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Voice of America, 00-02-29

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

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





    INTRO: The Kosovo Police School (K-P-S) has started its third class with 250-students, mostly Albanian, but including Serbs and other minorities. The goal is to produce enough police officers to give Kosovo a police force without foreign help. Correspondent Ron Pemstein visited the school in Vuchitrn, Kosovo and sends this report. Text: In classroom "A", the teacher points to 22-year old student Myvette Makolli and describes her as a hot-tempered blonde who has tried to stab a police officer with a knife. She is taking part in a classroom exercise in the first week of her class on the use of force. The teacher's words are translated into Albanian as he tries to make his students think of how they would react if confronted by the angry Myvette.

    /// TEACHER ACT ///

    How close are you going get to tell her not to use the knife? Are you going to get this close?

    /// END ACT ///

    One of the students answers.


    The first thing is, assess the situation.

    /// END ACT ///

    But the teacher describes the risks of this approach.

    /// TEACHER ACT ///

    But this fiery blonde her temper is very high. She is determined she is not going to put the knife down. What level of force are you going to adopt towards her, to stand on the other side of the room and shoot her?

    /// END ACT ///

    The student decides he will warn the blonde with his firearm. The teacher asks the class to think about other less drastic alternatives. In reality, the blonde Miss Makolli admits she does have a temper sometimes. She tells me through an interpreter, why she applied to become a police officer.


    I like the profession of policeman and this is the first time that police is cooperating with international police.

    /// END ACT ///

    In fact, Miss Makolli wants to become a detective. But first, she must complete the nine-week course at the Kosovo Police School and serve 17-weeks working in practical field training with the U-N civilian police. Contributing countries have fallen short of their commitments to provide the United Nations with enough civilian police for Kosovo. The U-N request was for five-thousand trained police officers, the foreign response has been half of that. The response to the Kosovo Police School has been overwhelming. The United Nations stopped taking applications when they reached 13-thousand. The goal is to have 35-hundred Kosovo residents trained to serve as their own police force. Norwegian Rune Anderson advises the school. He says there are a variety of motivations for students to become police officers.

    /// ANDERSON ACT ///

    I think it is both that they need a job and also they see this as an opportunity to be a part of the creation of the Kosovo police service.

    /// END ACT ///

    Patriotism is the motivation for 24-year old Veton Elshani. He served with the Kosovo Liberation Army in the effort to expel Serbian police from Kosovo.

    /// ELSHANI ACT ///

    It was like a military force. It was not decided from the people. It was not from the people. It was not ours. It was not from Kosovo. It was from another state. So now, I think that we are going to change something. We are going to be the police of this country, the police of this people. The police that cares about this people.

    /// END ACT ///

    The school teaches democratic values, respect for human rights, and tolerance to these future police officers. Most of the students are Kosovar Albanians, but the third group of 250 includes 22-Serbs and 11- other minorities. One of the Serb trainees comes from a village nearby. The Serbs of his village cannot travel 15-kilometers from home without international protection. This potential police officer also wants to protect his people. He says he has encountered no problems with his fellow trainees at the Kosovo Police School. Robert Cart has been assigned by the U-S Department of Justice to organize training at the school. He says expansion will double the school's capacity to run two classes of 250-students each. Then, he says the best ones will be selected to become supervisors.

    /// CART ACT ///

    One of the issues that will be coming up at some point is selection of supervisors and managers. So we have begun to build a structure within the K-P-S. That is something for the commissioner to decide, when and the criteria for selection. And they will come back in and be trained here by us.

    /// END ACT ///

    There may be 700 to 800-officers for the Kosovo Police force within one-year, all of them trained at the school. It will be a new experience for the majority Albanian population to see the police not as their enemy, but as their own public servants. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/GE/RAE 29-Feb-2000 14:05 PM EDT (29-Feb-2000 1905 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The top United Nations official in Bosnia, Jacques Klein, said today (Tuesday) that Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic remains the major obstacle to stability in the region. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: Mr. Klein, who is in New York for consultations with U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told reporters the recent democratic presidential election in Croatia was a positive thing for Bosnia. He says as Croatia moves into the mainstream of Europe, Bosnia will move with it. He also observed that the fact that Bosnia is no longer a top international news story is actually a positive sign, indicating a low level of violence there. However, Mr. Klein says that until Serbia has a democratic government, the region will remain unstable. He characterizes the atmosphere in Serbia as one of paranoia, isolation and victimization. He says the man responsible for that is Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic and Mr. Klein has a message for the people of Serbia

