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Voice of America, 00-09-13

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

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





    INTRO: The President of Cyprus, Glafcos Clerides, decided not to attend the second day of U-N sponsored talks on Cyprus, as he seeks clarification of a statement by U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan. VOA Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: President Clerides is reportedly concerned about a statement made by Mr. Annan in which he described the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders as political equals. Mr. Clerides, who is internationally recognized as the President of Cyprus, wants that statement clarified. In the meantime, U-N mediator Alvaro de Soto did go ahead with talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. The United Nations is sponsoring so-called "proximity talks" in which both sides in the Cyprus dispute are met with separately. The hope is to lay the foundation for direct negotiations. U-N spokesman Fred Eckhard downplayed Mr. Clerides decision not to attend a second meeting with Mr. de Soto.

    ///Eckhard act///

    There is no set pattern to the meeting schedule that if you meet one on one day that you have to meet the second party on the same day.

    ///end act///

    Mr. Eckhard said as far as the United Nations is concerned, the Cyprus meetings will go ahead as planned. He had no comment on if or when Secretary- General Annan would clarify his statement on Cyprus. Cyprus has been split into the Turkish north and the Greek south for 25 years with U-N peacekeeping forces maintaining a cease-fire between the two sides. The U- N position is that, although Cyprus should be one country, there may also be some autonomy for the Greek and Turkish communities.(Signed)
    NEB/UN/BA/FC 13-Sep-2000 16:47 PM EDT (13-Sep-2000 2047 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: NATO Secretary-General George Robertson and U- N special envoy Carl Bildt spoke with NATO ambassadors about the upcoming elections in the Balkans. The NATO leader warned Yugoslavia's President Slobodan Milosevic about what would happen if he tried to campaign in Kosovo. Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels.

    TEXT: Secretary-General Robertson says NATO troops will arrest President Milosevic if he tries to campaign in Kosovo.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    The appropriate action will be to arrest somebody who has been indicted by the international criminal tribunal. So if President Milosevic - who has been indicted - goes there he knows what to expect.

    /// END ACT ///

    The campaign for the September 24th election in Yugoslavia is being watched closely at NATO headquarters for signs that Vojislav Kostunica, the challenger to President Milosevic, could defeat him. Secretary-General Robertson tells reporters the initial indications are not good.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    There are of course already signs in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that the elections will not be free and they will not be fair. Political advertising in newspapers has been curtailed. The offices of independent election observers have already been raided and a general climate of intimidation against anybody opposed to the Milosevic regime now exists. Nonetheless we expect the elections to show clear political movement as many opinion polls have already indicated.

    /// END ACT ///

    The United Nations special envoy for the Balkans, Carl Bildt, briefed the Secretary General and NATO ambassadors about the series of elections taking place in Yugoslavia, Kosovo, and Bosnia. Mr. Bildt says the elections in Serbia are important, even if they are not fair.

    /// BILDT ACT ///

    The Serb ones are certainly not going to be free and fair, but we know there is an element of uncertainty in it. What is the magnitude of the election fraud that Milosevic will be forced to? What will be the credibility if the magnitude is very large?

    /// END ACT ///

    NATO bombed Serbia last year during the Kosovo war and has been a subject of scorn by President Milosevic and his opposition during the campaign. Mr. Bildt says Mr. Kostunica should not be held accountable for his pre-election rhetoric. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/KL/RAE 13-Sep-2000 10:14 AM EDT (13-Sep-2000 1414 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A Turkish court has issued an arrest warrant for the country's first Islamic prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, on charges of inciting ethnic and religious hatred. But as Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the prosecution agreed to postpone the arrest.

