Rossello Criticizes AAVs Tactics Sgt. Ramos Killed In Iraq Gov't Bonds Well Received Parga: Rossello Should Resign, Rivera Schatz Demands Parga Quit Almost 10K UPR Students To Graduate Island At Greater Hurricane Risk Mets KO Cotto-Beltran Photo Spanish Speakers Fast Tracked Anti-Smoking Bill Opposed Directorate Ratifies Caucus Decision, Fortuño Focused On Resolving Differences
Rossello Criticizes Governors Message
June 2, 2005
SAN JUAN (EFE) Former Gov. Pedro Rossello, who is also the New Progressive Party (NPP) senator for the Arecibo district, criticized Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vilas intention of signing orders to release funds for health, education, and public safety if the Legislative Assembly doesnt approve the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Rossello said Acevedo Vilas televised message on Wednesday was a strategy to continue blaming the Legislature for the crisis afflicting the island.
Rossello blamed Acevedo Vila and former Gov. Sila Calderon for the current situation of Puerto Rico and said the governors plan to use his powers to move forward without the Legislatures approval is wrong.
Acevedo Vila has already announced the creation of an Executive Committee that will act as a mediator between the executive and legislative branches to deal with the budget issue.
The committee will be comprised of former Housing Secretary Ileana Echegoyen, former House representative Presby Santiago Garcia, and CPA Rafael Martinez Margarida. The committee and the governor are expected to hold their first meeting at La Fortaleza Friday at 2:30 p.m.
During a televised message on Wednesday, Acevedo Vila said he would issue a series of executive orders for which the Legislative Assemblys intervention wouldnt be necessary.
Sgt. Miguel A. Ramos Kiilled In Iraq
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
June 2, 2005
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Miguel A. Ramos, 39, of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, died May 31 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an enemy rocket impacted near his position. Ramos was assigned to the Army Reserve's 807th Signal Company, 35th Signal Battalion, Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Market Still Confident In Local Bonds
June 2, 2005
SAN JUAN (EFE) Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Thursday said the buying frenzy that followed the $1.3 billion bond issue by the Government Development Bank Wednesday has proved the markets confidence in his administration.
However, Acevedo Vila acknowledged that the local government has few opportunities to make these kind of bond issues.
Thats why he urged the Legislature once more to pass the proposed budget for fiscal year 2005-06, to begin July 1.
"Let it be approved so that we wont have to make another one of these transactions next year," Acevedo Vila said following a meeting with cabinet members at La Fortaleza on Thursday.
The local government was able to issue the bonds despite the downgrades it received from Moodys Investors Service and Standard & Poors.
Approximately $600 million were issued in new AFI bonds for the Infrastructure Finance Authority and $700 million were used to refinance old bonds, which Government Development Bank President William Lockwood said saved them more than $40 million in interest.
Parga: Rossello Should Resign NPP
June 2, 2005
SAN JUAN (EFE) Senate Vice President Orlando Parga on Thursday asked that New Progressive Party (NPP) President Pedro Rossello resign from his post.
"The events the island has suffered at the hands of the president of my party in the past few months have driven me to the sad conclusion that Dr. Pedro Rossello has lost his ability to keep the unity of our party," Parga said.
He added that no leader, regardless of his charisma, should be above the partys ideals.
Parga has proposed the creation of a presidential board to assume the responsibilities and duties of the NPP presidency until the party can be reorganized and a new president and candidate for the 2008 gubernatorial run can be elected.
He declined to mention any prospects for the post. However, he said Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño is one of several promising new leaders who should participate in the proposed presidential board.
Thomas Rivera Schatz Demands That Parga Give Up His Seat
June 2, 2005
SAN JUAN (EFE) New Progressive Party (NPP) Secretary General Thomas Rivera Schatz on Thursday demanded that Senate Vice President Orlando Parga give up his seat.
Rivera Shatz said that if Parga refuses to abide by the decision of the NPP Delegates Assembly, then he should step down from his post as NPP senator.
The secretary general also reminded Parga that he was able to hold a seat at the Senate thanks to the support of the NPP and of NPP President Pedro Rossello.
