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Voice of America, 99-10-12

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

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





    INTRO: U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan met Tuesday with officials in Bosnia-Herzegovina to discuss their progress toward building a multi-ethnic democracy. The agenda included legal and judicial reforms and efforts to control illegal trafficking across Bosnia's borders. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman, in Sarajevo, reports the top U-N official also welcomed a newborn Bosnian boy to commemorate the day the world's population hit six-billion.

    TEXT: U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan sees progress in Bosnia-Herzogovina's moves toward a multi-ethnic democracy. But he says more still needs to be done, and he points out several areas that need special attention.

    /// ANNAN ACT ONE ///

    We should focus and work with the government and people on economic development. I think we should work very hard on the question of implementation of the laws which have been passed. We should improve the legal system. We should really work hard to establish a society based on the rule of law and respect for individual rights.

    /// END ACT //

    Mr. Annan also says he wants to see more Bosnian refugees return to their homes. But he says that means creating an encouraging and secure environment for them. The U-N estimates about 600-thousand Bosnian refugees have returned since the Dayton peace agreement was signed four years ago -- 40-thousand this year alone.

    /// ANNAN ACT TWO ///

    And we discussed some special measures that we need to take to encourage Bosnian professionals -- doctors, writers, professors -- who are away, to come back home and help with reconstruction.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Annan told a news conference he is dismayed by the lack of humanitarian assistance in nearby Serbia. He says the shortage of electricity and water supplies will affect the lives of about 700-thousand Serb refuges. The international community has banned any financial help for Belgrade as long as President Slobodan Milosevic remains in power. But the European Union recently approved aid for cities run by those opposed to Belgrade's leadership.


    Humanitarian needs are humanitarian. I don't think one can selectively offer humanitarian assistance. And this is why I would have preferred assistance to the needy across the board. Here I am talking about humanitarian assistance across the board to all concerned.

    /// END OPT ////// END ACT ///

    Mr. Annan says the European Union decision to help some Serb cities is a step in the right direction. (Signed)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/WTW 12-Oct-1999 13:34 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1734 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan marked the birth of the world's sixth-billionth person by honoring a newborn Bosnian boy in Sarajevo University's Medical Center. Correspondent Laurie Kassman in Sarajevo reports the top U-N official urged more cooperation and political will to provide better health care, food, and housing to the world's booming population.

    TEXT: Secretary General Annan likened the birth of baby Mevic to the rebirth of Sarajevo itself.

    /// ANNAN ACT ///

    The birth today of the six-billionth person on the planet, a beautiful boy -- in a city returning to life, to a people rebuilding their homes, in a region restoring a culture of co- existence after a decade of war -- should light the path of tolerance and understanding for all peoples.

    /// END ACT ///

    To celebrate the special occasion Mr. Annan presented a bouquet of flowers to 29-year-old Fatima Mevic, a U- N peace medal to her firstborn child, and 50-thousand dollars to the university hospital to help provide improved health care to its patients.


    The young mother appeared a bit overwhelmed by all the publicity over her firstborn child. She smiled proudly for the photographers. (SIGNED)
    NEB/MLK/JWH/RAE 12-Oct-1999 13:35 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1735 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The international community has committed itself to helping Kosovo build a multi-ethnic civil society. For most people it is still a dream, but at least one project is making it a reality. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - the O-S-C-E - has set up a training program for Kosovo's first multi-ethnic police force. The first class of 177 ethnic Albanians, Serbs, Roma and Bosnian Muslims started training September seventh in a former Yugoslav Police Academy. Correspondent Laurie Kassman visited the training school in Vucitrn (VOO CHEE TURN) Vushtre in Albanian -- to see how they were doing.

    TEXT: /// SOUNDS OF INSTRUCTOR, FADE. /// A translator at her side, an American police officer shows how to stop and handcuff a suspect. The class of 20 sits along the wall of the cavernous gymnasium, paying close attention to her every move. In six- weeks, Kosovo's first 177 police cadets are learning basic principles of human rights, police ethics, and community relations. They are also learning defensive tactics, and police skills from traffic control to criminal investigation. For Metin, a 25-year-old ethnic Albanian economics student from Vucitrn, the school's police model contrasts sharply with his memory of the Serb police who he says relied on bully tactics and nighttime roadblocks to control Kosovo.

