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Daily News - 05 February 1999

President asks bankers to lobby for international loans
President Leonel Fernández met with the nation's leading bankers yesterday to whom he appealed for support in convincing legislators to pass loan bills now in Congress or that will be sent to Congress by the Executive Branch. The PRD-majority Senate has stated it will not pass any initiatives sent by the government due to the political impasse with the government.
The bankers agreed to lobby on behalf of the government. Several bills would provide Interamerican Development Bank financing for the reconstruction of areas and sectors that were affected by Hurricane Georges.

Milk was contaminated, but full story not in yet
The Ministry of Education confirmed that the milk that intoxicated 649 public school children in central cities in San Francisco de Macorís, Salcedo and La Vega was contaminated by bacteria. The lab at Indotec said that the samples analyzed could have been contaminated before, during or after the delivery, and that the children, ages 6 to 14 years, were affected to a greater or lesser degree depending on their health condition and natural immunity. In a press conference yesterday, Ministers of Public Health and Education, Altagracia Guzman and Ligia Amada Melo did not give details as to how and when the contamination of the milk occurred, nor attributed responsibilities. Minister of Education Melo said that the authorities have not been able to determine if the milk was contaminated at the plant or during the transport. The Ministry of Education did say the affected milk came from their supplier, Nutrilac, a division of Agroexport. The Ministry has suspended purchases of milk from that company and says that if when the studies are completed negligence is determined, pertinent measures will be taken. Tests and studies continue. Pediatrician Rafael Acra said that the intoxication could have been caused by inadequate pasteurization of the milk. He lamented that medics in affected areas did not take samples of stools for more complete testing.

27 million benefit from new city bus service in 1998
The Metropolitan Office of Bus Services, OMSA, transported 27,282,667 passengers in 1998, its first year in operation. The buses operate along three corridors in the city of Santo Domingo. The passengers paid 90 million pesos for the service. Eng. Ignacio Ditrén, director of the government organization, announced the opening this month of the 17-kilometer Máximo Gómez route from Centro de los Heroes up Máximo Gómez and Hermanas Mirabal. Following will be the commencement of the Avenida Independencia corridor in March 1999. OMSA operates 606 busses at the present time.

PRD mayors ask government for direct funding
Following an extraordinary meeting held at the Santo Domingo city hall, Partido Revolucionario Dominicano mayors agreed to not accept funding for their municipalities from Senator Amable Aristy Castro, who is holding the post of secretary-general of the Dominican Municipal League, with the support of the PLD-government. Spokesman of the group, Johnny Ventura, who is the mayor of Santo Domingo, said the mayors want to receive their moneys directly from the National Treasury, bypassing the PRSC-appointed secretary general of the Dominican Municipal League. A series of irregularities on behalf of the PRSC and the PRD, and the support of the government and PLD to the PRSC, resulted in the election of two secretary generals of the municipal league that is in charge of funding the municipal governments.

JFK flyover ready this month
The Fernández government announced the completion of the flyover atop the J.F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill avenues for the end of this month. To be completed by the end of this month also are the Las Americas Airprt flyover, the expansion of the Avenida 30 de Mayo, the expansion of the Avenida San Isidro, and the Boulevard of the 27 de Febrero Avenue. The Ministry of Public Works also says that the toll booths at the Duarte, Las Americas and 6 November highways will be ready by the end of the month. The government will then dedicate its efforts to the second phase of the 27 de Febrero Avenue which includes the construction of a twin to the Juan Pablo Duarte Bridge and the construction of a new entrance to the city of Santo Domingo from the eastern bank of the Ozama River.

Book on Dominican dunes now out
A new book on the dunes that are located in the Dominican Republic is now available. The book can be requested at the La Trinitaria bookstore in the colonial city. The book, "Dunas Costeras de la RD; Biodiversidad y Conservación" was written in Spanish by Professor Felicita Heredia. It describes the 25 dunes in the DR. The largest are located in Las Calderas, Baní, Peravia province; Cabarete, Puerto Plata; and Macao beach in La Altagracia.

