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Voice of America, 00-08-31

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY / ISLAM (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [02] EUROPE / INTEREST RATES (L-O) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [03] FRANCE / FISHERMEN (L-O) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)
  • [04] GERMANY / TRIAL (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)
  • [05] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

  • [01] TURKEY / ISLAM (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=8/31/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266021
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Turkey's military has stepped up pressure on the government to dismiss thousands of government workers accused of links with Islamic fundamentalists and Kurdish separatists. Amberin Zaman in Ankara reports the head of Turkey's military general staff made the appeal after the country's new president rejected a decree that authorized the dismissals.

    TEXT: Turkey's military chief, General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, said thousands of Islamic militants are working within the civil service to destroy what he termed the secular structure of the Turkish state. The general said the militants are working in various levels and sectors of the bureaucracy, including governors' offices and the judiciary. He said the government's credibility now hinges on the adoption of a draft law by the Turkish parliament that would empower the government to dismiss civil servants accused of links with Islamic radicals and Kurdish separatists. Turkey's new president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, earlier this month twice refused to sign a decree that give such powers to the government. The president rejected the decree on legal grounds, saying it violated the constitution and was not compatible with the supremacy of law. The president's rejection has sharply cooled his relations with Turkey's prime minister, Bulent Ecevit. Mr. Ecevit said Mr. Sezer's refusal to accept the decree had -- in his words -- jeopardized the government's efforts to combat religious militancy. Prime Minister Ecevit says he will now bring the decree before the parliament when it reconvenes in October. But analysts say the government will have a tough time getting support for the measures. The proposals have been widely criticized both by lawmakers and the media as being undemocratic and vulnerable to abuse. Turkey's generals continue to cite Islamic militancy as the main threat facing the nation. In a related development, a government prosecutor formally charged one of Turkey's most prominent Islamic leaders, Fetullah Gulen, with trying to overturn Turkey's secular order with the aim of establishing an Islamic state in its place. Mr. Gulen -- the leader of a powerful Islamic brotherhood named after him -- faces a 10-year jail term if convicted as charged. Evidence against Mr. Gulen reportedly includes secretly made video tapes in which the preacher is said to be heard instructing his followers to -- in his words -- slowly and patiently penetrate the state. General Kivrikoglu confirmed that the majority of officers dismissed from the army every year had links with Mr. Gulen's brotherhood. Mr. Gulen is in the United States for medical treatment and will be tried in absentia. (Signed) NEB/AZ/JWH/ENE/JP 31-Aug-2000 11:50 AM LOC (31-Aug-2000 1550 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] EUROPE / INTEREST RATES (L-O) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=8/31/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266019
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The European Central Bank has raised its interest rates for the fifth time this year. Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports the bankers are trying to control inflation and to boost the value of their common currency, the Euro.

    TEXT: The initial reaction in European markets to the latest interest rate rise is a yawn. The currency markets had already expected the central bank to raise rates when the bankers returned from a five-week vacation. Rather than strengthening the Euro, the bank's move to increase rates by one-quarter of one- percentage point sent the common currency back down below 89-cents against one U-S dollar. A bank statement explains the move up to four-and-one- half percent by saying that the depreciation in the exchange rate of the Euro and the renewed rise in oil prices have put upward pressure on import prices and consumer prices. Inflation in the 11 countries using the Euro is exceeding the bank's two-percent limit. The low value of the Euro makes imports of oil more expensive. The European Commission here in Brussels has been trying to convince OPEC to increase oil production to bring prices down. Commission spokesman Jonathan Faull says through an interpreter that the commission plans to discuss the issue when it meets next Wednesday.

    /// FAULL INTERPRETER ACT ///

    The commission - and the governments - are concerned about the price increase and the price of petrol and the impact that that might have on certain sectors of the economy and the economy in general. The commission along with other governments is undertaking an internal study of what potential measures could be taken to remedy the situation.

    /// END ACT ///

    There had been speculation that the central bank would raise European interest rates by one-half-percentage point to control inflation. But, that big an increase might have been too large a brake on the European economy. The lower value of the Euro has made European exports cheaper. In Europe's biggest economy, Germany, economic growth has surged by three- and-one-third-percent and unemployment there is down. However, the weakness of the Euro has its own political costs. At the end of September, people in Denmark will decide in a referendum whether they want to adopt the Euro as their currency. Opinion surveys one month before the vote show it is too close to call. A Danish vote in favor of the Euro might influence Sweden to hold a similar referendum. Along with Britain, they are only members of the European Union that have not decided to tie their currencies to the Euro. The decision becomes more difficult for the Danish government that sees the Euro sinking toward its historic low, despite another interest rate rise by the European Central Bank. (SIGNED) NEB/RDP/JWH/ENE/RAE 31-Aug-2000 11:10 AM EDT (31-Aug-2000 1510 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] FRANCE / FISHERMEN (L-O) BY PAUL MILLER (PARIS)

    DATE=8/31/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266029
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: French fishermen have called off a blockade of Channel ports that disrupted connections to Britain via ferry and the Channel tunnel. Paul Miller in Paris reports the fishermen are claiming victory in a battle to get the French government to lower the cost of fuel.

