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Daily News - 31 July 1998

President Fernández could seek re-election for year 2000
Sociologist Carlos Dore Cabral, one of the leading political strategists of the government, and the closest in this government to a "house spokesman", said yesterday that President Leonel Fernández has not rejected the possibility of running for President in year 2000. Re-election is banned by the Constitution. Dore said that the President, in his recent speech, rejected the possibility of promoting the reform of the Constitution by the present members of Congress, but did not discard the option of running again if the Congress that opens 16 August decides to modify the Constitution and allow re-election. Congress will be renovated, with members elected for four years, commencing work as of 16 August. Dore said that the President left open the possibility of reinstating re-election to the newly-elect congressmen.

Chamber of Deputies could get back to work on Tuesday
The Listín Diario reported that it has heard from reputable sources that the dissident president of the Chamber of Deputies Hector Rafael Peguero Méndez has said he will convene the Chamber back to work on Tuesday, a week after President Leonel Fernández requested that congressmen get back to work. Among the bills that will be on the agenda are the report on the Chamber of Accounts on the National Budget exercise for year 1997; the Monetary and Financial Code and the Customs Bill. Hector Peguero Méndez was recently expelled from the PRD after he suggested he would not comply with the party leadership's decision to choose Winston Arnaud to be president of the Chamber of Deputies. The PRD is majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but Méndez was relying on the support of government party members, the PRSC and other dissident PRD members.

Government seeks consensus with political parties
Representatives of the government and the leadership of the three principal political parties of the country, as well as the civil society, will meet next week to discuss the national agenda proposed by President Leonel Fernández Reyna. The Catholic Church will mediate the meeting. El Siglo reported that Monsignor Agripino Núñez Collado met at Casa de Campo with commissions of PRD, PLD and PRSC political parties to discuss the agenda. Monsignor took advantage of the seminar that is held there to coach the new and old legislators on issues pertaining to their role as congressmen. The new congress opens 16 August.
In a speech to the nation this week, President Leonel Fernández emphasized the need to complete the economic and structural reforms on which there has been talk for two years but that the Congress has opposed. The President spoke of the need to establish a national agenda including initiatives such as promotion of exports, customs, establishment of zero taxes for machinery and equipment for small and medium sized companies to facilitate the creation of jobs. Also on the discussion is the Monetary and Financial Code, the general electricity bill, the general health bill, the social security bill and the priority to be assigned to government works under construction. The President recently met individually with former President Joaquín Balaguer of the PRSC and with a commission representing the leadership of the PRD.

Fidel Castro to visit for five days
The Ministry of Foreign Relations has confirmed that the President of Cuba, Fidel Castro will visit the DR for five days. The Cuban statesman will participate as an observer in the meetings of the Cariforum, that groups Caribbean members signatories of the Lomé Convention. The chiefs of state of the English-speaking Caribbean, CARICOM nations, will be in Santo Domingo for their annual meeting. President Rene Preval of Haiti, a member of Cariforum, has also confirmed his assistance. During the event the DR is expected to sign a free trade agreement with CARICOM nations. The event coincides with the 500th anniversary of the city of Santo Domingo.
Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre confirmed that Fidel Castro will stay on for two days. He will visit the provinces of Baní, home town of Máximo Gómez, a Dominican who played a key role in the independence war of Cuba against Spain, and Monte Cristi, where Cuban liberator José Martí signed an agreement with Dominican General Máximo Gómez to fight together in the independence war. The Ministry also confirmed that some 300 Cuban security agents are working with Dominicans to guarantee the safety of the Cuban statesman.

Expanding the road links between West and East
The Fernández administration has begun the construction of the Autovía del Este, an ambitious project that will communicate San Cristóbal province with San Pedro de Macorís by way of a major highway, as reported in El Siglo newspaper. Ministry of Public Works contractors have already completed clearing up several kilometers of the areas through which the new highway will be built. In many stretches it will run parallel to the already existing highways, but in others, it will take an alternate route. The highway is contemplated given the intense tourism traffic in the area along which the destinations of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio are located, with around 10,000 hotel rooms. The road also continues east on to the Punta Cana tourism area, where more than 15,000 hotel rooms will be operational by time the highway is completed.

If you can't beat them, join them
The Oficina Técnica de Transporte Terrestre, the government department that regulates the public transport vehicles in circulation, has announced it will now be formalizing the circulation of the so-called motorcycle taxis, or "motoconchos". It is estimated that over 1,000 motoconchistas age 18 to 30 that offer their services to over 300,000 persons a day. The motoconchistas have through 30 August to visit OTTT offices and request the issuance of their new identification plates at the cost of RD$200 per motorcycle per two years time. Dr. Germán Peña Guadalupe, director general of OTTT, said that the motoconchistas will also be required to take a course and receive instruction on the traffic law regulations, defensive driving and first aid.

