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Voice of America, 00-04-05

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ETHIOPIA/ AID APPEAL (L-O) BY BARBARA SCHOETZAU (NEW YORK)
  • [02] EUROPEAN COMMISSION / PRODI (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [03] ISRAEL / EUROPE (L-ONLY) BY MEREDITH BUEL (JERUSALEM)
  • [04] NY ECON WRAP (S & L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [05] TURKEY / POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [06] TURKEY / POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [07] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] ETHIOPIA/ AID APPEAL (L-O) BY BARBARA SCHOETZAU (NEW YORK)

    DATE=4/5/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260983
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// See also CR 2-260934 of 4/4 ///

    INTRO: Humanitarian aid groups are urging the international community to take immediate action to avert widespread human suffering in Ethiopia. Correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from New York.

    TEXT: The humanitarian groups say that after three years of drought Ethiopia is heading to a point that could rival the disastrous famine of 1984 and 1985. The southern region of the country is particularly hard hit. One local Ethiopian welfare group says 14 children die every day from famine. Ponds and wells have dried up. Cattle, which provide most southerners with their livelihood, are dying by the thousands. Humanitarian groups working in the region say the lives of eight million people are currently at risk. But they say immediate and massive help from the international community can still prevent a full-scale famine. The humanitarian group Save the Children and the U-S Agency for International Development recently airlifted about 40 tons of food and nutritional formula to Ethiopia. The United States has pledged to meet half of the requirements outlined by the Ethiopian government. And the European Union is planning on sending 800-thousand tons of food aid. Rudolph von Bernuth of the group Save the Children says attention has begun to focus over the last week on the seriousness of the situation in Ethiopia. But getting help to the people in time presents relief workers with another set of problems.

    /// VON BERNUTH ACT ///

    One of the problems that we face is that even if those food supplies were to materialize -- first of all, it does not address the issue of migration. It does not address the issue of lack of water. And it does not address the issue of the port capacity throughout the region which, frankly, would have an extraordinarily difficult time managing the importation of 800-thousand tons of food in a timely enough manner to get to the people who need it by the time they need it. So we are facing enormous logistical as well as resource constraints.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Von Bernuth says relief groups are considering opening up a port in Somalia to get the food and water that is needed at once into Ethiopia. Once the situation is stabilized, Michael Delaney of Oxfam America says the people of the region will still need help in the form of animals, seeds, tools and new and deeper wells for long term rehabilitation of the region.

    /// DELANEY ACT ///

    We are seeing many families who have lost their cattle, their sheep, have sold their tools and seeds for the next harvest. So along with this current situation that they are facing, for sure that this is going to have long-term implications because people are not going to have the seeds or tools for the next planting.

    /// END ACT ///

    Somalia and parts of Kenya and Eritrea have also been affected by the drought. (Signed) NEB/bjs/LSF/gm 05-Apr-2000 14:59 PM EDT (05-Apr-2000 1859 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] EUROPEAN COMMISSION / PRODI (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=4/5/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260971
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Commission -- the executive of the European Union -- has held an unusual private meeting to deal with reports of a supposed attempt to replace Commission President Romano Prodi. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports the Commission's repeated denials mask a conflict between the E-U's leaders and their executive commission.

    TEXT: When the German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allegemeine, reported an imminent power struggle within the European Commission, the Commission was quick to denounce the report as a "pure fabrication." The German newspaper described what it called the ineffective leadership of Romano Prodi, who has been Commission president for six months. Fabrication or not, Mr. Prodi was quick to take action. While in Cairo at the European-African summit meeting, he asked for -- and received -- pledges of support from French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and the current rotating president of the European Union, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres. Mr. Prodi followed those pledges by returning to Brussels to hold an unusual closed-door meeting with his commission with no aides or interpreters present. Afterward, Mr. Prodi's spokesman, Ricky Levi, was told to inform the press there would be no changes in people or policies.

    /// LEVI ACT ///

    Concluding at the end of this discussion with confirming the lines of the action that have been followed up to now.

