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Daily News - 09 October 1998

Korean company donates RD$1 million to Villa Altagracia
Korean free zone park BJ&B, S.A. donated RD$500,000 to assist its employees in the reconstruction of their homes and another RD$100,000 each to community organizations in Villa Altagracia, a city north of Santo Domingo and hard hit by Hurricane Georges. The company reported losses of RD$13 million during the hurricane but chose to make the contribution to the community to accelerate the return to normal in the area. The moneys were donated to the Catholic Church, Municipality, Red Cross, School District and to the Foundation for the Development of Villa Altagracia.

Most likely PRSC candidates for year 2000
Gallup-El Siglo poll showed that former President Joaquín Balaguer and former Vice President Jacinto Peynado are tied in the opinions of the general public as to whom should be that party's presidential candidate for the year 2000 elections. The survey, carried out prior to the hurricane Georges, from 16-21 September found that 28.7% of the 1,200 persons interviewed said that Balaguer, seven times President of the Republic, will be the candidate, and 28.5% consider it should be Peynado. Among those that say they are PRSC voters, 53.4% favor 92-year old Balaguer and 22% favor Peynado (22%). Balaguer has predominantly the support of women and rural inhabitants. Other strong PRSC candidates are former Vice President Carlos Morales Troncoso, who received 10.7% of the preferences, and former Minister of Foreign Relations Victor Gómez Bergés, with 8.6% of the preference of the voters.

Gallup poll shows Vice President is popular
The same Gallup-El Siglo poll showed that Vice President Jaime David Fernández is expected to become the presidential candidate of the PLD for the elections slated for May 2000. The survey showed that 45.8% of those interviewed considered Fernández should be the PLD candidate. The former senator of Salcedo, psychiatrist and agronomist rated even higher, or 61.4% among those that favor the PLD. Runner-up candidate is Danilo Medina, present Secretary of the Presidency, who received 8.7% of the support of those interviewed. 5.3% favored Felix (Felucho) Jiménez, present Minister of Tourism. Leonel Fernández is the party's leading politician, but the Constitution impedes him from running for President in the year 2000 election.

Why Standard & Poor analysis of DR economy is flawed
The Vice Governor of the Central Bank, Luis Manuel Piantini said that the Standard & Poor's analysis of the Dominican economy (see http://www.dr1.com/daily/news100898.shtml) is flawed. He said when commenting on the effects of the low international reserve levels, the economists of the organization did not take into account that 80% of Dominican imports are made with foreign exchange purchased on the free market and not with Central Bank reserves. He explained that thus the level of Central Bank reserves does not affect the private sectors capacity to pay back loans or debts. More so, he said that Standard & Poor data was outdated. He said that as of 6 October the international reserves were US$228 million, or US$17 million more than the US$211 million on the day before the Huricane. He said that the gross international reserves were US$559 million, and that both the net and the gross reserves are at levels of this time last year. He explained that the government uses the Central Bank international reserves exclusively to pay the foreign debt and make fuel purchases.
Piantini forecast that the economy will grow 7% this year, down from the original 7.5% forecast, and that inflation should be around 4%. He mentioned that the most dynamic sectors of the economy - tourism industry, manufacturing industry, and telecommunications industry - had not been significantly affected by the hurricane and were bouncing back quickly.

Codetel to invest RD$400 million to improve telecommunications
Codetel announced it will invest more than RD$400 million to repair the damages caused by Hurricane Georges in the DR. These damages are estimated at more than RD$600 million. The company will also continue with its plan to install the larger part of the Dominican telephone system underground. Following the passing of Hurricane David in 1979 and major damages then to the telephone system, Codetel initiated a program to install underground systems. As a result most of Santo Domingo, or 85% nationwide, retained telephone service even during the most critical hours of the hurricane. Carlos Espinal, president of the company, said that the company's insurance will only account for 50% of the damages. Company sources said that the systems in the East suffered primarily because city hall officials did not allow the installing of underground telephone systems in their community.

Dodgers pursue Expos's Alou
The Los Angeles Dodgers see manager Felipe Rojas Alou as a perfect fit for their team, but for the Dominican, leaving Montreal and the Expos will not be an easy decision. The Dodgers are reportedly making Alou a multiyear contract that is too good to refuse and hope to be able to introduce him as the team's manager before the World Series. The Dodgers's offer supposedly surpasses what Montreal might spend to retain the manager who has had a .519 winning percentage in seven seasons. Alou, 63, has had success in Montreal despite the team's low payroll, blamed for the departure of many key players through trades or free agency. Star players who have left Montreal include Alou's son, Moises, along with Larry Walker, John Wetteland, Pedro Martinez, Andres Galarraga, Marquis Grissom, and Mike Lansing.
During the strike-shortened 1994 season the Expos had a 74-40 record - the best in baseball, and Alou was named Associated Press Manager of the Year and NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The Expos were 94-68 in 1993, and 88-74 in 1996.
It is yet to be seen if the Expos will get the investment to build the announced new ball park.
Alou has said this is not about money. Expos general manager Jim Beattie said he is authorized to match the Dodger's financial offer and planned to meet with Alou at Alou's winter home near Miami. They hope to keep him. More so, Alou has a Canadian wife and Canadian children. Alou has been Montreal's manager since May 22, 1992, and has one year remaining on his contract with the Expos.
Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone and Dodgers president Bob Graziano visited the DR to speak with Alou and tour the team's training facility, the Campo Las Palmas, which suffered major damages during Hurricane Georges. The academy is closed for repairs and will reopen 6 January.
Speaking to the Dominican press at a press conference from the baseball academy, Malone said they are close to reaching an agreement with Alou.
The Expos gave the Dodgers permission Monday to talk to Alou about the managerial job, vacant since it was announced last week that Hoffman would return as a member of the coaching staff, not as manager. He was an in-season replacement for Bill Russell.
Malone was hired Sept. 11 to become the Dodgers' third general manager in a six month period. Malone was general manager of the Expos during the 1994 and 1995 seasons, and Alou's boss then. They have continued to be close friends ever since. Alou is the Dodgers's number one candidate to the post of manager of the team. Other candidates are Davey Johnson and Kevin Kennedy.

Horse racing to resume 22 October
Horse racing will be resumed at the Quinto Centenario Race Track as of 22 October. The announcement was made by Antonio Tueni, general manager of Galapagos, S. A., the company that manages the race track. The simulcasting of the bets from the El Comandante Race Track of Puerto Rico will not take place as that track suffered major damages and power has not yet been restored to the Puerto Rican track, also affected by Hurricane Georges. The Quinto Centenario Race Track suffered damages, but these are being repaired.

Golf in Juan Dolio this weekend
The leading golf players of the DR, and a team representing the Union of Swiss Banks in Panama will participate Saturday in the II Invitational Golf El Peje at the Metro Country Club golf course in Juan Dolio. Five automobiles will be awarded to the first five that make a hole in one in the par three course.

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