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Daily News - 22 March 1999

New hotel and mega mall goes up on the Malecón
Two 28-floor apartment buildings, a 28-floor hotel and a 150-store three-floor shopping mall are being built on a 19,000 square meter lot on the Caribbean Sea-fronting Malecón boulevard. The complex is about two minutes drive from the Jaragua, Meliá and InterContinental hotels. Promoted as the Malecón Center, the new complex was designed by Sandy & Babocok, Inc., a California architectural firm with branches in Florida. The third floor of the shopping center will be an area with restaurants, movie houses and discotheques. The promoters, Pimentel Kareh/Rodríguez Sandoval expect to secure a renown hotel chain to operate the hotel. The construction of the center is timely as Santo Domingo readies itself to host the year 2003 Pan American Sports Games, that this year will take place in Winnipeg, Canada. The promoters expect the mall to serve the needs of Gazcue and the Malecón area residents plus those of thousands of tourists that visit the area.

Haiti is interested in investment from DR companies
Haiti's ambassador in the DR, Guy Lamothe says the Haitian government hopes to attract Dominican investment to Haiti. He said that at present the DR exports to Haiti about US$30 million a year, and imports less than US$1 million. Dominican exports are primarily food products, fertilizers, tools and spare parts for vehicles. Dominicans import handicrafts, beverages, perfumes and used clothing. Haiti buys 77% of all Dominican exports to the Caribbean.
The Haitian government will be using the Caribbean Investment Conference, sponsored by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, that will take place in the DR next month as a forum to present facilities the government will be awarding investors in tourism projects in Haiti. This effort is spurred by Maryse Penette, one of the most oustanding Haitian government functionaries of all times. At present, Haiti is affected by political instability, but government representatives hope this will soon be no longer an obstacle to investment. The well being of Haiti is in the best interest of the Dominican Republic. In bad times, the number of indigent Haitians traveling to the DR increases, becoming a heavy burden to local social services.

Food mishandling causes public school milk poisoning
The Ministry of Education advanced that a Panama laboratory has proven that the public school breakfast milk that caused hundreds of children to get sick was contaminated by inadequate food handling at the factory where it was produced. More than 600 children were intoxicated on 28 January by milk the Nutrilac firm supplied to public schools in San Francisco de Macorís, La Vega, Salcedo, Moca and San Jose de Ocoa. Several of the children suffered from acute diarrhea and vomiting that required their hospitalization for a day. The tests carried out in Panama showed that the milk was contaminated by bacteria from the nasal cavities of workers at the manufacturing plant that produced the milk. The report says that the workers manipulated the product without using hygiene measures such as protector gloves and facial masks.
The public school breakfast program is one of the most important of the Ministry of Education. Many low income parents send their children to school because they know they will get a nutritious breakfast. But the poisoning affected the credibility of the program. The Ministry reacted by suspending the purchase of milk from the Nutrilac plant, and reinstating the use of small box cartons to package the milk, and not the plastic bags they had resorted to, using savings to serve more milk portions benefiting more public school children.

Police is adamant about clearing sidewalks of street vendors
The National Police said it will continue to forcibly evict vendors who have set up their "shops" on heavily transited city streets, parks and plazas in Santo Domingo and Santiago. The new chief of the Police, General Pedro de Jesús Candelier said that they are acting based on the law that gives the Police the authority to dislodge those that affect the transit of pedestrians. Over the weekend, City Hall and Firemen carried out clean up operations alongside the Avenida Duarte, Parque Enriquillo and nearby areas where the so-called "buhoneros" had already been evicted. The Police is giving the street peddlers 48 hour advance warning before confiscating their merchandise and makeshift stands. The Police announced that it would evict vendors in the vicinity of the Mercado Modelo and Avenida Mella on Today, Monday 22 March. A poll in the Listín Diario showed that city residents favor the clean up operations.

