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Voice of America, 99-12-14

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] CYPRUS TALKS END (L-ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)
  • [02] CHECHNYA OPERATIONS BY PETER HEINLEIN (NEAR GROZNY, CHECHNYA)
  • [03] U-N-H-C-R / CHECHNYA (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)
  • [04] ROMANIA / PRIME MINISTER (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [05] EDITORIAL: SERBIA SUPPRESSES POET
  • [06] YUGOSLAV WAR CRIMES (L-O) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)
  • [07] EUROPE ECON (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)
  • [08] FRANCE / BRITAIN BEEF (L-ONLY) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)
  • [09] GERMANY NAZI LABOR (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)
  • [10] GERMANY NAZI LABOR UPDATE(L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)
  • [11] NY ECON WRAP (S & L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [12] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [13] YEARENDER: NATO-KOSOVO BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] CYPRUS TALKS END (L-ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257160
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: United Nations sponsored talks aimed at starting a process for the eventual reunification of Cyprus ended today (Tuesday). V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports that, although a news blackout on the substance of the talks remains, there may be reason for optimism.

    TEXT: Diplomats say the reason for optimism is that both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have been invited to continue the so-called "proximity" talks early next year. Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been meeting separately with U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Alvaro de Soto, Mr. Annan's special advisor on Cyprus. The talks are aimed at laying the groundwork for eventual face-to-face negotiations between the two Cypriot leaders. The proximity talks lasted 12 days and involved 18 meetings, nine with each leader. A strict news blackout on the substance of the talks remains in effect but Mr. de Soto said the talks could be viewed as the beginning of a long process.

    /// DE SOTO ACT ///

    This is seen by us and should be seen by all observers, particularly by the people on Cyprus, as the beginning of what we expect to be an extended process. It is an old problem, the issues are very complex and difficult and they have to be examined in great depth and with great care in order to assure that a comprehensive settlement that is eventually reached down the road is indeed one that is solid and will stick.

    /// END ACT ///

    The U-N Security Council was pleased with the talks. In a statement, the Council said its members are looking forward to the continuation of the talks, probably in late January. The Security Council will soon renew the U-N peacekeeping force in Cyprus for another six months. That force has been there since 1964. Cyprus has been split into the Turkish north and the Greek south for 25 years, with U-N peacekeeping forces maintaining a cease-fire between the two communities. (Signed) NEB/UN/BA/TVM/gm 14-Dec-1999 18:59 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 2359 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] CHECHNYA OPERATIONS BY PETER HEINLEIN (NEAR GROZNY, CHECHNYA)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44987
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Russian ground forces are said to be meeting stiff resistance from rebel fighters as they advance into the Chechen capital, Grozny. Moscow's troops have had Grozny surrounded for weeks, but have held back, saying they want to give civilians a chance to escape. V-O-A's Peter Heinlein has just returned from a trip to the northern edge of Grozny, where he saw Russian soldiers poised to strike.

    TEXT:

    /// SFX OF TANK RUMBLING, THEN UNDER TO... ///

    Nineteen-year-old Russian soldier Andrei Borisenko flashes a toothy grin as he navigates his armored personnel carrier through fields of mud to what is known as "the front." Just across the railroad tracks, a few hundred meters away, lies the northern Grozny suburb of Tsentora-Yurt, which is ominously quiet. The streets are deserted. But the commander of the Russian unit dug in outside Tsentora-Yurt says he is in no hurry to move into the town. Colonel Sergei Skiba says Russian soldiers learned a terrible lesson during the last Chechen war, suffering heavy casualties when they rolled into the capital and were caught by local fighters in a deadly ambush. Colonel Skiba says his boys will not make the same mistake this time.

    /// SKIBA ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE TO...///

    He points toward the houses and says, "In the city there are gunmen. But we are not attacking, because we want to avoid unnecessary casualties." A few kilometers back from the front, Russian General Vladimir Kavrov expresses confidence that every precaution is being taken to avoid civilian casualties as federal troops move to take control of the capital.

    /// 1st KAVROV ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE TO... ///

    He says, "Regarding tactics, the troops come up to a neighborhood, surround it, send in reconnaissance, then we clear it." General Kavrov predicts the current war will be far shorter than the previous one, which lasted 21 months and cost 80-thousand lives. He says one reason is that after three years of independence from Moscow, the Chechen people are disillusioned, and are welcoming the return of Russian troops.