    /// METIN ACT ///

    I want to be a policeman because the word policeman used to mean fear and threats. We want to change this so people can believe us and trust us to solve their problems, to show to the people of Kosovo that we are on their side.

    /// END METIN ACT ///

    Another distinction of Kosovo's new police force is its ethnic mix. The first class includes six Serbs, four Turkish, and three Roma Kosovars. Thirty-seven students are women -- soon to be Kosovo's first female police officers. Blagica (BLAH GEE TZA) is one of the female cadets. She is from the town of Gnilane. And she is Serb.


    Blagica did not tell her family when she applied for police training. She says they would have tried to discourage her, out of fear. But Blagica says she and her fellow Serbs are well treated and respected by their ethnic-Albanian colleagues.


    She says -- I live here and I want to be a part of Kosovo's future. Bekim, a Roma from Pec, agrees and says he wants to show Kosovars that his minority community is part of Kosovo too. The school's director, Steve Bennett, says a key mission of the program is to change the image and the role of police in Kosovo.

    /// OPT BENNETT ACT ///

    The big difference is to change how people see police and how the police see themselves as a matter of fact.

    /// END OPT ACT ///

    Mr. Bennett is a veteran Marine Corps trainer and member of the state of Oregon's board of public safety. He expects to train three-thousand new police officers by next September. He has gathered about 130-police trainers from a dozen countries to help. Mr. Bennett is aware that Kosovo's history of ethnic hatred makes his job difficult. But he already sees signs of change. He says when a group of police trainees drove through Vucitrn where the school is located, some residents asked if there were any Serbs inside. The students responded they were not Serbs or Albanians -- they were police officers.

    /// BENNETT ACT ///

    In the professional environment, they are very accepting of each other. They are inviting each other into the process. And that is primarily a function of the majority (ethnic Albanians) and that is very important that the majority invite the minority in. And that is exactly what is happening in the school at this time, and I think it will carry over into the professional environment in the field.

    /// END ACT ///

    The school's first students -- ranging in age from 20 to 45 -- end their six-week classroom work at the end of the week (October 16). Then they face six-months of fieldwork on patrol with U-N police officers now operating in Kosovo before they are assigned their own duties. But already they will wear their brand new blue police uniforms, donated by Norway, with the special "Kosovo Police" insignia clearly marked on the sleeve. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LC/ALW/RAE 12-Oct-1999 09:13 AM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1313 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A staff member of the U-N mission in Kosovo has been shot and killed in Pristina. The man was killed on his first day of work in the provincial capital. Philip Smucker reports from Pristina.

    TEXT: United Nations officials say the staff member had left a restaurant with two friends for a walk late Monday on a busy avenue in central Pristina. A lone gunman in a group of Albanian men shot and killed him after he responded to a question about the time, apparently answering in Serbian. U-N officials said they believed the man may have been killed for speaking in what they said was -- the wrong language." Most of the Serbian population has been driven from Kosovo since the arrival of the NATO-led peacekeeping force. Albanian extremists have been blamed for forcing the Serbs out, although many left of their own accord. Many ethnic-Albanians from the countryside, who had their homes destroyed in the conflict, resent the use of the Serbian language in Kosovo. Old women buying cigarettes on the street have been attacked for asking the price in the Serbian language. Meanwhile, U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan is to arrive Wednesday on his first visit to Kosovo since the peacekeeping mission began. The Secretary General is expected to focus on speeding up the deployment of U-N police. Bureaucratic and logistical delays within the U-N system are being blamed by other international organizations for the continued chaos and ethnic-based violence in Kosovo. NATO peacekeepers say they would welcome a stronger U- N presence in Kosovo to combat crime in the province. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PS/GE/RAE 12-Oct-1999 08:11 AM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1211 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Italy's prime minister says his government will not be weakened by publication of a list of names of alleged Italian spies for the Soviet K-G-B during the cold war. He accused the center-right opposition of using the matter to launch a campaign to discredit the government. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome.

