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Voice of America, 97-04-18

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ALBRIGHT-NATO ENLARGEMENT (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (STATE DEPARTMENT)
  • [02] BULGARIA POL (L-ONLY) BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)
  • [03] EU/CUBA (L-ONLY) BY JOHN FRASER (BRUSSELS)
  • [04] EURO STOCKS (S-ONLY) BY PAUL FRANCUCH (LONDON)
  • [05] FRANCE ELECTIONS (L-ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [06] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] GREECE / ALBANIA (L-ONLY) BY ATHINA KAZAZI (ATHENS)
  • [08] HARD TIMES IN BULGARIA BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)
  • [09] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [10] U-S/MACEDONIA TROOPS (S-ONLY) BY DAVID GOLLUST (PENTAGON)

  • [01] ALBRIGHT-NATO ENLARGEMENT (L ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (STATE DEPARTMENT)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213102
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT HOLDS TWO MORE MEETINGS NEXT WEEK WITH CENTRAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES THAT WANT TO BE INVITED TO BE MEMBERS OF NATO AT THE MADRID SUMMIT MEETING NEXT JULY. V-0-A'S CORRESPONDENT RON PEMSTEIN REPORTS FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT, ROMANIA AND SLOVAKIA HAVE DIFFERENT PROSPECTS.

    TEXT: ROMANIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER ADRIAN SEVERIN IS MEETING WITH ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS FOR FOUR DAYS TO TRY TO BUILD AMERICAN SUPPORT FOR ROMANIA'S EFFORT TO BE INCLUDED AMONG THE FIRST CENTRAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES INVITED TO JOIN NATO. THE ROMANIAN EMBASSY SAYS CANADA, FRANCE, GREECE, ITALY, SPAIN AND TURKEY HAVE ALL SUPPORTED ROMANIA'S BID. THE UNITED STATES HAS NOT INDICATED WHICH COUNTRIES IT FAVORS. HOWEVER, THE FOREIGN MINISTERS FROM POLAND, HUNGARY AND THE CZECH REPUBLIC HAVE ALL BEEN RECEIVED HERE IN RECENT WEEKS WITH PRAISE FOR THEIR COUNTRY'S POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS. THEY ARE GENERALLY REGARDED AS THE LEADING CANDIDATES FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP.

    ROMANIA APPEARS TO HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN AMERICAN SUPPORT NOW THAT EMIL CONSTANTINESCU HAS BEEN ELECTED PRESIDENT. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN NICHOLAS BURNS PRAISES ROMANIA'S REFORMS AHEAD OF THE FOREIGN MINISTER'S MEETING WITH SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT ON MONDAY AFTERNOON.

    ///BURNS ACT///

    THE NEW ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF PRESIDENT CONSTANTINESCU REPRESENTS ROMANIA'S INTENSIFIED COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRACY, ECONOMIC REFORM AND INTEGRATION WITH THE WEST. WE'VE ALSO WELCOMED ROMANIA'S RECENT AND NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS INCLUDING AN HISTORIC TREATY WITH HUNGARY, DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS, THE TRANSFER OF POWER, A COURAGEOUS ECONOMIC REFORM PROGRAM AND WE RECOGNIZE THAT THESE INITIATIVES HAVE COME AT A HIGH COST AND HAVING TO OVERCOMETHE TERRIBLE LEGACY OF THE CEAUSESCU REGIME IN ROMANIA.

    ///END ACT///

    FOREIGN MINISTER SEVERIN WILL NOT BE THE ONLY CENTRAL EUROPEAN MINISTER CAMPAIGNING FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP. ON WEDNESDAY, SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER PAVEL HAMZIK WILL MEET WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE. THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION HAS OFTEN CRITICIZED THE AUTHORITARIAN POLICIES OF THE SLOVAK GOVERNMENT.IN CONTRAST TO HIS PRAISE FOR THE CHANGES IN ROMANIA, THE STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN RENEWED THE AMERICAN CRITICISM OF SLOVAKIA.

    ///BURNS ACT///

    THE UNITED STATES HAS RAISED CONCERNS PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY OVER THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS ABOUT VARIOUS ASPECTS OF SLOVAKIA'S DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION. WE WILL CONTINUE TO DISCUSS THESE ISSUES WITH SLOVAK LEADERS IN THE COMING MONTHS, MOST NOTABLY DURING MINISTER HAMZIK'S VISIT.

    ///END ACT///

    BEFORE JULY, NATO COUNTRIES WILL TRY TO AGREE WHICH OF THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES SHOULD BE INVITED TO JOIN THE ALLIANCE BY 1999 AND WHICH OTHERS SHOULD BE KEPT WAITING FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS.(SIGNED)
    NEB/PT
    18-Apr-97 3:32 PM EDT (1932 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] BULGARIA POL (L-ONLY) BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213093
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: IN BULGARIA, VOTERS ARE PREPARING TO CAST BALLOTS SATURDAY IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS ALMOST CERTAIN TO BE WON BY THE CENTER-RIGHT "UNITED DEMOCRATIC FORCES" PARTY, THE "U-D-F." V-O-A'S BARRY WOOD REPORTS FROM SOFIA THAT THE ONLY BIG CAMPAIGN ISSUE HAS BEEEN -- WHAT TO DO ABOUT A SHATTERED ECONOMY.

    TEXT: /// ACT. SOUND OF ROCK MUSIC AT CAMPAIGN RALLY ... UNDER AND FADE///

    THIS ROCK BAND PERFORMED AT A FINAL CAMPAIGN RALLY FOR THE U-D-F OUTSIDE SOFIA'S "ALEXANDER NEVSKY" CATHEDRAL. THE CROWD WAS NOT PARTICULARLY LARGE, BUT BENEATH THE CATHEDRAL'S GOLD DOME THE PEDESTRIAN SQUARE WAS A BLIZZARD OF BLUE AND WHITE PARTY BANNERS.

