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Daily News - October 26 1998

Central Bank governor gives economy stats to bankers
Governor of the Central Bank Hector Valdez Albizu addressed bankers in Coral Gables, Florida last week to explain the economic situation of the country and assuage fears of instability or arrears on the regular foreign debt payment plan. Valdez sought to bolster confidence in investments in the DR. The nation's principal monetary authority emphasized that the Dominican Republic would continue to honor its international monetary commitments. Valdez emphasized that the DR has not requested a restructuring of its foreign debt and neither a moratorium on payment of its foreign debt. The restructuring has been requested on base of international solidarity and cooperation due to the RD$3,500 million extraordinary reconstruction effort the government is having to enfold after Hurricane Georges.
Present at the same meeting, the Technical Secretary of the Presidency, Temístocles Montás said that the Club of Paris has accepted the government's request for a six month reprogramming of the US$109 million payment on the foreign debt that should have been made 30 September. The moneys will be paid in March 1999. The government says that the Club of Paris accepted the government's request with no conditions. He explained the Fernández administration has made payments of US$423 million on the foreign debt in the past two years, reducing the later from US$3,875.1 million at June 1996 to US$3,452.1 million at June 1998.
While in 1994 the servicing of the foreign debt demanded 5.6% of the Gross Domestic Product, today only 2.7% is paid out. Same, in 1994, the debt payment represented 18.7% of the total exports of goods and services, today debt service is 5.6% of the total.
Speaking to the bankers at the Hyatt Regency of Coral Gables, Miami, Valdez pointed out that regardless of the effects of the hurricane, the economy will still have grown 7% at year's end, down only half a percentage point from the original forecast of 7.5%. Valdez forecast that the inflation rate for the year is estimated at 6%.
Valdez explained that while the hurricane will have a negative effect on several sectors of the economy, such as farming, other sectors will grow more than originally estimated. Sectors to experiment greater dynamism are construction, 14%; transport, 10.9%; commerce 10.8%, government, 5.5%; and finance, 3.8%.
Valdez also mentioned that the gross international reserves of the Central Bank will be more than US$600 million at year's end, and that net international reserves will be at a higher level than in 1997, at US$255 million.

Santo Domingo is cheap by Latin American standards
Santo Domingo is one of the cheapest cities to travel to and live in in Latin America, according to a study of the cost of living and travel carried out by the Latin Trade magazine and reported by El Siglo. The magazine reached the conclusion after adding up the costs of staying at a five star hotel, renting an apartment in a residential area, and the prices of consumer items such as a medium-sized sedan vehicle, a cup of coffee, a pack of cigarettes and a hamburger with potato chips.

Government puts price tag on state flour mill
El Siglo reported that Molinos Dominicanos, the state flour mill's assets have been assessed at a minimum RD$218.2 million (about US$14.5 million) by the Comisión de Reforma y Capitalización de la Empresa Pública. The organization is in charge of the privatization of state companies, and seeks 50% participation of the private sector. While potentially profitable, the flour mill has been affected by bad administration and government corruption, and thus has been a burden to tax payers.

Dominicans still prefer the Lotería
The state-run Lotería Nacional continues to be most popular among gamblers in the DR. 57.3% of those that gamble in the DR told El Siglo-Gallup that they prefer Lotería Nacional's weekly raffles. The Lotto, an electronic game, has gained a 21.4% market share, quite remarkable for a company that is barely a year old. 45.2% of 1,200 Dominicans of voting age polled by Gallup for the survey from 16-21 September, said they never gamble. The study showed that most of those who gamble wont invest more than 50 pesos a week to try their luck.