US Army donates labor and resources to build schools and bridge
More than 3,000 US Army soldiers will be coming to the DR to participate in the Caribbean Castle 99 Operation, a US$10 million effort. The operation seeks to rebuild or build bridges and rural schools that were destroyed by Hurricane Georges last September. Similar efforts are also in place in Central American countries affected by Hurricane Mitch. Construction will take place in Monte Plata, areas along the southeast coast and includes the reconstruction of the Manabao, Constanza bridge. The building efforts will take place 13 April through 7 August.

Blonde is new Miss DR
Blonde Luz García, from the northeastern city of Moca, was elected Miss Dominican Republic 1999. She will represent the DR in the Miss Universe pageant to be held 26 May in Trinidad & Tobago. Lucy Ceballos from Higuey was the runner up queen. For a photo, see http://www.listin.com.do/220399/ivida.htm

Pan Am Baseball Championship to be held in DR
The Pan American Baseball Confederation chose the DR as site of the Pan American Baseball Championship to be held in August of this year. The tournament is a classifying round for the world games to be held in China.

60,000 Barbie dolls sold last year
A report in the Listin Diario's Sunday edition states that Mattel's Barbie doll, that this year commemorates her 40th year as the most sold doll ever made, first came to the DR 24 years ago. She was sold for US$2 at the time. Today the doll is priced from US$6 to US$32. According to the authorized agent for Mattel toys in the DR, La Novia de Villa, some 60,000 dolls were sold last year. Each year sales increase 4-6%. Mattel toys have been sold here since 1975.

Painter assassinated by her maid
The assistant director of the cultural center Museo de las Casas Reales, 47-year old artist Maria Nieves Sicart was found dead at her home in the El Cacique neighborhood on Saturday afternoon. She had been brutally beat to death with a bat. The police arrested her former 17-year old maid and 15-year old boyfriend who allegedly admitted to having committed the crime. The pair said they killed the lady to rob her. According to press reports, the maid had been fired on Friday by the deceased because she suspected that her maid's boyfriend had to do with the robbery of a jeep that a friend had lent to her. The maid and the boyfriend were arrested over the weekend in Santo Domingo and Baní. On them were found a cellular phone, a camera, watch, five rings and bracelet of the victim. The victim lived with her mother, who was absent at the time of the killing. Press reports said that the maid was able to get in because she kept a key to the back door of the dwelling.

PLD to open campaign to choose presidential candidate
The ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana announced it will chose on 11 April the party's official pre-candidates for the presidential election of year 2000. The announcement was made when José Tomás Pérez was sworn in as new secretary general of the party. He replaces Lidio Cadet, who had been secretary general for 15 years. During the event new members of the political committee were elected — Eduardo Selman, Lidio Cadet, Reynaldo Pared Perez and Radhames Segura. So far, those who aspire to run for President on the PLD ticket are: Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal; Secretary of the Presidency, Danilo Medina; Minister of Tourism Félix Jiménez; Dr. Franklin Almeyda Rancier and former Santiago governor, Marcelo Bermúdez. Upon being sworn in, Pérez said he would work to strengthen the image of the PLD. He explained that while the image of President Leonel Fernández is strong, this is not so for the image of the PLD party. He said the party has been affected by actions of arrogant government functionaries.

PRI chooses year 2000 presidential candidate
The former president of the Junta Central Electoral, Cesar Estrella Sadhalá was chosen presidential candidate for the Partido Revolucionario Independiente (PRI) during an assembly of the central committee of that minority political organization. Estrella Sadhalá apparently seeks to attract the vote of those that reject the traditional political parties, presenting himself as an alternative. Political parties have fallen in popularity because of the image that they work primarily for individual gain, and leave little time to dedicate to the nation's business. Estrella Sadhalá gained national repute for his organization of the first undisputed elections in 1996. The PRI was an ally of the PRD as part of the Acuerdo de Santo Domingo in 1996 elections and 1998 municipal and congressional elections.

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