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Voice of America, 00-08-29

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

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





    INTRO: Controversy is growing over NATO's recent seizure of a Serbian mining complex in Kosovo. NATO says it seized the mines to stop heavy pollution coming from a lead smelter at the complex. While acknowledging there is pollution, critics of the NATO action say its real purpose was to drive more Serbs from the area and further the independence of Kosovo. V-O-A's Ed Warner reports on the controversy.

    TEXT: Wearing surgical face masks, hundreds of NATO troops seized a smelting factory at the vast Trepca mines in Kosovo, while outraged workers tried in vain to stop them. Bernard Kouchner, chief U-N administrator of Kosovo, explained the plant's pollution could no longer be tolerated. He said it was endangering everyone, especially pregnant women and children. Former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark says cleaning up Trepca is vital for Kosovo:

    /// CLARK ACT ///

    Kosovo needs a lot of investment. To get that investment in there, it needs the right kind of governance. In the meantime, we do not want to destroy the environment any more by continuing activities that are so clearly destructive as that smelter was.

    /// END ACT ///

    There is no doubt the complex is a pollutant, says Gary Dempsey, foreign policy analyst at Washington's Cato Institute. But does it compare to the toxins released all over Kosovo by NATO's bombing?

    /// DEMPSEY ACT ///

    It was quite ironic that NATO justified taking over the factory on the grounds of air pollution. The amount of water and ground pollution and even air pollution that was created by the bombing makes the Trepca mine pale in comparison.

    /// END ACT ///

    Susan Blaustein is a senior consultant to the International Crisis Group, or I-C-G, a Brussels-based organization that recommends policies in areas of conflict. She says pollution was only part of the problem with Trepca. Belgrade used the complex to solidify its hold on the area and stir up trouble:

    /// BLAUSTEIN ACT ///

    What we (I-C-G) advocated back in November was using the pollution as a reason to shut it down. It is a perfectly valid reason. It is a dreadful polluter. But there are all kinds of reasons. It has basically been infiltrated by the Belgrade regime. There are many reports that Serbian paramilitaries and police were seen in Zvecan itself, the town where the smelter is located. So a lot of the violence has happened around that.

    /// END ACT ///

    Susan Blaustein says Trepca's symbolic value for Kosovar Albanians outweighs its economic importance for Serbia. She believes the takeover will help bring order to the province and assure a better future. The I-C-G report notes that forceful action by the international community, rather than protracted negotiations, usually leads to progress. Cato's Gary Dempsey sees this calculation behind the Trepca takeover:

    /// DEMPSEY ACT ///

    Really what they are doing now with the takeover of the Trepca mines is laying the economic groundwork for eventual independence, and over the past year or so, we have seen them lay the political groundwork. I think they are just moving this process along.

    /// END ACT ///

    Who will eventually own the mines remains unclear since there is a formidable tangle of claims. Some critics suspect that international financier George Soros, who has supported I-C-G, will end up in control of the complex. Susan Blaustein scoffs at this as one of many conspiracy theories swirling around the takeover. Like so much else in the turbulent Balkans, the dispute about Trepca seems far from over. (Signed)
    NEB/EW/TVM/JP 29-Aug-2000 17:00 PM LOC (29-Aug-2000 2100 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The latest victim in a wave of terrorist violence in northern Spain was a councilman for the country's ruling Popular Party in a small town in the Basque Country. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although police blamed the attack on the separatist group, ETA. Gil Carbajal reports from Madrid.

