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Daily News - 26 May 1999

City's most ambitious urban renewal project to begin
The relocation of approximately 1,200 families from the Ozama and La Isabela riverbeds is to commence within four months. It is estimated that some 400,000 indigent people live in the area that borders the principal rivers of Santo Domingo. Most of these people have migrated to the city from rural communities in the interior of the country. The relocation of the first group of families kicks off the most ambitious urban renewal project ever implemented by the Dominican government. Known as Proyecto de Reestructuración Social, Urbana y Ecológica (RESURE), it will be a permanent solution to a decades old problem. The government has relocated residents in the area before, but others who seek to benefit government relocation promptly fill the spaces they vacate. These persons need to evacuate in case of any strong rainstorm or hurricanes, during which their homes are destroyed.
Mercedes Sabater de Macarrulla, the president of the Consejo Nacional de Asuntos Urbanos (CONAU), the government council that is implementing the program, said that the government has already alotted the lands in the San Luis and Hainamosa areas (formerly State Sugar Council lands) that will be used to build the new neighborhoods. The first families are residents in La Ciénaga and Hoyo de la Zurza slums.
The government plans to build what it calls an Ecological Park on the riverbed side. On the west side of the park, it will build an avenue that will separate the river from areas where slum housing will be allowed. The avenue will be an extension of the Avenida del Puerto, the avenue that passes besides the lovely cruiseship dock area of the Colonial City.
The thousands of persons that live along the river add to the contamination of the river. The RESURE project expects to install minimal infrastructure services in the area in addition to permanently limiting areas persons can inhabit.
As part of the urban renewal project, Máximo Gómez avenue area industries, that at presently dumping toxic wastes into the river, are being instructed to install waste treatment plants.

Funding passed for Monte Plata hospital
The National Senate passed a US$8 million loan signed between the DR government and the Sociedad Comercial Hope Hospitals International to finance the construction, equipping and installation of a general hospital in the province of Monte Plata. The project had been delayed in the Senate because of a political impasse that apparenty has been resolved by the so-called National Dialogue at the National Palace.

Conference to focus on crime in DR
President Leonel Fernández announced the hosting of a national conference focusing on violence and delinquency in the Dominican Republic. During the conference, actions to prevent and combat crime in the short, medium and long term will be discussed. "We are taking a hard-line stand against crime and delinquency, we cannot permit its surge in the DR," said President Fernández yesterday during a visit to La Romana to inaugurate a government housing project. "We have a country that has always enjoyed peace and tranquility, and we have to do all that is at our reach to maintain this situation and avoid crime getting a grip on the DR."
Fernández addressed the issue of Dominican criminals that are being deported from the US to the DR. Many of these criminals have served time for violent crimes, or have not completed their sentence but are set free in the DR where they do not have anything pending with the justice. They bring to the DR sophisticated crime techniques, and have been cited as one of the reasons for an increase in criminality. The President said the DR is holding talks with US authorities for an intermediate solution for these delinquents.
Several recent assaults and crimes have made headlines in Dominican dailies, and the citizenry is in uproar over a surge of crime in Santo Domingo.

Best coffee harvest forecast for this year
The Ministry of Agriculture is forecasting the best coffee harvest in recent decades, and several more good years ahead. Minister of Agriculture Amilcar Romero said that New York commodity markets are now listing Dominican coffee, because of its excellent quality. Last year, the DR exported 589,000 quintals (1 quintal= about 100 lbs.) of coffee. In 1998-1999, 68% of Dominican coffee exports were to markets in Europe and Japan. But the US is now buying more Dominican coffee. The Ministry of Agriculture has prepared 48 nurseries that can produce 4.5 million coffee plants.

PRD president sets rules for inter-party negotiations
Enmanuel Esquea emphasized again to the press that the presidency nor any other directorship position within the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, the leading opposition party, is not up for grabs nor will be given to the precandidate that places third in the national convention to elect the party's presidential candidate as had been suggested. The national convention is set for 20 June. Esquea said that only the party members (las bases) can vote for the president of the party, and the position is not to be negotiated by the five that seek the party's presidential candidacy to the 16 May 2000 election. Esquea said that the president of the party will be chosen in the next ordinary convention by popular vote.

