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Voice of America, 99-09-07

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

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





    INTRO: In the bloodiest incident of the three- month peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, Russian soldiers Monday killed three Serbs who fired on them after refusing to stop beating two ethnic Albanians wounded in a gun battle. Our reporter covering Kosovo, Tim Belay, has the story.

    TEXT: It was the most violent incident involving peacekeeping troops since they arrived in Kosovo three months ago. A spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo, Major Roland Lavoie, says the Russian soldiers had gone to the village of Korminjane after a gunfight broke out between Serbs and Albanians. The Russian peacekeepers returned fire after being shot at by the Serbs. The servicemen had found the Serbs beating two Kosovo Albanians who had been wounded in the battle. When the Russians ordered the Serbs to stop, the Serbs refused -- and began firing at the soldiers. The soldiers then fired back at the Serbs, killing three people. One Albanian also died during the earlier gun battle with Serbs. Major Lavoie says it appeared the Russians had acted properly under regulations allowing peacekeepers in Kosovo to use deadly force to defend themselves. The incident was the latest in what a spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping force calls an escalation of ethnically-motivated violence. Two Albanians died Friday in separate attacks, and a Serb was killed by a bomb at his home in Pristina. Observers in the region say the shootings in Korminjane could serve to improve the reputation of the Russians among ethnic Albanians, who distrust the Russians, claiming they side with the Serbs.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Russian troops meanwhile are still being prevented from entering the southern Kosovo town of Orahovac. A Russian colonel says the incident is a good example of how Russian peacekeepers came to Kosovo with a peacekeeping task in mind, to normalize the situation in the region. (Signed)
    NEB/TB/TVM/WTW 06-Sep-1999 21:10 PM EDT (07-Sep-1999 0110 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A new United Nations report documents a pattern of abuse committed by Serb paramilitary and security forces against ethnic Albanians during the conflict in Kosovo. The report, compiled by the United Nations Human Rights Office also examines the human rights situation in Kosovo after NATO ended its bombing campaign of Yugoslavia. Lisa Schlein in Geneva has details.

    TEXT: United Nations human rights monitors interviewed more than 270 Kosovar refugees in Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. The refugees came from all areas of Kosovo. The monitors say they were struck by similarities they heard in all the testimonies. This, they say, indicates a pattern of systematic violations committed by Serbs against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The report says all the refugees, with the exception of one, described how they were intimidated and violently forced to leave their homes. In the majority of cases, Albanians were expelled from their apartments during house-to- house raids conducted by Serb forces. The report says the displacement and expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo occurred in a climate of lawlessness. The United Nations estimates that as many as 10- thousand Kosovo Albanians died during the period of the NATO campaign and several thousand remain missing. The report notes that both women and children were victims of killings and executions. It says young boys suspected of being members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (K-L-A) were tortured and sometimes killed regardless of their age. The report describes cases of women being raped in their homes by Serb soldiers. Numerous reports speak of a pattern of mutilating women by cutting off their ears and fingers. United Nations Human Rights spokesman, Jose Dias, says the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, believes that those responsible for these criminal violations must be brought to justice. He says a second part of the report examines the situation in Kosovo since the end of the war.

    /// DIAS ACT ///

    The present report shows that the situation of the Serb, Roma and other minority communities since the withdrawal of Serb forces has been a painful one. The High Commissioner considers that what is involved in Kosovo right now is a situation of endangered communities without adequate protection.

    /// END ACT ///

    The report notes that those who were previously the victimizers now have become the victims of human rights abuses. The report says killings, oppression, harassment, intimidation, expulsion, rape and other violations continue to take place in Kosovo at an alarming rate. The United Nations report says it is distressing to note that a campaign to assure the rights of the Kosovar Albanians is now followed by a campaign of atrocities against the Serb, Roma and other minority communities. High Commissioner Robinson calls for a thorough investigation of crimes allegedly committed by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians. (Signed)
    NEB/LS/GE/KL 07-Sep-1999 13:01 PM EDT (07-Sep-1999 1701 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Serb and Montenegrin refugees expelled form Kosovo say they want the international community to live up to its promise to create safety and security in Kosovo. Philip Smucker reports from Budva, Montenegro, where refugees from the city of Pec say are anxiously waiting to return to Kosovo.

