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Daily News - 11 December 1998

Aristy Castro seeks to preside city governments league
Former President Joaquín Balaguer called upon his party followers to support La Altagracia province senator Amable Aristy Castro in his quest to become secretary general of the Dominican Municipal League. The former statesman's support was contained in a letter read by his personal assistant Rafael Bello Andino at the event in Higüey where senator Aristy Castro formally launched his candidacy to the post. Political party delegates will vote on 26 January for the secretary general of the organization that governs the municipal governments throughout the provinces and the National District (Santo Domingo).
For the PRD, Julio Maríñez seeks to repeat as secretary general. The PRD has contended that Aristy Castro does not meet the minimum requirements for the post. They contest that he is not a university graduate, nor has five years of work experience in city government.
Aristy Castro needs the support of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana delegates to win the nomination. The PLD has not officially announced it supports Aristy Castro's aspirations.
Lidio Cadet, secretary general of the PLD, speaking for the party, said that the PLD would not support Aristy Castro if the PRD accepted to return to the talks sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church to resolve differences over the appointing of a renown Dominican lawyer but also renown PRD activist to preside the Junta Central Electoral, the government body that organizes presidential, congressional and municipal elections in the DR.
Aristy Castro is a kingpin in the Eastern province of La Altagracia, where he has represented in Congress for several years. He has been in the press involved in irregular land dealings in the East. He is a former president of the National Senate and aspires to the Presidency of the Republic.

New south-north bus line ready for January
Engineer Hamlet Hermann, head of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET), the organization responsible for restructuring the transport systems in the DR, said that the bus corridor that is planned to run from the Centro de los Héroes, up Máximo Gómez Avenue and to end in Villa Mella, north of Santo Domingo, will be in operation in January 1999. The AMET is reaching agreements with owners of minibuses in the area, to convert these into shareholders of companies to which AMET would sell the buses that are being imported to service the corridor. An estimated 100 buses will serve the corridor. With the move, AMET seeks to remove from city streets dilapidated minibuses.

Dominican company wins bid for flour emporium
A Dominican spaghetti, cracker and cookie manufacturer, Malla & Compañía has become the new partner of the state in the new Molinos del Ozama mill. Malla & Cía. won the tender for the 50% ownership of Molinos Dominicanos, the country's largest mill and the smaller Molinos del Norte, also state owned. Malla will be the private sector operating partner of the newly created Molinos del Ozama. Malla bid the highest, or US$16,330,000 for the right to be the country's primary flour vendor. The company assumes a debt of RD$125 million with the Banco de Reservas. Malla competed against Seaboard/Corripio/Continental Grain, Pan American Grain, and ADM Milling.
This is the first privatization of a major state enterprise. The move is intended to reduce the burden on state finances of subsidies granted to the mill, that operated in the past as a welfare institution and/or a booty for those with political influence.

Completion of new mega mall announced for February 1999
Supermercado Pola and La Sirena mega mall owners, the Ramos family, are promising the opening of their new facility for February of next year. The mall has been under construction since 1996. The 60,000 square meter mall going up at Gustavo Mejía Ricart corner Winston Churchill will be site of the largest stores of the Pola Supermarket and La Sirena department store chains. The new mall will have 1,000 parking lots in a six level parking building. The Pola supermarkets and La Sirena department stores have a reputation for low prices and top quality. The new mall, that has cost over RD$300 million, will have 18 escalators and four 1,000 kilowatt power generators. Fourth La Sirena in the city and the third Supermercado Pola. The idea of the promoters is to attract the affluent clientele that lives in the midtown area of Santo Domingo where the new mall is located.

President visits Miami, gets award lobbies for free trade
President Leonel Fernández traveled yesterday to Miami, Florida to receive the Gold Star of the Caribbean award during a gala dinner at the Miami City Club. The award was given as part of events organized during the XXII Conference of Miami, the Caribbean and Latin America held from 8-12 December with the participation of government officers and businessmen from the Caribbean and Latin America.
Present during the award ceremony was Prime Minister Percival J. Patterson of Jamaica, Prime Minister Janet Jagan of Guyana and Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia.
Fernández is the second Dominican statesman to win the award. Other winners are former President Joaquín Balaguer, the late Prime Minister of Jamaica Michael Manley, the former governor of Puerto Rico Rafael Hernández Colon, the president of the Interamerican Development Bank, Enrique Iglesias and US Senator Robert Graham.
President Fernández received the award for his efforts at developing a new Dominican foreign policy that promotes the integration of Central America and Caribbean neighbors. The DR has signed two free trade agreements in the first two years of government of President Fernández - one with Central America and another with the Caribbean Community.
During his visit, President Fernández scheduled time to advance on negotiations with the Caribbean Community, speaking to Edwin Carrington, secretary general of Caricom, Kenny Anthony, president of Caricom and visiting prime ministers from the region. While the free trade agreement with Caricom was signed in Santo Domingo in August 1998, at present final negotiations are at a standstill after Caribbean participants submitted a list for exclusions to the free trade treatment for more than 1,000 products.
Press reports indicate that the Dominican statesman will return this afternoon. He traveled with his legal advisor, Abel Rodríguez del Orbe; the Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina; Minister of Industry and Commerce Luis Manuel Bonetti; Technical Secretary of the Presidency Temístocles Montás; ambassador in charge of trade agreement negotiations Federic Emam-Zade and Dominican ambassador in Washington, Bernardo Vega.

