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Daily News - 10 September 1999

Dominicans pay high electricity bills
El Siglo newspaper headlines today that Dominicans pay the most expensive "light" bills in the world. The quotes are most likely included in the headline because many times Dominicans are paying for blackouts. The newspaper says that DR cost of electricity is US$0.07 per kilowatt, compared to a regional average of US$0.03. The high cost of electricity is attributed to high operational costs, organizational deficiencies of the system, deficiencies in the distribution network (losses estimated at up to 45%), and privileged contracts awarded to power suppliers. Some energy suppliers sell power at US$0.09. There was a time power was sold for US$0.12 the kilowatt. Businessmen complain this places the DR in a difficult competitive position. In the DR it is estimated that 44% of consumers do not pay for energy consumed, thus it has been a common practice to charge more to those who pay in order to compensate for those who do not pay. There are hopes that privatization will increase the number of Dominican households and businesses that pay for power consumed. It is also expected that in the medium term, the more efficient private companies will distribute energy at a lower cost and pass savings on to consumers. At least AES Distribuidora del Este, one of the companies, has said it is working on the improvements in the distribution lines in order to reduce losses. The company has said works will take approximately six months, during which time large sectors of the country will suffer from long blackouts.

President Fernández denies he will take time off
President Leonel Fernández said it is not true that he will take a three-month license from his duties as reported by Hoy newspaper yesterday. The President of the Republic supposedly was to take the time off to campaign for Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) presidential candidate, Danilo Medina. Medina was his campaign manager when he successfully ran for President in 1996. Fernández said he will neither take vacations nor days off from his duties.

No new taxes in remaining days of Fernández government
Speaking during a visit to Puerto Plata, President Leonel Fernández said that his government will not increase taxes from now to his government's end in August 2000. "This government has been able to increase collections without increasing taxes," said the President. He was in Puerto Plata to inaugurate several works built by the government. The Interamerican Development Bank recently recommended an increase in taxes in order to better distribute wealth and sustain the present high development rate.

Supreme Court orders search for Jorge Blanco case
The Supreme Court of Justice ordered that the Departmento de Inspectoría Judicial carry out an in depth investigation to locate the dossier of the case regarding corruption in office against former President Salvador Jorge Blanco. The SCJ says that when the dossier is located it will issue a statement on the status of the case. Last week, lawyer Marino Vinicio Castillo requested the Attorney General and District Attorney continue the case against former President Jorge Blanco. The case has been dormant for about eight years.

Engineers resort to hunger strike to try to get paid
El Siglo newspaper reports on the hunger strike started by near 50 contractors that have not been paid on time by the government. They are demanding the fulfillment of the agreement signed with the government last April in which the government committed to clear the debt of US$2,000 million in quotas of RD$20 million a month.
According to news reports, contractors on hunger strike have worked on the 27 de Febrero Expressway tunnels, the expansion of the George Washington Avenue (Malecón), the expansion of Las Americas Highway, the construction of toll booths, the Autovía del Este and other public works. Recently, the president of the Dominican Council of Businesses (CONEP) said that the reputation of not fulfilling its commitments weighs against the Fernández government. News commentators say it is not so much a problem of availability of money, as one of lack of experience in managing and scheduling the payments.

Ministry of Education disconnected for not paying bills
Codetel, the leading telephone company, suspended telephone service to the Ministry of Education, Hoy newspaper reported. The Ministry of Education apparently was in arrears. The Ministry of Education is also in arrears with professors incentive payments and with making payments to other product and service suppliers, including millionaire debts to school breakfast providers.

Foreigners to be kept in jail for sex and drug crimes
District Attorney Francisco Domínguez Brito warned that foreigners that are arrested and convicted on charges of prostitution, rape of minors, trafficking with weapons, drugs, white slavery and other crimes will have to serve their sentence terms in the DR. He said that while in the past it was a common practice to deport these persons, this is no longer the policy of the judiciary. "I do not believe in deporting them, as they return. Before, that was the policy, now the policy is that they serve their sentence, and then they will be deported." He said there are a number of foreign residents in the country that are bad news and a serious problem for authorities. He said that many times they have criminal records in their country and have come to the DR to escape persecution.

