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Daily News - 08 January 1998

Maríñez says he won PRD primaries
Julio Marínez, aspirant to the candidacy for mayor of Santo Domingo on the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) ballot for the May 1998 municipal election, reiterated that he won the primaries held to choose the PRD candidate. Engineer Maríñez released to the press a letter he addressed to PRD leader, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, dated 28 December, where he sustains that the Comisión de Postulaciones that was in charge of recounting the votes cast during the primary, determined that he won 38,959 votes versus 38,660 of Miguel Vargas and 35,681 of Eligio Vásquez. The releasing of the letter to the press was Maríñez's response to Dr. Peña Gómez's decision to self-proclaim himself the candidate to mayor of the party.
Maríñez accused the secretary general of the PRD, licenciado Hatuey Decamps, of trying to force the celebration of complementary elections. Decamps endorsed Miguel Vargas in the primary. When Maríñez did not accept participation in the complementary election, Dr. Peña Gómez announced he would be the candidate for mayor of Santo Domingo in order to avoid a division of the party.
A poll held in the Listín Diario showed respondents do not approve of Peña Gomez's decision to run for mayor. Of the 2,368 persons who called, 66.6% said that the Peña's decision was incorrect.

Head of the state's electricity utility criticizes Smith-Enron plant
Temístocles Montás, general manager of the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad, CDE, said that the biggest headache of the state electricity utility is the operation of the Smith-Enron power plant in Puerto Plata. He said that in the past eight months that company has been unable to maintain its optimum production levels for even 15 consecutive days. "That unit may work four days providing 175 megawatts, and the fifth day it will descend to 60 megawatts, then to 40 megawatts," said Montás. The contract underwritten by the CDE with the Smith-Enron obliges the state utility to pay for installed capacity and not for energy served. Montás has said that contract is an example of how not to underwrite a contract. The CDE is dependent on private generators for up to 50% of the energy served to local consumers.

Senate okays telecommunications bill
The Senate approved the Telecommunications bill with all the reforms that telephone companies, as well as television and radio companies, had approved by consensus. The bill was sent with the new modifications back to the Chamber of Deputies. Nevertheless, the Executive Branch has said it would observe the bill, if eventually passed by the Chamber of Deputies. Senator Bautista Rojas Gómez (PLD-Salcedo) and Eduardo Estrella (PRSC-Santiago) are opposed to it. Rojas Gómez said that as approved by the Senate, the bill does not take into consideration the interests of consumers.

Opposition to open skies agreement
Sectors related to local aviation and tourism sectors, including the Hotel & Restaurant Association, oppose the signing of an open skies agreement. Aviation sectors say that if the agreement is signed by the Dominican government, it is unlikely that Dominican aviation companies will be able to develop. Dominican airline entrepreneurs favor the exchange of air routes between Central America and the D.R. if the airlines of both countries can operate in equal conditions. But they oppose that foreign airlines will be able to pick up passengers at Dominican airports to transport them to other destinations, which would be allowed by the agreement as it now stands. Local sectors say it will only strengthen the position of the major U.S. carriers, since Dominican airlines are banned from flying to the U.S. by that country's Federal Aviation Agency. They say it would also benefit Central American carriers that are not banned from flying to the U.S., which would place Dominican airlines in a disadvantageous competitive position. The Dominican Republic is at present in a process of re-instating its rights to fly to the United States, but this has yet to occur.

Supreme Court president criticizes lawyers
The president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Dr. Jorge Subero Isa, criticized the formation of 20,000 lawyers, many of which he said, were formed in inadequate law schools. He also was critical of the more than 4,000 notary publics in Santo Domingo, and said the number of these should not exceed 1,800. He requested the prompt approval by Congress of the judicial career bill, which would legalize efforts of the Supreme Court to appoint new judges to most of the nation's courts.

Neighborhood closes street in protest of accidents
Residents in the Gazcue area near the Mahatma Gandhi and Juan Sánchez Ramírez streets closed off that intersection to traffic and demanded that the authorities prohibit the transport of minibuses in the area. Forty families living in the area said through a spokesperson that the reckless driving of the public transport minibuses has been the direct cause for the death of 19 persons in the above-mentioned intersection. They suggested that the street become one-way, in the south-north direction. They also called for the installation of an intermittent yellow light that would caution drivers of the dangers at that intersection. The director of the Metropolitan Transport Authority, Hamlet Hermann, and Colonel Pedro de Jesús Candelier, under director, ordered that two policemen be permanently assigned to the corner. They agreed to meet with Mayor Rafael Suberví to find a solution to the dangerous intersection.

Clearing up the 27 de Febrero
Businesses using the sidewalks of the 27 de Febrero Avenue as a parking area will have to find alternative solutions. The 27 de Febrero Avenue crosses the city of Santo Domingo East-West. The Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) police agents began firmly telling owners of these businesses that vehicles found parked on the 27 de Febrero will be towed away. Business owners will also have to leave room for sidewalks, in order to avoid pedestrians walking on the 27 de Febrero expressway itself. Street vendors are also being obliged to relocate in preparation for the new bus units that will begin operation this month along the 27 de Febrero. Colonel Pedro de Jesús Candelier, deputy director of the AMET, who has a reputation of being a strongman, participated in the operation whereby business owners were told the government would be enforcing the law.

Music made in the Dominican Republic
The Listín Diario reported that the leading international Dominican music groups that are most likely to make it big internationally are Juan Luis Guerra, Los Ilegales, Chichí Peralta and Sin Fronteras. The report lists the names of the local groups that are represented by international record companies responsible for their international projection. The companies and the groups represented are as follows:
BMG: Los Ilegales, Pablo Martínez, Sergio Vargas, Wilfrido Vargas, Chicán, Eddy Herrera.
Sony: Milly Quezada, Johnny Ventura.
Fonovisa: Pochy Familia
Cayman: Chichí Peralta y Son Familia
Juan y Nelson: Kinito Méndez, Manolé, Rikarena.
Karen Records: Juan Luís Guerra, Los Rosario, Ramón Orlando, Rubby Pérez.
Wea Latina: Toño Rosario
Polygram: Los Toros Band
RMM-Merengazo Records: July Mateo, Ravel
Musical Productions: José Peña Suazo
Combo Records: La Banda Loca.

Aguilas Cibaeñas continue to lead playoff
The Aguilas Cibaeñas are having a ball. The 1996-1997 Dominican and Caribbean league champions have won all their games and continue to lead the playoffs, with a 4-0 record. Yesterday, playing in their home park in Santiago, the Aguilas defeated the Leones del Escogido, 4-2. U.S. Major League baseball veterans, Luis Polonia and Félix Fermín, showed fans that experience counts. Between the two they batted in the four runs needed to win the game. The standing of the playoffs are Aguilas, Escogido, Licey and Estrellas.
Games scheduled for today are Licey vs. Escogido in the Quisqueya Ball Park at 7:30 pm and Estrellas vs. Aguilas in the Estadio Cibao of Santiago at 7:30 pm. The games are extra exciting as rosters include many U.S. Major League baseball players.

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