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Voice of America, 00-07-10

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

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





    INTRO: Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Ronji will meet Tuesday in Brussels with European Commission officials the first visit by a Chinese leader to E-U headquarters. Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports the European Commission wants to help China join the World Trade Organization by the end of this year.

    TEXT: In his meeting with Commission President Romano Prodi and Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, Prime Minister Zhu will review the talks in Geneva that are to weave all the trade concessions China has made to its partners into one document. This document will clear the way for China to join the World Trade Organization by New Year's Day. Brussels is the final stop on Prime Minister Zhu's six-nation European tour. A spokesman for the European Commission says the main topic Mr. Prodi wants to discuss with the Prime Minister is China's economic restructuring for the World Trade Organization and its internal reforms. The European Commission has pledged 60-million dollars worth of aid to China in areas such as transportation, financial services, energy, and telecommunications. China has become the European Union's third-largest trading partner after the United States and Japan, The first day of the Chinese Prime minister's visit was marked by demonstrators calling for greater autonomy for Tibet. E-U foreign policy chief Javier Solana discussed human rights Monday with Prime Minister Zhu, but told reporters afterward they agreed to disagree. Commission officials say the European Union has been concerned about the lack of progress in the European Union's four-year-old human-rights dialogue with China. The European Union says there has been progress in reducing poverty in China, but it also wants to see improvements in civil and political rights. European External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten met Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan. An E-U official says the foreign minister promised to push for China's ratification of U-N human-rights treaties.

    /// REST OPT ///

    The Chinese Prime minister paid a call on Belgium's King Albert, met Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, and was honored at a state dinner. Before meeting European Commission President Prodi on Tuesday, he plans to visit the Waterloo battlefield located south of Brussels. (SIGNED) NEB/RDP/JWH/AMAHL/RAE 10-Jul-2000 13:31 PM EDT (10-Jul-2000 1731 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: France has proposed a summit meeting of E-U countries and Balkan nations. Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports France made the proposal as E-U foreign ministers met for the first time under French leadership in the rotating E-U presidency.

    TEXT: The summit meeting is expected to take place during the last week of November in Croatia - either in the capital, Zagreb, or in the coastal city of Dubrovnik. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine explained the proposal during a discussion of the E-U Balkan policy.


    Mr. Vedrine says the meeting will raise the possibility of E-U membership for Balkan countries, will strengthen their contacts in politics and finance, and will open a democratic door for Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav government of President Slobodan Milosevic will not be invited to the November summit meeting. Instead, leaders from Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia will meet European Union leaders - along with officials from the Serbian opposition and from the smaller Yugoslav republic of Montenegro. Luxembourg's foreign minister, Lydie Polter - speaking through an interpreter - told fellow E-U foreign ministers the European Union must continue its effort to help the democratic opposition in Serbia.


    Serbia is basically a black hole in the middle of the Balkans and it is undermining and destroying the stabilization process, which we are trying to achieve between the E-U and the countries of the region.

    /// END ACT ///

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook suggested the summit meeting should start a process between the Balkan countries and the European Union.

    /// COOK ACT ///

    We warmly support the proposed summit on the Western Balkans. I think if it is going to be successful, though we have work hard between now and then to make sure that we can offer a specific product to the countries of the Western Balkans who come. It must not just be a ceremonial occasion. It must be one that gives them something to take home to their countries to demonstrate our serious intent, part of a process, not a one-off episode.

    /// END ACT ///

    What the European Union has not figured out is how the summit meeting next November, excluding Yugoslavia, will produce the democratic changes in the Balkans that the European Union desires. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/RAE 10-Jul-2000 08:00 AM EDT (10-Jul-2000 1200 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Leaders of the Protestant Orange Order have called for a second week of protests across Northern Ireland if they are not allowed to complete a controversial march into a mainly Catholic neighborhood. The appeal came after an eighth- consecutive night of sporadic confrontations. Lourdes Navarro reports from London that Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, has asked the Orange Order leaders to condemn the violence.

    TEXT: For more than a week, Northern Ireland has faced nightly disruptions from the province's largest Protestant fraternity, the Orange Order. Overnight, unrest flared again with cars being stolen and burned, and an attempt to set fire to a Catholic Church. The trouble looks set to continue as Portadown Orange Order leaders have called for supporters to continue province-wide protests before Wednesday's biggest and final marches celebrating centuries-old protestant battlefield victories over Catholics. The Orange Order leaders of Portadown are protesting a ban on marching through a Catholic neighborhood in the town of Drumcree. But Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson warned that bullying would not lead to the ban being lifted.

