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Daily News - 09 June 1999

PRD presidential hopefuls sign political pact
The five aspirants to the presidential nomination for the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) signed a Pact for Institutional Guarantees yesterday. The organizing committee of the primaries set for 20 June drew up the pact. By signing the pact, Hipólito Mejía, Milagros Ortiz, Rafael Suberví, Hatuey De Camps and José Rafael Abinader commit to participate in the primary and support joint actions to strengthen the party's stake at winning the presidency in the 16 May 1999 election.

Hipólito: "I am the party"
Hipólito Mejía, the leading presidential aspirant of the PRD, believes that all political leaders fit in his scheme of the party. To criticism that he is prematurely handing out posts in the party and his future government, Mejía responded, "I am handing them out now, and when I win I will continue to hand them out, because all fit," he said. "As Alburquerque [the president of the Senate] said, "Let them all in."
When asked by the press to confirm rumors that he had offered the secretary general of the party to Rafael Suberví Bonilla, he said, "Yes, that and all he wants."
Mejía made the front page headline of the Listín Diario this morning. The headline evidenced his confidence in winning the primaries: "I am the party" Mejía's complete quote was: "I am the party at this time, I have 75% of the vote, nothing of what I have done has violated internal bylaws, I can do so because it is in line with attributions that are mine, not of the primary organizing committee." The president of the organizing committee, party president Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero has objected the dealing out of posts within the party and in a future government.

Hipólito leads, Suberví is second, in Hamilton survey
Hamilton-Hoy newspaper survey shows that Hipólito Mejía has 67% of the preferences of PRD voters. His contender, former Mayor of Santo Domingo Rafael Suberví Bonilla follows with 16%, Milagros Ortiz has 11%, Hatuey De Camps 4% and José Rafael Abinader 1%. Ortiz, party vice president and senator for Santo Domingo, slid to third place in preferences. Earlier this year, Ortiz Bosch and Mejía signed a political agreement whereby whoever does not win the presidential nomination will chose the loser as running mate. The Hamilton survey polled 1,000 Dominicans of voting age throughout the national territory.

The five leading presidential hopefuls
Hipólito Mejía (PRD), Milagros Ortiz Bosch (PRD), Jaime David Fernández Mirabal (PLD), Joaquín Balaguer (PRSC), Danilo Medina (PLD) and Jacinto Peynado (PRSC) are the nation's leading presidential aspirants. The ranking is from a recent poll carried out by Hamilton-Hoy newspaper.

Senators oppose PRSC and PLD nominations to JCE
Four legislators of the Acuerdo de Santo Domingo, a minority party coalition that allied with the PRD in the past congressional elections, opposed the appointment of two additional judges to the Junta Central Electoral. The JCE is the body in charge of organizing the presidential, congressional and municipal elections in the DR. The legislators abandoned the session breaking the quorum. They rejected the proposed Julio Cesar Castaños Guzmán and Roberto Rodríguez Estrella on grounds that these are militant politicians representing PRSC and PLD interests and would not make impartial judges. The two judges were proposed as part of political talks when the PRSC and the PLD accused the PRD-majority Senate of choosing judges that are militant PRD members.

Presidential decree authorizes construction Pan Am villa
El Siglo published that Decree 241-99 of 21 May authorizes the construction of the Pan Am villa. The contents of the decree had not been made public beforehand. The decree states that the government should immediately begin the construction of the village for the 14th Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo in year 2003. The buildings will go up on grounds of the former Industrias Lavador. The villa will be built on land that is diagonally across from the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. The Dominican government swapped its shares in the Sociedad Industrial Dominicana (today owned by Mercalia ­ the result of a merge of Lavador and Sociedad Industrial Dominicana) for the property. Mercalia is in the process of selling its shares to Unilever Corporation.
In the decree establishing the takeover of the lot, the government establishes that construction of the villa should begin immediately. In March, President Fernández had said that the construction of the lot would be the responsibility of the government that begins 16 August 2000. The president of the organizing committee of the Santo Domingo Pan Am Games, Dr. Jose Joaquin Puello recently urged the immediate start of the construction of the villa.
El Siglo newspaper pointed out that the government will build a complex similar to that built for the XVIII Central American and Caribbean Games to be held in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Six towers of 21 floors, or a total of 840 apartments, each with three bedrooms, will be built.

Talks on Dominican Haitian relations
Those interested in Haiti, from a Dominican point of view, should attend the talks on Dominican-Haitian relations to be held this week. These are scheduled for 10, 11 and 12 June at the Meliá Santo Domingo Hotel. For information, 682-3082, Ext. 230, 231 and 243.
Topics to be discussed (in Spanish) are:
Geopolitics of the Island of Santo Domingo ­ Pelegrín Castillo
State of Law and Sovereignty of the DR ­ Leopoldo Espaillat Nanita.
Migration and Labor Market in the DR - Dr. Wenceslao Guerrero
Culture and Dominican Identity - Lic. Ruben Silié.
Economy and Commerce - Jose Manuel Armenteros.
Health - Mirasol E. Peña
Environment - Rene Ledesma
Frontier Development - Pedro Ubiera.
Role of the International Community - Alejandro Ayuso.