Major French supermarket chain in DR
Hipermercados Continente, a Martinique franchise of the French mega supermarket chain, broke ground yesterday for the construction of a mega supermarket and mall on the outskirts of Santo Domingo. Some US$30 million will be invested. Hipermercados Continente operates 190 mega supermarkets in five continents. The new mall will be located off Km. 10-1/2 Duarte Highway, near the entrance to Manoguayabo, and the Johnson & Johnson manufacturing plant.
The construction of the Continente stores is part of a wave of mega stores enveloping the city of Santo Domingo as investors seek to take advantage of the consumer fever that has taken over city residents. Cosco, the US wholesaler shop, is expected to be operational in Santo Domingo also this year. Plaza Lama and Multicentro are already operating large supermarket and variety store malls.

INGCO and Sercitec to build Citibank Tower
An advertisement in the Listin Diario published by the Consorcio Ingco (Ingenieria y Construccciones C. por A. ) and Sercitec (Servicios Cientificos y Tecnicos Ingenieros Consultores C. por A.) announces that they have been awarded the contract to build the tallest building in Santo Domingo, the Acropolis Center and Citibank Tower located along the Winston Churchill Avenue. Brownsville Business Corporation is the owner of the 80,000 square meter building. The building will house new Citibank headquarters, several stores and movie houses. The company announces that the parking lot and commercial mall will be ready by 30 July 2000, the office building by 30 June 2001. Calvin Klein, Levi's, Benetton, Kentucky Fried Chicken, TGI Friday's, Cemex, Valcorp, italianni's, Caribbean Cinemas, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Liz Claiborne, and Guess are among companies that have reserved space in the new office and commercial mall building.

Major DR companies lease Channel 7
Mercalia, Sociedad Industrial Dominicana (import and distribution of food products) and Grupo Financiero Nacional (financial and free zone services), Santo Domingo Motors (vehicle dealerships) and Industrias Banilejas (coffee) have leased Rahintel, Channel 7 for 12 years. Channel 7 was the first private television station. The businesses leased it Leonel Almonte.

Presidente Music Festival set and Jarabe de Palo
All is set for the opening of the Third Annual Presidente Latin Music Festival this Thursday, 3 June. The Festival is one of the best in Latin America and gathers some of the most renowned Hispanic music stars. Performing this year are:
Thursday, June 3rd: Dominican merengue artist Toño Rosario; Latin rock group Tribu del Sol; salsa star Victor Manuelle (Puerto Rico); Puerto Rican pop star (and novela actor) Carlos Ponce; and Colombian Latin rock sensation Shakira.
Friday, June 4th: Dominican merengue king Fernando Villalona ("El Mayimbe"); Puerto Rican salsa star Tito Rojas ("El Gallo"); Italian pop rock singer Nek (best known for his Spanish-language hit "Laura se fue"); Puerto Rican merengue sensation Elvis Crespo, whose "Suavemente" was nominated for a Grammy; and Puerto Rican pop star Chayanne.
Saturday, June 5th: Bachata star Raulín Rodríguez; Dominican merengue staple Los Toros Band; Dominican-American pop stars IIegales; Puerto Rican salsa sensation Marc Anthony; and pop ballad star Enrique Iglesias.
As was the case last year, the Festival will be held at Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. Presenters will be Zoila Luna and Jochy Santos.
Tickets start as low as RD$175 for simple entrance to the grand stand, with RD$250 required for entrance to the grassy areas in front of the stage. Reports from those who attended last year, were that the concert was best viewed from the cheaper grand stand seats.
The music group Jarabe the Palo, another big in Spanish-language contemporary pop music, will be performing for the first time in Santo Domingo on 11 June at the Casa de España soccer field. Tickets are RD$300.

Carmen, for opera lovers
Tickets are for sale for "Carmen," the Georges Bizet opera, that will be staged at the National Theater 23, 25, 27 June. The production is the most important artistic presentation of the National Theater so far this year. Carlos Piantini is in charge of the production that will bring together the best of local talent and foreign guest performers. Angela Horn will be Carmen; Armando Mora, don José; Christina Fontanelli, Micaela; Moisés Franco, Escamillo; Eduardo villanueva, Captain Zúñiga. The National Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by maestro Piantini. The choirs Polifonía and Infantil will be directed by José Delmonte. Carlos Veitía is in charge of the choreography of the Ballet Concierto Dominicano. Tickets are for sale at the National Theater.

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