Rossello Wants To Resolve Senate Presidency… AAV Won't Intervene In UPR Conflict… Death Penalty Decision A Secret… Camuy Factory Will Create 500 Jobs… Former Miss P.R. Gets Probation… SEC Probes Doral…Another Soldier Falls In Iraq… Cultural Policy Board Created… UPR Humacao Students Join Strike

Rossello Wants To Resolve Senate Presidency Issue

April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

CANOVANAS (EFE) — Sen. Pedro Rossello said Thursday that he was finished conceding time to Kenneth McClintock in the Senate, and it is the time to resolve the issue of the Senate presidency.

Rossello, who hopes to unseat McClintock from the Senate president post, said enough time has passed and that all the world has argued about it.

"I can not allow this to persist. In an effort to resolve this issue, I wait for a statement from the New Progressive people (of the NPP) across every format - in marches, resolutions or a delegate assembly, where the will of the New Progressive people will be established," he said.

The former governor made his statements after inaugurating a bridge in Canovanas, with that city's mayor, José "Chemo" Soto.

Rossello said there is unified leadership of the New Progressive Party, with the discipline to do the work they have to do, which he said is not currently happening.

Governor Says He Won't Intervene In UPR Conflict

April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vila on Thursday insisted that the conflict at the University of Puerto Rico, where students are on strike over a tuition increase, must be solved without his intervention.

Acevedo Vila reiterated that he already has worked to get some $100 million added to the university’s budget.

"If it is not approved or the budget is cut (the university) will be worse off still," he said.

Students at the Rio Piedras campus began the strike 15 days ago to protest a 33 percent tuition hike.

"I ask the students to find a university solution," he insisted, and said the "autonomous university is here precisely so that these decisions are not made by politicians."

"I am an alumni and I know that this is an autonomous university … the responsibility of (the governor) is to appoint and recognize the autonomy of the university," Acevedo Vila said.

Death Penalty Decision Kept A Secret For Now

Jury Issues Verdict For Catalan Roman, But Decision Remains Secret

April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — After eight and a half hours of deliberation, the jury in the death penalty trial arrived at a verdict in the sentencing phase of the trial for Lorenzo Catalan Roman. The sentence could be the death penalty or life in prison.

Nevertheless, the decision whether Catalan Roman will be sentenced to death or remain in jail is secret, by the order of Judge Juan Perez Jimenez, until it is decided what sentence the other defendant in the case, Hernando Medina Villegas, will face.

Neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorneys know the jury’s decision, which was issued Thursday at 4 p.m.

New Factory In Camuy Will Create 500 Jobs

April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Cazador Apparel is establishing a site in Camuy, with a private investment of $3.5 million and a combination of government incentives of $1.5 million, which will create 500 new jobs.

This was announced Thursday by Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila, during a press conference in which he said the establishment of this new industry is part of efforts by the governments to strengthen business on the island.

The new manufacturer makes military clothing and textiles, under contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Acevedo Vila said that due to the flight of businesses to the Dominican Republic or Asian countries where manual labor is cheaper, the government will try to stay competitive by attracting contracts from the federal government, "which is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world."

Former Miss Puerto Rico Sentenced To Probation For Shoplifting

April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A former Miss Puerto Rico was sentenced to a year of probation Thursday for shoplifting clothes from a store at Universal's Islands of Adventure last summer.

Brenda Robles, 29, also will serve 75 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine plus court costs, said her attorney, Tony DePrim.

Circuit Judge Thomas B. Smith withheld a formal finding of guilt on the charge of grand theft in the third degree.

Robles, the titleholder in 1994, currently lives in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Robles and a friend were arrested July 27 after a loss prevention officer saw the two removing items from their hangars and concealing them within a stroller.

The other defendant, Lorelei Rodriguez, 30, pleaded no contest in April, and was fined $2,375.

Mortgage Lender Probed


April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved. 

Doral Financial Corp., Puerto Rico's largest mortgage lender, said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an informal investigation related to the company's planned restatement of results.

