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Voice of America, 00-04-27

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY - POL (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [02] TURKEY POL (L UPDATE) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [03] TURKEY QUAKE PREDICTION (L) BY DAVID MCALARY (WASHINGTON)
  • [04] EURO / BANK (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [05] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [06] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] TURKEY - POL (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=4/27/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-261764
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Turkey's parliament will vote today (Thursday) for a new president. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the outcome of today's ballot will deeply influence the future of Turkey's coalition government.

    TEXT: The 550-member legislature assembly will elect Turkey's 10th president. Turkey's coalition government, led by leftist Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, has put forward Ahmet Necdet Sezer a little known judge as its candidate. Leaders of the main opposition Islamic Virtue Party and the conservative True Path Party said Monday that they, too, backed Mr. Sezer who is the president of Turkey's constitutional court. Mr. Sezer needs to secure 367 votes - or a two-thirds majority - if he is to be elected. His nomination has created rumblings of discontent among lawmakers. Many say one of their own should assume the country's highest post. There are 10 members of parliament running against Mr. Sezer. Mr. Sezer is the strongest contender. Analysts say, however, that should Mr. Sezer fail to secure at least 300 votes his chances of being elected in a second, or if necessary even a third vote, could well diminish. That outcome would be a huge blow for Mr. Ecevit. Prime Minister Ecevit suffered a severe setback earlier this month when parliament failed to back his efforts to enable the current incumbent, Suleyman Demirel, to stay on. President Demirel leaves office on May 16th. Mr. Sezer is widely respected for his honesty and liberal views. But analysts say his lack of experience in key areas such as foreign policy and limited knowledge of the Byzantine world of Turkish politics works against him. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/PLM 27-Apr-2000 07:01 AM EDT (27-Apr-2000 1101 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] TURKEY POL (L UPDATE) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=4/27/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-261778
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// EDS: THIS REPORT UPDATES CR 2-261764, PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ELECT NEW PRESIDENT ///

    INTRO: The Turkish parliament has failed to elect a new president for the country. But as Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the government-backed candidate finished far ahead of his rivals and is well placed to win in a second round of balloting next week.

    TEXT: Turkish lawmakers sipped glasses of sugary tea and puffed on their cigarettes as they awaited the results of Thursday's presidential vote. Many said they had voted for the government-backed candidate, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who is president of Turkey's constitutional court. And Mr. Sezer received 281 votes -- at least four times as many as his closest rival, an Islamic parliamentarian, Nevzat Yalcintas. But, Mr. Sezer fell well short of the two-thirds majority he required to be elected as Turkey's president. So the parliament will meet May first for a second round of balloting. Mr. Sezer is widely expected to win that second round, ending a period of political instability that was triggered by the failure of Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit this month to keep on Suleyman Demirel, the outgoing president. Turkey's president is the chief of the country's armed forces and presides over the National Security Council, the country's top policy-making body. In those jobs, Mr. Sezer would become Turkey's most influential civilian. But some parliamentary deputies question whether he has the necessary experience for the job. Mr. Sezer is praised for his honesty and liberal views. As chief of the constitutional court, he has called for sweeping constitutional reforms that would ease bans on freedom of expression. And, he has said that military court rulings -- under which hundreds of officers have been expelled for being overtly religious -- should be open to appeal. But Mr. Sezer also has approved the closure of numerous political parties, including that of the pro- Islamic Welfare party. Even so, many Islamic lawmakers voted for Mr. Sezer in the balloting on Thursday. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/JP 27-Apr-2000 14:10 PM EDT (27-Apr-2000 1810 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] TURKEY QUAKE PREDICTION (L) BY DAVID MCALARY (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=4/27/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-261776
    CONTENT=
    INTERNET= VOICED AT:

    INTRO: An international team of scientists says Istanbul, Turkey is likely to experience a major earthquake within the next 30-years. As we hear from Science Correspondent David McAlary, recent tremors nearby may have increased the chances of an Istanbul quake.

    TEXT: Turkish, U-S, and Japanese researchers report in the journal "Science" that Istanbul has a one-in- three chance of being struck by a major earthquake in the next 10-years. Istanbul Technical University geologist Aykut Barka [EYE-koot BAR-kuh] says the odds for a quake double to two-in-three within 30-years.

    /// BARKA ACT ///

    It could happen anytime within the next 30- years.

    /// END ACT ///

    The estimate derives from a statistical analysis of earthquakes occurring over many centuries in the region. But geophysicist Ross Stein of the U-S Geological Survey is quick to caution that the scientists are not predicting an Istanbul earthquake.

