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Voice of America, 99-11-16

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ROMANIA / INTELLIGENCE CENTER (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [02] CZECH ANNIVERSARY (L ONLY) BY ALENA KENCLOVA (PRAGUE)
  • [03] E-U / BEEF (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [04] NORTHERN IRELAND (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [05] GERMANY / SLAVE LABOR (L ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)
  • [06] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [07] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] ROMANIA / INTELLIGENCE CENTER (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=11/16/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256247
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: An international team of intelligence, customs and police experts has opened a regional center in Bucharest for combating organized crime throughout Eastern Europe. The United States is lending major support to the anti-crime effort. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest, the new agency's headquarters is in the huge building that once the palace of Romania's former Communist dictator.

    TEXT: The gigantic marble palace of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu will house the American-backed "Regional Center for Combating Trans-Border Crime." Romanian officials say the new agency, a project of the Southeast European Cooperation Initiative, will function as an intelligence agency. Its main objectives are to combat the traffic of women, children and drugs in the Balkans, which has seen a dramatic increase in illegal activity since the collapse of communist rule 10 years ago. Romania was chosen a site for the anti-crime effort because it is seen as a crossroads for organized-crime activity in Eastern Europe - much like neighboring Hungary, where the U-S F-B-I [Federal Bureau of Investigation] has set up a police academy. Experts say Romania is known in the intelligence community as a transit point for illegal drugs, weapons and other goods traveling between Russia and Western Europe. Speaking at Tuesday's opening ceremony in Bucharest, U-S Ambassador Richard Schifter said the new regional center could have a crucial influence on economic development in the former Communist countries of the region. Ambassador Schifter, who heads the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, says the crime problem discourages foreign investment in the region. Officials from the United States and 10 Balkan states that have joined the Southeast European cooperative group are to work together in the new regional center with international customs, intelligence and police experts. Plans cal for cooperation with the international police organization Interpol, the World Customs Organization and police agencies throughout Eastern Europe. Switzerland, Italy and Austria also are providing technical support to the center. Ambassador Schifter says the goal of the regional anti-crime center is to bring more peace and stability to southeastern Europe. (Signed)
    NEB/SJB/WTW 16-Nov-1999 18:45 PM EDT (16-Nov-1999 2345 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] CZECH ANNIVERSARY (L ONLY) BY ALENA KENCLOVA (PRAGUE)

    DATE=11/16/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256232
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Czech Republic is honoring five former leaders who played important roles in the fall of communism ten years ago. Alena Kenclova reports from Prague.

    TEXT: Former U-S President George Bush and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev are among the ex- leaders in Prague for the tenth anniversary of what became known as the "velvet revolution." The so-called revolution started with a street protest in Prague on November 17th of 1989. The protests grew in size and strength almost daily, finally bringing down Czechoslovakia's communist government several weeks after the fall of the Berlin wall. Also taking part in the anniversary events are former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Poland's Lech Walesa whose Solidarity labor union helped weaken the communist government in his country. Danielle Mitterrand is representing her late husband, Francois, who was president of France at the time. Czech President Vaclav Havel will award state honors to the former leaders in ceremonies on Wednesday. And they will take part in an academic conference, "Ten Years After: An International Perspective." Meetings, photo exhibitions, book publications, and other events recalling the anniversary are underway in the Czech Republic. The main events are organized by the former students who planned the first protest strike ten years ago Wednesday. (Signed)
    NEB/AC/JWH/JP 16-Nov-1999 13:44 PM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1844 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] E-U / BEEF (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=11/16/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256230 (CQ)
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    ///EDS: Re-issuing with correct story number ///

    INTRO: The European Union has begun legal proceedings against France for its refusal to import British beef. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels the E-U acted despite hopes that Britain and France will settle their dispute within the next few days.

