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Toledo: Weapons Proliferate Due To Internet… Amy Back On Top… Health Dept. Won’t Reopen Bariatric Clinic Yet… Senate Will Hold 1st Consumer Conference… El Vocero Settles Calderon Suit… Nursing Students In Decline… El Vocero Settles Calderon Suit… Bomb In Iraq Kills Sgt… Fire Ravages Maricao Preserve… Comptroller Seeks Budget Increase

Toledo: More Weapons On Streets Due To Internet Sales

February 22, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (AP) — Police Superintendent Pedro Toledo showed concern Monday about the great number of illegal weapons circulating on Puerto Rico streets thanks to the Internet.

Toledo said many criminals can buy weapons over the Internet quickly and easily, and they are brought to the island by federal mail or by a private shipping company.

As an example, he said the large weapons confiscated in Caguas on Sunday and the 16 AK-47 rifles seized from Ponce and Bayamon were brought to the island by gangs of weapons dealers, and fell into the hands of a police agent who infiltrated both groups.

"Now, with the capabilities of the Internet … they are acquiring these weapons and they are entering Puerto Rico," Toledo said.

Toledo made his comments while showing journalists in Ponce the AK-47 rifles confiscated from a gang dedicated to weapons sales.

"We have to look for ways to avoid the continued sale of weapons on the Internet that are later introduced to the island," Toledo said. "To send weapons by mail or by another transportation service is a crime, it is illegal," he said.

Jockey Amy Back On Top


February 22, 2005
Copyright © 2005
Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. 

New York Daily News

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS between winners is a long time, but for jockey Jose Amy it was worth the wait.

"I finally did it," a jubilant Amy said after winning yesterday's sixth race at Aqueduct aboard Mon Over Miami, who paid $13.20.

Amy, 51, was banned from riding in 1980 for admitting he took bribes to fix seven races in New York between 1974 and 1975.

His last winner in New York had come in March of 1980.

"I'm so happy," Amy said. "Sooner or later I knew I was going to win a race. I'm looking forward to riding a few more. I know where I'm at in my career. My main thing is I'm back."

After the ban, Amy returned to his native Puerto Rico to ride but vowed one day to return to New York and win again.

In 2001, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board gave Amy an exercise rider's license. He was granted a jockey's license last September after being denied four other times.

"I've got to keep working hard to see if I can ride a few more winners. I love New York. I'm so glad that I'm back", said the now gray-haired Amy.

"Any human being in my shoes will recognize my feelings right now."

Health Dept. Won’t Reopen Bariatric Clinic Yet

February 22, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Designated Health Secretary Rosa Perez Perdomo denied that she intends to reopen the San Juan City Bariatric Clinic and said she will extend the investigation into the clinic before making a final decision.

Perez Perdomo made the statements in reaction to worries expressed by family members of a patient who died after being operated on at the clinic, who oppose the opening of the controversial program, which was shut down by former health secretary Johnny Rullan.

"As an epidemiologist I reaffirm that I will not make any decision until there has been an analysis of all angles of this situation," she said in a statement.

"The families can be assured because the final decision will be based only on the best interests of the community," she added.

Senate Will Hold First Consumer Conference

February 22, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — As a way to strengthen citizen’s rights, the Senate will sponsor the First Consumer Conference.

Orlando Parga, Senate vice president, made the announcement Tuesday and said the resolutions that they come up with in the meeting will be translated into laws for the benefit of consumers.

"Through this organization and training, consumers can develop a positive activism to respond to industry forces and the forces of the market," he said at a press conference.

Senate President Kenneth McClintock supported the proposal and said "democracy is strengthened while more rights are claimed for citizens."

The conference will be held the first week of June.

El Vocero Settles Calderon Lawsuit

February 22, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — El Vocero newspaper will publish a correction and will pay an undisclosed sum to the family of former governor Sila M. Calderon, as part of the agreement reached Tuesday to end the civil lawsuit filed by Calderon against the newspaper.

