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Daily News - 05 August 1998

Judges limited to four years terms
In two consecutive sessions, and with the support of 69 deputies from the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana and Partido Revolucionario Dominicano dissident members, the Chamber of Deputies passed the bill that rules the Judicial Career and the National School of the Magistracy. The judge career law limits to four years the term of the appointed Supreme Court judges and sets at 75 years the obligatory retirement age of the judges. With the reform of the judiciary and the appointment of new Supreme Court judges, it had been expected that the judges would be immovable. The bill now goes to the Executive Branch for its conversion into law.
The bill was opposed by Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero, acting president and by Rafael Taveras, interim president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano. The bill had the support of dissident PRD former member, president of the Chamber of Deputies, Hector Peguero Méndez. Peguero Méndez explained that if the bill was not passed in this legislature it would expire.
Following the vote of the PRD deputies, the political commission of the PRD announced it was expelling the six deputies, including three that were re-elected, for disobedience to party lines. The expelled deputies are Antonio López, San Cristóbal; Pedro de León, San Juan de la Maguana; Dolores González, National District; Freddy Terrero, Pedernales; Donisio Quezada, La Vega; and Carlos Gómez, Pedernales. Of the six, Pérez, González and de León were re-elected to be sworn in 16 August for a new term. The announcement was made by Dr. Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero, president of the PRD.

Import duty tax reductions
The director of the Customs Department, Miguel Cocco said that the government seeks the congressional passing of a bill that would reduce import tariffs to a maximum 20%, down from 35% at present. The tariffs would then be 20%, 15%, 8% and 3%, with a gradual reduction taking place from 1998 through year 2005. Certain products would be exempt from the duty free treatment. Cocco explained that the government has become more efficient in the collection of taxes, with tax revenues increasing 51% in the past two years.

Trauma center to be remodeled
The government will remodel the Darío Contreras Hospital, the principal trauma and orthopedics center in the country. Some RD$50 million will be invested in the renovation of administrative and surgery areas. A heliport will be built and the number of beds expanded from 265 to 500. The announcement was made by the center's director, Dr. Hector Quezada.
The hospital attends a large number of motorcycle-caused accidents. Quezada explained that hospital statistics show that 42.3% of the trauma cases are injuries caused by motorcycle crashes, of which 90% were under the influence of alcohol. The hospital attended 51,000 emergency cases last year, of which 68% were residents in the capital city.

Trade with Argentina
The counselor of the Embassy of Argentina said that during the first four months of the year some 17,000 Argentineans visited the Punta Cana tourist destination, along the East Coast of the DR. He said that a tour of seven days from Argentina to the DR costs US$1,000 to US$1,500, of which US$500 pays for the airfare. Georgina Raquel Bortolotto explained that in 1997, some 31,000 tourists visited the DR. She estimated the DR received some US$31 million in tourism receipts last year. Argentina sold comestible oils to the DR, hoses, glasses, sweets and vaccinations for a total of US$37 million in 1997.

More on the Olympic village
The Dominican Olympic Committee president, Dr. José Joaquín Puello, reportedly told José Ramón Fernández, vice president of the Panamerican Sports Organization, and president of the Olympic Committee of Cuba, that the Dominican government is contemplating purchasing a six hectares lot that is across the street from the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center (Máximo Gómez Ave., between John F. Kennedy and 27 de Febrero) to build six towers that would be used as the Olympic village if Santo Domingo wins the site of the year 2003 Pan American Games. José Ramón Fernández explained he was taken to the site by the president of the Olympic Committee, Jose Joaquín Puello Herrera. The villa would be made up of six towers with 2,170 apartments and would have capacity for more than 7,000 beds, two per room. The cost of the project would be US$25 to US$30 million, according to Fernández.
Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña, a major promoter of the construction of the towers, has said that the apartments will later be sold at cost to members and friends of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the government party.

Celebrating Santo Domingo's 500th birthday
Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez and Monsignor Girolamo Prigione, a special envoy of the Pope John Paul II, will hold mass today at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, the first in the New World, as part of events held to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the capital city of the Dominican Republic. The mass will take place at 6 pm.
On Thursday, 6 August, the Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial will officially receive from José Ignacio Senao Gómez, of the city of Zaragoza, Spain the contribution of the street signs of the Colonial City.
At noon, the Cardinal will open the "Santo Domingo 500. Historia Urbana", an exhibition of the urban history of the city of Santo Domingo. A mail stamp will also be released to commemorate the 500 years of the founding of the city.
In the evening, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of the Cathedral will perform an oratory at the Teatro Nacional, directed by Carlos Piantini and José Delmonte Peguero at 8:30 pm. On Friday, 7 August, at the site of the Patronato, across from the Columbus Park, books on the Cathedral and on the Guadalupe shipwreck will be released.

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