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Daily News - 23 November 1999

Classes called off to prevent traffic bottlenecks
The Ministry of Education announced the suspension of classes in public and private schools in the city of Santo Domingo on Thursday and Friday. The suspension is to relieve traffic bottlenecks on occasion of the celebration in Santo Domingo of the II Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Summit of Heads of State and Government. The event is bringing over 3,000 visitors to Santo Domingo, and the caravans of about 60 heads of state crossing the city to and from the different planned activities are expected to cause major bottlenecks. By keeping the children home, the organizers hope to reduce the number of vehicles in circulation. The Ministry of Education recommended that teachers assign sufficient homework to keep the students busy on the unexpected four-day weekend.
The National Congress also suspended work sessions.
As a result of the summit, the largest to be held ever in the American continent, city hotels and restaurants are expected to be fully booked.
For more information on the summit, see
http://www.acpsec.org/
http://www.dr1.com/daily/news112299.shtml
http://www.dr1.com/daily/news111999.shtml
http://www.dr1.com/daily/news111899.shtml
http://www.serex.gov.do

Classic music concert for visiting VIPs
First arrivals coming for the preparatory meetings and the II ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government will be treated this evening to a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra. The concert will be performed within the majestic ruins of the San Francisco Monastery, the first monastery in the New World. The concert starts at 8:30 pm. The concert features a first part of international compositions followed by Dominican classical music.

First part (conducted by maestro Francois Bahuaud):
Rossini's operatic overture, "La Italiana en Argel"
Bizet's Suite No. 1 of the opera "Carmen"
Offenbach's operatic overture, "Orfeo en los Infiernos"

Second part (conducted by maestro Fernando Geraldes):
Bienvenido Bustamante's merengue "Santo Domingo"
Rafael Ignacio, "Zarambo"
Julio Alberto Hernandez, "Cantares Campesinos"
Ramon Antonio Molina, "Muerte de Mandé"
Bienvenido Bustamante's "Baile de los Guloyas, Suite Macoris"
Toño Abreu's merengue "Caña Brava"

President vetoes Monetary Code
The Executive Branch observed the Monetary and Financial Code passed by the National Congress. The Executive Branch said that the changes made by the National Congress to the original bill are inconsistent or ambiguous, while others are anachronic. The local daily press publishes today the extensive letter President Leonel Fernández sends to Chamber of Deputies president Rafaela Alburquerque. In the letter, the President lists several items that violate what he considers is the spirit of the original code that was sent to Congress five years ago as part of an integral financial reform program that is being implemented. The President says that the Code passed by Congress does not fulfill the objective of setting the base for a modern, transparent, competitive and efficient financial system. The Code, as passed by Congress, had the strong support of the Association of Commercial Banks of the Dominican Republic (ABCRD). It was, nevertheless criticized by Asiex, the Association of Foreign Investment companies, which stated that certain items discouraged the advent of foreign banks. Other leading business organizations, such as the National Council of Private Business (CONEP), which is the nation's largest business group, the National Union of Businessmen (UNE), and the Dominican Association of Free Zones (ADOZONA) strongly opposed its conversion into law.
The congressmen need now to study the observations made by the Executive Branch.
The business of banking in the DR is extremely profitable. The advent of foreign banks is expected to reduce the present profit margins. At present, large businesses have access to lower-interest international banking loans, but small businesses and individuals have to pay high interest rates of upwards of 26%. Local banks fear the advent of international banking that would operate with much lower overhead than banks located today in the DR have, and thus would be able to lend money at much lower rates.

DR government accepts Haitian apology
The Dominican government accepted the apology of the Haitian government that did not show up at a programmed meeting of heads of the migration departments (www.dr1.com/daily/news112299.shtml). The Haitian government sent the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic a diplomatic note explaining that their absence was due to a "misunderstanding." The Dominican Ministry of Foreign Relations said that Minister Eduardo Latorre would meet with his colleague Fritz Longchamps in Santo Domingo today to continue discussing the migration issue. The migration of thousands of undocumented, illiterate and indigent Haitians to the the DR is a heavy burden on local social services. Minister Longchamps is in Santo Domingo to participate in the II ACP Summit. President Rene Preval of Haiti is also expected tomorrow in Santo Domingo for the summit that opens on Thursday.

Reducing Haitian migration to US is priority of new US-Haiti coordinator
The Spanish press agency (EFE) revealed today that the US government has appointed a new special coordinator for Haiti. His functions include promoting democracy, economic growth and respect for human rights in Haiti. Diplomat Donald Steinberg, according to a note from the US Department of State, is also entrusted with reducing drug trafficking and the displacement of illegal Haitian migrants to the US. Steinberg is a former US ambassador in Angola and special advisor on African affairs. He replaces David Greenlee, who was appointed ambassador to Paraguay.
The US intervened Haiti in 1995 at a time when hundreds of Haitians were attempting to reach the US by small boat.

JCE sets 31 December deadline for ID cards
The Junta Central Electoral (JCE), the government body in charge of organizing presidential, municipal and congressional elections in the DR, announced that the identification cards and voting cards (cédula de identidad y registro electoral) will only be valid through 31 December. The process of issuing the new ID cards has been plagued by technical and administrative problems, and several citizens that have initiated the process, have not been able to get their cards.

Textile parity discussions to continue in January
The US Congress was not able to reconcile the textile parity-related bills passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. The US Congress will convene again in January when discussions regarding the bill will continue. The bills contain provisions that would allow Caribbean and Central American nations to export apparel to the US under similar conditions to those awarded Mexico as a signatory of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Senate passed bill limits the granting of textile-parity to apparel manufactured using US materials. The House of Representatives bill is more flexible.