    TEXT: Hours after the warrant was issued, a state prosecutor agreed to a request from Mr. Erbakan's lawyers that his imprisonment be delayed because of their client's advanced age. In July, an appeals court upheld a year's prison sentence against the 74-year-old politician because of a speech he made several years ago in the largely Kurdish province of Bingol. Mr. Erbakan, the founder of Turkey's Islamic movement, was charged with seeking to incite religious enmity by criticizing the fact that Turkish students begin their school day by reciting nationalist slogans rather than verses from the Koran. The court case is the latest in a string of setbacks suffered by Mr. Erbakan. He was elected Turkey's first Islamic prime minister in 1996. But he was forced to step down only a year after taking office because of charges that his government was seeking to impose religious rule. Mr. Erbakan was barred from politics for five-years and his party, Welfare, was banned on similar charges. Turkey's powerful armed forces are at the forefront of the effort to crack down on Islamic radicalism, which army leaders describe as the number-one threat facing Turkey. Many analysts disagree. They say, if anything, the political influence of Islam is steadily waning in Turkey. Virtue, the party under which the Islamists regrouped after Mr. Erbakan's ouster, came in third in the most recent parliamentary elections (1999). Although the Islamists constitute the largest opposition group within the parliament, they have failed so far to mount any effective challenges to Turkey's coalition government.

    /// REST OPT ///

    The Virtue Party is facing charges that it is no more than a continuation of its predecessor, Welfare. Turkey's chief prosecutor, Vural Savas, who initiated the closure case, has described the party as a - malignant tumor - and its members as - bloodsucking vampires. A verdict in the closure case is expected next month. Western diplomats say banning Virtue would further reduce Turkey's chances of beginning membership talks with the European Union. E-U officials are currently putting the final touches on a document setting out the conditions Turkey needs to fulfill before it can begin membership negotiations. They include removing articles in the Turkish penal code and constitution that greatly limit free speech. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AZ/KL/RAE 13-Sep-2000 12:24 PM EDT (13-Sep-2000 1624 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Britain's fuel crisis shows few signs improvement as more gas stations close and panicked shoppers empty markets. Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London one day after Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered oil companies to resume their deliveries.

    TEXT: Some oil delivery trucks have left depots around the country, but many drivers have refused to defy protesters outside the facilities. Prime Minister Blair met with oil-company executives to see how to speed up delivery of fuel to 25-hundred designated sites to supply hospitals, clinics, and other emergency services. British Petroleum chief Malcolm Binder says he is concerned about the safety of the drivers.

    /// BINDER ACT ///

    The most important step has been the extent of police and industry cooperation and the increased police resources that are helping to address the concerns we have for the safety of the operations and the natural concerns the drivers have for their personal safety in the face of some instances of intimidation that have occurred.

    /// END ACT ///

    Police chief John Evans says the police have offered oil delivery drivers protection, but he adds that demonstrations have been peaceful.

    /// EVANS ACT ///

    There is an issue of intimidation being raised by the drivers, whether it is true or not. We are addressing it. We are providing escorts. We have even offered and agreed in most cases to put a police officer in the cab. We are providing escorts from these refineries to the filling stations.

    /// END ACT ///

    More than half of Britain's gas stations are out of fuel. Many shops report empty shelves after panic buying by customers fearful the gas shortage would cause a suspension in food deliveries. Hundreds of schools have shut down. Go-slow actions in London and other cities are causing massive traffic jams.

    /// OPT ///

    Protesters say they will not give up the demonstrations or the roadblocks, despite Prime Minister Blair's warning that government policy will not be dictated by illegal actions. Government officials, stunned by the extent of the fuel crisis, are hinting that price adjustments could be made when the budget is outlined later in the year. /// END OPT
    Truck drivers, farmers, and other protesters are demanding a cut in the government tax, which they blame for the high price of gas. Mr. Blair blames oil-producing countries for low output that has raised global crude-oil prices to the highest levels in a decade.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Protests over the high price of fuel have disrupted other European Union countries, but only France has ended the protests by offering price concessions. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/KL/RAE 13-Sep-2000 08:56 AM EDT (13-Sep-2000 1256 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    /// ED'S: UPDATES CR's 2-266437 & 2-266442 ///

    INTRO: Protests over high fuel prices are spreading in many parts of Europe. Police in Britain have cleared paths outside oil depots so several-hundred trucks could deliver fuel supplies to hospitals and emergency services. But the situation is far from normal, with many other tanker drivers refusing to cross the picket lines. Correspondent Laurie Kassman has the latest from London.

