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Voice of America, 00-02-14

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] KOSOVO-MITROVICA (L-O) BY TIM BELAY (TIRANA, ALBANIA)
  • [02] U-S KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY DAVID GOLLUST (WHITE HOUSE)
  • [03] TURKEY / ISLAMISTS (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [04] HUNGARY/HAIDER (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [05] AUSTRIA PART THREE - E-U REACTION BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)
  • [06] E-U / AUSTRIA (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [07] E-U / BALKANS (L-ONLY) BY ROM PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [08] E-U / ENLARGEMENT (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [09] HUNGARY - CYANIDE (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [10] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [11] MONDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] KOSOVO-MITROVICA (L-O) BY TIM BELAY (TIRANA, ALBANIA)

    DATE=2/13/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259117
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: One ethnic-Albanian sniper died and two others were wounded after an exchange of fire with NATO peacekeepers (Sunday) in Northern Kosovo. Tim Belay reports from the neighboring Balkan nation of Albania.

    TEXT: A NATO spokesman says three snipers were captured by peacekeepers and one of them later died in the hospital. The three were identified as ethnic Albanians. Earlier, two French Peacekeepers were wounded by sniper fire as fighting erupted in Mitrovica, a city divided between hostile ethnic Albanians and Serbs. Machine-gun and small-arms fire, and explosions continued for about two-hours near the bank of the Ibar River that splits Mitrovica into Serb- and Albanian-dominated sectors. Mitrovica's French peacekeeping contingent scrambled on foot and in armored personnel carriers to contain the violence. Two peacekeepers were wounded by sniper rounds on the north side of Mitrovica, which is dominated by Serbs. A spokesman for the Peacekeepers in Kosovo's provincial capital Pristina, 50-kilometers to the south, said one soldier was hit in the stomach and the other in the arm. Their condition was said to be not life-threatening. At least two Serb men were injured by gunshots, according to a Serb community leader. A French officer in Mitrovica said five snipers had been detected in a tower block on the north side of the Ibar River, near the main bridge. A squad of elite sharpshooters was summoned to respond to the shooting. Tanks and armored personnel carriers were deployed at street corners, especially near the main bridge. An overnight curfew has been imposed in Mitrovica. (SIGNED)
    NEB/TB/RAE 13-Feb-2000 14:45 PM EDT (13-Feb-2000 1945 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] U-S KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY DAVID GOLLUST (WHITE HOUSE)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259143
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Clinton administration is rejecting a Serb call to partition Kosovo into ethnic-Albanian and Serb cantons to quell the resurging violence there. VOA's David Gollust reports from the White House.

    TEXT: The ethnic violence in the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica that erupted earlier this month is the worst since the war in Kosovo ended eight months ago But officials here insist the trouble can be controlled by NATO-led peacekeepers and international police. And they are not giving up on the idea of eventually reconciling Kosovo's majority-Albanian and Serb communities. Kosovska Mitrovica -- in the far northern part of Kosovo --has been rocked by ethnic fighting over the last 10 days that has killed or injured scores of people - mainly ethnic Albanians - and driven hundreds from their homes. Albanians accuse the Serbs of trying to drive non- Serbs out of the northern part of the city and stake out the area -- which has Kosovo's most valuable mineral deposits -- as a defacto Serb canton. Ethnic Serbs, for their part, accuse Albanians of trying to impose a political solution by force in Kosovska Mitrovica, which has been a haven for thousands of Serbs fleeing post-war reprisals elsewhere in Kosovo. The fighting is a setback for NATO and U-N efforts to pacify Kosovo, and a disappointment for the Clinton administration, which has also seen diplomatic gains unravel in recent days in Northern Ireland and the Middle East peace process. However briefing reporters here, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart rejected the notion that the post-war framework in Kosovo is in danger of collapse:

