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Daily News - 29 July 1999

President Fernández promises an end to blackouts by 2000
President Leonel Fernández promised during a trip to the southwestern province San Juan de la Maguana that there will be no more blackouts in the DR as of next year. He was optimistic that the privatization of the Dominican Electricity Corporation will result in an increase in the production of energy. He said that now there will be an abundance of resources for investing in new power plants, and thus the power supply will exceed the demand. "I am sure that by the 21st Century there will be no more blackouts in the DR," he said.

Resolution passed to prune trees
The city government of Santo Domingo passed a resolution that orders the municipal administration to coordinate programs to prune trees that are adjacent to telephone, electricity and cable TV lines. The resolution instructs the Dirección General Municipal to coordinate these efforts with the private companies that are in charge of supply electricity, telephone services and cable TV services.

US task force completes reconstruction of eight schools
The Joint Task Force Caribbean Castle New Horizons 99 Dominican Republic of the US completed its mission and handed over the last of eight public schools built by the US military forces in the province of Monte Plata. The schools had suffered major damages during Hurricane Georges last September. The US government donated US$10 million for the project that also included the reconstruction of a bridge in Manabao, Jarabacoa, La Vega province. The new schools will provide instruction to 2,000 students, and can also be used as hurricane refuges.
The Caribbean Castle mission brought more than 3,000 US military to the area, primarily from the state of Alabama.
During their stay, they offered free medical and dental services to the the towns of Yamasa, Bayaguana, Sabana Grande de Boyá, El Cercado, Sabana del Medio, Sabana de los Javieles, Jobo Grande, Mata Limón, San Juan de la Buena Vista, Jacabao Abajo and Manabao.
The US military contingents are scheduled to depart by 9 August.

96 families that lived under Duarte Bridge to be relocated
The government reached an agreement with the Los Topos community, more than 600 persons that under the Duarte Bridge after losing their homes during Hurricane David (1979). The government is offering each of the 96 families RD$50,000 to relocate. Some of the families qualified for low cost government housing, and others accepted the offer of lots in new neighborhoods on the outskirts of Santo Domingo. The squatters needed to be relocated for the remodeling of the bridge and construction of a parallel bridge.

UASD rectors orders suspension of classes
Rector of the UASD Miguel Rosado suspended classes for two days at the state university, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. Classes were suspended after a small group of "students" put locks on the doors of a hall where the Rector and Vice Rector of the university were gathered for the signing of an agreement with the Director of Forestry Cesar Batista. The group remained sequestered for about three hours. The Director of Forestry was at the UASD to sign a cooperation agreement.

Franklin Franco set free
After ten years of legal debates, the judiciary finally released Dominican Franklin Franco. Several court orders had instructed his release for the past five years, but the attorney general and district attorney offices, always found a way around to keep him in jail. The US government had requested he be extradited for drug trafficking charges. Reportedly in 1989 he escaped a high security jail in the US fleeing to the DR. On countless times, he said he was a prisoner of the US Embassy. He was released when district attorney Francisco Domínguez Brito studied his case and said there was no legal base to keep him in jail. In the US he is accused of falsifying federal documents and fleeing jail.

DR extradites US justice fugitive
The Dominican government extradited 30-year old Melissa Polonia Nolasco, a Dominican-born US citizen. She was arrested in San Pedro de Macorís after an arrested relative in the US helped locate her in order to get a lesser sentence. She had been sought for the past four years for drug trafficking and the murder of a 26-year old woman in Washington Heights, New York City.

Police has good record at recovering vehicles
The National Police revealed that its Department of Stolen Vehicles has recovered 1,649 of 1,681 reported stolen vehicles. The Department said that robberies are down from 10-12 cars a day to 5-6. An average of 200 cars a stolen each month. One of the problems is that the Dominican Penal Code allows those found guilty of stealing cars to be released on bail. There have been cases where the police have arrested men for car theft that had just been released for the same charge.

