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Daily News - 02 April 1998

Judges must retire at 75
The Senate and Supreme Court of Justice have agreed that the new judges chosen as part of the general reorganization of the Dominican judiciary be subject to a trial period of seven years before being confirmed in their positions. The Supreme Court of Justice is at present choosing new judges throughout the country. Already, candidates to judges have been evaluated in Barahona, Montecristi and Santo Domingo. The Senate and the Supreme Court of Justice also agreed that the judges will be able to exercise until the age of 75 years. Those choosing to may retire early at 70. All judges will receive a pension equal to 100% of their salary at the time of retirement.
Judges need to be at least 30 years old at the time of their appointment. Supreme Court judges need to be at least 35 years old. One of the problems with the old Supreme Court of Justice was that most of the judges were over 75 and senile.

No photos on electoral ballots
The Junta Central Electoral, the organizer of the municipal and congressional election to be held 16 May 1998, ruled that the ballot for the municipal and congressional elections will show only the name and the symbols of the participating parties, and not the name and photograph of the candidates, as in the past. The decision was taken in view of the long list of candidates for municipal and congressional positions.

RD$171.8 million disbursed for electoral campaigns
Thirteen political organizations received yesterday RD$171.8 million to fund their congressional and municipal campaigns for the 16 May elections. The three leading parties, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, Partido de la Liberación Dominicana and Partido Reformista Social Cristiano received each a check for RD$45,72,368, representing 80% of the total. Ten minority parties received the remaining 20% of the total.

E. León Jimenes helps rescue river
The manufacturers of Presidente beer and Marlboro cigarettes in the Dominican Republic, E. León Jimenes donated RD$1 million to the Department of Forests to contribute to the recovery of the vegetation and forests of the mountain areas of the basin of the Yaque del Norte River, the second largest in the country. Colonel Radhames Lora Salcedo, director of the Department of Forests, received the check from the company. The funds will be used to condition the terrain and purchase pine tree seedlings.

Judges back at their jobs
The Supreme Court of Justice has left without effect the suspension that penalized judges Alexis Henríquez Núñez and Juan Miguel Castillo. The judges were suspended in March when judge Henríquez ordered the release of the brothers Santamaría Gonnell accused of credit card and ATM card bank fraud. The brothers remain in jail as District Attorney Francisco Domínguez retained them on other legal grounds.

Illegal boat trips organizer arrested
District Attorney Francisco Domínguez Brito ordered the arrest of the person said to be the head organizer of the tragic boat trip where over 25 persons died when attempting to reach Puerto Rico. The group died when rough seas near Saona Island caused the capsizing of the boat. On board were some 65 persons. The judiciary has accused 30-year old Benigno Mañón of being the organizer of the trip, based on incriminations made by survivors. The Police had been looking for Mañón for two weeks before locating him in a Santo Domingo apartment. The Police says that other organizers are in Puerto Rico. The band sold one-way tickets to Puerto Rico for upwards of RD$10,000.

Dominicans have poor opinion of political parties and congressmen
A poll carried out by the Instituto de Estudios de Población y Desarrollo, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development and its Proyecto para el Apoyo a Iniciativas Democráticas carried out by the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, shows that political parties, congress and unions are the lowest on the list of entities and persons that Dominicans trust. Two of three persons interviewed believe that politics is a medium used by people to obtain personal benefits. Only 15.2% of those polled thinks that political participation is a way to help improve situations.
Institutions Dominicans trust the most are the press and the church.
The Demos 97, "La cultura política dominicana: Entre el Paternalismo y la Participación" study was carried out from June and July 1997.

Peña Gómez to NY for medical check up
The candidate to mayor and leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez was scheduled to travel to New York City today for a medical check up after being affected by respiratory problems. Peña Gómez told El Siglo newspaper that he would stay for four or five days in New York. He will be checked by his physicians at the Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center. He said that the activity of the electoral campaign has not affected his health. He admitted though that the internal problems that resulted from the selection of the candidates to the municipal and congressional elections did affect his health. He denied he is suffering from a relapse of pancreatic cancer.

Child abuse case continues
The possible case of child sexual abuse on behalf of a professor at a Catholic Church school in the Sabana Perdida far out suburb of Santo Domingo continues to be covered by the press. Professor Marcelino Guaba Morales was accused by eight parents of 10-12 year olds who attend the school. The parents said that their daughters told them that the professor fondled them and touched their private parts.
The professors and the director of the school have defended Guaba saying that the girls had disciplinary problems that they seek to hide with the accusation.
The professor was arrested after he was interviewed by personnel of the Ministry of Health. He is in jail at the Palacio de la Justicia.
In a letter to the press, the 29-year old professor said that he was the victim of a political party that seeks to tarnish the reputation of the director of the Ema Balaguer school in order to satisfy "unpaid bills of the past presidential electoral campaign". He also said that some church members of competing denominations are taking advantage of the case to promote the idea that children are molested in Roman Catholic Church schools. Minister of Public Health Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino said that the authorities would investigate the truth of the case. Vice President Jaime David Fernández addressed the issue saying that all sectors of Dominican society should combat child abuse for its negative effects on Dominican society in general.

Mediterranean port in the Caribbean
A Mediterranean style marina is going up at the Casa de Campo residential and tourist complex in La Romana. El Siglo newspaper reported that the marina is the responsibility of the Italian architect Gianfranco Fini. Architect Fini said that the marina will be completed in three years at a cost of US$40 to US$50 million. The marina is being built in an area of 80,000 square meters, and is south of the complex. The port itself should be ready in a year and a half. The port will consist of 70 docks, 20 of these for boats in transit. The ports will be able to accommodate boats from 60 to 150 feet long. Users of the marina will be able to arrive by way of the Casa de Campo International Airport, by land or by sea.
Conceived in the style of the Mediterranean port cities, the Casa de Campo marina will feature villas and 115 apartments, restaurants, pizzerias and ice cream shop, a supermarket, gasoline station, commercial center with pharmacy, beauty salon, boutiques. The architect has been responsible for similar projects in Brazil, Italy and France.

Karate Pan Ams
The Panamerican Karate Championships will take place this month in Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic. Some 400 athletes are expected to compete in what is the most important regional karate sport event. Competitors are expected from 18 regional countries. The event opens in Santiago on 27 April and will close on 3 May. It will be held at the Palacio de los Deportes of the city of Santiago.
The event is organized in the Dominican Republic by the Dominican Karate Federation that is presided by Angel Acosta.

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