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Voice of America, 00-07-17

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

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





    INTRO: The European Union is continuing its efforts to support democratic politicians in Yugoslavia who oppose the country's president, Slobodan Milosevic. Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels on a meeting the E-U has organized, bringing together city-government leaders from Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo and their counterparts from Western European centers.

    TEXT: The Yugoslav cities of Nis, Novi Sad and Pancevo are run by men who oppose the policies of Yugoslavia's President Milosevic. The European Union has been trying to help those cities, to encourage local officials' commitment to democracy. The help from Western Europe has included deliveries of fuel, to replace shipments diverted by authorities in Belgrade, and support for independent news media. The Yugoslav mayors traveled to Brussels to discuss their common problems with the mayor of Athens, Greece, and the mayor of Dortmund, Germany. The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, tells reporters a meeting between European Union mayors and mayors from Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo is a remarkable achievement.

    /// SOLANA ACT ///

    This doesn't happen very often lately. It is very important that people that share the same values, that want to have democratic countries, that want to live in democratic societies, are here sharing dinner together, bread and wine together, with people from the European Union who do have responsibilities at the same level, on the municipal level.

    // OPT //

    We have to win this battle by having elections. We have to win this battle, they have to win this battle by having elections and by continuing sharing with others the values and the principles that we all have, the people who are in this room today. // END OPT //

    /// END ACT ///

    Among the mayors attending the meeting was Nenad Radosavijevic, a Serb from Leposavic in United Nations-administered Kosovo. The U-N administrator (in Kosovo), Bernard Kouchner, says he is the only Serb in Kosovo who has started registering voters for municipal elections scheduled for October. Other Serbs in Kosovo are refusing to register for those elections, insisting their security must be assured first. Zoran Zivkovic is the mayor of the city of Nis, in eastern Serbia. He thanks the European Union for providing his city with fuel last winter. But, he tells reporters (through an interpreter), the E-U makes mistakes, too.


    We are to be blamed, we from ex-Yugoslavia, for what happened to us. But after that the European Union and the international community have made some very bad moves, such as sanctions, bombing, white lists and even early elections in Kosovo. None of these were very good steps.

    /// END ACT ///

    As an example of the folly of early elections, Mayor Zivkovic recalls the first elections after the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The same nationalist parties that fought the war won the ballotm. That is his prediction of what will happen again if Kosovo has municipal elections this year. (Signed) NEB/RP/ENE/PW/WTW 17-Jul-2000 16:26 PM EDT (17-Jul-2000 2026 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    ///Editors: Correcting "is" to "was" in first graf after first act///

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Monday), with technology stocks continuing to show strength while the "blue-chips" drifted. Investors generally were cautious in advance of another inflation report on Tuesday. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped eight points to 10-thousand-804, for a fractional loss. The Standard and Poor's 500 index gained less than one point, while the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite added another two-thirds of one percent. Investors were anticipating Tuesday's consumer price index - a key report indicating whether six interest rate hikes over the past year have managed to hold U-S inflation down. But otherwise, analysts said the session seemed to be just another typical lazy summer trading day, as many people decided to extend their weekend.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Analyst Bill Meehan tracks the market for a Connecticut investment firm:

    /// MEEHAN ACT ///

    The market's pretty much marking ground, the Nasdaq again leading as people rotate into "tech." But it's a quiet summer Monday basically.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    But there was big merger activity in the background. U-S cereal-maker General Mills is buying the U-S subsidiary of Pillsbury from British firm Diageo. The deal would create the world's fifth largest food company - the third largest in the United States.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Wall Street had mixed feelings about the purchase. Investors - looking ahead to the cost of acquisition - sold some of their General Mills shares. Analyst John Macmillan from the Prudential Securities brokerage firm says that is not unusual:

    /// MACMILLAN ACT ///

    The bad news is the shareholders will have to absorb earnings dilution as much as 20 percent in the first year. But I think it will add to value longer term

