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Daily News - 25 June 1998

Passport emergency renewal office at Las Americas
If you are a Dominican, have forgotten to renew your passport, need to depart today or during the weekend, there is hope that you will make the flight. The Department of Passports has just opened a new office for passport renewals at the Las Americas International Airport.
The office is not for normal renewals, rather for emergency renewals. It will be open seven days a week.
During the opening ceremony of the airport office, the director of the Department of Passports, Annie Felipe acknowledged TV producer Freddy Beras Goico who had the original idea for the office.
The office is open Monday to Friday from 8-1 and 2-6, and Saturdays and Sunday from 8 to 6 pm. The renewal process takes five minutes if a change of booklet is not needed (RD$500 plus RD$55 for six years), or 15 minutes if a change of booklet is needed (RD$500 plus RD$275).
The office is located on the first floor of the terminal near the stairways to Wendy's Restaurant. The airport passport office telephone number is (809) 549-0792.
The Department issues some 2,600 new passports a day and renews another 800.

Government closes the issue of the Plaza de la Salud towers
The Dominican government closed the issue of the construction of nine 22-floor apartment towers on grounds of the Plaza de la Salud. Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina told the press yesterday that the "issue is closed." He said that he had been authorized by the President of the Republic to explain that "there is no reason why the debate regarding the Plaza de la Salud should continue." But he did not expressly say that the towers would not be built at the Plaza de la Salud grounds. Furthermore, he refused to answer questions as to whether the towers would be built in some other area of the city. He said, "there is no fixed plan with the Plaza de la Salud."
The press reported that Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña, spokesman and advocate of the project, visited the National Palace yesterday morning and left avoiding an encounter with journalists. Three hours later, Secretary of the Presidency spoke to the press about the issue. He was accompanied by Adriano Miguel Tejada, press secretary.
The Plaza de la Salud was built at the end of Balaguer's regime based on a plan for a state-of-the-art high-tech multi-hospital facilities elaborated by faculty members of the University of Harvard. A large open area of the Plaza was left open for eventual expansions of the medical center. When suddenly bulldozers started clearing out this unbuilt area, rumors leaked to the press that the Minister of Public Works had decided to build nine 22-story apartment towers on the land instead of the medical facilities originally envisioned. The board of the center, presided by the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, former President Balaguer, and even the Senate strongly opposed the construction of the towers. The corruption connotation of the issue has negatively affected the image of the Fernández Government. Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña had volunteered that the apartments would be sold at cost to persons with ties to the government party because the government was not interested in making a profit.

Peynado is preferred candidate to run for President on PRSC ticket
Former Vice President , 57 year old Jacinto Peynado is the preferred candidate to run for president on the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano ticket in the year 2000 presidential elections. A poll carried out by Hamilton & Staff, commissioned by Hoy newspaper, indicated that 31 out of every 100 voters favor him to be the presidential candidate for that party in the year 2000 presidential elections. He is favored even over Dr. Joaquín Balaguer, the party strongman, who was the preferred candidate of 26%. Amable Aristy Castro, president of the Senate, placed third tied with businessman Carlos Morales Troncoso with 6%. Victor Gómez Bergés received 5% of the voters' preference.
The former Vice President was born 9 March 1940. He studied at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania. His business ventures are the Delta Comercial (distributor of Toyota and Volvo vehicles), Agrodelta (orange plantation and concentrate manufacturer), Rentauto (car rental) and Transporte Aereo (air taxi company). He began his political career in 1982 as candidate to senator for Santo Domingo for the PRSC. He was elected senator to Santo Domingo in 1986 and 1990. He is married to Margarita Alvarez and has two daughters and two sons.
The poll also revealed that 49 of every 100 citizens believes the PRSC can make a comeback, despite the low percentage of votes the party received in the congressional and municipal elections of 1998.
The poll took place from 5-12 June.

President Beer music festival starts today
The Festival Presidente de Música Latina takes off today at the Olympic Stadium of Santo Domingo. For the event, the manufacturers of Presidente beer have contracted 12 of the most popular Latin music performers.
A spectacle of lights, special effects, fireworks, novel choreography and the best of contemporary Latin music, the Festival Presidente de Música Latina is the most important of its genre held annually in the Caribbean. The stage is 174 foot wide and 60 feet long allowing for the integration of the artists with the public. The stage has been prepared so that even if it rains, the show will go on. The price is 150 pesos per person per day, and 200 for the green area. Tickets are still on sale at the 15 ticket booths at the Olympic Stadium.
Puerto Rican Ricky Martin, responsible for the theme song of the France 98 world soccer cup, merengue king Fernando Villalona, Spanish duo Azucar Moreno, Grupo Niche, and their mix of contemporary and classic salsa, and Dark Latin Groove, with their salsa, son montuno, rap, reggae and soul music open the festival. The action will take place from 5:30 to 1 am on the first day of the festival.
On Saturday, Alejandro Fernández from Mexico, Colombian Carlos Vives, Jerry Rivera from Puerto Rico, and the queen of merengue, Milly Quezada will perform from 6 pm through 1 am.
On Sunday, Mexican rock group Maná, Juan Gabriel, Los Hermanos Rosario and new salsa phenomenon, Puerto Rican Victor Manuelle are the stars of the festival. On Sunday, the music starts at 5 pm through midnight.
Returning this year, are Alejandro Fernández, Carlos Vives, Fernando Villalona and Los Rosario.
For more information, http://www.codetel.net.do/presidente

Sammy Sosa sets new Major League record
Sammy Sosa, playing with the Chicago Cubs, broke a 61-year old Major League record of most home runs in a month yesterday in a game in Detroit against the Detroit Tigers. Sosa, who has hit 32 home runs so far this season, and 19 in June, broke Rudy York's record with the Detroit Tigers. That record was set in 1937.

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