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Diaz: Calderon OKs "Witch Hunt" Against NPP

Researchers Review Findings Of New Study

Christian Group Urges Bombing End

Vieques Prepares

Inhofe To Evaluate Pro-Navy Petition

Vieques Still Vital


Leo Diaz: Calderon OKs "Witch Hunt" Against NPP

March 26, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - New Progressive Party (NPP) President Leo Diaz Urbina accused Gov. Sila Calderon of authorizing an alleged "witch hunt" against government officials and employees hired by the past administration.

Diaz Urbina dared Calderon to file charges against the members of former Gov. Pedro Rossello's Cabinet, so she'll know "the indignation" of the Puerto Rican people.

The NPP leader was unable to say how many government employees have been affected by the so-called political persecution.

Diaz Urbina said Calderon wants to discredit former Treasury Secretary Xenia Velez and former Office of Management and Budget Director Jorge Aponte.


U.S. Researchers Review Report On Naval Exercises In Viequez

Femmy Irizarry

March 26, 2001
Copyright © 2001 EFE News Service. All rights reserved.
Source: World Reporter (TM)

San Juan - The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will travel to Puerto Rico this week to review a new study by Ponce's Medical School on the effects of Navy training exercises on the island of Vieques.

The study, carried out during the months of January, February, and March, compared the health condition of fishermen from Vieques to that of others from Playa, in Ponce. It found that the heart membrane of the Vieques residents is 14% thicker than that of the residents of Ponce.

The report concluded that the pericardium is 14 percent thicker in fishermen from Vieques. Also, the aortic valve "is 2.1 millimeters longer and larger in diameter in fishermen from Isla Nena."

Both conditions could lead to different heart problems, including heart attacks, arrhythmia and strokes.

Although doctors can't prove whether military practices are to blame for the disease, the elements that cause such thickness are present on Vieques.

"The investigation results are clear; there is a significant statistic association between living in Vieques and the presence of changes in the structure and condition of the heart," said Gov. Sila Calderon.

With a 99.5% accuracy, Calderon doubted federal authorities would decline to accept the results as true.

U.S. Navy spokesman Jeff Gordon said the Navy will wait for the ATSDR results according to The Associated Press.

The Navy has maintained its position to fully support the revision of a neutral scientific third party regarding health concerns in Vieques, he said.


Group Urges End To Vieques Bombing

March 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- An interdenominational Christian group in the United States is urging President Bush to halt U.S. Navy bombing exercises on the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

Representative of 36 denominations affiliated with the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA will sign a letter to Bush asking him to consider their pleas, Bob Edgar, the New York-based group's general secretary, said Sunday in San Juan.

``The majority of the people of Puerto Rico have demonstrated that they do not want Vieques to be a site for war exercises,'' the group said in the letter being circulated among its members.


Vieques Prepares For Next Possible U.S. Navy's Military Exercise

March 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The residents of Vieques began preparations to face the possible resumption of the U.S. Navy's military practices on the island municipality after a notice was issued saying that a study determined the environment wouldn't be significantly affected by the continuous use of the Navy's practice site on Vieques.

The notice said a Declaration of Environmental Impact (DIA by its Spanish acronym) is not required to continue the military practices on Vieques. Similar notices have been issued in the past prior to the resumption the Navy's military exercises on the island municipality.

Following the notice issued on Friday, the Navy has declined to confirm the rumors of it resuming military training on Vieques any time soon.


Inhofe To Evaluate Pro-Navy Petition Of Viequenses

March 23, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Congressman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) vowed to consider the petition of 1,780 pro-U.S. Navy Viequenses that the island municipality be separated from the commonwealth.

However, he added in published reports that he would have to study the matter further to determine the next step.

Inhofe met with pro-Navy Viequenses leader Luis Sanchez and other residents of the municipality to discuss the future of the naval presence in Vieques.

The chairman of the military readiness sub-committee said this visit serves as an example of the many Viequenses who support the Navy despite the public expressions of Puerto Rican politicians.

On the other hand, he also expressed that he will include the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station and Fort Buchanan in his list of military bases that have to be closed down if the Navy is impeded to use the Vieques range for military training.

A new round of military base closings will depend on the evaluation prepared by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.


Vieques Still Vital To Navy, PR's Governor Advised


March 21, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA. All rights reserved.

The Pentagon has signaled Puerto Rico 's governor that she should not read too much into a decision to call off plans for Navy practice bombing this month on the service's controversial Vieques Island training range.

"The facilities owned by the U.S. Navy on Vieques remain an important element of our national defense readiness," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld wrote in a March 9 letter to Gov. Sila M. Calderon. "We plan to proceed with training as required to maintain an appropriate level of readiness."

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