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Voice of America, 00-09-14

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] BRITAIN / FUEL CRISIS (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [02] BRITAIN / FUEL CRISIS (S-L UPDATE) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [03] FRANCE / MCDONALDS (L-O) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)
  • [04] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [05] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] BRITAIN / FUEL CRISIS (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=9/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266495
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: British oil deliveries are speeding up after most protesters ended their blockades of oil refineries around the country. Prime Minister Tony Blair is meeting oil company chiefs later in the day. But, Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London that tensions have increased again after two oil companies announced a price hike for unleaded gas and diesel fuel.

    TEXT: Britain's fuel crisis appears to be easing and Prime Minister Blair says he is ready to listen to the protesters' grievances.

    /// BLAIR ACT///

    We understand that you have a genuine and sincerely held grievance. Of course, we are prepared and willing to discuss it with you.

    /// END ACT ///

    But, Prime Minister Blair warns that his government will not be bullied into changing policy.

    /// BLAIR ACT TWO ///

    We were faced with a very simple choice. We could have conceded and said okay if people are going to blockade fuel supplies then their demands must be met. Or we could have done what we did do, which is to say we are happy to listen and discuss your concerns, but we cannot change policy on the basis of a blockade.

    /// END ACT ///

    Protesters are ending their blockades at most of the oil refineries around the country. But, they have called for urgent meetings with government ministers to discuss their demand for a cut in the fuel tax. They also want a government response within two- months, which coincides with the scheduled budget review in November. Prime Minister Blair says the fuel shortages have endangered lives and threatened business. Officials say it could take weeks to bring the situation back to normal. Mr. Blair expresses surprise at the untimely announcement by some oil firms of price hike for unleaded gas and diesel fuel. The companies blame the high price of world crude oil. The Prime Minister is meeting with the oil company chiefs later in the day to go over their responsibility to get fuel supplies delivered.

    /// BLAIR ACT THREE ///

    There are people in key sectors of the economy that are vital for the maintenance of the economy and the country functioning that must know how to keep up their own responsibilities.

    /// END ACT ///

    Most of Britain's 11-thousand stations remain closed for lack of fuel. Panic shopping has emptied many markets. Scores of schools and small companies have shut down. Emergency services have curtailed non- essential operations. But, on a more positive note, train travel is reported to be on the increase and so are bicycle sales. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/GE/RAE 14-Sep-2000 09:37 AM EDT (14-Sep-2000 1337 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] BRITAIN / FUEL CRISIS (S-L UPDATE) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=9/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266514
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Protesters in Britain are ending their blockades of most of the country's oil refineries, but government officials say it will take weeks to get the situation back to normal. Correspondent Laurie Kassman has more from London.

    TEXT: Prime Minister Blair says his government is listening to the protesters' demands for a cut in the gas tax. But he insists he will not be bullied into changing policy. Truck drivers and farmers are ending their blockades of oil depots but say they are not ending their protest. They want urgent meetings with government ministers and a government response to their demands for a cut in the gas tax within the next two months. British consumers pay more than one-dollar-20-cents a liter for gas - the highest price in Europe. The government tax accounts for three-fourths of that price. Mr. Blair was surprised and angered when several oil companies announced a price hike for unleaded gas and diesel just as the protests were winding down. One company, Esso, backed down later in the day, acknowledging the bad timing of its decision.

    /// OPT REST FOR SHORT CR ///

    With oil deliveries on the way, more than one-fifth of Britain's 11-thousand gas stations are expected to be back in operation within a day or two. All gas stations are expected to be open within a week. Business leaders are complaining that the fuel shortage is forcing many firms to close. Some schools have shut down and mail services have been limited. Britain's emergency health services are also curtailing non-essential operations. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/KL/RAE 14-Sep-2000 13:25 PM EDT (14-Sep-2000 1725 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] FRANCE / MCDONALDS (L-O) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)

    DATE=9/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266505
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A French sheep farmer who ransacked a McDonald's restaurant in France as part of an anti- globalization campaign, has been sentenced to three- months in jail. Paul Miller reports from Paris that the sentence was heavier than expected and more than the prosecution had asked.

