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Daily News - 13 May 1999

Work advances on east-bound expressway
The new Autovía del Este that the government is building from Santo Domingo to La Romana will cut the driving time by more than half. The Ministry of Public Works says that the new expressway means a reduction from two hours at present time to 40 minutes when the highway is completed by the end of this year. The government is investing RD$950 million (about US$60 million) in the 56-kilometer expansion of the highway. The expansion starts in Boca Chica and ends in the Higuamo Bridge of San Pedro de Macorís where it will connect to the new Avenida de Circunvalación, also under construction. This new avenue will divert traffic from the center of San Pedro de Macorís city. The government expects to complete the expansion by December, according to engineer Miguel Angel Logroño, director of Programming and Planning of Investments of the Ministry of Public Works. The highway will interconnect the tourism areas of Boca Chica, Juan Dolio-Guayacanes and La Romana, also reducing the time it takes to get to the eastern beach areas, such as Punta Cana and Bávaro. The speed limit will be increased to 100 kms per hour, up from a maximum of 80 kms per hour on the present two-lane highway. The expansion includes the construction of a boulevard, linking the Juan Dolio-Guayacanes area, and an overpass at the Boca Chica rotunda.

President gives official status to tourist areas
President Leonel Fernández ordered the expansion of the Tourism Pole No. 8, created in 1995, to include Palenque, San Cristóbal and the Azua seaboard, both southwest of Santo Domingo. By Decree 199-99, President Fernández gives tourism pole or tourist interest area category to the municipalities of Nagua and Cabrera in the province of María Trinidad Sánchez. The areas in San Cristóbal and Azua as well as María Trinidad Sánchez are considered areas with tourism potential because of their historical significance, beaches, or river attractions, as well as exceptional climate.
The government also established new limits to the Parque Nacional de Bávaro, the eastern coastal area where several hotels have been built.

East coast aqueduct to double city water supply
The government signed a construction contract for the construction of a US$100 million aqueduct that will primarily serve the heavily populated eastern side of Santo Domingo for the next 15 years. Technical Secretary of the Presidency Temístocles Montás; the director of the Santo Domingo Water and Sewage Corporation (CAASD), Euclides Sánchez signed for the Dominican government. Antonio Dotti and Abraham Hazoury signed for the contractor, Consorcio Acueducto Oriental. The aqueduct is slated to be completed in 14-18 months. It will be built on the confluence of Ozama and Yabacao rivers, near the San Luis sugar mill. It will contribute 90 million gallons a day of water. The largest aqueduct supplying water to Santo Domingo is that of Valdesia which produces 75 million gallons of water a day.

Government to support young musician orchestras
President Leonel Fernández created the National System for Youth and Children's Orchestras placing it under the Presidential Council for Culture. Decree 193-99 establishes that that organization will prepare trainers in music and promote workshops, seminars, courses and the celebrating of concerts throughout the nation.

Malecón fountain to be repaired
The Municipality of Santo Domingo (ADN) told the press that the dancing water fountain built by the previous city administration will soon again be in operation. A spokesman for the city government said that the fountain was damaged by Hurricane Georges, but replacement equipment and lighting have been contracted and are on the way. The new lighting was contracted at a cost of US$57,000 to the company that provided the lighting posts for the Boulevard de la Churchill that resisted Hurricane Georges winds.

Flower beds for the city of Santo Domingo
El Siglo newspaper reports that the Municipality of Santo Domingo (ADN) has underway a program to improve Santo Domingo street gutters and sidewalks. The same program also calls for the planting of native flowers, such as bougainvillea, anthuriums, "coralillo" and "mantequillas" on the city's main avenues and streets, including the John F. Kennedy, Núñez de Cáceres, Tiradentes, Ortega & Gasset, Winston Churchill, Gustavo Mejía Ricart, Rómulo Betancourt avenues, among others.

Get your driver's license renewed in one hour
The Ministry of Public Works' Dirección General de Tránsito Terrestre, the government department in charge of regulating and issuing driving licenses, announced that its new automated system is now operational. The new computerized system promises considerable reductions in the issuing of learner permits, driver's licenses and renewals. The DGTT has established branches at strategically located shopping centers and post offices to make the renewal of the driving permit easy.

