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Daily News - 15 February 1999

Tower Air comes to the rescue
Tower Air has stepped up the start up date of its new service to the Dominican Republic to fill the void left by American Airlines's canceled flights. American operated only a trickle of flights out of Santo Domingo yesterday, and Tower Air hopes to get a head start by flying AA's stranded passengers.
The airline announced that the Dominican government granted it permission to operate scheduled service to Santo Domingo and that it started with a flight that departed on Sunday, February 14, 1999 at 1 am from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The airline announced it will operate on an as needed basis until regular scheduled service commences on March 5, 1999.
Tower Air is one of the busiest carriers at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and flies scheduled service from New York to Athens, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, San Francisco, San Juan, Santo Domingo and Tel Aviv as well as service between Tel Aviv and both Athens and Paris. The airline is best known for its low, unrestricted fares on every flight and every route. The airline also flies passenger charter and cargo flights globally. The start of flights comes as a relief to passengers and free zone industries that had seen major disruptions in their cargo schedules.

Dollar commands US$16+ over the weekend
The Monetary Board announced the Central Bank will be injecting US$50 million of its dollar reserves to stabilize the value of the peso exchange rate. Last week, exchange houses were buying the US$1 for upwards of RD$16. Some exchange houses were reported to be paying up to RD$16.60 for the US$1. The monetary authorities attributed the run on the peso to speculation. Commercial banks are paying about RD$0.50 less on the dollar.
The Monetary Board also resolved to freeze the credit to government institutions setting as a ceiling the maximum level of 1998. This limits credit to RD$4,707.8 million, including that available to the Central Government.
The Civil Society and business groups have criticized the decision of the PRD-majority Senate of not passing international loans, many of which would be used for reconstruction of infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Georges. Jean Antonio Haché, of the Organizacion Nacional de Empresas Comerciales, the business organization that groups large department stores, said that the measure affects the availability of US dollars in the money markets.

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith to buy vacation homes here
CNN announced that Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and his wife, US actress Melanie Griffith are seriously considering buying a vacation home in Macao, north of the Punta Cana beach strip. The investment is being considered in the property of Playas Macao, S.A.

President Fernández invites PRD leaders to talks
President Leonel Fernández invited the president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), the leading opposition party, and its five presidential pre-candidates to a meeting at the National Palace to clear the obstacles in the way of the celebration of the presidential elections in year 2000. The invitation was made public by the Press Department of the Presidency. A date has yet to be set for the talks. The PRD announced a meeting to decide if it would accept the President's offer to meet.

President opens new crosstown bus route
President Leonel Fernández officially opened the Central Corridor of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET). This bus transport route is a joint venture of government and unions that operated on the route and to whom the government is selling the new busses. The Central Corridor is 15 kilometers long and will cover the route from the Centro de los Héroes.

PRSC considers backing PLD in second round presidential elections
A section of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano announced that it may choose to back an opposition political party in the case it does not win the first round. It is highly improbable that a political party by itself will achieve sufficient votes to win the year 2000 presidential election in the first round. The Dominican Constitution requires that 50%+1 of the vote for a candidate to win in a first round.
Johnny Jones, secretary of the organization, speaking at a party event held in San Juan de la Maguana, presided by former Vice President Jacinto Peynado and in the presence of Senator Amable Aristy Castro, elected secretary general of the Dominican Municipal League, said that the party would not ally with another party in the first round, but would consider doing so in the second round. He said that a possible alliance with the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the ruling party, could occur in the second round, a repeat from the strategy that brought the PLD to the Presidency in 1996.
During the meeting of the PRSC, possible presidential candidate for the PRSC, Jacinto Peynado said that he would support party leader President Joaquín Balaguer if the later decided to run for President. He said that if Balaguer declines, because of his age and health, the party should hold open primaries to choose the presidential candidate for the party.

North wins Special Olympics
The North Region of the Dominican Republic (Santiago de los Caballeros) won the IV National Special Olympics Sports Games that took place over the weekend in Santo Domingo. Santiago athletes with special needs dominated in track and field, and swimming. Santo Domingo placed second, and the East Region third.

68 Dominican ball players in the Major Leagues
Hoy newspaper highlighted that 68 Dominican baseball players have places assured with Major League baseball teams in the US. Major League baseball season opens 4 April. The Dominicans most likely to play with the US teams this season are:
Juan Guzmán (Baltimore Orioles)
Willis Otañez (Baltimore Orioles)
Pedro Martínez (Boston Red Sox)
José Offerman (Boston Red Sox)
Julio Santana (Tampa Bay)
Esteban Yan (Tampa Bay)
Tony Fernández (Toronto Blue Jays)
Nerio Rodríguez (Toronto Blue Jays)
Bartolo Colón (Cleveland Indians)
Manny Ramírez (Cleveland Indians)
Enrique Wilson (Cleveland Indians)
Deivi Cruz (Detroit Tigers)
Juan Encarnación (Detroit Tigers)
Carlos Febles (Kansas City Royals)
Hipólito Pichard (Kansas City Royals)
David Ortiz (Minnesota Cubs)
Miguel Tejada (Oakland A's)
Alex Rodríguez (Seattle Mariners)
José Mesa (Seattle Mariners)
Danny Bautista (Atlanta Braves)
Odalis Pérez (Atlanta Braves)
Jesús Sánchez (Florida Marlins)
Luis Castillo (Florida Marlins)
Antonio Alfonseca (Florida Marlins)
Miguel Batista (Montreal Expos)
Vladimir Guerrero (Montreal Expos)
Wilton Guerrero (Montreal Expos)
Manny Martínez (Montreal Expos)
Armando Benítez (New York Mets)
Octavio Dotel (New York Mets)
Mariano Duncan (New York Mets)
Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs)
Henry Rodríguez (Chicago Cubs)
Felix Heredia (Chicago Cubs)
Sandy Martínez (Chicago Cubs)
Manny Alexander (Chicago Cubs)
Moises Alou (Houston Astros)
José Lima (Houston Astros)
Tony Eusebio (Houston Astros)
Alberto Reyes (Milwaukee Brewers)
José Mercedes (Milwaukee Brewers)
Manny Aybar (St. Louis Cardinals)
José Jiménez (St. Louis Cardinals)
Fernando Tatis (St. Louis Cardinals)
Tony Batista (Arizona Diamond Backs)
Amauri Telemaco (Arizona Diamond Backs)
Pedro Astacio (Colorado Rockies)
Neifi Pérez (Colorado Rockies)
Adrian Beltré (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Pedro Borbón (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Raúl Mondesí (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Carlos Pérez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Angel Peña (Los Angeles Dodgers)
José Vizcaino (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Mel Rojas (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Quilvio Veras (San Diego Padres)
Carlos Almanzar (San Diego Padres)
Juan Melo (San Diego Padres)
Stanley Javier (San Francisco Giants)
Felix Rodríguez (San Francisco Giants)
Julián Tavárez (San Francisco Giants)
José Guillén (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Aramis Ramírez (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Freddy García (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Yorkis Pérez (Philadelphia Pirates)

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