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Voice of America, 00-04-17

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

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





    INTRO: European stock markets slumped on Monday in response to the plunge in U-S stocks last Friday. As V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London, an early rally in the U-S market bolstered European stocks slightly before the end of trading.

    TEXT: European markets had plunged more than three percent in the early morning trading. But they started to recover by mid-day. Britain's FTSE-100 market ended the day only two percent lower. Hi-tech stocks were the hardest-hit by the sharp fall in prices. European traders anxiously waited for the New York Stock Exchange to open. And, when it did, they watched U-S stocks start to rally. That eased market tensions across Europe. Many of the early losses were reversed. Analysts had predicted the Monday plunge across Europe but insisted the market needs a correction after months of unreasonably high gains. Russia's new leader Vladimir Putin -- on a brief visit to London -- told reporters the plunge in high-tech stocks had little impact on Russia but it did signal to him the need for Russia's economy to diversify and decentralize. (Signed)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/JO 17-Apr-2000 12:48 PM EDT (17-Apr-2000 1648 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: As the new work week begins in the United States, the nation's editorial pages are filled with comments on: today's annual federal income tax payment deadline; Peru's election runoff; the Washington D-C protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund; a renewed war on worldwide disease; and the Ethiopian famine. Now, here is _________ with a closer look and some examples, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Millions of Americans have until midnight tonight to send in their federal income tax payments, and post offices in major cities will be open late to accommodate the last minute rush of procrastinators. As is always the case on tax day, the editorial columns are getting in their viewpoints. Georgia's Augusta Chronicle says having to pay the money is not even the worst of it.

    VOICE: Ouch! We feel your pain. Those taxes can be a world of hurt. ... Equally as painful is having to deal with a book of federal forms and instructions, including 17-thousand-pages of tax laws and regulations, that's thick and deep enough to challenge a weightlifter. No one, starting from scratch, would ever devise such a monstrously complex tax code. It's senseless; not even half rational.

    TEXT: Another way of looking at it comes from the Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, which points out, the average U-S taxpayer will have to work several more weeks of this year, just to pay off what he or she owes in taxes.

    VOICE: Americans' time will not truly be their own until May 3,the latest occurring "Tax Freedom Day" since the nonpartisan Tax Foundation began computing it more than 25 years ago. Tax Freedom Day is the date the average taxpayer quits working to pay for government - - federal, state and local taxes - - and begins working for himself. ... The later Tax Freedom Day occurs each year, the more Americans are being taxed. Current levels are the highest since World War Two ...

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: And in Missouri, The St. Louis Post Dispatch picks up on a New York Times study, noting:

    VOICE: ...Americans are paying more in federal taxes than they did before the economic expansion of the last decade. Meanwhile, American corporations - - whose profits are growing faster than Americans' incomes - - are paying less.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Overseas, the presidential election runoff in Peru i drawing a good deal of attention. In South Carolina, The Charleston Post and Courier is pleased.

    VOICE: Peru has been given a chance to return to democracy by the outburst of anger that greeted the attempt of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori to secure re-election, first by violating the constitution in order to run for a third term and then by fraud. Fortunately, international and independent poll watchers prevented Mr. Fujimori from stealing last week's (first round) election.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Taking a somewhat more sarcastic tone, today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes:

    VOICE: It's getting awfully hard to steal an election these days, as Peruvian President ... Fujimori discovered last week. ...the Peruvian people, opposition parties, the Organization of American States and the U-S government all clamored vigorously enough to convince Mr. Fujimori that he had accept the need for a runoff against challenger Alejandro Toledo in June.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In Rhode Island's capital, The Providence Journal weighs in with this assessment of President Fujimori.

    VOICE: ...[he] has made important contributions ... stopped hyperinflation, defeated two terrorist insurgencies and made peace with neighboring Ecuador. However, he has, to put it gently, strong confidence in himself. This has led him to push his weight around as president...

