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Daily News - 22 July 1998

Peso gains against the US dollar
The Central Bank announced the peso is now valued officially at RD$15.32 to the US$1. The rate is three points lower than last week's rate of RD$15.35. Clarissa de la Rocha, director of the International Department of the Central Bank, said the decline is due to an increase in the availability of dollars in exchange banks and commercial banks. Commercial banks are now selling dollars for RD$15.45 and purchasing them from RD$15 to RD$15.25. The BHD was offering RD$15 to the dollar, Banco Popular and Citibank were offering RD$15.20, Scotia Bank was offering RD$15.25.

Peguero expelled from the PRD
The Political Commission of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano chose to expel the president of the Chamber of Deputies Hector Rafael Peguero Méndez. In recent statements to the press, Peguero Méndez had insisted that he could seek the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies during the election that will be held on 16 August. The commission told the press Peguero Méndez was expelled because he disobeyed party guidelines and decisions. The PRD already had elected the party's candidate to the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies. The PRD is majority in the Congress. Peguero Méndez has been flirting with the government and PRSC opposition members seeking to run again for president of the Chamber of Deputies. He is counting on motivating other deputies, from the PRD and opposition parties, to vote for him.
During the meeting of the political commission, the PRD chose to order its congressmen to take a leave of absence from congressional work.
Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero and Tony Raful, interim president and acting president of the party, and Hatuey Decamps, secretary general made the announcement.
El Siglo reported that there are 102 members of the PRD commission of which 70 can vote on decisions. Of these 52 attended and 49 voted in favor of expelling Peguero Méndez.

Learning by TV
The Ministry of Education announced it will begin an educational television series, targeted at 7th, 8th and 9th grade students. The series seeks to bring quality high school classes to areas where it is not cost worthy to build a high school. The director of the new program, Jose Enrique Trinidad explained the program is in its experimental stage and as such will only be available in certain areas of the country. The Ministry of Education is setting up 500 video halls in schools across the country, but the program will initiate with 20 centers. The Ministry is assisted in the development of the program by the Instituto Latinoamericano de la Comunicación Educativa and the Ministry of Public Education of Mexico. History and Geography subjects will be adapted to Dominican content, but the Ministry is using large portions of Mexican math, science, and Spanish language content.

Dominicans soon to be able to donate organs
The Senate passed a bill that establishes the guidelines for the donation of human organs. transplants. The bill makes it legal to carry out human organ transplants and creates the Consejo Nacional de Transplantes, the new Ministry of Public Health organization that will regulate the donation of organs. The bill prohibits the sale of organs, though.

Taxes reduced on computer imports and more bills
The Senate passed a bill that exempts computers from having to pay sales tax and reduces import tariffs on these. In an extraordinarily busy session, the Senate also approved the bill that creates the General Law of Customs, that seeks to make more efficient and modern tariffs collection. Another bill passed by the Senate specializes 5% of the National Budget for infrastructure works in the frontier area (provinces of Pedernales, Independencia, Elías Piña, Dajabón, Montecristi, Baoruco and Santiago Rodríguez. During the same session, the legislators created the Instituto de Protección y Prevision Social del Legislador, that seeks to provide comfortable pensions for legislators. Another bill passed penalizes the organizers of illegal boat trips from the DR or to the DR.

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