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Voice of America, 00-01-11

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] KOSOVO-POLICE (L ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)
  • [02] RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)
  • [03] UNHCR / CHECHNYA (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)
  • [04] E-U / JAPAN (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [05] GERMANY / POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)
  • [06] GERMANY'S C-D-U FALTERS FROM SCANDALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [08] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] KOSOVO-POLICE (L ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257970
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A senior United Nations official said today (Tuesday) that the level of ethnic violence in Kosovo is down substantially, but there is still a need for more civilian police there. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: The U-N official said that six months ago there were as many as 50 major ethnic crimes in Kosovo each week with Serbs and other minorities the main victims. Now, that rate has reportedly declined to the single digit area. But the U-N Mission in Kosovo says that rate is still unacceptable and is calling for a doubling of U-N police in Kosovo which currently number about two-thousand. The U-N official, who asked not to be identified by name, told reporters both Germany and the United States have agreed to increase their contributions to the police force and he expressed hope other nations will follow. The U-N Mission has set up a police training academy in Kosovo, but the official said it will be some time before the Kosovars can take over the bulk of policing duties. Regarding the infrastructure in Kosovo, the U-N official said it is in bad shape because of years of neglect. However, he said there is enough electricity available to get Kosovo through the winter. (Signed) NEB/UN/BA/LSF/ENE/JP 11-Jan-2000 17:14 PM EDT (11-Jan-2000 2214 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257957
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// RE-ISSUING TO CORRECT CR NUMBER ///

    INTRO: Russian forces on Tuesday battled to regain control of two towns, Shali and Argun, which were partially overrun by Chechen rebels. V-O-A Moscow correspondent Eve Conant reports Russia's military admits to making mistakes that allowed for Chechen rebels to stage successful counterattacks.

    TEXT: Russian General Viktor Kazantsev has acknowledged that federal troops made what he called "mistakes" that made it easier for Chechen rebels to stage surprise attacks on soldiers in Russian-occupied Chechen towns. He says federal troops had made themselves vulnerable by not properly clearing rebels from the towns of Shali and Argun, located near the capital, Grozny. He said from now on tactics would change, and soldiers would detain and thoroughly check the documents of all Chechen males between the ages of ten and 60. Russia's military says it has reclaimed both Shali and Argun. Interfax reported Russian artillery attacked Shali and Argun Tuesday, but that it was difficult to fire freely on the town of Shali because a group of Russian troops was surrounded by rebels in a downtown building. Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev says Russian troops will undertake new measures, approved by Acting President Vladimir Putin, to stabilize occupied regions and prevent further counterattacks.

    /// ACT SERGEYEV IN RUSSIAN, FADE UNDER ///

    "The situation has changed completely," he says. "The security zone has been widened but the organizational methods remained the same. Now," says the defense minister, "there are new, approved measures on how to handle these populated areas." He said the military's main task was to stabilize Argun and Shali and not allow another surprise rebel offensive. Russia's Security Council Secretary says security services such as the Interior Ministry, the prosecutor's Office and F- S-B - the main successor agency to the K-G-B-will step up their efforts in Russian occupied Chechnya. A Chechen rebel spokesman has called on Moscow immediately to begin negotiations or face intensified hit-and-run attacks against Russian soldiers. Russia's military has now been pushed on the defensive in several parts of Chechnya. Russian artillery continues to attack the rebel capital, Grozny, but rebels are still in control of the city center. In a sign that support for the offensive might be dwindling, Russian media has begun drawing parallels with the present campaign and the botched Chechen war that ended in 1996 with humiliating defeat for the Russian army. (Signed)
    NEB/EC/GE/KL 11-Jan-2000 10:53 AM EDT (11-Jan-2000 1553 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] UNHCR / CHECHNYA (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257953
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The United Nations Refugee Agency, U-N-H-C-R, reports the number of refugees returning to Russian- controlled areas of Chechnya from the neighboring republic of Ingushetia now outnumbers those leaving Chechnya. Lisa Schlein in Geneva has details.