    TEXT: An angry Prime Minister Tony Blair accuses the protesters of endangering lives by continuing their blockades of fuel depots and their attempts to limit deliveries.

    /// 1ST BLAIR ACT ///

    As a result of this blockade and intimidation, real damage is being done to real people. The idea that a picket at a refinery gate can determine whether hospitals or ambulance services or public transport qualify as essential services or not is an affront.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Blair refuses to respond to protesters' demands for a gas tax cut. He insists government policy will not be dictated by protests and intimidation. The protesters say they will not give up without a government gesture.

    /// REST OPT FOR LONG ///

    /// 2ND BLAIR ACT ///

    We do and we will listen. We will not, however, be intimidated. We will not give in to violence, blockades or threats. That would not be the right course for this country.

    /// END ACT ///

    Prime Minister Blair says the oil companies are speeding up their deliveries, but it will take more time to bring the situation back to normal. Police escorts have been provided, but many trucks are refusing to cross the picket lines outside refineries. Meanwhile, three-fourths of Britain's 11-thousand gas stations are closed. Supermarkets are threatening to ration basic supplies as panic buying empties the shelves. Scores of schools have been forced to close, and the post office warns that mail deliveries will be curtailed. The Health Minister has declared an alert for the health services that would limit non-emergency health care. And banks say they are starting to run short of cash as gas shortages cut down on deliveries. Protests against high gas prices are disrupting other European Union countries. So far, only France has ended the demonstrations by offering some price concessions. E-U ministers will discuss how to deal with the crisis next week. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/WTW/RAE 13-Sep-2000 14:22 PM EDT (13-Sep-2000 1822 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    /// Re-running w/correct number ///

    ///EDS: Wrap includes a focus on the J-P Morgan/Chase merger///

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Wednesday), with technology rebounding from a week's worth of weakness. However, a big takeover announcement in the financial services sector failed to stimulate a generally sluggish stock market. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 50 points, about one-half of one percent, closing at 11- thousand-182. Meanwhile, the Standard and Poor's 500 index gained three points. And the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite closed one percent higher. Analysts say lingering worries about corporate profits are keeping the market on edge. Trading has been choppy.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    However, market-watcher Al Goldman is not concerned. He says U-S corporations will stay in good shape, though growing at a slower pace:

    ///GOLDMAN ACT///

    For the year we think corporate earnings will be up about 15 percent. Next year - a moderate slowdown to something like 12 percent. But in earnings, it's the durability in earnings growth that counts, not the intensity.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    The big story on Wall Street - investment bank J-P- Morgan is being bought by Chase Manhattan. This will create the third biggest U-S financial institution in terms of assets, behind Citigroup and Bank of America. Chase Manhattan beat out Deutsche Bank, which had also been in talks with J-P Morgan. J-P Morgan stock traded lower, after reaching a 52- week high Tuesday on takeover speculation.

    ///REST OPT///

    Meanwhile, Chase Manhattan shares also lost ground. The merger is expected to dilute Chase's earnings for a while. Some analysts think Chase paid too much for J-P Morgan, something like 207-dollars a share, in a stock deal worth well over 30-billion dollars. Analyst Ben Macleary watches the banking business for New York investment bank McFarland, Dewey and Company. He says jobs will be lost in the process to make the deal work:

    ///BEGIN ACT///

    It's a merger which is a combination of two institutions which have a tremendous overlap in terms of their basic businesses. In order to realize the economics, there's going to have to be a tremendous amount of re-organization and the laying off of people.

