Observatory A Landmark Dish
Court OKs Referendum
Democrats Prefer Late Vieques Vote
Acevedo Vila: Condemns NPP 956 Boycott, Confident On Amendments Approval
Governor Proclaims Day Of Reflection
Hispanic State Legislators Convene First Summit
Global Solidarity For Vieques Sought
Faz Alzamora Orders Rodriguez Investigation
A Landmark Dish
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
November 6, 2001
Arecibo Observatory, that fixed-dish radio telescope with a 1,000-foot diameter that among other things has been involved in the effort to recognize signals from alien civilizations, is getting recognition of its own: it is being declared a landmark by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Built 40 years ago in Puerto Rico, it is being recognized for scientific achievements and contributions to the fields of antenna design, signal processing and suspension and drive systems.
Supreme Court Authorizes Vieques Federal Referendum
November 6, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The Puerto Rico Supreme Court revoked Monday a Superior Court decision that declared the federal referendum in Vieques unconstitutional.
In the decision, the Supreme Court sustained that the Superior Court erred in stating that it was unconstitutional to use public funds for the referendum because it does not comply with a public end due to the difference in the language of the federal and local laws on the referendum.
Immediately afterward, Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez praised the Supreme Court decision.
"Since the beginning of the lawsuit, we said both laws were compatible and didn't violate any citizen rights," the official said.
Democrats Prefer Late Vote On Vieques
November 5, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The Democrat group of the U.S. Congress Armed Forces Conference Committee considers that the more a decision is postponed; better opportunities exist to obtain a language that guarantees the halt of military exercises in Vieques.
A member of the conference committee said in published reports that one of the strategies is that to postpone a decision on Vieques until the last possible moment could allow the decision to be in the hands of the four main leaders of Congress' Armed Forces committees.
The Democrat legislator recognized that a vote that includes all the members of the conference committee could be more detrimental to Vieques than a decision by the chairmen and minority spokespeople of the Armed Forces committees.
Several Democrats in the House maintain a similar position.
If the language is left in the hands of the leaders of the committees - two Democrats and two Republicans - Congress might not lean toward the language of the House of Representatives, which proposes to cancel the federal referendum in Vieques and harden the requirements that authorize the halt of U.S. Navy exercises.
Acevedo Vila Condemns NPP Boycott Of 956 Efforts In Congress
November 5, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila denounced Sunday that New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders are allegedly sabotaging the efforts that Gov. Sila Calderon's administration is doing in favor of the amendment of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 956.
Acevedo Vila reacted to a letter in which four congressmen - Don Young (R-AK), Dan Burton (R-IN), James Hansen (R-UT), and Randy Cunningham (R-CA) - attack the Section 956 efforts being conducted by the Puerto Rico government in Congress.
"We all know these four congressmen and their relationships with Edison Misla Aldarondo, Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer, and Kenneth McClintock, who have traveled to Washington to oppose and place obstacles to the initiatives that assure a better quality of life for all Puerto Ricans and to move our economy," Acevedo Vila said in a press release.
The resident commissioner added that these same congressmen were the ones behind the Young Status Bill and said none of them are in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Calderon's proposal.
Acevedo Vila Confident On Section 956 Amendment Approval
November 3, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Though it wasn't included in a packet of economic measures to stimulate the U.S. economy, Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila is confident that the amendment to the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 956 will be approved "in the near future."
The official made this statement Friday in a speech during the convention of the Pharmaceutical Industry Association, where he pointed out that the local economy could receive a shot of up to $500 million when the economic stimulus packet is approved.
Acevedo Vila indicated that the amendment has the support of important senators, including Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, and Robert Torricelli, as well as several unions.
"I am confident that we are going to achieve this. On Nov. 2, 2001, I give my word that our amendment to Section 956 has great possibilities of being in the books in the near future," the resident commissioner said in a press release.
Governor Proclaims Day Of Reflection In Solidarity
November 3, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon proclaimed Nov. 3 as a day of reflection in solidarity with the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In this regard, the governor joined the initiative of the U.S. governors who dedicated this Saturday as a day of prayer and fasting for the recovery of the United States, the respect of the diversity of religious beliefs, the welfare of the active soldiers, and the solidarity union, La Fortaleza indicated in a press release.
