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Loubriel Resigns From Senate, Opens Door For Rossello, Acevedo Offers Vague Response…6 Young Leaders Nominated For Cabinet Posts…Fortuño Visits White House…Soldier Killed In Afghanistan…$100m SJ Library Proposed…

Loubriel Resigns From Senate, Opens Door For Rossello


January 4, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – New Progressive Sen. Victor Loubriel on Tuesday morning resigned from the Senate seat for the district of Arecibo that he won in the Nov. 2 elections, leaving the road open for Pedro Rossello to enter the Legislature.

Loubriel’s resignation was received at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday by the Senate secretary, and the legislator later confirmed the news at a press conference in Manati.

"I made this decision freely and voluntarily, only motivated by what I understand is a patriotic duty and a life promise with my party and the statehood movement that it represents," the letter read, which was notarized Monday night at the office of former governor Carlos Romero Barcelo.

At the news conference, Loubriel rejected rumors that he was pressured to resign to make a vacancy for Rossello, or that he had received monetary offers to leave his post.

"Nobody has approached me to resign my position in the Senate," he said.

He said he will not assume a post in the Legislature in exchange for his resignation, but when asked if he will accept consulting contracts with some department of the NPP he said, "I can not know what will happen tomorrow, I also have the right to (put food on the table)."

Rossello said in a Monday interview that if a position in the legislature arises, he will not turn it down.

The Senate caucus of the NPP held an emergency meeting on Monday night, and 10 of the 17 members confirmed their support for Kenneth McClintock as the next Senate president.

Acevedo Vila Vague On Response To Loubriel Resignation


January 4, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vila on Tuesday refused to say if he will instruct Popular Democratic Party senators to vote against Pedro Rossello in case the former governor takes the Senate seat vacated Tuesday and tries to become president of the body.

"We are going to wait until Monday to see what happens," Acevedo Vila said at a press conference at La Fortaleza.

Next Monday the Senate begins work on its first Legislative session of the term and will choose its president with a majority of votes from the 27 legislators.

"My directive to the senators of the Popular Democratic Party is that here there is a commitment to the unity of Puerto Rico, that here there is a commitment to establish a dialogue and this commitment is our responsibility and does not depend on the decisions made by the other party," Acevedo Vila said.

Governor Nominates 6 Young Leaders For Cabinet Posts


January 4, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Tuesday nominated six officials between the ages of 27 and 36 to occupy the posts of Secretary of Justice, Treasury, Transportation and Public Works, Sports and Recreation, as well as to the offices of Management and Budget and of the Attorney General.

Roberto Sánchez Ramos was nominated as Justice Secretary, Juan Carlos Méndez as Treasury Secretary, Gabriel Alcaraz for the Department of Transportation and Public Works, Salvador Antonetti as Attorney General and David Bernier for the Department of Sports and Recreation.

All must be confirmed by the Senate, except Ileana Fas, who was nominated as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

"I don’t see any valid reasons why they would be rejected by the Senate," the governor said.

"This group of young professionals is a representation of the best of Puerto Rican youth that is available to work for Puerto Rico," he added at a press conference.

Fortuño Visits White House In Run-Up To Swearing In

January 4, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – With a visit to U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Resident Commissioner-elect Luis Fortuño on Monday began inaugural activities leading up to his swearing-in on Tuesday.

Fortuño said that from his post he will have contact with the defeated candidate for governor and NPP president Pedro Rossello, but in the end the resident commissioner will make his own decisions.

"As a member of the New Progressive Party, I have the obligation to consult him (Rossello), as president of the party. I have a personal and professional relationship with him. He can advise me, but at the end of the day, I have to make my own decisions," Fortuño told a newspaper.

The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for midday Tuesday in Washington D.C.

Army Soldier From Puerto Rico Killed In Afghanistan

January 3, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Hindustan Times. All rights reserved. 

US Fed News

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 -- The U.S. Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. 1st Class Pedro A. Munoz, 47, of Aquada, Puerto Rico, died Jan. 2 in Shindand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained Jan. 1 when his patrol encountered enemy fire. Munoz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

He was pronounced dead during his medical evacuation from the scene.

Munoz had been in the Army since 1986. He served during the first gulf war.

In 1997, Munoz was assigned to the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with Valor device, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Munoz is survived by his wife, Gisela, and his daughter, Dalia.

Great Library Proposed For San Juan At A Cost Of $100 Million

January 3, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Affirming that he hopes to work in harmony with the Executive Branch, NPP Sen. Roberto Arango on Monday presented a resolution aimed at fulfilling one of his campaign promises: the construction of a Great Library in San Juan.

He said the ambitious project could cost $100 million, which would mostly be covered by federal funds destined for education projects.

He said he will travel Monday to participate in the swearing in of Luis Fortuño and he will use the time to meet with Congresspeople to get their help to "capitalize federal funds," destined for these types of projects.

Arango said it is not possible to invest the money in improvements to the Carnegie Library or for the General Archive or for the Lazaro Library at the University of Puerto Rico.

"The reason it can’t be used for one of these places is because the capacity of the Carnegie is at its maximum and it will have rather to construct something different … the library at the University is mainly for the investigations of the universities," he said.

The proposal would have the library built on the grounds of the ‘Acuaexpreso’ in front of the Puerto Rico Coliseum, an area that has serious problems with lack of parking.

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