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Voice of America, 00-05-18

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

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





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

    INTRO: The U-S Senate is moving toward a vote that could force the withdrawal of America's ground combat troops from Kosovo next year, unless lawmakers approve their presence. V-O-A's David Swan reports.

    TEXT: The plan reflects a longstanding frustration with the Clinton administration's military moves overseas. Republican Senator Pat Roberts says this operation has no end in sight.

    /// Roberts act ///

    What is the endgame here? Not only are there no clear objectives that would end our involvement in Kosovo but there is no understanding, at least from this senator's standpoint, of what constitutes winning the peace. I would like somebody to tell me.

    /// end act ///

    The proposal sets a deadline of July first, 2001 for the troops to quit their peacekeeping mission in the province. To keep them there, the next president would have to win agreement from the next Congress. The White House argues any deadline on the deployment would be seen as a sign of weakness and would touch off new violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.

    /// Rest optional for long ///

    NATO Secretary-General George Robertson has also come out against the idea. In a letter to Senate leaders, Mr. Robertson says he is deeply concerned about the prospect of any NATO member deciding on its own not to join an allied operation. Mr. Robertson says the move would send a dangerous signal to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. However, the House of Representatives brushed aside such warnings in approving its own Kosovo troop withdrawal measure on Wednesday. That proposal, which passed by a wide margin (264 to 153), would bring the Americans out next April unless European nations pay more of the cost of the mission. Its backers say they are simply trying to pressure the allies to meet their commitments. Like the Senate plan, this one must still clear many hurdles before becoming law. (Signed)
    NEB/DS/ENE/KBK 18-May-2000 10:14 AM EDT (18-May-2000 1414 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    /// EDS: Updates long version of 2-262520 with vote and new actualities ///

    INTRO: The U-S Senate has handed President Clinton a foreign policy victory by turning aside a challenge to the American peacekeeping presence in Kosovo. The move comes a day after the House of Representatives voted for a potential troop withdrawal from the province. V-O-A's David Swan has details.

    TEXT: By a narrow but decisive margin (53 to 47), senators backed away from a threat to the peacekeeping mission. Lawmakers killed a proposal that would have required American ground combat troops to leave Kosovo by July of 2001 -- unless the next president won Congress' approval to keep them there longer. The idea drew fierce opposition from the White House and NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who earlier in the day called it a matter of deep concern. In a move that may have swayed some Republican votes, the party's presidential candidate, George W. Bush, attacked the plan as an overreach of power by Congress. Republican Senator George Voinovich is one of many who warned the measure would strengthen Yugoslav President Milosevic.

    /// Voinovich Act ///

    Imagine the last U-S plane, the last armored personnel carrier, the last soldier leaving Kosovo. How confident can we be that (Yugoslav President) Milosevic will not renew his reign of terror against the people of Kosovo in an effort to solidify his power?

    /// End Act ///

    But the deadline's supporters charge the administration has overstepped its bounds in Kosovo, sending troops on an ill-advised mission without having a way to bring them out. Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison had anger in her voice as she defended the plan.

    /// Hutchison Act ///

    Our goal is a lasting peace in the Balkans -- not an un-ending morass of indecision that wears out our troops, debilitates our own national security and does not help our allies or the Serb people at all.

    /// End Act ///

    The vote does not end the ongoing conflict over U-S Balkan policy. The House of Representatives has approved a more limited withdrawal plan, which requires a pullout next April unless the European allies pay more of the cost of the mission. But that legislation is still far from becoming law. (Signed)
    NEB/DS/JP 18-May-2000 16:00 PM EDT (18-May-2000 2000 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed in lackluster trading on Wall Street today (Thursday) as concerns about future interest rate increases continue. Correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up seven-and-one-half points at 10-thousand-777. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index - reflecting the broader market -- was down 10-and-one-half points, about three-quarters of one percent. And the NASDAQ Composite Index continued its slide -closing down 106 points -- as investors sold shares in telecommunications and biotechnology stocks. Concern that the U-S central bank will raise interest rates again was compounded by new signs of a tight labor market. For the second consecutive week, new claims for unemployment benefits fell. (Begin Opt) Elizabeth Miller follows the market at Trevor Stewart Burton and Jacobsen in New York.

