Medicare Cuts To Affect 8,000 Calderon Defends Banco Popular, Supports Armys Access To School Records Hispanics Nations Largest Minority White House Status Group Inactive Iraqi War Would Affect Social Programs, Says Acevedo Vila Legislature To Protect India Brewing
Cuts In Medicare Funds To Affect 8,000 Elderly
January 22, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) If the U.S. Congress approves a freeze in Medicare funds, approximately 8,000 elderly in Puerto Rico will be affected.
Seven medical centers and 47 organizations that offer health services to the elderly throughout the island could be in danger, according to published reports.
A special committee recommended a freeze in Medicare funds to homes for the elderly and agencies that provide elder care at home as a measure to save costs.
Roxana Lopez, director of the Elderly Affairs Office in Puerto Rico, said the legislation will only result in the need for more Medicare funds because the health of the elderly could worsen.
Calderon Vehemently Defends Banco Popular
January 23, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon vehemently defended the Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (BPPR) bank institution and its president, Richard Carrion, on Tuesday and said there is no reason why her administration should not continue to do business with the financial corporation, despite a $21.6 million fine imposed by a federal court for admitting to controlling leaks that lead to drug trafficking and money laundering.
Calderon, who was at one time on the banks Board of Trustees, said BPPR is the islands top banking institution, which has not plead guilty to any crimes, and as such, there is no reason for government transactions to be halted.
The governor said BPPR was the islands largest financial institution, and it had received the endorsement of other financial institutions following their court agreement.
"There is no reason why the government or any other organization should stop doing business with the Popular Bank," she said.
When asked if the court agreement could lead to Carrions substitution in her proposed special 2025 Committee on the islands economic development, Calderon passionately defended the banks president, who she said is respected by all Puerto Ricans.
"Not only is Popular Bank the most solid and important financial institution of our Puerto Rican economy and our island, but its president, Richard Carrion, is one of the most respected people in Puerto Rico and distinguished by, inclusive this governor. He is a member of the 2025 Committee, and we are honored by his presence in that committee," Calderon said.
Governor Opposes PIP Anti-Military Campaign In Schools
January 21, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) - Arguing that her administration is one that obeys the law, Gov. Sila Calderon said Tuesday that contrary to the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), she is not "anti-American" and thus will comply with the No Child Left Behind Act that allows U.S. Army recruiters to gain access into the school records of high school students.
On that same note, and although she argues she "loves peace," Calderon said if the time came when war was declared on Iraq, her administration would endorse the U.S. decision.
"There are times in life that we unfortunately have to resort to warlike conflicts to defend some rights and values that we treasure and have cherished throughout time such as liberty and democracy," Calderon said.
Complying with the federal disposition guarantees funds for Title I students. The PIP, as well as anti-militarism groups, oppose the disposition. PIP leaders have requested permission from the Education Department to hold an orientation campaign aimed at informing parents of their right to oppose that their childs records be disclosed.
Education Secretary Cesar Rey has denied the petition and received Calderons endorsement Tuesday.
"Politics will not be practiced in the schools of Puerto Rico. Any other expression and manifestation of any group will definitely have to be held outside the schools," Calderon added.
Calderon said President George W. Bushs January 2002 law, which provides military authorities access to the names, addresses, and phone numbers of 165,000 students of public schools, applies also to the states and must be complied by the governments in order to receive Title I funds.
However, parents compliance is strictly of a voluntary nature, the governor said.
"It is a law in which compliance is totally optional, and that is how its being presented to parents and children - as an option. We will comply with it as it is being complied with it in the states," Calderon said.
To support her opposition to the PIPs proposal, Calderon noted that the island is part of the United States, and the PIPs objective is precisely the opposite - to obtain freedom from the American government.
She added that any activity by military recruiters within the schools is part of an official duty, while any guidance that might be offered by the PIP is part of an "anti-American" agenda.
"This government is not anti-American and complies with the laws and the official duties of the government or the federal government that have to be made in the schools. The political agendas of any party, including the independence party, will be made outside the schools," Calderon said.
Hispanics Nations Largest Minority
By GENARO C. ARMAS
January 21, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) - Hispanics have surpassed blacks as the nation's largest minority group, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.
The Latino population grew to 37 million in July 2001, up 4.7 percent from April 2000. The black population increased 2 percent during the same period, to 36.1 million.
The estimates are the Census Bureau's first statistics on race and ethnicity since results from the 2000 census were released two years ago.
Hispanics now comprise nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population, which grew to 284.8 million in July 2001. That's up from 12.5 percent, or 35.3 million of the country's 281.4 million residents in April 2000.
Blacks make up 12.7 percent of the nation's population, up from 12.6 percent in April 2000. The black population grew by 700,000 in the 15 months after the census was released.
Whites remained the largest single population group, numbering about 199.3 million in July 2001, nearly 70 percent of all U.S. residents.
Asians are the next largest minority group after blacks and Hispanics, at about 12.1 million, or 4 percent of the population.
The federal government considers "Hispanic" an ethnicity, not a race. Therefore people of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race.
White House Status Interagency Group Inactive
January 21, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) The Puerto Rico government main lobbyist in Washington, Republican Charlie Black acknowledged that the interagency group established in 2001 by executive order to study the islands political situation is inactive.
"From what I know, the interagency group has not done anything," Black said in published reports.
According to the lobbyist, the White House does not have the islands political future in their agenda, specially now that the U.S. is considering to declare a war against Iraq.
"I dont think there is much interest in discussing the status issue," Black said.
Acevedo Vila Says Social Programs Would Suffer If War Is Waged In Iraq
January 20, 2003
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Rico's delegate to U.S. Congress said federal social programs on the island would suffer if war is waged with Iraq, a newspaper reported Monday.
However, federal funds already designated for Puerto Rico were not in danger of being taken away, said Anibal Acevedo Vila, the U.S. Caribbean territory's nonvoting delegate to Congress.
"If there is a war and Congress changes priorities, the creation of new social aid programs might be postponed while the needs of war are attended to," Acevedo told Primera Hora newspaper.
"But (funds) Puerto Rico has a right to receive (have) not been put into jeopardy in the least bit," he added.
Puerto Ricans became American citizens in 1917. Islanders cannot vote for president, however, and have no vote in Congress. They pay no U.S. income tax, but the commonwealth receives more than $13 billion infederal funds each year.
Legislature To Protect Local Brewing Company
January 20, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) Two legislators of the western side of the island and the India Brewery Executive President complaint on Sunday that Coors is lobbying in Congress to oblige the Puerto Rico government to eliminate the excise taxes imposed on beers last year.
Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Charlie Hernandez and PDP Sen. Rafael Irizarry warned that the Legislature will act, if necessary to protect the interests of the local beer industry.
Resident Commissioner in Washington, Anibal Acevedo Vila has said that Coors persuade Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell to amend the bill which authorizes the reimbursement of the excise taxes collected on rum imported from Puerto Rico.
The amendment, which was withdrawn without a vote would have frozen the reimbursement of $360 million to the local Treasury.