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Daily News - 07 September 1998

Mayor Johnny Ventura wants to clear out sidewalks
Mayor Johnny Ventura announced that small shops, workshops and stores that are occupying public street areas have 30 days to clear out. The Mayor said that after that period, the city government will forcefully dislodge these so that the areas return to their original free use by pedestrians. Throughout the city, individuals have taken over sidewalks as extensions of their businesses.

Trial overshadows all other news
For the past week and continuing on through this week, the trial on the murder of 12-year-old José Rafael Llenas Aybar has practically monopolized the attention of Dominicans. The murder occurred on 3 May 1996 and the body of the child was found with 34 knife wounds in the back. The trial is being televised and radiocast to the nation, a situation which only has occurred in the past during the trial against Rufino de la Cruz, assassin of the Mirabal Sisters, and that of corruption in office during the Salvador Jorge Blanco presidency.
Dominicans seem to have made theirs the trial, that has become a warning to every parent to stay close in tune with teenage children and their friends. Mario José Redondo Llenas and friends fell prey to the influence of Luis Palmas, husband to the Argentinean ambassador in the DR, a well known international gangster who head a ring that performed kidnappings in Argentina of bankers and other wealthy persons, and who reportedly was sent to the DR to get him out of Argentina. Here he is known to have used several classmates of his son Martin Palmas to try to set up a similar operation as evidenced during the trial. Despite his absence, Palmas and son will be judged in Santo Domingo, once the trial against Redondo Llenas and Moliné Rodríguez concludes.
Meanwhile, Sammy Sosa's quest to break the Roger Maris record is second in the attention of Dominicans, leaving the institutional crisis that has evolved from the internal crisis within the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano to a distant third. As a result of the crisis, the Chamber of Deputies has only held sessions twice of nine working days. Congressmen are the best paid Dominican public servants.

Family feud breeds resentment
During the fifth day of the Llenas Aybar trial, the family feud over the inheritance left by the grandfather of the Llenas brother and sister (father of the murdered 12-year old José Rafael and mother of the confessed assassin) came up. Accomplice Juan Manuel Moliné Rodríguez has said that Mario José Redondo Llenas, cousin of the victim, was whom inflicted the 34 knife wounds to the boy. In the fifth day of the trial, the domestic servant who had worked in the house for 14 years, Fiordaliza Marte Carmona explained that the family problems worsened when Jose Rafael Llenas, the father of the boy, refused to use the inheritance money to pay a bill for medical treatment of his sister in the United States. The maid explained that the families distanced themselves and did not visit, despite living in the same apartment building. The original plan was to request a multi-million ransom for the 12-year old boy.

Father of Moliné speaks up for his son
Guarocuya Moliné Pichardo, father of co-accused, explained at the trial that his son was easily influenced and was used by Mario José Redondo Llenas, a fellow classmate from the Colegio Loyola. He said that his son told him he did not present opposition to the crime because he feared that Mario José would kill him.

See Sosa and McGwire at 2 pm
It's a regular season game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals but the 2 pm game (Santo Domingo time) will surely have all Dominicans tuned in. The game can be watched live on the Internet at http://www.totalsports.net
Both Mark McGwire and Dominican Sammy Sosa will be the stars of the game that will surely be watched by more fans than even a normal World Series final. Mark McGwire needs only two home runs to break the 1961 Roger Maris record of most home runs in a season, and showman Sammy Sosa trails with 58 home runs.
St. Louis' Busch Stadium is sold out for the two games, and U.S. press reports say that never before had these old rivals created such a stir nor any series attracted this kind of attention.
Chicago is in the wild-card chase and St. Louis is out of contention. Yet the only standing most people care about is the homer count for McGwire and Sosa. The two-man chase of the record is seen as the best thing that has happened for baseball in a long time.
McGwire is forecast to hit 70 home runs, Sosa 65.

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