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Voice of America, 99-11-10

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

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





    INTRO: President Clinton is postponing a trip to Greece because of concerns about security. Correspondent Nick Simeone reports anti-American groups are threatening demonstrations during his visit.

    TEXT: Many Greeks disagreed with the US-led NATO bombing over Kosovo and some groups have threatened anti-American demonstrations during the President's visit to Athens. Mr. Clinton told reporters he is not worried about protests but that the Greek government asked for his schedule to be modified.

    /// CLINTON Act ///

    They asked to do it. Whether the demonstrations had anything to do with it, I don't know. But they might have. But I'm not bothered about it.

    /// END ACT ///

    The President will instead fly to Turkey first for a summit of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. He will delay his visit to Athens until November 19th - avoiding the anniversary of a 1973 anti-government student uprising in Greece that has also become a day of anti-American rallies as well. (SIGNED)
    NEB/NJS/JO 10-Nov-1999 11:17 AM EDT (10-Nov-1999 1617 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The United States is expressing concern about the fate of an ethnic Albanian doctor who faces terrorism charges in a Serbian court this week. From the State Department, V-O-A's Kyle King reports.

    TEXT: The State Department says it does not believe that Doctor Flora Brovina can expect a fair trial in Serbia under the Milosevic government. Dr. Brovina was a prominent Kosovo Albanian pediatrician and women's rights activist. She is expected to go on trial for terrorism later this week in the Southern Serb city of Nis. Dr. Brovina is one of an undetermined number of ethnic Albanian prisoners who were transferred to Serbia before NATO peacekeeping troops arrived in Kosovo in June. State Department Spokesman James Rubin says the United States is concerned about the fate of the prisoners.

    /// RUBIN ACT ///

    The United States is especially concerned about the fate of dozens of women and children who are among the thousands now languishing in Serbian prisons. The youngest prisoner is reported to be only four months old - born during his mother's incarceration. Many other prisoners are under 18 years of age. Prisoners who have been released - regardless of their ethnicity - tell of beatings while in detention, lack of sufficient food and of appropriate medical care.

    /// END ACT ///

    The exact number of ethnic Albanian detainees taken from Kosovo by departing Serb forces is not known. Serbian authorities acknowledge holding about 19- hundred. The State Department says some estimates run as high as seven thousand. Serb officials had no immediate comment to the U-S condemnation, or to accusations of abuse of the Serbian legal system. NEB/KK/TVM/gm 10-Nov-1999 15:36 PM EDT (10-Nov-1999 2036 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    NUMBER=1-00796 SHORT # 1

    INSERTS AVAILABLE IN AUDIO SERVICES THEME: UP, HOLD UNDER AND FADE Anncr: On the Line - a discussion of United States policy and contemporary issues. This week, "Turmoil in the Caucasus." Here is your host, ---- . Host: Hello and welcome to On the Line. Chechnya gained virtual autonomy in 1996 after Russia abandoned its unsuccessful war against the province. But two months ago, after a Chechen-led insurrection in neighboring Dagestan and terrorist bombings in Russian cities that were blamed on Chechens, Russian forces reentered the province and have been hammering it ever since. Some two hundred thousand refugees have fled to nearby Ingushetia, and there is no end to the fighting in sight. Charles Fairbanks is director of the Central Asia- Caucasus Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He says that many see the fighting in Chechnya as an attempt by the new Russian prime minister to boost his popularity as a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. Fairbanks: Some people think that the arrival of Prime Minister [Vladimir] Putin at the end of the summer actually somehow set these events in train because he is the designated successor of Boris Yeltsin, who is standing at something like two percent in the polls. And it's almost universally thought in Russia that the war has something to do with the presidential election coming up next spring or early summer. Host: Paul Henze is a resident consultant at the RAND Corporation. He says that Russia could have prevented the current war by meeting its obligations to Chechnya made in 1996. Henze: When the Russians, at the initiative of General [Aleksandr] Lebed agreed to withdraw from Chechnya, and agreed on a timetable for Chechen self-determination, they also promised major aid. If the Russians had given that substantial financial aid for the reconstruction of Chechnya, it would not have become the mess that it became. No Russian aid came through. The Russians did nothing to moderate the situation in Chechnya. Under those circumstances, the worst elements in Chechnya came to the top. Paul Goble is communications director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He says that the United States should use more than words to express its disapproval of Russian conduct in Chechnya. Goble: Right now, the Russian government is delighted by our criticism because this allows the current Russian authorities to portray themselves as standing up for Russia against the West at no cost. I believe that we ought to use our leverage in I-M-F [International Monetary Fund] loans and elsewhere to make it very clear that a country that is violating all kinds of international undertakings, violating its own constitution, violating the laws of war -- however you want see this conflict -- will not be getting the kind of support that we would otherwise like to be able to extend it. We are talking about a crisis that has driven more than a quarter of a million people from their homes, that has cost thousands of injured and hundreds, if not thousands, of dead, and is going to have even more severe humanitarian consequences in the coming months. So we should, I think, take a very tough line. Host: At their recent meeting in Oslo, President Bill Clinton made clear to Prime Minister Putin U.S. concern over escalating civilian casualties in Chechnya and the need to pursue political dialogue. For On the Line, this is -------. Anncr: You've been listening to "On the Line" - a discussion of United States policies and contemporary issues. This is -------. 10-Nov-1999 15:06 PM EDT (10-Nov-1999 2006 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Germany has celebrated the tenth anniversary of the day that changed European history. It was November Ninth, 1989, when the Berlin Wall first began to open - marking the beginning of the end of the Wall and a Europe divided by communism. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Berlin reports changes are taking place in united Germany's new capital but memories of the past still linger.

