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Ponce Will House Port Of The Americas… Bethlehem Celebrates Island Culture… MLB Buying Time For P.R. Plan?… World Cup Attracts Posada… Ramos A Prospect… Calderon Wants Vieques, Culebra As Superfund Sites… No Hazard Near USS Killen… Berrios Rejects Rossello Persecution… New Pub Closing Laws Okd… Rossello Refuses To Give Up $52k Pension, Denies Retirement Notifications

Ponce Will House Port Of The Americas

By Jose Fernandez Colon of Associated Press

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

PONCE (AP) – Economic Development and Commerce Department Secretary Milton Segarra said on Monday that no matter who wins the elections this November the Port of the Americas Project will be built in Ponce as planned.

The announcement came after documents were signed that ensured that the mega-project will be built southern region of the island, which will force the next administration to go on with project as planned.

"I can assure you that the way in which we have structured the project it will benefit all of the southern region," said Segarra.

Segarra, who is also the president of the Port of the Americas Authority, dismissed the New Progressive Party’s (NPP) governing program which calls for the construction of a similar project dubbed ‘The Worldwide Shipping Port.’

Segarra warned that any such plan would seriously jeopardize the southern region’s economic development.

He maintained that some 10,000 to 16,000 jobs that will be created in the Ponce area should be the priority for any administration.

"We must see this project for what it is, a springboard for the economic development for greater Ponce and the entire southern region by providing greater logistical capability for commerce, creating anywhere from 10,000 to 16,000 jobs," said Segarra.

The only NPP mayor in the south, Yauco’s Abel Nazario, as well as NPP representatives from the area favor the building of the port in Ponce.

Bethlehem Celebrates Puerto Rican Culture

June 27, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Allentown Morning Call. All rights reserved. 

Joscelyn Zayas, Puerto Rican Queen of Allentown, greets the crowd during Bethlehem's annual Puerto Rican parade while Kassim "the fire eater' Ortiz of Bethlehem performs. At the end of Saturday's parade, Puerto Rico's flag was raised at City Hall. Today, the last day of the three-day Borinquenfest, will feature a performance by Luigi Texidor, who was a sonero with the legendary La Sonora Poncena. The festival, held under the Hill-to-Hill Bridge, will close at 10 tonight.

Buying Time For Puerto Rico Plan?


June 27, 2004
Copyright © 2004 THE MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved. 

Baseball is once again pushing back its announcement on the Montreal Expos' future, until after the All-Star break, nearly three years after the commissioner's office took over the day-to-day operations of the club.

Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos wants Selig to take time to study the merits of a darkhorse candidate. Scott Shapiro of the Miami law firm Zumpano, Patricios & Winker represents a group of deep-pocketed and politically influential Puerto Ricans that presented a proposal to Selig's office 10 days ago offering to move the team to San Juan. Shapiro has been meeting with baseball executives to drum up support for his group's bid and is siding with Angelos in asking that Selig go slow to allow the San Juan proposal to be studied more fully.

The San Juan group is not associated with the promoter who has been staging Expos games in Puerto Rico the past two seasons -- games that have drawn much interest but few fans.

This report was supplemented with material from Herald Wire Services.

World Cup Attracts Posada

June 27, 2004
Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved. 

Jorge Posada wants to play for Puerto Rico in the baseball World Cup, even if it means missing most of the Yankees' spring training camp next year.

"Obviously, we'll be playing, doing something," Posada, a catcher, said last Tuesday. "What's important here is you've got to be loyal to the team. I'd have to ask the Yankees, but I would love to play."

If baseball owners approve the plan and deals are reached with the players' association and the International Baseball Federation, the 16-nation tournament would take place from approximately March 4 to March 21.

Developing Post Play Makes Ramos A Prospect

June 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

San Juan, Puerto Rico (AP) - -- Scouts say Wizards second-round draft pick Peter Ramos is a legitimate pro prospect because of his improved post play.

The 19-year-old Ramos has been playing professionally in Puerto Rico since he was 14. His scouting report says he's developed a jump-hook, step-away shot and consistent jumper. He is also a good passer who can find open teammates when he is double-teamed.

Among the things scouts say he needs to improve are his timing and positioning in both rebounding and shot-blocking. He is a poor free-throw shooter, but that should improve as he matures.

Calderon Wants Vieques, Culebra As Superfund Sites

June 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Gov. Sila Calderon said the meeting held on Friday morning with White House executives on the issue of including Vieques and Culebra in the Superfund list for decontamination of both municipalities was "very positive."

"I am pleased with the conversation held today with Joshua Bolten as well as with other White House employees on the cleaning of Vieques and Culebra and I believe this process will produce positive results," said Calderon.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) already approved the addition of Vieques and Culebra to the Superfund list and is evaluating the economic impact of such decision.

