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Daily News - 15 December 1999

Airlines cancel 31 December midnight flights
Following a world trend, American Airlines, Copa and Tower Air cancelled flights that would be in the air at midnight of 31 December. Continental and Trans World Airlines could follow suit, it was reported.
The measure comes shortly after local aviation authorities and airlines announced that local airports and they themselves are prepared for the effects of the Y2K phenomenon. The government only yesterday announced in a press conference that US$300,000 had been invested to ready the airports. Airsys ATM certified the airports.
For more information on cancellations worldwide, see
http://www.cnn.com/1999/TRAVEL/NEWS/12/10/airlines.y2k/index.html

US Transportation Secretary to sign open skies agreement
US Transportation Secretary, Rodney E. Slater (Department of Transportation) is expected today in Santo Domingo. He will sign an agreement providing for open skies between the DR and US. At the same time, a report in Hoy newspaper says that the FAA will lift the Category Three restriction that impeded Dominican carriers from flying to the US.

RD$152 million more for JCE
The Executive Branch sent to the Chamber of Deputies an addendum to the National Budget increasing the JCE allotment by RD$152 million and that of the state university by RD$50 million. The Chamber of Deputies is reviewing the 2000 Budget. Nevertheless, Ramón Alburquerque, president of the Senate, said that the Senate will not pass the budget if the Executive Branch does not establish an increase in the minimum wage of public employees to RD$2,500, up from RD$1,500. The Senate is also urging increases in the allotments for the Chamber of Accounts and the Supreme Court of Justice.

AMET bus system to seven cities by mid 2000
The Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) announced it will be modernizing transport in La Vega, Puerto Plata, San Francisco de Macorís, San Pedro de Macorís and San Cristóbal in the first trimester of next year. By August 2000, with the implementing of the modern bus transport systems in those cities, AMET will have installed modern transport systems in seven leading Dominican cities. The systems are already operating in Santo Domingo and Santiago.

JCE's new telephone for ID card status inquiries
The Junta Central Electoral, the government body in charge of organizing presidential elections in the DR, announced the start of its "Servicio de Información Inmediata", which will assist citizens seeking to know the status of their identification/voting registration card (cédula). The service will operate from the Junta Electoral del Distrito Nacional. Some 13 telephone operators will work seven days a week from 7 am to 10 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9 to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The telephone number to call is 537-0047 in Santo Domingo and 1-200-0047 from the provinces. The JCE estimates in a month they could handle 100,000 calls from citizens seeking the document. With the implementation of the telephone service, JCE hopes to reduce the long lines at their headquarters, and accelerate the process of citizens obtaining their voting cards.

Two Santo Domingo electoral board members resign
As they had forewarned the Junta Central Electoral, the last two members of the National District Electoral Junta that had participated in the successful organization of the 1996 presidential election and the 1998 congressional and municipal election, resigned yesterday. The two, Antoliano Peralta Romero and Mu-Kien Sang Ben resigned when the JCE restructured the board, removing all other members of the team that had worked for the successful celebration of the 1996 and 1998 elections. Peralta and Sang had urged the JCE to leave the experienced members, and only appoint members to fill posts left vacant by those who had previously resigned. The board positions are honorary, and Peralta and Sang Ben felt that by appointing an all new board, the responsibility placed upon them, without the experienced team as backup, was too great, and their professional reputations could be at stake. The Junta del Distrito organizes elections in Santo Domingo, where 33% of voters live, overseeing 3,500 voting tables.

Haiti and DR police chiefs agree to collaborate to fight crime
The police chiefs of Haiti and the Dominican Republic met yesterday and verbally agreed to combat crime and contraband yesterday in Jimaní, a frontier city with Haiti. The meeting had been called after Haiti Police Chief Pierre Denizé denounced that Haitian criminals were hiding in the DR. The DR chief announced that computerized police departments will be set up in January in the frontier cities of Elías Piña, Jimaní and Dajabón. Following the meeting, which ended with a red wine toast, the Police chiefs traveled to the police headquarters in Haiti where the stolen vehicles were exchanged. The DR returned to Haiti a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Mitsubishi Nativa jeep, and Haiti returned four Daihatsu trucks and a double cabin pick up. During the event, several persons that had been assaulted by vandals denounced that the Haitian authorities have done little to resolve their cases. Those affected denounced that Haitian police are members of the criminal gangs. The chief of the Haitian police promised to investigate the matter.
Both police forces will commit to fight drug trafficking, car stealing, money falsifying and trafficking of persons.

