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Daily News - 25 May 1999

Dominicans can pay airport use charge in RD$ or US$
The Airport Commission ruled yesterday that Dominicans can pay the US$10 departure tax/airport use charge in US currency or its equivalence in Dominican pesos calculated at the official rate (RD$15.88). Resolution 5808 is the official response to the ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice that affirms that Decree 295-94 violates constitutional rights of Dominicans by obliging these to pay in foreign currency. Note that the Supreme Court ruling may also be applied to other cases, thus determining that it is illegal to charge for services in the DR in foreign currency.

Nation's trade negotiator favors reduction import duties
Frederic Emam Zade, deputy minister in charge of trade negotiations for the Ministry of Foreign Relations, said that if the duty on rice, milk and bean imports were eliminated, the nation would have annual savings of RD$10,780 million. He said the price of the pound of rice, a major food staple, would drop 50%, benefiting consumers. He said the duty has not been eliminated because of the pressures exercised by cattle ranchers, bean and rice. Emam Zadé says that the lower price of the staples would result in an increase in consumption of 30%. He forecast an increase in rice sales of local producers, as a result. He said that the imports would only affect producers that depend on government protection and find themselves unable to compete. Emam Zade spoke at a seminar organized by the Dominican Federation of Merchants (FDC) at the Hotel Lina. He exhorted merchants to get involved in the new round of World Trade Organization multilateral negotiations that will begin this year. The round is to be known as the Millennium Round.

Wave of violence spurred by conspiracy within Police?
Police, that do not agree with the efforts made to clean up corruption within the ranks, are spurring the new wave of violence affecting Santo Domingo, said well-respected Commissioner for the Reform and Modernization of Justice, Aura Celeste Fernández. She believes sectors within the Police want Candelier to be ousted. Candelier's reputation as a strongman who has been known to not bend to powerful influential groups when seeking law and order preceded his coming to the Police. He has the general support of the citizenry.
This week, the Police Chief announced that 43 police officers, primarily sargeants, tested positive in narcotics blood tests of 1,600 members of the force. This is a first time such a test is run that results are made public. The officers and rank agents are under arrest.
Candelier has undertaken the restructuring of the Police since taking over the post weeks ago. Yesterday, for the second time in four days, he announced changes in the Investigation of Crimes, Robbery and Secret Service departments.
Headline news for the past two weeks has focused on violent assaults of homes and confrontations of supposed bandits with the Police.
Yesterday, three men were killed and a fourth is seriously injured after a shoot out with a Police Patrol in an Esso gas station in Carretera Mella. Reportedly the men attempted to assault a gasoline vendor in the station. They were heavily armed.
The National Police has requested the collaboration of the citizenry to combat crime. Telephones 688-9878, 682-3151 and 687-1835 have been designated as crime hotlines.

15 persons under arrest in teacher homicide case
The National Police has arrested 15 persons regarding the assassination of teacher Vilma Núñez de Guzmán. She was found dead on Friday, apparently from strangulation, near Km. 9-1/2 of the Duarte Highway. She had been missing since Thursday evening when she supposedly left her gym and headed home. Nelson Rosario, spokesman for the National Police, called this case "a difficult case." The Police say good leads have not yet been found.

Vice President calls for pact for social peace
Vice President Jaime David Fernández advocated the creation of a large national movement to promote the right to live in peace in the Dominican Republic. He said public and private institutions, neighborhood organizations, housewives, religious groups, social, sport and neighborhood clubs should integrate into the movement. The movement would prevent violence and guarantee social peace in the DR.
The aspirant to the presidential nomination for the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana proposed taking to a national level the network of young leaders for peace that are being developed as part of a pilot program in the barrios working with high school students in the provinces of María Trinidad Sánchez, Valverde, La Romana, Azua and Santo Domingo.
The Vice President attributed the increase in crime to an insufficiency of iodine in Dominican diets, the absence of civism studies in schools, migration of rural inhabitants to the cities where they live in indigent conditions, the disintegration of the Dominican family due to consumer pressures. He said that the newspapers have focused on the increase in criminality because of several cases of violent assaults that have previously been unheard of. Other sources also point to the effect of hundreds of Dominicans that have been deported to the DR after being freed from serving out their sentences in US jails. Many of these bring home sophisticated crime skills.
Vice President Fernández, a psychiatrist, prior to his incursion in politics, says that the upsurge of violence is a public health problem. He said violence is the third cause of deaths among young people, ages 15-35 years.
He commented on the programs in place that focus on the prevention of violence. He also mentioned another pilot programs, funded by the Interamerican Development Bank, that is underway in the populated Santo Domingo suburb of Los Alcarrizos and in his own hometown, Salcedo. This program integrates education, public health, justice, police and community organizations seeking to prevent violence. These pilot programs are expected to be applied at a national level.

Esquea says party positions are not up for grabs
The president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, the leading opposition party, says that he is against distributing party director positions among the contending groups that revolve around the aspirants for that party's presidential nomination in the year 2000 election.
Enmanuel Esquea, president of the PRD, said that the attention of the party directors is focused on organizing the national convention to choose the PRD presidential candidate in the May 16, 2000 presidential election. He said an Institutional Guarantees Pact has been prepared, but feedback on it has only been received from two of the presidential candidates, Hipólito Mejía and Milagros Ortiz Bosch. These are the two highest ranked candidates according to major polls. The party's national convention is slated for 20 June 1999. Some 4,500-5,000 polling stations are being set up for that event.

Weightlifter is Athlete of the Year
The Dominican Olympic Committee chose 19 year old weightlifter Wanda Rijo as Athlete of the Year. Rijo won 18 medals last year, including three golds in the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Maracaibo, Venezuela. She became the first Dominican athlete to win three golds in a Central American and Caribbean Sports Games. During the ceremony, Rijo received a RD$50,000 award, courtesy of the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana (Presidente Beer). Like other gold medal winners in the Central American and Caribbean Sports Games, she received an apartment, courtesy of the Dominican State.
Other athletes that won best in their field awards were:
Baseball: Diómedes Rodríguez
Basketball: Soterio Ramírez, Teresa Durán
Bowling: Arnaldo Mercado, Anadel Alberti
Boxing: Jairo David Gonell
Chess: Nelson Alvarado, Ana Esther García
Cycling: Wendy Cruz, Amelia Blanco
Equestrian: César Tavard, Gabriela Porrello
Gymnastics: Milciades Santiago, Denisse Medina
Judo: Juan C. Jacinto, Eleucadia Vargas
Karate: Santo Eusebio, Katy Acevedo
Ping Pong: Juan Vila, Blanca Iris Alejo
Raquetball: Simón Perdomo, Claudine García
Soccer: Junio Mejía, Yessenia López
Softball: Manuel matos, Durben García
Swimming: Guillermo Cabrera, Shaderska Pérez
Tae Kwon Do: Naciris Pérez, Wendy Grullón
Tennis: Rodrigo Vallejo, Glenys Cepeda
Track & Field: Julio Luciano, Juana Arrendel
Volleyball: Angel Sepúlveda, Carlina Medina
Weightlifting: Plaiter Perdomo, Wanda Rijo
Wrestling: Olguí Sabuá Montero

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