    TEXT: The United Nations Refugee Agency reports the situation of tens of thousands of Chechen refugees in Ingushetia has somewhat improved. This is because the Agency's humanitarian relief operation is growing and more and more people are returning to Chechnya. The agency estimates that about 70-thousand refugees have returned to Russian-controlled areas in Chechnya, thus easing the overcrowded conditions in refugee camps in Ingushetia.

    U-N-H-C-R spokesman, Kris Janowski, says refugees are flowing across the Chechen-Ingush border in both directions. But, he says those going back to Chechnya outnumber those leaving.

    /// JANOWSKI ACT ///

    Those leaving Chechnya for Ingushetia are mostly those who have gone back to Chechnya to look at their property. They're coming back because they found it destroyed or conditions too hard to survive the winter. A lot of people are going back to Russian-controlled areas. There's a booming taxi and busing business at the border with taxi drivers, (and) buses taking people back to areas of Chechnya controlled by the Russians.

    /// END ACT ///

    The U-N Refugee Agency estimates between 150 and 180- thousand Chechen refugees remain in Ingushetia. At its height, Ingushetia was hosting nearly one-quarter million refugees. Despite the decreased numbers, Mr. Janowski says conditions in Ingushetia remain difficult. And, he says humanitarian operations will have to be expanded to assist the tens of thousands of refugees who are expected to spend the remainder of the winter in Ingushetia.

    /// 2ND JANOWSKI ACT ///

    We have to, basically, prepare more long-term arrangements to accommodate these people. So, we are buying all kinds of sanitary equipment, digging wells, so on and so forth to make the stay throughout the winter sustainable.

    /// END ACT ///

    While the situation in Ingushetia slowly improves, Mr. Janowski says the U-N agency remains hugely concerned by the fate of civilians in the Chechen capital, Grozny. He says about 20-thousand civilians are believed to be trapped in the capital. He says they are basically living in cellars under virtually constant bombardment from the Russian military. (Signed) NEB/LS/GE/LTD/JO 11-Jan-2000 08:43 AM EDT (11-Jan-2000 1343 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] E-U / JAPAN (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257963
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Union (E-U) has held its first high-level meeting with Japan since October of 1998. V-O-A correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels that the two sides agreed to work together to get the World Trade Organization (W-T-O) back on track.

    TEXT: The European Union worked closely with Japan in preparations for the Seattle Summit meeting, and the two sides worked together closely during the World Trade Organization summit, which failed to agree on an agenda. In a meeting here in Brussels, the E-U and Japan agree a new trade round should include agriculture and services and reinforce existing trade rules. In a statement following their meeting, the European Union and Japan say a new trade round of talks must pay attention to non-trade issues such as the environment. They also agree to push for a dialogue about labor issues that proved so divisive at Seattle with developing countries. The European Union praises Japan for dropping regulation of different sectors of their economy to get out of economic recession. The E-U's external affairs commissioner, Christopher Patten, says Europe's move to faster growth with lower inflation should be a lesson to Japan about the need to de- regulate more areas, such as transport and telecommunications.

    /// Patten Act ///

    We welcome progress that has been made in areas such as financial reform, administrative reform, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, but we would like to see further progress in a number of other areas.

    /// End Act ///

    /// Opt ///

    Japanese officials, including Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, said they would send a delegation back to Brussels in March to point out areas where European regulations limit Japanese exports. /// End Opt /// The two sides discussed regional issues in Asia, including Korea, Indonesia and China's effort to join the World Trade Organization. Commissioner Patten says the European Union wants understandings about trade in mobile telephones and tariffs before it agrees to China's W-T-O application.

    /// Patten Act ///

    We're not necessarily in a rush to complete an agreement with China. We would like to have an agreement. We are absolutely clear about that, but we don't want to sacrifice substance for speed. So I hope discussions can start soon on a technical level and I hope that those discussions are sufficiently productive to ensure that things can be raised to a political level thereafter.

    /// End Act ///

    The United States has already reached an agreement with Beijing about China's entry to the World Trade Organization. The European Union says 80 percent of the American agreement can be transferred to its own agreement with China. At the same time, Mr. Patten says the remaining 20 percent are still important to the European Union. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/GE/JP 11-Jan-2000 13:15 PM EDT (11-Jan-2000 1815 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] GERMANY / POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257954
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Germany's Christian Democratic Union (C- D-U) Party is in disarray after the opposition party's chairman, Wolfgang Schaeuble, admitted he took a donation from a suspected arms dealer and failed to register it as a gift. Already reeling from revelations that former Chancellor Helmut Kohl laundered anonymous donations through secret accounts while the C-D-U was in power, party members are now calling for Mr. Schaeuble's resignation. Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin.

