PIP Could Still Lose Electoral Franchise McClintock: Senate Moving Ahead On Cabinet Nominees PRT Customers Face Higher Bills MBA Income Drops 12% AAV Wishes Pope Well Navy Will Run RR Auction Soldier Dies In Iraq New Industrial Park Will Create 4,600 Jobs
PIP Could Still Lose Electoral FranchiseMarch 24, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.
SAN JUAN (AP) The Puerto Rican Independence Party could still lose its electoral franchise, after the Appeals Court overruled a petition by the party to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by the Civil Action Party.
According to media reports, the appellate court gave the PIP until Wednesday to present legal arguments against declaring null and void the 100,000 signatures collected between November and December to reinscribe the party.
The PIP lost its electoral franchise after its candidate for governor, Ruben Berrios, received less than 3 percent of the votes in the Nov. 2 elections.
The CAP in court questioned whether electoral law says that in an election year a political party can not be inscribed from June 1 to December 31, an action allowed by the State Elections Commission.
McClintock Says Senate Moving Forward With Cabinet Nominees
March 24, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Senate President Kenneth McClintock said that well before June 30, when the current legislative session ends, the Senate will have completed the evaluation of the Cabinet nominees of Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.
The senator said this in reaction to statements from several Popular Democratic leaders who have criticized the long confirmation process.
"We have already moved forward with the nominees who submitted their paperwork by Feb. 28, in March and April we will do the evaluations," McClintock said in media reports.
He said that next week the Senate will confirm designated Treasury Secretary Juan Carlos Mendez, and later the designated Secretary of State, Marisara Pont.
FCC Increases Charges, So PRT Customers Will See Higher Bills
March 24, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Starting April 1, clients of Puerto Rico Telephone and Verizon Wireless will see an increase on their bills, due to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) increasing the percent charge for the Universal Service Fund.
Irmarie Cervera, spokeswoman for the telephone companies, said Thursday that the FCC increased the charge from 10.7 percent to 11.1 percent.
To know how much each residential client will have to pay, multiply the amount billed for interstate and international calls by nine percent, she said.
"For PRT residential clients, the charge reflected on the bill is related to the multiplication of the new factor of 11.1 percent for the billing associated with interstate and international services, as well as the portion of DSL included in the DMAX service. The charge is identified on the bill as FCC Access Line Tax," Cervera said.
Metro Bus Authority Income Drops 12%
March 24, 2005
PONCE (AP) The income of the Metropolitan Autobus Authority fell by 12 percent during 2004, Transportation and Public Works Secretary Gabriel Alcaraz said on Thursday.
Alcaraz, whose agency oversees the MAA, said the situation merits an evaluation of possible rate hikes.
"The president of the MAA (Adaline Torres) presented alternatives to us. The MAA had a drop of 12 percent in income in the past year and they are looking for alternatives to be self-sufficient and operate in the black," he said.
MAA users currently pay 25 cents a ride, while it costs the company $1.40 for each one, he said.
Nearly 30 million passengers use the public transportation system each year, he said.
Alcaraz said the sharp drop in income, of between $12 million and $14 million, is due to the tax on diesel fuel.
Governor Meets With Vatican Official To Wish Pope A Swift Recovery
March 23, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila met privately Wednesday with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to express the "wish of Puerto Ricans" for Pope John Paul II to recover soon, La Fortaleza said.
In a private audience during Holy Week at the Vatican, Acevedo Vila discussed with Sodano issues of state character and personal issues that were not specified.
"We want to express to Cardinal Sodano that the Puerto Rican people, with great Christian fervor, have united in prayer for the swift recovery of Pope John Paul II," the governor said in a statement.
The pope, who on Feb. 24 had a tracheotomy to alleviate a respiratory crisis, appeared briefly Wednesday at his open window to silently bless the many people congregated below in Saint Peters Square.
U.S. Navy Will Be In Charge Of Roosevelt Roads Auction
March 23, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) The U.S. Navy will be in charge of the process of auctioning areas for housing and business on the lands of the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba, said designated secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, Jorge Silva.
Silva said however, that a board with himself, members of the Ceiba and Naguabo communities, the private sector and presidents of the Legislative Assembly will negotiate the content of the auctions.
The remaining land will be transferred to the Puerto Rico government.
"The detail of how the plan is going to be executed is going to be led by Puerto Ricans, by members of the community The Navy auctions, but the board negotiates the contents of the auction," Silva said in media reports.
Puerto Rican Soldier Dies In Iraq
March 23, 2005
SAN JUAN (AP) Soldier Francisco Gregorio Martinez, 20, became the most recent Puerto Rican victim of the war in Iraq, when he died Monday after the convoy he was riding in was attacked.
The young soldier was injured in the attack and died hours later, despite attempts to save his life.
"How many young people have to die for Mr. (George W.) Bush to see that the war in Iraq has to end?" said Carmen Hernandez, mother of the dead soldier.
Hernandez, 41, said during the attack four soldiers died and 14 were injured.
In his 20 years, Martinez lived for 17 years in Puerto Rico, together with his mother and brother, eight. Hernandez said that three years ago, after finishing eleventh grade at Colegio Bautista in Carolina, he went to live with his father Francisco Martinez, who is also a soldier, in Texas.
There, he finished school at Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth.
Hernandez said she still does not know when her sons body will arrive and if he will be buried in Puerto Rico or Texas.
At least 25 Puerto Rican soldiers, or soldiers of Puerto Rican heritage, have died in the war in Iraq.
New Industrial Park Will Create Total Of 4,600 Jobs
By JOSÉ FERNÁNDEZ COLÓN
March 23, 2005
PONCE (AP) The construction of a new industrial park in Guayama will create some 4,600 jobs, said the executive director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (PRIDCO), Marie Robert.
Robert said there currently are three medical equipment firms, which she declined to identify, interested in locating in the new project in the Jobos area.
She said the companies already are established on the island and are interested in expanding operations.
"Several companies have approached us with interest in locating in the park. We estimate that when the park is completely developed it could generate 1,300 direct jobs, 1,500 indirect and around 1,800 related jobs," she said in an interview.
Robert said the Highway Authority, the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and Puerto Rico Telephone are providing the necessary infrastructure so companies can establish themselves in Jobos.