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Voice of America, 99-09-30

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] U.S. - KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY DEBORAH TATE (WHITE HOUSE)
  • [02] YUGO / OPPOSITION (L-ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (BELGRADE)
  • [03] YUGO OPPOSITION UPDATE L-O (CQ) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (BELGRADE)
  • [04] TURKEY / KURDS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [05] RUSSIA GOES TO WAR IN THE CAUCASUS AGAIN BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [06] I-M-F MEETING WRAP (L-ONLY) BY BARRY WOOD (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [08] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] U.S. - KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY DEBORAH TATE (WHITE HOUSE)

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254533
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A top Clinton administration official has reaffirmed U.S. opposition to independence for Kosovo. But the official - National Security Advisor Sandy Berger - left the door open to eventual independence, saying the future status of the war-torn Yugoslav province would be determined by its residents and the international community. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House.

    TEXT: In a speech at the U.S. Institute for Peace, a Washington think tank, Mr. Berger said the United States has serious doubts about the viability of an independent Kosovo and its effect on stability in the Balkans. Although expressng opposition to Kosovar independence, Mr. Berger did not rule it out as the ultimate solution for the province.

    /// FIRST BERGER ACTUALITY ///

    In the future, Kosovo's status will be decided with the participation of its residents and the international community. We should not assume what the outcome of that process will be, because it will depend in part on events we cannot predict today, including Serbia's progress toward democracy and Southeast Europe's progress toward integration.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Berger's remarks come a week after the Washington Post newspaper quoted unnamed U.S. officials saying an independent Kosovo is inevitable. Publicly, however, the administration has said there is no change in the U.S. position supporting political autonomy for Kosovo, and not a formal separation of the mainly-Albanian province away from the rest of Yugoslavia. In his speech, Mr. Berger also condemned revenge attacks by Kosovar Albanians against Serbs - saying NATO did not carry out its bombing campaign for the benefit of one ethnic group over another.

    /// SECOND BERGER ACTUALITY ///

    The violence and terror we have seen against Kosovo's Serbs does not match the scale of Milosevic's rampage. But it is no less contemptible. And we have told Kosovar Albanian leaders that if they fail to oppose it, they will lose the support of the international community.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Berger again called for a transition to democracy in Serbia. He condemned a police crackdown on a Belgrade demonstration against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on Wednesday, but expressed confidence it would not halt the will of the opposition parties - which he said the United States would continue to support. (Signed) NEB/DAT/TVM/gm 30-Sep-1999 18:00 PM EDT (30-Sep-1999 2200 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] YUGO / OPPOSITION (L-ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (BELGRADE)

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254505
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Amid a mood of increasing militancy and violence, Serbian opposition leaders say they plan to march for a second night to the home of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A spokesman for Mr. Milosevic's Socialist Party, meanwhile, condemned the protesters for attacking police Wednesday who, he said, were only keeping public order. Philip Smucker reports from Belgrade.

    TEXT: Opposition leaders in Serbia's Alliance for Change said they would press ahead with a march on the home of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic Thursday night. They said the so-called "forbidden hill," where they claim the President hides in his bunker, is a symbol of a dying and disabled dictatorship. Wednesday night, protestors held demonstrations that led to clashes, which opposition leaders have denounced as a heavy-handed police crackdown on their peaceful march. Several dozen people were injured, one critically. An opposition leader, Milan Protic, said the beating of unarmed civilian protesters proved that President Milosevic has lost patience and is resorting to violence to repress his political enemies.

    /// OPT ///

    Mr. Protic did not indicate if he would ask protesters not to throw objects at the police or carry sticks, as a few did Wednesday night. /// END OPT/// A spokesman for Mr. Milosevic's Socialist Party said that protesters had resorted to violence because they could not win an election. Spokesman Ivica Dacic praised the actions of the Serbian police and accused the protesters of preparing in advance for a violent confrontation.

