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Voice of America, 99-11-30

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

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





    THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 12/01/99. 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: The so-called wall of shame that was built recently in the northern Czech town of Usti nad Labem [OO-stee nahd Lah-bem] has come down, after protests in the Czech republic and beyond. The wall marked a line separating the town's Roma, or gypsies, from other inhabitants. Anti-Roma feelings run high in parts of the Czech Republic, as well as in other Central and Eastern European countries. The wall in Usti nad Labem immediately became a symbol of the hostility and violence to which the Roma are still subjected. As Czech President Vaclav Havel said, "Not only Usti nad Labem but the entire Czech Republic is identified with this symbol of intolerance and discrimination." The wall, a sixty-meter stretch of reinforced concrete, went up in October. The European Commission's president, Romano Prodi, said that walls should not be built in Europe to keep people apart. European Union officials emphasized that the wall at Usti nad Labem was not earning the Czech Republic any credits in its bid to join the E-U. Now the wall is down. But the problems of the Roma are not over. They number some three-hundred thousand in a Czech population of nearly ten and one-half million. They face discrimination in educational and employment opportunities. They are targets for xenophobic and racist feelings. Only last month, a restaurant popularized by Roma in another town of Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice [Chess- kay Boo-dyeh-yo-vee-tseh], was vandalized by a youth gang. Like people everywhere, Czechs and other Europeans are subject to irrational prejudices. Ten years after the breaching of the Berlin Wall, they are learning to live together in freedom. The temptation will exist to throw up new barriers as a way to cordon off fears and problems. It is to the credit of the Czech government that it refused to yield to local anti-Roma sentiment and that it is dedicated to changing the attitudes that divide the varied elements of Czech society. 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. 30-Nov-1999 16:16 PM EDT (30-Nov-1999 2116 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America





    INTRO: Britain's parliament is rushing to pass legislation that transfers home-rule powers to Belfast. The move comes after Northern Ireland's unionists and republicans named ministers to an all- party 12-member cabinet. Correspondent Laurie Kassman in London reports the newly appointed ministers in Belfast were at their offices (Tuesday) getting a start on their new responsibilities.

    TEXT: The legislation ends 25-years of the British Parliament's direct control of the day-to-day administration of Northern Ireland. Queen Elizabeth is to sign the parliamentary act Wednesday. Britain's Secretary for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, says it is time for Ulster province to take care of its own affairs. He says the transfer also signals an end to decades of sectarian violence.

    /// MANDELSON ACT ///

    The devolution order enables us to turn our back on 30-years of the most terrible troubles. It really is a fresh beginning and we can celebrate that today.

    /// END ACT //

    Northern Ireland's new cabinet takes up responsibility for local issues, such as health and education, agriculture, and social welfare. Not all powers will be transferred to Belfast. Britain retains control over taxation and security. The 1998 peace agreement also calls for the establishment of several cross-border committees to let Northern Ireland cooperate on issues of mutual concern with the Irish Republic. U-S mediator George Mitchell hammered out the carefully sequenced formula during the past three- months to end an impasse over disarming the Irish Republican Army. Unionists had refused to let the I- R-A's political wing join the all-party executive council that will run Northern Ireland until the I-R-A started handing over its weapons. The compromise has allowed the 12-minister cabinet to be set up so home rule powers could be transferred. The I-R-A has promised to name a representative to deal with the special disarmament commission after the transfer is completed Thursday. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/RAE 30-Nov-1999 12:59 PM EDT (30-Nov-1999 1759 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Security problems shut down the main conference center in Seattle and protestors took to the streets - a day before trade officials from 135 nations are to open talks on global trade. But as Amy Bickers reports from the site of the World Trade Organization meetings, top officials reaffirmed their belief that differences can be overcome to set the stage for a new round of negotiations.

    TEXT: U-S Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said on Monday she was convinced the World Trade Organization meeting this week will launch a new round of global trade liberalization. But if Monday's events are any indication, the week ahead will offer challenges for all participants. A security scare closed for five hours Seattle's convention center, site of numerous W-T-O events. Police gave few details, but said nothing suspicious was found after they conducted a thorough sweep of the huge building. Protestors of all stripes opposed to the WTO agenda also geared up for a rally Tuesday, which could attract as many as 50-thousand people. They say that the free-trade system is harming the environment and unfair to workers.


