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Daily News - 27 August 1998

Danielle moves on past the Caribbean
This morning, Hurricane Danielle was located 20.8N, 57.5W, or about 395 east northeast of Caribbean Leeward Islands. It maintains a west northwest track and is losing strength as it continues a safe distance from the islands. According to the US National Hurricane Center, no strengthening is expected today and winds have fallen from 105 to 85 mph. "We are forecasting some weakening during the next 12 to 24 hours, but a gradual strengthening is indicated thereafter,'' said Lixion Avila, a hurricane specialist at the center. The hurricane is following a similar path to Hurricane Bonnie. Nevertheless, it may turn to the north early enough so that it miss the US coast and disappear in the Atlantic.
The hurricane is moving at a brisk 21 mph, and is expected to stay well north of the Leeward Island of Anguilla.Forecasters said there was only a slight chance the eye would pass within 65 miles of the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico by Saturday.
For an updated tracking map and forecasts, see http://www.intellicast.com/weather/usa/tghur2/

Balaguer accepts to testify in 12-year old murder case
Former President Balaguer has accepted to testify in the case of 12-year old Jose Rafael Llenas Aybar, according to press reports. Reportedly Judge Julio Cesar Cano Alfau of the Sixth Penal Chamber received a letter in which nonagenarian Balaguer requests preferential treatment and so that he may testify in writing or be allowed to testify at his home. The former President is blind. The press also reported that former judge Alexis Henríquez Núñez and businessman Ernesto Vitienes have also been requested to testify in the 31 August hearing.
The case revolves around the assassination of 12-year old Jose Rafael Llenas Aybar. A cousin and friend, then only 18-year old, have confessed to the crime. Also involved is the husband and then 18-year old son of the former Argentinean ambassador in the Dominican Republic.
The minor was found stabbed with 34 wounds on 3 May 1996.

Chamber of Accounts members could resign
The five members of the Chamber of Accounts, the government body that supervises the use of government funds, said they would resign if that decision would avert a crisis of Dominican institutions. The new members of the Chamber of Accounts were recently hand-picked by the government. Hugo Arias Fabián, Alcides Benjamín Decena Lugo, Francisco Osiris Martínez, Angel Santana and Altagracia Santana de De Veras said they would like to be able to be left to do their jobs. Speaking for the group, Arias Fabián said that he was elected to do a technical job, not to cover up for anyone, not even for the President of the Republic.
They say, nevertheless, that to do an appropriate job as inspectors of the use of government moneys they need an increase of the organization's budget of RD$23 million to RD$100 million. They say that of 500 institutions, only 12 are audited. He said that for example, neither the Armed Forces nor the National Police are audited.

The proposal to reduce tariffs
El Siglo newspaper reports that the government plans to submit to Congress a proposal for the reduction of import tariffs. The government proposes to reduce these to a maximum four levels, with a maximum at 20%. The 20% tax would apply to finished goods, 14% to semi-finished goods, 8% to goods to be finished in the DR, and 3% for the import of capital goods, such as machinery. At present, the tariffs structure provides for 0% for agricultural inputs and textiles, 3% for medicines and basic food stuffs, 5% for pharmaceutical products and publications, 10% for more elaborate food products, construction materials and sporting goods; 15% for semi-finished raw material, such as cement, and 20% for all products that compete with national production. There are also 20, 30 and 35% taxes on meat, alcoholic beverages, cigars, vehicles, appliances, jewelry, shoes, antiques, and others.

Sammy Sosa invites McGwire to play golf in DR
The Listin Diario reported that Sammy Sosa has invited Mark McGwire to the DR to play golf in a golf classic in which many superstars of the Major Leagues will also participate. This would be McGwire's second visit to the DR. In 1986 he played with the Licey Tigers. Alex Rodríguez, Pedro, Ramón and Jesús Martínez, Moisés Alou, Pedro Guerrero, George Bell, Alfredo Griffin, Juan Marichal, Alejandro Peña and Julio Franco are expected to play in the golf classic that will be held at the Playa Grande golf course along the North Coast.

Dominican Week -- 22 Sept. - 4 October
The law firm of Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti has announced the Dominican Week it sponsors every year in the United States will take place 22 September to 4 October. The event that promotes investment, business, and culture is in its seventh year. Activities will be held this year in Ponce and San Juan, Puerto Rico; Jacksonville and Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; South Orange in New Jersey and New York City.
Dr. Luis Heredia Bonetti, promoter of the event, said that in Ponce, an exhibition of photographs commemorating the 500 years of Santo Domingo will be shown, and Architect Eugenio Pérez Montás will confer on historic aspects of the city.
In Jacksonville and Miami, a video on contemporary Dominican art and the archaeological findings on the Taino culture will be shown. Dominican university rectors will travel to Washington for meetings on future cooperation programs with Georgetown, George Washington, American Howard, Catholic and other Washington universities.
In the University of Seton Hall in New Jersey, the Dominican government will present its privatization program for Dominican state enterprises at the university's business school.
As part of Dominican Week activities, a conference on migration, deportation and extradition will take place at the John Hopkins University in Maryland.
Likewise, events will be held at the Bankers Club in Puerto Rico; the University of Jacksonville; and the World Trade Center in Miami and the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

Taking precautions to prevent Dengue
The Ministry of Public Health has alerted residents in the DR to take precautions to avoid being infected by the dengue fever virus. The Ministry is also extensively making known the symptoms of the illness so that those affected may visit hospital centers and prevent severe conditions.
Dengue Fever is primarily a viral infection transmitted by mosquito bites in residential areas. Dominican medical authorities say that more than 1,000 cases have been reported, and eight persons have died due to delays in attending the illness. In Puerto Rico, some 10,000 cases have been reported. The World Health Organization says there are approximately 50 million cases of dengue annually.
The Ministry alerts that the mosquito does not discriminate by social classes. The virus is spread by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes are most active during the day, especially around dawn and dusk, and are frequently found in or around human habitations. The illness is flulike and characterized by sudden onset, high fever, severe headaches, joint and muscle pain, and rash. The rash appears 3-4 days after the onset of fever. Since there is no vaccine or specific treatment available, prevention is important.
The Ministry of Health is recommending persons to remove flower vases, cans and other recipients in which mosquitoes could breed.
According to the Center for Disease Control of the U.S. Government, in the Caribbean islands, low level transmission occurs throughout the year in most tourist-oriented islands. Seasonal and sporadic epidemics with higher transmission rates also frequently occur. The risk of infection is small for most travelers except during periods of epidemic transmission.
CDC says that to reduce mosquito bites, travelers should remain in well-screened areas, use mosquito nets and wear clothes that cover most of the body. Travelers should also take insect repellent with them to use on any exposed areas of the skin. The most effective repellent is DEET), an ingredient in most insect repellents that should be used according to label directions and sparingly on children.

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