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Daily News - 10 March 1998

President of World Bank visits
The president of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn, said that the World Bank would back the Fernández administration with the technical and financial assistance necessary to implement reforms and developmental projects decided upon during the National Dialogue (talks held over a period of four months throughout the entire country to define the national priorities into the year 2000). Wolfensohn praised the National Dialogue, the initiative of President Leonel Fernández that sought to establish the base for a new kind of democracy - participative democracy. Wolfensohn said the World Bank would help finance projects in the areas of health, education, energy, highway construction and natural resources.
During his visit, Wolfensohn signed a US$3 million loan for environmental assistance and another for US$30 million that will primarily fund women's health programs in rural areas. In addition to the new programs, the World Bank has US$250 million to fund multiple development programs in the Dominican Republic.
Wolfensohn said the country has made great strides in economic aspects. He promised to help the president by working together to achieve specific objectives of reducing poverty and improving health and education services available to the poor. He also said the World Bank is studying assisting tourism and financial sector projects.
Wolfensohn told the press that the World Bank's International Finance Corporation would open an office this year in Santo Domingo.
Wolfensohn also said he would use all his influence as president of the World Bank to help resolve the differences between the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad, the government electricity utility, and the private energy generation company that has installed the Smith-Enron plant in Puerto Plata. The government and Smith-Enron have a dispute that revolves around clauses in the contract whereby the CDE states that the private company seeks to charge for installed capacity rather than for energy served.
The president of the World Bank visited Santo Domingo with two officers of the International Finance Corporation, economists Vivek Talvadkar and Apinas Suebsaeng, to discuss the Smith-Enron case, which he described as "difficult", but said that every effort would be made to find a "sensible solution" to the conflict.
The IFC is involved in the conflict as the World Bank division was one of the financiers of the project, in violation of internal regulations that require a tender be held and projects guaranteed by the government.

Major force combats drug trafficking in Caribbean
Major General Andres R. Apolinar Disla, chief of the Dominican Army, confirmed that the marine infantry of the United States is patrolling international waters adjacent to this nation's territorial waters in a joint operation with the Dominican Army and Navy. As of March 1, the 90-day Frontier Lance Operation began. The operation seeks to limit activity of drug traffickers operating the Colombia-Haiti-Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico-United States drug route and using Dominican territorial waters. According to the Listin Diario, the naval convoy consists of a destroyer and seven warships, with from 4,000 to 5,500 military personnel on board. The destroyer is equipped with Apache helicopters.

Mutiny in Najayo jail
Over a dozen inmates were injured and one stabbed in a four-hour uprising at the Carcel Preventiva de Najayo, in San Cristóbal. Prisoners burned beds and called out loudly asking that the new warden be removed. They were protesting losing their privileges, the reduction in visit days, and the ban on visitors bringing canned foods into the prison. Police Swat team chief, General Bienvenido Manzueta, was called in to quell the revolt. Police chief General Sanz Jiminián ordered an in-depth investigation into the case and protests against the new warden, Colonel Eddy de los Santos. Police spokesman, Colonel Simón Díaz, indicated that while the Police is not responsible for the administration of the jail, it is responsible for the custody of the jail. The Police shot tear gas inside the jail. The revolting prisoners calmed down when they were able to communicate with press representatives to express their demands. Other demands include that inmates not be required to have a cedula to leave the jail, as many do not have this legal identification. Press reports indicated that several inmates communicated with the press using the many cellular telephones and beepers they have been allowed to keep.

Tragic swim on Saturday
Rescue workers, including an airplane and helicopter of the National Police, and dozens of friends and relatives were not able to locate the corpses of two of three brothers who drowned in the Najayo Beach on Saturday, 7 March. The three brothers, Hector, Francisco, and Roberto German Encarnacion and brother-in-law, Puerto Rican Miguel Marquez drowned. Civil Defense workers say that what most likely happened was that an undercurrent 300 meters from the beach area caught one of the brothers, pulling him into a deep trough. The other three died trying to rescue him. The brothers were bathing in a beach area that is considered off limits to bathing. With the exception of Roberto, whose wife will give birth to their first son in a month, the brothers were single. They were the sons of retired Police colonel Ramón Emilio Germán and Nilda Encarnación. The couple has four other children, Alberto, Josefina, Margarita and Emilio Germán. The brothers were university students or worked at private companies in Santo Domingo. They lived in the Herrera district.

Record activity at Santo Domingo tourism port
A new activity record was established at the Port of Santo Domingo over the weekend when four cruisers docked simultaneously. Port Authority spokesman Roberto Claudio said that over 3,000 passengers arrived at the port over the weekend, using the four docks.
Sans Souci, on the eastern side, hosted the "Esmeralda", which came from St. Thomas with 960 passengers, mostly British. The ship was en route to Guadeloupe.
The Cristopher Columbus Ferry dock hosted the "Bolero", from St. Lucia, with some 536 passengers on board, mostly Canadians. The ship came from St. Croix and was on its way to St. Lucia.
The "Island Breeze," with some 714 passengers on board, mostly French, docked at the Don Diego Port. This ship had come from St. Lucia and was on its way to Curacao. Also docking at the Don Diego terminal was the "Calypso", with 218 passengers from Tortola, on its way to La Guajira, Venezuela, with mostly German tourists.
Santo Domingo is becoming one of the most sought after port terminals, given that the new port docks are steps away from the attractive Colonial City of Santo Domingo.

