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Daily News - 16 June 1998

President of Colombia to visit this month
The President of Colombia, Ernesto Samper has accepted an official invitation from President Leonel Fernández to visit the Dominican Republic at the end of this month. The visit is part of President Leonel Fernández's international scheme to impede that the DR continue to be used as the third link in the Colombia-Haiti-DR-Puerto Rico-US route that drug traffickers are resorting to now more frequently after efforts to reduce contraband through the Mexico-US border have been successful.
Drug trafficking will be a major issue on the agenda of President Fernández when he meets with President Rene Preval in Port-au-Prince on Thursday, 18 June. Because of the weak institutions in Haiti, drug traffickers are increasingly using that country to introduce drug contrabands that later are transported by land to the DR for subsequent shipment to Puerto Rico and then to the continental US. The DR has requested technological assistance from the US to combat the drug contraband along the almost 300 kilometer frontier with Haiti.
President Fernandez just returned from visiting President Bill Clinton in Washington, D.C. following an invitation from the US statesman. The invitation was reportedly made after President Clinton heard President Fernández speak at the United Nations Drug Summit in New York City.
The Listín Diario reports that President Fernández wants to make concrete proposals of joint actions to the President of Colombia, after meeting in Haiti with President Rene Preval.
The meeting is in line with the regional leadership role that President Leonel Fernández has successfully undertaken. Other regional statesmen that are expected to visit Santo Domingo this year include President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and President Fidel Castro of Cuba. Castro will joint chiefs of state from the Caribbean that will gather in Santo Domingo for the expected signing of a free trade agreement and celebration of the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of Santo Domingo in August of this year.

Issuing new identity cards postponed
The Junta Central Electoral postponed for next Monday the issuing of new identity cards for National District (Santo Domingo) residents. The JCE responded to a request from Datocentro, S.A., the company that has the contract to issue the new cards. The issuing of the "cedulas" will now begin Monday, 22 June. Foreigners need to request their new cards at the Junta Central Electoral headquarters at Avenida Luperón corner 27 de Febrero. Dominicans can attend nine centers located in Santo Domingo.

Balaguer against building apartments on health center lots
Former President Joaquín Balaguer expressed his concern over the construction of residential apartment buildings in the empty lots of the Plaza de la Salud, a modern conglomerate of specialized hospitals that was designed with the assistance of experts from the University of Harvard. The former statesmen said that the lots had been left for future expansion of the complex. He told the press he would speak to President Leonel Fernández on the issue.
According to press reports, construction has begun on tall towers that would house the Olympic Village for the 2003 Pan American Sports Games. The DR government and the Dominican Olympic Committee seek to obtain for Santo Domingo the site of the 2003 Games. The site will be assigned in December of this year.
Reportedly, while the towers would house the athletes, once the Games were over, they would be supposedly sold to personnel that works at the Plaza de la Salud.
The board of the Plaza de la Salud objects the construction on grounds that the construction affects the health of those that are interned at the medical center and will impede the expansion plans of the center.

Heat wave affects DR
A heat wave has been affecting the DR for the past 72 hours. Temperatures have hit highs of 33 and 32 degrees Celsius combined with 70% humidity in the capital city of Santo Domingo. Early morning temperatures range from 23-25 degrees. The highest temperature in the DR was registered over the weekend in Jimaní, on the frontier with Haiti, a high 38 degree Celsius. Other highs were registered in Mao, Valverde, 38 degrees; and in San Juan de la Maguana and Santiago, 34 degrees.

Increase in electricity bills deemed abusive
The president of the Asociación de Empresas Industriales de Herrera, Ignacio Méndez called abusive and not understandable the increases in the electricity bill being levied by the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad (CDE), the state electricity utility, on industrial consumers. He said they are hard to understand in these times when the cost of petroleum is dropping. He said that explanations for the increase of the kilowatt/hour given by the CDE are "infantile".
He complained that the present administration of the CDE has sought the easy way out to their financial difficulties: increasing the bill of those that pay for electricity. The other alternative would have been to expand the base of those that pay for electricity, including collecting from government institutions, primarily decentralized government departments. It is estimated that 50% of Dominicans do not pay for their electricity consumption.
Méndez says that the businessmen are tired of bringing their plight to the CDE and have only the hope that the capitalization process, expected to be in place by the end of this summer, will bring relief from the high rates. Some industrialists say the has been talk of rate increases of up to 40% in order for the CDE to achieve the income levels that it needs to pay for the new turbo gas power plants that are being installed around the country as an emergency measure to reduce blackouts to a minimum.

