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Voice of America, 00-02-03

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] NORTHERN IRELAND (L-ONLY) BY LOURDES NAVARRO (LONDON)
  • [02] ANOTHER CRISIS IN NORTHERN IRELAND BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [03] AUSTRIA GOVERNMENT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)
  • [04] AUSTRIA / GOVERNMENT (L UPDATE) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)
  • [05] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [06] THURSDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] AUSTRIA'S NEW GOVERNMENT BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] NORTHERN IRELAND (L-ONLY) BY LOURDES NAVARRO (LONDON)

    DATE=2/3/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258803
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The British government has announced plans to strip power from Northern Ireland's eight-week-old Protestant - Catholic joint administration. The announcement was made after an independent report said the Irish Republican Army (I-R-A) has not handed in its weapons as required by the Northern Ireland peace accord. Lourdes Navarro reports from London.

    TEXT: Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, said that while he did not want to take a step that could potentially destroy Northern Ireland's peace process, the failure of the I-R-A to disarm was unacceptable. In a statement made to Britain's lower house of parliament, Mr. Mandelson said that he will be putting through legislation that will allow him to suspend Northern Ireland's power sharing assembly. The process will take several days and Mr. Mandelson made it clear that he was still hoping that there could be a breakthrough. However, if no compromise could be reached, he said he was prepared to suspend Northern Ireland's fledgling government.

    /// MANDELSON ACT ///

    If it becomes clear that because of a lack of confidence the institutions cannot be sustained, the government has to be ready to put on hold the operation of those institutions. Nobody genuinely committed to the peace process will relish this prospect. But our purpose, if it comes to this, will be to preserve them from collapse.

    /// END ACT///

    The statement was in response to the findings of an international commission's report that showed that the I-R-A has failed to begin to hand in its weapons. So far, the report by Canadian general John de Chastelain has not been released to the public. Disarmament is the last remaining issue yet unresolved from Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord called the Good Friday Agreement. Northern Ireland's biggest Protestant party, the Ulster Unionists, are demanding that the power-sharing government be suspended. Last November, it agreed to sit in government with the I-R-A - linked Sinn Fein on the condition that the I-R-A would disarm. Mr. Mandelson has made it clear that the I-R-A's refusal to begin to disarm, also called decommissioning, has caused the crisis. However, he stressed that all may not yet be lost if they set a date to hand in their weapons.

    /// MANDELSON ACT ///

    Even at this late stage, I believe it remains possible to rebuild confidence in the institutions, to enable devolution, and to insure that decommissioning starts. But I stress these three things are interdependent. We cannot partially implement the Good Friday agreement. It is all or nothing.

    /// END ACT ///

    If Northern Ireland's assembly is suspended, then Britain will take over control of the province again. The British and Irish governments are holding high- level talks to see if they can broker another last minute deal to insure that will not happen. (Signed)
    NEB/LN/ENE/JP 03-Feb-2000 17:22 PM EDT (03-Feb-2000 2222 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] ANOTHER CRISIS IN NORTHERN IRELAND BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/3/2000
    TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-11664
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The fragile peace agreement between the Irish Republicans and pro-British Unionists in Northern Ireland appears to be coming apart. This latest crisis involves the refusal by the outlawed Irish Republican Army to begin turning over its weapons and explosives in what the agreement terms decommissioning. In the original Good Friday agreement, both sides, the I-R-A and the Unionist Ulster militia, agreed to begin disarming by the end of January, a process to be overseen by a Canadian Army General. Without this act of good faith, Unionists in the newly created Northern Ireland Assembly are threatening to resign, presumably plunging Ulster back into direct British rule, and renewed terrorism. The U-S press, which has closely monitored the fragile process overseen by former U-S Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine, is again wringing its hands in the editorial columns. Here with a sampling, is ____________ in today's U-S Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: We begin in our nation's capitol with "The Washington Post":

    VOICE: The peace deal in Northern Ireland, rescued last year by former senator ... Mitchell, is in danger of dissolving. The fault lies squarely with the Irish Republican Army, which has taken no steps toward handing in its arms. But neither the administration nor the leadership in congress is willing to denounce the I-R-A for its intransigence. The silence harms the prospects for a settlement that was once a fine testament to America's peace-making prowess.

