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Voice of America, 00-06-02

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

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





    INTRO: The chief prosecutor for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia said today (Friday) there are no grounds to investigate the complaints that NATO forces may have committed war crimes in Yugoslavia. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: Carla del Ponte told the United Nations Security Council that her office has carefully reviewed complaints by the government of Yugoslavia that NATO deliberately targeted civilians in last year's bombing of Belgrade. The bombing, which was conducted as part of the NATO operation to drive Serb forces out of Kosovo, did cause some civilian casualties but the prosecutor says that was not deliberate.

    /// del Ponte Act ///

    There is no basis for opening an investigation into any of these allegations or to other incidents related to the NATO bombing. There were some mistakes made by NATO, but I am satisfied that there was no deliberate targeting of civilians or unlawful military targets by NATO during the bombing campaign.

    /// End Act ///

    While the complaint against NATO will not be considered by the War Crimes Tribunal, the World Court has agreed to consider Yugoslavia's case against eight NATO countries, but a final ruling could take years. Ms. del Ponte says the Belgrade government has been totally unwilling to cooperate with her office even as it tries to investigate allegations of war crimes against Serbs. The war crimes prosecutor says her efforts, and those of her staff, to obtain visas to visit Belgrade have been consistently frustrated. Under the circumstances, she says, complaints that the war crimes tribunal is unbalanced and anti-Serb ring hollow. President Slobodan Milosevic and other Serb officials are under indictment for war crimes. (Signed) NEB/UN/BA/LSF/ENE/JP 02-Jun-2000 15:01 PM EDT (02-Jun-2000 1901 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The Turkish government has banned the country's largest pro-Kurdish newspaper in five largely Kurdish provinces. The action comes only a week after the newspaper resumed publication under a new name. Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara on the pressures facing pro-Kurdish journals, radio stations and newspapers.

    TEXT: "New Agenda in the Year 2000" -- or "Ikibinde Yeni Gundem," as it is known in Turkish -- is the new name of Turkey's largest circulation pro-Kurdish daily newspaper. But its staff says their newspaper, re- launched only a week ago, is facing the same pressures from the Turkish government. Yurdusev Ozsokmenler is the Ankara bureau chief of "New Agenda." She says the emergency rule governor based in Turkey's largest Kurdish province, Diyarbakir, ordered the newspaper banned without citing -- what she terms -- any justification for doing so.

    /// Ozsokmenler Act in Turkish, fade under
    Mrs. Ozsokmenler says the newspaper has not violated any of Turkey's harsh censorship laws under which hundreds of journalists and academics have been jailed and hundreds of publications banned. The paper has appeared only seven times so far. If anything, some of the New Agenda's readers find its coverage too mild. Readers say they would like to see more criticism leveled against the Turkish government for what they describe as its repressive policies against the country's estimated 12-million Kurds. It is that sort of aggressive coverage that landed most of New Agenda's predecessors in trouble with Turkish authorities. Many of their reporters have been jailed, some killed in so called "mystery murders," and their Istanbul headquarters bombed by unknown assailants. Over the past months, the governor's office has banned several other pro-Kurdish or Kurdish language publications, including the humor magazine "Pine" and a women's magazine, "Ozgur Kadinin Sesi" or "Free Women's Voice." The prohibition was ordered under an Emergency Law. /// Opt /// The law empowers authorities to ban publications, "to protect general security, safety and public order and to prevent the spread of acts of violence." /// End Opt ///

    /// Opt ///

    Analysts say the bans appear to contradict the more relaxed atmosphere prevailing throughout the largely Kurdish southeast regions ever since Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party - or P-K-K - called off his 15 year long armed insurgency for an independent Kurdish state last year. Clashes between Turkish security forces and P-K-K guerrillas have all but ceased. Ocalan was handed the death sentence on treason charges by a Turkish court last June. /// End Opt ///

    /// Begin Opt ///

    /// Ozsokmenler Act in Turkish, fade under
    Mrs. Ozsokmenler says hopes of greater rights for the Kurds has been on the rise especially after the emergency rule governor's office permitted the celebration of the Kurdish new year, called Newroz, to take place for the first time ever this year. She says the aim of New Agenda is above all to contribute towards the new peaceful atmosphere. She rejects the idea that the newspaper is "pro Kurdish." It is, she says "pro-democracy."

