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Voice of America, 00-05-22

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

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





    INTRO: Authorities in the Yugoslav republic of Serbia concluded a mass trial of nearly 150 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo Monday, convicting them as terrorists and sentencing them to terms totaling more than 16-hundred years in prison. The charges arose during last year's violence in Kosovo, which led to NATO's move to intervene in the Serbian province. Stefan Bos reports on the trial.

    TEXT: A Serbian court has convicted 143 Kosovo Albanians on charges that they took part in terrorist activities during last year's NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia. The court in Nis, (about 200 kilometers) south of the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, sentenced the defendants to prison terms ranging up to 13 years each. Judge Goran Petronijevic said the ethnic Albanians attacked Serb police units and aided the Kosovo Liberation Army. The judge said all those on trial were proven members of the K-L-A, whose guerrillas took part in a violent campaign aimed at breaking Kosovo away from the Yugoslav Federation. The 143 defendants denied all the charges. They said Serb police picked them up at random last year in the southeastern Kosovo town of Djakovica. Defense lawyers said they were victims of a politically-motivated show trial, and pledged to appeal the verdict. The defendants from Djakovica were among more than two-thousand people who were moved from Kosovo to central Serbia last year, before NATO peacekeeping troops arrived in the troubled province. Human-rights organizations have been urging the release of more than one-thousand ethnic Albanians still held in Serb prisons. Analysts say the trial that ended Monday was part of an overall crackdown on all opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who has remained in power despite being indicted on war-crimes charges by the United Nations tribunal in The Hague.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Serbian courts have sentenced hundreds of ethnic Albanians and Serb dissidents, including several writers, to long prison terms. More recently, a group of Serbs was charged with trying to overthrow Mr. Milosevic. Western diplomats and human-rights groups have questioned the fairness of these trials. They say Mr. Milosevic has been using increasingly desperate tactics in an attempt to retain his power in Belgrade. (Signed)
    NEB/SJB/WTW 22-May-2000 19:53 PM LOC (22-May-2000 2353 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A continuing sell-off of technology stocks pulled the major American indexes lower today (Monday) V-O-A's Joe Chapman reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 84 points, less than one-percent, to finish at 10-thousand-542. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed 26 points lower to three-thousand-364, less than one-percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 closed down six points to finish at one-thousand-400. Bargain hunters moved into the market late in the trading day to pull the major averages off their session lows. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite traded more than five-percent lower during the session. The high technology index dipped below its low of the year before bouncing back. The Nasdaq is down about 20-percent for the year. Losers led winners by about four-to-one on the Nasdaq exchange and some analysts say that investors are moving into less volatile stocks in a flight to safety.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Peter Henderson, a senior analyst, says that last week's one-half-percent interest rate increase continues to be a major factor. He also says that Wall Street continues to be concerned about what the U-S central bank - the Fed -- will do at a June meeting.

    /// HENDERSON ACT///

    I really don't know what the Fed (Central Bank) is planning to do in June, but they've raised rates enough that it's going to impact earnings. And, when earnings do get impacted negatively, we are going to see some more selling.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Henderson says the direction of the market in the near term is difficult to predict with changes coming quickly hour by hour. Analysts agree that investors are concerned about the U-S central bank and what it might do about interest rates over the next several months. Some analysts predict one more interest rate boost by the central bank in the current cycle. Other analysts believe there may be several more interest rate increases before the central bank is satisfied it has quenched inflationary pressures. Analysts generally agree investors will remain on the sidelines with the market moving sideways until there is conviction that the central bank is finished with raising interest rates in the current business cycle. (Signed) Neb/ny/jmc/lsf/gm 22-May-2000 16:57 PM LOC (22-May-2000 2057 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S editorial writers this Monday are focusing on what appear to be anti-democratic actions by Russia's new president. There are also editorials about the debate in the United States on normalizing trade with China and on U-S lawmakers' reservations on the future of Kosovo peacekeeping. There are also comments on, among other topics, the Gore-Bush debate on Social Security. Now, here is ________ with a closer look and some excerpts, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Russia's new president, Vladimir Putin, has raised some concerns in the West because of a government raid on a news media company in Moscow. For one, the Houston Chronicle is worried.

