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Voice of America, 00-04-25

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

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





    INTRO: Turkey's major opposition political parties have agreed to support the government's nominee, a ranking secular judge, to be the country's next president. Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara.

    TEXT: In a rare show of unity, leaders of the main opposition pro-Islamic Virtue Party and the conservative True Path Party announced they would support constitutional court chief Ahmet Necdet Sezer as the country's new president. With their backing, the highly respected pro-secular judge is almost guaranteed to assume Turkey's highest post. Turkey's Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, expressed delight with the opposition's decision to support Mr. Sezer's candidacy. There had been fears the quest for a new president would destabilize the country after the incumbent, Suleyman Demirel, failed in his bid to stay on. Mr. Sezer, who is 59-years old, first gained public prominence with a speech last year in which he called for easing bans on free expression contained in the constitution. The judge is untainted by corruption scandals like so many of Turkey's political leaders, and many commentators say Mr. Sezer's nomination -- although unexpected --is hugely welcome. Under the constitution, Mr. Sezer needs to secure the signatures of at least 110-lawmakers to be officially regarded as a presidential candidate. The first round of voting is set to take place Thursday. Six other candidates are running against him. . Mr. Sezer needs to obtain 367-votes in order to win the presidency. If he fails, a second vote would be held on May First, a third on May Fifth, and a fourth on May Ninth. If no candidate wins the necessary majority by the fourth ballot, Turkey's parliament will be dissolved and new elections held. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/RAE 25-Apr-2000 14:54 PM EDT (25-Apr-2000 1854 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were higher today (Tuesday), as buyers returned to Wall Street looking for bargains in the beaten-down technology sector. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average is back over 11-thousand. The Industrials rose 218 points, two percent, to 11-thousand-124. The Standard and Poor's 500 index gained 47 points - over three percent. And the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite, reclaiming what it lost Monday and then some, closed six-point-six percent higher. Shares of software giant Microsoft bounced back a little bit. They plunged nearly 16 percent Monday, on revenue concerns and fears the U-S government favors a break-up of the company. The latest on the U-S economy shows sales of existing homes rose one-point-five percent in March. Meanwhile, consumer confidence dipped only slightly this month, as lower gasoline prices helped offset the impact of a volatile stock market.

    /// REST OPT for long ///

    Market analyst Joe Battapaglia believes the stock market will continue to rally and, more importantly, continue to broaden, as investors shift money into many neglected sectors:


    Well, there's good news here actually. And that is to say that the money is not leaving the market. Investors know intuitively that in a "bull" market (a rising market) you can move from group to group. They're just trying to find some leadership at this point. And I think they'll get it.

    ///END ACT///

    That leadership, according to Joe Battapaglia, will once again come from the technology sector. Meanwhile, robust earnings continue to influence the market favorably. U-S oil companies, including oil giant Exxon Mobil, reported a surge in first-quarter profits due to higher oil prices. And, fiber-optic maker Corning came in with a nearly 80 percent profit increase, beating even heightened expectations on Wall Street. Shares of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing dropped as much as seven percent during the trading day. The U-S industrial giant beat earnings expectations but warned profits for the year may not meet analysts' highest estimates. On the down side, earnings at Proctor and Gamble fell for the first time in nine years. The company blamed higher costs. The leading U-S maker of household goods also warned that sales this quarter will be lower than expected. Merger news was big on Wall Street, as International Paper - the leading maker of paper products and a Dow component - offered an unsolicited six-point-two billion dollars to buy rival Champion. It was a higher offer than the friendly bid made by a Finnish paper company (U-P-M Kyemmene). Some analysts predicted the move by International Paper could lead to a bidding war in what is considered a normally staid industry. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 25-Apr-2000 18:03 PM EDT (25-Apr-2000 2203 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: For a second, consecutive day, U-S papers are filled with commentary on the government's seizure of Elian Gonzalez. The Cuban boy arrived in the United States toward the end of last year and is now at the center of a custody dispute between his father, who wants the boy returned to Cuba, and his Miami relatives, who want the boy to remain in the United States. Many of the editorials are debating the merits of the seizure itself, while others concentrate on Republican criticism of the raid's tactics and the Clinton administration, and others ponder a possible change in U-S Cuban relations as a result of this incident. Elsewhere, the Vietnam War is remembered, on this the 25th anniversary of its end. There are also comments on the Ethiopian famine, and the occupation by landless black peasants of white-owned, commercial farms in Zimbabwe. Now with a closer look at all that here is ___________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The seizure of Elian Gonzalez early Saturday morning from the Miami home of his relatives is generally supported by the papers. Most decry the use of heavily armed and helmeted federal agents who took the boy out of the arms of a family friend at gunpoint, but many say it was a necessary precaution against any armed resistance by the family. And most point to the happy reunion, hours later, between the boy and his father at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington as justification for the government's action. In New Jersey's capital, The [Trenton] Times, calling its editorials "justified action," writes:

    VOICE: The relatives of Elian Gonzalez, and their hyperemotional supporters in Miami's Cuban-American community, have no one to blame but themselves for the early-morning operation ... in which federal agents took little Elian from his great-uncle's house to be reunited with his father...

