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Daily News - 17 February 1998

Measures to combat drunk driving to be enforced
The Ministry of Health asked for quotations from a U.S. company for the purchase of thousands of Breathalyzers, an apparatus that measures the amount of alcohol in drivers. Dr. Nazaret Hasbun, deputy minister in charge of the Program for the Prevention of Deaths due to Traffic Accidents, said that the apparatus will be given to police for use on avenues and streets throughout the country. This would be the first time the nation would be enforcing serious controls against drunk driving. Dr. Hasbún said the program he directs, that will begin soon, alsoincludes the enforcement of speed limits on principal highways and an important emphasis on educating drivers. In 1997, there were 3,050 deaths in traffic accidents, which he said is an alarming number. On the early morning of Sunday, 15 February, the 24-year old son of the president of the Dominican Olympic Committee, was killed instantly, the victim of a drunken truck driver.

Students of closed medical schools will have to repeat courses
Students of the Universidad Federico Henríquez y Carvajal (UFHEC) and the Universidad Eugenio María de Hostos (UNIREMHOS) may have to repeat up to 50% of the courses already taken. The med schools were closed by presidential degree last week. The measure affects 2% of the total number of students at medical schools here, some 10,596. Dominican universities require students to complete at least 50% of their studies at the center in order to issue a diploma. The closing of the two universities that provided medical courses in English affects 137 students at the UFHEC and 143 at the UNIREMHOS. Other institutions that offer studies in English are the Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA), the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) and the Universidad Central del Este (UCE).
The CONES (National Council for Superior Education) stated that the measure affects only 2% of the students, of a total 10,596 that study medicine in the country.
CONES rulings state that the organization will assist affected students so that they can transfer to other legally recognized Dominican universities.
Members of CONES are Josefina Pimentel, representing the Ministry of Education; Elizabeth de Windt, president of the Association of Superior Studies (ASIES); Architect Eduardo Selman, Technical Secretary of the Presidency; Edylberto Cabral, rector of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the government university; Luis Naut, representative of the Dominican Association of Universities (ADOU); Carmen Salce, representative of the Private Business Council (CONEP); Priamo Rodríguez, president of the Dominican Association of Universities; Rafael D. Toribio, representative of the Dominican Association of University Rectors (ADRU); Hugo Mendoza, member; Rafael Kasse Acta (member). Príamo Rodríguez is also dean of the Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA), a university that offers instruction in English; and Rafael D. Toribio, is rector of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC).
An evaluation carried out by CONES of the UFHEC and UNIREMHOS medical schools showed the following violations:
 
1. Violation of the center's own admission and registration rules.
 
2. High percentage of the students' records and graduates' records were incomplete. High school diplomas and grades from the previous university were missing.
 
3. Irregularities in the grading of students.
 
4. Excessive credits per term. Some students were allowed more than 50 credits per four-month period.
 
5. Irregularities in the validation of subjects from other universities. Some subjects were validated without proof that these had been taken in another institution.
 
6. Issuing of diplomas to students who did not fulfill academic requirements of the university as per the pensum.
 
7. Unfulfillment of the CONES standards in regards to duration of the academic studies and internship period.
 
8. Failure of school laboratories to meet minimum requirements established by CONES.
 
9. Failure of school libraries to meet minimum requirements for the number of students at the university.
 
10. Absence of adequate policies for the hiring, training, and evaluation of university professors.
 
11. Deficiencies in the study programs, follow up and control of the academic activities of the schools.
 
12. Excessive flexibility in the grading of students.
 
13. Opening of unauthorized extensions, schools or careers.

Attorney General would like to see law schools closed
The Attorney General Abel Rodríguez del Orbe has recommended that the Consejo Nacional de Educación Superior close most of the law schools in the country because "they are producing lawyers incapable of practicing law." He said that schools are graduating more lawyers than needed. He recommended that newly graduated lawyers be required to complete two-year internships and later be tested by a grand jury made up by members of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Attorney General's office, the Lawyers' College and the universities. He said that the poor formation of newly graduated lawyers was apparent when the Supreme Court of Justice traveled to Montecristi to interview candidates for judges.
The president of the CONES, licenciado Alejandrina Germán, informed El Caribe newspaper that the evaluation of the law schools is on her agenda for this year.

PRSC flirting with opposition parties
The acting president of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC), Donald Reid Cabral, told Hoy newspaper that the PRSC could ally with the government party, the Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana (PLD). Reid Cabral said that the party is carrying out polls among members to determine with whom to ally for the May 16, 1998 municipal and congressional elections. He said that while the party has held talks with the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), there is nothing concrete yet. The Listin Diario reported on the other hand that Federico Antún Battle says that the party would prefer to go alone.

