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Daily News - 03 November 1998

Politics talks postponed for Thursday
The Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, and the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano postponed for Thursday, 5 November their next meeting to reconcile differences. The meetings are coordinated by the highest hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the DR. The three majority political parties are meeting to discuss differences that revolve primarily over the constitution of the board of the Junta Central Electoral, the body that organizes the presidential, municipal and congressional elections; who will be the next secreary general of the Dominican Municipal League, that oversees the use of funds by the city halls; and the members of the Chamber of Accounts, that oversees the general allotment of the National Budget.
The PRSC has protested that the PRD majority Senate unilaterally elected the members, without the consensus of the other parties. The PRSC is requesting that the board members resign. The PRSC sees the present president of the JCE as a past antagonist of the party.
The PRD has said it would accept increasing the number of board members to seven, from five judges at present. But the party says it will not accept losing control of the Dominican Municipal League. The PRD won the most city halls, but if the PLD and PRSC delegates unite with dissident PRD delegates, it is possible that the PRD will lose the post of secretary general of the LMD, a post that has a major influence in determining the allotments of funding to the city governments. The present secretary general of the LMD was elected when the PLD joined with the PRD, despite then the PRSC having won the most city halls. The PRD also requests that PRD members be elected to the Chamber of Accounts, where the PLD has control. A new board of the Chamber of Accounts was chosen following an agreement between the PLD and the PRSC in the previous Congress.

Moneys released for the JCE
The General Controller's Office announced that it has released the RD$25 million peso September monthly allotment for the Junta Central Electoral following the ruling of Judge Nurys Landry de Castillo. But daily newspapers said that the funds had not been received at the electoral court as of 5 pm yesterday.
The JCE is awaiting a payment of RD$50 million, for the September and October allotments.
On Friday, 30 October, General Controller Ivanhoe Ng Cortiñas received the legal notification from the judiciary ordering the release of the funds. The government had retained the funds after the PRSC and its allied party Fuerza Nacional Progresista legally demanded the funds be frozen.

High ranking US cabinet officer visits
Adjunct Secretary of the Department of State for Latin America and the Caribbean, John Hamilton will visit with President Leonel Fernández today. This is his second visit to the Dominican statesman this year.
He visited yesterday with the President of the Supreme Court, Dr. Jorge Subero Isa. The US government seeks that the Dominican government respond positively to their extradition petition of Dr. Pedro Rafael González Pantaleón, condemned by a US court to six and a half years in jail for a US$25 million Medicare fraud. González Pantaleón is a former Dominican ambassador before the United Nations under the government of former President Joaquín Balaguer. President Fernández is whom decides whether to extradite González.
The Listín Diario reports that Hamilton will also discuss US assistance to the DR to step up drug control measures along the 260 kilometer frontier with Haiti.
The Listín also reported that Hamilton will discuss political issues with the nation's leading politicians.

US assists DR army to patrol frontier
Minister of the Armed Forces, Admiral Ruben Paulino Alvarez said that the US is assisting the Dominican military to install three intelligence detachments with personnel trained by US-Mexico border units to detect the contraband of illicit drugs and fire arms. The units will be known as Frontier Intelligence Operations.

Former president Chamber of Deputies commits suicide
Former president of the Chamber of Deputies and president of a Santiago finance firm and of a renown law firm in Santiago, Dr. Edilio Vargas Ortega committed suicide last Friday in Santiago. Vargas Ortega, deputy for the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano in 19986-1990 had also been a former administrator of Molinos Dominicanos, the state flour mill. Vargas had dressed elegantly, and then shot himself in his forehead near his home. He was known as a very religious and psychologically-rigid man. In Santiago, it was said he shot himself for a personal problem affecting a family member.

Laureano Guerrero still at his post
Laureano Guerrero denied that he has resigned from his post as director of the Comisión Nacional de Espectáculos Públicos. He told the Listín Diario he had not resigned, nor had plans to resign. Hoy reported that Laureano Guerrero had resigned on Friday after the government instructed him to revoke his decision to ban cable TV channels from inserting local advertising. Guerrero had announced the ban on local advertising on international cable TV programming under the understanding that cable TV subscribers pay for the service and not to see local advertisement. He also argued that the placing of advertising on international cable programming was affecting the profitability of local television stations. The most affected party, Telecable Nacional was the first to announce that the measure was revoked. Some RD$40 million a year are at stake.

British investment corporation pours US$100 million into DR
The general manager of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), the British international development financial corporation, Paul Jobson visited Santo Domingo last week and in an interview with the Listín Diario explained the scope of CDC activities in the country. The CDC has invested US$74 million in the DR and will at year's end have invested US$100 million, said Jobson. In an interview with the Listin Diario, Jobson, along with Javier Ecorriola, representative of CDC in the DR, and Michael Bax, regional CDC director, explained that the DR is seen by the CDC as a very important country at world levels, with great potential for development. CDC seeks to partner with companies that have growth potential both within the country as well as regionally.
CDC has investments in the Caribbean, Central America and South America for US$600 million.
Investments in the DR include US$8 million in the Pisano free zone in Santiago; US$7 million with the Café La Joya, Andres Freites gourmet coffee plantation; and US$7 million with Cementos Colón. CDC is also making a US$30 million investment in a power plant consortium, the largest in the country, being installed in San Pedro de Macoris.
In the past five years, CDC has capitalized the Smith Enron electrical corporation and the Flamenco resort hotel in Puerto Plata.

