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Daily News - 28 September 1999

President Fernández in Taiwan
President Fernández announced last night the DR would make a symbolic economic contribution to the reconstruction of areas affected by the earthquakes in Taiwan. President Fernández is in Taiwan for an official three-day visit. His state visit had been planned prior to the earthquakes and is part of a 12-day tour that also includes Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Anchorage, Alaska, San Francisco, California and Silicon Valley, St. Louis, Missouri and Miami, Florida. President Fernández is expected back in Santo Domingo on 4 October.
President Fernández said in Taiwan that while he considered postponing the trip, he decided to go ahead as a token of solidarity to the people of Taiwan. President Lee Teng Hui valued his presence mentioning that it is in hard times when one gets to know one's friends.
News reports say that the official receiving ceremony at the monument to General Chiang Kai-Shek, founder of Taiwan, was impressive, warm but austere. All festive ceremonies were suspended given the circumstances. An estimated 2,000 persons died in the earthquake and several thousand more are missing or injured. Some 100,000 were left homeless.
Later in the day, the statesmen exchanged decorations. During the ceremony, President Fernandez thanked the Republic of China for its cooperation and confirmed the DR's support to Taiwan's intent to be admitted to the United Nations. President Fernández described Taiwan as a spectacular example of how a people, based on values of justice, effort and well-aimed direction, can turn poverty into prosperity, isolation into many ties of generous friendship and uncertainty into great visions of the future.
The government of Taiwan will sign a donation of US$22 million for the Dominican Republic that will be used to promote business and grant scholarships to students. The statesmen are scheduled to issue a joint declaration regarding cooperation in health, education, farming and hydroelectric resources.
President Fernández is scheduled to visit Hshinsu Industrial Scientific Park today, which is in the area affected by the earthquakes. There he is set to visit the plants of Acer, Grand Biotechnology and the technology research firm, Avison Incorporated.
On Wednesday, President Fernandez will give a closing talk at the 9 to 2 pm investment seminar to which over 100 Taiwan and DR businessmen have been invited. President Fernández is also scheduled to visit the National Museum of the Presidential Palace.
President Fernández will visit rescued earthquake victims at a Taipei hospital and the area where a 12-floor hotel collapsed.

Businessman commits murder on a pang of jealousy
47-year old Dominican businessman and New York community leader Agustín García made headlines yesterday for murdering his former girl friend, 39 year old Gladys Ricart. There is speculation he committed the murder when suffering from a great pang of jealousy.
Ricart was about to wed James Preston Jr. in Flushing, Queens. She was shot in her wedding dress. She had just finished taking wedding pictures with relatives. She was about to board a Rolls Royce limousine that would have taken her to the church where the groom awaited.
The murder was even more shocking because García is a recognized Dominican community man. He was president of the Hispanic Federation of Chambers of Commerce, was the founder of the Dominican Chamber of Commerce. Those that knew him in his business life could hardly believe what he had done as few knew him as a violent person.
News reports, nevertheless, say he apparently lived a double life. Relatives of the Ricart family said that despite the relationship being over, he continued to torment Gladys Ricart. The Bergen County district attorney said he will try García for murder in second degree and he would request the death penalty.
García was retained at the site of the killing by relatives of the victim and other persons that were present. The killing took place in Ridgefield, New Jersey around 4 pm on Saturday, 25 September.
Ricart had a 20-year old son. She had met the man she was about to marry in July of this year.

Tax bureau urges drivers to avoid last minute rush
Everyone seems to be leaving for the last minute the purchase of the license plate stickers. According to the Dirección General de Impuestos Internos, the government department in charge of internal taxes, original estimates were that about RD$5 million in stickers would be sold per day. In reality, since the stickers went on sale on 23 August, they never have collected more than RD$2 million in a day. In the first month of sales, from 23 August to 23 September, has generated only RD$9.4 million of an estimated RD$195 million. Of this amount, RD$6 million was collected during the first week. Drivers have only picked up 28,700 of a total 800,000 stickers that are available. All vehicles need to get their stickers by 23 October.

New Mexican ambassador
The government of Mexico has appointed Amanda Mireya Terán as new ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Her appointment has yet to get the approval of the Senate of Mexico.
Amanda Mireya Terán, is a graduate in Spanish language studies and Spanish literature from the Mexican state university, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She entered the foreign service in 1970. She was promoted to ambassador in June 1998. She has worked as official interpreter at the Mexican Presidency from 1970-1985; counselor for political affairs at the Mexican Embassy in Spain; and counselor for cultural affairs at the Consulate of Mexico in New York City. In New York City she founded and directed the Instituto Cultural Mexicano. She was head of the chancellery department of the Mexican Embassy in Italy in 1996. She has been decorated in 11 countries. She has been part of Mexican delegations in international meetings in the United Nations and a member of foreign visits made by Mexican head of state.

