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Daily News - 18 January 1999

President calls out for aid for Haiti
President Leonel Fernández appealed, during his state visit to Paris, to the international community to help Haiti improve its economy, the living conditions of Haitians and strengthen that country's institutions. He said that the worsened political crisis is bad news for the DR as more Haitian citizens will choose to illegally migrate to the DR, increasing the social and economic pressures on the Dominican nation. The DR shares about a 300 kilometer frontier with Haiti. While the Dominican government doubled its patrols along the frontier, the government is aware that the only way migration will decline is with an improvement of the possibility for Haitians to find adequate employment in Haiti.
While the political crisis has worsened in Haiti with the injuring at gunshot of the sister of President Preval, the Listín Diario newspaper reports that all is normal on the DR frontier with Haiti. Thousands of Haitians traveled to the Dajabón marketplace as usual to purchase the products they later sell back in Haiti.

French company wins airport privatization tender
Hoy newspaper reports that a French firm has won the tender to administrate the Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo. The newspaper says that the information came from sources accompanying the President on his visit to Europe. Reportedly, the president of the winning firm presides the Association of Operators of French Airports. The firm commits to investment in the construction of a new runway, and the expansion of the terminals and satellites of the airport. The newer southern terminal was constructed by a French firm, Spie Batignolles. This would be the first privatization of a state-owned airport. El Siglo newspaper, though carries a denial of the president of the committee to choose the winner of the privatization bid, although he said that the French company is one of the strongest contenders for the concession.

French financing for first DR light rail vehicle
The Dominican government signed an agreement with the French Development Agency for the financing of US$40 million of the total US$150 million cost of a tramway in Santo Domingo. The agency will also assist the Dominican state in securing an additional US$40 million from French private investors and a French pool of banks for the project, for a total 60% of the cost of the LRV. The tramway is planned to run from Kilometer 9 of the Duarte Highway to the Sánchez Bridge (Puente de la 17), passing along John F. Kennedy avenue, 27 de Febrero, on to the Padre Castellanos Street. on the mideastern side of the city. A second South-North tramway is planned for the Máximo Gómez Avenue. The first tramway would be completed by August 2000, the month when the Fernández administration ends.
For more information on the President's visit to Europe, see the English news section at the Presidency web site at
http://www.presidencia.gov.do

King and Queen of Spain to visit
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain will visit the DR in May of this year, Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre announced. The visit was confirmed during the stopover President Fernández and his committee made in Madrid, on route to Paris. The King and Queen of Spain will also visit Havana, Cuba on the same trip.

Spanish funds to help frontier area development
The Spanish government will immediately disburse RD$32 million of a RD$120 million total to help environmental projects in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. Rafael Camilo, director of the National Planning Office, José María Bosch, in charge of business affairs for the Spanish Embassy and Eugenio Arranz, director of the Technical Cooperation Office of Spain signed the agreement in the presence of Vice President Jaime David Fernández. The moneys will benefit communities in the provinces of Bahoruco, Barahona, Pedernales and Independencia. Community leaders will be trained in forestry, ecotourism, and fishing local community organizations will be strengthened in order to avoid further deterioration of the forests and environment in these areas.

Rumors about Balaguer's health abound
Rumors abound that former President Joaquín Balaguer will be taken abroad for a health evaluation this week. Others say it is unlikely he would travel to the States given the cold weather there. The former statesman interrupted his walks on the Mirador Park and his visits to the tomb of his mother in the Cristo Redentor Cemetery in September of last year, reportedly after he suffered a fall at home. The physical health conditions of the 92 year old blind politician have worsened. Attending medics say he suffers from a persistent cold, phlebitis and dermatitis. Others, though, speculate that the former statesman seeks to avoid responding to the court summons to testify at the Orlando Martínez case. Orlando Martínez was a journalist who was assassinated during a Balaguer administration. The case involves several who were high ranking military at the time. The former statesman left a blank page in a biography he wrote, saying that the page would be filled in upon his death.

Fernández and Chávez do not meet in Paris
President Leonel Fernández and President-elect of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez were not able to meet in Paris as planned. The logistics of the agendas of the two did not allow for the encounter. The meeting had originally been planned to take place in Santo Domingo, 8-9 January, but was later postponed for a meeting in Paris, where both expected to coincide. They would discuss future bilateral agreements that would be signed. President Fernández is scheduled to travel to Caracas, Venezuela on 1 February to attend the inaugural of President -elect Chavez. The former Venezuelan colonel has publicly expressed that Fernández be his liaison with the rest of the Caribbean. Chavez had already traveled to the DR in 1998 during the days he was campaigning for President. He is invited in April to participate in the summit of the Association of Caribbean States where 26 heads of state of Central America, Latin America and the Caribbean will attend. While not members of the ACS, presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Andrés Pastrana of Colombia have confirmed their participation.

PRI divided over Estrella Sadhalá as candidate
Lawyer Cesar Estrella Sadhalá who became a national hero for doing what everyone thought couldn't be done, organize an undisputed national election, announced last week that he would join the Partido Revolucionario de Independencia as their presidential candidate for the elections year 2000. The members of the PRI, though, are split over whether this would be a blessing or would not be in their interests. One sector favors the launching of Estrella Sadhalá, who would run on his reputation for being good administrator and an honest man, while others prefer that the party continue to support the PRD. The PRD is a strong contender to win the presidency of year 2000.