Sports writers choose athletes of the year
The Asociación de Cronistas Deportivos, the Santo Domingo sports writers association, chose the best athletes of 1997 in a ceremony sponsored by the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana that produces Presidente beer and Malta Morena.
Athlete of the year: Pedro Martinez
Sport of the year: volleyball
Swimming: Guillermo Cabrera, Shaderska Perez
Weightlifting: Carlos Holguin, Wanda Rijo
Golf: Robert Smith, Dominique Gagnon
Volleyball: José Adames, Nurys Arias
Motociclismo: Aris Azcona
Auto racing: Adriano Abreu
Track and field: Julio Luciano, Elisa Perez
Basketball: Franklin Western, Laritza Díaz
Chess: Jose Manuel Dominguez, Esther Garcia Portes.
Bowling: Victor Richard Jr., Aumi Guerra.
Professional baseball: Jose Oliva
Soccer: Oscar Mejia
Amateur baseball: Robert Acosta
Gymnastics: Wilson Balley, Daryelisa Portorreal
Karate: Alberto Zabala, Betty Acevedo
Tae Kwon Do: Naciri Perez and Wendy Grullon
Table tennis: May Hernandez, Mary Rodriguez
Skeet: Manuel de Jesus Figuereo, Yuberka Espinal.
Shooting: Eduardo Sella Leon
Sailing: Jose Adames.
Enrique Bonetti: polo
Volleyball: Felipe Henriquez, Nurys Arias.
Motocross: Franklin Noguera
Cycling: Wendy Cruz, Amelia Blanco
Triathlon: Roberto Nunez, Judith Hernandez
Equestrian: Gabriella Porello Lovaton,
Tennis: Rodrigo Vallejo, Glenis Cepeda.
Handball: Evelin Soto, Manuel Sepulveda
Go Kart: Carlos Arturo Vasquez
Professional Boxing: Julio Cesar Green
Amateur boxing: Jairo David Gonel.
Softball: Modesto Figuereo
Racquetball: Leonel Simo, Claudine Garcia.
Judo: Jose Vicbart Geraldino, Dulce Maria Piña.
Fishing: Luis Viyella, Ana de Marrero

Major restructuring reinforces financial controls at Public Works
In a follow-up story to the appointment of engineer Diandino Peña as Minister of Public Works, the Listin Diario reported on major administrative restructuring at the ministry. Diandino Peña was known as one of the key financiers of the political aspirations of President Fernandez, and prior to his new position he was administrative secretary for the Presidency, the man who had administered the budgetary assignations of the different government departments.
The Listin reports that the new minister's office now directly controls the Comisión de Concursos y Sorteos, the ministerial department in charge of organizing tenders and granting public works. Also directly under the minister is the Comisión de Avalúo, the appraisal of public works construction department, and the press department. He eliminated the controller's office at the ministry, giving the responsibilities to the Gerencia Financiera (finances department), which will now be under the Dirección General Administrativa where he appointed a new officer. Furthermore, the Listin reports that there is no longer a general audit department at the Ministry, replacing this with a internal audit department that is subordinate to the Finance Department.
Jose Felix Marrero, the new administrative director of the ministry, says the reorganization avoids work duplication, and that the concentration of the administrative efforts in one office will permit greater control over finances, drastically reducing waste.

President of Senate offers to cooperate with National Dialogue
The president of the Senate, Amable Aristy Castro, said that Congress would approve initiatives from the National Dialogue that contribute to the well-being of the majority. "We have to wait to analyze the National Dialogue initiatives but we can assure everyone that the Senate will not abstain from taking measures that would benefit the majority of the people," he said.

Miss USA to be seen on TV
Telemicro Canal 5 TV announced it would transmit Miss USA 98 at 10 pm, Dominican time today. The pageant will be transmitted live from the CBS telecast. Some 51 American beauties will represent the United States in this 47th version of the annual pageant.

Political propaganda pollutes Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo residents are suffering the eyesore of a city saturated with political propaganda, even though the municipal and congressional campaign will open later this month. Signs, posters and banners saturate most city intersections and streets in heavily transited areas. Franklin Almeyda, who is running for senator on the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, and Roberto Salcedo, running for mayor, have the biggest signs. City hall has said it will prohibit political propaganda in parks and nearby traffic lights.

Electoral court turns down proposal for plebiscite
The president of the Junta Central Electoral, Dr. Juan Sully Bonnelly, said that those who have proposed the placement of boxes at the electoral tables so that voters can be polled on whether the constitution should be reformed to allow for presidential re-election, can forget about it. Dr. Sully Bonnelly said that President Leonel Fernández, who opposed the proposal when it came up at the National Dialogue, was right for the right reasons. Dr. Sully Bonnelly concurred with the President that a plebiscite as a way to reform the Constitution is not legal in the Dominican Republic.

Taxi driver wins RD$29.9 million playing Lotto
Friends and neighbors of 44-year old Alcibiades Mariñez Espinosa saw him for only half an hour after the taxi driver won RD$29.9 million by guessing the Lotto. Mariñez moved to an unknown address with his 17 year old son Oscar Eduardo and 12-year old son Alcibiades. A third son, 4-year old José, and mother Flores Cuevas, live in New York. Hoy newspaper reported they will be back in Santo Domingo to formally receive the prize money. Maríñez worked as a taxi driver for the Taxi Leo company and lived in the slum area of La Chivera, in the Cristo Rey section. He filled out the winning ticket at a liquor store in Villa Mella. Hoy reports that he said he would buy a house with the money, and then decide what to do with the rest.

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