    TEXT: Serbian and Montenegrin refugees chased from their homes by vengeful ethnic Albanians say they are ready to return to Kosovo. But they say the international community first must create the safe and secure environment that they say has been promised. Despite the presence of NATO and other international forces in Kosovo, nearly 180- thousand Serbs from Kosovo are now refugees in Serbia and Montenegro. Many of them -- like Toma Markovic and his eight- member family -- are living in one-room apartments with only minimal assistance from the outside world. Mr. Markovic -- a 60-year-old construction engineer -- is trying to work through the Serbian Orthodox Church to arrange returns to the city of Pec. He has returned himself under an escort provided by NATO but says he was afraid to get out of his car. For real returns to begin, Mr. Markovic -- speaking through a translator -- says he first wants U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other Western officials to live up to their promise to create safe conditions for those returns.


    She promised the safety and the security for all the people in Kosovo and that is the only promise she didn't fulfill still. And we have hope her last promise will be fulfilled.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Markovic admits that Pec was hit hard by rampaging Yugoslav paramilitaries during the NATO bombing campaign.


    All the crimes, all the destruction, all the murders of innocent Albanians in Pec were done, were committed by people who were outsiders who were not from Pec.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Markovic said he stood in front of some houses and shops that his company had built to try to prevent them from being burned down. Other refugees in Budva, a quiet Adriatic resort town, blame their own Serbian leaders and Western powers for the plight of their families. They say that the least that should be done to help them is to provide internationally funded work programs so they can feel like they have control over their future. (Signed)
    NEB/PS/JWH/KL 07-Sep-1999 11:54 AM EDT (07-Sep-1999 1554 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 9/8/99. Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: Richard Holbrooke, the new United States ambassador to the United Nations, has a tough assignment. In addition to his regular job, he is one of the American policymakers responsible for helping to build a sustainable peace in Kosovo. As one of the architects of the Dayton agreements that put an end to the war in Bosnia in 1995, Mr. Holbrooke knows just how difficult such a task can be. That is why he is making absolutely clear what needs to be done. One thing that is necessary is for the Kosovo Liberation Army to demilitarize. There is room for only one security force in Kosovo and that is the Kosovo Protection Force - K-FOR. Nor will there be a durable peace in Kosovo in the absence of political justice and the rule of law. There can be no peace unless all communities agree to respect one another's rights and live under the same rules. Notwithstanding its overwhelming Albanian majority, Kosovo is a multi-ethnic province whose Serb and Gypsy minorities also deserve to live in freedom and security. Under present circumstances, this is not easy for Kosovo Albanians to accept. Mr. Holbrooke himself gave a news conference near a mass grave where over one hundred Albanians were murdered, presumably by Serbs. It would be foolish to deny that there is a powerful urge for revenge. But giving vent to that impulse will not advance the task of putting in place in Kosovo the institutions of a democratic, law-abiding state. This cannot be done quickly. The K-FOR troops will be needed for some time to provide a secure environment and protect minority populations. The inevitable opportunities for corruption that the devastated province offers must be suppressed. The task in Kosovo is daunting - for the U-N, K- FOR, the private relief agencies, and above all the Kosovars themselves. A society cannot be re- built overnight. But along with houses and schools and jobs, there must be respect. Respect for one another of all religions and backgrounds, and respect for the law. Those are the conditions for Kosovo's rebirth. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 07-Sep-1999 12:54 PM EDT (07-Sep-1999 1654 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    // Re-issuing to correct CR number //

    INTRO: Russian President Boris Yeltsin has lashed out at military leaders for failing to stop Islamic rebels from advancing into Dagestan. Moscow correspondent Eve Conant reports that Mr. Yeltsin is calling for quick and tough measures to expel the militants from the southern Russian region.

    TEXT: President Boris Yeltsin, looking angry and resolute, personally chaired an emergency session of Russia's Security Council. He told his generals to act quickly to expel Islamic rebels from Dagestan.

    ///Act Yeltsin in Russian in full and fade under///

    "So far we have failed to root out this terrorist infection," he says. "What we must do now is cut off all lines of military, financial, and moral support they are receiving from abroad." The Russian president said the militants could not be described as Islamic because they are fighting their own people.
    ///Second Act Yeltsin in Russian in full and fade under///
    "These terrorists have no God and no faith," he says. "They are degenerates and murderers." The insurgents are believed to be members of the strict Islamic "Wahhabi" sect, who wish to make Dagestan, which is predominantly Muslim, an independent Islamic state. Earlier in the day, Mr. Yeltsin accused federal troops of "carelessness" for failing to stop hundreds of Chechen-led rebels from seizing villages in Dagestan, and for allowing a bomb attack at a military housing complex that killed more than 60 people.
    ///Third Act Yeltsin in Russian in full and fade under///
    He asks, "How did we lose a whole region in Dagestan? Why do we have more terrorist attacks in a secure military base than in other places?" Then, in answer to his own question, he says, "This is just the negligence of the military." Russia's Defense Ministry has been ordered to capture positions on the outskirts of the Karamakhi region by the end of the day Tuesday. The conflict in Dagestan is the heaviest fighting Russian troops have faced since the 1994 to 1996 civil war in Chechnya. (Signed)
    NEB/EC/GE/KL 07-Sep-1999 13:50 PM EDT (07-Sep-1999 1750 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The European Parliament has completed confirmation hearings on the 19 new members of the European Commission. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports the full parliament is expected to approve the new commission next week.