    Dozens of protestors beat drums and chanted earlier on Monday, watched by hundreds of journalists and delegates who were stuck outside of the convention center. Riot police used horses and bikes to hold the protestors at bay. Another group of demonstrators attacked a McDonald's restaurant in central Seattle, protesting genetic engineering of food - an issue up for discussion at the W-T-O gathering. The impassioned convictions of the protestors did not go unnoticed by key participants in the trade talks. In a meeting with leaders of human rights and environmental groups, Ms. Barshefsky noted that public opinion is vital to the success of the W-T-O.

    /// BARSHEVSKY ACT ///

    The W-T-O should be more accessible to citizen input. The W-T-O process should be more open to public scrutiny. The notion of any institution in this day and age, with the Net (Internet) and modern telecommunications operating at all in an opaque fashion runs contrary to what we all know the actual outcome should be.

    /// END ACT ///

    She also underscored the views of the Clinton administration that labor and environmental issues need to be part of the trading system.

    /// BARSHEVKSY ACT ///

    A growing economy can also lead to a cleaner economy, to healthier water and air and sustainable development. The two issues are not mutually incompatible. They can be mutually supportive. The trading system needs to acknowledge that fact and work towards a situation where we can promote global prosperity broadly shared but also a healthier environment in which to live.

    /// END ACT ///

    While the European Union supports the U-S view, many developing nations say it amounts to protectionism and complain that it could hurt their ability to trade. Meanwhile, in a speech to non-governmental organizations, W-T-O Director-General Mike Moore says he believes some of the protestors are misguided in their opposition to the WTO and should better understand what the trade-rules body is and isn't.

    /// MOORE ACT ///

    First, let us be clear about what the W-T-O does not do. The W-T-O is not a world government, a global policeman, or an agent for corporate interests. It has no authority to tell countries what trade policies or any other trade policies it should adopt. It does not overrule national laws. It does not force countries to kill turtles or lower wages or employ children in factories. To put it simply, the W-T-O is not a supra-national government and no one has any intention of making it one.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Moore also said he hoped the protests would not overshadow the W-T-O 's progress in boosting global prosperity by tearing down trade barriers. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AB/JO 29-Nov-1999 22:24 PM EDT (30-Nov-1999 0324 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were lower today (Tuesday) as investors took profits, especially from technology stocks. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 70 points, less than one percent, closing at 10-thousand- 877. The Standard and Poor's 500 index fell 18 points to 13-hundred-88. And the Nasdaq Composite slumped for a loss of two and one-half percent. Investors locked in gains mostly from the technology sector, which has served them so well in recent weeks. Analysts said some of the stock market's losses were probably also due to concern over the dollar's continuing weakness against the Japanese yen.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Market-watcher Peter Cardillo says the stock market is taking a break before it rallies to close the year:

    /// CARDILLO ACT ///

    I'm looking for the market to take a breather here for the next week or so. But I believe we're poised for a very strong year-end rally and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see the Dow close somewhere between 11-four and 11-six (11- thousand-400 and 11-thousand-600).

    /// END ACT ///

    That would be a new high. The old high for the Dow Jones - 11-thousand-326 - was reached back on August 25.

    /// END OPT ///

    The latest on the U-S economy shows consumer confidence rebounding in November after sliding for four straight months. That's good news for U-S retailers. It could mean U-S consumers are ready for some record holiday shopping and spending.