    /// LOCKHART ACTUALITY ///

    I would caution anyone from trying to find deeper meaning other than there are real problems that have to be worked through. And that's what this process is about. We reject the idea that over time you can't have a Kosovo the way the people of Kosovo would like it to be, and that somehow you have to buy into the idea that some Serbs have put forward that the only way to move forward is partitioning. We reject that idea.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Lockhart said senior officials of the countries taking part in NATO's 50-thousand-member peacekeeping force "K-FOR" will meet later this week to discuss possible deployment changes. Several hundred British, Belgian, Danish and German troops have already been sent to the troubled area to reinforce the French troops posted there, two of whom were wounded by snipers Sunday. The United Nations is also bolstering its police presence there. "K-FOR" and U-N officials took control of Kosovo last June after the NATO air campaign forced Yugoslav security forces to halt mass expulsions of the majority Albanian population and leave the province. (Signed)
    NEB/DAG/JO 14-Feb-2000 14:16 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 1916 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] TURKEY / ISLAMISTS (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259135
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: At least five Turkish policemen have been killed in a shootout with Islamic militants in the largely Kurdish southeastern province of Van. Amberin Zaman in Ankara reports two Islamic militants from the outlawed Party of God, or Hizbollah, died in the clash, the bloodiest since Turkish authorities began a major crackdown on the shadowy group.

    TEXT: Turkish officials say the gunfight broke out after police surrounded two houses in the largely Kurdish eastern city of Van, close to the Iranian border. The militants refused to surrender and opened fire on police, killing five and wounding six. Two Islamic Hizbollah militants died. Another managed to flee. The shootout comes as police continue to crack down across the country on hideouts of Hizbollah militants, whose stated aim is to form a rigidly Islamic state for Turkey's estimated 12-million Kurds. The group is counted among the most brutal armed movements in the country and is believed to have become active in the early 1980's. Hizbollah's primary targets were members or sympathizers of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or P-K-K. At least 50 bodies said to be Hizbollah victims have been discovered in separate raids across Turkey. Many bore signs of severe torture. There have been widespread allegations in the Turkish media that the Turkish government at one time turned a blind eye to (ignored) Hizbollah -- and possibly even helped the group -- because it was so effective in combating the Marxist P-K-K. Turkish authorities deny the claims and say the group is supported by neighboring Iran, where the militants are alleged to have been armed and trained. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/KL 14-Feb-2000 09:34 AM EDT (14-Feb-2000 1434 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] HUNGARY/HAIDER (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=2/12/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259099
    CONTENT=
    Voiced at :
    /// Re-running w/correct in 4th and 6th graphs from text ///

    INTRO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says his country sees no reason to launch a diplomatic campaign against Austria,despite the participation of the far right Freedom Party in the Government. Mr. Orban made the comments as a nationalist party prepared for a demonstration in support of Austria's Government. Stefan Bos has more details in his interview with the Prime Minister :

    TEXT: /// SOUND DEMONSTRATIONS, ESTABLISH, FADE UNDER /// Up to two-thousand Hungarian supporters of the Hungarian far right Justice and Life Party (MIEP) gathered in front of the Austrian Embassy in Budapest Saturday to express their support to Joerg Haider, the leader of Austria's far right Freedom Party. Mr. Haider's party is now part of the newly formed coalition government in Austria. Elderly and young Hungarians, some of them carrying flags and banners, shouted slogans in favor of Mr. Haider. Twenty-nine year old Tamas Kovacs, a lawyer and MIEP supporter, said he shares Mr. Haider's view that some aspects of Nazi rule were positive. Mr. Haider later apologized for having expressed this kind of opinions, but the European Union countries, Israel and the United States undertook diplomatic actions against Austria since Mr. Haider's extreme right wing Freedom Party joined the government. But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Government received on several occasions key support from the oppositional far right MIEP- party, explained why his country does not want to break diplomatic ties with neighboring Austria

    /// Orban act ///

    "All the European Union countries can manage their practical issues towards Austria via the Union, unlike Hungary, because we are not a member of European Union. So to diminish our bilateral relations would mean that we break down all the relations with Austria. The danger of the radical and extreme right belong to the Western countries and not to the Central European countries. That is the present political situation in Europe. That is the reason in my understanding why the European Union countries were very strong on that issue."

