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Daily News - 27 December 1999

49 persons die over Christmas holiday
Forty-nine persons died over the Christmas holiday (Friday, 24 December at noon to 5 pm, Sunday, 26 December) in the DR. Of these, 40 died in traffic accidents -- 15 in Santo Domingo, 7 in the North, 13 in the South and 5 in the East.
Likewise, the Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia, coordinated by the Civil Defense, said that 11 persons died in brawls, one of alcohol intoxication, one of food intoxication, one of natural death and three in fires.
Deaths this year were up 12% compared to last year. Ramón Franco, director of Operations of the Civil Defense, called for prudence to avoid an increase in victims over the New Year holiday.
Police reports showed 25 persons died in traffic collisions, 62% involving motorcycles.
The Police says it retained 240 cars and 57 motorcycles when their drivers were found driving under the influence of alcohol. The drivers were sent home.

Seagulls visit a month earlier
El Caribe newspaper reports that the seagulls (Larus) that migrate to Dominican coasts during the winter months have arrived a month earlier. This is attributed to climate changes in the planet. This winter, the seagulls have come during the first and second week of December. It was normal for them to fly south during the first two weeks of January. They can usually be observed in the morning hours flying over the Caribbean Sea facing Santo Domingo near the coasts where they feed off rests of marine animals and small fish.

Whale-watching season starts 15 January
The Department of Parks announces that the whale-watching season starts 15 January through 30 March 2000. Only boats with permission from the Department of Parks can carry out whale-watching trips within the marine mammals sanctuaries of the North Coast.
The boats need to meet whale-watching regulations that are being enforced in both the Silver Banks (north of Puerto Plata) and the Bay of Samana. Airplanes cannot fly lower than 1,000 meters within the Sanctuary, as established by Law 67.
The rates for visiting the areas and participating in whale-watching in Samana Bay are RD$20 per person (Dominicans are exempt from the payment). The tickets can be purchased at the Department of Parks, in the ticket booths at the ports of departure or directly from the companies that provide maritime transport and those that sell excursions. For more information, contact the Department of Parks, Tels. 472-4102, 472-3911 and 472-4104, Fax 472-4012 or email [email protected]

DR is leading producer of organic bananas
The Center for the Promotion of Exports says that the DR has become the leading producer and exporter of organic bananas in the world. Dominican-based companies exported 26,000 tons of organic bananas to markets in US and Europe (Holland, Germany, Belgium and Italy) during the first half of the year. Exports totaled US$4,113,596 (FOB) between January and July. The DR passed Mexico as the leading supplier to the US and Japan. Organic bananas were first planted in Azua, in the Southwest in 1989. Today there are 700 producers. A Cedopex study shows that the DR has the most organic farms Latin America with 9,000 farmers, followed by Costa Rica with 3,500 farmers. There are coffee, cacao, coconuts and mangos organic plantations in the DR in addition to the banana plantations.

Malaria cases increase with Haitian migration
There was an increase in the number of malaria cases in the DR last year. The increase is attributed to the increase in Haitian migration, at a time the Dominican health authorities had relaxed preventive actions following the eradication of several diseases. Given the almost elimination of sicknesses, the government had abandoned combing poor neighborhoods to vaccinate children, replacing these with fixed vaccination centers, where mothers have to take their children to get vaccinated.
Minister of Public Health Juan Octavio Ceballos confirmed there were 3,000 cases of malaria this year, 1,000 more than in 1998. The DR population is estimated at 9 million, including 500,000 illegal Haitians.
Most of the increase in the malaria cases have taken place in areas where there has been large influx of migrant Haitian workers, such as the hundreds that were employed to build the over 2,000 hotel rooms that opened along the East Coast this year. The Minister of Public Health said that 20% of the cases reported nationally were in the East during the days of the intense construction of the hotels.
He said that as a result, employers are now required to only employ Haitians that can present health certificates. He also said that the Ministry personnel are combing this area, especially areas where the Haitians live, to control the disease.
Malaria had been almost entirely eradicted in the DR in the 70s and 80s. Since malaria continues to be prevalent in Haiti, DR authorities recently signed a health agreement with Haitian medical authorities to assist this nation to fight the disease.

Three million for Venezuela
"Hoy por Venezuela", a telethon to gather funds for the flood victims in Venezuela produced pledges for RD$3 million on Sunday. The telethon to show solidarity for the Venezuelan tragedy was produced by Roberto Salcedo as part of his 7 x 7 Roberto Sunday show. The telethon began at 9 am and ended at 7:30 pm. It was transmitted by Teleantillas. In addition to the money, Dominicans also donated canned food, medicines, clothing, shoes, blankets and construction materials. Among the large donations, were RD$1,000,000 million from the Plan Social de la Presidencia; RD$100,000 by merengue star Kinito Mendez; US$20,000 Merenhouse Los Ilegales group; and US$20,000 and eight containers of food from the Sammy Sosa Foundation.

Multifiber agreement is biggest challenge for DR
The nation's chief negotiator Frederick Emam Zade says that the DR needs to prepare for the 2005 dismantling of the multifiber agreement that sets quotas for the export of textiles to the US. The agreement grants privileged trading conditions for the export of Dominican textiles, that have enabled the DR to compete with exports from China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. He mentioned that labor costs in China are one sixth of what they are in the DR, and that the shipping costs from Hong Kong to San Francisco, California are half of those from the DR to Miami. Likewise, he says that even if the DR achieves textile parity (a bill to this end is still in the US Congress), gaining similar trading conditions as those that Mexico enjoys with the US, these benefits will end in 2003 as per agreements with the World Trade Organization. He said that farm and industrial sectors that continue to request protection from the government should start to exercise their competitive muscle. He said that the sector that is strongest in the DR, the services sector, is such because it was the most open to international trade. He said that the DR needs to define its development strategy taking into considerations the new world trading conditions.

