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Daily News - 16 January 1998

US$42 million to reform health sector
The World Bank will contribute US$30 million loan to a Dominican government health care project. The US$42 million program will decentralize health care, making medical services more accessible to indigent Dominicans, with a focus on women and children. Dr. Alberto Fiallo Billini, coordinator of the Executive Commission for the Reform of the Health Sector, said that the World Bank loan is a transcendental step ahead in the reform of the Dominican health sector.

Gas stations demand drop in gasoline prices
The spokesman for the Asociación Nacional de Detallistas de Gasolina, which groups gas stations in the Dominican Republic, said that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should not wait for popular sectors to pressure for a decline in the prices of gasoline. General Hector Valenzuela said that the government should apply its own Resolution 128-96, which provides for a decline in prices every time international prices drop. The ruling states that the government will publish every Friday a listing of the price of gasoline and gasoil, which will fluctuate depending on the fluctuations in the cost of fuel purchased by the government. Press reports indicate that the price of fuel has declined 30% since October.

No more red dye for voter's index finger
The Junta Central Electoral, in charge of organizing elections in the Dominican Republic, announced a consensus of political parties to eliminate the indelible red dye used to mark the index finger of the right hand of those voting. The colegios cerrados , or closed voting stations, that were used in the 1996 presidential election for the first time and will again be used in the 1998 congressional and municipal election, make it nearly impossible for a person to vote twice.
The Junta Central Electoral chose the new board that presides over the Junta Central Electoral del Distrito Nacional. The new board would be made up by Ana Teresa Pérez, María Engracia Franjul de Abatte, Juan Francisco Puello Herrera, Antoliano Peralta Romero and Mu Kien Sang Ben.

Controversy in the making
The Constitution does not contemplate the position of vice mayor as approved by Congress, and thus the Junta Central Electoral ruled yesterday that in the congressional and municipal elections of this year the post of vice mayor, as established by new law 23-98, will not appear on the ballot. This should bring much controversy, especially since the vice mayor is an important position for parties such as the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, which has chosen a popular figure such as Johnny Ventura for the position, given the health conditions of its self-proclaimed candidate for mayor, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez. The president of the JCE, Dr. Juan Sully Bonnelly, has said that the Constitution only contemplates the position of substitute for mayor. The Listín Diario reported that affected parties could take the case before the Supreme Court of Justice.

Privatizing the CDE
The Dominican government has opened a tender to pre-qualify companies interested in investing in the Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDE), and participating in the generation of electricity and distribution of electricity. Those interested should address the Comisión de Reforma de la Empresa Publica at Gustavo Mejía Ricart No. 73, corner Agustín Lara, Ensanche Serrallés, 7th floor, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, Tel. (809) 683-3307, Fax (809) 683-3888, email: [email protected]
More information is available at Salomon Smith Barney, Seven World Trade Center, New York, NY 10048, att: Andrew Dyson, director, Tel. (212) 783-6018, Fax (212) 783,4164, email: [email protected]
Salomon Smith Barney, Ernest & Young/Synex and other consultants are participating in the project to capitalize the Itabo and Haina electricity complexes, with a capacity of 575 mw and 670 mw respectively, and the creation of distribution companies in the north, south and east, that respectively serve 379,000, 396,000 and 359,000 clients.

Large turnout at wake of popular singer
The wake for modern Dominican merengue music performer, Jayson González, of the musical group Ilegales, established a new record in attendance at the Funeraria Blandino. Security personnel of the funeral house had to designate lines so that the thousands that came to say goodbye and offer condolescences to relatives could enter in an orderly fashion. Thousands of his fans also attended the burial at the Cristo Redentor Cemetery. The local press dedicated front page photos and multiple page spreads to the funeral services. The funeral was transmitted by major news agencies, including live coverage by the Spanish language version of CNN. The group has a future presentation scheduled at the important Latin music festival of Viñas del Mar in Chile. The group leaves for Costa Rica for a musical commitment tomorrow, as the show must go on.
The Ilegales began at the end of 1995 and has gained popularity in Mexico, Spain, United States, Venezuela and Central America for its catchy innovation of the merengue that brought about a new music, known as merenhouse, a combination of rock, rap, hip-hop and merengue. Its first hit was "La Morena."
Twenty-year old José Fermín (Jayson) González suffered a car crash on 13 December. It was said that the most serious of his wounds did not occur in the car crash but in his handling while he was being taken to the Darío Contreras Hospital, where he received the first assistance. He suffered from serious lesions to his spinal cord that resulted in paralysis from the head down. He spent almost a month in the intensive care units at the Universidad Central del Este Hospital and was transferred five days prior to his death to the military hospital, Hospital Central. He is survived by a five-month old daughter.
Wilfrido Vargas, one of the merengue maestros of all times, said at the wake, "The use of the seat belt is important...."

Fernandito Villalona to run for senator
Fernando Villalona, who a Gallup-Hoy poll rated as the most popular Dominican performer of all times, will run for senator for the frontier province of Dajabón. Villalona registered as a pre-candidate for the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) in the primary that is set to take place Saturday, 24 January. He is the only aspirant to the post for the PRSC. Villalona says he will not stop his artistic presentations if he wins the post. Villalona's sister is director of political sciences at the Universidad de la Tercera Edad.

Licey Tigers continue to lead
There seems to be no way of stopping the Licey Tigers in their quest for the 1997-98 Dominican Winter Baseball League Championship. Pitcher Carlos Pérez led the Tigers who defeated the Escogido 4-0 yesterday at the Quisqueya Ball Park. The Licey has set a record of most consecutive victories in a round robin with eight. The Licey leads with 10 games won against two lost and thus has ensured a place in the semifinals. The Aguilas Cibaeñas and the Escogido Lions, four games behind, are in a fight for second place. Today's games are scheduled as follows: Estrellas vs. Licey at the Quisqueya Ball Park, and Escogido vs. Aguilas in the Estadio Cibao.

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