    /// KLEIN ACT ///

    This is a man (Milosevic) who has led you as a nation back into the 19th century. All the work that was done to build Serbia has been destroyed by one individual. It is very tragic for you people. My own view is that this whole region will not work and will not be stable until we do have a democratic government in Belgrade and that indeed Serbia becomes part of Europe again and is re-integrated into European structures.

    /// END ACT ///

    U-N official Jacques Klein also said the fact that Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnia Serb president is still at-large has created what he called a "poison cloud" over Bosnia. Mr. Karadzic has been indicted for war crimes and Mr. Klein says Mr. Karadzic is symbolic of the war crimes issue. The arrest and prosecution of Mr. Karadzic, Mr. Klein says, would be very constructive for reconciliation in Bosnia. (Signed) NEB/BA/LSF/TVM/gm 29-Feb-2000 17:59 PM EDT (29-Feb-2000 2259 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The leader of Austria's far right Freedom Party, Joerg Haider, who praised aspects of Nazi policies, has resigned in the wake of anti government protests and international pressure. But as Stefan Bos reports from Budapest, Mr. Haider is expected to continue as a provincial governor.

    TEXT: Mr. Haider said he quit as party leader to avoid complications for the coalition government, in which his party will continue to take part. The controversial leader said he is not withdrawing from politics. Speaking trough an interpreter, Mr. Haider said he made the decision because he wants to focus more on his work as Governor of Carinthia province.


    On the one hand I have made possible a Government in which I am not the Chancellor, in which I am not in the Government. Because I would like to keep my promise to the voters in Carinthia. And...I am very interested (to) help our country with all I have, but (I want) to put the interest of the state that I govern first, above the interest of the country

    ///END ACT ///

    Mr. Haider will be replaced as party leader by Austria's 39-year old Vice Chancellor Susanne Riesspasser. Ms. Riesspasser said Monday that she had not expected to become the party's new leader. Ms. Riesspasser told V-O-A last week that she saw no reason why Mr. Haider should have to step down because, she says, he publicly regretted his Nazi statements.


    I don't discuss kicking doctor Haider out of the party because he apologized. But nobody wanted to hear it. So even now people don't want to hear that he very clearly apologized for what he said. He said this was a mistake. So either you respect an apology or you don't. But this was all he could do.

    /// END ACT //////

    Mr. Haider's decision came after a week of anti- government protests in Vienna.


    Protesters massed last week near the balcony where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler gave a speech 62 years ago. And as the crowd shouted slogans against fascism, the European Union began diplomatic actions against Austria. Fourteen other European Union members have moved to isolate Austria diplomatically, mostly due to Mr. Haider's anti-foreigner stance and his past praise for Nazi employment policies. Representatives of the opposition Austrian Social Democratic Party reacted with mixed feelings to the announcement of Mr. Haider's resignation - fearing that he will remain active in politics in an effort to become Austria's next chancellor.

    /// REST OPTIONAL ///

    Some demonstrators, talking earlier with V-O-A news, said they are afraid of what they describe as the "Haider-phenomena" in Austria. 35-year old Suzanne Fernesi, a demonstrator and mother of three, says her grandmother warned her about Mr. Haider and his party more than a decade ago.

    /// FERNESI ACT ///

    When my grandmother died - it was 10 years ago - she said it will be the same situation again as in the second world war. And she said she hoped that she would never have this feeling again, but now it is here...

    /// END ACT ///

    But Mr. Haider remains popular with many Austrians, especially within the party which he nearly single- handedly built up from a small, unknown group to the second-largest political force in the country, winning 27-percent in last October's balloting. Austria's Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said recently he fears that if new elections were called they would lead to even more support for Mr. Haider and his party. (Signed) NEB/sb/gm 28-Feb-2000 19:43 PM EDT (29-Feb-2000 0043 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The vice chancellor of Austria, Susanne Riess-Passer, who succeeds Joerg Haider as leader of Austria's far right Freedom Party, has promised to deal with Austria's Nazi past as well as adopt a more friendly policy toward foreigners. Stefan Bos spoke with Ms. Riess- Passer in Vienna before Mr. Haider's resignation announcement and filed this report.