Petroleum tax reduced by increase in international prices
The cost of the barrel of petroleum is almost at the US$26 level it was when the government increased the price of fuel sold locally to RD$32 in December 1996. At the time, the government said the price of fuel would fluctuate with international prices. It did eventually lower the price of unleaded fuel to RD$27.90, but prices stayed the same when the cost of the barrel of petroleum plummeted to lows of US$10 in subsequent months. The decline in petroleum prices was a windfall in resources for the Dominican government. Likewise, the recent international petroleum price increase has affected the income received by the government from the petroleum differential, the excise tax determined by the government. The monies received from the petroleum differential are retained for payment of the foreign debt on the instructions of President Fernández. Now the government says that the hike in the cost of petroleum could mean the government will see its income decline to barely US$1,000 million next year, down from a peak of US$6,000 million in 1998. Consumption of petroleum is considerably up from 17.8 million barrels in 1996 to 30 million in 1999.
The government would like to increase fuel prices, but recently Secretary of the Presidency Alejandrina Germán said that fuel prices would not go up for now. Several business sectors have justified an increase in the price of fuel, albeit the government need to use other resources and the decline in government reserves bring about an increase in interest rates. But others feel it is not fair the government increase the price of fuel when it didn't decrease it when it dropped. At the crux of the issue is that the DR is entering into an electoral period.

La Isabela Airport could be ready by December
El Siglo newspaper reports that construction is fast advancing on the construction of La Isabela Airport in the north of Santo Domingo, near Villa Mella. The airport is being built at a cost of RD$200-RD$250 million and will replace the Herrera Airport that is centrally located in Santo Domingo.
The Isabela Airport will have a runway of 1,650 meters. While it is primarily built to service domestic flights, it is being prepared for international flights. The construction of the airport in Higuero met with the opposition of the domestic airliners, who felt it was too far away from the city and that they would lose business, and tourism industry spokespersons.
Furthermore, the large investment in the airport is going up at a time when the government has just privatized four of the nation's international airports, including those in Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata.
It has been said that the lands where the Herrera Airport are located have been sold by the government for the construction of a mega shopping center by the Corripio group and to the group that owns the El Siglo newspaper. The newspaper's plant and offices is located next door to the Herrera airport.

Mega shows for New Year celebrations
Presidente beer and Marlboro cigarettes will be sponsoring the mega party for the welcoming of year 2000. The mega party is organized by E. León Jimenes that also brings Dominicans the Latin Music Presidente Festival. The year's end party will take plaza at the Plaza de la Bandera, off Avenida Luperón and Avenida 27 de Febrero in Santo Domingo. The names of Elvis Crespo, Marco Antonio Solis, Milly Quezada, La Banda Gorda, La Coco Band, Sergio Vargas, Toño Rosario and Raulín Rodríguez are mentioned as the contracted performers. E. León Jimenes says it will also sponsor "la tradición", the show at the Avenida del Puerto (Avenida Francisco Caamaño), where leading merengue orchestras and a fireworks show have traditionally welcomed in the new year.
Meanwhile, the Municipality of Santo Domingo, and Mayor Johnny Ventura are organizing Expo Milenio, a mega party that is scheduled to last from 1 December to 2 January along with dances along the Malecón, in the Columbus Lighthouse area, Conde Peatonal shopping area, and the Fortaleza Ozama, in the Colonial City.

Pedro Martínez wins his 23rd game
Pedro Martínez won his 23rd game yesterday, pitching eight innings and allowing only six hits, while striking out 12 batters. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-3. The Boston Red Sox could make the playoffs. They need another victory in the next six games or a defeat of the Oakland As to end the regular season as the second best in the American League.
Yesterday, Martínez set a personal record of 312 strike outs, seven more than the 305 strike outs of 1997 when he was playing with the Montreal Expos, in the season when he won the Cy Young award. This is Martínez's 19th game of striking out 10 or more batters. Martínez is not scheduled to play another game until the playoffs against the Cleveland Indians. Martínez now has a record of 23-4, ERA 2.08. He is the strongest contender to win the Cy Young award in the American League.

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