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Daily News - 23 September 1999

DR1 News will not be published tomorrow
Tomorrow Dominicans commemorate the "Día de las Mercedes", a day dedicated to honor the Virgin of the Mercedes. The Virgin is honored from the days of the colonization of this island by the Spanish conquistadors. Historic records tell that the Virgin saved the Spanish conquistadors from an assault by native Indians. A shrine in her honor was built at the top of a hill in the central province of La Vega. The DR1 Daily News will not be published tomorrow due to the celebration of the holiday. News will be compiled for the Monday, 27 September edition.

President Leonel Fernández tours the US and Taiwan
President Leonel Fernández is in Washington, D.C., the first stop of a 12-day tour that will take him also to New York City, Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis and Miami in the US, as well as to Taipei, Taiwan. His tour began 22 September. He is scheduled to return 4 October to the DR, via Miami, Florida.
In Washington, D.C., President Fernández joined visiting heads of state from Central America to lobby for the US Congress passing of the CBI Enhancement Bill that would grant trade conditions similar to those enjoyed by Mexico and Canada to apparel exports from the Dominican Republic and Central American countries.
The official request for the CBI Enhancement Bill has the support of the Dominican business community, and the Dominican and US Catholic Church. Cardinal John O'Connors of New York City has sent congressmen a letter on the DR's behalf.
The president of the Dominican Free Zones Industries Association (Adozona), Fernando Capellán explains that the passing of the bill is crucial for Dominican free zone industries. He said that about 150,000 jobs in Dominican free zones are threatened if the bill is not passed in this legislature that ends 30 October, but could be extended to 6 November. He said there may be a massive exodus of apparel contractors due to the higher costs of manufacturing in the DR. Dominican assembly plants must use US materials, and are not able to import lower cost Asian materials as Central American operations. Thus, the loss of contracts in the DR will also affect US suppliers that produce these materials. The DR imports at least 70% of apparel components from the US. The loss of the contracts could mean a decline of exports of about US$500 million for the DR.
"We will have to convert the free zone industries into manufacturers of boats for the hundreds that will attempt the crossing to Puerto Rico, looking to get jobs in the US," he is quoted in Hoy newspaper today.
If passed, the CBI Enhancement Bill could mean an increase of 15-20% in the free zone employment.
In Washington, President Fernández met with the Interamerican Dialogue members to discuss regional topics. He also signed a US$71 million loan contract with the Interamerican Development Bank. The funds will be used for a program to consolidate and modernize potable water and sewage systems, primarily in rural areas. President Fernández also participated in a dinner hosted by IDB president Enrique Iglesias, and attended by ambassadors, international organization leaders and political and economic figures based in Washington,D.C..
On his Washington agenda is also a meeting with the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States.

24-25 September New York City
The next stop for President Fernández is in New York City where he is scheduled to travel today to attend activities on occasion of the 54th General Assembly of the United Nations. President Fernández is scheduled to speak on Friday, 24 September. His speech will be transmitted to the DR on Channel 4 at 10 am. It is probable that other channels will telecast the speech. He is expected to address issues considered crucial to humanity in the next millennium, specifically the role the UN needs to play to reduce the gap between wealthy and poor countries.
In New York, President Fernández will offer a reception in honor of the representatives of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific nations signatories of Lomé Convention. Santo Domingo will host the II ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government in November 1999.

25 September, Boston
President Fernández will travel to the city of Boston to visit the University of Harvard, where he will be recognized for his government's efforts to strengthen Dominican democracy, intercultural relations as well as his regional leadership. He will receive the Harvard Foundation Award.

25 September, Taipei, Taiwan
The Dominican ambassador in Taiwan Víctor Sánchez told the press that President Fernández's stay in Taipei has been cut short due to the earthquake that has a death toll of more than 2,000 as well as millions in material damages. Reportedly, the earthquake affected 70% of the installations of the Hshinsu Industrial Scientific Park that President Fernández was scheduled to visit. Ambassador Sánchez said that President Fernández will remain in Taipei only for five hours and will participate in ceremonial activities, including mutual decorations and signing of three cooperation agreements.

29 September, San Francisco, California
President Fernández is due to arrive in San Francisco, California on 29 September. But given the happenings in Taiwan, there may be some changes in his California schedule. Meetings have been scheduled with executives of high tech US firms, most located in the Silicon Valley. President Fernández will present investment opportunities in the DR.
He will be honored at the Candlestick Stadium, home of the San Francisco Giants. This will take place during the last game (Dodgers and Giants) held at the historic stadium that will soon be demolished. Minister of Sports Juan Marichal, member of the US Hall of Fame, will be honored at that event.
The event is organized by Manuel Mota, coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and players Raúl Mondesí, Adrián Beltré, José Vizcaíno, and Robinson Pérez Checo.

3 October, St. Louis, Missouri
President Fernández will be present at the last game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. His presence is a token of solidarity on behalf of Dominicans to Sammy Sosa, who has written baseball history. In the game Sosa hit his 60th home run he raised a sign where he expressed his pride in being from the Dominican Republic. News reports say that President Bill Clinton may also be present at that game.