    /// End act ///

    Mr. Orban's comments may raise concern among Holocaust survivors, who have argued that the Government in some ways share Mr. Haider's nationalist sentiments. They refer to recent Government backed rallies in honor of soldiers and the so called Royal Gendarme, who fought with the Nazis---or rounded up many of the 600-thousand Hungarian Jews killed during the Holocaust. Prime Minister Orban defends his government action :

    /// Orban act #2 ///

    "It's correct that we think it is important to commemorate the Hungarian people who died as soldiers in the second world war. Some of them died in the territory of Russia, some of them died in the territory. All of them were Hungarians and we have to remember about them. "

    /// End act ///

    That is Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. (Signed)
    NEB/PT 12-Feb-2000 20:34 PM EDT (13-Feb-2000 0134 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] AUSTRIA PART THREE - E-U REACTION BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45448
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// EDS: This is the third in a four-part series on Austria's Freedom Party and its leader Joerg Haider. The first was issued as 5-45424 on 2-10 and the second moved as 5-45438 on 2-11. ///

    INTRO: The European Union has reacted strongly to the inclusion of Austria's far-right Freedom Party in the country's new coalition government. In the third of four reports on the Freedom Party, correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the E-U's reaction and asks whether such a response is legitimate.

    TEXT: The European Union has taken a series of steps that show its displeasure at the participation of Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom Party in Austria's newly formed coalition government. The moves are aimed at isolating Austria politically. They include the downgrading of diplomatic contacts to the level of civil servants - in other words, senior diplomats, such as ambassadors, are prohibited from dealing with Austrian officials. In addition, Austrian candidates vying for posts in international organizations have been informed they will find no support from E-U member states. The measures were taken even before the Freedom Party officially entered Austria's coalition government. And the E-U member states made the decision at a meeting where Austria was not invited. The strong E-U stance came as a result of inflammatory statements made by Freedom party leader Joerg Haider. Over the years he has praised some policies of the Third Reich - though he has retracted his pro-Nazi statements. In 1991, during a parliamentary debate Mr. Haider said: "The Third Reich had a sound employment policy - unlike the current government in Vienna." On another occasion, he referred to "Nazi punishment camps" - though he later said he meant "concentration camps." In a further effort to distance himself from some of his outlandish statements, just a few months ago Mr. Haider described the Third Reich as "a catastrophe." He has also strongly attacked the European Union and has engaged in anti-immigration, anti-foreign rhetoric. While his remarks aroused strong criticism from E-U officials, he found support among Austria's voters, who gave the Freedom Party 27 percent of the ballots cast in last October's election - and thus a place in Austria's coalition government. Many experts see the European Union's political ostracism of Austria as a clear example of interference in the internal affairs of a member state. One of those experts is Dominique Moisi - deputy-director of the (Paris-based) French Institute of Foreign Relations.

    /// MOISI ACT ///

    Yes, clearly. We are creating a new `right of intervention.' We are proclaiming that also in political terms there is limited sovereignty. The states of Europe have given up their sovereignty in monetary terms through the birth of the Euro. And now, in fact, they have limited sovereignty in political terms. They can democratically elect a party but if that party is against democracy - well - we have to intervene.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Moisi points out the measures taken against Austria are being carried out by individual member states on a bilateral basis - and not by the E-U collectively. He says the treaties setting up the European Union (Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam) provide for collective sanctions only if a member state violates human rights - which is clearly not the case with Austria. Charles Kupchan - director of Europe Studies at the (New York based) Council on Foreign Relations - says one has to be cautious in defining what kind of interference the E-U is engaged in when dealing with Austria.