    ON THE EVE OF THE ELECTION, THE ONLY QUESTION IS THE SIZE OF THE U-D-F VICTORY. ALL OPINION SURVEYS SUGGEST THAT THE FORMER GOVERNING PARTY, THE SOCIALISTS, ARE SO DISCREDITED THAT THEY WILL GAIN NO MORE THAN 22 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. THE U-D-F IS EXPECTED TO GET OVER 50 PERCENT OF THE VOTE AND A CLEAR MAJORITY IN THE 240 SEAT PARLIAMENT. //BEGIN OPT// THREE SMALLER PARTIES COULD GET THE FOUR PERCENT OF THE VOTE NEEDED TO GET INTO PARLIAMENT.//END OPT//

    THE ALMOST-CERTAIN NEW PRIME MINISTER WILL BE 47-YEAR-OLD IVAN KOSTOV, A FORMER UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR WHO HAS HIS DOCTORATE DEGREE IN ECONOMICS.

    //BEGIN OPT//

    MR. KOSTOV SERVED AS BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER FROM 1990 TO 1992. UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP THE U-D-F HAS RECENTLY BEEN CONSOLIDATED FROM A COALITION OF MANY PARTIES INTO ONE. THE U-D-F SKILLFULLY TOOK LEADERSHIP OF THE JANUARY AND FEBRUARY STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS WHICH FORCED THE SOCIALISTS TO RESIGN AND AGREE TO NEW ELECTIONS. BULGARIA'S INTERIM GOVERNMENT IS DOMINATED BY THE U-D-F. //END OPT//

    RICHARD RAHN IS AN AMERICAN BUSINESS EXECUTIVE ACTIVE IN POST-COMMUNIST EUROPE. MR. RAHN BELIEVES THE TIME IS RIPE FOR STRONG LEADERSHIP TO FINALLY IMPLEMENT THE MARKET-BASED REFORMS THAT HAVE BEEN DELAYED FOR SO LONG IN BULGARIA. BUT MR. RAHN WORRIES THAT THE INCOMING GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE BOLD ENOUGH.

    ///RAHN ACT///

    PEOPLE GET MIRED DOWN IN DETAILS AND THERE IS A TENDENCY IN THIS COUNTRY TO DELAY. THAT IS WHY I HAVE RECOMMENDED, AND OTHERS HAVE RECOMMENDED, THAT THEY PUT ALL THE ECONOMIC REFORMS IN ONE PACKAGE AND DOING IT VERY QUICKLY. IF THEY GO MORE THAN 100 DAYS WITHOUT FUNDAMENTAL REFORMS THEN I FEAR THEY'LL GET BOGGED DOWN AGAIN.

    /// END ACT. ///

    THE ECONOMIC REFORM PROGRAM INCLUDES RAPID PRIVATIZATION, MONETARY STABILIZATION TO HALT INFLATION, AND A RAPID OPENING OF BULGARIA TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT.

    PRELIMINARY ELECTION RESULTS MAY BE KNOWN LATE SATURDAY NIGHT WITH OFFICIAL RESULTS EXPECTED BY TUESDAY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/BDW/PCF/SP
    18-Apr-97 12:49 PM EDT (1649 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] EU/CUBA (L-ONLY) BY JOHN FRASER (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213090
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: 15 GOVERNMENTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION HAVE AGREED FRIDAY TO A DEAL REACHED WITH THE UNITED STATES TO RESOLVE A BITTER DISPUTE OVER THE CONTROVERSIAL HELMS-BURTON LAW ON DOING BUSINESS IN CUBA. THE LAW THREATENS SANCTIONS AGAINST SOME EUROPEAN FIRMS DOING BUSINESS THERE, AND AS JOHN FRASER IN BRUSSELS REPORTS, THAT HAS CAUSED A STRAIN IN RELATIONS.

    TEXT: THE EUROPEAN UNION GOVERNMENTS HAVE NEVER CONCEALED THEIR OPPOSITION TO THE PRINCIPLE UNDERLYING THE HELMS-BURTON LEGISLATION, AND TO THE PARALLEL "D'AMATO LAW," WHICH RELATES TO IRAN AND LIBYA. IN SHORT, EUROPE DOES NOT ACCEPT THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS THE RIGHT TO PASS LAWS WHICH AFFECT THE ACTIVITIES OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES WHILE TRADING WITH THIRD COUNTRIES.

    THE E-U HAD LODGED AN APPEAL WITH THE GENEVA-BASED WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION, IN THE HOPE OF GETTING THE LAW OVERTURNED. HOWEVER, AS A RESULT OF AN AGREEMENT REACHED AT THE END OF LAST WEEK, THE APPEAL HAS BEEN SUSPENDED. IN RETURN, PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS PLEDGED THAT HE WILL TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT THE LEGISLATION FROM AFFECTING EUROPEAN COMPANIES IN QUESTION.

    THE E-U GOVERNMENTS HAVE ACCEPTED THIS ACCORD, BUT THEY HAVE ISSUED A STATEMENT WARNING THAT IF THE PRESIDENT CANNOT DELIVER WHAT HE HAS PROMISED, EUROPE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO RELAUNCH ITS ACTION IN THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION. THE EUROPEAN STATEMENT ALSO EMPHASIS THAT THE E-U AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE A LOT IN COMMON WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH CUBA, IRAN AND LIBYA.

    THE EUROPEANS SAY THEY SHARE THE OBJECTIVES OF PROMOTING DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES, HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS -- WHERE THESE ARE CHALLENGED. THEY ALSO STRESS THEIR OPPOSITION TO TERRORISM. HOWEVER, THEY SAY THAT THEY ARE STRONGLY OPPOSED TO THE HELMS-BURTON APPROACH OF USING LEGISLATION WHICH AFFECTS FRIENDLY TRADING PARTNERS. //OPT// THEY CLAIM THAT SUCH LEGISLATION IS UNACCEPTABLE BOTH IN LAW AND IN PRINCIPLE. AND THEY WARN THAT SUCH LEGISLATION WOULD BE AS UNACCEPTABLE IN THE FUTURE AS IT HAS BEEN IN THE RECENT PAST. //END OPT//

    IN THE MEANTIME, THE EUROPEAN UNION WELCOMES NEGOTIATIONS TAKING PLACE IN PARIS UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE "ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT" ON HOW TO TREAT COMPANIES WHICH DO BUSINESS WITH COUNTRIES SUCH AS CUBA.

