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Daily News - 08 July 1999

Hipólito Mejía visits the National Palace
President Leonel Fernández and PRD presidential candidate Hipólito Mejía met yesterday at the National Palace to discuss the situation at the Central Electoral Junta (the body in charge of organizing the elections), and the possibility of his signing the Historic Pact. While Mejía’s party, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano has been participating in the National Dialogue all along, he personally has not been part. Political analysts say that while the signing of the Historic Pact, in which political parties agree to a national agenda for development, is advantageous to the nation, it might not be so for the political aspirations of Mejía. Mejía has held a very vocal and critical position in regards to the government. While earlier he had said he would not sign the Pact, after meeting with the President he said he would meet with the party’s leaders to discuss the matter. The PRD presidential candidate and President Leonel Fernández met for 50 minutes. With them were Vice President Jaime David Fernández and Monsignor Agripino Núñez, who has been the spokesman for the National Dialogue.
The strongest candidate to win the 2000 election, Hipólito Mejía was quoted in the Listín Diario commenting: "I had forgotten how the Palace looks, and obviously it is very remodeled and modern."

Zoning to expedite matters at the JCE
The Junta Central Electoral is dividing the country into seven zones and placing each of the seven JCE judges in charge of one. The president of the JCE, Manuel Ramón Morel Cerda will be in charge of the National District. "That is, to make the work horizontal, to see if we can shut up the voices that say that there is a lack of management at the Junta, the management will no longer be concentrated in one hand," said Dr. Morel.
The JCE’s goal is to issue about three million voting cards by the end of this year. He said the judges will direct a national voting card campaign that will be supported by a massive advertising campaign prepared by Young & Rubicam Damaris. The campaign seeks to create awareness in citizens of the importance to get the new voting and identification card.
The JCE also announced the purchase of 60 power plants for RD$4 million and computer equipment for RD$22 million to accelerate the voting card process.

Discrimination against Dominicans
Silvio Torres Saillant, director of the Institute of Dominican Studies of the City College of New York City, said that Con Edison discriminated against Dominicans when it didn’t hesitate to shut down the Washington Heights circuits, when the system became overloaded due to the intense heat wave affecting New York City. Some 600,000 Dominicans live in that area of the city, according to the report in El Siglo newspaper. Torres said that the Dominican community apparently doesn’t have enough political pull, or Con Edison felt they would complain the least.

Cleaning up Santo Domingo
Roberto Castillo Tió, technical director of the Santo Domingo Municipality, says that before mid August the first compactor truck equipment capable of picking up street garbage will arrive. The OMB lateral cargo collectors are being purchased in Italy, and will be used to pick up the solid wastes that litter Santo Domingo streets. The new system also features water tanks that will clean up the areas, and disinfect areas from where garbage is collected. A pilot project will take place to collect 200 tons of garbage, equivalent to that generated by a population of 240,000. The Municipality is also holding a tender to contract a new company to collect garbage in Santo Domingo. An area of 148.81 square kilometers and 1,391 kilometers are part of the tender. He said that the city municipality has no responsibility with the Dixi Sanitary Services company that at present has a contract with the national government for garbage collection.

Contract signed for privatization of airports
The Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña, representing the Dominican government, signed the contract with Aerodom, represented by Abraham Hazoury for the administration, maintenance, expansion and remodeling of several state-owned airports. These are Las Americas (Santo Domingo), Gregorio Luperon (Puerto Plata), María Montez (Barahona) and Arroyo Barril (Samaná).

DR hopes for a spot in Sydney Olympics
The Dominican Republic will be in the fight for a spot in the Sydney, Australia Olympics. Joining the Dominican men’s basketball practices this week are Luis Felipe López, who plays with the NBA Vancouver Grizzlies; Jaime Peterson, a 6’8 player who plays in New York City; Franklin Western, who plays with the Vaqueros de Bayamón and recently was chosen that league’s Most Valuable Player in the All Star Game; and Carlos Payano, of the Polluelos de Aibonito. The other two Dominican players on the key fivesome are Ocaris Lenderborg and Soterio Ramírez. To be chosen 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.
Team coach is Miguel Cruzeta. His assistants are José "Boyón" Domínguez and Victor Hansen.

Seven Dominicans in All Stars Game
Seven Dominican players have made the Major League All Star team. These are Sammy Sosa (who received the most votes in the National League), Vladimir Guerrero, José Lima for the National League and Pedro Martínez, Manny Ramírez, José Offerman and Tony Fernández for the American League.

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