    /// STEIN ACT ///

    We cannot predict earthquakes. No one can. But we are trying to simply understand earthquake behavior and see if we can treat it as a probabilistic process. In other words, what are the odds?

    /// END ACT ///

    Earthquakes occur when one piece of Earth's shifting rocky surface, known as a plate, slips past or under an adjacent one along the fault line between them. This releases the stress between the two sections, but it builds again over the years. Twelve big quakes have devastated Istanbul in the past 15-hundred years. The city lies on a major line between plates, called the North Anatolian Fault, running eastward for about one-thousand kilometers. The city of Izmit, about 80-kilometers from Istanbul on the fault line, suffered huge tremors last August. Scientists say it may have increased the fault stress to the west near Istanbul. Speaking from Istanbul, Ross Stein points out that two other fault lines south of Istanbul are late in their earthquake cycles. One under the Marmara Sea, on which Istanbul is a port, has been silent nearly 500- years. Another has not shaken for about 250-years.

    /// STEIN ACT ///

    They are linked in the sense that the North Anatolian fault breaks up into smaller splinters in the Marmara Sea. They are kind of the end of the broomstick where faults splay out in several directions from the major fault zone.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Stein urges calm in response to the team's findings. He say Istanbul - a city of 10-million people - is likely to have enough time to strengthen many of its buildings.

    /// REST OPT ///

    /// STEIN ACT ///

    What we are trying to do is simply give planners, politicians and citizens here a better sense of what they are approaching, so that they can make the decisions one has to, to live more safely.

    /// END ACT ///

    (SIGNED)
    NEB/DEM/ENE/RAE 27-Apr-2000 14:14 PM EDT (27-Apr-2000 1814 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] EURO / BANK (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=4/27/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-261773
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Central Bank has raised interest rates of the 11 countries using the Euro currency. Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports the announcement of an increase of one-quarter of one- percent does not appear to have had the desired effect.

    TEXT: The European Central Bank had been expected to raise interest rates because of growing inflation in Europe. The case for an interest rate raise became more urgent when the Euro currency resumed its fall in value. The bankers discussed the exchange rates in their meeting in Frankfurt (Thursday) and said in a statement that the present value of the Euro does not reflect the strong economic fundamentals of the Euro region. Currency traders heard that strong statement, and saw the expected interest rate raise of one-quarter of one-percent for all interest rates. Then they drove the Euro to another historic low against the dollar. The 16-month-old currency also hit lows against the Japanese yen and British pound. When the Euro first dropped below parity with the U-S dollar, European governments did not complain too much. Exports from Europe increased, unemployment rates began to fall. Now with oil imports priced in dollars, inflation is starting to grow. The interest rate increase is the fourth the Central Bank has made since November. French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius says the problem of the weak Euro will not be solved by a strong increase in interest rates. The only solution, he says, is demonstrating to the market that Europe's economic situation is improving. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has expressed similar optimism for the struggling currency. He says the economic figures are so sparkling, he has no fear for the Euro. Other analysts blame the Euro's weakness on the continuing strong performance of the U-S economy. Despite the interest rate increase, Europe's refinancing rate is only three-point-75-percent. The American rates are close to six-percent. They attract investments away from the Euro. The U-S central bank, the Federal Reserve, is expected to raise American interest rates again when it meets on May 16th. That makes the short-term outlook bleak for the Euro that has lost 22-percent of its value against the dollar since it was introduced on New Year's day, 1999. (SIGNED) NEB/RDP/JWH/ENE/RAE 27-Apr-2000 11:59 AM EDT (27-Apr-2000 1559 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=4/27/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-261785
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Inflation and interest rate fears split the U- S stock market today (Thursday), with the "blue-chips" retreating further. Investors put their money into technology, betting that the "new economy" stocks can withstand interest rate pressure better than the "old economy" stocks. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 57 points, one-half of one percent, closing at 10- thousand-888. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed four points higher. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite gained almost four percent. The latest on the U-S economy shows the employment cost index - a measure of wage inflation - went up a larger-than-expected one-point-four percent. That was the fastest pace in nearly 11 years. And, the U-S economy grew at a lower-than-expected but still robust five-point four-percent. The data sparked fears of a tougher stand by the U-S central bank, which meets May 16th to consider raising interest rates for the sixth time since last June.