    TEXT: Confirmation hearings may be usual in the United States Senate, but for Europe, the practice of interrogating prospective members of a new government is unusual indeed. In fact, the designated commissioner for external relations, Christopher Patten, said during his hearing that he does not approve of the European Parliament committees becoming like Jesse Helms, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Despite occasionally contentious questions, none of the 19 prospective commissioners emerged with serious damage from the weeklong process. At the end of them, Romano Prodi, the new president of the commission, met with the leaders of the parliament's political parties. He assured them that all the commissioners will be available whenever the parliament wants them. More importantly, he told the leaders that if parliament expresses lack of confidence in any of his commissioners, he will consider asking that commissioner to resign. That is an important assurance for the parliament, which does not have the power to reject an individual commissioner. When the parliament votes on the new European Commission next week, it must vote all 19 members up or down. The president of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, says through an interpreter, with these assurances from Mr. Prodi, she feels approval of the European Union's new executive board cannot be denied.


    My impression is that the European Parliament should, without too great difficulties, should be able to give the investiture to the Commission but if granted of course, it will not be an end in itself, it will simply be the start of a new cooperation which we all wish to be as close as possible.

    /// END ACT ///

    Many of the center-right parties in the parliament agree with the Parliament President. So do the left- of-center parties that were sent into opposition by last June's election. The pledges of cooperation are important since the European Parliament has a conservative majority and the new Commission has a majority of left-of-center politicians. The anti-European British Conservatives announced they will vote against the new Commission on principle because it retains four commissioners from the current commission that was forced to resign last March because of charges of mismanagement and fraud. The British Conservatives are most enraged because one of the Commissioners retained is Neil Kinnock, a former British Labor Party leader. Mr. Kinnock is now charged with leading the new Commission's reform effort. Mr. Kinnock promises to have a reform plan ready for approval by Parliament by next February. As for suggestions that all members of the current Commission were tainted, Mr. Kinnock says he resigned collectively but bears no blame for the mismanagement.

    /// KINNOCK ACT ///

    As an appointed person on March the 16th, I accepted collective responsibility. It is fundamental to the operation of the Commission, but I cannot honestly say that I could accept individual guilt.

    /// END ACT ///

    One prospective Commissioner, Belgium's Phillippe Busquin, did get a mixed verdict from his committee based on his past associations with Belgian political scandals. However, Mr. Prodi tells the political parties he will insist that Mr. Busquin be approved next week with his entire Commission. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/JWH/PT 07-Sep-1999 15:04 PM EDT (07-Sep-1999 1904 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, has celebrated 50 years of democratic postwar government. Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin.

    TEXT: It was a moment to feel proud of. That was the comment by Bundestag president Wofgang Thierse as he spoke to a full chamber in the Reichstag, Germany's newly restored parliamentary building in Berlin. It was 50 years ago -- September 7th, 1949 -- when West Germany's postwar constitutional assembly first sat in makeshift quarters in the quiet provincial city of Bonn. Now, once again, the national parliament was in session in Berlin, the capital of a united Germany. Now, even the people of the former East Germany, who for so long had been deprived of democratic government, could enjoy representative democracy. Germany's transformation from expansionist imperial power, through the aggressive and murderous dictatorship of National Socialism, to a modern, peaceful and democratic state is one of the dramatic stories of the 20th century. It holds a powerful symbolism for both East and West as well as for emerging democracies So it was fitting, Germans said, that the ceremonial session was attended by 71 parliamentary speakers from around the world. It was fitting, too, they said, that the session should take place in the Reichstag building, burnt out in the early days of Adolf Hitler's Nazi rule and later damaged by allied bombing. Many Germans also commented on the irony that democracy should once again have found its home in a building which for so long was largely remembered in the East for the photograph of a soldier raising the Soviet flag on its ruins as Soviet troops marched into the city after the war. But 50 years on, the ceremonial session was not only a moment for nostalgia and symbolism. It was also a moment for looking ahead. It was, in the words of the Bundestag president, a pledge for the future. (Signed)
    NEB/JB/JWH/KL 07-Sep-1999 13:57 PM EDT (07-Sep-1999 1757 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were down today (Tuesday) in what analysts say was profit-taking after Friday's strong rally. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11- thousand-34, down 44 points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 13-hundred-50, down six points. The NASDAQ index lost a fraction of one percent. There was no major economic news to move stock prices and analysts say some profit-taking was to be expected after Friday's strong rally in which the Industrial Average gained 235 points. In the largest media deal in history, The Viacom company will pay more than 35 billion dollars in stock for C-B-S which operates the top-rated television network in the United States. The deal will combine C-B-S's numerous broadcast properties with Viacom's highly successful production, cable television and television broadcast operations.