Costa Rican supermarket chain to expand in DR
The leading Costa Rican supermarket chain, Palí announced it will be investing US$23 million in its expansion program that calls for increased investment in the DR. At present, the chain has built 12 stores in the DR, located in heavily populated areas of the city of Santo Domingo such as are Los Alcarrizos, Alma Rosa, Los Mina, Villa Duarte, Villa Mella, Villas Agrícolas and Cancino. These areas are not serviced by the larger Dominican supermarket chains that have catered to the upper class market areas. This is changing though, with some local supermarket chains now investing in the construction of their deluxe stores in lower income areas. The Palí stores expect to compete based on their advantage of lower operating costs passing savings on to consumers in lower product prices. There is intense competition going on for the grocery shopper, with major players being the leaders Pola, Nacional, Bravo, and others such as Amos, Hiper Uno, Miper.

More Samsonite suitcases to be manufactured here
Representatives of Samsonite, Shon-Buk Trade and Masters Industry signed a US$40 million deal in the presence of Korean Economic Counselor of the President of Korea, Dr You Jong-Keun. The agreement was signed by S.K. Chae, executive director of Shon-Buk Trade and Gerry Kitchen, vice president of Samsonite.
The visiting economic counselor is in the DR as part of a mission of Korean politicians and businessmen. The local president of Master Industry, David Moon said that as per the agreement more inputs will be imported from Korea to be used in the manufacture of the luggage at their San Pedro de Macorís free zone plant. The suitcases and briefcases will be distributed in the US by Shon-Buk Trade.

Hipólito will debate only presidential candidates
PRD presidential candidate hopeful, Hipólito Mejía said that he will be glad to participate in a political debate with Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina, aspiring presidential candidate for the PLD, once both of them are nominated by their parties. He said both have to win the nomination of their parties before engaging in a televised verbal match on national issues. Mejía made the comment in an interview at the Hoy newspaper, responding to Danilo Medina's challenge.

PRD president favors open elections of party leadership posts
The president of the PRD, Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero favors that the post he occupies and that of secretary general be elected by the universal vote of PRD militants, and not by vote of the members of the party's National Executive Committee. If a general vote is called, it is unlikely that Esquea Guerrero will be re-elected. Esquea Guerrero feels that the convention to choose the presidential candidate will be held 20 June. The event has been postponed from its announced dates in February and May. The postponement was requested by presidential pre-candidates Rafael Suberví and Hatuey Decamps in order to give time to allegedly give time to correct an estimated 100,000 errors in the persons that will be casting their votes to chose the presidential nominee of the party.

Tramway tender to be held in June
The government announced the tender for the choosing of the firm that will build Santo Domingo's first light rail vehicle will be held next month. The tramway is expected to cost about US$146 million. Those bidding must have their own source of funding. A spokesman for the government said that three foreign firms are expected to participate. These are Alsthon (France), Siemens (Germany) and Bombardier (Canada). A lower cost Brazilian solution has been proposed, but the company has not secured its financing.

Dominican to be part of Millennium Photo Exhibition
A Dominican photographer, 46-year old Polibio Díaz was chosen by the Discovery Museum of the US state of Connecticut to participate in the exhibition, "100 Years of Photography, 1899-1999". The exhibition will open late this year and will run through early 2000. Forty of the world's best photographers have been invited to exhibit their pictures. Díaz, is a civil engineer, who studied both photography and civil engineering at the Texas A&M University. Díaz told the Listín Diario that his photos will highlight the varied ethnicity of the Dominican people.
Other photographers that have been chosen to exhibit are Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walter Evans, Andre Kertesz, Dorothea Lange, Robert Marplethorpe and Man Ray. Cindy Sherman, Paul Strand, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Deborah Turbeville, Sebastian Salgado, Luis González Palma and Andres Serrano.
The Discovery Museum, specializes in the arts and technology.

Construction Exhibition this weekend
Constru Expo is taking place this weekend at the Hotel Dominican Fiesta. The exhibition provides explanations and architectural prototypes of several of the major government public works under way. It will be open from this Thursday, 13 May through Sunday, 16 May from 10 am to 10 pm.

Bonsai at the Botanical Gardens
Nature lovers should make an effort to visit the Bonsai Exhibition at the Botanical Gardens this Friday, 14 May through Sunday, 16 May. The Botanical Gardens are open 9 am to 5 pm. The miniature plant and garden exhibition is organized by the Botanical Gardens and the Dominican Association of Bonsai.

Another great day for Pedro Martínez
Pedro Martínez defeated the Seattle Mariners 9-2 in Boston's Fenway Park to win the 7th game of the season on Wednesday, 12 May. He is so far the leading contender for the Cy Young award of the American League. Martínez has not lost a game since 15 April. He struck out 15 players in the game. This is his second straight 15-strikeout game. He only allowed two runs and four hits over eight innings. He also tied the Major League record for double-digit strikeout performances with six. Martínez now leads in strikeouts in the Major League with 91. Since April 30, he has struck out 30 players in 16 innings.

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