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Daily News - 09 July 1999

Putting national interests first
President Leonel Fernández urged the political parties to put aside their particular interests and sign the Historic Pact. The Historic Pact is the final document with conclusions of talks among the three leading political parties that met for several weeks at the National Palace. The agreement is to be signed by the leading political parties and would present the nation¹s agenda at the start of the 21st century. "I appeal to all that a distinction be made between what is the nation¹s interest and which are particular¹s interests," said the President. "The points established in the Historic Pact are all of national interest.  We need to reach an agreement as to what has to be done in the DR at the start of the 21st century," he said. He mentioned "The Economist¹s" favorable report on the Dominican economy. The British economic publication, nevertheless, says that the main obstacle to stronger DR development continues to be the delays in the congressinal passing of proposed economic reforms. President Fernández spoke to the press during the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a RD$1,600 million aqueduct to provide water to the eastern part of the city.

Police solves La Vega businessman murder
The National Police arrested three persons that confessed to the assassination of La Vega businessman Jose Joaquin de la Mota Cordero. De la Mota was missing since last week. The confessed assassins are Elvin Rosario, his wife Marisol Saldaña and Rafael Bueno. They were arrested in Fantino, La Vega. Mota Cordero¹s cadaver was found at Km. 20 of the Carretera Azua-San Juan de la Maguana, with third degree burns covering all his body that was already in advanced state of putrefaction.
The threesome explained that the plan was to kidnap him and request a ransom. But when he asphyxiated inside the trunk of the vehicle they had rented, and where they put him after drugging him, they decided they had to dispose of the cadaver, and traveled south where they burned him so that there would be little evidence. The police presented de la Mota belongings, including a watch, pistol and a gold chain. Reportedly, the threesome stole RD$25,000, de la Mota had taken out of the bank that day, and used it to purchase an air-conditioner and alcoholic beverages.
De la Mota was a well-loved resident of his La Vega community. He was known for his generosity to the less fortunate.

Sorting out the new scandal at the JCE
The executive director of the Centro de Asesoría y Promoción Electoral (CAPEL), Luis Alberto Cordero arrived yesterday. CAPEL carried out an audit to the procedures of the JCE, especially those regarding the issuing of the new voting cards. The audit was objected by the JCE when one of the three CDs showed it had been tampered with. Participación Ciudadana, the Dominican civics group that provided support to CAPEL, says that the tampered data did not have an effect on the conclusions. Nevertheless, Cordero and his team will arrive to finalize the audit and release the study. Cordero met with the JCE judges for an hour and a half yesterday. In addition to the seven JCE judges, Isidoro Santana, José Antonio Gil, Isis Duarte, Francisco Alvarez and Juan Bolívar Díaz were present. The technicians feel a final report will be ready by the end of next week.

Audit identified real problems
The Junta Central Electoral does not know the whereabouts of 37 equipment that was purchased to carry out digitized fingerprint inserts in the voting cards. Engineer Gilberto Cruz Herasme, director of Automatización y Cedulación del Tribunal, said the information regarding this irregularity and that was one of the findings of the audit is correct. Only 154 machines are in operation of 191 that should be working.

Pan Am villa tender to be announced
The Organizing Committee of the 2003 Panamerican Summer Games presented the architectural plans for the Olympic Villa that will be built on a three hectares lot diagonally across from the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center in Santo Domingo. The plans call for the construction of eight towers of 23 floors each, for total 704 apartments. The apartments will each have three bedrooms, two baths and an additional bath for visitors. The government will call a tender for the construction of the village. The project needs to be completed by April 2003. The Lavador soap manufacturing plant complex needs to be dismantled to give way to the construction of the village.

Dominicans are drinking whisky
Carlos Veras, general manager of Vinícola del Norte, says that unfair taxation has weakened the competitive position of rum producers in the DR market. He said that whisky sales are growing, while rum sales are declining. Whisky sales are up from 56,000 boxes imported six years ago, to half a million imported last year. Rum sales were down 20% last year, and this year they are again down 16%. In 1996, rum producers sold 5.5 million boxes; in 1998, sales were down to 3.9 million boxes.
The Dominican Association of Rum Producers says that the Customs Department is discriminating against rum producers. They say they pay double taxes, when compared to whisky importers. In addition to taxes on raw materials, they have to pay 32.5% Selective Consumption Tax, while whisky is only taxed 13.8%.  The rum producers demand equal taxation treatment.

Finke family assaulted in Puerto Plata
Finke Herrera family of Puerto Plata alerted that Puerto Plata is no longer the haven for carefree living. Federico Finke, a local businessman, was assaulted at his home by four armed bandits, who tied him and the maid up as they stole appliances, jewelry and other household goods. The robbery occurred at noontime. The Police has yet to resolve this case.

Explanations for the big blackout in NY
El Siglo newspaper cites electrical engineer Ramírez Báez explaining that Con Edison shut down Washington Heights because it couldn¹t do so to Midtown, where the most important financial center of the US is located. Moreso, he says that Dominicans would suffer less, as most emigrated after the 80s, and thus bring to NY their "blackout culture." As things worked out, most Dominicans reacted by going outside to be cooler, keeping calm and showing true civism. There was not an uprising nor major surge of vandalism as occurred in a prior blackout some 20 years ago. Con Edison has promised to pay losses of up to US$100 for families and US$2,000 for businesses. The blackout forced the shutdown of 95% of businesses in the area. Con Edison said families would receive US$100 and businesses US$2,000 indemnifications.
Richard Rynar, a former DR resident who is married to a Dominican and lives in NY, reported to the DR1 Daily News that a Con Edison spokesperson gave interviews to the media explaining the company had suffered a feeder cable burnout. El Siglo New York correspondent Eloy Alberto Tejera reports that Senator David Paterson does not believe the blackout was due to cabling problems. Rynar said that the Mayor¹s office will investigate the matter because Con Ed has had almost 20 years since the last major city wide black out to deal with a crisis situation and Con Ed has not prepared properly. He said investigations will also seek to find out if Con Ed used substandard cable in that part of the city. Rynar finds it very unlikely that Dominicans were discriminated. He said that sections like Old Howard Beach, Rockwood Park and Lindenwood, where many known influential people live, were also without electricity for over 24 hours.

Grease is big success at National Theater
 "Grease" went on stage on Thursday, 8 July and reviews were excellent.  The premiere of "Grease" in Spanish is now expected to be an overall success, and the production may be taken abroad to other Latin American countries. Long lines could be found at the box office on Friday as persons cued up to purchase tickets to the remaining performances. Additional performances are slated for 9, 10 and 11 July. There are shows at 5:30 and 8:30 pm. 70 Dominican actors perform. Grease, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all times. 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.

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