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Voice of America, 00-01-26

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] CZECH POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY ALENA KENCLOVA (PRAGUE)
  • [02] BOSNIA WAR CRIMES (L-ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)
  • [03] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [04] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] CZECH POLITICS (L-ONLY) BY ALENA KENCLOVA (PRAGUE)

    DATE=1/26/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258451
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The two largest Czech political parties have signed a deal that will keep the minority Social Democratic cabinet in power until the end of its term in mid-2002. But, as Alena Kenclova reports from Prague, some Social Democrats are protesting the move.

    TEXT: The deal was signed early on Wednesday, just hours before the opposition Civic Democrats voted in parliament to send the country's year 2000 draft budget for an early approval. The Civic Democrats had tied their support for the budget to a package of commitments by the ruling Social Democrats. The five-point deal includes work on electoral reforms favoring large parties, and the prior endorsement by the sometimes Euro-skeptical Civic Democrats of proposed legislation preparing the way for the Czech Republic's membership in the European Union. After pressure by the Civic Democrats, there will be some changes in the Social Democratic cabinet led by Prime Minister Milos Zeman. President Vaclav Havel says the deal contains a number of good points, such as price deregulation and tax cuts. But he has doubts about others.

    /// ACT HAVEL, IN CZECH, FADE UNDER ///

    President Havel says that election reform should be debated in parliament, in full view of the public. He is concerned by what he calls the strange style of opposition and coalition government that will further numb the political scene in the country. The deal has received the overwhelming support of the top leadership of both parties. But Petra Buzkova, one of the leaders of the Social Democratic Party - and one of the country's most popular politicians - says she will step down from her party position to protest the election reform and rent deregulation. Smaller parties in parliament say the Social and Civic Democrats are monopolizing state power. Some commentators say the deal commits the Social Democrats to prepare for unpopular legislative measures, such as a pension reform that the Civic Democrats failed to accomplish during six years in power. But market analysts say the compromise removes the risk of early elections, which might hamper the Czech Republic's bid for E-U membership. The Social Democrats have 74 of the 200 seats in parliament, and the Civic Democrats have 63. The five-point package amends their former deal, which has enabled the Social Democrats to rule in exchange for key parliament posts and joint preparation of electoral reforms. The two parties are also preparing constitutional changes, which will curb presidential powers. (Signed)
    NEB/AK/GE/KL 26-Jan-2000 10:51 AM EDT (26-Jan-2000 1551 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] BOSNIA WAR CRIMES (L-ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)

    DATE=1/26/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258448
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Appeals judges at the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal today/Wednesday have struck five years off the sentence of a Bosnian Serb convicted of murdering and persecuting non-Serbs 8 years ago. The judgment effectively ends the Yugoslav Tribunal's first and longest-running case. Lauren Comiteau reports from The Hague.

    TEXT: Almost four years after it began, the trial of Dusko Tadic is finally over. The former cafe owner and karate instructor has been judged and sentenced twice, all for crimes that took place in and around three prison camps in the northwest Bosnian area of Prijedor, including the notorious Omarska camp. The crimes include beatings, persecution and murdering non-Serbs. Tadic had appealed both his original 20-year sentence and a later 25-year sentence handed down by appeals judges. His lawyers had argued that in sentencing Tadic to 25 years, judges had failed to consider his relatively low rank in the scheme of the Bosnian conflict. It's an argument presiding Judge Mohammed Shahabuddeen agreed with when explaining Wednesday's sentencing reduction.

    /// ACT SHAHABUDDEEN ///

    Although the criminal conduct underlying the charges of which the appellant now stands convicted was incontestably heinous, his level in the command structure when compared to that of his superiors or the very architects of the strategy of ethnic cleansing was low.