    TEXT: Jose Bove and nine other men did 100-thousand- dollars damage to a McDonald's restaurant a year ago near his home town of Millau in southern France. The protesters never denied the vandalism, which they said was an attack against, what they called, American dominance of the world economy and against bad food. The incident turned Mr. Bove into something of a celebrity in France. He appeared regularly on television to denounce genetically engineered food, and American-led globalization. He took part in protests at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. His trial attracted thousands of supporters who turned Millau into a street fair promoting a variety of causes. Many people assumed a jail sentence was unlikely, because of Mr. Bove's popularity, and the recent unrest by farmers and others upset by high fuel prices. The prosecutor asked for just one-month in jail for Mr. Bove and suspended sentences for the others. But the court handed down a three-month sentence for Mr. Bove. He will appeal the sentence. He also promised to continue to campaign against, what he calls, the economic and cultural imperialism of the United States. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PM/GE/RAE 14-Sep-2000 11:47 AM EDT (14-Sep-2000 1547 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=9/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266526
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Thursday), with the "blue-chips" sagging over concerns of softening corporate profits. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 95 points, less than one percent, to 11-thousand-87. The Standard and Poor's 500 index lost four points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite gained another one- half of one percent, as the technology sector continued to re-gain lost ground. The weakness of the "Euro" (European currency), as well as higher oil prices, is making a dent in the corporate earnings picture. Shares of Colgate- Palmolive, the world's biggest maker of toothpaste, dropped more than 15 percent, after a warning of lower-than-expected profits from its business in Europe. McDonald's - the leading fast-food restaurant chain - says it's trying to get around the problem of the strong dollar by buying supplies with local currencies. But the company says it still expects weaker earnings.

    ///REST OPT///

    Expectations of softening corporate profits have roiled the U-S stock market in recent days. But analyst Abby Joseph Cohen - one of Wall Street's most influential experts - says the market's big gains of the past few years were extraordinary and exceptional. She expects more stability in the market at this point, with earnings dropping to more realistic levels:

    ///COHEN ACT///

    Those 20 percent returns occurred because we started from significantly undervalued levels in the stock market. You know equities in the United States and the economy itself did not get the respect it deserved during most of the 1990's. We think going forward profit growth will be close to normal, let's call that about 10 percent - actually that's somewhat above normal. And we think that stock prices will rise, but they'll do so as corporate earnings and cash flow increase.

    ///END ACT///

    The latest numbers on the U-S economy show inflation at the wholesale level declined for the first time in four months. The producer price index fell two-tenths of one percent in August. And retail sales - a measure of consumer spending - went up just two-tenths of one percent last month, after a nearly one percent rise in July. These figures fueled hopes on Wall Street that the central bank is finished raising interest rates for now. Normally such benign economic news would have given the market a big upward push. But analysts say it was overshadowed by the deepening worries over earnings. (signed)
    NEB/NY/EJ/PT 14-Sep-2000 16:43 PM EDT (14-Sep-2000 2043 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=9/14/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11997
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=

    INTRO: Outrage over the government's handling of the Wen Ho Lee nuclear weapons information case continues to be a major editorial topic in the nation's daily papers. Another popular topic is the forthcoming Senate vote on normalizing trade relations with China. Other editorials deal with the opening of the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia; the visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Washington; Indonesia's trouble on Timor Island; the presidential election in Yugoslavia and a controversial campaign advertisement for George Bush backfires. Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is ____________ with today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Former U-S nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee has been released from prison, after pleading guilty to one felony count of mishandling classified information at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, nuclear laboratory. The daily press is still upset at the government's handling of the case, with the Chicago Tribune today calling it: "A National Embarrassment."

    VOICE: A federal judge sentenced ... [Mr.] Lee to time served Wednesday, ending the scientist's incarceration after 278 days. It should have been the federal government on the docket. U-S District Judge James Parker ... lambasted the government for "the unfair manner" in which it treated [Mr.] Lee. The Departments of Justice and Energy, the judge declared, "have embarrassed our nation and each of us who is a citizen of it." Yes, they have. ... What started out as a major spy scandal has turned into a case of gross bureaucratic misbehavior.

    TEXT: The Sun in Baltimore complains in its headline: "Fumbled spy case looks bad for everyone" while The Los Angeles Times calls the episode "A Case of Shame,"

    VOICE: The government's case ... has collapsed utterly and ignominiously, leaving a legacy of deeply troubling questions about federal investigative methods and the Justice Department's callous indifference to a suspect's civil rights. ... Wen Ho Lee suffered an ordeal by slander, based almost entirely on a bigoted assumption. Washington has troubling questions to answer. ///OPT /// ... When such things happen in China, as they do all the time, Beijing is rightly castigated by the West. It's a greater cause for outrage when they happen in the U-S justice system, which holds itself to be fair to all./// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The New York Post quotes the Wall Street Journal's report of a former Energy Department official that "The F-B-I really screwed [Editors: U-S slang for "badly mishandled"] this one up." And the paper bemoans the fact that 12 other suspected leakers of nuclear secrets were never investigated, only Mr. Lee. Turning to a forthcoming vote in the Senate on normalizing trade relations with China, today's [Minneapolis, Minnesota] Star Tribune says: "Normal trade with China is in everyone's interest." And, the big Minnesota paper warns:

    VOICE: U-S rejection at this point would significantly set back the cause of reform and enhance the power of reactionary forces uneasy with the new China.

