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Voice of America, 00-08-24

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

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





    INTRO: Plans for municipal elections in Kosovo sparked controversy today (Thursday) as the United Nations Security Council debated the latest developments in the province. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: Council members heard a report from U-N official Hedi Annabi who discussed plans for municipal elections in Kosovo that are scheduled for late October. He blamed intimidation from radical Serb elements for the fact that few Serbs in Kosovo have registered to vote in those elections. More than one- million people are registered to vote, nearly all of them Kosovar Albanians. Mr. Annabi also repeated the explanation for the recent closing by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo UNMIK -- of a Serbian owned and operated smelter in Kosovo. He said the only reason the plant was shut down was because it was emitting dangerous pollution. He said the workers will be paid while repairs are underway and will be back at work once repairs are complete. But Russian ambassador Sergey Lavrov questioned the explanation for the closing of the smelter. Speaking through an English translator, Mr. Lavrov said it appears to be part of a plan to seize Serbian property in Kosovo.

    /// Lavrov translator Act ///

    We know that this plant, which was seized by force, is intended by UNMIK to be handed over to the administrative department for trade and industry (in Kosovo) which is working under the U-N Interim Administration and contains not a single Serb.

    /// End Act ///

    Mr. Lavrov also said the recent political violence in Kosovo means now is not the time to hold elections. He criticized the U-N's Kosovo administrator, Bernard Kouchner, for scheduling the elections without consulting the Security Council. But United States representative James Cunningham said the elections illustrate the strong leadership of the U-N administration in Kosovo.

    /// Cunningham Act ///

    It is a tribute to UNMIK's strong leadership that municipal elections will take place on October 28th. This will mark an important step in the establishment of transitional self- governing institutions and it has our strong support.

    /// End Act ///

    Mr. Cunningham did express concern for the politically motivated violence in Kosovo, saying there should be "zero tolerance" for it. (Signed) NEB/UN/BA/LSF/JP 24-Aug-2000 15:29 PM LOC (24-Aug-2000 1929 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stocks rallied across the board on Wall Street today (Thursday) amid signs that the U-S economy is cooling without the need for more interest rate hikes. Correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 38 points at 11-thousand-182 -- the highest level in four months. The broader Standard and Poor's 500 Index gained two points. Biotech shares helped the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rise for the ninth time in 10 days, finishing up fractionally more than one percent. After riding high on news of oil shortages, energy stocks declined, which helped move up airline shares. The Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goods placed with U-S manufacturers in July fell more than 12 percent - the largest drop ever recorded. And the Labor Department reported an increase in new claims for unemployment for the fourth straight week. Both reports signal a slowdown in the U-S economy.

    //// REST OPT ////

    After days of making gains, financial stocks were flat. But Ken Feinberg, co-manager of the Davis New York Venture Fund, says shares in financial companies are dependable in the long-term. Forty percent of the Fund's holdings are invested in financial stocks.

    //// FEINBERG ACT ////

    We think we understand the accounting, which can be esoteric at times. We think we have learned who the great managers are in financials. We also think that they tend to be growth companies in disguise in the sense that well-managed financial companies -- and you can point to American Express or A-I-G -- they have been able to grow their earnings at double digit clips for 20 to 30 years and yet you can often buy them at very reasonable multiples.

    //// END ACT ////

    Summer doldrums characterize much of the U-S market's inactivity. But temperate weather is stimulating the scooter craze that has swept the United States and pushed up the stock of companies that make the smaller, lightweight, portable scooters. Don Graber is chairman of Huffy Corporation, the world's largest maker of bicycles.

    /// GRABER ACT ////

    Last year in the United States there were about 400-thousand scooters sold. This year we do not know but there might be three-to-five million scooters sold. I do not think this is a fad. I think it is a trend because what we have now done is deliver a product to people that they can carry around, which they could not with the old scooters.

    //// END ACT ////

    The retail sector traded down but Wal-Mart Stores moved up on news that the world's biggest retailer will begin selling major home appliances. Shares in Bausch and Lomb, the eye care company, plummeted more than 30 percent after the company fired its president and warned that revenues would be flat or slightly lower for the rest of the year. (Signed) NEB/NYC/bjs/LSF/PT 24-Aug-2000 17:15 PM EDT (24-Aug-2000 2115 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Corruption in China, peace agreements in Africa, and the race for the U-S presidency were among the subjects covered Thursday by editorial writers in U-S newspapers. _________________has this summary of Thursday's editorials.