Make the effort to witness the La Vega carnival
The best carnival in the Dominican Republic takes place in the Cordillera Central mountain valley city of La Vega on consecutive Sundays in February. Thousands of Santo Domingo city residents make the hour's drive to La Vega to partake in the fun of the Diablos Cojuelos whacking all those who do not respect the rules -- that all watching their parades must be on the sidewalks or in the park area. (Note the devils sometimes don't respect the rules themselves, and mischievously climb atop the sidewalks to whack those watching. Double pants are recommended for those attending, just in case you get caught.)
The extravagant and colorful costumes are something to be seen. The costumes can cost RD$10,000-RD$20,000, a lot when one considers that their life span is only the four Sundays of February, plus the award's ceremony, if they win. The parade starts at the municipal firemen's station and passes through marked off La Vega city streets.
Several tour companies offer excursions from Santo Domingo. Those staying in Puerto Plata (about two hours' drive away) should check with their tour operators or just convince a friendly taxi driver to go with you to ensure transportation to get back. Following is a list of companies offering excursions from Santo Domingo:
Metro Tours' excursion leaves from the Metro Bus Station at Winston Churchill, Sunday on 14 February and 21 February. Tel. 544-4580.
Services Travel's excursion departs from the agency locale at Rómulo Betancourt 1567 on 7, 21 and 28 February. Tel. 535-4290
Desde el Medio Tours' excursions depart 14 February at 10 am. Tel. 541-4002.
Emely Tours' groups leave from Calle San Francisco de Macorís office headquarters. Tel. 687-7114-18
This is a once-and-a-lifetime adventure, highly recommended to tourists and residents in the DR. Fun for the entire family. Just follow the crowds, put your wallet in a safe place, and stay out of the reach of the fearful Diablos Cojuelos.
For those who can't make it, the Museum of Dominican Man in Santo Domingo is holding a most interesting workshop on how to make the colorful masks at the Plaza de la Cultura locale. The courses are on the February 6, 13 and 20, all Saturdays. For more information, contact the Museum. Tel. 687-3623.

Chichí Peralta in Santiago
Not to be missed if you will be in Santiago, or a tourist staying in Puerto Plata (one hour's drive away), is the presentation of Chichí Peralta, "Pa otro lao". This outstanding contemporary Dominican musician will be on stage at the Centro Español. This is a standing only informal attire affair, where Chichí Peralta will perform his world class contemporary beats with his own musicians reinforced by a 35 member symphony orchestra conducted by Dominican Maestro Caonex Peguero. Excellent opportunity to enjoy contemporary merengue music at its best. We recommend finding a friendly Dominican taxi driver and inviting him to come along so you have your transport to and back ensured. For more information, contact the Centro Español in Santiago, Tel. 581-8333, or just head early to Santiago, buy tickets at the Centro Español, visit the E. León Jiménes cigar museum, have an early dinner and then attend the Chichí Peralta show.

Casandra awards honor Dominican show people
The Casandra awards for Dominican show business performers will be staged on Tuesday, 9 February. This is considered to be the year when Dominican rock will shine, primarily due to the recognition achieved internationally by the Tribu del Sol group. Coming for the special presentation is Gloria Estefan and her husband Esteban, who will be honored as part of the ceremony. The "Dominican Oscars" night will take place at 8:30 pm at the National Theater and will be transmitted live by Channel 4.

Dominican team is undefeated in Caribbean Baseball Series
Dominican Republic's Licey Tigers continued to defeat all in their way to winning the 1999 Caribbean Series championship. The previous two championships, 1997 and 1998, were also won by a Dominican team, the Cibao Eagles.
Yesterday, the Dominican team defeated Puerto Rico's Mayaguez Indians, 5 to 1. The Puerto Rican hosts had posted on the stadium bulletin war prior to the start of the game that the game was not about friendship, it was "war."
By winning the game, the DR increased its winning streak in Caribbean Series championship games to 13 games. In 1997, the Cibao Eagles lost their first two games of the championship, to win the next four and the championship. The Eagles repeated in 1998, winning the six games of the series.
The Licey Tigers had earlier defeated Venezuela, 10-2, and Mexico, 6-3. Dave Jauss, general manager, though, told the press, "we don't feel like champions yet."
Pitchers Valerio de los Santos, Miguel Batista and Anthony Chavez kept the Puerto Rican batters under control.
The Puerto Ricans were the first to score, with a run in the first inning. Dominicans followed with Manny Martínez scoring a home run in the third inning; Luis Polonia and Jorge Brito scoring in the fourth, and Polonia and Neifi Pérez in the sixth.
Jim Dedrick will pitch today for the Licey Tigers as they face Venezuela. A Dominican team is a team without big names, but many talented prospects, including 21-year old Adrián Beltré, Neifí Pérez, Juan Encarnación and Ronnie Belliard.
  • Friday, Feb. 5th: Venezuela v. DR, 4:00 pm; PR v. Mexico, 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, Feb. 6th: Mexico v. DR, 2:00 pm; Venezuela v. PR, 6:00 pm
  • Sunday, Feb. 7th: Mexico v. Venezuela, 2:00 pm; DR v. PR, 6:00 pm

Luis Felipe López debuts with NBA on Sunday
Dominican Luis Felipe López, playing with the Grizzlies of Vancouver, will make his debut in the National Basketball Association on Sunday, 7 February at 10 pm against the Kings of Sacramento.

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