    VOICE: "All are equal before the law, no matter what business they are in," said Russian President Vladimir Putin, regarding the recent lightning police raid on the offices of Russia's largest independent television and news media company. And so the law should be. It should apply equally to everyone, including officials in [Mr.] Putin's government, some of whom are suspected of being up to their necks in corruption. Rooting out such high-level crime requires an independent press, free of government control or intimidation. ... the perception in the West resulting from the raid so far is that [President] Putin and his government appear unwilling to accept criticism -- and the rule of law.

    TEXT: The New York Times shares the Chronicle's misgivings. VOIDCE: As President Clinton prepares to visit Moscow next month, there are disquieting signs that ... Vladimir Putin is steering the Kremlin toward anti- democratic policies. A government raid on a private media company earlier this month and Moscow's recent welcome for Yugoslavia's defense minister, who has been indicted for war crimes, suggest a contempt for democratic values that Mr. Clinton and his aides must consider as they plan for the Moscow summit /// OPT

    /// ... The Russian leader may turn out to be a pragmatic negotiator ... But on such critical issues as respect for democratic principles, Mr. Putin has not made a promising start. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on normalizing trade with China and the issue remains a popular editorial topic as the lobbying effort on both sides heats up. In the nation's agricultural heartland, the Kansas City [Missouri] Star says "Approve permanent trade relations with China."

    VOICE: If permanent normal trade relations doesn't pass, American exporters can't take advantage of a market-opening agreement negotiated with China last year. Among other things, that agreement calls for big drops in auto tariffs by China. That would allow carmakers to see American-made cars in China. ... If permanent trading status fails, China's door will open to the world -- but not to U-S exporters.

    TEXT: Another foreign policy issue in which Congress is involved is extending, beyond next year, the presence of U-S peacekeeping troops in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province. Congress almost cut off funds for the force's funds beyond next June, but then relented. The Honolulu Star Bulletin says lawmakers "should not tie the president's hand on such issues."

    VOICE: The measure ... would have a set a deadline for the removal of U-S troops from Kosovo. It was narrowly defeated in the Senate. ... The measure would have ended U-S participation in the Kosovo peacekeeping force on July 1, 2001, unless the president requested and Congress approved an extension. ... The United States bore the brunt of the air war over Kosovo and should not continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden of NATO operations. But Congress should leave it to the administration to press the Europeans to increase their contributions as it deems appropriate. /// OPT/// Forcing the issue in this manner ... could have unintended consequences. ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: Domestically, the most popular topic is the vigorous debate between the two presidential candidates on Social Security. Texas Governor George Bush has suggested allowing newer workers to put some of their mandatory government retirement funds in the stock market to increase their fund's value. Vice President Gore says that is a risky move that could bankrupt the system. He would find other tax money to keep Social Security viable. For its part, the Seattle Times says the debate is "really about values."

    VOICE: This is a rich country. Social Security can be fixed [Mr.] Gore's way, and it can be fixed [Mr.] Bush's way. Either way can be made to add up. But they are different ways, aimed at achieving different values. And it's the values that should be kept at the center of the debate.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In New Hampshire, The [Manchester] Union Leader is attacking Vice President Gore on the issue, because the paper says, he has changed his position, as he has on other issues.

    VOICE: Is there anything Al Gore says that he really believes? When he was campaigning in New Hampshire, he claimed he has always been pro-choice [in the abortion debate], when in fact the record showed he was clearly pro-life for a long time. Now he's dancing around his previous support for a Social Security plan that looks very much like the one he is attacking George W. Bush for proposing. ... He says it's too risky. All throughout 1999, President Clinton and Vice President Gore trumpeted the idea of investing 700-billion in the stock market to bolster Social Security.

    ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: And lastly, some praise from the Washington Post for Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the former jurist who has taken over as the new president of Turkey. The Post says he:

    VOICE: offers his country a chance to begin exercising fuller democracy than it has hitherto been willing to risk.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 22-May-2000 12:09 PM EDT (22-May-2000 1609 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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