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Daily News - 07 September 1999

IDB president calls for passing of economic reforms
Enrique Iglesias, president of the Interamerican Development Bank, in Santo Domingo for a meeting with chief economists and cabinet members of the Fernández administration, urged politicians to include the issue of the pending economic reforms in their political platforms. The DR is behind on the implementation of reduction of import tariffs and an increase in sales taxes. Iglesias feels the implementation of the reforms and an increase in government revenues is essential to maintaining the country's high level of economic growth. Iglesias spoke to the press following meetings held at Casa de Campo in La Romana with President Leonel Fernández and his staff.

Roberto Saladín named Dominican ambassador in Washington, D.C.
The Fernández government officially appointed Roberto Saladín, former governor of the Central Bank, the Dominican Republic's ambassador before the United States government. Saladín replaces Bernardo Vega, who resigned on 30 April. Vega had accepted the post in at the start of the Fernández administration, but at the time only agreed to stay in the post for two years. Saladín is a former governor of the Central Bank who at the time of his nomination was general manager of the Banco de Reservas, the government's commercial bank. Saladín's appointment is contained in Decree 386-99.

Teachers don't show for start of classes
President Leonel Fernández gave a speech to open the school year on Monday, 6 September, but classes did not start as the Dominican Professors Association (ADP) called a two-day strike. An ADP spokesman said it has instructed its members to show up for classes on Wednesday, 8 September, instead. The ADP wants the government to pay pending teachers incentives in a lump sum, or RD$180 million. The government has offered to pay the moneys in monthly installments. Public school professors have had it good in the Fernández administration. The Fernández administration has invested millions to rescue a depressed and abandoned public school system. The government built a RD$37 million hospital to service teachers, plus more than doubled their salaries. When President Fernández took office in August 1996, professors made only slightly more than RD$4,000. Today, their salaries range between RD$9,000-RD$10,000 per month. Thus Cardinal Nicolás López Rodríguez called the strike an irresponsibility on their behalf.
Some 246,240 new students enrolled in public schools this year, adding to the 1,227,000 new students that have entered public schools since 1996.

CAB justifies freeze on exploitation rights for Dominican airlines
The Civil Aviation Board justified granting exclusive US route exploitation rights to the grounded state airline, Dominicana Airlines in order to make it easier to find a strategic partner. The freeze on the concession of new rights to Dominican airlines will last seven years. Even if an adequate partner is found, Dominicana Airlines cannot fly to the US until the US government lifts the ban on Dominican airlines.
The CAB explained that Resolution 281-99 of 27 August that grants the exclusive rights, doesn't affect the interests of foreign airlines that would like to fly to the DR, nor of those, either Dominican or foreign that have already been granted permission to exploit routes to the DR.

Dominican airlines that already have exploitation rights are:
Líneas Aereas Dominicanas, S. A. (Dominair)
APA International
Taino Airlines
Compañía de Aspersiones Aérea, C. or A. (Codeaca)
Aerochago S.A.
Compañía Dominicana de Aviación
Aeromar Airlines, C. por A.
Servicios Aéreos Profesionales
Jet Expresso, S.A.
Aerolíneas Mundo, S.A.
A.T. Air Taxi C. por A.
Coturisca, C., por A.
Aeronaves Dominicanas, C. por A.
Caribair, S.A.
Air Century
Queen Air
Aerotour Dominicana Airlines
Aerolíneas Santo Domingo
Air Atlantic Dominicana
Aries Dominicanos
Agricultura Aérea
Anmy Aeropublicidad

US airlines with regular flight exploitation rights:
Turk and Caicos Airways (UK)
Compañía Panameña de Aviación-Copa (Panama)
Executive Airlines Inc. ­American Eagle (USA)
Continental Airlines (USA)
American Airlines (USA)
Tower Air (USA)
Challenge Air Cargo (USA)
Trans World Airlines
Fine Air
Lynx Air International
Amerijet International
Northwest Airlines

