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Voice of America, 00-07-19

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

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





    INTRO: U-S stock prices were lower today (Wednesday) across-the-board, pressured by a sell-off in technology. Investors also were somewhat cautious in advance of congressional testimony Thursday (Editors: Senate Banking Committee at 10AM) by Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 43 points to 10-thousand-696, almost one-half of one percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed 11 points, or three-quarters of one percent, lower. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite dropped almost three percent, on concern that the earnings of many technology leaders, including software giant Microsoft, do not justify their high stock value. New economic figures show the U-S trade gap moved up to a record 31-billion dollars in May. Economist David Ressler says this indicates a cooling U-S economy:

    /// RESSLER ACT ///

    I think that it's mirroring what's going on in the domestic economy, and that is somewhat more moderate growth in spending, particularly from consumers.

    /// END ACT ///

    And this spurs hope on Wall Street that the U-S central bank will not have to raise interest rates again.

    ///REST OPT///

    Wall Street will be listening carefully to remarks Thursday by chief central banker Alan Greenspan. But analyst Joseph Finnegan thinks the uncertainty over interest rates will probably continue until the "Fed" (Federal Reserve) meets August 22nd:

    ///FINNEGAN ACT///

    That's got everybody kind of on hold. The (corporate) earnings have come through the last couple of weeks fairly strong, except for a couple of sectors in the "tech" world. And it's just a question whether the C-P-I (consumer price index) number was a little too strong for him. I don't think he's going to give anybody a green light. It's just a question of whether he becomes more cautious and puts people a little bit more on edge looking towards August.

    ///END ACT///

    Among some positive earnings results Wednesday, Citigroup - the largest U-S financial services company reported profits up 23 percent. Leading soft-drink maker Coca-Cola also beat expectations. Coke said global sales rose seven percent. Predictions had been for less than five percent. Shares of Ford Motor Company, down over eight percent this year, traded higher, after the number two auto- maker reported a nine-percent surge in profits on increased demand for luxury cars and sport-utility vehicles. On the down side - number two U-S bank Chase Manhattan reported second-quarter profits down 10 percent. Most of the losses came from Chase's investment in start-up Internet companies. And U-A-L, parent company of number one airliner United, warned it will miss its earnings target for the third quarter. This brought down shares throughout the airline sector, which suffered its worst decline in over three months. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PW 19-Jul-2000 16:59 PM EDT (19-Jul-2000 2059 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: There's a distinctly domestic note to many editorial columns in Wednesday's U-S newspapers, including more comments on the largest product liability lawsuit verdict ever awarded -- almost 145- billion dollars. Another favorite topic is electronic mail privacy, while internationally, there is more comment about German reparations for World War Two misdeeds. Other topics drawing comment include Syria's news president, the G-Eight conference of industrial nations : /// OPT /// Africa's diamond trade, /// END OPT /// U-S presidential politics and some good news about a sea turtle rescued from extinction with a cooperative effort by the United States and Mexico. Now here is ___________ with a closer look and some quotes in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: An award of almost 145-billion dollars against the nation's tobacco industry by a Florida jury, in favor of a group of smokers made ill by their habit, continues to occupy center stage in many U-S editorial columns. Today's Dallas Morning News says the jury sent U-S business an important message: "Deceptive corporate practices don't pay."

    VOICE: The verdict is a stern courtroom warning that the combination of a dangerous product and a deceptive style may be hazardous to corporate health. ... Big Tobacco [EDS: large tobacco companies] and the rest of Corporate America have been forced to confront the consequences of abusive behavior and broken trust.

    TEXT: However there is concern among some newspapers that the jury award is excessive, and that proper regulation of smoking rests with the federal government and not with juries in smoking liability cases. Today's Cleveland, Ohio Plain Dealer:

    VOICE: By any measure, 145-billion is excessive for an industry that sells a legal product stamped with a fat [Editors: slang again for "large, or clear" in this case] warning from the U-S Surgeon General.

    TEXT: And in New Jersey, The [Trenton] Times says readers should "Shed no tears for the tobacco industry," but adds this note of caution:

    VOICE: What should concern Americans ... is the way civil juries, with no visible qualifications for the job, are given total and arbitrary power to set the amount of punitive damages in a tort [damage liability] case.

    TEXT: Another popular editorial topic is the privacy of electronic correspondence sent via personal computers [EDS: e-mail]. The issue has come to the fore, because several internet companies have gone bankrupt and are selling lists of their customers names and computer addresses after promising not to. The national daily, U-S-A Today, published in a Washington, D-C suburb, mentions three such firms, noting:

    VOICE: ... bankruptcy lawyers argue that this personal information is a valuable asset that troubled businesses have the right to sell. That's more than an idle concern for the millions of Americans who will spend as much as 61-billion dollars shopping online this year.

