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Daily News - 18 August 1998

Shuffling of the Fernández cabinet
President Leonel Fernández announced changes in his cabinet yesterday. The most important of the changes are the following:
Minister of Interior and Police Norge Botello was replaced by Ramón Andrés Blanco Fernández. Botello was appointed executive director of the Dominican Port Authority. He replaces the President's father, Antonio Fernández Collado.
The position of Minister of Agriculture was left vacant. The former minister was Frank Rodríguez who was appointed director of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI).
Carlos Amarante Baret is the new general administrator of Bienes Nacionales (the government real estate department), replacing Henry Garrido, who was sent to the Oficina de Desarrollo de la Comunidad, a community development department.
Juan Antonio Ceballos is the new administrator of the Instituto Dominicano de Seguros Sociales (IDSS), replacing Pablo Yermenos Forastieri who will be the new Dominican consul in Madrid.
Euclides Sánchez was sent to the Santo Domingo Water Corporation (CAASD) replacing Manuel de Jesús Pérez who will now direct the National Aqueduct Institute (INAPA).
Faustino Jiménez was sent to the Sugar Institute (INAZUCAR), replacing Jimmy García Saviñón.
Manuel Paula was named president-administrator of the Cooperative Institute (IDECOOP), replacing David Contreras Duarte.
Eliseo Rondón Sánchez was appointed medical counsel to the Executive Branch.
Major General Hugo Rafael González Borrel is the new chief of the Air Force. General Brigade José Eliseo is the new Chief of the Army, replacing Major General Andres Apolinar Disla who was appointed Deputy Minister of the Armed Forces. The President also retired former chiefs of the Police, Rafael Guerrero Peralta and Camilo Antonio Nazir Tejada.
Dr. Mariano German Mejía is the new attorney general of the nation replacing Dr. Abel Rodríguez del Orbe who was appointed special assistant of the President of the Republic with the rank of honorary minister.

Signing free trade agreement
President Leonel Fernandez and the president of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Kenny Anthony will sign the free trade agreement between the DR and that block trade on Saturday, 22 August at 10 am at the Hotel Jaragua. The treaty covers goods and services within a regulated trade scheme. The Caribbean Summit will be held 20-22 August with the attendance of 13 chiefs of state from Caricom. Only David Brant of Montserrat will be absent. Also expected are the presidents of Haiti, René García Preval and Cuba, Fidel Castro. This is the second trade agreement signed by the government and is a concrete result of the pro-active diplomacy spearheaded by President Fernández himself.

Dominican President is youngest statesman
President Leonel Fernández, 44, will be the youngest of the 15 chiefs of states that will gather in Santo Domingo from 20-22 August. The oldest of the statesman and the longest reigning is Fidel Castro, the 72 year old Cuban president. In chronological order, the visiting chiefs of state are: Prime Minister James Mitchell, St. Vincent and Grenadines, 68; Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, Trinidad & Tobago, 65; Prime Minister Percival J. Patterson, Jamaica, 63; President René García Preval, Haiti, 60; Prime Minister Lester Bird, Antigua, 60; Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel, Belize, 58; Prime Minister E. Jules Wijdenbosch, Surinam, 57; Prime Minister Edison C. James, Dominica, 55; Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham, Bahamas, 51; Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Barbados, 48; Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, St. Lucia, 47; Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, 45, St. Kitts/Nevis; President Janet Jagan, Guyana.

President to submit bills to Congress
Danilo Medina, Secretary of the Presidency, announced that President Leonel Fernández will send several reform bills to the Congress, despite the warning of the PRD that it will not reach a consensus with the government. Medina said that what happened in the Chamber of Deputies was the result of an internal crisis of the party and not a confrontation with the government. On Sunday, PLD and PRSC deputies supported aspirations of a dissident PRD group.
The bills to be submitted to Congress include: Bill for the Promotion of Exports; General Customs Bill; Bill for Zero Tariffs for Small and Medium-sized companies; Capital Markets Bill; Consumer Markets Bill; Bill on the Ordering of the Market; Bill to Promote Free Competition; Intellectual Property and Copyright Bill; Monetary and Finance Code; Electricity Bill; General Health Bill; Social Security Bill; and a Bill to regulate the contracting of government works.

