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Daily News - 20 April 1999

72 heads of state coming for November summit
72 heads of state and government will meet in Santo Domingo in mid-November for the Summit of ACP countries signatories of the Lome IV agreement. The meeting of the Cariforum will be held to set the final stand of the Asian, Caribbean and Pacific signatories of the agreement in view of the completing of the protocol of the post Lome IV Agreement. Lome IV expires in 2000. This will be the second major summit held in Santo Domingo this year. Last weekend, the city was host to 24 heads of state that came for the II Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States.
Lomé IV is an agreement signed in 1989 between 15 European Union States and 69 ACP States (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific). This non-reciprocal financial and technical cooperation agreement provides emergency assistance and a preferential trade system that benefits independent states in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific that were former colonies of Europe. The accord seeks to promote and accelerate economic, cultural and social development in the ACP countries via several methods of collaboration and the elimination of taxes and quantitative limitations for a number of products entering the EU countries.

DR places formal complaint with Mexican government
The Dominican government has placed a formal complaint with the Government of Mexico, in a letter sent to the Embassy of Mexico in Santo Domingo. The Dominican government complains that Mexico has defacto changed the terms for accessing lines of credit for 20% of the cost of petroleum bought from Mexico as per the San José Agreement. The funds would be used to finance economic development projects in productive sectors on preferential terms. The DR complains that Mexico has unilaterally changed the terms and now requests that the funds have commercial-kind guarantees and be used for projects that generate income to guarantee their repayment. The DR is requesting access to US$100 million in credit fund in Mexico.
The Dominican government says that Venezuela has financed 27 projects with an investment of US$350 million dollars and has just approved project No. 28 for the installation of transmission lines in the Northeast for US$24 million. Venezuela also has three more projects for a costing US$70 million under study for financing. Meanwhile, Mexico has only approved one project, the Proyecto de Riego Yaque del Norte under the administration of Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982-86).
President Ernesto Zedillo was in the DR, but efforts by Dominican government officers to lobby for Mexico to grant similar treatment as Venezuela does, were fruitless.

Herrera Airport grounds could be used for Pan Am villa
The daily press is speculating that behind the government decision to move the Herrera Airport is the decision to use these grounds for the construction of the sports villa for the Pan Am Games in 2003. The new domestic terminal and airport will be built in the northern area of Higüero, near Duquesa on property of the State Sugar Council (CEA). The idea is to have the airport ready in six months time. Access to the new airport will be by way of the Avenida Jacobo Majluta. While originally built in an area of low density, Herrera Airport is now in the middle of the city of Santo Domingo, with little room for expansion.

Forest fire burns in Bahoruco
Forest fires are affecting large extensions of the Sierra de Bahoruco, in the southwest of the country. More than 200 men from the National Parks Department and the military have been extinguishing fires that have destroyed large extensions of pine trees. The fires began on Saturday. A spokesman from National Parks said the fires have been extinguished 80% and should soon be under control.

Ecotourism Fair for eastern DR
The Ecotourism and Production Fair will be held this year in the eastern province of Hato Mayor. The organizers of the annual event have chosen the city of Sabana de la Mar as center for the third version of the fair. The Rancho Chamuscada will be site of many of the exhibitions. The fair seeks to help Dominicans to get to know their country. The dates of the fair are 19-27 June. Organizer José Serulle Ramia, of the Fundación Ciencia y Arte, says on the program this year are visits to coffee, cocoa, African palm, sugar cane and citric plantations in East of the DR. Participants will be able to book visits to the water falls of Valle and Maguá, the Fun Fun Cave and Rancho Capote, Tropical Plantation, and the beaches of Las Cañitas and Miches. This area is adjacent to Samana, with its small out islands and the Los Haitises National Park. The fair seeks to create and awareness of the biodiversity of the region and encourage Dominicans and foreigners to visit less traveled but not less interesting attractions. The Elupina Primero ferry, that would permit cars to be shipped from Sabana de la Mar to Samana province, is expected to be operational in time for the opening of the fair. The government recently ordered the fixing of the streets of Sabana de la Mar and the completion of the Sabana de la Mar-Miches highway.

