Political agreements sought

The Listín Diario in its Friday, 12 December headline said that Customs director Miguel Cocco, a close aide of President Leonel Fernández, and former president Joaquín Balaguer and his close aide Guaroa Liranzo, met at the home of the former president to negotiate an alliance of the PLD and the PRSC for the congressional election in May 1998. The Listín says that the corruption case that involves relatives of the president of the Senate, Amable Aristy Castro, was also discussed.

RD$11 million in Christmas salaries

The government and the private sector will inject over RD$11 million into the economy during the next two weeks. The extra salary, or Christmas bonus, is expected to rev up sales in stores throughout the country. The businesses will be paying from RD$6 to RD$10 thousand million, according to spokesman for business organizations, while the government announced it will be paying RD$1,000 million in bonuses. These salaries are legally exempt from income tax.

Baseball scores

The Tigres del Licey maintained their lead in the Dominican Winter Baseball League after defeating the Gigantes del Nordeste on Wednesday evening at the Quisqueya Ball Park. The Licey won 3-2. Manuel Aybar was the winning pitcher. The Aguilas won in Santiago, 15-4, over the Estrellas Orientales. Dann Hubs defeated Jose Lima to guide his Azucareros del Este to a tight win over the Leones del Escogido, 2-1 in the Francisco Micheli stadium of La Romana. The standing of the league is Tigres del Licey in first place, followed by the Leones del Escogido, one game behind; the Aguilas Cibaeñas, three games behind; the Azucareros del Este, five games behind, the Estrellas Orientales, seven games away, and the Gigantes del Nordeste, eight games away.

Campaign to educate drivers

The Ministry of Public Works, the Dominican Air Force, and the Panamerican Health Organization have begun an educational campaign that seeks to reduce the number of car accidents causing 3,000 deaths this year, affecting principally persons 19-25 years of age. The campaign urges motorcycle riders to use protective helmets, buckle up, not drive with children on adult laps in the front seat, and not drink alcoholic beverages while driving, obey traffic laws, and drive on the defensive. The group says that the Christmas period is the time when most traffic accidents occur due to an increase in drunk driving and traffic violations.

Northwest to fly to DR this December

The world’s fourth largest airline, Northwest Airlines will launch service to the Dominican Republic this Christmas season. The Dominican Republic, the Caribbean island with the most hotel rooms, more than 35,000, recently launched a major push to increase the flow of American travelers to the nation. Northwest will fly to Puerto Plata on December 20th with nonstop service from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Northwest will operate the flight once weekly (Saturdays) with Airbus A320 (150-seat) aircraft. The service will operate through April 4, 1998 as per confirmation to the DR One News and Information Service directly from Northwest Airlines. Northwest began on October 1, 1926, flying mail between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago. The airline today maintains hub cities in Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul (world headquarters of the airline) and Tokyo. Northwest, with its global travel partners, serves more than 400 cities in over 80 countries on six continents. The U.S. system spans 49 states and the District of Columbia. Northwest has more than 1,700 daily flights and operates more than 130 nonstop flights between the United States and Asia each week. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-225-2525 or online through WorldWeb Reservations at http://www.nwa.com Route Strengths. Northwest strengthened its U.S. route system by acquiring Republic Airlines in 1986, gaining hubs in Detroit and Memphis. In 1993, Northwest and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines formed an alliance offering convenient service between the U.S. and cities around the world. Northwest also has marketing affiliations with several regional airlines, operating as Northwest Airlink, that offer dozens of connecting flights daily. Northwest offers the most airline service between the United States and Japan. The Fleet. The airline operates a fleet of 402 aircraft including Boeing 727s, 747s, and 757s, McDonnell Douglas DC9s and DC10s, and Airbus A320s. Northwest also is one of the world’s largest cargo airlines, operating a dedicated fleet of eight B747 Freighters. Northwest has on order 115 aircraft, including Boeing 747-400s and 757-200s and Airbus A320s, A330s, and A319s.

Bullish forecast on the tourism industry

Minister of Tourism Felix Jimenez said that if the tourism industry continues to grow at its present pace, in the next 10 years the Dominican Republic will be receiving over five million tourists yearly. He said that 1997 has been a memorable year for the industry and that up to September of this year, some 1,708,460 tourists had travelled to the D.R., 13% more than last year, adding that for 1997, hoteliers expect more than 2,200 million tourists this year, approximately 300,000 more visitors than last year. The Ministry has approved hotel projects for the building of an additional 5,561 rooms, of which 1,600 are opening this year. He said that in the Dominican Republic there are over 38,000 hotel rooms and that the nation could receive over US$850 million in tourism investment throughout the country. Some 7,504 charter flights and 25,885 regular flights were made up to September of this year, more than last year’s figures He said that as of August of last year, several new airlines have begun regular operations to various countries, mentioning Air Europa, Aerolineas Argentinas, Cubana de Aviacion, Air Atlantic, Skyking, Pan Am, Carnival Airlines and Linx Air. He said 11 new charters also initiated their flights to this country Moreover, the Ministry has designated 1998 as the Year of Tourism Training. He also stated that for 1997 an estimated 250,000 English tourists are expected, up from the 40,000 that only five years ago visited the D.R. He said that increase in the English tourism market would compensate for the decline in the German market, primarily due to economic reasons.

Spanish company to complete Samana Airport

The Dominican government announced that the Spanish firm Ferrovial-Agroman will be responsible for the completion of the Arroyo Barril, Samana International Airport. Construction works have been paralyzed for 14 months after the new government authorities stopped work to re-evaluate the project and its costs. The director of the Oficina de Ingenieros Supervisores de Obras del Estado, Euclides Sanchez, handed a check for RD$5 million to complete the first phase of the airport, to the following engineers: Santiago Bergareche Busquet, president of the board of directors of Agroman, Manuel Alvarez Asencio, director for Central America and the Caribbean, and Rafael Puig Pey, general counsellor of Ferrovial. Agroman will require a total of RD$42 million to enable small airplanes carrying up to 40 passengers to land by April 1998 at the airport. At that point construction will continue in order to habilitate the airport for wide body jets. The government rescinded the contract to the engineering firm of Sandoval Rodriguez and Asociados, after determining the construction works had been overpriced. It was reported that the Spanish government organization, Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea, that operates 40 airports in Spain, is counselling the constructors.