    TEXT: Gunmen shot a 29-year-old councilman (early Tuesday) in the Basque town of Zumarraga near San Sebastian in northern Spain. Manuel Indiano Azaustre was killed as he was opening the candy shop he set up just two-months ago. He died soon afterwards in the hospital with 14-bullet wounds. The councilman was 29-years-old and held one of two seats won by Spain's ruling Popular Party - the P-P - in the last municipal elections. Although he ran as an independent, Manuel Indiano was sixth on the party's list and took a seat on the town council after those ahead of him had turned it down. In early April, he gave up the police escort assigned to Popular Party politicians because he found the protection inconvenient. Manuel Indiano is the 12th victim of a bloody terrorist campaign since ETA called off a 14-month long truce. Businessmen, security agents, and politicians of the Popular Party and opposition Socialist party have been the targets of the terrorist campaign. In the past month-and-one-half, seven people have been killed in various parts of Spain. Carbombs set off in Madrid and in the Basque Country have injured scores of people. Meanwhile, pro-ETA gangs have continued almost daily acts of vandalism against banks, business and the property of Popular Party and Socialist politicians. ETA has been linked to hundreds of deaths since the late 1960s when it began a violent campaign for an independent Basque state. The latest killing increases the pressure on the moderate Basque Nationalist Party - or P-N-V - to break with ETA's political wing, Euskal Herritarrok. Leaders from both the Popular Party and the main opposition Socialist Party once again called for that break. And the Spanish government continues to refuse to include the P-N-V in multi-party talks to deal with terrorism until it breaks completly with ETA's political wing. Spanish Prime Minister Jose' Maria Aznar learned of the latest killing in Gdansk, Poland where he was participating in ceremonies commemorating the 20th anniversary of the foundnation of labor movement, Solidarity. Standing next to Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Walensa, Mr. Aznar said that at a moment in which he was helping celebrate a victory against tyranny, he was sad to say that in Spain there were people still being killed for believing in freedom, respect for human rights and democracy. Prime Minister Aznar said that Manuel Indiano's only crime was to belive in those values. (SIGNED)
    NEB/GC/GE/RAE 29-Aug-2000 13:13 PM EDT (29-Aug-2000 1713 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Tuesday), but there was not a lot of movement in either direction. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York, it was a rather tepid day of trading after Monday's solid gains.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 37 points, for a fractional loss, to 11-thousand-215. The Standard and Poor's 500 index lost four points. Meanwhile, the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite inched up almost 12 points for a fractional gain. The latest report on the U-S economy shows consumer confidence slipped this month - though confidence is still at historically high levels. A measure of consumer optimism came from the housing market. New home sales went up almost 15 percent in July -- the biggest jump in seven years. Investors found little in the economic news to support the view that the outlook on interest rates is improving. The U-S central bank left rates unchanged last week, persuaded that the economy is starting to slow down.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    Delos Smith, an economist with the Conference Board -- a private business research group -- says consumer spending is up again. He adds, that should worry the central bank -- the Federal Reserve Board:

    ///SMITH ACT///

    July - all the buying plans were quite weak. This month they are very strong. The Federal Reserve is not going to like that. But we don't want to make too much of one set of numbers. We have to see a more consistent pattern in these numbers. But everything was up - homes, autos, appliances, carpets, people on vacation. Couldn't be better.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    Some profit-taking pressured "blue-chip" stocks, especially in the banking sector. Banking and financial shares led the market higher on Monday.

    ///REST OPT///

    Brokerage stocks surged Tuesday after a strong rumor that Credit Suisse First Boston - based in Switzerland is likely to win its takeover bid for U-S brokerage Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette. The combined company could challenge some of the leading brokerage houses on Wall Street, such as Goldman Sachs. Experts generally believe the deal will go through, setting the stage for even more global mergers in the brokerage business.
    NEB/NY/EJ/LSF 29-Aug-2000 16:44 PM EDT (29-Aug-2000 2044 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Regional newspapers around the United States are focusing in on the African AIDS pandemic, and President Clinton's comments about it on his trip there. There are also thoughts about bringing peace to Burundi and Nigeria's promise under a fledgling democracy. Other topics include the latest distress for Burma's legitimate leader; telling the C-I-A role in Chile's dictatorship; Northern Ireland's troubled peace efforts; and how the Philippines are handling the hostage situation in its Muslim majority islands. Now, here with a closer look is __________ and today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: President Clinton's brief trip to Africa, and his concern about the toll AIDS is taking there registers in several editorial columns. Maine's Portland Press Herald says:

    VOICE: President Clinton's words were right on the money [Editors: "on target"] when he told leaders in Nigeria over the weekend that solving the problem of AIDS that is decimating many sub- Sarahan nations would require "breaking the silence" about how the disease is spread. However, he fell short when it came to providing the money itself, offering no more direct aid ... than the ten million dollars this country currently provides.

    TEXT: Newsday on New York's Long Island, under a headline reading: In Africa, [Mr.] Clinton Offers Symbolism but No New Aid," the paper comments:

    VOICE: ... by speaking as frankly as he did about AIDS he may have opened up a desperately needed dialogue and inspired African leaders and their people to start to come to grips with a disease that is killing more Africans than all the continent's war's.

    TEXT: Northern New Jersey's [Bergen County] Record is upset that the U-S Export-Import Bank is offering a one-billion dollar annual loan to 24 needy nations to buy medicine, an offer rejected because the nation's don't want to add to their existing debt burden. The paper says a greater effort is needed to help. On the subject of trying to build peace in Burundi, where President Clinton joined forces with former South African president Nelson Mandela, in witnessing a peace treaty, The Boston Globe glumly notes:

    VOICE: ... the antagonisms in Burundi go so deep that the international community should prepare for repeated involvement to avoid violence that could rival the genocide in neighboring Rwanda in 1994. ... Many Tutsis do not want to give up any power for fear the Hutus will take their revenge for decades of oppression.

