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Daily News - 08 June 1998

Helping Haiti out in all possible, but not with joint promotion
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Latorre said the DR would modify the proposal for a tourism agreement with Haiti to exclude the section on joint promotion and selling of joint travel packages. The Dominican government will sign several agreements with Haiti during the two-day meeting of President Leonel Fernández with President Rene Preval in Port-au-Prince 21-22 June.
One of the main intentions of the Dominican government is to help the development of Haiti. Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina favors implementing all that will help improve the economy of Haiti. Medina explained that the economic situation of Haiti affects the Dominican Republic. "Anything that our country can do to help improve the material conditions of the Haitians is going to have a positive repercussion for the Dominican Republic," he said.
"Both countries are wings of the same bird; the DR cannot fly if Haiti has a broken wing," he said.
"We have the most to gain if Haiti can recover from the present situation," he said. "We have to do all we can to help improve the condition of the Haitians."
But by selling Haiti and DR as a single destination, the Dominican tourism industry feels it will hardly be able to help Haiti, while at the same time it will be harming the local industry.
Arturo Villanueva, executive vice president of the National Hotel & Restaurant Association, that opposed the agreement, said that one cannot promote what does not exist. He said that Haiti does not have a tourism product.
Villanueva said that the Association would like to help Haiti design its product, develop it and then get ready to sell it.
Tourism consultant Ellis Perez said while that 20 years ago, the island of Hispaniola was better known for Haiti, as Haitian diplomatic representative in the DR Guy Lamothe said last week, today that is no longer the situation. The DR is the Caribbean destination with the most hotel rooms, and has a hard-earned positive image of its own.

New environmental protection institute
President Leonel Fernández created the Instituto Nacional de Proteccion Ambiental (INPRA) that will oversee the policies and government environmental efforts. The new environmental protection department was created by Decree 216-98.
Members of the organization are the government's environmental organizations, and representatives of the ministries of public works, tourism, industry and commerce and agriculture. Also, representatives of the Navy, the Central Bank, the National Planning Office, among others.
Dr. Jose Alberto Ottenwalder, national coordinator of the coastal-marine bio-diversity project of the United Nations said that the UN and the World Bank, together with several government institutions, are preparing a bill that would modify the present legislation on environmental protection.

Heat wave affects DR
The DR is under the effects of a heat wave. Temperatures in Santo Domingo reached 34 degrees Celsius at mid-day with a 70% humidity over the weekend. In Jimaní on the frontier with Haiti, the hottest spot in the country, the temperature soared to 38 degrees, with a 80% humidity. The weather department explained that a system of high pressure in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico area is causing the higher temperatures. In the early mornings, over the weekend, the temperature dropped to 24 degrees.
At the same time, the Weather Department explained that the rains will continue. While El Niño phenomenon kept them away, now the country is being affected by the reverse situation, with the advent of La Niña weather phenomenon that brings conditions favorable to the development of tropical storms.
June to November is the hurricane season in the Caribbean.

For a quickie divorce you need to come to the DR
A Reuters news release dated Friday, June 5 states that "quickie divorces on the Internet may be a total scam". Several Internet sites are promising three-day Dominican divorces that are "fast, easy, legal and inexpensive." The sites promote the service which according to them allows U.S. citizens to file for divorce by proxy in the DR.
The Reuters release tells the case of one person who paid US$1,700 to a company that would send the paperwork to the Dominican Republic, where a lawyer, invested with special power of attorney, would file for divorce by proxy. A Dominican court would supposedly grant the divorce, then mail the decree back to the U.S.
The downside of it all is that Dominican law requires one of the spouses to be physically present in the Dominican Republic for the divorce to be valid in the States. As the Reuters story states, proxy divorce is invalid in the U.S."
Dominican law states that it is possible to get a special divorce if you are a foreigner or a Dominican citizen not resident in the Dominican Republic and you are divorcing by mutual consent. Among the requirements is that at least one of the spouses personally appear at the hearing with the other represented by a special power of attorney. The appearing spouse needs to present to the court an identity card, such as a passport, identity card, social security card, or driver's license.
According to Dominican law, it is not possible to complete a divorce in three days.
Michael Jackson and Mariel Carey both visited the Dominican Republic to get their quickie divorces here.

Balaguer on running in year 2000 for President
Former President Joaquín Balaguer, leader of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC), said when interviewed by journalists during a visit to the tomb of his mother at the Cristo Redentor Cemetery: "No, no, I am not aspiring to anything," he said when asked if he would seek the PRSC presidential candidacy for the year 2000 elections. "I am at the service of the PRSC and I await instructions from the party." He added, "only God knows about those things."
He said he agrees with party directors that are calling for the party to meet to determine the presidential candidate for the year 2000 elections. "I agree. The party has to, at the right time, meet in an assembly to take the appropriate decisions." he said.

DR to coordinate civic society chapter of II Las Americas Summit
The DR was chosen coordinator country for the chapter on "Civic Society within the Action Plan of the II Las Americas Summit by the 28th Ordinary Assembly of the Organization of American States held last week in Caracas, Venezuela. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country will be responsible for promoting the participation of the civic society, development of principals and recommendations so that within institutional frameworks responsible, transparent and non-profit organizations may form. The Dominican delegation to the OAS assembly was presided by Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Latorre, Ambassador before the OAS Flavio Dario Espinal and Jesus María Hernández, assistant ambassador to the minister.

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