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Daily News - 30 July 1998

President Fernández says he will not seek re-election
President Leonel Fernández announced last night on television that his government is not promoting a reform of the Constitution that would permit his re-election. Presidential re-election was banned in the constitutional reform of 1994. President Fernández said he will not seek re-election.
The government announced it will send to Congress a bill that eliminates non-tariff obstacles to foreign commerce that are contained in 29 laws, many dating to the days of Dictator Trujillo. The government will also send to Congress a group of economic and social measures. Among the measures that the government seeks congressional approval is one that would compensate for the reduction in government income as a result of the lowering of import tariffs.
President Leonel Fernández, in a televised speech, last night said he would be introducing a bill to promote exports, the general customs bill, a bill that would eliminate all taxes for equipment and machinery for small and medium-sized industries, among other measures to help increase competitiveness of Dominican production.

Senate approves use of moneys in Balaguer administrations
The Senate sessioned yesterday and approved the reports on the Chamber of Accounts regarding the use of money during the 1994 and 1995 years of the PRSC government of former President Joaquin Balaguer. The majority PRSC in the Senate passed the bills. The PRD and the Acuerdo de Santo Domingo abstained from voting. The Chamber of Deputies did not convene.

Physicians against multi-million remodelling of children's hospital
The government has announced the multi-million remodelling of the Robert Reid Children's Hospital in Santo Domingo, but physicians of the hospital feel that the money would be better invested if a new and larger children's hospital were built closer to where most of the persons who use the hospital's services live. Attending physicians say that the hospital is located in an area where there are hotels and businesses and it is difficult to reach by the users. The Robert Reid Hospital is the main children's hospital in the country. The physicians feel that the reconstruction would make offering of services very difficult and that the nation cannot afford to close the center during the remodelling period.

Report on Tropical Storm Alex
Tropical Storm Alex is the first potential hurricane that could affect the Caribbean. The storm is at present 2,000 kilometers east from the Dominican Republic, moving west at 33 kilometers per hour, with winds of up to 65 kilometers per hour, as reported by the Dominican Weather Department.
The National Hurricane Center of the United States reports that Tropical Storm Alex at 6 am of this morning was located at 14.5N and 44.8W or about 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. Alex is the first potential hurricane to enter the Caribbean area. The storm remains unorganized with top winds holding near 40 mph. The National Weather Service in Miami, Florida reported that the storm continues to look less-organized than it did 24 hours ago. Maximum wind estimate is unchanged, though. It is moving to the west at near 16 mph. Strengthening has yet to occur, but is still expected. The tropical storm is expected to maintain a west northwest track. For more information, see http://cirrus.sprl.umich.edu/wxnet/tropical.html

Government should subsidize older power contracts
The president of the Comisión de Reforma de la Emrpesa Pública (CREP), the privatization commission of the government, Antonio Isa Conde is of opinion that the government should subsidize the cost of electricity generated by private suppliers. During the Balaguer administration these suppliers were given privileged contracts that are above market value and thus provide energy at a cost that if passed on to consumers makes it difficult for Dominican companies to be competitive. Isa Conde feels the government should honor these contracts until their expiration or until they can be renegotiated, and subsidize the difference to not affect consumers.

Where hotel rooms in the DR are located
According to statistics from the National Hotel Association (Asonahores) as of 1997, there were 38,585 rooms in operation in the DR. Puerto Plata, on the North Coast, leads with 34% of the total hotel rooms, or 13,284 rooms. Higüey-Punta Cana-Bávaro-Macao is the second largest destination with 10,293 rooms, or 27%% of the total. Boca Chica follows with 5,108 rooms, or 13%. Juan Dolio-Guayacanes-San Pedro de Macorís has 3,510 rooms or 9%. Nagua-Cabrera-Río San Juan on the North Coast has 1,855 rooms or 5%. Samaná has 1,279 rooms, or 3%.
According to Asonahores statistics, the forecast for year end 1998 is that there will be 42,300 hotel rooms in operation. By year's end 1999, there will be 44,250 rooms in operation. The DR is by far the Caribbean nation with the most hotel rooms in operation.

