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Voice of America, 00-08-03

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

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





    INTRO: U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is again urging Yugoslavia's opposition to unite behind a single candidate for next month's presidential and parliamentary elections. Her call comes as members of Serbia's opposition failed to agree Thursday on a single nominee to run against President Slobodan Milosevic. Correspondent Nick Simeone has details.

    TEXT: Her meeting in Rome Tuesday with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic failed to persuade him to change his mind and endorse next month's vote, which the pro-western leader of Yugoslavia's smaller republic believes will be unfair. But in a brief session with reporters Thursday, Secretary Albright refused to characterize this as a setback.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    It is very evident that the bulk of the opposition, even with this kind of threat, is going to participate in the elections and we support them in that effort.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Milosevic and his allies have changed Yugoslavia's constitution to allow the man wanted for war crimes to run for another term as president. Opposition leaders in Serbia are worried that a divided opposition could again end up helping President Milosevic prolong his power.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT TWO ///

    He is I believe, running scared and consequently taking actions that are illegal and changing his constitution to suit his purposes and trying to be provocative.

    /// END ACT ///

    Serbia's opposition has rarely been able to unite behind a single candidate. Washington had hoped that this time they would, but Secretary Albright says there are other ways, as she put it, that the United States and Europe can support Milosevic opponents. (SIGNED) Neb/NJS/JP 03-Aug-2000 17:07 PM LOC (03-Aug-2000 2107 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The Yugoslav army has detained four foreigners said to be two Britons and two Canadians - on suspicion of spying and preparing terrorist attacks. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest that the news comes just days after Belgrade said it had arrested four Dutch citizens who allegedly wanted to kidnap and possibly kill President Slobodan Milosevic.

    TEXT: Yugoslav officials say the four foreigners were arrested Tuesday on the border between Montenegro and Kosovo province. They were detained after Yugoslav soldiers allegedly discovered weapons with the four, who reportedly said they were tourists. Local media reported that the four were taken to a military barracks in Montenegro, where tens-of- thousands of Yugoslav soldiers are stationed. The foreigners are under investigation for what Yugoslav officials described as - a hostile act of spying. Belgrade says the four may have links with the NATO- lead peacekeepers known as K-FOR. The arrests follow allegations by the Belgrade Government that several NATO countries have hired mercenaries to crack down on war-crimes suspects in Yugoslavia. To make their case, Yugoslav authorities released a videotape of four Dutchmen who were allegedly arrested on similar charges in July. On the tape, one of the Dutchmen says that his group wanted to kidnap and possibly cut off the head of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. They allegedly were promised a five-million dollar reward by the United States. Dutch diplomats do not rule out that the men were forced to make the confession. The Dutch officials say they have not been allowed to see their citizens. Wednesday, Yugoslavia's Charges D'Affairs in The Hague, Vladimir Novakovic, promised the Dutch government access to their nationals, although he did not mention a place and date. Dutch Embassy spokesman, Paul van Oostveen, says it is important to be able to talk with the men.

    /// ACT OOSTVEEN ///

    To find out why and what happened. And when we know about that we can see what next steps will be taken. Formally, we have not been informed about the arrests of these four Dutch people.

    /// END ACT ///

    Meanwhile, Western diplomats say French nationals have also been held on terrorist charges without trial since last year. There are fears among Western officials that the citizens of these countries may face a military trial behind closed doors, and possible life imprisonment if convicted. Western diplomats say the government of President Milosevic may use the prisoners as propaganda tools, prior to next months Parliamentary and Presidential elections. Opposition parties suggest President Milosevic wants to stay in power, in part to avoid prosecution by a U-N court for alleged war crimes. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SB/GE/RAE 03-Aug-2000 09:50 AM EDT (03-Aug-2000 1350 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The European Union has opened an antitrust case against the American software company, Microsoft, charging the huge firm abused its position to dominate the European market for server-computer programs. As Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, the European Commission acted on a complaint by another U-S company.

