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Daily News - 11 November 1999

Circle of Montevideo meets in Santo Domingo
The City of Santo Domingo is hosting the Sixth Plenary Session of the Circle of Montevideo (http://circulomvd.mailcom.net/). Three Latin American presidents, a former Spanish head of government, and directors of several multilateral organizations, including the Interamerican Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to participate. The event opens today at the Central Bank auditorium and continues through 13 November. On the agenda is the topic: "Integration and Social Cohesion." President Leonel Fernández will open the plenary session with a keynote address. President Julio María Sanguinetti, of Uruguay; President Henrique Cardoso, Brazil; and President Miguel Angel Rodríguez, Costa Rica and former head of the Spanish government, Felipe González have confirmed they will attend.
Also expected are former presidents Belisario Betancur, Colombia; Ernesto Pérez Balladares, Panamá; Enrique Iglesias, president of the IDB; Michael Camdessus, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); José Antonio Ocampo, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), among others.

ECLAC Executive Secretary visits
The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL acronym in Spanish), José Antonio Ocampo is visiting the DR to participate in the Sixth Plenary Session of the Circle of Montevideo meeting. Ocampo said that the organization will assist the DR in the preparation of a book on the behavior of the Dominican economy during the past 20 years and other treatises.

Educating Dominican pedestrians and drivers
The Dirección General de Tránsito Terrestre, the National Police and the Municipality of Santo Domingo are about to start a campaign to educate city pedestrians and drivers. The campaign will try to teach how to correctly cross a street, the correct use of streets by pedestrians, the use of traffic lights, how to get on and get off vehicles, use of bright colors on rainy days by pedestrians for better visibility, how to use the pedestrian crosses, where to board different vehicles. The campaign will explain to drivers the pedestrian areas on city streets.

Airport concessions debated by Deputies
It might take a while before Congress passes the contract for the privatization of the operation of the two leading Dominican airports, if it is passed at all. After making it through the Senate, where it was modified but passed, the bill now has to be passed by the deputies. A recent press item with comments by the president of the Chamber of Deputies' tourism commission indicates it could take a while.
The president of the Commission of Tourism of the Chamber of Deputies, Rafael Enrique Rivera told El Siglo newspaper that he does not feel the contract as written is good for the country. He said that among the things he would like to see specified in the contract is the precise investments and works the company will undertake at the airports, as well as the time period for these investments. He said this is not clear in the contract.
He said that the work must lead to the lifting of the Category 3 restriction on Dominican airlines flying into the United States. The US Federal Aviation Agency impediment has been in effect since 1994. It was imposed on seven countries at the time, of which only Haiti and the Dominican Republic continue to be affected.
He says that the case of the privatization of the Puerto Plata and Las Americas airport is not like that of the electricity corporation (CDE) or the state sugar council (CEA), both entities the government had to heavily subsidize. He says there should not be a rush or improvising in the case of the airports because both the Puerto Plata and Las Americas airports are very profitable, generating about US$100 million last year.
Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo 21 S.A. won the tender for the operation of the Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo airports, as well as for the Samana and Barahona airports that are not in operation. Aerodom has as partners in the operation Vancouver Airport Services (Canada), Impreglio (Italy) and Ogden (USA).

Those deported to Haiti during the day, return by night
Senator Rafael de Jesus Jiménez (PRD-Dajabón) says that all Haitians that are deported during the day return to the DR at night. Dajabón is a province on the frontier with Haiti. He said, "There is no way to stop them until there is a bilateral agreement and Haiti improves its social and economic situation. "If you pass by the frontier fields or the highways at night you will see long lines of Haitians with children rapidly crossing the frontier to get into the DR," he said.
He said that hunger in Haiti forces the Haitians to move to the DR. He said the DR cannot bear the burden of thousands of impoverished Haitians. More than half of the Haitian population older than 15 years cannot read or write, unemployment is estimated at more than 60%, and the World Bank shows annual per capita income is said to be US$410, with most of the population living in extreme poverty.

