International Papers

Free Movies in Belgrade

Slate’s Complete Kosovo Coverage

Some European papers seem to be trying to will Bill Clinton into sending ground troops to Kosovo. The {{Daily Telegraph#2:}} of London, very keen on ground troops itself, led its front page Monday with the headline “Clinton hints at Kosovo invasion,” based on the president having dispatched his leading advisers to Sunday morning TV shows “to suggest a possible escalation of the conflict.” {{El Mundo#2:}} of Madrid led Monday with news of the growing American popular support for a land invasion and the increasing pressure on Clinton to embark on one by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

The war continued to lead practically every European paper Monday with the exception of Rupert Murdoch’s mass-circulation British tabloid, the Sun, which splashed “Wills In Hospital Drama” on its front page. The story told how Prince William, Prince Charles’ eldest son, had had a broken finger reset after a first attempt to fix it failed. The Daily Telegraph also considered this story worthy of its front page, although the {{Times#2:}} gave greater prominence to a {{story#2:}} about the queen’s sister: “Prince Margaret recovers after scalding feet in bath.” The paper’s medical correspondent explained that “any serious burn to the feet, hands, face or genitalia is considered of great medical importance and is usually treated in hospital.”

The {{Sunday Telegraph#2:}} of London reported from Belgrade that NATO has warned Yugoslav authorities about some of its planned airstrikes in order to minimize civilian casualties. John Simpson, diplomatic editor of the BBC, wrote for the paper from the Yugoslav capital that the clearest example of this development had been in the town of Kragujevac, where workers at a car factory had been ordered to end a sit-in protest against the airstrikes because the factory was about to be targeted. “The only problem officials faced was in persuading workers that their information was genuine,” he reported. The same paper reported that 80 British SAS commandos had been sent deep into Kosovo to target the Serb Special Police and army units for NATO aircraft, find and mark massacre sites, locate the hideouts of death squad leaders, and find secret Serb weapons arsenals.

Another Western journalist in Belgrade, José Comas of Spain’s {{El País#2:}}, contributed a special article to the Sunday-Monday edition of {{Le Monde#2:}} of Paris describing the mounting anger and defiance of the Serb population toward NATO: Many young people, including sworn opponents of Slobodan Milosevic, were saying they would fight to the death over Kosovo. The people of Belgrade had reconciled themselves to every shortage except that of cigarettes, he reported, quoting a young Serb woman as saying that this could be the first thing to destabilize the Milosevic regime because “the Serbs can’t live without tobacco.” But Comas said the war had also brought positive changes to life in Belgrade. “Crime has completely disappeared,” he wrote. “Before the bombs, taxi drivers tried to cheat their customers. Today, they charge the correct fares.” He added that nearly all theaters had stopped charging for tickets, and that those that still did charge something were giving the proceeds to the Red Cross.

Le Monde also devoted a front-page article Sunday to a mysterious journey by Yugoslav Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic, who, according to the Bulgarian newspaper Trud, turned up unexpectedly last Monday at the Serb-Bulgarian border post of Kalotina and was kept waiting there for several hours before being taken to the airport at Sofia, the Bulgarian capital. According to Trud, he then took a flight to Athens, but Greek authorities have since denied his presence there. It was believed he might have gone arms-shopping in Moscow before reappearing on Serbian TV last Saturday in Belgrade, Le Monde said.

In an editorial, Le Monde described Boris Yeltsin’s saber rattling on television last Friday as “both pathetic and disturbing.” The Russians were a great people, it said, and “to see them represented by a valetudinarian buffoon and exploited by a corrupt regime after 70 years of totalitarianism fills one with deep sadness.” The paper said that Russia’s past greatness and her continuing possession of 5,000 nuclear warheads explains why American, German, and French diplomats continue to pay court to her, but added: “If it is wise not to marginalize the Russians, it is also perhaps imprudent to take their bragging seriously, thus encouraging them to be even more intransigent–and more demanding when they ask for loans.”

In Madrid, on the other hand, El País said in an editorial Sunday that the West would be wrong to ignore Yeltsin’s warnings, however “insolent and demagogic” they might be. “Russia is still the world’s second nuclear power, and we cannot further humiliate her with impunity in her present state of prostration,” El País said. “Neither Europe nor the world should forget the lesson of Versailles: A humiliated Germany hatched the seeds of Nazism.” But “Don’t Fear the Bear” was the headline of the SundayTelegraph’s editorial.

The lead story Monday of the {{Sydney Morning Herald#2:}} had Australia accusing Serbia of forcing an Australian aid worker, Steve Platt of CARE, into making a “preposterous” televised confession of spying for NATO. The Australian government accused the Serb authorities of putting words into Platt’s mouth and demanded his immediate release.