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Daily News - 10 November 1999

Tax exemptions for gifts start 7 December
The Customs Bureau (Dirección General de Aduanas) announced that the tax exemptions on gifts brought by expatriate Dominicans to friends and relatives starts 1 December and ends 7 January. To qualify for not paying taxes on gifts valued at up to US$1,000, Dominicans may be asked to prove they have been abroad for at least six months.

DR is new member of UNESCO board
The Dominican Republic was admitted to the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The DR will be one of four nations to represent Latin America and the Caribbean on the board. The new regional members of the board are Peru (153 votes), DR (148 votes), Chile (131 votes) and Mexico (124 votes). These nations replace Cuba, Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia.
This is the first time, the DR will sit on the UNESCO board. Vice President Jaime David Fernández traveled to Paris to support the Dominican membership request. The DR will now participate in the body that is in charge of implementing UNESCO programs.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations says that the DR opted to the post "as part of the efforts to open the DR to the world, to develop a new foreign policy that strengthens the Dominican government's commitment to participate at the regional and global levels in international forums and organizations in response to the present international challenges."
As of 14 November, Japanese Ambassador in France, 62-year old Koichiro Matsuura will head the organization. He will replace Spaniard Federico Mayor Zaragoza.

President Fernández travels to Cuba on Sunday
President Leonel Fernández will travel to Havana, Cuba on Sunday, 13 November for a one-day official visit prior to attending the 9th Iberoamerican Summit of Heads of State and Government. On his agenda is the signing of an agreement for the protection and guarantee of investments and another for anti-drug trafficking cooperation. From 15-16 November, President Fernández will participate in the Iberoamerican Summit. He will be back on Tuesday. He will travel with Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre, and Secretary of the Presidency Alejandrina Germán; Technical Secretary of the Presidency Temístocles Montás; Superintendent of Banks Euclides Gutiérrez Félix, among others.

New millennium bills
The Central Bank announces that new bills are being issued to commemorate the new millennium. They will begin circulating towards the end of December. The Monetary Junta has authorized the issuing of a RD$2,000 bill for the first time in the DR. The blue and gray bill features the effigies of the author of the lyrics and score of the National Hymn, Jose Reyes and Emilio Prud-Homme. The bill has a drawing of the façade of the National Theater on the back. A new orange and brown-colored RD$100 peso will be available. It has the effigies of the Founding Fathers, Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Ramón Matías Mella. The back shows a drawing of the façade of the Puerta del Conde (where independence from Haiti was first proclaimed). A new green-colored RD$10 bill will also be available, presenting the effigy of Ramón Matías Mella, and on the reverse, a drawing of the monument to the founders of the nation.

Migration arrests smugglers of Chinese
The director of the Department of Migration, Danilo Díaz said they dismantled a band of smugglers of Chinese citizens. The Chinese would travel to the DR to then attempt to make it illegally to Puerto Rico (by boat) to Puerto Rico. Díaz said that the band made up by Dominicans and Chinese residents in the DR would charge these US$10,000 to US$12,000 for the promise of getting to Puerto Rico. Migration arrested Ming Qun Liang, Hui Ming Ng and Xie Vurong King and Dominicans Luis Jose Garcia and Miguel Liriano Féliz.

Tamayo wall construction to begin
The government announced the start of construction of a dike to prevent flooding in Tamayo. The southwestern town was devastated by mud floods when Yaque del Sur River overflowed shortly after Hurricane Georges in September 1998. The government's Hydraulic Resources Institute (INDRHI) announced that construction has begun on the RD$26 million, 2.72-kilometer long/ 4 meter high dike. The construction is financed half-and-half by the European Union and the Dominican government. It is expected to be ready in four months time.

Forestry Bill only needs presidential signature
The Senate passed a bill that would convert the Forestry Code into law. The new code provides the framework and a new institutional structure for the conservation, promotion and development of forestry resources in the DR. The bill now moves on to the Presidency for its conversion into law. The bill creates the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Forestales.

Hope for the opening of eastern regional hospital
El Siglo reports that the 250-bed Hospital Antonio Musa, construction begun in 1979 and inaugurated 19 July 1999, with an investment of RD$234 million may finally open to the general public next week. Four months after it was inaugurated, it was only last week that the government authorized RD$210,000 payment to improve the power supply at the hospital, which has been described as one of the most modern in the DR and the Caribbean. Reportedly, the voltage at the facility was not adequate for the sophisticated medical equipment that has been installed. Minister of Public Health Juan Octavio Ceballos said that the contractor of the job has said the problem should be resolved by next week. The hospital will serve eastern provinces. Once in operation, the public health authorities will close down the Carl Theodore Georg hospital in San Pedro de Macorís.

53% approve Fernández presidency
El Siglo newspaper/Penn, Schoen & Berland survey shows that 53% of Dominicans are satisfied with the Fernández presidency. The survey showed that Fernández has the strongest support in population segments with the highest educational levels and among young adults.

Bishop says deported will return
The Bishop of southwestern province of San Juan de la Maguana, Juan Dolores Grullón Estrella said that he is participating in the preparation of a project for the joint development of the frontier zone with funding from the European Union. He said that Dominicans and Haitians that live on the frontier "cannot be enemies". He said, "if those of the capital city want us to become enemies, that is a problem of theirs." Grullón was referring to the good relations Dominicans and Haitian residents along the frontier maintain. He said that thousands of indigent Dominicans who live along the frontier do not have their birth certificates either. He said this is so because there is a law that obliges that parents be recognized by their parents to be able to in turn recognize their children. Grullón said that the repatriations of Haitians are legal but they are inhuman because they separate families and the Haitians are not given time to pick up their belongings. He said this is a wasted effort as these people return to join their family and their belongings left here.

