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Daily News - 25 May 1998

President to speak at United Nations
President Leonel Fernández's participation in the upcoming Extraordinary Session on Drug Trafficking of the General Assembly of the United Nations will make for an excellent platform for the Dominican Republic to present to the world efforts carried out to combat drug trafficking in the Caribbean, says Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina. President Fernández is scheduled to speak at 12:30 pm on Monday, 8 June. That same morning, President bill Clinton will address the Assembly at 10:30 am. President Fernández will travel to New York on 7 June.
The New York Times has recently published articles that point out that the Dominican Republic is a major center for drug laundering. The Association of Dominican Commercial banks has pointed out the absurdity and of the exaggerated figures cited by the influential newspaper. The Association of Dominican Remittance Companies say that behind the much publicized accusations is a business interest. Major U.S. companies are interested in putting Dominican remittance companies out of the market in order to take over the US$1,300 million business of transferring the money of Dominicans from New York City to the Dominican Republic. Dominican residents in New York maintain strong ties with home and regularly send back their savings.

President to meet with Preval, Mandela and Castro this summer
President Leonel Fernández is scheduled to travel to Port-au-Prince on 18 June to reciprocate the visit of Haitian President Rene Preval in March 1996. On the agenda of President Fernández is the signing of joint agreements with Haiti in the framework of the Lomé Convention European Union cooperation program.
President Fernández also has a trip scheduled to St. Lucia for 30 June. He will participate in the second meeting of chiefs of state and governments of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group nations signatories of the Lomé Convention. The President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela will be guest speaker at the event.
Also on the presidential agenda is the 21-22 August meeting of Caribbean Community chiefs of states in Santo Domingo. President Fidel Castro has confirmed his participation in the event. The meeting will also commemorate the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Santo Domingo.

Remodeling the Aeropuerto Cibao
The government is investing RD$25 million to remodel and expand the Aeropuerto Internacional del Cibao. The airport is located in the center of Santiago, the country's second largest city. With the expansion, larger airplanes will be able to land there. At present, the airport's principal international connection is primarily provided by American Eagle that flies to Puerto Rico. The construction works are expected to be completed by July. A large number of residents in Santiago, prefer to connect in Puerto Rico and be able to land in their own city instead of at the Puerto Plata International Airport, approximately one hour's drive away.

Will everyone be allowed to enter the UASD?
The government has to decide whether it is to continue the liberal admission policy whereby all students requesting admission to the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, that fill minimum requirements of a high school degree, are admitted. Some 23,000 new students sought admission to the university this term, but the university says it does not have physical space to accommodate all. The admission of 23,000 would bring total registration at the state university to over 100,000 students. Dominicans pay practically nothing to study at the state university.
Rector Edylberto Cabral sent a letter to the Minister of Education requesting the use of classrooms not used at night at some lyceums. He said if the university decides to admit all the students another alternative would be to offer classes on Saturdays and Sundays. The UASD has requested funds for the construction of a 73-room classroom building, but this has not been approved by the government. He explained that 70% of the classes at the UASD already are attended by more than 60 students, and that there are some where 300 students attend.
He said that the government has to address the issue as the improvement in primary and secondary education fostered by the present government will logically bring an increase in demand for university level education. The UASD authorities are divided among applying selective admission or continuing the present policy.
Most of the millionaire budget the government assigns to the UASD is used to pay salaries of administrative staff and professors, many of whom request long periods to dedicate to "research" and continue to receive their full pay, regardless of whether they produce any research.
The UASD offers mostly traditional careers, such as medicine, engineering and law not having been able to convert yet to offer shorter careers in technical fields.
Nevertheless, the UASD is under the influence of major political groups, thus the decision is not an easy one.

13 products to be exempt from Caribbean free trade agreement
The Dominican Republic will take a list of 13 products to be exempt from the free trade agreement at present being negotiated with the Caribbean Community (Caricom). The fourth round of negotiations opens 26 May in Jamaica and will last through 28 May. The list of products is divided into those that will be permanently exempt, and others that will gradually lose their import taxes protection by year 2004.
Some 37 persons, including 21 government officers and 16 representatives of the private sector, make up the Dominican delegation to the negotiations.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations Frederic Emam-Zadé is in charge of the negotiations on behalf of the Dominican Republic.