    TEXT: For more than six weeks now, the Christian Democrats have been sinking in the German public opinion polls, as former Chancellor Helmut Kohl has faced accusations and possible prosecution over his handling of anonymous donations worth millions of dollars. Now Mr. Kohl's former deputy -- and successor as party chairman -- Wolfgang Schaeuble, has admitted that he, too, took a donation of 100- thousand marks - or 52-thousand dollars - from one of the donors Mr. Kohl had been trying to protect. Speaking on television, Mr. Schaeuble said he accepted the money from Karl-Heinz Schreiber, a man the German authorities are trying to extradite from Canada to face charges of tax evasion and bribery. Mr. Schauble said he passed the donation on to the party treasurer, without checking whether it had been properly registered as gift as German law requires. So the blame rested with former party treasurer, not himself. Or so he argued. On it's own, that one admission would probably have not done much harm. Times were more relaxed then, so the C-D-U chairman says, and less attention was paid to these financial matters within the party. The ruling Social Democratic Party, under Gerhard Schroeder, has had its own share of corruption scandals in recent weeks, and a minor row in the C-D-U might not have overshadowed the Government's own problems in this way or boosted its prospects in coming regional elections. Unfortunately for Mr. Schaeuble, however, Mr. Schreiber - the man who gave the donation - is under investigation as a suspected arms dealer, and it was the discovery of his secret contributions to the party which first led the public prosecutors' office to investigate Mr. Kohl. And coming as it did in the midst of the debate over Mr. Kohl's continued refusal to reveal the names of the other donors, newspaper commentators here say his admission has undermined the credibility of Mr. Schaeuble's claims to have known nothing about Mr. Kohl's secret accounts. And, as the respected Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper put it, Mr. Schaeuble's attempt to put the blame on the treasurer has made the C-D-U look like a bunch of ruthless backstabbers who would betray even their closest friends. For weeks now, the party has been torn between those who want to get away from the Kohl and Schaeuble era and make a clean start, and those who want to protect Mr. Kohl's reputation as the great hero of German reunification. Now the calls for both men to resign have become even louder. (Signed)
    NEB/JB/GE/KL 11-Jan-2000 10:08 AM EDT (11-Jan-2000 1508 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] GERMANY'S C-D-U FALTERS FROM SCANDALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-11627
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Germany is in the middle of a serious political scandal involving alleged payoffs to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and to the present head of his party, the Christian Democratic Union. Although Mr. Kohl and his party are no longer in power -- the C-D-U was defeated in 1998 -- the accusations and admissions against Mr. Kohl are threatening his legacy as the chancellor who unified Germany. The scandal is also hurting the Christian Democratic Union, a party that has, more often than not, governed the country during the post war years. U-S newspapers have been watching the evolving episode with dismay, and we get a sampling of comment now from ____________ in today's U-S Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: The news hit Germany during the Christmas season. It was reported that Mr. Kohl had accepted as much as one-million U-S dollars of illegal money during his sixteen years as chancellor. Mr. Kohl has admitted the charges, but says he did nothing wrong with the money, or in taking it. The magazine, [Stern] suggested the money represented bribes for political favors. Mr. Kohl is refusing to name the donors, insisting that he has promised to keep their identities secret. Federal prosecutors announced December 29th they were beginning a full-scale investigation into possible violations of German law. Mr. Kohl said he kept the cash in secret bank accounts and disbursed the money to local party leaders to maintain their support. Now, in an apparently unrelated development that is causing more problems for the opposition Christian Democrats, party leader Wolfgang Schaeuble, has just admitted that he took a 50-thousand dollar payment from an arms dealer in 1994. Mr. Schaeuble says he will not resign. We begin our sampling of comments on the C-D-U crisis in Baltimore, Maryland, where the Sun is dismayed.