    /// ACT MANDELSON ///

    Every stone, every petrol bomb, every missile that is thrown against police today will set back that cause, set back the possibility of achieving that march.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Mandelson also called for Orange Order leaders to condemn the violence. But security forces and civilians are bracing for a new wave of attacks. Shops in flashpoint areas are closing early and there is a heavy police presence on certain streets. (SIGNED) NEB/LN/GE/AG/RAE 10-Jul-2000 10:34 AM EDT (10-Jul-2000 1434 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Monday) after Friday's big gains. Trading was tentative as the second-quarter corporate earnings season officially got underway. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose a modest 10 points to 10-thousand-646 - just a fractional gain for the "blue-chip" index. The Standard and Poor's 500 index lost three points, while the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite dropped one percent. Leading aluminum producer Alcoa - one of the stocks in the Dow Jones - boosted the Industrial Average. Alcoa shares traded about seven percent higher, after the company reported second-quarter profits jumped 57 percent. But investors were cautious. There was not a lot of movement in either direction. Some market-watchers said many investors were pondering the big question of whether a slowing U-S economy will bite deeply into corporate profits.

    ///REST OPT///

    However, the relatively light volume of Monday's trading could also be a seasonal phenomenon. Analyst Bob McCooey thinks that was a big part of it:

    ///MCCOOEY ACT///

    We're really getting into the summer Monday and Friday syndrome, where a lot of people are out on their vacation and golf days, etc. And it seems like we're sort of direction-less because a lot of people aren't putting a lot of money into the market on these kinds of days. They're wary about the exaggerated moves that some stocks can make when you have such lighter volume.

    ///END ACT///

    In other news, the Internet sector edged lower. Internet portal company Yahoo was under pressure. Yahoo shares dropped another five percent, after losing six percent last week. Yahoo will report its second-quarter earnings Tuesday. Analysts anticipate strong results, but not as robust as some had forecast. Honeywell, the largest maker of automated controls and one of the 30 Dow stocks, has announced plans to cut an additional six-thousand jobs - about five percent of its workforce - to cut costs. Honeywell says it expects profits will be less than expected both this year and next. The company announced its first wave of job cuts in December, which trimmed its workforce initially by seven percent. And, Dole International - the biggest fruit and vegetable producer - reported a better-than-expected 20 percent increase in quarterly profits, mostly due to an improving banana business. Dole said its banana earnings could have been better were it not for the impact of the weaker euro against the U-S dollar. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/AMAHL/PW 10-Jul-2000 16:39 PM EDT (10-Jul-2000 2039 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: In editorials written before the near collapse of the Israeli government, many U-S newspapers are continuing to comment on the significance of this week's Camp David Middle East summit. The failure of a very controversial U-S anti-missile missile system is also coming in for comment, as is the pending change of government in Mexico; and U-S aid for Colombia. Other editorials deal with AIDS in Africa; rebel threats to China; and the conviction of 10 Iranian Jews for spying. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Despite the near-collapse of the Ehud Barak governing coalition in Israel during the weekend, the Camp David summit begins tomorrow on schedule. U-S editorial writers continue to hope something can be accomplished. Charleston's [South Carolina] Post and Courier is hopeful, but not overly optimistic.

    VOICE: If [the] ... summit ... produces an Israeli- Palestinian agreement, it will be amazing, something little short of a miracle, say any number of observers, and it is difficult to quarrel with their analysis.

    TEXT: The Fort Worth [Texas] Star-Telegram is of the same mind:

    VOICE: The Camp David meeting raises hope for getting the... peace talks back on track. Perhaps the spirit of Camp David will prevail again as it did in 1979 when then President Jimmy Carter brokered a historic peace agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. ... However ... chances for a breakthrough ... do not look promising. Still, the meeting is a sound idea.

    TEXT: In domestic developments, the failure over the weekend of an anti-missile missile designed to shoot down a limited number of incoming hostile missiles from such rogue nations as North Korea or Iraq, is drawing a comment from The New York Times.

    VOICE: The failure ... should be the clinching argument for delaying any construction of such a system until the next presidential term. More rigorous testing, and patient diplomacy, will be needed before a decision can be responsibly taken. In practical terms, those requirements should defer building a missile defense system at least until the next president takes office.

