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Daily News - 03 December 1999

PLD government likes to buy from Brazil
The Technical Secretary of the Presidency Temístocles Montás responded to more questioning as to corruption in government purchases. This time he addressed the issue of the importing of tubes for the aqueducts to be built in the Northwest. He said that the tubing will be imported from Brazil because it was the only way to obtain 100% financing for the project. Engineers Emilio Almonte and Julio Suero Marranzini say the government could economize several hundreds of million in the execution of the works if the tubes are purchased on the local market. The prestigious engineers criticized the construction of the aqueducts that will be replacing a less costly project that would channel water by gravity.
News reports have recently documented cases of alleged corruption such as in the case of the purchase of 10 helicopters from a Brazilian firm (cover story in Rumbo of this week), the buses purchased also from Brazil for the public transport system (OMSA), and now the Brazilian tubing for the aqueducts.

DR and Haiti migration agreements
The Haitian government committed to double efforts to issue identity cards to its citizens. Most Haitians who cross the frontier do so without any legal documentation or identification of any kind. The Haitian government does not make it mandatory for its citizens to get their identity cards, birth certificates, or any legal documentation. This has brought major difficulties when the Haitians seek to integrate with life in the DR. The commitment was made as part of agreements after an extraordinary migration meeting was held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo.
Dominican and Haitian authorities committed to implement a series of mechanisms for the deporting of Haitians from the DR. DR agreed that deportations can only be made from 8 to 6 pm, and from 8 to noon on Sundays and holidays of both countries.
The Dominican government agreed to not separate immediate families (parents and children) when deporting Haitians.
The new protocol was signed by the Dominican Ambassador in Charge of Haitian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Relations Wenceslao Guerrero and by Guy Lamothe, charge d'affairs of the Haitian Embassy in the DR. Haiti has not sent an ambassador to the DR.
It was agreed that deportations will be made exclusively through the points of Jimaní/Malpasse, Dajabón/Quanaminthe, Elías Piña/Belladere and Pedernales/Anse-a-Pitre.
The Haitian government committed to reinforce and establish migration inspection booths at those points to receive the deported Haitians.
The protocol also establishes that the authorities will facilitate that the deported Haitians leave together with their belongings.
It was also agreed that the Dominican Migration Department will report the list of the persons to be deported with reasonable time to the Haitian authorities.

PRSC alerts against excessive borrowing of government
Donald Reid Cabral, a former Minister of Foreign Relations, and a prominent Dominican businessman alerted that the PLD government is borrowing from local banks placing a major burden on the next government. [A previous PRSC government left major debts for the PLD government, but these were with individual contractors, not banks. The PRD government left major debts with international lending organizations.]
Speaking at a press conference called at the headquarters of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, Reid Cabral said the PLD government has incurred in a practice never seen before. He said the excessive borrowing affects the economic stability and the private investment climate.
Reid estimated that the government borrowed about RD$3,000 million from July to the present time to pay debts of the State Sugar Council, in order to privatize the state sugar companies, and to purchase Brazilian helicopters.
He said this has to be added to indebtedness with private banks in the DR that already adds up to RD$4,881 million, according to the January-June Economic Report of the Central Bank. The RD$7,000 million total, he said, represents 14% of the total income expressed in the 2000 National Budget.
Reid Cabral said that this practice will reduce the maneuvering capacity of the next government.

Educating jail inmates
Minister of Education Ligia Amada Melo spoke at the graduation of 178 inmates from the Najayo Public Jail in San Cristóbal. Sixty-eight of those who graduated were taught to read and write. The others took electricity, economics, informatics, sewing, hair-styling courses. Minister Melo announced the opening of a TV education program to prepare high school graduates, teach to read and write and teach computer sciences.

Big bucks to be circulating soon
The Fernández administration National Budget Department announced that from 13-15 December, the government will be handing out RD$5,000 million in Christmas bonuses to public employees. The private sector will be making their Christmas salary payments about the same time. It is expected that once all this cash hits the streets, Christmas shopping will be on in full force.