    //REST OPT//

    OFFICIALS SAY THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE EUROPEAN UNION SHOULD USHER IN A CALMER ERA IN RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO MAJOR TRADING POWERS. AND THEY SAY THEY ARE GRATEFUL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON FOR HIS EFFORTS TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM IN AN AMICABLE WAY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JF/PCF/MMK
    18-Apr-97 12:27 PM EDT (1627 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] EURO STOCKS (S-ONLY) BY PAUL FRANCUCH (LONDON)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213095
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: STOCK PRICES WERE MIXED AT THE CLOSE ON MAJOR MARKETS OF WESTERN EUROPE ON FRIDAY. FROM OUR LONDON OFFICES, PAUL FRANCUCH HAS THE DAY'S FIGURES.

    TEXT: WHILE LONDON POSTED A MODEST GAIN FRIDAY, BOTH FRANKFURT AND PARIS CLOSED DOWN SHARPLY. THE "FINANCIAL TIMES" 100 INDEX OF BRITISH STOCKS ADDED 11-AND-A-HALF POINTS IN VALUE, BUT THE WEAKER DOLLAR HELPED DRIVE DOWN THE FRANKFURT "DAX 30" INDEX BY 39 POINTS, AND INSTABILITY OVER A POSSIBLE FRENCH ELECTION IN THE COMING WEEKS MAY HAVE FRIGHTENED INVESTORS THERE. THE PARIS "CAC 40" INDEX LOST 67 POINTS FRIDAY.

    THE DOLLAR RETREATED AGAINST THE MARK, LOSING ANOTHER CENT IN VALUE. THE AMERICAN CURRENCY HELD STEADY AGAINST THE BRITISH POUND.

    GOLD WAS DOWN 70 CENTS IN THE LONDON CLOSING FIX, SELLING AT 342-DOLLARS-45 CENTS AN OUNCE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PCF/MMK
    18-Apr-97 1:45 PM EDT (1745 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] FRANCE ELECTIONS (L-ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213085
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: FRENCH POLITICIANS ARE IN THE GRIP OF ELECTION FEVER, AS SPECULATION MOUNTS THAT PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC IS ABOUT TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT AND CALL A SNAP ELECTION. IF HE DOES, THE NEXT GOVERNMENT IS LIKELY TO CHANGE ITS ECONOMIC POLICY RADICALLY, TO TAKE FRANCE INTO THE NEW SINGLE EUROPEAN CURRENCY. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: ONLY A HANDFUL OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ARE PRESENT AT SESSIONS THESE DAYS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, FRANCE'S LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT. ONE SESSION WAS EVEN SUSPENDED THURSDAY BECAUSE OF LACK OF INTEREST.

    ACCORDING TO A SPOKESMAN FOR THE OPPOSITION SOCIALIST PARTY, THIS IS BECAUSE MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ARE AT THE HAIRDRESSER'S OR ARE HAVING THEIR PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN IN ANTICIPATION OF A NEW ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

    THE SOCIALIST PARTY ITSELF HAS RENTED TWO FLOORS OF AN OFFICE BUILDING IN CENTRAL PARIS AS A CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS. IT HAS ALSO TOLD A PRINTER TO BE ON STANDBY TO PREPARE ELECTION POSTERS IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

    THE REASON FOR THE EXCITEMENT IS SPECULATION, THAT HAS SO FAR MET WITH QUALIFIED DENIALS FROM THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE, THAT PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC IS PLANNING TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT NEXT WEEK AND CALL A SNAP ELECTION.

    THE SPECULATION INTENSIFIED WHEN TWO FRENCH NEWSPAPERS PUBLISHED WHAT THEY SAID WAS A CONFIDENTIAL FINANCE MINISTRY DOCUMENT, SHOWING THAT ON CURRENT PERFORMANCE, FRANCE WILL NOT BE READY TO JOIN THE SINGLE EUROPEAN CURRENCY, CALLED THE "EURO," WHEN EXCHANGE RATES ARE FIXED NEXT APRIL.

    THE FINANCE MINISTRY DENIES THE EXISTENCE OF THE DOCUMENT. THE REPORTS HAVE NONETHELESS FUELED TALK THAT THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING EITHER A HARSH NEW AUSTERITY PLAN TO FORCE THE FRENCH FRANC INTO LINE, OR A RAPID ACCELERATION OF PRIVATIZATIONS TO RAISE CASH.

    PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS HAVE TO BE HELD, BY LAW, NEXT MARCH AT THE LATEST. BUT IF THEY ARE HELD THEN, THEY WILL COINCIDE WITH THE DELICATE LAST FEW WEEKS OF THE NEGOTIATIONS TO CREATE THE NEW CURRENCY. SO FAR, OPINION POLLS ARE AMBIGUOUS ABOUT THE CONSERVATIVES' CHANCES OF KEEPING POWER IF THERE IS AN ELECTION NOW. //OPT// OF TWO POLLS PUBLISHED IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, ONE SAID THEY WILL BE RE-ELECTED, THE OTHER SAID THEY WILL LOSE TO THE LEFT BY A FEW SEATS. //END OPT//

    THIS COULD BE WHY PRESIDENT CHIRAC HIMSELF HAS NOT YET FULLY MADE UP HIS MIND. POLITICAL SOURCES SAY HE WILL WILL MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK.