I said so, and I didn't say so, and the other way around
In his usual enigmatic way, former President Joaquin Balaguer did not deny or confirm Partido Revolucionario Dominicano secretary general Hatuey de Camps's statement that he (Balaguer) was sorry for having prosecuted former PRD man, President Salvador Jorge Blanco, for corruption in office. "About that I can't comment because I am a friend of Castillo [Mario Vinicio Castillo, the lawyer who channeled the accusations] and of Hatuey, and in the name of those friendships I cannot intervene in that controversy," he said when questioned during his Sunday visit to mausoleum of his family within the Cristo Redentor Cemetery. "I cannot take a stand in favor of one or the other; for me what is most fair and logical is that I not intervene in that controversy," he said.
The nonagenarian politician did give his opinion on whether a member of his party, the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, should preside the Chamber of Deputies. "We help, we cooperate in what is possible, but we do not pretend to be assigned things that we did not win in the Junta Central Electoral," he said. The PRSC obtained only 17 of the 149 seats of the Chamber of Deputies. Sectors within the PRD had said that the late leader of the PRD, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez had promised the PRSC the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies if that party supported the PRD in the elections.

Expo USA opens 4 June
The general public is invited to attend the exhibition of U.S. companies and U.S. goods and services at the Hotel Jaragua this June. The first two days of the exhibit are for previously scheduled meetings of businessmen. Those interested should contact the Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy at (809) 221-2171. Some 60 U.S. companies are participating this year in the 4-6 June event. The public will be able to attend on Saturday, 6 June but needs to pay a RD$20 admission fee.

Closed hotel takes legal case public
Hotelera del Atlántico continues its legal plight. The hotel operating company is the owner of the Bayside Inn hotel of Costambar that was forced to close down due to pollution caused by the nearby operation of the Smith-Enron power plant. The Hotelera del Atlántico, in a full page newspaper advertisement in the local press, says that the power plant company seeks to indefinitely delay the case in order to not have to pay a RD$200 million indemnification. The case is being handled by the arbitrage court of the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce, where two judges have ruled against Smith-Enron, and a third was allegedly obliged to resign because of pressures. Hotelera Atlantico says that the verdict is valid despite the missing signature of the third judge.

Brugal is ranked 30th in the world
A Dominican rum company is ranked 30th in the world in sales of spirits. The Listin Diario cites a report in Impact International that mentions that sales of Brugal were the second fastest growing of any kind of alcoholic beverages last year, only surpassed by sales of Sauza tequila from Mexico.
The publication covers alcoholic beverage industry worldwide. According to Impact International, sales of Brugal rum grew 13.4%, from 2.3 million boxes of nine liters each in 1996 to 2.6 million boxes in 1997.
Brugal is the leading Dominican rum brand in volume of sales, and recently has incremented its exports to the United States.
At present, Brugal is the second best selling rum in the United States. In 1997, Bacardi had sales of 19.5 million boxes. Nevertheless, Bacardi is losing market share as its sales have diminished from a peak 22.8 million boxes in 1990.

Tour the Dominican coastline on a tall ship
By August, tourists visiting the Dominican Republic may be able to tour the coastline on board a tall ship. A new company will be operating the 80 meter long "La Hispaniola" tall ship that may be hired for excursions by tourists, for weddings, private parties, business meetings or for social events. The ship has capacity for 140 guests. In an interview with the Listín Diario, owner Michael Grabowski and general manager José Ramírez said that the ship will begin operation within two months. The ship will be based in Cabarete, Puerto Plata on the North Coast. It will offer regular scheduled tours of the East Coast, and side trips to the small islets of Saona, Cayo Levantado, Catalina. In addition tours of the North, Northeast and South Coasts are also programmed. The company has experience with similar programs in Europe.

Will Isha divorce Angel Puello?
The Listín Diario show business pages speculate that TV star Isabel Aracena (Isha) is about to divorce her husband-producer Angel Puello. The two have a little girl, the result of their five-year marriage. Isha was not available for comment. The newspaper speculated that aside from financial problems the production company is having, there is added friction with the entry of TV host Anyara. Anyara denied that between she and Isha there is any rivalry.

Nuria en el 9 censored on Channel 9
The "Nuria en el 9" TV program did not air on Saturday, after the program was censored by Color Visión, the television station on which it appears. According to the Listín Diario, Saturday's program was a dramatization of events leading to the assassination of 12-year old José Rafael Llenas Aybar, based on questioning of the two-confessed assassins Mario José Redondo Llenas and José Moliné Rodríguez. The Listín Diario said that Nuria Piera was meeting with the station director Manolo Quiroz today. Piera's two shows on Color Visión, "Doble Filo" and "Nuria en el 9" are among the highest rated of Dominican television.

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