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Voice of America, 00-09-18

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] E-U / SERBIA (L-O) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [02] EUROPE / FUEL CRISIS (L-O) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [03] NORTHERN IRELAND / VIOLENCE (S-O) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [04] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [05] MONDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] E-U / SERBIA (L-O) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=9/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266734
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Union (E-U) has endorsed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's opposition in this Sunday's (September 24th) election. Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels that if there is a change in the election, all E-U sanctions against Yugoslavia will be lifted.

    TEXT: It was the clearest statement yet by the European Union to the people of Serbia, Yugoslavia's largest republic. In what the 15 foreign ministers call a - crucial political choice - they demand a democratic change in Sunday's election away from President Milosevic. French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine, speaking through an interpreter, says a democratic change will bring economic aid to Yugoslavia from Europe.

    /// VEDRINE ACT W/ INTERPRETER ///

    We would reassert that a choice which leads to democratic change will bring about a radical change in the European Union's policy vis-a-vis Serbia. We will lift the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. We will provide accompaniment to the necessary economic and political reforms by providing Serbia with economic aid for reconstruction and will support the reintegration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the international community.

    /// END ACT ///

    The 15 foreign ministers suggest that observers from the parliaments of the European Union countries should watch the election that none of them expects to be free and fair. There is no word on whether Yugoslav authorities will allow west European observers to attend Sunday's vote. The E-U message to the Serbian people calls for them to repudiate clearly and peacefully President Milosevic's policies. It says they have led Yugoslavia to war, isolation, and deadlock. The statement combines the French desire to lift immediately sanctions against Yugoslavia with British, Dutch and Danish opposition to providing any reward to President Milosevic. When asked if this offer of assistance will stand if President Milosevic wins a new term in office, foreign minister Vedrine tells reporters - this is our policy for this week.

    /// OPT ///

    At the foreign ministers' meeting, Mr. Vedrine gave more information about an E-U summit conference to be held with Balkan countries on November 24th in the Croatian capital, Zagreb. The European Union plans to initial an association agreement with Macedonia at that meeting, and to open negotiations for a similar agreement with Croatia. Also invited to the Zagreb summit are Albania, Bosnia, and Slovenia. Representatives of Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia are also invited. In the case of Serbia, only President Milosevic's opposition candidate, Vojislav Kostunica, is named as a possible guest. /// END OPT/// The European Union offers Serbia the opportunities given Croatia since the death of President Franjo Tudjman last December. Croatia will be negotiating association with the European Union, an opportunity Serbia can have too - if its people vote against President Milosevic on Sunday. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/GE/RAE 18-Sep-2000 11:50 AM EDT (18-Sep-2000 1550 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] EUROPE / FUEL CRISIS (L-O) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=9/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266733
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Fuel protests have ended in Britain, but other European countries are still facing disruption by protesters angry about the high cost of gasoline and other fuel. In the aftermath of blockades that caused a national fuel crisis in Britain, the government is preparing a law to guarantee an uninterrupted flow of fuel in the future. Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London.

    TEXT: The British Home Secretary (Interior Minister), Jack Straw, has called together government officials and oil-industry executives to look at ways to prevent another fuel crisis from bringing the country to a standstill. He wants changes in the law that now governs essential services.

    /// STRAW ACT ///

    What we are looking at, specifically, as far as changes in the law are concerned, would be a similar duty [responsibility] placed on the oil companies, like what already exists for the gas, electricity and water-supply industries. They are already under duty to secure a continuity of supply of their products as far as that is possible.

    /// END ACT ///

    A government task force was set up after a week of protests by truckers and farmers blockaded oil depots and sparked a national gasoline shortage. The protesters are demanding a reduction in the government gas tax. But Prime Minister Tony Blair says his policies cannot be dictated by intimidation. He refuses to budge on the tax, which accounts for more than three-fourths of the price of gas - about one-dollar and 20-cents a liter. He insists budget policy cannot, in his words lurch from day to day in reaction to a volatile world oil market. Crude oil on the world market now tops 34-dollars a barrel, its highest price in a decade. Britain is not the only European country hit by protests. Truckers and other protesters demanding lower gas prices also have blocked major highways and city centers from Spain to Slovenia. So far only France and Italy have ended the protests with price concessions. Germany, Belgium, and Ireland are considering ways to ease tensions, but have not made final decisions. (Signed)
    NEB/LMK/WTW/RAE 18-Sep-2000 11:08 AM EDT (18-Sep-2000 1508 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] NORTHERN IRELAND / VIOLENCE (S-O) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=9/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266725
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A bomb blast in a Northern Ireland seaside town has injured at least three men. It follows another bombing in a Belfast neighborhood. Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London on the continuing wave of violence that threatens to disrupt Northern Ireland's peace process.

