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Daily News - 14 September 1999

Classes start at state university, despite threat of strike
Classes began on schedule on Monday, 13 September at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the state university, despite a call to strike by one professor union. Apparently professors and students alike were eager to get to work. The authorities at the UASD have been making budgetary cuts, resulting in the elimination of perks and privileges to employees and professors. The cuts have eliminated multiple wage payments being made that did not correspond with work being carried out. The university also has plans to not admit students with grade averages of 60 points or less. This semester alone more than 12,000 students with grade averages of 60 points or less deserted voluntarily.
The UASD at one time was the most prestigious in the DR. Years of letting politics take over has resulted in a consistent decline on the performance of the students. Recent studies today show that 48% of the students maintain averages of less than 70 points.
The UASD has a registration of 102,000 students for the 1999-2000 semester.

Electrical breakdown affects flights to Las Americas
The second electrical breakdown in two days affected incoming evening flights to Las Americas International Airport, the country's main port of entry. The failure of the main runway lights system was attributed to a lightning discharge that occurred on Saturday evening around 9 pm. The problem was supposedly repaired by Sunday afternoon, but a repeat occurred on Monday evening at 7:30 pm, again affecting incoming flights. The affected flights were American Airlines flight from Miami, American Eagle flights from San Juan and a Copa flight from Panama. The flights were detoured to Puerto Plata and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

CEA tender today, amidst major problems
The Commission for the Reform of the Public Enterprise (CONEP) announced the tender for the 30-year lease of sugar cane fields, cattle fields and ranches, as well as sugar mill infrastructure and production facilities will take place today. This is the first phase of the privatization of the State Sugar Council (CEA) property. A second phase will involve the concession of lands with tourism or urban development potential.
The first phase calls for the concession of leases to the property of Barahona, Río Haina, Ozama, Boca Chica, Quisqueya, Santa Fe, Porvenir, Consuelo, Amistad and Montellano sugar mills.
The CEA tender has been affected by the millionaire debts maintained with suppliers and workers. The CEA is a deficitary organization that was kept alive with yearly multi-million subsidies from the central government.
A major political scandal also presents a major obstacle. Reportedly in the past year, during the administration of the previous CEA manager, thousands of acres of land were sold for very low prices to PLD followers. Defending his administration, the former manager said the sales had the go ahead of the President of the Republic, Leonel Fernández and of today PLD presidential candidate, Danilo Medina. The CEA scandal is viewed as big time corruption, and news analysts say it is right up there with the Hydro Quebec scandal that tainted the government of former President Joaquín Balaguer (PRSC) and the trial for corruption against former President Salvador Jorge Blanco (PRD). Coincidentally, there is talk in the press that these two dormant cases may be reactivated in the judiciary.
Companies that are expected to bid today for CEA sugar mills and property are:
Impulsora Azucarera del Noroeste (Zucarmex)
Booker Tate Limited
Consorcio Dominicano Franco Americano
Consorcio Pringamosa
Consorcio Azucarero Ozama
Pantaleon, S.A.
Consorcio Agroindustrial Cañabrava
Incauca, S.A.

More gradual line repairs requested
The president of the Commission for the Reform of Government Enterprise, CREP, Antonio Isa Conde called for business organization and civic society groups to support the privatization process and confront those that want the process to be reverted. Despite the flaws, he feels privatization has been a step forward.
Isa Conde urged the private electrical companies to undertake more gradual repair programs. The companies have gotten off to a bang, and lines repairs have resulted in 15-20 hour blackouts that are giving privatization a bad name and becoming the best ally of the enemies of privatization, he says.
The private companies are repairing the lines in order to reduce their losses, but the long blackouts are irritating the population that had gotten accustomed to very few blackouts in the final days of the CDE management.
Likewise, commenting on another major gripe of citizens with the privatization of the state electricity corporation, Isa Conde explained that the hikes in power bills probably can be attributed to irregularities in the computer department. He said that the private companies are using the computer department of the CDE, because they did not have time to install their own computer systems.

