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Daily News - 29 January 1998

More about the new power units
The general manager of the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad, Temístocles Montás, assured the nation that the electricity service would improve considerably before summer with the installation of the five new turbine power plants purchased from the French company, GEC Alsthom. Montás travelled to France to visit the headquarters of the European Gas Turbine, the subsidiary of GEC Alsthom building the plants, that will have a combined capacity of 170 megawatts. The company has committed to their installation in six month's time. Didier Forget, general director of the company, said that they would deliver the plants before deadline. Montás also met with executives of Siemens in Germany. Siemens is in charge of the construction of another unit that will generate 100 megawatts.

UN director would like to see more jobs created
The director of the United Nations Development Program in the Dominican Republic, Paolo Oberti, said yesterday that the economic growth the country has experimented has not filtered down to the poor. Addressing the audience at the monthly luncheon of the American Chamber of Commerce, he said that an improvement in the education system is not an antidote against poverty and that the best vaccine to overcome this critical situation is the multiplication of dignified, well remunerated and stable jobs.
He said that industrial restructuring should be a national priority, with the implementation of an innovative program to support micro, small and medium-sized companies, adding that the United Nations contributed US$15 million to development programs in the D.R. in 1997.
"The vigorous return of the D.R. to the international scenario is notable and with this the country can aspire to become a much more dynamic partner; receive more resources, obtain a larger bureaucratic quota and aspire to occupy an important position, such as member of the Security Council of the United Nations," he continued.
He had praise for what he called the permanent peace in the nation, where the common good is above individual interests.

Bus unions clash with police
Union members of the Federación Nacional de Transporte La Nueva Opcion (Fenatrano) and the Central Nacional de Transportistas Unfiicados (CNTU) clashed with police units in charge of the new order on the 27 de Febrero Avenue expressway, an exclusive bus lane established by the government with new buses to service the public. The clashes were expected. The buses seek to maintain the right to transit on the route. The public overwhelmingly prefers the new buses, affecting the union's stronghold over the route that had been serviced precariously for the past 20 years by a multiplicity of dilapidated buses, voladoras (minibuses) and conchos (multiple fare-paying passenger taxis).
The Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares, Sindicales y Choferiles, a union of unions, announced that in protest it would paralyze its public transport vehicles from 6 am to 9:30 am today. The National Police said it will be pressing charges against union leaders Fernando Peña, Juan Hubieres, and 31 other chauffeurs arrested yesterday. National Police spokesman Simón Antonio Díaz said that they will be accused of obstaculizing transit and street scandals.
Isidro Torres, spokesman for the Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares, Sindicales y Choferiles, told Hoy newspaper that "the government wants to exterminate them and take them out of the expressway." The old bus units are not permitted to transit on the exclusive bus lane.
More realistic vehicle owners chose to reduce their fares to RD$2.00 in order to compete with the government buses that are charging RD$3.00.
The new Metropolitan Authority of Transport said that the 27 de Febrero expressway buses are transporting around 100,000 passengers a day, and that the route has been a success. Public transport users have overwhelmingly preferred the new buses to other forms of transportion.
Ramón Colombo, a morning radio show political analyst, said that the unions are fighting a losing battle as "99% of the population favors the new service."

Billboard pollution
The director of urbane transit unit of the Municipality of Santo Domingo, engineer Deligne Ascención Burgos, said that his department would remove all the billboards located on the central isles of the Avenida 27 de Febrero expressway that have not been authorized by city hall. He said owners of billboards in the intersection of Ortega y Gasset and 27 de Febrero have been notified to remove them promptly. Press reports have pointed out how Santo Domingo's skies are now affected with commercial billboards. Engineer Burgos admitted that the municipality allows more than the usual number of billboards during the electoral period, which he said lasts only 45 days. There was a proliferation of billboards installed for the 1996 campaign. Once the political propaganda was removed, a large number remained for commercial advertising contributing to the urban pollution of the streets of Santo Domingo.

Artists in politics
Roberto Salcedo, candidate for mayor for the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the government party, pointed out to Hoy newspaper that the selection of showbusiness figures as political candidates is proof that the political parties are in a crisis and that "voters want cleaner candidates."
In addition to Salcedo, Fernando Villalona, the nation's most popular singer of all times according to a Gallup poll, has been chosen by the PRSC to run for senator for Dajabón. Furthermore, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, candidate for mayor of Santo Domingo for the PRD, chose merengue legend, Johnny Ventura, as his candidate for vice-mayor for the municipality of Santo Domingo.
Salcedo said that with each passing day Dominicans are believing less in politicians. He said that a showbusiness personality running for office is nothing new, pointing to Ronald Reagan, the actor, who became President of the United States. He explained that if he is elected mayor he would not abandon his television work. He said that family members would carry on.
Salcedo said that if he is elected, he would divide the city's administration into four areas.
Salcedo is not a member of the PLD, but he says he shares the party's philosophy of order and discipline.

Remove the controversy, pass telecommunciations bill
Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez favored the passing of the telecommunications bill, without the conflicting 119.3 clause. "I believe that what should be done is remove the part that favors Channel 5, and the part that affects Gómez Díaz, and that it all be neutral," he said in a telephone interview from Miami. Emendments to the telecommunications bill included the clause that regards the concession of the government television station channel for political reasons. Peña Gómez confirmed his return today at 2 pm. The Executive Branch, vetoed the bill and said it would submit a new one when Congress opens on 27 February. Telecommunications companies - Tricom and Codetel - fear the new confrontation between Congress and the Executive Branch might result in the important telecommunications bill not being passed at all.

Mets want a Dominican baseball academy
Fred Wilpon, president of the New York Mets, announced in Santo Domingo yesterday that the team will build a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic to train young Dominicans. He said that the team expects to attract local players as well as other Latin American players to the training camp. The site has not been chosen yet. At a press conference held at the Hotel Jaragua, the Mets president said he wants to foster closer ties with the Dominican community living in New York. The Mets are represented in Santo Domingo by Eddy Toledo. Wilpon was accompanied in his visit by Dave Howard, senior vice president; Mark Bingham, senior vice president and director of marketing, radio and TV; Steve Phillips, general manager. Omar Minaya, assistant to the general manager of the Mets, said that the team plans to establish a working agreement with one of the six Dominican winter baseball league clubs. The Mets concluded their working agreement with the Licey Tigers last year.

Licey defeats Aguilas
The Licey Tigers defeated the Aguilas Cibaeñas in the battle for the pennant of the Dominican Winter Professional Baseball League. The Licey Tigers won the game 8-2 in their home stadium in Santo Domingo, the Quisqueya. The Aguilas had won the past two games and had they won yesterday's game, they would have been crowned champions. The next game will be played at the Aguilas' home stadium, in Santiago de los Caballeros. Since the Aguilas lead 3-2 if they win the fourth game today, they will win the series. The Licey Tigers need to win tonight's game to tie the series.
A new record attendance is expected. The winner of the series here will represent the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series to be held in Venezuela, against teams from Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.
Today's game is scheduled to be held at the Estadio Cibao at 7:30 pm. Licey's opening pitcher will be Carlos Perez. The Aguilas will open with Julian Tavarez.

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