    TEXT: On New York's Long Island, "Newsday'" headline calls the impasse the - I-R-A's Dangerous One- Upmanship in Northern Ireland.

    VOICE: An impartial commission yesterday [2/1] rendered a report showing little, if any, evidence that the Irish Republican Army had begun to give up its weapons, despite the target of total disarmament by May. So the pique of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble is understandable. [Mr.] Trimble, the Protestant leader who is also first minister of the newly formed Northern Ireland Assembly, is justified in warning that the new power-sharing government will be suspended indefinitely unless the I-R-A proves its willingness to disarm. The I-R-A is indulging in dangerous one-upmanship.

    TEXT: From Boston, the national daily "Christian Science Monitor", is also clearly upset at the latest turn of events, asking:

    VOICE: What is going on here? Unwillingness by the I-R-A to punch through a psychological barrier and leave behind a way of life built on the threat of violence. No one doubts that most Northern Irish, Catholic (Republican) and Protestant (Unionist), want the peace to move forward and the gunmen to disarm. All that is needed is a concrete show of good faith, beginning a task, disarmament, that has to come. The pleas from Sinn Fein, the I-R-A's political arm, that the guns' silence is enough -- is itself not enough.

    TEXT: In neighboring Maine, the crisis in Northern Ireland's peace process brings forth this lament from "The Portland Press Herald":

    VOICE: Unless something approaching a miracle happens, the Good Friday agreement providing a "home rule" framework for peace in Northern Ireland could fall apart this week. Many leaders are working to see that does not happen, for it potentially could lead to a resumption of terrorism there after a two-and-one-half-year halt.

    TEXT: California's largest daily, "The Los Angeles Times" insists:

    VOICE: The decommissioning should begin at once, and all parties should, with good sense and a willingness to capture a historic moment, renew their commitment to work in the political realm. ... To fail would mean stumbling back to uncertainty and violence. This is a time for political courage.

    TEXT: Northern New Jersey's [Bergen County] "Record" adds its perspective to the impasse.

    VOICE: If the Irish Republican Army does not do something to show its good faith in the next few days, it may be remembered as the destroyer of Northern Ireland's best hope for peace. The fragile shared government, only two-months old, is in danger of collapsing or being suspended if the I-R-A does not actually begin disarming -- or at least indicate strongly that it will cooperate and start giving up its weapons very soon.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Ditto, "The Chicago Tribune":

    VOICE: The I-R-A must begin giving up some of that vast arsenal as a show of good faith, or it will have to shoulder the responsibility for a return to British rule in Northern Ireland. And if Gerry Adams cannot persuade them to do so, he must admit to having misled not just his political opponents, but also the ... people of Northern Ireland, whom he has claimed to represent.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: While in Pennsylvania, "The Philadelphia Inquirer" is urging both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U-S President Bill Clinton to get involved quickly.

    VOICE: What can Tony Blair do? Get Parliament to suspend the [Northern Ireland] council before Mr. Trimble resigns. That would return Northern Ireland to provisional United Kingdom governance. Even suspended animation is better than being torn apart and scattered to the winds. ... Bill Clinton, seen by so many as the great patron of Irish peace, may have an especially important role to play ... He is good at politics in a small room. There is probably going to be great need of that.

    TEXT: The nation's largest tabloid, "The [New York] Daily News", exclaims in frustration - What is transpiring in Northern Ireland is inexcusable. While back in Boston, that city's largest tabloid, "The Boston Herald", suggests:

    VOICE: Unionist leader David Trimble, first minister of the two-months-old provincial government, said he would walk out unless the I- R-A started disarming by the end of January. That is a threat he cannot fail to carry out if he wants to continue as party leader, but for the moment he has confined himself to urging the British to act. ... [Mr.] Trimble is correct that everybody understood in November that I-R-A weapons had to start leaving the stage in January. [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair backs him up. Seamus Mallon, deputy head of the Social Democratic and Labor party, backs him up. "The Irish News", which often reflects the views of Sinn Fein supporters, says that retention of the I-R-A arsenal "cannot be justified". If [Mr.] Adams and his associates in the I-R-A did not understand what [Mr.] Trimble was doing in November, it was their duty to speak up.

