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Voice of America, 99-10-17

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

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





    INTRO: Officials from 47 countries and 34- international organizations have pledged one-point- one-billion dollars to meet reconstruction needs in Kosovo through the end of next year. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels on the second Kosovo donor's conference.

    TEXT: Nearly half of the more than one-billion dollars in new pledges came from the European Union. The European Commission has already identified 35- million dollars that will be granted to Kosovo to help pay for reconstruction of public services. The Commission still needs to decide how the remainder of its pledge of about 500-million dollars will be spent. The World Bank and the European Commission express satisfaction with the new pledges that will meet Kosovo's needs through the end of next year. A first donor's conference in July raised two-point- three-billion dollars to meet Kosovo's immediate humanitarian needs. This second conference pledged money for the longer-term recovery and reconstruction requirements of Kosovo. The conference directors say enough money has been pledged in the two conferences to meet Kosovo's needs through the end of next year. Participants in the conference emphasized the need for a recovery led by the private sector with effective institutions so Kosovo does not become an aid-dependent economy. Joly Dixon represents the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and says he was pleased with both the money and advice given at the conference.

    /// DIXON ACT ///

    That advice is that we should carry on what we have been doing on the humanitarian side. Winterization and facing the winter is a major challenge and we must continue that work. We must secondly continue the work that we have been doing on institution building. The objective of course is to move toward elections and that's going to require registration and other things and we need to make more progress there. Third, we must continue our work on building the macro-economic framework and we were able to report on progress that is being made there but we need to do more.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// OPT ///

    As for the future, the U-N mission was told to work more closely with the Kosovo Albanian population. The donor's conference invited four Kosovo representatives to attend but bad weather in Pristina prevented them from leaving. /// END OPT /// Mr. Dixon says part of the donors' new contributions will go to pay the salaries of the local police, the nurses and the tax collectors.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Christiaan Poortman represents the World Bank and says money is already flowing toward meeting Kosovo's winter needs but economic reconstruction will take more time.

    /// POORTMAN ACT ///

    Projects need to be designed, they need to be frequently tendered, financial resources need to be disbursed and that normally disburses over a longer period of time. That does not mean to say it does not happen at this point in time but that is where the new move needs to be. So money is flowing and it is flowing to those areas that have been established as being of high priority.

    /// END ACT ///

    If all goes well, there will not be another Kosovo donor's conference until the end of next year. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/RAE 17-Nov-1999 14:22 PM EDT (17-Nov-1999 1922 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America




    INTRO: Negotiators are moving closer to agreement on compensating the victims of the Nazi slave labor program. Jonathan Braude in Berlin says negotiators reported progress after German industry raised its offer of compensation by an additional 550-million dollars.

    TEXT: The German government raised its contribution Monday. German industry matched the government's move during talks in the former capital, Bonn. The total being proposed is just more than four- billion dollars to compensate as many as possible of the surviving victims of the Nazi World-War-Two slave labor policy. And although all sides were careful to say there is no final agreement, they were also eager to stress an agreement appears close. Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, --leading the U-S team at the negotiations -- said German firms now have a commitment from the U-S government and the victims' lawyers not to pursue legal action for further compensation once a deal is agreed. And German-industry spokesman, Daimler Chrysler finance director Manfred Gentz, said he is confident the money could be raised once a deal is finally reached on the exact sum and the promise of legal closure. He said it would take another three to four-months to get the cash together so that payments could start to be made. But the negotiators have given themselves another three-weeks to think matters over. The victims' lawyers and other representatives of former slaves -- such as the Jewish Claims Conference and a number of Eastern European governments -- still believe the sum should be increased. And the United States and the Eastern Europeans want to include former agricultural laborers whom the German government has been trying to leave out of the deal. All sides know time is running out to compensate the victims, who are mostly in their 80's. But until everyone is satisfied, what Deputy Secretary Eizenstat called a final moral gesture for the end of the 20th century may have to wait for the beginning of the 21st. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JB/JWH/RAE 17-Nov-1999 13:11 PM EDT (17-Nov-1999 1811 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were lower today (Wednesday) - one day after the U-S central bank raised short-term interest rates. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 49 points, or less than one-half of one percent, closing at 10-thousand-883. The Standard and Poor's 500 index fell nine points to 14-hundred-10. And the Nasdaq Composite, after setting record highs over the past few weeks, lost three-quarters of one percent. Analysts said the lower stock prices were the result of simple profit-taking after Tuesday's big market run-up. Weakness in the bond market also hurt stocks. The 30- year government bond fell almost a full point. Some bond traders worried again about inflation. Oil prices in New York are at a three-year high, over 26 dollars a barrel. The news on U-S inflation, however, is still positive. The consumer price index in October went up just two- tenths of one percent - its best showing in four months.

