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PIP Claims Senate Spokesman Position… Ferry Crash Injures 18… Univision Buying 2 TV Stations… Comptroller: Irregularities In Governor’s Report… Biodiversity Institute Established… Ricky Cites Heroes… Lacoste Sues 24 Merchants… 23rd Soldier Killed In Iraq

PIP Claims Spokesman Position In The Senate

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

SAN JUAN (AP)–Sen.-elect Maria de Lourdes Santiago said Wednesday that with the re-inscription of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), there is no excuse to deny her spokesperson position in the Senate.

Santiago again asked new Senate President Kenneth McClintock to "make his words good and proceed to recognize her spokesperson position in the Senate."

The new senator recognizes, nevertheless, that her companion in the Legislature, Rep. Victor García San Inocencio, could have a more difficult journey because the House speaker is Jose Aponte, "who has been Pedro Rosselló’s most important spokesperson." Rosselló had suggested not granting any spokesperson position to the PIP.

Santiago said that even though the PIP understood there was no need for the re-inscription to attain the position, "now there is no doubt but to grant us our recognition."

She added she is waiting for the NPP and Sen. McClintock to "rectify their position."

Santiago said she sent a letter Wednesday to McClintock as well as Ariel Nazario, the outgoing Senate secretary, stating her point.

Ferry In Puerto Rico Crashes Into Pier, Injuring 18 People

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

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A passenger ferry crashed into a pier, injuring 18 people after one of its engines allegedly failed, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.

The accident aboard the Covadonga ferry occurred Tuesday just after dusk, said Eric Willis, a spokesman for the Coast Guard in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The vessel, which travels from the tourist hub of Old San Juan across the San Juan Bay, had 62 passengers aboard.

The wounded included 17 passengers and one crew member. None of the injuries were serious.

The captain told investigators the port engine failed with no warning, inhibiting the vessel's ability to maneuver during its approach to the San Juan suburb of Catano, Willis said.

Although the pier was not damaged, there was a gouge left in the ferry's bow.

All crew members were required to submit to alcohol breathalyzer testing, Willis said.

Univision Buying 2 TV Stations

December 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved.

Univision Communications Inc., the largest U.S. Spanish-language television and radio broadcaster, said it will buy two television stations it is leasing in Puerto Rico for about $190 million. Univision made the announcement Tuesday in a U.S. regulatory filing.

The acquisitions fit with Los Angeles-based Univision's strategy of owning radio and television stations in the same areas so it can offer advertising packages and reduce selling costs, said JB Hanauer & Co. analyst David Joyce in Hallandale.

Comptroller Points Out Irregularities In Governor’s Report

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

SAN JUAN (AP)--A report from the Comptroller’s Office showed the Central Communication Office (CCO) went around laws and regulations to pay $130,298 to an advertising agency for "Informe al Pueblo," about the first two years of Gov. Calderon’s administration.

The audit showed the payment authorization was issued after a judicial decision was emitted saying it was illegal to use public funds to publish "Informe al Pueblo de Puerto Rico a Dos Años de Administración."

"The investigation showed a deflection of laws and regulations, as well as of good administration related with the use of public funds and the hiring of an advertising agency," the report says.

The comptroller’s documents suggested Calderon and the CCO make the necessary adjustments to avoid future irregularities, and the secretary of Justice offer the executive director of the CCO "the aid needed to recover" $130,000 paid for the design, production, and distribution of the publication.

Puerto Rico Establishes Biodiversity Institute

December 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 EFE News Service. All rights reserved.

San Juan, Dec 28 (EFE).- Puerto Rico is creating a new environmental education and research center to serve the Caribbean, the United States and Latin America.

The new International Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development will be located in the Toro Negro Forest, in mountainous central Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources (DRNA) said Tuesday.

The DRNA, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and the U.S. Forest Service signed the memorandum of understanding establishing the center.

The center will promote sustainable forestry and water-use practices, develop strategies for controlling pollution and compile environmental research data for exchange with other countries.

Ricky Martin Cites Bono & Sting As Charity Heroes

December 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 World Entertainment News Network. All rights reserved.

Dec 28, 2004 (WENN via COMTEX) -- Latino hearthrob RICKY MARTIN is modelling himself on STING and BONO as he aims to make 2005 a year for the world's at risk kids.

The LIVIN' LA VIDA LOCA singer recently visited with UNITED NATIONS authorities to tell them what he has learned about children who are being "violated" around the world.

Martin, who has set up a foundation to help the children he encounters, says, "Bono is someone I really respect, Sting as well. They have done outstanding philanthropy work."

Meeting with UN chiefs was a highlight for Martin, but it couldn't compare with a recent chat the singer had with the Dalai Lama in Puerto Rico.

He adds, "It was beautiful to spend time with him and talk about my issues and also to talk about his issues and exchange ideas."

Lacoste Sues Puerto Rico Merchants

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

SAN JUAN (AP)–The French clothing company Lacoste sued dozens of merchants in Puerto Rico for allegedly selling counterfeit articles that used the logo of the famous green crocodile.

U.S. District Judge Salvador Casellas gave 24 merchants 15 days to respond to the lawsuit, requiring them to desist from selling the articles until evidence is presented at the court hearing, a local daily newspaper reported.

"An order was issued to embargo the fraudulent merchandise and put in place a temporary injunction. They can’t sell fraudulent goods," said Federico Calaf, Lacoste’s lawyer in Puerto Rico.

The request states the legitimacy of the trademarked logo has been violated by selling clothes, hats, belts, sunglasses, and other articles using the Lacoste logo.

The lawyer said the federal marshal went in with search warrants to several stores in Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo, Bayamón, San Sebastián, Ponce, and the San Juan metropolitan area.

The lawsuit doesn’t list claims for damages, but Calaf indicated they couldn’t calculate damages until a determination is made of the volume of sales of the merchandise.

Puerto Rican Soldier Killed In Iraq

December 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A Puerto Rican soldier was killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded as his vehicle passed, the U.S. Army said Tuesday.

Spc. Jose A. Rivera Serrano, 26, died in the attack in Baghdad on Monday, Army spokesman Jose Pagan said.

Rivera became the 23rd person from the U.S. Caribbean territory to be killed in the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rivera was assigned to B Company of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, Pagan said.

His parents live in the west-coast city of Mayaguez and they said he will be buried in Puerto Rico.

"He called me a few days ago and he told me that he loved me very much and he would be here soon," his mother Myrna Serrano said.

Rivera enlisted in the military because of money problems after studying at a vocational school in Mayaguez, Serrano said.

He is also survived by four siblings, his wife and four children from two separate marriages who live in the United States, Pagan said. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

At least 1,325 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

Puerto Rico's 4 million people cannot vote for U.S. president and have no vote in the U.S. Congress, though they are American citizens and have served in the U.S. military for generations.

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