    TEXT: That concludes this sampling of comment on the latest crisis to befall the Northern Ireland peace process.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 03-Feb-2000 14:20 PM EDT (03-Feb-2000 1920 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] AUSTRIA GOVERNMENT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)

    DATE=2/3/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258785
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The leaders of Austria's conservative Peoples' Party and the right-wing Freedom Party have presented their proposed cabinet list to the country's president. Then they made their coalition program public as they waited for the president's formal approval of their government. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Vienna reports the new government faces difficulties at home and abroad.

    TEXT: Austria's new Chancellor would be Peoples' Party leader Wolfgang Schuessel. He and Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider have unveiled the program of their coalition government. Then they appealed to the world to read it and to not isolate Austria. Never before had an Austrian government faced the threat of diplomatic sanctions along with demonstrations against it in the streets of Vienna. The inclusion of Mr. Haider's right-wing party in the new center-right government has been the source of the controversy. But the Freedom Party leader made an appeal to reporters.

    /// HAIDER ACT ///

    We will try to convince the international community that the new government of Austria is a reform government, which is able to show to the international community that all our initiatives and all the contents of our common program is agreeable and comparable with governments in the other European countries. And therefore, they could be confident in the future to work together with us.

    /// END ACT ///

    Austrian President Thomas Klestil made the two party leaders sign a declaration that their new government will protect human rights and European values. Then, to distance himself from his only politically possible decision, the president delayed his formal approval of the new government. In a magazine interview, the Austrian president says the Freedom Party is no Nazi party. But he says it has people in its leadership who are not qualified for office. Mr. Haider has made statements in the past belittling some Nazi crimes, for which he later apologized. He has put into question Austria's policies as a member of the European Union. The European Union has threatened to isolate Austria politically if the Freedom Party is in its government. Vienna commentator Paul Lendvai tells V-O-A that Austria faces a worse crisis now than it did in 1987, when revelations about the Nazi past of President Kurt Waldheim became public.

    /// LENDVAI ACT ///

    It is a hot political issue. In the center is a man who is the leader of a party which received 27 percent of the vote. That the two parties create a government means that 54 percent of the people - or 50 percent of the people - feel they got a slap. It is more serious because as I say, a member of the E-U, because of the United States, because of Israel, and because it might affect adversely Austria's reputation, tourism, economic interests, and above all Austria's culture and reputation, which is very important for the people here.

    /// END ACT ///

    Thousands of Austrians demonstrated in front of the Peoples' Party headquarters, urging their conservative party not to ally itself with the Freedom Party. But it was to no avail. Mr. Schuessel promises his new government will take responsibility for Austria's Nazi past and will be a reliable partner for Europe. Even if bilateral measures are taken against Austria, the new chancellor urges the world to let Austria fulfill its responsibilities as a member of the European security organization. Mr. Haider will not be part of the new government. He will resume his role as governor of the southern province of Corinthia. As for Israel's travel ban against him, Mr. Haider says it would still like to visit Israel as a tourist. (Signed) NEB/RDP/JWH/ENE/JP 03-Feb-2000 11:33 AM EDT (03-Feb-2000 1633 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] AUSTRIA / GOVERNMENT (L UPDATE) BY RON PEMSTEIN (VIENNA)

    DATE=2/3/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258794
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// Minor changes in intro and throughout text of CR 2-258785 ///

    INTRO: The leaders of Austria's conservative Peoples' Party and the right-wing Freedom Party have presented their proposed cabinet list to the country's president. The head of state has made some changes and delayed his approval until mid-day Friday. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Vienna reports the new government faces difficulties at home and abroad.

    TEXT: Austria's new chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, and Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider have unveiled the program of their coalition government. They then appealed to the world to read it and to not isolate Austria. Never before had an Austrian government faced the threat of diplomatic sanctions, along with demonstrations against it in the streets of Vienna. The inclusion of Mr. Haider's right-wing party in the new center-right government has been the source of the controversy. The Freedom Party leader made this appeal to reporters.