JCE extends ID/voting card deadline
The Junta Central Electoral, the government organization in charge of organizing the presidential election in 2000, extended the deadline for requesting the new identification and voting voting card 30 days. The new deadline is now 31 January.

Computerized issuance of passports
The Department of Passports says that it will begin to issue computerized passports once it is installed in its new building in the Centro de los Heroes government building complex. The Department will be using equipment donated by the US that will automatically issue the passports. To this day, Dominican passports are handwritten. The new building is expected to be finished early next year.
The Department also announced it has opened a passport office in the East of the city to serve the one million residents that live east of the Ozama River. Another office will soon be opened in Herrera, in the West of Santo Domingo. The Department operates a provisional unit at Las Americas International Airport, in the Customs area. The idea is that Dominicans who live abroad can renew their passports while they wait for their luggage.

Man freed from jail on Thursday rapes on Friday
A prisoner whose sentence had been pardoned and whom had been released from jail on Thursday, 24 December by the Executive Branch so that he could spend the holidays with his family, had to be arrested on Friday. He is accused of allegedly raping a 13 year old in La Romana. He was identified as Francisco Cruz Candelario, resident in Villa Verde in La Romana, said the Police.

9 million people in DR by 2000
A report in Hoy newspaper indicates that 2000, there will be 8.5 million residents, not including the approximately 500,000 million illegal undocumented Haitians. Projections are that the DR will have 11.2 million inhabitants by 2025.

Winter baseball games and standing

Monday, 27 December 1999
Santo Domingo: Estrellas vs. Escogido
San Francisco de Macorís: Licey vs. Pollos

Tuesday, 28 December 1999
Santo Domingo: Aguilas vs. Licey
San Pedro de Macorís: Escogido vs. Estrellas

Wednesday, 29 December 1999
Santo Domingo: Pollos vs. Escogido
Santiago: Licey vs. Aguilas

Thursday, 30 December 1999
Santo Domingo: Aguilas vs. Escogido
San Pedro de Macorís: Pollos vs. Estrellas

Team standing as of Sunday, 26 December 1999:
Aguilas Cibaeñas 27-17 (.614)
Leones del Escogido 26-17 (.605) ­0.5 games
Tigres del Licey 21-23 (.477), -6 games
Estrellas Orientales 21-24 (.467) ­6.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 15-29 (.341) ­12 games

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-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).
The week's schedule of events is:

Monday, 27 December
4 pm. Carolling by the Rondalla of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism throughout the Colonial City.
6 pm. Christmas Sunset. Choir of the Corus of the Iglesia de las Mercedes. Directed by Alejandro Penson. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Presentation of the Banda Negro, sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.

Tuesday, 28 December
4 pm. Caroling by the Rondalla of the UASD.
6 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Concert by the Rondalla de la UASD. Parque Colón.
8 pm. "Inocente Mariposa," a show by Leonardo and Expresión Joven, presented by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.
9 pm. Caroling by the neighbors of the San Miguel neighborhood. Groups leave from Parque Colón to the Parque de San Miguel (José Reyes corner Juan Isidro Pérez).

Wednesday, 29 December
4 pm. Caroling by the Rondalla of the UASD through the Colonial City.
7 pm. Christmas Sunsets. Concert by the Men's Choir of the Instituto Cultural Dominico- Americano, directed by Prof. Ramón E. Restituyo. Parque Colón.
8 pm. Musical Review. Grupo Sentimientos. Directed by Mirito Arvelo. Sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.

Thursday, 30 December
4 pm. Caroling by the Rondalla of the UASD through the Colonial City.
8 pm. Mery Mers in Concert, sponsored by the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón

Friday, 31 December
11 pm. New Year's Mass. Cathedral of Santo Domingo.

Saturday, 1 January
11 am. New Year's Day mass. Cathedral of Santo Domingo.
5:30 pm. Puppets in the Park: "The Tree did not have Leaves". Teatro Papalote. Parque Colón.

Sunday, 2 January
4 pm. Caroling by the Rondalla of the UASD through the Colonial City.
7 pm. Folklore Ballet of the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón.

Holidays Presentations Agenda
Casino Hotel V Centenario Inter Continental. First International Magicians Festival. 27 Dec- 3 January as of 9 pm. Six leading Spanish magicians will interact with those visiting the casino as of 9 pm every evening. Card reading, and other astrology plays. Presentations of orchestras -Los Hijos de Puerto Rico, Grupo Mio, Rokabanda, Miriam Cruz, Michelle y su orquesta Pericombo, Anthony Rios. Humorist Jochy Santos, belly dance presentations. Adults only.

Frank Ceara stars in "Donde Manda el Amor" at the National theater. 27-28 December at 8:30 pm. With him, leading female vocalists Adalgisa Pantaleon, Audrey Campos, Maridalia Leon. Tickets for sale at the National Theater.

Los Hermanos Rosario are slated to perform Monday, 27 December at the Jet Set Discoteca of Avenida Independencia.

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