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Voice of America, 00-02-22

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

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





    INTRO: Austrian Foreign Minister Betina Ferraro- Waldner has made her first visit to Kosovo as the Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The O-S-C-E is responsible for training police in Kosovo. Ron Pemstein reports from Pristina that questions of security and elections dominated her visit.

    TEXT: Kosovo-Albanian frustration about the divided town of Mitrovica boiled over Monday. Sixty-to-70- thousand demonstrators battled with NATO peacekeepers on the bridge that separates them from the Kosovo-Serb side of town. Peacekeepers fired tear gas to keep the Albanians apart from the Serbs. Austria's foreign minister came to Pristina to urge both Albanian and Serb leaders to cooperate in building a democratic Kosovo. Betina Ferraro-Waldner tells reporters the shortage of trained policemen is partly responsible for the tensions in Mitrovica.


    I think security is a major factor there, so I think in the future we might have to bring more policemen there and of course we already have seen that K-FOR was reinforced there. I think it's a specifically dangerous area, and it is a difficult moment there. We will have to face this, and I think it's the only possibility at this moment - the K-FOR and police force.

    /// END ACT ///

    The European Union's Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, has appealed to European foreign ministers to provide the promised policemen. They have pledged five thousand but only about two thousand have been sent. The O-S-C-E has set up a school to train Kosovar Albanians and Serbs to do their own police work. Their numbers are small. The class graduating this month has only 177 students. Eighty-three percent of them are Kosovar Albanians, and 13-percent are Serbs. The rest come from other minorities.

    /// OPT ///

    As the chairman of the O-S-C-E, the Austrian Foreign Minister presented the school with Austrian-made glock pistols and two Ping-Pong tables for the students' recreation. /// END OPT /// The O-S-C-E is also responsible for setting up elections in Kosovo with municipal elections planned for next September. The first task is to register voters. The O-S-C-E established the residency requirement of January 1, 1998. That date was before there were mass expulsions of Albanians from the province, and before many Serbs fled Kosovo. Albanians complained the date did not account for Albanian refugees before 1998. In a decision Tuesday, a waiver will be given to anyone with refugee status to vote in Kosovo's municipal elections. O-S-C-E officials say voting in villages and towns is easier to organize this year than it would be to conduct parliamentary and presidential elections all over Kosovo. The Austrian Foreign Minister says the free media has a vital role in creating the atmosphere for elections, and the O-S-C-E and Austria will contribute more resources.


    Without free and fair media you will never reach the people and you will have manipulations. So how should people then decide correctly for the elections? This is the main reason and therefore we think we have to start from the bottom - from the grassroots, so to say.

    /// END OPT ACT ///

    The O-S-C-E plans to set up a Kosovo press agency and a radio station to help voters here make a democratic choice. (Signed) NEB/RP/ENE-T/gm/eeur 22-Feb-2000 14:58 PM EDT (22-Feb-2000 1958 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Tensions are rising in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast region following the detention of three Kurdish mayors accused of links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or P-K-K. As Amberin Zaman reports, police in the Kurdish- dominated city of Diyarbakir clashed (Tuesday) with demonstrators who gathered to protest the arrest of the mayors.