    /// KUPCHAN ACT ///

    One has to draw a careful distinction between wanting to interrupt democratic processes, which I would not be in favor of: for example what the United States and the E-U did in Algeria. There was an election with a fundamentalist party coming to power and the E-U and the United States acquiesced to overturning that election. That's not what is going on in Austria. What we are seeing here is a cautionary shot across the bow to the Austrians not to do things contrary to European values.

    /// END ACT ///

    Many experts see a double standard in the E-U's reaction to the Freedom Party's participation in government. They say there was very little outcry when a few years ago the far-right "National Alliance" party of Gianfranco Fini was part of a coalition government in Italy. And very little reaction when so- called "Euro-Communists" entered the Italian government as members of various coalitions. Richard Luther is professor of European politics at Britain's Keele University (in Staffordshire) and is writing a biography of Joerg Haider. He asks a hypothetical question: What if Ross Perot were elected U-S President?

    /// LUTHER ACT ///

    If one takes that proposition and then one were to find that America's allies elsewhere were to feel this was an inappropriate decision and were to tell the American public henceforth diplomatic relations would be reduced, one wonders whether this might not in effect strengthen the position of Ross Perot, in the sense that the American people would think: who are these foreigners to be telling us whom we can and cannot elect? And I think there is a certain possibility for this to happen in Austria.

    /// END ACT ///

    Recent public opinion surveys in Austria show increased support for Mr. Haider's Freedom Party. Abraham Foxman is director of the (New-York based) "Anti-Defamation League" - an organization fighting anti-semitism and prejudice worldwide. A holocaust survivor, he disagrees with the E-U's reaction regarding Austria.

    /// FOXMAN ACT ///

    I do not believe that the way to deal with it is to isolate them, to sanction them and to boycott them. Let's also not forget that 73 percent of those who went to the polls did not vote for Haider. 27 percent did. Let's not throw them away. Let's strengthen them and you don't strengthen them by isolating them.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Foxman says it is right for the international community to speak out on what concerns them about Mr. Haider and his policies. But he says isolating Austria can only bring about bitterness and resentment among its people - and in the long run, could prove to be very counterproductive. (Signed)
    NEB/ADEN/KL 14-Feb-2000 14:51 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 1951 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] E-U / AUSTRIA (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259148
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// Re-issuing to correct, in intro, name of Austrian foreign minister, Benita Ferraro, not Bernita as originally sent ///

    INTRO: Austria's foreign minister has made her first appearance at a European Union (E-U) meeting. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports Benita Ferraro- Waldner has attempted to warm up a cold reception.

    TEXT: The European Union has frozen bilateral contacts with Austria, but it permits the new government to take part in the regular business of the 15-member states.

    /// OPT ///

    That does not mean business as usual. The foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels did not have the usual public handshakes to greet the new Austrian foreign minister. Photographers were only permitted to film the opening session with the ministers already in their seats. /// END OPT /// Bernita Ferraro-Waldner represents Austria's conservative Peoples Party in the new center-right government, not the controversial coalition partner, the Freedom Party of Joerg Haider. Her mission in Brussels is to convince her fellow ministers and the public to listen to the Austrian government's moderate leaders, and not Mr. Haider - the governor of the southern province of Carinthia.

    /// FERRARO-WALDNER ACT ///

    According to the Austrian constitution, there are only three officers of state who can represent Austria abroad. That is the Federal President, the Federal Chancellor and myself, the Foreign Minister. So I trust that the people of Europe will listen to those are entitled to speak for Austria and not to the word of a Carinthian governor.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Haider's xenophobic statements and his critical remarks directed at the leaders of France and Belgium have motivated the other 14 members of the European Union to politically isolate the new Austrian government. On a state-to-state basis, contacts are limited to technical matters. At last week's informal meeting of E-U Social Affairs ministers, the French and Belgian ministers walked out during remarks by the Austrian minister who is a member of Mr. Haider's Freedom Party. Mr. Haider is not taking part in the government personally. Foreign Minister Ferraro-Waldner says the European Union should not exclude Austria from Union business.