Power plants and inverters big sellers again
Power plants and inverters are again hot selling items in the DR, as a result of the continuous blackouts that followed the privatization of the distribution of power. The blackouts are attributed to the distribution companies repairing power lines. To the chagrin of Dominicans, long power outages have returned, with blackouts lasting up to eight hours. The power supply in the DR had stabilized with blackouts at a minimum for the past two years. Now power plants and inverters are again selling. Inverters are the preferred item because of their smaller need for space and silent operation, but power plants many times are needed to power the inverters, given the long blackouts. Some power plant and inverter vendors, such as Plaza Lama, report that sales have doubled.

Gas plant explosion kills two, injures eight in La Romana
Two persons died and eight were injured in an explosion at a La Romana city propane gas plant. The burned are interned at the Luis Aybar burn center in Santo Domingo, but their prognosis is that they may not survive.
The explosion occurred at 4:30 am on Wednesday, when a cloud of propane gas covered approximately 300 meters in the area near the Industrias Rodriguez-Gas Caribe propane gas center, located at Km. 4-1/2 of the La Romana-San Pedro de Macoris highway. The escape occurred when the truck of the company was emptying fuel in the plant and one of the hoses exploded, with gas spilling out. Unfortunately, a pickup truck was passing through which ignited a fire that resulted in the destruction of 11 homes in the Villa Hermosa area and several businesses. To put out the fire, firemen from the Central Romana, and the cities of Higuey, El Seibo and Santo Domingo cooperated.
Two of the occupants of the pickup, Juan Javier Eusebio, 50, and Laura Rosario, 36, died in the blast. A third occupant, Pascual Rosario is seriously burned. They were on their way to sell farm produce at the La Romana market at that early hour.

Gasoline prices will not go up for now
Secretary of the Presidency Alejandrina Germán says that the government does not contemplate an increase in the price of gasoline or diesel for now. The cost of imported petroleum has considerably increased on world markets. There is strong opposition to an increase. In 1996, upon increasing the price of gasoline considerably, the Fernández administration promised that fuel prices would fluctuate with international petroleum prices. This did not occur when the price of fuel dropped. Now, consumers feel it is not fair to increase the price to reflect the increase.

Rural schools left without students
Minister of Education Ligia Amada Melo said that the migration from rural areas to urban areas is bringing about a change in the construction policy of the Ministry. She said that if the flow continues, in ten years the school houses located in rural areas will have to be given different uses. She said that the ministry has had to build more schools in urban areas. Jobs are created in tourism destinations and in areas where free zones are located. Thus is the case of Santiago, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Gaspar Hernández, Cabrera and Río San Juan on the North Coast, for example. She said that new schools will have to go up along with the construction of hotels rooms and free zones.
Schools in the cities of San Cristóbal, Baní, Azua, Puerto Plata and Santiago are full to the brim with students, and the Ministry contemplates the construction of new school rooms in these urban areas.

Medical insurers, clinics and MDs sit down to talks
After weeks of maintaining a no-dialogue position, the directors of the Association of Medical Insurance Companies and the Chamber of Insurers and Re-insurers have agreed to sit down with the Dominican Medical Association and the Association of Private Hospitals and Clinics. The first meeting took place with the backing of the Council of Businesses (Conep) at its offices. The first meeting lasted four hours. A second meeting is scheduled for next week. While the system has brought low cost medical services to consumers, clinics and medics want more of the supposedly 50% profit the insurers are making.

CTO annual conference in Santo Domingo
The Caribbean Tourism Organization is celebrating its 23rd annual Caribbean Tourism Conference in Santo Domingo this weekend. The event is being held 23-25 September at the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel & Casino of Santo Domingo. 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.

Dominican Week 1999
The eighth version of the Dominican Week is underway. Spearheaded by lawyer Luis Heredia Bonetti, Dominican Week in the United States is an annual event held to promote academic, cultural, business and political aspects of the Dominican Republic. The activities focus on positive aspects of Dominican society. For a schedule of the events see http://www.rvhb.com/dominican_99.htm
Events will take place this year in Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville, Florida and South Orange, New Jersey.

VII Panamerican Karate Wado '99 Championship
VII Panamerican Karate Wado '99 Championship will take place Saturday, 25 September and Sunday, 26 September at the Volleyball Pavilion of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. Teams from the US, Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, Cuba, Canada, Curaçao, Chile, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will be competing. There will be events in open, juvenile and infantile categories, for both sexes.

More Upcoming Events
National Theater Drama Season continues this weekend
The National Theater's drama season resumes this weekend, 22-26 September at 10 am and 8:30 pm at the Sala Ravelo,
with the presentation of the play, "Bachata para María Viveza." 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 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 continues
National Theater presents, Symphony Season 1999.
Tickets: RD$150-RD$120 for sale at the National Theater.
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
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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