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Daily News - 25 June 1999

Spotlight on Sunday's PLD primary; the candidates
Who will be the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana presidential candidate for the 2000 election? The race is very close, with no one being able to tell who will win between Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal and Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina. The primary, in which 12,500 PLD members will have the right to vote, will take place Sunday, 27 June starting 10 am throughout the country. A vote of 50%+1 is necessary to win in a first round. Polls held prior to the race are divided between one and the other. The contenders are:
Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal
Forty-two year old Jaime David Fernández Mirabal was born in Ojo de Agua, Salcedo. He is the son of Jaime Fernández and Bélgica Adela Mirabal (Doña Dedé). His mother is the surviving sister of the Mirabal sisters (Minerva, Maria Teresa and Patria) that were murdered during the final days of the Trujillo regime. Their murder is said to have detonated the wrath of Dominicans that led to the eventual assassination of the dictator in 1961. They are seen as national heroines.
He graduated as an agronomist from the Instituto Superior de Agriculture in Santiago.
He decided against making a living in farming, and went on to study medicine, graduating from INTEC in Santo Domingo.
His social service vocation overcame his family's reticence of his joining political activities, and in 1978, he joined the PLD of Professor Juan Bosch.
In the early 80s he lived in Spain for three years, where he specialized in mental health at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. He is remembered for his work to help Dominican immigrants.
He then traveled to Italy, where he continued to specialize in psychiatry at the University of Trieste. Thereafter, he traveled to Germany where he participated in a six-month youth social rehabilitation program.
Working with European Union and United Nations youth social rehabilitation programs, he was sent to Greece and Costa Rica, and thereafter to New York City.
In 1988 he married pediatrician Lissy Campos. They have three children, Adriana and twins Anton David and Carmen Adela.
In 1990 and 1994 he was elected senator for his native province of Salcedo. The community self-development programs he organized in his home province have been recognized by the United Nations and used as models in other countries.
He became a member of the Central Committee of the PLD in 1990, and was elected to the Political Committee in 1990.
In 1995, PLD presidential candidate Leonel Fernández chose Fernández Mirabal as his running mate.
As Vice President he has been in charge of the Quisqueya Verde, a very successful tree planting forestry effort and has also represented the President in international summits.
His wife, Lissy Campos, is a public figure on her own. She has received very good press for her role as First Lady in several international events. She has been host to visiting First Ladies during several international heads of state summits held in the DR. President Leonel Fernández could have delegated the role to his sisters, like President Balaguer did in his days, but preferred to delegate upon Lissy Campos who coincidentally is "Mrs. Fernández".
Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina
Forty-eight year old Danilo Medina was born in Arroyo Cano, San Juan de la Maguana, in the southwest of the country. He is the oldest of eight brothers born of the Juan Pablo Medina and Amelia Sánchez.
He graduated in 1972 as a chemical engineer from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. Since he was 18 years old he was a student leader, founding the San Juan de la Maguana branch of the Frente Revolucionario Estudiantil Nacionalista at the UASD.
When Professor Juan Bosch founded the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana in 1973, Medina joined him.
He studied a second career in economics at INTEC, and graduated magna cum laude in 1984.
He has been a member of the Central Committee of the PLD since 1983. In 1986 election he was elected a deputy in Congress.
In 1987, he married psychologist Cándida Montilla and has three daughters, Sybelis, Vanessa and Ana Paula.
As president of the Chamber of Deputies in the National Congress (1990-94), he was a key figure in congressional negotiations that led to the resolving of the 1994 political impasse. In that year, a close finish between Joaquín Balaguer and José Francisco Peña Gómez brought about a major conflict, as one side accused the other of fraud. The conflict was resolved with a pact that instituted separate presidential and congressional elections, the need for a candidate to receive 50%+1 of the vote to win in a first round, and prohibited presidential re-election. The agreement eventually worked in favor of the PLD, which won the presidential in the 1996 election, with Leonel Fernández defeating José Francisco Peña Gómez in a second round.
Danilo Medina is considered the PLD leading political strategist and negotiator. As such, he was the one of the brains behind the presidential campaign of today President Fernández.
He was appointed Secretary of the Presidency in 1996 and is one of the President's closest aides.

Mirambeaux relatives sue FBI
Ten years after the death of Daniel Elias Mirambeaux, then reported as suicide, his relatives are suing two US Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, a former chief of the National Police and several police officers. They accuse these of involvement in the throwing of their relative from the third floor of the Police Palace moments before he was to be transported to take a plane back to New York. On 29 June 1989 he was under police custody and was being taken to be deported to the States to be processed for the murder of New York police agent Michael Bucczek in 1988.
Relatives of Mirambeaux have sent the case to the Juzgado de Instrucción de la Quinta Circunscripción, a first step in Dominican justice. The court needs to determine if there is a case.
The relatives say that Mirambeaux was already dead from fractures received when he was thrown from the third floor. They say proof comes from the autopsy that was carried out, and samples of blood of his type found in the Police headquarter elevator.
They accuse FBI agents Ernesto Pérez and Rafael Pagán, former police chief José Morillo Rodríguez (intellectual author), Crescencio Jáquez, chief of the secret service of the Police; Rinel Lozada, deputy chief of that department; Germán Despradel, deputy chief of the Drug Control Department (DNCD) and César Ares Germán, former chief of the Interpol in the DR.

