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Voice of America, 00-05-17

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ALBRIGHT/ KOSOVO (L ONLY) BY LUIS RAMIREZ (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] CONGRESS / KOSOVO (L) BY DAVID SWAN (CAPITOL HILL)
  • [03] SENATE-KOSOVO(S-ONITER) BY DAVID SWAN (CAPITOL HILL)
  • [04] SERB CRACKDOWN (L ONLY) BY IRENA GUZELOVA (BELGRADE)
  • [05] SERB CRACKDOWN (L UPDATE) BY IRENA GUZELOVA (BELGRADE)
  • [06] U-S/SERBIA CRACKDOWN (L) BY NICK SIMEONE (STATE DEPARTMENT)
  • [07] SERBIA / DANUBE AGREEMENT (L-O) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [08] TURKEY / IRAN (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [09] CHINA-EU-WTO (L-ONLY) BY LETA HONG FINCHER (BEIJING)
  • [10] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY LARRY FREUND (NEW YORK)
  • [11] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] ALBRIGHT/ KOSOVO (L ONLY) BY LUIS RAMIREZ (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262495
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has warned the U-S Senate not to try to force the withdrawal of American troops from Kosovo. V-O-A's Luis Ramirez reports the warning came as Congress considers deep cuts in the Clinton Administration's foreign policy budget.

    TEXT: A bill currently in the Senate would, among other things, slash funding for the deployment of U-S troops in Kosovo - forcing them to withdraw from the region next year. Speaking to a U-S business group (the Chamber of Commerce) in Washington, Mrs. Albright said the proposal sends the wrong signal.

    ///ALBRIGHT ACT///

    This is playing with fire. In the Balkans, signs of impatience can be misinterpreted as symptoms of weakness. We cannot afford that in a region where weakness attracts vultures.

    ///END ACT///

    The Secretary of State says keeping U-S troops in place along with other international peacekeepers is vital to securing lasting peace in the region. She says a hasty withdrawal would be a mistake.

    ///SECOND ALBRIGHT ACT///

    We will not achieve our goals in Southeast Europe if our eyes are always on the clock and our focus is solely on what others do. We are more than bookkeepers and spectators. We are leaders, and our fundamental objective in Southeast Europe is not to leave. It's to win.

    ///END ACT///

    Mrs. Albright says she believes a withdrawal next year may bring a resurgence of violence, and she predicts the peacekeepers would have to return. In her speech, the Secretary urged members of Congress to support funding for the United States' foreign policy programs. She blasted members of Congress who oppose full funding for United Nations missions, including those in East Timor, Congo-Kinshasa, and Sierra Leone. The plan being considered by the Senate also includes cuts in administration backed programs for trade promotion, the Peace Corps and some environmental initiatives. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LR/ENE/KBK 17-May-2000 16:16 PM EDT (17-May-2000 2016 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] CONGRESS / KOSOVO (L) BY DAVID SWAN (CAPITOL HILL)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262496
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// Eds: See also 2-262495 Albright / Kosovo ///

    INTRO: The U-S Congress is threatening to shorten the American peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, despite Clinton administration warnings that the idea is dangerous. A measure approved Wednesday could force a withdrawal next year. V-O-A's David Swan reports.

    TEXT: By a wide margin (264 to 153) the House (of Representatives) signaled its discontent with the status quo in the Balkans. Lawmakers voted to start pulling ground troops out of Kosovo as soon as next April -- unless the European allies meet more of their commitments to provide police and reconstruction aid. The plan's supporters say they are sending a message that the United States can not keep carrying the burden forever. Republican Congressman John Kasich argues Washington has already done a great deal in the Balkans.

    /// Kasich act ///

    If we look at Bosnia and Kosovo we can see that between 1993 and 2001 we will have expended over 20-billion dollars. What we're asking for is that the Europeans, our NATO allies, honor the pledges that they've made.

