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Daily News - 20 March 1998

Infertility in couples is up
A Dominican physician says that there has been a significant increase in infertility in Dominican couples during the past 15 years. Gynecologist Raul Sanchez of the Instituto Clínico Quirúrgico San Rafael told Hoy newspaper that infertility problems affect between 20-25% of Dominican couples. He said one of the principal causes of infertility is the quality of the semen of Dominican men that has been affected by the modern lifestyle and the deteriorating environment. He said that while in the 80's there was a normal concentration of 60 million sperms per mililiter, this level is now down to 20 million sperms per mililiter.

Employees would accept 8% increase now
The Asociación de Empleados Universitarios accepted to cease in their forceful occupation of the financial, registration and academic coordination offices of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), the largest in the Dominican Republic. Union spokesmen said they would not reinitiate their work unless an agreement was reached with university authorities. President of the union, Fausto Herrera Catalino, made the announcement following mediation efforts of Professor José Silié Gatón. The union has paralyzed the university since 12 February, impeding the beginning of classes. This affects nearly 100,000 students.
The union has now reduced its demands for an increase in salary from 20 to 8%, although it says the remaining 12% would have to be incorporated in the 1999 budget of the state university. The union says that if this is accepted, the employees would be back at work on Monday, 23 March. The union also demands that the 13 union members that were expulsed be reintegrated and that the university housing plan to benefit employees commence this year. The university loses an estimated RD$2 milllion every day of the strike.

Peña against holding separate congressional and presidential elections
Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), and candidate for mayor of Santo Domingo for that party, mainly the PRD and the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC), said that the internal problems that have affected the leading political parties are an indication the country is not ready to hold congressional elections separately from the presidential elections. He said that while the government party can offer its members positions in government, and other financial assistance, the opposition parties are feeling the pressure of thousands of followers who aspire to the lucrative congressional and municipal positions.

Self-sufficient neighborhood started
With an investment of RD$770 million, the Consorcio Moya y Jorge inaugurated the construction of the first phase of the Ciudad Modelo Mirador Norte. President Leonel Fernández attended the opening of construction works head by engineer Diego de Moya and engineer Marcos Jorge Elías. In the first part, the consortium plans to build 12,000 dwellings. These apartments will cost from RD$600,000, RD$1 million or RD$2 million. Banco Popular, BHD, Baninter, Banco de Desarrollo Industrial and Banco de Reservas, are offering purchasers financing of up to 80% of the cost of the apartments. The mega neighborhood is located in an area of three kilometers long by one kilometer wide adjacent to the Mirador del Norte Park, the largest in the city. The housing project will have its own schools, sports areas, universities, commercial centers. What makes the project most attractive is that the builders guarantee those buying that they will have 24 hours of electricity as a 30 megawatt plant is being installed to service the community. The builders are also offering their own garbage disposal service and internal transportation, among other services.

Youngster cries out and spoils plan of 11 stowaways
Eleven persons, including two women and a minor, were detected within a container at Haina Port on 19 March. The container was opened after minor John Kelly Encarnación cried out for help as he felt he could hardly breathe. The container belonged to the Santo Domingo Action Park, and was part of several that are loaded with amusement park machines. Port, Migration and Navy authorities had also been alerted of the stowaways by a concerned sister of one of the illegal travelers. When the authorities opened the container, they found a television set, radios, and plastic refrigerators full of all sorts of food. One couple was traveling with their bed, toilet, refrigerator and large amount of gallons of water. The travelers knew they would have to remain some 20 days within the containers. The containers would be exported on board the "Estrella de Puerto Rico" barge that was expected to leave on 24 March. Thus, the group would have had to stay another six days on land.

Honors for Presidente beer
The president of the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana was honored in New York City by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and mayors Albio Sires, of Jersey City; Jerry Linee, West New York; Ruddy García, Union City; Rafael Fraguela, North Bergen; and Alex Panela, Dade County, Florida. Rafael Menicucci also received the industrial excellence award given by the Continental, a Cuban-expatriate-owned newspaper that circulates in Florida, New Jersey and New York. Presidente beer has met with great acceptance in the U.S. market.

Successful drug combating operation
Operation Frontier Lance has been very successful in reducing the drug trafficking operations in Dominican territorial waters, according to the president of the Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas, Luis Humeau Hidalgo, and Robert Steven, coordinator of the U.S.-D.R. operation. The Dominican Republic was being used as a mid point in the Colombia-Haiti-DR-Puerto Rico-US drug route. The U.S. naval and air fleet, with the cooperation of Dominican Navy and Air Force, is putting a stop to this. The fleet has detected and confiscated hundreds of kilos of narcotics in the seas. Frontier Lance is uniting the governments of the U.S., Haiti and D.R. in a major effort to combat drug trafficking. Frontier Lance began March 1 and will continue.

Motor vehicles banned for Easter
The Ministry of Tourism prohibited the use of motor vehicles in all beaches and resort areas of the country, including Catalina and Saona islands. Resolution 5/98 of 18 March prohibits the use of jet ski, motor boats, motorcycles, horses in all beach and resort areas.
This includes Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, Playa Caribe, Guayacanes, Palenque, Las Galeras, Las Terrenas, Long Beach, Playa Dorada, Cabarete, Los Patos, Luperon, Sosua, Playa de Nagua, Palmar de Ocoa, Cayo Levantado, Punta Cana, Bavaro, and others.
The Ministry had the safety of beach goers in mind when it ruled so. Holy Week marks the start of the beach season for Dominicans, and is the peak week of the year for the use of beaches. The ruling is in effect from Saturday 4 April through Monday 13 April.

Boom of cruise ship arrivals
Last year some 270,830 tourists arrived by sea in 1997, of which 156,099 used the port of Santo Domingo, 5,566 the port of Puerto Plata, and 108,698 disembarked at La Romana (Catalina). Some 404 primarily small sailboat or yacht travelers disembarked by way of the port of Samana in the north east, and another 63 arrived using the port of Boca Chica, which is adjacent to the Santo Domingo Yacht Club.
Maritime traffic is considerably up. In 1996, a total of 110,936 travelers arrived by sea, according to the report in the Listin Diario newspaper. At present seven ships a week are docking at Santo Domingo ports, bringing in German, Canadian, Puerto Rican, British and American tourists.

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