    /// REST OPT for long version ///

    The U-S government has approved the merger of Exxon and Mobil - the two largest U-S oil companies. To meet anti-trust considerations, Exxon and Mobil have agreed to get rid of some of their U-S assets, including about 24-hundred gas stations, a refinery and interests in pipelines. The merger re-unites the largest parts of the former Standard Oil, which the U-S government broke up in 1911. Kellogg - the number one U-S cereal-maker now in danger of losing that top spot to rival General Mills says it expects more predictable profit growth in the year 2000. The maker of Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies says it will focus advertising spending on specific cereal brands rather than promoting its entire portfolio. Kellogg says its turnaround plan is on track. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/PT 30-Nov-1999 16:55 PM EDT (30-Nov-1999 2155 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The nation's major daily papers include many editorials about the opening of the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle and almost an equal number talking about the opening of the new Northern Ireland National Assembly, with both Unionists and Republicans taking part. Other topics include: the jailing of a rebel in Iran; growing criticism of Yasser Arafat from the Palestinian ranks; a new political star rising in Russia: and bidding farewell to one of America's favorite zoo animals, Hsing-Hsing the Washington zoo's giant Panda. Now, here is _______ with a closer look including some excerpts, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: As delegates from 135 nations of the World Trade Organization discuss moving global trade forward, tens-of-thousands of demonstrators are again in the streets of Seattle, Washington, to protest various aspects of the organization. In the U-S press this Tuesday, there is a healthy dialogue about the trade group, with most of the editorials viewing it favorably. For example, "The Orlando [Florida] Sentinel" says in its headline: [The] WTO is OK.

    VOICE: Some folks love to hate the World Trade Organization . to them, the W-T-O has turned into a trade Godzilla, wielding frightening power, undermining democracy, destroying jobs and ignoring pressing concerns, such as the environment. ... In actuality, the W-T-O ... plays a vital role in organizing a business sector that drives nearly one-fourth of the U-S economy. .A relatively new, massive, evolving organization, it requires ongoing scrutiny, improvement and attention to fairness. But that should not detract from the trade group`s usefulness as a forum to hash out differences and improve economic growth.

    TEXT: That qualified praise is echoed in "The Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal", which tries to weigh the pluses versus the minuses, and uses the Indonesian story as an example.

    VOICE: In Indonesia, international bankers helped to trigger violent protests and topple a government. The Indonesian episode suggests the complexity of globalization. The turmoil wrecked lives. It also led to a democratic government. It dealt a severe blow to the crony capitalism of the country. In the end, Indonesia benefited. And so it is with the World Trade Organization and the principles of free trade. The benefits outweigh the costs.

    TEXT: `The Chicago Tribune" points out the protestors will have a difficult time convincing many locals of their views.

    VOICE: Seattle has many attractions, but it is a terrible place to dramatize the perils of free trade and out of every three jobs in Washington state is tied to exports or imports.

    TEXT: Lastly, this summation from today's "Detroit News".

    VOICE: Trade is not a zero-sum game in which you only win if somebody else loses. By definition, trade benefits both sides, or else it would not take place. Trade creates value where none existed before, thus enriching everybody.

    TEXT: On to the day's other popular topic, the peace breakthrough in Northern Ireland, as Unionist protestants and Catholic Republicans sit down together in the new, Northern Ireland Assembly. Says "The Los Angeles Times":

    VOICE: The deadlock that stymied self- governance in Northern Ireland for more than 25- years has been broken. Now Republicans and Unionists are changing the course of history in the troubled province, and high political courage has been shown on both sides. . Peace in Ulster is in now way guaranteed. . But this agreement should not be measured in terms of risks. This is the time for goodwill.

    TEXT: In New Jersey's capital, "The Trenton Times" is pleased, but concerned about the next hurdle, now that the protestant Unionists have agreed to sit in the Assembly before the Irish Republican Army begins to turn in its weapons.

    VOICE: Mr.[David] Trimble . in effect . made his party's participation within the cabinet -- and his own future as Ulster Unionist leader -- dependent on a start on I-R-A disarmament by January 31st. .If he [Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams] makes good on that promise, then Northern Ireland Catholics and Protestants can dare to hope that an end is in sight to 30-years of sectarian terror that has killed more than 33- hundred people, many of them guilty of nothing more than being of the "wrong" religion.

    TEXT: Turning to the middle East, today's "New York Times" is upset about the latest repression of dissent in Iran.