    /// end act ///

    But opponents charge the proposal would undercut NATO and open the door to new violence in the province. Democrat Ike Skelton says Kosovo's ethnic Albanians would again face persecution from the Yugoslav president.

    /// Skelton act ///

    Mr. Milosevic would know that all he needs to do is wait and after the first of April next year he can effectively resume his campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide, leading to additional holocaust.

    /// end act ///

    The administration has issued similar warnings. Secretary of State Madeline Albright kept up the criticism (Wednesday), saying Congress is playing with fire by imposing deadlines on the U-S presence in Kosovo. Republican presidential candidate George-W Bush has also weighed in against a proposal pending in the Senate. That legislation would force a withdrawal in 2001 unless the next president wins Congress' approval for troops to stay. Both the House and Senate measures are still a long way from becoming law. But many lawmakers are ready to cut what they describe as a string of costly, open- ended missions overseas. (Signed)
    NEB/DS/KBK 17-May-2000 16:57 PM EDT (17-May-2000 2057 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] SENATE-KOSOVO(S-ONITER) BY DAVID SWAN (CAPITOL HILL)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262502
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// Eds: vote scheduled for 2:30 p-m ///

    INTRO: The fight over U-S involvement in Kosovo continues in Congress (Thursday), as the Senate votes whether to set a deadline for a troop withdrawal. V-O-A's David Swan reports.

    TEXT: If the plan eventually becomes law, the next president will have to win Congress' approval to keep ground combat forces in the province beyond July of next year. Democratic Senator Joseph Bident warns the proposal would threaten the stability of the Balkan region and NATO.

    // Bident act //

    I do not believe that we should put our troops or our allies under the sword of Damocles (in peril) with the threat of a funding cutoff that implies the United States is abandoning its friends and allies.

    // end act //

    But those supporting the deadline say the Clinton administration has led the United States into a costly, seemingly endless committment. The House of Representatives is pressing Europe to shoulder more of the burden. The House has voted (Wednesday) to bring the troops out next year unless the allies meet most of their pledges for peacekeeping and reconstruction in Kosovo. (Signed) Neb/ds/PT 17-May-2000 18:25 PM EDT (17-May-2000 2225 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] SERB CRACKDOWN (L ONLY) BY IRENA GUZELOVA (BELGRADE)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262458
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Police in Serbia have taken over Belgrade's principal opposition-controlled television station, Studio B. Irena Guzelova in Belgrade also reports police have arrested dozens of activists throughout Serbia.

    TEXT: Police swept into Studio B's building after Serbia's deputy prime ministers signed an order to take over the television station's assets. Studio B's director said police entered the building about 2 o-clock Wednesday morning. He said police also took over B-2-92 radio and another independent radio station about the same time. Police have also blocked entry into the premises occupied by the largest selling daily newspaper, Blic. The government has accused Studio B of calling for the overthrow of authorities. It says the opposition media is sponsored by NATO and says its aim it to de- stabilize the country. Studio B is the most important opposition television outlet in Serbia, although its broadcasts have frequently been jammed. Wednesday's action is the most severe yet against non-government media, which have been hit by a series of fines and libel suits. After they took over Studio B, authorities broadcast pictures of whiskey bottles and said Studio B was run by a group of drunks. They also showed pictures of cameras in its rooms and accused Studio B's management of spying on its staff. In the background, viewers could hear the sound of police walkie-talkie radios. Serb police also arrested and detained more than 50 members of the resistance movement Otpor as well as members of opposition parties. Authorities also detained family members who came to the police to ask about their relatives. Authorities have accused the opposition of being responsible for recent assassinations of prominent political and business figures. They have arrested two member of the Otpor movement and charged them with the murder of a high-ranking member of the ruling Socialist party this past weekend. During the past few days, police have detained 27 journalists. In the southern town of Kraljevo, authorities charged a local journalist with espionage. Opposition leaders say this is the beginning of a state of emergency. (Signed)
    NEB/IG/JWH 17-May-2000 07:01 AM EDT (17-May-2000 1101 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] SERB CRACKDOWN (L UPDATE) BY IRENA GUZELOVA (BELGRADE)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262480
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// EDS: THIS REPORT UPDATES CR 2-262458 ///

    INTRO: Opposition parties in Serbia are organizing rallies to protest the closure of the country's principal independent television station. As Irena Guzelova reports from Belgrade, police broke into the station -- Studio B -- early Wednesday morning and also blocked transmissions by two major independent radio stations.

