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McCaffrey To Give Drug Prevention Lessons

$2.4B Invested In Education

No More Burritos And Pizzas

Marines Storm Vieques

Protesters Stall Exercises

Calderon Reiterates Stance For Immediate Departure

Excessive Force Alleged

McCaffrey To Give Drug Prevention Lessons In Schools

August 8, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon announced Tuesday that former U.S. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey has formed a team to advise personnel at the local Drug Control Office on implementing a work plan in schools.

McCaffrey must pave the road to amend the Drug- and Weapon-Free School Zone Program (ZELDA by its Spanish acronym). Such amendments seek the elimination of police incursions within school facilities.

Education Secretary Cesar Rey said the new focus in prevention will replace ZELDA with a more "proactive, humanizing, and pedagogic" program.

Calderon also said part of the new emphasis will be to integrate the resources of the departments of Recreation and Sports, Family, and Housing.

Education Invests $2.4 Billion In New Curriculum, Schedule

By Proviana Colon Diaz

August 7, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

The Education Department on Monday officially kicked off the new school year after a $2.4 billion investment in a new educational program.

Under the slogan "The School: A Vital Space For The Community," the curriculum - including new books and courses - is intended to involve students, parents, and members of the community in an after-hours extended schedule.

"We want schools to become the integral part of the community, as they once used to be. We want to give them the sense of belonging that they need. In cases in which that sense of belonging prevails, we have found better progress in students and less problems," Rey said.

Rey has great expectations for the new after-school programs, which for the first time will be offered in almost half of the island's 1,600 public schools.

The programs, according to Rey, will prove beneficial in retaining students in schools and lowering the percentage of drop-outs, which currently stands at 42%.

"Keeping only 58% of the students in school, for me, is not enough and it's unacceptable," he said.

But the new billion-dollar educational program is not only limited to after school projects. It also includes the revamping of the public school's curricula.

Some of the new additions at the elementary level include a Puerto Rican song book, ethics and civic principles, and the integration of English to the performing arts.

At the high school level, some of the new initiatives include courses on economics, physical education, geography, and variations in the way history is taught, such as concentrating on the afro-Caribbean heritage of Puerto Ricans.

No More Burritos And Pizzas At Public School Cafeterias

By Proviana Colon Diaz

August 7, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

Gone are the days of frozen pizzas and burritos as the basic food served at island public school cafeterias. Now it's back to Puerto Rican cuisine, said Education Secretary Cesar Rey, as he announced Monday's lunch menu: rice with chicken.

Not only will the 615,000 students, faculty and staff benefit from the change in the menu, the island's agricultural, poultry and live stock industry will do so, too, Agriculture Department Secretary Fernando Toledo said.

The new lunch menu will include pork chops, pepper steak and baked chicken, among others, purchased only from local poultry and livestock suppliers, representing more than $18 million in investments for the industry.

U.S. Marines Storm Puerto Rican Isle In War Games

By John Marino

August 6, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Reuters English News Service. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Scores of U.S. Marines stormed ashore on the Vieques bombing range in a predawn mock invasion on Monday as the Navy began a second week of controversial war games on the Puerto Rican island.

Protesters infiltrated the bombing range in an attempt to disrupt the exercises and three were arrested on Monday morning, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Katherine Goode said.

That brings to 53 the number arrested since the Navy began the latest round of military maneuvers on Aug. 2.

The exercises will include aerial bombing and Marine landings in addition to ship-to-shore shelling, Goode said. Some 2,500 Marines will take part.

"It's always dangerous for people to be out on the range, whether or not there is training," Goode said. "But there is an increased possibility of someone getting into a situation where they can get hurt, thinking they are running away from Navy security detail when it is Marine reconnaissance unit."

Protesters Stall Exercises

By Iván Román | San Juan Bureau

August 5, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

VIEQUES, Puerto Rico -- Nine speedboats filled with protesters broke through the U.S. Navy’s restricted zone under the noontime sun Saturday, interrupting bombing exercises.

Some protesters stayed behind to try to stall the upcoming mock attacks by warships and jet fighters.

Navy officials confirmed that training maneuvers had to be stopped for three hours as the boats fanned out and zipped along the ocean, coming within 500 feet of amphibious transport ships unloading Marines and equipment on a beach.

"It was a total success," said fisherman Carlos Zenon, a veteran in the decades-long struggle to get the Navy out of Vieques. "We stopped their bombing for a while, and at the same time, since they say they have such tight security, we put people right on the target range."

It was the third day of the largest and most complex military exercises since an accidental death sparked the Vieques controversy in April 1999.

As 23,000 troops prepare to stage an all-out war scenario next week with simultaneous air, land and sea assaults, protesters beamed over the little victories in the long-drawn-out battle to get the Navy out.

Six of the nine speedboats dodged military police and other security along the target range’s beaches. They sneaked seven people into the brush, where protesters had set up a camp that can house people for two weeks.

Navy officials said three of the protesters remaining on the range were arrested. Those still on the range plan to shoot flares and signal their presence to interrupt the maneuvers again.

Calderon Reiterates Stance For Immediate Departure Of Navy

By Proviana Colon Diaz

August 7, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

Gov. Sila Calderon said Friday that if she had to choose between a U.S. Congress bill on the future of the U.S. Navy in Vieques and President George Bush's decision to pull the military out of the island municipality by 2003, she would select the president's compromise because it has a guarantee for a departure.

Calderon said her position regarding Vieques and the departure of the Navy, which is the immediate and permanent cease of military practices, "has not changed."

"I prefer the one from the president because it says "no later." That means that there is a guarantee that it [the Navy] will leave on May 1, 2003, but there is a chance that it will leaver earlier," Calderon said.

The governor added that her position to respect the will of the people, who overwhelmingly voted in favor of the immediate cease of fire, stands.

Navy Accused Of Excessive Force

Marcelo Ballve | Associated Press

August 4, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

VIEQUES, Puerto Rico -- The U.S. Navy, already under fire for resuming bombing on a training range on Vieques, came under a new criticism Friday for allegedly using excessive force against protesters.

Navy personnel fired tear gas and U.S. Marshals fired bean bag and rubber projectiles at eight journalists and five protesters on Vieques late Thursday. Tomas van Houtryve, an Associated Press photographer, was hit in the elbow by a projectile.

The Navy defended its actions. "The use of force was appropriate because a flare was launched at them, the protesters were tearing down federal property, and rocks were being thrown," spokesman Bob Nelson said.

The confrontation came after the Navy began a fresh round of exercises on its bombing range on Vieques island, and it reflected the heated atmosphere after Vieques residents voted overwhelmingly Sunday for the Navy to stop maneuvers.

Demonstrators threw rocks and homemade bombs at the Camp Garcia base throughout the night and into early Friday, the Navy said. Authorities detained 19 protesters by Friday morning. Some were thought to have invaded Navy land, trying to reach the range and stop the exercises.

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