    /// HAIDER ACT ///

    We will try to convince the international community that the new government of Austria is a reform government, which is able to show to the international community that all our initiatives and all the contents of our common program is agreeable and comparable with governments in the other European countries. And therefore, they could be confident in the future to work together with us.

    /// END ACT ///

    Austrian President Thomas Klestil made the two party leaders sign a declaration that their new government will protect human rights and European values. Then, to distance himself from his only politically possible decision, the president delayed his formal approval of the new government until Friday, after first requiring two changes in the ministers (finance and defense) suggested by the right-wing Freedom Party, led by Joerg Haider. In a magazine interview, the Austrian president said the Freedom Party is no Nazi party. But he said it has people in its leadership who are not qualified for office. Mr. Haider has made statements in the past belittling Nazi crimes, for which he later apologized. He has put into question Austria's policies as a member of the European Union. The E-U has threatened to isolate Austria politically if the Freedom Party is in its government. Vienna commentator Paul Lendvai tells V-O-A that Austria faces a worse crisis now than it did in 1987, when revelations about the Nazi past of President Kurt Waldheim became public.

    /// LENDVAI ACT ///

    It is a hot political issue. In the center is a man who is the leader of a party which received 27 percent of the vote. That the two parties create a government means that 54 percent of the people - or 50 percent of the people - feel they got a slap. It is more serious because as I say, a member of the E-U, because of the United States, because of Israel, and because it might affect adversely Austria's reputation, tourism, economic interests, and above all Austria's culture and reputation, which is very important for the people here.

    /// END ACT ///

    Thousands of Austrians demonstrated in front of the Peoples' Party headquarters, urging their conservative party not to ally itself with the Freedom Party. But it was to no avail. Mr. Schuessel promised his new government will take responsibility for Austria's Nazi past and will be a reliable partner for Europe. Even if bilateral measures are taken against Austria, the new chancellor urged the world to let Austria fulfill its responsibilities as a member of the European security organization. Mr. Haider will not be part of the new government. He will resume his role as governor of the southern province of Corinthia. As for Israel's travel ban against him, Mr. Haider said he would still like to travel to Israel as a tourist. (Signed) NEB/RDP/JWH/ENE/KL 03-Feb-2000 14:55 PM EDT (03-Feb-2000 1955 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=2/3/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-258801
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were higher today (Thursday), one day after the Federal Reserve Board raised short- term interest rates and hinted more increases are coming. But the steadiest stock gains, once again, were in the technology sector. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: In volatile trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average came back from early losses to eke out (post) a fractional gain of 10 points, closing at 11- thousand-13. The Standard and Poor's 500 index went up 15 points - slightly better than one percent. The Nasdaq composite - reflecting the continuing strength in the technology sector - gained more than three percent. Analysts say Internet and other high-technology companies are seen as fast-growers, able to generate enough momentum to offset rising interest rates. Shares of Amazon-dot-com shot up over 20 percent after the biggest Internet retailer said it expects its losses to shrink this year due to growing sales and lower costs. Amazon turned in huge losses for the fourth quarter. But investors clearly chose to look ahead.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Despite Thursday's gains, analyst Frank La Salla predicts the stock market will remain mostly volatile until investors are confident the Federal Reserve Board has nothing else in mind but simply cooling a rapidly expanding economy:

    /// LA SALLA ACT ///

    My sense is that the market is going to continue to be volatile and we'll probably get the same kind of price action we got in January. January was a terrible month, the first bad January we've had in years. And I think that until the market is convinced that the "Fed" is out and that earnings will be able to do the heavy lifting (EDS: i.e., stock performance based on company earnings), we're going to get probably volatile markets but more to the downside.