    /// END ACT ///

    The commission president is named by European Union leaders and confirmed by the European Parliament for a five-year term. In the first six months of his 20- member commission, Mr. Prodi has made some bold pronouncements that were later modified or contradicted by the European leaders. Mr. Prodi said European Union leaders should announce firm dates on when the first countries from Central and Eastern Europe are expected to join the union. The leaders last December ignored that recommendation. They are in no hurry to open their borders to new workers and products. Mr. Prodi also said the structures of the European Union should change radically to prepare for enlargement. The first sessions of the conference to do that have stalled with E-U countries refusing to give up more powers to the commission. And then there is the Gadhafi Affair. Last December, Mr. Prodi invited Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to visit Brussels without first consulting the leaders of Europe. When Libya made the invitation public and suggested changes to the European Union's Middle East policies, Mr. Prodi was told by Mr. Chirac to put the idea aside. The Cairo Summit meeting was a time for President Prodi to recover some pride. European leaders lined up to meet the Libyan leader. Once again, Mr. Gadhafi embarrassed everyone by appearing conciliatory in private while condemning publicly the colonial records of the European countries. Mr. Prodi's spokesman advises reporters not to expect the dialogue between Europe and Libya to advance soon.

    /// LEVI ACT ///

    Normal diplomatic contacts will follow, but I would invite you all not to expect any short- term or spectacular results.

    /// END ACT ///

    The effectiveness of Mr. Prodi's leadership of the commission will continue to be debated so long as he continues to advocate policies that come into conflict with the interests of European leaders. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JP 05-Apr-2000 10:51 AM EDT (05-Apr-2000 1451 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] ISRAEL / EUROPE (L-ONLY) BY MEREDITH BUEL (JERUSALEM)

    DATE=4/5/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260977
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Union's chief envoy, Christopher Patten, says officials in Syria are still open for discussion about peace talks with Israel, but he indicates there does not seem to be much optimism that such negotiations will resume. Mr. Patten talked about the prospects for peace talks (Wednesday) after meetings in Damascus and Jerusalem. V-O-A Correspondent Meredith Buel has details.

    TEXT: European Commissioner for External Relations Christopher Patten is on a regional tour of the Middle East that includes stops in Damascus, Jerusalem, Beirut and Amman. Mr. Patten arrived in Jerusalem after meetings in Damascus with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara. He says the Syrians have not closed the door on resuming peace negotiations with Israel. Mr. Patten adds, however, the Syrians are very disappointed that a recent meeting between President Clinton and Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad in Geneva did not result in a resumption of the talks.

    /// 1st PATTEN ACT ///

    I think the most positive thing that I heard was the assurance that the Syrians do not believe that the process is over. I think the most positive thing I heard was that the Syrians are still open for discussions. // OPT // But I can not honestly say that I left Syria with a spring in my step. On the peace process, I think there was not much sunshine through the clouds. // END OPT //

    /// END ACT ///

    Peace negotiations between Israel and Syria resumed last December, but stalled in January after Damascus demanded Israel's commitment to return all of the Golan Heights. Israel captured the strategic Golan plateau during the 1967 Middle East war. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has reportedly offered to pull out of the Golan, but he wants to keep the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee under Israeli control and sovereignty. Syria has rejected the offer, and both sides have been pessimistic about the prospects for resuming negotiations. Mr. Patten, who became internationally known as Britain's last governor of Hong Kong, says the European Commission is ready to provide substantial financial aid to support any peace agreement in the Middle East.

    /// OPT 2ND PATTEN ACT ///

    Of course we wish to play a full role as friends and neighbors - near-neighbors -- but somebody has to be aware of what that is going to cost. One of the jobs that I have to do over the coming weeks is to give member states some notion of what it would cost if we were to put Europe's money where Europe's communiques have been.

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

    The European Union is already Israel's largest non- military trading partner. Its member countries are the largest donors to the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Patten continues his regional tour with a visit to Beirut on Thursday. (Signed)
    NEB/MB/GE/WTW 05-Apr-2000 13:32 PM EDT (05-Apr-2000 1732 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=4/5/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260987
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Wednesday). The Nasdaq market remained especially volatile, with a lot of buying and selling of those beaten-down technology stocks. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 130 points, just over one percent, closing at 11-thousand- 33. The Standard and Poor's 500 index, which measures the broad market, dropped seven points - a loss of one- half of one percent. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite - up nearly three percent during the session - was gripped by a wave of late-day selling. It still closed up, but only about 20 points, or one-half of one percent. Many experts predict the Nasdaq market will see more volatility for a while, both up and down. But overall, they believe technology investors are starting to be more selective in what they buy, looking more closely at a company's fundamentals and profit-making capacity.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Analyst Bill Meeham says investors can ignore an Internet company's lack of earnings for just so long:

    /// MEEHAM ACT ///

    You know you can have some exciting companies and exciting technologies that hold promise. And you're not going to have any P-E (stock price to company earnings ratio) because you're not going to have any E (earnings). We've taken that to an extreme recently because a lot of these companies have demonstrated no clear path to any profitability.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    Shares of Microsoft are still under pressure, following that negative anti-trust ruling Monday. Microsoft stock dropped another two to three percent.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Shares of Advanced Micro Devices - Intel's biggest rival in the computer chip market - rose as much as 12-percent to a record, after the company reported first-quarter revenues exceeded one billion dollars. A-M-D had production problems last year. But it is now churning out chips in high volume, and occasionally beats Intel to market with the fastest chips. Dupont, the leading U-S chemical company, says it will shut down two European plants and cut 900 jobs as part of a continuing re-structuring. Dupont says the actions will enable Dupont to improve customer focus and strengthen its business performance. The chemical company announced 13-hundred layoffs last July in the first step of its revamping. U-S long-distance phone company A-T and T and British Telecommunications say they will invest two-billion dollars in a global network of computer centers that will host Web sites and process E-commerce. The companies have also announced plans to link 44 Internet data centers in 16 countries. The market for Web hosting services is expected to grow from three-point-eight billion dollars this year to more than 16-billion dollars in four years. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/gm 05-Apr-2000 17:21 PM EDT (05-Apr-2000 2121 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] TURKEY / POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=4/5/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260965
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Turkish parliament began voting (eds: voting scheduled to last for many hours) on a constitutional amendment package aimed at extending the term of President Suleyman Demirel by at least five years. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the outcome of Wednesday's ballot will likely have a profound impact on the future of Turkey's coalition government and on political and economic reforms.

    TEXT: The atmosphere was tense in Turkey's 550- member parliament as deputies took turns casting their ballots secretly in small cubicles. The first two articles that the lawmakers will vote on would make it more difficult to ban political parties and to raise their own salaries. The two items were intended by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to persuade parliament to approve the most crucial amendment of all - one that would allow Turkish President Suleyman Demirel to remain in office. The amendment would reduce the president's term from seven to five years, but would allow for a second term. Mr. Ecevit has staked his political credibility on passage of the amendment, saying that President Demirel needs to stay for the preservation of Turkey's stability. Mr. Ecevit maintains that the power struggle that would likely erupt between the five parties represented in the Turkish legislature would likely derail a crucial economic stabilization program that is being backed by the International Monetary Fund. During his seven years in office, President Demirel has been widely credited with acting as a crucial buffer between the politicians and the country's interventionist generals. But the signs so far have not been auspicious for Mr. Demirel, who has also served as prime minister a record seven times. In a first round of balloting, which took place last week, at least 100 lawmakers from Mr. Ecevit's three-party coalition voted against the package together with opposition members of the pro-Islamic Virtue Party. At least 367 votes are needed for a constitutional amendment. If anything, say observers, Mr. Ecevit's pressure tactics, which include threats to drop one of his coalition partners, the Motherland, from his government have backfired. Mr. Ecevit appeared almost resigned to defeat ahead of the vote saying he was unable to predict its outcome. But most observers say that Mr. Demirel's staying power should not be underestimated. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/KL 05-Apr-2000 10:53 AM EDT (05-Apr-2000 1453 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] TURKEY / POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=4/5/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-260965
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Turkish parliament began voting (eds: voting scheduled to last for many hours) on a constitutional amendment package aimed at extending the term of President Suleyman Demirel by at least five years. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the outcome of Wednesday's ballot will likely have a profound impact on the future of Turkey's coalition government and on political and economic reforms.

    TEXT: The atmosphere was tense in Turkey's 550- member parliament as deputies took turns casting their ballots secretly in small cubicles. The first two articles that the lawmakers will vote on would make it more difficult to ban political parties and to raise their own salaries. The two items were intended by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to persuade parliament to approve the most crucial amendment of all - one that would allow Turkish President Suleyman Demirel to remain in office. The amendment would reduce the president's term from seven to five years, but would allow for a second term. Mr. Ecevit has staked his political credibility on passage of the amendment, saying that President Demirel needs to stay for the preservation of Turkey's stability. Mr. Ecevit maintains that the power struggle that would likely erupt between the five parties represented in the Turkish legislature would likely derail a crucial economic stabilization program that is being backed by the International Monetary Fund. During his seven years in office, President Demirel has been widely credited with acting as a crucial buffer between the politicians and the country's interventionist generals. But the signs so far have not been auspicious for Mr. Demirel, who has also served as prime minister a record seven times. In a first round of balloting, which took place last week, at least 100 lawmakers from Mr. Ecevit's three-party coalition voted against the package together with opposition members of the pro-Islamic Virtue Party. At least 367 votes are needed for a constitutional amendment. If anything, say observers, Mr. Ecevit's pressure tactics, which include threats to drop one of his coalition partners, the Motherland, from his government have backfired. Mr. Ecevit appeared almost resigned to defeat ahead of the vote saying he was unable to predict its outcome. But most observers say that Mr. Demirel's staying power should not be underestimated. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/KL 05-Apr-2000 10:53 AM EDT (05-Apr-2000 1453 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=4/5/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11761
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-2702
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Several international issues are drawing attention in today's U-S press. The topics include U- S aid to Colombia, bringing justice to Bosnia and better trade opportunities for Africa. There is also more comment on Monday's court ruling in the Microsoft case. Now with a closer look and some excerpts, here is _________________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: U-S officials say Colombia is one of the major sources of all the illegal drugs seized in the United States. The Clinton administration says the only way to stop the influx of narcotics from Colombia is to help strengthen that country's armed forces. But the St. Petersburg Times in Florida argues that providing Colombia with 1.7 billion dollars in aid, as the administration proposes, is not the answer to the nation's drug problem.

