(en) Selections from the World Press Review

Ewald (ewald@ctaz.com)
Wed, 22 Jan 1997 17:15:16 -0700


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Selections from the World Press Review, Febuary 1997 issue.

The World Press Review is a monthly American news magazine that claims to offer a "representative" selection of news stories from around the world, as reported by the foreign press. It generally does what it says if one is looking at it from an establishment perspective. However, it occasionally has some more interesting stuff that some of you might find worth reading. If you would like me to do this on a monthly basis, let me know.

You can contact the WPR at:

World Press Review P.O. Box 228 Shrub Oak, N.Y. 10588-0228 (subscription communications)

or through its publisher:

The Stanley Foundation 200 Madison Ave. New York, N.Y. 10016 Phone: (212) 889-5155

I take full responsibility for freely distributing this material. Shawn Ewald <ewald@ctaz.com> __________________________________________________________ [NOTE: All articles are reproduced verbatim. Clarifications and some credits added by me are put in brackets.]

>From the "Early Warning" column:

Governments:

More than 64% of Asia's leading business executives hold that East Timor should be allowed to secede from Indonesia. In a poll conducted by Far Eastern Economic Review and Asia Business News after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two Timorese activists, 100% of Hong Kong respondents favored independence, while all the Indonesian business people responding said East Timor should remain part of Indonesia. [Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kong]

New Zealanders will vote this year on whether to end their ties to the British monarchy and become a republic. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Resources:

The recent discovery of the 300-million barrel Moran oilfield in the Papua New Guinea highlands and two previous finds are spurring exploration in the region. The area is attractive to oil companies beacuse discovery, development, and operating costs are low. [Business Review Weekly, Melbourne]

Russia's Karelia forest is falling victim to the end of the cold war. The more than 15,000-square-mile virgin forest near the Finnish border had served as a buffer between the two countries. but now that's no longer needed, the local government has allowed large swatches of the forest to be clear-cut in the last few years and plans to harvest the forest at a pace exceeding the replacement rate. [Aftenposten, Oslo]

>From the "Regional Report" section:

The Americas by B.J. Kowalski

PERU The Hostage Crisis:

The attack by the Tupac Amaru (MRTA) guerrillas on the Japanese ambassador's house in Lima "is the worst blow the Peruvian president has recived since he took over in 1990, and it hits him at the worst moment," writes Telma Luzzani in the liberal Clarin of Buenos Aires. As of January 2, the guerillas still held 74 hostages.

"What had up to now seemed a success -- the defeat of the guerrillas -- provided Alberto Fujimori a good harvest of votes for his reeletion in 1995," says Luzzani. "But the MRTA operation...refutes Fujimori's words."

The liberal Buenos Aires Herald says that, although every country has advice on how to deal with the guerrillas, "the final decision belongs to...Japan, because the Lima residence is leagally Japanese territory." But it remained to be seen whether Fujimori would bow to Tokyo's deci- sion, whatever it turned out to be.

"In the longer term," notes the paper, "this kind of incident should be countered by working against the social injustice feeding terrorism -- the income inequalites plaguing Peru and virtually all of Latin America."

Argentina Now, IBM-Gate:

IBM is embroiled in one of the most embarrassing scandals involving a U.S. company in Latin America in years, reports the leftist newsletter Latinamerica Press of Lima.

"IBM is being accused of bribery in connection with a $249-million [U.S.] contract to modernize and install computers at all 525 branches of the state owned National Bank, Argentina's largest commercial bank," says the weekly.

After a six-month investigation, a Buenos Aires judge indicted 30 former officials from IBM Argentina, National Bank, and several associates of President Carlos Menem on charges of "defrauding the Argentine government."

In a seperate action, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into whether IBM violated a U.S. law prohibiting companies from paying bribes abroad.

The charges stem from a routine audit by an Argentine tax agency that found an IBM payment of $37-milliom [U.S.] to two local computer companies. Authorities say the money was used as a bribe. An IBM official told the newsletter he could not comment on the case.

Mexico Another Murder:

When Augustin Linares was shot in November in a small town near Mexico City, he became the 148th member of Mexico's opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) to be murdered in the last two years. Linda Diebel writes in the liberal Toronto Star that Linares, the father of four, was an organizer for the PRD, which had just made gains in local elections.

"Since 1988 447 PRD activists have been killed, proof that political opposition is still a matter of life and death in Mexico," Diebel writes.

Arnulfo Garcia, the accused assassin is a member of the ruling Insti- tutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which lost its legislative majority in local elections. A cousin of Garcia's was a losing candidate and the Linares family believes that this was a political murder.

"We want justice," says Linares's wife, Maricela. "But I must tell you, in reality, I am doubtful we will get it."

The Middle East by Avner Gidron

Israel Legal Torture?

A ruling by Israel's highest court has rekindled debate over the torture of suspected terrorists by Israeli security forces, writes Patrice Claude in Paris's liberal Le Monde.

Israel High Court of Justice ruled that Shin Beth, the internal security service, can use sleep deprivation, hooding, and violent shak- ing on prisoners who allegedly have information about imminent terrorist attacks. The precedent came in cases involving two prisoners, a member of Hamas and a member of Islamic Jihad.

The recent court decision by the High Court "depicts how the occupation [of the West Bank and Gaza] and terrorism are destroying the humanistic fabric of a democratic society," writes Tom Segev in the liberal Ha'aretz of Tel Aviv. "All forms of torture must be prohibited in all circumstances, and severe penalties must be passed for those who commit torture." The bottom line, according to Segev, is that Israel must not become the enemy that it professes to be fighting.

Africa by Barry Shelby

Central Africa The Weapons Trail:

An arms trail ending in central africa has led investigators to a small travel agent's office above an aromatherapy shop in Hendon, North London, says the liberal weekly Observer of London. There, two Kenyan Asian businessmen "could have made more than $1 million [U.S.] from the sale of arms to Hutu extremists responsible for the genocide in Rwanda."

The travel agent is suspected of having been the broker, via another company called Mil-Tec Corp., for the sale of more than $5.5 million [U.S.] in arms to Hutu leaders in the former government of Rwanda before and after the 1994 massacre of ethnic Tutsi. The United Nations banned all arms sales to Hutu extremists following the genocide, but acting as a broker may not violate British law if the arms are shipped from another country. The path to Hendon was uncovered by documents that were found at the abandoned Hutu refugee camps in Zaire last fall.

The weapons originated in Eastern Europe, "probably in the former Yugo- slavia and Bulgaria," The Observer says, "and were flown to Zaire from Albania."

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