    /// End Opt ///

    If the ban on New Agenda is not lifted, Mrs. Ozsokmenler says the newspaper staff will seek justice at the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/JP 02-Jun-2000 13:16 PM EDT (02-Jun-2000 1716 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices rallied today (Friday) on the heels of a jobs report that seems to indicate that the six interest rate hikes by the U-S central bank over the past year are working to slow the U-S economy down. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 142 points, over one percent, to 10-thousand-794. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose 28 points - two percent. And the Nasdaq composite closed more than six percent higher. Clearly, technology stocks have re-taken the lead. The Nasdaq is up 19 percent for the week. The Dow Industrials are five percent higher - boosted largely by their technology components. The latest on the U-S economy shows the unemployment rate in May rose for the first time in three months - off its 30-year low - and there were no significant signs of wage inflation. Meanwhile, U-S factory orders fell in April over four percent - the biggest drop in 10 years. Analysts say this all points to an economic slowing, which is what the U-S central bank wants and what Wall Street says it needs to re-inspire the stock market.

    ///REST OPT for long///

    Some analysts are saying the traditional summer rally on Wall Street has begun - though three weeks early. Part of that could be due to the fact that many stocks, especially in the Nasdaq, are oversold. However, observer John Murphy believes the main factor behind the rally is that an easing of interest rate fears has brought a positive attitude back into the market:

    ///MURPHY ACT///

    I think the real catalyst is interest rates. Clearly, we've had some signs of economic slowing over the last week or so. Bonds are soaring and financial stocks are breaking out to the "up" side. That tells us that the market is a little more optimistic about interest rates.

    ///END ACT///

    But is the economy slowing down enough? Is the Federal Reserve Board - the central bank - finished raising interest rates? It meets again in late June. Economist William Sullivan thinks the pressure is off:

    ///SULLIVAN ACT///

    This may allow them to hold policy steady at the June meeting and take a look at the economy and jobs market again when they assemble in August.

    ///END ACT///

    In other news, both Canadian authorities and Microsoft are denying, more or less, a report on the B-B-C that Canada is trying to lure the software giant into moving to British Columbia. Analysts say the move would hurt the U-S government's efforts to break the company up into two parts as an anti-trust action. A federal judge is expected to rule on the break-up next week. Microsoft says it is confident it will win its case on appeal. Microsoft stock edged up again Friday to 66-dollars and change per share - still a long way down from its 52-week high of 120-dollars a share. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 02-Jun-2000 17:28 PM LOC (02-Jun-2000 2128 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The little Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, rescued from a shipwreck off Florida last year and thrust into an international custody battle, is dominating the editorial columns in the United States this Friday. A federal court has ruled he does not have the right to appeal for asylum in this country, clearing the way for his father to take him back to Cuba. Other topics of interest in the Friday commentaries include: the volatile situation in Lebanon and neighboring Israel, an estimation of how the West fared in the Balkan war, President Clinton's summit meeting in Moscow, the thwarting of democracy in Peru, and Europe still dealing with an allegedly neo-fascist politician in Austria. Now, here is __________ with a closer look in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The Friday editorial pages are filled with thoughts on the latest chapter in the case of Elian Gonzalez, rescued from the sea last November off Florida. His mother and several other adults drowned in their attempt to flee from Cuba. His distant relatives in Miami took the boy in and are fighting to keep him in this country. On Thursday, a federal appeals court in Atlanta, Georgia upheld a lower court ruling that only Elian Gonzalez's father can apply for political asylum on his behalf. The father, visiting the United States, wants to take the boy back to Cuba. The case is generating intense interest in Florida, where The Miami Herald comments:

    VOICE: ... [the] ruling affirms the Immigration and Naturalization Service's position denying Elian an asylum hearing, setting the stage for the boy's return to Cuba with his father ... A sense of resignation that Elian will return to Cuba seems to be settling on Miami, though it hardly dampens the ardor of the many ... who feel the decision is fundamentally wrong. ... The clash of values posed by Elian's plight has torn into our collective soul.

