Rullan: Studies On Cancer In Vieques Reflect Increase Calderon Announces Revitalization Projects DOD Data On Herbicide Use Sought From Rumsfeld Navy Ordered To Present Plan For Vieques Cleanup, It Will Bear Decontamination Costs Urban Train Fare To Be $1.50 374 Km Cable To Link Island & St Maarten/St Martin Sen. Comm. Kills Sec. 956 Proposal
Rullan: Studies On Cancer In Vieques Reflect Increase
By Sandra Ivelisse Villerrael of Associated Press
May 11, 2003
Health Secretary Johnny Rullan revealed Friday that the incidence of cancer in Vieques is 27% greater than the rest of Puerto Rico, although the causes are still unknown.
"It continues to rise," the official said while revealing the preliminary data on the illness among Viequenses.
The mentioned percentage comes from the comparison between the cancer rate of both sexes on Puerto Rico and Vieques in the 1990s.
According to the official table, between 1990 and 1994, there were 266.7 cases of cancer for each 100,000 inhabitants in Puerto Rico, while in Vieques, there were 281.4 cases for each 100,000 inhabitants. From 1995 to 1999, the number of cancer cases for each 100,000 inhabitants in Puerto Rico rose to 270, while in Vieques, it increased to 341.
"The lifestyle [in Vieques] does not reflect why the cancer incidence is doubled," Rullan said.
Although the numbers are not final, Rullan said the information is enough to measure tendencies.
That is why the Health Department is contracting several groups that will investigate four specific areas that will help discern the characteristics present in Vieques that foster the cancer incidence.
The groups will evaluate the contaminated ground, the presence of radiation in the civilian areas and in the water, hereditary factors, and a comparison study between people who have cancer and those who dont.
Governor Announces Revitalization Projects
May 11, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) Gov. Sila Calderon said Saturday that her administration developed 64 revitalization projects in 18 urban centers throughout the island with an investment of $115 million.
The municipalities that benefited from this initiative are Aibonito, Arecibo, Barranquitas, Cabo Rojo, Coamo, Culebra, Guanica, Guayama, Humacao, Isabela, Jayuya, San German, Luquillo, Mayagüez, Morovis, San Juan, Toa Alta, and Yauco, the governor said.
In her Saturday radio program, Calderon said these projects consist in the rehabilitation and preservation of historic monuments, landscapes, and plazas and should create some 2,500 jobs in the construction stage.
"When there are public works of art, fountains, urban fixtures, adequate signs, trees and flowers, and good lamination is when the commercial, economic, and social development of our towns will rise again," the governor said.
Congressman Asks Rumsfeld For Documents On DOD Herbicide Use
May 10, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) - An Illinois congressman is asking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to turn over any information the Pentagon has on the use of Agent Orange and similar herbicides on Guam and in several other areas beyond Vietnam.
The information is needed for Vietnam War era veterans to establish Veterans Administration claims related to herbicide exposure, said Democratic Rep. Lane Evans, who is ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
"It is well past the time for full and open disclosure," Evans said in a letter to Rumsfeld dated May 9 and released Friday.
The letter focuses on Guam, but the congressman also is asking for information on military use of herbicides at sites in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Puerto Rico and several U.S. mainland states he listed.
Evans said he had been contacted by veterans who say the herbicides Agent Orange, Agent Blue and Agent White were stored at various times at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.
Evans said he also provided the Pentagon with a report which indicates dioxin has been found in the soil at "the main base and other locations" on Guam.
Some of the areas may have been exposed to only very small amounts of the chemicals, Evans said, and there may be no danger to humans.
"It is more than 30 years since many of the herbicides were used," Evans wrote to Rumsfeld, "yet veterans are still having claims deniedbecause the Department of Defense has not been forthcoming with information concerning the locations where veterans may have been exposed."
Evans asked for a response by June 13.
Navy Ordered To Present Plan For Vieques Cleanup
By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News
May 10, 2003
The U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee has approved an amendment to the funds authorization act of the Department of Defense ordering the U.S. Navy to present a plan for the cleanup of Vieques within one year of the approval of the law.
Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila said the amendment was proposed by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and endorsed by Sen. John Warner (R-VA).