    /// END ACT ///

    Any sentence exceeding 20 years, said the judge, would be excessive. The appeals chamber recommended that Tadic serve at least ten years of his sentence, with credit for the almost six years he's already been in custody. That means Dusko Tadic most likely will not be released until at least the year 2007. But there is one possible legal avenue still open to Tadic. His former lawyer has been accused of contempt of court, and judges will announce their decision on that case Monday. If they do find the lawyer in contempt, Tadic could possibly use it as grounds to ask for a review of his entire case. (Signed)
    NEB/LC/GE/KL 26-Jan-2000 07:54 AM EDT (26-Jan-2000 1254 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=1/26/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258465
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed today (Wednesday), with some slippage in the highly valued technology sector. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average held on for a fractional gain of three points, closing at 11- thousand-32. It had been up as many as one-hundred points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index dropped five points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite lost more than two percent. Its big problem was Qualcomm - the best stock performer of 1999. Qualcomm reported higher earnings for the past quarter, but said sales of wireless phones and the chips that run them will be down for the current quarter. Its shares fell over 15 percent. U-S corporate earnings continue to be mostly positive. Leading soft-drink maker Coca-Cola, a component of the Dow Jones, reported higher profits. It also announced it is cutting six-thousand jobs, about 20 percent of its workforce, to reduce costs.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing - maker of tens of thousands of consumer and industrial products and also a part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average - said its profits rose nearly 30 percent. It also forecast a 10 percent rise in per-share earnings for the year, as Asian economies pull out of recession. Number two automaker Ford reported an eight percent jump in earnings, while McDonald's - the world's largest restaurant chain - says its profits rose 40 percent. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has signaled again that he intends to keep the U-S economy on a low-inflation path. That usually means higher interest rates. Mr. Greenspan was testifying before a U-S Senate committee, as he seeks confirmation of his renomination to the post:

    /// GREENSPAN ACT ///

    Our challenge in monetary policy is to foster, as best we can, the financial conditions that will allow this economic expansion and technological revolution to continue as long and as vigorously as possible.

    /// END ACT ///

    The U-S stock market did not react to Mr. Greenspan's remarks. Most analysts expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at least 25 basis points when it meets next week to try to prevent the U-S economy from overheating. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/JP 26-Jan-2000 16:39 PM EDT (26-Jan-2000 2139 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=1/26/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11650
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: From Maine to California, editorial writers are examining the results of the nation's first election-related event, the Iowa caucuses. Also attracting attention is a Supreme Court decision upholding some limits on campaign financing. There are also more comments on the long-running saga of the little shipwrecked Cuban boy, and efforts to reunite him with his Cuban grandmothers who are visiting the United States. Rounding out the day's commentaries are thoughts on Senator Jesse Helm's tough United Nations speech. Now, here is ___________ with a closer look and some excerpts, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The candidates for president have all moved on from Iowa in the Midwest to New Hampshire in the Northeast, where the first presidential primary election is only days away. The results in Iowa were not unexpected, with the two front runners, Vice President Al Gore among Democrats and Texas Governor George W. Bush among Republicans, winning the most votes. But there are several themes running through the editorials about this first public "choosing" for the presidency. The Record in Northern New Jersey is alarmed that the races may be all but over much too soon.

    VOICE: The sad thing about Al Gore's big win in Iowa - and even George ... Bush's less impressive victory - is that the results may signal the impending end of the races for the presidential nominations. That would mean Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush would in effect be selected as their parties' candidates before most Americans have much idea of what kind of president they or their opponents would make.

    TEXT: The Chicago Tribune, for its part, is questioning whether Iowa's caucuses are relevant.

    VOICE: The caucuses are a great event for Iowa political enthusiasts. They are not, however, a great spectator sport for the rest of us. ... Iowa ... hardly mirrors the racial or ethnic mix of the United States. ... So anyone who handicaps the results in Iowa as a harbinger of national ... trends does so at great peril.

    TEXT: Florida's St. Petersburg Times has more criticism of what it feels is Iowa's often-skewed results.

    VOICE: The Iowa caucuses often bring out the worst in voters, the candidates and the press. The voters organize around narrow interest-group agendas, the candidates pander to these interest groups and the press exaggerates the importance of it all. Thus begins the ... winnowing process that sometimes makes losers out of winners and winners out of losers. It is an irrational and misshapen process...

    VOICE: However the Fort Worth Star-Telegram suggests that "Iowa proves that presidential races can't be safely predicted," and says Democrat Bill Bradley's time would have been better spent campaigning in New Hampshire, as Republican Senator John McCain did, avoiding Iowa all together. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe warns about New Hampshire's unpredictability:

    VOICE: New Hampshire's claim of independence from any influence by the Iowa caucuses is rhetoric reinforced by record. Except for sitting presidents, every presidential candidate who won Iowa in the last five elections, since 1976, has lost the New Hampshire primary.

