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Voice of America, 97-04-20

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] BULGARIANS GET BY BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)
  • [02] BULGARIA POL REACT (S ONLY) BY VICTOR BEATTIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [03] BULGARIA RESULT (S) BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)
  • [04] FRANCE SECURITY (S ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [05] IRAN/EUROPE (S) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (CAIRO)

  • [01] BULGARIANS GET BY BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)

    DATE=4/20/97
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-36216
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: BY MANY MEASURES BULGARIA IS EASTERN EUROPE'S WORST ECONOMY. OUTPUT IS FALLING, INFLATION WILL EXCEED ONE-THOUSAND-PERCENT THIS YEAR, UN-EMPLOYMENT IS RISING, AND PURCHASING POWER HAS SHRUNK SO MUCH THE AVERAGE PUBLIC SECTOR WAGE IS ONLY 34-DOLLARS PER MONTH. BARRY WOOD IS IN SOFIA AND REPORTS ON HOW PEOPLE ARE COPING WITH ECONOMIC DISTRESS.

    TEXT: IT MAY COME AS A SURPRISE THERE IS HEAVY TRAFFIC ON THE STREETS. MOVIE THEATERS AND CAFES ARE CROWDED, THERE ARE NO SEATS AVAILABLE FOR THE OPERA OR THEATRE, AND ON A BRIGHT SUNDAY THE SKI SLOPES ON MOUNT VITOSHA OVERLOOKING SOFIA DID A BRISK BUSINESS.

    ANNA DRAGANOVA IS A WRITER AND TRANSLATOR IN SOFIA. PUSHING BACK HER SUNGLASSES AS SHE PREPARES FOR A FINAL RUN DOWN THE MOUNTAIN, MRS. DRAGANOVA OBSERVES IT IS DIFFICULT FOR VISITORS TO ACCURATELY CONVEY WHAT LIFE IS LIKE IN BULGARIA.

    // DRAGANOVA ACT //

    OF COURSE THERE ARE MANY BAD THINGS (HERE) NOW, I KNOW. BUT NOT ALWAYS BAD. I THINK THE TASK OF A JOURNALIST IS TO GIVE A TRUE PICTURE OF THINGS GOING ON HERE, AND TO ALSO GIVE SOME TRENDS. WHEN I READ IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS WHAT IS GOING ON HERE, I AM ABSOLUTELY AFRAID AND I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO.

    // END ACT //

    NEARBY A FAMILY OF FOUR, PARENTS AND TWO YOUNG CHILDREN, ARE COMPLETING A DAY OF SKIING. PREFERRING NOT TO GIVE THEIR NAMES, BOTH ADULTS ARE CLOSE TO TEARS AS THEY DESCRIBE THE DIFFICULTIES OF GETTING THROUGH EACH DAY.

    LOOKING AT THE CHILDREN, THE MOTHER SAYS SHE HAS TROUBLE PROVIDING ENOUGH FOOD FOR THE GROWING CHILDREN. THE FATHER, HIS ARM AROUND HIS WIFE, SAYS CALMLY -- WE HAVE BECOME PAUPERS. WE AND OUR FRIENDS HAVE BECOME POOR EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE REGULAR JOBS.

    THE WIFE WORKS WITH A THEATRE COMPANY. SHE COMPLAINS THE THEATRE IS NEAR BANKRUPTCY. SHE SAYS ECONOMIC LIFE IS SO DISTORTED IT COSTS THREE-TIMES MORE MONEY, ABOUT ONE-DOLLAR, TO GO TO A MOVIE THAN IT DOES TO GO TO THE THEATRE, THE OPERA, OR THE SYMPHONY. IT IS NOT SURPRISING THE OPERA AND THEATRES ARE FULL WHILE THEIR EMPLOYEES WORRY ABOUT GETTING PAID.

    AT THE BOTTOM OF THE MOUNTAIN THIS WARM, GOOD HUMORED FAMILY PILES INTO A BEAT UP, ANCIENT MERCEDES AND MAKES ITS WAY BACK TO CITY.