    ///END ACT///

    But overall, the marriage of J-P Morgan and Chase Manhattan is considered a big deal, in more ways than one. It unites two of the oldest and most prestigious financial institutions in the United States. J-P Morgan was founded in 1861 by the most famous man in Wall Street history. In 1935, when U-S banking laws were changed during the "Depression," J-P Morgan was split up into a commercial bank and a securities firm, Morgan Stanley, which has since merged with Dean Witter. David Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Corporation traces its roots to the Chase Manhattan Company, which was founded in 1799. Not too long ago, maybe a generation or so, six major commercial banks dominated the financial world in New York - considered the financial capital of the world's largest economy. J-P Morgan was the last of that group to stay independent. Experts predict the merger-mania in the financial services sector will accelerate now, as midsize firms feel pressure to get bigger to compete globally. Analysts are already speculating on the next target for acquisition. (signed)
    NEB/NY/EJ/PT 13-Sep-2000 17:57 PM EDT (13-Sep-2000 2157 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Glancing at the editorial columns of several U-S newspapers this Wednesday, one sees widespread criticism of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the case of the Los Alamos nuclear secrets case. Another popular topic is the controversy over a new government report that says this country's entertainment industry targets children with violent material designed for adult audiences. Other editorials concern the upcoming China trade vote in the Senate, the growing outcry here and abroad over rising gasoline [petrol] prices, the delayed Palestinian statehood announcement, and the latest on religious repression around the globe. Now, here is _________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Wen Ho Lee, the Taiwan-born U-S nuclear scientist at the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, is apparently on the verge of being released from custody. In a plea bargain, he's agreeing to plead guilty to a single relatively minor charge of transferring classified data from a secure to an insecure computer, as the government drops an extensive case against him hinting he spied for China. Many newspapers are highly critical of the government's handling of the case. Some feel Mr. Lee was singled out because of his Chinese ethnicity, while others are upset because they feel there were real security lapses that now may go unexplained. The Savannah [Georgia] Morning News looks at the situation this way:

    VOICE: Much of the case against Mr. Lee rested on the testimony of one F-B-I counterintelligence agent, Robert Messemer, whose stories about the scientist's supposed shady activities turned out to be flawed or flat-out [EDS: "unequivocally"] untrue. There was more than a whiff of smoke surrounding Mr. Lee -- he'd been under suspicion for over a decade. But the government could never produce the fire.

    TEXT: Equally disturbed is The St. Louis [Missouri] Post-Dispatch:

    VOICE: The investigation of ... [Mr.] Lee began with reports that [he] ... was a spy for China ...[whom] prosecutors said ... had stolen the "crown jewels" of America's nuclear weapons secrets. ... Now ... It has turned out that there was no evidence ... Mr. Lee was a spy. ... It is hard to see the plea bargain as anything but a government surrender to the reality that its case has deteriorated.

    TEXT: Today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette grumbles that the case "has left a lot of unanswered questions," while Tuesday afternoon's Honolulu [Hawaii] Star- Bulletin scoffs that "Blunders led to [the] release ..." And in San Francisco, The Examiner complains that: "Seldom has an agreement to settle criminal charges been more unsatisfying." Moving on to the other major topic -- a new government report that says the nation's entertainment industry aggressively markets violent content intended only for adults, to children. The Miami Herald is one of many outraged dailies.

    VOICE: The evidence is persuasive, if not conclusive, that a child exposed to a high level of media violence through movies, music and video games is apt to behave more aggressively, more physically, more violently. The fact that the violence-entertainment industry ... regulates itself with warning labels deemed to protect children under 17 is a tacit admission of potential harm and public concern. ... Yet this is tricky territory. Government restraints must be applied carefully, if at all. /// OPT

    /// ... But [Vice President] Al Gore ... is also correct to insist that if such self-policing isn't working within six months, then the Federal Trade Commission would be justified in stepping in with an appropriate remedy restricted only by the First Amendment. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Philadelphia Inquirer complains: "Entertainment moguls violate public trust with marketing campaigns aimed at youth," adding:

    VOICE: ... The Federal Trade commission reported ... "pervasive and aggressive marketing" of violence to the young through movies, records and video games. ...[However] The ultimate responsibility still rests with parents. The rating systems could be a valid tool for them -- if they pay attention and use their consumer clout to support businesses that enforce ratings and punish those that don't.

