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Daily News - 24 June 2002

ACP meetings in Bavaro
The Asia, Caribbean and Pacific Group 75th Ministerial Meeting and the 27th Meeting of the ACP Group and the European Union open today at the Bavaro Convention Center in La Altagracia province. President Hipolito Mejia and Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch will travel to Bavaro for the opening. The ministers will meet to discuss globalization, the struggle against poverty and narcotics trafficking. Bilateral and cooperation agreements are also on the agenda of the convening governmental representatives.

President Mejia on his re-election
President Hipolito Mejia said over the weekend, when interviewed in Juan Dolio, that he would not run again for President in 2004. He said Congress is in its right to foster changes in the constitution. Last week, 19 senators, including 18 of the ruling PRD party and one of the PRSC, convened the National Assembly to modify the constitution. Mejia said that in the Dominican Republic everyone favors re-election except him and the president of the PRD, Hatuey de Camps. When asked if the PRSC and the PLD were against re-election, he said: "Look, regarding re-election, the only two against it are Hatuey de Camps [president of the PRD] and myself, because after that everyone is in favor."
Meanwhile, the psident of the Chamber of Deputies, said 
Nevertheless, President Hipolito Mejia left open his running again when he said on his weekly question and answer program on the state television Channel 4, Una Vez por Semana: "I had promised not to talk about this issue any more. I have talked about it hundreds of times, enough to not have to mention it again. And I reiterate, at this time, that independently of all the study and analysis that have been done, I will make my own decision, in the opportune time, and it will always be in line with what I believe and with my own feelings." 
He said that he would have very important offers to make to those that believe and those that do not believe in re-election. 
The changes to the constitution now pass on to the Chamber of Deputies. The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rafaela (Lila) Alburquerque (PRSC-San Pedro de Macoris) needs to put the matter on the agenda. She explained she would wait for instructions from former President Balaguer. "You know that my opinion is not worth anything, because I do not have my own opinions in the Chamber of Deputies, that are not those of doctor Joaquin Balaguer."

President Mejia and the Ukraine airplanes
Manuel Jimenez, the Hoy newspaper reporter who covers President Hipolito Mejia on his trip to Ukraine, clarifies in his column in Sunday, that President Hipolito Mejia said in Ukraine that he had no intention of using the Ukraine planes that would be assembled in the Dominican Republic for the privatization of Dominicana Airlines. Jimenez said that President Mejia also discarded, in presence of the executives of the Ukranian state company, that he would not purchase the planes for military use, specifying that the country had other priorities. 
During a luncheon on 15 June, President Mejia had lunch with Ukranian businessmen. The meetings in Ukraine had the support of the Dominican Republic Office of Foreign Investment. During that meeting Timour Jabua, international director for sales of the Kharkov State, manufacturer of the Antonov airplanes, announced that two weeks before the company had signed an agreement with Dominican investors. Details on the project were not given. 
Manuel Jimenez said that it was Amin Canaan Gomez, an aviation businessmen that accompanied President Hipolito Mejia on the visit to the Kharkov State Aircraft, who had said that negotiations had been completed to set up a base for the assembly and maintenance of these airplanes in the Dominican Republic to attend to the demand the Ukranian planes had in the Caribbean and Latin America. Canaan spoke of an investment of US$300-US$400 million but did not say either where the plant was located. Jimenez said that President Mejia told the Ukranian executives that he would study where the plant would be located, but that it would need to be a private venture.

Jimmy Pastoriza passes away
Tomas (Jimmy) Pastoriza Espaillat died yesterday. He is recognized as one of the most visionary Dominicans of modern times. He is recognized for being one of the founders of the Asociacion para el Desarrollo, Inc., the Santiago community organization that has been behind the development of the Cibao region. Pastoriza, through the Asociacion, played a key role in the founding of leading universities and financial entities such as the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra, the Instituto Superior de Agricultura, the Asociacion Cibao de Ahorros y Prestamos and the Banco Popular Dominicano, among other organizations. 
President Hipolito Mejia and First Lady Rosa Gomez attended his funeral. President Mejia said: "More than a friend of mine, he was a father. He was my wife's boss for 12 years, and we are united by strong and deep friendship ties. He was a great collaborator and of my family, and a great Dominican."
Pastoriza was buried in Santiago with military honors corresponding to his having been ambassador for the Dominican Republic.

Irregular sale of diesel and fuel oil
The president of the Asociacion Nacional de Detallistas de Gasolina (Anadegas), that groups fuel retailers in the Dominican Republic, denounced that power generation companies are illegally selling fuel that supposedly should only be for their own needs. The government authorizes these companies to import the fuel without paying taxes. Anadegas president, Juan Ignacio Espaillat Taveras said that he has information that the power generators are reaping earnings by selling this fuel to large industries and commercial centers. He said this explains why diesel and fuel oil market sales have declined 43-49% respectively in comparison with last year.

Illegal extraction of construction materials
Listin Diario denounces that sand and gravel companies installed near the Haina River and the Palave, Lecheria and Manoguayabo wells of the Corporacion de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de Santo Domingo, the capital city water utility, continue to extract aggregate from the river. The Haina river supplies 35% of the potable water needs of the capital city. 
Listin Diario interviewed workers of the gravel companies who said that the company that is extracting the sand and gravel employs a fleet of 50-55 trucks. He said that each truck of 18 cubic meters makes 6-10 trips a day. The extraction of gravel violates Ministry of Environment dispositions.

80-year old MLB record broken
Dominican Luis Castillo, who plays for the National League's Florida Marlins, broke the Major League Baseball 80-year old Roger Hornsby record as the second baseman to bat at least one hit in consecutive games, with 35 games. Hornsby had batted 33 games in 1922. Castillo's winning streak ended on Sunday, when the Detroit Tigers pitchers did not allow him a single hit. Castillo is also the Latin player of all times to bat the most consecutive hits.
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