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Daily News - 25 August 1999

Plantains sell for RD$0.25
Plaza Lama is advertising plantains for RD$0.25 cents each. This is much much less than the peak RD$8.00 per plantain of the post Hurricane Georges days. It also shows the country's planting capacity as well as its lack of planning. What is likely to happen? In eight months time, plantains will cost upwards of RD$3.00-RD$4.00 again, as all those who planted plantains will say "never again" after loosing their shirts with the depressed prices.
Meanwhile, eat all the plantains you can now, in all ways ­ "mangú" (mashed) and "tostones" (fried). Or let them ripen and make sweet plantain "pastelón" (with meat or vegetable filling), or cooked in sugar. When the price of plantains surged due to the scarcity following Hurricane Georges (last September), thousands planted the staple. Thus today there is an overabundance. Suplidora Agrícola and Casa Calín are two companies that are visiting farms to purchase the plantains for sale in Miami, New York and Puerto Rico.
Farm produce in general is selling for record low prices. Super Pola is advertising the pound of Barcelo tomatoes for RD$0.95, celery for RD$0.75, avocados at RD$0.75 each, cucumbers at RD$0.75 the pound, carrots at RD$0.85 the pound.

And they mean business
Newspaper headlines this morning tell of a meeting of President Leonel Fernández with military chiefs and the Commissioner for the Reform of Public Enterprise (CREP). They met to support the CREP in its endeavor to end the occupation of the state sugar council (CEA) lands by opportunists. The land invasions were a major obstacle to the expedite privatization of the state sugar mill lands. The government seeks to lease these for 30 years. The meeting was held at the National Palace. Present were the Minister of the Armed Forces, Lt. General Manuel de Jesus Florentino, chief of the Army, Major General José Eliseo Noble; chief of the Navy, Victor García Alecont, chief of the Air Force, Major General Hugo González Borrel. The president of the CREP, Antonio Isa Conde, and the recently appointed director of the CEA, Felix Alcántara.

President Fernández's agenda for his last year
In an interview with El Siglo, President Leonel Fernández said that on his agenda for his last year of government (in the DR the Constitution bans him from running in a consecutive election) is the completion of the capitalization of the state enterprises, the remodeling and construction of new hospitals, and the completion of the program to install computer labs in public schools. He said that he hopes to complete the decentralization of the public health system and extend the modernization of public transport begun in Santo Domingo to Santiago, San Francisco de Macorís, San Pedro de Macorís and La Romana. President Fernández said that the greatest challenge of the DR at the present time is achieving sustained development while being a democracy. He said this requires that all political forces pact to an agreement setting the guidelines for the nation's development in the next 15 or 20 years.

Mega projects in Santo Domingo
El Siglo carries today a report on several megaprojects under construction in the capital city of Santo Domingo.
On the list:
Malecón Center. Commercial and residential project on the Malecón. Three 30-floor towers. Sea fronting apartments are to go for more than US$300,000 each.
Plaza Acrópolis-Citibank Tower. Av. Winston Churchill. Future headquarters of Citibank, office and commercial space for sale. More than US$37 million investment.
Ciudad Modelo Mirador Norte. Three million square meter residential development. 12,000 dwellings for middle class Dominicans. Self-sufficient power, garbage and potable water services.
El Prado Grand Hotel is slated for completion in August 2000. It will have 254 rooms and the city's largest meeting rooms, with capacity for more than 2,000 persons. It is going up on the Malecón.
Plaza Duarte. US$30 million project located at Km. 10-1/2 of Duarte Highway. Martinique island investors.
Megacentro. US$68 million investment in the city's largest shopping mall to be located on the east side of the city.
Multicentro. Shopping mall that recently opened calling for a US$19 million on Winston Churchill.

Jaguars on sale in Santo Domingo
Viamar, the local distributor of Ford cars in the Dominican Republic, opened last week the offices of its subsidiary, Jaguar Dominicana. The legendary British vehicle, is now being exhibited, sold and serviced in Santo Domingo. British Ambassador David Ward was among the special guests of the plush inaugural cocktail. There have been Jaguars in the DR since 1963. The offices of Jaguar Dominicana are located at the corner of Pastoriza and Tiradentes. Three Jaguar models are for sale ­ Series XJ, XK8 and the S-Type.

