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Daily News - 03 May 1999

DEG Bank of Germany buys Baninter shares
Baninter, the small Dominican bank that turned into a giant when it purchased the Banco del Comercio, now announces the DEG Bank of Germany is its newest shareholder. Baninter says that it will now have more funds available for lending to small and medium-sized firms. Vice president financial institutions Werner Breden signed for the DEG. Ramón Báez Romano, president of the Grupo Intercontinental and Ramón Báez Figueroa, president of Baninter signed for the Dominican bank. The Vice Governor of the Central Bank, Luis Manuel Piantini and the Superintendent of Banks, Lic. Vicente Bengoa Ambassador Hans Rothe of Germany were also present.
The German government bank has a portfolio of 67 million Deutsch Marks in the DR, making it their fifth largest in Latin America and the largest in Central America and the Caribbean.
El Siglo newspaper reported that the DEG chose to invest in Baninter after positive experiences doing business during recent months.

30% more Dominicans now paying taxes
The director of the Dirección Nacional de Impuestos Internos, the government internal revenue department, said that the number of taxpayers has increased 30% in 1998 over the previous year. He also said there has been an increase in tax collections in general, despite the elimination of some taxes and the reduction of others. He said tax evasion is significantly down.
Juan Hernández, director of the DNII, reported that as of this month taxpayers would be able to pay for their vehicle circulation permits (license plate tax) using credit cards. The department has set up 700 points where these can be renewed. In the past, getting the license plate renewal was one of the most time-consuming bureaucratic activities Dominicans had to submit to twice a year. Since his appointment, Hernández has implemented his theory that by making it easy for Dominicans to pay taxes, more taxes will be collected.

Hotel Association and City Mayor against new airport
Just weeks ago, the government completed the tender for the private operation and private capital investment in the expansion of the state-owned airports. Then last week it announced it would be investing RD$200 million to build a new state-owned airport. The site chosen for the new airport, Higuero, in the northeast of Santo Domingo, has met with the opposition of the tourism industry and the city government of Santo Domingo. The National Association of Hotels & Restaurants has formally requested that aviation authorities paralyze construction works. The presidential pre-candidates of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano Hipólito Mejía and Hatuey Decamps have also voiced their opposition, requesting that construction be stopped until a consensus is reached. Even the Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez opposed the construction. The government alleges it is moving the airport for safety reasons, but users say the accident rate of that airport is insignificant. Sectors that oppose the construction of the airport in Higuero say it is too far to serve the purpose of a city airport. City Mayor Johnny Ventura ordered last week the stop of the works on grounds that an environmental impact study had not been carried out, and the plans for the airport have not been approved by the city hall.

Port Authority announces works to clean up river
The executive director of the Dominican Port Authority, Francisco Javier García, gathered the leading cruise ship businessmen in the country to discuss new efforts to clean up the Ozama and Isabela Rivers. Several cruise ship companies have threatened to discontinue visiting Santo Domingo if the port is not dredged as soon as possible. The slum communities that are located at the riverside use the river as a giant garbage. The garbage is affecting cruise ship operations. Attending the meeting were Luisa Cabral, Tropical Paradise; Felix Jiménez for the Tour Operators Association; Nilda Peña for the Ministry of Tourism; Gustavo Tavarez for Marítima Dominicana; Udo Meier for E.T. Heinsen; Fernando Quezada for Quepe Tours; Frederic Schad for Frederic Schad; Evelyn D. de Vicent for Viajes Dumbo and tourism consultant Ellis Pérez.

Codetel promises total digital telephone service by 2000
In an interview with Hoy newspaper, the president of Codetel, Carlos Espinal said that as a result of an RD$800 million investment plan, the company will be able to offer total coverage digital phone services throughout the DR by year 2000. The DVNA digital technology, developed for the Israeli army, is being installed. He also promised that by next year, all Codetel cabling would be underground.

Rosario Mining contamination
The Instituto Nacional de Protección Ambiental (Inpra), an office of the Presidency of the Republic, confirmed that the Rosario Dominicana mine is contaminating the Cotuí area with its toxic residuals. El Siglo newspaper carries a report confirming that the Margajita and Mejita rivers in the province of Sánchez Ramírez are affected. The toxic waste treatment plants of the mining plant are out of service. Press reports in the past have said that it is more expensive for the Dominican government to not finalize a new contract for the processing of the sulfide reserves of the mine than to go ahead. Conflicting interests boycotted the Salomon Brothers supervised bid, with major foreign companies abandoning the bid after investing millions of dollars in preparation works.