    TEXT: U-S-A Today says Congress should outlaw the practice. Meanwhile, Northern California's San Jose Mercury News is worried about what it sees as another threat to internet privacy, this one from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which now can track anyone's electronic correspondence.

    VOICE: ... there must ... be a clearly defined, legislatively created system of checks and balances that preserves the right of privacy from government's overreach.

    TEXT: Another topic drawing comment is Germany's agreement to provide a five-billion dollar fund to compensate Eastern European slave laborers during World War Two. Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel has this opinion:

    VOICE: Germany has once again taken steps toward coming to terms with its history, acknowledging its responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis and moving foreword with a clean conscience.

    TEXT: Assessing the inauguration speech of Syria's new leader, Bashar Assad, The Los Angeles Times suggests:

    VOICE: /// OPT /// Syrians who hope for improvement in their country's stagnant economy might take some small encouragement from their new president's inaugural address this week. But Syrians who yearn for an easing of one-party authoritarian rule are out of luck. /// END OPT

    /// ... He seems to understand that Syria has no choice but to make major systemic changes if it's not to become a hopeless backwater in a global economy that is plunging ahead. ... The young man -- Bashar Assad is 34 -- has his work cut out for him.

    TEXT: The forthcoming summit in Okinawa of the world's seven largest economies, plus Russia, the G- Eight, draws this forecast from The Washington Post, which says the meeting will fall short of its goals in several areas.

    VOICE: ...[they] will not launch a new round of trade liberalization to make up for last November's failure in Seattle. They will not resolve ... differences on genetically modified foods ... They may not even avoid ... public protests. ... Nonetheless, the summit could prove useful, even if its agenda seems so broad as to be vague.

    TEXT: U-S domestic politics is getting more attention, as the Republican convention in Philadelphia nears. Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette says both Vice President Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush are getting serious about their search for running mates [EDS: vice presidential candidates].

    VOICE: By all accounts, Governor [Tom] Ridge [of Pennsylvania] remains on George W. Bush's short list [of potential candidates], as he should be. ... The Democrats have a weaker field of candidates, particularly among outside-the- Beltway [EDS: a phrase meaning officials who are not based in Washington, D-C] officeholders. Two of the most capable figures ... former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, are quintessential Washington insiders.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: The New York Times urges Mr. Bush to consider as potential vice presidential running mates either Governor Ridge of Pennsylvania or Governor George Pataki of New York, both of whom support a women's right to abortion to balance the G-O-P ticket. In Baltimore, The Sun is critical of the international trade in diamonds mined in areas of conflict in Africa gems that finance civil wars.

    VOICE: What are the rebellions destroying Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone really about? Chiefly, about the diamonds that fund them. ... Only more demand [for diamonds] can absorb more supply at a stable price, but more demand would make a boycott of [African] conflict stones less likely. The idea is that the conflicts can be ended only by stopping the trade in contraband diamonds. But the reverse is equally true.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Today's Washington Post laments the death of Jan Karski, who as a young Polish resistance officer during World War Two, carried news of the holocaust to Western capitals, only to be ignored by leaders such as President Franklin Roosevelt. The Post calls him "an authentic moral hero."

    VOICE: Cited as a "righteous gentile" by the state of Israel, he lived up to the difficult duty that ... his desperate guides had whispered to him as they walked him through the ... Warsaw ghetto: "Remember, remember."

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: Today's Atlanta constitution and the Chattanooga Free Press are both mourning the death, late Tuesday of Georgia Senator Paul Coverdell, who died of a stroke at 61. Says the Constitution:

    VOICE: ... he bore down on the mechanics of lawmaking and mastered the intricacies of issues... [making him] indispensable to the Senate G-O-P [Republican Party] hierarchy by his willingness to shoulder any difficult assignment

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, some good news from the Texas Gulf coast, noted in this editorial by the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

    VOICE: Anyone who has ever seen any species of sea turtle in the wild will rejoice at the news this week that the Kemp's ridley -- the world's rarest breed [Editors: actually "species"] -- is fighting back from the edge of extinction. ... the number of nesting females on the now protected beach at Rancho Nuevo ... Mexico has increased five-fold from the 1970's. Nature is "tough."

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comments from Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 19-Jul-2000 12:21 PM EDT (19-Jul-2000 1621 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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