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Daily News - 10 August 1999

Achilles' heel of government: delays in paying suppliers
Celso Marranzini, president of the National Council of Businesses (CONEP) said yesterday that the internal debt is the Achilles' heel of the Fernández administration. He said that all can praise the macroeconomic stability, reduction of bureaucracy, international positioning of the DR which has resulted in a better credit and investment rating for the DR. But he criticized the government's choice of falling behind in payments to suppliers. The lack of payments has caused financial difficulties for many engineering contractors and suppliers.

Central Bank says there's no recession in commerce
The Central Bank emphasized that commerce, considered one of the most dynamic activities of Dominican economy, grew 8.8% during the first semester of the year 8.8%. The Bank denied allegations that the DR might be going through economic recession. He said that sectors that grew more than commerce during the first six months of the year were construction, 27.3%; communications, 18.2%; and electricity and potable water with 10.0%. Overall, the Gross Domestic Product grew 6% in the first six months of the year. Inflation was a negative 0.62%.

Working on making it easier to export
The Director of the Dominican Center for the Promotion of Exports said that the government is taking the final steps to implement the "single window" export program, whereby red tape needed to export can all be carried out in half an hour's time, down from the estimated three days the paperwork took in the past. As it is being set up, most of the paperwork can be filed by Internet.
Atahualpa Domínguez, director of CEDOPEX, feels that this will stimulate new exporters. He said that a study to determine what the country had to export, showed that of 560 companies that are registered as exporters, only 43 had exported so far this year. The "Ventanilla Unica" program is a coordinated effort of the Department of Customs, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Tobacco and CEDOPEX.

Fourth overpass for John F. Kennedy Avenue
The Ministry of Public Works announced the construction of a fourth overpass over John F. Kennedy Avenue. The one kilometer long overpass would run from the Lope de Vega intersection with Reid & Compañía to the Tiradentes/Delta Commercial intersection. It is estimated it would benefit around 70,000 cars at peak hours. It would allow turning left and U turns at the Kennedy intersections with Lope de Vega and Tiradentes streets. The other overpasses going up across the John F. Kennedy Avenue are located at Winston Churchill (already completed), Abraham Lincoln and Máximo Gómez, which are under construction.

Human error causes blow up at Puerto Plata power plant
Human errors in the operation of the Puerto Plata I power plant, were said to be responsible for the blow out of the boiler of the plant. The mistakes were made in the control room, informed sources told the Listín Diario. Technician Carlos Amador Valdez was severely burned in the blowout. He was flown to Santo Domingo by helicopter. Three other employees were seriously injured and were interned at the Centro Medical Bournigal in Puerto Plata. As a result of the explosion, the Puerto Plata I power plant is now out of operation. The Listín speculated it could be another three months before it goes on line again.

Penal Code revised
President Leonel Fernández received yesterday at the National Palace the bill for the new Dominican Penal Code. The bill revises the 115 year Penal Code that is being used today by the judiciary. The new bill has provisions for money laundering, terrorism, professional malpractice, electronic crimes and illegal possession of guns. It also incorporates a life jail sentence. President Fernández had appointed a presidential commission to revise and bring up to date the penal code. Members of that commission are: Artagnan Pérez, Víctor José Castellanos, Ramón Andrés Blanco Fernández, Aura Celeste Fernández, Mercedes Cosme de Gonell, Roberto Ivan Obando, Juárez Castillo and Jose Lorenzo Fermín.

New Chichí Peralta CD coming in October
Chichí Peralta's contemporary Dominican music group, Son Familia will launch a second CD on 12 October. Caiman, his Miami-based recording company, reported that the Chichí Peralta new production was recorded in studios in Santo Domingo, Bogotá, Lima, London and Paris. Performing with Peralta and his group is the London Symphony Orchestra and two African artists. The CD mixes Latin, tropical and African rhythms, creating a very modern and stylized Caribbean music. His first CD, "Pa' otro la'o" is extraordinary and considered a must buy. The first CD also includes a recording with the London Symphony Orchestra.

"Aida" at the National Theater
Giuseppe Verdi's opera, "Aida" will go on stage at the National Theater, 25, 27 and 29 August. It is a presentation of the Opera de las Americas group. The performers include Evangelina Colon and Teresa Pérez de Frangie, mezzo soprano Marianne Cornetti, Ondina Matos, Antonio Barasorda and Francisco Casanova, Noel Ramírez, Janusz Monarcha, Frank Lendor, Carlos Alfredo Fatule and Juan Tomás Reyes. The National Choir, National Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Concierto Dominicano are also performing. The National Symphony will be directed by Jan Jozef Wnek. The New Orleans Opera Association is in charge of the stage design, and Malabar Limited, are providing the costumes. This opera is a production by Teresa Pérez de Frangie, Eduardo Villanueva and Luis Carlos López.

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 tomorrow. 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. This concert is a benefit.

Sammy Sosa trails Mark McGwire
Sammy Sosa hit his 43rd home run in the game the Chicago Cubs lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, 10-7. Sosa is now one run behind Major League homer leader Mark McGwire. Sosa had lead in home runs until recently when he entered into a slump.
The two have 53 games to go, and it is possible that they may beat last year's record-breaking marks of 70 for Mark McGwire and 66 for Sammy Sosa.

Sosa could again play in Japan
The Chicago Cubs are considering traveling to Tokyo next year to play the New York Mets. The Chicago Cubs would play two exhibition games, probably against Japanese professional ball teams, and two regular-season games against the Mets. Sosa is very popular in Japan and has plans to go there in November because of commercial endorsements. This would be his second trip to Japan. The trip was originally offered to the St. Louis Cardinals which turned down the option. McGwire himself is against the idea of a Japanese leg of the Major League season. He says he is absolutely against it and that Major League baseball should stay in the US.

National Army promotes Pan Am gold medalists
The National Army promoted to major sergeants athletes Wanda Rijo and Juana Arrendel. The two benefit from a Dominican military program that affiliates outstanding Dominican athletes so that these may receive a salary and be able to spend more time training. Wanda Rijo won a gold medal in weight lifting at the Pan Am Games last week. And Juana Arrendel also won a gold medal, in the high jump, but was disqualified for testing positive on a doping test. Chief of the Army, Major General José Eliseo Noble Espejo said he recommended that President Leonel Fernández promote the two as a recognition to their extraordinary performance in the Pan Am Games. The Army chief says that the Army is 100% behind Arrendel, despite the misfortune.
Wanda Rijo took a week off from training and announced she would get back to work to prepare for the World Weightlifting Championships that will open in Greece this November. She said that competition at those games is much tougher than that at the Pan Am Games.

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