    TEXT: Back domestically, Washington D-C is the scene of street protests as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund hold their annual spring meetings. The anti-globalization protestors, who blame the two financial agencies for not doing enough for poor countries and the environment, have been trying to block the meetings and tie up traffic. The New York Post considers the protestors misguided, and lauds the strong police effort to keep so far, adding:

    VOICE: At a very primitive level, it's not overly hard to feel sympathy for the protesters' message: Indeed, there is bone crushing poverty in the world, and a general failure to address it is at once immoral and a prescription for long-term social chaos, worldwide. At the same time, the protesters' **prescription** [italics for emphasis] - - stopping time in its track - - would do nothing for the poor. ... History is replete with efforts to stand in the way of economic progress. Free trade **is** [italics for emphasis] the future. It's just that simple.

    TEXT: And in Nebraska, the state's biggest daily, The Omaha World Herald, says the criticism of the two international banking agencies is, by and large, misdirected.

    VOICE: The World Bank, it is said, provides little assistance to actually aid the world's poor. As for the I-M-F, critics claim it has allowed developing countries to amass tremendous foreign debt and imposes free-market policies on developing countries that hurt impoverished people. The reality doesn't precisely match those caricatures. In regard to the World Bank, it's true that some ... projects have turned into boondoggles ... But it is a stretch to claim ... the World Bank deliberately sought those results. ... As for the I-M-F, it is true that the organization has often been rigid in forcing recession-battered governments to raise interest rates and slash government spending in order to qualify for desperately needed loans ... [but] ... recipient governments should not be excused from their mistakes.

    TEXT: Today's Los Angeles Times is worried about the spread of treatable infectious diseases that have become the leading cause of death worldwide, according to a new study. It says:

    VOICE: Bipartisan support is indeed growing for bills that would greatly expand U-S funding of global health programs like vaccination drives, but high moral principles alone are not driving the support. The history of AIDS, last year's outbreak of West Nile encephalitis in New York and the resurfacing of tuberculosis in parts of the United States have shown that, in our global age, infectious diseases are not contained by seas and continents.

    TEXT: As for the famine striking portions of Ethiopia, the New York Times notes sadly:

    VOICE: Though [it] ... has been caused by drought, it is compounded by Ethiopia's calamitous border war with Eritrea. The war is far from the famine areas, but it has sapped the economies of both these impoverished countries. Prime Minister Meles and the Eritrean leader, Issaias Afwerki, have agreed to participate in talks this month in Algiers... They owe it to their long-suffering countrymen to negotiate in good faith and refrain from further military action.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JO 17-Apr-2000 11:17 AM EDT (17-Apr-2000 1517 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were sharply higher today (Monday), as some of the old optimism returned to Wall Street. The rally comes after the stock market last week turned in one of its worst performances ever. V- O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 276 points, about two and three-quarters percent, to 10- thousand-582. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed up over 40 points, a gain of more than three percent. The Nasdaq composite shot up over 200 points, more than six percent - its biggest one-day point gain ever. The big-name technology stocks led the way up. Investors put aside fears of inflation and interest rate increases - a sentiment that fueled Friday's sell-off. Optimism returned as U-S businesses turned in strong profits for the first quarter. Experts are not sure whether the Nasdaq sell-off is over. But analysts agree investors are being more selective in what they buy - looking in the direction of companies that are proven money-makers.


    Last week's huge losses in the Nasdaq market seem to have punctured some widely-held ideas about the so- called "new economy." One of them was that high technology stocks are not nearly as sensitive to interest rate or inflation fears as those associated with the so-called "old economy." Market analyst Thomas Gallagher says "old" and "new" are more intertwined than many thought:

    /// GALLAGHER ACT ///

    I think the average market pundit has been saying technology has been separate from the "old economy" and you didn't have to worry about that. I think the "light bulb has gone off" for a lot of those people. And they understand they sell to the "old economy" and so therefore they're going to be affected.

    /// END ACT ///

    On the earnings front, Bank of America, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Bank of New York - among the biggest U-S banks and brokerages - reported better-than- expected profits. Number two auto-maker Ford saw its first-quarter earnings soar on sales in the United States of its most profitable sport-utility vehicles and luxury cars. And drug company Eli Lilly - maker of the world's top- selling anti-depressant drug, Prozac - said its profits rose 18-percent on higher sales of newer drugs and stable sales of Prozac. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/gm 17-Apr-2000 17:07 PM EDT (17-Apr-2000 2107 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America
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