Sammy Sosa bats his 59th home run
Sammy Sosa batted his 59th home run yesterday. He has had 88 turns at bat, and has 22 games to go. He is batting for .301, with 127 runs batted in. He hits a home run every 9.22 turns. He has 332 home runs for life. Sports analysts say if he maintains the same pace, he may end the season with 69 home runs. He became only the fourth player in the history of Major Leagues to accumulate 200 home runs in four consecutive seasons.
Today he will play against the Houston Astros. He is five runs ahead of Mark McGwire, who hit 70 home runs in 1998, establishing an all time new record for the Major Leagues.

Calendar of Coming Up Activities:
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 on Sunday, 12 September
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.11. Handicraft fair coming up this week
Feriarte 99 will be held 16-19 September at the Hotel Embajardor. Feriarte, in its ninth year, is the leading handicraft fair held in the DR. It is organized by the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce. The fair is an exhibition of Dominican crafts where those attending can purchase items at attractive prices.
National Symphony Orchestra season opens
National Theater presents, Symphony Season 1999.
The first concert of the second half of the National Symphony season will take place on 15 September. Julio De Windt, conductor. Alex Velinzon, violin solo. Works by L.V. Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 (Eroica); M. M. Miniño, Canto a la Madre Tierra; N. Paganini, Concert No. 1 for violin and orchestra in Re Major. Tickets: RD$150-RD$120 for sale at the National Theater.
The season continues as follows:
22 September 1999
Piero Gamba, conductor
Erling Bentsson, cello solo
Works by:
McMussorgsky: A Night at Monte Calvo
P. I. Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra.
A. Dvorak: B. Symphony No. 9 (New World)
29 September 1999
Fernando Geraldes, conductor
Zvezdana de Tabar, violin solo
Franz Ureña Rib, viola solo
Participation of the National Choir
Works by:
Mc Luna: Tres Preludios para Cuerdas
J.S. Bach: Cantata No. 172 for choir and orchestra
W. A. Mozart: Concert Symphony for violin, viola and orchestra K364
I. Stravinsky: Firebird Suite
6 October 1999
Alejandro Posada Gomez, conductor
Works by:
A. Mejia: Pequeña Suite, Aires Sinfónicos Colombianos
L. U. Bueno: El Cucarrón (Pasillo)
M. A. Martin: Carmentea (Joropo).
G. P. Alvarez: Mi Buenaventura (Currulao)
H. L. Bermudez: Prende la Vela (Mapale)
L.V. Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
Handicraft fair coming up this week
Feriarte 99 will be held 16-19 September at the Hotel Embajardor. Feriarte, in its ninth year, is the leading handicraft fair held in the DR. It is organized by the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce. The fair is an exhibition of Dominican crafts where those attending can purchase items at attractive prices.
Tribute to bolero music in October
"Con la Magia del Bolero...100 Años Despues" will be an evening dedicated to romance at the stages of the Teatro Lafiesta in Santo Domingo (Friday, 1 October) and Centro Español in Santiago (Saturday, 2 October). Romantic boleros will be staged by legends such as Lucho Gatica, Olga Guillot, Lope Balaguer, Anthony Ríos and Francis Santana.
Expo Europa set for October
More than 130 Dominican and foreign companies will participate in the Vth Expo Europa '99 exhibition, sponsored by the Federation of European Chambers of Commerce of the DR and the Office for the Promotion of Foreign Investment (OPI). The event will take place at the convention center of the Hotel Dominican Fiesta from 7-10 October.
Iberoamerican Theater Festival starts 11 October
The National Theater is announcing the Second International Iberoamerican Theater Festival. The festival was first held in 1997. This time, Dominican works will be included in the program of plays to be presented. Dominican plays that will be shown are "Amanda," "Quijote," and "Wish-ky Sour."
The festival is a series of theatrical presentations, forums and workshops on theater. The activities will take place at the Eduardo Brito and Ravelo halls of the Teatro Nacional, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Museo de Historía y Geografía, Paraboloide del Museo de Arte Moderno and the Museo de Historia Nacional through 24 October.
The event has become a place for the encounter of leading playwrights from Ibero America. Participants are coming from Spain, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba and Argentina.

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