    /// ACT DACIC, IN SERBIAN, ESTABLISH AND FADE ///

    Mr. Dacic said the actions of the protesters deserved what he called maximum condemnation. Protest leaders met Thursday afternoon to try to form a strategy to unite their forces with those of Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Party, which has refused to take part in street demonstrations. But few observers expect the divisions in the Serb opposition to be resolved quickly. Protest leaders say they want the immediate removal of Yugoslav President Milosevic from office followed by free elections. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PS/GE/BK 30-Sep-1999 11:35 AM EDT (30-Sep-1999 1535 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] YUGO OPPOSITION UPDATE L-O (CQ) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (BELGRADE)

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254532
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    //Re-issuing to scale back demo number/ Watch CN file for latest crowd estimate //

    INTRO: Riot police have beaten back anti-government protestors for a second straight day in the Yugoslav capital. Tens of thousands of demonstrators were stopped late Thursday as they tried to cross a bridge over the Sava River. Philip Smucker reports from the scene.

    INTRO: Dozens of protesters were beaten with rubber batons and pushed back across the bridge into side streets. Some of the protesters attacked police with bricks and sticks. The beatings marked a second day of street violence in Belgrade. Several marchers were left bleeding on their knees as police smashed news cameras and moved forward in a steady line against the demonstrators. //OPT// A demonstrator from Wednesday night's march remains in a coma. //END OPT// The violence began when Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic approached a police commander to try to argue his way through the police cordon. An officer snapped that Mr. Djindjic should retreat or be responsible for what was to follow. Within seconds, the police began beating Mr. Djindjic and his bodyguards. Ten days of street demonstrations have gained steadily in strength. Protest leaders are demanding Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic resign or be forcibly removed from office. As police have begun to use force to deal with protesters, Democratic Party Leader Zoran Djindjic said he expects violence in the streets of Belgrade to increase. He rejected the Mahatma Gandhi(Indian independence leader) approach of non-violence in face of police beatings.

    /// DJINDJIC ACT IN ENGLISH ///

    We cannot tell our people that if the police use violence against you, you must be peaceful. We are Balkan, we are not Indian and our opponent is not Great Britain. It is a Balkan dictator, Milosevic.

    /// END ACT ///

    A spokesman for President Milosevic's Socialist Party lashed out Thursday at the opposition demonstrators, accusing them of provoking Serbian police and hooliganism. Mr. Milosevic's whereabouts remains unclear since he maintains at least three residences amid extremely tight security. Opposition leaders met Thursday afternoon to try to iron-out differences in order to unite anti-government forces. Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Party has stubbornly refused to take part in street protests, saying the only way to change the government is with early elections. The Alliance for Change has been orchestrating the street rallies. Both groups agreed Thursday that they supported the removal of Mr. Milosevic from office and would continue their strategy talks.
    NEB/PS/JO 30-Sep-1999 18:33 PM EDT (30-Sep-1999 2233 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] TURKEY / KURDS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254504
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: About two dozen Kurdish rebels are said to be in the process of surrendering to Turkish authorities on Turkey's border with Iraq. This, acccording to lawyers of their captured leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara that the rebel move is intended to prove the sincerity of Ocalan's repeated offers for peace.

    TEXT: The surrendering rebels are reportedly led by Ali Sapan, the former European spokesman for the Kurdish Workers Party, or P-K-K. They are said to be at the Habur border crossing between Kurdish- controlled northern Iraq and Turkey's southeastern province of Sirnak, according to Kurdish sources in northern Iraq. Details of the surrender remain sketchy. And there have been conflicting reports that the group was preparing to turn itself in at another southeastern border province, Hakkari. Two of Ocalan's lawyers were reported to be traveling to Hakkari Thursday to witness the surrender. The surrender plans were delayed after the Turkish army sent reinforcements into northern Iraq this week to attack rebel positions. Turkey's defense minister, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, told reporters Thursday that the cross-border operation involving about five- thousand Turkish troops would continue until, in his words, "the job is completed." According to sources close to the rebels, the P-K-k decided to go ahead with the surrender in an attempt to pressure the Turkish government into responding to its calls for peace. The move also coincides with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's recent visit to the United States where he met with President Clinton. The U-S government considers the P-K-K a "terrorist group." But analysts say the Clinton administration is stepping up pressure on Turkey to grant its estimated 12-million Kurds greater cultural rights, including freedom to educate and broadcast in their own language. Abdullah Ocalan was sentenced to death on treason charges by a Turkish court last June. He has renounced his group's demands for Kurdish independence and even autonomy. Ocalan has said granting greater rights would satisfy Kurdish demands for equal treatment with their fellow Turkish citizens. The P-K-K has been waging a 15 year struggle for self- rule in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast provinces. The rebels have responded positively to their captured leader's recent demands to end the fighting and withdraw from Turkish territory in order to open the way for what Ocalan says could be a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/GE/JP 30-Sep-1999 11:32 AM EDT (30-Sep-1999 1532 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] RUSSIA GOES TO WAR IN THE CAUCASUS AGAIN BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-11496
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The undeclared war in the Caucasus pitting Russia against its breakaway Republic of Chechnya intensified during the past few days, and so did editorial comment around the world, with many comentators lamenting the Caucasus region's recent history of devastating violence. We call on ______________ now to give us a sampling of editorial comment now in this week's World Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: The Russian air force began its week-long bombing campaign against Chechnya several weeks after a series of terrorist bombings that killed more than 300 people in Moscow and other Russian cities. The Kremlin blamed the terror campaign on Islamic terrorists from the Caucasus, probably linked to the recent incursion into Dagestan which Russian army troops beat back. The Russian air force retaliation -- centered in the already-devastated capital, Grozny -- and speculation that a ground offensive against Chechnya is in the offing took center stage in much of the world press. Many editorial writers feel that another long war in the Caucasus is about to begin. We begin our sampling in Moscow, with the youth- oriented daily Komsomolskaya Pravda where one reads:

