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Daily News - 15 June 1998

Advancing on the free trade agreement with Caricom
Important advances were made in the negotiations that are leading to the signing of the free trade agreement between the DR and English-Speaking Caribbean Community this year. In the sixth round of negotiations held in Miami, Florida over the weekend, Caricom agreed to include free zone exports in the free trade agreement. The DR agreed to give preferential treatment to the small economies of the Caribbean. Other issues that were discussed in the Miami meeting were services, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and rules of origin.
Caricom chiefs of states will meet during the first week of July in Santa Lucia to discuss the treaty that is slated to be signed in Santo Domingo during a Caribbean chiefs of state summit on 20 August.
The Dominican negotiations are head by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Frederick Emam-Zade.

On President Fernández's trip to Haiti this month
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Latorre said that agreements on tourism, health, agriculture, environment and commerce and migration will be discussed during the meeting of President of Haiti Rene Preval and President Leonel Fernández in Port-au-Prince this 18-21 June. There have been contradictions over whether the migration topic, the most controversial, will be part of the conversations. Haiti has requested agreements that would regularize the status of thousands of Haitians that have crossed the border, granting thousands of these Dominican nationality. And the DR seeks that a bill that has been drawn up with the counsel of the International Organization for Migration be passed. President Leonel Fernández will spend two nights in Haiti. He will arrive in Haiti at 5 pm on Thursday, 18 June remaining until Saturday, 20 June in the morning.
The Dominican President's visit to Haiti follows the session of the III Meeting of the Dominican-Haitian Bilateral Commission in Port-au-Prince from 16-17 June. This commission is responsible for setting policy and agreements between the two neighboring countries.

Abraham Lincoln Avenue tunnel begun
Samuel Conde y Asociados, the contractors, announced they have begun the construction of the tunnel underneath the Abraham Lincoln Avenue at the intersection with 27 de Febrero Avenue. The Abraham Lincoln tunnel is one of three the government is building, along with overpasses, to resolve the traffic bottlenecks at the intersections of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Maximo Gómez with 27 de Febrero Avenue. The government has promised that the works will be completed by the end of the year. The tunnels and overpasses are expected to bring major relief to traffic congestion in the capital city.

New identity cards
The Junta Central Electoral has begun to issue new identity cards to Dominicans and foreigners resident in the Dominican Republic. The "cedulas" are issued immediately if no changes are needed in status, name, address or other data on the card. Nine centers are open in Santo Domingo for the issuing of the new cards. Dates for the issuance of the cards in the provinces will be announced. The new cards are costing the state RD$130 million.
Foreigners need to attend the Junta Central Electoral headquarters at Avenida Luperón corner Avenida 27 de Febrero.

Deported Dominican criminals will be watched
Chief of the Police Major General Jose Aníbal Sanz Jiminián believes it is "very difficult" to regenerate the Dominicans that are deported from the United States after serving time for crimes committed there. The chief of the police explained that most of the persons who have been booked for committing crimes in recent years have returned recently deported from the States. He said he hopes that the deported Dominicans reconsider their lives and now that they are home adopt new lifestyles and livelihood. He explained that the deported persons are entered into police records since their arrival to the airports, and then accompanied by Secret Service agents to their domiciles. Subsequently, he said these individuals continue under Police surveillance. President Fernández in a meeting with President Clinton in Washington, D. C. last week requested the assistance of the U.S. government in dealing with this problem. The Dominicans are deported following a new migration bill passed by the U.S. Congress.

Balaguer favors restructuring PRSC
Dr. Joaquín Balaguer favored the restructuring of the board of directors of his party, the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano. President of the Senate Amable Aristy Castro said last week that the party should change its directors.
The former President of the Republic said that a convention would soon be held to discuss the presidential candidate of the party for year 2000 elections.
There is much pressure within the PRSC, the PRD and the PLD parties to choose this year the presidential candidates as the leaders of these parties are either dead or constitutionally impaired to run for re-election.
Political analysts say that while it will be good for the parties to choose their presidential candidates early, it will not be good for the country as it would mean the presidential campaign will begin prematurely.

Cardinal favors retiring judges at 75
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesús López Rodríguez favors the establishment of an age limit of 75 years for judges. The Supreme Court seeks that retirement be an option exercised voluntarily by the judges.
The Supreme Court of Justice opposes limiting the age of the judges. Indeed, of the Supreme Court judges, three would have to retire by next year. These are judges Julio Genaro Campillo Pérez, Hugo Alvarez Valencia, and Margarita Altagracia Tavares Vidal. The Senate proposed that present judges be allowed a five year term, and that others be obliged to retire once they are 75 years old.
All the members of the Supreme Court are recent appointees after the old judges had to be retired for senility. The establishing of an age limit seeks to impede this situation from repeating itself.

Women of the Americas to meet in Santo Domingo
The Annual Meeting of the Inter American Committee of Women of the Organization of American States will meet in Santo Domingo in November. Gladys Gutiérrez, director of the Office for the Promotion of Women of the Dominican Republic traveled to Washington to participate in the event where the program of the event was discussed.
The meeting in Santo Domingo will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights. Delegates from 34 American countries will participate in the event that will focus on intrafamily violence, education, health and nutrition.

New book out on the electricity sector
"La Industria Eléctrica en la República Dominicana," is the title of a new book on sale that explains the evolution of the electricity industry. Engineer Angel Cruz Diloné spent three years gathering data for the book. Engineer Cruz Diloné is employed in the production department of the CDE.

Ricky Martin is star of the President Latin Music Festival
Puerto Rican Ricky Martin is the star of the II Festival de Música Latina Presidente that will be held 26-28 June at the Olympic Stadium of Santo Domingo. Martin is the interpreter of the theme song of the world soccer championships, France 98. He will perform in the Festival Presidente on Friday, 26 June. Also performing that evening is the Spanish duo Azúcar Moreno, and the Niche salsa group from Colombia. Fernando Villalona will represent Dominican music that evening.
Ricky Martin entered show business early as a singer with the popular Menudo children's group. His first three CDs - "Ricky Martin", "Me Amarás" and "A Medio Vivir" have been best sellers. He alternated his first performances between music and acting. He starred in the "General Hospital" soap opera. He also performed in "Les Miserables" musical on Broadway in the role of Marius. His new "Vuelve" CD is a showcase of the mixture of beats and rhythms that characterizes contemporary Latin music.

World class volleyball in Santo Domingo
The national women's teams of Peru will face the Dominican national teams this week in preparatory matches towards both countries' participation in the World Volleyball Games to be held in November in Japan. Next month, the Dominican women will travel to Peru to compete in a tournament where several of the top ranked teams of the world will participate. The DR team is also training for the Central American and Caribbean Sports Games that will be held this August in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The DR is expected to win the silver medal, losing only to Cuba.

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