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Daily News - 15 December 1998

President-elect of Venezuela to visit
President Leonel Fernández and Venezuelan President-elect Hugo Chávez agreed by telephone yesterday to establish an alliance that would serve as a bridge between South America and the Caribbean. The press department of the National Palace yesterday issued a brief statement indicating that Chávez had confirmed he would visit the DR prior to February and to his swearing in as President of Venezuela.

President Fernández invited to Colombia
The Government of Colombia has invited President Leonel Fernández to visit. Minister of Foreign Relations of Colombia Guillermo Fernández Soto brought President Leonel Fernández an official invitation from Colombian President Pastrana to visit Colombia. The minister said that the Colombian government recognizes the Dominican statesman for his leadership in the Caribbean. He said that Colombia is working on strengthening its relationship with the Caribbean and would like to hear of the Dominican experience.

DR and Cuba sign economic and technical accord
The Dominican Republic signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement with Cuba in Santo Domingo yesterday. Technical Secretary of the Presidency, engineer Temístocles Montás, signed for the DR. Cuba was represented by Ibrahim Ferradaz, Minister of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation who traveled to the DR on Sunday, 10 December accompanied by 10 other technicians. Montás explained that the agreement opens the doors for other agreements, such as a free trade agreement. He explained the present agreement covers areas of planning, finance, development, environment, natural resources, technological and productive innovations, electronics, mining, fishing, agriculture, agribusiness and technology. It establishes bases for the cooperation in areas of transport, ports, communications, housing, urbanism, tourism, health, commerce, promotion of exports, social development, as well as international cooperation.

PRD calls for closing of congressional sessions
To avoid Partido de la Liberación Dominicana party affiliates from corrupting senators and deputies, the country's leading opposition party, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD)'s presiding board is recommending its members interrupt their work at Congress until after the election of the secretary general of the Dominican Municipal League. The PRD says that the government is using its influence to convince delegates at the voting session for the secretary general of the city halls authority to vote for the candidate to be announced by the PLD. The PLD has not confirmed it will be favoring Partido Reformista Social Cristiano candidate Amable Aristy Castro. Rather the party has said it will definitely not support his aspirations if the PRD returns to political talks sponsored by the Catholic Church. If senators and deputies accept the recommendation, there will be no time to pass the Free Trade Agreement the DR has signed with three Central American nations. The Municipal League elections are slated for 26 January.

Peso slides against the US dollar
The peso continues to lose value to the dollar. Banks and exchange houses were offering from RD$15.40 to a high RD$15.95 on the dollar. Dollars were commanding RD$16.14 to RD$16.21 on the exchange markets.

New bill to foster tourism development
Minister of Tourism Félix Jiménez would like to see the elimination of income tax on hotel investment in 11 provinces of the Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. The measure would also benefit mountain vacation resorts in the central province of La Vega. Southwestern provinces that would be included in a bill that will be presented to Congress are Bahoruco, Pedernales, Elías Piña and Barahona, and Peravia. Northwestern provinces include Dajabón, Mao and Monte Cristi. The impoverished province of El Seibo would also benefit from the proposed legislation. These provinces have among them less than 500 hotel rooms. The proposed bill was discussed at a meeting called by the Minister with the bishops and businessmen of those provinces. Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez aspires to be on the presidential ticket of the PLD in year 2004.

Assassin rode in a black Lexus
Spokesman for the Police, Simón Díaz said that several persons have been detained in regards to the murder of Lourdes Mayelin Crispín on 2:30 pm of Saturday by a stray bullet at the TGI American Bar of Naco. The Police is investigating all registered owners of black Toyota Lexus's, the vehicle from which individuals fired the shot that killed the innocent victim. The shots were fired at the establishment after the individuals were denied admission to the bar-restaurant. The Police are optimistic they will find the assailant who can be identified by the watchman who denied the admission.

Close race for PLD presidential nomination
Sigma Dos/Listín Diario poll says that the race for the candidate of the PLD for the year 2000 elections will be close. Vice President Jaime David Fernández and Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina are perceived as the leading contenders for the nomination. The Spanish polling firm commissioned by the leading newspaper posed the question: "For which pre-candidate do you plan to vote for in the primaries of the PLD for the presidential candidate for the elections in year 2000? Vice President Jaime David received a 37.1% approval, while Danilo Medina was a close second with 33.8%. 15% of those interviewed said they were undecided. Minister of Tourism Felucho Jiménez was a distant 0.9%, followed by Minister of Interior and Police Norge Botello with 0.4%.

Pierre Cardin rates Dominican cigars as excellent
Reporting for El Siglo María Rosa Jiménez interviewed Pierre Cardin in Paris where the renown designer comments on his "Maxim's" brand of cigars manufactured in the DR and calls the DR "the tobacco land par excellence." "This is my biggest dream... The creation of a brand of cigars with the Maxim's name, as well as a chain of restaurants and the champagne. It is a way to create a brand of luxury products, synonymous with the true art of living," he says. He explained that his cigars are hand-rolled in the DR from a mix of Dominican tobacco.
In 1997, the DR exported 400 units of cigars, primarily to the US, reaping export revenues for US$289 million. The Pierre Cardin cigars are manufactured with the collaboration of Zino Davidoff. They come in six formats: Sem, Royale, Belle Epoque, Bistrot, Imperial and Omnibus in cedar wood boxes with a prices ranging from 750 to 1,475 French francs, according to the interview.

Hispanic music hit CD launched tomorrow
Some 122 foreign press have come for the launching of the new CD, "No es lo mismo ni es igual" by Juan Luis Guerra and Karen Records at the Hotel Santo Domingo tomorrow, 16 December.
Journalists from Spain, France, US, Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico are in Santo Domingo to be present at the launching of the CD.
The stage for the presentation is said to be an enormous computer with equipment to access the Internet. One of the tracks, "Mi PC", is a play of words related to computers.
Expectations are that sales of the new CD will surpass those of "Bachata Rosa" which from November 1990 to September 1992 sold five million copies around the world.
Juan Luís Guerra's first recording was "Soplando" (1984), followed by "Mudanza y Acarreo" (1985), "Mientras más lo pienso... tú" (1986), "Ojalá que llueva café" (1990), "Bachata Rosa" (1990). "Areito" (1992). "Fogaraté" (1994).

Sosa is Sportsman of the Year
Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, the leading US sports publications, both chose Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire as their "sportsmen of the year." Both magazines publish photographs of the legendary baseball players on their front covers. Sosa becomes the first Latin to receive the honor in the 45 years of the award. It is the seventh time the award is shared. Bill Colson, editor of Sports Illustrated, said it was the easiest selection they had ever made. McGwire and Sosa are the 11th and 12th baseball players distinguished with the award.

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