    /// Rest Opt for long ///

    Viacom Chief Sumner Redstone, who will become chairman of the combined company, says the merger will provide some major growth opportunities.

    /// Redstone Act ///

    There will be many growth opportunities such as significantly wider distribution of our television programs, unprecedented cross- promotion for all of our content and accelerated international growth for our cable business in a never-before assembled set of assets.

    /// End Act ///

    Mr. Redstone has chosen C-B-S head Mel Karmazin to be President of the combined company and Mr. Redstone's eventual successor. The Hilton Hotels Corporation has confirmed it will buy the Promus hotel company for four billion dollars. The combination will create a lodging industry giant with 17 hundred hotel properties in price ranges from luxury to economy. The Millennium and Copthorne hotel company of Britain will pay 725 million dollars for the 29 North American hotels owned by the Regal company. The Ford Motor Company has reached agreement to settle sexual and racial harassment charges at two of its assembly plants. Ford is establishing a seven and one- half million dollar fund to compensate victims. The stock of the V-One computer software company soared by more than 100 percent after the firm announced a new product which allows companies to form secure computer links with each other. The new software will allow firms to share data with their suppliers and customers using private computer networks. The heads of the two largest U-S stock markets have reassured investors that there will be no problems with Year Two Thousand computer failures. In a joint news conference, Richard Grasso, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and Frank Zarb, head of NASDAQ said the computer systems of both markets have been thoroughly tested and that the first trading day of the Year Two Thousand will be "just another day." (Signed) NEB/BA/EJ/TVM/PT 07-Sep-1999 17:12 PM LOC (07-Sep-1999 2112 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Continuing violence in East Timor remains an important topic in the editorial columns of U-S dailies as the nation returns to work after the Labor Day weekend. Another popular topic is a somewhat discouraging report just released on AIDS. Other issues being debated include: the unsettled Balkans; U-S ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty; and whether to grant clemency to some imprisoned Puerto Rican terrorists. Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is _______________ and today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: With continuing violence and killing by pro- independence militias reported from East Timor, several papers are commenting on the deteriorating situation. Boston's Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal both compare the South Pacific island to Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, with the Boston paper, asking:

    VOICE: Is this Kosovo all over again? An ethnic people on a small territory stand up for their independence against an outside power that then lets loose armed thugs to kill at random and create a refugee wave. Meanwhile, the U-N Security Council dawdles about whether to intervene in the ensuing genocide for fear of offending China or Russia. And America, despite its immense powers, prefers that other countries near the crisis . take charge. . Unlike Kosovo, East Timor has no NATO in the neighborhood to rescue it or to prevent genocide. Australia, whose northern coast lies close to East Timor, is poised to send in forces to stop the fighting, but lacks the international cover to make such intervention legitimate. The West should threaten swift economic sanctions unless Indonesia quickly approves a U-N-backed force in East Timor to finally let it be free.

    TEXT: The Wall Street Journal also feels imposition of sanctions could possible have an impact on the violence, but admits:

    VOICE: . even if implemented ideas like that are unlikely to stem the violence. It's a painful shame . the world powers failed to think through a safer path toward self-determination months ago, for the bloody outcome in Timor can only be called predictable.

    TEXT: Although East Timor is capturing headlines, there are still papers editorially worrying about the unsettled state of the Balkans. And one of them is The [Little Rock] Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

    VOICE: Does the name Slobodan Milosevic ring a bell, an alarm bell? Yes, he's still there, simmering. He's now in the Saddam Hussein phase of his bloody reign over what's left of Yugoslavia, mainly Serbia and a restive, disaffected Montenegro. After losing yet another war, his fourth, this weak strongman still issues a threat now and then-just loud enough for the networks to break away from the Clintons' house- hunting tour to give Kosovo two minutes of air time. Just for old times' sake. . Note the massive rally against the Milosevic Gang two weeks back. Some 150- thousand turned out in the streets of Serbia's capital. May their tribe increase. But will that kind of anti-Milosevic enthusiasm last till the next election, if there is one? . why do we have this feeling that Slobodan Milosevic will be hanging around as long as his dictatorial counterpart in Iraq?

