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Daily News - 07 July 1998

Minister of Foreign Relations visits Israel
The Foreign Ministry of Israel announced the agenda for the visit of Dominican Foreign Minister Eduardo Latorre to Israel. Minister Eduardo Latorre will be in Israel for a four-day visit between 8-11 July, 1998. During the visit, he will hold talks with
President Ezer Weizman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials and
opposition leaders.
The visit is part of the 60th anniversary of the Evian Conference, in which the Dominican Republic was the only state to declare its willingness to admit 100,000 German and Austrian Jewish refugees before the outbreak of World War II.
Minister Latorre will be the guest of honor at an evening dedicated to the Evian Conference hosted by the Foreign Relations Council. He will also visit Yad Vashem, the Technion and the Foreign Ministry Training Center.
Minister Latorre will be accompanied by his wife and the Director-General for Dominican Republic Investments in order to encourage trade relations and tourism between the two countries. This is the Minister's first visit to Israel.

President postpones trip to Taiwan and Japan
President Leonel Fernández has postponed his trip to the Far East. It would have been the first time that a Dominican statesman visited Taiwan and Japan. President Fernández would have traveled to Taiwan and Japan from 21 to 29 of July. The purpose of the trip was to strengthen relations with those countries. The new date is to be announced.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations said the trip has been postponed so that the President can concentrate on more priority internal affairs. Several press commentators had suggested that while the international relations offensive of the statesman is one of the triumphs of his administration, it was time that he concentrated on internal affairs. Rumbo newsweekly magazine writer, Juan Bolívar Díaz wrote this week that he should postpone his trip and remember that there are only two years more of government to go and not six. Re-election was prohibited in the constitutional reform of 1994. It is unlikely the Constitution will be revised to reinstate re-election.

The towers again
Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña said that he is looking for an appropriate site for the construction of nine towers of 22 floors each. The towers were originally promoted as to be used to house the athletes that would come to participate in the Pan American Games of year 2003, if the country is granted the site in December of this year. The towers will be sold to government party affiliates at cost, as per comments made by the Minister.
The towers originally would have been built on the grounds of the Plaza de la Salud, the high tech medical center, but their construction there was opposed by former President Joaquín Balaguer and the president of the Plaza de la Salud board, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez. Their construction has also been opposed by private builders on grounds that there is already a surplus of similar apartments on the market promoted by private construction companies for purchase by upper middle class residents in the DR. They fear the government will be unfair competition with private vendors.

Hatuey Decamps 98% sure he will run for President
The Secretary General of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, Hatuey Decamps announced that it is 98% possible that he will seek the presidential nomination of that party for the elections in year 2000. Already Milagros Ortíz Bosch has announced her intention to seek the nomination. She has deemed the candidate to beat at the present time.
Decamps, who was Secretary of the Presidency in the government of President Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982-1986) said that circumstances oblige him to assume his responsibilities, or on the contrary he would end up as "a general without troops". He mentioned his 37 years of serving in the party. He went on to criticize the handling of the economy and the administration by the government of President Leonel Fernández. He said that the government has chosen a mix of economic models that are contradictory among themselves. He said "they follow a neoliberal wave, and then another wave and they are now just drifting."
The other contenders for the presidential candidacy of the party are Mayor of Santo Domingo, Rafael Suberví Bonilla, and agronomist Hipólito Mejía.
In a recent Hamilton & Staff poll, commissioned by Hoy newspaper, Decamps received 9% of the vote of every 100 citizens polled.

Peggy Cabral would like to be Vice President
Peggy Cabral, widow of Partido Revolucionario Dominicano leader Jose Francisco Peña Gómez, told Hoy newspaper that she would have no problem in being the vice presidential candidate of whomever the party selects as its presidential candidate for the year 2000 presidential elections. The widow of the PRD leader was a militant politician when her husband was alive. She will be deputy mayor of Santo Domingo come 16 August 1998.

