Trinidad Ends Retirement Planning Board Offers Bright Economic Outlook Five Municipal Police Officers Detained On Drug Charges Fed Funds At Risk If UPR Ousts ROTC Burgos Says Acevedo Vilas Economic Plan Plagiarizes Rossellos Ideas Cartagena Announces Anti-Crime Measures Navy Might Not Clean-Up Vieques P.R. Bids For FTAA Hub
Trinidad Ends Retirement
March 2, 2004
NEW YORK (AP) - Felix Trinidad ended his retirement of nearly two years on Tuesday and will return to boxing, where he was one of the sport's most dominant fighters.
"A lot of people told me we need you in boxing," Trinidad said.
The 31-year-old Trinidad, an immensely popular fighter in his home of Puerto Rico, earned tens of millions of dollars while winning titles as a welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight.
Trinidad will return as a middleweight, and promoter Don King said a fight is set with Shane Moseley, provided Moseley wins his March 13 bout with Winky Wright in Las Vegas.
Trinidad said he spoke with King in Puerto Rico about his return.
"Don gave me what I asked for, and here I am," Trinidad said through an interpreter.
At the time of his retirement, in which he made a tearful announcement, Trinidad said it was simply time to make the move. He wanted to spend more time with his family and enjoy his cars and horses. On Tuesday, he said he retired because the big fights weren't there.
"I wasn't wrong when I retired," he said. "I just changed my mind."
Trinidad was 41-1 with 34 knockouts, and won 20 of his 21 title fights. In his last fight, Trinidad stopped French journeyman Hacine Cherifi in May in San Juan.
"All my people, everywhere, were asking me to come back," he said.
Planning Board Presents Encouraging Economic Outlook
March 2, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) On the first day of hearings to discuss the proposed budget for fiscal year 2005, Planning Board Chairman Angel Rodriguez presented what he believed is an encouraging outlook for the local economy.
During a joint hearing of the House and Senate Treasury committees, Rodriguez presented statistics from the labor sector that, according to him, reveal the economy has steadily grown in Puerto Rico.
Rodriguez said the total employment rate for fiscal year 2004 climbed 2.3%, for a total of 1.2 million workers.
The agency head also presented a study from the Planning Board showing that the increased employment rate in the construction sector contributed the most to the labor market.
Five Municipal Police Officers Detained On Drug Charges
March 2, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) Federal authorities arrested five San Juan municipal police officers and a civilian on drug charges.
The announcement was made during a press conference on Tuesday with San Juan Municipal Police Chief Adalberto Mercado, who said the officers were immediately suspended from work. They will also receive no salary.
"These five officers abused their power to offer protection to cocaine shipments. They even used official vehicles to ensure that protection," said U.S. District Attorney Humberto Garcia.
The officers were identified as Rafael Mojica Ortiz, 26; Victor Garcia Mojica, 25; Jamir Santiago Fernandez, 26; Edgardo Davila Pizarro, 23; and Jose Betancourt Soto, 24. Edgard Rios Lopez, 24, was also arrested. He doesnt work for the police.
The six individuals have been accused of conspiring to obtain and distribute controlled substances; possession and distribution of cocaine, and the use of firearms to commit drug-related crimes.
The accused face a prison sentence of 10 years to life and fines of up to $4 million.
Federal Funds At Risk If ROTC Leaves UPR
March 2, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) Federal grants given to University of Puerto Rico (UPR) students will not be at risk if the institution decides to eliminate the ROTC program from its campuses, antimilitary groups said Monday.
Science Faculty professor Jorge Colon said a 1999 amendment guarantees that student aid will not be affected by any administrative decision.
"Pell grants are not at risk," Colon said during a press conference at the Bar Association where he was joined by attorney Noel Colon Martinez and professor Jose Paraliticci.
He acknowledged however that research funds could be affected if the ROTC is ousted from all UPR campuses.
The group was reacting to former UPR President Jose M Saldañas statements regarding a possible loss of $240 million in federal funds if the UPR ends the ROTC.
The sum of $240 million is divided in $82 million in federal funds for research purposes and $158 million in grants and student loans, the former president said.
"That would create chaos in the university, specially on the major campuses that have graduate programs based on research.
The campus most likely to be affected would be the Mayaguez campus because it is the one that receives more federal funds for research, $70 million out of a $123 million budget.
Burgos: Acevedo Vila Plagiarizes Rossellos Ideas
By WOW News Staff
March 2, 2004
New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Norma Burgos accused Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila of plagiarizing an idea that former Gov. Pedro Rossello had presented in 1994 for the economic development of the island.
On Monday, Acevedo Vila announced a four-step economic development plan to transform Puerto Rico into a worldwide technological research and production center.
"Anibal Acevedo Vila is renaming a strategy that Pedro Rossello successfully began to implement in 1994, and is trying to peddle it as his own," Burgos said in a prepared statement.