Hurricane Georges damages reports
Recently, the United Nations issued a report whereby Hurricane Georges caused losses estimated at RD$18,360 million, approximately US$1,200 million to the Dominican Republic. The UN report by its United Nations Disaster Aid Coordinator reported that the death toll was 283, some 595 persons were injured and there are 64 persons reported missing. The hurricane left 100,000 persons in temporary shelters. Most affected sectors were farming, cattle raising, housing, production , industry and tourism. Energy sector losses are estimated at US$107 million, and farming losses at US$434.8 million. The hurricane also caused physical damages to 10% of the hotel inventory, or approximately 4,000 rooms.
The Ministry of Public Works said that the hurricane caused damages to public thoroughfare infrastructure for RD$4,606 million. This included damaged highways, rural roads, drainage systems and bridges.

15 million trees to be planted in next few months
President Leonel Fernández named November the Month of Reforestation. The director of the National Department of Parks Omar Ramírez announced that 15 millions trees, most of varieties that grow rapidly, will be planted all throughout the country. A special emphasis will be given on planting around the river basins, parks, avenues and recreation areas. Thousands of trees will be planted to protect the Cordillera Central, the mountain chain where 14 rivers originate.
Heading the operation are Manuel Serrano, executive director of the National Plan Green Quisqueya; Omar Ramírez, director of the National Parks Department; Radhamés Lora Salcedo, director of the National Forestry Department, and José Miguel Martínez, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of the Ministry of Agriculture.
This time around, the team of foresters hope to avoid the errors made after Hurricane David. Back in 1979, the government planted imported species that 20 years later did not withstand the winds of a strong hurricane, such as Georges.
Omar Ramírez, director of the National Parks Department explained that for instance, in the case of Mirador Sur Park, the Department of Parks inventory showed that previous governments had planted 98 different species there, of which only six were native trees. The native species have proven to be more resistant to the winds. Ramírez said that the government will be planting trees that grow quickly such as the memiso, mara, Juan Primero, and Penda. The Department of Parks will be working closely with the City Hall to coordinate tree planting in the city of Santo Domingo and other cities.
According to technicians from the National Botanical Gardens, there are over 6,000 native plants and trees many of these available at their nursery for RD$3-RD$10 each. In an interview with the Listín Diario, engineer Milton Martínez explained that it is better for home owners and the city to continuously prune the trees, limiting the height of trees to one level of branches. This will cause less damage to sidewalks and provide the necessary shade. The botanical gardens is recommending planting: gri grí, caoba, almácigo, carambola, Juan Primero, penda, palmas, mamey, alamo, mara, abey, tabebuia, uva de playa, hojancho, guayacan, cubanola dominguensis, guayaba de indio and cotoperí.

Hatuey gets to keep post as secretary general
The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano's Political Committee approved that aspirants to the party's presidential candidacy in the year 2000 elections be allowed to keep the posts they hold within the party and in public functions. Hatuey Decamps, Milagros Ortíz Bosch, Hipólito Mejía, Rafael Suberví and Jose Rafael Abinader are the party's leading candidates. Formerly, during the times of late party leader, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, the candidates had to resign their posts. Decamps, who holds the position of secretary general, has refused to resign his post. Now, the party has ruled he can stay.

