Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times articles

by Stanley Meisler

complete articles are available for purchase at the LA Times Archives

1987

January - September coming soon

New Caledonia Voters Say No to Independence But Most Melanesians Boycott S. Pacific Referendum; Paris Hails Outcome
PARIS - The problems of New Caledonia stem from its racial mixture. According to the last census, the Kanaks, the original natives of the islands, numbered 62,000, 43% of the total population. A total of 54,000 whites, 37% of the population, made up the next largest ethnic group. Indians and Polynesians numbered 30,000, 20% of the population. The Kanaks want New Caledonia to become an independent country...
September 14, 1987

France Becomes 1,000 Years Old and Nearly all Gaul Is Now United
PARIS - Hugh Capet was crowned king in 987 and the French now look on that date as the birth of France. The country is celebrating the end of its first millennium with religious ceremonies, sound-and-light shows, medieval jousting tournaments, historical symposiums, a bit of monarchist nostalgia and souvenir bric-a-brac decorated with 1,000-year-old designs. The intense concern with identity has come at a time of festering debate...
OPINION
September 20, 1987

As 200th Anniversary Nears, French Still Fret Over Revolution
PARIS - Moreover, images of the revolution abound in Paris: the enormous Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine beheaded Louis XVI and 1,118 other prisoners of the revolution; the Conciergerie, where Queen Marie Antoinette was held prisoner before her execution and where patient women knitted the time away while watching prisoners board the carts that would take them to the guillotine; the gardens of the Palais...
October 13, 1987

For Kremlin Rulers, Lenin Is Only God
Series: REMAKING THE REVOLUTION: Gorbachev's Gamble. First in a series. Tuesday: The Troubled Soviet Economy.
MOSCOW - The blessings of Leninism are so important that Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who is trying to reform Soviet society by shaking up its economy and bureaucracy, must be careful to place his proposals firmly in the Leninist firmament. Communist Party ideologues must search continually through the 47 volumes of the complete writings and speeches of Lenin to find scripture that justifies what Gorbachev is...
October 25, 1987

Out of Step With Reforms; Once in the Vanguard, Leningrad Now Trails
Series: REMAKING THE REVOLUTION: Gorbachev's Gamble. First in a series. Tuesday: The Troubled Soviet Economy.
LENINGRAD, SOVIET UNION - Much of the initiative and dynamism of the Communist Party in Leningrad may have been knocked out by Stalin's murderous purge of party officials after World War II. But there also may be a good deal of intercity rivalry in the Leningrad Establishment's suspicion of what goes on in Moscow. The situation in Leningrad underscores the difficulty of applying [Mikhail S. Gorbachev]'s reforms outside Moscow...
October 25, 1987

France Seeks Group of 7 Meeting to Discuss Dollar
PARIS - [Jacques Delors]' statement to the European Parliament has been blamed for helping to precipitate a fall in the dollar's value on world currency exchanges. Delors told the Parliament that "the Americans are ready to come down to 1.60 (West German) marks to the dollar." Speaking Thursday on Radio Monte Carlo, Delors said his remarks had been exaggerated and taken out of context. But he did...
BUSINESS
October 30, 1987

Soviet Voices: Changes Bring Both Hope, Fear
Series: REMAKING THE REVOLUTION: fourth in a series; Tuesday: The Soviet record on human rights.
MOSCOW - Since [Mikhail S. Gorbachev] came to power, the Soviet government has begun to tolerate performers like [Boris Grebenschikov]. Melodyia, the Soviet recording company, has even issued an album of Aquarius' music - a kind of official blessing. But Grebenschikov still has problems. Communist Party officials in Leningrad have so far failed to approve his request to travel to New York to record a commercial album. A Politburo...
November 1, 1987

Gorbachev Keeps West Off Balance; Few Can Agree on Where Soviet Reforms Will Lead
Series: REMAKING THE REVOLUTION: The New Diplomacy, sixth in a series. Saturday: Tensions in the Communist Party.
MOSCOW - If [Mikhail S. Gorbachev] transforms Soviet society, will the Soviet Union be more pragmatic and less adventurous, or less inhibited and more hostile? Will increased confidence foster arrogance or amiability? Will Gorbachev's reforms spread to the satellite countries of Eastern Europe? What if Eastern Europe explodes on him? What if Gorbachev's reforms fail? Will his successors turn inward or outward, perverse or friendly? Finally, according...
November 5, 1987

U.S., Spain to Continue Talks on Bases; Madrid Sets Deadline of May, 1988, to Negotiate a New Treaty
MADRID - Spanish and U.S. officials failed again Friday to reach agreement on a new treaty to keep U.S. military bases in Spain, sending their negotiations into a critical final phase that will determine the bases' fate. The most contentious issue for both sides is the U.S. Air Force's 401st Tactical Wing-72 F-16 jet fighters based at Torrejon, just outside Madrid. From the start of negotiations in...
November 7, 1987

