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Daily News - 05 April 1999

Noble Peace Prize winners visit for journalism workshop
Noble Peace Prize winner, Argentinean Adolfo Pérez Esquivel said yesterday upon arriving to Santo Domingo that the Kosovo conflict could degenerate in a Third World War. He criticized the bombing in Belgrade by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Pérez Esquivel flew to Santo Domingo to participate in the international seminar "Journalism and Democracy in Latin America: Global and Regional Integration," organized by the Dominican College of Journalists, the Association of Professional Journalists and the National Press Union. Also participating in the seminar is fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú, of Guatemala.

46 die in Easter Weekend holiday
The Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias Interinstitucionales (COEI) reported that 46 persons died from noon Wednesday, 31 March through Sunday at 6:30 pm, 4 April. The final report of the inter institutional coordinating group, that sought to prevent lamentable occurrences during the Easter long weekend holiday, a peak for domestic travel, would be issued today at 10 am. Last year 52 persons died in Easter weekend-related incidents and accidents.

Repent, sinners of La Romana
Residents and visitors to La Romana, in the southeast of the country, were taken by surprise by a 10-minute hail at around 3:40 pm on Good Friday. The hail storm cracked windows of some cars in La Romana reported El Siglo. Because of the time and day of the occurrence, several local residents kneeled down to pray. Low temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius were also reported in La Romana, during the hail storm. Press reports indicated that the scare was worse than the damage caused.
With the hail put aside, for the most part weather was good in the Southeast, as well as in the eastern and southwestern coasts of the DR for the Easter long weekend.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday heavy rains fell in the north and north central regions, dampening the vacation plans of thousands of Dominicans that had headed north. By Saturday and Sunday, weather was back to its sunny normal.
Press reports indicated that less city residents left the cities for vacation meccas than in previous years.

Fernández cabinet changes
President Leonel Fernández made changes in his administration over the weekend. The changes in director positions were at the following institutions:
Fondo de Promoción a las Iniciativas Comunitarias: Taina Gautreau Radio Televisión Dominicana: Pedro Caba
Las Americas International Airport: Arístides Fernández Zucco
Corporación de Fomento Industrial: Lidio Cadet
National Lottery: Aristipo Vidal

Presidents Summit set for 16-17 April
The Government is advancing on preparations for the II Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States. The event opens in Santo Domingo 16 April. Some 25 nations make up the association. Delegations from 14 Caribbean Community nations; Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia; and Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica in Central America; and Cuba, Haiti and the DR in the Caribbean have confirmed attendance. During the meeting, the Strategic Alliance of the Caribbean, proposed by President Leonel Fernández during the first summit held in Santo Domingo last year, will be discussed. In addition to statesmen from the Caribbean, the presidents of Mexico and Colombia are expected to attend the summit.
The strategic alliance would create a free trade area of goods, services, between the countries of CARICOM, Central America, Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a market of more than 60 million consumers, an exercise in intra-regional free trade in preparation for our integration into the Free Trade Area Agreement in 2005 and into the global economy.

Taiwan sends shipment of 700 computers for public schools
The Ministry of Education received a donation of 700 Taiwanese computers, second lot of a total of 5,000 computers promised by the Government of Taiwan for public schools. The Taiwan government had already delivered a first bundle of 500 computers and promises to deliver the remaining computers before the end of this year. The government is installing computer labs in public schools and has trained 1,800 teachers for the program. The idea is to introduce computers to Dominicans all throughout the country to spur an interest among young Dominicans to pursue careers in computers or become computer literate. Public schools will also be giving weekend computer courses to those interested.

Legendary musician passes away
Don Julio Alberto Hernández, regarded as one of the leading national music composers of all times, passed away Friday, 2 April at the Plaza de la Salud medical center. He died of pneumonia. He was 98 years old. He is the grandfather of outstanding Dominican singer, Maridalia Hernández.

Fatal excursion to Los Haitises
Two persons died and three are missing from a fatal excursion of 20 to the Los Haitises National Park on Wednesday, 31 March. The group was made up by local residents of Sabana de la Mar (this is the city from where most excursions to the park leave) that boarded a National Parks Department boat to tour the Los Haitises National Park. Fernando Sánchez, a survivor, said the boat capsized because it was overloaded, and apparently safe jackets were not used. The boat had capacity for 10 persons. Trip coordinator, Jacobo Green, took the first 10 out for the excursion, returning for the second group of 10. But on the return trip, he decided all could fit so that he need only make one trip. A fishing boat from Sánchez in Samaná province, helped in the rescue operation. The bodies of 40-year old Jacobo Green and 31-year old Yefreisis Encarnación were rescued. The Navy, Civil Defense, Firemen and Red Cross units have tried to find the missing three persons or bodies.

600 computer terminals confiscated at free zone
The District Attorney's Office confiscated 600 computer terminals property of Caribbean Data Services, the largest telemarketing-call center in the DR, last week. The company is accused of violating Law 32-86 on copyright in prejudice of Microsoft Corporation. The District Attorney detected that 361 terminals were operating without the correct license for Windows 3.11, while 67 terminals did not have the corresponding license for Microsoft Office, and 7 others were not authorized to operate Office 97. Also detected was illegal use of the Windows NT program. Carlos Pérez, of the District Attorney's office, said this is the largest intellectual property operation carried out in Latin America. It is a common practice in the DR to use illegal use of software copies. ProSoft and the Software Business Alliance are assisting government authorities to enforce the legal use of licenses and original software.

