoring system during the Cold War. European-Union member Britain helps operate the system, along with listening posts in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. A British news report says the system led by the U-S National Security Agency has engaged in industrial espionage against European businesses. Green Party members of the European Parliament demanded a committee of inquiry look into the charges. They cite reports Echelon is capable of intercepting phone calls, electronic mail, and fax messages. They also say information gathered on Echelon helped the United States beat the European Airbus Consortium in selling aircraft to Saudi Arabia in 1994. The European Commission has a problem in investigating these damages. Commission spokesman Jonathan Faull explains that no European business has complained about damages from spying.

    /// FAULL ACT ONE ///

    Nobody has come forward, and we should certainly be interested in talking to people who want to come forward, but nobody has done so.

    /// END ACT ///

    Another problem is that Britain is a member of the European Union. In a letter released by the Commission, the British government cities 1985 legislation that authorizes interception of communications in cases involving - safeguarding the nation's economic well-being. The Commission also has a letter from the State Department stating that - the U-S intelligence community is not engaged in industrial espionage. The letter also says the U-S government does not collect information for the benefit of private firms. The European Commission has been aggravated by interviews given by the former director of the U-S Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey. He has justified industrial espionage by the United States on the basis of the use of bribery by European companies. Commission spokesman Faull expresses outrage about the justification, while not denying bribery is sometimes used to make a sale.

    /// FAULL ACT TWO ///

    I do not deny that cases of bribery arise in all sorts of countries by the way, not only in Europe, from time to time, I am not that naive. What I am saying is outrageous is - the suggestion is that espionage could be justified in order to redress some apparent imbalance caused by the fact that European companies are considered to bribe more than American companies.

    /// END ACT ///

    In the European Parliament's debate, Portuguese Interior Minister Fernando Gomes says the E-U justice ministers will discuss the Echelon system in their next meeting at the end of April. He says the European Union cannot accept the existence of such a system that violates data privacy. But he also says there is no evidence that companies ever benefited from communications interception or have been damaged by it. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/RAE 30-Mar-2000 10:10 AM EDT (30-Mar-2000 1510 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260784
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S STOCK PRICES WERE LOWER TODAY (THURSDAY) AS ANOTHER WAVE OF PROFIT-TAKING IN THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR HIT WALL STREET. VOA CORRESPONDENT ELAINE JOHANSON REPORTS FROM NEW YORK:

    TEXT: EVEN THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE SUCCUMBED TO THE TECHNOLOGY SELL-OFF. DOW COMPONENTS MICROSOFT, INTEL AND HEWLETT-PACKARD CAME UNDER HEAVY PRESSURE. THE INDUSTRIALS LOST 38 POINTS, THREE-TENTHS OF ONE PERCENT, CLOSING AT 10-THOUSAND-980.

    THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX FELL 20 POINTS - OVER ONE PERCENT.

    AND THE TECHNOLOGY-WEIGHTED NASDAQ COMPOSITE, ON A FOUR-DAY LOSING STREAK, DROPPED ANOTHER FOUR PERCENT. THE NASDAQ IS DOWN MORE THAN 10 PERCENT FROM ITS RECORD HIGH MARCH 10TH.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    TECHNOLOGY MAY BE SELLING OFF. BUT ASH RAJAN (PRON: REAGAN), AN INVESTMENT STRATEGIST WITH THE PRUDENTIAL SECURITIES BROKERAGE FIRM, SAYS IT WON'T LAST. HE PREDICTS "TECH" STOCKS WILL RALLY AGAIN:

    ///RAJAN ACT///

    YOU KNOW THE TEMPTATION HERE TO SAY THAT THE NASDAQ AND THE DOW ARE DISCONNECTED AND THERE'S A ROTATION GOING ON FROM THE TECHNOLOGY AREAS TO THE SO-CALLED "OLD ECONOMY" NAMES - I CERTAINLY DON'T BUY THAT. I CERTAINLY LIKE THE BROADENING. I WOULD LIKE THE DOW TO PARTICIPATE. BUT I STILL THINK THE MONEY FLOWS ARE GOING BACK TO "TECH," "TELECOM," E-COMMERCE, SOFTWARE. AND THAT TRULY IS WHERE THE ACTION IS.

    ///END ACT///

    BUT THAT IS NOT WHERE THE ACTION IS AT THE MOMENT. SOME ANALYSTS BELIEVE THE "TECH DRAIN" WILL CONTINUE UNTIL STOCK VALUATIONS ARE MORE IN LINE WITH EARNINGS.

    ///END OPT///

    THE U-S ECONOMY GREW A REVISED SEVEN-POINT-THREE PERCENT IN THE FINAL QUARTER OF 1999 FROM THE PREVIOUSLY REPORTED SIX-POINT-NINE PERCENT - THE STRONGEST SHOWING IN ABOUT 15 YEARS. REACTION WAS MUTED ON WALL STREET. TRADERS DISMISSED THE NEWS AS "ANCIENT HISTORY."

    ///REST OPT///

    SOFTWARE GIANT MICROSOFT IS REPORTED READY TO MAKE NEW OFFERS TO THE U-S GOVERNMENT TO SETTLE ITS ANTI-TRUST SUIT. MICROSOFT'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, STEVE BALLMER, CALLS THE OFFERS "SUBSTANTIAL." MEANWHILE, MICROSOFT IS TEAMING UP WITH BRITISH TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND LONG-DISTANCE PHONE CARRIER A-T AND T IN A WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DEAL. THE GOAL IS TO PROVIDE WIRELESS INTERNET APPLICATIONS TO CUSTOMERS AROUND THE WORLD.

    SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY - THE WORLD'S LEADING MAKER OF COMPUTER DISK DRIVES - HAS ANNOUNCED A 20 BILLION DOLLAR DEAL THAT WILL TAKE THE COMPANY PRIVATE(TAKE ITS SHARES OFF THE STOCK EXCHANGE). SEAGATE EXECUTIVES SAY THEIR STOCK WAS TRADING FAR BELOW THE VALUE OF THE COMPANY'S ASSETS.

    UNDER A COMPLICATED AGREEMENT, VERITAS SOFTWARE WILL BUY BACK THE VERITAS SHARES THAT SEAGATE OWNS. SEAGATE WILL TURN OVER ITS OPERATING BUSINESSES TO A PRIVATE GROUP FOR ABOUT TWO BILLION DOLLARS IN CASH. (SIGNED) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 30-Mar-2000 16:43 PM EDT (30-Mar-2000 2143 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [09] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=3/30/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11752
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-2702
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- OPEC -- voted this week to increase oil production. U-S editorial writers are discussing the implications of the vote and how it will affect the nation's economy. Other topics drawing attention include a setback in Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations, an Amnesty International report on human rights in Saudi Arabia, a trade deal for Africa and the need for Americans to understand better how their own government works. Now for a closer look and some excerpts, here is __________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: With a diplomatic push from President Clinton, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries took a welcome step to boost oil production. OPEC voted this week to increase its production by seven percent, a move that may ultimately return gasoline and heating oil prices to levels of the mid-1990s -- before the past year's big price increases. Nonetheless, questions persist, and U-S editorial writers are engaged in discussion about the OPEC decision. The Beacon Journal in Ohio says the feeling of urgency that accompanied OPEC's vote should send a message.

    VOICE: Chiefly, the decision is a reminder of how vital a steady supply of reasonably-priced oil is to orderly markets, for oil producers as well as consumers. ... This week's focus on OPEC also underscores the importance of competition, of maintaining and developing non-OPEC sources of oil. ... The level of recent concern [about prices] invites th[is] country to continue the many successful efforts toward greater fuel efficiency, greater energy conservation and increased exploration for economically- and environmentally-feasible alternative-energy sources.

    TEXT: In New York, Newsday argues that OPEC acted in its own interest:

    VOICE: Political pressure had little to do with it. Rather, OPEC nations realized that high prices would hurt them, by encouraging consumers to cut back and other oil suppliers to develop new sources. Better to keep Americans reliant on OPEC petroleum to fuel their thirsty S-U-V's [sport utility vehicles]. ... That's not ideal, but until America learns to use less oil or produce more, we're stuck with it.

    TEXT: The New York Times is considering the latest setback in efforts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and Syria. The newspaper warns there is a danger that the two countries "could drift into armed conflict" after Israeli troops withdraw from Lebanon in July.

    VOICE: The cause of this impasse is Syria's president, Hafez al-Assad, who refused to show any flexibility when he met with President Clinton in Geneva last Sunday. ... It is essential that neither Prime Minister Ehud Barak nor the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, be distracted by Mr. Assad's intransigence. The next building block of a durable Middle East peace is a permanent settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. For now, peace with Syria may not be possible, but Mr. Assad and Mr. Barak must guard against escalating tension over Lebanon.

    TEXT: The Boston Globe, in Massachusetts, believes the latest report on Saudi Arabia by the human-rights monitoring group Amnesty International merits attention, especially from Americans.

    VOICE: The report's descriptions of systematic human-rights abuses in Saudi Arabia are no more repugnant than the horrors perpetrated in some other countries, but what makes the Saudi monarchy a special case for Americans is its status as an ally of the United States. ... If the concept of human rights is to have any real meaning, there can be no double standard for allies, clients or crucial oil producers. The public-relations firms and lobbyists hired by the Saudi government -- and named by Amnesty -- should not be able to hide the truth about the kingdom. Precisely because the Saudi rulers are allies of Washington, America has an obligation to demand that discriminatory laws, arbitrary arrests, torture and executions without a fair trial are abolished in the kingdom.

    TEXT: In California, the Los Angeles Times is turning some attention to Africa's need for a better trade deal with the World Trade Organization.

    VOICE: The world's poorest countries are being offered what at first appears to be a generous deal. Developed nations would accept much of the poor nations' exports, free of tariffs and quotas, in return for negotiations with the World Trade Organization. But for the 48 least- developed countries, including many in Africa, the offer is not as generous as it seems, and there are strings attached. ... The African countries need free access to U-S textile markets much more than they need another round of W-T-O trade talks. ... Time is critical.

    TEXT: And finally, upcoming elections in the United States have Florida's Orlando Sentinel highlighting the need for Americans to become better informed about the fundamentals of American government and politics:

    VOICE: America's future rests with its children, but unfortunately many people -- both children and adults -- don't understand how American government works. That's of particular concern as voters prepare to make crucial decisions in upcoming elections. ... Politics and government affect the lives of everyone. People who don't understand issues affecting government and politics easily can be seduced by bumper stickers, campaign ... signs and catchy political slogans. It is up to parents, educators and community activists to lead the way. They must set an example by taking an active interest in politics and government. ... Nothing less will do.

    TEXT: With that comment from the Orlando Sentinel, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial columns of Thursday's U-S press.
    NEB/ENE/WTW 30-Mar-2000 13:13 PM EDT (30-Mar-2000 1813 UTC)
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    Source: Voice of America


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