    VOICE: Helmut Kohl was one of the great statesmen of the second half of the 20th century. He unified Germany when others thought it impossible or undesirable. He was the chief architect of European monetary and economic union. His stage-German bumpkin [Editors: folksy] manner hides a fine mind. His . far-sighted vision . was clearer and more purposeful than his adversaries'. That makes the Bonn prosecutors' decision to investigate the one million dollar political slush fund that Mr. Kohl admits maintaining from 1993 to 1998 a tragedy - - not only for this 69-year-old gentlemen and his Christian Democratic Party, but for Germany and the West. /// OPT /// . The truth, whatever it turns out to be, should come. Helmut Kohl always wanted the German people to face the truth about the worst and best of their national heritage. They can do not less for the evidently flawed politician who guided them to this stage of their national fortune. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times is saddened but indignant about this latest turn of events in Germany, and writes:

    VOICE: Criminal investigation of former German Chancellor .Kohl casts a huge shadow not only over his historic 16-year rule but also over his Christian Democratic Union, or C-D-U, the dominant political party in contemporary Germany. . Under the sturdy leadership of [Mr.] Kohl, Germany was united and led Europe to a single currency. The country appeared impervious to the financial scandals afflicting politicians in neighboring France, Spain, Italy and Belgium. [Mr.] Kohl was Europe's most respected leader. . [Now, he] could face up to five years in jail if found guilty. Yet it is not only the former chancellor who is suffering. It is his party as well.

    /// OPT ///

    The C-D-U, which had a reputation for responsible government, may well end up like Italy's' Christian Democrats, all but destroyed by corruption charges against its leading members. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: From the northeastern section of the United States, we read in the Providence [Rhode Island] Journal these remarks by staff writer Jonathan Rockoff:

    VOICE: Slush funds are the messy tool of a party boss. . Some commentators have said the affair is destroying [Mr.] Kohl's place in history as the architect of German unity. It is a curious argument, trying to deny the obvious, and after the fact. It is a dangerous argument, too. Keen observers always knew that [Chancellor] Kohl was a vengeful pol during his 16 years as chancellor.... In trying to deny [Mr.] Kohl's role in history, however, his critics seem to be drawing on more than a rightful intolerance for political corruption. /// OPT /// Since he lacked integrity, they seem to say, his place must be struck. . The attacks stem from the exaltation of efficiency. This pride of place in efficiency runs far deeper than bragging about the train running on time and transforming Berlin so completely after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is this sense that prompts Germans to see their government as a unique exemplar of good management that, as the Economist noted, German government is not messy, as are Italy's or France's. . We should know that genocides happen elsewhere, and we should not accept following orders as an excuse. . Their architecture can be uninspiring, and . their politics can be dirty, and their chancellors scheming. Appropriately, [Mr.] Kohl will be investigated. Then maybe we will all learn that there is nothing special about Germans and Germany, about their leaders and their politics. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Far out in the Pacific, Honolulu's Star- Bulletin is sufficiently worried about this present crisis, to wonder whether it could threaten the very roots of German's post World War Two democracy.

    VOICE: Americans have just experienced their own scandal in the nation's highest office. Although the Senate refused to oust Bill Clinton from the presidency, the [Monica] Lewinsky affair and [Mr.] Clinton's impeachment by the House have left lasting scars. . Americans' faith in democracy is too strong to be destroyed by disillusionment with one leader. They seemed to take Richard Nixon's Watergate crimes and resignation in stride and shrugged off [President] Clinton's infidelity and lies. But Germany's democratic roots are not as deep as America's. That is why the Kohl scandal is causing concern for the future of democracy in his country, where there is already much cynicism about politicians' motives. /// OPT /// Democracy is bigger than any individual leader. Indeed, democracy imposes checks and balances on the assumption that no leader can be trusted with absolute power. /// END OPT /// Democracy in Germany must not rise or fall with Helmut Kohl.