    TEXT: Italy's Prime Minister Massimo d'Alema defended the government's action with regard to a list of names of Italians who allegedly spied for the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He said the government had handled the affair in a public and open manner. Italy's center-right opposition at first accused the government of trying to keep the documents secret and then demanded that the government resign over the matter. Now, the opposition has asked that a new parliamentary commission be established to carry out an investigation. The list contains the names of more than 250 Italians who are said to have been informants or contacts of the Soviet K-G-B. The list was made public Monday after intense pressure from the news media and from politicians on both sides of the political divide. The list is part of the documents smuggled to Britain by K-G-B archivist Vasili Mitrokhin in 1992 when he defected from the former Soviet Union. It includes the names of Italian politicians, academics, journalists, and even a monk. The information is varied. Some of the names on the list are in code, others are being listed as being "cultivated" by the K-G-B or other Soviet intelligence agencies. Not all are described as full-fledged salaried spies. Prime Minister d'Alema -- Italy's first former communist leader of government -- played down the importance of the list. Mr. D'Alema said most of the information does not appear to be new. He also said it is up to magistrates to find out if those named had acted as spies. Under Italian law, anyone found guilty of espionage faces at least 15-years in prison. One of the first names that leaked even before the government allowed publication of the list was that of Armando Cossutta, the leader of the small party of Italian Communists which supports the government majority. Mr. Cossutta acknowledged that he always maintained extensive contacts with the Soviet Union, but said the idea that he was a spy is simply ridiculous. Many others, whose names appeared on the list, have also denied any wrongdoing. (Signed) NEB/SC/JWH/ENE/gm 12-Oct-1999 12:38 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1638 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Ten years after communism collapsed in Eastern Europe, Poland is the region's outstanding economic success. V-O-A's Barry Wood reports that by most measures, Poland leads its former communist neighbors in building the elements of a market economy.

    TEXT: Ten years ago, Poland was an economic basket case. Hyper-inflation was roaring out of control with prices changing weekly if not daily. Even though a non-communist government had taken office, there was no plan for turning a centrally planned economy into a market. Poland was drowning under the weight of an unpayable foreign debt. With its antiquated industries uncompetitive and linked to moribund Eastern markets, Poland seemed almost a hopeless case. Ten years later, it is as if a miracle occurred. Shops not just in the capital but throughout the country are brimming with modern products that a rising percentage of people can actually afford to buy. Poland's auto industry is booming and southern Poland has become a magnet for auto related investments from major Western producers. The Warsaw stock market, now eight-and-a-half years old, is as vibrant as its counterparts in Vienna or Amsterdam. Increasingly well dressed Polish consumers are optimistic about the future. They are not just buying goods, but using credit cards and automatic teller machines and traveling in the West. Already a member of NATO, Poland expects to enter the European Union- and even the euro currency zone-within just a few years. If one person can be credited with transforming Poland's economy, it would be former and current finance minister Leszek Balcerowicz. Ten years ago this month this little known academic from Warsaw was collaborating with Harvard University's Jeffrey Sachs to shape a vision of economic transformation. The big-bang Balcerowicz plan, launched on January first 1990, freed most prices from state control and opened the economy to Western trade and investment. Other essential elements of the plan were sharp reductions in the government budget deficit and the closing of the yawning foreign trade deficit. Within months, hyper-inflation was defeated and order restored to public finance. Foreign debt was forgiven or rescheduled. Zbyszko Tabernacki, chief Polish strategist at Planecon in Washington, credits Mr. Balcerowicz with launching courageous policies that have been pursued by governments of the left as well as the right. Mr. Tabernacki says macro-economic stabilization laid a foundation for sustained economic growth.


    The key reason for this wonderful recovery in the Polish economy, I would argue, is the entrepreneurial spirit of the population combined with the wonderful set of rules, institutions and market-based regulations that were implemented in the early years of the 1990s by Balcerowicz.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Tabernacki says that in some areas of policy, like privatization and deregulation, Poland moved more slowly than its neighbors. But taken together, he says, Poland's reforms have been comprehensive.


    At the same time, it has to be stressed that Poland is the only country from the whole Eastern European group who recovered the output levels from before the transition already in 1997. While countries like Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary are still striving to reach this goal, probably within the next year or two.