    TEXT: The three men were injured when a bomb in the seaside town of Bangor blew up the van they were in. The night before another blast destroyed the office of a Protestant prisoner-aid group in Belfast. There were no injuries reported in that attack. Police also defused a bomb at a senior citizens' home in the same Protestant neighborhood. Security officials in Northern Ireland are blaming the incidents on a continuing feud between two rival Protestant paramilitary groups. In the past few weeks, at least three people have been shot to death and scores have been injured in beatings and shootings. Republican violence has also increased in recent weeks. Police are investigating a bombing last week at a police station in the town of Armagh that followed several other attacks on military installations. The police suspect a renegade republican guerrilla group opposed to the peace process is behind the attacks. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/KL/RAE 18-Sep-2000 09:11 AM EDT (18-Sep-2000 1311 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=9/18/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266744
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Sellers were firmly in control on Wall Street today (Monday). Once again, higher oil prices and the weakening euro (the common European currency) drove the stock market lower. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 118 points, or one percent, to 10-thousand-808. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed 21 points, or one and one-half percent, lower. And the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite, normally more volatile than the other indices, dropped 108 points, almost three percent. Analysts say the general market downturn continues mostly on concern that higher energy costs will soften U-S corporate earnings even more than expected. Gillette, the world's biggest maker of razors and blades, was the latest company to issue a profit warning, and one of several to blame the slumping euro for its earnings shortfall. Experts say the Nasdaq is being hit the hardest because investors are not willing to pay the higher prices for high-technology stocks at a time of slower growth.

    ///REST OPT///

    But not all stocks are equal, nor the companies they represent. Some naturally will do better than others. Analyst Mary Lisanti says these differences will become more evident in the stock market as the U-S economy slows down.

    ///LISANTI ACT///

    What you're going to see, I think, is the indices may go up modestly, but within that you're going to see very wide disparity among different stocks. And that's really the story. I think what you're also going to see is an increasing widening of growth rates between companies that "get it," that understand how to function in this economy, and the companies that are having trouble.

    ///END ACT///

    In other news, some trans-Atlantic buy-outs have been announced. Dresdner, Germany's third largest bank, is buying U-S investment bank Wasserstein Perella for about one-point-four billion dollars. The deal will make Dresdner the sixth biggest adviser on mergers and acquisitions. And, British company Cadbury Schweppes is buying the Snapple Beverage Group from U-S firm Triarc. The deal is worth over 900-million dollars in cash. Cadbury has also agreed to assume over 400-million dollars in debt. Cadbury, which makes chocolate, candy and beverages, is aiming for the number three position in the U-S soft drinks market, behind Coca-Cola and Pepsi. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/KBK 18-Sep-2000 16:45 PM EDT (18-Sep-2000 2045 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=9/18/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-12002
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=

    INTRO: Editorial columns of many important U-S daily newspapers are occupied with presidential politics this Monday. Most of the comments are about the three presidential debates that are now planned, but there are several other issues generating comment. The high price of oil, and protests about it on both sides of the Atlantic come in for plenty of attention. Other topics include the Olympic Games in Australia; voting to normalize trade with China; the trouble in Haiti; and President Clinton's legacy. Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is __________ and today's Editorial digest.

    TEXT: After a good deal of disagreement about how the two major presidential candidates might debate on national television, the issue has been settled. And the newspapers are relieved, explaining in many editorials, why these debates are especially important. The (Northern New Jersey, Bergen County) Record puts it this way:

    VOICE: In a race that is a virtual dead-heat, substantive, issue-oriented debates are crucial to helping on-the-fence and undecided voters make up their minds. In fact, the debates could well decide the election in November. By balking, Mr. Bush may have called even more attention to them. In recent years, presidential debates have attracted as many as 90 million viewers.

    TEXT: Maine's Portland Press Herald is also relieved that the debate over how to hold the presidential debates has now ended.

    VOICE: Now ... voters can look forward to four 90- minute televised forums in which the major party candidates will discuss the issues, stake out distinctive positions and challenge each other. Not only will it make for great television, but also the series of debates will probably play an important role in deciding whether George Bush or Al Gore - - currently running neck-and-neck [Editors: slang for "dead even"] - - is elected president.

    TEXT: The San Francisco Chronicle says there will be "plenty to discuss in [the Bush-Gore Debates] and says it wants to hear more about how the two men would deal with the expanding U-S role in anti-drug and insurgency action in Colombia. In Ohio, The [Akron] Beacon Journal suggests the Bush campaign is faltering, and made a mistake fighting the debate plan. The paper wonders "What will it [the campaign] do next?" The high price of gasoline [petrol] in both Europe and the United States comes in for a good deal of attention. Today's Detroit News ties the problem into the political race.