    TEXT: On that apprehensive note, we conclude this sampling of U-S press reaction to the current turmoil in German politics.
    NEB/ANG/KL 11-Jan-2000 16:52 PM EDT (11-Jan-2000 2152 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257969
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Profit-taking drove stock prices in the United States lower today (Tuesday). Technology shares sold off after their huge run-up Monday on the back of the proposed merger of America Online and TimeWarner. V- O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 61 points, or one-half of one percent, closing at 11- thousand-511. The Standard and Poor's 500 index fell 18 points. And the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped three percent in volatile trading. Analysts say investor euphoria over the A-O-L / TimeWarner merger gave way to a more sober assessment of the proposed alliance. A-O-L shares fell more than 12 percent.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Mary Farrell, market strategist for the PaineWebber investment firm, says the merger of online and media interests opens a new era in the Internet industry. She believes there will be a lot of shuffling around the technology sector as people try to figure out the next moves and where the strength will be:

    /// FARRELL ACT ///

    I think a lot has happened in a year. The Internet not only accelerated the growth rate in technology, but also changed the whole landscape. So I think we have an extra 12 months to see how that industry - Internet- related - is developing. And I think that's what this A-O-L/TimeWarner merger is all about. You're going to see a lot of positioning and re- positioning in tech (technology).

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    The popular Internet portal, Yahoo, lost ground after its big run-up Monday, as investors feared its more than 250 percent gain last year cannot be sustained. The world's number one computer chipmaker, Intel, was upgraded, sending its shares up. Intel is expected to report higher fourth-quarter earnings this week.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Also on the earnings front, Bank One, the fourth largest U-S bank holding company, said its fourth- quarter earnings will be in line with lowered expectations. It also forecast profits during 2000 would come in well below Wall Street estimates. Bank One had warned of lower earnings twice last year. The financial institution is trying to fix problems in its credit card operations. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/ENE/JP 11-Jan-2000 16:49 PM EDT (11-Jan-2000 2149 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [08] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=1/11/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11626
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The fate of a little Cuban boy rescued from the sea and now the object of a diplomatic furor between Washington and Havana shares the editorial spotlight Tuesday with a huge U-S communications merger. Other topics under discussion include the Syrian - Israeli peace talks; AIDS in Africa; Japan's response to an economic downturn; Argentina digs into its darkest past; and China continues to persecute Roman Catholics. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The battle over little Elian Gonzalez, the six year-old Cuban boy rescued from the waters off the southern United States, continues to dominate the editorial columns. The latest legal move to prevent the boy from returning to Cuba is a subpoena, issued by an Indiana Congressman, that calls for the boy to testify before a House subcommittee on February 10. The Denver Post is annoyed by this latest ploy.

    VOICE: Representative Dan Burton . has issued a subpoena . not really intended to produce useful testimony but rather to start a war with the Immigration and Naturalization Service over its decision to send Elian back to Cuba to live with his father. . The Indiana congressman is, in our view, way off base [Editors: "wrong"] .

    TEXT: The Atlanta Journal is losing patience with both the U-S government and all others involved in this case, demanding: "Stop the grandstanding and send [the] Cuban boy home."

    TEXT: The big front page news story of the day, a huge merger between America Online, the internet service provider and Time-Warner, the communications conglomerate, is also drawing considerable attention. The New York Times is impressed, but expresses some reservations as well.

    VOICE: Everything about the 165-billion dollar takeover of Time Warner by America Online is big. A- O-L is the largest internet company. Time Warner is the largest media and entertainment company. Their proposed marriage will be the largest corporate merger in history. The implications of this merger are big too, for the way stocks are valued, for the way information services reach consumers, and perhaps for the way entertainment, politics and journalism evolve in a 21st-century corporate environment. . The challenges that these big, multifaceted companies represent for journalism are just now coming into focus. For decades journalists, readers and viewers have been coming to grips with the concentration of ownership in newspaper chains and networks. In that environment, maintaining a wall between advertising and news departments has worked well. But building walls among the multiple compartments of these new information, entertainment and marketing giants may not be so simple.

