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Daily News - 14 July 1998

Foreign organizations to help DR fight poverty
The Listín Diario reported that President Leonel Fernández will soon announce a program to reinforce government spending to alleviate poverty and foster social development of the impoverished sectors of the nation. The implementation of the program is expected to coincide with the opening in Santo Domingo of a international workshop sponsored by the United Nations Development Program. Enrique Iglesias, president of the Inter American Development Bank and former President of Chile Patricio Alwyn as well as officers of the United Nations Organization and the Organization of American States are in Santo Domingo for the event.

Apologizing for trip suspension
Minister of Industry and Commerce Luis Manuel Bonetti and Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations Minou Tavarez Mirabal traveled to Taipei and Tokyo to formally apologize for the decision of President Leonel Fernández to suspend his trip to those countries. The President suspended his trip to attend to more pressing domestic matters at home. The President had prepared a trip to the Far East for 21 July. The trip would have included a visit to Silicon Valley, in California at the end of the month. No new date for the trip has been set. It would have been the first time that a Dominican statesman had traveled to the Far East on an official visit. The President has made an average of one trip abroad every six weeks since taking office. His opening of new doors abroad for the DR is seen as one of his administration's major successes.

Physician dies in unexplained killing
Physician Milvio Carrera Guzmán, close friend of the late Cuban physician Jorge Enriquillo Salgado, who also died in unexplained circumstances, was found dead in the bushes off Autopista Duarte Km. 10-1/2. His friend, the late Dr. Salgado was initially said to have committed suicide, but later the forensic reports indicated he had died in unexplained circumstances. Dr. Salgado was the anesthesiologist involved in the case of the late Air Force reserve General Luis Santiago Pérez, who was beaten to death by overzealous PLD campaign activists during the past congressional and municipal elections campaign.
The late Dr. Carrera's corpse was found in advanced stage of decay with a belt around his neck and several knife wounds. The death certificate establishes that he was strangled and died because of being beaten on the head. A graduate of the state university, he specialized at the Hospital Luis Eduardo Aybar en el 1992. He worked at the Hospital Darío Contreras and at the Clínica Independencia, from where he disappeared on 5 July. He was 39 years old and lived in the Urb. El Pensador, Avenida Mirador del Este. His relatives have asked for the intervention of President Leonel Fernández and the Chief of the Police José Aníbal Sanz Jiminián so that an in-depth investigation be carried out to find the culprits. The Police said some 10 persons are being investigated.

La Mansión mountain hotel closes
El Siglo newspaper reported that the La Mansión hotel, in the mountains of San José de las Matas, on the outskirts of Santiago de los Caballeros, has been closed. It was operated by Occidental Hotels, a major Spanish hotel chain. The newspaper reported that the road leading to the hotel was in dire need of repairs. The hotel was popular with domestic travelers and had been used as a back up for those seeking lodging in the city of Santiago. Update on preparations for year 2003 Pan Am Games

Who will win the contracts to renovate the airports?
Hoy newspaper mentions four companies that are vying for contracts related to the construction and operation of Dominican airports. According to the newspaper at Las Americas International Airport (Santo Domingo), an investment of US$75 million is needed to rebuild the runways, expand the taxi way, build a new terminal, remodel the existing terminal, rehabilitate the old cargo terminal, and expand the parking area. The main runway requires a new layer of asphalt. The airport renovations would allow the main Dominican airport to handle four to six million passengers a year.
At Arroyo Barril in Samaná, the government contemplates hiring a company to complete the terminal and expand the runway from 1,300 meters to 3,300 meters. Hoy newspaper cites reports stating that almost RD$500 million has been invested in this airport for which an opening date has yet to be announced.
In Puerto Plata, the government has determined that a partial remodeling of the terminal is necessary, the completion of the taxi way and a platform for the parking of airplanes are also required.
According to the newspaper, companies competing for these contracts are:
  • GTM-Aeroport du París (ADP). GTM is the builder of the airports and ADP is the operator of several of the larger airports in France. This company was said to be represented by engineer Abraham Selman, brother of the director of the government state enterprise corporation (CORDE), and already a major electrical contractor services provider through his IEMCA firm.
  • Calmaquip, described as a builder, but mainly known in the DR as an equipment provider.
  • Spie Bagtinoles-Coala, the combination of the Spie Batignoles French firm that built the airport with Coala, presided by Joan Giacinti, whose company Maisa has the contract for cleanliness and maintenance of the Las Americas and Gregorio Luperón (Puerto Plata) airports.
  • Aeronorte-AENA. Aeronorte is a Dominican company presided by engineer Abraham Hazoury. AENA is a Spanish government firm that operates airports in Spain.
Meanwhile, the daily news of the day reported on a 7 July letter from the Association of Airlines where the organization complains of inadequate maintenance of airport facilities, mentioning faulty air-conditioning, mechanical stairs, jetway, carpeting and hygiene in the bathrooms.

RD$15.35 to the US dollar
The Central Bank set the exchange rate to the US dollar at RD$15.35 today. The level is up RD$0.02 from the RD$15.33 level set by the monetary authorities on 2 July after almost two years of the official market rate being RD$14.02. Exchange banks and commercial banks were selling the dollar for RD$15.54 and RD$15.77, according to press reports.

Dominican bats 2,000 hit
Dominican ball player Tony Fernández yesterday became only the fourth Dominican in the history of their participation in US Major League baseball to reach the mark of 2,000 hits. Fernández plays the short field for the Toronto Blue Jays. He joins Octavo Antonio Castro, Julio César Franco, Felipe Rojas Alou and César Cedeño. This is Fernández's 15th season. In 1986 he batted for 213 hits with the Blue Jays, setting a record for the Blue Jays. He would have reached the 2,000 mark earlier, but in 1996 he was injured and had to sit out the season.
The Dominican record of hits in the Major Leagues is that of Julio César Franco, who had 2,177 when he left to play with the Japanese baseball league. Felipe Rojas Alou batted for 2,101 and César Cedeño ended his career with 2,087.

Update on preparations for year 2003 Pan Am Games
Dr. José Joaquín Puello Herrera, president of the Dominican Olympic Committee, held a press conference at the Gran Hotel Lina to explain the plan of Olympic Committee to secure the site of the Pan Am Games for year 2003.
Dr. Puello Herrera insists that the impact of the Games will be very positive. Furthermore, he again points out that the country has the sufficient number of votes to win the first Pan Ams of the next millennium.
He explained the campaign to get the site centers around the slogan, "Santo Domingo, Heart of the Americas." Dr. Puello Herrera has traveled the Americas seeking to win the necessary votes. He feels he leads the other strong contenders for the site - Guadalajara (México) and Medellín (Colombia).
He said a major forum on the Pan Am Games, the investment and the impact of these on Dominican society will be held in September. In his opinion, the games will cost RD$782 million pesos, but the nation will reap upwards of RD$900 million in returns. He said it would cost the state RD$200 million to condition the existing sports facilities for the games, and that the renovations would be included in the 1999 budget.
The government has already begun an aggressive program to repair sports installations at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. The Palacio de los Deportes (basketball) is now under renovation, with works slated to be completed by next month. Furthermore, works are advanced on the Olympic Pool, and are underway at the velodrome, softball and baseball fields, among others. Streets, sidewalks are also being reconstructed.
Dr. Puello concluded that the investment would be similar to that made by Puerto Rico when the Games were celebrated in San Juan in 1976. He insists the country will reap a positive impact three times the value of the investments and expenditures made.
Dr. Puello Herrera is also president of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization known in Spanish for its acronym ODECABE.

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