Miches tourism development gets green light
The Presidency released Decree 14-99 that changes the limits of the National Park of the Redonda and Limón Lagoons along the eastern coast of El Seibo province. This impoverished town primarily lives off revenues from those in transit to doing the illegal boat trip to Puerto Rico. Residents had hoped for clearance so that investment in tourism projects could take place to provide new ways for making a living. They claimed that community and business leaders of the adjacent province of La Altagracia, where Punta Cana and Bávaro are located, had impeded the development of their area.
The decree reduces the protected area from 107.7 square kilometers to 28.14 square kilometers.
A government officials committee made up by Omar Ramírez, director of Parks; Colonel Radhamés Lora Salcedo, Forestry director; Ernesto Reyna, environmental advisor to the President; Bolivar Troncoso, director of ecotourism and environment for the Ministry of Tourism; Jose Martínez Guridi, deputy minister of Agriculture; and provincial governor Bienvenido Mejia and deputy Melo Medina gathered in Miches to explain to the community the scope of the new decree.
Government Bienvenido Mejía announced the government will invest RD$100 million in development projects in 1999. These the construction of 12 schools, a slaughterhouse, a cultural center and library, the completion of the free zone park installations where more than 2,000 persons will be employed. Also highways, rural roads, rural clinics and sports facilities will be built and the completion of bridges is promised. Governor Mejía said that funding for the projects is included in the 1999 National Budget.

New center of Dominican studies in New Jersey
Acción Pro Educación y Cultura (APEC), the Dominican American Assistance Foundation and the Santo Domingo university UNAPEC and Seton Hall University of New Jersey signed an agreement last week for the opening of an Institute of Dominican Studies at Seton Hall University. Signing were Frank Morales, executive director of special programs of Seton Hall University; Luis Heredia Bonetti, president of the Dominican American Assistance Foundation; Franklin Holguín Haché, rector of UNAPEC and Lic. Jacqueline Malecón, executive director of APEC.

Career choices of Dominican university students
A report in Ultima Hora indicates that the careers of accounting, marketing, computer science and business (including hotel administration) are chosen by 70% of all Dominican university students. In order of demand by students in the Dominican Republic, National Council for Superior Studies (CONES) statistics shows the career breakdown in 1997 was as follows per number of students:
Accounting 22,413
Education 20,786
Law 19,100
Computer Sciences 17,697
Marketing 17,692
Business 12,173
Medicine 10,596
Industrial Engineering 6,799
Electromechanical Engineering 6,584
Languages 4,121
Psychology 4,112
Civil Engineering 3,415
Architecture 3,341
Advertising 2,978
Tourism and Hotel School 2,615
Journalism 2,54
Bioanalysis 2,224
Electronic Engineering 1,765
Art and Decoration 1, 618
Pharmacy 1,587
Nursing 1,439
Philosophy 1,399
Dentistry 1,374
Secretarial School 1,128
Electrical Engineering 939
Agronomy 797
Economy 544
Mechanical Engineering 533
Mathematics and Physics 341
Chemical Engineering 337
Veterinary 324
Civil Construction 254
Theology 213
Land surveying 193
Diplomacy 148
Archaeology 141
Statistics 75
Biotechnology 65
Auditing 50
Nutrition 59
Banking 49
Sociology 37
Environment 12
Geology and Mines 8

Cyclists come from 20 countries for grueling competition
Cyclists from 20 countries are registered to participate in the XX Vuelta Ciclística Independencia Nacional, starting on 20 February. The cyclists will tour the DR, covering a distance of 827 kilometers. Cyclists are coming from Venezuela, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Honduras, Belize, Cuba, St. Martin, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, Panama, Martinique, Grand Cayman, Colombia, England, Haiti, Japan and from the US cities of Chicago and Miami. 19 local teams will competes. The competition starts with a four kilometer closed circuit race at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center velodrome on 20 February and ends in Santo Domingo on 27 February.

The event schedule is as follows:

20 February:
9 am. Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center velodrome, Santo Domingo. 4 kms.

3 pm. Closed circuit at the Mirador del Sur Avenue. 199 kms.

21 February:
9 am. Santo Domingo-San Pedro de Macorís-La Romana starting at 9 am. 119.2 kms.

22 February:
9 am. La Romana-San Pedro de Macorís-Santo Domingo.

23 February:
9 am. Santo Domingo-San Cristóbal-Baní San Cristóbal-Santo Domingo.
3pm. Santo Domingo-Bonao

24 February:
9 am. Bonao-La Vega-San Cerro-Jarabacoa

25 January:
3 pm. Santiago-La Cumbre-Puerto Plata-Altamira-Santiago

26 February:
9 am. Santiago-La Vega-Bonao-Villa Altagracia-Santo Domingo

27 February:
9 am. Avenida España, Avenida Charles de Gaulle.

Licey is one game away from passing on to baseball finals
The Licey Tigers players batted four home runs in the Sunday game when they defeated the Aguilas Cibaeñas 12-8 in Santiago de los Caballeros, home of the Aguilas. The Licey is now only one game away from earning the right to confront the Escogido, that won the regular series, for the championship title. The Licey needs yet to defeat the Aguilas again in Santiago to pass on to the final series. The Licey leads the semifinals 2 wins to 1 over the Aguilas. The Aguilas are the 1997-1998 champions, and winners of the Caribbean Series. The game is expected to be played to a full house at the Quisqueya Ball Park in Santo Domingo.

Adrian Beltré chosen MVP
Adrian Beltré was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the Dominican Winter Professional Baseball Season 1998-1999. The Azucareros del Este player, who was drafted by the Aguilas, after his team did not play in the series due to major damages to the La Romana stadium, said that he expects his participation with the Aguilas will show he has the potential to play regular third base with the Los Angeles Dodgers as of next season. In 226 times at bat, he hit 68 hits, of which 10 were home runs and 9 doubles. He finished with a .301 batting average.

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