Rossello: McClintock No Longer Senate Pres… 3.5 Million Have Used UT… Cidra Consent Decree OKd… Anti-Military Group Enters Old Vieques Range… Tiody Outraged… McClintock Relieves 4 NPP Of Chairs… Sila Worsened Deficit… Bathia: Status Report Nothing New… ’La Kalle FM' Launched… ’04 Hispanic Voter Turnout Fell… BNS Expands… Fortuño Supports Rossello, Group Of Senators To Remain Loyal To McClintock

Rossello: McClintock Is No Longer Senate President

May 30, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — New Progressive Party (NPP) President Pedro Rossello said Senate President Kenneth McClintock no longer has control of the Senate.

Rossello–who intends to wrest the Senate presidency away from McClintock–has left him with the support of only five of the delegation’s 17 senators.

He told reporters that if a leader or a president realizes that he no longer has the support of his people, he is no longer president, no matter what his title is.

The former governor, who is also senator for the Arecibo district, made his statements in Moca, where he participated in a family outing, broadcast reports said.

Rossello said he won't give up his intentions of presiding the Senate.

"This isn’t going to be solved with rules, surprise measures or shameful alliances. This will be solved when they comply with the decision of the NPP people," Rossello said.

Rossello already has the support of most party delegates as well as of the Senate delegation majority.

However, in order to avoid being ousted from the Senate presidency, last week McClintock amended the Senate rules with the help of the Popular Democratic Party delegation. The amendment prevents Rossello and followers to control the Rules & Calendar Committee, which is in charge of the Senate’s session agenda.

Rossello said that, as NPP president, he still has faith in Sen. Lucy Arce despite her support for McClintock. He also said he wouldn’t take actions against Arce, who is also NPP vice president.

However, he said NPP Senate majority leader Jorge de Castro Font has stopped behaving like a member of the NPP delegation.

Rossello also criticized McClintock’s decision to relieve four NPP senators from their chairs at several Senate committees because they support his bid for the Senate helm.

More Than 3.5 Million Have Used Puerto Rico's Commuter Rail Since Opening


May 29, 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - More than 3.5 million passengers have used the Caribbean's first commuter rail since it opened nearly six months ago in Puerto Rico's capital in a project designed to ease massive traffic jams in the metropolitan area, authorities said.

The rides, however, have been free of charge so far in an attempt to familiarize islanders with the service. Passengers will start paying a $1.50 fare June 6, Transportation Secretary Gabriel Alcaraz was quoted as saying in El Nuevo Dia newspaper's Sunday edition.

More than 40,000 people ride the train each day, and officials hope that number doubles by the end of the year, authorities said. Passenger numbers may experience a slight decrease in the short term when the fare goes into effect, but it will only be temporary, Alcaraz said.

San Juan's Urban Train is supposed to decongest highways and bring cheap, speedy transport to a crowded metropolitan area of more than 1 million people.

Passengers use a card virtually identical to the MetroCard in New York City, and swipe it when entering and leaving the train's 16 stations.

The commuter rail runs 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) from the downtown Santurce neighborhood, which is packed with small shops, cafeterias, soaring apartment buildings and elegant villas surrounded by verandahs to Bayamon, a western satellite city of low-rise apartments and gated subdivisions. The 35-minute ride also runs through the financial district in the capital's Hato Rey section.

Puerto Rico has long been without a working train. In the early 1900s, there were trains and trolleys, but tracks eventually disappeared under expanding pavement. It wasn't until the early 1990s that planners decided a new train could ease traffic in the U.S. territory of 4 million people.

Construction began in 1996 under then Gov. Pedro Rossello and continued under former Gov. Sila Calderon, who took over in 2001 and left office in January.

The train was scheduled to open in 2001, but was plagued by construction delays, safety problems and rising costs. The price tag nearly doubled from US$1.2 billion to US$2.3 billion, with the U.S. government paying about 40 percent. The rising costs were due in part to radical design changes, including the addition of more stations and a switch from light rail to a heavier train.

Agreement Reached On Consent Decree Re Cidra, Puerto Rico, Manufacturing Site

May 29, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Medical Letter on the CDC & FDA. All rights reserved. 

2005 MAY 29 - ( -- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that it has reached agreement on a Consent Decree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the company's Cidra, Puerto Rico, manufacturing site.

The Consent Decree provides for an independent expert to review manufacturing processes at the site for compliance with FDA good manufacturing practice requirements.

