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Daily News - 01 December 1999

Trauma expert urges Drivers Ed campaign
The head of the Trauma and Orthopedics Department of the School of Medicine of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, Dr. Pedro Green again has alerted that imprudence causes most of the tragic vehicular accidents in the Dominican Republic. A recent study carried out by his department shows that in the first 10 months of the year, 3,014 persons have died in traffic accidents in the DR. This is up from the 1998 year total of 2,910 deaths.
Green says the study shows that most of the accidents are caused by the imprudence of the drivers. He says an analysis of the accidents shows 70% of the drivers were talking on their cellular phone, invovled in reckless overtaking, speeding or under the influence of alcohol. Only 20% of the accidents were caused by actual problems on the highways and only 10% by mechanical problems of the vehicles.
He explained that last year a study carried out at the Darío Contreras Hospital, the nation's leading trauma center, showed that 50% of the drivers that were taken to the hospital were under the effects of alcohol.
Dr. Green said that the DR is one of the few countries that do not enforce rules for drinking and driving.
He said that accidents should increase in the future. He explained that when the new overpasses and highways being built to reduce traffic congestion open, there will be more accidents as a result of speeding.
He said there will be no drop in the number of accidents until a drivers' educational campaign is implemented. He said one of the problems is that there are 13 different institutions that deal with transit in the DR.

Base reinforced to fight drug contraband
President Leonel Fernández was in Cabo Rojo, Pedernales, on the frontier with Haiti, yesterday to formally re-inaugurate a previously practically abandoned detachment of the Dominican Air Force. Two airplanes and a helicopter have now been assigned to the detachment whose men have been instructed to reduce drug trafficking, contraband of weapons, illegal crossing of persons, protect the environment and assist in sea rescue activities. Minister of the Armed Forces Manuel de Jesus Florentino, Chief of the Air Force Hugo Rafael González Borrell, Rear Admiral Victor García Alecón, Chief of the Police Pedro de Jesus Candelier, and the head of the Drug Control Department, Rear Admiral Luis Alberto Humeau accompanied the President. Also Minister of Interior and Police, Norge Botello; Administrative Secretary of the Presidency, Simon Lizardo, and Technical Secretary of the Presidency, Temistocles Montás. Because of the rampant corruption and lack of institutions within Haiti, Haiti is a major transshipment point for drugs coming from South America that are later introduced into the DR on their way to Puerto Rico. While the bulk of the drugs is not for the DR, reports indicate that increasingly drug dealers are paying their local contacts in drugs to be sold in the local market.

2000 to be declared Year for Development of Frontier Provinces
Year 2000 could be the Year for the Development of the Frontier. The National Senate passed the bill to this end, and it only needs to be converted into law by the Executive Branch. The bill requires that government institutions give priority to infrastructure works in frontier provinces in order to reduce poverty. It establishes the creation for the creation of development platforms to reduce the exodus of frontier residents to cities.

Shipwrecked nine rescued off Saona Island
Navy rescues 50 attempting to get to Puerto Rico by boat
The Navy rescued nine shipwrecked persons 20 nautical miles south of La Romana after family members alerted the boat could have had problems. Three minors were among those rescued.
Last week, Navy coast guard ships rescued 50 persons, including 29 on a ship off Punta Nisibón and another off the Bay of Samaná. The Dominican Navy has stepped up efforts to stop boat trips to Puerto Rico before they leave, and rescue persons lost at sea. The Navy is carrying out intense work to reduce boat trips of illegals attempting to travel to Puerto Rico. As a result of the efforts of the Navy under Rear Admiral Victor García Alecón, the movement of the risky boat trips has been reduced. Recently, only two were rescued by passing ships from a 24-person boat trip.

Carlos Montaner on Balaguer
Cuban exile in Spain, Carlos Montaner, one of the leading Hispanic intellectuals of the day, had interesting comments to make on the master of Dominican politics, former President Joaquín Balaguer to El Siglo newspaper.
Montaner says he has erred in forecasts on Balaguer and says he will no longer make any predictions. "I am no longer capable of assuring even if one day he will die, I don't know," said Montaner, commenting on the 93-year old blind politician.
He described Balaguer as "a politician who has more intellectual and political resources and more guile than anyone could imagine".
"I believe he is one of the fascinating personalities of Latin American politics," said Montaner. In his words, "Balaguer is a unique case." He is impressed with the former statesman's combination of human fragility and an ability to control all. "While he is not a man of the Dominican economic bourgeois world, he handled to will the businessman; while not a man of the armed forces, he handled them to his will; while not a man of the masses, all the contrary, a teacher totally culturally divorced from them, managed the masses to his whim. May I say one is in the presence of a magician. I was wrong, he was full of rabbits, and will die full of rabbits."
Montaner was in Santo Domingo to promote his new book,
"No perdamos también el Siglo 21" (Let us now lose also the 21st Century).

Puerto Plata skylift shut down again
The Puerto Plata skylift is not operational, after the management closed it for mechanical troubles. The motor was sent to Santo Domingo for rewinding. The skylift has been under repairs for three years and an estimated RD$20 million have been spent. News reports say it should be ready to go into operation in two weeks.