Public Works to fix panoramic highway
The Ministry of Public Works announced the repair of the panoramic highway from Puerto Plata to Santiago. The highway has suffered damages in several stretches. A spokesman for the ministry said that the damages are caused because the secondary route to Puerto Plata was built on top of the geological fault that cuts through the Septentrional mountain chain. He also admitted there were construction vices that worsen the situation of the so called "touristic" highway that offers lovely panoramic views all along the way.

DR schools have high drop out rate
Dominican schools have one of the highest drop-out rates in Latin America, a study released by UNICEF reports. Although 92 percent of Latin Americans have access to primary education, there is a high rate of academic failure, indicating problems with the quality of education, says the State of the World's Children Report 1999 published by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). The study showed that 25% of children who enroll in primary schools will drop out by the fifth grade. Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic have the highest school drop-out rates, registering more than 40 percent.

For viewing beauty contest, young murderers get sent to worst jail
Juan Moliné Rodríguez and Mario José Redondo, the two well-off former university students sentenced to 30 years for the assassination of 12-year old José Rafael Llenas, when they were 18 years old, were sent to the La Victoria penitentiary yesterday. The two had been allowed to remain at the Najayo jail in San Cristóbal, where better living conditions prevail. La Victoria is rated as hell on earth. The situation that motivated the transfer was supposedly a photograph published in El Siglo newspaper that showed Moliné Rodríguez participating as a spectator in the beauty contest female inmates organized at the jail. In the photo, Moliné is seen conversing with a very lovely blond inmate. TV producer Rafael Corporán de los Santos complained of the privileges granted the inmates. Moliné was an accomplice of Redondo, who the trial established stabbed his 12-year old cousin more than 30 times after kidnapping him in 1996, supposedly under the influence of the husband of the former Argentine ambassador in the DR.
Attorney General Mariano Germán Mejía ordered the transfer of the inmates yesterday afternoon. In their original sentence, Moliné and Redondo were ordered sent to La Victoria jail, but family appealed and were kept in Najayo for security reasons.

10 missing from fatal boat trips
Some 10 passengers of a failed boat trip are still missing after occupants of the fragile boat were rescued when they were on their way to Puerto Rico. A merchant marine ship gave the warning of the shipwreck 25 nautical miles from Saona Island on the southeastern coast. Some 28 persons were rescued by the Dominican Navy and the US Coast Guard forces. Weather-wise, this is the worse time of the year to make the trip, but it is chosen by many because they perceive vigilance drops off some because of Christmas partying.

US President promises Sosa to visit DR
The Listín Diario newspaper reports that the President of the United States Bill Clinton promised Sammy Sosa that he would visit the DR in the future. President Clinton reportedly conditioned his visit to a time when Sosa would be on vacation and could be present in the Dominican Republic. Sosa commented favorably on the special treatment he received during his visit to the White House. He said that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton personally gave him the tour of the White House. Sosa visited with his wife Sonia and personal assistant Domingo Dauhajre. Sammy Sosa and his wife Sonia sang Christmas songs with US President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House as they participated in the ceremony to turn on the Christmas tree lights.

Sosa lobbies for DR hosting Miss Universe
Sammy Sosa said he will lobby for the hosting of the Miss Universe beauty pageant in the DR. He said the hosting of the event was discussed during a recent dinner with millionaire Donald Trump in New York City. Sosa said he has pending a meeting with President Leonel Fernández to stress the importance of the promotional activity. This would be the second time the pageant is held in the DR.

