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Daily News - 01 May 1998

DR1 Daily News breaks till Tuesday
The DR1 daily news service will not be updated on Monday, 4 May. Monday is a holiday in the Dominican Republic commemorating International Labor Day. While the Labor Day actually fell on 1 May, the day off was passed by law to Monday to not interrupt the Saturday morning work day. The DR1 news and information daily news section is updated Monday to Friday, with the exception of holidays. The weekend through Monday news will be compiled for the Tuesday, 5 May edition.

President Fernández can campaign
The Junta Central Electoral president Juan Sully Bonelly said that President Leonel Fernández is in his full right to campaign for the candidates of his party and attend promotional events organized by his party, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. Opposition parties have criticized President Fernández's presence at acts where PLD candidates to congress and city governments are promoted. His critics say that the President uses government resources when he attends a campaign event.

President inaugurates most important highway
President Leonel Fernández traveled to La Vega, in the center of the Dominican Republic, to formally inaugurate the expansion of the Autopista Duarte, the nation's main thoroughfare. The 180 kilometer stretch from Santo Domingo to Santiago of the highway that continues on to Puerto Plata in the North Coast was expanded to four and six lanes in several areas. Bypasses were also constructed so that traffic does not necessarily have to pass through the cities.
The expansion was initiated in late 1993 during the government of former President Joaquín Balaguer. Indeed, on the same day of the inauguration, President Leonel Fernández visited the nonagenarian statesmen for about an hour in the company of Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña, Miguel Cocco, director of the Customs Department and Danilo Medina, Secretary of the Presidency.
The Listín Diario published a front page color photograph of President Balaguer posting a youthful full grin and standing besides President Leonel Fernández, who also was all smiles, during the later's visit to the former statesmen. President Fernández is a frequent visitor to Dr. Balaguer. Dr. Balaguer endorsed Fernández over the candidate of his own party in the 1996 election. This endorsement catapulted Fernández to win the presidency.
The 180-kilometer expansion demanded an investment of RD$7,000 million, up from the projected RD$1,500 million initial cost in 1993. The expansion is said to have a life span of 20 years. The speed limit of the highway has been increased to 100 kilometers per hour, up from 80 kilometers before the remodeling.
Spokesmen for the campaign unit of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) of Dr. Balaguer criticized the inauguration, saying that it was merely a "political show," as 20% of the highway is yet to be completed.

Private pension plans soon to be popular
American Life and General Insurance Company (Alico) became the second Dominican company to launch a private individual pension plan. Alico follows the Grupo Financiero Popular which earlier launched a plan that provides for the retirement years of Dominican employees. Francisco Cabreja, president of Alico, said that employees' moneys are best handled by private companies rather than by the state. Proponents seek the Social Security Institute of the Dominican government to administer a major pension plan. This has met with opposition from the business sector. Alico is affiliated to American International Group (AIG), the eighth largest U.S. insurance company, and the world's leading provider of individual pension plans. The Banco Gerencial y Fiduciario has also announced its individual pension plan.

Some taxes to be proposed, others may be eliminated come August
The director of the Oficina Nacional de Planificación (Onaplan), Rafael Camilo said that the government will submit a package of tax and economic reform measures to the new congress that will be inaugurated on 16 August. He said that the government plans to negotiate with the opposition parties in order that the measures be passed by the National Congress. He said that new taxes must be created and others increased in order to counteract the decline in government receipts that will come as consequence of the government proposal to reduce custom tariffs on imports. Camilo explained that the measures are similar to the package of measures sent to Congress in 1996, but that were rejected at the time. Given the signing of the Central American free trade agreement, business groups are pressuring for the passing of the bill that reduces import tariffs in order to make Dominican produce competitive with Central American goods.

Educating free zone industry workers
The Ministry of Education and the Corporación de Fomento Industrial, which administers 13 industrial free zone parks around the country, signed an agreement whereby the Ministry of Education will assist the CFI in setting up programs principally to educate illiterate free zone workers. The programs will be expanded to facilitate that free zone workers may achieve at least an eighth grade level.
The National Office of Statistics (ONE) recently told the nation that there are 1,307,421 illiterate persons in the Dominican Republic, or 21% of the population. The 1993 census showed that 640,989 men and 676,108 women do not know how to read or write. Of these 531,038 live in urban areas and 776,323 in rural zones. The free zone industries administered by CFI commit to set up a classroom and hire a professor to teach workers 10 hours a week for a nine month period. The program begins with the Paliza free zone in San Pedro de Macorís park where 32 workers will be taught to read and write. The program seeks to gradually integrate the 13 free zones that operate under the supervision of the CFI. The Ministry of Education and the CFI invite private free zones to participate in the initiative.

Santo Domingo city stats
Antonio Espín, candidate to vice mayor of Santo Domingo, on the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) ballot, is advocating that the citizens of Santo Domingo demand responsibility from the next mayor of Santo Domingo. Some 2.7 million people live in the National District (Santo Domingo) which has an area of 200 square kilometers. While the territory of Santo Domingo is only 0.5% of the total of the Dominican Republic, 33% of the people of the country live in the capital city. Espín says that projections show that by year 2025, 50% of the nation's population will live in the capital. He said that it is crucial that decisions be taken now to ready the city for the projected growth.