    FROM THE TOP OF VITOSHA SOFIA APPEARS PLEASANT AND INVITING, THE GHASTLY APARTMENT BUILDINGS LOOK WHITE FROM THE DISTANCE. BUT ABOARD THE POORLY MAINTAINED NUMBER-NINE TRAM LURCHING ALONG CHERNI VRAH BOULEVARD, REALITY IS GRIMY, EVEN ON WHAT MANY SAY IS THE FIRST REAL DAY OF SPRING. THE STREETS ARE LITTERED WITH TRASH, PARK BENCHES NEED REPAIR, SMALL FACTORIES ARE CHAINED SHUT, ALMOST EVERY BUILDING NEEDS PAINT, BUT DESPITE THE HARD TIMES BULGARIANS ARE GETTING BY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/BDW/DW/RAE
    20-Apr-97 1:29 PM EDT (1729 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] BULGARIA POL REACT (S ONLY) BY VICTOR BEATTIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=4/19/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213133
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: EAST EUROPEAN ANALYST DAN NELSON SAYS THE APPARENT PARLIAMENTARY VICTORY OF THE CENTER-RIGHT COALITION IN BULGARIA ELECTIONS WAS NOT SO MUCH A PARTY VOTE, AS IT WAS A VOTE FOR CHANGE. V-O-A'S VICTOR BEATTIE REPORTS THE RULING SOCIALIST PARTY, BLAMED FOR THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC CRISIS, HAS DONE POORLY IN THE BALLOTING CALLED TWO YEARS EARLY AS A RESULT OF SOCIAL UNREST:

    TEXT: MR. NELSON, OF OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY IN VIRGINIA, CAUTIONS THAT IT APPEARS THAT WHILE THE UNION OF DEMOCRATIC FORCES, U-D-F, GARNERED MORE THAN HALF THE VOTE, NEARLY HALF THE VOTERS CAST BALLOTS FOR SOME OTHER POLITICAL GROUP:

    ///NELSON ACTUALITY///

    THAT SUGGESTS THAT ALTHOUGH IT WAS A MAJOR SHIFT FROM A FEW YEARS AGO, NEVERTHELESS, THERE'S A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF THE POPULATION THAT ISN'T READY TO GO ALONG WITH THEM YET.

    ///END ACTUALITY///

    MR. NELSON SAYS HE EXPECTS MAJOR POLICY CHANGES AS A RESULT OF SATURDAY'S VOTE INCLUDING A NEW PUSH TO JOIN NATO:

    ///NELSON ACTUALITY///

    PRIVATIZATION WILL BE ACCELERATED AS IT HAS ALREADY IN THE CARETAKER GOVERNMENT. I SUSPECT THERE WILL BE EFFORTS TO ENGAGE IN ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGNS.

    ///END ACTUALITY///

    MR. NELSON SAYS THE ECONOMIC HOLE OF HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT AND INFLATION DUG BY PREVIOUS GOVERNMENTS THIS DECADE, INCLUDING ONE HEADED BY THE U-D-F, IS VERY DEEP AND WILL TAKE YEARS TO COME OUT OF. THE PRO-WESTERN U-D-F HAS BEEN RUNNING THE COUNTRY ON A CARETAKER BASIS SINCE FEBRUARY AND PLEDGES, WITH A PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY, TO MOVE QUICKLY ON A MARKET-BASED ECONOMIC AGENDA. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SD
    19-Apr-97 7:08 PM EDT (2308 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] BULGARIA RESULT (S) BY BARRY WOOD (SOFIA)

    DATE=4/20/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213143
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: ALMOST COMPLETE RETURNS ARE IN FROM BULGARIA'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION SATURDAY AND THE CENTER-RIGHT PARTY HAS REGISTERED A CRUSHING VICTORY OVER ITS SOCIALIST OPPOSITION. V-O-A'S BARRY WOOD REPORTS THE UNION OF DEMOCRATIC FORCES, THE U-D-F, HAS THE MANDATE IT WANTED TO PURSUE MARKET BASED REFORM.

    TEXT: IT IS A LANDSLIDE VICTORY FOR THE U-D-F WHICH WILL HAVE TWICE AS MANY SEATS IN PARLIAMENT AS THE SOCIALISTS. THE PRO-REFORM U-D-F GOT 52-PERCENT OF THE VOTE AND THE SOCIALISTS ONLY 22-PERCENT. THREE SMALLER PARTIES, ALL OF WHICH SUPPORT REFORM, CROSSED THE FOUR PERCENT THRESHOLD NEEDED TO GET INTO PARLIAMENT.

    THE NEW PRIME MINISTER WILL BE U-D-F LEADER IVAN KOSTOV, A 47-YEAR-OLD ECONOMIST WHO BRIEFLY SERVED AS FINANCE MINISTER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 1990'S. MR. KOSTOV SAYS HIS FIRST PRIORITIES ARE IMPLEMENTING MARKET-BASED REFORM, FIGHTING ORGANIZED CRIME, OPENING SECRET POLICE FILES, AND STEERING BULGARIA INTO NATO AND THE EUROPEAN UNION. THE OPPOSITION SOCIALISTS, FORCED FROM POWER BY STREET PROTESTS AND A COLLAPSING ECONOMY IN FEBRUARY, PLEDGED TO BE A CONSTRUCTIVE OPPOSITION.