Government organizes tender for Pan Am Games villa
Six foreign companies will participate today in the tender for the construction of eight towers of 20 floors each to lodge the athletes coming for the Pan Am Games to be held in Santo Domingo in 2003. The bidding companies are based in the US, Canada, France and Venezuela. The towers will go up diagonally across from the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. Presidential candidate of the PRD, Hipólito Mejía, who supported the bid for the games, has opposed the construction of the towers, suggesting athletes should be lodged in already existing facilities, such as city hotels. Mejía is the most likely candidate to win the 2000 presidential election. Games held in US, Argentina and Canada used existing facilities, such as university dormitories and military bases, even if they were two hours away from the competition centers. The Dominican government is putting the land, but the investment in the towers is reportedly to be made by the private companies that will recover the investment by later selling the apartments.

Brugal mega concert for New Year
"Roncierto Brugal" is the name of the mega merengue music concert prepared by Brugal rum company for 31 December in Santo Domingo. Marco Antonio Solis, Elvis Crespo, Milly Quezada, Toño Rosario, Tribu del Sol and Raulin Rodríguez have been contracted to perform during the Roncierto Brugal 2000. The event, the main event planned for the start of the millennium celebration in the capital city, will take place at the Plaza de la Bandera. Organizers expect an attendance of 100,000 persons.

Christmas in the Colonial City
"Navidad 99" is the celebration of Christmas organized by the Ayuntamiento de Santo Domingo (city municipality), Secretaría de Turismo (ministry of tourism), Comisión de Monumentos (historic monuments commission), Oficina de Patrimonio Cultural (office of cultural heritage), and the Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial (board of the colonial city).
Activities start today, Wednesday, 1 December and continue all month long. Most of the events take place at the Parque Colón (Isabel la Católica corner Conde), the Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial (Isabel la Católica 103) or the Palacio Consistorial (Arz. Meriño corner Conde), Cathedral of Santo Domingo (Arz. Meriño corner Arz. Nouel), Capilla de los Remedios (Calle Las Damas corner Mercedes).
The first seven days' schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, 1 December
8 pm. Christmas Tree ceremony at the Parque Colón (Columbus Park).
8:30 pm. Christmas Carols Concert. Municipal Choir. Parque Colón.
9 pm. Nativity ceremony at the Palacio Consistorial.
9:30 pm. Jose Antonio Montes Concert. Parque Colón.

Thursday, 2 December
6 pm. Christmas traditions. Exhibition of Dominican Christmas Traditions. Palacio Consistorial.
7:30 p. Ileana Reynoso Concert. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Dominican Theater Festival. Palacio Consistorial.
8:30 pm. Dominican Christmas Concert. Francois Bahuaud, director, soprano Ivonne Haza, Victor Mitrov, invited trumpet player. Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial.

Friday, 3 December.
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Concert with the Music Band of the Firemen. Parque Colón.
6 pm. Presentation of Children's Workshops. Municipality of Santo Domingo. Palacio Consistorial.
7:30 pm. Concert of the National Choir. Fernando Geraldes. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Christmas Cinema. Plazoleta de Regina, Padre Billini corner José Reyes.
8 pm. Christmas Tree ceremony of the Santa Barbara neighborhood. Plazoleta de Santa Barbara, Isabel la Catolica corner Av. España.
8:30 pm. Grupo Ensemble Chalumeau Concert. Maestro Roberto Medina Rios, conductor. Parque Colón.

Saturday, 4 December.
6 am Mañanitas (Christmas caroling). Carmen neighborhood group. The singers leave from Calle Sánchez 112.
3 pm. How to make a nativity scene. Workshop for children. Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial.
5:30 pm. Puppets in the park. Presentation of "La Casita de Doña Pulga," by the Teatro Capuchín. Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial and Adoti. Parque Colón.
7 pm. Opening of the exhibition of Dominican nativity scenes. Palacio Consistorial.
8 pm. Exhibition of nativity scenes (open through 7 January). Capilla de los Remedios.l
8:30 pm. Presentation of the Folklore Ballet of the Ministry of Tourism. Frank Usero, director. Parque Colón.

Sunday, 5 December
9 am. Opening of the nativity scene by famous Dominican sculptor Antonio Prats Ventós at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. It will remain open through 9 January.
7:30 pm. Presentation of "Sangre Mulata" directed by Virgilio López. Parque Colón.
8:30 pm. Christmas Concert. Municipal Choir, directed by Rafael Campos. Parque Colón.

Monday, 6 December
5:30 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Concert by the Navy Music Band. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Banda 25 presentation sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.
9 pm. Christmas Festival. Concert by Soprano Ivonne Haza. Palacio Consistorial.

Tuesday, 7 December.
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. La Salle School Choir, directed by Jose Cueli. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Xiomara Fortuna in Concert presented by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.
9 pm. Concert for piano and violin. Olga Voigt and Zvedana de Tavar, Palacio Consistorial.
9 pm. Christmas caroling. Board of neighbors
from San Lázaro. Singers leave from Parque Colón.

Wednesday, 8 December
5:30 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Concert by the Music Band of the Army.
8 pm. Carlos Alfredo Fatule in Concert sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.
8 pm. "Gloria a Dios", presentation of the choir of the Estudio Diná music school. Convent of Santo Domingo. Padre Billini corner Hostos street.
9 pm. Concert of the Marianela Sánchez children's choir. Palacio Consistorial.
9 pm. Christmas caroling by the neighbors of Regina. Leaving from the Parque Colón.

Peace Corps arts and crafts fair
Members of the US Peace Corps will be holding their traditional arts and crafts fair. It will take place, Sunday, 5 December at the headquarters of the Peace Corps in Santo Domingo at Bolívar 451 corner Félix María del Monte street in Gazcue. Arts and crafts from all throughout the country will be exhibited.
For more information, Tel. 685-4101.

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