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Daily News - 27 August 1999

Insurance companies retaliate against private clinics
The Dominican Chamber of Insurance Companies (CADOAR) canceled medical insurance contracts with four private clinics in the South. The companies did not accept insurance plan patients earlier in the week as part of a protest promoted by the Dominican Medical Association (AMD) and the Association of Private Clinics (ANDECLIP) against insurance companies. The striking physicians and clinics want the insurance companies to increase the payments for medical services made to physicians and clinics, and that these payments be made on time. The CADOAR members say that they will only negotiate with clinics and physicians on a one and one basis.
The AMD and ANDECLIP took their protest to the East region of the country today. While clinics and physicians continue working, many are refusing to accept patients that want to pay with their insurance plans.
More than a million Dominicans are affiliated to the private insurance medical plans that help make otherwise expensive medical services accessible to large numbers of employed Dominicans.

Eyesore barge to become natural habitat
The government has announced plans to sink the oil-transporting barge that is stuck in front of the Banco Agrícola on the Malecón. The idea is to convert it into a marine habitat, after 3,000 gallons of crude and certain parts are removed.

Haitian ambassador says it has issued 30,000 birth certificates
The ambassador of Haiti in the DR, Guy Lamothe told the Listín Diario that the Haitian Embassy in the DR is addressing the problem of undocumented Haitians living in the DR. He said that the Santo Domingo-based embassy has issued 30,000 birth certificates to Haitians residing in the DR since the program began in 1998 in response to requests from Dominican authorities.
Less than 2,000 Haitians are legal residents of the Dominican Republic, while migration authorities and the Haitian Embassy concur there must be about 500,000 Haitians residing illegally in the DR.
The Haitian Embassy was authorized to issue the birth certificates or consular letters where a photograph of the individual is featured and this serves as identification. Because of the extreme poverty in Haiti, most Haitians that cross the DR frontier at unofficial points do not have identification. This brings innumerable problems for the adults and also for their offspring. For instance, their children have trouble getting their titles from public schools as they have not been issued birth certificates. The Haitian Constitution recognizes as Haitians those born of Haitian parents through the third generation. The Dominican Constitution recognizes as Dominicans all born in the national territory except those born of parents that are here in transit. The illegal Haitians are considered "in transit."

Haitian ambassador calls for continued cooperation
The Haitian ambassador Guy Lamothe explained that repatriating Haitians is not a definitive solution to the Haitian-DR migration problems. He said that the solution is to put behind us isolationism and promote strong, open cooperation, regardless of the two countries being independent and having very distinct cultures. A Dominican-Haitian bilateral commission is addressing these issues and the Dominican government is lobbying for international support for Haiti.
Lamothe emphasized the need to cooperate to find the funds that will help bring development to Haiti. He concurs with Dominican authorities that only an increase in well being in Haiti will bring a stop to the migration in large numbers. Lamothe says that the DR today is in great part dependent on Haiti for cheap labor for farm fields and construction industry. He says that the Haitians have moved on from working in the sugar fields to working in tomato and rice plantations and in urban construction works.
He said that the migration was caused by the slowing down of the Haitian economy, the political instability that brought about a drop in foreign investment and employment at free zones.
More so, Lamothe said that economic development in Haiti is in the best interest of Dominicans because Haiti is a big market for Dominican produce. He said that 77% of Dominican exports to the Caribbean were sent to Haiti.
He estimates that 300,000-400,000 work in the DR. Stats show that there are only 1,862 legal Haitian residents, and 1,693 legal refugees.
The DR and Haiti are divided by a 300 kilometer frontier that is easily crossed by anyone who cares to do so.

Similarities of the two presidential candidates
El Siglo points out several things that the two leading presidential candidates have in common. Hipólito Mejía (PRD) and Danilo Medina (PLD) saw their first TV at 15 and 14 years, respectively. They are both sons of farmers. They were both born in rural areas where there was no electricity. Both have been government ministers. Hipólito Mejía was born in Gurabo, Santiago; Medina in Arroyo Cano, San Juan de la Maguana. Medina still speaks with the "jalaito" in his accent, and Mejía has the "cibadeño" accent.

Who's coming to Puerto Plata
El Siglo reports that German nationals lead the list of foreign visitors to the North Coast. During the first seven months of the year, some 146,127 Germans visited using the Puerto Plata International Airport. Canadians were second with 76,279 visiting. US citizens made up the third largest number of visitors, with 68,614 during that period. Some 46,798 British tourists visited, as well as 22,461 Spaniards. From Sweden, some 15,878 came. 14,907 came from Holland, and 9,490 came from Belgium. The number of Puerto Rican visitors was 9,459. Some 7,597 Italians visited; 3,710 came from Finland, 3,710. The total of French visitors was 3,594; and 1,903 came from Portugal. Some 22,788 more visitors came by way of Puerto Plata during the first seven months of the year, compared to the same period in 1998. Tourists arriving by way of the Puerto Plata airport primarily stay in Puerto Plata, María Trinidad Sánchez and Samaná hotels.

Aida" at the National Theater
Giuseppe Verdi's opera, "Aida" opened to a full house of opera-lovers at the National Theater on 25 August. Presentations continue this 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.Tickets are for sale at the National Theater box office.

Another good day for Dominican ball players
Sammy Sosa hit his 53rd home run to continue to lead the Major League home run race. Mark McGwire has batted 51 home runs. Both are scheduled to play today.
Vladimir Guerrero hit his 32nd home run, to extend his hitting streak to 31 days consecutive days batting hit.

Basketball finals
San Lázaro and Mauricio Báez begin tonight the final of the Santo Domingo Superior Basketball Championship. The last time these two teams clashed in a final was in 1996. Then, San Lázaro kept the title. This is Mauricio Báez's 9th time in a final; San Lázaro's 7th. The games will take place:
27, 29, 31 August and 1, 3, 5 and 7 (if necessary) October at the newly remodeled and air-conditioned Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center's Sports Palace. Games start at 8 pm.

Dominican boxer set for world title bout
Dominican Julio Cesar Green, the Interim WBA Middleweight Champion will challenge William Joppy for the third time in Washington. Green (25-3, 17 KOs), from the Bronx, N.Y., by way of Santo Domingo, is the mandatory challenger for Joppy by virtue of his ninth-round stoppage over former top-ranked contender Darren Obah on Feb. 20, 1999, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Green defeated Joppy in August 1997, but then lost by decision in a fight held in January 1998. The fight against Joppy will take place on 24 September. Green says that the fight will either open or close doors for him.

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