Rivera Schatz accused Parga of joining forces with the Popular Democratic Party to oppose Rossellos bid for the Senate helm.
Rivera Schatzs statements followed Pargas request for the resignation of Rossello as party president on Thursday.
Parga belongs to a group of senators who have opposed the decision of the NPP caucus to let Rossello lead the Senate that Kenneth McClintock currently presides.
Almost 10,000 UPR Students To Graduate This Year
June 2, 2005
SAN JUAN (EFE) The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) system will grant 9,993 associates, bachelors, masters, and PhD degrees for the 2004-05 academic year.
More than 2,980 of these diplomas will be conferred to students of the Rio Piedras, Mayaguez, and Medical Sciences campuses.
Because the student strike to oppose the tuition hike altered the UPRs academic calendar, the Rio Piedras Campus wont be able to hold a graduation ceremony this year. Other campuses, however, wont have that problem.
According to a prepared statement, the graduation program for 2005 will begin Friday with the ceremonies of the Medical Science and Carolina campuses.
Hurricane Expert Warns Northern Caribbean Most At Risk In 2005
June 2, 2005
BBC Monitoring Americas
Text of report by Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) news agency on 2 June
Colorado: Noted hurricane forecaster Professor William Gray is urging the Caribbean to be on high alert over the next six months, as the 2005 hurricane season began on Wednesday [1 May].
Gray, who is based at the Colorado State University, warned that activity this year will be more intense than he first predicted.
He is forecasting 15 named storms, one of which may become a severe hurricane that could make landfall in the Eastern Caribbean.
"I think you got to keep an eye out because this year can bring some more damage to the Caribbean," Gray told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
He also cautioned that countries in the north are particularly at risk.
"You may just miss it to the south, but I would say that further north islands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba and all these will probably see some storms this year," he said.
The hurricane forecaster explained that the expected high level of activity is a result of more favourable conditions for storm development in the region.
"The Caribbean basin has been hit so much more in the last 10 years than it was in the seventies, eighties and early nineties there has been a big change and we used to talk about that, back in the eighties, we used to say the Caribbean didn't get much, there is nothing into the Caribbean, well that is because the global climate signals were not favourable.
"Now they're favourable so I think you got a keep an eye out, because this year could bring some more damage."
In an updated forecast Gray predicted 15 named storms with an average of 9.6 storms overall, four of which will be category three hurricanes or higher.
The hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November.
Mets KO Cotto-Beltran Photo
June 2, 2005
Puerto Rico boxing star Miguel Cotto had hoped to promote his debut at the Garden on June 11 by arranging a photo opportunity with Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran at an upcoming game. But that likely won't happen thanks to the feud between the Mets and Cablevision.
The Mets nixed the idea of arranging a batting practice photo session because the franchise is being sued by Cablevision, which owns MSG where Cotto will face Muhammad Abdullaev for the WBO junior welterweight championship (HBO Live, 10 p.m.).
"The general feeling is why should we go out of our way to promote something for this company that is suing us," a Mets source said referring to the Garden, which is being rented by Top Rank, Inc., for the event. "We're trying our best to be reasonable with the network and not let the litigation affect our current contract, but when it comes to non-network things that benefit the Garden we have a less cooperative point of view."
Beltran from Manati, Puerto Rico, called Cotto, who is from Carguas, "a good guy" and hopes to be at the fight. "I know him from home," Beltran said. "He's a good fighter and he has become one of the best fighters in his category."
With the likely retirement of Felix Trinidad, Cotto (23-0, 19 KOs) is positioned to be Puerto Rico's next boxing superstar.
"There are a lot of great boxers on the island right now," he said. "The ones that are going to decide who the star is are the people, the fans. If they decide that I am that guy that's going to be the next star of Puerto Rico than I'm humbled by it and I'll be proud."
Mark Hale contributed to this story.
Spanish Speakers On The Fast Track
Teaching Program Recruits, Trains Spanish Speakers From Abroad
June 2, 2005
A new battalion of future teachers has arrived in Dallas.