    /// END ACT ///

    B-P Amoco stock traded lower after the U-S Federal Trade Commission ruled against the oil company's proposed buyout of rival Atlantic Richfield. B-P Amoco says it will fight the decision in court. The merger would give B-P Amoco control of more than 70 percent of Alaskan crude. A war in the U-S drug sector (industry) may be coming to an end. Warner-Lambert is said to have agreed to accept a takeover offer from Pfizer. The merger would create the world's largest pharmaceutical company. Pfizer entered a hostile bid for Warner-Lambert last year. Warner-Lambert, this year, agreed to talk. The problem now is what to do about American Home Products, which had been the planned merger partner with Warner-Lambert. American Home, under the original deal, is entitled to a one-point-eight billion dollar break-up fee. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/JP 03-Feb-2000 17:00 PM EDT (03-Feb-2000 2200 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=2/3/2000
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11663
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: This week's first U-S presidential primary election, in New Hampshire, is filling the editorial columns of the nation's newspapers. In the Republican Party primary, Arizona Senator John McCain scored an unexpectedly strong victory over Texas Governor George W. Bush. In New Hampshire's Democratic Party primary, former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley came in a close second to Vice President Al Gore. The newest crisis in the Northern Ireland peace process is the top international topic, followed by concern over a neo-Nazi politician assuming a role in Austria's coalition government. There are other thoughts: about the fatal crash of an Alaskan Airlines jet, off the coast of California; about the sudden turnaway from democracy in Latin America; an allegedly gratuitous slap at China by Congress; and Atlanta's sorrow, following the death of an icon at the local zoo. Now, here is __________ with a closer look, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Dozens of papers that waited a full day before expressing their thoughts on Tuesday's New Hampshire are in full voice today. The Republican vote is getting by far the most comment, including this editorial in New Hampshire's largest daily, The Manchester Union Leader, suggesting that Texas Governor George Bush lacks substance.

    VOICE: Try to fool New Hampshire with an empty suit parading as a presidential candidate, and this state will send it to the cleaners. That's the lesson the G-O-P ["the Grand Old Party," a sobriquet for the Republicans] establishment learned Tuesday // OPT // when George W. Bush was steamed, pressed and neatly folded into a box by ... voters. // END OPT // ... One lesson is that something beats nothing, every time.

    TEXT: The Detroit News salutes "the Granite State" voters thusly:

    VOICE: New Hampshire voters ... understand their role pretty well: winnow out the real losers, but ... make sure there is real competition in the presidential selection process. The results may not always be pretty. ... But at least they give Americans a fighting chance of seeing what their would-be presidents are really made of.

    TEXT: In Minnesota, the St. Paul Pioneer Press is pleased at the inclusion of a normally bored section of the electorate.

    VOICE: Young and independent voters ... took issue with the conventional wisdom of presidential prospects Tuesday. If the quirky state sent a message ... it is John McCain's Bull Moose-ish [a reference to Theodore Roosevelt's blunt-speaking, independent, third- party run for the presidency under the Bull Moose Party banner in 1912] candidacy not only has legs [staying power], it is dancing into South Carolina for the next Republican confrontation.

    TEXT: Taking note of the Democratic outcome, the Augusta [Georgia] Chronicle notes:

    VOICE: Vice President Al Gore was supposed to win by such a huge margin that he'd chase his insurgent foe, Bill Bradley, out of the race. It didn't happen. ... He'll be around for a long time, probably right up to the convention.

    TEXT: The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer in Ohio scoffs at Texas Governor Bush's description of his defeat as a "bump in the road," noting:

    VOICE: ... Today, [Mr.] McCain's success is the news. And [Governor] Bush will now have to fight for the nomination.

    TEXT: For a contrary view, that the results' importance is exaggerated, we go to Jacksonville and The Florida Times-Union:

    VOICE: The New Hampshire primary is a lot like a Broadway theater outing in New Haven [a small city near New York, often used to "try out" musical productions bound for New York City's Broadway]. Candidates are testing their policies and personalities to see if they are ready for prime time. ... Because they are the first two tests, Iowa and New Hampshire get a lot of attention. ... [However] the results in those two states may not forecast the outcome.

    // OPT //

    TEXT: The Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City, says in its headline: "New Hampshire's Message -- Nothing Inevitable Now about Bush." And, finally, The Los Angeles Times is grateful that its huge, populous state is no longer being taken for granted in the political selection process:

    VOICE: The California presidential primary [to be held March 7th] campaign got underway Wednesday as the last New Hampshire votes were counted. Vice President Al Gore was California- bound and others were not far behind. For the first time in three decades, California is a pivotal state for Democratic and Republican candidates. // END OPT //

    TEXT: Turning to international issues, there is despair over the Irish Republican Army's refusal to disarm, which is threatening the Northern Ireland peace process. Northern New Jersey's Bergen Record laments:

    VOICE: If the Irish Republican Army does not do something to show its good faith in the next few days, it may be remembered as the destroyer of Northern Ireland's best hope for peace. The fragile shared government, only two months old, is in danger of collapsing or being suspended if the I-R-A does not actually begin disarming -- or at least indicate strongly that it will cooperate and start giving up its weapons very soon.

