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Daily News - 08 January 1999

Passing of economic reforms urged
Secretary of the Presidency, Danilo Medina earnestly advised the Partido Revolucionario Dominican to heed the call to dialogue so that an agreement can be reached and the economic reforms be passed through Congress. The PRD, which is majority in the Senate, has said it will not approve new taxes nor any bills proposed by the government because of political differences with the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD). Recently, Monsignor Agripino Núñez Collado, the nation's leading political mediator, and rector of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra urged the dialogues continue among politicians and that the pending economic reforms be passed for the well being of the nation. The government wants to reduce import duties and increase the sales tax (ITBIS) to compensate for the loss in revenues.

President Fernández's European trip agenda
According to a report in the Listín Diario newspaper, during his visit to Europe this month, President Leonel Fernández will sign bilateral agreements for the promotion and protection of French and Italian investments in the DR, in order to provide new incentives to potential investors from those countries in the DR. President Fernández will become the first Dominican President to carry out an official visit to France. He will meet in Paris next Thursday with members of the "Movimiento de la Empresa Francesa" and the "Comite Nacional de Patronos Franceses (CNPF) and on Monday 18 January in Rome, he will have a luncheon with the "Confederación Italiana de la Industria". The meetings of President Fernández with the Presidents of Spain, France and Italy and with Pope John Paul II will be transmitted via satellite to the DR and other 46 countries in Latin America, Europe and the US by Univision. In the DR the transmissions will be seen on Telemicro, Channel 5, that will send a special team to cover the historic visit of the Dominican statesman.
President Fernández will travel with a group of media editors including Mario Alvarez Dugan, of Hoy newspaper; Persio Maldonado, El Nuevo Diario newspaper; Aníbal de Castro, Rumbo newsweekly magazine; María Elena Núñez, Cadena de Noticias television and radio newscasts; and Carlos Tamárez, El Caribe newspaper.
The President will also be accompanied by businessmen Celso Marranzini, president of the National Council of Private Business (CONEP); banker Ramón Báez Figueroa, businessman José Miguel Bonetti; Osmar Benítez, executive vice president of the Agribusiness Council; and businesswoman Elena Viyella de Paliza, among others.
President Fernández will depart on Tuesday, 12 January, making a stopover in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he will meet with Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Roselló. He will continue on to Spain where he will have lunch with Spanish head of state José María Aznar. On 13 January he will arrive to Paris, France for a four-day agenda of government and private sector meetings.
In Paris, he will meet with President Jacques Chirac; Prime Minister Lionel Jospin; President of the Senate Christian Poncele and the president of the Court of Cassation, Pierre Truche; and with the French Business Association. He will receive a Honoris Causa doctorate at the Sorbonne University, meet with the congressional commissioner for foreign affairs, Jacques Lang. He is expected back in Santo Domingo on 21 January.

Moving ahead with the privatizing of Dominican airports
The Airport Commission has announced that all parties participating in the tender to award concessions to operate public airports should submit these from 8 am to 12 noon at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel in Santo Domingo. The bids are for the "Proyecto de Concesión y Desarrollo de Infraestructuras Aeroportuarias para la República Dominicana" that was announced on 11 September. The project seeks private capitalization of the rehabilitation, expansion and modernizing of several of the principal airports in the DR. The government estimates an investment totaling RD$2,300 million (more than US$150 million) is needed to prepare Dominican airports for traffic expected within the next 10 years. Airports where privatization is being considered are those located in Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Barahona, as well as the Arroyo Barril airport under construction in Samaná.
Three fully privately-owned airports operate successfully in the DR. These are the Punta Cana International Airport serving East Coast traffic, the La Romana International Airport, that primarily services Casa de Campo, and the Portillo Airport in Samana to which Las Terrenas and Portillo tourists arrive.