Some came from as far away as Puerto Rico and the southern Mexican state of Tabasco.
They're engineers, sociologists, former secretaries and businessmen.
On Tuesday, they began alternative certification courses for new Dallas ISD teachers. The summer courses will qualify them to be in front of a classroom by fall.
More than 300 professionals have been hired to teach a variety of subjects from mathematics to education for physically impaired youths and those with learning problems, but the emphasis is on bilingual education.
The district has recruited at least 25 future teachers from Mexico through the H-1B visa program and almost 200 other American citizens or legal permanent residents who have expressed interest in teaching bilingual classes, district officials said.
"If the district recruits [teachers] abroad it's because of their language expertise. Their Spanish is more fluid. It is important to have teachers who are proficient in the language and know the culture of the countries where some of our students come from," said DISD spokeswoman Sandra Guerrero.
The DISD alternative certification program is more than two decades old, and 6,000 teachers have graduated from it.
Although DISD's needs vary from year to year, the increased enrollment of non-English-speaking students means more bilingual teachers are needed.
The district recently welcomed its latest batch of future teachers in a reception at the Latino Cultural Center.
Leslie Berrios, an administrative assistant in Puerto Rico, is among the new arrivals.
"It'll be difficult, but I know I can make it," said Ms. Berrios, who will be a second-grade teacher at John Quincy Adams Elementary School.
For more information about the program, visit www.teachfor dallas.com.
Local Organizations Oppose Anti-Smoking Bill
June 1, 2005
SAN JUAN (EFE) The Puerto Rico Hotels & Tourism Association and Centro Unido de Detallistas on Wednesday opposed a bill that, if signed into law, would ban smoking in casinos, bars, liquor stores, convention centers, and hotels.
Clarisa Jimenez, who is the executive director of the Puerto Rico Hotels & Tourism Association, said the bill New Progressive Party Sen. Lornna Soto has pushed forward represents a tough blow to the tourism industry of the island.
Jimenez said the bill totally ignores the reality of tourism operations. She requested that hotels endorsed by the Tourism Co., as well as casinos be excluded from the bill.
Centro Unido de Detallistas President Enid Toro Baez added that she doesnt favor the bill because it would make delinquents out of smokers. She said the bill pretends to regulate an activity, which has already been widely regulated by current statutes under Law 40.
Toro Baez said additional government regulations would help drive local establishments out of business.
Directorate Ratifies Caucus Decision
June 1, 2005
SAN JUAN (EFE) The New Progressive Party (NPP) Directorate on Wednesday ratified the decision reached by the majority of NPP senators in a special caucus where party President Pedro Rossello was chosen as the new Senate head.
The directorate also ordered the NPP Senate delegation to file amendments to revert the changes that were made in the rules of the Senate last week to take away some of the majority leaders responsibilities.
During Wednesdays meeting that lasted several hours, the political leadership of the NPP unanimously approved eight resolutions containing the orders that are mentioned above.
San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, who is also the partys vice president, announced the directorates decisions instead of Rossello.
The directorate also ordered a caucus meeting for Thursday at 10 a.m. before the start of the Senates session.
"Those who cannot attend, are authorized to participate and vote by phone, fax or any other electronic mechanism," read Santini.
Fortuño Focused On Ironing Out Differences
By PRWOW News
June 1, 2005
Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño on Wednesday said he would continue to work in favor of ironing out differences resulting from the dispute over the Senate helm.
"No one at the NPP should feel proud of what happened yesterday. I trust in God that that wont happen again," said Fortuño upon his exit from the special directorate meeting on Wednesday.
Fortuño was referring to the incidents that took place during Tuesdays session, among senators who are for and against Sen. Pedro Rossellos efforts to wrest the Senate presidency away from Senate President Kenneth McClintock.
The directorate ratified the legitimacy of the special caucus in which the majority of NPP senators decided that Rossello should lead the Senate. The NPP caucus is expected to hold a meeting Thursday to discuss this point.
Fortuño said he is convinced that both sides of the conflict have the desire to work together.
"I will continue to seek that which I believe is best for the NPP," Fortuño stated.