    VOICE: As it looks to settle the conflict in Chechnya, Moscow still needs a formula to combine political and military methods. The Kremlin and government, it seems, have again entrusted the problem to the army, so as to have someone to play the fall guy, should things go awry. The military, as if it smells a rat, says that with a stupid policy, tanks precede diplomats.

    TEXT: Across the capital, in Kommersant, a business daily, there was this comment:

    VOICE: It appears that Chechnya has ceased to be Russia's internal affair. The West, concerned over destabilization of the entire region, has offered its services to set up a political dialogue. Europe is most worried that there is a growing campaign in Russia against ethnic Caucasians, going on with tacit approval from federal authorities. The Russians have nothing to say to that.

    TEXT: Turning to the West European press, in London, Britain's Times says in part:

    VOICE: The Kremlin mood is bleakly determined. No settlement has followed the truce that ended the disastrous 1994-96 war. Most of the blame lies with hard-line Chechen Islamists, who have prevented President Maskhadov from reaching any political accommodation with Moscow. ... In contrast to 1994, there is general support now in Russia for military action. The world is urging caution on the Kremlin. ... [However] the West, with enough dilemmas already on intervention, is anxious to avoid a fresh humanitarian crisis.

    TEXT: Across the Channel, in Paris, Liberation chimes in with this assessment, focused not on Chechnya, but on recent charges of massive corruption and channeling of international aid money into private accounts, outside the country.

    VOICE: The Russian question has become a leitmotif in Washington's political battle. ... American officials base their policy on only one argument, and that is that there is no other alternative. However corrupt the system may be, helping Russia financially is a necessity.

    TEXT: Turning to Germany, and that nation's financial capital, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ponders the possibility of a ground invasion of Chechnya.

    VOICE: According to Moscow, it does not want to send any ground forces to Chechnya, but Moscow also said that 20-thousand forces are available to be sent. For the time being, the Russians are talking about "surgical strikes" ... but it is questionable whether the Kremlin is capable of carrying out such ... strikes. Even the Americans failed in this respect, not only in the Gulf but also in Yugoslavia.

    TEXT: For an Italian reaction to the latest developments, we turn to Corriere della Sera in Milan, where a columnist suggested:

    VOICE: [Russian President] Boris Yeltsin is playing a dangerous game. Notwithstanding the doubling of funds for defense spending ... the resources to finance the adventure in the Caucasus continue to be insufficient. The announced "partial invasion" of Chechnya could involve Russian troops in a massacre with no way out, like five years ago. And another bomb in Moscow or elsewhere in Russia would be sufficient to make the pressure of public opinion unbearable.

    TEXT: Back to East Europe now, and this assessment from the big Czech Republic daily Pravo, in Prague.

    VOICE: NATO (or the United States for that matter) was warned prior to launching air strikes against Yugoslavia that this move could be misused in the future by other states for their own ends. As Russia's operations in the Caucasus demonstrate, this warning was substantiated...