    TEXT: Just like 10 years ago, on the night of November Ninth, it was cold. This time it also was rainy. Just like 10 years ago, there were thousands of people at the Brandenburg Gate. Ten years ago, the Germans were drawn by reports the Berlin Wall was opening there. This time, they gathered for a nostalgic party. They heard a German rock band, the Scorpions, sing "The Winds of Change" accompanied by conductor, Mystislav Rostropovich, leading 166 cellists.


    The choice of Mr. Rostropovich was symbolic. Ten years ago, he had flown to Berlin in a chartered jet to play Bach with his own cello to salute happy East Germans crossing the Wall to the West. That performance was replayed to the crowd.


    Berlin, now again the capital of a united Germany, wanted to demonstrate change after 10 years, but it also wanted to evoke memories of the way it happened. The city's honored foreign guests were the 1989 presidents of the United States and the Soviet Union.


    Mikhail Gorbachev was followed by shouts of "Gorbi, Gorbi" wherever he went here, honored more in Germany than back home in Russia. He withdrew Soviet support from East Germany's hardline leaders and allowed the Berlin Wall to open peacefully. Former U-S President George Bush told the German parliament he has special affection for the former Soviet leader.

    /// BUSH ACT ///

    History will be very kind to Mikhail Gorbachev, the architect of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), policies that helped build the common European home that he spoke of 10 years ago, by acknowledging the right to self-determination.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Gorbachev repeatedly says he made the right decision to let the two German states reunite and that he knew as early as January 1990 that the process of reunification was inevitable. The actual date of reunification was October Third, 1990. It happened unbelievably fast, according to the German chancellor of the time Helmut Kohl. All three former leaders, Messrs. Gorbachev, Bush and Kohl, received loud cheers from the thousands of people at the Brandenburg Gate when they appeared on the stage. The winds of change are in store for the last leaders of communist East Germany. Germans have seen a lot of Egon Krenz and Guenter Schabowski during the ten-year anniversary celebrations. A court turned down their appeals and ordered them to serve prison terms. They had been convicted of issuing the orders in the early 1980's to shoot Germans who tried to leave the country illegally. Mr. Gorbachev said he could not understand imprisoning the same people who opened up the borders in 1989. As the reform communist leader, Mr. Krenz directed East Germany's new free travel regulations. Mr. Schabowski, as a central committee secretary, prematurely announced the immediate opening of the Berlin Wall setting off the scenes of joy in 1989. However, the past is still present in Berlin. On November Ninth, there was a wreath laying at the memorial to the Germans killed trying to leave East Germany. The Berlin Wall may be long gone, but memories are deep. Rainer Appleman was a human rights campaigner in East Germany and he remembers when the wall was built in August, 1961. His father was in West Berlin at the time. His mother -- with four small children -- was in East Berlin, separated by the new wall. It is the change from that kind of inhumanity that was recalled here in the rain 10 years later.