Passport cost reduced by US$50 at consulates
El Nacional newspaper reports that the New York City consulate will reduce the cost of Dominican passports issued by that consulate by US$50. Consul General Bienvenido Pérez said that President Fernández himself will make the announcement. As of then, a two-year passport will cost RD$81.50, a four-year passport US$101.50 and a six year passport, US$151.50. He said other service fees will also be significantly reduced.
Bienvenido Pérez said that political interests were behind the Daily News report on the high cost of Dominican consulate services. He denied the consulate sets its rates and says the Ministry of Foreign Relations establishes these. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Foreign Relations publishes much lower rates for passport services on its web site at
www.serex.gov.do
Pérez justified the high prices saying that they help finance the New York consulate and its 88-person staff that work hard to provide efficient services to the community. He also announced the inauguration of the Casa de la Cultura at 1828 Amsterdam Avenue where social and cultural activities for Dominicans will take place.

An effort to legalize status of Italians in DR
Italo Bianchi, president of the Comité Tricolor de Italianos del Mundo en RD, says that there are more than 20,000 Italian residents in the DR. Of these, he says, only 6,000 are legal residents. His committee says that one of their projects is to assist Italians to legalize their status. For 2000, they hope that 80% of the illegal Italians will have legalized their status. The committee has held meetings with the Director of Migration, Danilo Díaz, in order to coordinate measures to facilitate the process. He says that of the Italians, more than 5,000 have opened businesses, primarily in the hospitality industry. He said these have created over 50,000 jobs for Dominicans. The Committee has offices at Paseo de los Indios No. 5, El Millón.
The committee is also working on community works, such as the construction of a school of handicapped children in San Pedro de Macorís and fishing and farming projects with the assistance of the European Economic Community and Lome IV program.

Largest shopping mall in DR now under construction
A group of Dominican businesses have joined forces to build the largest shopping mall in the DR. The Megacentro is going up on the east side of Santo Domingo. It requires an investment of RD$2,000 million and will have room for 185 stores on three levels of construction, including an underground first level with 2,000 parking spaces. An additional 500 parking spaces will be located on the ground floor. (Note the Multicentro has room for 700 cars in its covered parking building.) The Megacentro is being built on a 153,000 square meter lot at the corner of San Vicente de Paul and Carretera Mella.
The shareholders are Centros del Caribe, Centro Cuesta Nacional, La Gran Via, Grupo Moya, Grupo Celso Pérez and Grupo Rodríguez Copello.
Opening is set for December 2001.
The US firm, RTKL, which designed the Aventura Mall of Miami, carried out the architectural plans for the mall.
The mall will also be especially attractive to residents and visitors to Boca Chica and Juan Dolio that will not have to cross the Bridges to the west side of the city.

Dominican wins gold in the Pan Am Games
Twenty-one year old Juana Arrendell won the Dominican Republic’s first gold medal in the Winnipeg Pan Am Games yesterday. She placed first in the high jump with a mark of 1.93 meters. The silver medal went to Solange Witteveen, Argentina, with 1.88. Brazilian Luciana Dambacher was third with 1.85.
This is the first time a Dominican track and field athlete wins a gold medal in a Pan American game. And it is the third gold medal ever won by a Dominican in the Pan American Games. The other gold in a Pan Am Games were won by the Dominican baseball team in 1955 (Mexico) and by boxer Joan Guzman in 1995 (Argentina).
The DR is now in 11th place in the Pan Am game ranking, with one gold and one silver medal.
Arrendell, born in San Pedro de Macorís, land of Sammy Sosa, began training at 14. For the past two years Russian Nathalia Korotaeva has coached her. A sergeant of the Dominican army, she traveled with her coach to NY to complete her training prior to the Pan Am Games.

DR still has chance at bronze in Pan Ams
The DR lost to the US in volleyball 25-19, 22-25, 21-25, 25-20 and 15-9. But there is still hope the DR team will bring back a bronze medal. Even it they lose to Cuba, they have a chance if they win their next confrontation against the US team.
In another closely followed event, University of South California runner, Felix Sánchez placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles, clocking in at 48:6.

Michael Camilo at the National Theater
Michael Camilo, one of the most talented Dominican musicians and performers of all times, will perform his Concert for Piano at the National Theater. He will perform accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra that will be conducted by Carlos Piantini. The performance is slated for Wednesday, 11 August at 8:30 pm. Tickets are for sale at the National Theater box office.

Carnival masks at Altos de Chavón
The Fundación Centro Cultural de Altos de Chavon and the Museo Arqueológico Regional are showing a splendid collection of carnival masks used in the Río San Juan, Cabral and La Vega carnivals.

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