With respect to Paxil CR (paroxetine hydrochloride controlled release) tablets and Avandamet (rosiglitazone maleate/metformin hydrochloride) tablets, distribution of which was halted in March of this year, GSK believes it has identified the source of the manufacturing issues related to both of these products, and has already implemented revisions to those manufacturing processes. The company is now validating those solutions through a third party.

Based on the terms of the Consent Decree, the company can continue to manufacture products at the site, and expects to begin resupplying the U.S. and other markets with both Paxil CR and Avandamet in midyear.

Anti-Military Group Enters Old Target Range In Vieques

May 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — A group of environmentalists gained access to the old U.S. Navy target range in Vieques Saturday demanding a halt in the disposal of live ordnance through open burning and open detonation.

"We are here to denounce the open burning and open detonation of bombs," said Ismael Guadalupe, a spokesman for the anti-Navy group known as ‘Comite Pro Rescate de Vieques.’

"We oppose open burning and open detonation because it pollutes the environment. Let us remember that one of our slogans used to be ‘Ni una bomba mas’ (No more bombs)," Guadalupe said.

According to the environmental leader, the detonation of bombs destroys and jeopardizes the health and safety of Viequenses the same way military maneuvers did before they ended over two years ago.

Tiody Outraged At Senators Who Support McClintock

May 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Tiody Ferre, who is the widow of late former Gov. Luis A. Ferre, urged the group of New Progressive Party (NPP) senators who remain loyal to Senate President Kenneth McClintock, not to use the memory of her late husband to justify stances that violate the party’s postulates.

Ferre, who is also president of the National Republican Party of Puerto Rico, said she was outraged at the actions of a group of senators who are going against the will of the people and against the caucus majority.

She also criticized them for going against the principles of the NPP.

She added that her late husband and founder of the party would have never allowed them to ignore the general assembly’s call.

"There is no doubt that the person whom the majority of NPP senators, as well as the people trust the most to preside the Senate is Pedro Rossello," Ferre said.

McClintock Relieves Four NPP Senators Of Their Chairs

May 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Senate President Kenneth McClintock Kenneth McClintock relieved four New Progressive Party (NPP) senators from their chairs at different Senate committees on Friday.

The NPP senators whom McClintock has relieved of their chairs are Jose Emilio Gonzalez, Norma Burgos, Jose Garriga Pico, and Luis Daniel Muñiz.

McClintock also informed NPP Sens. Jorge de Castro Font, Migdalia Padilla Alvelo, Lucy Arce Ferrer, and Carlos Diaz Sanchez that they would be appointed as chairs of several Senate committees.

De Castro Font will replace Gonzalez at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Arce will replace Burgos at the Senate Social Welfare Committee. She will also chair the Senate Health & Women’s Affairs Committee.

Migdalia Padilla Alvelo will replace Garriga Pico as chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Transportation, Science & Culture. Padilla Alvelo will also chair the Committee on Education & Youths Affairs, which Muñiz used to chair.

Garriga Pico was also relieved of his chair at the Senate Committee on Federal, Industrial & Economic Affairs.

Diaz Sanchez will chair the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs.

Jose Alfredo: Sila Made Deficit Worse

May 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 PRWOW News. All rights reserved. 

Attorney Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral, son of former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon, admitted that former Gov. Sila Calderon failed to make up for the fiscal problems she encountered when she took office in 2001.

However, he emphasized that former Gov. Pedro Rossello–who is now the New Progressive Party senator for the Arecibo district–was also to blame for the government deficit.

"She can’t be singled out as the only person responsible [for the deficit] because we can tell bad habits had been dragging on [since before she took office]" said Hernandez Mayoral, who was once a favored by the Popular Democratic Party for the gubernatorial run.

He also said everything shows that the Calderon administration was aware of what she had inherited and that it required to be handled in a certain way, which she clearly didn’t do.

"That doesn’t mean it was her fault, but that she didn’t take all the necessary measures and even made the deficit worse," Hernandez Mayoral said in radio reports. 

Bathia: CRS Report On Status Nothing New

May 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) Executive Director Eduardo Bhatia on Thursday announced that the Congressional Research Service's (CRS) most recent report on the status issue of the island doesn’t favor any political formulas for Puerto Rico.

According to Bhatia, the report titled "Political Status of Puerto Rico: Background, Options, and Issues in the 109th Congress" is mostly a description of the status debate going on in Puerto Rico.

"In general terms, I’m satisfied with the report. There is nothing new in its contents that hasn’t been a subject of debate in the past," Bhatia said in a prepared statement.

The PRFAA executive director noted that the CRS document gives all status options the same ranking.

According to the report, the options of statehood, independence, Commonwealth, and Free Association are all possible options for Puerto Ricans.

