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Daily News - 07 July 1999

Putting gripes aside in the name of the party
Vice President Jaime David Fernández was in Santiago de los Caballeros yesterday to persuade his supporters to leave their gripes aside. Governor of Santiago, Ventura Camejo was earlier very vocal about the unorthodox methods used by Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina to win the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana presidential candidacy. Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez, another presidential candidate, also yesterday supported the motion to publicly back the chosen PLD candidate when speaking to followers in Puerto Plata. And José Tomás Pérez, the secretary general of the PLD, in Santo Domingo called out for party members to return to the discipline of the party and not publicly ventilate internal problems. Following his arrival to Santiago, shortly after arriving from a summit of Caribbean statesmen in Trinidad, Vice President Fernández urged his supporters to integrate to the electoral campaign and use this experience to strengthen the party. He said the complaints would be taken to the Central Committee of the party.
Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina won the nomination last Sunday, 27 June when he managed to secure the needed 50+1% of the vote of 12,500 PLD members that are authorized to vote. Surveys show that Vice President Jaime David Fernández would have been a stronger candidate, but party members expect to be able to market Danilo Medina successfully so they can retain power in 2000. Medina was one of the key strategists behind the PLD reaching power in 1996 with the relatively unknown candidate, today President Leonel Fernández.

Conclusions still stand, says Participación Ciudadana
Isidro Santana, coordinator of Participación Ciudadana, the Dominican civics group that assisted the Center for Advisory and Electoral Promotion (CAPEL) that carried out an audit to the Central Electoral Junta (JCE), stands by the conclusions presented by the group, despite the tampered CD the JCE presented. The JCE is the government body in charge of organizing national elections. Santana says he is awaiting the arrival of the executive director of CAPEL who is checking a copy CD he has in order to ascertain to what measure the tampering of data in the CD presented by the JCE could have affected the outcome of the audit. But, in a press conference, he said that the small portion of incorrect data has little effect on the overall conclusions and recommendations presented by CAPEL. The government had conditioned a positive report from CAPEL in order to release the RD$92 million sought by JCE to accelerate the issuing of voting cards. The audit showed major administrative and technical flaws have affected the process and presented alternatives and recommendations. CAPEL recommends that the JCE stabilize the voting card issuing procedures, prior to the government issuing more funds. The JCE has rejected the audit, based on a tampered CD they have presented to the press.

RD$2,633 a month, new minimum wage for hotel personnel
The National Wages Committee announced that the new minimum wage for entertainment sector employees is RD$2,633 a month. This wage applies to those employed in hotels, casinos, restaurants, bars, cafeterias, and like establishments with minimum RD$500,000 in assets. Businesses with assets from RD$200,000-RD$499,999 can pay their employees RD$1,880 a month. Even smaller businesses can pay RD$1,693 a month.

Blitz to vaccinate Dominican dogs
There have been no cases of rabies reported in the National District (Santo Domingo) in the past six years, says Dr. Guillermo Rosario, in charge of the National Anti-Rabies Center. He announced a nationwide campaign to vaccinate 250,000 cats and dogs. Residents can visit the Anti-Rabies Center where their pets will be inoculated for free. There continues to be cases of rabies in the provinces of San Pedro de Macorís and Dajabón. The Center is also working to combat rabies in Haiti.

Abraham Lincoln not to be expanded to eight lanes
The Ministry of Public Works clarified a mistaken report in El Siglo yesterday that was picked up by DR1. It is not true that the Abraham Lincoln Avenue is being expanded to eight lanes. The Ministry said that the brigades are working to widen the left turn area, to facilitate traffic at the 27 de Febrero and Abraham Lincoln avenues intersection.

Foreign investment pours into DR
The executive director of the Dominican Republic Office for the Promotion of Foreign Investment (DROPIN), Eddy Martinez highlighted the success the DR has had at attracting foreign investment this year. Major investments in power, free zones, tourism and telecommunications are forthcoming. Millions will be invested in the DR starting this year as a result of the capitalization of state infrastructure and enterprises, such as airports and power entities. Some US$643.5 million will be injected into the state’s Electricity Corporation alone (CDE). Major investments are being made in hotels and in the privatization of Dominican airports. Likewise, 20 new companies are investing in Dominican free zone industries. In telecommunications, both GTE (Codetel) and Motorola (Tricom) have announced investments for US$400 million.
Martínez says that foreign investment improves Dominican living standards by creating good jobs, generating foreign exchange and the transfer of advanced technologies.
He advocated for a national foreign investment agenda with the sustenance of macroeconomic stability; protection of intellectual property; promotion of new technologies; promotion of investment in free zones; tourism, agribusiness and mining; and clear rules for investing; adequate mechanisms to resolve disputes, such as international arbitrage; and the keeping of good relations between government and private business.
Martínez says that the advancements made in improving Dominican justice as been key to the increase in foreign investments. He said that the country needs yet to resolve the problems with land ownership titles, in order to attract large agribusiness investors.

