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Arecibo Observatory To Celebrate 40 Years…Acevedo Vila Seeks Free Trade Pact With D.R.…Rossello Raises Over $200k…Mari Bras Asks PIP Status Talk Status Talks With PDP…RR Possibly Contaminated…Fortuño Promises Money To Fight Crime…4 Sale: 2 Dresses, Never Worn…Poll: Rossello, Acevedo Vila In A Virtual Tie

Arecibo Observatory To Celebrate 40 Years

October 8, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

ARECIBO (AP) — The Arecibo Observatory, home of the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world, celebrates in November 40 years of scientific activity.

More than 100 scientists from around the world will gather Nov. 1 through 4 for a series of workshops, including one on the most recent astronomical advances of the giant telescope, according to a press release.

For Puerto Rico, there is another reason to celebrate: for the first time since the creation of the observatory in 1963, a Puerto Rican is at its helm.

Sixto Gonzalez, who has served as assistant director of special and atmospheric sciences of the observatory since 2001, has directed the observatory since Oct. 1.

Acevedo Vila Favors Free Trade With Dominican Republic

October 7, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — In another attempt by the government to strengthen relations with Latin American countries, Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila prepared to support Wednesday before an agency of the federal executive branch the creation of a free-trade agreement with the Dominican Republic.

Acevedo Vila said the pact would offer the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to trade without restrictions with the Caribbean nation and also strengthen the competitiveness of the Dominican Republic in the region.

"Puerto Rico strongly supports the beginning of these important negotiations. If it is adequately structured, a free-commerce agreement between the United States and the Dominican Republic could benefit both countries, particularly Puerto Rico," reads Acevedo Vila’s deposition.

The document, which the resident commissioner will present Wednesday before the Commerce Politics Commission of the U.S. Commerce Representative Office in Washington D.C., was sent Tuesday to the press.

"Our location in the Caribbean, as well as our common language, our culture, and our history, provide Puerto Rico with unique opportunities to expand commerce with countries of the region," the resident commissioner said.

He alleged that the treaty could reduce poverty and the lack of opportunities in the neighboring country, conditions that "sadly obligate many Dominicans to seek a better future through the dangerous road of illegal immigration."

Acevedo Vila said he hopes Puerto Rico "becomes the commercial axis between the Americas and the Caribbean."

Rossello Raises Over $200,000

October 7, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate former Gov. Pedro Rossello has raised $204,588 in recent months through fund-raisers on and off the island, according to the State Elections Commission (SEC).

The SEC report is dated Aug. 31.

According to published reports, the former governor held two fund-raisers in the state of Florida, where he collected a total of $35,090 from 90 contributors.

The document reveals that Rossello’s campaign expenses have amounted to $314,076, for a $104,488 deficit.

Rossello’s contender, NPP President Carlos Pesquera, has raised $90,250 in the same period and has spent $68,987.

Mari Bras Summons Berrios To Talk With PDP

October 7, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

MAYAGUEZ (AP) - Veteran pro-independence leader Juan Mari Bras called Tuesday on Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) President Ruben Berrios to insist on talking with the leaders of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) about the island’s status.

Mari Bras asked Berrios to initiate a dialogue with PDP President and gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila in order to reach a consensus on whether to convene a constitutional assembly to define the island’s status.

He added that just as Berrios met with New Progressive Party gubernatorial candidate former Gov. Pedro Rossello, he should try to meet with Acevedo Vila.

"I ask comrade Berrios to talk to Acevedo Vila in the same way he talked with Rossello," Mari Bras said.

High Possibility Of Contamination At Roosevelt Roads

October 7, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Economic Development & Commerce Secretary Milton Segarra acknowledged that there exist "very high" possibilities that there are contaminated lands at the U.S. Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba.

However, the official said in published reports that the U.S. Navy and the Defense Department will be responsible for paying for any cleanup needed, as per the BRAC Law, which regulates the closing of military bases and the redevelopment of the facilities.

In other news, Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila said the Puerto Rico government has opened an official line of communication with the Pentagon regarding the creation of an authority to manage the Roosevelt Roads’ redevelopment plan.

Fortuño Promises Money To Fight Crime

By Istra Pacheco of The Associated Press

October 6, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN — Luis Fortuño, one of the four New Progressive Party (NPP) pre-candidates for resident commissioner, promised to seek federal funds to help community-based entities fight crime should he be elected in the November primary and in the general election of 2004.

"Crime is a social ailment and maybe churches are better suited than the government to deal with this problem," Fortuño said during a press conference at his committee headquarters in Hato Rey.

Fortuño said churches and community-based organizations would have to compete with similar entities in 50 states.

Although he was unable to say why the money had never been requested before for the island, he stated that Puerto Rico can compete for the funds. These federal programs have been available in the states for the past two years.

Fortuño was also not able to say how much money local community-based organizations would receive from these federal programs.

He also denied that they may violate the constitutional principle to separate church and state. Fortuño said the programs have already been implemented on the U.S. mainland without major problems.

For Sale: Two Dresses, Never Worn

October 6, 2003
Copyright © 2003
The Wichita Eagle. All rights reserved. 

If you're planning to get married, and you happen to be the same size as Jennifer Lopez, I know where you can get a Vera Wang for a good price. In fact, two bridal gowns.

We knew that the J. Lo gown was designed by Vera Wang, but it was recently reported in Women's Wear Daily that two custom gowns were made, each easily hitting the $50,000 mark.

Two bridal gowns? With her track record, maybe she was planning ahead. No, of course not, she just wanted a choice for her marriage to Ben Affleck.

But Vera Wang didn't make only bridal gowns. Gowns for 10 bridesmaids and a mother-of-the-bride dress were also in the works.

If we thought the J. Lo and Ben fans were sad when the wedding went south, think how Vera felt.

And then there's the jeweler. The custom-designed wedding bands by Garrard ran into the high five figures. And let's not forget Ralph, a favorite of Jennifer's. She asked Ralph Lauren to outfit her sweet Ben, the best man and the ushers.

Ben's tux would have been $6,000 (custom-made) while the rest of the guys were to wear tuxedos from the Purple Label line, each one costing somewhere around $4,500.

Jen may have set a record for the number of people left at the altar.

Survey: Rossello And Acevedo Vila In A Virtual Tie

October 6, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — A survey conducted by Hispania Research revealed that if the election were held now, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Anibal Acevedo Vila would be almost tied with New Progressive Party (NPP) pre-gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello.

According to the survey, Rossello has an advantage of one percentage point over Acevedo Vila and the margin of error of the survey is 3.8%. The study consisted of 755 phone interviews with people all over the island.

The survey, which was reviewed in published reports, revealed that each candidate is strongly supported by the base of his party.

However, Acevedo Vila’s rate of support among non-partisan voters was 15%, while Rossello’s was 8%.

The survey conducted from Sept. 22-24, didn’t measure support for Acevedo Vila vs. pre-gubernatorial candidate Carlos Pesquera, who is also president of the NPP.

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