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Voice of America, 01-07-23 (fwd)

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

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

SLUG: 2-278568 Macedonia Fighting (L-Update) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:





    ///EDS: UPDATES CR 2-278559 THROUGHOUT///


    INTRO: Heavy government shelling of a village near the northwestern city of Tetovo killed 9 civilians and wounded more than two dozen others Monday. Jeff Bieley reports from the area that a second day of clashes turned into one of the most deadly days of fighting in the five-month conflict.

    TEXT: A mother and her two children died instantly from shrapnel wounds Monday afternoon when a mortar shell fell in the yard of their house in the village of Poroj, one kilometer from Tetovo. Five others were reported killed in similar incidents in the village, which, until now, had been untouched by the conflict. While residents of Poroj have become accustomed to looking up at nearby hills to see burning houses and hearing shooting from a distance, they were caught by surprise Monday when their village too became engulfed in the shooting. Fighting began shortly before noon when heavy exchanges of machine gun fire on the eastern edge of Tetovo broke out between government forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas at close range. Despite government claims that security forces were responding proportionally, the fighting escalated into a series of heavy bombardments of populated areas. After more than six hours of continuous clashes, diplomats managed to arrange a brief pause in the fighting to aid civilians. Unarmed European Union monitors in white flak jackets and helmets used the evening lull to escort a convoy of ambulances ferrying the wounded from Poroj to Tetovo. Tetovo hospital director Raim Thaci said 26 wounded were admitted from Poroj and two other locations, including five Macedonian soldiers. This is the second time in two days that fighting has broken a cease-fire between National Liberation Army guerrillas and the Macedonian government forces. The cease-fire, brokered by NATO July 5, was intended to promote internationally mediated peace talks. But both sides in the conflict have also used it as an opportunity to take up new positions and resupply their forces. Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski warned Monday that if the N-L-A did not withdraw from positions taken since the cease-fire was signed, the government would go on the offensive to push the rebels back. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JB/MAR SLUG: 2-278559 Macedonia Fighting DATE: NOTE NUMBER:




    INTRO: There was more fighting in Macedonia today (Monday) between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels. Jeff Bieley reports that the fighting broke out near the northwestern city of Tetovo. The skirmish deals another blow to a cease-fire that is less than a month old.

    TEXT: Smoke billowed from houses on the edge of Tetovo after the clashes between the Macedonian army and the rebels. In the village of Poroj, about one kilometer from the edge of Tetovo, four civilians were badly wounded when a shell exploded in a shop in the center of the village. Another woman was injured in her home when a shell plunged through the roof. When the fighting began late Monday morning, dozens of men from Poroj gathered along the main streets of the village to listen to heavy automatic weapons fire and occasional shelling in the distance. But as the fighting approached, most people scattered and headed for their homes and basements. Clashes were also reported in the village of Gajre in the hills above Tetovo. This is the second time in two days that fighting has broken a cease-fire between National Liberation Army guerrillas and Macedonian government. The cease-fire, brokered by NATO July 5, was intended to promote internationally mediated peace talks. But both sides in the conflict have also used it as an opportunity to take up new positions and resupply their forces. Diplomatic intervention by NATO and European observers brought an end to the battles Sunday afternoon. After the latest round of fighting, a NATO spokesman in the capital Skopje said that the observers would be back in action again, in his words, "to get the cease-fire back on track." Peace negotiations had been set to resume Monday, but those talks are now in doubt. Macedonia's Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski said Sunday he was against continuing the current all-party discussions. He said he would prefer to see the Macedonian security forces bring peace to the country. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JB/KL/MAR SLUG: US Editorial Digest, 7/23 DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: Scanning the editorial pages of Monday's U-S press one finds several comments on the Genoa summit plus a variety of topics concerning Mexico. Principal among them are proposed changes in the immigration rules. Other editorials deal with helping Colombia's drug trafficking problem, the concept of private property in Russia, Japan's flawed memories of World War two and the debate over stem cell research. Now, here is ____________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The Genoa Summit is drawing comment from several papers including the New York Times, which calls the results of President Bush's travels so far "mixed." The daily is pleased with an agreement on reducing nuclear weapons reached with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, but worries:

    VOICE: ... Mr. Bush's stubborn resistance to international plans to reduce global warming further isolated the United States from most of its leading allies. ... The attention to environmental issues and poverty reflected the concerns of many of those who demonstrated peacefully ... But the deliberate provocations of a small number of anarchists and the harsh reaction of Italian security forces brought tragedy... In planning future meetings, Mr. Bush and his fellow leaders need to steer a course between isolated, bunkerlike gatherings in remote areas and meetings in congested cities like Genoa that lend themselves to violent street demonstrations.

    TEXT: On a related topic - the perceived arrogance of the Bush administration in foreign policy - Florida's Orlando Sentinel sees the recent Russian-Chinese friendship treaty as a natural result.

