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Voice of America, 00-06-06

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

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





    INTRO: U-S stock prices were lower across-the-board today (Tuesday). The market seemed to lack direction amid re-emerging concerns over interest rates. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 80 points, less than one percent, closing at 10-thousand- 735. The technology-weighted Nasdaq composite was up most of the day but finally succumbed to a wave of selling, dropping almost two percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed 10 points lower - less than one percent. Financial and banking stocks took the brunt of new worries about interest rates - whether the U-S central bank indeed is coming to an end of its credit tightening moves. Citigroup, American Express and J- P-Morgan traded over three percent lower, keeping pressure on the Dow Industrials.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    Analyst Bob Seijas (pron: Say'haas) says no one seems to know what is really going on with the market and where investors should take positions:

    ///SEIJAS ACT///

    It's really very desultory and tentative here, uncertain, kind of ragged, not a lot of activity. Once again, no one really has a strong opinion on what's going on here. And most traders assume somebody else knows. And so they'll sit on the sidelines and sort of wait for a trend and try to hop on it.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    Many market-watchers anticipate choppy trading for the rest of the week, with no tremendous move in either direction, as investors wait for more information on the U-S economy.

    ///REST OPT///

    A month-long takeover effort in the food sector has come to an end. Anglo-Dutch company, Unilever, is buying Bestfoods of the United States in a deal worth over 20 billion dollars. Analysts say both companies got what they wanted. Bestfoods got a fair price, and Unilever got what is generally considered one of the best-run food companies in the world. The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions for Unilever, which pursued Bestfoods to get more top-name brands and boost revenue growth. The deal is expected to be concluded by the end of the year. It is still subject to regulatory approval in Europe and the United States. A big beer competition is brewing in Europe. Interbrew of Belgium is said to be the frontrunner in the bidding for Bass of Britain. People close to the negotiations say Interbrew could announce a deal worth about three-billion dollars in about two weeks. The acquisition of Britain's number two beer-maker would position Interbrew as Europe's top brewer, toppling Heineken. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/KBK 06-Jun-2000 17:41 PM LOC (06-Jun-2000 2141 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: America's newspapers are filled with editorial comment this Tuesday on President Clinton's visit to Europe, especially his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Putin. Other popular topics concern domestic issues and include a ruling from the U-S Supreme Court on grandparents' rights; lapses in U-S government security; and the China-Cuba trade debate. Now, here is ___________ with a closer look and some highlights in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: President Clinton is home after a high level meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president did achieve some minor agreements on nuclear materials reduction, but he did not get Russian acceptance of a proposed U-S anti- ballistic missile defense system. And that is what most newspapers are talking about. In Northern California, the San Jose Mercury News says it is pleased the president failed.

    VOICE: Good for Vladimir Putin. ... by turning a cold shoulder [Editors: slang for "refusing to agree to"] on President Clinton's "star wars" missile defense pitch [argument in favor of] at the weekend summit in Moscow, [Mr.] Putin helped head off an American gamble that could undermine arms control. And that applause you hear in the wings comes not just from the Kremlin, but from our Western European allies as well.

    TEXT: Taking a very different view, Portland's [Maine] Press Herald headlines its comment: "Despite Russian reluctance, U-S needs an A-B-M system. A limited system would protect Americans without threatening anyone else."

    VOICE: [President] Putin acknowledged that the danger of limited missile attack existed, and didn't close the door to future discussions about establishing defensive site maps. He and [Mr.] Clinton did agree to two lesser measures to defuse international tensions, first by jointly building and staffing a nuclear missile warning center in Moscow, and by having each nation agree to destroy [34 metric tons] of its weapons-grade plutonium, enough to build thousands of nuclear weapons.

    TEXT: The San Francisco Chronicle is one of several newspapers that are skeptical of the rationale for the proposed anti-missile system.

    VOICE: [President] Putin's objections to the anti-missile system are obvious. From the Russian perspective, an anti-missile system gives the United States a first-strike capability. Why then, did [Mr.] Clinton try to persuade [Mr.] Putin to permit the United States to build a "limited" anti-missile system? And why are both Al Gore and George Bush rushing to dismantle one of the most important treaties signed during the Cold War? Against whom must we protect ourselves?

    TEXT: Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette agrees that no major breakthroughs were accomplished, with the two leaders "agreeing to disagree" on the limited missile defense system. But the Post-Gazette adds:

    VOICE: ... the businesslike, respectful manner in which both leaders presented their differences, and vowed to continue trying to reconcile them, suggests that the bilateral relationship has matured. /// OPT /// Not only was the open hostility and tension of the old Soviet-era summits gone, so was the wildly optimistic and cozy tenor of President Clinton's earlier gatherings with Boris Yeltsin. ... The greater formality ... reflects a more realistic relationship. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to U-S domestic affairs, a Supreme Court decision, upholding the rights of parents over the rights of grandparents, is drawing a good deal of attention. It involves a Washington State woman who remarried after her first husband killed himself. She began limiting her deceased husband's parents access to the two girls she had with him. The grandparents sued in court for visitation rights, and Monday the Supreme Court ruled the parents should prevail. The Atlanta Journal reluctantly agrees with the high court.