    /// END ACT ///

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says living standards in Poland are now 20 percent higher than they were in 1989. Over the past four years, the Polish economy has grown at a five-and-a- half percent annual rate. The only transition economy that approaches that performance is tiny Estonia, where growth in recent years has averaged nearly six percent. But while inflation is down to single digits (annually) and foreign investment is flooding in, Poland still faces economic challenges. Income disparities between rich and poor are growing, a communist era pension system still must be reformed, some industries are still unproductive, and Poland's farm sector is inefficient and unable to compete with Western Europe. Nonetheless, compared with a decade ago, Poland is riding high and is the clear winner thus far in economic transformation. (Signed)
    NEB/BW/TVM/JP 12-Oct-1999 15:21 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1921 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The United Nations estimates that the world's population hits the six-billion mark today/Tuesday (October 12th). In some parts of the world, we simply are running out of space. One such crowded place is the Netherlands. The country is home to only about 16-million people. But it also is small -- the third most crowded country in the world, exceeded only by Singapore and Bangladesh. Lauren Comiteau visited Amsterdam to learn more about the Dutch capital's latest initiative to deal with its overcrowding.



    A weekday afternoon in the Kiziltepe household -- Ahmed, his wife, and their two small children. They have been living in central Amsterdam for several years. But like about one in seven of the city's residents, the Kiziltepes want to move. So far, their search for a new home has gone on for six years. Not long, says Ahmed Kiziltepe, by Amsterdam standards.


    We now have two sleep rooms, not enough for two children and us. And we're looking for a house nearby Amsterdam, not outside.

    /// END ACT ///


    Ahmed Kiziltepe, who came to Amsterdam from Turkey 25 years ago, runs a travel agency on the ground floor of his home. He wants to stay in the city to work and to be near Holland's biggest airport. The problem is, there is virtually nowhere to go. Houses in the city center are hard to find, small, and expensive. It is not uncommon for people to wait up to ten years to rent an apartment. And those like Mr. Kiziltepe who want to buy have seen prices skyrocket 25 percent in the past year alone. Mr. Kiziltepe is looking for more space. Now Amsterdam's city council thinks it has found a solution.

    /// BOAT SOUNDS - FADE UNDer ///

    A boat ride across the Ij Lake on Amsterdam's eastern edge. For now it is the only way to get to Ijburg -- what will soon be the city's newest suburb. Plans are being made to build 18-thousand homes along with offices, libraries, and shops. By next year, says city spokesperson Corne de Jong, there will be a bridge to connect Ijburg's six islands with the city center. But first, explains Mr. de Jong, they have to make the land.

    /// DE JONG ACT ///

    This is completely new land. I was here in January of this year, this was only water. And we started making this land in January, and now ten months later, we're standing on like 100 soccer fields of new land. So I think it's quite impressive.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Dutch have a long history of creating land in water. About one-fifth of the country is reclaimed -- or man-made -- land. But city planners say Ijburg is special because of its size and because of the six new islands they are making for it.


    To make Ijburg, sand is piped into the lake in layers while the water is pumped out. The weight of the sand as it settles forces out additional water. Within one year, say Ijburg's creators, the land will be strong enough to build on. People will move in shortly after to homes ranging from state-subsidized apartments to expensive private houses and even to houseboats -- an Amsterdam tradition.

    /// ROOVERS ACT ONE ///

    On Ijburg we want to develop Ijburg as a real part of the city with all the functions. So people living in Amsterdam and wanting to stay are already very interested in developments on Ijburg.

    /// END ACT ///

    Igor Roovers is the city's project manager for Ijburg. He says population growth, an increase in the number of immigrants, and changing demographics, that leave young people wanting more space, have all contributed to Amsterdam's serious housing shortage. But as much as people need houses, says Mr. Roovers, Amsterdam needs people. In a policy shift from the 1960's when the government encouraged people to leave, the city, he says, is now courting them to stay.

    /// ROOVERS ACT TWO ///

    We think it's better to keep people near the city. They can support the system of public facilities and keep the people near where they work. So they can go to work on the tram or, I hope, the bike. So the traffic jams in Amsterdam will be getting less. We need the people to support Amsterdam because if the amount of inhabitants gets lower, the city falls apart.

    /// END ACT ///

    Not everyone agrees the Ijburg project is the best solution.


    You will need to build extra houses but you don't need to build it in Ijburg.

    /// END ACT ///

    Geerte Offerhuis is the director of Amsterdam's environmental center. She says Ijburg's location outside the city center will only make traffic problems worse. The city, she says, is wasting a lot of money trying to re-create the nature lost from building into the Ij lake when it should be making better use of existing space. Planners, says Ms. Offerhuis, took the easy way out.