    TEXT: Moving to the Indian sub-continent, in New Delhi, The Hindustan Times analyzes the situation this way:

    VOICE: Moscow had hardly ever bothered to help the Grozny leadership resolve the host of problems facing the bombed and burnt-out region, such as finding jobs for former guerrilla fighters or rebuilding the shattered Chechen economy. Moscow's myopia on Chechnya had meant that even clear warning signals from the Caucasus rarely reached the Kremlin's corridors, and even if they did, were effectively drowned [out] by the high-decibel political drama unfolding there.

    TEXT: Japan's Sankei published this comment by its Moscow correspondent:

    VOICE: The Russian government characterized the air bombings of Grozny as a steadfast showdown with bands of international terrorists. It is said that Islamic militants and other radical elements have been trying to create confusion and political unrest in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia in order to bring an early end to the "weakening" Yeltsin administration. But President Yeltsin can hardly ignore such acts of terrorism. Given the present circumstances, the Russian military can not but continue military operations against Grozny and other places in Chechnya. There are rising fears, however, that the Russian military operation, if prolonged, will most likely trigger a new war.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of world opinion on the recently renewed violence in Chechnya.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 30-Sep-1999 17:56 PM EDT (30-Sep-1999 2156 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] I-M-F MEETING WRAP (L-ONLY) BY BARRY WOOD (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254522
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Finance ministers from over 180 countries have ended the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington. V-O-A's Barry Wood reports the world's poorest countries will benefit from one of the main decisions.

    TEXT: The meeting agreed to speed up debt relief for the poorest countries, most of which are in Africa. Up to three dozen countries could be eligible for the write- off, provided they meet strict conditions on reforming their economies. The debt relief could eventually total 70-billion dollars. At a closing news conference World Bank President James Wolfensohn put the debt problem in perspective. He said developing countries collectively owe two trillion dollars, and ten percent of that ($200b) is owed by the poorest countries - those with per capita incomes of about one dollar a day. Mr. Wolfensohn said it would be a bad idea for the World Bank to forgive all the debts since the bank itself is a major borrower.

    /// WOLFENSOHN ACT ///

    If we forgive all the debts then all our bondholders would have to forgive us. And you crack the whole system. So I think you should have an appropriate balance in what we do so that people get back to a level of sustainable ......debt.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Wolfensohn, an Australian-born American, was named this week to a second five year term as World Bank president. Michel Camdessus, the head of the I-M-F, similarly praised the debt relief initiative. The former French central bank chief said developing country borrowers recognize that the I-M-F does not dispense bitter medicine.

    /// CAMDESSUS ACT ///

    Of course, as all of you know, it is bitter medicine for the dictators of the earth, for the corrupt people of the earth, for the bad governance of the world. But certainly it is very good medicine for those (leaders) who strive to improve the living conditions of their people.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Camdessus again defended I-M-F policies in Russia, saying there is no evidence that past loans have been misused and that at the current time Russia's economy is performing better than had been expected. (Signed) NEB/BDW/TVM/gm 30-Sep-1999 15:57 PM EDT (30-Sep-1999 1957 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254529
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up today (Thursday) as many traders became optimistic that short-term interest rates will not be raised. V- O-A Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-336, up 123 points, more than one percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 12- hundred-82, up 14 points. The NASDAQ index gained one- half of one percent. Some skeptics on Wall Street say the rally was nothing more than bargain-hunting after recent losses. However, there was some optimism that the U-S central bank will not raise short-term interest rates next week. That optimism was triggered by a downward revision of the rate of U-S economic growth in the second quarter from a one-point-eight to a one-point- six percent annual rate. That put the U-S growth rate at its lowest level in four years and some analysts say it could convince the central bank governors that another interest rate increase is not necessary.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Whatever the central bank's decision may be, James Weiss of the State Street investment research company believes stock market volatility will likely continue.

    /// WEISS ACT ///

    We think volatility will be with us for some time. Actually, I think the aberration in the last few years was the low volatility we had in 1995, 1996 and 1997. So I would warn people to "strap on their seat belts" but there should be no major casualty in the market.