    TEXT: Ditto, the Chicago Tribune:

    VOICE: The I-R-A must begin giving up some of that vast arsenal as a show of good faith, or it will have to shoulder the responsibility for a return to British rule in Northern Ireland. // OPT // And if Gerry Adams cannot persuade them to do so, he must admit to having misled not just his political opponents, but also the Catholic people of Northern Ireland, whom he has claimed to represent.

    TEXT: In Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Inquirer is urging both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Clinton to get involved quickly.

    VOICE: What can Tony Blair do? Get Parliament to suspend the [Northern Ireland] council before Mr. [Protestant leader David] Trimble resigns. That would return Northern Ireland to provisional United Kingdom governance. Even suspended animation is better than being torn apart and scattered to the winds. ... Bill Clinton, seen by so many as the great patron of Irish peace, may have an especially important role to play. ... He's good at politics in a small room. There's probably going to be great need of that. // END OPT //

    TEXT: To another European trouble spot now; Austria, where Joerg Haider, a man accused of being a neo-Nazi, and leader of the Freedom Party, is joining a coalition government, to the dismay of the European Union. However, The Florida Times-Union, in Jacksonville, takes issue with the Europeans' response.

    VOICE: The European Union overstepped its bounds when it threatened to retaliate against Austria for an internal political decision. ... The E-U ... detests Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider ... because: He is against expansion of the E-U. ... He has made comments interpreted as sympathetic to Adolf Hitler ... and he opposes immigration. ... But surely the European Union doesn't demand that all ranking officials in all member states support the E-U's current direction. ... [Mr.] Haider is shortsighted on immigration policy. But many U-S politicians ... say immigration and free trade will deprive Americans of jobs. Will the E-U retaliate against the United States? The attempts to tie [Mr.] Haider to Hitler are unfortunate.

    TEXT: The Dallas Morning News tackles Washington's difficult task of opposing a politician who was democratically elected, while continuing to support democracy as a form of government.

    VOICE: The United States respects the sovereignty of other democratic nations. But that need not mean abstaining from comment on the outcome of their elections. And the U-S ... has appropriately expressed concern about the new government formed in Austria between the People's Party and the right-wing Freedom Party, led by Joerg Haider, a populist who has made remarks sympathetic to the Third Reich. ... The U-S can support democracy while speaking out against aspects of a democratic election.

    TEXT: Here at home, mourning continues for the passengers and crew of Alaskan Airlines flight 261, who perished Monday in the Pacific Ocean, off California. Here is The News Tribune, of Tacoma, Washington:

    VOICE: // OPT // This tragedy is fraught with ironies. Most of those killed were returning from what should have been care-free vacations. The aircraft they were traveling in -- an MD-83 built by McDonnell Douglas -- has an exceptionally good safety record. So does Alaska Airlines: the company has not experienced such a crash since 1971. // END OPT

    // ... Flying is still the safest way to travel, and the investigation of this accident may make it safer yet. But when a plane full of passengers does fall from the sky, the impact is shattering.

    TEXT: To Latin America now, where the Houston Chronicle laments that democracy appears to be fading a bit.

    VOICE: Just when people were beginning to believe democracy was secure almost throughout the Western Hemisphere, along come ... strongmen in places like Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru, to dash such hope to pieces. Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori ... is expected to be elected to a third term of office in April, having first fired the judges who ruled that a third presidential term for him was unconstitutional. He won't tolerate any criticism.

    TEXT: In the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado, columnist Holger Jensen complains that the U-S House of Representatives has unnecessarily riled the Chinese government by passing a bill boosting U-S military support of Taiwan.

