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Daily News - 23 July 1999

US judge authorizes extradition of presumed assassin
The Listin Diario reported that Alvin Hellerstein, judge of the Federal Court of the South District of New York authorized the extradition to the DR of former military Mariano Durán, accused of the murder of journalist Orlando Martínez. This decision still can be appealed. Martínez was assassinated in 1973. The case has been constantly postponed since then, but the judiciary now seems interested in following it through. Several former high ranking military and government officials are involved in the case.

Senate passes salary increase for public hospital doctors
The Senate passed the bill that increases public hospital medical personnel’s wages by 65%. The bill authorizes an immediate 35% salary hike for public health system medics, veterinarians, dentists, nurses, lab technicians and pharmacists. A second 30% increase will be effective 1 January 2000. The Executive Branch needs yet to pass the bill.
The moneys to fund the increase will come from a new tax of RD$1,000 to be levied on vehicles of five years or less imported into the DR. Public transportation vehicles, ambulances, buses nor motorcycles will be taxed. Moneys will also come from a tax of RD$2,200-RD$1,200 to be levied on sports gambling centers registered by the Ministry of Sports. To pay for the wage increase, a new RD$2,000 tax will be levied for renewals of gun permits.
The legislation also increases the charge to obtain medical certificates.

Pension to former military
The Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that grants a pension to military that were removed from the ranks for their participation in the 1965 Civil War. The military will now receive a pension equivalent to 80% of the salary corresponding to their rank.

Puerto Plata highway stretch to be ready by February
The Ministry of Public Works says that the Santiago-Navarrette highway expansion will be ready by February 2000, on schedule. The 22-kilometer expansion of the stretch that links Santiago and Puerto Plata will significantly reduce driving time on that route.

US$7.6 Japanese donation for rural roads
The government of Japan donated US$7.6 million for the Proyecto de Suministro de Equipos de Mantenimiento de Terreno Agrícola. The Instituto Agrario Dominicano will manage the program. Japanese Ambassador Akasawa and Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre signed the agreement. The equipment will be used to rebuild rural roads, irrigation channels and other maintenance work.

Banks grow 20% in 1998
Listín Diario reported that the banking sector assets grew 20.2% in 1998. Furthermore, according to the most recent bulletin of the Bank Superintendence, bank lending increased 23%. Vicente Bengoa, Superintendent of Banks said the numbers confirm there has not been an economic recession. Bank assets have increased RD$126.2 million, or 7.3% in the first four months of 1999. Assets of the financial system grew RD$19,795 million in 1998, or 20%. Forecasts are that they will increase RD$25,000 million in 1999.

Nine companies can bid for sugar mill leases
The Commission for the Reform of Public Enterprises reported that nine companies have fulfilled the requirements to participate in the bid for the lease of the State Sugar Council (CEA) sugar mills. Companies are:
Consorcio Dominico-Francoamericano, Booker Tate Ltd., Impulsora Azucarera del Noroeste, Consorcio Pringamosa, Incausa and Panateleón S.A. Also Consorcio Azucarero Ozama and Azucarera de Guadalfeo, Consorcio Agroindustrial Caña Brava.

Iguana is new mascot of Coral Hotels
Coral Hotels and Resorts, a Dominican hotel chain, signed an agreement with the National Zoo to support their program of conservation of Rhinoceros Iguanas. Coral is part of the BHD group of companies (primarily financial services). The BHD will provide funds for the research and preservation of these iguanas, a native species. The company will be selling t-shirts, hats and stuffed toys with the iguana motif at their hotels, and funds will be used to protect the iguana, an endangered species.

DR volleyball vs. Canada today in Winnipeg
The Dominican volleyball team will play the opening game during the Pan American volleyball tournament. The game is set for 1 pm, Winnipeg time. The match will be held before the formal opening ceremonies at the Winnipeg Stadium that are scheduled for this evening and that will mark the official commencement of the 17-day games.
The Dominican delegation aspires to win at least 14 medals in the Winnipeg Pan American Games, including a volleyball medal. The top volleyball teams are the US, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Peru and the DR. The DR won the silver medal in the volleyball tournament at the Central American and Caribbean Games, held last year in Venezuela. Cuba won the gold.

Festival President to be seen on US TV
This Sunday, July 25, audiences in the United States will be able to watch what has become one of the leading hot Latin music stars festivals. The two-hour special telecast will be shown on Telemundo Network at 8-10 pm EST.
The third annual Festival Presidente de Musica Latina was recorded live on June 3, 4 and 5 in Santo Domingo. The festival attracted over 120,000 people to the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It is considered one of the most prestigious Latin music productions in the world.
This year’s bill included Grammy award winners Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony; Billboard Best Male Artist of the Year award winner Elvis Crespo; Dance with Me star Chayanne; Billboard Album of the Year winner Shakira; Billboard Pop Album of the Year recipient Carlos Ponce; Victor Manuelle; Toño Rosario; La Tribu del Sol; Fernando Villalona; Tito Rojas; Los Ilegales; Raulín Rodríguez; Los Toros Band and the Italian rock sensation, Nek.
The international media has distinguished the powerful impact of Festival Presidente above all others. Dozens of international journalists traveled to Santo Domingo to cover this year's event. Trade publications such as Amusement Business and Pollstar ranked the event's attendance at the top of their Boxscore charts, in company with internationally renowned acts, The Rolling Stones and Elton John.
Festival Presidente began in 1997 as a way for Presidente Beer, the number one selling brand in the Dominican Republic, to display its gratitude for the public's loyalty. Only one year later, the festival was ranked the #1 grossing concert in the Boxscore section of Amusement Business, surpassing other musical favorites such as The Spice Girls, The Lilith Fair, Yanni and Metallica.
Grammy award winner Ricky Martin, Alejandro Fernandez, Mana, Carlos Vives, Thalia, Emmanuel, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Jerry Rivera have been just some of the many artists who have preformed at Festival Presidente in the past.

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