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Daily News - 14 January 1998

Aviation talks with Europe and the U.S.
Talks that will lead to a revision of aviation agreements with the European Union and the United States will begin in Santo Domingo on 19 January. The first talks will be held with British authorities. Lawyer Vitelio Ortiz, director of the Civil Aviation Board, said that talks would continue in February with representatives of France and the United States.

Aviation agreement with Guatemala
The Dominican Republic signed an aviation agreement with Guatemala. The director of the Civil Aviation Board says that for the agreement to go into effect it needs to be sanctioned by Congress in both countries. The agreement includes restrictions for the transportation of passengers and cargo picked up here for a third country.

Fake purchases of rice?
The Listín Diario pointed out that one of the complaints, deposited in court against Reformista deputy Adriano Sánchez Roa, says he simulated purchases of rice for RD$27 million when he was head of Banco Agrícola, the state agriculture bank. According to the news item, at the end of his administration, purchases were made from farmers and employees of that institution who received small sums for the service of simulating these purchases.

The story behind the telecommunications bill
Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, attributed to commercial interests the irregular passing of the telecommunications bill by Congress. Peña Gómez spoke shortly before leaving the country for medical check up at the Sloane Kettering Memorial Center in New York City. He suffers from cancer of the pancreas.
According to press reports, behind the rush to pass the bill are pressures from present secretary general of the party, Lic. Hatuey Decamps, owner of Channel 6. Channel 5 frequency is operated by Juan Ramón Gómez Díaz, who favored the PLD in the 1996 electoral campaign in his quest for government favor. The Channel 5 frequency belonged to the state's television station. He said the bill also reflects the opposition of PRD congressmen to governments giving away frequencies to persons in their favor. The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Hector Peguero, said that the PRD congressmen voted for the bill because the state "robbed" Channel 6 from a leader of that party.
The bill originally contemplated measures whereby the frequency would have to be returned to the state television station, RTVD.
The debated clause establishes that companies that have licenses or have acquired rights in the UHF range, and that need to be relocated, will be located in frequencies that are compatible with the service. The bill also lifts the prohibition for new radio and TV permits, without affecting licenses granted.
Danilo Medina, Secretary of the Presidency, said that the case of Channel 6 and Channel 5 is a matter for Dominican courts and not Congress. This debate is an issue dating back to the days of the Balaguer administration.
The government announced it would veto the bill and submit a new telecommunications bill in February, prepared with the consensus of involved parties and the United Nations.

U.S. firm may build major power plant
Hoy newspaper revealed that the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad has chosen a U.S. firm, with which final details are being worked out, for the construction of a 300 megawatt plant at a cost of US$260 million. Cogentrix Energy, from Charlotte, North Carolina, was pre-selected. The plant would enter into operation at the end of year 2000 as per the schedule. Cogentrix is associated with the British company, Scotia Energy of Glasgow in this venture.

President Fernández to travel to Honduras
President Leonel Fernández will fly to Honduras for the swearing in of the new chief of state of that Central American nation, engineer Carlos Roberto Flores, scheduled for 27 January. The press department of the Presidency said that the Dominican statesman would depart for Honduras after attending the celebrations here for Juan Pablo Duarte, father of the country. He will travel in a private jet and be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Relations, Eduardo Latorre. His return is scheduled for 27 January, following the inaugural ceremony.

Phony software CDs confiscated
Customs confiscated a cargo of falsified Microsoft Office 97 software in CDs, with an estimated value of RD$740,000. The Business Software Alliance, and its Dominican branch, Asociación Dominicana de Productos de Software (Prosoft) had alerted the District Attorney about the cargo. The falsified CDs, found inside a box of soup, were declared as music CDs. The Listín Diario did not reveal the name of the computer company involved.

Government has Internet site
The Dominican government address on the Internet is http://www.presidencia.gov.do. Those wanting to send email to the Presidency may do so by writing to: [email protected]

Dominican is a Globetrotter
Did you know that a former national basketball team player, Orlando Antigua, has been playing with the Harlem Globetrotters for over a year now. Orlando Antigua was born in La Vega but migrated to the United States as a child. He now tours the world with the popular group that recently played their 20,000th game in 72 years on the road.

Licey continues to lead baseball tournament
The Licey continued on its way to winning the Dominican Winter Baseball League championship by defeating the Estrellas 5-3 yesterday. The Licey leads the league with 8 games won and only two games lost. The Aguilas Cibaeñas are in second place, three games behind. They are followed by the Leones del Escogido, four games behind and the Estrellas Orientales, five games behind. Today, the Estrellas will face the Escogido in the Santo Domingo Quisqueya Ball Park. Licey will be confronting the Aguilas at the Estadio Cibao in Santiago.

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