Doral said Tuesday that it would restate earnings as far back as 2000 and delay reporting first-quarter earnings. The San Juan, Puerto Rico-based company said Wednesday in a statement it is cooperating with the SEC.

Doral, owner of Doral Bank and Doral Securities in Puerto Rico and Doral Insurance Agency and Doral Bank FSB in New York, has seen its stock plunge 60 percent since March 14. Several analysts have downgraded their ratings on the stock in the past month over questions about the company's method of calculating profit from mortgage loan sales.

The company also said today that dividends for the quarter will be unchanged at 18 cents a share and will be paid on June 3 to shareholders of record on May 16. Doral last raised its dividend in last year's third quarter by 20 percent to 18 cents.

Doral shares fell 41 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $15.74 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the seventh decline in as many days. The shares have fallen 68 percent this year.

Doral was downgraded to ''hold'' from ''buy'' Wednesday by analyst Neil A. Abromavage at Deutsche Bank. In March, Hibernia Southcoast and Wachovia analysts reduced their ratings.

Soldier From Nashua Killed In Iraq

April 20, 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - The last call from Sgt. Angelo Lozada Jr. was a happy one: He was headed home in two weeks.

But this weekend, his family learned that Lozada, 36, was one of three soldiers killed in combat in Ramadi, Iraq.

Lozada was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Hovey, Korea. Also killed Saturday were Army Spc. Randy L. Stevens, 21, Swartz Creek, Mich.; and Army Sgt. Tromaine K. Toy Sr., 24, Eastville, Va.

"I miss him already," said Angelo's son, Michael, one of his three children. "I would give anything to be able to talk to my dad again."

The last call came last Wednesday. "He told us he was coming home in two weeks. He wanted us to drive down and pick him up," his sister Angela said, standing outside her parents' Nashua home Tuesday.

Lozada and his two brothers, Louis and Antonio, joined the reserves after graduating from Easton District High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., but Angelo was the only one to stay. He lived in Nashua after coming out of the reserves and before re-enlisting. He went to Iraq in 2003.

Antonio Lozada said one of the reasons his brother loved the reserves was traveling the world.

"He wanted to travel and he got to. He was gung ho all the way," Antonio said.

Angelo also worked with handicapped people and worked for Angela for a while.

On Tuesday, yellow ribbons and bouquets of flowers adorned the porch of the apartment building where he lived.

Family was very important to him, his sister said. His son, Michael, said his father often brought him to the movies and had coached his baseball team when he was little. Two months ago, Angelo became a grandfather.

"He did right for everybody. We were always worried about him, but he was always worried about us," Angela said.

Angelo's brother, Louis, said family and friends from California, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania and New York are on their way to New Hampshire for the funeral.

Governor Signs Order To Create Cultural Policy Board

April 20, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Wednesday signed an executive order to create the Puerto Rico Cultural Policy Board, La Fortaleza announced Wednesday.

The board’s objective is to establish a cultural policy that reflects an articulated mission, concrete goals and specific strategies to restructure the cultural agencies, and a report with recommendations should be submitted within 60 days.

According to a press statement from La Fortaleza, the executive order, which was signed Friday and goes into effect Wednesday, establishes that the board will have to make recommendations about the principles that will drive governmental actions on culture.

Among its objectives will be: to cultivate the cultural identity of Puerto Rico, promote the social and economic value of cultural work, and strengthen and protect a free-thinking environment for intellectual and artistic creativity.

UPR Humacao Students Join Strike

April 20, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The students of the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao on Wednesday joined the strike declared 13 days ago by students at the Rio Piedras campus.

Karina Olivieri and Aixa Tolentino, spokeswomen for the General Student Council at UPR in Humacao, said the strike will continue until a prudent and productive dialogue between UPR President Antonio Garci Padilla and student representatives begins.

They said the strike is part of the fight against the tuition hike put in place by Garcia Padilla for the next academic year.

"It was decided to activate our strike vote due to the unyielding attitude of the president (of UPR) in negotiations with the students," said Olivieri and Tolentino in written statements.

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