Baseball’s "World Cup" On Tap For '06… AAV To Address Credit Agencies… Pont To Abstain From Duties… Burgos Won’t Attend NPP Assembly… FBI Clueless About Loomis Fargo Caper… Municipal Deficits Decline… Ruiz Reclaims Title… Tropical Life…U.S. Gov’t Skims Money… Rivera Wins 2nd Term… Retirement Incentives, 4-Day Workweek Proposed… Supreme Court Denies PDP Pont Petition

Baseball’s "World Cup" On Tap For '06


May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005 MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved. 

Baseball's first ''World Cup,'' in which the best players in the world compete while representing their native countries, will make its long-awaited debut in March, baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, executive director of the players association, said Wednesday night.

But even before the announcement was official, a number of Marlins were lining up to participate.

''It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If I have the opportunity, I'll go,'' said Carlos Delgado, who would likely combine with teammate Mike Lowell to make up half of Puerto Rico's starting infield.

Lowell, whose father, Carl, fled post-revolutionary Cuba and became a star pitcher for the Puerto Rican national team, said he would like the chance to follow in his father's footsteps.

''It would be pretty cool to have a duo with my dad, father and son representing Puerto Rico,'' he said. ``I would love to be there.''

Although details won't be announced until July, the 16-team tournament, to be called the World Baseball Classic, is expected to be played during a three-week period in March and will be the first full-scale event involving major-league players representing their home countries.

According to Baseball America, organizers are in the process of issuing formal invitations to 16 nations, with the only question mark being Cuba, whose participation must be cleared by the U.S. State Department and then subject to approval by Cuban President Fidel Castro.

In addition to the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Cuba, other nations from the Americas expected to be invited include Venezuela, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic. The teams will start play in four four-team pools, playing round-robins in Japan, Puerto Rico and at spring training sites in Florida and Arizona. Subsequent rounds probably will be played at major-league parks.

Team rosters will be chosen according to Olympic eligibility guidelines and, according to a union official contacted by Baseball America, major-league clubs will not be able to block their players from participating.

Major Leaguers Expected To Play In World Tournament

May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005 REUTERS. All rights reserved. 

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - The World Baseball Classic, a World Cup-type tournament expected to feature major-league players, will be held next year, baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced.

The 16-team tournament, to be held during March 2006, is expected to feature teams from the United States, Cuba, Japan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia.

The final games would be played in major-league stadiums in the United States.

It would be the first full-scale event involving major-league players representing their home countries, organizers said. The Olympics and other world tournaments have generally involved amateur or minor-league players.

``Our goal is to grow the game globally. I have very strong feelings on that subject,'' Selig told a news conference at Major League Baseball's quarterly meetings.

``This is something we've talked about for a long time. The time really is now. This is the centerpiece of that.''

Teams except Cuba would be able to use their countries' major-league players in the tournament, reported. The Cubans would bring members of their national team.

Major-league players' participation would be voluntary, but the event has the backing of both MLB and the MLB Players Association.

The tournament would be held again in 2009 if all goes well, and then every four years. More details will be announced the day before the July 12 All-Star Game.

Baseball America magazine said the teams would start play in four four-team pools that would play round-robin series in different countries.

Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China would play from March 3 to 5, probably at Japan's Tokyo Dome, the magazine said.

The three other pools would play from March 8 to 11.

Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama and probably Italy would play in Puerto Rico. The other two pools would play at Spring training sites in either Arizona or Florida.

The United States, Canada, Mexico and maybe South Africa would comprise one pool and the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Australia and the Netherlands the other, Baseball America said.

The top two teams in each pool would advance to the second round at major-league stadiums in the U.S. from March 13 to 15.

The four second-round winners would advance to a single-game semi-final on March 18 at a major-league stadium. The winners would meet on March 20 at a major-league stadium for the championship.

Governor To Give Speech To Credit Agencies In NYC

May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

San Juan (EFE) — Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá tomorrow (Friday) delivers in New York City a speech about Puerto Rico’s fiscal situation and the decisions he has taken to stabilize finances and reduce the size of the government to make it more efficient.

Acevedo Vilá will speak to a group of nearly 200 New York financial analysts, who accredit Puerto Rico’s government bonds and are evaluating the island’s economic status, because they are about to issue a new classification, said a press release from La Fortaleza.

The governor will offer a breakdown of the priorities his administration has identified and the strategies planned to give new force to the Puerto Rican economy, regardless of the difficult fiscal situation the public finances are facing.

Alter the speech, Avecedo Vilá and Police Superintendent Pedro Toledo will meet with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Police Commissioner Ray Nelly to coordinate the establishment of new security alliances and cooperation agreements.