    TEXT: Crowds gathered across Serbia to protest the closures. Opposition parties, activists from the resistance group Otpor, independent trade unionists, and journalists formed what they called "crisis centers" in all major towns. In the southern town of Cacak, thousands of people, many of them armed, stood guard outside their local T- V station. In Belgrade, the opposition parties called for simultaneous demonstrations to demand an end to violence and to call for early elections. Management at Studio B said it will start transmission via satellite at regular intervals during the day. Opposition leaders said the closure of the station marks a critical phase in government repression. They said authorities may be preparing to impose a state of emergency and accused them of trying to incite violence in Serbia. Police also blocked entry to the premises of Serbia's largest selling daily newspaper, Blic. It is not known whether Blic or other independent daily papers will be able to continue publication. Meanwhile, police continued to call people in for questioning throughout the country. Dozens have been arrested and later released in the past two days.

    /// OPT ///

    The clampdown comes ahead of local and federal elections, which are supposed to be held this year. Opinion polls show government popularity is waning -- and only about one-quarter of those questioned said they would vote for the government.

    /// END OPT ///

    Wednesday's action is the most severe yet against non- government media, which have been hit by a series of fines and libel suits under Serbia's Information Law.

    /// OPT TO END ///

    The government has accused Studio B of calling for the overthrow of the authorities. It says the opposition media is sponsored by NATO and compares them to fascists in Nazi Germany. (Signed)
    NEB/IG/JWH/KL 17-May-2000 14:05 PM EDT (17-May-2000 1805 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] U-S/SERBIA CRACKDOWN (L) BY NICK SIMEONE (STATE DEPARTMENT)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=262499
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The United States will meet with its European allies next week to discuss further sanctions against the Yugoslav government following Belgrade's latest crackdown on opposition parties and the media. From the State Department, Correspondent Nick Simeone reports Washington is already taking steps on its own.

    TEXT: The raid by Yugoslav authorities on Belgrade's opposition-run media has Washington ready to expand its travel ban on top Yugoslav officials. Six judges and prosecutors involved in the closing of Belgrade's "Studio B television", which authorities accuse of inciting an overthrow of the Milosevic government - will have their names added to a list barring them from receiving U-S visas. The practical impact may be marginal,but State Department spokesman Richard Boucher is hoping European governments will take similar steps.

    // BOUCHER ACT //

    The Belgrade regime's move to silence Serbia's independent media represents a major step in efforts to preserve Milosevic's dictatorship. This night time police raid smacks of desperate Bolshevik-style oppression.

    // END ACT //

    He told reporters Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will discuss ways both the United States and its European allies can further tighten the noose around the Belgrade government when she meets with NATO foreign ministers in Italy next week. But there have been indications in recent months that European allies are becoming more inclined to relax - rather than tighten - sanctions against the Milosevic government.

    // OPT //

    Some countries that lined up with NATO against Serb aggression in Kosovo last year have since sent ambassadors back to Belgrade. And, the European Union is considering removing debris from the Danube from bridges damaged during the NATO bombing that drove Serb forces out of Kosovo province. // END OPT
    //
    Eric Chenoweth is co-director of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe.

    // CHENOWETH ACT //

    The Europeans are generally too eager to lift sanctions simply to renew ties because they think this will somehow help and in doing so they generally help the regime. If the E-U is going to repair the bridges they're claiming it will be only with the Novi Sad and Vojvodina authorities but in fact it's going to be with the oversight of the Belgrade authorities and it will help the Belgrade authorities.

