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Daily News - 07 April 1999

Important international conferences set for DR in April
Santo Domingo's Hotel Jaragua Renaissance will host the Third Caribbean Hotel Investment and Tourism Conference, 18-20 April. (Note that this event follows the celebration in Santo Domingo of the II Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean with the visit of the presidents of Mexico, Colombia and most Caribbean Basin nations, including Cuba.)
The Jaragua has invested US$10 million to spruce up the facility for the important conferences.
The Caribbean Hotel Investment & Tourism Conference is organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Caribbean Hotel Association. Shortly after, the private sector will host the annual Hotel & Restaurant Association exhibition at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel. This year the Asonahores event has merged with the Bolsa Turística del Caribe trade show both to be held 23-25 April.

New at the Book Fair
New at the International Book Fair, that will be held in Santo Domingo 22 April through 2 May, is a poetry pavilion, a children's area, an anthology of stories, and the participation of 26 authors from abroad. Some 203 publishing firms and 80 book stores are participating in the event organized by the government to promote reading among children and Dominicans in general. The book fair will again be held on the grounds of the National Music Conservatory, which has entrances by way of César Nicolás Penson and Bolívar avenues. Authors are coming from Mexico, Chile, France, Spain, Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. The government is spending RD$10-12 million in the cultural event that is visited by hundreds of thousands.

Report on time sharing shows DR is third in Caribbean
A new report on time sharing in the Caribbean to be released by RCI Consulting shows that resort timesharing continues to be one of the fastest-growing vacation and real estate industries in the region. There are 128 timeshare projects on 15 Caribbean islands, with 8,150 built timeshare units. Most of these are located in Aruba with 30.4% and St. Maarten with 18.3%. The Dominican Republic is third with 13.3%, followed by the Bahamas with 11.3%, the US Virgin Islands with 6.1%. Residents of the United States account for about 75 percent of all timeshare purchasers in the Caribbean. Nearly one-third (33.1 percent) of all purchasers reside in four US states — New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida. Europeans account for 11.7 percent and Canadians for 5.7 percent of all purchasers.

Electoral board gets high rating from citizens
According to the results from the 16-18 March Hoy-Hamilton & Staff poll of 1,800 Dominicans throughout the national territory, most Dominicans have a good perception of the Junta Central Electoral, the body in charge of organizing the national elections. 61% rated it as the government institution that is carrying out the best work in the DR. The Dominican Municipal League was rated as the worst public institution. The rating for the JCE descended from 82% approval in the previous survey held in November 1998.

Government to invest 70% of budget in provinces
The Fernández administration announced it would orient 70% of the RD$8,600 million budget for provincial public works and only 30% for works to be built in the capital city of Santo Domingo. The National District (Santo Domingo), which concentrates the most votes in presidential elections, usually receives the largest share of the government construction budget.

PRD protests discrimination in municipal funds
The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano is protesting that the government, through the National Treasury, has only delivered to municipalities 40% of the funding corresponding to the 4% of government revenues. This has affected more than 50,000 municipal employees that have not been paid in March. The PRD says the government is conspiring against the PRD, which has the majority of city governments.

Orlando Martínez case to be rebuilt
Judge Katia Miguelina Jiménez sent back to the Cámara de Calificación the dossier on the assassination of journalist Orlando Martínez. The judge ordered that the process start over because of irregularities in the presentation of the case. The Dominican judiciary also awaits the extradition from the US of former Air Force sergeant Mariano Durán Cabrera, accused of firing the bullets that killed the journalist.

Jacques will not be expelled from school
The Minister of Education, Ligia Amada Melo guaranteed that 18-year old Claubian Jean Jacques of Villa Altagracia, will not be expelled from his public school because of his lack of a birth certificate. The student made the headline in El Siglo yesterday because of the irony of his being honored by the government in February for his scholastic achievements, and now his graduation being imperiled because of a lack of a birth certificate. The government requires students to have a birth certificate to graduate. Jacques has not been able to obtain his because the Dominican migration authorities consider he is a Haitian, as he was born to illegal Haitian immigrants. He would have to travel to Haiti to obtain a Haitian birth certificate to regularize his status. The Haitian Constitution recognizes its citizens regardless of where they are born. Jacques parents, who originally came to cut sugar, say their son was born in the Dominican Republic. Like Jacques, there are more than 50,000 children in his same shoes. The migration issue is the bottleneck in bilateral negotiations with Haiti.

Watchman turns himself in
Miguel Concepción, the private watchman who assassinated engineer Luis Liriano in the parking lot of Palacio del Cine, gave himself in to the Police yesterday. He alleges he was physically attacked by the victim and has a medical certificate to prove this. Witnesses say this is not true. Concepción turned himself into the police accompanied by TV reporters from the Mundo Visión news program. He was sent to the Homicide Department of the National Police for investigations.

Japan donates US$2 million in farming equipment
The government of Japan donated US$2 million to the Dominican government, primarily in the form of farming equipment, such as tractors. The equipment will be used to improve productivity of agriculture after Hurricane George. The donation agreement was signed by Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre and Ambassador of Japan Masato Akazawa.