    TEXT: Ms. Riess-Passer said Monday that she had not expected to become the party's new leader, and stressed that her party had not pressured Mr. Haider to step down. The fourteen other members of the European Union as well as many other nations -- have moved to isolate Austria diplomatically, mostly due to Mr. Haider's anti-foreigner stance and his past praise for Nazi employment policies. Some say they are afraid of the re-emergence of ultra rightwing sentiments in a country that was once a close ally of Nazi Germany. Ms. Riess-Passer said that she would like to show the outside world and Austrians that her party and the government is serious about dealing with the country's Nazi-past by giving compensation to the victims of that era.


    This is the question of the slave workers during the Nazi regime and this is one of the dark points in Austrian history. We have to deal with that now. Because since 1945 no Government in Austria was willing to really deal with this question. So this is a dark point and a responsibility we all have in Austria.


    The new head of the Freedom Party said she had promised former Polish slave workers that when her party was in power that this issue would be dealt with swiftly because many of these people are already very old. Ms. Riess-Passer says she expects a compensation agreement to be finalized within a few months. And in what appears to be a shift of policies, she wants to make sure that the Freedom Party will be more open toward European Union expansion.

    /// OPT ///

    While Mr. Haider recently suggested that the pay differential between workers in East and West should first almost be eliminated, Ms. Riess-Passer says that neighboring Hungary could already join in 2003.

    /// ACT TWO RIESS-PASSER////// OPT ACT ///

    In the aspect of Hungary I would say, yes this is possible. What we have to do is to look at each country for its own. There are many candidates with many developments so you need to have a flexible development of enlargement

    /// END ACT RIESS-PASSER////// END OPT ///

    Ms. Riess-Passer also says she wants her government and party to continue the immigration policies of the previous Social Democratic-led Cabinet. She denied reports that the Freedom Party may be less willing to accept foreigners, including refugees.


    You can never have quotas for refugees, you now. Refugees are people who are fleeing from persecution. So you can not have a quota for refugees. We are an open country and have always been open for refugees. But you need to have quotas for immigrants (immigration), like all the other country's in the world do.


    But analysts say Mr. Haider will always be looking over Ms. Riess-Passer's shoulder. Mr. Haider remains popular with many Austrians, especially within the party that he built up nearly single-handedly from a small, unknown group to the second-largest political force in the country, winning 27 percent in last October's balloting. (Signed)
    NEB/SB/GE/KL 29-Feb-2000 08:17 AM EDT (29-Feb-2000 1317 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The resignation of Joerg Haider as the leader of Austria's rightwing Freedom Party has not changed the European Union's (E-U) attitude toward Austria's coalition government. V-O-A's Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels that Austria remains diplomatically isolated.

    TEXT: It is not Joerg Haider personally, but the position of his party. That is the attitude of the European Union's member governments that downgraded their relations with Austria when Mr. Haider's Freedom Party came into power. Belgium's foreign minister Louis Michel, on a visit to Israel, says nothing has changed, so European Union political sanctions against Austria should remain in force. Mr. Haider has not taken a personal role in the new government, but Mr. Michel says he obviously remains in the party and continues to call the shots (i.e. direct the party). The Belgian minister calls Mr. Haider's resignation as Freedom Party leader a ploy to mollify Western capitals. Portugal's prime minister, Antonio Gueterres, is the chairman of the European Union for this six- month period and he wants to keep the sanctions against Austria in place. Speaking in Lisbon, he says Mr. Haider's resignation shows there is a problem and the European Union was right to raise it. For the time being, the Prime minister says there is insufficient information to determine the intentions behind the move. A French spokeswoman says E-U sanctions were aimed at his party in the government, not Mr. Haider himself, and this move changes nothing. Here at the European Commission, spokesman Peter Guilford says the commission will continue to do business with Austria as a member of the European Union, and Mr. Haider's absence as head of his party does not change the commission's stand.

