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Daily News - 29 June 1999

President Fernández in Rio de Janeiro summit
Speaking in Rio de Janeiro, President Leonel Fernández highlighted the contrast between the boom in luxury apartment towers, the increase in DVD users and entertainment centers in Latin American cities, and the increase in the number of households that do not have potable water service. Speaking during the summit of heads of state of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union, he said that the achievement of social equity is the region's biggest challenge upon the new century. He said that the challenge of the 21st century is to find the development model that will put a stop to the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. He said that because of globalization, impoverished nations will affect developed nations. "An ethic for international cooperation to seek and consolidate sustainable growth is needed," he said, addressing the attending statesmen. He said that this has been the policy of European Union countries, but given the present circumstances, it is necessary to strengthen what has already been achieved and carry out active and coherent policies where the largest number of countries participate in the solution of the global problems."
Fernández said that the most important investment governments can make is in education, the base of human development. He also said that governments need to provide basic services of potable water, electricity and health.

More on the PLD presidential candidate
With 98.5% of the PLD members vote in the Sunday, 27 June primaries in, Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina had won by 51.7% over Vice President Jaime David Fernández's 39.6%. Medina won the vote of 974 delegates, while Fernández received the vote of 747 members.
Medina won in 20 provinces and the National District (Santo Domingo), while Jaime David won in eight. El Seibo showed a tie. The Vice President also won the vote of voting PLD members in the US, France and Spain.
Political analysts attributed Medina's win to his better grasp of the actual structure of the party. The PLD does not hold open primaries, like the PRD. Rather, a select group of some 12,500 members are those authorized to vote. Analysts say hundreds of the voters had benefited from job appointments channeled by the office of the Secretary of the Presidency.
As stands, the Vice President had more support outside of the voting party members, than within, and Medina capitalized on his influence. Indeed, José Tomás Pérez, secretary general of the party, told El Siglo newspaper that the party will need to do a bigger marketing effort to position Danilo Medina, as he is a less known politician than Vice President Fernández.
President Leonel Fernández announced in Rio de Janeiro that he would integrate heart and soul to the campaign of the PLD upon his return.

New Dominican ambassador to South Korea
President Leonel Fernandez appointed Marcelo Bermúdez the Dominican Republic's ambassador in South Korea. Bermúdez is a former governor of Santiago in the PLD government who resigned the post supposedly to take care of private business affairs. His appointment is contained in Decree 282-99.

DR is major citrics exporter
The DR has become major exporter of citrics. In 1998, the DR exported 10 million kilograms of citrics - oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit. The US, Canada, Germany, Puerto Rico, UK, Switzerland, Cuba, Aruba, Holland, Panama and Guatemala, Guadaloupe, Martinique, Barbados imported the fruit. Total exports reached RD$30 million last year. Hurricane Georges affected citric exports, but they are expected to continue strong this year.

US Consulate denies visa to Dominican Athlete of the Year
The US Consulate denied a tourist visa to Wanda Rijo, one of the top Dominican athletes. Rijo was voted the Dominican Republic's Athlete of the Year by the Dominican Sports Writers' Association this year. She won several gold medals in weightlifting during the Central American and Caribbean Sports Games held in Venezuela. The government recently awarded her effort with an apartment. Rijo had visited the consulate with her trainer, Hector Domínguez, whose visa was also denied. They had with them letters from the Olympic Committee endorsing their request for a visa. They needed the visa to attend the World Juvenile Weightlifting Championship set for 1 July in the state of Georgia. Wanda Rijo told El Siglo she felt humiliated when the visa was denied on grounds that she didn't qualify because she didn't have money in a bank account, assets or remunerable work. The event is part of her preparation for her participation in the Winnipeg, Canada Pan American Games later next month.

Voting with two cedulas?
The Junta Central Electoral will be discussing the possibility of voting with two cedulas, the Dominican voting and identification card, in coming weeks. The JCE is behind in the issuing of the new cedula, and the possibility of voting with both cedulas would bring a relief to the electoral process. This week, JCE spokesmen criticized Datocentro, the contractor of the new voting cards, for continued technical difficulties that are delaying the process.
The JCE also has the make up of 115 voting juntas on the agenda for discussions with the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, Partido de la Liberación Dominicana and Partido Reformista Social Cristiano parties.