    /// 2ND KAVROV ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE TO... ///

    He says, "People are tired of this lack of order. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent don't want a war. I am 100-percent sure they want to live in peace." But refugees from Grozny, standing idle at a marketplace in the Russian-controlled region of Chechnya, tell another side of the story. Thirty- year-old Saipi Magomadov says the order being provided by Russian troops is no better than the chaos that prevailed under Chechen rule.

    /// MAGOMADOV ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE TO... ///

    He says, "There is no order. That is an insult to us. It is like the order in a prison. If you do something wrong, they shoot you." Zura Taranova, a 41-year-old Grozny resident says she has been trying to return home for days to check on loved ones still inside the city. But she has been kept away by the constant shelling around the city.

    /// Taranova act in Russian, then fade to... ///

    She says, "Every day they shoot and bomb. I don't know who is alive there. They don't let anybody in. They say there is a safe corridor, but in fact there is no corridor, only words." It is impossible to know how many civilians remain in Grozny. General Kavrov estimates the number at four- thousand. Other Russian sources say there could be as many as 40-thousand. Whatever the number, the troops gathered on the outskirts suggest the bombing and shelling of the city may soon give way to a slow, neighborhood-by-neighborhood ground invasion. (Signed)
    NEB/PFH/GE/WTW 14-Dec-1999 14:58 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 1958 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] U-N-H-C-R / CHECHNYA (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257133
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The United Nations Refugee Agency, U-N-H- C-R, says few civilians trapped in the Chechen capital, Grozny, appear to be taking up the Russian offer of safe passage out of the city. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the U-N agency says the number of Chechens crossing into the neighboring Republic of Ingushetia has slowed to a trickle.

    TEXT: The United Nations Refugee Agency reports only 14-hundred Chechens crossed into Ingushetia on Monday. This is well below the thousands of people who were, until recently, fleeing Chechnya on an almost daily basis. Since Russia began its military offensive in late September, nearly a quarter of a million people have found refuge in Ingushetia.

    U-N-H-C-R spokesman, Ron Redmond, says only a few hundred Chechens, so far, have used the Russian- designated safe corridors in Grozny to escape. He says people probably aren't using these routes for a variety of reasons.

    /// REDMOND ACT ///

    They're unable to move because they're sick, wounded, ill, elderly. And, also because some people simply haven't got the word that these corridors are even there. If you're holed up in a cellar, in a bombed out building (with) no electricity, no radio, no means of communication you're not going to easily get the word. Apparently leaflets have been dropped and there are radio broadcasts. But, if you don't have access to that, you're not going to know about this.

    /// END ACT ///

    Last week, Russia issued an ultimatum to the people of Grozny to leave the city or risk being injured or killed by military attacks. Under intense international pressure, the Russians have backed off from this threat. They have opened up two safe corridors by which people can leave before the military offensive begins. Mr. Redmond says various sources put the number of civilians remaining in Grozny between 15-thousand and 40-thousand. While fewer people are leaving Chechnya, Mr. Redmond says the number of refugees in Ingushetia going to Russian-controlled areas in Chechnya is increasing. On Monday, he says more than 900 refugees returned. And since November 1st, he says nearly 36-thousand people have gone back to Chechnya.

    /// 2nd REDMOND ACT ///

    The number going back from Ingushetia to Chechnya is an indication of the desperation some of these people feel living in these very difficult camps. Of course, a lot of people are also living with host families there. But, even that capacity has been reached I think. There's just not a lot of space left in Ingushetia according to the authorities there.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Redmond says many of the people going back to Chechnya are returning to areas they fled during the Russian bombardment. He says these area now are under Russian control and are said to be secure. (Signed) NEB/LS/GE/LTD/KL 14-Dec-1999 10:10 AM EDT (14-Dec-1999 1510 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] ROMANIA / PRIME MINISTER (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257153
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Romania's prime minister (Radu Vasile) has abandoned his challenge against a dismissal order by the country's president, and says he will step down in favor of an interim government in Bucharest. Despite Tuesday's developments, reporter Stefan Bos says Romania's political crisis appears to be far from over.