    TEXT: The European Commission had set November 16th as the deadline for France to obey European Union law and end its ban on British beef. But, the French have not done that because they say they are worried there is still a risk British beef is not safe to eat - despite strict European Union controls on the exports. So, E-U Health Commissioner David Byrne opened legal proceedings against France for violating European Union law. But, at the same time, Mr. Byrne told the European Parliament he hopes the two countries will soon reach a negotiated settlement that will allow British beef to be sold everywhere in the European Union. As a first step, Mr. Byrne is asking France to submit its response within two weeks. That brought complaints from British members of the European Parliament who demand quicker legal action. But, Mr. Byrne explained a series of legal steps have to be followed before the case can be referred to the European Court of Justice. At that point, the legal case could last two years or more. Mr. Byrne reminded the parliament that if the British government can persuade France about the safety of its beef, the better the chances those British farmers will be able to sell their beef in the near future. European Union scientists have declared British beef to be as safe as any beef sold in Europe. But, France relied on the advice of its new national food agency in refusing to end the ban. The E-U scientists, led by a Frenchman, looked at the French agency's evidence and said there was no reason to change their opinion. The European Union allowed Britain to start exporting beef last August following a three-year ban imposed after an outbreak of so-called mad cow disease. There have been links between mad cow disease and a fatal brain disease in humans. Germany has been no more eager than France to import British beef. The Germans blame their refusal on the individual German state governments. Health Commissioner Byrne is sending a letter to Berlin asking the German federal government for a timetable on when Germany will be able to import British beef. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JP 16-Nov-1999 14:48 PM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1948 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] NORTHERN IRELAND (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=11/16/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256216
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: In Northern Ireland, Unionist and Republican leaders have issued public statements denouncing violence and promising cooperation to implement the 1998 Good-Friday agreement. The statements are seen as a breakthrough to get the peace process back on track. Correspondent Laurie Kassman in London reports the statements open the way for the next phase of the peace process.

    TEXT: Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble says his party is committed to full implementation of the peace agreement in all aspects. And he agrees to cooperate with Nationalists despite their different view of Northern Ireland's future.

    /// TRIMBLE ACT ONE ///

    The Ulster Unionist party recognizes that it is legitimate for nationalists to pursue their political objective of a united Ireland by consent through exclusively peaceful and democratic means. The Ulster Unionist party is committed to the principle of inclusivity, equality, and mutual respect on which the institutions are based.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Trimble says he is ready to set up the all-party executive council with Sinn Fein if the Irish Republican Army appoints a go-between to deal with the special commission on disarmament.

    /// TRIMBLE ACT TWO ///

    We now have a chance to create a genuine partnership between Unionists and Nationalists in a novel form of government. It offers us the opportunity to put past failures behind us.

    /// END ACT ///

    The political wing of the Irish Republican Army -- Sinn Fein -- already has issued a statement pledging to oppose the use or threat of force in pursuit of its political objectives. Sinn Fein also accepts that disarming paramilitary groups is essential to the peace process. The I-R-A is expected to issue its first public statement later this week offering its cooperation on disarmament. The special independent commission will then issue its report on paramilitary disarmament early next week. The statements are all part of a series of confidence building measures carefully orchestrated by U-S mediator George Mitchell. The gestures aim to break the impasse over I-R-A disarmament, which has blocked the establishment of the executive council. Until now, Ulster Unionists have insisted the I-R-A start disarming before Sinn Fein can join the executive council. Britain will not transfer home- rule powers to Northern Ireland until the council is operating. Mr. Trimble now faces the tough task of selling his new approach to party supporters whose motto has been no guns, no government. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/RAE 16-Nov-1999 08:39 AM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1339 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] GERMANY / SLAVE LABOR (L ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=11/16/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256213
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The German government has increased its proposed compensation for victims of Nazi slave labor programs -- stepping up the pressure on industry to also increase its offer. But, as Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin, German industry is resisting.

