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Daily News - 20 December 1999

State university vulnerable to Y2K phenomenon
Informatics expert Genove Gneco says that the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the Presidency of the Republic, the Ministry and Public Works and the Metropolitan Transport Authority could confront Y2K problems with 80% of their computers if measures are not taken in time. New HP computer systems were installed last year, but unfortunately they were not Y2K ready systems. The HPvetra models are sensitive to the Y2K problems, he told the press. Of about 100 computers at the state university (UASD), only three will continue operating in year 2000 if corrective measures are not implemented. Gneco can be contacted at Tel. 809 533-2629.

Dominicans more concerned over environment than Y2K
A recent Sigma Dos/Listin Diario survey showed that Dominicans are more concerned about the environment than the Y2K phenomenon. 75% of the Dominican population says it is not satisfied with the state of the environment in the country. Most Dominicans are aware of the forestry programs that have managed to revert deforestation in the DR, but they feel more trees should be planted.
A recent Central Bank study shows that 80% of the population trusts the financial system is ready.
Renato Gonzalez, technical director of the Y2K readiness program, says that contrary to expected money retrievals, bank deposits are up.
For more information on Y2K procedures, call 686-8707, 686-8414, 221-9240, 1-200-4092 Fax 688-83333.
or email [email protected]

14 companies interested in Dominicana Airlines
Architect Eduardo Selman, who directs the Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Estatales, the state consortium of companies that are now being privatized, told El Siglo newspaper that 14 companies are interested in investing in Dominicana Airlines, the state airline. El Siglo newspaper reports that an audit by KPMG shows that the grounded airline has assets of RD$148 million and liabilities of RD$1,800 million. Most of the moneys are owed to the state bank, Banco de Reservas, but there are millionaire debts in dollars to foreign suppliers that must be consolidated and resolved prior to the privatization. The director of Corde did not name the companies that might participate in the tender to privatize 50% of Dominicana Airlines. One of the bigger problems regarding the privatization of the airline, is that Dominicana Airlines cannot fly to the US because the US Federal Aviation Agency lists the DR in Category III.
The PLD government has closed several and privatized other state corporations that operated as welfare entities for party members and friends of the government in power. In addition to Dominicana Airlines, state companies still remaining to be privatized are the gypsum and marble companies and the national paper company (Induspapel).
The Public Enterprise Commission (CREP) is in charge of the privatizing of state corporations.

Medicine arrives to assist those affected by diphtheria
Minister of Public Health Juan Octavio Ceballos reported that 25 portions of diphtheria anti-toxin to combat an outbreak of diphtheria primarily in slum areas in Santiago province had arrived. The incidence of diphtheria in the DR is so low that the medicine is not imported by pharmaceutical companies. Minister of Public Health Ceballos said, "There is no motive for national alarm. He explained that the cases and deaths in 1999 are less than those detected in 1998." Some 38 cases of diphtheria are suspect, of which 28 occurred in Santiago. Cases have occurred to children who have not been appropriately vaccinated, as report the authorities.

Pregnant woman leaves to give birth, just in time
A pregnant woman left for the hospital just in time to avoid serious burns last week. Shortly after, a clandestine fireworks factory located beside her home exploded. The fire outbreak occurred in the Puerto Rico area of Los Minas on the eastern side of Santo Domingo. 42 year old Rafael Antonio Mendez reportedly arrived drunk and entered the factory with a lighted cigarette in his mouth. Neighbors say they ignored the factory was located there. There were no deaths reported, but Mendez suffered serious burns across 65% of his body.

440 persons die in violence in Santo Domingo
The National Police stats released by Hoy newspaper show that 440 persons died in Santo Domingo (population about 3 million) in the first 11 months of the year. Most of the reported murders in shootouts or by knife wounds occurred in areas described by the police as centers of violence and delinquency. These are Gualey, Capotillo, Guachupita, 27 de Febrero (in northern Santo Domingo), and Los Alcarrizos (in the West). Of the deaths, 394 (90%) were men and 46 women.
The police recommends that neighbors in high crime areas report suspects by calling telephones 685-3532, 688-9878-911.