    TEXT: The day ended in Romania as it began -- with high drama. In a surprise move, Prime Minister Radu Vasile anounced he was reversing his position and accepting his dismissal by President Emil Constantinescu. (Speaking on Romania's national television late Tuesday,) Mr. Vasile said he had done his duty, and he was taking into account the national interest of all Romanians. Just a few hours earlier, the 57-year-old Prime Minister was vowing to fight for his job. Shrugging off the order that dismissed him late Monday, Mr. Vasile arrived at government headquarters as if Tuesday was just another working day. Legal experts said Romania's constitution does not give a president the power to dismiss a prime minister. Mr. Vasile said he would await the outcome of a confidence vote in Parliament. President Constantinescu said he was removing Mr. Vasile because the prime minister was unable to carry out his official duties.

    // OPT //

    Seven members of the prime minister's Peasant Party also resigned from the cabinet, telling Mr. Vasile he could no longer count on the support of his five-party ruling coalition. // END OPT // Mr. Vasile, who has served as prime minister since March of 1998, has been criticized for failing to ease Romania's economc difficulties. Ten years after the collapse of communism, Romania is still among the poorest countries in Europe. Thousands of striking workers say they can no longer survive on salaries that average barely one-hundred dollars per month.

    // OPT //

    Recent surveys show that four out of five Romanians are unhappy with the way they live, while more than 60 percent believe that life was better under their late dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. It was 10 years ago this month that a revolution toppled and executed Ceausescu, who had ruled Romania with an iron fist for almost 25 years. // END OPT // President Constantinescu named Alexandru Athanasiu, a former labor and social welfare minister, as interim prime minister. Opposition parties, however, say that only early elections will end Romania's political and social tensions. This new round of turmoil comes at a sensitive time for Romania. Just last weekend, the European Union invited this Balkan country of 22-million people to prepare for future membership -- a move that would require major reforms of Romania's economy.
    NEB/SB/WTW 14-Dec-1999 18:29 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 2329 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] EDITORIAL: SERBIA SUPPRESSES POET

    DATE=12/15/1999
    TYPE=EDITORIAL
    NUMBER=0-08568
    CONTENT=

    THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 12/15/99. Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: Anyone still harboring doubts about the kind of regime Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic runs ought to consider the case of Flora Brovina [Bro-VEE-nah]. A pediatrician by profession, Mrs. Brovina is one of Kosovo's leading poets. She is also a human rights activist, dedicated to promoting both the rights of women and reconciliation among the ethnic groups in Kosovo. As a doctor, Mrs. Brovina did not favor Albanian children over Serb children in Kosovo. She was pleased that her poetry, written in Albanian, was translated into Serbian, among other languages. During his rise to power, Slobodan Milosevic fanned anti-Albanian sentiment, particularly in Kosovo. But Dr. Brovina insisted that human rights apply to everyone. It was as an advocate of democracy, not as a Kosovar separatist, that she challenged the Milosevic regime. As a result, she was arrested during the NATO bombing campaign. This represented a crude attempt to deprive Kosovo of the kind of intellectual leadership that democratic societies require. Milosevic's regime took aim at a person who is both a poet and a doctor -- someone dedicated to both spiritual and physical health. Last week, Dr. Brovina received a sentence of twelve years in prison. Forced while in detention to sign a statement linking her to the Kosovo Liberation Army, she said in court that she did not even know its contents. But Milosevic's regime is not interested in law and order but in power and control through the use of force and terror. It is impossible to reconcile this verdict with a lifetime of devotion to children's health and human rights activities. At age fifty, Flora Brovina is well known in the region as a peace activist. The Milosevic regime's attack on her is an attempt to deprive Kosovo of the kind of civic leadership the province needs. It will not succeed. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 14-Dec-1999 15:29 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 2029 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] YUGOSLAV WAR CRIMES (L-O) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257132
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Judges at the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal have handed down their harshest sentence - 40-years, to a Bosnian Serb convicted of murdering, beating, and stealing from Muslims in May of 1992. Lauren Comiteau reports from the Hague.

