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Daily News - 10 June 1998

DR1 will not publish tomorrow, June 11
The DR1 News and Information Service will not be updated tomorrow, a national holiday. June 11 is Corpus Christi Day in the Dominican Republic. The DR1 daily news service will be back on Friday, with news compiled for Thursday and Friday. DR1 is not published on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays.

DR and US Presidents to meet today
President Leonel Fernández will meet with US President Bill Clinton in Washington D. C. today at 5 pm. President Fernández had traveled to New York City to attend the UN Drug Summit. The trip to Washington was not on the agenda released to the Dominican press prior to the trip. The Listín Diario reported that the Presidents will discuss drug trafficking, extraditions and textile parity with Mexico. The US has requested the extradition of 32 Dominicans, most for drug trafficking. Commenting on the invitation from President Clinton, President Fernández said it is a recognition of the leadership role the DR has assumed within the international community.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Latorre said that the meeting would take place on Wednesday, June 10 at 5 pm at the White House. The President will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Latorre; Technical Secretary of the Presidency Temístocles Montás; Director of the state enterprises (CORDE), Eduardo Selman; Minister of the Armed Forces Rubén A. Paulino Alvarez; Ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Washington, D.C. Bernardo Vega; Attorney General Abel Rodríguez del Orbe; president of the National Drug Control Bureau, Rear Admiral Victor Hidalgo Humeau; Major General Manuel de Jesús Florentino, chief of the President's military assistants; and by the press director of the Presidency, Adriano M. Tejada.

Ramón Alburquerque could be next president of Senate
The Listín Diario indicated that Ramon Alburquerque has secured the vote of 20 senators in his quest to win the presidency of the Senate. Contending senators are Milagros Ortíz Bosch (Distrito Nacional) and Vicente Sánchez Baret (Cotuí). While Milagros Ortíz Bosch is the most voted Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) candidate in the congressional elections, Senator Alburquerque has said that that since she is a likely contender for the party's presidential or vice presidential candidacy in the year 2000 presidential elections, she should abstain from presiding the Senate. He feels it would be an unfair advantage over other pre-candidates if she used the presidency of the Senate to promote her aspirations.
In the Chamber of Deputies, the contenders are Hector Rafael Peguero Mendez (actual president of the Chamber), Hugo Tolentino Dipp, Winston Arnaud, Rafael Gamundi Cordero, Alfredo Pacheco and Manuel Cáceres Troncoso.
Peggy Cabral, the widow of the recently deceased PRD leader, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, said that her husband would have liked either Manuel Cáceres or Hugo Tolentino Dipp to preside over the Chamber of Deputies.

High cost of educating at the UASD
El Siglo newspaper commented on the high cost of producing graduates at the state university, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. The university aspires to be allotted 5% of the total government budget for 1999. The 5% of the budget would be more than the 4% of the budget that all the municipalities of the country receive at present. El Siglo comments that then the cost of university education at the UASD would be the most expensive in the DR, with tax payers paying the bill as most students pay close to nothing.
If allotted the 5%, the UASD would receive RD$1,937 million at the level of the 1998 budget. That would represent RD$19,370 for each of the 100,000 students. The INTEC and the PUCMM, two of the better and most expensive private universities, charge RD$250 per credit. If a student takes 20 credits per semester (six subjects), he would pay RD$5,000 per semester or RD$10,000 per year. That sum is almost half of what the UASD is requesting from the central government for year 1999.
The newspaper asks if it wouldn't be better for government finances to pay the tuition of students at private universities, rather than continue to increase the subsidy of the UASD.
The UASD this year will receive RD$800 million, or RD$8,000 per each of the 100,000 students it has. Of the total, 80% goes to pay administrative personnel and professors.
The newspaper called for a stop to the "bottomless barrel" that the UASD has become today.
Recently, the Minister of Education, Ligia Amada Melo de Cardona said she would suggest to the rector of the university the establishment of admission tests. The UASD has an open admissions policy.