"Por Amor 30 Aniversario", a CD to purchase this Christmas
E. León Jiménes, owners of President beer and manufacturers of Marlboro cigarettes and Aurora cigars, has launched "Por Amor, 30 aniversario", a CD that honors composer Rafael Solano's song that has been interpreted worldwide and is the most popular song at weddings in the DR. Niní Cáffaro, Lope Balaguer, Expedy Pou, Luchi Vicioso, Fernando Casado, Francis Santana and Maestro Solano himself perform for the CD. The moneys will be used for benefit organizations. The song "Por Amor" was composed in 1968 and performed for the First Dominican Popular Song Festival. Niní Cáffaro was its first interpreter. Maestro José Antonio Molina has done a contemporary musical arrangement of "Por Amor" for the CD.

Juan Luís Guerra's new CD hits Dominican markets
Juan Luís Guerra's long awaited new CD, "No es lo mismo, ni es igual," is slated for world launching 16 December. Those that have obtained a copy beforehand concur that it is a winner. Juan Luis Guerra will be on stage Saturday 12, as part of the mega concert "Unidos para Tí" at Altos de Chavón. The CD has 12 scores, "Mi PC", "Vale la pena", "La hormiguita," "Quisiera," "El Niágara en bicicleta", "Testimonio," "Amapola," "El primo," "Sobremesa," and "Amor de conuco." Juan Luís Guerra is one of the leading contemporary merengue and Latin music performers of modern times. This CD, which will be for sale at most music stores in Santo Domingo, is a worthwhile souvenir to take back. The CD is already circulating in Spain and in select Dominican music stores but will be widely available as of 16 December.

Play Santa on Saturday
All are invited to participate in the "Kilometer-long line of toys" organized by the women's group of the Hotel Association of Santo Domingo. The event will last from 9:30 to 1 pm on Saturday, 12 December. One thousand meters have been marked off, with several meters containing prizes such as dinner for two or four at city hotel restaurants and weekend stays. The event will take place along the Malecón stretch from the Hotel Jaragua to the Hotel V Centenario. Persons interested in participating can just show up with their children and toys to be donated and lay them down with the others. Organizers hope the line will be a kilometer long with the help of everyone. The toys will be donated to the Casa de los Palomos, el Hogar de las Niñas de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia and Hospital Robert Reid Cabral. For more information, call Helen Serrano at Tel. 221-2222 or email [email protected]

Night full of stars forecast for Saturday
The weather men are promising a night of stars tomorrow evening, with rain probabilities low. For the fortunate 5,500 persons able to secure tickets, the place to be on Saturday is at Altos de Chavón amphitheater in La Romana. Gloria Estefan, Juan Luis Guerra, Shakira, Jon Secada, Carlos Vives, Carlos Ponce and Angela Carrasco, leading Hispanic music stars, together with José Antonio Molina and more than 40 musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra will go on stage for the concert of the decade, a benefit for social centers built by the Gloria Estefan, Juan Luis Guerra and Sammy Sosa foundations. As per the preliminary program, Juan Luis Guerra will open followed by Carlos Vives, Angela Carrasco, Carlos Ponce, Shakira, Jon Secada and Gloria Estefan will close. Metro Tours announced Friday morning in an ad in the Listín that it still had tickets for their excursion on the comfortable metro busses. Telephone 544-4580 in Santo Domingo and 587-3811 in Santiago.
For Gloria Estefan, this will a second performance in Altos de Chavón.
The performance also marks the reopening of the Altos de Chavón artistic village in La Romana, that was affected by Hurricane Georges. Casa de Campo, the leading resort of La Romana, is closed with opening slated for 20 December of this year.

Car racing all day on Saturday
If you couldn't get tickets to the "Unidos por Tí" concert of Altos de Chavón, an alternative is to attend the car racing that will take place all day on Saturday at the Las Americas Autodrome, of Km. 16 Las Americas Highway, on the way to Las Americas International Airport. The promoters say that the facility has been totally renovated after suffering substantial damages during Hurricane Georges. The new covered stands will be first used for the Car Racing Extravaganza slated for Saturday. Races begin at 9:30 am with a final evening race slated for 5 pm. Finals of the RS1 and RS2, PMI 1 and PMI 2 and GTS category competitions will be held. Also scheduled is the first Reid y Compañía Grand Prix competition, with 15 Chrysler Neons imported from Puerto Rico for the event. 60 cars are expected to compete in the evening race. Also slated is the appearance of the First Dragster Turbo Jet Presidente, a vehicle capable of running a quarter of a mile in five seconds and developing speeds of 310 miles per hour. 150 racing cars will participate in the extravaganza. For more information, contact J.M. Hidalgo at 616-1749.

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