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Daily News - 29 September 1999

Taiwan to donate US$48.7 million to DR
El Siglo newspaper correspondent in Taiwan, Victor Manuel Tejada reports that the Taiwan government has committed to make donations totaling US$48.7 million to the DR within the next ten years. The money will benefit health, education, farming and forestry projects. The donations are as follows:
US$15 million (five year disbursements of US$3 million per year) to equip public hospitals.
US$10 million (10 year disbursements of US$1 million per year) for the construction of schools in rural areas and the nationwide literacy program.
US$10 million (10 years of US$1 million per year) to finance university studies abroad of Dominican students.
US$8.7 million (five years of disbursements of US$1,750,000 per year) for the Quisqueya Verde reforestation program.
US$5 million (five year disbursements of US$1 million per year) for farm and rural projects, in coordination with the Banco Agrícola and non-governmental agencies.
Taiwan also will be providing a US$10 million loan for the financing of small and medium-sized business.

Fernández promotes new Santo Domingo Cyberpark
El Siglo newspaper highlights the intense promoting President Fernández has been doing for the new government cyberpark project, Islecom. The high tech industrial park is envisioned as a facility to host manufacturers of computer software and hardware, electronic assembly and manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical items, as well as service and information technology firms, telecommunications firms, data capture and conversion operations, electronic media and Internet-related entrepreneurs, and software operations.
President Fernández visited the Hshinchu Park, 70 kilometers from Taipei, where he saw operations at Acer computer firm, Grand Biotechnology where virus-free seeds are cultivated, and Avision that manufactures image scanners and photocopiers.
In Taiwan he requested technical cooperation to complete the design, train the personnel, and help finance the park. As envisioned, the park would have two office buildings of 100,000 square meters each, a center for high tech education of 25,000 square meters, a 5,000 meter food court, a 100,000 square meter shopping mall, and there would be 150,000 square meters available for manufacturing plants.
The cyberpark project will be presented to a group of Taiwanese businessmen during an investment seminar from 9 to 2 pm today. President Fernández will give the closing speech following the seminar.
He is scheduled to visit the National Museum of the Presidential Palace and earthquake victims at a Taipei hospital.

President Fernández now travels to California
President Fernández will continue promoting the cyberpark when he travels to California, later in the day. He is scheduled to fly from Taipei to San Francisco, California on Wednesday, 29 September for meetings with Silicon Valley high tech industry executives. He has appointments scheduled to visit Redwood Shores Industrial Park, AT&T Labs and Forbes Magazine. He will also make stops at Stanford University, Hoover Institution, American Electronic Association, Livermore Labs.
In San Francisco, President Fernández 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.
On 3 October, President Fernández will be present at the last game of the regular Major League season between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis, Missouri. 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. President Fernández is scheduled to return to Santo Domingo on 4 October 1999.

AES announces installation of automated counters
Good news. AES Distribuidora del Este, one of the two private companies that are in charge of power supply in the DR, has announced they will be installing 100,000 automated counters in residences. It is expected that with the installation of the automated counters, power users will be billed for what is consumed. A major gripe has been that electricity consumption billing is arbitrary, as counter inspectors only make the rounds sometimes, leaving computers at the home offices to average out the billing. AES Distribuidora del Este is in charge of distributing power to areas in Santo Domingo that are east of Máximo Gómez Avenue, and to the eastern provinces. The announcement follows the policy of the AES management of keeping the public informed of its progresses. AES has also published advertisements reporting on their blackout schedule. The company has been repairing distribution lines, resulting in lone eight-hour blackouts. The other private company, Unión Fenosa, which has the larger contract of the two, with two affiliates - Distribuidora del Norte and Distribuidora del Sur - has been mute.

DR is now member of Rio Group
The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua were admitted as full rights members to the Rio Group. The Rio Group has served in its 13 years of existence as a forum for communication and personal contact between the regional heads of state and ministers of foreign relations. With the admission of the DR and the Central American countries, the Rio Group now is an 18-country organization. The decision to admit the new members was taken by regional ministers that met in New York where they were attending the 54th General Assembly of the United Nations. Other members are Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay.
The Permanent Mechanism for Political Consultation and Concertation (Río Group) was founded in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, in December of 1986, in order to broaden and systematize political cooperation and dialogue; examine and reach agreements regarding positions on international issues of common concern; promote the optimal functioning of the agencies and processes striving for Latin American integration and cooperation; propitiate internal solutions for problems and conflicts affecting the region, promote improved inter-American relations and explore new fields of cooperation to favor economic, social, scientific and technological cooperation amongst our countries.
Known as the most representative political mouthpiece for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Group has established several channels of communication with other regions and countries in the world. Since the dialogue between the Río Group and the European Union became institutionalized in 1990, there have been eight meetings between chancellors and four high level meeting regarding economics and trade. Through this institutionalized exchange, both regions have proposed novel and creative formulas for cooperation on issues of political, social, economic, commercial and financial interest.

Teenage pregnancy high in DR
According to data from the United Nations, almost one out of every four women of teenage age has either given birth or is pregnant in the DR. Pregnancy is the principal cause of deaths of women ages 15-19. There is a movement to step up sex education in public schools to counteract the increase in teenage pregnancies.

A Chinatown for Santo Domingo
The Municipality of Santo Domingo has plans for a Santo Domingo Chinatown. Arch. Pedro Alfonso, of the Urban Planning Department of the municipality, says they have plans to post an arch and signs as well as Chinese decorations in what spontaneously has become the city's Chinatown. This area is located between the city streets of Avenida Mexico, Jacinto de la Concha, Avenida Mella and Calle José Martí, with Avenida Duarte being a central focal point. Listín Diario newspaper reports there are at least 40 Chinese-owned businesses in the area, including restaurants, laundries, beauty salons, video clubs, furniture stores, supermarkets, and pensions, primarily occupied by Chinese residents. The Dragon House Restaurant, on Avenida Duarte, about 50 meters from Avenida México, is a popular outing for middle class and even upscale families on Sundays. Architect Pedro Alfonso says that by dressing up the area, it will become a new tourist attraction.

Sammy hits his 62nd home run
Sammy Sosa hit his 62nd home run yesterday in the game the Chicago Cubs won against the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-2. Sosa's home run came after a 30-turns-at-bat slump. He leads Mark McGwire who had caught up with him, batting his 61st home run on Monday. Sosa has five games to go this season, including two more against the Phillies and three in St. Louis against the Cardinals, and their star Mark McGwire. Sosa and McGwire are battling again this year for the home run championship. The two have accomplished what just a year ago seemed impossible to beat the 37 year Roger Maris home run record of 61 home runs, and then to do it again.

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