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Daily News - 21 December 1999

New traffic law imposes stronger penalties
President Leonel Fernández passed the new traffic law that establishes stronger penalties for drivers responsible for car crashes. Law 114-99, modifies Law 241, and establishes fines of RD$2,000-RD$8,000 and jail sentences of two to five years for those responsible for causing the death of another in a car crash.
Jail penalties are contemplated for those involved in a car crash that do not have a driver's license, or whose driver's license is not valid. Also for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for speeding, reckless driving, driving a vehicle not adequately lit or incorrect parking that may cause a crash, jail penalties will be levied.
Penalties of nine months to three years in jail, and fines of RD$700-RD$3,000 are set for those causing permanent injuries to others. Likewise, penalties of three months to a year and fines of RD$300 to RD$1,000 are for those causing injuries that may result in a work loss of 10-20 days. And penalties of RD$100 to RD$700 for those cause injuries that may result in a work loss of up to 10 days.

Montellano lands to go on sale next year
The Central Bank announced it will open sales of lots of what was the Montellano Sugar Mill in Puerto Plata next year. The announcement was made by Vice Governor Luis Manuel Piantini, and reported in El Caribe newspaper. The development is located in one of the main tourism zones of the country. The State Sugar Council (CEA) transferred the sugar mill lands to the Central Bank in 1996. Piantini also announced the government will build a new highway to make the development more attractive to investors. The property encompasses seven million square meters from Boca Nueva to Playa de Bergantín, between Puerto Plata city and Sosua Beach.

Vaccination blitz in affected slums
The Ministry of Public Health announced a house-by-house vaccination blitz in the Cienfuegos and Gurabo slum areas in Santiago province, where there recently was a diphtheria outbreak. The Ministry had been vaccinating for measles in the area, and will now vaccinate children with a second dose of the DPT vaccine. Dr. Melchor Figuereo, provincial director for the Ministry of Public Health, said there have not been any more reports of diphtheria in the Cienfuegos and Gurabo area where the outbreak occurred. The Ministry estimates that 80% of Dominican children are vaccinated against the disease. Vaccinations are free at the Ministry of Public Health vaccination centers.

DR to assist Venezuelan mudslide victims
The Fernández Administration is organizing an aid mission to Venezuela. Torrential rains that have caused mudslides recently affected Venezuela. Some 20,000 persons are estimated to have died in the mudslides, making it the worst natural disaster in Venezuela in this century. The Ministry of Public Health will be sending a commission of 25 physicians to assist Venezuelan rescue crews. The Venezuelan Embassy is coordinating donations from Dominicans that will be sent to Venezuela. The Embassy is asking for sheets, blankets, boots, medicine, tents, portable toilets, diapers, sleeping bags and lanterns. To make a donation and for more information, call 534-4080, 534-4009, 537,8882. The Venezuelan Embassy is located at Av. Anacaona 7, Mirador del Sur.

World Bank vice president praises DR economy
David de Ferranti, World Bank vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean praised the Dominican economy yesterday. He said that the Dominican economy is "an excellent example for others in the region." He spoke with reporters after visiting with President Leonel Fernandez for about an hour at the National Palace. He said that the country has a strong productive base upon which to build and fight poverty. The World Bank announced it has programmed disbursements for US$360 million for the DR for the next three years to be used in 12 health and education projects (US$120 million per year).
De Ferranti was in Santo Domingo to participate in the formal handing in of the conclusions of talks that led to the "Agenda for Development," prepared with input from political parties, unions, business groups and the civic society under the auspices of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra and the World Bank.

Development Agenda paper
The Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, the largest private university in the DR, released yesterday the conclusions of talks that took place for six months at the university among representatives of the leading political parties and civic society organizations. The talks covered topics that are considered top priority for the development of the DR. The documented was presented by Monsignor Agripino Núñez, rector of the university to the presidential candidates and presidents of the political parties, to the presidents of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, as well as to representatives of civic society organizations and international development organizations.
Núñez Collado said that the purpose of the document was to make groups aware of the importance of working together to resolve common problems, regardless of legitimate differences in positions.
The debates and talks covered topics regarding economic policy for development, reform of the state, politics and environmental management, frontier development and relations with Haiti.
The document urges the three leading political parties to commit to increase social expenditures in the next years, apply a fair economic policies, and reform the budget so that the use of government funds is more transparent. Participants conclude that the approval of a legal framework regarding the environment is essential. Top priority was assigned in the discussions to DR relations with Haiti. The groups recommended these take be based on national interests and solidarity with that nation.

Let's privatize the Puerto Plata sky lift
The president of the Association of North Coast Tourism Operations (Opetur), Pedro Tomasio recommended that the government privatize the Puerto Plata sky lift. Pedro Tomasio told El Siglo that it should be privatized so it can finally get into working condition. President Leonel Fernández himself attended the inaugural of the sky lift on 4 November. The sky lift was not placed into operation then, and had to wait several more weeks to start operation. When it started operation, it only lasted two days when it had to be shut down again due to problems with the motor of the sky lift. The sky lift was repaired at a cost of US$1 million. It had been out of operation since August 1996. The sky lift to the top of Isabel de Torres mountain is one of the main tourist attractions in the North Coast.

Poet and musician, Manuel Rueda passes away
78 year old writer and poet, Manuel Rueda passed away yesterday. He had been suffering from cancer. The winner of the 1994 National Literature Prize was also an accomplished musician and playwright. He had been director of the National Music Conservatory and the Institute of Folklore Research of the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña. His play, "La Trinitaria Blanca," winner of the 1957 Best Play Award, recently was staged at the National Theater.

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-Palacio Borgellá (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).
Today's schedule of events is:

Tuesday, 21 December

6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Concert by the Colegio Santa Clara Choirs. Directed by Alejandro Penson. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Elizabeth Ozuna in Concert sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.

Winter baseball games and standing
Tuesday, 21 December 1999
Santo Domingo: Estrellas vs. Escogido
San Francisco de Macorís: Licey vs. Pollos

Team standing as of Monday, 20 December 1999:
Aguilas Cibaeñas 26-16 (.619)
Leones del Escogido 24-17 (.585) -1.5 games
Tigres del Licey 20-21 (.488), -5.5 games
Estrellas Orientales 20-23 (.465) ­6.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 14-27 (.341) ­11.5 games

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