Fernandito Villalona tonight at Avenida del Puerto
Merengue star Fernando Villalona is scheduled to perform at 8 pm tonight as part of the Festival del Merengue activities. He will perform at the stage set up in the Avenida del Puerto, facing the Ozama River. On Friday, Pochi Familia and Coco Band is scheduled to perform on the same stage also at 8 pm. On Saturday, 1 August, the orchestra of Freddy Gerardo is scheduled. To close the Festival, on Sunday, 2 August, the Los Toros Band and Toño Rosario orchestras will perform.

DR is strong contender for 2003 Pan American Games
In an interview with Hoy newspaper, Dr. José Joaquín Puello, president of the Dominican Olympic Committee and leader of the campaign pro the hosting in Santo Domingo of the year 2003 Pan American Sports Games reaffirmed that the games will not cost the nation more than US$50 million. He said the games cost Puerto Rico US$37 million in 1979. He agreed that the villa to lodge the athletes and delegates could be built on the grounds of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the state university where several sports events will be held at facilities being built there. He feels the DR has more sure votes than the other contending destinations, Guadalajara, Mexico and Medellín, Colombia. The decision will be made in Panama, in a meeting to be held December 5, 1998.

Sammy Sosa, next MVP of National League?
Sammy Sosa, of the Chicago Cubs, is a strong contender for the National League's Most Valuable Player award. The other contenders are Mark McGwire and Greg Vaughn. Sosa, like McGwire, is a contender to break the Roger Maris record of 61 home runs in a season. But Sosa has contributed more to his team's general standing in the league. Sammy Sosa has maintained a similar pace as Roger Maris. Both had hit 41 homeruns by game 107. McGwire actually has kept a faster pace than Maris. In 105 games, McGwire has hit 45 homeruns, versus Maris, who had hit 40 home runs.

DR to defend title at Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships
Casa de Campo will host the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships, the Hoerman Cup, with the participation of golfers from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos. The tournament is held in different categories. Dominican team members are Robert Smith, of Club Cajuiles of La Romana; Carlos Arias, of the Santo Domingo Country Club, Antonio Olivo and Alfredo Campechano, and Michael Gil, La Romana and Jonas Fernández of the Santiago Golf Club. The DR will also be represented by Rafael Canario, Jose Marmol, Homero Saviñón and Enrique Ureña. Arturo Pellerano, Miguel Subero, Jocelyn de la Hoz and Francis Redman. Female players will be María Hurtado, Dominique Gagnon, Teresa García and Carole Tremblay. This is the 42nd year of the tournament that rotates among Caribbean particpants. The event will take place 16-23 August in Casa de Campo, La Romana. Some 160 golf players from 10 countries and more than 200 special guests. The event is organized by the Dominican Golf Association. The Dominicans hold the men's title, obtained last year in Grand Cayman, a first in 30 years of participating in the event. The finals will take place 21, 22 and 23 August.

NBA players at Playa Dorada golf tournament
National Basketball Association players have registered to play at the celebrity golf championship being organized for 19-23 August at the Playa Dorada Golf Course. Luis Felipe López of Vancouver, Gary Payton, Seattle, Hayward Workman, Indiana, Maurice Taylor and Ike Austin of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Wesley Persona nd Tim Duncan of San Antonio will be playing in the event. Also coming are former NBA star Dominique Wilkins, and Robert Horry of the Los Angeles Lakers, Antonio Davis of Indiana Pacers, Otis Thorpe, Charles Barkley, Scott Burrell of the Chicago Bulls, Byron Russel of Utah, Isaiah Thomas and James Worthey, retired. The event seeks to promote Playa Dorada resorts and the destination.

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