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Daily News - 11 August 1998

FBI denies Miami Herald story
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) denied the Miami Herald report that Cuban exiles planned to assassinate Fidel Castro during his stay in the Dominican Republic. Michael Fabregas, spokesman for the FBI in Miami, said he didn't know where the Miami Herald had gotten the story from. The Miami Herald had reported that the Cuban exiles were preparing to house and transport the "hit team" to the DR shortly before the murder. Luis Posada Carriles, an exile accused of masterminding a dozen bombings in Havana last summer, was signaled out as the coordinator of the plan that was aborted when the FBI was tipped off. The Herald said that Posada met with three men last month in Guatemala to discuss the smuggling of the guns and explosives into Santo Domingo.
Meanwhile, in the DR, President Leonel Fernández said that "Fidel Castro is coming without fear."
Castro will participate in the Caribbean Forum (Cariforum) that groups signatory nations of the Lomé Convention. While Cuba is not a member of this group it has been invited to the meetings. Castro will also be present during the Caricom Summit in which members of the English-speaking Caricom trade block will hold their annual meeting in Santo Domingo. Cuba is an observer in Caricom.
The meetings are slated for 20-22 August. Castro will stay on through 25 August to visit Baní, where Cuban liberator Máximo Gómez was born, and the city of Monte Cristi, another historic landmark of joint Dominican-Cuban history.
The director of the National Department of Investigations (DNI), Rear Admiral Sigfrido Pared Pérez said that the security and contingency operative in place guarantees the protection of all visiting statesmen.

Caribbean Summit to focus on economic strategy
The economic future of the Caribbean and its relations with other regional blocks will be the central topic on the agenda of the Cariforum meeting with the participation of the English-speaking Caribbean, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. President Fidel Castro of Cuba will also be present during the sessions scheduled to be held in Santo Domingo, 20-22 August. The chiefs of state will decide the strategy to follow in the region. The growth policies and market expansion alternatives will also be discussed.
Chiefs of state from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla, St. Vincent, Bahamas and Suriname., Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic will participate in the meeting.
During the event, the DR will sign a free trade agreement with Caricom, similar to that signed on 17 April with Central America during the visit of statesmen from Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Extradition Bill is now law
President Leonel Fernández converted into law the Extradition bill that legally enables the President of the Dominican Republic to extradite Dominicans requested by countries with which there exists an extradition treaty. The bill had been approved recently by Congress and allows for the extraditing of Dominicans involved in drug trafficking crimes, money laundering, assassinations, kidnapping, rape, and prostitution-related crimes.

Jet Ski Association vs. Minister of Tourism
The Association of Owners of Jet Skis in Boca Chica, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Higüey have taken the Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez to court over a resolution that prohibits the use of jet skis in most beach areas of the country. The association that groups 30 companies said that in April of this year they met with the Minister of Tourism concerned because a Spaniard, owner of a jet ski business in Bávaro, had threatened to get them out of business. Days after the resolution was published, prohibiting the use of jet skis in most beach areas on grounds of safety for those using Dominican beaches.

Dollar is stable
The official dollar rate for this week is RD$15.32, the Central Bank announced. The dollar-peso rate is down from RD$15.34 last week. The dollar has been stable for over a month, with the street exchange values very similar to those offered by banking and exchange houses.

U.S. consul dead in Africa served in DR
The United States general consul who was killed in the explosion at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya had served in the Dominican Republic. Julian Bartley, consul general in Nairobi and his son, Jay, a 20-year old student at U.S. International University in Nairobi who had been working with his father during the summer. Bartley had 24 years of diplomatic service. He had served in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Spain, Israel, South Korea and Kenya. He was one of a dozen Americans among more than 200 people killed in the bombings, which injured several thousand as bystanders on busy streets were hit by flying debris.

Fugitive Australian to stay in Spain
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that fugitive Australian businessman Christopher Skase, who reportedly has secured a Dominican passport for himself and three family members, has decided to ignore an order for him to leave Spain by the end of this week and is preparing a new plan to exploit loopholes in Spanish immigration laws. Skase cannot be forced to leave unless the Spanish authorities issue a specific deportation order against which Skase could appeal and the process could take several months.
The newspaper reports that the television program Today Tonight revealed that Skase obtained Dominican citizenship after "investing" US$65,000 in the Dominican Republic. Australian authorities had hoped he would be forced back to Australia.
The TV program claimed that Skase obtained DR citizenship for himself, his wife, Pixie, step-daughter Amanda Larkin and son-in-law Tony Larkin. The DR is believed to not have an extradition treaty with Australia. The program said that Skase is considering an investment in the DR.
Skase is the former head of the Qintex empire. In 1991 he declared himself bankrupt with a corporate debt of $1.5 billion and personal debts up to $172 million.

Sosa bats 45th and 46th home runs
Dominican Sammy Sosa batted his 45th and 46th home runs yesterday in the game in which the Chicago Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants 8-5. During the game, Dominican Henry Rodríguez also batted a home run. Sosa tied St. Louis Cardinals Mark McGwire, previously the Major League's leading slugger.
Sosa hit a fifth-inning pitch over the left-field fence and continued his power surge in the seventh inning with a shot over the center-field fence. It was Sosa's eighth multi-homer game of the season.
Sosa is one of three contenders - Mark McGwire and Greg Vaughn San Diego Padres - to break the long-standing Roger Maris record of 61 home runs.
Sosa is only one home run away from breaking the record of 47 home runs for a Latin American ball player. The record is jointly shared by Dominican George Bell, Puerto Rican Igor González and Venezuelan Andres Gallaraga.
Sosa is also a strong contender to win the Most Valuable Player of the National League.

Luis Felipe López gives basketball clinics
Luis Felipe López, 24th draft of the San Antonio Spurs, later traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association, is traveling around the Dominican Republic during his vacation weeks back home to share his basketball skills with future Dominican basketball stars. He is giving clinics at courts in his hometown, Santiago, in Santo Domingo, San Francisco de Macorís and Puerto Plata.

Playa Grande celebrity golf tournament
Dominican basketball star Luis Felipe López had traveled to Puerto Plata a week ago, with eight other NBA players, to participate in the Kim Grillier Golf Celebrity Invitational held last weekend in Playa Grande. During that event Seattle Supersonics' Greg Anthony won maximum honors. Other players in the tournament were Derrick Whittenberg, Haywood Workman, Travis Best (Indiana Pacers), Khaleed Reeves (Dallas Mavericks), Mario Elie (Houston Rockets), David Briton and Mitch Richmond (WashingtonWizards). Their trip included a visit to the Fuentes cigar factory in Santiago, and welcome dinner at the Hotel Paradise of Playa Dorada.
They competed for US$30,000 in prize money. The tournament was organized by Santiago Valverde of the Caribbean Hotel Investment Group.
The tournament will continue 19-23 August at the Playa Grande course with the participation of more NBA stars. The promoters have said that Michael Jordan, Sean Cassell, Charles Barkley, Mitch Richmond, Tim Duncan, Hakeen Olojuwon, Dennis Rodman, Gary Payton, Joe Dumars and Glen Robinson have been invited.

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