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Daily News - 02 June 1999

Long weekend ahead
An update of the DR1 Daily News will not be published until Monday, 7 June. We are taking a break from posting the news on occasion of the Corpus Christi long weekend that starts Thursday, 3 June.
Note that most major shopping centers in the capital city will remain open, but most non-entertainment area businesses and schools will close for the holiday. Thousands of Dominicans will travel to the resort areas for a respite from daily stress.
The DR1 Daily News will be back on Monday, 7 June with a compilation of headline news from Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Subscribers should take note, as the email subscriptions will also not be going out over the long weekend.

New minimum wages established
The representatives of labor and business sectors announced the new minimum wage rates yesterday. The Consejo Nacional de Unidad Sindical and the Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada agreed on wage increases that vary from 13% to 20%.
These are:
RD$1,757.15 for companies with assets under RD$200,000
RD$1,987.20 for companies with assets from RD$200,000-RD$500,000
RD$2,894.40 for companies with assets of more than RD$500,000
Minimum wage for farm labor, private watchmen and the shoe manufacturing industry outside of free zones, was set at RD$60 per day.
While not obligatory, employers customarily will increase the salaries of non-minimum wage employees in similar proportions.

US Secretary of Housing and Development visits
Secretary of Housing and Development of the US, Andrew Cuomo arrived for a two-day official visit to projects funded by US hurricane relief funds. Cuomo visited several of the projects developed, including a 1,500 housing development underway in the Pantojas area of the National District and the bridge and school construction project in Monte Plata province. The US has allotted US$93.4 million to assist the DR people in reconstruction, food supplies and relief efforts. This includes a recently approved US$29 million grant, passed by President Clinton last month. During his visit to the projects, Cuomo was accompanied by US Embassy Charge d'Affairs Linda Watt, the director of the Agency for International Development, Edward Kadunc and Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, Frederic Emam-Zadé.

PRD members prefer national convention
Partido Revolucionario Dominicano Secretary General Hatuey de Camps's proposal for the celebration of a convention of delegates instead of open primaries to choose the party's presidential has been rejected by all the presidential candidates and by party directors. Hipólito Mejía, Rafael Suberví Bonilla and José Rafael Abinader, told Hoy newspaper they do not agree with the proposal made by De Camps, who aspires to be the party's presidential candidate in the 2000 presidential election. Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero, president of the PRD, said that the party bylaws establish the presidential candidate will be chosen by the universal vote of party members. The PRD convention is set for 20 June.

Police confirms deported Dominicans push crime rate up
The National Police Department presented proof that 102 Dominicans with criminal records that have been deported since 1996 from the US have been involved in 89 cases of violent crimes in recent months. The Police maintains that the deported Dominicans are responsible for the present previously unheard of crimes in the DR that have been making headlines because of their unusual violent nature. The Police Department made the statement in response to declarations from Linda Watt, Charge d'Affairs of the US Embassy in the DR, that there was no proof that the US policy of deporting Dominicans with criminal records had an effect on the present crime wave. The DR government has protested the policy of sending back Dominican criminals with sophisticated criminal skills that the Police says have been involved in murder cases, cases of violent assault, and falsification of documents. Last year, the US deported 2,160 Dominicans with criminal records. Watt said the deportations will continue, but that the US government is open to discuss the matter with Dominican authorities. Despite not having served their judicial sentences in the US, Dominicans deported from the US are free to go about their affairs in the DR because when they arrive they do not have any cases pending with Dominican justice. The local Police force does not have the skills or the men to supervise these people as they begin new lives in the DR.

Petroleum removed from barge
Servicios Petroleros del Caribe S.A. workers labored yesterday until 1 am yesterday extracting fuel from the barge that is jammed along the Malecón sea front facing the Banco Agrícola. The fuel is being sent to Cambelén, in San Cristóbal province and is expected to be used as asphalt preparation for repaving of roads. The Navy is supervising the delicate operation of removing the petroleum. The District Attorney gave the owners of the ship 15 days to remove it from where it is located. The ship ran aground during Hurricane Georges last September.

Country's largest public hospital to be inaugurated
The Listín Diario reported that the Hospital Regional del Este, the largest public hospital built in the DR, is ready to be inaugurated. Located in San Pedro de Macorís, the hospital was built to serve the eastern provinces of San Pedro de Macorís, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, La Romana and La Altagracia. It has 250 beds, most located in the obstetrics and pediatric wards. Construction on the hospital began in 1977. The construction cost RD$218.5 million and RD$92 million was used in the equipping. Built on an area of 17,862 square meters, seven blocks of buildings of three levels intercommunicated among themselves. Designed by Calventi and Asociados.

Puerto Plata Trade Show
The First International Commercial, Cultural, Tourism and Farm and Cattle Fair opens today at the Polideportivo General Gregorio Luperon of the city of Puerto Plata. The fair gathers all sectors that contribute to the economy of the North Coast. Fernando Cueto, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Production of Puerto Plata, said that the exhibition will show that this region has much more to offer than tourism. Produce of industrial free zones, rums, liquors, arts and crafts and the plurality of businesses that are active in the region are participating in the exhibition.

Dominicans win in volley in the US
The Dominican national volleyball team defeated the University of California Los Angeles and the team of Texas at the US Volleyball Open taking place at the San José, California Convention Center. The UCLA team is the champion of the Western Conference of the NCAA. The DR won 3-1 with match scores of 25-23, 22-25, 25-12 and 25-12.

Presidente Music Festival
The doors to the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center will open tomorrow at 2 pm so that attendants can avoid the long lines of the first two years of the festival. The organizers nevertheless, are recommending the public attend using public transport.
Weapons of any kind are prohibited. Small coolers, chairs, bags, glass or plastic bottles, cans, umbrellas or video cameras are also banned from the stadium. Those found with these items will be invited to leave by personnel security. There will be food service in the stadium from 2 pm. Tickets are for sale from 9 am to 7 pm at the stadium, and on 3, 4 and 5 June as of 9 am until as long as necessary.
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. This year's star performers 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. The concert is best viewed from the cheaper grand stand seats according to reports from many that attended last year.

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