    ///REST OPT///

    Economists disagree on how many rate hikes are necessary to slow the economy down. But Robert DiClemente, an analyst with the Salomon Smith Barney investment firm, says whatever needs to be done has to be done fairly soon:

    ///DICLEMENTE ACT//

    There may still be some signs of slowing on the basis of what we have in place today. But I think the patience is wearing thin that the price and cost pressures are much too near the surface to go on waiting very much longer.

    ///END ACT///

    A-T and T Wireless, a unit of A-T and T - the U-S long-distance phone carrier - made its debut on Wall Street. It was the largest initial public offering in U-S history. But the stock eked out only an eight percent gain, as it entered a market riddled with interest rate concerns. Nokia of Finland, the world's largest maker of cell- phones and Europe's most valuable company, reported profit and income that beat analysts' expectations. First-quarter earnings rose over 75 percent, as Nokia beat competitors to market with new models, including one capable of accessing the Internet. And Dow Chemical - the number two U-S chemical company reported a big jump in first-quarter sales and income. The company is in the process of acquiring rival Union Carbide, in a deal that will make it second only to U-S chemical giant DuPont in world-wide sales. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 27-Apr-2000 16:47 PM EDT (27-Apr-2000 2047 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=4/27/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11793
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=

    INTRO: The worsening situation in Zimbabwe, where black squatters are occupying white-owned commercial farms, often violently, takes center stage this Thursday in many U-S editorial columns. Domestically, the two big topics are a pending court decision to break up the huge computer software giant, Microsoft, as the result of an anti-trust suit, and a new study that says racial minorities are not treated fairly in the U-S justice system. Rounding out the day's popular editorial topics are the Elian Gonzalez case, a conservative crackdown in Iran, and the risks of being a news reporter in parts of the world examined on World Press Day. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and a few excerpts, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: For more than two months, large groups of black peasants, many claiming to have fought in Zimbabwe's anti-colonial independence struggle, have been occupying white-owned commercial farms. They are doing so with the consent of President Robert Mugabe and violence is spreading. Today's New York Times discusses the situation in its lead editorial, entitled "Justice and Stability in Zimbabwe."

    VOICE: Twenty years after he triumphantly led Zimbabwe to independence from white rule in what had been Rhodesia, President Robert Mugabe seems bent on driving his once hopeful nation into violent conflict and economic ruin. Threatened as never before by a surging multi-racial opposition, he is seeking to preserve his corrupt regime by unleashing the forces of lawlessness and racism. ... Land is not the real issue for Mr. Mugabe. It is a political weapon with which to divide and discredit an opposition movement that is threatening to undermine his party's near-monopoly on power in parliamentary elections later this year.

    TEXT: Pittsburgh's [Pennsylvania] Post-Gazette is accusing Mr. Mugabe of governing badly:

    VOICE: When he first ascended to power, he insisted that Zimbabwe wouldn't fall prey to the temptations of racial and political vengeance. The rights of the white minority would be respected by the majoritarian government. Mr. Mugabe has sacrificed that principle for personal political advantage, making the nation's white farmers scapegoats for his corruption and mismanagement. /// OPT /// As mobs in Zimbabwe terrorize the white minority, neighboring states have refrained from criticism. Indeed, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela's successor, expressed support for Mr. Mugabe last weekend and joined him in blaming Western governments for Zimbabwe's troubles. That sort of "solidarity" augurs ill for a troubled region.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Atlanta Constitution is also upset at the latest turn of events, suggesting:

    VOICE: [President] Mugabe's fiery egging-on of the mobs, labeling the homesteaders as enemies of the state, was tantamount to justifying an unholy war.

    TEXT: Domestically, the favorite topic is a pending federal court plan to split up the huge computer software company, Microsoft, into separate entities. This is the likely result of the government's anti- trust lawsuit against Microsoft. The idea is not finding favor with many editorial writers, including The Kansas City [Missouri] Star.

    VOICE: The Justice Department has proposed that Microsoft be split into two companies -- one based on the Windows [computer] operating system, and the other on the company's applications software ... [which enables computers to perform specialized tasks] Both would then have an incentive to ensure broad markets for their products. ... By itself, the theory seems plausible enough. But as always, the prospect of unintended consequences should be a cause of concern. ... if the two are separated, both entities may see it in their interest to raise prices much higher. Neither would have a direct interest in the success of the other. In short, busting up Microsoft could harm consumers.

    TEXT: The [Daily] Oklahoman in Oklahoma City suggests that the computer business is changing so rapidly that by the time appeals are exhausted, the whole case may be moot.

