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Daily News - 13 July 1998

Ludicrous bill gets meets with rejection
At week's end, the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that would exempt all persons who have held office from September 1978 to the time of the passing of the bill from having to face judicial charges for corruption in office. The time period would encompass the governments of Antonio Guzmán, Salvador Jorge Blanco and the latest two periods of former President Joaquín Balaguer through the days of the present government when the bill would be passed.
Influential Cardinal Nicolás López Rodríguez said that if the Chamber of Deputies was capable of passing such a bill it should be closed down. He described the passing of the bill as monstruous and a showing of irresponsibility by the congressmen
President Leonel Fernández totally rejected the bill that would also free his government officials to be corrupt in office.
President Balaguer felt that the bill should be reinstated as originally conceived - amnesty for former President Salvador Jorge Blanco (PRD 1982-1986) and several of his government officials. Former President Salvador Jorge Blanco also rejected the bill.
Dominican Congressmen are the best paid government officers, but also those that have the worst reputation as a group.

New telephone book to include Tricom clients
The new telephone directories produced by the GTE affiliate will soon include the numbers of Tricom clients. The directories featuring telephone numbers of the provinces will be available at the end of July. Those featuring the telephone numbers of Santo Domingo will be available in September.

Japanese help poor Dominicans get an education
Hoy newspaper carried a report on how the government of Japan is helping the Dominican government build 209 new classrooms in 52 schools, of which 33 will be ready for the school year that opens in September, and the remaining for February 1999. Some US$10 million are being invested in the public schools that are going up in poor zones in four provinces and the National District. The state donated the land and cleared the grounds for the construction. Eleven schools are being built in the National District, 12 in La Vega, Constanza and Jarabacoa; 10 in Castillo, Villa Riva and San Francisco de Macorís, in the province of Duarte; six in Las Terrenas and Samaná; 13 in Nagua and Cabrera in the province of María Trinidad Sánchez. The Japanese firm Fujita Corporation is in charge of the constructions, assisted by Mohri Architects & Associates. Inc. Architect Julio Peña, director of school constructions at the Ministry of Education, is the coordinator of the project on behalf of the Dominican government.
In the DR there are about 20,000 public schools. The Fernández government has built over 1,000 new classrooms since August 1996. According to the report, the new government inherited 18,600 classrooms, of which only 40% were in good condition. The government invested RD$600 million in its first year to rehabilitate these and refurbish them. The report states that the government has built 230 schools with a total of 1,300 classrooms, and repaired another 1,870 schools, with over 10,000 classrooms.

Dominican orthopedician wins medal at inventor's olympics
Dominican orthopedician Rafael Ben, a graduate of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, with post graduate studies in the Hospital Frank Pais (Havanna, Cuba) and the Hospital Necker (Paris, France) won the silver medal in the Olympic Games of Inventors held in Budapest, Hungary in March of this year. He competed in the category of health and human needs against inventors from 41 countries. The jury of his category was presided by U.S. winner of the Nobel Prize of Chemistry 1994. The gold award was won by a Dutch inventor who invented a walking stick for blind persons with a radar that alerts of possible dangers.
Dr. Ben's contraption helps set the broken bones. He invented the device to help many Dominicans who broke their bones, especially in motorcycle accidents, and couldn't afford the US$500 to purchase imported devices made in Cuba or France.
Dr. Ben first presented his contraption at the fair of inventors sponsored by INDOTEC, the Dominican Institute of Technology. The fair was visited by President Leonel Fernández who was impressed and offered government support so the DR could be represented in the olympics of inventors.
Another Dominican won a silver medal in the category of curiosities for the invention of a pen that writes in all directions.

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