AAV Implores Legislature To Be Clear In Status Bill... A Happy Place... Inter-Island Long Distance Charges End... MLB Players Born Outside U.S. Jumps… Prison Escapee Caught... Fading Band Of Brothers... 1st Hispanic Investment Conf… New Rules On Taxation Of U.S. Possessions... Cornell Renews Arecibo Observatory Contract... AAV Backs Baquero

Governor Implores Legislature To Be Clear In Status Bill

April 07, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – If the Legislature does not commit to complying with the dispositions in the status bill approved last week, Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila will veto the legislation, he warned.

Acevedo Vila said he would not be afraid to veto the bill if the Legislative Assembly does not commit to legislate the process to deal with the status problem.

"If it is clear that there is a commitment that the people can vote for the Status Assembly, I sign it. If this commitment is not clear, then don’t have the slightest doubt that … I will veto it," the governor said at a press conference.

Why Puerto Rico's A Happy Place

Irene Cruz

April 07, 2005
Copyright © 2005
SO FL SUN SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 


Re "Where's the happiest place on Earth? Puerto Rico, poll says" (March 28 posting): The changing ways of America seem to focus around the growth of the economy. Who has the best clothes, the newest shoes, the best car? People in America live on the social acceptance that they crave.

To be the richest country is the main goal of America, which we have achieved. So why keep racking up the money flow? Is this the way to be happy?

The answer is no. Growing up in a society should give children moral values and life lessons. Children here are spoiled and oblivious to the world around them, which is not exactly a picnic.

Growing up in Puerto Rico gives children values. Where their grandfathers are chicken farmers and show the children how hard it really is to earn a dollar, and feel good about it. Chores? Definitely.

My mother used to tell me about how she and her sister would split the chores in the house so that Grandma wouldn't have to do everything herself and Grandpa was out in the fields.

The fruits are so abundant that you could be without employment for a period of time, and still feed your family. If you are lucky, you will find a chicken that wanders into your front yard. The most important thing in Puerto Rico is to appreciate and accept all of your family members and their love for you.

Puerto Rico, with its festivals and enchanting music, makes its family happy every day.

PRT Eliminates Inter-Island Long-Distance Charges

April 07, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Puerto Rico Telephone on July 1 will eliminate long distance charges for calls made within the island. All calls to every city will be local.

This initiative is part of a plan PRT presented to the Communications Regulations Board to become more competitive in the market.

"We are eliminating long distance charges within the island in response to requests from our clients, the majority of whom are already using cellular phones for inter-island calls and don’t have long-distance charges," PRT corporate communications Vice President Ileana Molina said in media reports.

PRT will reduce the 10 inter-island call zones that were established in 2004, and convert Puerto Rico into one call zone, she said.

Players In Majors Born Outside U.S. Jumps

April 07, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

NEW YORK (AP) - Players in the major leagues born outside the United States reached a record 29.2 percent on opening day, a slight increase following a decrease last year.

There were 91 players from the Dominican Republic, 46 from Venezuela and 34 from Puerto Rico, the commissioner's office said Thursday. Mexico was next with 18, followed by Canada (15), Japan (12), Cuba and Panama (six each), South Korea (five), Australia and Colombia (two each) and Aruba, Curacao, Nicaragua, Taiwan and U.S. Virgin Islands (one each).

The percentage had dropped from 27.8 in 2003 to 27.3 last year following six straight seasons of increases.

Washington, with 16, had the most players on the list, followed by Baltimore, Los Angeles and the New York Mets with 13 each.

Man Who Escaped Puerto Rico Prison Caught


April 07, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) -- A convict who dug his way out of a Puerto Rican prison in 1994 was captured Wednesday in Waterbury, where he had been living under an assumed name, police said.

Jose Rivera Sanchez was serving a 37-year sentence for attempted murder, robbery and assault when he and nine other men escaped from the maximum-security unit at Bayamon Regional Jail in Bayamon.

Authorities said the inmates used spoons and their hands to dig a 100-foot tunnel, which they reinforced with wood from their beds so it wouldn't collapse. They hid the dirt in their pants and sneaked it into the prison courtyard.

Authorities were not sure how long it took the prisoners to dig the tunnel. Eight were quickly captured; Sanchez and inmate Melvin Melendez Melendez disappeared. Melendez has not been found.

Sanchez had been living in Waterbury since at least 1998, when he was arrested on a drug charge, according to Sgt. Christopher Corbett. He had a valid driver's license under the name Jose Melendez.

Sanchez was arrested again on drug charges in 2001 and police submitted his fingerprints to the FBI. A few weeks ago, Rafael Escobar, a deputy U.S. marshal in Puerto Rico, realized no one there had given Sanchez's fingerprints to the FBI.

After Escobar submitted the fingerprints, analysts made the match. U.S. marshals and city detectives arrested Sanchez at his apartment early Wednesday.

``He's been on the run since 1994,'' Escobar told the Republican-American of Waterbury for Thursday's editions. ``I'm sure he thought that he would never be caught again.''

He was to appear in court Thursday.

A Fading Band Of Brothers

Eighty-eight years ago, U.S. forces entered World War I. Today, as their surviving ranks diminish, the need to honor their service grows.

By Carl Schoettler | Sun Staff

April 6, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Baltimore Sun. All rights reserved. 