    TEXT: The European Union's action is independent of the U-S government's antitrust case against Microsoft. The Commission -- the E-U's executive -- took its action because of a complaint by a U-S software manufacturer, Sun Microsystems. The European Commission has filed a statement of objections against Microsoft. It alleges that the company breached European Union antitrust rules by engaging in discriminatory licensing, and by refusing to supply essential information about its Windows operating system. Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres explains the complaint:

    /// TORRES ACT ///

    Here what we have is, we are sending a statement of objections following a complaint by Sun Microsystems in December 1998, which, because of its previous date, accuses previous versions of Windows, namely Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT 4.0 -- which is one of the predecessors of Windows 2000, a sort of network software.

    /// END ACT ///

    The European Commission opened the case against Microsoft on its own initiative in February of this year, but has moved to this next legal stage on the basis of Sun's later complaint against Windows 2000. Spokeswoman Torres, who says Microsoft will be given two months to respond to the complaint, adds that the Commission is taking the charges seriously.

    /// TORRES ACT ///

    I must stress at this stage, the Commission has not come to any conclusion. But obviously the Commission is acting on allegations of misconduct on the part of Microsoft, and allegations which the Commission is taking very seriously.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Commission says Microsoft can take two months to respond to the charges in writing, and can ask for a public hearing. That's why the case is not expected to reach any conclusion before the end of the year. The European Commission can fine a company 10 percent of the value of its annual world sales, but in practice such antitrust fines never exceed one percent. In Microsoft's case, that is still a lot of money. Microsoft is already appealing a guilty verdict against its sales practices in American courts. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/WTW/JP 03-Aug-2000 09:24 AM LOC (03-Aug-2000 1324 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The European Union currency, the Euro, Thursday fell to a ten week low against the dollar. V- O-A's Barry Wood reports the Euro is trading at just over 90 U-S cents and some analysts believe it is set to go lower.

    TEXT: The Euro is very nearly back to its record low of last May. The currency had rebounded in June and July, climbing all the way to 95 (U-S) cents but has now fallen steadily for two weeks. Thursday's drop is attributed to the European Central Bank's decision to hold short-term interest rates steady instead of raising them. The two percent drop in the Euro Thursday followed a nearly as large a drop the day earlier. Analysts say a collapse through the ninety cent support level could send the euro down to the 88-point-50 cent record low of May 11th. Higher interest rates lure investors to a currency as yields on deposits rise. Three-month dollar deposits currently offer a premium of over two percentage points over similar Euro deposits. But not all currency analysts are pessimistic about the Euro. David Bowers, chief global strategist at Merrill Lynch in New York, tells Bloomberg news that European companies are restructuring to become more competitive and that a Euro rebound is not far off.

    /// BOWERS ACT ///

    I think the Euro is a cheap currency. I think I'm right about these structural reforms and if the U-S economy has to slow down a bit that will be the time the strength of the Euro will come through.

    /// END ACT ///

    Eleven European currencies are part of the Euro zone. At present national currencies continue to circulate but the new Euro notes and coins will be introduced in 2002. Also Thursday the Swedish crown, which is not part of the Euro zone, fell to a 12 year low against the dollar. Denmark, which is also outside the Euro zone, holds a referendum in late September on joining the single currency. (Signed)
    NEB/BDW/TVM/PT 03-Aug-2000 18:03 PM EDT (03-Aug-2000 2203 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    /// EDS: Acts available in bubble ///

    INTRO: Ten years after Iraq invaded Kuwait and triggered the Gulf war, United Nations economic sanctions against Baghdad are still in effect. But the sanctions do not only affect Iraq. They have indirect consequences throughout the region, notably in neighboring Turkey. V-O-A's Yonca Poyraz Dogan [PRON: 'YOHN-JA 'POY-RAHZ DO-'AHN] has the details:

    TEXT: As a member of the international coalition against Iraq during the Gulf war, Turkey played an important role in helping to contain Saddam Hussein's regime. But as Turkish officials point out, that role has turned out to be costly. Before the U-N sanctions against Baghdad, Turkey's trade with Iraq was worth about two-point-five-billion dollars a year. Since the sanctions were imposed a decade ago, Turkey estimates it has lost about 30- billion dollars in lost business with its neighbor. There is unofficial trade between the two countries, much of it petroleum smuggling, but officials have not given any estimates of its worth. Alan Makovsky, a senior analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Turkey will continue to suffer economically because of the sanctions.

    /// MAKOVSKY ACT ONE ///

    There is a lot of frustration about what to do about Saddam and there are no simple answers about how to bring him down. But ending the sanctions would in effect mean his full rehabilitation and I really cannot imagine an administration of Al Gore or George W. Bush condoning that. I do think the United States ought to recognize the special burden that Turkey has had to bear. I think the United States should find ways to be supportive of the Turkish economy.

    /// END ACT ///

    Turkey's concerns are not only financial. The U-S policy to support the northern Iraq's Kurdish opposition also worries Turkey. Mr. Makovsky, who was a political advisor in 1992 for the joint U-S and Turkish campaign to deter Iraqi attacks against northern Iraq, said Turkey's major concern now is the same as it was after the Gulf War.


    That is the fear that there will emerge either an independent Kurdish state or (a) robustly autonomous Kurdish entity. Turkey worries that Turkish Kurds will be infected by Iraqi Kurdish separatism.

    /// END ACT ///

    The United States does not support the idea of an independent Kurdish nation. Washington also does not want to antagonize its ally, Turkey. But Mr. Makovsky says the Kurds are able to survive beyond Baghdad's control in northern Iraq because of the U-S-led Operation Northern Watch, which enforces so-called "no-fly" zones to contain Saddam Hussein's military operations in the area. The U-S and British planes taking part in the operation are based at Turkey's Incirlik Air Base. Meanwhile, the U-S effort to unify northern Iraqi Kurds has not been successful. The two leading Iraqi Kurdish parties -- Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan -- remain separate and often hostile groups. Mr. Makovsky of the Institute for Near East Policy says Turkey insists on maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity to avoid Kurdish separatism.


    I don't think it's a secret that Turkey would like to see the Kurds make some kind of a deal with Saddam. Turkey would like to see a return of central government control to northern Iraq. But at the same time, Turkey knows that is a result unacceptable to the U-S and the U-S is a crucial ally of Turkey's.

    /// END ACT ///

    For now, Mr. Makovsky concludes, Turkey accepts the U.S. goals. On several occasions, Turkey launched military operations in northern Iraq to prevent the Kurdish separatist group, the P-K-K (Kurdistan Workers' Party), from using the region as a base to attack Turkey. This Turkish concern has been lessened with last year's capture of the P-K-K leader, Abdullah Ocalan. However, Turkish leaders are still concerned about the heavy economic burden created by international sanctions against Iraq, especially for the largely poor southeastern Turkey.
    NEB/YPD/JP 03-Aug-2000 17:28 PM LOC (03-Aug-2000 2128 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were higher today (Thursday). But it was a struggle. Trading was very volatile. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 19 points, for a fractional gain, to 10-thousand-706. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed 13 points higher - about one percent. The technology-weighted Nasdaq composite made a dramatic comeback with a gain of almost three percent. It fell more than that in early trading on concerns over slowing growth in the cell-phone industry. New readings on the U-S economy show factory orders were up a very strong five and one-half percent in June. But almost all of that was due to aircraft. Without aircraft, factory orders rose only three- tenths of one percent. Experts say the economic picture remains mixed.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    Economist David Ressler:

    ///RESSLER ACT///

    We did see a decline in non-durable goods orders. And I think that tells us that we're seeing a very mixed picture in the manufacturing sector, with some pockets of great strength, offset by other pockets that are not faring quite as well.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    Investors are waiting for Friday's July employment report. This could give a clue about whether interest rates will be going up again later this month.

