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Daily News - 3 December 2002

President Mejia in Taiwan
President Hipolito Mejia continues his visit of the Far East, receiving plenty of endorsements in Taiwan. Both President Chen Shui-bian and the Speaker of the Legislature, Wang Jin-ping, have offered their full support of various projects in the Dominican Republic. The Taiwanese government said it would continue to support the Cybernetic Park and the Technological Institute of the Americas (ITLAS) and also promised to contribute to the introduction of higher technology in Dominican food production. Wang, the head of the Taiwan Legislature, the Yuan, also committed the support of the legislative body to the projects. President Mejia told the legislators and political leaders of Taiwan that their country was “the best friend” of the Dominican Republic.

Ambassador drinks his job away
It seems that a drinking match between Taiwanese translators and Dominican journalists covering the official visit of President Mejia to Taiwan was the talk of the town yesterday. According to a note from Victor Mañaná of the Listin Diario, a series of toasts in the Oriental tradition of “kempey” resulted after the translators, George and Agnes Wu, demonstrated to the Dominican reporters this eastern tradition. The note from Taiwan discloses that the Chinese lost the contest, as the Dominican reporters outlasted the translators. Apparently, President Mejia and Taiwanese government officials carried out the tradition in another room, partaking in a long series of “kempey” toasts. Miguel Hernandez, the Dominican ambassador, was the central figure, however, in an impromptu serenade. Hoy newspaper says that President Mejia, since the party, has decided to replace Hernandez, as his behavior was lacking in decorum. According to sources, Emilio Olivo, a former head of CIMPA and a well-known figure in Dominican agriculture, will be the new ambassador to Taiwan.

Subero tells DA to mind his business
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic, Jorge Subero Isa, told the District Attorney for the National District, Maximo Aristy Caraballo, to refrain from hurling insults at the Supreme Court, and to attend to his business, as the justice system is backed up with pending cases. Subero Isa told reporters that he has no idea as to why the District Attorney is bent on disparaging him and that the two have known each other for years. The DA for the National District had criticized the work of Judge Nancy Joaquin in the Pepegate case, accusing her of bowing to “external pressures”, in reference to an email that was circulated by the Chief Justice and which reflected poorly on the work of the justice system.

Inflation climbs
The El Caribe newspaper leads off today’s news with the announcement that many of the mass consumption goods that comprise the Dominican daily diet have risen by as much as 25% in the past few months. According to the article, the Consumer Price Index rose 2.91% in October, the most recent month for which there are official statistics. Manufactured goods suffered the highest price increases, reflecting the rising costs of electricity, the devaluation of the peso and the lack of confidence in the overall economy.

Other economic news
The Central Bank reports that the Gross Domestic Product increased by 4.7% over the first nine months of this year. 
The Central Bank says that the first quarter showed growth of 4.3%, but the second quarter, overheated by the effects of the sovereign bond money, showed a growth rate of 7.6% - overstating the real capacity of the Dominican economy. This forced the monetary authorities to take special measures, which reverted the economy to a 2% increase in the third quarter. 
The power sector and telecommunications were the most dynamic.
The same report shows a US$428.2-million deficit in the balance of payments, presumably caused by a greater demand for imported products from January to June, while industries such as the free zones and tourism sector were producing well below their previous revenue generation levels.
The Central Bank also revealed that there was a US$854.4-million dollar outflow during the same six-month period. During a similar period in 2001 the outflow was a mere US$40-million. 
On a final note, the monetary authorities announced that they would let the dollar float in the market, as provided in the new Monetary Code.

2003 Budget might be overvalued
According to the Listin Diario, the 2003 budget might not live up to expectations. The lead article in the Economy section of the paper says that there could be an overestimation by as much as RD$2.5 to RD$3-billion in the budgeted expenditures and the Public Spending Law for 2003. Economist Alfonso Abreu Collado says that the government is overestimating its revenues by 16% and criticized that government spending continues beyond any realistic revenue levels. Abreu bases his criticism on the fact that the year’s growth is estimated at 12%, while he feels the government should be using a more conservative estimate of 10 –12% for increase in current income as the basis of the expenditures.