Calderon requested that Vieques and Culebra be included in the superfund list in light of their believe that high contamination exist in the area following decades of military practices in the area.

No Hazard Near USS Killen

June 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – A study by an independent firm determined that the waters near the USS Killen, sunken one mile from the coast of Vieques, poses no radiation hazard.

However the study does recognize that other heavy metals and organic components near the USS Killen as well as an undetermined number of bombs, do represent a substantial danger for the environment and the people.

"The levels of radioactivity present in the area do not represent a danger to health. The study suggest that Salina del Sur bay should be designated as maritime sanctuary to prevent further danger to the ecosystem," said Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez.

Rodriguez revealed the findings of the study on Friday with the expert in explosives James Barton, an former United States ARMY expert that created a company in charge of removing explosives.

The US Killen sunk in 1958 during a round of military practices in Vieques.

Berrios Rejects Rossello Persecution

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

June 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

FAJARDO - The latest turn in the controversy surrounding the pension of former governor Pedro Rossello has prompted Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) gubernatorial candidates to raise more waves on Friday by stating that their New Progressive Party still has a lot to answer.

PIP's Ruben Berrios said that while he believes NPP government employees have been persecuted by the governing Popular Democratic Party (PDP), he couldn't say the same thing for Rossello.

"I think Rossello has yet to answer questions about his pension in a satisfactory manner and yes, this issue directly affects his credibility," Berrios said after presenting his economic development plan at the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce Annual convention.

He also smirked at the claims of persecution against Rossello, as he said he believes nor the NPP or the PDP know what that word really means.

"The discrimination that NPP and PDP followers have had to suffer is trivial compared to the persecution against independentistas," Berrios said.

For his part, PDP's Anibal Acevedo Vila said he would focus on discussing his government proposals and let Rossello deal with his own problems.

"If Rossello and the NPP wish to continue discussing their mess from the past, they are perfectly entitled to do just that," stated Acevedo Vila, who also participated in the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce in which he presented his proposals to boost the economic development of the island.

New Closing Laws Approved For Pubs

June 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The House of Representatives approved a bill that prohibits

establishments that sell liquor as well as nightclubs from remaining open after 2:00 AM, in attempt to reduce crime.

The bill will be voted on by the Senate on Friday, the last to vote for the ordinary legislative session.

"There are many crimes that threaten public safety which stem from the operation of these establishments. Restaurants don’t fall into this category because they do not primary focus on liquor sale," said Rep. Jose Varela.

Although it does not include restaurants, it does include bars and pubs.

New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Epifanio Jimenez and Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Rep. Victor Garcia San Inocencio opposed the bill saying that this would only promt bars and night clubs to begin offering food to circumbent the law.

Rossello Refuses To Give Up His $52,000 Pension

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

June 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

A day after New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders expressed their resolve to challenge the decision to lower former governor Pedro Rossello's pension, the gubernatorial candidate on Friday said once again that nothing will derail him from his main goal of winning the general elections on November 2.

"The decision is wrong. I won't give up any of my rights, and I will prove the real motivation behind all of this," Rossello said on his first press conference since the Retirement Systems Administrator Marisol Marchand issued her decision to lower his yearly pension from $52,000 to more than $29,000.

Rossello reiterated his position that the Retirement Systems Administration uses a double standard as it accepts sworn statements from government investigations against him, but rejects sworn statements presented by witnesses who favor him.

"This shows once more bad faith in a marred process which [the government] has tried to portray as fair," Rossello added.

Rossello also said he thought it was a pity that he had to deal with what he called a selective persecution from the governing Popular Democratic Party administration, but he wouldn't let that make him lose his focus.

"The people of Puerto Rico will decide on November 2," he noted.

Rossello made his expressions following his presentation at the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce Annual Convention at a hotel in Fajardo.

At the business event, Rossello focused on discussing his proposals to boost the economic development of the island.

Rossello's campaign promises for economic development include a new tax reform that would eliminate marriage tax penalty, the excise tax increase on SUVs and alcoholic beverages, as well as tax breaks for charitable donations from 33% to 50%.

The NPP gubernatorial candidate also discussed his plan to improve water and energy service on the island, promote the creation of high tech jobs and services, and create a world class transportation system for both land and sea.

Rossello Denies Receiving Retirement Notification From 1993 And 1995

June 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Former Governor Pedro Rossello denied on Friday that he received any notification in 1993 and 1995 informing him that he should work until September 2001 to fulfill 30 years of public service in order to receive the maximum pension benefits.

The New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate said that contrary to what the notification from the Retirement System Administration establishes he was first informed about his retirement status in 2000.

"That is not correct, I was notified in 2000," Rossello said in a press conference following his participation in the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce Convention.

Rossello called the RSA as "erroneous" and insisted that the government is conducting a "selective persecution campaign.

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