    /// Guilford Act ///

    We have said consistently throughout this issue that we share the concerns expressed by member states, but we will judge this government on its actions, not on its political complexion. That remains the case and we will continue to do so. We will, of course, continue to engage the Austrian authorities while watching to ensure that the rules and principles of E-U membership are upheld.

    /// End Act ///

    Mr. Haider has ridiculed France and Belgium and they have been the strongest voices within the European Union in calling for his party -- and the Austrian government containing his party -- to be shunned. On Monday, Belgium's defense minister walked out of a luncheon that included the Austrian defense minister, who is a member of the Freedom Party. Andre Flataut told reporters, " I don't lunch with fascists." Whether Mr. Haider is the head of his party or not, so long as his right-wing party remains in the Austrian government, The European Union intends to keep Austria isolated. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/GE/JP 29-Feb-2000 12:27 PM EDT (29-Feb-2000 1727 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices were higher today (Tuesday), as the "blue-chips" recovered more of last week's big losses. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average nestled above 10-thousand for the second day in a row. The Industrials climbed to 10-thousand-128 with a gain of 89 points, less than one percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index also advanced, gaining 18 points. Investors apparently are looking for bargains among the "blue-chips." The stocks that have come to represent the "old economy" have been badly beaten down - many languishing at or near their all-time lows. Meanwhile, after two days of profit-taking, the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite soared for a gain of more than two and one-half percent, closing at its first record high since last Thursday.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    Marshall Acuff, an analyst with Salomon Smith Barney, believes the stock market is going through some technical corrections. But he says the extreme volatility lately is due largely to continuing uncertainty over interest rates:

    ///ACUFF ACT///

    I think we're still in a long-term bull market ("up" market) and I expect that to continue. However, we've been in a corrective process, depending on what you look at, anywhere from the last two years to the last two months. I think the "Fed" (Federal Reserve Board) continues to be an obstacle to this market. It's still uncertain how far the "fed" will have to go with the rate increases and how long it will take.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    A new survey on U-S consumer confidence shows a slight dip in February, mostly due to higher oil prices. But confidence remains high and Americans are expected to continue spending robustly.

    ///REST OPT///

    Leading airplane maker Boeing and General Electric have announced a deal. General Electric will supply engines for Boeing's new line of long-range jetliners, which will include an aircraft capable of flying non- stop from New York to as far as Malaysia. The first deliveries are planned for the year 2003. The two companies refused to identify buyers but indicated they had enough firm commitments to make this a winning program. Number two auto-maker Ford announced plans to flood the European market with new products over the next five years. Analysts say Ford's market share has been slipping as the car-maker allowed its product line to grow old and stale. Meanwhile, auto-maker DaimlerChrysler also wants to boost sales in Europe of its U-S branded products. DaimlerChrysler sold about 150-thousand Chrysler and Jeep vehicles in the European market last year. It wants to increase that by at least 10 percent in 2000, and five to 10 percent every year thereafter. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 29-Feb-2000 17:09 PM EDT (29-Feb-2000 2209 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Since the beginning of this month, violence between Serbian and Albanian residents of the Kosovo city of Mitrovica has been escalating. About two weeks ago, two French army peacekeepers were wounded and an Albanian sniper was shot to death. The French and U-S defense ministers have each pledged to send in reinforcements to bolster peacekeepers in the area. However, some U-S newspapers are beginning to wonder whether the overall NATO peacekeeping effort in the war-torn Yugoslav province is bogging down amid the continuing ethnic hostility. We get a sampling now, from ________ in this week's U-S Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: Mitrovica in the mountainous north of Kosovo is divided by a river, with ethnic Serbs living on one side and ethnic Albanians on the other. Because of the intense animosities between them, members of one ethnic group who used to live in neighborhoods dominated by the other have fled to refugee areas where their own group is in the majority. French forces trying to keep the peace between them have been criticized for not asserting themselves more forcefully with the warring elements of both sides. The escalating violence peaked about two weeks ago, with a street riot [2/13]. That accelerated speculation in portions of the American press that the overall situation in Kosovo is deteriorating, and that Mitrovica may still be a "time bomb" that could set it all off. We begin our sampling in Colorado, where Holger Jensen, foreign affairs columnist of Denver's Rocky Mountain News, calls the Kosovo peacekeeping duties for all the armed forces there not only "frustrating," but also "futile."

