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Daily News - 04 October 1999

Sosa hits a home run for President Fernández to see
President Leonel Fernández threw the opening ball at the final game the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs played in the Major Leagues. The game took place on Sunday at the Busch Stadium of St. Louis, Missouri. President Fernández traveled to St. Louis to watch Sammy Sosa, whom he described as a national hero, at the end of a 11-day tour that took him to several US cities and to Taipei, Taiwan.
He couldn't have had it better. President Fernández saw for himself when Mark McGwire fired off a home run. And then Sammy Sosa came through blasting a four-run home run, tying the game. Sosa had not hit a home run in 18 turns at bat. Sosa ended the season with 63 home runs versus Mark McGwire's 65.
President Fernández also watched as also Dominican Fernando Tatis was a key man for the victory of the St. Louis Cardinals. Several Dominicans are on the roster of both teams: Sammy Sosa, Henry Rodríguez, Manny Alexander and Sandy Martínez for the Cubs, as well as Fernando Tatis, Plácido Polanco, Manny Aybar and Alberto Castillo for the Cardinals.
Heavy rains brought the game to an early ending in the 5th inning, and President Fernández decided not to spend the evening as planned in St. Louis and flew back to Santo Domingo arriving at 10:35 pm. He was rceived by Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal at the airport.
The President's presence turned the game into a kind of Dominican night, with the sportscasters of the game (which had one of the highest TV ratings of the season), showing a repeat of the President throwing the first ball, of the Dominican flag waving in the stadium, and of their colleagues, the Dominican sportscasters that were broadcasting the game for the DR. Dominican singer, Milagros Holguín sang the Dominican national anthem at the start of the game.
President Fernández had arrived at 12:30 pm for the game that was to start at 2 pm. He gathered with team players at the family room of the stadium, where pictures were taken. Tony LaRussa, general manager of the Cardinals gave the President a Cardinals jacket. President Fernández made everyone laugh when he asked Sammy Sosa's permission to wear the jacket.

President Fernández visits Silicon Valley
President Leonel Fernández met on Friday with key executives of several companies in Silicon Valley, to promote the Santo Domingo cyberpark. Construction of the park will begin later this month next door to the Las Americas International Airport. Taiwan has committed to invest US$15 million in the cyberpark that also includes an institute for high tech learning.
El Siglo newspaper reported that President Fernández visited the Hewlett Packard plant in Silicon Valley, where he was hosted by Lew Platt, chief executive officer of the company. Platt promised to send down a team to study the possibility of being part of the park. The company will look into the possibility of setting up a call center for support service to its clients, many of which are Spanish-speaking.
Other visits were made to Multiplexer Corporation and AT&T Laboratories. At AT&T Labs, Albert Chu, vice president for market development said that the DR has the conditions to enter the high tech world setting up service companies utilizing internet, telephone or new cable technology. Chu concurred with Platt of Hewlett Packard, that since the US is the principal commercial partner with Latin America for many companies there are many advantages to setting up service support in a country where Spanish is spoken.

Police grab multiple murder gang
One of the most horrendous and news-covered crimes of the year was the murder of high school professor Vilma Núñez de Guzmán on 20 May 1999. She was last seen when after completing her gym class on Av. Rómulo Betancourt, she boarded what she thought was a taxi car to make her way home.
Her assaulted and violated body was found on 21 May 1999 in bushes near Av. Luperón. Her assailants removed RD$26,000 using her bank cards and the Police had a blurred video showing two of their faces. But the Police had few other leads until Friday.
On Friday, a young woman was assaulted in similar circumstances but she was rescued by police agents who this time managed to catch her assailants. When they noticed she had been wounded at the neck with the lighter of the car used by the assailants, an unmarked Toyota Corolla station wagon, plate AE-378, the Police linked the two crimes. Núñez had a similar wound on her neck.
When questioned at the National Police in the presence of six District Attorney assistants, the assailants only confessed to the crime in which they were caught in fraganti. But when the Police asked victims of similar assaults to see if they knew them, and they identified them across a one-way glass, they knew they were on to something. When presented with the evidence, the foursome confessed.
Subsequent victims rendered a count of 300 assaults in the past seven months, as reported in the press. They had no single area, but combed the city seeking their next victim. Crimes were commited along Winston Churchill Ave., Máximo Gómez Ave., Las Americas Ave., Duarte Highway, Villa Mella and Naco neighborhoods, to just mention a few of the areas where they sought their victims.
The Police presented the four men of the gang. The presentation made the Saturday noon news. The gang includes two active policemen, Fausto Ortega and Luis A. Meran Zabala, assigned to the Campamento Duarte (cacos negros). One of the two was a regular agent, the other served as a waiter. Another is a former sargeant, Sargeant Alexander Carmona Angomas. Carmona, member of the Police Swat team, had been dismissed from the Police and served a year in the La Victoria jail for the sale of a weapon. The fourth man is civilian Luis Benjamin Báez Morla, medium-heighted but weighing over 200 pounds, who was the driver of the vehicle. He would come in from San Cristóbal, where he lived, and pick up the others to go for sexual kicks and money.
In their confession they explained that they murdered Núñez because she had a small knife with which she tried to defend herself. The Police found the knife on Báez Morla.
District Attorney Francisco Domínguez said that he would request the maximum penalty of 30 years in jail for the foursome. Francisco Domínguez congratulated the Police upon the announcement. In the past, corruption within the ranks many times was kept within the ranks. "What is most positive is that the changes continue," he said. "This is a big hit against delinquency." The District Attorney's office has just opened up offices at the Police headquarters.
Police spokesman Nelson Rosario Guerrero said that Chief of the Police, Major General Pedro de Jesus Candelier is intent on ridding the National Police ranks of members that may involve themselves in delinquency. The Police has begun a purge of all members of the force.
Likewise, measures to put signs on multi-fare paying taxis and have drivers post identifications have been undertaken. The National Police alerts passengers to not board passenger-seeking vehicles that do not have proper identification.