    TEXT: Honolulu's Star-Bulletin suggests: "The raid was necessary because the relatives were defying the law in refusing to relinquish custody of the boy." But The Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City, calling the seizing of Elian "a Sad Chapter in History" goes on:

    VOICE: NOT in America. Sending in helmeted, flak- jacketed, machine gun-toting feds to seize Elian Gonzalez from his Miami relatives may have been technically legal, but it wasn't right. ... Snatching a terrified six-year-old from loving family members who don't want him condemned to life imprisonment in Fidel Castro's Cuba may have helped conflicted Attorney General Janet Reno feel better, but it wasn't right. Not in America.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: North Carolina's biggest daily, The Charlotte Observer, calls the raid "Risky, yes, but necessary and successful," adding:

    VOICE: Law enforcement experts widely agree. So do we. This incident can appropriately be judged by its result. ... Eight agents entered and left the house within three minutes, carrying the youngster in a blanket. Imagine the outcry if decisions and events had gone otherwise - - if ill-equipped agents had been overcome or even wounded by armed opponents.

    TEXT: The [Minneapolis, Minnesota] Star Tribune agrees, writing:

    VOICE: [Ms.] Reno would be subject to even greater criticism today had she imprudently sent unarmed agents up against violent resistance, or if she had attempted some polite daytime maneuver that turned into a Miami street riot.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: But in Maine, The Portland Press Herald is upset.

    VOICE: Thankfully, no one was hurt. That's about the best one can say of [Saturday's] ... raid .... [Few] could have taken any comfort in the image ... of an agent in combat gear, rifle at the ready, extending a hand to Elian who had been taken to a closet. Even a second picture of a smiling Elian with his arms clasped around the neck of his father ... did little to counter the revulsion elicited by the government's show of force.

    TEXT: Turning to the second day editorials, which are focused on Republican criticism of the raid, and on criticism of the government, the Augusta [Georgia] Chronicle says in its headline: Attorney General] Reno should resign.

    VOICE: There is something awfully alarming about automatic-weapon-toting federal agents busting down the door of an unarmed family to seize a child - - a child who is safe and not being abused. ... This is not the America we think of when we call ourselves the "land of the free and the home of the brave." But it is the America we have seen under Janet Reno's reign ... Saturday's heavy-handed raid reinforced the notion that jack-booted thugs could ram down the door of any home in America. In Idaho, they killed a mother and son; [editors: This is a reference to a raid by government agents on a family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, accused of selling an illegal shotgun to a undercover agent. The raid became a shoot out between the F-B-I and the man's family in which his wife and son were killed.] in Waco, [Texas] ... they killed some 80 members [of the Branch Davidian cult] in the name of justice. In Miami, they merely laid waste to any hope that the rule of law would be enforced lawfully under [Ms.] Reno's watch.

    TEXT: In California, the San Jose Mercury News says, in its headline, "Strangely, Republicans have forgotten many of the principles they hold dear."

    VOICE: The raid has brought down on [Attorney General] Reno and Bill Clinton a hail of criticism from Republicans who, in true Cold War fashion, have let obsession with [Cuban President Fidel] Castro trump every belief they otherwise hold. The Republicans in Congress have forgotten their sermonizing on parents' rights being absolute, especially as opposed to the social engineering schemes of government. They've forgotten about the law they sponsored giving the I-N-S strong authority to handle refugee cases without meddling by those pesky right-obsessed federal courts.

    TEXT: And lastly on this case the Atlanta [Georgia] Constitution hopes that perhaps, in the broader context, Elian's story might possibly foster a reappraisal of U-S Cuban policy.

    VOICE: Decades ago, when Cuba served as a launch pad for Soviet missiles and springboard for Marxist revolution, Washington's quarantine of the island- nation made sense. These days that strategy is an anachronism. Cuba is no threat to anyone. ... If there is one positive consequence to the Elian Gonzalez saga so far, it is a growing sense our Cuba policy is obsolete and bends over backward to accommodate a tiny but vocal minority. More Americans need to wake up to that realization.

    TEXT: Now on to other topics, and the 25th anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War. The New York Times talks about a premonition President Lyndon Johnson had in 1964 -- that the war was a mistake -- before expanding U-S involvement. The Times goes on:

    VOICE: No compelling national interest was served by waging war in Vietnam, and the men who directed the war, including [President] Johnson and his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, knew it at the time. More than 58-thousand American servicemen lost their lives in a land of negligible political and economic importance to the welfare of the United States. ...above all, it taught us that the United States must not commit its soldiers to protracted combat in the absence of clear security interests, and that future wars cannot be fought without the support of the American people.

    TEXT: Today's Los Angeles Times is upset at the latest move by conservatives in Iran, to crack down on what had been a gradually more open press.

    VOICE: Last week, supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced a number of publications for allegedly undermining Islamic and revolutionary principles. This week, Iran's judicial authorities shut down eight dailies and four magazines that had been in the forefront of pro-democracy efforts. ... by [stifling] dissent, [denying] an outlet for grievances and [quashing] any challenges to their rule, Iran's religious hard-liners may well be inviting the same explosion of hostility and frustration that ended the long reign of their predecessor.

    TEXT: As for the famine in Ethiopia, Boston's Christian Science Monitor compares this famine with one that occurred there 15 years ago.

    VOICE: Ethiopia and its smaller neighbor, Eritrea, are spending heavily for a border war that hinders food delivery, eats up state resources to prevent hunger, and makes it politically difficult for donors to stock up the food reserve.

    TEXT: And to the south on the African continent, the increasingly violent takeovers by black squatters of white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe draws this rebuke from USA Today, published in a Washington, D-C suburb.

    VOICE: [Zimbabwe's President Robert] Mugabe casts this as a quest for a more racially equitable distribution of land and a struggle against the remnants of colonial oppression. But [Monday's] ... attack on the black farm-workers exposes the true motive: [Mr.] Mugabe hopes that by stoking racist passion, he can stay in power after elections that are due in May.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 25-Apr-2000 12:24 PM EDT (25-Apr-2000 1624 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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