    TEXT: The New York Times and Washington Post examined different aspects of the U-S presidential campaign. The Post applauded Attorney General Janet Reno's decision not to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Vice President Al Gore's political fundraising in 1996.

    VOICE: Ms. Reno concluded that nothing in the record would support a conceivable prosecution and that, therefore, there is no basis for continued investigation. . .This seems right at a political as well as legal level-though Ms. Reno insists that politics plays no role in her law enforcement decisions. The allegations. . .have been hanging around for four years. To wait this long and then-in the midst of an election campaign-loose an independent counsel on such an improbable charge would constitute an unwarranted interference in the (current) presidential campaign.

    TEXT: The New York Times takes up the question of the retirement package Republican vice-presidential nominee Dick Cheney received as head of a Texas-based oil services company. Mr. Cheney served as chief executive of the Halliburton Company over the past five years, after serving as Secretary of Defense under President Bush.

    VOICE: At today's stock price, the value of his shares. . .and vested stock options granted him during his tenure adds up to more than 30-million dollars. That is compensation awarded to Mr. Cheney for his past service, and is perfectly appropriate, provided he sells those assets if elected and puts the proceeds in a blind trust to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. But Americans should wonder why the. . .company went further and allowed Mr. Cheney to keep 400-thousand more stock options that he would ordinarily have had to work additional years to acquire. That special favor, worth at least six million dollars at today's prices and potentially a lot more, would tie Mr. Cheney's financial fortunes to those of the company-and therefore to the price of oil-well into a potential Bush-Cheney administration. Mr. Cheney should have turned the favor down.

    TEXT: The Wall Street Journal criticizes what it headlines as "China's Charade". The editorial notes that the Military Museum in Beijing is displaying an exhibit aimed at showing how the government is cracking down on corruption.

    VOICE: China's leaders portray the fight against corruption as a noble battle the Communist Party is waging for the people. But relying on the idealism of party members is not a viable strategy. As Dai Qing, a prominent critic of the government has said, "Corruption is the result of dictatorship". By refusing to allow any checks on its authority while meddling deep in the economy, the party virtually guarantees that officials will turn power into illicit wealth.

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times takes up what it describes as President Clinton's "uneven record on Africa".

    VOICE: The administration has a decidedly mixed record in trying to broker peace agreements to settle civil wars on the continent. Clinton is now repeating his past mistakes, this time by prevailing on Burundi's Hutu rebels and its Tutsi-dominated army to sign a peace accord during his visit. As Angola, Congo and Sierra Leone in recent history clearly show, peace agreements before their time only raise false hopes and legitimize anti-government insurgencies. It is, regrettably, on the political front that the administration has shown the same mixture of expediency and naivete that marked its Cold War predecessors.

    TEXT: An editorial in the Washington Post notes that all charges have been dropped against the Philippines man who launched the dreaded "I love you" computer virus. The virus caused an estimated 10-billion dollars in damages worldwide. The Post editorial laments that charges could not be filed because the Philippines had no law against computer crimes.

    VOICE: The trouble is that many countries connected to the Internet even now lack such laws, and attacks can be launched from many places. Plugging one hole among the many in the global patchwork of legal regimes that governs the Internet doesn't much improve the overall system's integrity. The case should convince other developing nations that they too need legal tools to prosecute computer attacks.

    TEXT: A Washington Times editorial crows about the decision by McDonald's to insist on more humane treatment of chickens destined for the deep fryer or the McNugget bin. The editorial writer chides animal rights activists who have likened poultry farming in the United States to the Nazi holocaust.

    VOICE: McDonald's new attitude toward its fine feathered friends is the most significant change in policy of its kind pursued by a major U-S food supplier. McDonald's is acting both to placate environmental and animal fringe groups-and ostensibly to deal with concerns that current animal-raising techniques may lead to diseases, such as salmonella, that can be transmitted to humans. But the strongest push comes not from science or concern for human well-being but from political agitation by (animal rights groups), which have made the Nazi-holocaust comparison over the years.

    TEXT: That comment from the Washington Times brings to a close this Thursday summary of U-S newspaper editorials.
    NEB/PFH/FC 24-Aug-2000 12:42 PM EDT (24-Aug-2000 1642 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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