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Voice of America, 00-06-07

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] NATO / HUMAN RIGHTS (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [02] RED CROSS / KOSOVO (L ONLY) BY GORDON MARTIN (GENEVA)
  • [03] YUGO SHOOTING (L ONLY) BY IRENA GUZELOVA (BELGRADE)
  • [04] BULGARIA'S COMEBACK BY ED WARNER (WASHINGTON)
  • [05] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [06] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] NATO / HUMAN RIGHTS (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=6/7/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-263255
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The human rights group, Amnesty International, is accusing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, of violating international law during its 1999 military campaign against Serb forces in Kosovo. V-O- A Correspondent Laurie Kassman in London reports NATO adamantly denies the charges.

    TEXT: The 65-page Amnesty report looks at several NATO attacks on civilian targets during the 1999 Kosovo campaign and concludes they violated international human rights conventions. Amnesty spokesman John Tackaberry describes NATO's bombing of the Serb radio and television headquarters as a war crime. Sixteen civilians were killed in the attack. Amnesty also lists NATO raids on a railroad bridge and on a refugee convoy.

    /// TACKABERRY ACT ///

    In this particular report, we are looking at the context of a conflict in which the Geneva conventions which protect rights of civilians and non-combatants were violated, and that's the context.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Tackaberry told V-O-A that Amnesty also criticizes air raids from thousands of meters above the target, which Amnesty says made it harder to protect civilian lives.

    /// OPT TACKABERRY ACT ///

    We're calling for NATO forces to adopt stricter interpretations of the rules of war, clearer command structure to ensure these things don't happen again, and to look at the rules of engagement in ways that ensure that the forces in the air know what's happening on the ground.

    /// END OPT ACT ///

    NATO rejected Amnesty International's conclusions as baseless and unfounded. NATO's Deputy spokesman Mark Laity:

    /// LAITY ACT ///

    Amnesty used their absolute right, which we would never deny, but we disagree with their conclusions.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Laity told V-O-A the International War Crimes Tribunal carried out its own probe and told the U-N Security Council it is satisfied there was no deliberate targeting of civilians or unlawful military targets during the bombing campaign. Mr. Laity says NATO made every effort to minimize civilian deaths. He says in a few cases, mistakes were made that led to civilian deaths, but they should be viewed in the context of a campaign of 10-thousand bombing strikes.

    /// REST OPT ///

    /// LAITY ACT ///

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but a sense of proportion is even better. I think the very few incidents show that we did adhere to international law and were scrupulous in the rules of engagement we imposed on our air crews.

    /// END ACT ///

    NATO's spokesman insists the allied coalition took action against the Serb forces to stop war crimes, not to commit them. (Signed)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/JP 07-Jun-2000 09:36 AM EDT (07-Jun-2000 1336 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] RED CROSS / KOSOVO (L ONLY) BY GORDON MARTIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=6/7/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-263263
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The International Committee of the Red Cross (I-C-R-C) says more than three-thousand people are still missing in Kosovo a year after the war ended there. Gordon Martin in Geneva reports the Red Cross has published a book listing the names of the missing people.

    TEXT: In the past two years -- before, during, and after the NATO bombing campaign -- the Red Cross was asked by families to trace nearly five-thousand missing relatives, most of them ethnic Albanians. So far, it has determined the fate of nearly one- thousand-600 of them. Most were in Serbian jails. Almost 200 were confirmed dead. But that leaves three-thousand-368 still unaccounted for. The Red Cross says just over two-thousand of those still missing were reportedly arrested by Yugoslav forces or abducted by Serb civilians. The Kosovo Liberation Army or Kosovo Albanians reportedly abducted about 370. But there is no information whatsoever about the remaining 980 or so. The Red Cross operations chief in the region, Andreas Wigger, says there probably are people who know where many of these missing people are.

    /// WIGGER ACT ONE ///

    And it is exactly for that purpose that we have done this book -- that these people are not forgotten, that the families know there is an organization which cares for these people, which tries to find out to the very last name what happened to them so that the families can begin their process of either mourning, or that they know where they are, and we can organize a family reunion.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Wigger says it took a great deal of effort for the Red Cross to compile detailed accounts about the way in which these people disappeared.