    VOICE: Our hearts are with grandparents who find themselves excluded from their grandchildren's lives. But the U-S Supreme Court made the proper decision for families in striking down a Washington State law that gave grandparents broad rights to seek court-ordered visitation against parents' wishes.

    TEXT: In the state where the case arose, The Seattle Times adds:

    VOICE: The ... Court's rejection of "grandparents' rights" may sound callous and unfeeling. It is not. It merely reaffirms an old and sensible rule that as long as the parents are fit, they control access to their children.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: Today's Washington Post sees the validity of each side's arguments, and suggests:

    VOICE: ... this decision rightly sends a signal to the states to draw and apply such laws much more carefully in the future.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to presidential politics, Vice President Al Gore has been embarrassed by the revelation that a woman and her family, including a disabled husband and two disabled children, were facing eviction from a house he owns in Tennessee, after complaining about a backed up toilet. Now the Republicans and some newspapers are wondering if he is a slumlord. The Manchester [New Hampshire] Union Leader is one.

    VOICE: Tracy Mayberry of Carthage, Tennessee, says [Vice President] Gore -- through his property manger -- tried to evict her family of seven after she complained that her rental home's toilet and sink were chronically backed up and the place reeked of sewage. [Mrs.] Mayberry ... pays [Mr.] Gore 400 dollars for a four-room home near the vice president's boyhood estate. ... one day after the Nashville television station reported [Mrs.] Mayberry's plight, [Mr.] Gore went into damage-control mode. He ... offered to fix the plumbing, do a complete renovation of the home, pay for temporary housing and have dinner with her when he's in town.

    TEXT: Coming to the vice president's defense is The Houston Chronicle, which says:

    VOICE: We don't think Vice President Al Gore is a slumlord. What he is, is very busy -- being vice president and campaigning for the presidency. /// OPT /// ... It's understandable that someone in the vice president's position might not have time to pay that much attention to a 400-dollars-a-month rental house, although landlords do have responsibilities to renters

    /// END OPT ///

    ... [Mr.] Gore seems to be acting commendably in the matter and the story seems to be fading. Still, we wonder whether the same type of complaint made against [Mr.] Gore's presidential opponent, George Bush, or some other Republican, would fade as quickly.

    TEXT: Today's Atlanta Constitution is one of several newspapers that have been commenting on security breaches reported at 17 federal agencies, including the C-I-A and F-B-I by a group of armed Congressional investigators with fake police identifications. Says the newspaper:

    VOICE: This was not just a matter of getting past the door. The G-A-O [General Accounting Office] agents ...were able to enter the office suits of cabinet secretaries and agency heads. One G-A-O agent drove a rental van into the courtyard of the Department of Justice headquarters. Imagine if these men had intended to harm the cabinet heads. Imagine if the van had been loaded with explosives. This should have been impossible after the Oklahoma City bombing and the fatal U-S Capitol shootings.

    TEXT: Internationally, U-S-A Today, the national daily published in a Washington, D-C suburb, is the latest in a series of newspapers making the case that if trade can be normalized with China, it should also be normalized with Cuba, both communist states.

    VOICE: Common sense requires that the United States admit the futility of the Cuban embargo and open the door, at least a crack ... trying the same logic there as in China: Economic engagement just might have positive results in the long run. Self-imposed isolation -- of the United States, not Cuba -- can't have positive results for anybody.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: The New York Times is concerned that a ploy used by police in Luxembourg last week to fatally wound a man holding several small children hostage at a nursery school could endanger journalists in the future.

    VOICE: ... by using a camera crew as camouflage for their gun and by shooting the suspect who thought he was getting ready to give a television interview, the Luxembourg police have now made it more dangerous for other journalists to do their jobs, and thus harder for them to get news of critical importance. ... While police celebrated the happy outcome, many experienced journalists were understandably horrified at the way they went about it.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Today is June 6th, a day that will live in history for what happened 56 years ago. One newspaper that did not forget is The Detroit Free Press.

    VOICE: It was ... June 6th, 1944, that ... The D-Day invasion ... took place on the beaches of Normandy. ... The ... invasion ... involved more than four-million allied troops in the drive to liberate Europe from the Nazis. The toll was terrible, but 11 months later, Germany surrendered, to begin the end of the last "world war."

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: And lastly, America's indigenous peoples are preparing to receive hundreds, or even thousands of set of remains of their ancestors and other items, from the country's museums. A federal law that went into effect in 1990 orders the return. The Tulsa [Oklahoma] World says at least 200-thousand human remains are involved.

    VOICE: The main problem confronting tribes' reclamation efforts is a backlog of work. The tribes also must decide what to do with "culturally unidentifiable Native American remains." Perhaps tribes could form regional groups to decide how and where remains should be buried. Oklahoma Native Americans, as much as any Native Americans in the united States, will have many decisions to make regarding the transfer of remains ... It is a subject that deserves careful and thoughtful handling.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from today's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 06-Jun-2000 11:51 AM EDT (06-Jun-2000 1551 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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