    TEXT: In an accompanying editorial, The Herald adds that it feels "the door to asylum must not be shut to children," which it feels is virtually what the court has ruled. In North-Central Florida, The Orlando Sentinel says the decision was "In Elian's interest."

    VOICE: A federal appeals court was right to uphold the denial of a request for asylum for Elian Gonzalez. Now his father can speak for [him] ... and that's as it should be.

    TEXT: The Denver [Colorado] Post editorial headline reads, simply: "Look homeward, Elian," while Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal calls the court's decision: "a sensible conclusion." In Washington State, The Seattle Times feels the "Elian saga nears [an] end" and calls the ruling "reasonable." In Northern California, The San Jose Mercury News feels the court "shows common sense in [the] decision," but there is dissent. The Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City says what is happening to the boy is "Still a Tragedy," adding:

    VOICE: In another time -- like, say, Ronald Reagan's -- Elian Gonzalez would have been a poster child for freedom. Instead, the Clinton administration plays the obedient lapdog, letting the boy's Cuban handlers begin the brainwashing that will make Elian a good little communist. Trite but true: A mind, particularly a child's, is a terrible thing to waste.

    TEXT: And lastly, The Washington Times agrees the "saga appears to be coming to a close." But the paper is not happy the child will return to the Communist- ruled island.

    VOICE: It is a grim childhood. As an adult, the Cuban model hardly allows families to provide for their most basic needs. Religious people, including children, endure severe repression. The regime is the ultimate arbiter of what career one may choose. In Cuba, only the regime has rights ... Indeed, the only happy ending to the Elian saga is for Mr. Castro to disappear.

    TEXT: On to the Middle East now, where the situation along the Israeli-Lebanese border remains in a state of flux after Israel's military withdrawal. Friday's St. Louis [Missouri] Post-Dispatch notes:

    VOICE: The departure of Israeli troops ... subtly [alters] the complex political calculus of the Middle East by modifying the roles of both Lebanon and Syria. As long as Israel controlled southern Lebanon and Syria had 30- thousand troops in Lebanon, not to mention a dominant hand over Hezbollah, Lebanon was little more than a proxy battlefield. Through Hezbollah, Syria could taunt Israel as much as it wanted without much danger of embroiling itself in a wider war. That option is now out of the picture. ... If Lebanon is no longer a proxy battleground, it is still a pawn ... not independent of Syria or in control of its own territory ...

    TEXT: The Chicago Tribune is worried about how the Palestinians and Israelis will settle their feud over joint claims on Jerusalem to be their capital.

    VOICE: Jerusalem is only one of the so-called final status disputes that Israel and the Palestinians must tackle, and time is running out. But President Clinton wisely realized that such a settlement may be more of a possibility now that Israel has pulled its troops out of Lebanon, and he is moving to help. ... He agreed to send Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to the Mideast next week for another round of diplomacy to try to help the two parties forge an agreement mapping out how they will clinch a permanent treaty by September 13th.

    TEXT: Strong criticism of the Pentagon continues for greatly exaggerating the damage estimates of the NATO air war against Yugoslav forces in Kosovo province. Today's blast comes from The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

    VOICE: It was a decisive victory, the Clinton Pentagon said. Depends on what the meaning of "decisive" is. Rather than counting equipment actually destroyed, the Clinton count was based on whatever pilots thought they saw from 15- thousand feet (4,572 meters) in the air while flying 600 miles (965 kilometers) an hour. By that standard, 120 tanks and 450 Serbian artillery pieces were destroyed. How about 14 tanks and 20 guns? That's how many actually were confirmed in a report the Clinton Pentagon suppressed in favor of the pilots' guesses. It took 38-thousand sorties flown over 78 days to do that minimal damage -- and destroy the Chinese embassy.