    IF HE DOES NOT DECIDE ON NEW ELECTIONS, THEN, THE SOURCES SAY, HE WILL HAVE TWO OPTIONS. ONE WILL BE EITHER TO RESHUFFLE THE GOVERNMENT AND BRING IN NEW CABINET MINISTERS. THE OTHER IS TO CALL A PUBLIC REFERENDUM TO GAIN APPROVAL FOR A PAINFUL AUSTERITY PACKAGE AND HELP THE FRENCH FRANC QUALIFY FOR THE SINGLE CURRENCY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JN/PCF
    18-Apr-97 11:10 AM EDT (1510 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=04/18/97
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-10121
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    EDITOR=NEAL LAVON
    CONTENT=
    // EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS PERISHABLE MATERIAL AND BECOMES DATED AFTER 10 P-M E-D-S-T ON FRIDAY APRIL 18TH //

    INTRO: TWO MEN, ONE AMERICAN, THE OTHER ISRAELI, DOMINATE THE EDITORIAL PAGES OF MANY U-S NEWSPAPERS THIS FRIDAY IN THE MIDDLE OF APRIL. THE AMERICAN IS HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH, WHO ANNOUNCED IN WASHINGTON YESTERDAY [4/17], THAT HE IS USING A LOAN FROM HIS PARTY'S 1996 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO PAY A 300-THOUSAND DOLLAR PENALTY IMPOSED BY HIS CONGRESSIONAL COLLEAGUES.

    THE OTHER IS BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL'S PRIME MINISTER, WHO IS UNDER FIRE BOTH FOR HIS SETTLEMENT POLICY IN EAST JERUSALEM, AND NOW, FOR CHARGES OF CORRUPTION BROUGHT BY ISRAELI POLICE.

    OTHER TOPICS UNDER DISCUSSION INCLUDE THE FUTURE OF HONG KONG, [BEGIN OPT] THE PROPOSED GOVERNMENT DEAL WITH CIGARETTE COMPANIES [END OPT] AND THE DALI LAMA'S TREATMENT IN A FORTHCOMING WASHINGTON VISIT.

    NOW, HERE WITH A CLOSER LOOK IS _________________ AND TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.

    TEXT: HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH SURPRISED WASHINGTON THURSDAY WITH AN ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE WILL GET A 300-THOUSAND DOLLAR PERSONAL LOAN FROM FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BOB DOLE TO PAY OFF A CONGRESSIONAL PENALTY FOR ETHICS VIOLATIONS. SPEAKER GINGRICH'S STATEMENT LED TO AN OUTPOURING OF EDITORIAL COMMENTS, SUCH AS THIS FROM MR. GINGRICH'S HOME STATE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.

    VOICE: "IT WAS TIME TO PUT THE NEWT GINGRICH CASE TO REST. AMERICANS OF EVERY POLITICAL PERSUASION WERE READY, EVEN EAGER, TO SEE SPEAKER GINGRICH PAY HIS FINE IN A CLEAN AND STRAIGHTFORWARD MANNER AND THEN MOVE ON. BUT CLEAN AND STRAIGHTFORWARD IS NOT IN THE GINGRICH REPERTOIRE. THE HOUSE SPEAKER CHOSE INSTEAD TO PAY HIS FINE FOR ONE FINANCIAL SCAM BY PERPETRATING ANOTHER ONE. ....THE TERMS OF THE LOAN ARE THE PROBLEM. .... [MR.] GINGRICH IS REQUIRED TO REPAY THE MONEY BY TWO-THOUSAND-AND FIVE .... BUT IN THE EIGHT YEARS BETWEEN NOW AND THEN, HE IS REQUIRED TO PAY ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. .... IT'S A POLITICAL SHELL GAME...."

    TEXT: ON LONG ISLAND, NEWSDAY SAYS MR. GINGRICH "HAS DISPLAYED BREATHTAKINGLY POOR JUDGMENT IN DECIDING HOW TO PAY THE ....FINE" WHILE ACROSS THE EAST RIVER, THE NEW YORK TIMES SCOFFS:

    VOICE: "IT AMOUNTS TO AN INVENTIVE NEW FORM OF INFLUENCE PEDDLING, AND THIS TIME THE BUYER IS A FAMILIAR WASHINGTON PLAYER IN A NEW ROLE. ..... THE ARRANGEMENT MIGHT PASS THE SMELL TEST IF MR. DOLE HAD NOT STEPPED INTO A NEW ROLE AS A WASHINGTON LAWYER. ...... WHAT BELTWAY [WASHINGTON INSIDER] LAWYER WOULD PASS UP A CHANCE TO MAKE A SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE BEHOLDEN BY WRAPPING HIM IN DEBT?"

    TEXT: COMING TO THE SPEAKER'S DEFENSE OVER THE LOAN ARRANGEMENT IS THE WASHINGTON TIMES, WHICH SAYS:

    VOICE: "YOU COULD TELL THAT .... SPEAKER ... GINGRICH MADE THE RIGHT POLITICAL DECISION YESTERDAY BY THE SPLUTTERING RESPONSE OF HIS BITTEREST POLITICAL ENEMIES. .....BOB DOLE [IS] THE PERFECT CHOICE, [FOR A LENDER] NOT LEAST BECAUSE HE IS A MAN WHOSE INTEGRITY AND HONOR AND COURAGE HAVE BEEN THE SUBJECT OF PRAISE FROM DEMOCRATS EVER SINCE MR. DOLE LOST."

    TEXT: IN ADDITION, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL SAYS THAT MR. GINGRICH'S POLITICAL OPPONENTS ARE NOW FRUSTRATED BECAUSE THE SPEAKER'S ETHICS PROBLEMS WILL NO LONGER BE A POLITICAL ISSUE.

    VOICE: "...THE DEMOCRATS WERE HYPERVENTILATING AT THE THOUGHT THAT THE GINGRICH ETHICS CASE WILL NOW FADE FROM THE BELTWAY NEWS BUDGET. THAT LEAVES...THEM...NOW THAT MR. GINGRICH HAS PAID UP, IT'S TIME SOME DEMOCRATS EXPRESSED OUTRAGE THAT THEIR NATIONAL COMMITTEE HASN'T GIVEN BACK THE $1.5 MILLION IN TAINTED DONATIONS THAT IT SO PUBLICLY PROMISED TO RETURN BACK IN FEBRUARY."