    VOICE: Events in Kosovska Mitrovica demonstrate the futility of trying to persuade implacably hostile Serbs and Albanians to live together in a multi-ethnic Kosovo. They also show how ludicrous it is for the western powers to recognize Serbian sovereignty over a province that is now only five percent Serbian with 100-thousand Serbs surrounded by two-million Albanians who don't want nor recognize rule from Belgrade. ... Kosovska Mitrovica has the largest concentration of Serbs left in the province. They consider it their last stand. /// OPT /// Many who fled other parts of Kosovo settled in or around northern Mitrovica, separated from Albanians in the southern part of the city by the Ibar River. Unfortunately, Serbs occupy the homes of Albanians who fled south, while Albanians occupy the apartments of Serbs who fled north, making it a flash point. /// END OPT /// NATO also made the mistake of stationing French troops there, long regarded by the Albanians as being pro-Serb. ... Congress has expressed growing impatience with the open-ended presence of American peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo. But NATO's outgoing commander, General Wesley Clark, told the (U-S) House Armed Services Committee they will have to remain in the Balkans indefinitely until [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic is removed from power. ... But will a new government reconcile Serbs and Albanians? The answer is probably no.

    TEXT: In the opinion of Newsday on New York's Long Island, "Kosovo will Haunt the Next President."

    VOICE: In Mitrovica ... a showdown among ethnic Albanians, Serbs and NATO troops is playing itself out that could determine the future of the international peacekeeping effort in the breakaway Serbian province. Within days, France will add about 700 troops to the five-thousand it has in the city and Washington may send a Marine expeditionary unit to quell rising violence that has left nine civilians dead and 20 wounded this month, including two French soldiers. ... The best ... NATO can hope for is a resumption of the tense but relatively stable situation that prevailed before the flare-up of violent clashes between Albanian Kosovars and Serbs. ... But it's chimeric (illusory) to hope that even additional troops will do much to attain the nominal goal of the NATO and U-N effort: Creating a functional multi-ethnic entity that can govern itself autonomously but still remain part of sovereign Serbia. /// OPT /// That paradoxical construct is the basis for the peacekeeping effort, and its chances for eventual success must be viewed with considerable skepticism. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In the Pacific region, Hawaii's Honolulu Star- Bulletin says despite the difficulties, "The peacekeepers must deal with the violence and remain in Kosovo to achieve a lasting peace," adding:

    VOICE: The more the town [EDS: Mitrovica] is polarized, the less likely it will be that stability can be attained. The NATO-led troops are challenged to find a way of integrating the city, no small task but one that is necessary in creating a lasting peace throughout Kosovo. ... Whether the two ethnic groups can be peacefully integrated any time soon is doubtful. In the days ahead, a curfew and numerous checkpoints should end the immediate violence and allow NATO to develop a strategy over a longer term. But it may be years before it will be safe for the peacekeepers to leave.

    TEXT: In Boston, The Christian Science Monitor agrees, suggesting if a multi-ethnic society is to be restored, more force is needed now.

    VOICE: If a self-governing multi-ethnic entity remains the goal of intervention there, the means of reaching it have to be strengthened. This requires, above all, developing the civilian structures that can move Kosovo toward stability. ... Kosovo is turning out to be just as thorny as anticipated. Pressure could mount to reject the multi-ethnic model and go for partition ... That would be a mistake. Resentments would build, fueling future conflict. The western allies should stick to the original goal -- beef up (EDS: increase) efforts to build a civil society, and recognize this will be a very long commitment.

    TEXT: The Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, however, wonders whether more troops are really needed, and if they are, where will both the escalation and U-S military involvement in this Balkan trouble spot end.

    VOICE: Many Americans ... remember the term from the dark days of the Vietnam War: escalation. NATO officials are heading down that road in Kosovo with calls this week for additional troops to keep the troubled peace there. ... Two French soldiers were shot by snipers in northern Kosovo and on Sunday, angry Serbs stoned U-S troops who were searching for illicit weapons. Americans withdrawing under a hail of stones and garbage recalled scenes from Somalia seven years ago. ...NATO forces continue to be interposed between ethnic factions to create the appearance of peace where no peace actually exists.

