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Daily News - 06 July 1998

NY office to expedite return of Dominicans
The director of the Customs Department, Miguel Cocco announced in a press conference in New York City yesterday the opening of a Customs office in that city to assist Dominicans in the US that want to return to the country with their household goods. Law 168 of 1993 permits returning Dominicans to bring in their household goods exempt of import taxes, and enjoy a 60% exemption on the taxes to be paid on a vehicle. The law only applies to those who have lived two years or more outside of the DR and the car needs to have been registered in the person's name for at least a year.
The new Junta Aduanal, or customs board, will begin offering services as of 1 August.
The board will be made up by three persons appointed by the Department of Customs and will revise the goods to be sent to the DR. The procedure will take 48 hours.
Cocco also announced that the Dominican consulate will be giving letters to Dominican students that travel to the country authorizing these to bring back home tax exempt gifts for a value of up to US$1,000.

Renovated maternity hospital reserved for high risk cases
The government announced that the newly remodeled Maternidad Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia will be turned into a hospital to which other hospitals and clinics throughout the country may refer mothers with complicated pregnancies. The hospital will be only admitting and rendering services to high risk patients or those referred by other public medical centers.
Dr. Vinicio Calventi, director of he hospital told the Listin Diario that the hospital will begin offering services to the public in two weeks time.
Other public maternity hospitals are the Francisco Moscoso Puello, Luis E. Aybar, San Lorenzo de Los Mina, Engombe, El Almirante, Los Alcarrizos and Villa Mella.

Students meet with President Fernández
President Leonel Fernández received the 25 students who would travel to Washington, D.C. to represent the Dominican Republic in the Future World Leaders Summit and participate in the Presidential Classroom 98 program. They will join over 300 students from all around the world for an introduction to the world of international relations, diplomacy and global economy studies. They will stay at the Hotel Marriott on the University of Georgetown campus.
As part of the program, the students will be able to give their opinion on solutions to the problems of the planet. The conclusions of the program will be presented at the United Nations as a contribution from the future leaders to the present leaders.
The students will visit the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the National Defense University, the Holocaust Museum, White House and Dominican Embassy in Washington. They will also participate in a special workshop at the US Congress. Within the University of Georgetown, the students will participate in the World Trade Game, where they will be briefed on international commerce. The Dominican participation is organized by the Listín Diario and Desde el Medio travel agency. To participate, the students needed to be 16 to 20 years old, have a US visa, command of the English language, and have demonstrated leadership and community service within their educational center.

Biannial Arts Competition set for October
The Museum of Modern Art, the leading art gallery of the nation, is organizing this year's Bienal de Artes Visuales, that will take place 28 October. This is the 21st national biennial. Museum director Alberto Bass explained that all the paintings will be placed at the Museum of Modern Arte, drawings at the Museum of Dominican Man, and the installations will be set up at the Casa de Bastidas and the Museo de Casas Reales in the Colonial City. Other institutions that will be participating are the Colegio Dominicano de Artistas Plasticos and the Museo de Historia Natural. This is the first time that the biennial will be held in several institutions spread throughout the city. This year the biennial is organized by the Museum assisted by Elsa Núñez, director of the Colegio Dominicano de Artistas Plásticos; Cayo Claudio, coordinator of the Consejo Presidencial de Cultura; Marianela Jiménez, director of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and painters Gaspar Mario Cruz and Cuquito Peña. Artists Fernando Peña Defilló, Ramón Oviedo, Amable Sterling, Angel Haché and Rosalía Gómez de Caro, member of the board of the MAM, and the members of the Asociación de Críticos de Arte, María Ugarte and Manuel Núnez are also part of the organizing committee.
Bass also announced that the exhibition is open to sons and daughters of Dominicans living abroad, and foreigners over 21 years old that have more than five years residing in the country. The limit for handing in works is 22 August.

Balaguer favors re-election
Former President Joaquín Balaguer said over the weekend that if the three majority political parties reach an agreement he would vote in favor of a constitutional reform that would permit a one-time re-election. A sector within the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD), the government party, is studying the possibility of presenting to Congress a proposal to modify the Constitution exchanging the possibility of re-election for a reduction of the number of votes necessary to win the elections to 45%. The 45% win is perceived as sufficient for a party with a strong candidate to win in the first round, without having to ally with another political party. At present time, consecutive re-election is prohibited by the Constitution and a candidate to President must obtain 50%+1 of the vote to win the election. Thus alliances are necessary.
The proposal is for the bill to be effective the elections of year 2000. Several sectors within the PLD feel that the party's only chance at staying in power is to re-launch President Leonel Fernández as the PLD presidential candidate.
The largest opposition party, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) responded to former President Balaguer's comments saying that under no circumstances would they reach an agreement to modify the Constitution and permit presidential re-election for year 2000.
The master of Dominican politics, Dr. Balaguer also commented on the austerity plan announced by the Fernández government. He said that the measures should help improve the economy and the situation of Dominicans, but he said that one would have to wait and see. He said the government had to do something. He was referring to President Fernández's announcement of a freeze on government spending, and implementation of an austerity program seeking to diminish non-priority expenditures of the government. The government has been criticized for overspending.
When asked his opinion on senator Milagros Ortiz Bosch's decision to seek the presidential candidacy of the PRD, he commented: "There is not a more qualified representative of Dominican women in politics than her, it would be difficult to find someone better."

