|Sunday, 28 February 2021|
Voice of America, 99-12-24
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From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>
 FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)DATE=12/24/1999
TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
INTRO: The normal holiday week bustle leading up to Christmas in the United States is somewhat subdued this year. And newspaper editorials on Friday reflected the new mood, largely blamed on the threat of terrorism, both at home and abroad, and lingering worry about possible computer malfunctions at the beginning of the new millennium - the so-called Y-Two- K problem. Other newspaper editorials deal with such mundane topics as a newly announced government initiative to reduce air pollution from vehicles; the Israeli-Syria peace initiative; a huge breakthrough in genetic research; a healthy rating on U-S government services, and assorted thoughts on the holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem two-thousand years ago. Now, here with a closer look is ____________ with the Editorial Digest.
TEXT: Many papers are leading with editorials on the arrest of a pair of Algerian men trying to enter the United States illegally from Canada during the past few days, and their possible links to Islamic terrorist organizations. Paraphrasing a familiar Christmas carol, The Detroit Free Press notes:
VOICE: It's a little hard to sleep in heavenly peace when the specter of terrorism hangs over America and Americans abroad. Is it any wonder so many folks are vowing to stay home and stay sober throughout the holidays? /// OPT /// First it was the potential for social chaos because of Y-2-K computer problems. Now it's high-placed officials warning that credible evidence exists of terrorist attack plans, foreign and domestic. /// END OPT /// . The threats create a dilemma to which Americans are not accustomed. If we hunker down in fear . we already have given a victory of sorts to the . forces of terror. Yet for Americans to "go about their holidays and enjoy themselves and make the most of it," as President Bill Clinton suggests, could be an invitation to trouble.
TEXT: Picking up that latter theme, The San Francisco Chronicle is upset with President Clinton for giving the public what the big California paper feels is contradictory advice.
VOICE: After two weeks of ominous government warnings of possible terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad, President Clinton is telling citizens to enjoy the holidays. .. Thanks a lot, Mr. President, but triangulation is not very helpful when evaluating personal security risks. The question is: Is there a real danger, or should we be only mildly concerned about being blown to smithereens [Editors: "very little pieces"] by a terrorist bomb?
TEXT: In Southern California, The Los Angeles Times writes about its fears for the festivities under the headline: "Cloud Over the Holidays." But in The Midwest, The Chicago Tribune says the government's warnings have been on target.
VOICE: It was entirely appropriate for it [the government] to sound the alert for travelers and to increase vigilance and security at U-S airports, border crossings, government buildings and embassies.
/// OPT ///
TEXT: In Massachusetts, The Boston Globe agrees, noting:
VOICE: With all our frontiers and airports under a heightened security watch, and with the border between Canada and the united States - the world's least- guarded frontier - seemingly hemorrhaging Algerian extremists, Americans may feel under siege this Christmas. . The country is targeted from within by its own demented militias and from without by a bewildering array of fanatics.
/// END OPT ///
TEXT: For the last editorial word on this, we go to our Pacific island state, where Honolulu's Star- Bulletin sums it up:
VOICE: Americans should expect greater security precautions, but should not cancel their plans to celebrate the holidays.
TEXT: In the heartland, Nebraska's Omaha World-Herald turns its attention to the other year-end worry, the potential for widespread computer problems.
VOICE: The Clinton administration claims that federal agencies have prepared their computer systems for the Y-2-K problem. Now another challenge looms. Extensive work must be done to protect federal computer systems from hackers [Editors: a "hacker" is a computer expert who illegally enters another's computer system, often to do damage or steal data.] Some of the systems are disturbingly vulnerable to penetration.
TEXT: President Clinton announced new, more stringent government anti-pollution regulations for cars and light trucks this week, and editorial pages are pleased. Take the St. Petersburg [Florida] Times for instance.
VOICE: Recognizing that the immense popularity of sport utility vehicles, minivans and light trucks is seriously polluting the air, President Clinton . announced a set of overdue environmental regulations that will help reduce the harmful contaminants these vehicles spew from their tail pipes. . The new rules also require oil companies to produce much cleaner fuels. /// OPT /// Environmental activists said the new regulations were at the top of their Christmas wish list, and representatives of the automobile and petroleum industries said they had no plans to challenge the rules. /// END OPT /// Tougher environmental standards are always expensive, but they almost always pay for themselves many times over. In this case they are well worth the investment.
TEXT: Today's Houston Chronicle, while cautious, is hailing the resumption of Israeli-Syrian peace talks - which begin again in earnest January third in West Virginia - as holding out the promise of real achievement in that troubled region.