They're the last of the last, the dwindling band of living veterans of World War I, the Great War, as it was called, the war to end all wars.

It didn't, of course, and today, on the 88th anniversary of the day that the United States entered the war, its veterans are mostly forgotten even as newer veterans, from the current conflict in Iraq, come home. The best estimate is that perhaps 30 World War I veterans are alive in the United States, and that there are 150 survivors worldwide - a thin company left from the 65 million called up to fight the war.

They're all very old now, even those who were very young when they went off to fight.

As they age, their stories from this horrific war threaten to fade with them. Those who survive get relatively little attention. In Washington, D.C., for example, where the new World War II monument on the Mall joined existing memorials for Vietnam and Korea, there is no similar commemoration of World War I.

"When they're gone, their history is gone," says Sandy Pruett, who teaches oral history at York College of Pennsylvania.

Indeed, the oldest veteran is also the oldest man in the world, as certified by Guinness World Records: Emiliano Mercado Del Toro of Puerto Rico, who is 113 years old. He was drafted in late 1918. Two months later the war ended and he was sent home, never having left Puerto Rico.

Few of the countries that fought the war have considered how they will commemorate the last of their World War I combatants.

The United States enlisted 4,743,826 for the armed forces during the war; 116,608 died.

As long as these men live, the First World War hasn't quite passed into ancient history.

First Hispanic Investment Conference to Be Co-Sponsored by Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Chadbourne & Parke, Zemi Communications and AMLA Consulting

April 6, 2005
Copyright © 2005
PR Newswire Association LLC. All rights reserved. 

NEW YORK, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The first conference to look at investment opportunities in the U.S. Hispanic market will be held on Tuesday, April 12, in New York City. "The U.S. Hispanic Market Opportunity: Reality or Fiction?" will be co-sponsored and moderated by investment bank Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., the law firm of Chadbourne & Parke LLP, Zemi Communications and AMLA Consulting.

SEC Commissioner Roel Campos will be the keynote speaker. Other featured speakers will include Jeffrey Hinson, CFO, Univision Communications, Inc.; Richard Barrios, SVP and Corporate Treasurer, Banco Popular; Victor L. Maruri, co-founder and principal, Hispania Capital Partners; Aida Levitan, U.S. Hispanic market consultant, and Juan Solana, Chief Economist, Hispanic Business, Inc.

"The U.S. Hispanic Market Opportunity: Reality or Fiction?" will be held at the offices of Chadbourne & Parke, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York.

The conference will examine the overall financial performance of the U.S. Hispanic sector, as well as individual high growth sectors and opportunities for institutional and private investors. In addition, experts will share their know-how on raising capital and business expansion for Hispanic company CEOs. Leading Hispanic companies will be available for one-on-one meetings, including MasTec, Inc. (MTZ), Popular Inc. (BPOP), United Panam Financial Corp. (UPFC) and Eurobank (EUBK).

For a conference agenda, please log on to http://www.ramirezco.com/ or http://www.zemi.com/ . For registration information, contact Iris Acevedo at Chadbourne & Parke, iacevedo@chadbourne.com.

Treasury Issues New Rules On Taxation of US Possessions

By Rob Wells, Dow Jones Newswires

April 6, 2005
Copyright © 2005
Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The Treasury Department released new rules Wednesday aimed at preventing people who aren't residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico from qualifying for a certain type of tax relief.

A major corporate tax bill approved last year, the "American Jobs Creation Act," revised the tax laws and the residency requirements for the U.S. possessions, such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, or Puerto Rico.

The Treasury and Internal Revenue Service released temporary and proposed regulations aimed at implementing the restrictions from the 2004 tax law. These provisions are designed to prevent U.S. residents from "inappropriately" reducing their combined taxes from the U.S. and the U.S. possessions, Treasury said in a press release.

The new regulations determine whether an individual is a "bona fide resident" of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The rules also spell out whether income is derived from sources within these U.S. possessions, and whether income is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within a U.S. possession.

Cornell University Renews Contract On Arecibo Observatory

April 6, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

ITHACA, New York (AP) – The National Science Foundation renewed Cornell University’s contract to operate the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, university officials said.

The $70 million contract with the Cornell National Astronomy Center extends until March 31, 2010. The center has managed the Observatory for 34 years. The Observatory is the home to the largest and most sensitive radio/radar telescope in the world.

The Cornell contract was approved March 30 by the National Science Board, after a 15-month competition between Cornell and the Universities Space Research Association, created by the National Academy of Science in 1969 and largely funded by NASA.

Governor Pledges Support For Baquero

April 6, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila said Wednesday that he will not allow the Education Department to be politicized, and he gave his support to designated agency secretary, Gloria Baquero.

Several senators from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) have recently said they would be inclined to vote against her nomination.

"If there are politicians from the two parties who think that I am going to tolerate the education system being divided by partisan political judgments, they are mistaken," he said at a press conference.

"Dr. Baquero has my complete support, and I have not heard a single valid reason about her philosophical views, her capacity as an educator, her commitment to education, for anyone to say these things against her," he added.

He said he named Baquero to lead the Education Department "with total knowledge and conscience" that she was not from the PDP and had never been a political activist.

The governor made his statements a day after Senate President Kenneth McClintock announced that Baquero does not have enough support in the Senate to be confirmed.

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