    // END ACT //

    Just last week, Yugoslavia's defense minister was allowed to visit Russia despite being indicted by the war crimes tribunal in the Hague. The Clinton administration is extremely upset about the matter but has received no explanation from about Moscow ignored its obligations under the United Nations and allowed the Yugoslav official to freely come and go.(SIGNED)
    NEB/NJS/PT 17-May-2000 17:20 PM EDT (17-May-2000 2120 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] SERBIA / DANUBE AGREEMENT (L-O) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262486
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// Eds: corrects graf 2 of 2-262478, read 25-million
    ///

    INTRO: The organization that monitors one of Europe's most important waterways has cleared the way for the reopening of the Danube River, which has been blocked by debris from NATO's 1999 bombing campaign in Yugoslavia. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest.

    TEXT: After more than a year of negotiations, the Danube Commission says it has reached an agreement on how to remove the debris of several bombed bridges in Yugoslavia. The President of the Commission, Helmut Strasser, says the accord will make it possible for the European Union to release the bulk of an estimated 25-million dollars needed to clear the bridge debris. The bridges were located in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad, where many air-strikes were carried out during the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999. The Danube Commission says the clean up operation will begin within 5 months, well before the harsh Balkan winter sets in. Commission officials believe the management structure for the operation, which will be carried out with Yugoslavia's support, will be in place within six weeks. Hungary, the only NATO country bordering Yugoslavia and other neighboring nations, has been urging the international community to support the clean up. But some Western diplomats say this may undermine international efforts to isolate the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. They say he should pay for the damage caused by the NATO air- strikes, which they say he provoked by his actions in Kosovo. However, the European Union has made it clear it is concerned about the fate of shipping companies which are losing millions of dollars because the vital waterway is blocked. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SB/KBK 17-May-2000 15:03 PM EDT (17-May-2000 1903 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [08] TURKEY / IRAN (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262473
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has accused Iran of failing to respond to evidence of Iranian involvement in the murders of Turkish pro- secular writers and academics. Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara.

    TEXT: Mr. Ecevit's remarks came after Turkish police reported they arrested four suspects in connection with the 1990 letter-bomb murder of Bahriye Ucok - a woman professor who was a staunch defender of secularism in Turkey. The arrests follow those of 15 other men who are accused of the murders of columnists Ugur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner Kislali who worked for the left-leaning daily newspaper Cumhuriyet. Mr. Mumcu was killed in 1993 when a bomb placed under his car exploded outside his Ankara home. Mr. Kislali was killed in the same way last year. Turkish officials say two of the prime suspects in the Mumcu killing confessed that two Iranian nationals had placed the bomb under the slain journalist's car. Turkey and Iran are long-time rivals for influence in the oil-rich former Soviet central-Asian republics and the southern Caucasus states. Analysts say Turkey's firmly pro-secular western-style democracy contrasts sharply with Iran's Islamic government Turkish officials have long accused Iran of seeking to export its Islamic revolution by arming and training extremist groups in Turkey. Mr. Ecevit repeated accusations Iran also is supporting separatist Kurdish guerrillas of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party. Iran denies all the charges. But Mr. Ecevit said Turkey would, in his words - re-evaluate its ties with Iran on the basis of concrete evidence of the ongoing investigations. In a related development, Turkey's newly elected President Ahmet Necdet Sezer told reporters after his inauguration Tuesday that he will not be traveling to Iran on his first official trip abroad, as previously scheduled. (SIGNED) NEB/AZ/JWH/ENE/RAE 17-May-2000 11:15 AM EDT (17-May-2000 1515 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [09] CHINA-EU-WTO (L-ONLY) BY LETA HONG FINCHER (BEIJING)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262460
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    ///// RE-PRINTING WITH CORRECT CR-NUMBER. /////

    INTRO: Chinese and E-U trade negotiators are working out the final details of an agreement to enable China to join the World Trade Organization. Correspondent Leta Hong Fincher reports from Beijing that the European Union is seeking a better deal than the one reached between the United States and China last November.

