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Daily News - 29 May 1998

Haiti and DR pediatricians to work together
The pediatric societies of the Dominican Republic and Haiti have agreed to work together to diminish the mortality rate of children in the frontier areas. The pediatricians seek to reduce the number of cases of malaria, dengue, tuberculosis, AIDS and respiratory illnesses in children resident in the frontier areas. The agreement has the support of the Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic
Every year thousands of indigent Haitians migrate to the DR. The agreement is a first phase of the health project that a subcommittee of health appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Relations is implementing as part of the bilateral relations program. The meetings between Dominican and Haitian pediatricians also have the support of the Panamerican Health Organization.

Video conferencing with world universities
Dominican university students will be able to benefit from lectures in universities around the world. President Leonel Fernández announced that the World Bank will help the government install a system of video-conferencing in the principal Dominican universities. The President made the announcement while visiting the exhibitions at the First International Fair of Telecommunications, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic.

New reservoir to benefit farm production
President Leonel Fernández inaugurated the reservoir of the Monción Dam built at a cost of RD$510 million. The dam will provide water for irrigation and human consumption, as well as produce electricity. It will be able to irrigate 200,000 hectares in Santiago Rodríguez and Valverde provinces. Turbo generators can produce 52 megawatts of energy. Monción dam is located in the northwestern province of Santiago Rodríguez. Construction on the dam began in August 1995.

Major transformation of Santo Domingo's avenues
The local press has been giving front page coverage to the transformation of Santo Domingo's principal avenues. In the meantime, Santo Domingo residents are suffering through the chaos of the expansion of several of the city's key avenues. For instance, everyone's life is affected by the underpasses that are being built under the 27 de Febrero at the intersections of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Máximo Gómez avenues. Just recently, the government began the reconstruction of the Gustavo Mejía Ricart Avenue, starting at the intersection of that East-West way with Núñez de Cáceres, and the widening of the John F. Kennedy avenue, both north of 27 de Febrero. Works will continue well through the end of this year.
On the positive side, relief from the diminishing number of makeshift taxis, or conchos, is already being felt on Santo Domingo streets. Passengers have preferred the new modern buses part of the public transport program implemented by the new Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET).
AMET recently announced that secondary feeder routes would be created and minibuses on these would enter into operation as soon as the six principal bus routes that will cross the city north-south and east-west are operational.
The organization of traffic in Santo Domingo is seen as a major achievement of the Fernández administration.

Who will preside over Congress?
The local press is focusing on who will preside the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, won absolute majority in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies as of the legislature that opens 16 August 1998. The party now faces the challenge of choosing the presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies without causing division within the different factions of the party. Santo Domingo Senator Milagros Ortíz Bosch and Monte Plata senator Ramon Alburquerque aspire to preside the Senate. As for the Chamber of Deputies, the hopefuls are Héctor Rafael Peguero, who seeks to be re-elected, Rafa Gamundi Cordero, Winston Arnaud and Hugo Tolentino Dipp.

Telecommunications bill is law
The Telecommunications bill is now law after the Congress approved observations made by President Leonel Fernández. Law 153-98 modernizes the telecommunications business in the Dominican Republic.

PRD congress to back passing of more repressive drug laws
Hatuey de Camps, secretary general of the PRD, said that the Congress, which as of 16 August 1998 will be dominated by PRD congressmen, will back measures that seek to reinforce government efforts to combat drug consumption and trafficking. General Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a division of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, was in Santo Domingo on an official visit yesterday, and commented that adequate legislation is essential to winning the war against drugs.

Supreme Court explains why Pellerano was chosen
The president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Jorge Subero Isa said that he first offered the post of director of the Escuela Nacional de la Magistratura, the new school to form Dominican judges, to the former president of the Supreme Court Manuel Bergés Chupani, who turned it down due to his old age. He then offered it to Bernardo Fernández Pichardo, who neither accepted the nomination. It was only then that he offered the post to lawyer Juan Manuel Pellerano Gómez who accepted the challenge. General Attorney of the Nation, Abel Rodríguez del Orbe has criticized the appointment of Juan Manuel Pellerano Gomez, given that the later is the chief lawyer of the largest legal firm in the country. Rodríguez del Orbe has said that Pellerano's influence on the new judges would result in continuous conflicts of interest."

Llenas Aybar case postponed again
The judge of the Sixth Penal Chamber of the National District, Julio César Canó Alfau postponed the hearing of the case regarding the assassination of 12-year old Jose Rafael Llenas Aybar for 22 June. The defense lawyers of Mario Redondo Llenas, Ambiorix Díaz Estrella and Juan Francisco Hernández declined to participate in view of the absence of chief defendant Artagnan Pérez Mendez, who is on leave for illness for two months. Judge Julio Cesar Cano Alfau requested that lawyer Jose Esteban Perdomo be appointed to defend Mario Jose Redondo Llenas, in Pérez's absence. The lawyers of the family of Jose Rafael Llenas have said that the defense is interested in the delaying of the case.
The judge ruled that the case against the husband and son of the former Argentine ambassador in the Dominican Republic, Luis Palma de la Calzada and Martin Palma Meccia be judged separately in their absence. They are accused of complicity in the crime against the minor that occurred on 3 May 1996.

New clock for Monte Cristi
The Asociación de Montecristeños Residentes en Santo Domingo, which groups those born in the northwestern province of Monte Cristi but that reside in the capital city, and the firm E. León Jiménes (Presidente beer and Marlboro cigarettes) delivered the repaired city clock to the municipality of Monte Cristi. The tall clock located in the Duarte Park of Monte Cristi city is a landmark in the Northwest. It was built in 1895, the work of Frenchman Pablo Garniel. It had worked for 100 years but recently it needed renovation works due to the salt spray. The clock was restored with a RD$604,205 donation made to the city.

Peso sold for RD$14.35-RD$15.00
Commercial banks are buying US dollars for RD$14.35-RD$15.00. In the exchange houses and on the streets more pesos are offered for the dollar, or RD$14.80 and RD$15.05. Dollars are being sold in banks for RD$15.10 -RD$15.38.

"Children's" TV shows criticized
A regional representative of the International Labor Organization, Carmen Moreno, during her visit to Santo Domingo, criticized that dozens of girls of all ages work on TV programs twisting and turning provocatively and wearing scant clothing not adequate to their age. She said several of the little girls lewdly contort as if in a cabaret. In an interview with El Siglo newspaper, Carmen Moreno said that the performances encourage Dominican girls to prematurely begin their sex lives. More so, she feels this has contributed to the present increase in sexual abuse in the country. She said it appears that the girls are encouraged to be coquettish to succeed in their artistic careers. Moreno visited to participate in a workshop on child labor in poor countries held with the support of the Ministry of Labor and 25 Dominican institutions that work with children.

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