Orlando Martínez case to be televised
The Cadena de Noticias (CDN), Channel 37 has high expectations that the Orlando Martínez murder scase will polarize national attention. The case opens Thursday and will be televised by the news network. The Dominican CNN-type network will be giving the case of the journalist against former military the same coverage granted to the case of assassinated 12-year old José Rafael Llenas Aybar that mesmerized the nation throughout its duration.
Orlando Martinez Howley was murdered in March 1975, and it has taken 22 years for the case against former military to be heard. The case hearings have been moved to the Sexta Cámara Penal del Juzgado de Primera Instancia del Distrito Nacional, the same court hall used in the Llenas Aybar case. Judge Katia Miguelina Jiménez, Judge of the Décima Cámara Penal, will preside over the hearings. The accused, that have been detained for a year and a half are: Salvador Lluberes Montás (released for humanitarian reasons -- he has cancer), José Isidoro Martínez González (who is hospitalized suffering from Parkinson, diabetes and prostate cancer), Joaquin Pou Castro, former captain Rafael Alfredo Lluberes Ricart, former military Luis Emilio de la Rosa Beras and Mariano Duran, fugitive from justice.
Those called to testify include former President Joaquín Balaguer; former ministers of the Armed Forces, retired generals Enrique Pérez y Pérez , and Ramón Emilio Jiménez, as well as former chief of the Army Jose Ernesto Cruz Brea.

US fireman only finds three corpses
The Miami Herald reported on 13 October that US fireman Frederick Golba had said there were hundreds of dead buried under mud slides in the southwestern town of Mesopotamia in San Juan de la Maguana province, and speculated that the government was covering up. But after three weeks of seeking to find these, Hoy newspaper reports that Golba and his trained dog, Amos, left the country leaving behind a report in English on his findings. In the report, addressed to the Armed Forces chief of rescue operations in the area, he thanks them for their hospitality and collaboration. He concludes that he was only able to locate three bodies.
Hoy newspaper explains that the dog had scented the corpses of animals, buried in the mud slides, and confused these with cadavers. Golba and his dog combed the communities of La Mesopotamia, El Cepillo, Los Montes de Oca, Quijá Quieta and Guachupita, but found only three cadavers.
He left his report in English with General Saladín Almánzar Estevez, chief of the Third Brigade of the Army, stationed in San Juan de la Maguana.
The death toll for San Juan is 62 persons, with 26 missing.
There has been much speculation of the death toll in this area, built between two rivers, which was flooded when the rivers returned to their original tracks following heavy rains caused by Hurricane Georges.

Record number of Dominicans expected home for Xmas
The governor of the Las Americas International Airport, Jose Guillermo Sued forecasts that a record number of expat Dominicans will visit their family this year. The increase in the number of travelers will come from those that will travel to see damages caused by Hurricane Georges and bring assistance for friends and relatives.
Sued told El Siglo newspaper that it would still be another year before Las Americas International Airport is completely repaired. He estimated damages at US$3 million. Jose Guillermo Sued, nevertheless said, that repairs being made will improve the airport to the degree that travelers will find the airport in better conditions than before Hurricane Georges. A 1,000 kilo power plant is being installed to guarantee the air conditioning service.

Sammy Sosa is tops for AP
Dominican Sammy Sosa, of the Chicago Cubs received the most votes in the All Stars vote called by the Associated Press. He received 187 votes, five more than Mark McGwire.

Golf tournament at Casa de Campo
The VI Invitational Adogolf Classic, Papia Najri Cup will open at Casa de Campo's golf course in La Romana this 12 November. On Friday, 13 November, golf players from all around the DR will take to the tees for the first day of play. The awards ceremony is scheduled for the La Romana Country Club. Casa de Campo was probably the hotel most affected by Hurricane Georges, requiring the hotel to close down for repairs to roofs. The hotel is slated for a 20 December opening. For 12 December, a mega concert with Hispanic American music stars, including Juan Luis Guerra and Gloria Estefan, is scheduled to mark the reopening of the Altos de Chavón auditorium.

Avoiding a conflict with Minister Jiménez
Composer Manuel Jiménez denied the version of the interview of himself and singer Claudine Bonó with Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez (see http://www.dr1.com/daily/news100298.shtml). Composer Manuel Jiménez said that the two were only able to meet with the Minister for "a minute", when he told them he had handed Adriano Rodríguez, representative in the DR of the song festival where Bonó will perform, a check for US$1,000. Jiménez said that the minister did ask Bonó to sing a "chin-chin", and that all parties were aware that she performed without the adequate conditions for a best performance. El Siglo explained how the story came to be. It explained that Bonó complained to a friend about the interview, who later called the Listín with the story. Bonó has refused to comment on the story saying that it is detrimental to her as an artist. Both Jiménez and Bonó said they have no interest in polemics with the Minister of Tourism.

Dominican team matches Germany today
The Dominican national women's volleyball team will match the German team tonight seeking to classify for the second round of the World Volleyball Championship that opens today in Japan. The Dominican game is scheduled for 3 pm, Japanese time, 2 am, Dominican time.
The Dominican team has trained four years for the game. Coach Jorge Pérez Vento is confident in his squad. The Dominican team has played Japanese teams for the past three weeks in Japan.
The DR is part of Group C of the World Volleyball Games that also includes the teams of Russia, Brazil and Germany. To win the right to play in the world games, the DR team defeated Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

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