    TEXT: The Vietnam analogy, while still a painful memory for the Chicago Tribune, is not apt, says the big Midwestern daily.

    VOICE: ... Kosovo isn't Vietnam -- not now, if ever - and [General Wesley] Clark, NATO's supreme commander, has the right idea. His call (for more NATO troops in Kosovo) should be heeded, as long as America ... doesn't get saddled with more than its fair share of the peacekeeping burden. A message needs to be sent, with a strong show of force, that NATO is resolute and committed to defending Kosovo civilians from all attempts to undermine U-N peacekeeping efforts.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of opinion on the recent surge of violence in and around the northern city of Mitrovica in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
    NEB/ANG/JP 29-Feb-2000 15:02 PM EDT (29-Feb-2000 2002 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: From Portland, Maine in the eastern United States to Portland, Oregon in the west, Tuesday's editorial columns are filled with comment on the Amadou Diallo case in New York State. Mr. Diallo, an unarmed immigrant from Guinea, was shot to death by four New York City police officers who mistook him for a rapist they were searching for. The officers' acquittal of all charges has been followed by an avalanche of commentary. The other popular topic is also domestic: Texas Governor George Bush's apology for a speech at a fundamentalist Christian University in South Carolina that has been criticized for its anti-Roman Catholic views. Overseas, Russian leader Vladimir Putin's policy in Chechnya is a major topic, as is increased repression of dissent in Cuba. There is also comment about a new U-N plan for the Congo and European fears of U-S British eavesdropping by a sophisticated satellite network called Echelon. Now, here is ________ with a closer look in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Last year, four white, New York City police officers on a special street crime unit shot and killed an unarmed immigrant from Guinea in West Africa. The officers said they thought he was a rapist they were seeking, and when he reached for his wallet, they said they thought he was reaching for a gun. Last week, a jury made up of four blacks and eight whites, with a black jury foreman, acquitted the four officers of murder, and several lesser counts. Today's papers generally support the verdict, while questioning New York police practices that led to the killing. In Portland, Maine, the Portland Press Herald agrees the shooting may not have been a crime, but questions police tactics.

    VOICE: If the shooting death ... is examined in the context of the decision the officers had to make just before opening fire, than an Albany jury's verdict... makes sense. ... The [members of the jury] recognized that these situations are never easy and officers can only be expected to do the best they can in a split second ... What's outrageous [are] ... the policies that led to [Mr.] Diallo's being at the point of four guns in the first place. Though not a confirmed suspect, he was chased and cornered. Why?

    VOICE: Clear across the country, in Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian agrees the jury reached the correct verdict under the circumstances, but goes on to suggest:

    VOICE: If ever there were an argument for community policing it is this case. If ever a city needed to heed it, it is New York. ... before the city can move ahead, it has to accept that it is, in a direct way, responsible for [Mr.] Diallo's death, even if the officers cannot be blamed.

    TEXT: The St. Louis Post Dispatch is worried about what it calls "the chilling message for some Americans" this case sends, especially to the nation's blacks.

    VOICE: ... the jury's verdict reinforces fears, especially among minorities, that even if law-abiding, they are at the mercy of the police in a society that has shown little desire to hold officers accountable for their actions.

    TEXT: The Atlanta Constitution, however, points out the officers are not yet free, by any means.

    VOICE: The acquittals do not mean the four [police officers] will suffer no consequences. They appear bent under a heavy burden of remorse; they await a departmental review of the shootout and could lose their jobs, and they face civil suits from [Mr.] Diallo's family.

    TEXT: Still in Georgia, the Augusta Chronicle lauds the jury for its wisdom.

    TEXT: What [the people protesting the verdict] don't understand, which the racially mixed jury did understand, is that sometimes - - especially in dangerous police work - - horrible, heart-rending accidents can happen. This was a courageous color- blind jury that came to a courageous decision - - restoring much confidence in the criminal justice system.

    TEXT: The day's other popular editorial topic concerns Texas Governor George Bush's apology for a speech given at a fundamentalist Christian university in South Carolina which holds anti-Roman Catholic views. The Hartford [Connecticut] Courant says:

    VOICE: Even George W. Bush himself now realizes that his zeal to win the South Carolina Republican presidential primary served him poorly when he appeared at Bob Jones University. ... His regret, which he reiterated in a letter to [Roman Catholic] Cardinal John O'Connor of New York, may not be enough to remove the stain on the governor's campaign.

