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Daily News - 02 July 1999

JCE optimistic they will issue voting cards on time
The president of the Junta Central Electoral, Dr. Manuel Ramón Morel Cerda is optimistic that the board will come through on time with the issuing of the voting and identification cards, or "cédulas." The JCE is the board in charge of organizing the presidential election in 2000. According to a news story in El Caribe newspaper, the JCE will dedicate its efforts during the next 45 days to the issuing of cedulas to Dominicans that will vote in these elections for the first time. Likewise, the JCE will be issuing replacement cards during this period. Dr. Morel said that from 1 July to 15 August, the "Plan Masivo de Cedulación" will take place, under which an estimated 20,000 persons a day could receive their voting and identification cards. He says that so far, the JCE is averaging 13,000 a day.
The leading political parties decided to give more time to the JCE to carry out the contingency plan prior to the discussion of whether voters would be allowed to vote with the old cards.

Balaguer says he needs more time to decide his candidacy
Nonagenarian former statesman, Joaquín Balaguer told his Partido Reformista Social Cristiano delegates that petitioned that he announce his candidacy that he needs more time to decide whether he will run or not. Traditionally, Balaguer has been the last of the candidates to announce he will run in an election and to announce who will be his running mate. Former President Joaquín Balaguer says he needs time to ponder whether he will be in adequate physical conditions to run for president on the PRSC ticket in 2000. "I’m not saying yes nor no, but I will try for a positive answer," he told the press and PRSC delegates.

Look who’s running for President
So far, the following parties have announced their presidential candidacies in the 16 May 2000 election:
Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD): Danilo Medina
Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD): Hipólito Mejía
Unido Movement and a faction of the Partido Revolucionario Independiente: César Estrella Sadhalá
Partido de los Trabajadores Dominicanos: José González Espinosa,
Partido Comunista del Trabajo: Manuel Salazar
Partido Nueva Alternativa: Ramón Almanzar
The PLD, PRD and the PRSC are expected to concentrate 99% of the vote. An estimated 32% of voters are undecided, according to recent polls.

Medina visits former President Balaguer
PLD presidential candidate Danilo Medina visited former President Joaquín Balaguer to thank him for the congratulation letter Balaguer sent him when he won the PLD candidacy. Danilo Medina told the press he proposed to the former statesmen that the electoral campaign be a confrontation of ideas and that discussions be of the highest level possible.

JAD requests fair trade conditions
The Dominican Agribusiness Junta (JAD) endorsed the request of President Leonel Fernández to the European Union during the Brazil Summit to eliminate farm produce subsidies. He said the same request should be made to the US and Japan, so that Latin American farm produce exporters can compete in equality of conditions. JAD Vice president Osmar Benítez recently returned from participating in the meeting of the Farming Committee of the World Trade Organization in Geneva. He said, "It is about time that these countries (developed countries) stop seeking technical and scientific arguments to disguise the savage protectionism of their farmers."

City mayor says Los Praditos relocation is but a dream
Santo Domingo Mayor Johnny Ventura disauthorized the director of the Urban Public Works, engineer Jacobo Fernández who had announced that the city government would relocate hundreds of families living in Los Praditos to a new housing project that would cost RD$4,000 million. Mayor Ventura said during a meeting of Santo Domingo aldermen that Fernández was speaking of a "dream." He said this is very unlikely when the city government budget total budget is RD$739 million.

Amilcar not seeking vice presidential nomination
Minister of Agriculture Amilcar Romero published a paid advertisement to refute rumors that he was seeking the vice presidential nomination of the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. Romero said he is dedicated to the Ministry of Agriculture, period.

Porno magazine banned
The Ministry of Interior and Police canceled the circulation permit of "Erótica," a Dominican pornographic magazine. The permit was issued in 1995. The Attorney General’s Department for the Defense of Children and Teenagers charged that the magazine incited sexual violence and violence in general. The magazine is sold on magazine stands and on city streets by street vendors for RD$50. The Attorney General ordered that the presently circulating magazines be removed from all distribution points.