    /// rest opt for long ///

    The good consumer inflation numbers suggested to many analysts that Tuesday's interest rate hike (increase) might be the last for several months. Market-watchers are not especially concerned over what they consider a limited and temporary backsliding in stock prices. Analyst Courtney Smith says the fact that the U-S central bank decided to act now on interest rates is a big plus for the market:

    ///Smith act///

    It (the market) hates uncertainty. And this was really the biggest piece of uncertainty overhanging the market. And now that it's gone, the market has pretty much a free ride going ahead. I don't really see anything to stop this bull (rising) market at least through the first quarter of next year.

    ///end act///

    Some analysts predict the Dow Jones Industrial Average the main barometer of U-S stock market activity - will go up to 11-thousand-500, even 12-thousand, by year's end. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 17-Nov-1999 16:50 PM EDT (17-Nov-1999 2150 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Trade with China continues to be among the most popular topics discussed in today's editorial columns. Other topics drawing some attention include the Egypt Air crash inquiry, capital punishment in the United States, and President Clinton's response to Turkey's recurring natural disasters. Now here is ___________ with a sampling of comment in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The United States and China reached an historic agreement earlier this week on the terms governing China's accession to the World Trade Organization. U- S editorials remain concerned with the benefits of the new trade deal. While some newspapers are skeptical of China's commitments, most are applauding the efforts of both nations to promote free trade. The "Minnesota Star Tribune" says U-S trade with China is about peace, not just dollars.

    VOICE: .In the long run, this agreement will be good for the U-S economy. .The real benefit of the China agreement, however will not be measured immediately by dollars or wages, but in its ability to draw China into the world community. If this pact is approved by Congress, then China will become vastly more open to Western scrutiny, regulation, ideas and opportunity. This is not to argue the superiority of Western ideas or capitalist values. But a nation whose airports and hotels are full of Western engineers, bankers, farmers, software writers, governors, labor leaders and diplomats is less likely to, for example, fire missiles over Taiwan or make reckless nuclear threats.

    TEXT: That was the view of the "Star Tribune". Egypt has called for a delay in the investigation of last month's EgyptAir crash amid questions surrounding the state of a crewmember, now believed to have been at the controls when the plane went down. "The Los Angeles Times" hopes this indicates Egypt's commitment to finding out the truth of the case.

    VOICE: EgyptAir, which is owned by the Egyptian government and faces serious liability concerns, owes it to the families of the victims of Flight-990 to divulge any and all information it has on the flight crew and any other fact that is possibly relevant to the investigation. .Obviously, reaching the truth should exceed all other considerations. The greater involvement of Egyptian officials - and that ought to mean full cooperation with investigative authorities - should provide some answers to the mysteries..

    TEXT: The death penalty has become a fixture of American justice -- says "The Christian Science Monitor", as it turns attention to the continued debate surrounding capital punishment in the United States.

    VOICE: The best way to resolve the controversy would be to put this form of punishment on the shelf of history, as most other modern democracies have. State-sanctioned killing is at odds with the need to reduce the level of violence in society. Its value as a deterrent is at best, questionable. And it is irreversible should evidence of innocence later emerge. .The current (U-S) Supreme Court is not likely to back away from earlier ruling affirming the constitutionality of capital punishment. But the court can, and should, help assure the humanness of its application and allow those facing execution opportunity to raise legitimate questions about legal processes.

    TEXT: Finally, "The Chicago Tribune" is focused on Turkey's recent natural disasters and President Clinton's efforts to encourage the world to help the tormented nation.

    VOICE: President Clinton, on a trip through Europe, used the pulpit of the American presidency Tuesday to remind the world of Turkey's suffering, console the victims and call compassionate attention to the need for more aid to the refugees caught in the cold. .Across the nation, Turks are psychologically and emotionally drained -- by trauma and fear, depression and sadness, and an abiding sense that it is all so unfair. But (Mr.) Clinton managed to find hope in the tragedy... He underscored the message that the victims are not alone. Indeed, 87 other nations came to the aid of the Turkish people after the August 17th quake; many have poured in rescuers and aid since last Friday's quake. .If some in the world had started to forget about Turkey, Friday's quake should remind nations there is still a job to be done helping Turkish victims recover.

    TEXT: With that comment from the "Chicago Tribune", we conclude today's sampling of editorial comment from U-S newspapers.
    NEB/ENE/RAE 17-Nov-1999 12:28 PM EDT (17-Nov-1999 1728 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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