    TEXT: The San Francisco Chronicle says it is glad to have the caucuses "behind us," so that "we can all now begin to get serious about choosing a president." While New Hampshire's biggest daily, the [Manchester] Union Leader, is pleased that the Republican it has endorsed, Steve Forbes did so well in Iowa, gaining 30 instead of the predicted 20 percent of the vote. Says the Union Leader:

    VOICE: It's a whole new world. Republicans have a three-man race in New Hampshire. ... Hopefully New Hampshire conservatives will seize on Iowa's momentum and consolidate their votes behind [Steve Forbes,] the candidate strong enough to knock [Arizona Senator John] McCain off his high horse and [Texas Governor George] Bush off his throne.

    TEXT: Turning to a related matter, there is a great deal of comment on the Supreme Court decision upholding some limits on campaign finance reform. The New York Times says:

    VOICE: The ... Court performed a valuable public service on Monday by demolishing one of the main arguments brandished by congressional foes of campaign finance reform. In a decisive six to three ruling, the court reaffirmed the constitutionality of campaign contribution limits and exposed the emptiness of claims that the First Amendment presents an insurmountable bar to ... [restricting] the corrupting flow of money into campaigns.

    TEXT: In Hawaii, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin says now "Congress and the states should turn their attention to regulating "soft money" contributions ... used to skirt contribution limits. Tacoma's [Washington] News Tribune is also pleased, noting that:

    VOICE: Campaign contributions and free speech aren't the same thing, but that's what opponents of campaign finance reform would have had us believe. ... The ... Supreme Court handed down an opinion clearly affirming the right of states to establish reasonable limits on contributions ... Associate Justice John Paul Stevens said it best: "Money is property; it is not speech."

    TEXT: Moving on to the fate of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy whose fate continues to be debated between anti-Castro Cubans and the U-S government. He was supposed to have met his grandmothers from Cuba yesterday in Miami, but the meeting fell through. Now, another meeting is scheduled for today. The Washington Post is disgusted with the latest events.

    VOICE: It shouldn't have been too much to hope that after all Elian Gonzalez had been through - - a shipwreck, the drowning of his mother, the hours adrift at sea - - someone would act selflessly and apolitically in his interests. ... The Cuban government and Miami exile community both have been milking [taking advantage of] the issue for political points while piously accusing the other [side] of doing the same. Congress now would compound the irresponsibility by seeking to confer citizenship upon the boy. ... The issue should have been settled with the arrival of the grandmothers.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The New York Post, which seldom agrees with the Washington Post, agrees on both counts this time, noting its "about time" the boy meets with his grandmothers. And the New York Post also believes making Elian a citizen through a special bill "would create a dangerous and unwelcome precedent..." Today's New York Times says of the anti-Castro Cubans in Florida who are desperately fighting to keep the young boy in the United States:

    VOICE: They assume that the nature of one's government is the only criterion in the quality of his life. In so doing they emulate the totalitarian ideal that they correctly abhor.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: And, lastly, further comment on a speech critical of the United Nations delivered last week to the U-N Security Council by U-S Senator Jesse Helms. In an equally strong retort, the Atlanta [Georgia] Constitution writes:

    VOICE: Like the clean-up crew following the elephants in a circus parade, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright appeared this week before the U-N Security Council, tidying up after the mess Senator Jesse Helms (Republican of North Carolina) made in his address to its members last week. Above all, [Ms.] Albright needed to dispel doubts [Senator] Helms raised with his repeated and exaggerated claims that he spoke for the American people.

    TEXT: Taking a very favorable view of the Senator's remarks, however, is another Georgia paper, the Augusta Chronicle. VOICE; [Senator] Helms ripped the U-N's failure to disarm Iraq and termed U-N Bosnia peacekeeping "a disaster," but he saved some of his harshest words for the U-N's bloated bureaucracies. ... No doubt the chairman's tough views of the United Nations reflect that of most conservative Americans, but what's interesting is that they may also be coming to represent the views of most liberals as well. Particularly galling to many Americans is that the U-N has been dunning the U-S for years for not paying "dues" while the U-S spends more in dollars and troops than any other nation on the agency's failed peacekeeping missions- - even at the expense of our own readiness.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 26-Jan-2000 12:05 PM EDT (26-Jan-2000 1705 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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