    /// FERRARO-WALDNER ACT ///

    It means of course that there is exactly the same participation of all E-U member states at any E-U relation with third countries.

    /// OPT ///

    There is also the inclusion of Vienna in all the normal `tour d'capital', which is necessary for any preparation of the Presidency. This means the participation in all the briefings in E-U capitals because this is important, of course, to get all the important elements for decision-making. Then, of course, no restrictions on the possibility of Austrian functionaries, officials and their ambassadors also to have a personal contact with high officials and of course, no restriction of the flow of information. Because this is, of course, the basis of our multi-lateral work and this has never been restricted so I mean with that business as usual. /// END OPT ///

    /// END ACT ///

    The European Union statement about the participation of the Freedom Party in the Austrian government said there would be no business as usual. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook says all E-U member governments will be watching carefully to make sure Mr. Haider's party is committed to the declaration he signed stating his support of human rights. The Austrian Foreign Minister advises her colleagues to watch what the Austrian government does and not to listen to what Mr. Haider says. (SIGNED) NEB/RP/GE/RAE/KL 14-Feb-2000 16:00 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 2100 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] E-U / BALKANS (L-ONLY) BY ROM PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259141
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Union has lifted its airline embargo against Serbia while agreeing to tighten visa restrictions and financial sanctions against the government. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, the European Union foreign ministers took that action as they looked for ways to help Croatia.

    TEXT: It was a good day for Croatia's prime minister, Ivica Racan. He received promises of European financial aid in response to his program of democratic and economic reforms. Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama offered the Prime Minister the European Union's welcome to Europe.

    /// GAMA ACT ///

    Prime Minister, you are reassured. We are your Europe as we are reassured, you are our Croatia.

    /// END ACT ///

    The two issues of most concern to the European Union are Croatia's dominant role in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina and the legal obstacles blocking the return of Croatian Serb refugees to their homes. Prime Minister Racan assured the ministers that Croatia's policy in Bosnia will be good for both governments. He says through an interpreter, Croatia needs financial help to resettle the Serb refugees.

    /// RACAN ACT W/ INTERPRETER ///

    At present, we want to clear away all obstacles currently in the path of the return of refugees. We must make sure that we create legislation that will enable us to bear down on discrimination and we realize that this kind of policy can contribute to refugees really returning. But of course, it is also important we receive assistance for such a program. I'm thinking of material financial assistance.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    The European Union will be sending two delegations to Zagreb to see what the financial needs are and to negotiate an association agreement. The new Croatian government wants to join the European Union eventually and an association agreement is a necessary first step. ///end opt/// European Commissioner Chris Patten says Croatia has to start on the road to reform.

    /// PATTEN ACT ///

    We know what the aspirations of the Croatian government are but we have said to the Croatian government and that they understand our position, that we want to help them take the first steps and where the journey leads will depend on their success and I guess, our success in helping them.

    /// END ACT ///

    Commissioner Patten will represent the European Union in Friday's inauguration of Croatia's new President Stipe Mesic. While Croatia's relations with the E-U are warming, the ministers took some steps to try to help the Serbian opposition. The foreign ministers lifted their ban on flights to and from Serbia for both European Union and the Yugoslav airlines. At the same time, to meet British and Dutch objections, they tightened the Union's visa ban against 220 more Serb police, military, judicial and business figures associated with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. /// OPT
    /// The ministers also decided, in principle, to close loopholes that have developed in their financial sanctions against the Milosevic government. The aim is to target the European Union's actions closer to the government and not to punish the Serb opposition. /// END OPT ///
    Croatia's prime minister says his government plans to help the democratic opposition in Serbia as well. He hopes a newly independent Croatian television can be seen in Serbia to demonstrate the value of Croatia's new ties to the European Union. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/KL 14-Feb-2000 12:43 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 1743 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [08] E-U / ENLARGEMENT (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259144
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    ///EDS: REPORT COULD BE USED AS AN OVERNIGHTER ///

    INTRO: Foreign ministers from European Union countries have opened a constitutional conference to prepare the group for enlargement in the years ahead. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels also reports the European Union will begin negotiations Tuesday with six countries that want to join the organization.