    TEXT: E-U Commissioner Pascal Lamy continued his third-day of trade negotiations with Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Xu Guangsheng in Beijing. A deal with the European Union is the last major hurdle for China before it can gain membership in the World Trade Organization. E-U spokesman Anthony Gooch described the mood of the talks as workmanlike and constructive, but said it was too early to tell when an agreement would be reached.

    /// GOOCH ACT ///

    When you reach this level of the negotiation, you are talking about the most difficult issues that remain to be resolved, because they have not yet been resolved and to the extent that they have not been resolved to date, they are the toughest nuts to crack. We are working hard to try and do that.

    /// END ACT ///

    The European Union is the largest of just six W-T-O members to strike a trade deal with China. Mr. Gooch says the European Union is eager to see China enter the World Trade Organization. But he adds European negotiators are still seeking greater access to China's markets in certain key sectors.

    /// GOOCH ACT 2 ///

    Telecommunications is an important area, particularly the area of mobile telecommunications, where Europe is a world leader. We currently have 90-percent of the mobile telecom market here in China, so it is to be expected that we should try and obtain the best market access conditions that we can, in sectors such as telecom where we have an important comparative advantage.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Gooch says other sticking points in the negotiations are in the areas of insurance, banking and retail distribution. He also says the European Union is pressing the Chinese to lower tariffs on the import of European goods. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LHF/FC/RAE 17-May-2000 08:36 AM EDT (17-May-2000 1236 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [10] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY LARRY FREUND (NEW YORK)

    DATE=5/17/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262497
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were lower Wednesday, as investors considered the impact of Tuesday's interest-rate increase by the U-S central bank, and the possibility there may be still more rate hikes. Correspondent Larry Freund reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped almost 165 points -- one-and-one-half percent -- closing at 10 thousand-769. The Standard and Poor's 500 index, reflecting the broader market, was down almost 19 points, or one-and-one-quarter-percent. And the NASDAQ composite fell almost two percent. Market analysts saw the decline as a day-after reaction to Tuesday's decision by the U-S Federal Reserve Board to throw some (cold) water on the hot U- S economy -- by raising key interest rates and by hinting that rates could rise still further to stop inflation. Analyst Ricky Harrington of Wachovia Securities says higher interest rates will offer more competition to stock investments.

    /// OPT HARRINGTON ACT ///

    The public is going to eventually wake up to the point that yields of seven, eight, nine percent are going to be very lucrative compared to a very volatile market.

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

    In business news, the Hewlett-Packard computer company reported second-quarter profits higher-than-expected.

    /// rest opt ///

    The world's largest soup maker, the Campbell Soup Company, reported from its Camden, New Jersey, headquarters that its earnings this year could fall below analysts' expectations. The company, which also sells juice and cookies, blames lower soup sales for the gloomy outlook. In New York, a leading business research organization, the Conference Board, reports that the North American economy -- the United States, Mexico and Canada -- will surge four-point-three percent this year and three-point-seven percent next year. Thomas Higgins, an international economist with the Conference Board, says the driving force for the North American economy in recent years has been investment in new technology, primarily in the United States.

    /// HIGGINS ACT ///

    This has been the story of the new economy over the last couple of years: that strong investment in information technology has driven economic growth by driving up productivity levels and keeping inflation in check.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Higgins says that with the central bank raising interest rates, he expects economic growth in the United States to slow and return to a more stable level. (Signed)
    NEB/NY/LSF/WTW 17-May-2000 17:22 PM EDT (17-May-2000 2122 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=5/16/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11823
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=

    INTRO: Texas Governor George Bush, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, is advocating changes in the country's Social Security system, triggering an avalanche of commentary in the daily press. Elsewhere in the editorial columns, the interest rate increase put into effect Tuesday by the nation's Federal Reserve system (central bank) also draws lots of comment. Other editorials cover the media raid by forces of the new Russian president; the latest Mideast violence;