    TEXT: As for the President's Nigerian visit, supporting the return to democracy there under President Olusegun Obasanjo, Charleston's [South Carolina] Post and Courier suggests;

    VOICE: ... the visit ... appears to have inspired Nigerians to look at President Obasanjo even more critically. ...[one] young Nigerian [asked] "How is debt cancellation going to help the poor people? Will we see any benefit from it? Or will it simply benefit the people who have already stolen our money?"

    TEXT: On to Burma, where the SLORC military junta is giving that country's legitimate leader, for years under house arrest, more trouble, according to The Washington Post.

    VOICE: ... acts of courage on behalf of democracy and justice that become the stuff of legend can seem like clear moments on a preordained path. ... At the moment, Aung San Suu Kyi is trapped on a soggy, mosquito-ridden rice field halfway around the world ... Last Friday she set out from her home in ... Rangoon ... to attend a party meeting south of the city. The regime ... sent goons to force her off the road and deflate the tires of her vehicle. ... Burma's rulers explain [laughably] ... they have blocked Aung San Suu Kyi to protect her from unrest and terrorism south of Rangoon...

    TEXT: In Latin American issues, there is a new call for more truth about the U-S Central Intelligence Agency's role in Chile's 1980s Pinochet dictatorship from The San Francisco Chronicle.

    VOICE: Now we face a new test of our national character. ... In a recent visit ... Secretary of State Madeleine Albright promised Chilean officials, who have charged [General Augusto] Pinochet with human rights abuses, that the United States would release "The fullest possible declassification of files" related to the coup. ... But [President] Clinton and [Mrs.] Albright's promises have run into strong opposition from C-I-A Director George Tenet, who resists revealing methods used in covert intelligence operations. [Mr.] Tenet must not prevail. /// OPT /// An honest history of the Cold War requires a full disclosure of what the united States did to our neighbors in South America. We have a right to know... /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In defense of General Pinochet, today's Waterbury, Connecticut Republican-American scoffs at the portrayal of "his 17-year reign of terror" and suggests the three-thousand people who died or disappeared during it were:

    VOICE: ... mostly international terrorists, agents of [Cuban President Fidel] Castro and the Kremlin who clandestinely entered Chile after General Pinochet toppled the repressive regime of Marxist Salvador Allende in 1973. ... by overthrowing Comrade Allende, General Pinochet ... avoided a bloody civil war that would have killed tens of thousands of his countrymen.

    ///OPT ///

    ... [Mr. Allende's] coalition of socialists, communists, radical social-democrats and leftist Christians was as corrupt as it was despotic.

    TEXT: President Clinton's one-day visit to Colombia comes in for some critical views from Andres Oppenheimer, Latin American correspondent for The Miami Herald, writing in today's St. Paul [Minnesota] Pioneer Press.

    VOICE: ...[the visit] ... may be just a photo opportunity to help the Democratic party look tough on drugs in the November U-S elections, but the trip also has the potential to produce a dangerous backlash in Latin America. By visiting Colombia only days after releasing one- point-three billion dollars in military aid to help President Andres Pastrana ... fight drug traffickers and their Marxist guerrilla allies, [Mr.] Clinton will draw international attention to what critics are prematurely calling a "new Vietnam." ... human rights groups ... say the U- S military aid package will worsen human-rights abuses by the Colombian military and the paramilitary groups they often protect.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: New violence in Northern Ireland is causing concern for the peace process at The Sun in Baltimore.

    VOICE: ... British troops are back in the street - properly so - for this internecine warfare in the Protestant slums. It shows the weakness of having declared a return to politics without "decommissioning" or destruction of weapons by those who held them. ... Northern Ireland will not have peace until the paramilitaries of both communities have packed up and quit...

    TEXT: To the Pacific for our final item, some criticism of how the Philippines handled the hostage situation in its rebel-held, Muslim-dominated islands, from today's Honolulu [Hawaii] Advertiser.

    VOICE: It is of course heartening to see the release of hostages from a bandits' lair in the southern Philippines. It is to be hoped that the remaining captives...will also soon be freed. But it is galling to see the bandits receive ransom beyond their wildest dreams... The fault lies with the ambivalence of Philippines President Joseph Estrada, who ... has tried to have it both ways: He has tried to appear tough, refusing to pay ransom, while welcoming [a ransom payment given by Libyan leader Moammar] Gadhafi's payment. Such vacillation only encourages more kidnappings.

    TEXT: With that note from Hawaii's morning daily, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 29-Aug-2000 12:15 PM EDT (29-Aug-2000 1615 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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