State university closed after student confrontations
The Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo was closed after violent confrontations between students and police forces resulted in the death of a student. Franklyn Fabián, a eighth semester student of law who was not participating in the protests and rather was on the site to sell sweets, will be buried in his native Hato Mayor. He was killed by a gun shot in circumstances not yet explained. Another eight students were injured in the second day of the confrontations.
The students violently protested the application of a new ruling that disposes the removal from university classes of students not meeting minimum academic requirements that would be in effect as of January 1999. The students say the bill was approved without the presence of the students and employees of the UASD and thus its application is illegal. The students feel it is important that the measure be also applied to deficient professors.
Fabián was caught in the crossfire when he was putting away a sweet box of his property where he sold sweets in front of a campus building. A Police Colonel said that versions that he was killed by a Police shot are not true as it was impossible for a policeman to penetrate the campus, kill a student and come out uninjured. The autopsy showed that he died of multiple injuries caused by a shotgun fired from a short distance.
News commentator Ramón Colombo said that the university should be closed, that it is ridiculous that students with bad academic records should riot to continue being eternal students at the state's expense. Recent news reports showed that it would be cheaper for the state to pay for admission in private universities than to continue subsidizing the state university.

Dollars bought at over RD$15 by banks
Dollars were being purchased by local commercial banks at RD$15.10-RD$15.35 after the Central Bank upped the official price to RD$15.33 this week. The new dollar value is also being applied to customs valuations. Press reports indicated that the dollar was sold for up to RD$15.75 on the street markets, reflecting a drop from last week when it was reported to fetch up to RD$15.82. As of yesterday, the BHD was purchasing dollars at RD$15.10, the Popular at RD$15.25, the Reservas, Metropolitano, Mercantil and Bancrédito at RD$15.33. Baninter, Scotiabank and Citibank were buying at RD$15.35. Last week most banks were purchasing dollars for under RD$15.

World Cup affects travel to DR
Arturo Villanueva, executive vice president of the National Association of Hotels, said that the World Soccer Cup, France 98, has had a detrimental effect on hotel occupancy in June. In his opinion, hundreds of European tourists have preferred to stay home to watch the games or travel to France.
He told Hoy newspaper that hotel occupancy was 62.29% in June, down from 71.5% in June 1997, or a 12.88% lull. Occupancy in Santo Domingo was up to 62.80%, up from 58% in 1997.
Beach hotels in Boca Chica and Juan Dolio suffered a 20.14% drop, as they showed only a 57.5% occupancy compared to the 71% occupancy last year. Playa Dorada hotels, in the North Coast, also suffered, with a drop of 21.53%, to 62.75% down from 81% last year. Sosua and Cabarete hotels were the most affected, suffering a 30% decline. June occupancy was 52.5%, down from 75% last year.
Villanueva said that for the first trimester of the year, 22.6% of the visitors came from the United States, 16.5% from Germany, 16.3% from Canada, 7.1% from England, 7% from Italy, 5.5% from France, 5.4% from Argentina, and 4.3% from Spain and 1% from Chile.
The decline comes also due to a lull in British visitors, and has not been offset by the aggressive advertising campaign of the Ministry of Tourism in main tourism source markets.

David Wells chosen over Pedro Martínez
The manager of the American League of professional baseball chose David Wells (New York Yankees) over Pedro Martínez to open the All Stars Game that will take place today in Denver, Colorado. He will match Greg Maddux (Atlanta Braves) of the National League. Maddux is averaging 1.54 and has a record of 12 wins against only three losses. It will be the third time he pitches in an All Stars game. Wells, with a record of 11-2 and averaging 3.75, pitched a perfect game on 17 May. Other American League opening players are Kenny Lofton, Roberto Alomar, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan González, Jim Thome, Alex Rodríguez, Ivan Rodríguez, Cal Ripken. National League manager Jim Leyland chose Craig Biggio, Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Chipper Jones, Larry Walker and Walt Weiss.
Five Dominicans are on the All Stars team - Pedro Martínez (Boston Red Sox), Alex Rodríguez (Seattle Mariners), Bartolo Colón (Cleveland Indians), Moisés Alou (Houston Astros), and Manny Ramírez (Cleveland Indians). Venezuela defeats DR in basketball championship Venezuela's juvenile basketball team defeated the Dominican Republic passing to the semifinals of the World Juvenile Basketball Championship that is taking place in Puerto Plata. The Venezuelans took advantage that Dominican star player Benito Flores was injured in the first game of the series played by the Dominicans in which they defeated Mexico. The Dominican team will play Brazil today, and has a last chance to be one of a group of four that will qualify for the world games. Argentina defeated Canada, 81-59 yesterday. The United States defeated Cuba, 131-60.
The games continue through 11 July and matches are held at the new Polideportivo Fabio Rafael Gonzalez of the Gregorio Luperon Sports Center of Puerto Plata. Games start at 2 pm in intervals of two hours each.
The schedule for today, 7 July, is as follows: 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.

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