RD$125 million to repair new RD$300 million highway
The government will spend RD$125 million to repair the two-year old Avenida Jacobo Majluta. Builders did not use adequate material in the construction, which resulted in potholes two months after it was inaugurated. The nine-kilometer highway had a price tag of RD$300 million and was started in the government of Joaquín Balaguer. It was completed August 1997. Apparently no one is to blame for the poor construction job and the government will pick up the bill.

Agreement reached with nurses
The Minister of Health Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino, the Dominican Association of Graduate Nurses (ADEG) and the Union of Nursing Professionals (SINATRAE) signed an agreement whereby the parties will present to the National Congress a bill that would set aside funds to increase salaries by 40%. The agreement was rejected by the National Union of Nursing Services (UNASED) and the National Union of Nursing Services (UNASE) that have been on strike for two months in public hospitals.

Minister of Sports vs. cockfighters
The conflict between Minister of Sports Juan Marichal and the Club Lidias de Gallos of Santiago is making headlines. The cockfighters group questions the participation of the state ministry in the purchasing of spurs. Marichal says that he has regulated an industry of more than RD$250 million a year, which has brought friction among three large participants in the Santiago area. Juan Marichal is one of the most famous Dominicans of all times. He is the only Dominican Baseball Hall of Famer.
He also has pending an inquiry for corruption in purchases related to the organization of the Mao National Sports Games at the start of the government. Minister Marichal has been criticized for his lack of administrative skills.
President Leonel Fernández seems to have taken off steam from the cockfighters row with Marichal by issuing Decree 250-99 that regulates cockfighting in the DR. Meanwhile, Judge Ibarra Rios has been entrusted to study whether there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to send the case to the Supreme Court.

11 year old arrested for three murders
The National Police arrested an 11-year-old boy who confessed to three gunshot assassinations. He is said to be a member of a drug distribution gang. He was arrested 28 May and confessed to the three killings. As published in El Siglo newspaper, he said they wanted to take over his drug distribution point.

Crisis at the Padre Billini Public Hospital
Some 100 chronically ill indigent Dominicans, who receive free kidney dialysis services at the Padre Billini public hospital, may die if the hospital does not soon resolve its water supply problems. The hospital is closed to the general public, and only offers services in the dialysis ward. Its remodeling has taken over two years.

Miracle-maker priest passes away
Emiliano Tardif, a well-loved Canadian priest who spent most of his professional life in the DR, died at 71 in Cordoba, Argentina. Tardif was known for his healing powers. He died of a heart attack while working in Argentina. He was ordained in 1956 and spent 43 years in the DR, practicing in San José de las Matas, Nagua, Sánchez, Pimentel and La Romana. He founded several community and religious training centers, as well as the Lumen 2000 television transmitting facility in Santo Domingo. While most of his work was carried out in the DR, he frequently traveled abroad to participate in ecclesiastic activities. He is expected to be buried in Santiago de los Caballeros.

New home for sea fauna near Dominicus
The St. Georges, an old barge that transported wheat to the DR from the US, will be sunk next Saturday near the Club Viva Dominicus. Club Viva Dominicus purchased the ship to create a natural protected habitat for coral reef species that are in danger of extinction. Mauro Scattolin, in charge of excursions for Dominicus, explained that the species have been affected by the docking of cruise ships and other boats at the fragile Catalina Island. The hotel invested RD$600,000 to clean up the barge, removing any materials that may be toxic to the sea fauna. The ship has several small protected cells in which species are expected to reproduce, safe from human and sea predators. Scattolin said that with time, the hotel will organize scuba diving excursions and glass bottom boat trips so that guests can enjoy the beauty of life under the sea.

Jose Lima leads in the National League
Houston Astros' José Lima pitched his third complete game in an 8-2 win over the Chicago White Sox yesterday. He becomes the National League's first 10-game winner. Fellow Dominican Pedro Martínez leads in most won games in the American League, with 11 victories. Another Dominican, Sammy Sosa leads in home runs (20 home runs) in the National League.
Lima didn't endear himself to the Chicago crowd during his last game that took place in Chicago. He is known as an animated pitcher who in the last game pumped his right arm after getting Frank Thomas to hit a comebacker to end the fifth. The crowd of more than 16,000 fans booed him. Lima tipped his cap to the crowd as he walked to the dugout. The game ended to the beat of a catchy merengue. For stats on Lima, see http://espn.go.com/mlb/profiles/stats/pitching/5212.html

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