Foreign airlines from other countries:
ALM Airlines (Holland)
Martinair Holland (Holland)
Alitalia (Italy)
Air Europa (Spain)
Iberia (Spanish)
Hapag Lloyd Flug (Germany)
Condor Gludienst (Germany)
Aerolineas Argentinas (Argentina)
Cubana de Aviación (Cuba)
Línea Aérea Nacional de Chile-Lanchile (Chile)
Air Guadaloupe (France)
AOM Minerve (France)
Air France (France)
Aeroservicios Carabobo-Aserca (Venezuela)

Alert to parents
Hoy newspaper reports that so far this year 20 children have burned to death when their homes burned and they were unable to leave on time. Many of the children had been left alone by their parents that went out on errands. Over the weekend only, four children under five years died in similar circumstances. The Firemen of Santo Domingo issued an alert to parents to not leave their small children alone. There have been 145 fires from January to June, of this year in the city of Santo Domingo.

Attorney General takes over Corruption Department
Attorney General César Pina Toribio said that the Department of Prevention of Corruption under his office has distributed the pending 80 cases of corruption in his office among four assistance lawyers and seven auditors. The previous director of the office resigned, frustrated because none of the cases his office studied went beyond the study. El Nacional newspaper reported that the government would be "reopening" the HydroQuebec-Sofati case, involving fraud of US$20 million against the state and in which leading officers of the Balaguer administration were implicated. The case was put aside when today legal advisor to the President Abel Rodríguez del Orbe was Attorney General. Pina Toribio said that the case cannot be reopened because it was never closed. It is believed that the case was stashed away for political reasons then, and political analysts now speculate it could be "reopened" for political reasons.

Labor problems affect drivers' license bureau
Employees of the Dirección General de Tránsito Terrestre, the bureau which issues and renews drivers' licenses, are striking protesting what they call discrimination by the new director of the bureau. They complain the new director is selectively applying salary raises, and has transferred employees. The new director, Ruben Feliz Lebreault says that the department is being modernized and decentralized to improve services offered. The former director spearheaded a modernization process that has resulted in the issuing and renewing of drivers' licenses in much shorter time periods.

Indigent Haitians burden frontier hospital finances
El Siglo newspaper reports that public hospitals in the frontier provinces spend 50% of their resources on servicing Haitian patients. For humanitarian reasons, public hospitals located from Pedernales to Monte Cristi, along the frontier, offer emergency services to Haitians. El Siglo reports that most of the cases they see are births, tuberculosis, AIDS, malaria, injuries, malnutrition, diarrhea and respiratory infections. The public hospitals have to finance the transportation of the sick Haitians back to Haiti or to regional hospitals within the DR. Minister of Public Health Juan Octavio Ceballos recognizes the problem, but said that the authorities do not have a solution.

Ricardo Baio Mejía comes home
Dominican actress Indhira Mejía recovered her son, four-year old Ricardo Baio on Friday. The mother received him when he arrived at 2:30 pm by Iberia by way of Spain. He had been abducted by his father on 22 July 1999. The father had been spending the summer vacation with his son in La Romana when he abducted the child and left the country on board the ferry to San Juan, Puerto Rico and from there to Italy. Ricardo's mother protested the case, and fought her case in the press and through official channels. She said she was most grateful to Dominican vice consul in Italy, Eduardo Flores, who followed through in Italy with legal procedures begun in Santo Domingo. The father alleged there were not conditions in the DR to educate his son properly.
Mejía urged other mothers in her same condition to come forth and fight their cases. Mejía met her husband when she volunteered on a project he worked on in the DR. She later married him and moved to Italy where she lived with him for three years until she decided to divorce him. She said in Italy there are many Dominican women who will endure suffering because their Italian husbands have threatened to keep their children if they leave or file a divorce. After the success of Mejía, it is probable that more women will follow suit.

TV producer seriously injured in car crash
TV producer Frederick Martinez, El Pachá, is interned in the intensive care unit of the Centro Medico UCE where he was taken to from Santiago. He was seriously injured in an accident when his Toyota Camry crashed with a Honda 70 motorcycle. The 21 year old driver of the motorcycle, Carlos David Sanchez died on site. The crash occurred at 12:30 am near the Fortaleza Fernando Valerio in Santiago when El Pachá was on his way to return to Santo Domingo. He was with his uncle who was not injured.

