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Daily News - 03 July 1998

Peso devaluates, more pesos to the dollar
The Monetary Board, the organization that sets monetary policy in the DR, fixed the exchange rate at RD$15.33 to the dollar for the period 3 to 13 July, 1998. This is up from the fixed rate of RD$14.02 that had been set in December 1996. Good news for tourists and exporters, the devaluation is likely to translate into better exchange rate applied to dollar-based credit card purchases.
The decision reduces the spread between the price paid by street vendors, exchange houses, commercial banks and the Central Bank.
The Monetary Board at the same time increased the commission on sales of dollars. For example, when banks were selling dollars at RD$15.25 with the 1.5% commission, the real price was RD$15.48. If banks sell at that same price, RD$15.25, the price to the buyer will now be RD$15.52.
Exporters of goods and services are required by law to cash their dollars at the Central Bank. The difference between the RD$14.02 and the RD$15.33 was a negative to exporters, who had but to resort to different methods to get around the defacto penalty of their sales.
Traditional goods exporters, exporters of minerals, international credit cards, telephone international services, maritime services, and sales of fuel to foreign transport companies are excluded from having to hand in dollars to the Central Bank.
The Central Bank uses these dollars to pay for petroleum purchases, the foreign debt, the private debt guaranteed by the government, expenses of the diplomatic corps and other government purchases in foreign currency.

Making transparent the petroleum boon
President Leonel Fernández ordered that the Refinería Dominicana de Petróleo deposit in the Central Bank all resources received from the differential from the price paid for petroleum and the sales price to the distributors. Decree 247-98 establishes manners that make more transparent the millions the government is receiving. Opposition sectors estimate that this year the government savings could reach RD$3,000 million. Unleaded fuel sells for almost US$2 in the DR.

Poll of foreigners to focus on frontier
The director of the Department of Migration, Danilo Díaz explained that the RD$3 million for a survey of foreigners will be used for a pilot poll of the frontier area, where the largest concentration of Haitians is found. During the survey, Haitians found living in the area will be issued identity cards. Originally, demographers had thought the monies would be used for a national survey and had said that nothing worthy would result as the budget was insignificant.

Reaching out to the parents
The Ministry of Education announced parents of public school students will be invited to take parenthood courses during the summer. The courses will be made available to parents at the 7,000 public schools throughout the national territory. One of the purposes of the courses is to integrate the parents to help reduce school delinquency, vandalism, drug consumption, sexual harassment and other problems at the schools.

Statistics on vehicles in circulation
A report in Hoy newspaper says that more than 600,000 vehicles circulate in the DR, a nation of approximately 8 million people. 584,090 vehicles are registered with the Dirección General de Impuestos Internos (DGII), the government department that issues license plates. This is up from 470,773 vehicles at year's end of 1996. From 1974 to 1993, the number of vehicles grew 145%, with private vehicles increasing 246%.
In addition, one million motorbikes circulate on city streets.
Santo Domingo, Santiago and La Vega concentrate the most vehicles, with 508,088. In Santo Domingo (National District) there are some 436,148 units in circulation. 30% of the country's population lives in the capital city. Santiago, with a population of 710,803 in 1993, has 59,844 vehicles registered. La Vega, has 12,096 vehicles registered. Espaillat has 8,272, Duarte 7,863, La Romana 6,838, Puerto Plata 6,239, San Cristóbal 5,492, San Pedro de Macorís 5,024.
Provinces with less than 1,000 vehicles registered are Monte Plata, Pedernales, Independencia, El Seibo, Elías Piña, Dajabón and Bahoruco, the poorest in the nation.

Milagros Ortíz Bosch says she's running for President
Milagros Ortíz Bosch, senator re-elect for Santo Domingo, could be the Dominican Republic's next President. She announced her decision to seek the presidential candidacy of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) for the year 2000 at a press conference called at the Hotel Jaragua. She feels her candidacy represents the majority expression of the party and would contribute to the unity of the PRD. Her running for President would also fulfill a commitment of hers with the late leader of the party, José Francisco Peña Gómez.
She praised the speech of President Leonel Fernández, saying that in it he admitted errors of his government and announced measures to correct these incorporating suggestions made by opposition parties.
Ortíz Bosch justified the early announcement of her candidacy presenting surveys carried out by Hamilton & Staff, Fundación para el Desarrollo Comunal y el Medio Ambiente, Aflonso, Cabrera y Asociados, Effective Projects in Communications, that consistently show her gaining as a candidate over the two other leading contenders for the PRD presidential candidacy, Hipólito Mejía and Rafael Suberví Bonilla.
Political analysts consider Ortíz Bosch the candidate to beat in the year 2000 elections. Surveys give her the highest percentage points of all politicians that are likely to seek the presidency in year 2000.

Unpublished merengues for Merengue Festival
Ministry of Tourism announced that a Grand Gala of Unpublished Merengues will take place during the Festival of Merengue scheduled this year for 24 July to 2 August. The Grand Gala is slated for presentation on 27 July at the National Theater. Sergio Vargas, Eddy Herrera, Hector Acosta, Adalgisa Pantaleón and Ileana Reynoso will perform the unpublished merengues. The show will also be transmitted live by Punta Final on Color Vision, Channel 9. The winner of the first place will receive a check for RD$100,000. Second place winner's prize is RD$50,000 and the third place winner will receive RD$25,000. The best selections of the contest will be recorded in a CD that will be distributed abroad and used for the tourism promotion of the DR.

Five arrested for contraband of vehicles aboard ferry
The "Regal Voyager", the ferry that has commenced service between Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic arrived two hours late on its inaugural trip. Juan Bonilla, general manager of Ferries del Caribe, explained the delay was due to security measures. He said five persons were arrested for trying to illegally transport vehicles on the ship. The ship docked in Santo Domingo with a ship full of passengers, 21 vehicles and 45 container full of cargo.

The schedule for the Pan Am Basketball Games in Puerto Plata
Teams participating in the Panamerican Juvenile Basketball Tournament that will be held in Puerto Plata 4-11 July are divided into two groups head by the United States and the hosts, Dominican Republic. The US will head the A Group with Argentina, Canada and Cuba. In the B group, the DR will match Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico.
The matches will be held at the new Polideportivo Fabio Rafael Gonzalez of the Gregorio Luperon Sports Center of Puerto Plata. Games will start at 2 pm in intervals of two hours each.
On the opening day of the competition, 4 July, a Saturday, the games are: Canada vs. US, Argentina vs. Cuba, Brazil vs. Venezuela and Mexico vs. the DR.
On Monday 6 July the games are as follows: Argentina vs. Canada,
Cuba vs. US, Mexico vs. Brazil, and DR vs. Venezuela.
On Tuesday 7 July, US vs. Argentina, Cuba vs. Canada, Venezuela vs. Mexico and Brazil vs the DR.
The semifinals will be played starting Thursday, 9 July.
The first four classifying teams will participate in the World Championship that will be played in several cities of Portugal in 1999.

Dominican is Player of the Month of the National Leagues
Sammy Sosa, of the Chicago Cubs, who set a new Major League record for home runs in a month, was named the Player of the Month (June) of the National League. Sosa hit 20 home runs and batted for .298 (34 of 114), and 40 runs in June. His 20 homers broke the mark set by Ruddy York in 1937. Sosa is batting for .329 with 33 homers and 81 runs batted in. He will be playing in the 7 July All Stars Game of the Major Leagues.

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