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Daily News - 31 December 1998

DR1 Daily News will break for New Year's Day
The DR1 Daily News will not be updated tomorrow, 1 January 1999. The news service is published on week days, except Dominican holidays. 1 January is a holiday in the DR. The headline-making news of Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be compiled for the Monday issue. The DR1 wishes all its readers that goals set for the year be accomplished to the fullest in 1999 as we all prepare for the new millennium. Next week, Wednesday 6 January is also a holiday.

New Year's Eve parties
31 December in the Dominican Republic is synonymous with partying. It is usual for families and friends gather for an early dinner. Many return to their home towns to celebrate with their family. Others take to beach resorts to celebrate and many from the interior head for city hotel rooms or night spots for a night of partying that will not end until breakfast at dawn.
Summing up, there will be partying all over the city, with most of the leading café's hosting special 31 December bashes.
The long time tradition has been to head to the Malecón and its continuation, the Avenida del Puerto to witness the most spectacular fireworks show of the year that goes off shortly after midnight. The Avenida del Puerto bash begins at 11:40 with a message by Father Ramón Alonso, followed by the turning on of the Columbus Lighthouse at 11:55 pm, at 12 midnight the Lighthouse is turned on fully, there is a 12 cannon salute and at 12:08 the fireworks show begins. The spectacle will be transmitted live by Televisión Dominicana and Radio Listin FM as of 11:40 pm.
Performing for free at the Avenida del Puerto from 10 pm through 6 am will be the popular merengue groups Fernando Villalona, Los Hermanos Rosario, La Banda Gorda, Pochy Familia and Jossie Esteban, sponsored by E. León Jimenes.
To provide an idea of other city party's and their cost here are some suggestions of where to go:
Meliá Santo Domingo on the Malecón, at present remodeling, is nevertheless offering a deluxe menu, and for under RD$1,000 includes dancing to four live bands. The hotel offers a brunch for those overnighting. The above rate includes spending the evening at the hotel, but is available only for residents in the DR.
Jubilee, the Hotel Jaragua disco, offers a night of dancing and open bar for RD$500.
The Hotel Embajador offers dinner and dancing with Toño Rosario and open bar of champagne for RD$1,400, dinner included and RD$650 without the dinner.
The V Centenario Inter-Continental Hotel is offering dinner and live music entertainment and a champagne toast for RD$385. Breakfast buffet as of 4 am to 9 am goes for RD$125, and champagne brunch for RD$225.
Guacara Taina, the underground night club, will be open all night with their disc jockey music and hot chocolate in the early morning.
Trio Cafe promises live dancing music all night and breakfast on the house for those who stay on.
Barly's announces Tabu Tek rock group concert, mariachi and Dominican stew for RD$500.
Bachata Rosa offers two cups of wine for the price of one in the colonial city. Maniqui, Vesuvio, Scherezade and Fellini all have special New Year dinners. At Fellini, it's RD$2,000 per person.
And for those seeking to continue the party, Buen Provecho at Gustavo Mejia Ricart 59 offers its succulent Dominican breakfasts as of 5:30 am.
For those circulating late in the evening or early morning, take special care as there will be lots of people with more than they should have drunk driving home or looking for where to continue the party.

Telephone rates adjusted
Codetel has good news and bad news for Dominicans this New Year's Day. The bad news is that Codetel, the leading telephone service provider in the DR, announced a 100% increase in home telephone rates. These go up from RD$50 a month to RD$100 as of 1 January 1999. The good news is that the company is reducing its long distance call charges, and will provide free Secretel answering service and several other optional services. The charge for minutes has been increased from 10 to 14 cents the minute. This charge will increase a cent per minute per month throughout 1999, increasing to 26 cents per additional minute by December 1999. Long distance rates to the US are dropping 44, 27 and 21%. Long distance calls to the US will now cost a low RD$4.95 and calls from telecommunication centers will cost RD$1.99 the minute. Calls to Spain were reduced 30%, and additional reductions between 30-20% are in order for other countries. Codetel has also reduced the cost of transferring telephone lines from RD$4,000 to RD$1,950 and the installation costs from RD$4,500 to RD$2,850. Internet service for unlimited use has been dropped from RD$400 to RD$275 a month.

27 de Febrero Expressway tunnels opened
The government left the 27 de Febrero Expressway tunnels in service late afternoon yesterday. Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña said the formal opening was a historic event that could mark the initiation of the process of transforming the city of Santo Domingo. He said the modernization works will serve as a model for the implementation of other projects. He pointed out the outstanding efforts to complete the project in nine months with all the difficulties of three months of rain and Hurricane Georges. He said the entire project, including the boulevard, will be formally opened on 26 January. The project cost around RD$600 million and includes the construction of tunnels under Máximo Gómez, Tiradentes, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill avenues as well as a boulevard planted with sculptures and a gigantic clock in the areas of the Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill tunnels.
The Ministry of Public Works also announced that several streets traffic has been changed to one way traffic. These are:
Dr. Defilló which will now run South to North.
Carmen A. Mendoza Cornielle, North to South.
Mustafá Kemal Ataturk, East to West from Ortega y Gasset to Av. Tiradentes.
Dr. F. Mañón, South to North from La Lira to 27 de Febrero.
Central, from Jose Aybar and 27 de Febrero.
Manuel Henriquez, now North-South from 27 de Febrero and Cub Scouts.
Juan XXIII now South-North from 27 de Febrero to Cub Scouts.

Low cost unleaded gasoline now available
As of January 1, only non-leaded gasoline will be available in the country. 89 octane unleaded gasoline will be sold RD$22.00 the gallon, the same price as leaded gasoline was sold for. Premium non-leaded 92 octane gasoline sells for RD$27.90 the gallon.

Dollar climbs again against peso
The year closes with the dollar selling for RD$15.95. Some exchange houses were paying up to RD$15.70 to the dollar. Commercial banks were offering RD$15.40 to the dollar.

Most outstanding in show business
According to El Siglo, the ten most outstanding Dominican show business people in 1998 were:
José Antonio Molina, orchestra director who in 1998 conducted the concert of Luciano Pavarotti and his friends in Modena, Italy, and did important piano arrangements for Raúl Di Blasio and Cheo Feliciano.
Milly Quezada, merengue singer and band director, who has had an outstanding year abroad and in the DR, for her CD "Milly vive," which has sold over 200,000 copies. This year she presented a show at the National Theater and the Cibao Theater in Santiago.
Fernando Villalona, for his performance in the Festival Presidente de Música Latina and in the concert with Juan Gabriel at Madison Square Garden.
Los Ilegales merengue group for its participation in the Viñas del Mar song festival in Chile and its tours of Central America. Its CD "Rebotando" is estimated to have sold 1.2 million copies. The group survived the death of its performer Jason González in a car crash this year.
Juan Luis Guerra, who launched his new CD "Ni es lo mismo ni es igual" and its track "Mi PC" that has reached the top of the Latin hits of the Billboard Magazine in less than three weeks of it going on sale
Los Hermanos Rosario had a great year celebrating their 20th year as a merengue band.
Michael Camilo who carried out important international tours in the US and Europe and recently participated successfully in the Havana Jazz Festival.
Chichí Peralta, outstanding Dominican merengue musician, for his "Pa otro lao" CD.
Toño Rosario, for his return to the Dominican Republic and his merengue "Alegría," surpassed only by the sales of the Juan Luis Guerra's CD.
Mangú, a young Dominican merengue performer who works in France.
Composer Fernando Arias, who composed "No me conoces," the successful new salsa track of performer Marc Anthony.

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