Three year old kidnapped girl rescued
The National Police returned three year old Irene Fernández to her parents yesterday, as per a report in Hoy newspaper. Her parents had denounced to the National Police and to the media in the DR that the little girl who lives in La Caleta, a slum town next to Boca Chica tourism resort area, was missing since Monday. They suspected an Italian mafia that they said kidnaps little children to be sold to foreigners for RD$35,000. The little girl said she was playing and a neighbor covered her face and told her she would stay with her because her mother was going to travel abroad. The father of the little girl, Jose Luis Fernandez said he had lost hope of finding his daughter. He said there are many cases of missing children in La Caleta. On Wednesday evening, he visited the Missing Persons Department of the Police to get a document that a TV station required to show a photo of the missing girl. He was told by the Police to return the next day so that they could continue with the investigations. When he returned, the Police had little Irene waiting for him in the Department of Investigation of Homicides. The Police explained a lady who took her to the Los Mina Police Department found the girl in the Los Mina market. The Police arrested three women and a man, who are neighbors of the affected parents. A tip by one of the women led to the finding of the little girl. The little girl continuously told her mother, "Mommy, don't go away."

Concert of paint cans during Expo Herrera
Expo Herrera is the largest industrial trade exhibition held every year at the Feria Ganadera exhibition grounds. More than 200 companies participate in the week long event that began 30 November and ends 5 December, from 9 am to 10 pm. Aside from the industrial exhibitions and discounted sales of company goods, the fair organizers present a well worth attending series of artistic shows.
Not to be missed this year is the "Concierto de Tanques 'tan", sponsored by Pinturas Popular. The paint company has contracted leading percussionist Guarionex Aquino who together with David Armengod and Isidro Bobadilla put together a great show, pounding on Pinturas Popular cans of all sizes. The event takes place outside of the Pinturas Popular booth.
Other worthwhile shows set for the "redondel" grand stand are contemporary Dominican rock group Toque Profundo (Friday), merengue band Coco Band (Saturday) and Michelle Flores (Sunday), all starting at 9 pm.

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 weekend's schedule is as follows:

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.

Major League Baseball investigators look into signing of minors
Ray Krasic, of the office of the Major League Baseball Commissioner and two lawyers from Major League Baseball arrived yesterday to investigate the signing of Adrián Beltré and other players before they were 16 years old. Scott Boras, Adrian Beltre's agent wants his client to be declared a free agent, and thus eligible for millions in salary. To read more about the Beltré case, which should set important precedents for Major League Baseball, see
http://www.foxsports.com/baseball/stories/b1130beltre1.sml

All Stars game set for 12 December
Dominican Professional Winter Baseball League's All Stars Game will be held 12 December. In it the best players of the Santo Domingo city teams, the Licey and the Escogido, will match the best players of the interior provincial teams - Pollos, Estrellas and the Aguilas.
The game will be held at the Quisqueya Ball Park in Santo Domingo. Best seats sell for RD$200, but there are also tickets for RD$100 and the bleachers go for RD$15.
Leading up to the event, the local baseball league has organized a golf tournament for 11 December at the Cayacoa Country Club. Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Rentería, Marvin Bernard, Alex Rodríguez, José Rijo, Stanley Javier, Neifi Perez and Moises Alou, among others are expected to participate.

Show people vs. baseball greats in benefit
Manny Mota, the former star Los Angeles Dodgers player, is bringing together popular music figures and baseball stars for a benefit softball game. First Classic of Celebrities Manny Mota will take place Wednesday, 8 December at the Quisqueya Ball Park. Among the expected players are Fernando Villalona, Kinito Mendez, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, Andrew Jones, Todd Hundley and others. Canseco and Hundley have already confirmed their participation.
The mascots of the Florida Marlins (Billy the Marlin), the Colorado Rockies (Colorado Dinger), and Seattle Mariners (Mariners Moose) are coming for the event.
Manny Mota says that it is probable that leading Dominican politicians may also participate, including President Leonel Fernández and the presidential candidates.
Tickets are for sale at the Plaza Lama stores and at the Quisqueya Ball park.

Winter baseball weekend games and standing
Friday, 3 December 1999
Santiago: Escogido vs. Aguilas
San Pedro de Macorís: Licey vs. Estrellas

Saturday, 4 December 1999
Santo Domingo: Aguilas vs. Licey
San Pedro de Macorís: Pollos vs. Estrellas

Sunday, 5 December 1999
5 pm game Santo Domingo: Licey vs. Escogido
8 pm Santo Domingo: Licey vs. Escogido
8 pm Santiago: Pollos vs. Aguilas

Team standing as of Thursday, 2 December 1999:
Leones del Escogido 19-8 (.704)
Aguilas Cibaeñas 17-10 (.630) ­2 game
Estrellas Orientales 14-14 (.500) ­5.5 games
Tigres del Licey 9-17 (.346), -9.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 8-18 (.308) ­10.5 games

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