City of Paris to help City of Santo Domingo
The city government of France will assist the city government of Santo Domingo in the recovery and clean up of Santo Domingo's Ozama River. The Port of Santo Domingo, with its cruise ship terminals, is located on the river that passes by the historic walls of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. French technicians will visit Santo Domingo as a result of an agreement signed by Mayor Johnny Ventura during a visit to France where he met with his colleague, Mrs. Xaviere Tiberi. These include Laurent Godefroy, director of economic and international affairs of the Ministry of Transport of France.
The French technicians are slated to participate in a workshop 20-21 May during which an action plan for the recovery of the river will be developed.

Caribbean jazz and flamenco at National Theater
Michael Camilo and Spanish guitarist José Fernández Torres will go on stage together for a piano and guitar concert 21 May in Santo Domingo's Teatro Nacional. The same concert will be presented in Santiago's Gran Teatro Cibao on 22 May. The twosome successfully performed in Spain their special brand of Caribbean jazz music and flamenco guitar playing.

Balaguer's newest book to be sold at Book Fair
Former President Joaquin Balaguer launched a new book, "Grecia Eterna," which he dedicated to young Dominicans. He said the book explains in simple language basic aspects of Greek history and culture, including the arts, literature, sculptures, poetry, philosophy, mythology and origins of democracy. The book will be sold at the National Book Fair that opens 22 April at the grounds of the National Conservatory. Previously, Balaguer published, "España Infinita." He said he is now completing, "Gran Bretaña, la raza inglesa y la raza humana," a book on the British heritage. Some time ago the then President highlighted in a speech to the nation that there are two races: the human race and the British.
Some 400,000 Dominicans are expected to visit the book fair that opens on Thursday in Santo Domingo.

Major convention center to be built in Juan Dolio
Metro, Coral and Costa Caribe hotel groups are joining forces to begin the construction of a major convention center and commercial center in Juan Dolio, in the southeastern coast in June of this year. The new center will have an area of 6,000 square meters in its first phase and an additional 5,000 meters in second phase. A supermarket, two movie houses, a bowling ally, night club and food court will be part of the commercial center, promoter José Ramón Martínez told the Listin Diario. The idea is for the center to host major congresses such as those organized by the Caribbean Hotel Association. Dominican architect Manuel Polanco was entrusted with the plans. Juan Dolio areas are very optimistic about the future of the area what with the construction of a new express highway from Boca Chica to San Pedro and the building of a tourist boulevard hotel strip in the area.

Sol Meliá announces its fourth hotel in Punta Cana area
The Sol Meliá hotel group announced that it will open another resort in the Punta Cana area this year. The Meliá Caribe is a 522-hotel being built at a cost of US$50 million in the area. The project includes a convention hall for 1,000 persons. Two golf courses and two residential tourism developments are part of this complex. The resort is slated to open in November. Other Meliá hotels in the area are the Meliá Bávaro, Paradisus Punta Cana, Meliá Tropical. In the Dominican Republic, the Spanish company also manages the Meliá Juan Dolio and the Meliá Santo Domingo (former Sheraton).

DR is world's largest exporter of baseball players
The Listín Diario reported that the DR is the world's largest exporter of baseball players to the US Major Leagues. 21.2% of all foreign players in Major League teams are Dominicans. The breakdown of foreign players in the Major Leagues is as follows:
Dominican Republic 70
Puerto Rico 31
Venezuela 25
Mexico 12
Canada 9
Cuba 8
Panama 6
Japan 5
Colombia 3
Australia 3
Curaçao 3
Jamaica 2
Korea 1
Nicaragua 1
England 1
Aruba 1
US Virgin Islands 1

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