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Daily News - 11 June 1999

Construction advances on new city airport
Despite opposition of airline companies that will be based there and the firm opposition of the Municipality of Santo Domingo, work continues at a fast pace on the construction of the new Aeropuerto Internacional La Isabela, going up in El Higuero, in the northeast of Santo Domingo. The airport should be completed in six months time. The government argues that the present Herrera airport, because of its location in a residential and commercial area of the city, violates safety regulations. Airlines that serve the domestic market say that the location of the new airport is so far out, they will lose their clients and be obliged to close.
An El Siglo reporter established that work is advancing on the construction of the grounds where the airport will be located, as well as on the ramps, taxiways and the two floor terminal building. The new airport takes its name from the nearby Rio Isabela. The first stage of the airport includes a 1.5 kilometer long and 30 meters wide runway. Eventually, plans are to expand the airport to category 4D within the next 15 years. The government is also building a highway to connect the airport to Avenida Jacobo Majluta, shortening the distance of the airport from the center of the city.

Food Festival moved to August
The Dominican Gastronomical Festival will be held 2 and 3 August, Natividad García, public relations director of the V Centenario Intercontinental Hotel, told El Siglo. The event was to be held 21 and 22 June, but it was postponed for its better organization. The Ministry of Tourism, the National Hotel & Restaurant Association, the Association of Hotels of Santo Domingo, and the Association of Chefs of Santo Domingo sponsors it. It is held on two separate evenings during which participating dishes of leading restaurants and hotel kitchens are judged.

Consumers and industries big losers of protectionist measure
Retailers are complaining that the government’s decision to protect the protection of the Central Romana and Casa Vicini private sugar producers converts consumers and local industries that use sugar as big losers. The government increased import taxes to 94% on sugar, and granted a practical monopoly on imports to the two sugar producers. The retailers say the measure could increase the price of sugar locally to RD$10 the pound, making it the most expensive in the world. Recently the government increased the tax on sugar from 20% to 94% and authorized sugar producers to import 110,000 metric tons of sugar for sale to retailers.

Spanish bank is new strategic partner of BHD
Banco Sabadell from Spain purchased 20% of the shares of the Centro Financiero BHD. Agreements were signed for the RD$227 million or approximately US$14 million operation yesterday Juan Corominas, president of Banco Sabadell and Antonio P. Hache, president of the Grupo BHD and Jose Caro, president of Centro Financiero BHD signed. The agreement creates a strategic alliance for the bank as Dominican banks position themselves to compete with international banking on their home front.

7% growth and 5% inflation for the next two years
Hector Valdez Albizu, Governor of the Central Bank, told an audience of bankers and economists at the Adam Smith Institute in Paris that the DR will continue to grow 7% annually, with an inflation rate of 5%, for the next two years. He said the Central Bank forecast was confirmed by International Monetary Fund technicians during their recent visit to the DR. The economy of the DR continues to show one of the best performances in the world. Valdez’s conference was titled: "Evaluation of the Economy, Monetary Policy and Perspectives of Investments in the DR". He said that the passing by the National Congress of economic reforms will consolidate this growth.

Sand Castle of Sosua is now a Qualton Club
Qualton Club will be reopening the Sosua Sand Castle Resort in July as the Qualton Club Puerto Plata. One of the architecturally most beautiful resorts in the DR, the hotel’s 230 rooms and extensive grounds are being refurbished by the international company.

Basketball starts this month
The 26th Superior Basketball Tournament opens 25 June at the remodeled Palacio de los Deportes. San Carlos, San Lazaro, Los Mina and Los Prados will compete for the city title. The tournament is scheduled to end on 25 August. The tournament was aborted in September Hurricane Georges ripped off the roof of the sports arena.

Dominican is Restaurant Owner of the Year in Washington, D.C.
El Siglo reports that Dominican Roberto Alvarez was chosen the Restaurant Owner of the Year, when 12,000 Washingtonians voted in a contest organized by the Association of Restaurants of Metropolitan Washington. He received the 1999 Capital Restaurant & Hospital Awards Gala prize during the ceremony held at the JW Marriot Hotel.
Roberto Alvarez is the owner in Santo Domingo of the Café Atlantico. In Washington, he is the owner of Café Atlantico and Jaleo. Café Atlantico serves Caribbean cuisine, and Jaleo serves Spanish "tapas". Washingtonians spend an estimated US$2,832 per capita eating out, the second highest in the US.
Roberto Alvarez studied law at the UASD in Santo Domingo, traveling to Washington for postgraduate studies at the George Washington University and John Hopkins University. Son of a lawyer and diplomat, his first job was at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo from where he was sent to work at the Dominican Embassy in Washington in 1966. He returned to Santo Domingo and later secured a job in the protocol department of the OAS in Washington. When his brother returned to Santo Domingo with the idea of setting up a restaurant after 10 years in Europe, he joined him in the project, setting up the successful Café Atlantico in Santo Domingo. They took their experience to Washington where they set up the Café Atlantico, with an emphasis on Pan Caribbean food, and which turns into a place for dancing when the kitchen closes. This led to the Jaleo Restaurant in Washington, where 23 year old Spaniard José Ramón Andrés, who worked under culinary maestros in Spain, is a partner.

The birds get their house at the airport
The authorities of the Las Americas International Airport decided they couldn’t beat the doves that enjoy the area and have given in. They have built the doves a large house on the southern side of the parking lot, hoping that these will stay away from the runway. El Siglo newspaper reports that this is a King Salomon-type solution to the problem.

Balaguer resumes his long walks
Former President Joaquin Balaguer resumed his afternoon walks along the Mirador del Sur, the park avenue he built during one of his governments. He had suspended the activity in September of last year when he became ill. He traveled to the US and returned rejuvenated. The new Balaguer is being marketed again as his party’s expected presidential candidate in the 2000 presidential election.

Day of national morning in memory of Father Tardif
President Leonel Fernandez named a day of national warning for the death of priest Emiliano Tardif. 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. His corpse arrived from Buenos Aires and will be buried today in the Santiago de los Caballeros cemetery.

Community Police group announced
Police Chief Pedro de Jesus Candelier announced the formation of a model corps of the police, to be known as the Community Police. These police will patrol neighborhoods seeking to reduce crime. Candelier commented on one of the major problems that confront the police force is that the low salaries do not attract young men with good academic and intellectual backgrounds.

Chamber of Deputies passes bill that would increase departure tax to US$20
The Chamber of Deputies approved the bill that would fund a salary increase for physicians of 60%. Part of the moneys would come from a doubling of the departure tax from US$10 to US$20. The bill had the support of PLD deputies. Deputy Rafael Taveras opposed the bill on grounds that it contradicts a recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice that says that the US$10 present departure tax charge violates the Constitution. The Dominican Hotel Association has rejected the increase of the departure tax.

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