    TEXT: Thirty-one-year-old Goran Jelisic looked tense and fidgety before his sentence was read out. Prosecutors had tried to convict the man who calls himself the "Serb Adolf" of genocide for the brutal murders he committed in the northeastern Bosnian town of Brcko. But judges threw out that charge earlier this year, telling the court that prosecutors had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jelisic intended to wipe out -- in part or in whole -- Brcko's Muslim community. The presiding judge said this is not to say there was no genocide in Brcko in 1992 -- just that prosecutors had failed to prove it. Underscoring the importance of the case, chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte made her first appearance in court. She listened as judges sentenced Jelisic to 40-years in prison for the crimes to which he had pleaded guilty -- 13 murders, four beatings, and stealing -- crimes the judge said shocked the conscience of mankind. The judge went on to describe Jelisic's crimes as abject and revolting, saying he was a cold-blooded murderer who executed his victims in the same way -- first he interrogated them, then he shot them twice in the back of the head or neck with a pistol. The judges said the organized nature of the crimes in Brcko -- where in neighborhood by neighborhood non- Serbs were rounded up and taken prisoner -- could have been committed only with the enthusiastic support of people like Goran Jelisic. In passing the sentence, the trial court said the fact that Jelisic was only 23-years old at the time and that he pleaded guilty to most of the charges worked in his favor. But it also said such mitigating circumstances were far outweighed by what they called the repugnant, bestial, and sadistic nature of his behavior. A spokesman for the prosecutor called the 40-year sentence -- good. He said the prosecutor would review it before deciding whether to appeal. (SIGNED) NEB/LC/JWH/LTD/RAE 14-Dec-1999 10:02 AM EDT (14-Dec-1999 1502 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] EUROPE ECON (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=12/13/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257122
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A United Nations report says the economic outlook is good for the coming year in both western and eastern Europe. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the U-N study predicts economic growth in Western Europe will reach three percent in the year 2000, with similar if not higher growth levels in many of the transition economies of eastern and central Europe.

    TEXT: U-N economists say the fallout in Europe from a series of economic crises was less serious than anticipated. They say Russia's debt crisis did not cause an inflationary explosion, Asia's economic growth recovered, and Japan's recession has somewhat receded. They say the continued strength of the United States economy also has been an important factor in supporting the economies of the rest of the world. The report -- by the U-N's Economic Commission for Europe -- says Western Europe's economy is showing a slight improvement. U-N senior economist Paul Rayment says when Western Europe's economy improves, so do the leading transition economies of eastern and central Europe.

    /// RAYMENT ACT ONE ///

    They're now quite dependent on the markets of Western Europe, particularly of Germany. And that's an important element in the picture. Germany and Italy have been the weakest economies. What we're looking at now is really an improved outlook for Germany, particularly an improvement in its export order books.

    /// END ACT ///

    The report cites Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic as the strongest transition economies. It says the Baltic countries, which were hit badly by the Russian crisis, now are doing rather well. It says Russia's economic conditions have a major impact on the former Communist countries. While much uncertainty surrounds the Russian economy, the report says short-term prospects have improved this year because of the rise in oil prices. Mr. Rayment says the Kosovo conflict created an unexpected negative shock for many transition economies, especially those in southeastern Europe.

    /// RAYMENT ACT TWO ///

    The whole region will be affected negatively as long as Yugoslavia remains economically out of the system of the region. Yugoslavia is in the middle of many of the transport routes in southeast Europe. A lot of their exports go up to Germany and Austria in the Danube. So that's an important obstacle.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Rayment says these countries need outside financial assistance. He believes they would benefit from help similar to the Marshall Plan, which led to the economic recovery of Western Europe after World War Two. (Signed)
    NEB/LS/JWH/WTW 13-Dec-1999 19:27 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 0027 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [08] FRANCE / BRITAIN BEEF (L-ONLY) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257138
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: British members of the European Parliament have walked out on French President Jacques Chirac, who was dedicating the parliament's new building in Strasbourg, France. Paul Miller reports from Paris that the demonstration is part of a dispute between France and the rest of the European Union (E-U) over whether British beef still carries the risk of mad cow disease.

    TEXT: As President Jacques Chirac began his address inside the lavish new building, about 100 members of the European Parliament got up and left. Most - but not all - were British, and all were upset that France has not lifted its ban on British beef, despite the European Commission's decision that the beef poses no health hazard. Allen Donnally of Britain's Labor Party said they could not attend a ceremony of lawmakers presided over by those who justify law breaking. France says it is just protecting its citizens, who have been alarmed by previous health scares, and who are not convinced that British beef carries no risk of mad cow disease. The French want more extensive testing and tracking methods. But they are already in violation of European Commission policy - and the Commission is sending official notice to France that it has five days to justify the ban or remove it, or else face action in the European court of Justice. French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin met with British journalists to try to calm the situation, and his agriculture minister met his British counterpart in Brussels - but France appears headed for a protracted legal battle with its partners in European unity. (Signed) NEB/PM/GE/LTD/JP 14-Dec-1999 11:57 AM EDT (14-Dec-1999 1657 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [09] GERMANY NAZI LABOR (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257134
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A German government negotiator, Count Otto Lambsdorff, believes a deal can be reached this week on compensation for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the World War Two Nazis slave labor program. Yet in public at least, the gap between German business and the victims' representatives is still very wide. Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin.