    TEXT: TURNING TO THE DAY'S OTHER MAJOR EDITORIAL TARGET, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, THE BOSTON GLOBE IS CALLING HIS LEADERSHIP "A TAINTED MANDATE" IN ITS LEAD HEADLINE, ADDING:

    VOICE: "THE GOVERNMENT OF ...[MR.] NETANYAHU IS TOTTERING AS A RESULT OF A POLICE REPORT THAT RECOMMENDS HE BE CHARGED WITH OFFERING LEGAL PROTECTION TO THE INDICTED LEADER OF A PARTY IN HIS COALITION. .... IF ISRAEL'S ATTORNEY GENERAL AND CHIEF PROSECUTOR - - TWO FIGURES WHO ARE HIGHLY RESPECTED FOR THEIR INDEPENDENCE AND LEGAL COMPETENCE - - AGREE TO INDICT [MR.] NETANYAHU, HIS GOVERNMENT IS CERTAIN TO FALL. ..... FOR ISRAELIS, PALESTINIANS, AND OTHER CONCERNED PARTIES INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES, GREAT DANGERS LUCK IN THE PROSPECT OF AN ENFEEBLED BUT UNINDICTED [PRIME MINISTER] NETANYAHU STUMBLING ALONG IN THE PEACE PROCESS."

    [BEGIN OPT]

    TEXT: THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, IN ITS EDITORIAL HEADLINE, IS FLATLY CALLING ON THE PRIME MINISTER TO RESIGN NOW FOR THE SAKE OF THE PEACE PROCESS, ADDING :

    VOICE: "THESE ARE THE MOST SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS EVER BROUGHT AGAINST AN ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER. EVEN IF [MR.] NETANYAHU IS NOT INDICTED, IT IS HARD TO IMAGINE THAT HE CAN GOVERN EFFECTIVELY AFTER SUCH SERIOUS CHARGES. THIS AFFAIR DOES NOT BODE WELL FOR THE PEACE PROCESS ...[OPT] ALREADY BATTERED BY [MR.] NETANYAHU'S HARDLINE STANCE ON PALESTINIAN ISSUES AND RENEWED TERRORIST ATTACKS BY PALESTINIAN EXTREMISTS. ..... THERE IS LITTLE ... THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION CAN DO EXCEPT HOPE [MR.] NETANYAHU HAS THE GUMPTION TO STEP DOWN [RESIGN]. IF HE HANGS ON TO FIGHT THE CHARGES, THE PEACE PROCESS MAY BREAK DOWN COMPLETELY."

    [END OPT]

    TEXT: THE SUN IN BALTIMORE WARNS READERS:

    VOICE: "LITTLE CAN BE EXPECTED, [IN THE PEACE PROCESS] HOWEVER, WHILE ISRAEL IS PARALYZED OR PREOCCUPIED WITH ITS POLITICAL CRISIS. WEAK GOVERNMENTS DON'T MAKE PEACE. ISRAEL'S RULE BY LAW IS BEING PLAYED OUT, AND SHOULD BE INSTRUCTIVE TO NEIGHBORS IN STATES LACKING SUCH NICETIES."

    TEXT: LASTLY ON THIS, AN OBSERVATION FROM FRIDAY'S WASHINGTON POST.

    VOICE: "..... THE PRUDENT EXPECTATION MUST BE THAT MR. NETANYAHU WILL SOMEHOW COME THROUGH, AS HE INSISTED YESTERDAY HE WOULD. BUT WHETHER OR NOT HE FALTERS, ISRAELIS CANNOT ESCAPE SERIOUS DELIBERATION ON THEIR COUNTRY'S URGENT POLICY CONCERNS. ..... THE CHOICE THAT LIES BEFORE ISRAELIS IS WHETHER TO TREAT THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS AS A NECESSARY AND PERHAPS TRANSIENT AND REDUCIBLE PRICE TO PAY FOR HANGING TOUGH [NOT COMPROMISING] ON TERRITORY AND JERUSALEM, OR WHETHER TO CONSIDER OTHER APPROACHES TO THE TWIN ISRAELI GOALS OF PEACE AND SECURITY."

    TEXT: TURNING BRIEFLY TO OTHER TOPICS, THE NEW YORK TIMES SAYS IT IS TIME TO SPEAK UP FOR [SUPPORT] HONG KONG, WHICH IS ABOUT TO REVERT TO CHINESE CONTROL.

    VOICE: "PRESIDENT CLINTON SHOULD USE HIS MEETING TODAY WITH HONG KONG'S LEADING DEMOCRAT, MARTIN LEE, TO OPEN AN UNABASHED AMERICAN CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND HONG KONG'S ENDANGERED LIBERTIES. UNTIL NOW THE ADMINISTRATION HAS SEEMED RELUCTANT TO GIVE HIGH-LEVEL ATTENTION TO THE .... ISSUE, PRESUMABLY TO AVOID CONTROVERSY WITH BEIJING. ..... THE ADMINISTRATION'S LOW-KEY APPROACH HAS BEEN A MISTAKE."

    TEXT: STILL ON THE ISSUE OF HUMAN AND POLITICAL RIGHTS IN ASIA, THE WASHINGTON TIMES TAKES NOTE OF THE PENDING VISIT OF THE DALAI LAMA TO WASHINGTON AND SUGGESTS HE SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO ENTER THE CITY "THROUGH THE BACK DOOR," AS IT SAYS IN THE EDITORIAL HEADLINE.

