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Daily News - 31 January 2002

Licey: Champion 2001-2002
It was the most exciting final game ever in Dominican baseball. The Licey and the Aguilas battled to the end, with Licey finally defeating the Aguilas 9-8 in Santiago. From tears to ecstasy, back and fourth, the fans roared as their team gained a new lead. The Aguilas were the favorites to win the series. The Licey had finished in third place in the regular series. 
Nothing was sure until the 27th out was in. The turning point for Licey came in the ninth inning. A home run by Andy Abad with two men on base gave Licey the needed edge. 
The game appeared to have been decided in the eighth inning after Licey came from behind and sprinted ahead of the Aguilas. TV cameras showed the sadness of the Aguilas fans. The game was 6-3 in favor of Licey at that point. But a rally of hits by Luis Polonia, Miguel Tejada, Stanley Javier and a homerun by Tony Batista turned the score around to 7-6. The Aguilas fans were then sure the championship was theirs.
They celebrated too soon. The Licey’s Andy Abad’s three-run homer in the ninth inning gave Licey the lead again, 9-7 
The game was not one for anyone with a heart condition. The Aguilas brought the score to 9-8. With one out to go, the Aguilas had three men on base, and Tony Batista, who earlier had batted a home run, came to bat, with none less than Major League star slugger Raul Mondesi right behind him. To the relief of the Licey, Tony Batista’s ball was caught by Manny Martinez for the out that ended this dramatic game.
The Licey has won the most Dominican baseball tournaments, 17. The Aguilas have won 16. The Licey will travel to Caracas, Venezuela, for the Caribbean Series, which opens Saturday, 2 February.

A case of mistaken identity
Judge Nelson Rodriguez Solis has ordered the release of businessman Rafael Jaquez Martinez, mistakenly arrested for questioning in the murder of Senator Dario Gomez. News reports say he was mistaken for a person with a similar name. 
Jaquez is from Santiago Rodriguez, the Senator’s hometown. The businessman resides in New York and is also the owner of a grocery store in Santiago Rodriguez. He was kept in custody for four days. He returned yesterday to his hometown.

Presidency construction office to manage bond money
Jose Lois Malkum, in charge of the Medium Term External Financing Unit, told Diario Libre that the RD$1.4 billion of the sovereign bond money allotted for the program Direccion Superior y Administracion del Estado would be channeled through the President’s public works office, the Oficina Supervisora de Obras del Estado. 
Diario Libre had reported yesterday that the government would use the funds for social welfare projects RATHER than construction works. 
The government has yet to release a detailed use of the sovereign bond money.

Dominicans can fly charter
Very few people are aware, but since 8 August 2001, residents in the DR can legally fly on the many incoming charter flights to the DR as long as these companies agree to sell them space. Resolution 214 of 8 August 2001 changed the previous ban on the charter airlines selling air-only tickets locally. The Civil Aviation Board resolution technically now allows Dominicans to take advantage of discounts on charter airlines that bring tourists to the country, reports El Caribe newspaper. Previously, only non-residents could fly to the DR by charter. 
The charter operators offer fares that can be half the price of regular scheduled flights. Previously, Dominicans needed to have a special permit to take advantage of the discounted airfares. 
Genaro Almonte, operations manager for Apple Vacations, one of the major tour operators, says they have fares to US cities for about US$250 to US$300 round trip. He said they are considering opening an office to sell the tickets in this country. 
The Civil Aviation Board still has to approve the fares of the charter companies. 

Guillo Perez and Candido Bido together with Pavarotti
The art of Guillo Perez and Candido Bido will be exhibited in the National Theater lobby on 15 February at the Luciano Pavarotti concert (which is sold out). George Nader, promoter of the show, said that it is possible that Pavarotti himself might bring some of his own paintings for the exhibition. Nader said that following the concert, Pavarotti may vacation in La Romana and Punta Cana. 

American Eagle’s Barahona connection
American Eagle has announced a reduction in its San Juan-Barahona-San Juan flights. The route began with five flights a week on 15 December. It now will offer only three runs a week, on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The airline uses an ATR-42 with capacity for 74 passengers. Listin Diario reports that the company is considering dropping the fares on the route to make it more attractive to fly to the DR through the southwestern Maria Montez International Airport.

Record highs for US dollar
Commercial banks were selling the US dollar for more than RD$18.201 pesos today and were purchasing US dollars for RD$17.30, as the peso continued to loose value against the US$. The Central Bank yesterday injected RD$20 million into the market, seeking to restrain the peso’s loss of value. 
Yesterday was the first day of the exchange market transactions table. But only commercial banks participated in the first day of operations. 
As reported in the Listin Diario, August Peignand, president of the Dominican Association of Exchange Houses (Adocambio) said that the Central Bank did not invite the exchange houses to participate. He said they were told that the exchange houses would be excluded from the system until the Monetary Code is passed. He lamented the discrimination because he said the exchange houses manage half of the foreign exchange transactions carried out in the DR.

Fuel savings offset lull in tourism revenues
The decline in fuel prices has offset the lull in service exports that resulted from the slowdown in the US and European economies and from recent tragic events.
Minister of Finances Fernando Alvarez Bogaert said tourism and manufacturing revenues dropped US$170 million and US$184 million respectively last year. 
Speaking at a conference at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) yesterday, he said the decline in revenues for these two sectors was not felt as much as it might have been. That’s due to the US$255.8 million in savings resulting from a drop in the cost of petroleum products on world market prices.

Jorge Volpi coming for 2002 Book Fair
Mexican author Jorge Volpi is among the well-known authors coming for the 2002 Santo Domingo International Book Fair. For more information on Volpi, see http://www.el-mundo.es
This year the book fair will be dedicated to Dominican intellectual, Pedro Henriquez Ureña. 
A highlight of the fair is the donation of 20,000 books of children stories by Italian authors translated into Spanish. There will also be an exhibition on the life of Giuseppe Verdi and Dominican musicians will perform his works during the fair. A European humor center located in Cuneo, Italy will exhibit 200 humorous works. 
The book fair will be held 25 April to 5 May on the grounds of the National Conservatory of Music.
 
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