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Voice of America, 99-12-28

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] EUROPE STORMS (L ONLY) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)
  • [02] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [03] TURKEY / KURDS (PART ONE OF THREE) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (HAZRO, TURKEY)
  • [04] U-N-KOSOVO (L ONLY) BY LARRY FREUND (NEW YORK)

  • [01] EUROPE STORMS (L ONLY) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)

    DATE=12/28/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257563
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Western Europe has been hit by a second fierce winter storm in three days. At least 100 people have died in the storms, which packed unusually strong winds. France suffered the worst damage where at least 19 people were killed. Spain also was hard hit. Paul Miller in Paris reports French electrical power and transportation systems -- already struggling to recover from the first storm -- have suffered further damage.

    TEXT: This time it was the southwestern coast of France that suffered the worst effects of the 160- kilometers-an-hour winds. Along the coast, pleasure boats sank or were piled onto each other and the docks. Inland there were by now familiar scenes of trees down on top of roads, buildings and especially cars. Despite warnings, several people died when they drove in the storm and were hit. More people lost electric power and heat -- perhaps one million from the latest storm. In all, the French electric company estimates there are three-and-a-half million people without electricity. And, it will take time to restore the power -- pylons on wooded hillsides and in open fields have been flattened. Transportation has been disrupted, with both roads and train lines affected by floodwaters, the fallen trees, and the power outages. The second storm forced airports in the south of France and the north of Spain to close. In Spain, construction workers were most at risk. Two died when a crane collapsed, three more when walls or buildings fell in. There will be a lot of re-building in France -- including work on several well-known monuments. In Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral lost roof tiles and part of a spire. One of Sainte Chapelle's famous stain glass windows was shattered. And the recently renovated Versailles palace suffered roof and window damage. French authorities promise that New Years celebrations will go on -- no matter what nature does. (Signed)
    NEB/PM/JWH 28-Dec-1999 10:10 AM EDT (28-Dec-1999 1510 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)

    DATE=12/28/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257575
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were mixed today (Tuesday) but the Industrial Average closed at a record high. VOA Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high 11-thousand-476, up 85 points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 14-hundred-57, up one-half point. The NASDAQ index lost three points to close at 39-hundred-72. A monthly index of consumer confidence in the United States rose to its second-highest level in history in December. The index shows Americans are optimistic the U-S economy will continue growing in the new year.

    //Begin opt///

    Dana Johnson, an economist at the Bank One Corporation, says the confidence is justified by the fundamentals.

    ///OPT JOHNSON ACT///

    We have an extremely low unemployment rate, jobs are readily available. We have continued low inflation and the stock market has been setting new highs.

    ///END ACT, END OPT///

    Sales of existing homes in the United States rose by six percent in November. Some of those existing homes may need a little repair work and the stock of the Home Depot remodeling supply chain was up sharply. The stock of the Tegal Corporation was the most active in the NASDAQ market. Stock in the maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment rose by more than 80 percent after an analyst said the company has "explosive" growth prospects.

    /// Rest opt for long ///

    The booming stock market and a huge number of initial stock offerings helped fuel a 29 percent profit increase for the U-S securities industry. A trade group reports American investment firms will earn a record 12-point-six billion dollars this year. Some tobacco industry analysts are warning that U-S cigarette companies may be forced into bankruptcy if they have to pay as much as 300 billion dollars in connection with a lawsuit in the state of Florida. The federal government is also seeking hundreds of billions of dollars from the companies to cover the costs of medical care for smoking-related illnesses. Jostens, largest U-S producer of school yearbooks and class rings, has accepted a buyout of more than 900 million dollars from an investment group which includes Jostens' top management.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/PT 28-Dec-1999 17:20 PM EDT (28-Dec-1999 2220 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] TURKEY / KURDS (PART ONE OF THREE) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (HAZRO, TURKEY)

    DATE=12/28/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45135
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// EDS: THIS IS THE FIRST OF THREE REPORTS BY AMBERIN ZAMAN BASED ON A RECENT VISIT TO THE KURDISH REGION OF SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY ///

    INTRO: A semblance of peace is returning to Turkey's largely Kurdish southeastern region as rebels of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party obey a call by its imprisoned leader to end their armed campaign for independence. Amberin Zaman recently toured the area and filed this (first of three) report(s).

    TEXT: Haci Gokcer is a Kurdish farmer from Hazro township in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeastern region. Like tens of thousands of civilians here, Mr. Gokcer was forced to leave his village seven years ago at the height of a 15-year Kurdish insurgency that has claimed nearly 40-thousand lives.

