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Daily News - 23 June 1998

Plaza de la Salud high rise apartments put on halt
The Ministry of Public Works suspended construction works being carried out in the Plaza de la Salud. Victor Marmol, in charge of public relations for the board of the Hospital General Materno-Infantil said, "As they came, without making an announcement and without much noise, they left." The government had begun the construction of nine towers of 22 floors each on the grounds adjacent to the medical center. The construction of the luxury towers that supposedly would house the Olympic village in case the country wins the Pan American Games for year 2003 and would be assigned to families with ties to the government party. Former President Joaquín Balaguer and Cardinal Nicolás López Rodríguez, president of the medical center's board, firmly opposed the construction of the complex.
The press office of the National Palace issued a press release notifying that the Ministry was carrying out the studies necessary to carry out a project at the Plaza de la Salud, with characteristics to be discussed with the board of the medical complex.

Police force not created to patrol Haiti-DR frontier
Ministry of Foreign Relations said it is not true that as part of agreements reached on occasion of the visit of President Leonel Fernández to Haiti, a joint Haiti-DR police force would be created. The agreement was supposedly prepared by the bilateral Haiti-DR commission and approved by the Presidents of Haiti and the DR during the visit of President Fernández to Haiti over the weekend. The information was obtained from the Internet page of the National Palace. As reported earlier, but denied by the Ministry, the police force would be in charge of the security of the border, would seek to impede the access of illegal citizens and control contraband of merchandise, primarily illicit drugs.

Sugar consortium is more than bankrupt
A report from the Consejo Estatal del Azúcar (CEA) indicates that the state sugar council will lose RD$810 million this year due to financial problems and a low production. The CEA has accumulated debts for over RD$4,800 million. The 1998 harvest will be the lowest in its history, with a production of only 170,000 tons of raw sugar. The government is contemplating the privatization of the CEA, but at this time it would be best off just giving it away in order to reduce the financial burden on the state.

New identity cards
Junta Central Electoral began the expedition of new identity cards on Monday, 22 June, in an 8 to 2 pm schedule. The identity and voting card will be effective through year 2004, but the president of the JCE, Dr. Juan Sully Bonelly suggested that Congress extend this period to year 2008 as per recommendations of the contractors of the new card.
The new identity cards are being issued first to Dominicans and foreigners resident in Santo Domingo. 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.

Change of government cabinet
A Hamilton & Staff survey commissioned by Hoy newspaper shows that 71% of those interviewed favor that President Leonel Fernández make changes in his cabinet. Those interviewed concurred that President Fernandez should dismiss certain members of his cabinet and invite experts to join his government. The survey was carried out 5-12 June throughout the country. Only 14% felt that no changes should be made in the government cabinet.

Dollar continues to reap more pesos
The president of the Asociación Dominicana de Remesadores de Divisas, Freddy Ortíz has good news for visitors to the DR. He forecast that the upward trend of the dollar in regards to the Dominican peso will continue. He attributed the trend to an increased demand from subsidiaries of multinationals that need dollars to repatriate their profits. Some commercial banks were buying dollars for RD$14.35, but exchange houses and street vendors were offering up to RD$15.25 and selling for RD$15.25-RD$15.50.

Dominican university signs agreement with RIT
The Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra, the largest private university in the Dominican Republic, signed an agreement with the Tompkins Cortland Community College and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The universities are participating in the Global Connections program that permits students to transfer credits from one center to another and graduate faster. Over 600 students from all over the world are completing this program. 

Main basketball tournament opens in August
The organizers of the XXV National District Superior Basketball Tournament, the most important baseball tournament held in the DR, announced the basketball season will open 14 August. The organizers of the tournament are waiting for the completion of the reconstruction of the Sports Palace at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. The contractors have promised the facility will be ready by 20 July.

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