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March 23, 1999 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
March 23, 1999 – News from Kosovo and the word was Frustration. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrook failed in last-ditch diplomacy efforts to stave off NATO’s first-ever airstrikes over Kosovo. Emerging from a two-hour session with Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Holbrook expressed deep frustration that Milosevic refused to budge on his position. Meanwhile, Serbian troops were continuing their offensive in Kosovo, in an almost jubilant mood as the absence of International monitors took away the last checks on whatever the Serbs were doing. Their intention was to cut a swath through the north of the province, cutting in half the two main strongholds of the Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas who were continuing to fight back but were seeming to lose ground. The big losers were the civilians stuck in the cross-fire, turning into refugees escaping the crossfire. At last count, some 25,000 Kosovo Albanians had been displaced since the weekend, many were still on the move.
The mood back in the U.S. was one of frustration too, as Capitol Hill was divided about committing U.S. forces against the Serbs and about the way President Clinton was handling the crisis. Some complained U.S. involvement was half-hearted and there was no clear plan in mind. Needless to say, Clinton was having a hard time selling his Kosovo policy to Congress. At the same time, Russia was accused of making matters worse by attempting to supply the Yugoslav air force with MIG’s and Pilots. Russia denied the claims.
And it was death by firing squad in Cuba today as a Tribunal handed down the sentence to a Salvadoran man who admitted to a series of hotel bombings. Raoul Ernesto Léon said he was paid $4,500 for each blast and all signs pointed to a group of Florida-based Cuban exiles for funding the series of attacks.
OPEC endorsed a cut in oil production of over 2 million barrels day to last a year. As a result, gasoline prices shot upwards in anticipation of the perceived shortage.
And that’s just a small sample of what happened this March 23rd in 1999 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.