    VOICE: The Taiwan Security Enhancement Act directs the Pentagon to establish direct military communications with Taipei and expand its training of Taiwanese officers. It will also make it more difficult for the administration to limit arms sales to Taiwan, a constant source of fury in Beijing. ... Whatever good will was generated by the November trade deal has dissipated with Washington's campaign to have China censured at this year's meeting of the U-N Human Rights Commission ... and passage of the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act.

    // OPT //

    TEXT: In domestic economic news, today's New York Times calls Wednesday's one-quarter percent increase in a key U-S interest rate "reasonable," noting that the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve, has "evidence on its side, and the support of many experts." Several papers, including today's Los Angeles Times, are expressing revulsion at a case of murder in Atlanta after the "Super Bowl," the U-S professional football championship, on Sunday. Ray Lewis, a player for another football team not involved in the championship match (the Baltimore Ravens), has been charged in the case.

    VOICE: Twice in two months, National Football League players have been charged with murder. Ray Lewis ... is accused in the fatal stabbing of of two men outside an Atlanta nightclub ... [and] Rae Carruth ... [of] the Carolina Panthers ... was charged with ... the shooting death of a woman pregnant with his child. ... "Can we separate ourselves from society? Of course not," N-F-L commissioner Paul Tagliabue told reporters covering the Super Bowl. ... You're right on that count, Mr. Commissioner, but your office cannot keep ducking and juking [evading and feinting]. The N-F-L faces a crisis of image on and off the field. Club owners who turn away from this issue risk losing faith with the fans. ... This problem has a stench; clear it up by next season or risk fan reprisals.

    // END OPT //

    TEXT: Lastly, there is sadness in Atlanta over the death of a gorilla, Willie B., at the zoo where he had lived since 1961. For his first 27 years in captivity, Willie B. was locked in a cage. It was only since 1988 that he was free to roam through a more spacious outdoor habitat. Willie B. is remembered by The Atlanta Constitution.

    VOICE: ... The grief of many Atlantans at the death ... probably baffles newcomers. To them, Willie B. may have been just another one of the two-dozen gorillas at Zoo Atlanta. But to long- time residents, the silverback gorilla symbolized not only the development of Zoo Atlanta into a world-class institution, but the evolution of the city of Atlanta itself. In that sense, his death might be compared to that of a family pet. ... His death -- from heart failure and old age -- summons up memories, some sweet, some not so pleasant, of times passed.

    TEXT: On that zoological footnote to history, we conclude this sampling of commentary from the pages of Thursday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 03-Feb-2000 13:07 PM EDT (03-Feb-2000 1807 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] AUSTRIA'S NEW GOVERNMENT BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=2/3/2000
    TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-11665
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Editorial pages around the world this week are buzzing with reaction to the inclusion of a controversial right-wing party in the new Austrian coalition government. Joerg Haider's Freedom Party won 27-percent of the vote last October in the parliamentary elections, finishing second. Now, after months of unsuccessful efforts to continue Austria's long-governing, Socialist-Conservative coalition, Mr. Haider's party has formed a coalition with the conservatives. An international uproar ensued, because Mr. Haider once praised fellow Austrian Adolph Hitler's personnel policies, and complimented the Waffen SS troops of Hitler's army. He also ranted against foreigners as the cause of Austria's internal problems. The European Union, which includes Austria, has threatened to isolate the country; Israel is thinking of recalling its ambassador, and the White House is mulling over what action it may take. We get a sampling of international editorial reaction to the developments from __________ in this week's World Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: The little alpine nation of Austria is facing a growing threat of international isolation this week, for defying world opinion and adding the party of an apparent Nazi sympathizer to its new, coalition government. Months of negotiations between the conservative People's Party of Wolfgang Schuessel, which finished third, and the first place socialists, failed to produce an agreement on power-sharing in parliament. So, this week, the People's Party invited Mr. Haider to form a coalition government. Reaction has been swift, both diplomatically and in the world press. We begin our sampling in the extreme South-East of Austria, in the second largest city of Graz, near the Hungarian border, where the Kleine Zeitung is upset at the European reaction to Mr. Haider's party's participation in the new Austrian government.