    /// OPT /// a Supreme Court decision on rape; ///

    END OPT /// and the fate of an ancient city unearthed in Turkey. Now, here is ______ with a closer look, including an excerpt or two, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: As the Wall Street Journal puts it, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush has reached out and touched "the third rail of American politics," slang for a sure way to kill your chances of election. In other words, Mr. Bush has made a proposal on one of the most controversial of all national issues. He has proposed allowing younger workers to put some of their government retirement - Social Security -- funds into the stock market, rather than into the totally safe, but very low interest, federal account as is now the case. The Chicago Tribune calls this "issue number one, and comments:

    TEXT: This could well be a defining issue of the campaign - - and it's a worthy one. It goes to the heart of the relationship between citizens and their government. /// OPT /// For 65 years, Social Security has operated fundamentally the same way ... as it was in the Great Depression. /// END OPT /// Workers are taxed to pay benefits for retirees. It's an intergenerational transfer of wealth that insures Americans ... a basic monthly benefit when they get old. [Mr.] Bush is proposing to shift some portion of the 12-point-four percent Americans pay each year in payroll taxes into private retirement accounts that could be invested in the stock market. ... It is a great debate ... [George] Bush has taken a political risk by talking about financial risks. Give him a hand. [Editors: in this case "credit."]

    TEXT: Pennsylvania's Greensburg Tribune-Review likes the Bush proposal, calling it:

    VOICE: ...a commonsense plan that would preserve the current social Security system for those already retired or those about to.... The vice president, however sees Social Security as a great "success" story.

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times, however, calls the Bush plan "flawed" and demands more specifics. Summing up, it suggests:

    VOICE: There is need for an informed Social Security debate, though whether this year's presidential campaign is the proper venue for it remains to be shown. Providing for the long term solvency of the system is more a political than a fiscal challenge ... [Mr.] Bush and [Mr.] Gore have offered their alternatives. Neither plan impresses.

    TEXT: Still in the general area of national finances, the nation's central bank, called the Federal Reserve System, has increased the prime interest rate by half a percentage point, to help control inflation. It is also drawing plenty of comment. The Hartford [Connecticut] Courant doesn't agree with the increase, writing that what the Federal Reserve is really countering is the "threat of inflation, not inflation itself." The Courant writes:

    VOICE: Mr. Greenspan and the other members of the Fed's open market committee who have raised interest rates an incredible six times since last June, all to fight a phantom ... have been proved wrong more than once ... There's always the danger ... the federal bankers could overreact ... and stall the economy, plunging it back into recession.

    TEXT: The New York Times, however, notes that both it and Wall Street agree with the rate hike to tamper the threat of inflation.

    VOICE: So Wall Street reacted warmly when the Fed raised short-term interest rates by half a percentage point, double the size of ... the five previous rate increases. ... {The] best way to create room for wages to rise further is to keep the economy growing. For that to happen, the Fed believes it must convince everyone that inflation will remain under tight control. That is what the Fed said it would do ... [and] Wall Street believed what it heard.

    TEXT: Internationally, several papers are criticizing Russia's newly inaugurated president, Vladimir Putin, for what looks like an anti-democratic attack on Russia's emerging free press by government agents. The Sun in Baltimore goes so far as to headline its editorial: "Comrade Putin of K-G-B.

    VOICE: In recent days, Mr. Putin has won plaudits from Western observers for an administrative reorganization that weakens the authority of Russia's overbearing regional governors. He is consolidating power. But if that is seen as a good and long- overdue move, it has to be balanced against the Putin government's attempt to muzzle an independent media company [Media Most] that has been critical of the Kremlin leadership. The word "troubling" doesn't begin to describe the ominous portent of a recent raid by gun-toting SWAT teams on Media-Most ... This is bad news that should not be sugarcoated in the West.

    TEXT: Turning to the recent outbreak of violence on the West Bank, Boston's Christian Science Monitor tries to find a glimmer of good news among the bad.