    /// END ACT ///

    With the food industry undergoing consolidation, General Mills defended its move as a way to ensure growth. It would also reduce the company's reliance on cereals, which are currently selling at a discount. In other news, the recent slump in the U-S stock market took its toll in earnings for U-S investment banks. They are turning in second-quarter profit reports either in line with or just slightly better than Wall Street forecasts. Bank of America - the second largest U-S banking group - said its earnings were little changed. Business apparently is booming for the world's biggest maker of fiber-optic cable. Corning has raised its full-year earnings outlook after posting a strong second quarter. Corning says demand for its products is robust. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF//TVM/PW 17-Jul-2000 17:05 PM EDT (17-Jul-2000 2105 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A gigantic jury award against the U-S tobacco industry in a Florida case brought by smokers with various ailments, tops the list of issues in Monday's editorials columns. There are several commentaries on the Vietnam trade pact; and allegations of police brutality during the arrest of a Philadelphia man beaten by officers. Other topics include /// OPT /// a parents fight at an ice hockey game that resulted in death; /// END OPT

    /// Vladimir Putin's state of the Union address; and the difficult road ahead for Mexico's president-elect. Now, here is __________ with some excerpts and a closer look in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: A Florida jury on Friday awarded a group of ill Florida smokers a breathtaking 145-billion dollars finding that the tobacco industry had misrepresented the health effects of its product. Today's Miami Herald calls it "A Victory Beyond Money."

    VOICE: Unfortunately, the attention generated by the case stems mostly [from] the size of the verdict, a sum ... one tobacco company lawyer said would be a "death warrant" bankrupting the industry ten times over. The reality is that it will be many years, if ever, that the first dollar actually moves from the industry into the pockets of the victims or the lawyers ...

    TEXT: Boston's Christian Science Monitor commended the jury for its two years of work, but asked:

    VOICE: ... is this really the best way to bring the tobacco industry to heel? ///OPT /// Trial lawyers won a ... penalty that may be more than the industry's worth. Now lawyers in other states hope to win similar suits, creating legal chaos for a national problem that needs a unified solution. ... /// END OPT

    /// the nation's elected leaders should take the jury's message and act together to help Americans make the choice to stop smoking or not to start.

    TEXT: The Washington Times has yet another view:

    VOICE: It says something about the class-action lawsuit Florida smokers filed against the industry that two of the lead plaintiffs in the case were medical officials who bragged of their own ignorance. Said one, a 44-year-old nurse, "I had no idea there was anything wrong with cigarettes at all." The night before she was to have surgery to remove a cancer- riddled lung, she testified, she stood on the steps of the hospital and smoked ten cigarettes in quick succession. Apparently none of that mattered to a Florida ... jury ... [who] said the industry had produced a deadly product for years ... as though it were some kind of secret.

    TEXT: A popular international topic is the U-S trade pact with Vietnam. In California's high tech silicon valley, The San Jose Mercury News is pleaded.

    VOICE: Trade draws countries into the larger world community, which is the first reason to celebrate the historic pact between Vietnam and the United States. With the agreement, Vietnam emerges further from economic isolation. Moreover, the deal marks a fuller reconciliation between two one-time enemies...

    TEXT: Taking a similar theme is the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette, which advises bygones to be bygones, then quotes President Bill Clinton.

    VOICE: President Clinton called the agreement a "historic step in normalization, reconciliation and healing," and he was right. ... The United States, home to many Vietnamese exiles, offers Vietnam entree into the largest and most technologically advanced markets in the world.

    TEXT: In the Midwest, Nebraska's Omaha World-Herald adds: "It was about time, if not past time, to do this." Domestically, more papers are commenting on allegations of police brutality in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The case involves a black man who shot at police and stole a police car before he was captured by a group of white and black officers who were videotaped beating and kicking the suspect. The Hartford [Connecticut] Courant calls it a "Mob Attack."

    VOICE: This was not law enforcement. It was an attack by men in uniform who seemed to forget their professionalism and the department's code of conduct. ... what happened is inexcusable. So-called blue rage by officers must not be tolerated under any circumstances.

    TEXT: Milwaukee's [Wisconsin] Journal Sentinel tries to distinguish this case from the much publicized beating of Rodney King, a black motorist by white Los Angeles police officers in 1991.