    VOICE: What is the state of Europe, that an intelligent provincial politician such as Joerg Haider can be perceived as a Europe-wide problem? And what is the state of a democracy that falls into panic and almost into agony when a party that is chosen by a quarter of the electorate is included in a new government? A Europe that plays disciplinarian of Austria is certainly not the Europe for which nearly 70- percent of Austrians voted in a referendum [on joining the E-U].

    TEXT: Meanwhile, in neighboring Germany, The Frankfurter Rundschau in the nation's financial capital notes:

    VOICE: The E-U threats to impose sanctions ... also serve [to strengthen the E-U's] credibility toward E-U accession candidates in Austria's neighborhood ... Irrespective of whether it is the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic, or Hungary, pluralist democracies in the region ten years after the collapse of communism are not very fashionable right now. Austria's serving as a central European model for a failure to transform from authoritarian-bureaucratic structures to a civil society would really be a disaster for the continent.

    TEXT: In another German city, Ludwigshafen, Die Rheinpfalz laments:

    VOICE: The partially self-righteous appeals to the Austrians to stop ... this course will have the opposite of the intended effect. ... even the most well-intentioned advice is revealing a deep ignorance about the political situation in the country ...

    TEXT: To the south now, and an Italian reaction from the former Italian ambassador to Washington Boris Biancheri, writing in Turin's La Stampa:

    VOICE: There is something puzzling in this sudden outburst of European decisiveness, in this unexpected common approach by the E-U ... It would have been better to wait for the program of the new Austrian government and, based on facts rather than assumptions, take the necessary steps.

    TEXT: In Rome, La Repubblica sees an even deeper significance in the European Union's action.

    VOICE: Perhaps European leaders are not fully aware of this ... but they have made a truly constitutional gesture in a Europe that still fools itself that it can live without a charter of its own. ... the declaration of the 14 E-U nations lays the political and geo-political bases for a European state.

    TEXT: In Russia, along the same line of thinking as Le Repubblica, there is some surprise in this comment from Moscow's Noviye Izvestiya:

    VOICE: It is the first case of European leaders deciding ... they can interfere in the strictly internal affairs of a sovereign state.

    TEXT: Now a pair of widely disparate views. First from Brussels, Belgium's De Financieel-Economische Tijd suggests:

    VOICE: The E-U cannot stand idly and watch what is happening in Austria. The values of mutual respect, democracy and human rights are too deeply burnt in the soul of the Union to tamper with them.

    TEXT: Taking a very different stance is Denmark's big Copenhagen daily, Berlingske Tidende:

    VOICE: The E-U's threats to freeze out Austria if it forms a conservative-Freedom Party coalition are unfair, unwise and dishonest. ... The action also raises the question: Should the E-U express its approval every time a country changes government?

    TEXT: However in the Netherlands, where the Dutch suffered greatly at Hitler's hands, there is no support for the new Austrian government. In Haagsche Courant, from The Hague, home of the World Court, we read:

    VOICE: Within Europe there is no place for [Mr. Haider's] ideas which are reminiscent of one of the most horrible episodes of the 20th century. It is therefore good that the E-U has reacted strongly to the Austrian political developments.

    TEXT: In Spain, La Vanguardia in Barcelona is puzzled about the internal, as well as the external criticism and notes:

    VOICE: Opposition to the inclusion of [Mr.] Haider's party ... has been made forcefully clear not only by the E-U and [the] United States, but [also by] [Austrian President Thomas] Klestil himself. In a newspaper interview he noted that ` all the prominent officers of [Mr.] Haider's] party today still use language that disqualifies them from holding public office. ` If this is the opinion of the president who must give his assent to admitting the extreme right into the government, it would be difficult to imagine any harsher criticism coming from an external source.

    TEXT: And in Europe's far southeast, Turkey's Cumhuriyet from Istanbul is impressed by the far- reaching potential impact of this situation.

    VOICE: The Austrian case will be a learning experience that will help define human rights and democracy in the 21st century.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of the European press on the ascension into the Austrian government of a far-right wing, potentially neo-Nazi party, headed by Joerg Haider. NEB/ANG/gm 03-Feb-2000 18:21 PM EDT (03-Feb-2000 2321 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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