    You don't have to think about what's already there. It gives the people who want to design a lot of freedom. I mean it's like a dream come true for anyone who wants to design a city, you can start from scratch. It's great, it's prestigious, it's beautiful, it's like a new start, it's fantastic, but at the same time we think it was not necessary.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT //


    /// OPT ///

    Necessary or not, the idea of having more space within Amsterdam is very appealing to Ahmed Kiziltepe. He is planning to build his own home on Ijburg. The Dutch, he says, think small because everything is small. Mr. Kiziltepe is thinking big -- and keeping his options open.

    /// OPT // KIZILPETE ACT TWO ///

    I will keep this house also. [laughs] It's a nice opportunity for us.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    It is precisely that kind of thinking, says project manager Igor Roovers, that makes Ijburg indispensable to Amsterdam. /// END OPT /// But even project manager Roovers admits that expansion has its limits.


    We don't know exactly where it stops. Maybe there's an end to how big you can live. So at the moment, I think it's the last big location we can build in Amsterdam . It's full.

    /// END ACT ///

    That is something that has been said before in Amsterdam's history. For now, city planners are not allowed to build in designated green areas. There is a huge national debate about moving the airport into the sea, which could free up more living space. No one here doubts that the Dutch are good at making land. What people are worried about, say environmentalists, is that even the Dutch can't re-create nature. (Signed)
    NEB/LC/JWH/PLM 12-Oct-1999 06:20 AM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1020 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were down sharply today (Tuesday) in what some analysts describe as profit-taking after the recent rallies. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-417, down 231 points or two percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 13-hundred-13, down 22 points. The NASDAQ index, which hit a record high on Monday, lost one and one-half percent. Some analysts threw up their hands, saying there was no apparent reason for the strong sell-off. Those who volunteered explanations cited profit-taking after the recent rallies, new interest rate concerns due to a drop in the bond market and momentum, which means that a wave of selling touched off even more selling.

    ///Begin opt///

    Al Goldman of the A-G Edwards investment company was not concerned by the sell-off, saying stocks will rally in the coming weeks.

    ///opt Goldman act///

    In our opinion, the market is oversold. We gained about 600 points (on the Dow) so this is just a pause to refresh. We will start to focus on corporate earnings and they are going to knock people's socks off (be very strong). So we are looking for a very strong fourth quarter.

    ///end act, end opt///

    The stock of Raytheon, the huge defense and aerospace contractor, plunged 40 percent after the company warned its quarterly earnings will be far below expectations. Raytheon blamed delays in customer orders and a shortage of qualified personnel to handle the orders it has received. Raytheon's problems also pulled down the stocks of other defense contractors.

    ///Rest opt for///

    Three of Wall Street's top investment firms reported large increases in quarterly profits. Earnings at Merrill Lynch, Paine Webber and Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette all exceeded analysts' expectations. Hertz, the world's largest auto rental company, beat Wall Street estimates with a 17 percent increase in quarterly earnings. The U-S-based company now operates in more than 140 countries. The M-G-M film studio surprised Wall Street with the company's first quarterly profit in three years. M-G-M says it benefited from strong box office results for "The Thomas Crown Affair" and "Tea with Mussolini." The Weyerhaeuser forest products company reported a more than 100 percent jump in third quarter profits. The company also announced a restructuring program designed to cut costs by 200 million dollars a year. Rising copper prices helped the Phelps Dodge mining company to report better-than-expected earnings. However, the company cautioned that the recent upward move in copper prices may not be sustained. The stock of Rite Aid, one of the leading drug store chains in the United States, fell to a 52-week low after the company said it expects to report a quarterly loss. Rite Aid has suffered from earnings shortfalls, falling credit ratings and allegations of fraud in connection with a government insurance program.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/PT 12-Oct-1999 17:03 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 2103 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: According to the United Nations, today is the day when the world's sixth billionth person will be born, and many U-S editorial writers are focusing on the issue of global population this Tuesday. Other popular topics include the fight over the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty which may or may not go to a Senate vote this week; the fate of Chile's former dictator, General Pinochet; aid to Serbia; the increasing momentum for Mideast peace; and a new U-S commercial rocket is launched, potentially opening a new era in space exploration. Now, here is ____________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The United Nations has designated this day as the day at which the world's population reaches six billion. Secretary General Kofi Annan traveled to Bosnia-Herzegovina and picked the first baby born in Sarajevo to be designated as the sixth billionth human. In the United States, many daily papers are expressing their thoughts on the topic. The Atlanta Constitution wishes the infant "good luck! And explains why."