    TEXT: Mexican politics continues to draw comments. In Michigan, The Detroit News suggests:

    VOICE: The forces of political reform triumphed with the defeat of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Mexican presidential elections. ... coming in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it also holds an object lesson for those in the United States who oppose open trade with Cuba and China for fear that it would prop up their statist regimes. ...If trade could help Mexico shed its autocracy and usher in a democracy, there is no reason to believe it would have the opposite effect in Cuba or China. It deserves a chance there, too.

    TEXT: Charleston's [South Carolina] Post and Courier suggests that Mr. Fox's election may bring a fundamental change in U-S Mexican relations which, it notes, under the PRI were more friendly to Cuba.

    VOICE: If Mexico pursues an honest and open relationship with the United States under Mr. Fox, many problems that seemed insoluble will appear less daunting.

    TEXT: In a lengthy editorial, the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the failure of the Clinton administration to get Congress to officially declare war on Colombian drug dealers and guerrilla fighters, while, in effect, going into battle there. The paper implies a close parallel to the start of U-S involvement in Vietnam.

    VOICE: Now, without much fanfare, the United States has committed itself to a potentially serious military engagement, once again without any declaration of war. Congress recently approved one-point-three-billion dollars in military aid to Colombia, ostensibly to help that country fight their - and our - drug war. ... In addition, Congress lifted the cap on military personnel and gave the president exceptional powers to send as many Americans as are needed ... if the president decides a military intervention is necessary ... All this, yet no declaration of war.

    TEXT: Today's Orlando Sentinel decries the assassination-style killing of television journalist Marisol Rebelo in Colombia last week, noting she joins two other Colombian journalists slain earlier this year and - another 100 who have met the same fate in recent decades. Voice:. Yet others [journalists] stand ready to take her place and continue the noble fight. That offers hope that the tide will continue to rise against the killers of messengers and that the word - good or bad eventually will get out.

    TEXT: In Tennessee, Chattanooga's Free Press wonders why we are spending one-point-three-billion-dollars on Colombia, when part of the problem in drug trafficking is U-S buyers.

    VOICE: It is hard to blame Colombia for being such a big cocaine supplier if we face the fact that stupid Americans are paying big money to ruin themselves and create the demand that generates the Colombian cocaine business. If Americans quit buying, Colombia's cocaine production would virtually end.

    TEXT: This year's international AIDS conference has opened in Durban, South Africa, but according to this Philadelphia Daily News editorial, not every one expected showed up.

    VOICE: President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has so exasperated AIDS researchers that some have decided not to attend the ... conference ... First, he said A- Z-T, which has safely helped prolong the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with H-I-V, might be too toxic for his people. Then he announced that he was willing to entertain the ridiculous views of the marginalized scientists who say H-I-V does not cause AIDS. ...The world held its breath as South Africa moved essentially bloodlessly from apartheid to a stable democratic government. Will H-I-V unravel its stability?

    TEXT: The Philadelphia Inquirer calls the AIDS pandemic in Africa "The world's shame" and says while the task is overwhelming the West can and should avoid the blame-mongering and get to work. It has these suggestions.

    VOICE: Create an international fund of five billion dollars a year for prevention of infections. ... Work with non-governmental organizations ... to launch nationwide drives to get corporations and individuals in the West to donate money for the AIDS effort. ... Make antibiotics available to fight the infections that plague those with weak immune systems. Make available, either free or at discount rates, life- prolonging drugs for those with fully expressed AIDS. Help African serve Africans. ... that means resources and logistical support - - from media smarts, condoms and mobile hospital units to trucks, heavy-lift helicopters, sanitation systems and road-paving crews.

    TEXT: In Asian affairs, today's Wall Street Journal is suggesting that the next violent rebellion to make headline, like Chechnya in Russia, may come to China from its unhappy Muslim Uighurs in the Far West.

    VOICE: Three times the size of France, and sharing a three-thousand-350-mile border with the Central Asian republics ... Xinjiang is home to eight million ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people of whom a majority are Sunni Muslims. The Uighurs have always bridled at Chinese control. In the last century they twice declared themselves independent. Inspired by the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Uighurs have since then bombed Chinese government buildings, assassinated government official and helped stage several large uprisings, quelled only by force of the Chinese army. ... Like other governments in the region that use repression to solve their internal conflicts, China risks increasing the Islamicization of the Uighur struggle.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Monday's U-S dailies.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 10-Jul-2000 12:52 PM EDT (10-Jul-2000 1652 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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