    ////MILLER ACT ////

    The market for the short-term is really going to try to figure out how soon the Fed is going to make its next move and, particularly news like this initial jobless claims tells investors it is going to be sooner rather than later.

    //// END ACT ////

    (END OPT) Last week's interest rate hike also contributed to the highest U-S 30-year home mortgage rate in five years, according to the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation.

    ////REST OPT for long ////

    In business news, investors showed concern after reports that U-S government anti-trust officials are taking a second look at Worldcom's proposed acquisition of Sprint. Shares of both telecommunications companies were down. In other news, McDonald's is expanding. The international fast food giant plans to open 18-hundred new restaurants. Most of the new restaurants will be outside of the United States. Restaurants outside of the United States account for 60 percent of McDonald's sales. McDonald's chairman Jack Greenberg says the company is continuing to limit U-S growth to 200 to 300 new franchises a year.

    //// GREENBERG ACT ////

    I think that can inch up over time but we want to be sure that we balance expansion with operator profitability. So we are being very careful to open profitable new stores.

    ////END ACT ///

    McDonalds shares closed down in Thursday's trading. (Signed) NEB/NYC/BJS/LSF/ENE/PT 18-May-2000 17:31 PM EDT (18-May-2000 2131 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The capture Wednesday of the leading rebel leader in Sierra Leone is drawing the editorial attention of The Washington Post. Disturbing allegations of unnecessary killing by U-S troops in the Gulf War is also under discussion, as is the latest violence on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Other editorials to be found in the U-S press include: the debate over normalizing trade with China; the latest Federal Reserve rate hike; Colombia's ongoing turmoil and Haiti girds for a nationwide election this weekend. Now, here is __________ with a few excerpts and a closer look, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The capture of Sierra Leone rebel leader Foday Sankoh elicits this immediate reaction from The Washington Post.

    VOICE: People are literally dancing in the streets in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Foday Sankoh, leader of the brutal armed band known as the Revolutionary United Front (R- U-F) was captured by pro-government forces yesterday and turned over to British soldiers at Sierra Leone's international airport. Mr. Sankoh's soldiers had violated a cease-fire and [taken as] many [as] 340 United Nations peacekeepers hostage. His arrest offers hope for Sierra Leone after its nightmarish nine- year-civil war.

    TEXT: The Wall Street Journal is a good deal more skeptical about the situation, despite Mr. Sankoh's capture, because of the intervention of U-S civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. To the Journal, it sounds like deja'vu.

    VOICE: Been there, done that. Mercenaries nabbed [Mr.] Sankoh in 1997 and turned him over to the government that had hired them, that of the democratically elected president, Ahmed Kabbah. [Mr. Sankoh was duly tried and found guilty of treason. Rather than being executed, however, he was unwisely released last year in a peace process godfathered by Reverend Jackson. Until mid-week, [this week] when a hail of criticism forced Reverend Jackson and the U-S to retreat, Washington kept expressing the hope that [Mr.] Sankoh could be coaxed back into politics. ... Reverend Jackson drew a comparison between the R-U-F and Nelson Mandela's African National Congress; he withdrew that later in a telephone interview with the press agency Reuters. Poor Sierra Leone.

    TEXT: A disturbing accusation reported in The New Yorker magazine earlier in the week, about U-S military activity at the close of the Gulf war, draws this editorial comment in The New York Times, where the author used to work.

    VOICE: The Army this week brushed off (discounted) new reports that American forces needlessly attacked retreating Iraqi troops after a cease-fire was declared in the Persian Gulf war. The accounts, ... in a New Yorker article written by Seymour Hersh, cannot be so easily dismissed. Though questions about the battle were raised as the war ended in 1991, and subsequent Army investigations found no fault, there is good reason for the Pentagon and Congress to revisit the matter. // OPT // Some officers familiar with the American assault offer detailed testimony that one of the country's most decorated commanders, General Barry McCaffrey, ordered a punishing and unwarranted attack. // END OPT /// Secretary of Defense William Cohen should appoint an independent review panel. If he does not, the Senate or House should conduct its own investigation.

