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International Herald Tribune
A Widening Franco-German Rift?
New Books Add to the Suspicion of Berlin's Ambitions for Europe By John Vinocur

The United States
Below is a short list of issues. For more, please click Back to News, on the right, and select your topic.

European Union

France Has a Hard Sell to Rein In U.S. Power
By John Vinocur International Herald Tribune

From Anatol Lieven, Carnegie Endowment, Washington D.C.:
May I briefly summarise the dominant Western opinions on the Russian state and the "oligarchs" in recent years (often expressed by one and the same people)?

In March 1997, the Iraqi parliament ratified a 23-year oil contract with Moscow allowing a Russian oil consortium headed by LUKoil to develop reserves estimated 7-8 billion barrels in Iraq's southern Qurna oil field, Iraqi media reported. Russia is spend $200 million on activities related to the project and extend credit worth $1 million to Iraq.

The oil discovery, just announced at Kazakhstan's offshore field East Kashagan, could change the Caspian oil export picture in favor of the regional countries, the West and consumer countries in East-Central Europe, underscoring the common interests of these three sets of countries. It may also, in the process, rescue Washington's Caspian policy post-Clinton. The Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Company (OKIOC) consortium has not yet released its estimates of East Kashagan's reserves. But all indications suggest that it is a world-class deposit and one much larger than any known Caspian oilfield, including Kazakhstan's giant onshore field Tengiz. Kazakhstani officials for their part speak of reserves comparable to those of Saudi Arabia's richest oilfields. Kazakhoil state company chairman Nurlan Balgymbaev, for example, puts East Kashagan's reserves at several billion tons. The estimates are of necessity tentative after drilling of the first appraisal well, 75 kilometers off Kazakhstan' shore, more than 5,000 meters under the seabed. The oil is of high quality, "light and clear," said President Nursultan Nazarbaev on July 4 aboard OKIOC's platform.

In America, Intellectuals Are Suspect
By Bruce J. Schulman

The Growing Wealth Gap
Behind the hoopla of the booming nineties, most Americans have actually lost wealth. Most households have lower net worth (assets minus debt) than they did in 1983, when the stock market began its record-breaking climb. From 1983 to 1998, the stock market grew a cumulative 1,336 percent.1 The wealthiest households reaped most of the gains.

U.S. Household Incomes Pass Pre-Recession High of '89
The Associated Press - October 1, 1999 WASHINGTON - American household incomes rose in 1998 for the fourth consecutive year, the Census Bureau reported Thursday, finally surpassing a 1989 pre-recession high, and the number of people living in poverty fell by more than 1 million.