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Daily News - 11 August 1999

Cacao exports decline significantly
Cacao exports have declined 80% during the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 1998. Exports during the first eight months of 1998 were US$92.5 million, while exports for the same period this year have been only US$18 million. Isidoro de la Rosa, of the Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD) says that the production of cacao was affected by Hurricane Georges. Only 30% of cacao trees were left standing. Cacao producers are seeking government support to plant new trees.

450,000 Dominicans are now US citizens
New York Consul General Bienvenido Pérez said that more than 450,000 Dominicans have recently become US nationals. Thousands more have deposited the necessary documents to apply for US citizenship. Pérez pointed out that US politicians are now addressing the needs of the Dominican community, interested in their vote. He urged Dominicans to cooperate fully with the upcoming Census, as state and city funding to Dominicans will depend on the numbers counted by the Census.

Four toll booths to be in operation next weeks
The Ministry of Public Works announced that as of next week three more toll booths will be in operation. The government increased tolls for vehicles departing Santo Domingo from RD$2.00 to RD$5.00 and established a similar return toll. The government says the moneys will used to maintain highways and modernize these. The Las Americas Highway toll booth was the first to go into operation, shortly after Easter this year. Next week, the automated toll booths at Km. 25 Autopista Duarte, Km. 12 Carretera Sánchez and Av. 6 de Noviembre will begin operating. The government invested RD$142 million in the four toll booths. These have 10 lanes, five in each direction. Two of the middle lanes are reversible depending on the flow of traffic.

New cart service at Las Americas
Airport authorities announced that Smart Karts is the new company that will be servicing travelers with new luggage carts at Las Americas International Airport. Travelers will now have an option to using the service of the persistent airport porters. Travelers have constantly complained about being harassed by luggage porters demanding high fees of their services, which are many times unsolicited. The new service will allow travelers to personally transport their luggage from Customs to the parking area. The number of porters at the airport is being reduced. The airport authorities also established a set fee of US$1 per luggage carried by the porter.

Going, going...
Hoy newspaper comments on how both the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano and the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the nation's two majority political parties, are trying all means to convince former President Joaquín Balaguer to endorse their candidate in the 2000 presidential election. Balaguer is expected to run for President and lose in the first round. Neither the PRD or the PLD are expected to garner the necessary 50%+1 of the vote to win in the first round. Thus, Balaguer's endorsement of either the PRD or the PLD candidate in the second round is crucial. Hoy comments that so far, the PLD maneuvered to support the PRSC candidate to preside the Dominican Municipal League, the organization that regulates and handles government allocations to city governments. And the PRD recently said it would vote for whomever Balaguer chose to preside the Chamber of Deputies. They are also offering the PRSC thousands of jobs in city governments around the country. The PRD won most of the city governments in the 1998 municipal elections. Likewise, the PRD hopes to entice Balaguer with the bait of voting for a PRSC man or woman to preside several of the city government boards. Balaguer will be 93 in September and is blind.

JCE says it is issuing 10,000-15,000 voting cards a day
The Junta Central Electoral, the body in charge of organizing presidential election in the DR, says that it has given new voting cards to 2,224,189 citizens in 70 municipalities. In July, it said voting cards were issued at a minimum 10,000 to a maximum 15,000 per day.

Privatization of electricity bill paying completed by Friday
The CDE reports that as of Friday the entire distribution of electricity will be administered by the private sector, completing the first phase of the capitalization of the CDE. Distribution and bill collecting has been granted to AES Distribuidora del Este and Unión Fenosa.
Earlier in the week, the AES Corporation announced that it had completed the acquisition of 50% of the Empresa Distribuidora de Electricidad del Este, S.A., the distribution company providing electricity to approximately 400,000 users in the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic, for US$109.3 million. The Dominican state is the owner of the other 50%.
AES Distribuidora del Este has already begun its operations in the eastern side of Santo Domingo (East of Máximo Gómez Avenue) and eastern provinces.
Unión Fenosa, a Spanish firm, will be operational as of Friday in the remaining parts of Santo Domingo and the rest of the DR.

"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.

San Lázaro wins regular basketball series
San Lazaro won the regular series of the Santo Domingo Basketball Championship. San Lázaro defeated Los Prados 97-86 yesterday to win. This is the fourth time San Lázaro wins a regular season. They did so in 1977, 1991, 1995. The teams that will play in the semi-finals will be chosen this weekend, with Los Prados, Los Mina and Villa Duarte still having a chance. The championship continues at the newly remodeled and air-conditioned Palacio de los Deportes of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. The game between San Carlos and Villa Duarte starts at 8 pm.

Hispaniola Marathon winners
José Francisco Paulino and Pascuala Beras won the La Hispaniola Half Marathon. Paulino clocked in at 1:12:33, followed by Juan Angomas and Emilio Díaz in the next five seconds. He won a RD$15,000 first prize, and the runner ups RD$9,000 and RD$6,000. Beras clocked in at 1:28:05, followed by Haydeli Santana and Yocasta Elizabeth Peña. There were similar prizes for the women. The 21 kms. marathon was run at the Avenida de la Salud, off Mirador Park.

Dominican long distance swimmer wins in New York
The Dominican long distance swimming record holder Marcos Diaz was visiting friends in New York who convinced him to join a long distance swimming event. To everyone's surprise he won the Ken Killian Ocean Mile Swim held in Rockaway, New York. Díaz set a 52 kilometer long distance record for the Dominican Republic in June. He is training for the Latin American Masters Championship which will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from 6-11 September.

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