International public health aid sought for Haiti
Health advisor to the Executive Branch, former Minister of Public Health Altagracia Guzmán says that it is urgent the DR put in place migratory controls to avoid that the advent of impoverished illegal Haitians to the DR bring with it an increase in tetanus, tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. She said that the Haitian women that are coming to give birth in Dominican public hospitals have not been previously received tetanus shots. She said the cases of tetanus that have been reported in the DR in the past three years are of children born to Haitian mothers. The establishment of a bilateral public work plan is high on the agenda of the bilateral DR-Haitian talks. There have been several proposals for the securing of international aid to establish hospitals in Haiti with Dominican public health support.

Haitian sociologist blames OAS for Haiti's plight
Haitian sociologist Carl Denis writes in El Siglo newspaper that Haiti is much worse off today than prior to the 1991 OAS-sponsored embargo to reinstate Jean Bertrand Aristide. Denis says that as a result of the embargo, Haiti lost thousands of direct and indirect jobs (in free zones), the cost of living skyrocketed, and the Haitian currency lost value. He criticized that Aristide, once reinstated propitiated chaos and insecurity that has no parallel in the Americas, even in Colombia. As a consequence, he says migration accelerated to the DR. Now, he writes, the OAS wants to make up for its mistakes by making an innocent pay. He says that the OAS pretends that the DR permanently lodge all those that are seeking refuge as a consequence of the shallowness and thoughtlessness in OAS actions in Haiti. Denis says the OAS move destroyed the Haitian Armed Forces, Haitian justice, economy, contributed to the present ecological disaster, and has planted desolation in Haiti. He proposes that the Armed Forces be restored, and that Aristide be removed from the shelter of bandits in which he has turned Haiti (with the OAS blessing).

Women more likely to report domestic violence
El Siglo carries today a report on intrafamily violence reports at the Department of Protection of Women at the National Police. Major Emilia Kelly Santana says that there have been 6,439 complaints of domestic violence placed at the department in the first 10 months of the year. She says during the same period last year there were 4,136 complaints placed. She said that it is not that violence has increased, rather she explains that what has happened is that women are more aware of their rights and are coming forward. And she explained that the police no longer resists intervening in husband and wife affairs.
She explained that domestic violence occurs at all social levels. She said it is not unusual for an elegant woman to arrive on board a jeep, with black and blues on her face showing signs of domestic violence. She says they frequently have to deal with doctors, engineers, teachers, and businessmen that have threatened their wives, have taken their children, and infringe all sorts of psychological cruelty on them.
The department was founded in 1997 after the passing of Law 24-97 and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They receive about 35 claims a day. The department only operates at the Villa Juana Department in Santo Domingo, but there are plans for the opening of branches in Los Alcarrizos (north Santo Domingo), Santiago, Salcedo and San Francisco de Macorís.
The first step for denouncing intrafamily violence is to place a complaint before the District Attorney officer. An arrest order is issued that the Police is in charge of executing. The attacker is brought in for questioning in company of the spouse, and a case is prepared which will be qualified as criminal or correctional.

Pedro Martínez vs. José Lima in March exhibition game
Baseball fans will not want to miss the match between star Major League pitchers, Dominicans Pedro Martínez and José Lima next year in Santo Domingo. The exhibition games between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros will take place 11-12 March 2000 at the Santo Domingo Quisqueya Ballpark. on 11-12 March 2000. The announcement was made during a press conference held at the Hotel Jaragua. Major League Baseball Commissioner Allen H. Selig says "This is part of an effort of the Major League Baseball to recognize and give tribute to a region of the world that has given so much to baseball," he said. The DR is the non-US country with the most players in the Major Leagues. The DR had 66 ball players last year, followed by Puerto Rico with 31 players, Venezuela with 25 and Mexico with 12.
It is expected that Dominicans Ramón Martínez, Moisés Alou and José Offerman will also be in the games.

Dominican baseball update
Dominican Winter Baseball Game standing as of Wednesday, 10 1999:
Leones del Escogido 7-2 (.778)
Aguilas Cibaeñas 6-5 (.500) ­2 games
Pollos del Cibao 3-3 (.500) -2.5 games
Estrellas Orientales 4-5 (.500) -3 games
Tigres del Licey 3-8 (.273), -5 games

Today's games:
Thursday, 11 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Aguilas vs. Escogido
San Francisco de Macorís: Licey vs. Pollos

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