    TEXT: In California, The Los Angeles Times says "The merger appears to make business sense," and concludes:

    VOICE: Consumers should receive increased quality in phone, Internet and video service, which will be delivered faster and more conveniently. They are also likely to find that those who deliver the news are the ones who wrote it and may be the subject of its content. It's a trade-off they will have to consider.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: And in USA Today, published in Arlington, Virginia, outside D-C, there is this:

    VOICE: It's easy to see reason for both excitement and doubt. Ten days into the new millennium, the proposed marriage between the biggest Internet provider and the nation's top media conglomerate throws a wide range of industries into each other's businesses. Competition could lead to better delivery of new Internet media and old movie, music and information. But history also offers caution that this deal has potential downsides for the companies and consumers. The merger would erase distinctions between content and distribution in the digital age. A-O-L would gain exclusivity to at least some of Time Warner's content, making it more difficult for consumers to gain access to some things they want. .. In short, not all corporate marriages produce the great benefits they promise.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to the peace talks between Israel and Syria, now going into a brief recess, the Orlando [Florida] Sentinel reminds readers: "Peace takes patience."

    VOICE: When Americans pay attention to foreign affairs, they tend to attach expectations of immediate results similar to those they have in their private lives. Disappointment or frustration tends to prevail when things don't happen quickly, as with the recent round of Israel-Syria peace talks. It (the round of talks) just concluded without much to report, which led some people to label the meetings a failure. That perception would be unfair . The slow going underscores the difficulty and complexity of the issues Israel and Syria have begun to tackle after a half-century's contentiousness.

    TEXT: Today's Washington Post is less patient, lamenting:

    VOICE: The first round of substantive talks . lacked any of the sense of reconciliation that infused Israel's Oslo negotiations with the Palestinians or the Camp David talks with the Egyptians. The public signals from Damascus, even during the talks themselves, were resentful and cold, /// OPT /// and the Syrian leadership seems utterly uninterested in convincing the Israeli public ... that it is serious.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On to Africa and United Nations concern for the AIDS pandemic, which is the focus of a month-long discussion at the world body. The topic elicits this anguished commentary in the New York Times.

    VOICE: Imagine 40 million hungry and destitute orphans in sub-Saharan Africa by the year 20-ten - - roaming the streets without schooling or work, prime candidates for the criminal gangs, marauding militias and child armies that have slaughtered and mutilated tens of thousands of civilians in countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia in the last decade. This is the kind of nightmare that prompted the United Nations Security Council to convene yesterday for an unprecedented examination of a health issue - - the global spread of AIDS, especially in sub-Saharan Africa .

    TEXT: The Washington Times reflects on the differing approaches to economic downturns in the U-S during the 1980s, and in Japan, which is currently suffering its highest unemployment rate in decades.

    VOICE: For Americans, the lesson is that free markets, not industrial policy, lead to economic prosperity in the long run. While the U-S economy suffered a downturn in the 1980s as businesses retrenched, retooled and adjusted their operations to meet the demands of the newly emerging, technology- driven economy, Japanese businesses were mired in bureaucracy and resisted making the necessary changes in time to catch the first waves of the economic boom that began in the early 1990s. Americans, like the Japanese, have suffered economic insecurity . but the relative flexibility of our economy versus that of Japan's permitted a faster rebound.

    TEXT: Turning to Latin America, there is praise for the continued study of past abuses by the Argentine military from Nebraska's Omaha World Herald.

    VOICE: The arrest in Argentina of six military officers . represents continued progress toward one of the most difficult things a nation can do - to deal with its own shame. . The six . are charged with kidnapping the children of opponents of military rule . an estimated 200 children born in prison to people considered enemies of the state. /// OPT /// . Argentina seems determined to uncover the details and establish culpability. Such a process can be hard . even disruptive. But the demons of the recent past.. Will not be exorcised by walking away from them. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Monday afternoon's Honolulu Star-Bulletin is upset at the continuing persecution of China's Roman Catholics.

    VOICE: While continuing its persecution of Falun Gong, a home-grown spiritual group based on Buddhism and Taoism, China is also reasserting its insistence on control of Western religions. Defying the Vatican, the state-controlled Catholic Church ordained five bishops last Thursday. The ceremony was performed at Beijing's historic South Cathedral (on) the same day that Pope John Paul II ordained 12 bishops from seven other countries in a ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica. China rejects the pope's authority to appoint and consecrate bishops, and Thursday's ceremony seemed to be timed to underscore Beijing's defiance.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 11-Jan-2000 11:34 AM EDT (11-Jan-2000 1634 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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