Tunisia Calm as Bourguiba Is Replaced
TUNIS, TUNISIA - Citing a report by a medical commission that the octogenarian [Habib Bourguiba] was senile and ill, [Zine Abidine Ben Ali], appointed premier by Bourguiba only a month ago, announced to the nation that the politician who had led Tunisia to independence in 1956 was "absolutely incapable of assuming the duties of president of the republic." Ben Ali solved that problem by quietly appointing a medical...
November 8, 1987

Tunisians Proud of Painless Coup; Smooth Transfer of Power to Ben Ali Brings Relief, Praise
TUNIS, TUNISIA - Many opponents of [Habib Bourguiba] have accepted the pledge of [Ben Ali] even though he served as Bourguiba's minister of interior during some of the regime's most repressive periods. Even the extreme fundamentalists known as the Movement of the Islamic Tendency have issued a statement from Paris hailing the takeover as a historic and positive step. At first, the fundamentalists attacked Ben Ali. But Chamari...
November 9, 1987

U.S. Bases: Hangover in History
MADRID - History hangs on most Spaniards in ways Americans can hardly understand. That difference is at the heart of the repeated failure of Spanish and U.S. officials to negotiate a new treaty allowing the United States to keep its military bases in Spain after May, 1988. Despite this anger, a renewal of the treaty will probably be worked out in the next few months. Spain and...
OPINION
November 22, 1987

Campaign Near; Scandals Stir French Politics
PARIS - By all logic, that affair should have damaged the political standing of President Francois Mitterrand. But Mitterrand, a Socialist, seems to have wriggled out of the affair somewhat easily, leaving behind a trap for his conservative arch-rival, Premier Jacques Chirac, who in turn seems to have slipped the trap. Chirac's own Gaullist party, the Rally for the Republic, has never wanted government financing because it...
November 27, 1987

Extremists Free French Hostages; 1 of 2 Released in Beirut Says He Was With Americans
PARIS - Jean-Louis Normandin, 36, a television lighting technician, and Roger Auque, 31, a free-lance photographer, were released from separate cars outside the seaside Summerland Hotel, about 50 yards from waiting French Embassy officials and Syrian secret servicemen. The cars sped away quickly and the two men were rushed to the French Embassy in Christian East Beirut in bulletproof vehicles, with journalists and photographers racing behind. Normandin...
November 28, 1987

Burgundy Region Redolent of Wine, Mustard, History
BEAUNE, FRANCE - With the dollar declining in value, the Burgundy merchants profess that there is little that they can do about price anyway. "We will have to have our friends from abroad swallow more increases in the cost," said Burgundy merchant and producer Louis Latour in mid-November, just before the annual charity auction of wine for the medieval hospital known as the Hospices de Beaune here in...
BUSINESS
November 28, 1987

Chirac Denies Paying Ransom for 2 Captives
PARIS - [Jean-Louis Normandin], who was held for 20 months, hugged his 8-year-old son, Antoine, and lifted him in his arms. Normandin's 61-year-old father told reporters he had come with "a little gift of chocolate" for his son. Auque's mother was there to hug her son. Both former hostages were greeted warmly by [Jacques Chirac]. Because it is widely assumed in France that the kidnapers in Beirut...
November 29, 1987

Iranian Freed in Paris as Part of Hostage Deal
PARIS - After [Wahid Gordji] refused to appear for questioning, France sealed off the Iranian Embassy here last June 30, blocking 45 Iranians inside, and Iran responded by sealing off the French Embassy in Tehran with nine employees inside. France broke relations with Iran over the Gordji affair July 17. There was little doubt about the outcome of the questioning. A small jet plane was already waiting...
November 30, 1987

Thatcher Assails French Over Iran Hostage Deal
PARIS - Much may depend on whether [Jacques Chirac], in his bargaining with Iran, succeeds in gaining the rapid release of the last three French hostages in Lebanon. If he does, Le Monde, the influential Paris newspaper, said in a front page editorial, "the controversy that has just begun in France will stop there. One does not fly against victory." Spokesmen for the Chirac government found themselves...
December 2, 1987

Baldwin Dies at 63; Writer Explored Black Experience
PARIS - The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader and contender for the Democratic Party nomination for president, who knew [James Baldwin], called the author "a great source of inspiration" during the height of the civil rights movement. Interviewed in Chicago by the Associated Press, Jackson said Baldwin was a "prolific and sensitive writer" whose "voice was not watered down by political considerations." Baldwin was so...
December 2, 1987

Sihanouk, Cambodian Premier Confer
FERE-EN-TARDENOIS, FRANCE - The Vietnamese invaded Cambodia at the end of 1978, ousted the tyrannical Khmer Rouge government of Pol Pot, and installed a dependent Cambodian government that [Hun Sen] now heads. Vietnam now has 140,000 troops in Cambodia but says it intends to withdraw them all by the end of 1990. Many analysts believe that the cost of the war has become too burdensome for Vietnam's economy...
December 3, 1987