More on the project to relocate city slums
The Municipality of Santo Domingo announced it has plans to relocated indigent families that live in the Los Praditos slum (between Los Prados and Urbanización Fernández) to lands in the Oasis Invertido project, located near Charles de Gaulle and Avenida Jacobo Majluta. Some 3,000 families would be relocated. The new housing project would cost RD$4,000 million and would go up on a 300,000 square meter plot. The families would be able to purchase the apartments by making monthly payments of about RD$1,000. Private loans and savings institutions would be lending the money.

CDC confirms Kosovo= Influenza A
The Ministry of Public Health confirmed that the "Kosovo" virus that has been affecting the DR is of the Influenza A type. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the US Government recently replied to a request for identification of the strain that affected the DR in May and June, but seems to be losing its virulence now.
For more information on the virus, see the DR1 Daily News coverage links, or refer to the CDC or World Health Organization web sites' coverage on Influenza.
DR1 Daily News coverage:
http://www.dr1.com/daily/053199.shtml (May 31, 1999 report)
http://www.dr1.com/daily/061599.shtml (June 15, 1999 report)
http://www.dr1.com/daily/061699.shtml (June 16, 1999)
Center for Disease Control:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/fluvirus.htm
World Health Organization:
http://www.who.int/emc/diseases/flu/

Miss DR to be chosen on Saturday
Miss Dominican Republic will take place Saturday, 3 July at the Teatro La Fiesta of the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel in Santo Domingo. Miss Puerto Rico 1999, Brenda Liz López, and Miss Colombia 1999, Marianela Mall will be special guests of the Dominican pageant. Gatsby Dominicana organizes the pageant and 21 candidates representing Dominican provinces and the city of Santo Domingo are participating. The pageant has the sponsorship of Viva Resorts.

A night of "son"
The leading "soneros" of the country and delegations of the best of this Caribbean beat from Cuba will be participating in the Second Caribbean Son Festival, Festivson. The event will take place 16 July at the Palacio de Bellas Artes auditorium. Raul Pérez Peña organizes the event. As warm up, the Las Palmas Piano Bar of the Hotel Santo Domingo is featuring Wednesday "son" nights, starting at 8 pm.

DR hopes for a spot in Sydney Olympics
The Dominican Republic hopes to win a spot to compete in the basketball event of the Sydney, Australia Olympics in year 2000. To be one of two representatives of the Americas, the DR needs to win the spot during the Pre-Olympic Championship that opens in San Juan, Puerto Rico this 14 July. The contending teams are divided in two groups. In Group A, Cuba, Argentina, Canada, Uruguay, and the US will compete. The US is expected to win one of the two spots. The Dominican Republic is in Group B, along with Panama, Puerto Rico and Brazil.
The four teams with best win-loss record pass on to a second round. Strongest contenders to win a spot, aside from the US, are Puerto Rico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Brazil and the DR.
DR has scheduled games at 14 July against Brazil, on 15 July against Panama, 17 July against Venezuela and 18 July against Puerto Rico.
Luis Felipe Lopez, of the NBA Vancouver Grizzlies, will reinforce the Dominican basketball team. Also coming to reinforce the team are Luis Felipe López, Franklin Western, Jaime Peterson and Derrick Baker López. Team coach is Miguel Cruzeta. His assistants are José "Boyón" Domínguez and Victor Hansen.

National Sports Games in La Romana
The government is determined that the 12th National Sports Games be held in La Romana next year. The games are set for February 2000. Lots of work is necessary to prepare for the games, as Hurricane Georges destroyed most of the sports installations. The eye of Georges passed through La Romana city. This week, President Fernández appointed an expanded organizing committee. Members are: José Reyes Reyes, Bienvenido Solano, Danilo Aquino Ibe, Felipe Payano, Fermín Castro, Rafael Torres, Teodoro Ursino Reyes, Arturo Morales, Manuel Camarena Lamarche. Miguel Infante, Arturo Gil, Rafael Peña, Daniel Flaquer, Enrique Seijas, Domingo Contreras, Carlos Morales Troncoso, Simon Lizardo, José Torres, Cristóbal Melo.

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