Hoy newspaper poll shows PRD leads in electoral preferences
Hoy newspaper publishes today a poll showing Partido Revolucionario Dominicano presidential candidate Hipólito Mejía far in the lead. This is the first poll of a series that will be published by the newspaper. Elections are still seven months away.
The newspaper's poll was carried out by Hamilton, Beattie & Staff, a leading Washington,D.C.-based poll firm. Pollsters asked the queston, "In case the elections to elect the President of the Dominican Republic were held today, and the candidates were as follows, for whom would you vote?" 46% said they would vote for Hipólito Mejía (PRD); 23% would vote for Danilo Medina (PLD), 20% for Joaquín Balaguer (PRSC), 11% said for no one. 93-year old Balaguer has not yet announced he is running.
When voters were asked for which party they would vote, they responded: 50% PRD, 22% PLD, and 17% (PRSC). 10% said they did not know.
The poll was held 17-22 September, and 1,000 persons were interviewed.
In the Dominican Republic, a presidential candidate needs to secure 50%+1 of the vote to win in a first round. If this is not accomplished, a second round is held.

Nomination of new US ambassador sent to US Congress
President Bill Clinton sent to the US Congress the nomination of Charles Manatt for U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Congress closes on 30 October.
Charles Manatt, of the District of Columbia, is Chairman of the law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP, which he co-founded in Los Angeles in 1965. He also co-founded the First Los Angeles Bank and served as its from 1973 through 1989. Long active in the democracy movement, Mr. Manatt was Founding Chairman of the National Democratic Institute. He also as Vice Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, Chairman of the International Foundation for Election Systems, and as a board member of the Center for International Private Enterprise and the Center for Democracy. Mr. Manatt has been very involved in numerous community and academic activities. He is a Trustee for the Mayo Clinic Foundation, Director of the Board of Trade of the Greater Washington Area, Director of the Hugh O,Brien Youth Foundations and is a former Trustee of the National Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Manatt is Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University and is also on the Board of Governors of the Iowa State University Foundation.
Mr. Manatt received a B.S. from Iowa State in 1958 and a J.D. from the
George Washington University School of Law in 1962. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves in the Quartermaster Corps and the Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Former baseball great faces drug charges
The Drug Enforcement Administration was on the trail of Adan Cruz, and on Saturday grabbed him in Miami along with a friend and his uncle Pedro Guerrero, a LA Dodgers slugger who is a candidate to the US Baseball Hall of Fame. Forty-four year old Pedro Guerrero may not have a chance of making it into the Hall of Fame and may even lose his Major League pension if he is found guilty of attempting to purchase 15 kilograms cocaine for subsequent sale.

Getting the whole nation involved in reforestation
Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal had the staff of the National Palace planting trees in Loma La Yagua over the weekend as their contribution to the Quisqueya Verde reforestation project. So far 20,000 people have planted over one million trees. This is in addition to the 18 million trees planted by professional planters also part of the Quisqueya Verde effort, head by the Vice President himself.
Speaking at the start of the activity, Vice President Fernández, who at the time was acting President since President Fernández was away, said that it has been a difficult project, but it has met with the support of all they have approached. "This means that President Leonel Fernández's call that every man or woman, every boy or girl assume their responsibility for the rebirth of the DR, so that Quisqueya [indian name for the island], may be green and green forever, has been met," said the Vice President.
He explained that the plan calls for getting government institutions, schools and companies involved in reforesting.
He urged that the plan continue regardless of who is in power, highlighting the importance of conservation of the environment and rational use of natural resources for national development.

Miss Universe queens to visit
The women who represented Aruba, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Spain, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Brazil at this year's Miss Universe have accepted an invitation from the Dominican candidate to the pageant, Miss Luz García to be part of a fashion show-benefit to build a home for Dominican children with AIDS. Designers Gerardo Rebollo from Mexico; Luis Antonio, David Antonio and Sonia Santiago from Puerto Rico; Ronchi de Cuba from Aruba and Giannnina Azar, Modesta Castillo and Leonel Lirio from the Dominican Republic are contributing some of their latest designs. Miss Dominican Republic is the organizer of the event. She met the beauty queens and they became close friends, thus agreeing to participate in the benefit, "Beauty for a Cause." The event will take place 14 October at 9 pm at the Salon La Fiesta of the Hotel Jaragua. Admission is RD$1,000 per person.

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