Editorial says Haiti has domestic auto-destruct culture
El Siglo newspaper highlights the perseverance of wealthy Dominicans to lead reforestation efforts the DR. Then it points out that in Haiti the best-placed economic and political groups of the Haitian society have not done so.
The editorial refers readers to the book "The Haitian Nation" written by historian Dantés Bellegard. The book tries to explain the obstacles to development in Haiti. The editorial also refers readers to comments by former mayor of Port au Prince, Evans Paul, who has explained that as soon as some progress is achieved, political or social movements demolish this, and work has to start from scratch.
The editorialist comments that one of the most important political movements of recent days in Haiti is known as "the compressor", which means to destroy what is built up.
El Siglo goes on to point out that Jean Bertrand Aristide's party is "Lavalas," which means avalanche. "Aristide is author of the '100 verses of Dechoucage.' And "dechoucage" means to extirpate or pull out from its roots. "They have practiced auto-destructive violence," says the newspaper.
"The story of violence in Haiti has been told by sociologist James Leyburn in his book 'The Haitian People'. He said that instead of pulling out or cutting down, the Haitian people need to learn to plant and build upon. The lack of solidarity of Haitians to Haitians has not allowed them to accumulate public assets, as judged by the ambassador of the United States in Haiti. Nevertheless, politicians are united on their efforts to discredit the DR, says the editorial.
"The Haitian politicians have reversed the title of the John Steinbeck novel 'East of Eden.' They believe that the paradise is to the East, or in the DR. The actions of the government of Haiti in Haiti are null. For years they have not been able to elect a Prime Minister. Former ambassador Guy Alexandre has said the government of Haiti is 'dissolved.' In the only thing that our neighbors have been tenacious is in blaming the DR," concludes the editorial of the newspaper.

Trade with China at US$61 million in 1998
The permanent representative of the commercial development office of the Popular Republic of China Zhao Rongxian said that trade between the two countries in the first six months of the year reached US$28,552,000. Trade last year was US$61 million. He said the DR imports textiles, toys, light industrial and mechanical goods, food products and pharmaceutics. The DR sells to China wood and medical equipment. Rongxian spoke when announcing the first Chinese Trade Exhibition in Santo Domingo. The exhibition will take place 12-16 November at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel and some 31 Chinese companies will participate.

Tower Air promotes fare sales
Tower Air is publishing specials with two irresistible rates. Residents in the DR can travel to New York City on the discount airline for RD$3,164 round trip (valid for 30 days) and RD$2,528 (round trip), valid for three days. Dominican taxes need to be added to the published fares. The airline says that travelers are allowed three suitcases each. For more information, contact Tel. 563-6004 or use their domestic toll free 1-200-5853 for calls from the provinces.

Rain shower floods Santo Domingo, seven-year old dies
The lack of adequate drainage systems in Santo Domingo became apparent again when short but heavy rain showers caused dozens of cars to have to wait the rain out or be stranded in flooded streets. Those who drive pick ups or jeeps, high-up vehicles, counted their blessings. Rains are forecast again for Santo Domingo, southeastern areas, the North East and Cibao area.
The rains caused the death of seven-year old Mike Miguel Guzmán who was on his way to school when he tripped and fell inside a gully in Villa Duarte. A six-year old boy, Jaison Pérez who was with him survived, when caught in debris. The government had promised to cover the gully. Area residents say that there have been more than 10 close calls, but that yesterday's tragedy was the first death.

Christmas starts early
Thanksgiving isn't a big event in Santo Domingo, so stores get ready for Christmas since mid-October. By mid-November, homes and businesses begin set up their Christmas trees and decorative lights, and Christmas is in the air. Christmas means big time partying and Dominicans love a party. December is a month when only day-to-day work gets done. It is not a good time for starting any serious project, unless related to partying. Local traditions include decorating US-style, but also with poinsettias and liana crafts.

Isha and Angel Puello on their divorce
Isabel Aracena, the girl star of the Sábado de Corporán children show, and Angel Puello, the producer of the show she married comment on their recent divorce in El Siglo. Isha says she left Puello because he could think of nothing but his work. He was her producer. She said they separated as friends. They have a three-year-old daughter, Anyara. After separating, Isha is now producing "El Club de Isha" and "Sazonando con Nosotros" on Channel 11. Angel Puello is preparing his new show, "Todo es Posible."
Isha says she does not think she will get together romantically again with Puello. Puello commented that many times one thinks love has gone and it is not true.

Star pitcher José Lima orchestra debut
Dominican-born José Lima, the popular Houston Astros pitcher, will debut on 20 November with his orchestra "La Fuga" on the Sábado de Corporán TV show. The winner of 21 games last season, Lima told the Listín Diario that his agent is negotiating a four-year US$40 million contract with the Houston Astros. To learn more about José Lima, the baseball player, see http://www.majorleaguebaseball.com/u/baseball/mlb/players/player_7819.htm

Dominican baseball update
Dominican Winter Baseball Game standing:
Leones del Escogido 7-2 (.778)
Aguilas Cibaeñas 5-5 (.500) -2.5 games
Estrellas Orientales 4-4 (.500) ­2.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 3-3 (.500) -2.5 games
Tigres del Licey 3-8 (.273), -5 games

Today's games:

Wednesday, 10 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Pollos vs. Escogido
San Pedro de Macorís: Aguilas vs. Estrellas

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