CDE capitalization is advancing
The president of the Comisión de Reforma de la Empresa Pública, the government commission in charge of privatizing government enterprises, said in New York City that the capitalization process of the state electricity utility (CDE) would conclude at the end of August. Antonio Isa Conde said that by then the three electricity commercialization companies and two thermal energy generator companies would have been chosen as part of the tender process. Isa Conde said that August will mark the beginning of the new stage for electricity generation in this country with the advancement of the restructuring of the utility. He explained that the investing partner would administer the companies and be responsible for the operation. The state and workers, will have a say in the rules that will be set in the management contract and new company bylaws.
Isa Conde said that the next companies to be capitalized are the Molinos Dominicanos flour mill, the State Sugar Council sugar-producing consortium, and other state enterprises that are part of the Corde conglomerate.

Four years to begin paying for electricity consumed
The president of the Comisión de Reforma de la Empresa Pública, Antonio Isa Conde explained that two categories of clients will be established as part of the privatization of the commercial end of the state electricity utility. The two categories are: 1) residential consumers and small businesses; 2) large high-consuming industries and companies. He said that it will take four years to establish the mechanisms to collect from low-income sectors where the distribution network is very disorganized. There is also a generalized opinion that poor people do not have to pay for electricity consumed. These rates will be regulated by the Superintendency of Electricity. He explained that 80% of the total energy will be destined to the residential sector.
The remaining 20% will be used by large industries and companies that will be able to negotiate rates directly with the generator companies.

Mining concessions granted
Minister of Industry and Commerce Luis Manuel Bonetti said that the government has granted nine new mining exploitation concessions and five exploration concessions. Mentioned among the companies are Marmotech, La Ensenada, Panamerican Gypsum, Engineer Edwin Garcia, J. M. Lockward & Asociados. The permits are for non-metallic minerals, such as limestone, marble and construction aggregates.
Exploration concessions were granted to Proyectos Mineros, S.A., Minera Casa Real, Minera Monte Plata, Recursos del Caribe and Proyectos Mineros. These companies are interested in gold, silver, copper mines.
Sixteen other companies have requested exploration or exploitation concessions.

Privatization of Dominican ports soon to begin
The director of the Dominican Port Authority, José Antonio Fernández Collado said that the process to privatize the principal ports of the country is only awaiting that the President's Office pass the concessions ruling that was drawn up. The ports that will be up for capitalization are Haina Oriental and Occidental, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macorís, Samaná, Barahona and Manzanillo. He said that as soon as the ruling is approved by the President, a tender will be called to request bids for the capitalization of the ports.

Ferry to Puerto Rico could start this month
The director of the Dominican Port Authority, José Antonio Fernández Collado said that the ferry that will link Mayaguez and Santo Domingo should commence operations this summer. He said a trial run was already held and another will be carried out at the end of this month, leaving all ready for operations to begin at the end of June or beginning of July. He said tickets will cost about US$50 for those traveling without their vehicles.
He said a domestic ferry service between Sabana de la Mar and Samana may also start in the near future. This service is contingent on the re-paving of the Hato Mayor-Sabana de la Mar road and that the Navy complete the dredging of the port.
Conversations are also taking place for the start of operations of a ferry that would take travelers from Miami to Puerto Plata on the North Coast.

Dominican musician conducts concert with Pavarotti
Dominican music conductor, José Antonio Molina successfully directed the Luciano Pavarotti concert held in Modena, Italy yesterday. Popular song stars including Spice Girls, Eros Ramazotti, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Core and Vanessa Williams, accompanied the renown opera singer. Molina is a composer and arranger. In 1995 he was appointed "Artist in Residence" at the Palm Beach Country Cultural Council. Last December he directed a concert with mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, one of the better opera seasons of this century. He has assisted Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Fernández, Raúl Di Blasio, and Son Familia in the production of their most recent CDs. He is also assisting Juan Luis Guerra and Jose Feliciano in the productio of their new CDs. On Wednesday, 10 June, the National Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slaktin, will perform his overture "Yaya" during the opening of the Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

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