    VOICE: ... there will be much sound and fury as the case judge considers what should be done ... But whatever he decides, chances are technology will leave it in the dust, which is why a majority of Americans think the government's crusade has been a colossal waste of time and money - theirs.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Today's Chicago Tribune feels splitting up Microsoft would be a "terrible idea," adding:

    VOICE: The best remedy remains one that least involves the government in a complex and rapidly changing technological marketplace. Fine the company, but refrain from imposing government's infamous management and oversight skills on this company and this market.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to the day's other major domestic topic, there is a great deal of frustration and anger at a new report that black and Hispanic youths are not treated as well as white youths in the nation's criminal justice system. In the Pacific island state of Hawaii, Honolulu's Star-Bulletin says the situation needs careful study.

    VOICE: Racial discrimination cannot be justified in juvenile courts and must be eliminated where it exists. ... The study found that when white and minority youth were charged with the same offenses, blacks were six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites with corresponding backgrounds. Latinos were three times more likely than whites to be put behind bars. ... the differences are so large ... they suggest the existence of glaring racial bias in the judicial system.

    TEXT: The national daily, U-S-A Today, published in a Washington D-C suburb, sums up:

    VOICE: It's a long way from that first marijuana bust [arrest] to death row. But the path is unconscionably greased by race-based bias, and the call for wholesale reviews of local, state and federal procedures to screen for prejudice is no longer just a question of tweaking the system. It's a matter of overhauling it.

    TEXT: Turning to the latest comments on the case of the Cuban shipwreck survivor, Elian Gonzalez, and the continuing custody battle over him, The Detroit Free Press says Senate hearings on his seizure need to stick to the facts.

    VOICE: Many Americans are satisfied that [Attorney General] Janet Reno had to order the boy's rescue from the Miami family that kept him from his father, but others have lingering doubts. ... If fact-finding is at the heart of these hearings, the public will be served. But there will be plenty of political haymaking [Editors: slang for opportunism] thrown in, too, no doubt.

    TEXT: Today's Wall Street Journal notes that the difference of editorial opinions over the seizure of the boy has cost the job of Tom Bray, editorial page editor of The Detroit News, who wrote critically of the way the seizure was carried out. The Journal feels the editorial was too conservative and too critical of the White House to suit the paper's management, and adds that this should not have ended his 16-year career at the big Midwest daily. In Middle Eastern developments, there are several comments about the harsh crackdown by Iran's militant Islamic clergy following major gains by reformers in the country's parliamentary elections. The Chicago Tribune calls it: "Iran's Budding Reign of Terror."

    VOICE: Even by the repressive standards of Iran's Islamic republic, the recent crackdown by conservative mullahs against Iran's reform movement could take your breath away. Two months after their overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections, reformers are being subjected to an outrageous backlash. ... The mullahs have brought on economic ruin and international isolation. The Iranian people have expressed their determination at the ballot box for reform and democracy. There will be no turning back. The only question is how long the repressive leaders can hang on to power and at what terrible cost to Iran and its people.

    ///OPT ///

    TEXT: In the Southwest, Oklahoma's Tulsa World is outraged at the assault on the nascent opposition press in Iran.

    VOICE: ... last week, supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who also still controls the military, the police and the judicial system, denounced some publications for undermining Islamic and revolutionary principles. Within a week, the judicial authorities closed down eight daily newspapers and four magazines. All had been leaders in the country's pro-democracy movement. ... Moderation in Iran would help stabilize peace in the Middle East. And it is clear that the Iranian people want change. The United States should encourage such change. The ayatollahs might be preserving their power for now, but the crackdown on the press shows ... they are worried. They should be. And that's good.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: It turns out that Iran is not the only nation where it is becoming increasingly difficult to function as a journalist. Today's Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Journal looks over last year's statistics as it contemplates World Press Freedom Day on May third and the sacrifices newspapers make.

    VOICE: Sometimes, these sacrifices have been mortal. Last year, 28 journalists were murdered in 17 countries, bringing to more than 500 the number of journalists who have been killed while on duty in the past 10 years. According to the [Paris-based World Association of Newspapers] press association's tally, at least 117 reporters and other journalists are in prison in 25 countries around the world. These injustices should not be a matter of concern to the media alone. Dictators and others who seek to intimidate reporters by killing or jailing them do so because they want to cover up something important and perhaps even damning, such as corruption or far worse. When reporters are killed, the flow of precious information is strangled.

    TEXT: On that ominous note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Thursday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 27-Apr-2000 11:50 AM EDT (27-Apr-2000 1550 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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