Bacteria kills three newborn babies at government maternity ward
The representative of the Unicef in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Osvaldo Legón, confirmed that three newborn babies died at the Centro Infantil San Lorenzo de los Mina, infected by pseudomona aureginosa bacteria. He said that the authorities of the children and maternity hospital should take drastic measures to erradicate the bacteria from that center, including the closing of entire wards. The director of the hospital, Mario Geraldino, said that two of the babies were underweight, weighing in 0.6 and 0.8 grams. The government hospital has had an increase in demand, following the closure of the city's main maternity ward, the Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, for remodelling. The Listin Diario reported that technicians from the Ministry of Public Health were hard at work, taking cultures of the waters, floors, and equipment of the center to determine where the bacteria is being lodged.

President Fernández to travel to Chile's Summit of the Americas
President Leonel Fernandez will travel to Chile on 17 April to attend the Summit of the Americas. The event, sponsored by the U.S. government, is a follow-up to the first summit held in 1994 in Miami, Florida. Some 33 heads of state of the Americas are expected to join U.S. President Bill Clinton for the work sessions that will take place 18 and 19 April at the Santiago Sheraton. President Joaquin Balaguer represented the D.R. in the summit held in 1994.
The Listin Diario reported that the President Fernández would take advantage of the event to lobby for the admission of the D.R. to the South American Common Market (Mercosur).
President Fernandez will first travel to Panama, from which he will take the Chile Air Force flight, along with the heads of state of Central America.

The Caribbean drug connection
Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre will meet tomorrow in Washington, D. C. with U.S. Secretary of State, Madeline Albright. On the agenda is the discussion of drug trafficking and money laundering in the Caribbean. The D.R. is center point in the Caribbean connection. Reportedly, drugs enter the D.R. by way of Haiti and then are shipped by small boats to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is an ideal transshipment point as there are no customs controls between the island and continental U.S.A. The Listin Diario reported that the U.S. seeks that the D.R. allow U.S. Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Agency boats to patrol Dominican territorial waters.
 
The newspaper also reported that the U.S. authorities are very interested in making an example out of the Luis Horacio Cano case in which four Dominicans are involved, two of which are renown businessmen accused of money laundering in the Dominican Republic. The U.S. has requested the extradition of Dominican businessmen Ricardo (Tito) Hernández, owner of the Aguilas Cibaeñas (Caribbean Series title holders), and Edmon Elías, owner and operator of several casinos and night clubs in the D.R.

Foreign investment in tourism industry
According to Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez, the tourism industry accounts for the largest real estate investment in the country. The tourism industry also represents the largest foreign investment in economic sectors.
At the end of 1996, the investment in hotels in this country reached RD$17,899 million, or a total US$1,243 million invested in 35,729 hotel rooms operating in the D.R.
 
Spanish investors own 46 hotels, or 9.5% of the total number of hotels, and13,290 rooms, equivalent to 37.2% of the total rooms in the country. Spanish investors build large hotels.
Italian investors are responsible for 13 hotels with 1,357 rooms, or 3.8% of the total rooms.
 
Other nationalities, U.S., Canadian, German, Austrian, French, Cuban-North American, do not individually account for more than 2% of the total number of rooms.
 
Hotel chains operate 20,330 rooms for 56.9% of the total of rooms.
Dominican ownership is responsible for 14,621 rooms, or 40.92% of the total.
Mixed capital, as registered at the Ministry of Tourism, operates 778 rooms, equivalent to 2.18%.

New accredited diplomats
President Leonel Fernández accredited the new ambassador for the European Union in the D.R., Roger Lendeers, and the Ambassador of Sweden, Hans Linton, in a ceremony at the National Palace. Mr. Lendeers, born in Belgium in 1938, is a graduate of industrial engineering and agronomy. He has held positions in Surinam, Guinea, and Namibia. Mr. Linton, has held diplomatic office in Geneva, Lima, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Peru, and Bolivia.

President of Chamber of Deputies reverts sanction
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rafael Peguero Méndez lifted the sanction on deputy Andrés Vanderhorst. Méndez had all but ousted Vanderhorst from the Chamber after the latter questioned the honesty of deputies when he stated that stacks of money had been distributed for the passing of the telecommunications bill. Public opinion converted Vanderhorst into a victim.

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