    /// GOKCER ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER
    ///
    Mr. Gokcer says he abandoned his property and livestock after rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (P-K-K) raided his tiny mountain village one night and demanded that he and other men in the village join their forces or leave. Mr. Gokcer refused to take up arms with the P-K-K, and instead joined a state-run Kurdish militia known as the Village Guards to fight the rebels. Accused of treason, Village Guards members became prime rebel targets. Their wives and children often were murdered as well. Mr. Gokcer's story is a familiar one in this war-torn region. But there is another side to it. Hundreds of thousands of other Kurdish villagers were forced to leave their homes by Turkish security forces who accused them of supporting the P-K-K because they refused to become Village Guards. In some cases, their homes were burned down, their animals killed, their crops destroyed. Today, however, a steady trickle of displaced civilians, including Mr. Gokcer and his family, is beginning to return home. Mahmut Gur is the chairman of an association - Goc-der - that is dedicated to resettling refugees.
    /// GUR ACT ONE - IN TURKISH FADE UNDER
    ///
    Mr. Gur says tensions in the southeast have eased visibly after a call by imprisoned P-K-K leader Abdullah Ocalan for his fighters to end their armed struggle and withdraw from Turkish territory to neighboring Iran and Iraq. He says that as peace begins to settle over the region, a growing number of villagers want to return home. Cemil Serhatli is the newly appointed governor of Diyarbakir province, which includes the town of Hazro. Mr. Serhatli confirms that clashes in the southeast provinces have sharply declined as the rebels withdraw.
    /// SERHATLI ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER
    ///
    Mr. Serhatli says the government's duty is, as he puts it, to "heal the wounds of our citizens" and show them what he terms a "welcoming lap," a "compassionate face." Mr. Serhatli and his team are at the forefront of efforts to rebuild villages destroyed in the rebellion, providing free bricks, cement, and engineering expertise for a number of pilot resettlement projects. And in Hazro township, the government is funding a carpet-weaving project to increase employment among local women. Emine, a 14 year old, is among two-hundred young girls who earn a living from the carpet-weaving program.
    /// EMINE ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER
    ///
    Emine explains that her wages are performance-based. The more rows (of carpet yarn) she knots, the more money she makes. She is very happy, she says, not only to be back home but to have a job as well. Mahmut Gur, chairman of the resettlement association, Goc-der, says many problems still remain.
    /// GUR ACT TWO - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER
    ///
    Mr. Gur says a so-called food embargo - under which food allowed into villages is still being rationed by the authorities - remains in place. The authorities defend the rationing on the grounds that food surpluses would wind up in rebel hands Mr. Gur points out also that the majority of Kurdish villagers who want to return home are being denied permission to do so by the Turkish authorities. Usually, they come from villages whose residents had been accused of supporting the rebels. Governor Serhatli denies such charges. He says some villagers are not permitted to return home because security in remote mountainous areas where they used to live cannot yet - as he puts it- be 100 percent guaranteed. He says that once P-K-K fighters come down from the mountains and lay down their arms, then everyone will finally be able to go back to their homes. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/JP 28-Dec-1999 12:01 PM EDT (28-Dec-1999 1701 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] U-N-KOSOVO (L ONLY) BY LARRY FREUND (NEW YORK)

    DATE=12/28/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257574
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the U-N mission in Kosovo is making progress in involving the population of the province in its provisional administration. But in a report issued today (Tuesday), Mr. Annan adds that the number of attacks against Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic minorities in Kosovo remains high. More from correspondent Larry Freund in New York.

    TEXT: Mr. Annan says a significant development in Kosovo was the agreement earlier this month by the leaders of several Albanian political groups in the province to take part in its interim administration. Serb leaders in Kosovo have rejected participation in the power-sharing arrangement. Also, in his report to the U-N Security Council, Mr. Annan points to the demilitarization of the Kosovo Liberation Army, successfully completed, he says, on September 20th. However, Mr. Annan indicates concern about the security situation for Kosovo Serbs, Roma and other minorities. A number of serious incidents, he reports, have heightened tension and security concerns in Kosovo. Mr. Annan says ethnic Albanians suspected of collaborating with Yugoslav authorities have also been the targets of attacks. He says the security situation of women in Kosovo remains precarious, with an increasing number of abductions of young women. And he sees signs that organized criminal elements are reinforcing their position and activities in Kosovo. Those activities, according to Mr. Annan, include protection rackets, smuggling, extortion, gambling and the sale of narcotics, among others. The U-N Secretary-General says at least 810-thousand refugees have returned to their homes in Kosovo. He estimates that more than 25-thousand-500 refugees, including Serbs and Roma, remain in neighboring countries. The U-N Security Council is expected to hold private talks on Mr. Annan's report. (signed)
    NEB/NY/LSF/JP 28-Dec-1999 16:44 PM EDT (28-Dec-1999 2144 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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