    /// WIGGER ACT TWO ///

    And this is very elaborate work, because you have to go and ask families in all the villages, and to see that they really give the relevant information, the witnesses and all that, that you have as complete a picture of the circumstances of disappearance as possible, so as to make a very strong case also when you go then in front of the authorities in Belgrade or in Pristina. So this has been the heavy bulk of the work after the war, and besides that there, to our deep regret, this phenomenon of disappearance, it continues. And, we have still about 300 cases in the book, which are reported that they have disappeared after the war.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Red Cross official appeals to authorities in all countries involved to study the list of missing persons.

    /// WIGGER ACT THREE ///

    I know it is not about reconstruction, it is not about institutional building, and it has the tendency that it is forgotten by most of those responsible for the reconstruction. But we from the I-C-R-C are trying really to put that into the center of attention and we hope that there those responsible on a political level, that they think of their own families and therefore they make an extra mile and an extra effort to look into that.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Wigger acknowledges that many of those missing may have been killed, but that cannot be known until after the long process of exhuming mass graves. (Signed) NEB/GM/JWH/ENE/JP 07-Jun-2000 12:38 PM EDT (07-Jun-2000 1638 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] YUGO SHOOTING (L ONLY) BY IRENA GUZELOVA (BELGRADE)

    DATE=6/7/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-263265
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The national security advisor to the president of Montenegro has been shot dead outside his home in the capital, Podgorica. Irena Guzelova reports from Belgrade.

    TEXT: The victim, Goran Zugic, was one of the most trusted advisors to Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic. He was killed when an unknown assailant fired two bullets into his head late Wednesday night. Police have not yet found any suspects. The circumstances surrounding the murder are similar to a number of unsolved assassinations of public figures in Belgrade. However, it is the first incident of its kind in Montenegro, the smaller of the two Yugoslav republics. The shooting comes just ten days before crucial local elections, which are being seen as a possible indictor of the republic's shifting political mood. The elections will be held in the coastal town of Herceg Novi and the capital, Podgorica, on June 11th. Montenegrins fear the killing may be an attempt by authorities in Belgrade to spread instability into the small republic. Mr. Zugic was known to have handled sensitive information and was eager to calm tensions between Serbia and Montenegro -- which has taken a series of unilateral moves to distance itself from Belgrade. Earlier in May, Montenegrin police and the Yugoslav army staged joint military exercises to show tensions had eased. In December, there was a tense stand-off between the police and army at Montenegro's main airport. But many Montenegrins fear that authorities in Belgrade may begin to stir-up tensions ahead of the elections. They are concerned that the authorities in Serbia are trying to drive a wedge between Montenegro's south, where the majority support Mr. Djukanovic's pro-Western government, and the republic's north, where Belgrade can count on the support of the pro-Serb party, knows as the S-N-P. The campaign leading up to the local elections has become increasingly bitter. The S-N-P has joined forces with the ruling parties in Serbia. It accuses the Montenegrin police force of recruiting foreign mercenaries. The Montenegrin government accuses the S-N-P of trying to build a greater Serbia and of trying to destabilize the republic. (Signed) NEB/IG/JWH/ENE/KL 07-Jun-2000 13:18 PM EDT (07-Jun-2000 1718 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] BULGARIA'S COMEBACK BY ED WARNER (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=6/7/2000
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-46453
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: In a meeting with a U-S Senate delegation this week, Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov said his country is striving to be a positive model for southeastern Europe. Bulgaria is well on the way to achieving that status, say analysts, who are encouraged by the progress the Balkan nation has made in the last three years. VOA's Ed Warner has this report on the dramatic transformation of a state that was once a subservient client of the Soviet Union.

    TEXT: It ranks among the most under-reported stories in Europe, says Janusz Bugajski, director of East European Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He is referring to the impressive progress he believes Bulgaria has made since a new government took office in April 1997:

    /// BUGAJSKI ACT ///

    The government under President (Petar) Stoyanov and Prime Minister (Ivan) Kostov has introduced major economic reforms, which were delayed for several years by the socialists. They have also managed to stabilize the economy, which had been run into the ground with a lot of corruption and mismanagement under the previous administration. Compared to a few years ago, there is a substantial degree of economic progress, a bigger international role for Bulgaria, and I think you could say it is one of the success stories in the Balkans.

