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Voice of America, 00-05-05

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

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





    INTRO: Turkey's parliament today/Friday elected Ahmet Necdet Sezer as the country's new president. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, Mr. Sezer was elevated to the country's highest post in a third round of balloting.

    TEXT: The outcome came as no surprise. Mr. Sezer, the chief of Turkey's constitutional court, was widely predicted to win in Friday's vote. His only credible rival, Parliament Speaker Yildirim Akbulut, pulled out of the race earlier this week. And the leaders of the three parties making up Turkey's coalition government -- led by Left wing Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, as well as those of the main opposition parties -- had all strongly endorsed Mr. Sezer's candidacy. But for all that, it still took Mr. Sezer three rounds of voting before he could be elected. And even in the final vote, he collected 330 votes in the 550 member Turkish parliament. It was more than the simple majority he needed, but well under the minimum 400 votes he had been widely expected to receive. His closest rival, an Islamist lawmaker, Nevzat Yalcintas, received 113 votes. Analysts say many parliament deputies voted against Mr. Sezer because he is an outsider about whom very little is known. But that may prove to be his greatest advantage, analysts say. Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Sezer has no political debts to repay. Mr. Sezer is also noted for his liberal views. In a speech he delivered last year, Mr. Sezer called for scrapping articles of the Turkish constitution that prohibit free speech on controversial issues such as Kurdish rights and political Islam. Mr. Sezer has also signaled the need to allow appeals of military court rulings in which hundreds of officers deemed overly religious have been expelled in recent years from the rigidly secular armed forces. Though Mr. Sezer, who is 58, underwent cardiac bypass surgery last year, he is said to be in excellent health. Mr. Sezer will officially take over from outgoing President Suleyman Demirel on May 16th. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/JP 05-May-2000 10:57 AM EDT (05-May-2000 1457 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Turkish security forces on Thursday arrested 400 illegal immigrants in Istanbul who were reportedly headed for Greece. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the operation carried out (in Buyukcekmece district) is among the largest in recent years.

    TEXT: The illegal immigrants were mostly from Iraqi Kurdistan and Pakistan. They were planning to board a boat headed for Greece when Turkish security forces staged the dawn raid in Buyukcekmece district, some 40 kilometers west of Istanbul. What will happen to them remains unclear, though Turkey usually deports illegal immigrants to their country of origin or keeps them in jail if they are unable to pay for the trip back home. Turkey is one of the main transit routes for Asians and Iraqi and Iranian Kurds seeking a better life in Western Europe. The favorite destinations are the Netherlands and Germany. The immigrants are mostly brought illicitly into Turkey via Iran or northern Iraq by smugglers who charge as much as ten thousand dollars per person for forged travel documents and other expenses, including bribes to customs officials. In a separate development Friday, the Greek coast guard rescued the remaining 142 illegal Kurdish immigrants of the 158 discovered on a tiny Greek island the day before. The group was found on Kavali Island where they had been abandoned by smugglers, according to the Greek merchant marine ministry. Hundreds of illegal immigrants making the perilous sea journey from Turkey's Aegean coast have perished in recent years when their rickety boats capsized in stormy weather. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/KL 05-May-2000 10:45 AM EDT (05-May-2000 1445 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Wall Street ended a tough week of economic concerns with a rally. U-S stock prices closed higher today (Friday), shrugging off the latest warning that inflationary pressures are building in the U-S economy. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 165 points, one and one-half percent, closing at 10- thousand-577 - but down one-and-one-half percent for the week. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed 23 points higher. And the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite went up two-point-six percent - down for the week just over one percent. The latest on the U-S economy shows unemployment at a 30-year low (3.9 per-cent in April, with more new jobs created than many analysts had predicted. Still, the stock market rallied. Analyst Tony Dwyer says investors already know interest rates are going up:

    ///DWYER ACT///

    It's not new news that the economy is growing too quickly and that inflation is becoming a problem. Today's number shouldn't do anything to dissuade the "Fed" from raising interest rates by a half a percent at the May 16th meeting.

    ///END ACT///

    But the market rally was built on very light volume, as investors reduced the amount of risk they are willing to take.

    ///REST OPT//

    Market strategist Michael Clark says inflation does not necessarily mean the stock market will take a sharp downward turn. But he sees investors exercising more caution:

    ///CLARK ACT///

    An inflationary trend doesn't mean the market has to become "un-glued" here. I think there is some value. If you look at the Dow over the past year, it's largely unchanged. It's sort of in a trading range. And I think that's reflective of the fact that there really is some value there.