    VOICE: To the six billionth inhabitant of planet Earth, born today according to U-N estimates, a hearty welcome to our world, and good luck! You will need lots of the latter. . If you happen to be born in Sierra Leone, your life expectancy will be less than 40 years. If you start life as an Afghan, you will be vulnerable to disease from a lack of safe drinking water and sanitation. If you're a girl in Yemen, you probably will get no schooling. If you're a Bolivian, you're likely to grow up malnourished. In fact, three billion people get less protein in their daily diet than the average American house cat.

    TEXT: The Chicago Tribune, after reciting the exploding growth of the world's population, takes some solace from the current trend.

    VOICE: The U-N projects the most probable scenario is that global population will hit eight-point-nine billion by 2-thousand-50, but the rate of yearly additions will slow. Under one scenario, population would eventually decline. The population bomb is being defused because of improved education, health care and access to family planning in Asia, Africa and Latin America - where women are having fewer children.

    TEXT: In the south, The Florida Times-Union, in Jacksonville, muses about the best approach to the world's expanding population.

    VOICE: Perhaps the best policy shift that can be made is to promote more freedom among peoples of the world. A large portion of the world's population is living in nations that repress their citizens or deny them economic freedom. The standard of living and quality of life is higher in nations with a greater degree of freedom. Under freedom, there is not only a higher standard of living and lower population growth, but there is also more care for the environment and existing resources.

    TEXT: Lastly on the population question, The Wall Street Journal takes exception to the naysayers who worry about over-population, with an editorial entitled The More the Merrier.

    VOICE: . It is no coincidence that the apostles of population control always seem to favor solutions that lean heavily toward bureaucracy, intervention and redistribution. For theirs is a worldview that makes no room for the human factor, where resources are fixed rather than the product of human ingenuity, and wealth is assumed rather than created. .. Let a chicken or pig be born in Delhi or Shanghai and the bean counters at the U-N and World Bank will tell you . the nation is wealthier. But let an Indian or Chinese mother give birth to a son or daughter, and it goes down in their crabbed little ledgers as a liability. As we celebrate the arrival of the earth's six billionth citizen, let us remember that this child comes with not only a mouth but a mind.

    TEXT: Turning to another major topic, the possible Senate vote today/Tuesday, on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, The New York Times is calling for a delay in the vote.

    VOICE: Despite the important contribution it would make to a safer world, the nuclear Test Ban Treaty stands virtually no chance of mustering enough support to win Senate ratification this week. Allowing it to be voted down would deal a damaging blow to America's foreign policy and military security. The wiser course is to delay Senate action for at least a few months ..

    TEXT: But here in the nation's capital, The Washington Times is ready for the Senate to vote the treaty down, calling its testing limitations unverifiable.

    VOICE: It's not that there has been inadequate time for consideration and debate of the [treaty], . as is suggested by the fact that Mr. Clinton has been pressing the issue for two years - but that the more the C-T-B-T has been studied, the more controversial it has become. Today, there simply are not the 67 votes in the Senate to ratify it, a fact belatedly and embarrassingly acknowledged by the White House. Not since Napoleon's retreat from Moscow has anyone withdrawn in such disarray. .. The Senate would do us all a favor by voting it down today.

    TEXT: Turning to other topics, the future of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is still being debated in the U-S press as he awaits extradition to Spain. The Philadelphia Inquirer is not impressed with Lady Margaret Thatcher's pleas on his behalf.

    VOICE: Chile's brutal dictator in the 1970's and 1980s, General Augusto Pinochet, thinks he's getting the bum's rush [an unfair hearing] in British courts. His friend Margaret Thatcher huffs that her country is acting like a police state, pursuing General Pinochet "for defeating communism." These complaints, voiced as Mr. Pinochet lost another round in court last week, are bogus. . Whatever the upshot, this bold initiative by Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon has served justice and human rights. It's a worldwide warning shot to tyrants who consider themselves untouchable.

