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Daily News - 30 January 1998

New York City experts to help organize traffic
The Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET), the Dominican government organization in charge of organizing transport in Santo Domingo, announced the signing of an agreement with the Center for Research of Transport of the City College of New York (CCNY) to train its personnel. Robert Paaswell signed for the New York college and Hamlet Hermann for the Dominican organization. The AMET is responsible for improving the flow of traffic in the city of Santo Domingo. It scored with the acceptance of the city's first exclusive bus lane along the 27 de Febrero Avenue expressway.

Municipal and congressional electoral campaigns now open
The Junta Central Electoral, the Dominican government organization in charge of organizing elections, officially opened the municipal and congressional electoral campaign. All political campaigning must end 48 hours before Election Day, on 16 May 1998. Parties must register their candidates by 17 March. Nineteen parties have registered in an attempt to win the 15 major positions and the same number of vice mayors, eight more than in the elections of 1994. There will be 30 senatorial positions and 149 deputies elected to National Congress, 29 more than 1994. Some 756 aldermen will also be elected. The Junta Central Electoral's financial assistance to the parties for campaigns will be delivered on 27 March. The Junta Central Electoral said that all civic organizations, political parties and the government should unite efforts so that the abstention in the elections not be more than in the last election, that was about 21%.

Government inaugurates tourism port terminal
President Leonel Fernández presided over the inauguration of the Don Diego tourism terminal and a smaller ship terminal located at the Ozama River and Avenida del Puerto in Santo Domingo. The terminals were blessed by Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez and were built over a period of more than 10 years as part of the urban renewal works that integrated the port of Santo Domingo and adjacent areas to the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. The larger Don Diego 3,046 square meter terminal was built using the same base as the original warehouse on the site.
The executive director of the Dominican Port Authority, José Antonio Fernández Collado, spoke of the boom in cruise ship traffic. In 1996 some 110,936 passengers visited the Dominican Republic in 155 cruise ships. In 1997, 270,830 passengers arrived in 229 cruise ships, for a 144.1% increment over the previous year. On Sundays, three cruise ships dock at the port. Prospects are for an increase in traffic this year.
The terminal includes a large lobby, migration and customs area for travelers, and a shopping section, along with administration areas. The terminal has the capacity to handle two cruise ships simultaneously, or some 3,500 passengers. Sixteen buses can be accommodated at the same time and there is parking for vehicles and taxis. The terminal has a marble floor and features telephone and even cable TV services for the comfort of the travelers. Architect Ruddy Arias designed a mural that tells the history of the island from pre-Columbian times. The smaller port is located 150 meters away. Initially it has been said it will serve the ferry that would transport passengers and their vehicles from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. There is speculation as to whether the Puerto Rican ferry will come at all, but in case it does not serve the ferry the terminal can be used for smaller cruise ships and visiting boats. The terminals took over 10 years to be completed as part of the remodelling works of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo.

Peña is back and ready to campaign
Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), returned yesterday after days in the United States where he traveled for his periodical medical checkup. Peña Gómez suffers from cancer of the pancreas. He said that he would personally head his party's electoral campaign to counteract the resources the government is placing at the service of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana candidates. He accused the government of President Leonel Fernández and the PLD of buying PRD politicians. Referring to his health he said that his condition is "completely stable" and that his illness has been "neutralized." He said that his physicians have authorized his political activities in a normal manner, as long as he alternates these with rest periods. He was received enthusiastically by followers at Las Americas International Airport and all route leading into Santo Domingo.

President gets stuck in an elevator
President Leonel Fernandez, aides and a group of journalists, were trapped on Tuesday, 27 January inside the elevator of the Hotel Honduras Maya, where the Dominican statesman and six other chiefs of state who attended the inaugural of the new Honduran President were stayed in Tegucigalpa from 26 January to 27 January. It took technicians of the hotel some 15 minutes to get the elevator running again. The trapped Dominicans were able to force an opening in the elevator for ventilation. Once the elevator worked again, the group abandoned the elevator on the seventh floor and stook the stairs to the 10th floor to the presidential suite where the President was scheduled for a press conference. The journalists joked that everything said inside the elevator was "off record."

A beautiful Dominican dies tragically
Twenty-year old model Melisandra Soriano was in the wrong place at the wrong time yesterday. She was crossing the John F. Kennedy Avenue at 4 pm with a friend when she died crushed by steel rods that fell from a truck that had made a violent turn to the right trying to avoid crashing into another vehicle. Melisandra was on her way to pay her cellular phone bill. Her friend suffered an arm injury.

D.A. says telecommunications bill was falsified
District Attorney Francisco Domínguez Brito sent to the Attorney General conclusions of investigations into the alleged adultering of the telecommunications bill passed by Congress. He confirmed that changes do not correspond with what was approved during the congressional session. The differences revolve around clause 119.3 of the bill. President Leonel Fernández vetoed the bill and said he would submit a new one.

Dominican vies to retain his world boxing title
Dominican World Boxing Association medium weight title holder Julio Cesar Green said he is optimistic he will retain his championship in a return bout against Williams Joppy, set for Saturday, 31 January in Tampa, Florida. Green is the first and only Dominican to win a world title in the 160 weight category. He said he has prepared well for the fight. Green has won 22 victories, of which 15 have been by knockout. He has suffered two defeats in his professional boxing career. With this fight he hopes to consolidate himself as a world champion in order to be eligible for better money bouts.

Mets president meets with President Fernández
Fred Wilpon, president of the New York Mets, met with President Leonel Fernández yesterday at the National Palace. President Fernández reminisced that as a teenager, when he lived in New York, he would run behind the buses of the Mets and the Giants. Wilpon informed the President of his plans to build an academy for the Mets in Santo Domingo. Bobby Valentine of the Mets promised the President to lobby for the cooperation of Major League team organizations to donate computers for the public schools program of the government. The President has already enlisted the Dominican Major League baseball players in this effort. There was talk that next year all general managers of the Major League teams meet here. This would be the first time the general managers annual meeting would be held outside the United States. Minister of Sports Juan Marichal, a Major League baseball great, introduced the Mets executives to the President.

Aguilas Cibaeñas win at home
Santiago de los Caballeros partied all night after the Aguilas Cibaeñas won their third consecutive title of the Dominican Winter Baseball League. It had been 12 years since the Aguilas had won a championship in their home city stadium. The Aguilas defeated the Licey in a dramatic game that ended 7-6. It was the sixth of a series of seven games, the first to win four.
Tony Peña, manager of the team, was the hero of the game. Tony Peña became the first manager to win a championship in his first year as manager. With the bases full, and after two strikes, Peña batted a fly to the central field that drove in the final run that sealed the victory for the Aguilas. This was Peña's last turn in professional baseball, as he had announced he was retiring as a player this year. Catcher and designated batter Guillermo García was elected the Most Valuable Player of the finals. In last night's game, he batted for a three-run homerun in the third inning when the Aguilas were losing, 0-4, helps with the two runs of the sixth inning and batted for hit in the ninth, in spite of Jose Mesa's pitching.
The losing manager of the Licey, Dave Jauss, told the press, "I take my hat off to Peña." He admitted they played better in the important moments of the game.
This is the 14th championship that the Aguilas win since the start of organized baseball in the D.R. in 1951. The Aguilas are also the Caribbean Series champions. The Aguilas Cibaeñas will represent the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series that opens in Puerto de la Cruz, Venezuela on 4 February. They will match teams from Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

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