Listín poll shows Milagros Ortiz is politician to beat
A poll carried out by Sigma Dos, a Spanish poll agency commissioned by the Listín Diario newspaper, shows that Milagros Ortiz Bosch would be the candidate to beat in the year 2000 presidential elections. Ortiz Bosch received 7.23 on a scale of 1 to 10. Other leading potential candidates are Hipólito Mejía (PRD) with 6.17, President Leonel Fernández (PLD) 5.60, Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal (PLD), 5.06, Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez 3.83, Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina (PLD) 3.69, former President Joaquin Balaguer (PRSC) 5.71, former Vice President Jacinto Peynado (PRSC) 4.59, senator José Hazim (PRSC) 4.24. Some 1,245 persons throughout the nation were interviewed from 15 to 19 June 1998.

Watchman holds up bank
The watchman of a branch of the Banco Popular in Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city in the DR, switched roles and held up the bank on Saturday leaving with an undisclosed amount of money. The Police arrested him 24 hours after. No one was hurt in the bank robbery.
Newspaper reports of those that were in the bank say that Roberto Antonio Tejada shortly after bank operations closed at noon on Saturday walked up to the cashier and told her to put all the money in a garbage can he was holding. "Stop joking and go back to attending the door, we are all tired and want to go home," the cashier told him. "This is not a joke, this is a hold up and if you do not put all the money in the garbage can I will blow your brains," said the watchman, scaring the wits out of the cashier. As soon as he obtained the money, he ran out and took a taxi. The employees of the bank were so surprised that no one pressed the alarm button.
The Police also seeks another person the watchman mentioned as his accomplice, when questioned.

Traffic restored over 27 de Febrero and Churchill
Traffic was recontinued along the Winston Churchill crossing over the 27 de Febrero Avenue. Underneath, the government has built a tunnel in order to expedite traffic. Traffic now flows regularly in all directions. The construction is part of a major city traffic improvement program.

Six Dominicans chosen for Major League All Stars Game
Manny Ramírez became the sixth Dominican to be chosen to play in the All Stars Game of the Major Leagues. He replaces Bernie Williams. He joins countrymen Bartolo Colón, Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martínez, Alex Rodríguez and Moisés Alou. The game that marks half season will be played 7 July at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.
The Dominicans are among a record 18 Latin American players chosen. Last year, 14 Latin Americans were chosen for the All Star Game.
The DR is tied with Puerto Rico for the most nationals, after the US, chosen for the game, six in total.
Bartolo Colón (Cleveland Indians), Player of the Month of the American League, has a record of eight wins and 2.51 pitching average.
Moises Alou (Houston Astros) has hit 18 home runs, 67 RBIs and is averaging .320.
Pedro Martínez (Boston Red Sox) is pitching for 10-2 and a 3.02 average.
Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs) is tied for second most home runs hit this season, with 33, has 79 RBIs, and is batting for a .327 average in the first 79 games of the season.
Shortstop Alex Rodríguez (Mariners of Seattle), 27 home runs, .310 average.
Manny Ramírez (Cleveland Indians), .303 batting average.

Sosa will not play in All Stars Game
Star Chicago Cubs slugger, Sammy Sosa has backed out of playing in the All Stars Game because of problems in his left shoulder. Sosa, who established a new Major League mark of 20 home runs in a month last month, said he slept in a bad position and hurt his shoulder. For the same reason, Sosa did not play with the Cubs on Sunday, and expects to not play on Monday. "The doctor said it would take three to four days to recover," he said, explaining. Second baseman Bret Boone of the Cincinnati Reds will replace Sosa on the roster of the National League. Sosa said he would be present at the game. "I will be watching McGwire," he said. He said that it was better that it happened now, half point through the season, when he could rest three days and be back on Thursday for a "strong finish." Sosa has batted 33 home runs, and has 81 runs batted in, and a .324 average this season.

Dominicana wins first game in Juvenile Basketball Panam
Dominicana defeated Mexico, 95-61 in the opening of the Panamerican Juvenile Basketball Championships held in Puerto Plata. Argentina and Venezuela also won in their first games. Argentina defeated Cuba 95-55, and Venezuela defeated Brazil 78-75. Venezuela plays the DR today. The US defeated Canada 108-70. The US faces Cuba today. Four teams will be chosen to play in the World Games in Lisbon 1999.

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