    TEXT: There is increasing comment in the press about a dispute over aid to Serbia, with Newsday on New York's Long Island suggesting halting it is no way to topple President Milosevic.

    VOICE: A deepening rift over humanitarian aid to Serbia is developing between the United States and its European allies. Although it's based on defensible principles on both sides, it's an unnecessary division and it should not stand in the way of providing help to Serbian civilians to weather the severe Balkan winter. . [Secretary of State Madeleine Albright] should remember that the allies' fight is with [Mr.] Milosevic and his tyrannical regime, not with the people of Serbia, who should be coaxed and not coerced into democracy.

    TEXT: There is praise for the latest development in the Middle East peace process, improved access for Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that has The Sun in Baltimore cheering.

    VOICE: Sunday, when the highway through Israel opens to link Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinians will gain tangible results long promised by the peace process. There's another in store, too: An Israeli Cabinet committee authorized Prime Minister Ehud Barak to dismantle any of 42 rogue Israeli settlements planted without legal authority in the West Bank. This is a token of what must come. On the other side, the Palestinian Authority has timidly begun to crack down on the illegal weapons trade in the West Bank. This was long promised but not done. . It's a start.

    TEXT: In a noteworthy domestic development, the launching of a commercial television satellite from a mobile, converted oil drilling rig in the Pacific Ocean by a commercial company, gets this endorsement from The Los Angeles Times.

    VOICE: Sea Launch is exciting news for an industry plagued in recent years by exploding rockets and malfunctioning satellites. The Long Beach-based company offers a cheaper means of orbiting payloads for telecommunications companies,/// OPT /// which estimate they will need as many as 15-hundred satellites in the next decade to provide mobile telephone, Internet and television services./// END OPT /// . By launching satellites at the equator, Sea Launch is able to get a kick from the highest rotation speed of the Earth's surface, use less fuel and move heavier payloads into orbit. The location is the best for placing geosynchronous satellites into orbit, and the savings are significant.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The San Francisco Chronicle is shocked by the extent of the devastation caused by the flooding in Mexico, saying:

    VOICE: There is only so much human ingenuity can do against the power of nature. Sometimes nature wins. . Such is the case in Mexico, where relentless rains have resulted in flooding and mudslides. The deadliest damage has been in Teziutlan, a city of 180- thousand that did not even have a zoning ordinance until last year. It still lacks a building code. Houses and businesses were built on soft soil beside flood-prone canyons-a problem . all too common in Mexico. Teziutlan lacked adequate drainage systems and retaining walls that could have prevented disaster in some areas. . This disaster brings an immense challenge for rescue and relief efforts, as well as the daunting long-term task of overcoming the political and economic pressures that keep cities from preparing for natural calamities.

    TEXT: As for the results of India's recent parliamentary elections, The Chicago Tribune suggests that the B-J-P leader, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has a big agenda before him.

    VOICE: [Mr.] Vajpayee's mandate to act lies in two areas. Having won a brief shooting war with Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir last summer, he has indicated he is eager to resume negotiations to ease tensions between the longtime enemies - though not to give up the nuclear weapons program that led to India's nuclear tests last year. The B-J-P is also committed to open up markets and decentralize power to invigorate a persistently anemic economy. .. His tasks are to free the Indian economy to lift hundreds of millions of his people out of poverty, to end the profitless antagonism with Pakistan, and to preserve the ideal of India as a society in which all religions are protected. If he can do all that, history will treat [Mr.] Vajpayee with great respect.

    TEXT: Finally, The San Francisco Chronicle is calling on Moscow to enter peace talks with the rebels in Chechnya, now that it controls about one third of the rebellious area.

    VOICE: Continuing the war has disastrous implications for all sides. Moderate forces in nominal charge of Chechnya's weak central government are being pressured to match the rhetoric and pugnacity of warlord armies that control much of the country. Civilians will pay the price, and already 100-thousand refugees are fleeing into nearby Ingushetia. .. Better to negotiate with the modest Russian successes to date than continue a risky war. Moscow can ill-afford a costly, bloody sideswhow while it rebuilds the rest of its country.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: That concludes this sampling of editorial comment from the pages of Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 12-Oct-1999 12:40 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1640 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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