Michael Jordan is coming
Michael Jordan confirmed to the Listín Diario, the leading Dominican daily, that he will visit Santo Domingo at the end of June.
It is my pleasure to accept the invitation of the President of your country and my friend Sammy Sosa to visit, Jordan said in an exclusive interview with the Listín Diario after the game during which the Bulls defeated the Nets of New Jersey 116-101 to advance in the playoffs.
Jordan was formally invited by President Leonel Fernández in March of this year.
At this moment my mind is only on the playoffs and winning a sixth championship, but it is a fact that I will visit the DR in the last week of June, happen what may with the Bulls, the best player in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) told the Listín Diario.
This will be Jordan's second visit to the Dominican Republic. He visited in 1983 member of a U.S. basketball team that competed in a tournament at the Juan Pablo Duarte Sports Palace prior to traveling to the Venezuelan Pan American Games.

Karate Panams in Santiago
Karate champions from Canada, the US, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, have arrived to participate in the XII Karate Pan-American Games that open 1 May in Santiago de los Caballeros. Competitions will be held all throughout the weekend. Williams Mullerson, President of the Pan-American Federation of Karate; engineer Angel Acosta, president of the Dominican Federation of Karate and doctor Sabino Báez, president of the organizing committee, will lead the opening ceremonies. President Leonel Fernández is expected to be present.
The tournament serves as qualifying round for the Pan Am Sports Games of Winnipeg, Canada in 1999 and for the world karate tournament scheduled to be held this year in Brazil.
For the city of Santiago, the second largest in the Dominican Republic, this event is the most important sports international event since the celebration of the XV Central American and Caribbean Sports Games in 1986.

La Traviata at the National Theater
The National Theater will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the presentation of La Traviata, the renown opera by Giuseppe Verdi, on 20, 22 and 24 August. The theater was inaugurated 25 years ago with the presentation of La Traviata. Natacha Sánchez, director of the National Theater made the announcement. La Traviata will be directed by Carlos Piantini, the scenography will be the responsibility of Franco Gentilesa.
U.S. opera singers have been invited to interpret leading roles. These are Amy Cofield, soprano; Paul Mcllvaine, tenor; Alexandra Zalska, soprano and Ed Pierson, baritone. Dominican singers Fernando Geraldes, Alejandro Penzo, Oved Ureña, Diómedes Ogando, Modesto Acosta, Gan Porcella and María Francisca Moreno will also be on stage.
Also participating in the opera will be the Ballet Concierto Dominicano, Ballet Clásico Nacional, National Symphony Orchestra, Polifonía Choir directed by José Delmonte. Carlos Veitía is active as choreography, and Lillyanna Díaz, will be producing costumes in coordination of Casta Diva of New York. Warde Brea is the make up artist director, and Bienvenido Miranda will be in charge of illumination.

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 weekend schedule of events is as follows:

Friday, 1 May
11 am. President Leonel Fernández meets middle school children. Organized by Listín 2000. Sala Juan Francisco García.
4:30 pm. Conference by Cuban essay writer and critic, Vitalina Alfonso on Hispanic Caribbean Storytelling in the United States. Sala Alberto Baeza Flores.
5 pm. Presentation of the winners of the story-writing and play writing contests of Casa de Teatro, 1997.
6 pm. Conference by Venezuelan intellectual Alexis Marquez Rodríguez on three Hispanic American intellectuals - Alfonso Reyes, Pedro Henríquez Ureña and Mariano Pión Salas.
6:30 pm. Presentation of the Pro Arte 21 Chamber Orchestra, directed by Yolanda Janker. Explanada de Espectáculos.
7:30 pm. Presentation of the Spanish folklore group, La Giralda. Tablao Español. Spanish book pavilion.
8 pm. Conference by Spanish author Almudena Grandes (Spain), memoirs of a gypsy girl.
9 pm. Presentation of the dance show by Armando González y Michelle Jiménez. Teatro Fradique Lizardo (Cueva Santa Ana).
Saturday, 2 May
11 am. Presentation of the book "Asume el mando de tu vida," by Flory Angeles. Presentation of the book, "La Mirada a través del enigma," by Reyson Peralta.
4 pm. Conference by Dominican author Francisco Rodríguez de León on Balaguer and Trujillo.
5 pm. Presentation of the book "La educación, la democracia y la política de cara al siglo XXI," by Luis de León.
Presentation of the Ministry of Education's 1997 National Literary Award Winning Books. Sala Juan Francisco García.
6 pm. Presentation of books by Ilonka Nacidit Perdomo: "Luna barroca," "Papeles de la Noche," "Altagracia Saviñón: la discontinuidad del instante."
6:30 pm. Presentation of the Evangelic Harp Choir.
7:30 pm. Grand Poetic Recital. 20 Dominican and foreign poets. Sala Juan Francisco García. Presentation of the Spanish folklore group of the Casa de España. Tablao Español, Spanish book pavilion.
8:30 pm. Folklore dances by the dance troupe of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Teatro Fradique Lizardo (Cueva de Santa Ana).
Sunday, 3 May
7 pm. Closing event. President Leonel Fernández will speak.
8:30 pm. Closing show, "Entre Páginas," a production by Salvador Bergés. Teatro Fradique Lizardo (Cueva de Santa Ana).

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