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Daily News - 29 April 1998

Gunshot fired at Supreme Court
A gunshot perforated the glass of one of the windows of the office of Supreme Court Judge Julio Ibarra Ríos in the Supreme Court of Justice building located in the Centro de los Héroes. The bullet perforated the glass and several office divisions ironically ending up in the office of Colonel Angel Rosario Terrero, in charge of security at the Supreme Court. Judge Rafael Luciano Pichardo said that if the vandal wanted to intimidate the judges, all that was achieved was to further motivate them to continue onwards with efforts to create a reputable judiciary. Dr. Julio Ibarra Ríos said he has not received any threats. The bullet supposedly was fired at night or early in the morning of Tuesday, 28 April.

US$60 million to improve East Coast infrastructure
President Leonel Fernández announced on 28 April in Higüey, the capital of the La Altagracia province, that the government is at present negotiating a US$60 million loan from the World Bank that would be used to improve the infrastructure in the East. The President said that the money would be used to build a new highway from Higüey to the East Coast hotel strip (Punta Cana-Bavaro-Macao). Moreover, the loan would also fund the improvements and expansion of the sewage and potable water facilities in the area. President Fernández said that the tourism industry, which produced US$2,000 million last year, is the top priority of the nation. Tourism is the leading generator of hard currency. The President was in the East to endorse the candidates for municipal and congressional posts of that area that are running for the government party, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD). The East Coast is the fastest growing tourism region in the Dominican Republic, with around 12,000 hotel rooms, most the result of foreign investment.

Five peso coin
The Central Bank announced that as of 30 April a RD$5.00 coin will circulate, gradually replacing the present RD$5.00 bill. The Central Bank explained that the placing into circulation of the RD$5.00 coin follows a global trend. Coins are more durable, thus more economical in the long run, and are more hygienic.
The RD$5.00 coin commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Central Bank and honors Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, one of the three fathers of the Dominican nationality. The new coin will be bi-metallic - bronze-colored ring with stainless steel nucleus. The coin will weigh 6.0 grams and have a 23 millimeter diameter.

Transport union ends hunger strike
The Federación Nacional de Transporte La Nueva Opción (Fenatrano) suspended the hunger strike whereby union members sought participation in the government programs being implemented to make more efficient, safe and modern public transport in Santo Domingo. The union groups owners of mini-buses that in the past were the principal transporters on the main avenues of Santo Domingo. Monsignor Agripino Núñez Collado, rector of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, mediated so that the union members end the hunger strike. Núñez Collado was able to convince the union members to desist from their protest when through his efforts the Presidency appointed a commission made up by Administrative Secretary of the Presidency Simón Lizardo; the director of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) of Santo Domingo, engineer Hamlet Herman; and the director of the Metropolitan Office of Bus Services (OMSA), engineer Ignacio Ditrén that have accepted to meet with the leaders of Fenatrano. Juan Hubieres, president of Fenatrano, lead the 8-day protest. He said that the government decision to meet with them to discuss their participation in the restructuring of transport is a step ahead. Hubieres said that the group needs to talk before the government opens new corridors for the new buses. The new buses are solely government-owned. The government has said it is not interested in the participation of the unions in the transport restructuring for the time being. The unions have striked in the past, affecting transport in Santo Domingo.

Sports Palace ready for finals of basketball tournament?
A report in the Listín Diario states that the Spanish contractors of the major repairs at present underway at the Palacio de los Deportes Virgilio Travieso Soto expect works to be finished by 22 July. This would be in time for the semi-finals and finals of the Santo Domingo basketball championship, which is the second most important sports tournament held in the country, only surpassed by the winter baseball season. The six-team tournament opens in Santo Domingo on 29 May. The initial games will be played at the volleyball pavilion of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Sports Center, where the Palacio de los Deportes is also located. The government is refurbishing the orange-domed facility at a cost of RD$60 million.

Monday is a holiday, not Friday
Ministry of Labor announced that as per Law 139-97 of 19 June 1997, the national holiday of 1 May, International Labor Day, will be celebrated on Monday, 4 May. International Labor Day falls on a Friday. But employees in the Dominican Republic, with an exception of those that by the nature of their work are exempt (such as hotel employees, airport employees, etc.) will get Monday, 4 May off, instead of Friday, 1 May. Nevertheless, it is expected that many will be given permission to take off Friday, converting the holiday into one long weekend. The Ministry of Labor said that companies that have not been exempted by the nature of their work, and that choose to labor on Monday, 4 May, need to pay their workers 100% more than the normal wages.

International Book Fair of Santo Domingo
International Book Fair of Santo Domingo continues on the grounds of the National Music Conservatory. Folklore, shows, book presentations, children's activities and over 500 booths promoting reading. 9:30 am to 10:30 pm. Free admission.
The Wednesday schedule of events is as follows:
11 am. Presentation of books published by the National Statistics Office. Sala Alberto Baeza Flores.
6 pm. Presentation of the winners of the journalism photography award. Newspaper area, adjacent to Av. Bolívar entrance.
6:30 pm. Performance of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo Folklore Ballet. Explanada de Espectáculos.
7:30 pm. Presentation of the Spanish dance group, La Giralda. Tablao Español. Spanish Pavilion.
9 pm. Contemporary Dances of Cuba. Teatro Fradique Lizardo (Cueva de Santa Ana).

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