    TEXT: Count Otto Lambsdorff regularly warns of a possible United States-German trade war and constant legal harassment of German industry if no agreement is reached over compensation for people forced to work in Adolph Hitler's factories during the Second World War. Now, however, Count Lambsdorff is expressing optimism. After months of tough and often bitter negotiations, he told Germany's Z-D-F television Tuesday that he believes a deal could be struck in the next few days. Exactly where the breakthrough is to come from is not yet clear. The victims' representatives are demanding a minimum of 5-point-7 billion dollars, although some hard-line victims' associations still say they want more. Reports also say the German side could be ready to offer as much as 5-point-2 billion dollars of corporate and government funds to offer belated reparations to Jewish and East European slave laborers. That amount is a substantial increase on the four-point-one billion dollars offered last month. And newspapers over the weekend suggested United States companies with German subsidiaries, which employed slave labor during the war, could be prepared to donate the rest. But as far as German industry spokesman Wolfgang Gibowski is concerned, German firms have no intention of upping their share. Industry's room for maneuver was exhausted he told one German radio station. The German government, too, has repeatedly said it will not put in more money unless industry does. If the German negotiators stick to their present hard line, the talks are virtually certain to fail. Mr. Gibowski has said the package will fall apart and government negotiator, Count Lambsdorff, has warned that German firms cannot expect protection against further class actions in United States courts unless they cooperate now. But analysts say Count Lambsdorff's optimism suggests the hard-line rhetoric may stop if a deal looks possible after all. As both Count Lambsdorff and the U-S Government's chief negotiator, Stuart Eizenstat, have said, there is too much at stake for the talks to fail. (Signed) NEB/JB/GE/LTD/KL 14-Dec-1999 10:19 AM EDT (14-Dec-1999 1519 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [10] GERMANY NAZI LABOR UPDATE(L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257155
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// Updates 2-257134 with agreement reached ///

    INTRO: The German and United States governments have clinched a five-point-two billion dollar compensation deal with lawyers representing the victims of the Nazis' World War Two forced labor programs. But only the sum has been agreed upon. The hard work on the detail has yet to be done, as we hear from Jonathan Braude in Berlin.

    TEXT: After months of ill-tempered negotiations, threats and recrimination, at least part of a compensation agreement is now in place. A German government spokesman confirmed Tuesday that U-S and German negotiators have agreed upon a sum with the former slaves' lawyers and the East European governments involved in the talks. U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is expected to address a meeting in Berlin Friday of all the industry negotiators, Government representatives, and lawyers of the victims. But the spokesman stressed there would be no signing ceremony. He said this would be a working meeting because there is still plenty to discuss and consider. The spokesman refused to comment on the size of the deal, but he did confirm the government had agreed to pay the difference between the four- point-one billion dollars offered last month by government and industry, and the final sum agreed upon. One of the victims' lawyers, Michael Witti, confirmed agreement had been reached on total compensation of 10-billion German marks, or about five-point-two billion dollars. That's much less than the lawyers had wanted, and it remains to be seen if, having failed to get their previous demands from Germany, the lawyers will now pressure U-S industries with German subsidiaries to top up the funds. Adding to the confusion, a German industry spokesman Tuesday denied earlier reports that U-S companies had already agreed to make up the difference. That was always nonsense, he said. Ford and Opel would take part in the fund as German companies, not as American owned corporations. Among the questions to be settled are how to differentiate surviving victims of the Nazis attempts to kill concentration camp victims by working them to death and those who were drafted in from Eastern Europe for other forced labor programs. The draft compensation law due to be tabled in the German legislature is also a target of criticism, because it demands that claimants submit well-documented evidence. Opponents fear it will disqualify the majority of former forced laborers who cannot supply proof on paper. Yet for all that, the sense of relief is strong. Germany's chief negotiator, Count Otto Lambsdorff, welcomed Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's decision to increase the Government's contribution because, as he told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper: the state bears the greatest burden of guilt for the forced labor policies. Industry profited, he said, but it was the German state that made the decisions. (Signed) NEB/JB/ENE/gm 14-Dec-1999 17:40 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 2240 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257152
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were lower today (Tuesday) as interest rate fears re-emerged on Wall Street. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson has more from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished modestly lower - down 32 points - closing at 11- thousand-160. The Standard and Poor's 500 index dropped 12 points. There was a big sell-off in technology, especially internet stocks. The Nasdaq composite ended its streak of record high closings, shedding over two percent. U-S bond prices fell, driving the yield back up to six-point-three percent. The latest on the U-S economy shows a mixed picture. Consumer prices rose a less-than-expected one-tenth of one percent in November. That is not the problem. The problem is that retail sales surged a stronger- than-expected nine-tenths of one percent, raising fears of central bank action to cool down the economy. Analysts said many investors saw this as a good time to take some money off the table, locking in profits for the end of the year.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Bruce Steinberg, analyst at the Merrill Lynch brokerage firm, says the U-S economy may be too robust for the Federal Reserve Board, which is likely to raise short-term interest rates - if not when it meets next week, then early in the new year:

    /// STEINBERG ACT ///

    Consumer spending in the fourth quarter is probably rising at a five percent rate. It looks like it actually speeded up from what it was doing in the third quarter. G-D-P (gross domestic product) in the fourth quarter is probably going to be up somewhere in the five to five-and-a-half percent range. And the bond market is nervous that this means more Fed (Federal Reserve Board) tightening.

    /// END ACT ///

    Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the U-S economy. General Electric - a Dow Jones component - added to its stock value after the company's chief executive officer said he expects profits to grow by 15 percent this year and next year. He also dismissed rumors that G-E is thinking of selling off its N-B-C television network. G-E stock has traded at historic highs lately on expectations that the company will announce a stock split when its board meets Friday. This could increase dividends by as much as 15 percent. Chiquita - the world's top banana producer - says harsh conditions in the industry will result in a greater-than-expected fourth quarter loss. The company says the strong U-S dollar in Europe and weak demand in Eastern Europe are hurting profits. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/JP 14-Dec-1999 17:04 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 2204 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [12] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11592
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The most popular editorial topic in U-S newspapers this Tuesday is the arrest of a Chinese- born U-S nuclear scientist for mishandling state secrets. There is also a good deal of comment on some tough talk by Boris Yeltsin and the European Union's tentative offer of membership to Turkey. Other topics include: the Panama Canal and peace talks between Israel and Syria. Now, here is ____________ with a closer look and an excerpt or two, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The F-B-I's arrest of Los Alamos laboratory scientist Wen Ho Lee draws a good deal of comment. The Boston Globe says it hopes the arrest is not simply a politically motivated attempt to cover up government bungling of the investigation.

    VOICE: [The F-B-I], after five years of investigation, found no evidence that [Mr.] Lee committed espionage. . The law under which [Mr.] Lee was charged require that the government prove "intent to injure the United States or . intent to secure an advantage to any foreign nation." If [Mr.] Lee was merely careless and had no intent to harm his adopted country . he is not guilty as charged.

    TEXT: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin worries that:

    VOICE: The indictment . is likely to place further strain on already shaky Sino-American relations.

    TEXT: But the paper suggests the decision to finally arrest Mr. Lee may indicate that additional incriminating information has been found. The Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal laments that, taken together with the most recent revelation of espionage at the State Department, the Lee arrest sends a clear message.

    VOICE: A Russian bug (listening device) in the State Department? A more formidable Chinese nuclear arsenal? Espionage hasn't eased in the wake of the Cold War. The strategic and financial pressures are different yet still intense. And the impetus remains for effective counterintelligence.

    TEXT: Some saber rattling by Russian president Boris Yeltsin on a visit to China draws editorial attention from the Wall Street Journal which suggests both Russia and China, " the worlds two anti-status quo powers" as the Journal puts it, want the Western democracies to stay out of so-called internal matters like Chechnya and Tibet. The Journal writes:

    VOICE: As the joint communique issued Friday put it, "Both sides are against the use of placing human rights higher than state sovereignty and using human rights to interfere or to harm an independent country's sovereignty." . There are obvious limits to the extent that outsiders can influence the decision- making of Russia or China. But those who want Russia to develop into a responsible, democratic power are deluding themselves if they think they are helping by funding the destruction of Chechnya.