    VOICE: "NOW WORD COMES THAT PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL NOT AGREE TO AN OFFICIAL MEETING WITH THE DALAI LAMA. ALL MR. CLINTON WILL AGREE TO IS A 'DROP BY' [A BRIEF, UNREHEARSED APPEARANCE] DURING A MEETING WITH OTHER OFFICIALS. THUS THE MEETING DOES NOT APPEAR ON THE OFFICIAL SCHEDULE OF [WHITE HOUSE] EVENTS, AND THE DALAI LAMA IS NOT TO BE GREETED AT THE FRONT DOOR. A SIMILAR KIND OF 'HONOR' IS TO BE ACCORDED MARTIN LEE, ... LEADER OF THE PRO-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT IN HONG KONG..... IT IS DISAPPOINTING THAT NEITHER THE PRESIDENT NOR CONGRESS HAS THE CONVICTION TO DO THE RIGHT THING. [OPT] INSTEAD OF SUPPORTING A MAN WHO HAS SPENT HIS LIFE IN THE PEACEFUL PURSUIT OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS, THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT IS WALKING ON EGGSHELLS [BEING EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS] FOR FEAR OF UPSETTING BEIJING." [END OPT]

    [BEGIN OPT]

    TEXT: TODAY'S PORTLAND OREGONIAN IS COMMENTING ON WHAT IT CALLS THE "CONDITIONAL SURRENDER" OF TWO LARGE TOBACCO COMPANIES TO A HUGE COMPENSATION DEAL WITH THE GOVERNMENT, ABRIDGING ADVERTISEMENTS AND PAYING 300-BILLION DOLLARS FOR HEALTH-RELATED SMOKING COSTS. NOTES THE PAPER:

    VOICE: "... WHAT THE TOBACCO COMPANIES WOULD GET IN RETURN IS NO SMALL CONCESSION: IMMUNITY FROM FUTURE LIABILITY AND THE ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO DO BUSINESS. THIS WOULD BE VERY MUCH A CONDITIONAL SURRENDER. [OPT] ....MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND OTHERS HAVE BEGUN TO WEIGH IN WITH THEIR VIEWS ABOUT WHAT A SETTLEMENT SHOULD COVER, AND IT'S A SURE BET THAT THE LIST WILL BE LONG ONCE ALL THE INTERESTED PARTIES HAVE SPOKEN. ONE VIEW IS RIGHT ON: [ENTIRELY CORRECT] THAT OF THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, WHICH INSISTS THAT THE AGREEMENT ENCOMPASS RECENT FDA ACTIONS THAT ATTACK TOBACCO ACCESS AND MARKETING TO MINORS." [END OPT]

    TEXT: LASTLY, ON THE ISSUE OF FOREIGN FACTORIES WHERE CHILDREN AND ADULTS ARE OFTEN FORCED TO WORK VERY LONG HOURS AT EXTREMELY LOW WAGES, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR SUPPORTS PRESIDENT CLINTON'S EFFORT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    VOICE: "NOW PRESIDENT CLINTON IS ASKING UNITED STATES COMPANIES TO ADHERE TO A VOLUNTARY CODE OF CONDUCT TO IMPROVE WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE APPAREL INDUSTRY. THE CODE WAS DEVISED BY A TASK FORCE REPRESENTING HUMAN RIGHTS, RELIGION, LABOR, AND INDUSTRY. ....THE 'NO SWEATSHOPS' LABEL MAY HELP CONSUMERS WHO WANT TO VOTE WITH THEIR PURCHASES."

    [END OPT]

    TEXT: THAT CONCLUDES THIS BRIEF SAMPLING OF EDITORIAL COMMENT TO BE FOUND IN TODAY'S U-S PRESS.
    NEB/ANG/NL
    18-Apr-97 11:06 AM EDT (1506 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] GREECE / ALBANIA (L-ONLY) BY ATHINA KAZAZI (ATHENS)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213080
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: AS ALBANIA'S RIVAL PARTIES BEGIN TO PREPARE FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS TROOPS FROM EIGHT NATIONS CONTINUE TO POUR IN THE COUNTRY IN A BID TO HELP RESTORE ORDER. ATHINA KAZAZI REPORTS FROM ATHENS SOME ANALYSTS SAY THE GREEK CONTINGENT HAS A KEY ROLE IN THE MULTI-NATIONAL MISSION.

    TEXT: FERRIED IN A LANDING CRAFT, THE SECOND BATCH OF 120 GREEK TROOPS WAS DUE TO ARRIVE IN ALBANIA FRIDAY. SECURITY CONCERNS, HOWEVER, PROPELLED THE SHIP TO SAIL TO THE PORT OF DURRES, RATHER THAN VLORE, AS INITIALLY PLANNED.

    GREEK MILITARY OFFICIALS REFUSED TO EXPLAIN THE CHANGE, BUT LOCAL MEDIA SAID IT WAS DUE TO INSUFFICIENT SECURITY MEASURES TAKEN BY LOCAL REBEL AUTHORITIES AT THE PORT OF VLORE, CONSIDERED THE MOST LAWLESS REGION OF CHAOS-TORN ALBANIA.

    IT WAS FROM THIS SOUTHERN PORT CITY THAT ALBANIANS BEGAN PROTESTING THE COLLAPSE OF HIGH-RISK INVESTMENT SCHEMES, BUT IT IS ALSO THE ORIGIN OF ONE OF THE WORST TRAGEDIES TO MAR ALBANIA'S ONGOING INSURRECTION.

    MOST OF THE ESTIMATED 200 REFUGEES WHO WENT DOWN IN A SHIPWRECK LAST MONTH WERE FROM VLORE. THEIR BOAT WAS HIT AND SUNK BY AN ITALIAN NAVAL SHIP THAT TRIED TO PREVENT THE CONTINUED PASSAGE OF THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES TO ITALY. ROME SAYS THAT THE TRAGEDY WAS AN ACCIDENT.

    ALBANIANS' OUTRAGE AT THE ITALIANS LED GREECE TO TAKE ON THE TASK OF MONITORING THE CITY AS PART OF ITS ROLE IN THE SIX-THOUSAND-STRONG MULTINATIONAL FORCE. COMMITTING A TOTAL OF 760 TROOPS, GREECE IS SECOND IN COMMAND OF THE ITALIAN-LED INTERNATIONAL MISSION.

    NEXT TO ITALY, GREECE IS ALBANIA'S STRONGEST TRADING PARTNER. BUT MORE SO, GREECE'S KEY ROLE IN THE MISSION STEMS FROM WHAT ANALYSTS CALL "LOCAL TRUST."