    ///REST OPT///

    The stock market has been moving sideways for a while, with no single sector providing leadership to pull the market higher. Analyst Elaine Garzarelli believes many stocks are still too expensive and that means they will probably be going down more:


    Well, I see the market as still 20 percent overvalued. But most of that is in "tech." So, the whole market looks over-valued in terms of the "S-and-P-500" (Standard and Poor's index). But that doesn't mean we have to have a big correction from here. It just means we have to have corrections in certain sectors.

    ///END ACT///

    Such corrections can mean more volatility for the stock market. In other news, auto-maker Daimler-Chrysler reported sales were down 12 percent in July. The U-S/German company plans to idle 28-hundred workers for one week to try to bring inventories back into line with sales. And, Gap, the largest U-S clothing chain, is having a disappointing year. The company warned it is going to miss its earnings targets. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 03-Aug-2000 16:53 PM EDT (03-Aug-2000 2053 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The Republican convention continues to mesmerize the nation's editorial writers who now have three-days of speeches and themes to analyze. Internationally, the continuing political turmoil in Israel is getting plenty of attention; as are new revelations about the duplicity of the tobacco companies. There are other commentaries on General Pinochet's future in Chile; Venezuela's re-elected president; and the continuing thaw between North Korea and the rest of the planet. Now, here is _______ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: There are many themes to editorials about the G-O-P nominating convention. The Chicago Tribune for one, is impressed with the presumed Bush foreign- policy team.

    VOICE: In many respects it is a reunion of the administration of President George Bush, and that is not a bad thing. For all the criticism [Mr.] Bush [the senior] took on domestic affairs, he was certainly sure-handed on international relations. ... America would be in capable hands with a return engagement.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Florida's St. Petersburg Times is upset by the scale of the lavish parties provided to delegates by powerful companies, seeking preferential treatment from the government.

    VOICE: Republican delegates ...have kept the "party" in the party convention. Unfortunately, many of their lavish fetes have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of public ethics and campaign finance laws. ... corporations have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to wine and dine lawmakers and lobbyists, many of whom control how big businesses are regulated.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Boston Globe takes aim at the "scruffy, disjoined bands of activists" skirmishing with police in the Philadelphia streets, but says, beyond the violence, they and the Shadow Convention of academics and community workers have something worthwhile to say.

    VOICE: This is what the ... marchers are against: 44- million people in America without health insurance. Wealth concentrated so densely that the top one- percent of the country owns more assets than the bottom 95-percent. A minimum wage that keeps a full- time worker below the poverty line. A two-tiered education system that ... will perpetuate the divisions deep into the next generation.

    TEXT: The acceptance speech of George Bush will be the most important of his political career, according to the New York Times, among others. The paper suggests:

    VOICE: ... he will face an oddly difficult challenge of his own making. For four-days Philadelphia has echoed with uplifting talk about diversity, inclusion ... and `compassion." ... But what is still missing is any discussion of ... specific policies and programs ... Mr. Bush's task tonight is to go beyond broad themes and begin to add some substance to this campaign.

    TEXT: Lastly with politics, President Clinton is being soundly criticized by The Charleston [South Carolina] Post and Courier, for his attacks on George Bush during the convention.

    VOICE: Vice president Gore is vacationing in North Carolina, granting Texas Governor George W. Bush the standard opportunity to present an unopposed convention-week case. ... But Mr. Clinton, despite reported pleas by Mr. Gore's staff for proper, prudent silence, apparently can not wait to bash Mr. Bush. ... A bad case of self-absorption aside, the president is displaying bad manners and playing bad politics. Surely if Vice President Gore is to convince America's voters that he should lead the nation, he first should prove ... he can convince his boss to shut up.