    TEXT: The enlargement negotiations promised last December are ready to begin. Foreign ministers from Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and Malta are in Brussels to start their membership talks. This is the second group of applicants hoping to get credentials in order to join the European Union in this decade. Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Slovenia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic are already in the second year of their negotiations with the European Union. Most of the original six have the goal of becoming members by the year 2003. To prepare itself for a possible membership of 27 -- or 28, if Turkey is included -- the European Union has to change its treaty procedures designed for fewer members. This requires a constitutional conference involving the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the 15 member governments. The first questions concern the leftover issues from previous intergovernmental conferences: the limits on unanimous voting, the number of commissioners, and whether the voting should reflect the importance of the larger countries before more small countries join. European Union foreign ministers opened the conference on Monday and are leaving the details to their deputies to argue these issues and more, over the next 11 months before the leaders meet next December in Nice, France. The deadline is designed to get the treaty changes ratified by all 15 governments in the following two years to get the European Union ready to welcome new members.

    /// REST OPT ///

    The applicant countries are concerned that if more than the leftover issues are discussed, their prospects for membership could be delayed even further. On another matter, European Commissioner Michael Barnier says the Commission is working on a proposal to give the E-U the power to order a so-called "democratic alert" to deal with cases such as the current political isolation of Austria. He says such an "alert" would be an intermediate step between suspending a member or doing nothing about developments the other countries consider dangerous. The European Union froze bilateral contacts with Austria in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the rightwing Freedom Party from entering the government of an E-U member. Austria still takes part in European Union functions but state-to-state relations are restricted to the technical level. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JO 14-Feb-2000 14:30 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 1930 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [09] HUNGARY - CYANIDE (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259155
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Hungarian officials say a cyanide spill that polluted two major European rivers now threatens to poison the food chain of the region. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest that Romania and Hungary have begun consultations to assess the damage

    TEXT: Romanian Environment Minister Anton Vlad met his Hungarian counterpart Pal Pepo (Monday) at the site of the spill in the northwestern Romania. Mr. Vlad says the spill is serious, but not as bad as reported by the media. Hungary and Yugoslavia have called for compensation, but officials say more studies must be made before that issue can be discussed. The head of the Hungarian Parliament's environmental committee ,Zoltan Illes, told reporters that the spreading cyanide spill is Europe's biggest environmental catastrophe since the Chernobyl explosion. Mr. Illes says the cyanide spill that polluted Hungary's second longest river, the Tisza, will now poison the whole food chain for years to come. He noted that zinc and other heavy metals also got into the water. This means that farmers can no longer allow their livestock to drink from the river, but experts fear this may be difficult to control. Hungarian officials are concerned that some of dead fish in the Tisza will end up on local markets because fishermen are struggling to make a living during Hungary's transition from communism to a market economy. In addition, water from the Tisza may have been used for irrigation of farm products that eventually end up on people's plates or in food of animals. The spill originated at the Baia Mare gold mine in Romania, which overflowed at the end of last month, causing cyanide to pour into streams leading to the Tisza river, and eventually, the Danube. The Australian gold mining company that is part owner of the mine has denied responsibility. After the spill went on to contaminate the Danube, Yugoslavia followed Hungary's lead by announcing it will seek compensation from Romania, possibly at an international court. But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told V-O-A news recently that he fears a lack of adequate international agreements may make it almost impossible to receive money from Romania. The European Union Commission said Monday it was ready to help Hungary and Romania deal with the cyanide spill. But it did not promise aid for Yugoslavia, which is facing international isolation because of its military actions in Kosovo. (Signed) NEB/sb/gm 14-Feb-2000 18:27 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 2327 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-259154
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were higher today (Monday), as investors shifted money toward the beleaguered Dow Jones Industrials which lost nearly five percent last week. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 94 points, just under one-percent, closing at 10- thousand-519. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose two points. And the Nasdaq composite, which had been negative most of the day, closed up one-half of one percent. Analysts said investors mostly were buying on the "dip" - that is, buying up those beaten down stocks that lost value in the broader market last week. But there was not enough buying to make up for the recent slump in the Dow Jones. The Industrials are down more than 10-percent from their record high in mid-January. The trading session was fairly quiet following Friday's huge, across-the-board market slide. There was also some caution in advance of some key inflation data coming out later this week.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Analyst Bernard McSherry says the "blue-chip" (major stocks in the Dow) recovery lacks conviction:

    /// MCSHERRY ACT ///

    It is quiet. People are trying to re-kindle their romance with the "blue-chips" right now. But it's not quite working out the way everybody hoped. I think oil prices are worrying people. And there's still that threat of further interest rate hikes that are really weighing on people's minds a bit.

    /// END ACT ///

    The long-battered financial stocks were mixed, in anticipation of the upcoming economic reports and an appearance this week by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan before a congressional committee. Microsoft shares lost a little more, after dropping nearly six-percent Friday - even though analysts shrugged off concerns over possible technical glitches (problems) in the Windows 2000 operating system, due for release in three days. Microsoft stock is also working against the negative backdrop of its ongoing anti-trust battle with the U-S government. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/gm 14-Feb-2000 16:55 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 2155 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [11] MONDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/14/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11680
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Monday's editorials in the U-S press cover a wide range of topics, everything from the war in the Congo to Valentine's Day. Other topics include the power struggle in Indonesia; territorial disputes in Latin America; the neo-Nazi turmoil in Austria; and the death of a favorite cartoonist. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some examples in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The turmoil in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a U-N peacekeeping plan to curb it are discussed by the Washington Post.

    VOICE: At the moment, [U-S Ambassador to the U-N, Richard] Holbrooke and other Western ambassadors at the U-N are pushing hard for a plan to deploy some 500 U-N ceasefire monitors, supported and protected by 5- thousand armed U-N soldiers. No U-S forces or other Western troops would be involved, but Congress would be asked to [provide] 40-million-dollars to help pay for the mission. ... It's a long shot that even this relatively modest objective can be attained, and the obvious downside risk is that, as in Bosnia, the U-N presence will prove too small to accomplish much in the way of facilitating a peace, but too big to escape the blame when, say, civilians are massacred in the vicinity of blue helmets. ... In Kosovo, the planned U-N police force is woefully undermanned, and much violence between Serbs and Albanians goes unchecked.

    /// OPT ///

    Congo is too important to ignore. But the United States and its partners would make a more credible case for pursuing peace there if they were fulfilling the commitments they already have made elsewhere. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In the South Pacific, the new Indonesian government is trying to bring charges against the nation's former dictator, President Suharto, and curb the power of the army chief. The New York Times sees this as a crucial period in the nation's movement to democracy.

    VOICE: During his 32-year rule over Indonesia, former President Suharto is widely believed to have amassed billions of dollars in illegal wealth /// OPT /// for himself, his children and his political cronies. ... But until now, no serious effort had been made to bring Mr. Suharto to account. /// END OPT /// So the announcement last week that Indonesia's new government named Mr. Suharto as a suspect in a widening corruption inquiry came as encouraging news. ... the rule of law must also apply to General Wiranto, Indonesia's most powerful military figure. A government human rights commission recently found him responsible for much of the violence carried out by pro-Indonesian militias on East Timor last year. ... The continued development of democracy in Indonesia requires that Mr. Suharto and General Wiranto be held accountable for any proven misconduct.

    TEXT: In Latin American affairs, the Dallas Morning News celebrates plans for a peaceful resolution to a territorial dispute between Honduras and Nicaragua.