    TEXT: Some editorial misgivings on the Balkans from The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

    TEXT: Here at home, the most popular topic is a new report showing progress against AIDS in the United States is slowing down, eliciting this response from The Chicago Tribune.

    VOICE: Last week's news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - that recent dramatic declines in death rates from AIDS had slowed substantially in 1998-was worrisome, but not nearly so worrisome as preliminary data and anecdotal reports from AIDS organizations pointing to a rising tide of complacency about prevention on the part of both the gay community and the government.

    TEXT: In Texas, The Forth Worth Star-Telegram worries that:

    VOICE: Too much faith is being placed in the miracles of modern medicine and not enough in the common sense that would avoid possible exposure to a killer. Overconfidence in new antiviral drugs that have been successful in stalling the deadly march of HIV and AIDS has resulted in a slackening of vigilance.

    TEXT: There have been several editorials criticizing the Senate for failing to ratify the long pending Nuclear Test Ban treaty. Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal points out President Clinton sent the treaty to the Senate two years ago, where Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms has held it hostage ever since.

    VOICE: {Mr.] Helms . might move the treaty-if the president withdrew two other treaties he detests. Republican leaders would like to strike a deal: ratification in exchange for Clinton support of a missile defense. The merits of the test ban? Five current and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff support the test ban. So do most arms-control experts. The ban would ensure American nuclear superiority. It would discourage emerging nuclear countries from accelerating the arms race .

    TEXT: Another contentious issue in this country is President Clinton's offer of clemency to 16 jailed Puerto Rican terrorists, found guilty of conspiring to bomb police and other institutions in the late 1970s and early `80s. The move is widely seen in the press as a way to help his wife, Hillary, who is expected to run for the Senate from New York and needs the Puerto Rican vote. Mrs. Clinton has now said she opposes clemency. The Philadelphia Inquirer says any action depends on revisiting their crimes.

    VOICE: A fair judgment must start with the actual crimes of these militants. These include illegal possession of firearms, transporting stolen vehicles, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. But not one of [them] was convicted in a bombing or other act of violence. Their crimes are serious, yet the sentences-ranging from 35 to 90 years in prison-were excessive. Calls for leniency have come from Catholic Cardinal John O'Connor, former President Jimmy Carter, South Africa's Desmond Tutu and other voices for human rights. [However] Newsweek [magazine]has reported that some of these prisoners have been surreptitiously taped talking of future violence post-release. Obviously, if anyone made such statements . he or she mustn't be released.

    TEXT: Taking the other side, Newsday on Long Island,concludes:

    VOICE: .Until now, President Clinton-who was elected promising a tough national response to the problem of violent crime-has issued just three clemencies in nearly seven years. This was not the time to muddy that record. All members of terrorist groups must understand they will be dealt with severely.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Today's Washington Post is concerned about the proposed income tax cut debate which will resume as Congress returns this week from its August recess.

    VOICE: Congress returns from vacation to the same intractable math from which it fled a month ago. To finance the tax cut they want to give, the Republicans would have to make much deeper spending cuts than even many of them are prepared to vote for-or should vote for, given the harm that would be done. The president plans to solve part of the problem. He has said he will veto the tax cut as soon as it is sent to him. But then what? . Are they going to cut these programs enough to produce the surplus they would need to finance a tax cut.? We doubt it - which is why the projected surplus in other than Social Security funds is an illusion. They [Congressional Republicans]risk harm by pretending otherwise: they propose to spend money that doesn't exist.

    TEXT: And lastly, some thoughts on Space shuttle safety from The Kansas City [Missouri] Star, following a series of problems with the spacecraft on recent missions.

    VOICE: Finally, U-S space officials got the message. They figured out that their luck might be running out and . they had to do the right thing . Grounding the shuttle fleet was a prudent move by officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA officials announced the fleet probably wouldn't be ready until at least mid-October. That should have happened sooner, given the numerous problems that have affected mission after mission.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Tuesday's daily papers.
    NEB/ANG/BK 07-Sep-1999 12:00 PM EDT (07-Sep-1999 1600 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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