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Voice of America, 00-06-26

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

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





    INTRO: Two international weapons inspectors have completed their first examination of Irish Republican Army (I-R-A) secret arms dumps and say the weapons are safely stored. The two monitors, former Finnish President Martii Ahtisaari and South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, say that the weapons cannot be used without their knowledge. Lourdes Navarro has more now from London.

    TEXT: Mr. Ahtisaari and Mr. Ramaphosa met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss their findings. The breakthrough was announced jointly in London by the two statesman, and in Dublin by the Irish Republican Army. The declaration is a major step in securing peace for Northern Ireland. The I-R-A's agreement in May to allow the examination of their weapons sites allowed the Unionist-Republican power-sharing government to resume work after having been suspended for several months because the I-R-A refused to disarm. Mr. Ahtisaari and Mr. Ramaphosa said that they had been shown a substantial amount of I-R-A arms, which they say are now secure and cannot be used or moved without their knowledge. The two men said they would inspect the arms dumps on a regular basis and were convinced of the I-R-A's cooperation. In their statement, the I-R-A confirmed that it had re-established contact with the international arms decommissioning body lead by Canadian General John de Chastelain. In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the development.

    /// ACT BLAIR ///

    The end of the line is for the gun to be taken out of politics in Northern Ireland, once and for all, on every side. And I think a few years ago people would have thought that was a dim and distant perhaps an impossible prospect. And today I think they can see it is possible.

    /// END ACT ///

    Irish leader Bertie Ahern called the move extremely significant. But Northern Ireland's pro-British Protestants gave only a guarded welcome to the news. A senior Ulster Unionist official called the landmark inspection only a first step. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LN/GE 26-Jun-2000 09:24 AM EDT (26-Jun-2000 1324 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were higher today (Monday) on the eve of a two-day meeting by the U-S central bank, as investors bet federal policy-makers will leave interest rates unchanged. A big deal in the American food industry also had a positive effect on prices. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 138 points, one-point-three percent, to 10-thousand-542. The Standard and Poor's 500 index, which measures the broader market, went up 13 points - one percent higher. And the technology-weighted NASDAQ composite gained one and three-quarters percent, breaking a two-day losing streak. Gains in Philip Morris stock buoyed the Dow industrials, after the world's largest tobacco company announced it is buying Nabisco (-- maker of Oreo cookies, among other things). Philip Morris plans to join Nabisco to its Kraft Foods unit, strengthening Kraft's position as the world's second-largest food company, after Nestle of Switzerland. Philip Morris shares moved 17 percent higher.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Biotechnology stocks were mixed after an announcement that scientists have finished the first rough map of the human genetic code. The breakthrough brings hope for preventing diseases. Meanwhile, investors seemed calm before the meeting starting Tuesday of the Federal Reserve Board, the U-S central bank. The betting is the bank will decide to leave interest rates unchanged. But investors could get a bit more anxious if the Federal Reserve Board hints it is still worried about inflationary pressures, which would signal it is not finished raising rates this year. Analyst Kenneth Sheinberg of the S-G Cowen investment firm believes it is not what "the Fed" does at this week's meeting that matters, but what it says:

    /// SHEINBERG ACT ///

    I don't think that it necessarily makes that much of a difference. It will be their commentary coming out that will be a little more important. And again, we're getting to a point here where if they're not going to raise rates, then people might look at the situation of a slowing economy that might end up hurting corporate earnings. So it's a little double- edged sword there.

    /// END ACT ///

    The second business quarter comes to an end on Friday. So far, over 250 companies have advised investors of their earnings outlook. More than half of them warned of disappointing results. Corporate trackers say that is a higher number than usual at this point. The latest data on the U-S economy show sales of existing homes climbed a larger-than-expected four- point-three percent in May. Many experts were looking for a decline, because of higher mortgage rates. However, some analysts think those higher rates will start impacting the U-S housing market during the second half of the year. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/WTW 26-Jun-2000 16:58 PM EDT (26-Jun-2000 2058 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: One of the greatest scientific advances in decades, a map of genetic material that makes up a human being, is scheduled to be announced today and several newspapers are already commenting on it. There is also a lot of comment on the possibility an independent prosecutor will be named to investigate Vice President Al Gore's fund raising behavior in the last presidential race. Other editorials deal with water on Mars; Mexico's forthcoming presidential election; marking the Korean War's 50th anniversary; and the U-S decision on building a nuclear missile shield. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The U-S government and a private biotechnology company are scheduled to announce the preliminary completion of mapping the key components of the human body, the human genome. The New York Times calls the anticipated news:

    VOICE: ... a feat that will stand as a landmark in scientific discovery. ///OPT /// The publicly financed Human Genome project has put together a "working draft" of the genome, while Celera Genomics, a private company, has completed its "first assembly" of the genome. Neither side in this rivalry has deciphered every single chemical unit of the human genetic material - that is not possible with today's technology - but each side has made tremendous contributions. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: USA Today, the national daily published in a Washington, D-C suburb, calls the expected announcement:

    VOICE: ... a rare moment of genuinely awesome significance ... The achievement heralds the dawn of a new medical era. Decoded but not yet fully deciphered, the genome promises to give us a vastly improved understanding of disease and a Greater facility with diagnosis and treatment.

    TEXT: The day's other popular domestic topic is another call for a special prosecutor to investigate Vice President Al Gore's fund raising activities during the last presidential campaign. The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City is skeptical that anything will come of the request.

    VOICE: Janet Reno has turned down so many requests to launch an independent investigation of the Bill Clinton-Al Gore money machine of 1996, we have lost count. ... We have no confidence [Ms.] Reno will act [on this new request] The attorney general has proven unwilling to follow Justice Department guidelines and has ignored too many recommendations to suddenly spring to life this late in the game. Her obstructions have made a mockery of her department's historic neutrality in upholding the law.