    ///OPT ///

    Meanwhile, let's establish a new "H" rating -- for Hollywood hypocrites on kids and violent entertainment. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: U-S-A Today, the national daily published in a Washington suburb, worries that while the "Entertainment industry oversteps, ... so does [Vice President] Gore. The paper refers to the vice president's threat to regulate the industry if voluntary controls are not strengthened.

    /// OPT ///

    On New York's Long Island, Newsday suggests: "It doesn't hurt for Hollywood to be reminded now and then that its audience's tolerance for vicious garbage is not unlimited. But under the First Amendment it's clear that government officials shouldn't be censoring the works produced by the entertainment industry.

    /// END OPT ///

    Internationally, The U-S Senate is soon to vote on a bill normalizing trade relations with China, and that debate continues in the press. Today's Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Journal Sentinel says: "U-S-China trade [is] essential."

    VOICE: At a time when the communications revolution and other forces are breaking down national boundaries, it is ironic, absurd and impossible to suggest that the United States can or should try to isolate itself from the largest country in the world. Yet that is the goal of those who oppose a bill, passed by the House last May, ...[permanently normalizing] trade relations with China ... Opponents ... seek ... in effect, to retain trade barriers against China ... as a way of punishing Beijing for its abuse of human rights and its arms sales to nations we consider dangerous...

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times also supports the yes vote, concluding:

    VOICE: China's membership in the W-T-O [World Trade Organization] would not resolve the many challenges the U-S-China relationship poses for Washington. But it would mark a big step in the economic transformation of China and open the country to Western influences. The trade measure deserves a quick, clean Senate approval.

    TEXT: From Waterbury, Connecticut to Brussels Belgium, and many places in between, motorists and truck [lorry] drivers are increasingly fed up with high gasoline [petrol] prices. Demonstrations are increasing in many European cities, and as The Waterbury, Republican-American notes:

    VOICE: For two years now, every time people in Connecticut complained about escalating gasoline prices, the response has been, "Quit your bellyaching!" [Editors: "complaining"] The party line by the environmentalists has been that Europeans tool around in their Matchbox cars, getting a zillion miles per gallon while paying three times what Connecticut drivers pay ... Well, guess what? The stoics are showing their teeth ... Hordes of European motorists are protesting soaring gasoline prices, a crisis that has been exacerbated by a plunging euro. ... Motorists are pleading with their governments to reduce their oppressive fuel- consumption taxes, which range from 47 percent in Portugal to 76 percent in Britain. (In Connecticut ... taxes still account for 25 percent of the coast of each liter.)

    TEXT: The Chicago Tribune suggests a seriously flawed response to the problem would be to draw down the U-S Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

    VOICE: The reserve, an emergency oil supply established after the 1970s oil shocks, is there for an emergency such as acute shortages. If [President] Clinton is mulling use of the reserve as an oil price-control mechanism, he should think twice. Such a move would reinforce the producing nations' contention that there is plenty of oil out there. Why should they pump more if the U-S can draw from that source?

    TEXT: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today is hailing the Palestinian decision to postpone declaring independence as wise, while, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, The Free Press is worrying about continued religious repression around the world as documented in a new State Department report.

    VOICE: The document is a long litany of abuses that are bound to make any objective reader wince. These officially countenanced acts of repression should weigh heavily on people of faith and conscience everywhere.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 13-Sep-2000 11:10 AM LOC (13-Sep-2000 1510 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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