Pan-American Health authorities look at dengue
The Pan-American Health Organization official in the Dominican Republic, physician Socorro Gross, confirmed the arrival of two experts from the organization. The health specialists, along with Dominican epidemiologists, will be investigating the dengue outbreak that has reportedly seen at least 33 cases in the DR so far this year. Minister of Public Health Jose Rodriguez Soldevila told the media that the Dominican Medical Association is collaborating with the authorities in establishing the severity of the situation. Dengue is endemic in the country and is best controlled by eliminating standing water, which acts as a host to the vector mosquito. Of the 32 suspected deaths related to dengue this year, only 14 have been confirmed as definite.
Public health authorities also have attributed several preventable deaths to misdiagnoses at public hospitals. 

Important news for dialysis patients
After repeated accounts of a lack of governmental support at the four major hospitals that provide hemodialysis to its patients, the government has announced an additional RD$4.5-million subsidy to these facilities for the costly dialysis treatments. The acting chief of state, Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch, and Minister of Public Health Jose Rodriguez Soldevila made the announcement together. Renal-care dialysis is an expensive process that requires large amounts of material and high-tech machinery. Kidney dialysis is a life-saving technique for patients awaiting transplants, suffering from acute hepatitis, or victims of lupus with damaged kidneys. Curiously, most of the disposable material is manufactured locally by Baxter in the Itabo Free Zone.

Saddest note of the day
The eight children burned to death in their house after their mother had padlocked the door so that they would stay inside and “be safe”, were buried yesterday in San Pedro de Macoris. This brings the number of children who have died from burns suffered in their homes this year to 29.

Juana Arrendel breaks 16-year old record
Juana Arrendel, the Dominican world-class high jumper, set a new Central American and Caribbean Games record yesterday at the games in El Salvador. At 1.97 meters, this new record places Arrendel in the top ten in the world rankings. Her previous best was 1.95, set earlier this year. 
Her victory is especially sweet since her efforts were part of a comeback, after having been stripped of the gold medal during the Winnepeg Pan American Games in 1999 for testing positive in a doping test. Her jump at the time was recorded at 1.93 meters and although she defended her innocence for the minimum amount of stanozolol found in that doping test, she was banned from competition for two years.

The medal windfall continues
The Dominican National Team continues to rake in the medals, winning four gold, one silver, and a bronze in yesterday’s competitions at the Central American and Caribbean Games taking place in El Salvador. Dominicans won gold in the women’s high jump, women’s shot-put, and men’s handball; silver in the women’s 400-meter track; and bronze in women’s rifle )off-hand style). In addition to Arrendel’s record-breaking performance, Carlos Santa won the gold in the Men’s 400-meter track event, timing in at 45.83. The Dominican team is now in either fourth or fifth place, depending on how the medals are tabulated: fourth in the gold-medal ranking and fifth in medals overall.

The NYC DR1 Reunion
It's right around the corner... The one you're all anxiously awaiting.
This coming Saturday, the DR1 New York chapter will be putting on their party hats.
The fun will be at the "Boca Chica" on the lower east side of New York. 

DR1 NYC Reunion
Date: Saturday, December 7th
Time: 7:00pm
Boca Chica
13, 1st Ave 
New York, NY 10003 
Tel: 212-473-0108

For more details and RSVP please email DRTechie at: [email protected]

Last night’s baseball
The Gigantes of San Francisco de Macoris maintained their one game lead over idle Escogido by beating Licey 5 – 3 at the Julian Javier Stadium in San Francisco. 

Tonight’s schedule
The three traditional ballparks will host tonight’s baseball. Santiago’s Cibao Stadium will see Escogido against the leading Aguilas del Cibao, where Jose Cabrera of the Milwaukee Brewers will make his debut. The Quisqueya Stadium will see Licey play host to the Azucareros del Este from la Romana and in the Tetelo Vargas of San Pedro the Estrellas will receive the visiting Gigantes.

Aguilas Cibaeñas  23 10 --
Estrellas Orientales  18 15 -5
Gigantes de SFM  17 16 -6
Escogido  16 17 -7
Licey  13 20 -10
Azucareros  12 21 -11
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