Haiti and DR sit down to bilateral talks
Haiti and the DR again sat down to three-day discussions of bilateral issues. The talks are held within the framework of the Interinstitutional Technical Committee on Dominican-Haitian Migratory Frontier Affairs. The talks are being held at the Diplomacy School of the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo. The issues that are being covered were agreed upon in a meeting held between Ministers of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre and Fritz Longchamps in Port au Prince in June 1998.
Among the issues are the following:
Personal documents and travel documents
Hiring of workers
Repatriation of illegal migrants
Regularizing of the situation of illegal residents
Sitting for the DR are officers from the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Ministry of Interior and Police, Ministry of Women, Ministry of Labor, Department of Migration, State Sugar Council (CEA), National Office of Lomé, National Council of Frontiers (Ministry of Foreign Relations). Wenceslao Guerrero Pou directs the discussions, in his role as ambassador in charge of Haitian affairs.

Hurricane Gert requires close monitoring
While all the attention is now focusing on the monstrous Hurricane Floyd, residents and travelers to the DR should closely monitor Hurricane Gert, the seventh hurricane to enter the Atlantic Basin.
"Some of our models put Gert in the same position (as Floyd) five or six days from now," National Hurricane Center Director Jerry Jarrell is quoted saying in the Weather Channel web page. While forecasters show it may well follow in the tracks of Floyd, and pass north of the DR, its north western track puts in on a course that could threaten the island. Hurricane Gert is still several days away from the DR. See the tracking charts and explanations available at:

Manatees make their home at East Coast beach
Dozens of manatees have been spotted giving birth and resting from 10 am to 2 pm at a 10-kilometer stretch of Playa Limón on the East Coast near Miches. The area is not inhabited and is known for its tranquility. Lorenzo Jesus Aquino of the Committee Pro Tourism and Conservation of Natural Resources of Miches (Conatura) urged government attention to protect the manatees. Manatees are a species in danger of extinction. The Navy is patrolling the area, but Conatura urged more participation from the experts at the National Aquarium, National Parks and Museum of Natural History to study the phenomenon and protect the manatees. Manatees are threatened with accidental capture by fishermen, human predators, or clashes with motorized boats.

Nuria Piera weds Pablo McKinney today
Dominican TV's darling, Nuria Piera weds journalist Pablo McKinney this afternoon. McKinney is known as the right hand of Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal. News reports say that less than 40 persons have been invited to the wedding that will be held at the apartment of a close friend. The couple reportedly will honeymoon in Europe, where McKinney studied. Judge Rafelina Peralta of the First Civil Chamber of the National District will perform the civil ceremony. This is Nuria Piera's first marriage and McKinney's second. Nuria is the producer of "Nuria en el 9" and "Doble Filo," where she is an investigative journalist. Last year she was named the most outstanding show business person in the DR, winning the Casandra award of the Association of Show Business Chroniclerers (Acroarte).

Pan Am Villa construction to start in February
Dr. José Joaquín Puello, president of the Dominican Olympic Committee and the 2003 Pan Am Games Organizing Committee, said in San Juan, Puerto Rico that construction of the Pan Am Village in Santo Domingo will begin this coming February 2000. The village will be built diagonally across from the main site of competitions, the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. He said that the DR will be assisted by US, Cuba and Canadian technicians in the organizaton of the 2003 games. Puello also said in San Juan that Pan Am competitions may be held in Santiago de los Caballeros, La Romana, San Cristóbal, Baní and La Vega.
Puello was in Puerto Rico for the election of the president of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization (ODECABE). He was re-elected by 32 attending delegates on Saturday, 11 September.

Calendar of upcoming activities
National Theater Drama Season continues this weekend
The National Theater's drama season resumes this weekend, 15-19 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 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.
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 Wednesday, 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.
CTO annual conference in Santo Domingo
Final organization works are taking place for the celebration in Santo Domingo of the Caribbean Tourism Organization's 23rd annual Caribbean Tourism Conference. The event will be held 23-25 September at the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel & Casino of Santo Domingo. President Leonel Fernández is expected to address the delegates at the opening session. Chris Mottershead, managing director of Airtours Holidays, a leading UK tour operator, will be the keynote speaker. Workshop topics include:
Tourism marketing in the new millennium;
Cruising into the 21st century: Trends, forecasts and implications for Caribbean destinations.
Developments in the Caribbean time-share industry;
E-commerce: How to buy and sell on the information highway
Health, safety and security expectations of the visitor: Is the Caribbean ready?
Charting a new course for tourism education and training.
For more information, see the Caribbean Tourism Organization web page at www.caribtourism.com

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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