Collections up at Customs Department
Miguel Cocco, the director of the Dominican Customs Department told El Siglo newspaper that collections are up in the first semester. He reported that during the first six months of the year collections reached RD$7,917 million, a 22% increase over last year. He said this increase occurred despite the government’s reduction or elimination of several taxes on raw materials, farm inputs and equipment and computers. He attributed the increase to better controls. He forecast that annual receipts will reach RD$13,856 by year’s end, up 26% over last year. This June, the government department received a record RD$1,461 million.

Farmer missing in La Vega
Rice farmer Jose Joaquin de la Mota Cordero (King) is missing since Friday, 3 July. His disappearance was noticed when he failed to come home for lunch. That same day he had taken RD$25,000 out of a loans and savings account in Fantino. Last Monday, his Toyota pickup was found abandoned in a gas station in Bani.

Brother of kidnapped woman had 51 kilos of cocaine in his house
The Martínez Alemar family has been going through nightmarish times. Eliana Rodríguez Alemar escaped from her kidnappers that apparently sequestered her to pressure her half brother to pay a debt to a New Yorker (see http://www.dr1.com/daily/news070699.shtml) . Investigations into the case led the Police to find 51 kilos of cocaine in a closet in the Carretera Sánchez Km. 11-1/2 home of her half brother, Marcos Vinicio Martínez Alemar. According to press reports, maritime buoys, and pistol bullets were also found in the home of Marcos Martínez who is now a fugitive of justice. Eliana Rodríguez’s half sister, Josefina Martínez complained that the Police has kept Eliana for more than 48 hours.

Santo Domingo Film Festival
The First International Film Festival opens on Friday, 9 July in Santo Domingo. It will last ten days, through 18 July. The festival is organized by the Presidential Culture Council, the Municipal Cultural Board, the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Relations with the collaboration of cultural sections of several Iberoamerican embassies in the Dominican Republic. Arturo Rodríguez Fernández, is the organizer.
The festival opens with the Spanish film, "Flores de otro mundo." The festival films are divided into two groups. An Informative Section will present some of the best films of international cinematography. Another Contest Section is open to films from abroad. "Ciguapa" awards will be given to the best film, best director, best actor, best actress, and public’s choice. This year, an award for the best Dominican screenplay will be instituted to be given in next year’s festival. Films from Argentina, Brazil, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, France, Honduras, Peru and Puerto Rico will be shown at the Lumiere and Palacio del Cine theaters. An admission fee of RD$50 is being charged.

Grease at the National Theater in July
"Grease" will go on stage in the National Theater 8, 9, 10 and 11 July. 70 Dominicans will perform. There will be performances at 5:30 and 8:30 pm. Grease, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all times. The original authors are sending representatives to see the Dominican production.
The Leading actors are José Guillermo Cortiñes (Danny Zucco) and Katherine Peña Sanlley (Sandy Dumbrowsky).
There will be a special participation of Carlos Alfredo Fatule (Tee Angel) and Lilyanna Díaz (Miss Lynch). Dante Cucurullo is in charge of musical direction, Bienvenido Miranda, lights; Salime Pineda, Carlos Veitía and Nurín Sanlley, choreography. Stage design is by Fidel Lopez.

220-strong delegation to Winnipeg Games
The Dominican delegation to the Pan American Summer Games to open this month in Winnipeg, Canada will be made up of 220 persons, including 150 athletes. The delegation hopes to bring back 23 medals. The best performances of a Dominican team in the Pan American Games occurred during the Puerto Rico (1979) and Cuba (1991) games when the team brought back 14 medals. DR athletes will compete in weightlifting, boxing, judo, karate, skeet, tae kwon do, baseball, softball and volleyball. Best performances are expected in weightlifting, baseball, and softball.

Wanda Rijo wins three medals in world championship
Wanda Rijo, the Dominican Republic’s Athlete of the Year, won three medals in the Georgia World Juvenile Weightlighting Championship held recently. She won two silver and one bronze. She made headlines last week when the US Consulate denied her a visa to travel to the world games twice. When her story hit the sports pages, the Consulate reconsidered the verdict and issued the visa. She is considered the best female weightlifter in Central America and the Caribbean.

Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire to play together
The dynamic duo of the past Major League Season, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire will for the first time be on the same team. Both were chosen to play for the National League in the All Star Game that will be held 13 July in Boston. Sosa received the most votes of any National League player, with 2,315,204 votes for his participation in the All Star Game National League team.
McGwire hit a record 70 home runs last year. This will be his 11th appearance in an All Star game. Sammy Sosa, who leads in home runs with 32 this season, will be making his third appearance in an All Stars game.

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