    TEXT: The German government complained for weeks about the amount of money the nation's industries are prepared to contribute to a fund for compensating the victims of Nazi slave labor programs. As a new round of compensation talks started Tuesday, the government announced it will increase its contribution by about 550-million dollars, -- raising the whole government-industry compensation offer to just under four-billion dollars. But if the government's move was intended to push companies into increasing their offer, the reaction so far has been negative. A spokesman for the industry negotiators, Wolfgang Gibowski, merely urged the government to increase its contribution even further. The German government is not satisfied with the two- billion-200-million-dollars offered by the industry side. Neither are negotiators for the Israeli and eastern-European governments taking part in the talks nor the lawyers for the tens-of-thousands of victims of Nazi slave-labor policies. The lawyers described the offer as an insult after the last round of talks in Washington in October. But with only 17 companies openly prepared to contribute -- and roughly the same number said to be waiting to see what an agreement will cost them -- there is no sign German firms are ready to increase the offer. That could change during two days of intensive negotiations that began Tuesday in Bonn. But the talks could just as easily break up in angry recriminations as they did last month. Participants expect the meetings to be tough and often bad-tempered. One German official said it was going to be one big "horse-trading" session. Meanwhile, researchers at a German university estimate that the real amount of money owed to victims may be closer to 100-billion dollars. That sum -- according to research by Germany's Bremen University -- is roughly the profit, in today's prices, that German industry, state-owned and private, would have made out of using forced labor during World-War Two. The victims' lawyers, who up to now have been hinting at a sum nearer 10-billion dollars, have suggested the new research might be the basis for later claims if the current negotiations break down. The talk of 100-billion-dollar claims has upset the German government. One angry government official said that level of payment would cause bitter resentment among Germans across the country and really encourage the extreme right. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JB/JWH/RAE 16-Nov-1999 07:16 AM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1216 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=11/16/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256242
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States rallied strongly today (Tuesday), even as the U-S central bank the Federal Reserve Board - raised short term interest rates 25 basis points to five and one-half percent. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 171 points, or one and one-half percent, closing at 10- thousand-932. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose 25 points to 14-hundred-20. And the Nasdaq Composite closed in record territory again - up over two percent. Reaction to the increase in U-S interest rates was largely positive. Many analysts said the action showed the Federal Reserve Board is trying to stay ahead of the inflation curve by keeping the U-S economy from over-heating, and that inspires confidence among investors.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Michael Moe, an analyst at the Merrill Lynch investment firm, believes this latest rate increase - the third this year - will help the stock market go higher from here:

    /// MOE ACT ///

    I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think the biggest risk in the marketplace today is inflation and an overheating economy. The fact that the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) could be pre-emptive, I think, would ultimately be positive for our outlook on the market.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    The U-S central bank also adopted a so-called neutral bias, which means no further rate hikes (increases) are anticipated for the rest of the year. The latest on the U-S economy shows industrial production bounced back in October for its largest increase in seven months, as factories recovered from the effects of Hurricane Floyd - the storm that hit the east coast of the United States in September.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Home Depot, the largest U-S retailer of home improvement products, reported a 46 percent increase in third quarter profits. Higher home sales apparently fueled consumer demand for hardware and other related supplies. Analysts say Home Depot - now a part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average - has benefited from rising incomes and low unemployment in the United States, which prompted people to buy homes. Number two U-S drug company Pfizer is pursuing its hostile takeover intentions toward drug-maker Warner- Lambert. Pfizer is trying to unseat Warner-Lambert's board, which wants to pursue its friendly merger plan with American Home Products. Pfizer executives met with Wall Street analysts Tuesday and forecast strong growth for the company for the next three years. Pfizer says it would be a better partner for Warner-Lambert than American Home and is currently trying to persuade a court to declare parts of the Warner-Lambert/American Home merger agreement unlawful. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/JP 16-Nov-1999 16:57 PM EDT (16-Nov-1999 2157 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/16/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11557
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-2702
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Following the landmark U-S - China trade deal signed in Beijing yesterday, many U-S editorials are discussing the agreement. Other topics of interest are the U-S debt to the U-N and Pakistan following the military coup. Now here is _________ with a sampling of comment in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: After 13 years of off and on negotiation, China and the United States have reached an agreement that paves the way to China's entry into the World Trade Organization. While Beijing will still have to reach agreement with the European Union and Canada, the U-S / China negotiations were considered the biggest obstacle to China's entry into the global trading organization. Under the agreement, China promises to give American exporters the right to distribute goods and open up Chinese markets to American farmers, banks, insurance, telecommunications and Internet companies. The Wall Street Journal offers its view of a deal the newspaper believes will benefit China.