    /// END ACT ///

    Higher mortgage interest rates are still not discouraging American homebuyers. The government reports new home sales in August rose unexpectedly to the second-highest level in history. The Phelps Dodge Copper Company has reached agreement to buy the Cyprus Amax Minerals Corporation for one- point-eight billion dollars in cash and stock. However, Phelps Dodge remains in a bidding contest for the Asarco copper company. Grupo Mexico, a Mexican mining company, is also making a bid for Asarco. Marriott International, the hotel operator, reported a 12 percent increase in quarterly profits because of strong performances of both its Ritz-Carlton luxury chain and its moderately-priced Courtyard hotels. Marriott also announced it will buy back 10 million of its own shares. AutoNation, the largest auto dealer chain in the United States, will spin-off its car rental operations into a separate company. Stock in the car rental company will be given to current AutoNation shareholders as a tax-free dividend. Two major U-S supermarket companies reported different results. Safeway's quarterly earnings were in-line with Wall Street expectations and its stock fell. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea company reported lower earnings but its stock rose because the profit drop was not as large as had been expected. The Pizza Hut restaurant chain is giving new meaning to that old phrase "pie in the sky." The company will place a large Pizza Hut logo on a Russian Proton rocket which will carry equipment for the International Space station, a venture of Russia, the United States and 14 other countries. Although there are no pizza customers in outer space, the company says half a billion people are expected to watch the mid-November launch on television. (Signed) NEB/BA/LSF/TVM/gm 30-Sep-1999 17:15 PM EDT (30-Sep-1999 2115 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=9/30/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11494
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Scanning the editorial pages of Thursday's U-S dailies, the most popular international topic remains the fiftieth anniversary of China's Communist revolution. Domestically, there is a good deal of criticism of the failure by Congress to pass this year's funding bills by today, the l a s t day of the federal fiscal year. Other topics include: the peacekeeping force in East Timor; Russia's attacks on Chechnya; Vice President Al Gore reorganizes his campaign, while his opponent, ex- Senator Bill Bradley, spells out his health care proposals. And lastly, unusually strong controversy over a new biography of former President Ronald Reagan.

    TEXT: Preparations are all in order on Tiananmen square in Beijing, China, for Friday's birthday celebration of 50 years under communism. In this country, papers continue to take note of the occasion with thoughts about China's recent past, and future. In Nebraska, The Omaha World-Herald muses:

    VOICE: Tomorrow, China celebrates - if that is the right word --50 years of communist rule. It is the last nation of such a size that officially adheres to that system. For readers who are young and not averse to wagering, it would be interesting to place a side bet on whether there will be a comparable 100th anniversary. . Some hope lies in the supposition that if a country's economic system can evolve, its social system must to some degree follow. .. Given enough time, anything and everything can change. The question is, what does "enough time" mean to people imprisoned for decades over offenses that in a free society would earn them little besides a soapbox on a street corner? On this anniversary, let's all give a thought to the Chinese people, if not to their government. Send up a prayer that they will find happier times.

    TEXT: The views of The Omaha [Nebraska] World-Herald. The Boston Globe adds:

    VOICE: Fifty years ago this Friday the victorious leader of the People's Liberation Army, Mao Zedong, proclaimed the birth of the People's Republic of China . Fifty years later, as China prepares a multi- million-dollar extravaganza to celebrate .. We know that Mao's victory was to usher in a new period of darkness and degradation for China. Mao put the Chinese people back on their knees. . Today Communism is exposed as a gigantic fraud and a failed ideology, and every year the Chinese people gain a little more freedom and are a great deal better off. Yet the Communist Party remains in power, an anachronism that is not likely to last another 50 years.

    TEXT: One of the problems in U-S / Sino relations is the alleged theft of two decades of nuclear arms secrets from various U-S weapons labs by Chinese agents. That prompts The Chicago Tribune to laud a new investigation of the thefts.

    VOICE: It comes after four years of inconclusive probing and amounts to an acknowledgment by the Clinton administration that it mishandled an inquiry of the utmost importance to national security

    TEXT: Turning to domestic news, today is the last day of the U-S government's fiscal year, and Congress has not yet passed most of the budget bills to fund the government. Many papers, such as The St. Petersburg [Florida] Times are furious:

    VOICE: Congress and the president are engaged in their annual budget song and dance that's going nowhere. If the two sides are to agree on a budget, they're going to have to work hard and work together. . A stopgap resolution . allows the federal government to continue to function for the next three weeks, and Republican leaders still carry enough scars from 1995 to try to avoid another government shutdown.