French to propose program to enliven Colonial City
Laura Faxas, Dominican ambassador for Paris-based UNESCO, announced that executives from the
French Ministry of Culture and the French firm Pactarin will be in Santo Domingo 16-20 May to present their proposal for the development of cultural programs and colonial monument conservation programs. The program would facilitate loans to the indigent persons who live in the colonial city to restore their homes. The program has been implemented successfully in the colonial area of Quito, Ecuador. Faxas says that the program proved that low-income people could be taught to value their cultural heritage and participate in the rescue of the many historical monuments that are gradually deteriorating because of lack of maintenance.

Will the PRD convention be postponed?
Hoy newspaper reported that the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano would announce on 10 May if its extraordinary national convention to choose the party's presidential candidate in the year 2000 election would be postponed. The convention is set for 16 May. Dr. Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero, president of the organization, said that by then the technicians of the presidential pre-candidates will have audited the list of voters, as per was agreed. The pre-candidates are Hipólito Mejía, Milagros Ortiz Bosch, Rafael Suberví, Hatuey Decamps and Rafael Abinader. The PLD has announced their convention to choose from Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal, Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina and Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez for 27 June.

Will Balaguer run again?
Hoy newspaper reported that it is uncertain whether former President Joaquín Balaguer will be the presidential candidate of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano. According to a report, some party leaders feel that his running again will negatively affect his historical image, that of the country and that of the party. Others feel that Balaguer is the guarantee that the PRSC will return to power in the elections of next year. The former statesman is 92 years old. Party president Donald Reid Cabral said that the priority for the PRSC is not the election of the presidential candidate, but the restructuring and organization of the party. The PRSC has traditionally been the last political party to announce their presidential contender.

Dominique Bluhdorn is expecting triplets
Dominique Bluhdorn, wife of PRD presidential candidacy hopeful, Hatuey DeCamps is expecting triplets. Dominique Bluhdorn is the daughter of the late former founder of Gulf & Western's hotel operations in the DR Charles Bluhdorn who is regarded as the father of Dominican tourism. Mrs. Decamps is president of the Altos de Chavon Cultural Foundation. She is five months pregnant with the triplets. This will be her second pregnancy. She was not on a fertility treatment and found out about the triplets after traveling to the US for an amniocentesis procedure. In Santo Domingo a prior test had showed she was carrying twins, but raised the doubt of a third baby because of a shadow in the test.
Another presidential possible candidate, Vice President Jaime David Fernández recently had twins.

Festival Presidente set for first week June
The Presidente Latin Music Festival will be staged 3, 4 and 5 June at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center gathering leading Latin music stars.
So far reports are that the following Latin music stars will perform:
Bachata: Raulín Rodríguez
Spanish Rock: Grupo Maná
Merengue: Los Toros Band, Fernando Villalona, Toño Rosario and Elvis Crespo
Ballads: Enrique Iglesias from Spain, Shakira from Colombia, Chayanne from Puerto Ric
Salsa: Marc Anthony

"La Flaca" group coming to Santo Domingo
Spaniard Paul Dones and his group "Jarabe de Palo", of "La Flaca" and "Depende"-fame, will be performing at Casa de España 11 June.

A treat for lovers of opera
Opera music lovers should go today to purchase their tickets at the National Theater for an extraordinary evening listening to Francisco Casanova, the Dominican who has substituted for Pavarotti and performed at the Carnegie Hall of New York City. He will be the star of a gala concert to commemorate the 74th anniversary of Club Libanés-Sirio-Palestino at the National Theater. The event is a fund-raiser for the construction of the clubhouse of the organization that groups Dominicans of Arabian-descent. Maestro Caonex Peguero Camilo directs the program. Casanova will sing arias of his traditional repertoire, "Recondita Armonia" of Puccini, "O Paradiso" from L'Africana, "Questa o Quella" and "Di quella pira" by Verdi, and "Siboney" by Lecuona in a special arrangement by Maestro Peguero Camilo.

27 de Febrero Boulevard May activities program
Wednesday, 5 May: Night of Jazz with Grupo Bacachá.
Friday, 7 May: Ballet Patio Andaluz.Spanish flamenco dancing.
Sunday, 9 May: Topi Topi children's show presentation. Clowns. Video Concerto.
Wednesday, 12 May: An evening of jazz with Piña Colada.
Friday, 14 May: Concert with the Ars Nova Chamber Music Orchestra
Sunday, 16 May: Clowns and the performance of the Corporecitas. Video Concierto.
Wednesday, 19 May: An evening of jazz with Ania Paz and group.
Sunday, 23 May: Topi Topi children's show presentation. Clowns. Video Concerto.
Wednesday, 26 May: Evening of jazz with Guarionex Aquinjo and his Friends.
Thursday, 27 May: Belly Dance performance.
Sunday, 30 May: Magic performance.

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