    VOICE: Though both victims were black, all the [Los Angeles] officers who attacked [Mr.] King were white, whereas both white and black officers landed kicks and blows on carjacking [Editors: violent car theft from a person] suspect Thomas Jones, thereby giving the Philly incident a duller racial edge.

    ///OPT ///

    TEXT: The Journal Sentinel also points out while Mr. King was merely speeding, Mr. Jones was driving a stolen car, and shooting at police during a chase. Yet another act of violence, this one a fight between two parents after a youth ice hockey game in Massachusetts, in which one parent was beaten to death is also drawing comment. The Augusta [Georgia] Chronicle is upset at what it feels the incident says about the nation.

    VOICE: Nothing demonstrates where many Americans' values are these days than the tragic beating to death of one father by another ... because of rough play [by] their ... sons in hockey practice. ... People, however, are shocked, not surprised. Why should they be? Something like this was bound to happen sooner or later - - and could happen again. ... In earlier generations, athletics were used to teach young people the value of sportsmanship and teamwork...

    TEXT: Still in Georgia, The Savannah Morning News adds:

    VOICE: ... this sets an appalling example for the children watching in the stands and playing on the field. If adults can't be expected to act in a civilized manner, why should kids?

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to international affairs, the recent State of the Union speech by Russian president Vladimir Putin was characterized by extreme frankness. The Chicago Tribune responds:

    VOICE: ... he cataloged the woes facing his nation [unstintingly] ... He was honest and blunt and surprisingly passionate in his commitment to building democracy and the need for a truly free media. If words were actions, there would be no doubt that Russia will be strong, free, fair and democratic. But words aren't actions. They are only down payment for the difficult journey that lies ahead - - and they are worthless if not followed through.

    TEXT: In South Carolina, however, The Charleston Post and Courier is concerned that some of his "cures" may be worse than the illness.

    VOICE: As for remedies, Mr. Putin's basic prescription is stronger central control, not merely from Moscow, but from the inner circle of the Kremlin. ... He defended his new effort to assert more control over Russia's regions: "We have created islands, separate islets of government, but we have not built any bridges to them." ///OPT /// ... Another target was Russia's media, which, said Mr. Putin, have become "a juicy morsel for politicians and major financial groups and a handy tool in the struggle between clans "of politicians. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: As for African affairs, today's Bergen County, New Jersey Record is another paper bemoaning the cost of helping Africa cope with an AIDS pandemic.

    VOICE: The recent international conference on AIDS has not only focused the world's attention on Africa and the epidemic that is killing millions. Last week's landmark meeting in Durban, South Africa, has also revealed the extent of the AIDS drug dilemma. It is outrageous that although all kinds of AIDS-related medicines exist to ease suffering and prolong life ... they are so expensive and scarce that few people in Africa can get them.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In another African problem, the financing of civil war in several central African nations by the illicit sale of diamonds from guerrilla-controlled mines, The Seattle [Washington] Times laments:

    VOICE: The United nations Security Council's 18-month ban on the sale of Sierra Leone's diamonds that do not carry the government's certificate of origin contains a hint of desperation, but it is welcome. ... If Sierra Leone's beleaguered government has not reasserted its authority over the entire country at the end of 18-months, the embargo should be extended.

    TEXT: The Times goes on to criticize the illicit sale of other diamonds that have been used to pay for fighting in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    /// END OPT ///

    And lastly, on Mexico's new president-elect and the difficult task he will soon take on, of governing, The Fort Worth [Texas] Star-Telegram says:

    VOICE: As [Mr.] Fox works to assemble a multiparty Cabinet and begins outlining his legislative agenda, he faces an impatient electorate hungry for change. [Mr.] Fox must contend with their heightened expectations. Substantive change for the many millions of Mexicans living in poverty is unlikely in the short run, so hope can quickly disintegrate into disillusionment.

    TEXT: With that assessment of the challenge South of our border, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from some of Monday's U-S papers.
    NEB/ANG/KBK 17-Jul-2000 16:23 PM EDT (17-Jul-2000 2023 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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