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McCaffrey To Advise On Drugs

NPP Urged To Join Status Commission

PR Struggles To Keep Jobs

Mari Bras Wants Representation

Vieques Tourism Touted

Bill Filed To Extend Dossiers Law

Navy Practices Not Tied To Health Studies


U.S. Former Drug Czar Gen. McCaffrey To Advise PR Governor

By Proviana Colon Diaz

March 19, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

United States former Drug Czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey will also be an advisor to the recently created Drug Control Office, the governor said Monday.

"I hope I can count with his experience. He was the person who set up the office of the United States and was very successful. He was the person who recommended me to set up the office in Puerto Rico," Calderon said.

In addition, she said McCaffrey knows the "case of Puerto Rico" very well.

"He explained to me the importance, in drug trafficking, of having a coordinating office between the federal and local authorities and therefore I hope he can advise me," the governor said.


PIP Urges NPP To Join Status Commission

March 19, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - On Sunday, the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) urged the New Progressive Party (NPP) to join the status commission that Gov. Sila Calderon proposes to create this summer.

PIP Vice President Maria de Lourdes Santiago said it is necessary for the NPP to join this commission so that they can advance the solution of the island's political status.

Santiago said it is important "to determine in a tripartite form the process of this matter so that we can go united to the U.S. Congress."

NPP President Leo Diaz Urbina has said that his political party will not participate in the commission because he understands that Calderon does not believe in the consensus.


Puerto Rico Struggles To Keep Manufacturing Jobs

March 19, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited 2001. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 19 (Reuters) - When H.J. Heinz Co. decided to shutter its Star-Kist tuna canning plant in Puerto Rico's west coast city of Mayaguez, the reason was familiar.

"Puerto Rico, unfortunately, has lost its competitive edge," Donald Binotto, managing director at the Star-Kist plant, said in announcing the shutdown on March 15. "We simply can't overlook the fact that labor, fish and transportation costs in other parts of the world are much lower."

The closing of the 40-year-old plant, once Puerto Rico's largest west coast employer with over 4,000 workers but now just 1,350 employees, is the latest in a wave of plant closings in the U.S. Caribbean territory.

Some 6,500 manufacturing jobs will be lost as a result of plant closings and job cutbacks announced since November 2000, affecting apparel and leather goods makers as well electronic components assembly operations.


Independentistas Request Representation In Status Commission

March 17, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) - Attorney Juan Mari Bras asked Gov. Sila Calderon to include a representative of the independentista sector not affiliated with the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) in the proposed Unity and Consensus Status Commission.

The veteran independence leader suggested Saturday during a radio interview that this representation be given to the Congreso Nacional Hostosiano, which was described as the organization that groups the independence sector not affiliated to any political party.

He added that the independentista representation will not be resolved by simply including PIP leader Ruben Berrios or any representative of that party because a lot of the non-affiliated independentistas "were the ones who gave Sila Calderon her triumph in the past elections, and she knows it."

Mari Bras is the first independence movement leader not affiliated to the party to ask Calderon to include non-PIP delegates in the status commission which is boycotted by New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders.

Calderon is expected to convoke the commission during the summer in an effort to study the possible ways to resolve the status issue.


Tourism Co. To Help Promote Vieques Tourism Sector

March 17, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Tourism Executive Director Jorge Pesquera said Vieques has all the qualities to be a world tourist destination.

Pesquera said tourism represents the best option to develop the economic sector and to resolve the grave unemployment crisis the municipality faces. He added that Gov. Sila Calderon's plan to revitalize the tourism industry, called "Renacer Viequense," proposes the conservation of natural resources, the cleaning of beaches, improving the ferry services, and the creation of a Tourism Co. office in the municipality.


Bill Filed To Extend Dossiers Law's Reach

March 17, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - New Progressive Party Rep. Melinda Romero presented a bill Friday to broaden the scope of the law that prohibits the collection of dossiers of public employees and government officials to make it include all citizens.

The bill also increases the existing penalties from a fixed term of six years to 15 years in jail.

Romero said she presented the bill because of a series of situations that is allegedly happening between police agents in this administration.

She mentioned that Police Superintendent Pierre Vivoni has not denied the investigations being made to police agents and explained that this responds to normal procedures.

Romero said this bill is aimed for everyone who performs the same practice, no matter whether it is a member of the government or a private security company.


Pentagon: Navy Practices Not Conditioned To Health Study Results

March 16, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The renewal of the U.S. Navy exercises on Vieques is not conditioned to the results of the analysis that federal authorities are conducting on the effects bombings may have on the Viequenses, Pentagon officials said in published reports.

"I think that's not the intention," Defense spokesman Adm. Craig Quigley said in response to Gov. Sila Calderon's request to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to stop any renewal of Navy practices on Vieques until an evaluation on the vibroacoustic study is reached.

The Defense Department transferred $1.6 million to the U.S. Health Department to address the health issues of the residents of Vieques, including the cancer study and the effects of bombing noises - studies that will be conducted by the Center for the Prevention and Disease Control in Atlanta.

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