Burgos pointed out that several of the initiatives Acevedo Vila presented on Monday had already been implemented during the Rossello administration, when she served as chair of the Planning Board and secretary of state.
The NPP legislator cited several of those initiatives which included the creation of the Science and Technology Council, which the Economic Development Secretary headed with the president of the University of Puerto Rico.
"The Calderon-Acevedo Vila administration abolished the council, thus aborting initiatives to promote research and collaboration between private and academic sectors," Burgos added.
The former secretary of State also said Rossellowho is, once more, the NPP gubernatorial candidateapproved the Capital Risk Law, the Digital Signature Law, and the Industrial Incentives Law in 1998. These paved the way for companies to invest in research projects in Puerto Rico.
"[The Rossello administration] also succeeded at getting the federal government to approve an amendment which included Puerto Rico in the Research & Experimentation Tax Credit Law. As a result, U.S. mainland companies with capital investments in research and development projects in Puerto Rico benefited from a federal tax credit," Burgos said.
Acevedo Vila Proposes His Plan For Economic Development
By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News
March 1, 2004
Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila announced a four-step economic development plan to transform Puerto Rico into a worldwide technological research and production center.
Acevedo Vila said the days of focusing on manufacturing and tourism as a source of job creation and economic growth for the island are over. He said Puerto Rico must invest heavily in science and technology to create a new economy that can compete with other countries and other U.S. jurisdictions.
"This plan will make science, technology, and research the spearhead of our economic development," said Acevedo Vila, who maintained that his plan could create more than 30,000 jobs through the investment of $1 billion in four years.
He said the local government would have to pitch in a third of that billion dollars. The rest would have to come from federal funds, private funding, and academic resources.
The PDP candidate said the first step will be to create a Puerto Rican Institute for the Development of Science and Technology.
This entity would be in charge of promoting and managing scientific research, international exchange of academic talents, and marketing of scientific projects developed in Puerto Rico.
The second step would be to create a database with unlimited storage capacity that will connect hospitals, public schools, universities, and research centers through a wide band service that will allow the exchange of information with other information systems around the world.
This step also includes the creation of five research centers in private and public institutions to develop projects in specialized areas, thus generating jobs in both the research and the marketing phases of the projects.
The third step would be to hire more science and mathematics teachers in public schools, and create grants for scientific projects in Puerto Rico.
Acevedo Vila also said grants could be offered to students to continue graduate studies overseas in exchange for 10 years of service in the education field in Puerto Rico.
The idea is to keep young professionals from leaving the island by increasing the demand for academics and researchers in Puerto Rico.
The fourth step is to create companies that can market and export the results of the research projects developed on the island.
Superintendent Announces Plan To Fight Crime
March 1, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) Police Superintendent Agustin Cartagena announced on Monday an aggressive strategic plan aimed at rescuing high crime areas.
Cartagena said the plan seeks to dismantle 500 drug-dealing points and eliminate 30 houses around the island which are used by addicts.
"We hope to set a goal to dismantle type 1 crime by rescuing public housing projects in high crime areas in all 13 regional areas," Cartagena said.
Cartagena added that high crime areas would also be patrolled from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The Navy Could Fail To Clean Vieques
March 1, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) According to the Military Toxic Project organization, Vieques could be added to the list of sites left unclean by the U.S Navy after it has contaminated the area.
Tara Thorton, who heads the organization grouping some 36 communities across the United States affected by U.S. military contamination, the Navy has failed to comply with numerous environmental laws in recent years and has escaped its responsibility to clean some contaminated sites.
Thorton said that, arguing National Security reasons or the fight against terrorism, the US Navy has been exempted from complying with laws regarding the conservation of endangered species.
And according to environmentalists the Navy is seeking not to comply with the clean act or conservation laws.
"Basically they want to be above the law," Thorton said.
She noted that political pressure should be put on the Navy to get them to comply with the environmental law, and clean contaminated areas.
Puerto Rico To Officially Compete For FTAA Headquarters
March 1, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) The final proposal of the Exports Council to make San Juan the headquarters of the Free Trade of the Americas Area (FTAA) was expected to be presented to the organization that groups the 34 countries of the hemisphere.
FTAA Executive Director in San Juan, Federico Gonzalez Denton, underscored the importance of this effort in published reports noting that should Puerto Rico become the headquarters of the FTAA, San Juan would become the capital of the Americas, since the decisions which will affect the largest trade area of the world will be made here.
"There are 800 million consumers and 14 trillion dollars of national gross product. All the decisions of that market will be permanently made here," Gonzalez Denton said.
Eleven countries and cities are competing for this opportunity. They are Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Houston, Galveston, and San Juan in the U.S.; Cancun and Puebla in Mexico; Panama; and Trinidad & Tobago.
The selection of the country will be done with the consensus of all deputy ministers of commerce of the 34 countries of America. The decision will be announced in July during a meeting in Brazil, Gonzalez Denton said.