    TEXT: Several hundred demonstrators gathered in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish dominated city in southeastern Turkey, to protest the arrest of the Kurdish mayors from Diyarbakir, Siirt and Bingol. Police wielding batons ordered the people to disperse. Clashes between police and demonstrators broke out after they refused to obey the order. At least eight demonstrators are reported to have been detained and many others were wounded as a result of the confrontation. Many of the demonstrators were chanting slogans calling for the mayors to be released immediately. Thirty three other Kurdish mayors elected on the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party, also known as Hadep, were on hand for the gathering. They read a statement protesting the arrests of their colleagues. The mayors described the detentions as a direct assault on Turkish democracy and local government and said the arrests constitute a serious infringement on the will of the people. Turkey's main opposition party, the pro-Islamic Virtue Party, lashed out at the mayors' arrests as well. Virtue Party leader Recai Kutan compared the government to "terrorists," saying the arrests had hurt Turkey's image abroad. The three mayors are being interrogated in Diyarbakir by security forces about their alleged ties to the P-K-K. Lawyers for the mayors said their clients bore marks of possible torture and are demanding they receive immediate physical examinations. Turkish officials say that Mayors Feridun Celik of Diyarbakir, Selim Ozalp of Siirt and Feyzullah Karaaslan of Bingol were detained on the basis of testimony from captured P-K-K militants, who said all three had, in their words, "received instructions" and "transferred funds" to the P-K- K. Hadep officials deny the charges. Nearly 40 thousand people have died since the P- K-K launched its armed campaign for Kurdish independence in 1984. But the group has said it has given up its military fight for good in line with orders from its captured leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The P-K-K says it will now struggle through peaceful means for the establishment of what it calls a "democratic republic," where Turks and Kurds enjoy the same rights. (Signed) NEB/AZ/GE/LTD/KL 22-Feb-2000 09:22 AM EDT (22-Feb-2000 1422 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Tuesday) as investors showed some caution after Friday's big sell- off. Wall Street also is gripped by concerns over the inflation-fighting policies of the U-S central bank. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied in the final hour of trading for a gain of 85 points, less than one percent, closing at 10-thousand-304. The Standard and Poor's 500 index was up six points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite gave up nearly three- quarters of one percent. Analysts say, overall, the mood on Wall Street is down, as interest rate concerns are getting more intense. Those worries are starting to drain even the normally confident Nasdaq market, with all of its high-flying Internet stocks. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan hinted last week interest rates will be going up more to try to slow down consumer spending, which fuels two-thirds of the U-S economy.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Experts say that means stock prices have to come down. Nearly 50 percent of U-S households are in some way invested in the stock market. Market run-ups have made people more prosperous and inclined to spend more freely. The U-S central bank believes demand for goods and services eventually will outpace supply. Analyst Robert Balentine disagrees with a tighter monetary policy. He says the "new economy" has its own built-in checks and balances:

    /// Balentine Act ///

    I do buy (accept) the wealth effect. That's real. Last year the increase in U-S household wealth as a result of the stock market exceeded the total income of everybody living in China, Brazil, India and Russia. That's huge. But I think where (Mr.) Greenspan is missing the point is that technology is driving productivity gains, enabling us to become much more productive, to consume fewer resources, and even though wages are rising, we're not having to hire as many workers.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    Mr. Greenspan returns to Capitol Hill Wednesday to continue his congressional testimony. Analysts expect more market volatility.

    /// REST OPT ///

    A scandal in the art world has been noted on Wall Street. Shares of Sotheby's -- the world's leading auction house -- traded lower under their apt symbol B-I-D. Its top executives have resigned as Sotheby's deals with a widening federal investigation into charges of price fixing in collusion with its arch- rival, Christie's. The Anglo-Dutch company, Unilever, the world's biggest maker of personal care products and ice cream, says it plans to cut 10 percent of its global workforce -- about 25-thousand jobs -- in an effort to cut costs and boost profits. Unilever's fourth quarter earnings rose two percent, less than at some rivals. Unilever's net earnings for last year were down five percent. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/JP/national 22-Feb-2000 16:52 PM EDT (22-Feb-2000 2152 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: There are many editorials in the U-S press this Tuesday about the recent (Friday) parliamentary election in Iran and the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina. Other topics include concern over violence in Kosovo province; a new hard-line from Moscow; and coming to terms with a racial incident early this century in Oklahoma. Now, here is __________ with a closer look, including some excerpts, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The overwhelming victory of reform candidates in last week's Iranian parliamentary election is drawing comment from all corners of the nation. Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette suggests:

    VOICE: /// OPT /// It was an image that defied Americans' perceptions of Iran. Last Friday, millions of Iranians - men and women- went to the polls to vote in parliamentary elections. /// END OPT /// ...In a sense, Friday's vote was a follow-up to the 1997 presidential election won by reformist theologian Mohammad Khatami... [who] has mostly been unable to deliver on his promises to create a freer civil society .... Due in part to the ... old guard [who] retained a majority in the powerful 290-seat parliament.

    TEXT: In Denver, foreign affairs columnist Holger Jensen of the Rocky Mountain News cautions people not to misunderstand the results.