    TEXT: President Clinton is headed to Russia this weekend for a meeting with the new Russian President Vladimir Putin, and several newspapers, including The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, look forward to what it might or might not -- produce, as regards agreement on a limited, U-S anti-nuclear missile defense system.

    VOICE: It's as if the Cold War had never left us, what with the two [United States] presidential candidates trading proposals about the nation's nuclear arsenal and the president headed for a make-or-break summit in Moscow. ... The administration has been trying to convince the Russians that its planned system ... would be designed to deter a few missiles from a fledgling power, not an all-out Russian nuclear attack. ... Europeans are horrified at the idea that suddenly North America could be immunized from the nuclear threat, leaving them awfully exposed. ... President Clinton should tread carefully in Moscow, and resist the temptation to make a deal at any cost to bolster his legacy. There should be no hurry to deploy a limited missile defense ... in his last months in office...

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Cleveland, Ohio Plain Dealer has a more optimistic view of the visit's potential, suggesting:

    VOICE: ... the ambiguity of the sessions need not make them time wasted for either man. [Mr.] Clinton, within sight of his term's end, and [Mr.] Putin, busily consolidating power in ways at once practical, ominous and Russian, can set the groundwork for understanding, if not approval, of each nation's agenda for years to come.

    TEXT: Regarding Africa, Ethiopia's claims of victory in the border war against Eritrea, in the Horn of Africa, draws this comment from the Portland [Maine] Press Herald.

    VOICE: In a world full of conflict, it was too easy for the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea to go unnoticed by Americans. The two-year border dispute, however, claimed thousands of lives and diverted scarce resources away from people in desperate need of food and shelter. After a month-long offensive, Ethiopia has retaken all of the territory it claimed Eritrea had wrongly held and declared a unilateral cease-fire. ... and the status quo -- with any luck - - might just hold. Stability is all too rare in Africa these days, so even a peace as tentative as this holds out hope for the future.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In Western Hemispheric affairs, The San Francisco Chronicle is counseling the Clinton administration to be tough on Peru in the wake of last Sunday's questionable, one-candidate presidential election.

    VOICE: Now is no time to soften the message to Peru's autocratic President Alberto Fujimori. Washington is wrong to backpedal from outright condemnations of his stacked-deck [Editors: unfair] re-election.

    TEXT: We continue on the subject of strong leaders, with questionable human rights records being held accountable for their action. Friday's Oregonian in Portland cheers the arrest of Indonesia's former president Suharto, and Chile's stripping away the immunity from former dictator Augusto Pinochet.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// The arrest this week of Indonesia's former president Suharto is the latest striking example of a nation holding a strongman accountable for crimes against his country. /// END OPT /// If this indeed marks a trend, it's one worth cheering. /// OPT ///

    Last week in Chile, Augusto Pinochet was stripped of his immunity by a panel of judges, making way for his possible trial on charges of kidnapping, murder and torture of thousands during his 17 years as Chile's military dictator. ... /// END OPT /// Bringing disgraced dictators in failing health to trial isn't likely to return looted funds or uncover mass graves. But it does signal a break by those nations with past indifference to human rights and international condemnation. It also suggests the start of an independent judiciary to uphold the rule of law.

    TEXT: Many newspapers are mourning the passing of one of this country's great Latin musicians, percussionist Tito Puente, who died Thursday at 77. The Orlando Sentinel calls him " a giant," and "one of the music world's most energetic and prolific performers," adding:

    VOICE: Tito Puente made music that set feet worldwide in motion. ... [His] spirit will live on in the music he left behind.

    TEXT: On that sad note, we conclude this sampling of Friday's editorial columns from the U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 02-Jun-2000 12:40 PM EDT (02-Jun-2000 1640 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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