    VOICE: The first real ingredients for a final deal between Palestinians and Israelis have been put into the mix. Never mind the fact that the two sides' forces shot at each other during protests. That just confirms the frustration over slow progress since the 1993 Oslo accords. ... And secret talks are under way that could solve two other sticking points: a symbolic return of Palestinian refugees and granting the Palestinians control of 80 to 90 percent of the West Bank and Gaza (up from the present 40 percent).

    TEXT: However the Wall Street Journal is far less optimistic.

    VOICE: This week's violence, the worst in years, is a sign that lasting peace is still far off. The usual tendentious accounts in the West cite Palestinian frustration with the pace of peace talks. The truth, however, is that with polls indicating a majority of Israelis supporting a Palestinian state, it is the Palestinians' moment. Should they continue to respond to Mr. Barak's unilateral concessions with intransigence and violence, however, this support for Mr. Barak's peace agenda could quickly evaporate. ///

    OPT /// Clearly, it is in the Palestinians' own interest to allow Mr. Barak's strategy to play out as advertised. ... If this continues, things will turn sour for all sides. And the Palestinians will have only themselves to blame./// END OPT ///

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Domestically, a controversial Supreme Court decision, revoking the right of raped women to sue their attackers in Federal, rather than in state courts, is drawing a good deal of criticism. The Boston Globe calls it a "Detour for justice."

    VOICE: The Violence Against Women Act wisely let victims of crimes motivated by gender - like rape and domestic violence - sue their attackers in federal court. These women's lives are irrevocably changed. The act offered them a civil recourse, so victims in all states had access to the same legal remedy. But ... the Supreme Court branded this provision of the law unconstitutional. ... This leaves a grievous problem in place - violence that takes a devastating economic toll. ...

    TEXT: The Washington Times, however, noting the states rights issue that is at the heart of this decision, sides with the Supreme Court.

    VOICE: "The `constitutionally mandated balance of power' between the States and the federal government was adopted ... to ensure the protection of `our fundamental liberties.'" So said the U-S Supreme Court in 1985. The question for the court this week was whether it would continue to abide by this principle, notwithstanding the temptation to violate it in the name of a good cause, doing justice to alleged rape victims. The good news is that it did defend the principle - - and the Constitution -- albeit by the barest of margins [5-4].

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Providence [Rhode Island] Journal is worried that the Turkish government is allowing the waters from a newly constructed dam to flood the ancient trading city of Zeugma in southern Turkey, where archaeologists are rushing to unearth and remove some of the most remarkable mosaics ever found.

    VOICE: So far, only two villas have been excavated. But these alone yielded 12 mosaics, some of which depict figures from Greek mythology. Hundreds of villas remain to be unearthed. ... The dam has a life expectancy of only 50 years. It would be a shame if Turkey swapped centuries of history for a relatively brief span of electrical power. ... A delay of even a year would help the archaeologists enormously.

    TEXT: Lastly, these thoughts from California's San Francisco Chronicle about how violence in Africa is often financed by the illegal trade in raw diamonds.

    VOICE: Control the diamond trade, and you may be able to clamp down on the warlord violence paid for by the smuggled stones. Two congressmen, Tony Hall, Democrat of Ohio, and Frank Wolf, Republican of Virginia, want sanctions on this bloody trade. A similar effort is being pushed by the United Nations ... The clampdown calls for barring diamond imports from Congo [Democratic Republic of Congo/Kinshasa], Liberia, Angola and Sierra Leone, where guerrilla armies have seized gem fields. The Hall-Wolf bill would oblige importers to document the source of the gems and consider ways of marking diamonds to screen out guerrilla contraband. ... [Curbing] diamonds from unsavory sources may also work to bring rebels to the bargaining table when other methods fail.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Wednesday's U-s press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 17-May-2000 12:31 PM EDT (17-May-2000 1631 UTC)
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    Source: Voice of America


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