    MOST OF THE ALBANIANS IN THE SOUTH ARE ETHNIC GREEK, A 350-THOUSAND STRONG ETHNIC COMMUNITY AMONG ALBANIA'S THREE-POINT-FOUR MILLION POPULATION OF MOSTLY MOSLEMS, CATHOLICS AND EX-COMMUNIST ATHEISTS. STILL, THE MINORITY ISSUE HAS BEEN A SOURCE OF FRICTION BETWEEN ATHENS AND TIRANA. LAST MONTH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ACCUSED GREECE OF INSTIGATING THE ALBANIA CRISIS IN A BID TO ANNEX THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE COUNTRY. THE GOVERNMENT IN ATHENS DENIED THE ALLEGATIONS, BUT AT THE SAME TIME SHIFTED TO A LOW-KEY APPROACH IN TRYING TO EASE THE CRISIS AFFECTING ITS ETHNIC KIN.

    ALTHOUGH LITTLE POLITICAL DEBATE HAS TAKEN PLACE ON THE ISSUE, ANALYSTS HERE FEAR THAT THE GREEK TROOPS MAY BE THE TARGET OF FOUL PLAY. THE GREEK GOVERNMENT HAS YET TO SPELL OUT ITS ACTION, IF THE TEMPEST TO ITS NORTH SWEEPS OUT OF CONTROL. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AK/PCF/CF
    18-Apr-97 7:49 AM EDT (1149 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [08] HARD TIMES IN BULGARIA BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=5-36201
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: BULGARIA HAS A PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION SATURDAY -- AND VIRTUALLY THE ONLY ISSUE IS WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE COUNTRY'S DISASTROUS ECONOMIC SITUATION. V-O-A'S BARRY WOOD REPORTS FROM SOFIA ON HOW ORDINARY PEOPLE ARE COPING WITH NEAR HYPER-INFLATION AND CONTINUING DECLINES IN ECONOMIC OUTPUT.

    TEXT:

    // SOUND OF WOMEN TALKING . . CASH REGISTER . . UNDER AND FADE //

    HERE IN THIS BREAD STORE IN DOWNTOWN SOFIA, THE ABUNDANT LOAVES OF FRESH WHITE BREAD ARE STACKED IN NEAT ROWS BEHIND THE CASH REGISTER. STRAW BASKETS OR PLASTIC BAGS IN HAND, WOMEN AND MEN IN WINTER COATS AND HATS STAND IN LINE WAITING FOR BREAD.

    TO A VISITOR THE PRICE OF 550 LEVA, OR 37 AMERICAN CENTS, IS NOT HIGH. BUT HERE IN BULGARIA, THE AVERAGE PENSION ON WHICH MOST ELDERLY PEOPLE SUBSIST IS 27-THOUSAND LEVA, OR 18 DOLLARS PER MONTH. IF YOU BUY ONE LOAF OF THIS RICH BREAD PER DAY, THE COST PER MONTH IS ELEVEN DOLLARS. THAT LEAVES SEVEN DOLLARS TO COVER ALL OTHER MONTHLY EXPENSES.

    LECHEZAR BOGDANOV IS NINETEEN. HE HAS A GOOD JOB AND EARNS ENOUGH TO SUPPORT HIMSELF. LECHEZAR LIVES WITH HIS GRANDMOTHER. HE SAYS SHE COULD NOT GET BY UNLESS HE HELPED OUT. MR. BOGDANOV EXPLAINS HOW HIS GRANDMOTHER SPENDS HER VERY MODEST PENSION.

    //BOGDANOV ACT//

    SHE CAN COVER BREAD, MILK AND SOME CHEESE PER MONTH. THAT'S ALL. SO IF SHE HAD TO PAY ON ELECTRICITY, SHE COULDN'T. FORTUNATELY SHE LIVES IN HER OWN TWO ROOM APARTMENT, SO SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO PAY RENT. BUT SHE CAN COVER BREAD MILK AND SOME OTHER VERY BASIC FOOD --NOTHING MORE.

    //END ACT//

    IF THIS SOUNDS BAD, CONSIDER THAT IT WAS CONSIDERABLY WORSE TWO MONTHS AGO. THEN, WHEN THE BULGARIAN CURRENCY WAS AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL AGAINST THE DOLLAR, PENSIONS HAD FALLEN TO THE EQUIVALENT OF ABOUT FIVE DOLLARS PER MONTH. PENSIONS HAVE RECENTLY BEEN INCREASED, PARTIALLY COMPENSATING FOR SOME OF THE LOSSES FROM INFLATION.

    THE AVERAGE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE IN BULGARIA EARNS ABOUT 35 DOLLARS PER MONTH. WITH THE COUNTRY IN THE MIDST OF A RAPID SELL OFF OF STATE ENTERPRISES, GOVERNMENT MANAGERS EARNING LESS THAN 50 DOLLARS PER MONTH ARE SELLING CORPORATIONS WORTH TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IT IS HARDLY SURPRISING THAT BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION ARE BIG PROBLEMS.

    THE ARMY DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PROPERLY FEED ITS SOLDIERS. IN MANY ARMY CAMPS, MEALS ARE NOT SERVED ON THE WEEKENDS (SATURDAY AND SUNDAY). KRASSEN STANCHEV TAKES FOOD TO HIS SON IN THE ARMY EACH WEEKEND.

    //STANCHEV ACT//

    IN DECEMBER, JANUARY AND FEBRUARY WHEN THE GOVERNMENT HAD NO REVENUES AND THEY COULDN'T FEED THE ARMY, MY SON COST ME MORE IN THE ARMY THAN WHEN HE WAS OUTSIDE THE ARMY. BECAUSE WE HAD TO GO TO THE COUNTRY, WHICH IS COSTLY. WE HAD TO TAKE CARE ABOUT PROVIDING FOOD. AND YOU'RE NOT JUST FEEDING YOUR SON, YOU'RE TAKING CARE OF ALL HIS COLLEAGUES, OR AT LEAST PART OF THEM.