Pont To Abstain From Duties

May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

Pont To Abstain From Her Duties As Secretary Of State


SAN JUAN (EFE) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila announced Thursday that the designated Secretary of State, Marisara Pont Marchese, would abstain from her duties until the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decides whether to certify her as the new agency chief.

"The Secretary of State was confirmed (by the House). There is no doubt about that. The issue is in the hands of the Supreme Court, which has decided to remain silent for now," Acevedo Vila said.

The governor added that it was Pont’s decision to abstain from her duties.

Acevedo Vila also said that for the time being, Pont would be replaced by an interim Secretary of State. During that period, Pont will not receive any pay for her duties.

For now, the Supreme Court has denied a second petition from the plaintiffs in the case regarding Pont’s confirmation. The plaintiffs had urged the court to shorten the 7-day period to turn in the transcripts and recordings of the House session in which Pont failed to be confirmed by an absolute majority.

Plaintiffs Acevedo Vila, Pont, and Popular Democratic Party House minority leader Hector Ferrer asked the court to shorten the deadline to three days, but the motion was denied.

Norma Burgos Won’t Attend NPP Assembly

May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

San Juan (EFE).- New Progressive Party (NPP) Senator Norma Burgos won’t attend her parties extraordinary assembly next Sunday, May 15.

Burgos explained in a press release that her decision responds that her "presence in the act might be interpret as an element of pressure in favor or against the proposals in the Assembly".

"In that meeting, directed by Pedro Rosselló, Kenneth McClinotck was elected president of the Senate. After, in the inaugural session on January 10, 2005, I again rejected the caucus process because I understood that it was done an inappropriate and hurried way", she added.

The Senator exhorted the NPP leadership to act with a lot of responsibility and prudence.

FBI: Clueless About Loomis Fargo Assault

May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

San Juan (EFE).- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said today is clueless about who is responsible for the assault last Friday on a Loomis Fargo truck, in Carolina.

Agent Louis Feliciano, FBI’s press officer, told EFE "there is nothing new" related to the investigation.

The federal agency is offering a $50,000 reward for any information that could help the arrest of the two masked men who escaped with the money.

The FBI said, that those with any piece of information can call, under strict confidentiality, the following number 787-754-6000.

Two masked men with guns assaulted last Friday, May 6, at 9:45 a.m. a Loomis Fargo truck in Carolina, and escaped with $1,200,000.

According to authorities, one of the robbers intercepted the security guard Angel Vicente Matos, when he was returning to the vehicle after delivering a suitcase with money at "Kentucky Fried Chicken", located in neighborhood in Los Angeles in Carolina.

Matos said that an armed masked man with a bullet proof vest took his gun, threaten him and order him to ay in the floor, immediately after the other delinquent came near him and pointed him with a gun.

Meanwhile, his partner entered the truck for which he extracted 19 suitcases with money and put them in the interior of car, Toyota.

Loomis Fargo truck driver Oscar Negrón Colón was also threaten when he tried to open the door of the truck to help his companion.

After not harming the men, both thieves escaped in a Toyota, which was latter abandoned near the Cooperativa Torres de Carolina Condominium, near the scene.

Agents from the Police’s Division of Bank Robbery are investigating the case.

Municipal Deficits Decline During FY-2004

May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The Municipal Affairs Commissioner’s Office (OCAM by its Spanish acronym) has announced that only 24 island municipalities closed fiscal year 2003-04 with a deficit–six less than in fiscal year 2002-03.

The data was disclosed at a Senate Municipal & Financial Affairs and Government & Labor Affairs joint committee hearing on Wednesday as part of an investigation regarding the financial status of the island’s municipal administrations.

The legislators are trying to identify which municipal governments have financial crisis and what are the causes of their precarious economic situation.

At the hearing, OCAM representatives Suzette Suarez and Adolfo Campos said 52 of the island’s 78 municipalities closed FY-2004 with a surplus.

They also said that while 24 municipalities had closed with a deficit, nine were able to reduce their debt.

Ruiz Reclaims Title

From Wire Services

May 12, 2005
Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. 

NEW YORK -- The New York State Athletic Commission on Wednesday suspended James Toney and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine for testing positive for banned substances after an April 30 heavyweight bout with John Ruiz, likely meaning Ruiz will get his piece of the world title back.

Assuming the World Boxing Association follows its regulations and reinstates Ruiz, he will have gone from a retired former champion to the WBA title holder in a matter of only a few days.

The commission changed Toney's victory to a no contest after his postfight urine test came back positive for nandrolone. The commission suspended Toney for 90 days and issued the fine.

The real damage for Toney, though, will come from losing the heavyweight title he won for the first time in a unanimous decision against Ruiz.

''I'll go to all ends of the earth to make sure Johnny gets the belt back,'' Ruiz's manager, Norman Stone, said.

