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Memorial Day Commemorated… Calderon Rejects Vieques Civil Disobedience… Active Hurricane Season Foreseen… Buchanan Shutdown Would Represent A $300m Loss… High Tech Vieques Ferry Unveiled… Acevedo Seeks Alternatives To Pork Barrel Funds… Gov. Recounts Kidnapping,… Ricky Martin Launches Anti - Abuse Campaign

Memorial Day Celebrated

May 31, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Government officials and dozens of military veterans accompanied by their relatives gathered in a Memorial Day ceremony on Monday to remember those who have died in the line of duty.

Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila, one of the special guests in the event that was held at the National Cemetery in Bayamon, was booed by several members of the audience.

"I came here because federal authorities invited me to pay tribute to fallen veterans," said Acevedo Vila, who downplayed the demonstration against him.

Acevedo Vila, who is also the gubernatorial candidate for the Popular Democratic Party, congratulated himself for achieving a federal allocation of $78 million to improve the Veterans Hospital facilities.

"We all want a new hospital, but it costs more than $400 million," Acevedo Vila said in response to those who have criticized him for his alleged inaction in the matter.

Acevedo Vila’s campaign director Carlos Dalmau blamed the booing on a New Progressive Party (NPP) allied sector and chastised them for dishonoring the solemn event.

NPP San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini said the booing was a spontaneous manifestation of the people and insisted that he had nothing to do with it.

Calderon Rejects Civil Disobedience In Vieques

May 31, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN GERMAN (AP) – Gov. Sila Calderon said it is unnecessary to start new acts of civil disobedience to demand the cleanup of the former military land on Vieques.

Dozens of demonstrators camped out on the land now controlled by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to urge that Vieques lands get decontaminated.

Calderon acknowledged that the cleanup process will take time, but called on the people of Vieques to trust the mechanism of the Federal Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund what will be used to that end.

"We have been very aggressive with federal agencies and we must remember that the land has been contaminated for 60 years," the governor said.

"It won’t take 60 years to clean up Vieques, but the process will take time," she added.

The governor said she has recently met with high-ranking EPA officials and with personnel from the U.S. Management & Budget Office to deal with the allocation of funds to clean the contaminated areas.

Calderon said funds have never been denied to a governor after an EPA recommendation.

Hurricane Season Expected To Have More Activity

May 31, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (AP) – As the hurricane season begins, National Weather Service director Israel Matos announced that this season would be unusually active due to fluctuating weather patterns of higher than usual activity.

"Hurricane season spans from June 1 to September 30, we are expecting higher than usual activity; usually we get 10 weather systems per season, of which six will reach hurricane force; this season we expect 12 tropical weather systems of which eight might turn into hurricanes," said Matos.

He said that there will be at least two strong hurricanes with four additional weather systems.

"The main factor are the fluctuating weather patterns of higher than usual activity, they create the conditions for stronger storms than usual," added Matos.

Buchanan Shutdown Would Represent A $300 Million Loss

By Jose Fernandez Colon of Associated Press

May 30, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE – If the federal government decides to shut down Fort Buchanan, the local economy would lose $300 million, according to Puerto Rico’s U.S. Army Reserve Cmdr. Gen. Jose Manuel Rosado.

According to Rosado, up to 130,000 Puerto Rico residents either work or benefit from the services provided at the base.

"Fort Buchanan is a very important element in the economy of the San Juan, Guaynabo, and Bayamon municipalities," Rosado said.

Rosado added that the shutdown would also affect around 5,000 reservists.

However, despite rumors of a possible shutdown, Rosado said he hopes the military facility continues its active operation.

He said that to some degree the U.S. Coast Guard relies on Buchanan for educating officers’ children and highlighted the base's role and potential in providing veteran services.

High Tech Ferry Unveiled For Vieques And Culebra

May 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – On Sunday a high tech vessel, which will provide ferry service to the public to Vieques and Culebra, will be inaugurated by the Port Authority.

Port Authority executive director Miguel Soto announced that the maiden voyage of the modern ferry, called La Caribeña, will depart at 8:30 Sunday morning and will include both island municipalities.

The 95 foot vessel was built in Mississippi at a cost of $2.8 million and has a maximum capacity of 292 passengers.

To commemorate the vent Vieques and Culebra will hold an inter island basketball tournament.

Acevedo Vila Looks For Alternatives To Pork Barrel Funds

May 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila announced on Friday that if elected he will restructure the Donations Committee to channel the pork barrel funds which are slated for elimination.

Acevedo Vila said that he would create a special program that would allocate funding blocks for all 78 municipalities.

With these alternatives he hope to soothe PDP legislators that are opposed to the elimination of the pork barrel funds.

"The people don’t want the pork barrel funds. It is a tool of the past and in the governing board I said very clearly, that some allocations are justifiable…no one wants to outlaw those, what we want to check are liberties taken by legislators," said Acevedo Vila.

The PDP Governing Board approved the addition of a plan to eliminate the pork barrels in as part of its platform, but the move has met opposition by members of that party, mainly Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora.

In a bold challenge the senate voted on resolution that supports Alzamora’s bid to defend the Pork Barrel funds, in defiance of PDP president Acevedo Vila.

Acevedo Vila has expressed interest to meet with Alzamora and reach a consensus.

Governor Talks About Thursday’s Kidnapping

By WOW Staff

May 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Praising the character of the woman that was held hostage for three hours on Thursday at a building next to La Fortaleza, Gov. Sila Calderon said Friday that she was only thinking of her employee’s safety when she decided to negotiate with the kidnapper.

"My only worry was Iris Nereida (Morcilio) safety....she is my employee, I did not know her but she is my responsibility," said Calderon.

The governor said she never feared for her life and that when she heard the kidnapper was not letting go of Morcilio she knew she had to bend to his demands for an audience, even if as she was advised not to do so.

Calderon said that once she reached the the mailroom she firmly told him that she was the governor and that he had to let go of Morcilio.

Figueroa, a resident of Manati who had written several times to the governor pleading for a job, held Morcilio hostage at knifepoint and demanded that he be given an audience with Calderon.

Once chief police negotiator Jose Caldero read out laud Figueroa’s letter to the governor he let go of Morcilio.

Calderon praised Morcilio’s strength of character and said she proved she has the character needed to make her dream a reality, which is to become a physiologist for which the governor has promised to get her a scholarship.

Morcilio, a mother of two children, will also become a fulltime employee.

Ricky Martin Launches Anti - Abuse Campaign


May 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Ricky Martin has launched a campaign against sexual exploitation and the trafficking of children in the world.

The 32-year-old singer presented a series of TV ads Thursday in which he speaks on the subject in Spanish, English and Portuguese. They are to be aired soon in the United States, Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries.

The campaign, launched at the Puerto Rico Art Museum in San Juan, is part of Martin's recently established foundation, People for Children.

About one million children are forced into prostitution in Asia while the number in Latin America ``is much bigger,'' he said, citing UNICEF statistics.

``It's a spiritual and existential genocide,'' Martin said.

Each year, two million children are victims of human trafficking, of which 62 percent are forced to take part in the sexual tourism trade, officials said, citing U.S. State Department figures. About 85 percent contract HIV. Girls between ages 8 and 12 have the highest risk of being kidnapped and sexually abused.


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