    Whatever challenges are ahead for Germany, the winds of the change of 1989 is the one people here appreciate the best. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JO 10-Nov-1999 12:42 PM EDT (10-Nov-1999 1742 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed Wednesday. There was some confusion on Wall Street over the latest report on U-S inflation at the producer, or wholesale, price level. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off a fraction. It lost 19 points, closing at 10-thousand- 597. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose eight points to 13-hundred-73. And the Nasdaq index sailed back into record territory after Tuesday's drop, with a gain of one percent. A new producer price index shows that inflation in the United States actually fell one-tenth of one percent in October. But the core rate, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose more than expected.

    // OPT //

    John Lonsky, chief economist at Moody's Investors Service, says while U-S labor costs are being held in check, there is no doubt in his mind that inflationary pressure is building up:

    /// LONSKY ACT ///

    Well I think that this latest report tells us that despite that penny-per-hour increase by the average hourly wage for the month of October, inflation risks are rising in the United States and world-wide, mostly because we are now engaged in the most pronounced acceleration of global economic activity since 1994.

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

    There is not just one opinion on the issue. Analysts disagree on whether inflation is indeed a threat or the U-S central bank needs to raise short-term interest rates when it meets Tuesday. Some economists believe those rates will be going up in any case -- if not next week, then early next year.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Shares of United Parcel Service [U-P-S] soared as the world's largest private-sector package delivery service launched the biggest initial public offering in U-S history. U-P-S offered nearly 110-million shares, or about 10 percent of itself, for public sale to raise money for acquisitions. U-P-S is gearing up for an expected surge in online sales. United Parcel Service, which has been in existence for 92 years, is expected to be a major beneficiary of the boom in electronic commerce. Its debut in the stock market was met with the enthusiasm investors normally reserve for high-technology or pure internet issues. On the earnings front, K-Mart - the second largest U-S discount retailer - reported disappointing quarterly profits, below expectations. Meanwhile, Federated Department Stores, the owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, easily beat forecasts with a 12 percent growth in profits. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/WTW 10-Nov-1999 17:24 PM EDT (10-Nov-1999 2224 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The high cost of medical care and how to pay for it is the leading topic in many U-S editorial pages today. There is also more comment, one day after the celebrations in Berlin, on the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Other topics include elections in Mexico and the latest efforts to bring peace to the Mideast. Now, here is ______________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Many Americans have enrolled in what are called Health Maintenance Organizations, known as H-M-O's, in an effort to control their medical expenses. But one of the criticisms of H-M-Os is that they are too restrictive, that to save money, they limit patients' choices in medical care. Earlier this week one of the biggest H-M-Os, UnitedHealth Group, said that it was going to give doctors greater latitude in the treatments they prescribe. That decision has won praise from newspapers across the country. "The Los Angeles Times" writes:

    VOICE: Since World War II, medical insurers have gone from one extreme to the other: first the "fee-for- service" system in the 1960's and `70's which rewarded lavish spending by hospitals and doctors, then a "managed-care" system in the `80's and `90's, which too often rewarded health providers who denied treatment in order to ratchet [reduce] costs. Congress has not found a good middle ground, but now the nation's largest health insurer is working toward it. UnitedHealth Group [has announced] it will return decision-making power to physicians.

    TEXT: "The Los Angeles Times" goes on to say that UnitedHealth will still retain its ability to assess whether the doctors are delivering cost-efficient quality medical care. "The New York Times" says the idea of managed care was a good one, although its flaws soon became apparent:

    VOICE: When the managed-care concept first burst upon the American health-care scene a decade or so ago, it was touted as the best way to control runaway medical costs and to assure that all patients received the care they needed but not unnecessary care. // OPT // As one key element of "managing" costs, insurance plan administrators were given the power to approve, in advance, any costly procedures and hospitalizations recommended by doctors participating in the plan. Whatever merit this approach had as a management tool, it was despised by both patients and doctors. // END OPT //... The change at [UnitedHealth] does not, by any means, mean that the managed-care industry is giving up the goal of cost containment, nor should it.... The managed care companies ... will need to retain some tools to prevent another explosion of healthcare costs on the scale that spawned managed care to begin with.