    VOICE: Abdollah Nouri, one of Iran's most popular and courageous political reformers, has been unjustly sentenced to five years in prison and banned from running for office until 2004. His alleged crime consisted of publishing newspaper articles critical of official Iranian policies. That such a harsh sentence could be imposed for exercising basic journalistic freedoms is a measure of how fearful and out of touch Iran's ruling conservative clerics have become in the face of popular demands for greater democracy and individual liberty. Text: "The Los Angeles Times" has concerns about the growing problems within the Palestinian Authority of Yasser Arafat, as dissent is stifled, and corruption appears to be increasing.

    VOICE: . [Mr.] Arafat continues to contradict his claimed commitment to democracy and tolerance. Last Saturday, 20 Palestinian intellectuals and members of the Palestinian Legislative council issued a harshly worded manifesto denouncing the corruption and abuse of power that are characteristic of [Mr.] Arafat's Palestinian Authority. For the first time, the protesters publicly held [Mr.] Arafat directly responsible for widespread malfeasance. His response was swift and severe. Within hours, 11 of the signatories were arrested. [Mr.] Arafat has done the predictably wrong thing in this airing of grievances. He has arrested his critics, when in fact he should be heeding them.

    TEXT: Florida's "Times-Union" in Jacksonville, comments about a new political star, Vladimir Putin, rising in Russia, as Boris Yeltsin is again in the sick bed. But the Florida paper worries about the source of Mr. Putin's popularity.

    VOICE: There is nothing quite like a successful war when a politician needs a boost in the polls. George Bush saw his own poll figures shoot through the stratosphere in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War. . And now, by attacking Chechnya, Vladimir Putin has elevated himself from obscure ex-spy to a heavy favorite in the 2000 Russian presidential campaign. /// OPT /// If he remains in office until the election next summer, he can continue using the army to his political advantage. If [Mr.] Yeltsin, who is very unpopular, sacks him, that will only give him some Populist credentials.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Finally the beloved Giant Panda Hsing-Hsing has died at the National Zoo in Washington. The large, bear-like animal, with large dark circles around his eyes was a favorite of children and adults for 28- years. Laments the "Tulsa [Oklahoma] World":

    VOICE: Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling, [his mate] who died of a heart attack in 1992, were given to the United States in 1972 as a good-will gesture in honor of President Richard Nixon's historic reopening of relations with China. .. In Washington there is a sense of emptiness in the Panda House where Hsing-Hsing lived out a fairy-tale life, a symbol of the re-opening of American-Chinese relations. Perhaps the Chinese, who receive a substantial amount of aid in various forms from the Americans could react in kind and supply us with a pair of pandas.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from the editorial pages of Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 30-Nov-1999 14:08 PM EDT (30-Nov-1999 1908 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    IRELAND NUMBER=6-11573

    INTRO: With the seating of a new, Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast, including both Roman Catholic Republicans and their bitter rivals, the mainly Protestant Ulster Unionists, the hope of a final peace in the violence-wracked province appears in sight. U-S newspapers have reacted to the week's critical development with a good deal of praise, as well as some caution, due to the fragility of the arrangement between the long-time bitter rivals. We get a sampling now from ___________ in today's U-S Opinion roundup.

    TEXT: The key development Monday was the naming of a new cabinet which will essentially govern the war-torn province of Ulster. It includes both a former commander of the Irish Republican Army, which has waged war against British troops and the province's Protestant Unionists for more than a decade, and a prominent Unionist who was, himself, the target of an I-R-A assassination attempt within the past three years. While many people in the street, both Catholic and Protestant, are taking a wait and see attitude, many others of both faiths and political persuasions, are celebrating what they feel may be the end of sectarian violence. We begin our sampling in Cleveland, Ohio, where The Plain Dealer has paid particular attention to the peace process in Northern Ireland for several years. The big Ohio daily is happy, but also cautious.