    TEXT: Turning to international affairs, the political turmoil in Israel continues, and so do the editorials. Boston's Christian Science Monitor urges the two sides to keep talking, despite Israeli internal disputes.

    VOICE: Decidedly negative was the unexpected defeat in the Knesset of Shimon Peres, a statesman and politician long associated with the peace process, in his bad to become Israel's president, a largely symbolic post. That vote underscored wavering support for the peace initiative, and hence for Mr. Barak, in the legislature. But the Knesset has become more antipeace, more extreme, than the Israeli public generally. ... On the other side ... the cheers that initially greeted Yasser Arafat for not bending on Jerusalem have given way to concerns about what comes next.

    TEXT: The Monitor urges both sides to keep talking. It points out the United States is ready to cut off aid to the Palestinians, and may move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, if Mr. Arafat goes ahead with his threat to unilaterally declare Palestine a sovereign nation September 13th. The Washington Post adds:

    VOICE: Mr. Barak's government appears to have survived for now and enters a period of respite while the Knesset is in recess, but its longer-term prospects are far from rosy. Mr. Arafat is being rewarded for having resisted necessary compromise, while Mr. Barak is being punished for having had the considerable courage to try to attain it.

    TEXT: There is more evidence of duplicitousness on the part of the global tobacco industry in a report from the World Health Organization. The New York Times calls it: "An Ugly Move by Big Tobacco."

    VOICE: The ... report [details] an ambitious, often covert effort by the tobacco industry to curb global anti-smoking initiatives, dating back to the late 1980's. The campaign's strategy consisted of having ostensibly independent surrogates attack the credibility of international health organizations and spin the concern with smoking as a first-world issue not worthy of the developing world's attention. The ... report ... relies on tobacco company documents that surfaced in recent lawsuits. /// OPT /// ... The W-H-O report should be read as a cautionary tale as the health organization starts negotiations in October to frame an international tobacco-control treaty. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Chile's former leader, General Augusto Pinochet, is commented upon in The Miami Herald, which suggests the general's "escape hatches are closing..."

    VOICE: Now old and internationally tarnished, the former military strongman may face charges of kidnapping and even torture in Chile's very own courts. For Chileans, it is an affirmation that no one, even a head of state, is above the law. This week, the Chilean supreme court apparently ...[rescinded] Mr. Pinochet's lifetime immunity. /// OPT /// Ten-years ago, this would have been unthinkable. /// END OPT /// ... Perhaps ideal justice is not achievable today. The world community should, some day, develop better mechanisms for recovery from wrenching atrocities. Meanwhile, applaud Chile for struggling through hard lessons in the process.

    TEXT: A somewhat hopeful view regarding the apparent totalitarian, populist tone of Venezuela's newly re- elected president, Hugo Chavez, from The Charleston [South Carolina] Post and Courier, which suggests:

    VOICE: Venezuela's descent into dictatorship may have ... been halted by the results of Sunday's elections. ... Mr. Chavez ... was denied the two-thirds majority he needs in Congress to carry out the most extreme measures of the "social revolution" he says is modeled on that of his friend Fidel Castro. There are now checks and balances to President Chavez' power and more sanity in his speeches. But Washington must use diplomacy wisely to keep Venezuela in the camp of democracy.

    TEXT: The continuing thaw in relations between North Korea and the rest of the world draws comment from the Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Journal Sentinel. It applauds the trend, but remains cautious about Pyongyang's ballistic-missile threat.

    VOICE: A few-weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea and emerged with the intriguing report that its president, Kim Jong Il, had offered to abandon his country's missile program if other nations provided it with technology for "peaceful space research." ... It may be ... the offer was bogus or that [Mr.] Kim has not himself decided what he wants. In any case, it is important for the U-S and other countries to probe North Korea's intentions so that a diplomatic dialogue may be established. That concludes this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Thursday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 03-Aug-2000 11:52 AM EDT (03-Aug-2000 1552 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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