    /// END ACT ///

    In a speech in Sofia last month, Stanley Fischer of the International Monetary Fund said he is optimistic about Bulgaria, as long as it sticks to (follows) its bold reform program. He noted that a newly established currency board has curbed inflation and that more than twelve hundred (1,225) privatization deals, involving steel and fertilizer production, oil refining and airlines, were completed last year. Reform comes at a price. Mr. Fischer said privatization has brought cutbacks and layoffs, contributing to a nineteen per cent unemployment rate. But as the new enterprises gear up, jobs will reappear. Mr. Fischer also said too many insiders have profited from privatization, leading to charges of corruption and a recent cabinet reshuffle. Privatization has been politicized, agrees Charles Movit of Planecon, a Washington-based economic consulting firm specializing in Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union:

    /// MOVIT ACT ///

    A lot of the assets did go to the current managers of the enterprises. They did not really bring a great deal of capital or modern know-how to the purchases, as these companies have reached a point where they are either losing money or stagnating because they are undercapitalized. That remains a task now: how do we privatize these companies so that they do have some dynamism going forward?

    /// END ACT ///

    Other analysts say democracy seems well established in Bulgaria with a return to autocracy out of the question. They acknowledge that popular approval of the government has dropped with the slowing of the economy, and Prime Minister Ivan Kostov is more respected than loved. But his government is expected to win next year's election with a reduced margin. Bulgaria's Socialist Party, formerly Communist, is still the nation's largest. It enjoys considerable support, says Boian Koulov, a political geographer from Bulgaria:

    /// Koulov act ///

    But the party itself has changed quite a lot, particularly in its last Congress, which took place a month ago. They have the same goals as the other parties, and it is just in the ways and means to achieve those goals that they differ from other parties. So it is regular democracy, I would say. The Socialist Party has turned into a normal party.

    /// END ACT ///

    In contrast to the rest of the Balkans, Bulgaria has also achieved ethnic peace. The Turkish minority that was persecuted under Communism has benefited from democracy. A Turkish party sits in parliament and may join the government coalition. Bulgarian textbooks have been revised to give more space to the Turkish contribution. Teachers are sent to Turkey to improve their language skills. There is close cooperation between the Orthodox Church and Islam. Ties with Russia are no longer so close, says Mr. Bugajski of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies:

    /// BUGAJSKI ACT ///

    This new democratic government - Union of Democratic Forces - has actually broken away from the traditional Bulgarian reliance and dependence on Russia. This government is trying to create a very solid foundation for its membership both in NATO and the European Union and is treating Russia really as a normal partner (instead of the) dominant power in the country or in the region.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Bugajski and others say it is important for the West to encourage this trend by continuing economic aid to Bulgaria. That will benefit the West along with Bulgaria, says Mr. Koulov, the political geographer:

    /// KOULOV ACT ///

    Bulgaria is now very high in the interest of the West with its geographical position and political stability. So a lot of the infrastructural projects - the roads, railroads, telecommunications, oil and gas - are priorities both for Bulgaria and the West. Bulgaria is going to be one of the future routes for the oil and gas from the Caspian Sea to the European market.

    /// END ACT ///

    Bulgaria is also destined for membership in the European Union and NATO, says E-U foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who notes the country has "unambiguously chosen a European and Euro-Atlantic perspective." (Signed)
    NEB/EW/ENE/KL 07-Jun-2000 16:16 PM EDT (07-Jun-2000 2016 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=6/7/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-263273
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S stock prices moved higher today (Wednesday). But the session was overshadowed by concern over the number of investors who are still sitting on the sidelines, thinking -- among other things -- about the impact of higher interest rates. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 77 points, less than one percent, to 10-thousand-812. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed 13 points higher -- about one percent. And the Nasdaq composite gained over two percent. Once again, concerns about interest rates hovered over Wall Street. The market was able to move higher. But the volume was light -- a trademark of the U-S stock market lately. Many experts consider high volume -- at least a billion shares traded -- key to a sustained rally.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Analyst Art Cashin says the market has no direction and, in a sense, lacks credibility, with such a relatively small number of investors participating:

    /// CASHIN ACT ///

    Volume equals validation, as far as we're concerned down here. We really need to see it get up into that billion-plus area several days in a row, particularly when the rallies are going. They look like they want to do it. They haven't been able to put it together yet.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    Activity slackened even more in the last hour, as Wall Street waited for the decision in the Microsoft anti- trust case, which came out after the close of trading. Microsoft has vowed to appeal the government's break- up plan.