Dominican free zones to invest in Haiti
Dominican free zone businessmen are making investments in Haiti free zone operations. Fernando Capellán, of the large Grupo M, the largest textile manufacturing operation in the DR, says they expect to take advantage of Haiti's trained personnel and unused export quotas to the US. He said that in some operations, they will be using Dominican materials to manufacture garment pieces. These will be cut in the DR, assembled and shipped from Haiti.

PRD suspends young politicians
The PRD board suspended for 30 days young politicians Guido Gomez Mazara, Frank Guerrero Prats, Leo Adames, Angel de la Cruz, Alejandro Abreu and Andrés Henríquez for meeting with José Tomás Pérez, recently elected secretary general of the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. The "new generation" politicians of the PRD met with Pérez at the Restaurant Vesuvio to celebrate their friend's election. Guido Gómez said the gathering, that did not have the official permission of the party, was for personal motives and that they did not discuss political issues. The measure by the board of the PRD was criticized as old-fashioned dictatorship style discipline.

Rating the Dominican government
The Hoy-Hamilton & Staff poll, carried out 13-19 March throughout the Dominican territory, showed that 6% of Dominicans feel the present government is an excellent one, 39% feel is it a good one, 33% say it is a bad one, 20% say it is a very bad one. 2% are undecided. This is the third survey of its kind carried out by the newspaper. The government increased its approval rating by one point.

International authors coming for Book Fair
Some 30 foreign authors will participate in the II International Book Fair that opens 22 April and will last more than a week. The event is sponsored by the Dominican government to promote an interest in reading. The fair will be dedicated to Pedro Mir, who is regarded as "the national poet". Renown authors are coming from Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, France, Nicaragua, Spain, Puerto Rico and Cuba. Renown Latin American poet Adolfo Castañón and Nobel Prize of Literature José Luis Rivas are part of the Mexican delegation. The talks will take place at the National Library, Sala de la Cultura of the National Theater and the Auditorium of the Central Bank.

Best paid government officers?
The city government of Santo Domingo increased to RD$30,000 a month (about US$1,875) the "diet" received by the aldermen that are supposed to attend city hall sessions once a week. Sometimes, for diverse motives, these sessions are not convened for two or three consecutive weeks. Previously, the city government officers received RD$25,000 as per diem. By law, the positions are honorary, thus the stipulation for food. City Mayor Johnny Ventura has frequently complained of the lack of monies at the city government.

Who will protect us from the watchmen?
41-year old civil engineer Luis Liriano Vásquez was shot to death around 9 pm by a watchman at the Palacio del Cine, one of the better cinemas in Santo Domingo, on Thursday, 1 April in the presence of several families. He had gone to see "La Vida es Bella", the Oscar-winning film by Roberto Benigni, with two friends. According to testimony by Ana Contreras, the guard assassinated Liriano because he did not give him a tip. Once inside the car with Ingrid Mena and Ana Contreras, the watchman knocked on the window asking for a tip. The engineer refused this and the watchman called him a "come solo," a person that wouldn't share with anyone. Liriano got out of the car to exchange words with the watchman. His friends urged him to forget things and return to the car. When he turned his back to the watchman and was returning to his car, he was shot in the head before he could even open the door to his car. Liriano was married to Margarita Moronta and had three girls, of 13, 8 and 5 years. They were in Puerto Plata on Easter holiday. The watchman is on the run.

Peru defeats DR in Davis Cup matches
Peru defeated the Dominican Republic, 4-1 in the round of Davis Cup held in Santo Domingo over the weekend. The Peruvians will now match the Uruguayans on 16-18 July in Uruguay. The Dominicans will have a second chance to remain in Group II when they meet Costa Rica in a playoff programmed 16-18 July in Santo Domingo. The Peruvian delegation was made up by players Luis Horna, Americo Venero, Alejandro Aramburú and Ivan Miranda. The Dominican team was made up by Genaro De Leon, Rodrigo Vallejo, Sixto Camacho and Victor Estrella. Only Genaro de Leon was able to win a match against the Peruvians, defeating Iván Miranda 6-2, 6-0 on Sunday.

Pros to make up DR team to Pan Am Games
Professional Dominican ball players, primarily US Minor League players, were chosen to make up the Dominican baseball team that will participate in the Pan American Sports Games scheduled for Winnipeg, Canada, starting 22 July. Players Jorge Brito, Angelo Encarnación, Henry Mercedes, Francisco Morales, Pedro Martínez Aquino, Nelson Cruz, Fernando Hernández, Vladimir Pérez, Benito Báez and Máximo Núñez were chosen. Also selected are Luis Ortiz, Francisco Matos, Roberto Mejía, David Ortiz, Esteban Beltré, Fausto Cruz, Alejandro Santos, Omar Ramírez, Israel Alcántara, Jesus Tavárez, Rudy Pemberton, Alejandro Díaz, Jovino Carvajal, Jose Soriano. And veterans Luis Polonia, Domingo Cedeño, Mariano Duncan, Jorge Alvarez, Ramón Espinosa and Rafael Bournigal. The team head coach is Felix Fermín. The Dominican team aspires to win a medal in the Winnipeg Games this summer.

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