War declared on the government
The president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano announced the end of reaching agreements with the government prior to year 2000. Dr. Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero accused the government of the situation created on Sunday in the Chamber of Deputies when the government and PRSC parties allied with dissident PRD members, and disregarded the choice of the PRD, the majority party, to choose the new president of the Chamber.

Government accepts PRD challenge
The PRD has declared "war" on the government, but the PLD says it's nothing new, that confrontation is part of the culture of the PRD. Temistocles Montás, Technical Secretary of the Presidency, and a PLD party director, said that one has to understand that the PRD will "systematically oppose" all government initiatives. He said the party even did so in the administrations of PRD presidents, such as Antonio Guzmán and Salvador Jorge Blanco, when the party acted like an opposition party. He said that behavior is not going to change.
He said that when the PRD conditioned working with the government to the government party's support of the election of Winston Arnaud as president of the Chamber of Deputies, what they really were asking for was for the PLD to solve their internal problem.
Carlos Dore Cabral, director of the unit of information, analsys and strategy of the government concurred that a political party cannot condition the political consensus needed to resolve national problems to the solving of their individual party interests.

Court martial for aggressive police
A police court will try a colonel, a first lieutenant, a private and a corporal for the death of 29-year old student Franklin Fabián Mejía on the grounds of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. The student was killed during riots at the UASD held to protest the announcement that students who did not fulfill minimum academic requirements would be withdrawn from the university. The Police will judge Colonel Jose Rene Valdez Abraham, Lt. Vicente Castro Ortega and corporal Santos Casanova and private David Collado.

Carolina Herrera fashions
Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera presented her 1998 fall collection in a benefit fashion show. Proceeds will go to the La Romana Fundacion MIR. The fashion show was sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue Dadeland and held at the Country Club of La Romana, part of the Casa de Campo residential community. Verushka Ramirez, Miss Venezuela 1998 closed the show modeling a Carolina Herrera wedding gown.

Haiti exhibition in Santo Domingo
The Santo Domigo Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio y Producción de Santo Domingo) presents Expo Haiti 18-22 August at the city chamber of commerce located at Calle Arzobispo Nouel in the Colonial City. The exhibition features paintings, coffee, rum, liquors, handicrafts, music, jewelry, folklore and furniture from Haiti. The exhibition coincides with the visit of Haitian President Rene García Preval to Santo Domingo to participate in the Caribbean Summit.

DR does well in wrestling
Tue Dominican Republic won two silver and four bronze medals in the Maracaibo Central American and Caribbean Sports Games yesterday. The Olympic Committee had forecast the national team would win a total of 65 medals. The country has accumulated 43 medals in its first week of competition. Of yesterday's medals, four bronze were in wrestling, one silver in female basketball and another silver in racquetball. The DR is in 7th place with 5 gold, 9 silver and 29 bronze medals. Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Suriname, and Puerto Rico lead the medal count.

Australian fugitive gets passport from Dominica
The Sydney Morning Herald clarified that Australia's most wanted fugitive, Christopher Skase has secured a passport to the Caribbean island state of Dominica, not the Dominican Republic as revealed earlier. Skase resides in Mallorca, Spain since he fled Australia in 1991, but Spanish authorities are expected to serve a deportation order, and it is expected he will travel to Dominica. While Dominica has an extradition agreement with Australia, it is believed Skase has sought his new citizenship to facilitate travel to other countries.

Webber fined for marijuana possession
After participating in the Playa Grande golf tournament, NBA basketball player Chris Webber was arrested upon entering San Juan, Puerto Rico for the possession of 11 grams of marijuana in his luggage. A customs dog on a routine inspection in the transit lounge at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport made the discovery. Webber was briefly detained and fined US$500. He then continued traveling to Barbados. He was scheduled to play in a fund-raiser game Monday in Barbados. However, an official with the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association, but press reports said he did not play.
Webber has had legal problems in the past. He was recently traded from the Washington Wizards to Sacramento. Webber is awaiting trial for a January arrest that stemmed from a traffic stop on his way to practice with the Wizards in Maryland. He faces charges of marijuana possession, second-degree assault and resisting arrest.

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