    VOICE: Latin American territorial disputes have a way of erupting into war. ... So it was heartening to see Honduras and Nicaragua agree Tuesday on a plan to settle their conflicting claims over some Caribbean islets and surrounding waters [agreeing]... to let the United Nations World Court in the Netherlands decide whose assertion of sovereignty is most legitimate. It was the right way for civilized countries to behave, and they deserve credit for acting so responsibly.

    TEXT: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is still hopeful a resolution might be possible in the breakdown of the peace process in Northern Ireland, causing resumption of direct control of the province by England.

    VOICE: /// OPT /// Putting the provincial government in suspended animation served two purposes: to let the I-R-A know that it couldn't dawdle indefinitely on "decommissioning its stockpile of weapons, and to make it unnecessary for the Unionist leader of the coalition government, First Minister David Trimble, to follow through with a promise to resign if there was no progress on decommissioning. /// END OPT /// Yet as the new Belfast regime was being put on political ice, there were signs at long last of a change of heart on the I-R-A's part. ... the Canadian head of a special disarmament commission ... reported over the weekend that the I-R-A had presented him with a proposed course of action that showed "the real prospect of agreement."

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In Austria, the inclusion of a far-right political party in the new government is still drawing comment here. U-S journalist Beverly Davis writes from her home in Vienna, for the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

    VOICE: The leaders of the new Austrian coalition contend they have a right to democratically elect their own leaders - - without interference, threats or punishment from other countries. They ask us to "Wait and watch before any actions are taken against Austria." They have a point. But, it isn't that simple. ... In 1938, Austria held another democratic election. In Vienna, 200-thousand Jews watched as Hitler came marching into town. They watched, they waited, and they perished. The rest of the world waited too long. ... Today, only 10-thousand Jews live in Vienna. ...By identifying a common set of European values ... and shunning an Austrian government that includes [Mr. Joerg] Haider's Freedom Party, the European Union ... has taken the moral high ground, and is for once, leading America.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: As we mentioned earlier, today is Valentine's Day, a day to celebrate romantic love, and this year it is also a day for married Americans to celebrate a special present from the Congress to married couples. U-S lawmakers are in the process of ending a system that taxes married couples significantly more than unmarried couples who file separate tax returns, even though they may be living together. Oklahoma's Tulsa World applauds.

    VOICE: It would be sweeter than candy and more useful than flowers if a House bill cutting taxes for married couples eventually makes it into law. .just in time for Valentine's Day, Republicans won House passage of legislation that would cut income taxes 182-billion over ten years for all married taxpayers, including the 25 million couples who pay a marriage penalty. ... Politicians should not underestimate the public's interest in this issue. They should not underestimate the public's desire for them to correct an unfair tax practice that has existed far too long.

    TEXT: And this sentiment on love, from a Valentine's Day editorial in the [Northern New Jersey's Bergen County] Record:

    VOICE: Why not do something unexpected? Maybe for someone who never expected a valentine. Read one of Shakespeare's sonnets together, or ... Give someone very old or very young a hug. Romance can be exciting, adventurous, or just plain fun.

    TEXT: And lastly, several papers are mourning the death, over the weekend, of the nation's favorite cartoon author, Charles Schulz, who died the night before the final sequence of his Peanuts cartoon appeared. Says the San Francisco Chronicle:

    VOICE: Oh the memories he evoked with the classic images: a contemplative Charlie Brown, Lucy at the psychiatric booth, the two of them and the football, Snoopy at battle with the Red Baron. [Mr.] Schulz, ever modest, expressed his gratitude at being able to fulfill "my childhood ambition." And how. He merely produced the most widely read cartoon strip in history, by far, with 355 million daily readers in 75 countries. ...Charles Schulz completed many lifetimes' worth of wonderful work before he died. Now all of us can enjoy it for the rest of ours.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 14-Feb-2000 12:21 PM EDT (14-Feb-2000 1721 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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