    TEXT: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains why so many Americans are so upset with the appearance.

    VOICE: With dozens of South Carolina universities available, Mr. Bush headed straight for the only one that called the pope the anti-Christ, forbids interracial dating and once told a gay alumnus he would be arrested for trespassing if he came to the campus. ... you can't have it both ways. You can't earn the far-right conservative seal of approval by choosing to "associate" with Bob Jones and then contend that you are [a defender] of racial and religious tolerance.

    TEXT: Wisconsin's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the visit shows even more serious flaws in the candidate's character:

    VOICE: ... his visit to Bob Jones University is the latest in a series of blunders that, taken together, raise questions not only about the kind of campaign he is running, but [also] about his intelligence and his political and moral values.

    TEXT: Turning to overseas issues, Russia continues to be criticized for its military campaign in Chechnya. Citing dramatic German television videotape of Russian troops roughly disposing of the handcuffed bodies of executed Chechen fighters, the Washington Post says:

    VOICE: It is decreasingly deniable that Russia's armed forces have committed major abuses - - war crimes -- in Chechnya. ... If Russia flouts international law when it wages war against its own citizens, how scrupulously will it adhere to any arms control treaty with the United States?

    TEXT: On another Russian topic, the leadership of Acting President Vladimir Putin, the Florida Times- Union from Jacksonville argues that the nation may be headed toward dictatorship and it faults the Clinton administration's response.

    VOICE: Is Russia headed for dictatorship? Arguably, it trembles on the brink. And the Clinton administration has done everything possible to give it a careless shove. How else to interpret President Clinton's gushing praise of Vladimir Putin, Russia's acting president? ... one might have expected a bit more restraint. ...[Mr.] Clinton has been deaf to the anguished cries of Chechens. He described the Russian destruction of [Grozny] as "liberation."

    TEXT: Turning now to Latin America, Charleston's [South Carolina] Post and Courier faults Cuban dictator Fidel Castro for his hard line against Cuba's growing number of dissidents.

    VOICE: [President] Castro certainly, appears to be worried. Elizardo Sanchez, who has emerged as Cuba's leading dissident over the past decade by staying in Cuba despite frequent imprisonment and offers of asylum abroad, has been keeping a record of the repression. He reported recently that since the summit meeting of Spanish-and Portuguese-speaking leaders in Havana last November, there has been an intensive crackdown on dissidents. More than 300-pro- democracy activists have been detained, 200 have been placed under house arrests and 22 have been jailed and are awaiting trial, Mr. Sanchez told Knight Ridder newspapers. He said ... persecution is the worst in a decade.

    TEXT: Turning to Africa, the New York Times is guardedly optimistic about the latest United Nations plan to send a small observer force to the Democratic Republic of Congo to foster a cease-fire by all the various factions fighting there. However, the paper warns:

    VOICE: Without effective international support for Congo's tenuous peace accord there is every likelihood of a wider war. But one may reasonably hope that the difficulties can be eased enough to create acceptable circumstances for the U-N mission to proceed. The U-N must be sure, though, that it is not embarking on a futile operation, for a failed mission would be worse than no mission at all.

    TEXT: Finally, some fears about a super-secret, U-S British, Canadian surveillance system called Echelon, begun during the Cold War, which is able to intercept virtually all computer-generated electronic mail ["e- mail"] and telephone and other communications. The San Francisco Examiner suggests that while friends do not spy on their friends, as some European nations have suggested the U-S and Britain are doing to them, these charges are silly.

    VOICE: The maxim that `gentlemen don't read each other's mail' is put to the test by a snit between Europe and the U-S. European fears that [an] eavesdropping network held over from the Cold War is capturing industrial secrets and taking business from competitors on the continent can hardly with stand a simple credibility test. The system of monitoring satellite communications, telephones, faxes and Internet exchanges is far too high-volume an operation to sort out business confidences ... [The complaints about this] ... intelligence operation ... seems to serve the French and some other members of the European community as a scapegoat for business disappointments.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial columns of Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 29-Feb-2000 12:16 PM EDT (29-Feb-2000 1716 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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