Nuria Piera to marry Pablo McKinney
Nuria Piera, the renown TV program producer, is marrying journalist Pablo McKinney, according to El Siglo newspaper. McKinney is assistant to Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal. Nuria produces the TV programs "Nuria en el 9" and "Doble Filo." Both programs have high audience ratings. McKinney worked on the Piera production team some time ago.

Piano contest winners to play at National Theater
The National Symphony Orchestra will accompany the winners of the Santander International Piano Concert during their presentation on Wednesday, 8 September at the National Theater. They will be here participating in a benefit for the Asociación Pro Educación y Cultura. The Santander contest is organized by the Foundation Isaac Albeniz, that was founded in 1972 by Paloma O'Shea, a world-recognized supporter of young piano talents. The award-winning pianists are Koreans John Hwa Park and Yung Wook Yo, both US trained, and Plamena Mangova from Bulgaria. For tickets contact Sinfonía at Tel. 532-6600 or the National Theater at 682-7255. Tickets: RD$500-RD$300.

National Theater Drama Season continues this weekend
The National Theater's drama season resumes this weekend, 8-12 September with the presentation of the play, "Bachata para María Viveza." This play will last through 26 September.
Radhamés Polanco wrote and directs this play that was chosen "best drama" by Casa de Teatro in 1997.
The action takes place primarily in a brothel. Actors play the role of eight Dominican stereotypes.
The play will also be shown 15-19 September, 22-26 September at 10 am and 8:30 pm at the Sala Ravelo.
Starring roles are played by Laura Guzmán (María Viveza), Henry Mercedes (Pedro Baile), Ramón Matrille (Deputy Medina Rubirosa), Clara Luz Lozano (Maria Paulino), and Doris Sánchez (Rosa Velorio). The play is produced by Mariela Freundt.
The National Theater's drama season continues with: "Creonte" from 1 October to 7 November; "La Trinitaria Blanca," from 12 November to 5 December and "Chicken Cordon Blue," from 14 January to 6 February.

Presidente Beer Summer Games in Boca Chica next weekend
Presidente Beer is sponsoring what is being called its Summer Games. Sumo fights (with contenders inside inflated balloon sumo costumes), races, roulette, beach volleyball and other games are scheduled. There will also be live music with some of the top rock groups, including Al Jadaqui and Toque Profundo, as well as the participation of leading DJs.
The final location for the games is in Boca Chica, next 12 September. The games were held previously in Salinas Baní; and Cabarete, Puerto Plata.

Exciting final for the Basketball Championship
Seventh and final game of the Santo Domingo Superior Basketball Tournament will be played tonight at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Sports Center Sports Palace. San Lázaro will meet Mauricio Baez.

DR defeats Haiti in soccer for the first time
For the first time, the Dominican Republic defeated Haiti in a qualifying round of the Olympic Games. The Dominican team beat Haiti 1-0 at the Instituto Preparatorio de Menores (Refor) in San Cristóbal. The DR advances in the qualifying rounds for the Sydney, Australia Olympic Games. Luis Omar Sánchez made the only goal for Dominicans. The president of the Olympic Committee of Haiti came to watch the game. Haitians traditionally have beat Domincans in football. The Dominican team will now match Cuba, on 19 September.

Sammy Sosa hits his 58th home run
Dominican Sammy Sosa hit his 58th home run on Monday, to place himself four home runs ahead of Major League home run record holder Mark McGwire. Sosa is now only 12 runs away from McGwire's 70 home run record, but he has only 26 games to go. Sosa is about to become the first Major League player to bat 60 home runs in two consecutive seasons. McGwire commented to the Chicago Sun Times that now he believes his record is passable. Sosa is keeping a faster pace than he had last season. If he kept up the same pace, he would finish the season with 68 home runs.

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