Antena Latina competes for TV market share
President Leonel Fernández attended the inaugural of the Antena Latina (Channel 7) offices at Gustavo Mejia Ricart Street in Naco. This is an investment of the new generation of the Bonetti family. Jose Miguel Bonetti Dubreil, president of Antena Latina, spoke at the event announcing the new programming and the alliances made with CNN, the Weather Channel, Antena 3 of Spain, Venevisión of Venezuela, and King World and King Paniagua. The station, which leased the rights to transmit by Channel 7, will be telecasting TV series, special programs, soap operas, news shows, entertainment for children and local programming.

Fiesta Blanca del Pichirrí a success
The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, whose candidate Hipólito Mejía, is the highest ranked in the presidential race so far, held its end-of-year campaign extravaganza yesterday along the Malecón. From Máximo Gómez avenue through the Eugenio María de Hostos public park, the sea-bordering boulevard was closed off for the political activity. The activity was named the "La Fiesta Blanca del Pichirrí," allusive to the tail of the chicken by which Mejía says he holds his closest contender, Danilo Medina of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD). Thousands turned up on the Malecón porting white flags, and the event was telecast as part of the "Gordo de la Semana" Sunday TV program. Musical groups performed, including Mayor Johnny Ventura directing his orchestra, Fernando Villalona, Eddy Herrera, Kinito Mendez, Kalibre, Maremoto, Grupo Mío, Parada Joven, Pochy Familia and other supporters.

100 of France's elite visits on board Concorde on LA tour
A French travel agency, TMR, booked an Air France Concorde for a South America and Caribbean tour of 100 of France's elite. The Concorde landed in Santo Domingo on 3 December as part of the tour. The visitors stayed at the Hotel Coral Costa Caribe in Juan Dolio. The passengers toured Santo Domingo. Airp, and the agency's owner Chantal De Lengaigne organized the Santo Domingo end of the trip. The first commander of the Concorde, Andres Turcat was on board.

A Christmas jeep
Juan Guzmán, Pedro Julio Astacio, Ramón Martínez, three successful Dominican Major League baseball players surprised Dodgers scout Elvio Jiménez with a brand new Mitsubishi Montero jeep last Tuesday. The players engaged him in conversation and tricked him into accompanying them to the Quisqueya Ball Park parking lot. There they presented him with a brand new jeep, a gift of the threesome and Pedro Martínez in appreciation. Pedro Martínez, the Major League's best pitcher in 1999, spoke with him by cellular and told Jiménez, "Elvio, you deserve that and more, enjoy the jeep and God bless you." Jiménez discovered the players and recommended that the Dodgers sign them. Jiménez said that the jeep is a first from successful players. He praised the foursome, saying they were in a class by themselves, for their simplicity and humbleness, virtues he said came from their family's upbringing. Up to now, Jiménez was driving a 1987 Mazda.

Juan Luís Guerra concert pleases all
Juan Luís Guerra and his 4-40 group (Roger Zayas, Adalgisa Pantaleón and Kike Rizek) had everyone standing up and swaying to merengue on Saturday evening. He filled the Altos de Chavón amphitheater in La Romana to capacity. An estimated 6,000 persons attended the concert. The concert started at 9 pm and ended at 11:22 pm (27 songs - opening with "El Niágara en Bicicleta" and closing with "La Billirubina"). The climax of the evening was the performance of Mariela Mercado and Maridalia Hernández, original members of 4-40 who had abandoned the group to give more time to their families when the group began its world tours. Guerra is the Dominican who has sold most CDs.

Winter baseball games and standing
Monday, 20 December 1999
San Francisco de Macorís: Escogido vs. Pollos
San Pedro de Macorís: Aguilas vs. Estrellas

Team standing as of Sunday, 19 December 1999:
Aguilas Cibaeñas 26-15 (.634)
Leones del Escogido 24-16 -1.5 games (.600)
Tigres del Licey 20-21 (.488), -6 games
Estrellas Orientales 19-23 (.452) ­7.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 13-27 (.325) ­12.5 games

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