    TEXT: Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal says: "It's budget time in Washington. That means Republicans are busy again making President Clinton look good."

    VOICE: Ordinarily, the delay would be of little concern. In this case, the political stakes are high. Republicans hold a narrow majority in the House. They have few accomplishments this year. A timely budget was supposed to demonstrate their ability to govern. Instead, they've outfoxed [Editors: outwitted or outsmarted] themselves.

    TEXT: Turning now to East Timor, the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette has reservations about the U-S role in the peacekeeping mission there. The paper cautions: "Support the East Timor effort, but let others do the job."

    /// OPT ///

    VOICE: Currently, American forces are stretched thin around the world and recruitment is lagging in every branch of the services, except the Marines. And so it is that there comes a point when the United States must leave it to others to keep the peace. East Timor is that point.

    TEXT: Glancing at still another world hot spot, Chechnya, and the Russian assault there, The Sacramento [California] Bee comments:

    VOICE: Five years ago, in a disastrous attempt to prevent Chechnya from breaking away, the Russian army succeeded only in wreaking untold damage, killing some 100-thousand Chechens (mostly civilians) and proving itself to be inept and brutal. Now Russian generals say they won't repeat that mistake; yet heavy aerial bombing of Chechen targets has gone on for nearly a week and senior officers hint of another ground offensive. Already, tens of thousands of Chechens have fled their homes .... That increases the risk of greater unrest in minority areas of the Russian Federation that have so far been relatively peaceful.

    TEXT: Another big domestic story is the re- organization of Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign, and its move to Tennessee from Washington. Notes The Los Angeles Times:

    VOICE: He may be months overdue, but . Al Gore finally got the message. His presidential campaign staff is bloated with experts. And as long as he keeps his base in Washington, he remains under the dubious shadow of Bill Clinton and even that of Hillary Rodham Clinton. . If [Mr.] Gore is to win the nomination for president at next summer's Democratic convention . he must do it on his own and as the better candidate, not as the incumbent vice president. . The larger message from Wednesday's events is that the Gore-[former Senator from New Jersey Bill] Bradley race for the . nomination now is a real contest.

    TEXT: There is also reaction, to former Senator Bradley's health care proposals, which he detailed yesterday in a major speech. The New York Times calls it "a bold and expansive plan to make health insurance available to all Americans," but adds:

    VOICE: The challenge to Mr. Bradley would be to defend both the cost and practicality of his approach. The challenge for the Republicans . is to get into the discussion that . bids once again to be a dominating issue in another national election.

    TEXT: USA TODAY says the plan is "welcome" because it restores "restores the nation's second most pressing problem -after long-term economic security-to the political agenda.

    /// OPT ///

    VOICE: Today's Chicago Tribune is supporting a move to relax the economic embargo against Cuba, as the White House is proposing, to allow the importation of U-S food and medicine. The measure is opposed by three Cuban-American congressmen whom the paper calls "fanatic."

    VOICE: . The flap [disagreement] in the House-Senate conference committee over the [bill] . has . been fueled by the Cuban-American delegation's obsession with continuing to clobber [Cuban Premier Fidel] Castro regardless of the consequences. . the only sensible response is: Find another way to express it, [your extreme anti-Castro feelings], one that doesn't sacrifice both principle and the economic interests of the U-S and Illinois.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, there is a good deal of comment on a new, authorized biography of former President Ronald Reagan, out today, by author Edmund Morris, who took the unconventional approach of inventing a fictional character, played by himself, to befriend Mr. Reagan throughout his life and reveal intimate details of that life. Says The Boston Globe of this technique:

    VOICE: [Mr.] Morris . says the technique helped him cut through writer's block on his 14-year Reagan project and get into the mind of a man not given to introspection. . Feeling that way about his subject, he . should have confined the device to early drafts that never left the study. . The pervasive blurring of fiction and fact in today's culture has no place in a presidential biography .

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comments from today's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 30-Sep-1999 12:00 PM EDT (30-Sep-1999 1600 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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