VOICE: There is an urgency to the peace negotiations, and some observers believe a deal can be struck in relatively short order. [Syrian President Hafez] Assad is aging, his health is in question and the confluence of support he has at home from the military, the state security apparatus and the ruling Baath Party may mean he is the last best hope that the Syrian side will strike a deal. On the Israeli side, the shelf life of . public support [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Barak seems to enjoy is in question, and the Israeli public will have a chance to have a say on any eventual peace deal through an unusual referendum. . Many obstacles remain to be overcome, but a little public diplomacy and confidence-building could go a very long way at this critical early time in the process.
VOICE: Today's Hartford Courant is celebrating a huge breakthrough in biological science that the paper feels did not get enough attention.
VOICE: Trumpets or drum rolls should have accompanied the announcement this month that an international team of scientists on a publicly funded quest to map the human genome has completed the profile of a whole chromosome . a monumental achievement that ranks with, say, the invention of the wheel or the printing press. . Chromosome twenty-two contains genes linked with the immune system and . various diseases, including schizophrenia. . now, scientists have a starting point from which to probe life's deepest mysteries.
TEXT: Turning to the question of whether Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwan-born U-S citizen and nuclear scientist, stole U-S nuclear bomb secrets for the Chinese government, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
VOICE: Many independent observers have joined his family and friends in arguing that he has been selectively prosecuted, that as a Chinese American he was an all-too-convenient target for a government seeking to hide its embarrassment in the wake of a political scandal over China's theft of U-S nuclear secrets. What China actually gained from its espionage is uncertain, but at the very least the episode revealed shocking lapses in security at U-S weapons laboratories.
TEXT: In another domestic item, The Tulsa [Oklahoma] World salutes the often-criticized U-S government, which in a recent survey rated surprisingly well among consumers of its various services.
VOICE: A first-ever analysis of customer satisfaction with federal agencies shows that many scored about as high with citizens as the private sector. . The findings were based on interviews with more than 77- hundred Americans who do business with the selected agencies. . The survey showed that government often does things well, but it also showed some not-too- surprising weak links: The Internal Revenue Service came in dead last with a score of 51 ...
TEXT: Finally, of many editorials on the subject of Christmas, we have chosen The Tulsa World's comments to speak for all the others.
VOICE: Christmas is a Christian holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. But the essential message from the holiday - peace on Earth, good will toward men - is universal. The world's great religions all include an admonition that people should bear good will toward one another. As Christmas 1999 dawns, we do not enjoy complete peace on Earth. Regional or civil conflicts in Chechnya, Rwanda, the Sudan, Nigeria and elsewhere are bloody and dispiriting.... The United States is not actively involved in conflict, but its soldiers are stationed around the globe in peacekeeping missions in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, South Korea, East Timor, Kuwait and Turkey, to name a few. . But there is promise. There is genuine hope for peace in the Middle East and Northern Ireland. . We, by ourselves, can't do much to bring peace on Earth. But we can help bring good will toward men, through the way we treat . people we contact in everyday life. . Merry Christmas. Peace on Earth, good will toward men.
TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of the
day's editorials from the U-S press on the Eve of
 YUGOSLAV WAR CRIMES (L ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)DATE=12/24/1999
INTRO: NATO-led peacekeeping forces have arrested a Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca. Lauren Comiteau reports the suspect, Zoran Vukovic, is wanted by prosecutors at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal for rape and torture. He is expected shortly in The Hague.
TEXT: Human rights groups call the town of Foca the
"Heart of Darkness." Prosecutors at the Yugoslav war
crimes tribunal say it was there in 1992 that Serb
soldiers and paramilitary groups overran the town and
began a brutal regime of gang raping and torturing
Muslim women, some as young as 12 years old.
Forty-four-year-old Zoran Vukovic is one of seven men
charged for those crimes. The former Bosnian Serb
military policeman and paramilitary leader is charged
with eight counts of crimes against humanity and war
crimes for raping and torturing five women.
The indictment says one of Mr. Vukovic's victims was a
16-year old girl. It says that after being detained
and raped for days in a sports hall, she hid from Mr.
Vukovic one night. He threatened to kill the other
women prisoners if she did not come out. The
indictment says that when she did come out of hiding,
he raped her.
Mr. Vukovic was also one of four men who allegedly
gang-raped a 15-year-old.
His arrest follows the high-profile capture earlier
this week of a Bosnian Serb general, bringing to eight
the number of suspects arrested this year by NATO-led
Mr. Vukovic was arrested in the French and German-
controlled sector of Bosnia, where soldiers have come
under criticism for not doing enough to seize war
The head of Bosnia's Muslim commission for missing
persons said Friday that Foca is still a "black hole"
in the Serb-controlled part of Bosnia. He said the
same people responsible for the crimes are still
running Foca today. (OPT) But with the arrest of
Zoran Vukovic, three of them -- all indicted for rape
and torture in Foca -- are now in the tribunal's
custody. (END OPT) (Signed)
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