    TEXT: Back to the Washington Post now, for these comments on the latest violence on the West Bank of the Jordan River, and the tortuous peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

    VOICE: There was a striking disconnect this week between the diplomatic peace process in the Middle East and events on the ground. On Monday Palestinians, including ... police, clashed with Israeli troops in the most serious such violence in years. Hundreds were injured and a few killed. Yet even as the fighting was going on, the diplomatic front seemed suddenly vibrant. ... Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, risking his own coalition, pushed a decision to transfer to Palestinian control three villages that border on Jerusalem. And the Palestinians had earlier arrested a Hamas operative named Mohammed Deif, long among the fugitives most wanted by Israel. ... It is also true, though, that a deal that does not comport with minimal Palestinian conceptions of justice will not endure. That puts a burden on both parties...

    TEXT: Turning to Oriental affairs, the debate over whether to permanently normalize trade relations with China, rather than renewing it every year, escalates as a vote near in Congress. Today's Dallas Morning News says the Texas representatives in the House should support what it calls a - crucial trade deal. VOICRE: A "yes" vote would give the United States extraordinary access to China's fast- growing market. In return, the United States would support China's application to join the World Trade Organization. A "no" vote would deny U-S companies that access without blocking China's membership. Opening China to more trade with the United States is so manifestly in the nation's interest that Congress should overwhelmingly approve the proposal. Yet President Clinton still lacks sufficient support in the full House...

    TEXT: This country's central bank, the Federal Reserve System, has increased a prime lending rate by one-half a percent, to control the threat of inflation. The move draws this reaction from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    VOICE: "Ouch! Get ready to pay more for car loans, credit card debts and business loans. ... That is how people prone to flights of populist pique might see it. But, in fact, the Federal Reserve's new boost to short-term interest rates is a lot more sensible than it might seem on Main Street. // OPT // ... The Fed's job is to guess when inflation is being kindled quietly by too many dollars chasing too few products and services - and to preempt it without throwing the economy into reverse. ... [and] ... the Fed chairman has done well so far. // END OPT //

    TEXT: Regarding Latin American, The Los Angeles Times, says "Colombia Is Bleeding," in the wake of an especially brutal terrorist killing of a woman that has thrown the peace dialogue into chaos.

    VOICE: In the town of Chiquinquira, northeast of Bogota, leftist terrorists clamped a bomb with a timer around the neck of a woman dairy farmer and demanded 75-hundred dollars. The family could not come up with the money. For hours an army demolition expert worked to remove the bomb; at midafternoon it exploded, blowing off the woman's head and mortally wounding the soldier as well. This is what the war in Colombia is largely about - violence, intimidation, and power. It is a monster. ...

    TEXT: The Times ends by saying "Bogota will have to restore the state's authority in territories now controlled by guerrilla regimes built by extortion and drugs." And it implores Congress to quickly fund the additional one-point-seven-billion dollars Colombia needs to bolster its fight against drug traffickers and several guerrilla armies.

    TAPE: Haiti votes Sunday on long-delayed, parliamentary elections. The Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier worries about what it sees as failed U-S policies toward the troubled island republic.

    VOICE: Despite millions of dollars in aid, massive assistance in creating democratic institutions, and training what was touted to be an honest police force, Haiti has become a major hub for drug traffickers. President Clinton must refocus his administration on Haiti, once hailed as a foreign policy achievement, but now deemed a chronic disaster zone. In his approach to Haiti, Mr. Clinton revealed one of his greatest failings, his short attention span for problems that are not the subject of opinion polls. /// OPT /// ... Washington's inattention to the steep decline in public safety, the worsening economic situation and the political vacuum left when president Rene Preval dismissed parliament have had even more disturbing consequences than foreseen, even in worst-case scenarios. ... It is now clear that the failure of U-S policies has led to a situation that is worse for Haitians - and also more threatening to Americans - than when President Clinton intervened.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Domestically, one of the most horrific events of the civil-rights movement, the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama, African-American church, that killed four little girls, may finally see justice. The New York Times comments on the arrest, three decades after the event, of two white men, accused of setting the bomb.

    VOICE: It was a crime that helped bring white Alabama to what Dr. Martin Luther King Junior called an accord with its conscience. Now, the fact that a legal resolution is still being pursued after so many years holds the promise of a new definition for Southern justice.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from the U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 18-May-2000 12:03 PM EDT (18-May-2000 1603 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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