    TEXT: The European Union's offer to Turkey of eventual membership continues to be of interest. The Fort Worth [Texas] Star-Telegram says Europe, the U-S and Turkey all have much to gain from the move.

    VOICE: Some Turks have continued to believe . their country has been consistently denied full partnership in Europe primarily because it is a predominantly Muslim country. . Turkey still has some significant obstacles to overcome to advance from candidate to member of the European Union, particularly with regard to human rights. Many Turks, however, are said to welcome the outside pressure to force their government to institute long-needed reforms. . [And] Europe and, by extension, the United States need to embrace Turkey more closely to show the rest of the Muslim world the advantages of democratic change and improved relations with the West.

    TEXT: This is a historic day in Panama, when the United States formally hands over control of the Panama Canal to Panama. But the failure of the Clinton White House to send what the St. Petersburg [Florida] Times says is a proper representative draws sharp criticism from the paper.

    VOICE: Such an absence is inexcusable and hurts Latin American relations. The president decided not to attend and has yet to give the Panamanians or the American public a reason. /// OPT /// We can only assume that his schedule, jammed as it is with White House photo-ops and campaign fundraising events around the country, would not permit it./// END OPT /// . The Panamanians are understandably angry and offended by what they view as Washington's snub. /// OPT /// Instead of seizing this opportunity at the dawn of the 21st century to signal a new era in U-S relations with Latin America, the White house has reminded the region . it still ranks toward the bottom of Washington's foreign-policy priorities. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The reason Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gives for not attending the canal handover, is the long-awaited resumption of high-level Israeli Syrian peace talks, beginning tomorrow in Washington. Today's Minneapolis, Minnesota Star Tribune is pleased at the resumption, but remains highly suspect of Syria. Voice: A comprehensive peace . would mean resolving not only the Arab-Israeli conflict, but the far more extensive bloodshed within the Islamic world. Having long bullied an Arab neighbor (Lebanon) and aligned itself with fanatics in a non-Arab state (Iran), Syria is in fact poorly positioned for serious diplomatic work of any sort in the Middle East. As for Arab- Israeli peace efforts, they have been moving along for well over two decades without Syria - - or, to be more precise, **in spite** [italics for emphasis] of Syria.

    TEXT: Domestically, a new report on mental health in the United States, released yesterday by the Surgeon General, is drawing a response from the Washington Post, which calls it "arresting."

    VOICE: The estimate is that about one in five Americans "experiences a mental disorder" in the course of any year, and that in prosperous nations such as this, mental illness is the second leading cause of disability and premature mortality, after only cardiovascular disease. Yet nearly half of Americans who have even severe mental disorders fail to seek treatment. . The country's ability to identify and treat mental disorders has grown beyond its ability to deliver such treatment.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: This year, the internet is coming in for a good deal of attention as a source for much holiday shopping. But in Oklahoma City, The Oklahoman tries to give readers this realistic assessment, cutting through the mystique, and suggesting it is similar to ordering goods over the telephone.

    VOICE: When all is said and done, buying a product online is not some magical mystery tour of electronic impulses. It comes down to this: A guy in a warehouse somewhere plucks an item off a shelf and puts it in a box. Another guy in a brown uniform brings it to your door. . But there is nothing experimental about a business that will take in about six billion dollars this Christmas season. Buying on-line is not experimental for millions of people already. It's a way of life. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, papers are lamenting the death of American novelist Joseph Heller, author of Catch 22, who died on Long Island yesterday, at 76. As The Oregonian in Portland reminds readers:

    VOICE: The phrase [Catch 22] was created - - a better term might be "identified" - by Joseph Heller .. In [the] brilliant, hilarious, lunatic account of an American bombing group in Italy in World War Two, it was easy to be sent home from combat for mental unfitness. All you had to do was ask. But if you asked to get out of combat, it was a clear sign that you weren't mentally unfit. "Yossarian . let out a respectful whisper," wrote Heller. "That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed. "It's the best there is,' Doc Daneeka agreed. And Catch-22 is one of the best books of our time . [a] vision of a world that has been carefully, thoughtfully, reasonably designed for a lunatic outcome, it sounded an eerily recognizable note for the 1960s - - and since.