    TEXT: In Charleston, South Carolina, The Post and Courier wants the investigation to proceed.

    VOICE: Ms. Reno has repeatedly turned down such recommendations from F-B-I Director Louis Freeh and former campaign finance task force chief prosecutor Charles LaBella. But new evidence questions whether [Mr.] Gore told the truth to investigators who questioned him at length, under oath, about his fund-raising activities at the White House and elsewhere.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it is now "Time for a special counsel" and adds:

    VOICE: Ms. Reno has great integrity. But her refusal to appoint a special counsel makes it look as though she is covering up for the White House.

    TEXT: The [Bergen County, New Jersey] Record joins the calls for a special counsel, adding:

    VOICE: ... new evidence has apparently renewed skepticism about whether Mr. Gore told the truth about his activities. ... The re-emergence of these questions comes at a horrible time for Mr. Gore, just as he is entering a crucial state of his campaign. But even if the timing was politically motivated, it does not matter. The important thing is that this issue be resolved ... Ms. Reno could have avoided this dilemma if she had appointed an independent counsel when the questions first came up.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In another major scientific breakthrough, NASA scientists have found strong evidence of water on the planet Mars, causing a good deal of comment. In Oklahoma, The Tulsa World is excited.

    VOICE: Not only does such a discovery hold the potential that there might have been or might still be life on Mars, it means that a manned Mars mission could be achievable. One of the problems with sending humans to Mars is getting them back. If water does exist on Mars it could be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, providing fuel for the return trip.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Georgia's Atlanta Constitution is also suitably impressed.

    VOICE: These signs of water, though unconfirmed, suggest the presence of life - a finding that would rock the realms of earthly science and thought. That great question must remain unanswered until our robot wayfarers come back from Mars with soil samples or, better still, until humans go there them selves for an on-site inspection.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Internationally, the Mexican election, coming up July second and arguably the freest, and most competitive in about 70-years, continues to draw comment. Today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram points out that even though the presidential race is getting most of the attention, other races are equally important.

    VOICE: Mexico faces more than a presidential decision July 2 [nd]. Voters will also elect 628 representatives to the two national legislative bodies: 500 to the House of Representatives, the rest to the Senate. ... A recent Reforma [daily newspaper] poll predicted an opposition-led, brokered legislature. /// OPT /// All of the three major parties had at least 25-percent support, with none reaching 40- percent. Mexico remains a highly centralized government, with Cabinet secretaries wielding immense economic and political power. /// END OPT /// The legislature has traditionally been a mere rubber stamp on executive privilege. A politically charged Congress with a broad ideological tint would be a welcome avenue for the continued development of both political discourse and Mexican democracy.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Dallas Morning News contemplates the election's aftermath and how it will affect the legacy of current president Ernesto Zedillo.

    VOICE: If Mexicans perceive that the ruling party used fraud to extend its 71-year reign, his reputation will be greatly tarnished. But if Mexicans perceive that the election was clean (or clean enough), and if he performs well in the remaining five months of his six-year term, Mr. Zedillo could enter history as one of the few Mexican presidents to retire with his reputation intact.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Regarding Asian affairs, the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War is duly noted in several commentaries, including The Manchester [New Hampshire] Union Leader.

    VOICE: Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the start of that war, a kind of war that many strategic planners thought, in the years 1945- 50, would never need to be fought. The planners were wrong ... The war was dirty and brutal, fought on foot and at close range in terrible terrain and worse weather. Both sides were nearly run off the peninsula before the war ended in a stalemate on the 38th parallel that persists as the dividing line between two Korean halves to this day. The military war may have ended in impasse, but the ideological conflict ended in total victory.

    /// OPT ///

    North Korea is a Stalinist state, isolated, oppressive, its people starving, its economy dormant. South Korea is a vibrant democracy with a thriving, world-class economy. South Korea owes that happy state of affairs in part to the 37-thousand American troops stationed there. Ironically, on this 50th anniversary, the two Koreas are finally beginning to talk amicably to each other.

    TEXT: Still on the topic of Korea, today's Orlando Sentinel lauds the Clinton administration for reacting to the recent Pan-Korean summit by ending this country's trade embargo with North Korea.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The question of whether the United States should build an anti-nuclear missile shield against a limited attack continues. Several papers now feel the next president should make the critical decision. The Fort Worth [Texas] Star-Telegram says:

    VOICE: The missile shield decision is too crucial to be made by a lame-duck president. Defense Secretary William Cohen's assertion that he might recommend deployment of the proposed nuclear shield even if the July 7 test interception fails was stunning. Why would the Clinton administration commit U-S taxpayers to a 60-billion investment in a weapons system when its feasibility is in doubt? ... The case for delay is strengthened by North Korea's pledge to discontinue testing its long-range missile and improving relations [with]... South Korea.

    TEXT: And lastly, a gloomy assessment of how things are going in Haiti from The Omaha [Nebraska] World- Herald.

    VOICE: President Clinton and other supporters of using the U-S armed forces as instruments of nation-building overseas need to pause and take a good look at what is happening in Haiti. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the ousted Haitian president reinstalled by 20-thousand U-S troops in 1994, is presiding over an appalling campaign of violence that, if it continues on its present course, will likely cheat opposition parties out of their share of power. ... In the wake of the Haiti fiasco, the Clinton policy team should restrain its enthusiasm for so-called humanitarian interventionism. Haiti offers a vivid example of how badly that policy can fail.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Monday's U-S papers.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 26-Jun-2000 11:16 AM EDT (26-Jun-2000 1516 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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