    VOICE: Never in the history of the world has one nation amassed so much political, economic and military influence relative to other countries. The natural response to such an imbalance - - particularly if the powerful nation behaves arrogantly and dismissively - - is for other countries to band together. ... Unless the Bush administration wants to see more agreements by other nations that exclude or work against the interests of the United States, it must develop more moderate and respectful policies.

    TEXT: The Wall Street Journal agrees with President Bush's pronouncements at Genoa that free trade is "the best avenue for growth in all countries," and says of the bloody protests:

    VOICE: These protesters have their fair share of anarchists and nihilists who simply want to destroy for the sheer joy of it. We do not expect Mr. Bush's arguments to make any headway against such hooligans. But for those who are willing to listen, there are good arguments to be made for trade and for economic growth and prosperity.

    TEXT: There are a number of editorials dealing with Mexican topics, including several on the ideas of changing immigration policy to provide amnesty for undocumented Mexicans already in this country. The Palm Beach [Florida] Post notes:

    VOICE: Hearing loud protests from conservative Republicans in Congress, the Bush administration backed off its plan to give amnesty to about three million undocumented Mexicans in the United States. ... [However] More and more Republicans understand that there can be a political payoff for softening their view of amnesty. Granting millions of Mexicans permanent residency aims them toward citizenship and pleases family members who are American citizens.

    TEXT: Pennsylvania's Greensburg Tribune-Review however, faults the proposed changes:

    VOICE: The Center for Immigration Studies reports that in 1996 dollars the lifetime drain on [U-S] public coffers of the average adult Mexican immigrant ... is 50-thousand-300-dollars, compared with the average immigrant's negative impact of three-thousand. ... President Bush and Congress are ... not obliged to ...[become] the escape valve for Mexico's domestic failure...

    TEXT: On the subject of the North American Free Trade Agreement and its regulations allowing Mexican long-distance trucks into this country, which has never been implemented, The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City suggests:

    VOICE: New rules that would let Mexican trucks carry goods throughout the United States beginning in two-thousand-and-two could get sidetracked unless members of Congress refocus themselves on the overall need for good trade relations between the two countries. ... The important thing is [for] the legislative and executive branches to work out details that will allow commercial truck traffic to flow freely, like it is supposed to ... under NAFTA. To do otherwise will send U-S-Mexican trade relations down the wrong road.

    TEXT: And lastly with Mexico, The San Antonio Express-News lauds President Vicente Fox's effort to open government files on the 1968 government massacre of hundreds of people in Mexico City and the repressive period that followed.

    TEXT: In Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch is praising a recent law passed by the Russian parliament's Lower House, the State Duma. It essentially establishes private property and, according to the Dispatch:

    VOICE: ... begins clearing up the "mishmash of local land regulations that has fed corruption, chased off foreign investors and stunted economic development.

    TEXT: In Asian developments, the Boston Globe is upset at the way the Japanese government is handling a conflict with Korea over serious omissions in new textbooks describing Japan's role in World War Two.

    VOICE: Japan's lies and omissions about the past left Koreans and Chinese understandably dismayed. ... South Korea's President Kim Dae Jung ... was compelled to suggest that Japan could "learn from Germany" and its willingness to teach German pupils the truth about "Nazi concentration camps..." When the current Japanese government, hiding behind the pretense that it has nothing to say about the textbooks, cooperates with right-wing nationalists wishing to revive pride in Japan's past, it plays into the hands of those elements in China that want to stoke their own form of militant patriotism.

    TEXT: To Europe now, and a controversial report for the Czech government by the cigarette company Philip Morris, suggesting the Prague government saved 147 million dollars from deaths of smokers in 1997. The report says these people didn't live long enough to use government-sponsored healthcare or elderly housing benefits. Fumes the San Antonio Express-News: "The company's public relations team should stop trying to put a positive spin on smoking-related deaths.

    TEXT: Today's San Francisco Chronicle is not supportive of the U-S financial involvement in Colombia's four-decade civil war, which is inextricably mixed up with illicit drug production and trafficking.

    VOICE: Critics ...have multiplied quickly during the past year. The situation in the Andean region, they note, has only worsened. In anticipation of U-S military involvement, guerrilla forces moved deeper into the jungle and violence and drug trafficking have spilled into nearby countries. Violations of human rights have intensified... and guerrilla forces have increased their kidnappings and murders. All this, and still coca production has increased in neighboring nations.

    TEXT: Domestically, many papers are calling on Congress to have the courage to mandate increased fuel efficiency for America's cars and sport utility vehicles, as the fleet fuel efficiency standards law comes up for renewal. Echoing several other dailies, The Saint Petersburg [Florida] Times points out:

    VOICE: Improved mileage is the most effective way to make a dent in our dependence on foreign oil.

    TEXT: And on the stem cell research controversy, today's Orlando [Florida] Sentinel says: "The divisive politics of abortion should not interfere with stem-cell research." That concludes this sampling of Monday's editorial opinions from the U-S press.

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