The occasion was officially proclaimed here as the "Day of Reflection in Solidarity with our Fellow Citizens of the United States of America."
"The reflection at this momentous moment reclaims the fraternal solidarity of all human beings, and citizens of the United States and all the countries in the world," the proclamation reads.
Likewise, it adds that through the official act, "the Puerto Rican people reaffirm their collaboration in the recovery and development mission of the United States of America and reiterates their brotherhood and support to their fellow citizens in the fifty states."
Hispanic State Legislators To Convene First Summit On Island
By PRWOW News Service
November 3, 2001
Hispanic state legislators from across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands will convene for the first time ever to discuss and define the framework for a national Hispanic legislative agenda.
This event, the First Annual Summit of Hispanic State Legislators, will be held Nov. 8-13 at the Inter-Continental Hotel and Resort in San Juan.
An agenda will guide participants throughout the four-day summit. A welcoming reception will kick-off the event, followed by an economic development workshop Nov. 9, where speakers will explore topics such as NAFTA, Proposition 956, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the Caribbean Basin Initiative.
Hispanic state legislators will discuss the impact of hepatitis and diabetes, two health issues affecting our nation's Latino communities, on Nov. 10. A workshop discussing inter-Hispanic relations will occur Nov. 11, followed by a networking lunch.
Hispanic state legislators will meet for breakfast Nov. 12, and then move into a discussion about the formulation of the national Hispanic legislative agenda.
The summit will conclude with a National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) reception in honor of outgoing President Richard Polanco, Senate majority leader in California, and President-Elect John Martinez, House deputy majority leader in Connecticut.
The NHCSL is working in conjunction with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, the National Council of La Raza, the Cuban American National Council, the Dominican American National Roundtable, the National Puerto Rican Coalition, and the Somos el Futuro Conference.
The NHCSL organizes over 250 Hispanic state legislators who advocate on behalf of Hispanic communities across the United States.
State Dept. Wants To Seek Global Solidarity For Vieques
November 2, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The State Department backed Friday a measure that extends its power to promote and seek international solidarity in the case of the "violation of human rights and damages to health and the environment," which the Viequenses allegedly suffered as a result of the U.S. Navy's practices.
However, Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado asked the Senate International Affairs Committee to give a greater range to the measure so that the function of the State Department on the search for solidarity from the international community be extended to all situations where human rights violations are manifested.
"Today, our thoughts and feelings of solidarity are profoundly linked to the situation that the island municipality of Vieques is suffering. Tomorrow, it could be any other piece of our national territory," he said.
He also expressed concern that the measure could be interpreted as limiting and that it might be understood that the State Department corresponds to the only function of carrying out support to the Vieques cause, which is why he recommended that the measure be evaluated.
Senate President Orders Investigation Against Fellow Senator
By Proviana Colon Diaz
November 6, 2001
Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora ordered late Thursday an Internal Audit Office investigation against fellow Popular Democratic Party Sen. Maribel Rodriguez and the public funds that were used for her stay at a New York City hotel during the Puerto Rican Day parade festivities of June 2001.
Although Rodriguez was supposed to stay at the hotel paid by the Senate, she stayed with her husband, even though the Senate already paid for her room.
Fas Alzamora also ordered that an investigation be made into Rodriguez's assignment of $1,000 from her district pork barrel to her husband's municipality Cultural Center for the making of T-shirts for the parade.
Rodriguez has been under the public eye since last week when her husband, Vega Alta Mayor Juan Cruzado Laureano, was charged in federal court with extortion, money laundering, theft of federal funds, and witness tampering.
The rookie Vega Alta mayor is facing charges for allegedly extorting $28,945 from several business owners in the area, including a travel agency for tickets to the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
The cultural center to which Rodriguez assigned funds is also part of the indictment.
"To assure that all rules and laws established in relation to the use of public funds for this kind of event was followed, I am soliciting this audit that must be completed before the end of the Nov. 13 session," Fas Alzamora said.
Fas Alzamora also issued letters to the Vega Alta Interim Mayor's Office and the president of the Vega Alta Cultural Center for a detailed report on how the funds given by Rodriguez were spent.
The president declined to state what would be the next step if the report comes out negative for Rodriguez, arguing that he should not do so.