DR to import refined sugar
According to a report in El Siglo newspaper, the Dominican Republic, one of the world's leading sugar exporters, will have to import at least 30,000 tons of refined sugar for the domestic market. Last year, according to data from the Dominican Institute of Sugar (INAZUCAR), the country consumed 299,515 tons of sugar: 178,835 of crude and 120,680 of refined sugar. Local production for this year is estimated to reach 464,267 tons, of which 190,657 will be exported to the United States, and the remaining 273,610 will be sold locally. Of the total production, Central Romana is expected to produce 254,016 tons, Consejo Estatal del Azucar 148,131 tons and Grupo Vicini 62,120 tons.

Tragic accident affects Puerto Rican boy scouts
Monday afternoon, while they were making their way back to Santo Domingo to fly back to Puerto Rico, a bus overturned killing the driver and injuring 20 children on the La Cienaga-Manabao highway, near Jarabacoa. The bus slid down a precipice along the mountain road. The 20 children were returning from an excursion up the Pico Duarte mountain, the highest point in the Caribbean. They are part of troop 1167 of Caguas, Puerto Rico. They had traveled to the DR for their Easter holiday. The group received initial medical attention in La Vega and later was taken to the Hospital José María Cabral y Báez in Santiago, half an hour away. Several children are badly injured.

DR Peace Corps form association
The common bond is returned Peace Corps volunteers and staff who served in the Dominican Republic and desire to stay in touch with the country. That's the profile of the newly organized Friends of the Dominican Republic, which will have its first Annual Meeting and Reunion Aug. 12-15 in St. Paul, Minnesota in conjunction with the National Peace Corps Association's 1999 National Conference.
Those who attend from the Friends of the Dominican (FDR) group will join an estimated 1,000 RPCVs for the opening reception Thursday night, August 12, celebrating Peace Corps commitment to more than 134 nations. There will be a special headquarters and meeting room on campus for the FDR members. Their Annual Meeting is set for Friday at 4-6 p.m. to elect officers, discuss ongoing projects, make committee assignments, and review the directory for the over 220 members. A Dominican style dinner is being arranged for Friday evening, which will require a special registration in addition to the general conference registration.
Conference speakers include U.S. Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan, UNICEF Director Carol Bellamy, and Leonard Robinson, deputy secretary of the new National Summit on Africa. A career fair, international bazaar, and briefings on world regions will be held on Friday. Special workshops will be held each day. Saturday morning participants will have a chance to volunteer for service projects in the local area. The NPCA annual banquet and awards ceremony is set for Saturday night at 7 p.m. A Sunday morning Walk-Run for Peace, workshops, and NPCA annual meeting, followed by a picnic and afternoon canoe trip will round out the Conference.
For more information about the FDR Annual Meeting and Reunion, Contact Chairman Edward Warmoth (DR/85-87), 9219 SW Line Drive, Cornelius, Oregon 97113-9631, telephone and fax 503.628.3227, e-mail: [email protected] or FDR President Neil Ross of Kingston, Rhode Island (DR/62-64), telephone 401.782.2116.

Bad first day for Sammy
Sammy Sosa got off to a bad start in his first day in the Major League baseball season. He struck out three times of four at bat. He told the press that what is important is not how one starts the season, but how one ends the season. Sosa hit 12 home runs in spring training.

Sammy Sosa's life to be turned into TV special
MSH Entertainment has scored what might be equivalent to a towering home run by gaining the rights to a two-hour, made for television, animated biography on Sammy Sosa, last year's Most Valuable Player in the National League who hit 66 home runs and has become Major League baseball's newest icon.
The animated telefilm, which is scheduled to premiere for spring training in 2000, is being co-produced by MSH's recently acquired subsidiary, Abrams/Gentile Entertainment and SSA Productions in Tokyo.
Commenting on the project, John Gentile, president and a co-founder of AGE explained that "this project is particularly timely in that, in many ways Sammy Sosa is looked at as a kind of sports image personified by the late Joe DiMaggio and Roberto Clemente."
Mr. Gentile continued that "beyond this special, it is our intention to develop a weekly animated series which reflects the accomplishments, experiences and values that make Sammy Sosa the hero and legend that he is."
Mr. Sosa, 31, was born in the Dominican Republic and made it to the Big League through an intense work ethic, persistence and a compassion for those much less fortunate than himself. When Hurricane Georges virtually decimated his homeland last fall, he not only made a significant financial contribution, but spearheaded a drive to bring all forms of aid to his native country.
Although his 66 home runs in 1998 was second to Mark McGwire's record of 70, Mr. Sosa's all-around play and his leadership earned him not only the coveted MVP award but other honors including the Roberto Clemente Man of the Year, Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year, The Sporting News awards for both Sportsman and Player of the Year, and he was also chosen for the National League Players' Choice for Outstanding Player.

Chichí Peralta show set for 17 April in Santo Domingo
Chichí Peralta, one of the most outstanding Dominican musicians of all times, is preparing a concert for the Teatro Agua Luz for 17 April. It is probable that the show is being held in honor of important visitors that will be here for the II Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Basin. If tickets become available, do not miss this event if you are in Santo Domingo. His CD Pa Otro Lado, Cayman Records, is a must-buy for those seeking to take back an example of Caribbean music at its best.

Best-selling merengue music
El Siglo newspaper reported that the best selling merengue music so far this year are:
Juan Luis Guerra. "Ni es lo mismo ni es igual."
Toño Rosario. "Exclusivo"
Elvis Crespo. "Suavemente"
Banda Lokkera. "Merenmambo 99"
Sin Fronteras. "Fabricando sueños"
Milly Quezada. "Milly Vive"

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