    TEXT: And on that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from Tuesday's editorial pages.
    NEB /ANG/KL 14-Dec-1999 12:01 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 1701 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [13] YEARENDER: NATO-KOSOVO BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=12/14/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44986
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: This past year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization engaged in its first military offensive ever as carried out an air campaign in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. In this yearend report, National Security Correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks back on the Kosovo operation and discusses what lessons NATO may have learned from the campaign.

    TEXT: By all accounts, 1999 was a momentous year for NATO. The western alliance marked its 50th anniversary and elected a new secretary-general: British Defense Secretary George Robertson took NATO's helm, replacing Javier Solana. NATO also expanded eastward, taking in three new members: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, all former Warsaw Pact nations. The western alliance is now made up of 19 members. But this past year will probably best be remembered for NATO's first ever military operation against a sovereign country - Yugoslavia. For 78 days (from March 24th to June 10th) NATO waged an air campaign, pounding Yugoslav military forces and other strategic targets - many of them located in the predominantly ethnic-Albanian province of Kosovo. NATO's goal was to end what western officials described as Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kosovar Albanians. In a recent V-O-A interview, NATO Secretary George Robertson said the western alliance had to draw the world's attention to what was happening inside Kosovo.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    We made it clear to people just what the stakes were: that had Milosevic won, had we not taken a stand, then he would have moved on from the cleansing of Kosovo and the million or so refugees who would have never been back in their homeland; to cleanse other parts of his own country and then to destabilize the rest of the Balkans. That was a very strong message that had to be given. I believe that history has proved us right, correct, and our judgment fair.

    /// END ACT ///

    NATO's bombing campaign ultimately forced President Milosevic to agree to a 50-thousand strong NATO peacekeeping force for Kosovo - known as "K-FOR." Mr. Robertson says "K-FOR's" main task in the months ahead is to help ensure the safety of the minority Serbs in Kosovo.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    One of "K-FOR's" biggest jobs is to reassure the minority (Serb) population inside Kosovo that they have a future and I believe that they are doing that. Almost half of the Serbs who used to live in Kosovo are still there and Serbs are coming back from Serbia. But it will be a difficult job to knit together a society torn apart by Milosevic's violence. But we are making a determined effort to do so.

    /// END ACT ///

    Western military experts agree NATO's air campaign was a success because it stopped ethnic cleansing against the Kosovar Albanians. Paul Beaver - senior analyst with the British publication, "Jane's Defense Weekly" - says NATO has learned other positive lessons from Kosovo, such as that the 19-member alliance can remain united during a long military campaign.

    /// BEAVER ACT ///

    The fact that there were no casualties on the NATO side as well is important. And they managed to get the Yugoslav forces out of Kosovo - and really have started to get something going there: not quite as successfully as some may have hoped. Whether the bombing was the right way of doing it is still open to debate. But overall, Kosovo was a success. What it did show, however, was that the Americans were not prepared to get stuck there on the ground. When it comes to providing all the necessary strategic means, America is unsurpassed. But when it comes to putting troops on the ground, it is the Europeans. And that, I think, is leading toward this new European security and defense identity within NATO.

    /// END ACT ///

    This discussion of a new European identity within NATO coupled with the Kosovo campaign - has fueled a debate on both sides of the Atlantic on whether Europe should shoulder more of the military burden - and not rely so heavily on the United States for leadership and military hardware. Secretary Robertson has vowed to tackle that issue in the months ahead. NATO's military campaign in Kosovo has forced many European analysts to ask whether the western alliance will now become much more active militarily in the months and years ahead. But many American analysts - including NATO expert George Perkovich (from the W. Alton Jones Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia) - believe the western alliance has learned difficult lessons from Kosovo's air operation.

    /// PERKOVICH ACT ///

    This was not something they welcomed. There was no political gain to be had. This was genuinely felt to be necessary. But having said that, I would add that the Kosovo events will make NATO political leaders even less likely to take military action in the future, because this was a hard experience. And so I think the lessons they are learning is not: "Gee, let's do this in other places." But rather: "Boy, this is very difficult. It raises all sorts of thorny issues and we want to be even more cautious in the future."

    /// END ACT ///

    Many analysts believe it will be far more difficult in the years ahead - as NATO inevitably expands even more to keep the military alliance united behind another offensive military operation. Therefore, these analysts say the Kosovo campaign was NATO's first - and probably its last war. (Signed)
    NEB/ADEN/JP 14-Dec-1999 15:07 PM EDT (14-Dec-1999 2007 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America
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