    VOICE: Barring unpleasant surprises, the news of Monday's agreement is worth celebrating. .The major winner is China. (U-S President) Mr. Clinton underlined that truth yesterday, noting that, "Today, China embraces principles of economic openness, innovation and competition that will bolster China's economic reforms and advance the rule of law." The president had it backward in a way: without rule of law, competition and competitive tendencies will wither on the vine. But the fact is if China wants to surge forward, the W-T-O is the vehicle most likely to help it arrive on time.

    TEXT: That was the opinion of the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post, however, appears less optimistic and warns of the dangers of trusting China's promises to allow free trade.

    VOICE: China has frequently flouted the international agreements it has signed. Just compare its commitment to honor the United Nations treaty on political and civil rights with its actual persecution of peaceful religious and political dissenters. If it now fails to live up to its open-trade promises, while the United States plays by the rules, the trading relationship will become even more unequal than it now is. That's one danger. The other, perhaps more troubling, is that China will work to reshape the W-T- O away from the kind of open, rules-based organization whose influence the administration hopes will be so benign. The W-T-O is in its infancy, and much of its authority - with respect to antitrust law, labor and environmental regulations and more - is still unclear. China, with its 1.3 billion people, will now have a large say; and with its corrupt system of Party rule, its interest and America's will not be the same.

    TEXT: Despite the potential problems, the New York Times remains convinced that the agreement will serve more good than harm. VOCIE: There are critics who say that China will not live up to its trade promises, and that the trade organization is incapable of forcing it to do so. Perhaps. But with China outside the organization, the United States has no real leverage. With Chinese membership, the United States can marshal international sanctions for violations. Besides, the imposition of the rule of law on trade might strengthen the hand of domestic forces fighting for the rule of law for the rest of Chinese society.

    TEXT: The Daily News in New York is turning some attention to another deal being made by U-S President Clinton and Congress that calls for paying off the nation's dues to the U-N.

    TEXT: The credibility of the world's biggest superpower is seriously challenged when it is also the world's largest deadbeat. That is why President Clinton's deal with Congress to finally make good on the United States' long unpaid United Nations dues is so important. To hold out any longer would have seriously damaged America's influence around the world.... In the scrambled new world order, the U-N - even an inefficient, wastrel U-N - is more vital than ever. It will succeed only if the U-S is actively involved as a paying partner.

    TEXT: Finally, Newsday in New York is focusing on the condition of Pakistan in the aftermath of the military coup on October 12. Newsday is critical of the nation's new leader and actions that may inhibit the restoration of democracy.

    VOICE: Following the military coup, Pakistan is now treading a dismally predictable course that bodes ill for the return of democracy to that troubled nuclear- armed nation. The army chief and self-appointed national leader, General Pervez Musharraf is now bringing treason charges against (Prime Minister Nawaz) Sharif that are likely to result in his execution. For (Mr.) Musharraf to choose this brutally authoritarian route puts the electoral process on indefinite hold. Washington and other governments with friendly ties to Pakistan must condemn this decision in the strongest terms and try to persuade (Mr.) Musharraf to reverse it. .The general's actions cannot be considered conducive to Pakistan's long-term stability. Instead, they are a recapitulation of past patterns that stunted the growth of democracy in Pakistan.

    TEXT: With that comment from Newsday, we conclude today's sampling of editorial comment from U-S newspapers.
    NEB/ENE/KL 16-Nov-1999 12:36 PM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1736 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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