Nunez Leaves City Behind To Live The Tropical Pace Of Life

May 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005 HARTFORD COURANT. All rights reserved. 

It was on a whim that Paul Nunez, Democratic town committee member and talk radio host, bought a one-way ticket to Puerto Rico last February.

He didn't tell many people he was going south, in part because he didn't know when he would be back.

He kept his seat on the city's 3rd District town committee and his highly coveted post on the state central committee while he pondered his future, trying out what he called a low-stress lifestyle, in his hometown of Guaynabo, where his 85-year-old father still lives.

"I'm taking a Spanish course to entertain myself and relaxing and doing some farming," Nunez said.

On Monday, Nunez decided he was staying for good, renouncing his Hartford residency and resigning from the city's town committee.

"I'm here permanently," he said. "I've decided to stay here to live the tropical pace of life, which is a lot slower than Connecticut."

He still holds his seat on the state central committee.

Shocker: Government Skims Money

May, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Forbes Inc. All rights reserved. 

Volume 175 Issue 11

The Court of Federal Claims is poised to rule on the merits of a four-year-old lawsuit by Puerto Rico plumber-turned-inventor Miguel Figueroa challenging Congress' right to grab 10% of patent application fees to help balance the federal budget. He alleges the diversion over 14 years of $750 million violates a provision in the U.S. Constitution authorizing Congress to set up a patent system "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts" because it leaves insufficient funds to efficiently process patent applications, lengthening the approval time. In 2003 a judge rejected the federal government's argument that the clause didn't limit Congress' spending power. Figueroa's patent for a copper-pipe soldering tool was issued in 2002 after a two-year wait and $1,000 in fees. --Tomas Kellner and W.P.B.

Rivera, Passaic Mayor, Wins 2nd Term


May 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. 

The Record

PASSAIC - Samuel Rivera, who took office as the city's and county's first Hispanic mayor four years ago amid controversy, was given a second term by voters in Tuesday's non-partisan election.

Rivera won by a landslide against his two opponents.

"The voters liked what I did in four years and I will work harder and more diligently for them," Rivera, 58, said from his Aycrigg Avenue home after getting the election results. "The first four years was only the beginning."

He promised to expand on his quality of life agenda and keep City Hall running efficiently.

Candidates and poll challengers said voting controversies that have plagued previous Passaic elections did not occur Tuesday.

In 1998, allegations were made by Hispanic politicians that their supporters were unfairly turned away when voting because they did not speak English. The following year, the city, county and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to allow federal observers to watch over elections.

Passaic residents have historically voted along ethnic lines. With all of the incumbents winning reelection, the city's seven- member City Council will still be made up of three Hispanics, three Orthodox Jews and one black.

Running on a couple hours of sleep and a steak lunch, Rivera spent part of his day at his campaign headquarters on Main Avenue.

Four years ago, he was swept into office with 3,599 votes, defeating his closest competitor by more than 1,000.

But he almost didn't get into City Hall after the state Attorney General's Office tried to bar him, citing a state law that disqualifies some felons from holding an elected position. In 1986, Rivera - then a police officer in his native Puerto Rico - was convicted of helping to cover up a fatal shooting by his partner. The state's challenge did not stand.

On Tuesday, Rivera's supporters circulated through the streets in cars plastered with orange signs proclaiming his slogan: "He Cares!"

Government Proposes Retirement Incentives, Four-Day Workweek

May 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

San Juan (EFE) — Office of Management & Budget Director Ileana Fas Pachceco informed that the governor submitted to the Legislative Assembly two measures to reduce public spending.

The first proposal encourages retirement by offering a $2,000 incentive to public employees who comply with all pension requirements based on age and years of service and wish to retire.

The second measure proposes a reduction of the regular workweek for public employees from five to four days, which would be implemented through a signed statement with the workers or a collective bargaining agreement with the respective worker representatives where there are labor organizations.

Governor Has No Comment On Supreme Court’s Decision

May 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Wednesday said that for now he wouldn’t comment on the Puerto Rico Supreme Court’s decision to deny one of the Popular Democratic Party’s (PDP) petitions to certify Marisara Pont as Secretary of State.

"He has no comment," said La Fortaleza Press Secretary Juanita Colombani.

The Supreme Court denied the PDP’s petition not to summon House Secretary Jose Enrique Melendez, in an effort to speed up the case that the government had filed against him regarding Pont’s appointment.

The government took legal action against Melendez to certify Pont, despite the fact that she had failed to be confirmed by an absolute majority at the House of Representatives on Monday night.

The Supreme Court ordered Acevedo Vila, Pont, and PDP House minority leader Hector Ferrer–plaintiffs in the case–to subpoena Melendez with a copy of the legal petitions that they had filed.

The court also gave Melendez seven days to contest and to hand in a copy of the transcripts and recordings of Monday night’s House session.

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