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Daily News - 29 July 1998

Congress yet to get back to work
The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano authorized its legislators to return to work in Congress. The party leaders last week had banned its members from attending congressional sessions. Then they reached an agreement with President Leonel Fernández and Partido de la Liberación Dominicana political strategist Danilo Medina, who is also Secretary of the Presidency. The acting president of the PRD Tony Raful said that the party authorized its congressmen to return to the sessions after President Leonel Fernández assured them that the government would not submit a proposal for constitutional reform, nor would the issue of presidential re-election be brought up in the present legislature that ends 16 August. Furthermore, he said that the President assured him that neither the government nor the PLD would obstruct the election of the PRD board choice, Winston Arnaud, to preside the Chamber of Deputies. A dissident PRD member, still today president of the Chamber of Deputies, Hector Peguero Mendez has threatened to launch his candidacy as president of the chamber in the election to be held 16 August. He has said he is counting on the votes of the PLD and the PRSC congressmen, as well as on dissident PRD and Acuerdo de Santo Domingo congressmen.
Despite the go ahead on behalf of the PRD, neither the Senate nor the Chamber of Deputies were able to session on Tuesday. The president of the Senate, Amable Aristy Castro (PRSC-La Altagracia) nor the president of the Chamber of Deputies Hector Peguero Méndez (PRD-Independencia) said they did not convene the members because they did not have a definite agenda. Peguero Méndez explained he did not know what bills the Presidency would send to Congress. He has said on Tuesday, that he would not convene the Chamber of Deputies until he was better informed.
Amable Aristy Castro, president of the Senate, and a member of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, commented that he favored a constitutional reform in which the re-election would be allowed. He said there is sufficient time to modify the Constitution, as in 1994 it was modified in 48 hours. As a result of that modification, congressional and municipal elections are held separately from presidential elections, presidential re-election is banned, and a presidential candidate needs 50%+1 vote of the total vote count to win the elections without having to go to a second vote round.
The PRSC has a last chance at making a move, as come 16 August, the party will be minority in both houses.

More meals to be distributed at public schools
The Ministry of Education announced that as of September it will increase to one million the meals distributed in public schools. Minister of Education Ligia Amada Melo de Cardona said that at present some 800,000 children benefit from the daily meal plans in morning, afternoon and evening class sessions at public schools.

Electricity transmission lines to be installed underground
The Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad has plans to install underground electricity transmission lines along the Winston Churchill Avenue. Major residential and commercial towers and centers are being built in the area. Engineer Caonabo Ortega, director of planning of the CDE, said that the overload of the area will require the installation of the underground cabling as of next year. He said a substation will also be built at an estimated cost of US$30 million, as per interview appearing in the El Caribe newspaper.

Japan donates US$20 million
The government of Japan has donated US$20 million for health, agriculture and food production programs. Of the moneys, US$8.6 million will be used to build the Centro para la Educacion Médica de Amistad Dominico-Japonesa, an institute for the training of hospital technicians and medical research. Of the total, another US$8.1 million will be used to improve irrigation in a farming area in Jarabacoa, where irrigation channels will be built and rural roads improved. Another US$3.4 million will go to the Programa de Apoyo al Aumento de la Producción de Alimentos, a government program that seeks to increase the production of food in the DR.
Japanese Ambassador Masato Akazawa represented Japan at the ceremony in which the donation was officially made to the Dominican government. Participating for the Dominican government were Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre, Minister of Public Health Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino and Minister of Agriculture Frank Rodríguez.

Accounting is most demanded career
El Siglo newspaper reports that accounting continues to be the university career most in demand at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the state university. Some 12,602 students are enrolled in accounting. There are 9,595 students registered to study marketing, 4,258 in the business administration school, and 3,055 in the computer sciences sections. Only 44 students seek to graduate in biology, 34 in physics, 93 in mathematics, and 120 in chemistry.

Airport traffic up 12% from January to May
El Siglo newspaper reports that from January to May of this year, traffic at Dominican international airports was up 11.8% compared to the same period in 1997. Through May of this year some 1,133,699 passengers had arrived by Las Americas, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Cibao airports, according to statistics provided by the National Association of Hotels (Asonahores). Of the travelers, 44.47% used the Las Americas International Airport, 30.3%, Puerto Plata, and 21.7% used Punta Cana Airport.

Authorities conclude physician was murdered
The National Forensic Institute concluded that physician Milvio Carrera Guzmán was murdered by unknown persons. He died strangled by his belt, which fractured his thyroid cartilage causing him a pulmonary edema. Carrera had attended Air Force reserve general Luis Santiago Pérez at the Clínica Independencia. Santiago Pérez died from wounds caused when he was beaten to death by PLD fanatics during the congressional and municipal campaign period. Carrera's death is suspicious especially after the other attending physician, Cuban Jorge Trujillo Salgado also died shortly after. Police investigations concluded that Trujillo Salgado committed suicide.

From rags to riches
Adriano Villar Polanco, who drove heavy equipment to make a living, was the lucky winner of the RD$52 million accumulated Lotto prize. He received RD$43 million once taxes were discounted. He had been employed making RD$40 pesos the hour. He said he will buy a luxury jeep, and invest the moneys in cattle ranching and farm equipment. He is married and the father of six children.

Another great day for Sammy Sosa
Sammy Sosa hit his 41st homer yesterday. The home run was hit with bases full. Sosa is near the most home runs for a Latin American ball player, 47 in a season, in the hands of Juan González, Andres Galarraga and George Bell. Sosa is now only the 17th player in the history of the Major Leagues to connect a grand slam on two consecutive days. His 41 home runs are a personal record for the slugger. In 1996 he hit 40. George Bell, playing with the Blue Jays in Toronto in 1987, holds the record for most home runs in a season for a Dominican.

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