Ilianov falls into semi-coma
Ilianov de León Alvino, the 14-year old boy whose parents held a nationwide crusade to collect the more than US$500,000 needed for a bone marrow operation in New York City, is in a state of semi-coma. His system failed to assimilate treatment following the bone marrow transplant. El Siglo newspaper says that at 8 am yesterday, he was interned in the intensive care unit of the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City where he is hospitalized. His parents say he has lost strength in his extremities, can no longer speak, although he opens his eyes at times.

Elvis Crespo in Puerto Rico and DR on Jan 1
Elvis Crespo will perform in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 31 December from 12 midnight to 1 am in Puerto Rico and then take a private flight to Santo Domingo in time to perform from 3 to 4 am at the Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza de la Bandera). He is the star of the millennium concert, Roncierto, sponsored by Brugal rum. Other Roncierto performers that go on stage starting at 9 pm are Marco Antonio Solís, Toño Rosario, Milly Quezada, Tribu del Sol and Raulín Rodríguez. Crespo's "Suavemente" has sold three million copies.

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).
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).
To plan ahead, note the schedule through the weekend:

Wednesday, 15 December
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Christmas Music Concert by the choir of the Central Bank. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Performance of the Folklore Ballet of the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Convento de los Dominicos. Christmas music concert by the National Choir.
9 pm. Concert for piano and violin. Olga Voigt and Zvedana de Tavar, Palacio Consistorial.

Thursday, 16 December
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Superintendency of Banks Christmas Concert. Directed by Edgar Martínez. Parque Colón.
8 pm. National Symphony Orchestra Concert. Directed by Amaury Sánchez. Sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism. Arcades of the Borgellá Palace.
9 pm. Christmas Festival. Marianela Sánchez's Children's Choir.
Palacio Consistorial.
9 pm. Christmas partying. Juan Pablo Duarte neighborhood. From Parque Colón to the Convento de Santo Domingo (Padre Billini corner Duarte)

Friday, 17 December
5 pm. Opening Handicraft exhibition (through 19 December). Parque San José (19 de Marzo corner José Gabriel García), sponsored by the San José/Montesinos neighborhood.
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Christmas Concert by the Choir of the Banco Popular. Directed by Prof. Ramón E. Restituyo. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Christmas Cinema, A Christmas Nightmare, starring Tim Burton. Plazoleta de Regina (Padre Billini corner José Reyes).
8 pm. Christmas Concert. Municipal Chamber Orchestra. Directed by Prof. Rodolfo Manzano. Parque Colón.
9 pm. Christmas Festival: Concert by flutist Luis Ruiz, accompanied by violinist Jazmina Gavrilovich. Palacio Consistorial.
9:30 pm. Christmas partying. Santa Clara/Cathedral neighborhood. From Parque Colón to Parque Pellerano Castro (Isabel la Católica corner José Gabriel García).

Saturday, 18 December
6 am. "Mañanitas," early morning caroling. Carmen neighborhood, leaving from Calle Sánchez 112.
5:30 pm. Puppet show: "Christmas Tree". Teatro Papalote. Parque Colón.
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Christmas Concert by the choir of the National Army. Directed by First Lieutenant Medina Cuevas.
8 pm. Luchy Vicioso in Concert. Accompanied by Maestro Tito Delgado, sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.
9 pm. Christmas Festival: Concert of the Vocal Ensemble Group of Santo Domingo. Accompanied at the piano by Maestro Ramón Díaz. Palacio Consistorial.
9 pm. Christmas partying. San Antón neighborhood. Groups leave from Parque Colón to the Plazoleta de San Antón (Restauración corner Hostos).

Sunday, 19 December
3 pm. Tour of the nativity scenes in the Colonial City. Organized by the Conde/Mercedes neighborhood. Leaving from Atrio de las Mercedes, Calle Mercedes.
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Men's Choir of the Instituto Cultural Dominico-Americano. Directed by Prof. Ramón E. Restituyo. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Fernando Casado in Concert. Accompanied by Maestro Tito Delgado. Sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.
9 pm. Christmas Festival. Concert by the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra. Directed by François Bahuad. Palacio Consistorial.
9 pm. Christmas partying. San José/Montesinos neighborhood. Leaving from Parque Colón to Parque San José (19 de Marzo corner José Gabriel García).

Winter baseball games and standing
Wednesday, 15 December 1999
San Francisco de Macorís: 8 pm Aguilas vs. Pollos
San Pedro de Macorís: 5 pm Escogido vs. Estrellas

Team standing as of Tuesday, 14 December 1999:
Leones del Escogido 21-13 (.618)
Aguilas Cibaeñas 22-14 (.611)
Estrellas Orientales 17-20 (.459) ­5.5 games
Tigres del Licey 16-20 (.444), -6 games
Pollos del Cibao 13-22 (.371) ­8.5 games

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