US Democratic Party appoints rep in DR
Leo Pérez Minaya was appointed representative of the Democratic Party of the United States in the DR. Joseph Andrew, president of the party, made the announcement. Pérez Minaya is now in charge of promoting the registration of US citizens living in the DR to vote, providing information on the Democratic Party issues and promoting that US citizens exercise their right to vote while in the DR. He is a consultant for Strategy Group International. US presidential elections are scheduled for year 2000.

Police investigates killing of two Haitian brothers
The Police has arrested 14 persons, including Dominicans and Haitians, in the northwestern province of Santiago Rodriguez, in regards to the death of two Haitian brothers. The brothers appear to have been beaten to death with a wooden stick. The bodies were sent to Santiago for an autopsy, and the principal suspect is another Haitian, Santiel. The brothers, Mixto and Mistico Domeysi (20 and 26 years old) worked in a government housing construction project, where they were found within a house under construction, 10 hours after the death. The police says robbery is not likely to have been the motive as RD$200 and several Haitian coins were found on their bodies.

Eight-month-old girl dies from rape
The death of an eight-month old baby from anal violation shock has horrified Dominicans. Mirelys Morillo Pinales was the daughter of 41-year old Pineda Morillo and 36-year old Modestina Pinales who lived in a shack in the El Tamarindo barracks built to house a group of city residents that lost their own shacks during Hurricane Georges. The Police arrested the father, mother and 15-year old brother of the baby for investigations. The father of the child denounced the death of his daughter, who he found on the floor beside his bed. He said he had been sleeping from 5-7 pm with his daughter. The police said the father was recovering from being under the influence of alcohol. Mirelys was the sixth daughter of the family. An older daughter of the family, Arelis, said she didn't think her father had raped the baby.

Tragic ending to rift between neighbors
Reynaldo Ramírez Mendoza, who was sought for the death of his neighbors 44 year old Alfonso Almánzar and his two sons 16-year old Nelson and 14-year old Victor, was arrested yesterday by the Police in the province of San Francisco de Macorís where he had fled.
The slaying of the three Almánzar family members took place at 11:15 pm on Saturday in Las Guázumas, in northcentral Moca city. Ramírez was supposedly under the influence of alcohol. He said he stabbed the family members in self-defense when these attacked him with stones. They had had a discussion over an electrical transformer.
Ramírez is under arrest at the Comando Regional Cibao Central in Santiago de los Caballeros.
Following the incident, unknown individuals burned Ramírez's residence. Neighbors in the area demanded his execution.
Also injured is the Claritza Almánzar and the mother of the family, Mercedes Baldera.
Ramírez had a reputation as a violent man.
The three Almánzar men are survived by one brother, 23-year old José Orlando, and sisters Yoselín (19), Claritza (16), Yomayra (12) and Deibi (9).

Perfect game at World Bowling Championship
Rolando Sebelén, owner of the Sebelén Bowling Center in Santo Domingo threw a perfect 300 while participating in a doubles event at the World Bowling Tournament that is taking place in Abu Dhabi. Seven hundred players from 80 nations are participating in the world tournament. This is the second time Sebelén accomplishes this feat in a world tournament. He did so in the 1971 version of the tournament, held in Milwaukee. Sebelén is the DR's leading bowling promoter.

DR athletes win in World Kung Fu Championship
Dominican Republic competitors won first places in the 7th World Cup of Martial Arts and Kung Fu, held this year in Budapest, Hungary. Deng Fu Xing, who is a naturalized Dominican and is the president of the Federación Internacional de Artes Marciales in the DR, won first and second place awards. Johnny Portorreal, who is vice president of the same federation, placed first in the Grand World Cup of Arms Exhibition. This is a repeat of the Dominican performance in the Sixth World Cup that was held in Argentina. The federation practices at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center at the Mirador del Sur Park on Sundays.

Brazilian teams win Latin American and Caribbean basketball event
Marathon Franca defeated Vasco Da Gama, another Brazilian team to win first place in the Pan American Champion Club tournament that ended yesterday at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. The event was televised by ESPN, but attracted very little Dominican public.

Big party for the Winston Churchill Boulevard
Toño Rosario, Al Jadaqui and Tribu del Sol are scheduled to play on Sunday during a concert schedule to tribute homage to Major League baseball players Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martínez, Juan Marichal and Felipe Rojas Alou. They will be honored with stars along the boulevard. The event starts at 6 pm and will be transmitted by Radio Televisión Dominicana, Channel 4.

Familia André show at the Jaragua
Fernando Echavarría and La Familia André are back. Their show, not to be missed, with original and different merengue music and other contemporary beats is scheduled for 29 November at the Teatro La Fiesta of the Hotel Jaragua. For more information on the show call 221-1435, 412-5723 or 535-5272 (Ticket Express). The tickets for the 9 pm show are being sold at Fujifilm shops in Santo Domingo.

Speedboat drag race
The Asociación Dominicana de Deportes Acuáticos announces the celebration of the First Speedboat Drag Race on 28 November 1999 at the Ozama River. The race can be viewed from the Avenida del Puerto. For more information, call 223-6767.

Winter Baseball update
Tuesday, 23 November 1999
5 pm game San Francisco de Macorís: Estrellas vs. Pollos
8 pm Santo Domingo: Aguilas vs. Licey
8 pm San Francisco de Macorís: Estrellas vs. Pollos

Dominican Winter Baseball Game standing as of Monday, 22 November 1999:
Leones del Escogido 12-6 (.667)
Aguilas Cibaeñas 13-8 (.619) - 0.5 games
Estrellas Orientales 9-9 (.500) ­3 games
Tigres del Licey 6-12 (.333), -5.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 4-10 (.333) ­6 games

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