    VOICE: David Trimble has received deserved accolades from around the world for leading his Ulster Unionist party on Saturday to accept a plan that removed obstacles to the immediate creation of a 12-member Cabinet that will allow Catholics and Protestants to share political power... But [Mr.] Trimble also set a condition nationalists believe could create a new political crisis. It could also jeopardize his leadership of the largest Protestant party in the British-ruled province, and his position as first minister. Sinn Fein, the nationalist party usually linked with the I-R-A, took issue with [Mr.] Trimble's promise to reconvene his council in February to review whether progress has been made toward the disarming of paramilitary groups -- and to pull out of the Cabinet if now weapons have been given up. But it seems unlikely that without such a guarantee Unionists would have endorsed the deal. ... With a mechanism in place for the peaceful resolution of differences, guns should have no place in Northern Ireland's political future. The I-R-A will have much to explain if it fails to make at least a beginning on disarmament.

    TEXT: The Sun, in Baltimore, is quick to credit former U-S Senator George Mitchell for his role in patiently leading the two warring sides to the bargaining table, and now, into a joint parliament.

    VOICE: Northern Ireland's new Cabinet is a tribute to former U-S Senate Majority Leader ... Mitchell's tact and patience as moderator of the talks that brought it about. Now they are on their own. The new regime resembles an attempt that got off the ground in 1974, only to crash under withering opposition from the distrusting Protestant community. A young Ulster Unionist politician who helped shoot it down, David Trimble, leads this experiment as first minister. Seamus Mallon, of the Social Democratic and Labor party in the Catholic community, is deputy minister. ... Most of the population wants this partnership to succeed in an environment of freedom, peace and economic development. ... Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein - I- R-A leader, is probably sincere in steering away from violence. His control of the movement is less sure than a decade ago. Many Unionists doubt his sincerity. So hold the cheers. A breakthrough of magnificent promise is made, but it requires fulfillment.

    TEXT: Even more enthusiastic is The Philadelphia Inquirer, which clearly feels this is the beginning of a new chapter in the troubled Irish province.

    VOICE: It has been like a rocky love affair: Things have gone wrong so often before that you're afraid to hope. And yet here we are: Northern Ireland is on the verge of forming a new government, the one called for in the 1998 Good Friday agreement. To anyone who loves Ireland -- or peace -- it must seem too good to be true. Again, you're afraid to hope. ... Much credit goes to Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, who appears to have convinced his party that public opinion -- even among Protestants -- is firmly on the side of getting on with it. Mr. Trimble has achieved no less than an act of personal and political courage. And can enough be said about the determined patience of former U-S Senator George Mitchell? As the chief convenor of these negotiations, his place in history may be assured by the mere fact of his being the first person all sides could trust. ... There are looming problems. ... I-R-A disarmament remains a troubling issue. ... But maybe, the peace train is too far down the tracks. ... The will to peace has resisted the thrust of savagery. Here's hoping that by week's end, the hard men and bomb-throwers will see themselves left well and truly behind.

    TEXT: Here is the view of The Los Angeles Times:

    VOICE: The deadlock that stymied self- governance in Northern Ireland for more than 25- years has been broken. Now Republicans and Unionists are changing the course of history in the troubled province, and high political courage has been shown on both sides. ... Peace in Ulster is in no way guaranteed. ... But this agreement should not be measured in terms of risks. This is the time for goodwill.

    TEXT: In New Jersey's capital, "The Trenton Times" is pleased, but concerned about the next hurdle, now that the Protestant Unionists have agreed to sit in the Assembly before the Irish Republican Army begins to turn in its weapons.

    VOICE: Mr.[David] Trimble ... in effect ... made his party's participation within the cabinet -- and his own future as Ulster Unionist leader -- dependent on a start on I-R-A disarmament by January 31st. ...If [Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams] makes good on that promise, then Northern Ireland Catholics and Protestants can dare to hope that an end is in sight to 30 years of sectarian terror that has killed more than 33-hundred people, many of them guilty of nothing more than being of the "wrong" religion.

    TEXT: With that, we conclude this sampling of comment from the U-S press on this week's breakthrough agreement on naming a cabinet for the new Northern Ireland Assembly, bringing Catholics and Protestants, Republicans and Unionists together in hopes of ending sectarian violence.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 30-Nov-1999 18:24 PM EDT (30-Nov-1999 2324 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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