    // OPT //

    TEXT: Like the "New York Times", "U-S-A Today" welcomes the new proposal, but it also says a lot more needs to be done by H-M-O's:

    VOICE: The hobbling of doctors is only part of an industry-wide pattern of ignoring patients' concerns until public outcry [becomes great]. Many in the industry [tried to prevent] doctors from discussing expensive treatment options with patients, only to abandon them in the face of withering public criticism. Companies capped physicians' payments and used other financial incentives to reward doctors who curtailed access to care ... until states started debating ways to ban the practice. Others used foreshortened medical stays to control costs... Still others imposed tight restrictions on emergency room services.

    TEXT: UnitedHealth's announcement, "U-S-A Today" suggests, is only a first step. Plenty of frustrating obstacles to good health care still remain, says the paper.

    // END OPT //

    Commenting on yesterday's celebrations in Berlin marking the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the "Washington Post" says there is still a pervasive sense of wonder that so large and authentically historic an event could take place so casually. The "Post" writes:

    VOICE: One day the hated keystone of Moscow's empire was there. The next day the concrete was rubble. Suddenly European Communism was gone, the Soviet Union was gone, the Soviet Communist Party was gone, Europe was no longer divided ... and freedom was beginning to ring where it had not rung in a generation or more.... A debate still rages over whether the Cold War was waged at excessive cost and risk... But 10-years is not too soon to apply the new grant of security, opportunity and dignity that became available to hundreds of millions of people in many countries.

    TEXT: The "Washington Post" concludes by saying that the work of moving on from the Cold War remains at the core of the global agenda. "The Wall Street Journal" says the collapse of the Wall had repercussions far beyond Europe. The paper writes:

    TEXT: The events of November ninth, 1989 had a profound effect on all who watched them. In Asia as elsewhere, the fall of the Wall opened countless doors. The people power movements of recent years and ... widespread sense of entitlement to basic rights and freedoms has drawn strength from the proof 10- years ago that no status quo is immutable. The collapse of Soviet imperialism made the idea of popular protest and political reform seem less threatening to Asian governments that had seen iron rule as the only bulwark against Communist subversion.

    TEXT: The "Wall Street Journal" says in the new atmosphere Taiwan and South Korea secured democratic transitions that might not have been possible, or would have been much delayed. The "Chicago Tribune" says Sunday's presidential primary in Mexico shows that democracy is making further inroads in that country. The paper writes:

    VOICE: The Institutional Revolutionary Party . has dominated Mexico's political life since 1929 -- the longest uninterrupted run of any party in the world -- and its inner workings, particularly the selection of its presidential candidates, have been as impenetrable as any ritual of the Roman Curia [Vatican officials]. That secretive and autocratic tradition began to crumble Sunday, when the P-R-I held its first-ever primary election to select candidates for next July's races for president and mayor of Mexico City. It was a watershed in the country's remarkable politician and economic opening under President Ernesto Zedillo. // OPT // Francisco Labastida won the P-R-I's presidential nomination by a landslide over Roberto Madrazo and two lesser candidates after a lively ... primary campaign. // END OPT //

    TEXT: Finally, the "Christian Science Monitor" says the race toward Mideast peace is now in its final lap, but will require the help of a strong outsider. The paper writes:

    VOICE: Israel and Palestinian negotiators began the task of meeting a February deadline and coming up with broad solutions to settle their most difficult differences: Jerusalem, West Bank border, Jewish settlements, Israeli security, the return of Palestinian refugees and water. But is there a referee to keep these two runners heading straight and true to the tape, someone who can prevent out of lane cheating or stop just one runner from just dropping out? ... [President Clinton] hopes his main foreign policy legacy will be a Mideast peace. ...Is he up to the task?

    TEXT: With that commentary from the "Christian Science Monitor", we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Wednesday's U-S newspapers.
    NEB/KL/RAE 10-Nov-1999 12:31 PM EDT (10-Nov-1999 1731 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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