    VOICE: Vice-President Al Gore has pledged that if elected president, he would push the U-S Senate to ratify the Kyoto Treaty ...[combating] global warming by returning U-S fossil fuel emissions to below 1990 levels in ten years. Most economists agree ... this couldn't be done without imposing some kind of a carbon tax on gas. But the political ramifications of such a tax are on vivid display in Europe [where] ... rising prices have brought life to a virtual standstill. ... There is a lesson in why fluctuations in world oil prices have produced only grumbling from U-S motorists - - and a roar from European consumers. Gas taxes raise production and transportation costs, bringing widespread inflation, a decrease in economic activity and higher unemployment - - the three banns of European economies.

    TEXT: On the same topic, USA Today, the national daily published in a Washington suburb, opposes President Clinton's possible solution of opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in part because the reserve contains less than a one-month supply of petroleum. And the Wall Street Journal warns that "Politicians in this country should take serious note of what's happening in Europe." The Journal suggests: "It goes way beyond the price of gasoline," to what the financial daily calls "the ludicrous energy taxes imposed by their own governments." On to the land down under now, for some thoughts on The Summer Olympics in Sydney. The spectacle of the two Korean teams marching into the stadium for the opening ceremony, under one flag showing a unified Korea, holding hands, has brought the Chicago Tribune to its feet.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// North and South Korea became one again, at least for a night, when their delegations walked together, members holding hands, in the opening ceremonies... History has been made repeatedly this year by the Stalinist North and the democratic South. And each step forward creates more momentum toward the eventual reunification that both peoples crave on the last dividing line of the Cold War... /// END OPT /// This is wonderful to witness. ... the joint appearance ... demonstrated to the world that the two Koreas are willing to reconcile and cooperate. It underscored the Olympics' time-honored tradition of trying to bring peace between nations. That's as good as gold.

    TEXT: On the subject of normalizing trade with China, The Washington Times is all for it when the Senate votes, later this week.

    VOICE: Although there are good arguments supporting both sides of this issue, there is only one correct course of action. By voting in favor ... lawmakers will make a long-term investment in U-S economic growth, the empowerment of the Chinese people and the commercial engagement of a crucial world player.

    TEXT: Turning to the Caribbean, today's Miami Herald agrees with President Clinton that the "U-S should withdraw financial support of [the forthcoming] elections."

    VOICE: President Clinton's threat to cut off financial aid ... is well justified. For months, the Haitian government has failed to heed U-S and international requests to end an impasse over its disputed parliamentary elections of last May. Now it's time for Mr. Clinton to make good those threats by withdrawing U-S financial support to Haiti's presidential elections ... scheduled for November 26 [th.] ... Haiti leaves the United States no choice. Our government cannot, and should not, support those who callously turn a blind eye to fair elections.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In South Carolina, The Charleston Post and Courier warns however that withdrawing aid needs to be done with surgical precision.

    VOICE: Haiti is in such dire straits that unless sanctions are carefully targeted, the Haitian people will suffer their impact, and not the country's rulers. ... The concept of "smart sanctions" is new. For the sake of the downtrodden people of Haiti, we hope ... they will work. It is encouraging that those nations that describe themselves as "Friends of Haiti" have realized that they must be friends of the Haitian people and not friends of yet another corrupt Haitian government.

    ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: In Middle Eastern affairs, today's Hartford Courant is concerned about how Saddam Hussein still appears to be out maneuvering the world in terms of rearming.

    VOICE: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's decision not to welcome a new international weapons inspection team has created another tense stalemate. The American government has said it has no intentions to carry out punitive air trikes, but the assurance may not hold for long. Barring some diplomatic breakthrough, Mr. Hussein's defiance may yet provoke U-S-led bombing. ... Almost ten years after the invading Iraqi troops were routed by an international coalition led by the United States, Mr. Hussein remains in power. Meanwhile, innocent Iraqi citizens are caught between his vise grip and the sting of sanctions.

    TEXT: The New York Post, on the same subject, says the real problem is that the Clinton administration "** has** [italics for emphasis] no resolve" to deal with Saddam Hussein. We conclude with the latest look at Bill Clinton's potential legacy, which was recently debated by experts at the National Archives in Washington. Today's Allentown [Pennsylvania] Morning Call suggests:

    VOICE: One thing they said was that his impeachment, attempted disbarment and other legal troubles will be only part of what his presidency is remembered for. ... [those] events ... will not stand out as starkly in the future as they do now. Historians are more interested in how this or that presidency performed during its moment on stage in the story of the American experiment. Therefore, his role as the first post-Cold War president and as the first Baby Boomer president will be examined as part of the great cycles of power-sharing and influence within the federal system. As abhorrent as some of his behavior has been to decent Americans, historians want to view and understand the bigger pictures.

    TEXT: With that assessment of how history may view Bill Clinton from The Allentown Morning Call, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Monday's papers.
    ANG/NEB/KBK 18-Sep-2000 11:28 AM EDT (18-Sep-2000 1528 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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