    //END ACT//

    THERE IS A BELIEF AMONG BULGARIANS THAT THE WORST OF THE ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE IS OVER. BUT THERE IS ALSO RECOGNITION THAT MORE PAIN AND SACRIFICE WILL BE NEEDED TO OVERCOME THE CRISIS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/BDW /MMK
    18-Apr-97 11:58 AM EDT (1558 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213108
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: STOCK PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES WERE UP (TODAY/FRIDAY) FOR THE FOURTH OF FIVE SESSIONS THIS WEEK. VOA CORRESPONDENT BRECK ARDERY REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

    TEXT: THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE CLOSED AT 67 HUNDRED THREE, UP ALMOST 45 POINTS. FOR THE WEEK, THE INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE GAINED 312 POINTS OR FIVE PERCENT. THE BROADER AND MORE REPRESENTATIVE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX CLOSED FRIDAY AT 766, UP FOUR AND ONE-HALF POINTS.

    ANALYSTS SAY THAT, WITH STOCK PRICES HIGHER FOUR OUT OF FIVE DAYS THIS WEEK, THERE IS SOME REASON TO BELIEVE THE RECENT 10 PERCENT DOWNWARD CORRECTION IS OVER. BUT OTHERS STILL URGE CAUTION, SAYING A STRONG REBOUND DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THE END OF A CORRECTION.

    THE U-S COMMERCE DEPARTMENT HAS ANNOUNCED AN EMBARRASSING BILLION DOLLAR MISTAKE IN CALCULATIONS WHICH CAUSED A DRASTIC UNDERESTIMATE OF THE DECLINE IN THE U-S TRADE DEFICIT IN FEBRUARY. ORIGINALLY, THE TRADE DEFICIT WAS SAID TO HAVE DROPPED BY EIGHT AND ONE HALF PERCENT. BUT THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT SAYS IT MADE ERRORS IN CALCULATING OIL IMPORTS AND THE REAL DROP IN THE TRADE DEFICIT WAS ALMOST 18 PERCENT.

    THE AIRTOUCH COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY WILL PAY FOUR AND ONE HALF BILLION DOLLARS TO BUY THE CELLULAR TELEPHONE OPERATIONS OF THE U-S WEST COMPANY. THE DEAL WOULD, IF APPROVED, MAKE AIRTOUCH THE SECOND-LARGEST CELLULAR TELEPHONE SERVICE PROVIDER IN THE UNITED STATES -- BEHIND THE A-T AND T CORPORATION.

    /// REST OPT ///

    ONE OF THE STAR PERFORMERS IN FRIDAY'S STOCK MARKET RALLY WAS THE MICROSOFT COMPUTER SOFTWARE COMPANY. MICROSOFT REPORTED AN 85 PERCENT INCREASE IN QUARTERLY EARNINGS AND ITS STOCK PRICE SOARED. HOWEVER, MICROSOFT WARNED -- AS IT HAS SEVERAL TIME IN THE PAST -- THAT IT WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE TO SUSTAIN THE CURRENT PACE OF EARNINGS GROWTH.

    THE MCDONALD'S RESTAURANT CHAIN THOUGHT ITS LATEST "TEENIE BEANIE BABY" PROMOTION IN THE UNITED STATES WOULD LAST FIVE WEEKS. BUT, JUST ONE WEEK INTO THE PROMOTION THE COMPANY HAS ALMOST EXHAUSTED ITS SUPPLY OF 100 MILLION OF THE MINIATURE DOLLS IT WAS GIVING AWAY WITH ITS MEALS. (SIGNED) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/LWM
    18-Apr-97 5:13 PM EDT (2113 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [10] U-S/MACEDONIA TROOPS (S-ONLY) BY DAVID GOLLUST (PENTAGON)

    DATE=4/18/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213100
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: PENTAGON OFFICIALS SAY THE UNITED STATES WILL SUPPORT ANOTHER EXTENSION OF THE MANDATE FOR THE U-N PEACEKEEPING OPERATION IN MACEDONIA. MORE THAN 500 AMERICAN TROOPS ARE PART OF THE U-N OPERATION, WHICH BEGAN IN 1993. V-O-A'S DAVID GOLLUST HAS DETAILS FROM THE PENTAGON.

    TEXT: SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIALS SAY THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION SUPPORTS ANOTHER SIX-MONTH EXTENSION OF THE MANDATE FOR THE MACEDONIAN FORCE, WHICH EXPIRES AT THE END OF MAY. BUT THEY SAY CONTINUANCE OF THE U-S PRESENCE BEYOND THE MIDDLE OF NEXT YEAR IS DOUBTFUL, WITH THE ADMINISTRATION ANXIOUS TO END ITS OTHER BALKANS PEACEKEEPING ROLE -- IN BOSNIA.

    THE COMMENTS CAME AS DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN MET HERE WITH MACEDONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER BLAGOJ HANDZISKI, WHO TOLD REPORTERS THE U-S PRESENCE IS A KEY REASON WHY HIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN SPARED FROM THE VIOLENCE THAT AFFLICTED OTHER PARTS OF THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA:

    ///HANDZISKI ACTUALITY///

    IN THIS TURMOILED REGION, MY COUNTRY HAS BEEN PRODUCING PEACE RATHER THAN CONFLICTS AND TENSIONS. AND A LARGE PART OF THE CREDIT FOR THIS GOES TO THE UNITED STATES -- A COUNTRY, WHICH FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF OUR INDEPENDENCE, IS EXTENDING TO US A SINCERE AND PRINCIPLED SUPPORT.

    //END ACT///

    AMERICAN TROOPS MAKE UP NEARLY HALF THE U-N FORCE, WHICH IS STATIONED ALONG MACEDONIA'S BORDER WITH SERBIA'S KOSOVO PROVINCE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DAG/PT
    18-Apr-97 3:02 PM EDT (1902 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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