2 Cambodian Foes Sign Agreement That Could Lead to Peace
PARIS - Sihanouk, the traditional ruler of Cambodia who has served as head of state for various factions in the past, said that everyone in Cambodia wants peace but that "a peace without 100% independence was not acceptable." This was an obvious reference to Vietnam, which now props up the [Hun Sen] government by keeping 140,000 troops in Cambodia. Sihanouk also made it clear that any future...
December 5, 1987

Tobacco Is King: French Let Smoke Get in Their Eyes
PARIS - Only one restaurant in all Paris prohibits smoking. Only a handful, mostly American fast-food outlets, have nonsmoking sections. Premier Jacques Chirac rarely talks to reporters without waving a cigarette for emphasis. A stranger can always identify the high school in any Paris neighborhood by the cluster of teen-agers outside puffing awkwardly on cigarettes. The French government spends far more every year on promoting smoking than...
December 6, 1987

Europe Worried Over Impact of Missile Accord
PARIS - For that reason, they would be suspicious, after the signing of the intermediate nuclear forces treaty, of any further steps toward the elimination of nuclear weapons in Europe. Fear of nuclear war, according to this view, has prevented nuclear war, and it would be foolhardy to eliminate that fear entirely. On this issue, the divisions within Europe are clear: Britain and France do not want...
December 6, 1987

Paris Police Storm Bank, Lead 2 Officials Past Strikers
PARIS - [Jacques de Larosiere] described what he called the confining of Deputy Gov. Philippe Lagayette and Director of Personnel Raymond Penaud by the strikers as "an extremely serious and unprecedented incident." In his statement, De Larosiere said the raid was carried out peacefully, "without incidents." But this was contradicted by the unions, the French press and the Fire Department's emergency service. All reported that several strikers...
December 10, 1987

Sihanouk Cancels Talks, Dims Cambodia Peace Hopes
PARIS - Some analysts said they thought the announcement was a theatrical ploy by Sihanouk, a former ruler of Cambodia who is now the figurehead of a rebellion, to pressure the Vietnamese and Sihanouk's two rebel partners, Khieu Samphan, leader of the Khmer Rouge, and Son Sann, leader of an anti-Communist nationalist movement, to join them in a broad Cambodian peace conference. [Sihanouk] said, in the telegram...
December 11, 1987

Touchy Language Issue Dulls Belgian Campaign
BRUSSELS - In a televised debate last week, for example, the moderator asked both Prime Minister Wilfried Martens and his challenger, Socialist leader Guy Spitaels, how they proposed to deal with the Fourons and their French-speaking mayor who refuses to use the Dutch language, or Flemish as people call it here. Martens, who comes from Dutch-speaking Flanders but has learned to speak French as well, insists that...
December 13, 1987

Belgian Premier Suffers Election Setback; Socialists Become No. 1 Party, Endanger Martens' Coalition
BRUSSELS - Most Flemish, as the Dutch-speakers are called, do not want to let the Fourons leave Flanders, and the [Wilfired Martens] coalition collapsed a couple of months ago when the French-speaking Christian Democrats refused to go along with the attempt by the Flemish-speaking Christian Democrats in the government to discipline [Jose Happart]. This brought on the election. The Socialists, according to the midnight projections, made all...
December 14, 1987

Dreaded Dictée: French Test Puts Accent on Perfection
PARIS - The national dictée contest, organized by [Bernard Pivot] three years ago, generates enormous excitement in France. In 1987, there were 36,414 entrants in the contest. After a series of quarter and semifinals, the field was narrowed to 122 finalists who sat aboard the river boat Gabarre and listened to Pivot dictate as they steamed along the Seine in Paris. Celebrities like [Francoise Giroud], bicycle racing...
December 21, 1987

U.S. Facing Dispute With Portugal Over Pact on Bases
LISBON - Irritated by U.S. congressional cuts in military and economic assistance, Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva of Portugal, in an interview earlier this week, said he is considering formally calling in February, 1988, for a renegotiation of the agreement covering the U.S. military base in the Portuguese Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. He said the agreement had promised a rising level of American assistance. Cavaco Silva...
December 25, 1987

Prime Minister's 'Right' Stuff a Hit in Portugal; Cavaco Silva Leads Nation Away From the Left; Mood of Optimism Prevails
LISBON - Portugal, run by 48-year-old Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva, has a far different kind of mood now. There have been other conservative prime ministers among the 16 Portuguese governments of the last 13 years. But all ruled only with minority support or with coalitions. Cavaco Silva himself, who became prime minister in 1985, controlled only a little more than one-third of the seats of the...
December 27, 1987

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by Stanley Meisler

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