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Daily News - 21 July 1998

President Fernández to visit Italy
President Leonel Fernández will visit Italy in October. The ambassador of Italy in the DR Ruggiero Vozzi said that the trip is important given the increase in tourism and trade exchanges between both nations. He said that 300,000 Italians visited the DR last year. In addition, he explained that 10,000 Italians are permanent residents of the DR, with another 7,000 living in the DR part of the year. Ambassador Vozzi feels that Dominican businessmen can learn a lot from Italian businessmen. He explained, in an interview in El Siglo newspaper, that 60% of exports of Italy are carried out by companies with less than 50 workers.
President Fernández will arrive in Italy on 20 October, after attending the Iberoamerican Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. He will stay in Italy through 24 October. His agenda includes visits to the Prime Minister, the President of Italy and the Major of Rome, as well as with the presidents of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. He will also visit Pope John Paul II.
President Fernández is traveling to Italy responding to an invitation from Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
This will be the first time a Dominican statesman makes an official visit to Italy.

Electricity billing up 40%
The administrator of the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad (CDE), explained the 40% increases in electricity billing consumers are receiving. Radhamés Segura, administrator of the state electricity utility, said they are caused by the devaluation of the peso and the increase in energy served.

Government income forecast to go up 20% in 1999
The Listín Diario newspaper reported that the government is expecting a 20% increase in tax revenues for 1999. In 1998, the government budgeted income for RD$38,000 million. Forecasts are that the income in 1999 will surpass RD$46,000 million.
On the other hand, the Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina said that the tax reform the government has proposed will not increase taxes, it will only compensate the proposed decline in import taxes. The government wants to increase the sales tax and decrease the tariffs on imports. The proposal has been rejected by opposition political parties and by Congress. The higher tariffs make Dominican products less competitive abroad.

54 new persons to be questioned in Llenas Aybar case
District Attorney Francisco Domínguez Brito has requested the appearance of 54 new persons in the court hearings to be held on 27 July at the Cámara Penal de la Sexta Circunscripción del Juzgado de Primera Instancia regarding the case of assassinated 12-year old José Rafael Llenas Aybar. The list of new persons to be heard includes psychologists, psychiatrists, priests and military and policemen that dealt with the two accused of the killing, then 18-year olds Mario José Redondo Llenas and Juan Manuel Moliné Rodríguez.
The sixth grader was found dead on 4 May in a brook in the outskirts of Santo Domingo. He had been stabbed 34 times.
The list of new persons will bring to more than 100 persons those to be questioned.
The family of the Llenas Aybar has accused the defense of using delay tactics to extend the case indefinitely.

Bavaro highway to be repaved
The Ministry of Public Works announced works will begin immediately on the re-paving of the Higüey-Bávaro highway. The works call for an expenditure of RD$48 million for a new asphalt cover of the 35 kilometer stretch from Higüey-La Otra Banda-Cabeza de Toro. The works will take five months and will be ready for the winter tourism season.

President Fernández backs the Games
Amidst criticism from many, President Leonel Fernández confirmed his support to efforts of the Dominican Olympic Committee to win the right to host the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo in year 2003.
Dr. José Joaquín Puello, president of the Dominican Olympic Committee, leads Dominican efforts to lobby for the necessary votes to win the site. The Panamerican Sports Organization will vote on 5 December in a meeting held in Panama. Other contenders for the Pan Am Games are Medellín, Colombia and Guadalajara, Mexico.
Dr. Puello has said the Games will cost RD$782 million. Detractors, such as former Minister of Sports Jesús de la Rosa say he is underestimating the cost. De la Rosa says that a more realistic estimate is RD$5,000 million cost, which would include RD$2,500 million to build the proposed olympic villa to lodge the 6,000 athletes and delegates from 42 countries that will attend.
De la Rosa says that given the recent government announcement that the state will prioritize expenditures and has begun an austerity program, the insistence of the government in hosting the games is hard to understand. He commented that the celebration here of the Games will principally benefit the contractors of the public works and those in charge of the advertising. Two of the strongest promoters of the event on behalf of the government are the Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña, a major private sector builder himself, and Luisín Mejía, a well known advertising executive.
De la Rosa called for a renovation of sports leadership that has been the same for the past 20 years, including the president of the Olympic Committee. He mentioned the case of the Volleyball Federation, where a new leader has lead that sport to world class competitive level.

Challenging Hatuey Decamps
Technical Secretary of the Presidency Temístocles Montás challenged secretary general of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, Hatuey Decamps, who aspires to win the presidential nomination of that party, to a televised debate on the Dominican economy. Montás reacted to statement by Decamps where he said that the state has a deficit of RD$3,000 million and not a superavit of RD$400 million. Montás said that economist Frank Guerrero Prats, son of PRD leader Ivelisse Prats, wrote the piece on the economy for Decamps.

Fidel Castro to spend almost a week in DR
The Listín Diario newspaper reported that the President of Cuba Fidel Castro will remain in the Dominican Republic three days after he fulfills his commitment as invited guest of the Caribbean Community Summit. The chiefs of state and government of the Caribbean will meet in Santo Domingo from 20-22 August. During the event, the DR is expected to sign a free trade agreement with Caricom nations.
Fidel Castro is expected to arrive on Thursday 20 August on the same day as President Rene Preval of Haiti and the chiefs of state and government of the Caricom nations. The Summit work sessions will take place Friday, 21 August and Saturday, 22 August, with the statesmen returning to their countries on Sunday, 23 August. Castro will remain in the DR three more days. His agenda has not been published for security purposes.

Hotel Association of Santo Domingo meets with Mayor Elect
The Hotel Association of Santo Domingo and Mayor-elect Johnny Ventura agreed to form a committee to follow up on priorities deemed necessary for the re-positioning of the city of Santo Domingo as a prime tourist destination. Eduardo Serrano, president of the association, spoke for the hoteliers. The city hoteliers seek to maintain the areas that are considered most attractive. Among the projects is a Fundación Pro-Malecón.

Miss World Ambar 1998
Miss Ambar Mundial 1998 will be held 15 August at Fiesta de Luxe. Participants are expected from Germany, Aruba, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Ecuador, El Savaldor, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, the US, Trinidad & Tobago, and Uruguay. The pageant is organized by Gatsby Dominicana, a modeling agency.

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