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Daily News - 16 December 1998

Santo Domingo to get a tramway
The Fernández government has announced the city of Santo Domingo will get a tramway next year as part of efforts to modernize public transport in the capital city. The government has said that financing from the project will come from the French government. The tramway will cross Santo Domingo West-East on the John F. Kennedy Avenue, in a northern area of Santo Domingo. This avenue connects with the Autopista Duarte, the nation's main thoroughfare that in turn connects cities and towns from the south to the north. President Leonel Fernández has scheduled an official trip to France and other European nations next year.

Tender postponed for lack of bidders at set price
The Public Enterprise Reform Committee (CREP) has again postponed the tender to choose the companies that will be in charge of the new capitalization of the Dominican state utility, Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad (CDE). The bidding companies and the CREP have not reached an agreement as to the market value to be assigned to the new companies. The CREP has established a minimum value of US$600 million for the companies that the bidding firms feel is too high. The CDE seeks financing partners in the new companies that will be responsible for the generation and distribution of power. The reform process takes place by means of a capitalization program, in which stock companies will be formed by an increase in capital through new contributions originating from private investors. The new capital contributions will not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the total shares of the company. The investors shall be responsible for management of the company. For more information, contact Dr. Antonio Isa Conde at [email protected] or at the following address:
Gustavo Mejía Ricart No. 73, Ens. Serrallés. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Tel.: (809) 683-3591 Fax: (809) 683-3888 or (809) 683-3964

Dollar drops on DR exchange markets
The peso is gaining this week on the US dollar after losing value for the past weeks. The US dollar was being sold for RD$15.75 in banks. Commercial banks maintain their purchase price of US dollars at RD$15.40-RD$15.50. The Central Bank rate is at RD$15.51 to the dollar. The dollar had hit highs of more than RD$16.20 to the dollar on the street markets last week.

Latest technology to be available at new advanced medicine center
The Plaza de la Salud, the advanced medicine center built and operated by the Dominican government in Santo Domingo, is announcing that its Center for Diagnostics and Advanced Medicine, Laboratory and Telemedicine will be operational at the end of January. This will be the most technologically advanced medical facility in the country. It will provide state of the art support to major public hospitals throughout the country that tele-connect, said Archbishop Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, who heads the center's board. The project is sponsored by the Fundación Juan Manuel Taveras Rodríguez, set up by a Dominican radiologist who has worked for many years at the Massachusetts General Hospital and taught at Harvard University in Boston. The new center will permit medical consultations from interior Dominican cities with the Santo Domingo facility and major hospital centers in the United States using the latest telecommunications and telediagnostics technology.

Film shows brutality at Drug Control headquarters
Lawyer Carlos Balcácer showed a video at the Court of Appeals of Santo Domingo where an officer of the Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCN), the anti-drug government organization, is seen cuffing the ears of Luis Manuel Matos Félix, arrested in regards to the Phoenix boat cargo of 953 kilos of cocaine that was confiscated. Balcácer is the defending lawyer of Rolando Florián Félix, a much sought known drug trafficker who is also under arrest for the same shipment. On the scene when Matos is physically assaulted by the officer, the today director of the DNCD Luis Alberto Humeau Hidalgo is present. At the time he was director of operations. The video was later shown on TV. Balcácer showed the video as proof that those accused of drug trafficking are being tortured at the DNCD. Judges Olga Herrera, Néstor Díaz and Julio Bautista postponed the case indefinitely after one of the defendants, José Ruiz Peña, attacked Balcácer who had asked that one of the judges abstain from participating for being a prejudiced party. The judge abstained, and the case was indefinitely postponed.

Unleaded gasoline to cost same as leaded
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce says that the new unleaded gasoline that will be available next year will sell for the same price per gallon as consumers pay for the leaded gasoline it replaces. The Ministry says that the gasoline that will be available as of 1 January 1999 and will be 95 octane premium gasoline and regular nonleaded gasoline with an 89 octane. The new gasoline will contribute to reduce levels of environmental contamination. It is part of an international agreement signed by the Dominican government in 1994 at the Summit of the Americas in Miami, Florida.

Juan Luís Guerra's CD soon to be top Latin hit
With the presence of more than 250 journalists, including over 100 that came from abroad, Juan Luís Guerra launched his latest compact disc, "No es lo mismo ni es igual." The CD is the third top Latin hit of Billboard Magazine. Billboard today rated the CD as "the greatest gainer" on the chart of leading Latin hits.
Journalists came 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.
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).

Taking a dive, the Dominican way
The city of Santo Domingo will be host to the Pan Am Games in 2003. It is possible that a new sport will then be introduced at these games, with the Dominicans getting a head start at developing gold medal proficiency. The Listín Diario points out on the front page of its sports section today how Dominican divers have a year practicing in the dry. The newspaper explains that the Dominican diving team carries out its practices by diving into their empty diver pool at the Olympic Center of the city. They fall on a trampoline. The pool has been under "repair" for more than a year. The divers are described as "parachuters without parachutes." The newspaper columnist Hugo López Morrobel pays tribute to the ingenuity of the athletes who have found a way to somehow keep their training program alive.

Pedro Martínez fined for traffic accident in Santo Domingo
The second best paid ball player in the US Major League Baseball, Dominican pitcher Pedro Martínez was sentenced to pay RD$150,000 (about US$9,500) and banned from legally driving in the DR for a year. Martínez was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the trial. The judgment came after a six year hearing. The sentence benefits Santiago Castro Santana who cited physical injuries and moral and material losses as a consequence of the accident. Judge Ramón Horacio González established that Castro Santana had made incorrect use of a street by leaving the sidewalk to await a taxi inside of the street. Pedro Martínez's lawyers have appealed.

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