"The amendment orders the Navy to develop a plan for the rapid environmental cleanup of Vieques with the guidance of the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The plan must be submitted to congressional commissions related to the Department of Defense no later than a year after the approval of the bill," said Acevedo Vila, who explained that the amendment was proposed at his request.
According to the resident commissioner, the plan must contain a list with every cleanup project proposed for Vieques, the schedule of the cleanup activities, and cleaning costs.
The resident commissioner added that the amendment eliminated an initial wording releasing the Department of Defense from complying with some environmental laws, which could have affected Vieques and local government plans to achieve the cleaning of the contaminated areas.
Navy Responsible For Paying For Cleanup Of Vieques
May 9, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) The U.S. Navy will be the only entity responsible for paying for the decontamination of the eastern lands of Vieques, which it used for over 60 years as a training field for its troops, according to the Understanding Agreement signed April 30 between the Navy and the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is the new custodian of the lands.
According to published reports, both agencies have until May 30 to establish two work groups and then outline the decontamination plan, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Navy and the Department of the Interior will also fix controls on the use of the lands in the short- and long-term according to how the cleanup develops.
Another disposition in the agreement is that the Department of the Interior cannot conduct any type of excavation unless permission is requested in writing and the Navy authorizes it.
Meanwhile, the Navy needs to notify its presence on the land each time it conducts duties there, except in cases of emergency when it can notify within 24 hours after it has entered.
Urban Train Fare To Be $1.50
By Istra Pacheco of Associated Press
May 9, 2003
The users of the Urban Train will pay a $1.50 fare for each trip that will allow them to use the railway routes, as well as the Metropolitan Bus Authority (AMA by its Spanish acronym) buses, for one hour and a half.
This fare also includes trips on the "agua-guagua," a system of boats that will be re-inaugurated in the next few months, Transportation & Public Works Secretary Fernando Fagundo said Friday.
All these options form part of the so-called Integrated Transportation Alternatives System (ATI by its Spanish acronym), without which the train alone would not be effective, the secretary acknowledged.
However, the rate does not include the cost of traveling in a "publico," which in many cases is the most accessible transportation for passengers from communities that register a high vehicle density, according to Roads Authority Director Jack Allison.
Fagundo also repeated that the train will start running, a total of 11 miles, on Sept. 29, although four stations will not be ready by that date.
"We have made the rates comprehensive because the train alone does not solve the problem of traffic in Puerto Rico. . .that is why we have coordinated the train to function along with AMA and soon the agua-guagua," the secretary said.
Corning Subsidiary To Link Puerto Rico And St Maarten/St Martin Island Via 374 km cable.
Optical Networks Daily
May 9, 2003
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this report, neither Electronics International nor its agents or sources can be held responsible for any inaccuracy.
May 7th Corning Inc of New York, announced that one of its subsidiaries NSW Submarine Cable Systems Inc, a Corning Cable Systems company, responsible for submarine cable sales in the Americas, had been awarded a contract by SMITCOMS, an international telecommunication services provider on the Island of St. Maarten/St Martin to lay a 374 km cable linking the island to Puerto Rico.
NB: The island consists of 95 square km in the Lesser Netherland Antilles, 240 km due east of Puerto Rico. It operates under dual jurisdiction with 41,000 Dutch citizens living in the northern part of the island (St Maarten), and 36,000 in the southern part (St Martin) as citizens of the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe.
The Corning announcement said that in addition to the supply and installation of the undersea cable, NSW would also provide the survey, civil works and other services.
Proposal To Amend Section 956 Has Short Life
May 9, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) Although the U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment to U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 956 for U.S. companies established on Puerto Rico to receive tax benefits, the measure was defeated in a final vote.
In the Finance Committee, the measure passed with 12 votes in favor and six votes against, according to published reports. Later, the proposal was excluded from the bill, which seeks to reduce federal taxes.
Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila said the initial approval represents the support of the congressmen.
The Gov. Sila Calderon administration has been trying for two years to promote this amendment, which would grant an 85% tax exemption on the profits of those companies that repatriate their money to the United States.
It is believed that the amendment would help the establishment of companies here and the creation of new jobs.