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Daily News - 15 October 2002

Youths sentenced for killing
The lead story in the major newspapers today is the sentencing of two young men for the brutal murder of a friend and relative. The judges of the First Chamber of the Criminal Appeals Court of Santo Domingo imposed a sentence of 30 years for Mario Jose Redondo Llenas and a sentence of 20 years for his accomplice, Juan Manuel Moliné Rodriguez. The crime was the stabbing death of Mr. Aybar’s 12-year old cousin. The judges, Olga Herrera, Ignacio P. Camacho and Nestor Diaz sentenced Aybar Llenas to 30 years in jail for murder, falsifying public documents, kidnapping of a minor and illegal possession of a deadly weapon. The co-defendant, Moliné Rodruguez, was given 20 years as a co-conspirator and accomplice in the kidnapping. Both defendants were also given fines of RD$5-million pesos and charged with the court costs. Originally, both youths had been sentenced to 30-year terms, but the Appeals Court nullified the verdicts on the grounds of improper defense and by accepting a motion from Mr. Moliné’s lawyers that he be judged as an accomplice, rather than a principle.

AMET slow to return vehicles
Many of the drivers that have received tickets from members of the Metropolitan Transporte Authority (AMET) are complaining that they are not getting their impounded vehicles returned to them very quickly. Until payment of their fines, the vehicles are kept in the police impoundment area by the Quisqueya ballpark, where a large quantity of cars, passolas, and motorcycles are lined up in the lot, awaiting their owners. Sometimes, according to the complaints, the agents take several days to return a vehicle after the fine has been paid. Meanwhile, the drivers wait on the sidewalk, behind the access gate, while the agent in charge slowly allows them to pass through. The agent in charge of returning the vehicles told El Caribe newspaper that this system was initiated to avoid large back-ups. When it was pointed out to him that there were not many people outside the gate, perhaps as few as seven, he said, “Exactly, that is why we work this way, to avoid crowding.” The agent finished the interview by pointing out that in order to release a vehicle the owner must present evidence that the fine has paid, as well as the documents pertaining to the vehicle that ownership.

Possible dengue outbreak
The deaths of at least two children and two adults in the past two months, in the section of Santo Domingo North called Los Guaricanos, are feared to have been caused by dengue. Local residents are scared and Public Health officials have called for a red alert in the area. Two of the children, Yisell Tavarez Plata, aged 4, and Maquiendy Yan, aged 7, lived in the central part of town and other cases have been located in nearby Batey Estrella. Knowing it was going around, mothers like Cristina Plata took their children to local health offices where they were diagnosed as having tonsilitis. Mrs. Plata bought the medicines that were prescribed and went to the Santo Socorro Hospital. From there, she was referred to the Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital where, a few hours later, the little girl died. Public Health officials revealed yesterday that this year they have seen eight deaths from dengue fever and have taken note of 1, 467 cases that were called “suspicious.” The head of the Primary Care unit of Public Health, Dr. Manuel Tejada, said that deaths from dengue have been registered in Barahona, Bani, Boca Chica and Santo Domingo. He stated that the whole country is moving to erradicate the vector mosquito, by eliminating standing water in or near houses. Local groups of students, teachers and community organizations are being shown how to eliminate the threat.

Solid financial institutions
After receiving a visit from President Hipolito Mejia yesterday, in the home offices of the Intercontinental Bank (Baninter), businessman Ramon Baez Figueroa gave assurances that the banking system has sufficient monies for loans to anyone interested, thanks to the liquidity and strength of the national financial system. Baez, who was host to the chief of state for some 25 minutes last night in his offices at BANINTER, said the reason for the President’s visit was Mejia’s interest in the banking situation and to see how the latest measures taken by the Central Bank have helped the situation. Baez explained that these latest measures have been very favorable to the banks and the visit of the President just showed how interested Mejia was in seeing the real situation of the national banking system.

Who pays for Haitians?
Nobody knows who is going to pay for the health service offered to Haitian nationals. The lack of mechanisms to get Haitians to pay for the health care they receive in the public hospitals, and the possibility that patients who are victims of malpractice might sue the personnel that provided the care, are among the important aspects revealed as the beginning of the new Social Securtity system approaches. Initially, the program will be launched in the Southwest area of the Dominican Republic. Vinicio Lopez and Ana Maria Acosta, the directors of the Barahona and Pedernales hospitals, feel that the Haitians should receive their healthcare for free, like other citizens, but that the responsibility of payment must be discussed by the authorities in order to cover the cost of healthcare. International organizations, the Haitian government, or one of the local state institutions should cover these costs. Haitians account for between 8 to 30 percent of the healthcare dispensed in the hospitals that were visited. Most cases are either maternity or child related, said the directors. However, they clarified, this data is not completely accurate, since many Haitians falsify their nationality and place of residence, in order to receive care. On the other hand, the Law 87-01 that established the new Social Secrity System stipulates that a patient victimized by malpractice, can sue the doctor and the medical staff. To do this the patient must receive the assistance of one of the Healthcare Provider groups and the Office for the Defence of the Social Security Membership.

Parties reject Mejia’s statement
In other frontpage news, today’s newspapers carried the statements of different political leaders from the major opposition parties, rejecting the statement made yesterday by President Mejia, to the effect that he “would rule by decree”, if necessary. Senators from the ruling PRD party have also opposed this government by decree and warned that it “would affect the democratic system.” Hatuey De Camps, the president of the officialist party, said that the President had been “misinterpreted.” 

The National Census is coming
Technicians from the National Statistics Office have been working for two years in the planning and mapping phases of the VIII National Population and Housing Census. The work consisted of the division of the country into areas small enough for the Census taker to fulfill his job in record time. Attending this requirement, they established “census sections”that contain form 25 to 35 houses in urban areas and from 16 to 24 in the rural areas. Three segments form a supervised area and ten supervised areas are a polygon. For this VIII Census, which will be carried out the 18th, 19th and 20th of this month, some 90,000 segments, 3,500 poligons and 12,000 supervisory areas were defined.
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