    VOICE: It's not that Iranians are not devout Muslims. Most of them are. But ... they would like to see their mullahs move out of politics and back into the pulpit.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: And in Texas, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says many of Iran's neighbors are pleased with vote:

    VOICE: The election results . have been greeted with great optimism by regional neighbors, such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Israel; by some West European countries; by China and, of course, by the United States.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Domestically, the popular topic is the big win for Texas Governor George Bush over Arizona Senator John McCain in the South Carolina primary on Saturday. The Tulsa World says the victory gave Mr. Bush a timely win.

    VOICE: After [Senator] McCain whipped [Mr.] Bush in New Hampshire, the Bush strategists knew that the governor had to stir the G-O-P base in South Carolina, and that meant an appeal to the religious right. So the governor made an early appearance at Bob Jones University, where administrators push a strong fundamentalist message that frowns on Catholics and openly forbids interracial dating. ... There certainly were other factors in South Carolina. [Mr.] McCain stumbled badly on the issue of negative campaigning. ... [Mr.] McCain still has a chance [of winning the Republican nomination]. But it is a much slimmer one after South Carolina.

    TEXT: Pennsylvania's Tribune Review in Greensburg agrees, suggesting:

    VOICE: ... the good senator's momentum was dashed Saturday in South Carolina.

    VOICE: However Ohio's [Akron] Beacon Journal wonders whether Mr. Bush's win in South Carolina will become a pyrrhic victory, and suggests today's Michigan primary offers a truer test than any so far.

    VOICE: . When [Mr.] Bush beat Arizona Senator John McCain by 11 percentage points in ... South Carolina ... he did so in a familiar Republican way, losing the compassion and snuggling up to the conservatives. [Governor] Bush proved he knows how to win a primary. But at what cost? ... Compared to New Hampshire ... and South Carolina ... Michigan is a state with a large, diverse population ... like America in miniature.

    TEXT: The increasing violence between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, despite the best efforts of peacekeepers, is commented on by several papers, including the Detroit [Michigan] News.

    VOICE: The uneasy peace in Kosovo produced after months of bombing by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) appears to be unraveling... There are no easy answers. But if NATO is going to leave its forces in Kosovo, it needs to develop a long-term strategy that offers some hope of economic relief to the Balkans while containing ethnic, particularly Serbian, passions.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The St. Petersburg [Florida] Times suggests:

    VOICE: NATO troops can't keep the peace among ethnic Serbs and Albanians if they can't protect themselves. After two days as the targets of ethnic mobs - - first stone-throwing Serbs . then rampaging Albanians ... forces from the United States and other NATO governments were left rattled and disorganized. The first order of business is for NATO commanders to use whatever force is necessary to protect their troops in Kosovo. . NATO leaders need to determine their realistic goals in Kosovo, before the escalating violence forces an unwanted mission on them.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: As for the war in Chechnya, the Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Journal Sentinel writes: "Russia's abuses in Chechnya deserve [the] world spotlight," adding:

    VOICE: It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Russian Army's rampage through Chechnya and its attempt to obliterate the resistance movement . have produced appalling human rights abuses - - including murder, torture, rape and pillage. It is equally apparent that the Russian government is not about to (admit) these abuses, much less do anything about them.

    TEXT: Today's New York Times continues to fret about the Helmut Kohl scandal in Germany and the damage it is doing to the Christian Democratic Party he long headed.

    VOICE: It is important to Europe and America that Germany have a healthy center-right party to represent conservative voters and challenge the ruling Social Democrats. A thorough housecleaning will be required for the Christian Democrats to recover public trust. But the party should not be so weakened in the process that the extremist far right has a chance to benefit. ... The example of neighboring Austria demonstrates the possibility of a breakthrough for xenophobic nationalism if mainstream conservatism falters.

    TEXT: Finally, an extremely ugly racial chapter in the history of Oklahoma -- a race riot in Tulsa in 1921 in which whites killed about 40 blacks -- is finally being addressed with plans for compensation and a memorial. Nebraska's Omaha World-Herald says:

    VOICE: Reviewing such history can be unpleasant, but it's far better to acknowledge such failings than to look away from historical embarrassments the way some societies have chosen to do. In fact, the more ... Americans understand about past racial strife, the more they can appreciate the moral distance the nation has traveled over the past eight decades.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 22-Feb-2000 12:35 PM EDT (22-Feb-2000 1735 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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