    VOTER TURNOUT WAS ONLY 59-PERCENT, THE LOWEST FOR ANY BULGARIAN NATIONAL ELECTION SINCE THE END OF COMMUNISM. (SIGNED)
    NEB/BDW/DW/RAE
    20-Apr-97 9:26 AM EDT (1326 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] FRANCE SECURITY (S ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=4/20/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213145
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTRY STEPPED UP SECURITY AROUND PUBLIC BUILDINGS DURING THE WEEKEND BECAUSE OF FEARS ALGERIAN ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS MAY STAGE ATTACKS IN FRANCE BEFORE ALGERIA'S COMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER JEAN-LOUIS DEBRE HAS STRENGTHENED A SECURITY PLAN IN FORCE FOR A YEAR-AND-ONE-HALF, SINCE AN ALGERIAN EXTREMIST BOMBING CAMPAIGN BEGAN.

    TWELVE PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN BOMB ATTACKS ON PARIS SUBWAY TRAINS THAT BEGAN IN JULY, 1995. FRANCE BLAMES THE BOMBINGS ON THE BANNED ARMED ISLAMIC GROUP THAT IS FIGHTING FOR ISLAMIC RULE IN ALGERIA. THE GROUP HAS CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR SOME OF THE ATTACKS.

    MR. DEBRE SAID EXTRA SECURITY IS NECESSARY BECAUSE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE IN ALGERIA. IN PARTICULAR, THE MINISTRY POSTED EXTRA POLICE AROUND ALGERIA'S 17 CONSULATES IN FRENCH TOWNS.

    THE CONSULATES WILL BE USED AS POLLING STATIONS FOR THE THOUSANDS OF ALGERIAN VOTERS WHO LIVE IN FRANCE. IN ALGERIA, THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN PRECEDED BY A SERIES OF MASSACRES.

    IN ITS LATEST BULLETIN, THE ISLAMIC GROUP SAID IT CONSIDERED FRANCE A LEGITIMATE TARGET BECAUSE OF ITS SUPPORT FOR THE MILITARY-BACKED ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT. THE GROUP DESCRIBED FRANCE AS THE MOTHER OF HYPOCRITES. FRANCE WAS THE COLONIAL RULER OF ALGERIA FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JWN/DW/RAE
    20-Apr-97 10:32 AM EDT (1432 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] IRAN/EUROPE (S) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (CAIRO)

    DATE=4/20/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-213140
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A RADICAL IRANIAN GROUP HAS THREATENED TO ATTACK GERMAN INTERESTS IN RETALIATION FOR A BERLIN COURT RULING THAT LINKS IRAN'S LEADERSHIP TO POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS IN GERMANY FIVE YEARS AGO. CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN REPORTS FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU EUROPEAN CAPITALS ARE TAKING THE THREAT SERIOUSLY EVEN THOUGH IRAN SAYS FOREIGNERS ARE SAFE.

    TEXT: GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER KLAUS KINKEL SAID SATURDAY HIS GOVERNMENT IS TAKING SERIOUSLY NEW THREATS OF SUICIDE ATTACKS AGAINST GERMANY. ROME'S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND SEVERAL OTHERS IN EUROPE HAVE INCREASED SECURITY.

    THE THREATS WERE MADE FRIDAY BY THE LEADER OF A RADICAL IRANIAN GROUP ANSAR-E HEZBOLLAH, DURING DEMONSTRATIONS IN FRONT OF THE GERMANY EMBASSY IN TEHRAN. A DAY EARLIER, IRAN'S SPIRITUAL LEADER AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMEINI WARNED GERMANY IT WOULD PAY A HIGH PRICE FOR THE BERLIN COURT RULING. BUT IRANIAN OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN QUICK TO ASSURE ALL FOREIGNERS IN THE COUNTRY THEY ARE SAFE.

    THE EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING AT THE END OF THE MONTH COULD DECIDE IF ANY MEASURES WILL BE TAKEN AGAINST TEHRAN AFTER THE BERLIN COURT LINKED IRAN'S LEADERSHIP TO THE ASSASSINATION OF IRANIAN DISSIDENTS IN EUROPE. MOST EUROPEAN UNION MEMBERS RECALLED THEIR AMBASSADORS, BUT FRANCE SAYS THE DIPLOMATS WILL PROBABLY SOON RETURN TO TEHRAN. THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE DAILY "TEHRAN TIMES" SAYS IT EXPECTS TIES WITH EUROPE TO REMAIN CORDIAL AND COOPERATIVE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LK/DW/RAE
    20-Apr-97 8:37 AM EDT (1237 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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