    TEXT: The three-day protest at Calais and other French ports prevented ferries from leaving - or vehicles entering the channel-tunnel trains that carry passenger cars and freight trucks. Angry British tourists, stranded in France by the fishermen's blockade, scuffled with protestors. And British officials complained that their citizens were being held hostage to a French domestic dispute. The fishermen called off the blockade after apparently reaching an agreement with French Agricultural Minister Jean Glavany. They removed boats from the port of Calais, allowing ferries to sail, and vans that had blocked access ramps to the tunnel. Ferry companies said it would take several hours to clear the backlog of passengers and freight between Britain and France. The details of the agreement with the government were not made public. Agriculture Minister Glavany's office said they still needed to be worked out. The channel fisherman said the French government had agreed to compensate them for a 75-percent increase in the price of diesel fuel for fishing boats. But fishermen in the south of France, where the protests started, said the government was making empty promises and they would continue to blockade oil refineries and other facilities. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PM/JWH/RAE 31-Aug-2000 14:06 PM EDT (31-Aug-2000 1806 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] GERMANY / TRIAL (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=8/31/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266016
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called for his countrymen to stand together in the fight against racism (Thursday), a day after a court imposed heavy sentences on Neo-Nazi youths who kicked a Mozambican immigrant to death. Jonathan Braude reports.

    TEXT: Chancellor Schroeder came to the East German city of Dessau Thursday to lay a wreath in memory of Alberto Adriano, a German citizen of Mozambican origin murdered by neo-Nazis in June. Gerhard Schroeder says it is time for all Germans to stand together and fight against such terrible acts as the murder of a fellow citizen. He stresses that the vast majority of Germans, whether they come from the former Communist East or the West, want to fight racism. That reference is particularly poignant as Germany celebrates 10 years of unity and the disappearance of the separate East German state. It also is a reminder that much of the worst racial violence and most of the neo-Nazi activity has taken place in the eastern part of this country. The eastern states still lag behind the West economically, unemployment is high and neo-Nazi propaganda blaming foreigners for the country's woes falls on fertile ground. But there have been bombings and racial attacks on foreigners and Jews in the West, too. Chancellor Schroeder's call for action follows a court decision (Wednesday) that sent a 24-year-old man to life in prison for Mr. Adriano's murder. Two 16-year- olds were sentenced to nine years each. Mr. Schroeder welcomed the courts' new toughness and said he will join other politicians in examining a possible ban on the neo-Nazi national party. The government, the police and the courts appear to be taking a new, tougher approach toward bringing racist thugs to justice, but it not clear what the effect will be. Already, police are considering providing special around-the-clock protection for Mr. Adriano's widow, who has received threatening letters. She was too afraid to appear in court Wednesday to see her husband's killers sentenced. And now, just one day after the judgment, police are investigating the fire-bombing of an East German youth club -- another attack apparently carried out by neo- Nazis. (Signed) NEB/JB/WTW/ 31-Aug-2000 09:20 AM EDT (31-Aug-2000 1320 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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

    DATE=8/31/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-266034
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Stocks rallied on Wall Street today (Thursday), as fresh data indicated the U-S economy is on track to grow at a more sustainable rate. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 112 points, one percent, closing at 11-thousand-215. The Standard and Poor's 500 index went up 15 points, also one percent. And the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite added another two and one-half percent to its winning streak a gain of more than 100 points. It has been a strong month for the stock market across-the-board. The Dow Industrials gained about seven percent in August. The Nasdaq also went up seven percent. Many analysts believe the pieces are in place for the market to move higher for the rest of the year. Key to such upward momentum is growing evidence that U-S economic growth is slowing, without taking too much out of corporate profits.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    Analyst Al Goldman says this probably means the Federal Reserve Board - the U-S central bank - will not see any need to hike interest rates again. The "Fed" raised rates six times already since June, 1999, in an effort to cool the economy:

    ///GOLDMAN ACT///

    The economy is going to be dragged lower to a rate of growth of about three percent G-D-P (gross domestic product) in the fourth quarter. So the "Fed" has achieved their soft landing. I see no risk of a recession, and the outlook for corporate earnings is positive. So, I think the "Fed" is out of our face and did what they wanted to do.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    The latest on the U-S economy shows new orders to factories were down a sharp seven and one-half percent in July - a record decline.

    ///REST OPT///

    U-S retailers generally turned in disappointing sales results for August. Retail stocks traded lower as a result. Shares of J-P-Morgan shot up 10 percent on strong speculation that it is the next target in the merger- mania, the consolidation that is taking place in the financial services area. On Wednesday, Zurich-based Credit Suisse First Boston announced it is buying U-S broker Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette. And not too long ago, Paine Webber was absorbed by U-B-S of Switzerland. In other news, U-S federal authorities have made an arrest in connection with the hoax that roiled Wall Street last week, sending the stock of Emulex - a data networking equipment maker - plummeting more than 50 percent. The man charged is a 23-year old college student who worked at an Internet wire service. He made about a quarter of a million dollars on the scheme, while a lot of investors lost money. The accused had put out a phony (false) press release saying Emulex was being investigated for accounting irregularities and its chairman had resigned. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 31-Aug-2000 16:55 PM EDT (31-Aug-2000 2055 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America
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