    VOICE: For a country that has touted capitalism around the globe, our leaders don't seem to understand the laws of supply and demand. Trying to reduce the supply of illicit narcotics without eradicating demand will be ineffective. Even if the Colombian military is successful in closing down large coca farms, the economic incentives in drug trafficking are just too great for there to be any serious interruption in the flow of cocaine and heroin to the United States. Narcotics traffickers will simply shift locations, as they did in moving to Colombia after a crackdown occurred in Peru and Bolivia. .The Colombian Aid package now faces review in the Senate. If it doesn't get waylaid there, the United States will spend more than a billion dollars to be drawn into a morally ambiguous foreign civil war to advance a drug war that is a proven loser.

    TEXT: With this week's arrest by NATO forces of Momcilo Krajisnik, a former Bosnian Serb political leader, the international war crimes tribunal seems to be closing in on those responsible for killing Muslim civilians during the war in Bosnia in the mid- nineties. The New York Times believes the recent arrest will help settle ethnic tensions.

    VOICE: For the past four and a half years, NATO troops have kept the guns of Bosnia silent. But NATO has been hesitant to pursue the top officials responsible for the slaughter, fearing reprisals or even a renewal of ethnic warfare. .Bosnia now has perhaps the best chance since the Dayton agreement to begin the difficult process of ethnic reconcilliation. .The arrest of Mr. Krajisnik and others indicted for war crimes rightly assigns accountability for the horrors of 1992-95 to leading policy makers rather than to the entire Bosnian Serb population. /// OPT

    /// .France's willingness to move against indicted Bosnian Serbs - Mr. Krajisnik was captured by French commandos - is especially encouraging. The risk to NATO forces must be carefully weighed, but the alliance can serve the interest of justice in Bosnia if it can arrest other indicted Bosnian Serb leaders.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Washington Post is commenting on efforts by Senate and House leaders to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of bills designed to increase trade between the United States and Africa. The paper says congressional leaders have an opportunity to do something for Africa and should not let it go by.

    VOICE: If the House and Senate can't get a deal (for Africa) before Congress goes into recess at the end of next week, there probably won't be one. An opportunity to help the world's poorest continent, at virtually no cost to Americans, will then have been squandered. .At present, Africa accounts for less than one percent of America's apparel imports. If the House negotiators can clear the way for Africa's share (of America's apparel imports) to rise 5 percent, they will have got a deal worth having. To a continent desperate to create jobs of any kind, the boost in exports would mean a lot. American consumers would benefit from cheaper clothes. American textile workers would scarcely notice the difference. .It is hard to see how anyone could oppose that.

    TEXT: And finally, a commentary from the Miami Herald about this week's ruling against Microsoft for violating anti-trust laws. The paper says legal intervention was necessary to end the domination perpetuated by computer software giant.

    VOICE: Microsoft designed a computer operating system that became the industry standard; and its personal computers have, indeed, become affordable to tens of millions of people around the world. But there came a point when Microsoft morphed into a behemoth that dominated and bullied the software market. .It's impossible to tell how, or even if, the computer marketplace would be different without Microsoft's blunderbuss tactics. Competitors may, or may not, have done a better job; consumers may, or may not, have gotten more choice and less expensive products. The only certainty is that Microsoft's actions crossed the line between honest competition and monopolistic control. The U-S Justice Department was right to intervene.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of opinion from the editorial pages of Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ENE/KL 05-Apr-2000 13:36 PM EDT (05-Apr-2000 1736 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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