    TEXT: The Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal is pleased an amendment that would have killed the vote and sent the trade bill back to the House was defeated. It recognizes the concern that China still exports weapons technology but says adding sanctions to the trade bill is not the answer to curbing Beijing's weapons exports. /// OPT /// It suggests:

    VOICE: The combination of normal trade relations and W-T-O [World Trade Organization] membership would open China to foreign exports and investment. ... China will be required to play by international rules. ... The first step is building bridges through trade./// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The 27th Olympiad, the Summer Olympics, open tomorrow in Sydney, Australia, and The San Francisco Chronicle is excited, suggesting it promises "to be the greatest show on Earth."

    VOICE: For the next 16 days, ten-thousand 200 of the world's best athletes from 199 countries will compete in 28 sports - - in 300 separate events - - before a worldwide television audience expected to exceed three-point-five billion.

    TEXT: Lamenting the huge time difference between this country and Australia, the Chronicle concludes:

    VOICE: "Although the pure Olympic spirit encourages athletic excellence beyond borders or nationalities ... we will root unabashedly for our home team to go for the gold, even if on tape-delay.

    TEXT: Today's New York Times takes note of a significant political development at the games, that North and South Korea will march into the stadium in the opening ceremony under one banner, a flag showing a united Korean peninsula. The paper calls it: "... Another significant step toward reconciliation. /// OPT /// The joint march will also be a tribute to the Olympic aspiration that sports can break down barriers between people." /// END OPT /// India's Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee is visiting Washington this week, the first such visit by an Indian P-M in six years. In Texas, The Houston Chronicle says it provides an "Opportunity to improve relations, partnership."

    VOICE: It is an opportunity to clear the air on numerous contentious issues that are both the source of friction and the basis of opportunity for the world's two largest democracies. /// OPT /// India has its problems, but India has huge if often overlooked market potential, it's a nuclear power with a large military budget and has an advanced space program and a vigorous high-tech sector. International Monetary Fund projections see India moving ahead of Germany and France in economic power by [the year] 2025. /// END OPT /// The U-S government consistently has underestimated India's power and its usefulness as an American friend in Asia, argues Victor Gobarev, an independent security policy analyst ... He has a point.

    TEXT: Across Texas, The Dallas Morning News welcomes the visit as a way of possibly calling attention to what it calls "The India-Pakistan imbroglio" which the paper warns, "is on constant simmer."

    /// OPT ///

    VOICE: India and Pakistan need to avoid further nuclear weapons investment, and channel their resources toward economic development. Arms suppliers may gladly profit from increased military expenditures, but the countries' populations suffering poverty and low literacy rates, can scarcely afford the diversion of investment away from productive enterprises, education and other basic needs.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Still in Asia, The Washington Post today bemoans the continuing violence in West Timor involving East Timorese refugees from the fighting a year ago during the push for independence from Indonesia.

    VOICE: ... President Abdurrahman Wahid's failure to gain control over violent army-backed militias on the troubled island of Timor is beginning to tax even his strongest supporters in the international community. The militias' gruesome September sixth murder of three United Nations aid workers - - including a U-S citizen - - has brought the matter to a head. ...

    TEXT: Across the world now, to the Balkans, where The Los Angeles Times is warning Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia to keep "Hands off the Yugoslav Election," where the paper points out, he is facing his first real challenge to re-election.

    VOICE: Yugoslavia is approaching a critical period. Most Serbs believe that [Mr.] Milosevic can win only through fraud and would not accept voter rejection peacefully. ... This is a man who will do anything to hold on to power. Washington and its allies rightly see a Milosevic defeat as a key element of Yugoslavia's return to civil society. But overt support for the opposition would only inflame nationalist sentiment. The best the West can do is sit back and let the Serbs decide.

    TEXT: In U-S presidential politics, the latest incident, the subliminal insertion of the word "Rats" into a Republican television commercial criticizing an Al Gore health position is drawing fire. Milwaukee's [Wisconsin] Journal Sentinel says: "Keep ad tricks out of politics."

    VOICE: At least one ad rises above the din in every presidential cycle and lingers in the memory. Remember Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America"? ... That ad showing the teenage Bill Clinton shaking President Kennedy's hand? The Bush campaign's rats ad the word a subliminal pull from the longer word that flashed in a fraction of a second across TV screens earlier this month - - may make the cut [Editors: slang for "make the selection of notable ads"} this time. If so, it will be instructive to remember ... that its intended beneficiary maintained that it wasn't intentional, which TV advertising experts said was a preposterous claim given the technology...

    TEXT: On that controversial note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Thursday's U-S press.
    ANG/NEB/PLM 14-Sep-2000 12:44 PM EDT (14-Sep-2000 1644 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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