Birth in rooms now available in Santo Domingo
The Abel González medical group is offering a "birth in" experience for mothers-to-be at its new Centro de Medicina Avanzada Doctor Abel González. The modern medical center is equipped with the most modern medical technology. It is the only hospital to feature "birth in" rooms, where the patient can give birth in the privacy of her own room. The new center is located at Abraham Lincoln No. 953, almost corner Gustavo Mejía Ricart.

Bad students to be ousted from state university
The Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo announced 13,000 students enrolled at the state university will be denied registration in the new semester. The 13,000 students have had an accumulated average grade of less than 60 points during the past three semesters. The measure seeks to reduce the financial burden on the UASD, a tuition-less university for most Dominicans.

DA favors pursuing corruption cases
District Attorney Francisco Domínguez Brito says that all government corruption cases should be judged. He says that when cases are not completed, people loose faith in the system. He explained the general public is familiar with the corruption cases because they have made headlines, but that they are not followed up. He said that as a result, persons that were villains, today are heroes. Most of these cases continue to be politically-sensitive, regardless of them being cases of corruption within the present administration or past administrations.

DR could suffer major earthquake
With the Turkey earthquake the leading international news story, local newspapers have focused on the possibilities of the DR suffering a similar experience. Seismic specialists alert that everyone should check out if their building was built meeting seismic regulations.
Director of the Dominican Seismologic Institute, Juan Payero said that several buildings in the DR are at risk of collapsing as happened in Turkey. He says that those at most risk are two floor buildings on top of which an additional floor was built without taking into consideration the building's structure.
There are three major seismological systems in the island. The one to the north, running along the Cordillera Septentrional, places the cities of Samaná, San Francisco de Macorís, Moca and Monte Cristi the most vulnerable to quakes.
Another fault runs through the South-Southwest, making Ocoa, San Juan and Enriquillo Lake areas vulnerable.
A third, runs through the Caribbean Sea, in front of Santo Domingo. While one may take comfort that Santo Domingo does not lie directly on top of a fault, but seismologists alert that this does not eliminate the possibility of seismic waves drastically affecting the city from a distant epicenter.
Santo Domingo's big advantage is that it is built extensively on a rock foundation which provides a great deal of stability. Not so, the Cibao, where its soft soil is not compacted.
The Dominican Seismologic Institute has been predicting that a major earthquake is due to shake the DR.
The last earthquake of catastrophic dimensions wasin 1947, when the town of Matancitas in northeastern Nagua was destroyed by an earthquake that measured 8.1. On March 7, 1993, a shake in the municipality of Salinas registered 5.2 and another on April 12, 1993 in the Cibao measured 5.7. An earthquake measuring five points on the Richter scale occurred in San Francisco de Macorís on June 10, 1993, with no material damage reported. The earthquake's epicenter was located at the fault in the north central area of the town.
The president of the Dominican Seismology Foundation, engineer Rafael Corominas says the nation should be ready for an earthquake any day. Engineer Corominas said that historically earthquakes hae occurred at a time span of a minimum of 17 years and a maximum of 73 years.

Keep close watch on Emily
A close watch should be kept on tropical storm formations off the coast of Africa. Tropical Storm Emily is on a course that could affect the Caribbean. Mid August through the end of September is the peak time for hurricanes in the DR. Since hurricanes generate off the northern African coast, there is a good lead-time to predict when a hurricane will be passing through the Caribbean. To keep track of the storms, please refer to the updates on tropical posted by www.intellicast.com and the Weather Channel at www.weather.com

Basketball finals
The Santo Domingo Superior Basketball Tournament is coming to an end. San Lázaro defeated Los Prados 121-88 yesterday to win the right to confront Mauricio Báez in the finals. The tournament is dedicated to President Leonel Fernández and is taking place at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center's newly remodeled Sports Palace.

Dominican baseball stars doing well
Vladimir Guerrero batted a hit for the Montreal Expos in the game his team defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-4. This is the 29th consecutive game he bats at least one hit in.
Pedro Martínez (2.40) won his 18th game, this time against the Minnesota Twins, striking out 15. He has a record of 48 times when he has struck out 10 or more batters in a game.
Sammy Sosa (Mark McGwire has batted 51 home runs, too) leads the Major League home run race. Sosa and McGwire have 51 home runs a piece.

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