Sex education in high schools urgent to stop spread of AIDS
Martha Butler, in charge of the Program for Control of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (PROCETS) urged an increase in sex education in high schools. She said that heterosexual transmission is the leading form of AIDS contagion in the DR. Twenty percent of the Dominican population is of teenage or young adult age. Of these, 52% have not had access to any kind of sexual education. Butler says that 44% of Dominican female teenagers and 52% of male teenagers will have sex by 15 years old. In the 10-14 years old age group, they already have 26 cases of AIDS registered. In the 15-19 years old age group, there are some 352 cases and in the 20-24 years old group, 1,373 cases have been registered. She said more women than men are affected.
The Ministry of Education is incorporating sex education instruction into several subjects offered in Dominican high school curricula. The Ministry is concerned with the disintegration of Dominican families, increase in interfamily violence, sex abuse, non-wanted pregnancies as well as increase in prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases.

Puerto Plata city invites tourists to visit
El Siglo newspaper reports that the Puerto Plata city hall has begun a program to motivate tourists staying at all-inclusive resorts to visit the city. "Puerto Plata de Fiesta" program calls for the holding of a big city center fiesta on Wednesdays. The action takes place at Parque Independencia, where merengue orchestras, a typical "perico ripiao" music group, and folklore dancers perform for tourists that visit the town. In the park, artisans roll cigars, painters carry out their craft and handicrafts are available for sale. Ramon Ripoll, director of the Office of Tourism and International Relations of the Municipality released the information. He said the program has the strong support of the hotel community. The idea is that tourists venture out from the comfort and isolation of their resorts to get to know the city, customs and culture of the Dominican people, said Ripoll.

Swimmer will try to break 19-year-old long distance record
Marcos Diaz, who began swimming at 5 following doctors orders when he was diagnosed with asthma, hopes to break Victor Massalles record of 50 kilometer swimming non-stop between today and tomorrow. Massalles's record (50 kilometers in 15 hours and 52 minutes) was set in February 1980, and is the longest standing Dominican swimming record. Marcos Diaz will be the star of the Body Shop Swimathon. The event is held to gather funds for the Dominican national swim team. Masters and club swimmers will also be participating in the 48-hour swimathon that is open to the public.

Handicapped athletes desert team in US
Two handicapped athletes part of the basketball delegation of the Dominican Republic to the Special Olympics broke ranks after visiting a shopping mall in Greensboro, North Carolina. Maximo Martinez, 21 years and Jose Gallardo, 20, were last seen when a taxi dropped them off from the mall at the Charlotte bus station. They were members of the basketball team that is competing in the event that gathers 7,000 athletes from all around the world.

Sosa hits two home runs in game against Rockies
In a game of multiple home runs, Sammy Sosa batted two contributing to the Chicaco Cubs defeat of the Colorado Rockies 12-10 in Denver. This is Sammy Sosa's 26th home run. He leads in the National League, and is tied with Ken Griffey Jr. of the American League. José Canseco with 27 home runs still is the Major League home run leader.
It was the 35th career multi-homer game for Sosa who has 299 home runs for life.
If he keeps up this pace, he very well could become the first player in the history of baseball to have two consecutive seasons of batting more than 60 home runs.

Basketball Tournament opens tonight
The 26th Superior Basketball Tournament opens Friday, 25 June at the newly remodeled Palacio de los Deportes of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. San Lázaro, Mauricio Báez, San Carlos, Los Mina, Villa Duarte and Los Prados will vie for the Copa Cerveza Presidente. President Beer and Pepsi are the main sponsors of the tournament. The tournament opening game will be at 7:30 pm. The first place and second place winners ­ San Carlos and Villa Duarte -- of the previous tournament will open the series.

One more day for Carmen
"Carmen," the Georges Bizet opera, has been staged to full houses at the National Theater since it opened on Wednesday. To accommodate all those that couldn't find tickets, the National Theater is announcing an extra performance for Monday evening. The production is the most important artistic presentation of the National Theater so far this year, and is sponsored by Texaco. Carlos Piantini is in charge of the production that brings 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. Maestro Piantini will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra. José Delmonte will direct the choirs Polifonía and Infantil. Carlos Veitía is in charge of the choreography of the Ballet Concierto Dominicano.

Star Wars Episode I opens Thursday
The new Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace opens in theaters in Santo Domingo, La Romana and Santiago this Thursday, 1 July. The film, which was released in the US on May 19, will be shown in nine theaters in Santo Domingo and the interior.
Star Wars will be showing both in Spanish and in the original English version with Spanish subtitles.
Theaters where Star Wars "prequel" will be shown are:
Hollywood Diamond 1-8 (in Spanish and in English with subtitles);
Plaza Central's Broadway 4-5 (English with sub-titles);
Plaza Central's Manzana 1-2 (in Spanish and in English with subtitles);
Palacio del Cine (in Spanish and in English with subtitles).
Hollywood 7 (in Spanish);
La Romana's Hollywood Plaza (in English with sub-titles);
Santiago's Doble (in Spanish).
Episode I takes audiences on a journey to the beginnings of the Star Wars saga. The original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI) told the story of Luke Skywalker, a young farmboy who became a hero in the struggle to overthrow an evil empire and had to confront one of the Empire's staunchest henchmen, Darth Vader, who held the terrible secret of his father's fate. The new Star Wars trilogy goes back in time a full generation to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker, the innocent boy who will one day become the dreaded Darth Vader.
For more information on this film and its spectacular costumes and special effects, see the film's web site at http://www.starwars.com

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