Howard Johnson to operate Hotel Macorix
Howard Johnson International of the United States in alliance with Corporación Hotelera Boyce of Mexico will operate the 170-room Hotel Macorix, in San Pedro de Macorís, 15 minutes from Juan Dolio Beach, half an hour from La Romana and an hour from the capital city of Santo Domingo. The hotel was recently refurbished and new rooms added by the Universidad Central del Este university, which uses the hotel as a hotel school.
The Macorix will cater to businessmen visiting the area that has a large duty-free manufacturing zone, a university that has a large international student population and the Juan Dolio beach area and that would prefer to stay at a hotel where payment for the room-only is required. There are thousands of rooms in the Juan Dolio area that primarily operate on the all-inclusive tourism packages.
Guillermo Rocha, former president of the International Association of Hotels and Restaurants, and president for Howard Johnson for Latin America and Caribbean will be in Santo Domingo for the formal opening of the hotel.
Mexican hotelier Javier Lastra, is the new general manager of the hotel. He is a graduate of the University of Cornell with over 20 years in hotel management.
Howard Johnson operates 500 hotels in the US, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Barbados, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Malta. Corporación Hotelera Boyce is a Mexican hotel operator. This will be their first hotel in the Caribbean. In Mexico the company manages nine hotels.
In the Dominican Republic the two companies are represented by lawyer Enrique de Marchena Kaluche, president of the H.J. Franquicias del Caribe S.A. and Corporación Hotelera Boyce de las Antillas, S.A., local affiliates of the international hotel companies.

Windsurfers of the world come to Cabarete
Windsurfers of the world will again gather this year in Cabarete, Puerto Plata for the Cabarete Race Week. The competition opens Friday, 19 June at the windy North Coast beach and will last through Friday, 26 June. This is the second year of the Cabarete Race Week, an amateur event held at a world class competition site where top-notch competition attracts amateurs that aspire to become the next stars of the sport.
The emphasis in the Race Week 98 tournament is on well organized, competitive racing for all classes - Open Class, Masters, Super Masters, Women, Juniors and Sports. Event organizers have prepared a week of race clinics, a wave expression session at Encuentro - the famous surfing/wave sailing spot, and the presentation of the incredible Cabarete Kids Team, the new crop of Dominican windsurfers.
On the program of the Cabarete Race Week are many beach parties promising delicious Caribbean food and tropical drinks. The Race Week features a Fiesta Baccardi, a music and song event. The event is promoted as a time when visitors can learn to windsurf and learn how to dance merengue at the same time. Promoters say that visitors should bring the entire family and friends and take advantage of the mountain biking, horseback riding, tennis, golf, hiking, white water rafting, canyoning side excursions for those that are adventure-minded, or days of just relaxing on the beach and watching the action.
New this year in the Cabarete Race Week 98 is "Formula 32," for competitors who do not want to travel with equipment. The organizers, in coordination with several windsurfing schools, have made available a rental package of 3 sails and 2 boards. Formula 32 competitors may race in the "Sport" division which is restricted to 3 sails and 2 boards, or in any other division they are eligible for.
Cabarete beach is one of the three best beaches for the practice of windsurfing. The other two are located in Aruba and Margarita Island in Venezuela.
Cabarete has been site to the PWA World Cup in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1997. Windsurf stars Naish, Dunkerbeck, Bringdal, Teritehau and many more big name pros have raced there.
June is the windiest month of the year with side-shore winds 15 to 25 knots. The Bay of Cabarete and the reef provide challenging but safe conditions. The staging area is right on the beach along with the rigging and launching area.
A major advantage of the Cabarete sports event is that the rest, food and drink facilities and the hotels are all within walking distance of the staging area. Over 30 restaurants serve a variety of local and international foods. Cabarete is also about 20 minutes from the Puerto Plata International Airport.
Cabarete is very easy to get to with direct flights to Puerto Plata from Canada, US, Austria, Britain, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. Flights from South America and the Caribbean connect via Miami.
The organizing committee is made up by Pedro Mendoza, Mike Braden, Leonor Dottin, Andy Morrell, Frank Schwartz and Julio Guillermo Sanabria.
For more information on the event, check the competition's web site at http://www.hispaniola.com

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