University rector to mediate with transport unions
The rector of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra said he will mediate with the government and transport unions to find a solution to the conflict over the handling of the Corredor Central route (Av. Máximo Gómez). In the past, unions controlled this route as well as other routes and charged members large sums to allow them to operate minibuses on the route. Now the government is reorganizing transport with large modern buses and thus are affecting the economic interests of the minibus syndicate leaders.

Parking banned on the Malecón and Avenida del Puerto
The Municipality approved a resolution that prohibits parking on the Avenida George Washington (Malecón) and Francisco Alberto Caamaño Deñó (Avenida del Puerto) from 7 am to 7 pm.

Peguero Méndez not rejoining PRD
President of the Chamber of Deputies, Hector Rafael Peguero Méndez said he would not rejoin the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano. The party expelled him when a coalition of PLD and PRSC deputies voted in his favor, against the proposed candidate of the PRD for president of the Chamber of Deputies. Peguero said he would organize his own political movement to participate in the 2000 presidential election. He said he seeks a harmonious "divorce" with his former party.

Let’s save the palm trees
Local press has given coverage to the protest over the rooting out of precious palm trees from the Plaza de las Trinitarias. The plaza is located at the entrance of the city of Santo Domingo. Landscaper Benjamin Paiewonsky planted the palm trees there in 1966. Rosangela Bobea, speaking for the International Palms Society, demanded that the government relocate the palms. She suggested they be used to create an endemic tree park near Las Americas International Airport. She criticized that palm trees are being brought from far away areas to be planted on new areas on city avenues, while the Las Trinitarias trees were uprooted and left to die on site.

Less pesos to the dollar
The US dollar continues to lose value against the peso on Dominican markets. Andrés Dauhajre, president of the Unión Nacional de Empresarios and Asociación Nacional de Importadores says that expectations are that it will drop further. He said the decline in the value of the dollar is being reflected in clearance sales announced by several stores. The dollar was selling for less than RD$16.28 in banks and exchange houses. These were paying about RD$15.60 for the dollar. Central Bank market rate for purchasing dollars is RD$15.88.

Sammy Sosa could endorse Mrs. Clinton for NY senator
Hoy newspaper speculates that Sammy Sosa could campaign for Mrs. Hillary Clinton, if she seeks the senate seat for New York. The Clintons are personal friends of Sammy Sosa. He and his wife have been special guests at the White House and Mrs. Clinton visited Sosa’s hometown San Pedro de Macorís, after Hurricane Georges hard hit the area last year. Sosa is probably the most popular ball player in the Major Leagues today. He has received the most votes to play for the National League in the upcoming All Star Game.

DR does well in Special Olympics
The Dominican delegation to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Raleigh, North Carolina has so far won eight gold medals, including six in athletics and two in aquatics. Team members also have won two silver and a bronze medal. Some 7,000 competitors from 150 countries are participating in the event. The DR delegation is 60-person strong. For more information on these games, see ( http://www.99games.com/AboutGames/

1,966 kilometer trip around DR for teenagers
Camping Tours has organized an innovative camp week for teenagers ages 11-18 years. In July and August, teenagers can participate in the week long 1,966 kilometer trips to get to know the Dominican Republic. The campers will stay in tents or at special housing provided by the organizers. Trip stops are made at:
Dajabón, the frontier with Haiti, Monte Cristi (first day sleep over),
Playa Grande, Samaná city, Cayo Levantado (second day sleep over),
Los Haitises, Sabana de la Mar, Hato Mayor, El Seibo and Higuey (third day sleepover)
La Romana, Altos de Chavón, San Pedro de Macorís, Punta Salinas, Dunas de Bani and Bahía de Caldera (fourth day sleep over in Punta Salinas)
Barahona, Los Patos, San Rafael, Paraiso, Oviedo (fifth day sleep over in San Rafael)
Enriquillo Lake tour (sixth day sleepover)
Campers will receive history, geograhy and anthropology explanations along the way. The camp costs RD$2,900 for the week, with all included. For more information and departure dates, call Tel. 583-3121 in Santiago, 683-5037 in Santo Domingo and 525-3672 in Bonao

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