    /// REST OPT ///

    American and Delta Airlines are said to have held preliminary talks that include the possibility of a merger. But analysts are skeptical. They say the two airlines would face huge regulatory obstacles. American is also said to be considering an acquisition of Northwest Airlines. The experts like this move better. They say it would give American those Pacific air routes that it now does not have. Also talking are British Airways, Europe's largest airline, and K-L-M Royal Dutch Airlines. British Air would like to acquire K-L-M. Both are losing market share to rivals like Lufthansa of Germany and Air France. A marriage between British Air and K-L-M would create the world's third largest airliner, after United and American. Ten of the world's top stock exchanges have announced they are planning to create a 24-hour, 20-trillion share global market. The project will control 60 percent of the world equity market, and will compete directly with the Nasdaq-backed I-X, which is the planned merger of the London and Frankfurt exchanges. The plan, being led by the New York Stock Exchange, would include the Tokyo and Australian stock markets, as well as those in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Mexico -- among others. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/JP 07-Jun-2000 17:10 PM EDT (07-Jun-2000 2110 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=6/7/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11858
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Assessments of President Clinton's European trip, especially his two days of meetings in Russia, continue to appear in the nation's editorial columns. Another popular topic is a recent report on terrorism, along with a Supreme Court ruling limiting the rights of grandparents to see grandchildren. Also coming in for a share of attention is the Korean summit meeting, the coup in Fiji, and more calls to reassess relations with Cuba. Now, here with a closer look at those and other editorials, is ___________ and today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: We go first to the Pacific region, to Hawaii's Honolulu Star Bulletin, which makes the point about the disagreement between the United States and Russia over U-S anti-ballistic missile defense plans:

    VOICE: Although good relations are important, Russia is in no position, either economically or legally, to block such proposals by [President] Clinton or his successor. /// OPT /// ... [President] Putin may be looking past [Mr.] Clinton to the next U-S president in considering any amendment to the A-B-M treaty. ... [He] ... may be grasping at any reason to delay the decision, over which Russia has little if any negotiating authority; the 1972 treaty was with the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. Meanwhile, Russia is trying to cope with a wretched economy that will make it dependent on the West for the foreseeable future. /// END OPT

    ///

    TEXT: Today's Chicago Tribune contrasts the relatively limited accomplishments of the just- concluded meeting between the U-S and Russian presidents with the kind of "heart-stopping" summits of the past.

    VOICE: The world no longer holds its collective breath when the leaders of these two nations meet -- and for that we can all be thankful. For most of the last half of the 20th Century, a delicate balance of terror between the U-S and the Soviet Union held the world in the thrall of Mutual Assured Destruction [M-A-D]. Summits were everything. ... Now when Russia and the U-S meet, it is no longer potentially earth shattering. It is business.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: In a related commentary, today's Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Journal Sentinel cheers the news that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma is promising to finally shut down the Chernobyl Nuclear power station, site of history's worst nuclear accident, by December of this year.

    VOICE: The decision was announced ... while President Clinton was paying a brief visit to the country. To help with the closedown ... [Mr.] Clinton offered 78-million dollars to help pay for a 750-million dollar project to rebuild and stabilize a structure covering the ruined reactor, an unspecified sum to promote economic development in the area and two-million to improve safety at Ukraine's four other nuclear power plants. This aid is an investment in safety. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster spewed 200 times as much radiation as the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War Two.

    ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: Although the threat of a global nuclear war may have eased, experts say there is still a terrorist threat, and a newly released assessment of that threat is drawing comment. The Cleveland, Ohio Plain Dealer notes:

    VOICE: The United States is not doing enough to guard against terrorism, the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorism has told Congress. Recommendations as to just what should be done take up much of the commission's report. Some of the suggestions can be realized quickly. Others present political dilemmas involving nominal allies. Still others raise valid concerns about individual rights. All carry a hard edge of urgency.

    TEXT: The Dallas Morning News says that, while the threat exists, "the tone of some of these [Commission on Terrorism] proposals is highly troubling," adding:

    VOICE: The recommendation to expand military authority in the United States to supplant domestic law enforcement agencies is an affront to basic civil liberties. So too is the idea of monitoring foreign students in the United States simply because they are not American born. ... Congress shouldn't ignore the terrorist threat that gave rise to the commission, but it should resist the commission's more sweeping solutions as a bad trade of fundamental civil liberties for a deceptive sense of security.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: Also in the state of Texas, The Houston Chronicle is noting the threat of what it calls "a self-styled activist" on the Mexican border who has placed a bounty of 10-thousand dollars on any U-S Border Patrol agent. The man, Carlos Ibarra Perez, was angered by the recent killing of an illegal Mexican immigrant by a Border Patrol officer. Says the Chronicle:

    VOICE: Mexican officials and activists expressed concern about [Mr.] Ibarra's threats, and investigations apparently have started on both sides of the border. They should be pursued until citizens of the United States and Mexico are satisfied. Neither country can condone any possibility of terror along the border.