Scores of weekend baseball games
For those following the Dominican Baseball Professional Winter League Championship, the weekend scores were as follows:
Friday, 23 October -- Tigres del Licey defeated the Leones del Escogido 8-1 in Santo Domingo; Aguilas Cibaeñas defeated Gigantes del Nordeste 2-1 in San Francisco de Macorís.
Saturday, 24 October -- Gigantes defeated the Licey in Santo Domingo, 6-5. Escogido defeated the Aguilas 6-5 in Santiago.
Sunday, 25 October -- Licey defeated the Escogido, 5-4 runs in Santo Domingo.
In Santiago, the Aguilas defeated the Gigantes 6-2.
Baseball schedule for the week
This week's schedule is as follows:
Monday, 26 October. Day off.
Tuesday, 27 October. Gigantes vs. Escogido in Santo Domingo, Licey vs. Aguilas in Santiago.
Wednesday, 28 October. Aguilas vs. Escogido in Santo Domingo. Licey vs. Gigantes in San Francisco de Macorís.
Thursday, 29 October. Day off.
Friday, 30 October. Escogido vs. Leones in Santo Domingo, Gigantes vs. Aguilas in Santiago.
Saturday, 31 October. Aguilas vs. Licey in Santo Domingo. Escogido vs. Gigantes in San Francisco de Macoris.
Who's playing with the teams?
The team rosters are as follows:
Tigres del Licey
Manny Aybar, Hector Henríquez, Claudio Galván, Yon Germán, Yorkis Pérez, Sal Urso, César Vásquez, Juan Carlos, Héctor Almonte, Nelson Lara and Fausto Macey.
Catchers: Henry Mercedes, Jorge Brito, Kelly Ramos.
Infielders: Kevin Grijak, Rafael Martínez, Luis Castillo, Ronnie Belliard, Aramis Ramírez, Israel AlcÝantara, Cristian Guzmán, D'Angelo Jiménez, Jorge Alvarez.
Outfielders: Julio Ramírez, Daniel Ramírez, José Soriano, Jhensy Sandoval, Roberto Ramírez, Ramy Beatriz, Juan Camilo.
Leones del Escogido
Brendan Donnelly, Máximo Núñez, Denis Brito Bonilla, Carlos Almánzar, Marino Santana, Damaso Marte, Nelson Cruz, Domingo Serrano, Ramón Tatis, Juan Pérez, Marino de los Santos, Pedro Minaya.
Angel Peña, Francisco Morales, Marcos Sánchez
Infielders: Freddy García, Amaury García, Abraham Núñez, Santiago Pérez, Juan Melo, Wilson Delgado, Cesarín Carmona, Fernando Tatis
Mike Cameron, Rubén Mateo, José Herrera, Jesús Tavares, Ramón Espinosa, Tyrone Horne, Angel Ramírez
Manager: Dave Miley
Agulas Cibaeñas
Robinson Pérez, Héctor Ramírez, Elvin Hernández, José García, Ramón Arturo Peña, Máximo de la Rosa, Luis Vizcaino, Guillermo Mota, Benito Báez, Wilson Guzmán, Jesús Peña, José Báez Ortiz
Guillermo García, Alberto Castillo, Melvin Rosario
Mendy López, Adrian Beltré, Félix Martínez, Sergio Núñez, José López, Julio Bruno, Félix Fermín
Luis Polonia, Patricio Claudio, Brian Simmons, Omar Ramírez, Mario Encarnación, Juan Diloné, Ramón Gómez, Denio González
Manager: Tony Peña
Gigantes del Nordeste:
Jesús Sánchez, Roberto Durán, Lariel González, Edwin González, Julio César Pérez, Delfino Mejía, Carlos Paredes, José Ortega, Mario Sangilbert, Wilson Heredia, José Martínez, Phil Grundy
Fausto Cruz, Plácido Polanco, Franklyn Parra, Santiago Henry, Juan Sosa, Carlos Febles, Tilson Brito, Joe Vitiello
Raymond Núñez, Jovino Carvajal, Lorenzo de la Cruz, Jesús Campos, Manuel González, Terry Bradshaw, Juan de la Rosa
The cost of attending a baseball game
The Dominican Professional Baseball League 1998-99 season games played at both the Santo Domingo and Santiago stadiums are being transmitted by Televisión Dominicana (Channel 4) on Saturday and Sunday at 4 pm and by Rahintel (Channel 7) at 8 pm on week nights, Monday to Friday. While you can comfortably watch the baseball games from home or your hotel, fans who want to see the action live can visit any of the three ball parks where games are being held. These are the Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, the Estadio Cibao in Santiago and the Estadio Julián Javier in San Francisco de Macorís.
Prices at the Santo Domingo stadium are: RD$125 for the most expensive seat, RD$75, RD$50, and RD$15.
In Santiago, admission ranges from RD$150, RD$80, RD$40 and RD$10.
In San Francisco de Macorís you will pay RD$100 for the most expensive seat, RD$70, or RD$15.

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