    ///END ACT///

    As for the very expensive technology stocks, analysts generally agree that investors will stay primarily with those companies that have proven growth and earnings capacity. In other news, Cisco - the world's largest maker of networking equipment - has agreed to buy ArrowPoint Communications, an Internet switch maker that went public only five weeks ago. Cisco is paying nearly six billion dollars for the company. It is part of Cisco's aggressive acquisitions policy. Cisco shares were the most actively traded, edging up over six percent. Meanwhile, Qualcomm - the leading maker of cell-phone technology - broke a two-day losing streak that cut its stock value by more than six percent. Qualcomm shares gained back two percent of that. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 05-May-2000 17:54 PM EDT (05-May-2000 2154 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Issues involving Africa get special attention in Friday's U-S newspapers. Editorial writers say the recent violence in Sierra Leone raises crucial questions about U-N peacekeeping forces. There is also commentary about the threat to regional stability posed by Zimbabwe's land crisis. Other topics include a federal order to remove protesters from the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques and the death of a prominent Roman Catholic Church priest in the United States. Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is _________________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, the R-U-F, terrorized that country during eight years of civil war by killing, raping and severing the limbs of thousands of civilians. One year ago, the R-U-F signed a peace accord with the elected government. The group's leader, Foday Sankoh, and his followers were granted amnesty and positions in government, in exchange for a promise to give their weapons to United Nations peacekeepers and participate in elections scheduled for next year. However, Mr. Sankoh is now cursing U-N forces and threatening to boycott demobilization. R-U-F guerrillas have killed at least four U-N peacekeepers and taken some 69 others hostage. The New York Times says Sierra Leone demonstrates the danger of sending a weak and inadequately-trained peacekeeping force into a country where there is not yet peace to keep.

    VOICE: U-N troops have responded to the recent rebel attacks by surrounding the home of ... Foday Sankoh in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown. They should continue to do so. Mr. Sankoh may be induced to arrange release of the hostages, but he has failed to honor his pledge to disarm his forces and allow U-N troops to move into rebel territory, where they might interfere with his lucrative diamond-smuggling operation. The peace agreement gave Mr. Sankoh immunity from prosecution for crimes committed during the war. It is now clear that Sierra Leone is unlikely to enjoy real peace until he and his confederates are held accountable for their crimes.

    TEXT: The Washington Post says the R-U-F's violent treachery raises questions not only about the wisdom of bargaining with Mr. Sankoh in the first place, but also about the viability of U-N peacekeeping in Africa as a whole.

    VOICE: If the operation in tiny Sierra Leone can be stymied by one warlord, what hope is there for the mission envisioned to help pacify Congo? Sierra Leone may be the last chance to show that international action still offers some hope to ravaged "failed states" in Africa, despite awful failures in Liberia, Somalia and Rwanda. ... The United Nations must recognize that half-measures won't do this time. Either the mission to salvage this brutalized little country is not vital to international peace and security, in which case it should cease before more peacekeepers' lives are lost, or it is -- in which case [U-S Ambassador to the United Nations Richard] Holbrooke's words need to be swiftly acted upon, with a force to match.

    TEXT: Elsewhere on the continent, South African leaders are urging a peaceful resolution to Zimbabwe's land crisis, warning that it is threatening the peace and stability of the entire southern African region. The Los Angeles Times says it is important for Zimbabwe's neighbors to speak out against President Robert Mugabe, who they believe is driving the country into civil unrest in the interest of his own political gain.

    VOICE: Land reform, all agree, is badly needed. Nearly 20 years after independence, most black farmers still struggle for survival on tiny plots, while the best land, taken by European colonizers, remains in the hands of white farmers. Yet land reform is not [Mr.] Mugabe's aim. ... For the first time in the 20 years of his rule, [Mr.] Mugabe is struggling for political survival, and that's why the 76-year- old president is stirring racial unrest. Some members of the British Commonwealth, to which Zimbabwe belongs, have denounced [Mr.] Mugabe's failure to uphold the rule of law. South Africa and other neighboring governments should do so as well. Otherwise, [Mr.] Mugabe, isolated and embittered, will interpret their silence as approval of his increasingly dictatorial rule.

    TEXT: In other news, for nearly 60 years the U-S military has occupied a substantial portion of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, using its bases there for air and sea training. After a civilian was killed by off-target bombs, outraged demonstrators invaded the naval property and remained camped out trying to prevent more explosions. Over a year later, federal authorities have now removed the protesters. In New York, the Daily News says federal action was overdue.

    VOICE: It was long past time to show them the gate. That they left peacefully is to their credit, but the fact remains that theirs was an illegal occupation. The Pentagon has been more than patient. The Clinton administration reached an agreement in January with Puerto Rico to henceforth use only dummy material in Vieques exercises, provided the military could continue to operate there until 2003. In return the islanders will get 40-million dollars in aid, the Navy will remove tons of munitions and the western portion of the island will revert to Puerto Rico's control this year. It is a fair and equitable compromise that must not be undermined by ideological button-pushers with misdirected passions.

    TEXT: Lastly, U-S Catholics are mourning the loss of Cardinal John O'Connor, the archbishop of New York. The Hartford Courant, in Connecticut's capital, is among newspapers paying homage to the cardinal, who died Wednesday at the age of 80.

    VOICE: Cardinal O'Connor ... was a towering figure in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, who will be remembered for his strict conservatism on church moral matters, his liberalism on economic issues and his commitment to inter-faith dialogue. For 16 years, Cardinal O'Connor was the leader of more than two-million Catholics in the New York archdiocese, the biggest in the nation. His reputation and influence, however, extended far beyond the Empire State. The cardinal was known as Pope John Paul's right-hand man in the United States. ... Cardinal O'Connor developed strong ties with organized labor, preached against racism, opposed capital punishment and advocated for the poor and the homeless. In recognition of his contributions, Congress in March awarded him the country's highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. Cardinal O'Connor said he would like his epitaph to say simply: "He was a good priest." Indeed, he was.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ENE/WTW 05-May-2000 12:52 PM EDT (05-May-2000 1652 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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