Prime Minister of Taiwan visits
The Prime Minister of Taiwan, Vicent C. Siew is expected in Santo Domingo, 11 January. He will come on a state visit that will last through 13 January. He will visit accompanied by a 40-member delegation of Chinese officers and businessmen interested in investing in the DR. The visit has the objective of strengthening traditional friendship ties between the two nations. The DR has always voted in favor of Taiwan in the United Nations. During the delegation's stay, mission members will meet with President Leonel Fernández, Vice President Jaime David Fernández, Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre, members of the National Congress, and leaders of the importing and exporting community. The wives of the visiting delegates will make donations to the National Children's Committee and the Center for the Prevention of Cancer. Members of the committee include, aside from Minister Vicent C. Siew, his wife, Su-hsien Siew Hu; Minister of Foreign Relations Chih Chiang Hu and his wife Chao-Ling Hu Shaw; Minister of Economy Chih-Kang Wang and his wife Ye-li Wang Sung; Minister of Office of Information of the Government, Chien-jen Chen, the president of the Agriculture Council of the Executive Branch Twokwei Peng, and ambassador Lensong Koo, among others.

Slum barrios are "no man's land"
Police chief José Aníbal Sanz Jiminián announced an operation to put a stop to violence in low income barrios Capotillo, 27 de Febrero, Gualey, Guachupita, Los Guandules, Los Alcarrizos, Villas Agrícolas and Maria Auxiliadora where innocent bystanders have been killed primarily caused by drug war shootings among rival gangs. The Police has instructed special uncover police force agents to patrol the areas on foot and in motorcycles and vehicles to detect and arrest the bandits. Furthermore, an intensification of efforts of the Departamento de Acción Policial Comunitaria to promote cultural, sports and educational activities within the barrios.
Residents say their barrios have become "no-man's land" as Drug Control Department agents no longer have a stronghold, and delinquents are more heavily armed than the Police. Neighbors are requesting the militarizing of the barrios to return tranquillity to the areas.
Recently, the Attorney General suggested that the areas be militarized for the respite of residents. The Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolás López Rodríguez favors the option. Father Rogelio Cruz said that the violence reflects the social decomposition, extreme poverty and corruption, but said that the situation could be resolved by creating projects in which the communities intervene directly, new work places, educational opportunities and entertainment areas. Father Cruz criticized the lack of authority in the country.

2.5 million use Santo Domingo airport in 1998
More than 2,480,000 persons entered or departed the DR through the Las Americas International Airport in 1998, 1.2% more than last year. Traffic was up, regardless of the sharp declines in arriving and departing passengers in September (down 18%), October (down 12.6%) and November (down 9.2%) due to Hurricane Georges.
Some 2,482,934 passengers used Las Americas International Airport to enter the DR in 1998, up from 2,433,079 travelers in 1997, or an increase of about 50,000 passengers.
Contrary to expectations, traffic arriving in December was down 9.2%.
In 1998, 1,206,701 travelers entered the DR using Santo Domingo's main port of entry. Of these 597,528 were Dominicans and 620,228 foreigners. Foreign travelers were up 10,879. Departures were 1,265,178 including 620,701 Dominicans.

San Juan bishop favors construction new South-North highway
The Bishop of San Juan de la Maguana, Monsignor Jose Dolores Grullón says that it is not true that the construction of a new South-North route link to Santo Domingo would be detrimental for the ecology. Critics have said the new highway would result in the extermination of rivers and dams in the area. He said that those making those comments envision the new highway crossing through the National Park J. Armando Bermúdez. He sees the highway taking the route: San Juan de la Maguana, Juan de Herrera, Maguana Arriba, Sabaneta, Ingenito Boca de los Arroyos, Los Gajitos, La Estaca, and Cruz del Negro of San Juan, connecting in La Lomita to Boca de dos Rios, Monción de Mao or Santiago Rodríguez. This would permit that the products of San Juan de la Maguana and Barahona could reach the provinces in the North without having to pass by the city of Santiago Domingo which increases costs.