    TEXT: A Supreme Court decision, giving parents the right to limit their children's visits with grandparents, continues to draw comment. The court struck down a Washington State law that allowed any person, not just relatives, to gain court-ordered visitation rights with children. In Maine, the Portland Press Herald says the decision was: "a measured and reasonable ruling on an extremely emotional issue." The Chicago Tribune says of the Washington State statue that was struck down:

    VOICE: ... a textbook example of lawmakers letting unfiltered sentiment override a sound and absolutely fundamental principle: that decisions about a child's contact with outsiders, including relatives, are the sole province of parents.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: To Asia now, where the two Koreas are about to hold a historic summit meeting for the first time since the armistice ended fighting in 1953,and this comment from The Kansas City [Missouri] Star.

    VOICE: Expectations are not high for next week's summit between the leaders of North ... and South Korea. Technically, the two countries remain at war ... Still, the mere fact of the summit is encouraging, given that leaders of north and south have never met since the country was divided a half-century ago. ... /// OPT /// Is North Korea genuinely interested in charting a new course? The South Koreans -- and Washington -- should remain open but skeptical.

    TEXT: Moving to the South Pacific region, where hostage-taking and revolts are suddenly in the news. We read a warning in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that these events, however isolated from developments elsewhere in the world, are serious business.

    VOICE: Although it is unfolding in a small, idyllic place far from the United States, the coup being staged in Fiji should not be dismissed /// OPT ///as an isolated comic-opera affair. /// END OPT /// Its cause is distressingly familiar -- racism -- and its poisonous example of violence has now been followed elsewhere ... On the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where U-S Marines once fought valiantly, rebels on Monday seized the prime minister in a coup attempt that was reminiscent of what occurred in Fiji on May 19th. It is not yet clear what the outcome will be. ... /// OPT /// The Fijian rebels are attempting to depose the nation's first ethnic Indian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry ... an echo of the ugly bias that once led Idi Amin to expel Indians from Uganda -- threatens both its [Fiji's] reputation and ... prosperity. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to events in the Western Hemisphere, the Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina joins a growing list of newspapers suggesting the lifting of America's almost 40-year economic embargo on Cuba.

    VOICE: ... [South Carolina Republican] Representative Mark Sanford's bill to end travel restrictions on Americans who want to visit Cuba and legislation to allow the sale of food and medicines to Cuba would pass if common sense prevailed in Congress. But strong anti-Castro sentiment in Congress, reflecting the viewpoint of the politically powerful Cuban-American community, could doom [it].

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times comments on the ongoing conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and says there have been "No Winners in This `Victory.'"

    VOICE: After two years of brutal fighting, Ethiopia has declared victory in its war with Eritrea, but the Eritreans disagree and the fighting continues, both sides driving civilians from their homes in a hapless conflict in the Horn of Africa. ... What's needed is a cease- fire and a negotiated settlement that clearly demarcates the disputed territory and spells out the obligations of both governments toward a peace.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Domestically, Vice President Al Gore continues to draw criticism from conservative newspapers because of allegations that he is a slum landlord. A woman living with her family in a dilapidated house on his Tennessee farm, with backed up toilets and decaying floors, complained to a local television station for help. After the broadcast, Mr. Gore was quick to respond and is repairing the house. However the incident leads the Washington Times to editorialize:

    VOICE: There seems to be no limit to Al Gore's compassion when it comes to spending taxpayer's money on the theoretical high-tech needs of poor children in general. But when it comes to real children, he is actually obliged to serve -- by a rental agreement, if not by his high-minded principles -- suddenly he becomes much more stingy. ... Before Mr. Gore presumes to lecture the nation about funding his revolutionary ideals across the country, perhaps he should start living up to them at home.

    TEXT: With that comment, we conclude this sampling of comment from Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 07-Jun-2000 11:30 AM EDT (07-Jun-2000 1530 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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