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Daily News - 13 July 1999

President approves RD$92 million extra for JCE
President Leonel Fernandez ordered the gradual disbursement, as of August, of the RD$92 million requested by the Junta Central Electoral, the body in charge of organizing the 2000 presidential election. The moneys will be used to accelerate the issuing of voting cards. Because of administrative and technical difficulties, the JCE is behind schedule. Dr. Manuel Ramon Morel Cerda, president of the JCE, said that the President offered all his support to the successful organization of the 2000 election. He said the President authorized an operation to issue voting cards to government workers at their work places. About three million cards need to be issued by December 1999.

CAPEL explains results of the audit
The executive director of the Centro de Asesoría y Promoción Electoral de América Latina (CAPEL), a body of the Organization of American States, confirmed that the CD with data was damaged by handling. But he stood by the recommendations and conclusions of the original audit. "There are no changes in the recommendations," Luis Alberto Cordero told the press.

Balaguer-Medina 2000-2004
The president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), Tony Raful told the press that the presidential candidate chosen by the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) is a "stillborn." He said that aware of that situation, Danilo Medina, the PLD presidential candidate, is seeking at whatever cost an alliance with the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC). Certain sectors within the PLD are promoting an alliance where Medina would run as vice president on a PRSC-PLD ticket. Former President Joaquín Balaguer, who is blind and will be 93 this September, would be the presidential candidate. Raful said, "The situation in 2000 is not the same as in 96, these are not the same historical and social conditions; the interests behind that alliance have changed." He was referring to the 1996 alliance between the PLD and the PRSC, when then President Balaguer supported Leonel Fernández for President.
Political analyst of El Siglo newspaper, Orlando Gil commented that the speculation is part of the "fiction" that surrounds Dominican politics.

Public hospital medics go on strike again
The Dominican Medical Association (AMD) ordered its members attending at public hospitals and the social security system clinics to begin a 48 hour work stoppage. This is the latest in a series of strikes carried out by the AMD. The medics are striking as the government has not met their request for a 60% wage increase. The government sent a bill to Congress that establishes where the moneys to pay for the increase would come from. Congress has not passed the bill. The strike mostly affects indigent Dominicans that are not ensured through their work or cannot afford private medical services.

Ministry of Tourism won't recognize Miss DR
The Ministry of Tourism does not recognize Miss Merfry Then Rijo as the new Miss Dominican Republic. The legal consultant of the Ministry says that the organizers did not request the permission to host the event. In their opinion, the Ministry can delegate the organization of the contest to third parties, but permission has to be requested.
Miss Dominican Republic was elected in a pageant held 3 July and organized by Gatsby Dominicana. Private companies have always organized beauty pageants in the DR. Mrs. Nerys Díaz, speaking for the organizers of the pageant, said they are a legal company with the rights to the Miss DR pageant in the DR and internationally. She also criticized that the Ministry has done very little to support the contest, not being able to even supply a brochure on the DR.
Miss DR is a 21-year-old industrial design student at INTEC University.

Contract for privatization of airports signed
Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom) signed a contract with the Dominican state for a 20-year concession contract to design, finance and construct more than US$400 million in improvements and to operate its four international airports. Aerodom is a consortium made up by Ogden Corporation, YVR Airport Services (development/operations arm of the Vancouver, British Columbia, airport authority) and Impreglio (the Milan, Italy-based construction company with significant airport development and construction experience) and Operadora de Aeropuertos del Caribe.
Aerodom was formed to undertake the airport improvements and to provide ongoing oversight and management of the airports. Aerodom will collect and retain aeronautical revenues such as aircraft landing and parking fees, airport terminal revenues including passenger facility charges and fees from airport services providers, and all commercial revenues, rents and fees at Las Americas Airport (Santo Domingo), Gregorio Luperon Airport (Puerto Plata), Maria Montez Airport (Barahona) and Arroyo Barril Airport (Samana). Of the four, only the first two are in operation.
Speaking for OPASA, Abraham Hazoury said, "Airports privatization is a very important step that the Dominican Republic has taken to be prepared for the demands of the new millennium."

Sosua and Cabarete Jazz Festival
Sosua and Cabarete are proud to announce their annual jazz festival will be held 8-10 October. The International Jazz Festival will feature an artist line up as follows:
David Sanchez Quintet, Pamela Williams Quintet, Los Hombres Calientes (Irvin Mayfield, Jason Marsalis and Bill Summers), Monk Sextet, Mimi Fox, Sunny Sumter, Kotch Reggae Band (Jamaica), Willow Run High School Steel Drum Group (USA), the Puerto Plata Jazz Ensemble, Grupo Isla, and Sistema Temperado and Dominican Brass Ensemble.
The action is set for the Casa Marina Beach Resort amphitheater with performances also at Estrella del Mar Resort and nightclub jam parties in Cabarete and Sosua. For more information and schedules, see www.drjazzfestival.com

DR rap star passes away in tragic accident
He would have left the next day for weeklong presentations in Colombia, followed by presentations in Costa Rica and then Spain. Thousands today mourned the tragic death of "merenhouse" star, Luis Ernesto Deschamps, 25, who was known as "Papo." He was part of the very successful twosome rap group, Sandy y Papo and was working on their third album. "Merenhouse" blends Hip hop, rap, rock, reggae and merengue. Sandy and Papo made a hit for themselves with their best selling "Mueve, mueve," "La chica sexy," "Candela," and "La hora de bailar,"
"Papo" died when the Lexus he was driving slid off the highway and hit a tree, police said. News reports say he had been drinking and fell asleep at the wheel when driving back to Santo Domingo at 9 am. Reportedly, the deceased and friends had been partying at Boca Chica beach overnight and had not slept. The accident occurred near the Las Americas Free Zone at Km. 22 of the Las Americas Highway. His wife Crismely Peralta and a three year old son survive him.
His friends - Emely Tapia, 17; Fiordaliza Vasquez, 20; and Johnny Cornelio, 23 - were treated for minor injuries at the Darío Contreras Hospital and released.
His partner "Sandy" was in New York when the accident occurred and flew in for the funerals that took place in a church in the Ozama neighborhood, as young people paying their respects overflowed the capacity of the Funeraria Blandino in Santo Domingo. He was buried at the Cristo Salvador Cemetery, on the east side of Santo Domingo.
This is the second loss of a modern music group star in less than two years. Jason González of the Los Ilegales, died in similar circumstances on 14 January 1998.

Dominicans in All-Star Game
Three Dominicans are in the starting lineups for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Boston's Fenway Park. These are:
Sammy Sosa, cf, Chicago Cubs
Manny Ramirez, rf, Cleveland
Pedro Martinez, rhp, Boston
Also chosen for the game are Jose Lima, Jose Offerman, Vladimir Guerrero and Tony Fernández.

Follow the All-Star Game action online
Baseball fans can follow all the action of today's Major League Baseball All-Star Game online. The organization's official 1999 All-Star Game web site is at www.majorleaguebaseball.com
The web site is being promoted as offering fans of the Mid-Summer Classic the opportunity to feel a part of the all-star experience. The site offers fans in-depth multimedia Internet coverage including the exclusive live game audio, video highlights, complete player profiles, special behind-the-scenes audio and video features, 360-degree virtual tours, live coverage of the Home Run Derby, exclusive All-Star Game merchandise and much more.
"Fans who can't be in Boston for the All-Star Game can feel part of the entire experience of All-Star Week, with comprehensive coverage on our site," said Leslie Sullivan, vice president of broadcasting and new media development for Major League Baseball.

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