Funds liberated to push interest rates down
The Central Bank will release as of Saturday, 1 August RD$304 million retained from commercial banks as part of a plan to force a decline in the interest rates. The funds had been frozen when the run on the peso began.

Alex expected to bring heavy rains to DR
Tropical Storm Alex has maintained its WNW track, which will take it to pass North of the Dominican Republic. The Tropical Storm is expected to bring heavy rains, principally to the north coast. At 5 am AST, the center of Tropical Storm Alex was located near latitude 16.2 North, longitude 48.9W or about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands. Alex is moving toward the West Northwest near 13 mph or 20 km/hr. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (80 kph). Some strengthening is forecast by the US National Hurricane Center during the next 24 hours. U.S. weather forecasts indicate that the tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 145 miles (230 kms) from the center. The Center forecasts that the tropical storm may be a hurricane in about two days.

TWA to launch service to Puerto Plata this Winter
Preliminary reports indicate that TWA will launch year-round service to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic as part of a new expansion of TWA service to the Caribbean this winter. The service, is pending government approval, but is slated to begin December 17 from New York JFK.
Service to Puerto Plata will be operated daily.
Flight 907 will depart JFK at 8 am daily and arrive in Puerto Plata at 12:31 pm. Flight 908 will depart Puerto Plata at 1:40 pm daily and arrive at JFK at 4:19 pm.

Will the DR get the Pan Am Games?
The special commission that is evaluating the contending sites for the celebration of the year 2003 Pan American Games is expected in Santo Domingo today. The Listín Diario reports that the commission that will visit is made up by the vice president of the Government Council of Cuba, José Ramón Fernández and Julio Villalta and Julio Magiones, presidents of the Olympic committees of Honduras and Uruguay. According to a Spanish press wire, the commission already visited Guadalajara, Mexico, a contending site, and issued a favorable report regarding the infrastructure, the city and the Pan American villa location. Medellín, Colombia is another contender for the event.
The Dominican Olympic authorities expect to show the evaluators that the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center is under repair with works far advanced on the repair of the Sports Palace where basketball events will be held and the Olympic Pool. Bowling events will be held at the Sebelen Bowling Center, equestrian events at the V Centenario, both first class facilities. President Leonel Fernández will receive the members of the commission to express the support of his government to the event. The secretary general of the largest opposition party in the country, Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, Hatuey Decamps, has also expressed his support to the event.

Dominican team to regional games is 430 person strong
The Dominican delegation to the XVIII Central American and Caribbean Sports Games set for August in Maracaibo, Venezuela will be made up by 430 persons. There are 256 athletes, 62 coaches, 30 delegates, 62 arbiters, 17 physicians, 12 representatives of Dominican art and culture, 22 journalists and 15 special guests on the delegation. The goal of the team is to bring back 70 medals. Team members include the following athletes: 17, track and field; 22, baseball; 10, boxing; 8, bowling; 8 cycling; 4, equestrian; 15, judo; 11, karate; 13, weight lifting; 10, wrestling; 2, synchronized swimming; 7, swimming; 4, racquetball; 36, softball; 12, tae kwon do; 7, tennis; 3, skeet; 4, sailing; 24, volleyball; 4, beach volleyball; 8, table tennis; 4 triathlon.

DR wins right to participate world infantile volleyball games
The Dominican Republic defeated Mexico 3-0 to win the gold medal in the Torneo Norte, Centroamericano y del Caribe de Volibol Infantil which took place in Mao, Valverde. Elvis Davidson, of the Dominican team, was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. By winning the event, the DR team classified to participate in the world games to be held next year in Saudi Arabia. The DR won its four matches during the Central American and Caribbean tournament.

Jet ski competition in Boca Chica
A major jet ski competition will be held Sunday at Boca Chica beach, east of Santo Domingo. The competition will kick off at 1 pm with Dominicans competing against a team of Puerto Rico's best jet ski riders. The event is part of an ongoing championship that will continue in September with a competition in the Ozama River that can be viewed from the Avenida de del Puerto. The finals will be held in Boca Chica at year's end. The event is organized by the Asociación Dominicana de Jet Ski, presided by Richard Rodríguez, and sponsored by Presidente Beer. The course takes competitors around 16 buoys and over a perimeter of 1,600 meters.

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