More on the Smith-Enron agreement with CDE
The Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad (CDE) and the Smith & Enron Cogeneration Limited Partnership (SECLP) signed a memorandum of understanding setting new rules for the suspension of the power service and authorizing that an inspector oversee the fulfillment of the contract stipulations. The memorandum is expected to solve the legal dispute the two companies have maintained regarding the contract signed in 1993, during the Balaguer administration, and whose onerous conditions led the CDE under new administration to seek arbitration of the Cámara Internacional de Comercio.
The agreement, signed 15 December 1998 by the administrator of the CDE, engineer Radhamés Segura and representative of the SECLP, Kurt S. Huneke, calls for the presentation of a revised contract no later than 15 January 1999. The new agreement would be presented to the Congress for approval.
Prior to the new contract going into effect all disputes, including the US$25 million claim by SECLP must be settled; the lenders and boards of directors of both parties must approve the agreement, and all disputes pending in the court of arbitrage of the Cámara Internacional de Comercio in Mexico, must be resolved.

Dominicans export US$300 to Europe
Dominican exports to Europe surpassed US$300 million, according to Max Puig, Lomé IV coordinator for the DR. Said the amount is 100% more than exports in 1990 when the country entered the agreement.

Vela Zanetti ashes to come to DR
Part of the ashes of Spanish muralist Jose Vela Zanetti will be brought to the DR to be buried beside those of his friend, architect Jose Antonio Caro. Arch. Caro's son, Danilo Caro told El Siglo newspaper that the ashes will be transferred to the DR following the wish of the renown Spanish painter. The muralist requested that his ashes be thrown into the Leon River, where he fished as a young man; a part kept in his house in Milagros, Spain, and another part be brought to Santo Domingo to be buried beside his Dominican friend.
In this country, Vela Zanetti carried out several of his major works that are still preserved in local public institutions. Vela Zanetti came to the DR in 1939 at the end of the Spanish civil war, along with other Spanish intellectuals such as María Ugarte, Jesus de Galindez and Antonio Prats Ventós. He migrated at 18 due to his opposition to the Franco regime.
His works can still be seen at the church of San Cristóbal, Instituto Politécnico Loyola in San Cristóbal, the Basílica de la Virgen de la Altagracia in Higuey, Instituto Dominicano de Seguros Sociales, Banco de Reservas, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Palacio de Justicia, Museo de Historia y Geografía, Hospital Salvador B. Gautier, Banco Central, Secretaría de Estado de Trabajo, and the Suprema Corte de Justicia, as well as in the home of architect José Antonio Caro.

Let's pay the Russian trainer
Local press is turning the pressure on the Ministry of Sports regarding the case of Central American and Caribbean gold medal winner in high jump Juana Arrendel and her Russian coach. Arrendel's win is attributed to the successful coaching she received from Russian trainer, Natalia Korotoeva. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Sports has not picked up the bill for the training, and the coach is seriously considering an offer by the Track & Field Association of El Salvador. Korotoeva requests a RD$10,000 a month salary, food allowance, coverage of her cost of local transport, and coverage of the cost of sending her sons to private school. Sports sectors say this is just one of the ironies in this country. While the government invested heavily to win the Pan American Sports Games for year 2003 in Santo Domingo, support to top notch athletes has been lacking. Hoy newspaper that has been following up on the story says that a Ministry of Sports source says that the problem with hiring Korotoeva has been the lack of a bilateral government agreement such as those signed with Cuban coaches, but that the authorities are interested in keeping her in the country.

January baseball games

Saturday, 9 January at 4 pm
Aguilas Cibaeñas vs. Tigres del Licey in Santo Domingo
Leones del Escogido vs. Gigantes del Nordeste in San Francisco de Macoris

Sunday, 10 January at 4 pm
Leones del Escogido vs. Tigres del Licey in Santo Domingo
Aguilas Cibaeñas vs. Gigantes del Nordeste in San Francisco de Macorís

Monday, 11 January at 8 pm
Gigantes del Nordeste vs. Tigres del Licey in Santo Domingo
Leones del Escogido vs. Aguilas Cibaeñas in Santiago.

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