Although the exact sum of the settlement was not disclosed, a source said the figure was $75,000, which will be paid to Calderon, her ex-husband Adolfo Krans, and her two daughters, who were all co-plaintiffs.

According to Krans, the money will be donated to civic charities, none with ties to politics.

The date of publication for the correction was not stipulated.

Calderon did not attend the trial. Her lawyer, Angel Tapia Flores, told the court that the former governor was not feeling well and left the hospital the night before suffering from gastritis.

The defendants were the president and editor of El Vocero, Gaspar Roca, his son, Mike, and the reporter who wrote the article, Jorge Luis Medina.

In the article, a maid named Jennifer Colón alleged that she was hired at 13 when she arrived on the island illegally from the Dominican Republic, and said Calderon and her daughters mistreated her.

The plaintiffs were seeking $2 million in damages.

Number Of Nursing Students Decline


February 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (AP) — The president of the College of Nursing Professionals, Delia Morales, said the number of young people studying the profession continues to decline.

Morales attributed this to poor working conditions and low salaries.

"The number of students in nursing has dropped, not for a lack of interest, but when the working conditions and the salaries go, they prefer to study other things," she said.

The spokesman for the nursing professionals said that when she graduated there were 120 nurses in the class, whereas today there are only between 25 and 28 nurses in each class — and in the best cases, 30.

Bomb In Iraq Kills Sergeant

Wire Services

February 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005
. All rights reserved. 

Carlos J. Gil was planning to leave the Army, his family said. It was difficult being away from his wife, and he missed watching his 4-year-old daughter grow up.

Gil, 30, an Army sergeant from Orlando on his third assignment to the war in Iraq, died Feb. 18, in Humaniyuh, Iraq from injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device detonation. Gil was assigned to the 377th Transportation Company, 181st Transportation Battalion, Mannheim, Germany,

according to the Department of Defense.

''He was very proud of being in the Army,'' Jose Gil, 27, brother of the fallen soldier, said in a phone interview. ``He was proud of being a strong family person.''

Born in Puerto Rico, Carlos lived with the family in New York before moving to Florida in his late teens.

His father, Edgar Gil, is a wounded Vietnam veteran who won a Purple Heart, Jose Gil said.

Carlos J. Gil, and his wife Farah and their daughter Jalissa, 4, lived in Germany, where he was assigned to the 377th Transportation Company, 181st Transportation Battalion.

He had been in Iraq since early January.

Fire Ravages Maricao Forest Reserve

February 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

MARICAO (AP) — Government rescue and environmental authorities on Sunday asked Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila to declare the Maricao Forest Reserve an emergency zone. A large portion of the forest has been devoured by a fire, which began Sunday morning.

As dozens of firefighters combat the blaze, the State Agency for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Department recommended that the governor issue an emergency order for the region.

The designated secretary of the Environmental and Natural Resources Department, Javier Velez Arocho, said the fire "has affected between 20 and 40 'cuerdas' of the forest."

"Although the source of the fire is not known, it has not been ruled out that it could have been caused by spontaneous combustion, due to the dryness of the place it was found," he said.

The Maricao Forest Reserve covers about one thousand acres of land.

Strong winds have made the fire difficult to control, said Elda Acosta, of the Maricao police.

Comptroller Seeks Budget Increase To Add Auditors

February 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (AP) — Commonwealth Comptroller Manuel Diaz Saldaña on Sunday said he had requested a budget increase of almost $8 million to hire 70 new auditors.

However, Diaz Saldaña, the object of a thorough review for his testimony in the Legislature about the Puerto Rico Industrial Incentives Fund (PRIIF), has not been given the budget that he has requested at other times in his past two terms.

"We have hope that the Legislative Assembly can give the support that the Comptrollers’ Office has asked for. We are also asking that within the capital improvement projects, they consider including the construction of a building for the headquarters of the Comptroller’s Office," Diaz Saldaña said in a radio interview.

The Comptroller explained that the current agency budget is $40.1 million, and he hopes that for the next fiscal year (2004-2005) it will be increased to $48.6 million.

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