Yeltsin: Drunk With Power

Yeltsin: Drunk With Power

Yeltsin: Drunk With Power

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
June 21 1999 7:04 AM

Yeltsin: Drunk With Power

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times lead with the completed pullout of Serb troops from Kosovo and NATO's reciprocal formal ending of its suspended air war against Yugoslavia. USA Today goes with yesterday's NYTlead, NATO's arrival at a stand-down deal with the KLA, a story that all the other leads also address.

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The best on-the-ground details regarding the Serb troop pullout are in the LAT, which tells how the Serb military commander signed a withdrawal document and then insisted that his British counterpart join him for a farewell drink of Serbian brandy and cognac. The paper says the two commanders had come to "understand and respect each other" and that they had achieved "almost seamless cooperation." Despite such a rosy picture, the Wall Street Journal notes that the NATO peacekeeping force still hasn't confirmed that all armed civilian and paramilitary forces have left Kosovo, a good point in that, according to the paper, such irregulars are blamed for some of the worse crimes committed against Kosovar Albanians.

The NATO/KLA understanding came very late Sunday night and hence the papers have varying degrees of detail. The WP and USAT have the most on the conditions: KLA guerrillas would be forbidden to carry weapons in many parts of Kosovo and would have to store those bigger than a side arm or a hunting rifle. Additionally, the KLA must maintain a cease-fire, defer to NATO peacekeepers, and expel from its ranks all foreign members.

The WP lead also emphasizes the doings at the G-8 summit in Cologne: As a concession to Boris Yeltsin, the gathering's final statement did not include a specific prohibition on reconstruction aid to the Slobodan Milosevic government, although it's hard to see how this could have been much of a negotiating chip since the Post also says the U.S., France, Britain, Italy, Canada, Germany, and Japan made it clear they would resist providing any assistance that would help prop up Milosevic. The LAT sees the conference as rejuvenating the Russian-U.S. relationship and fronts a story about new prospects for the two countries finally resolving their long-simmering dispute about anti-ballistic missile systems, in which the U.S. has long advocated implementing some such system while Russia claims they violate the 1972 ABM treaty negotiated between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The LAT says Yeltsin was a "force" at the G-8 meetings, while the WP says Clinton was described by other attendees as "curiously detached."

USAT, the NYT, and the LAT report that during the meetings, Yeltsin turned over to Clinton the complete Soviet archive on John F. Kennedy, including all assassination files. National security adviser Sandy Berger is quoted in the LAT saying all "interesting" elements of the materials will be made public.

The WSJ reports that, according to a study to be released today, PC ownership in American homes is up--from 29 percent of homes in 1995 to 54 percent this year--but PC usage is down--the percentage of adult PC owners who said they were using their machines went from 90 percent of 53 percent over the same time span. One explanation the story offers: as PCs become much less expensive, they become more likely to be bought by those who are at best casual users.

USAT and the WP run inside stories on the Forbes "richest" list. Software and Internet money dominates, with Bill Gates at No.1 ($90 billion), Paul Allen tied for No. 2 ($30 billion) with the Sultan of Brunei and Steve Ballmer, also of Microsoft, next ($19.5 billion). But also on the list is Saddam Hussein ($6 billion).