Bhatia said the report also states that "Congressional actions taken (and not taken) in recent years…are most likely to occur through bilateral agreements between the people of Puerto Rico and the Congress."

"Based on this conclusion, the governor has insisted on fighting for a consensus in Puerto Rico before asking for congressional action," Bhatia said.

Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño, however, said in published reports that the sentence Bhatia has made reference to, means that the status ball will be moved only if the people of Puerto Rico and Congress work together. And Fortuño feels that the constitutional assembly Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila intends to push forward would be a one-sided initiative.

So far, the New Progressive Party has opposed that initiative and has favored a direct participation of the people through a referendum or plebiscite.

Univision Radio Launches `La Kalle 105.9/92.7FM' In New York

May 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Business Wire. All rights reserved. 

NEW YORK - (BUSINESS WIRE) - May 27, 2005 - Univision Radio, the largest Spanish-language radio broadcaster in the United States, today launched "La Kalle 105.9/92.7 FM," a new youth-targeted Spanish-language radio station that will cater to New York Hispanics in the highly sought-after 18-34 demographic.

La Kalle's high-energy format will primarily feature Reggaeton and Latin Hip-Hop music. Reggaeton, a relatively new genre of dance music that originated in Puerto Rico and derives from a blend of Latin tropical sounds, Jamaican reggae music and urban hip-hop, has taken the New York market by storm. A recent Nielsen SoundScan report of Latin Album sales found that 8 out of the top 10 albums sold in the New York area were of Reggaeton music. Reggaeton is hotter in New York than in any other major U.S. city.

"We are excited to launch La Kalle to meet the needs of the younger Hispanics in the New York area," stated Gary Stone, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "Our research demonstrated that there was a strong desire for a Reggaeton-formatted radio station and we have delivered."

La Kalle will feature some of the hottest on-air talent in New York, including well-known duo "Jimmy and Pacha and their Jangueo," DJ Kazzanova, and Valerie, among many other young dynamic radio stars.

Hispanic Voter Turnout Fell In ’04

Census: Whites, blacks turned out to vote at a higher rate in 2004 than in 2000

May 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

WASHINGTON A Census review of voting in the 2004 presidential elections shows whites and blacks voted at higher rates than they did four years earlier.

But Hispanic turnout was lower, despite the efforts of political parties to woo that vote.

The turnout for non-Hispanic white voters increased by five percentage points in 2004 to 67 percent, while the gain for black voters was three percentage points, to 60 percent.

The voting rates did not change for Hispanics (47 percent) or Asian-Americans (44 percent).

President Bush won re-election in 2004 by claiming 50-point-eight percent of ballots cast. His Democratic opponent, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, took 48-point-three percent.

BNS Expands In Puerto Rico


May 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. 

Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Puerto Rico's Pan American Financial Corp. to expand its mortgage-banking business. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed. Chief Executive Officer Richard Waugh has been expanding the bank in foreign markets such as Mexico and El Salvador since taking over the top job in 2003, although the bank has been in Puerto Rico since 1910. It has 18 branches with 534 employees in the commonwealth. Pan American has four branches in Puerto Rico and a staff of about 45 people.

Fortuño Supports Rossello's Bid For Senate Helm

May 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 PRWOW News. All rights reserved. 

Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño said on Friday that New Progressive Party (NPP) President and Sen. Pedro Rossello should be at the helm of the Puerto Rico Senate.

Fortuño issued his statements during a radio interview following a caucus decision that support Rossello’s bid for the Senate presidency.

"I’ve always said the decision must be made by NPP senators. NPP senators have spoken, and the rest should abide by that decision," Fortuño said.

He added that the person who has majority support should lead the Senate, and in this case, that person is Rossello.

Meanwhile, former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo said he was pleased to hear Fortuño say those words.

"The party grows stronger with Pedro at the Senate," Romero Barcelo said in radio reports.

Group Of Senators To Remain Loyal To McClintock

May 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The group of senators who remain loyal to Senate President Kenneth McClintock said on Friday that they wouldn’t support New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Pedro Rossello’s bid for the Senate presidency.

The NPP senators made their statement despite warnings of possible disciplinary actions, which may even include expulsion from the party.

The six NPP senators who have insisted on supporting McClintock are McClintock, Lucy Arce, Migdalia Padilla, Jorge De Castro Font, Orlando Parga, and Carlos Diaz.

On Thursday NPP Arecibo Sen. Rossello was favored over McClintock to preside the Senate in an 8-0 vote with three abstentions from Sens. Hector Martinez, Roberto Arango, and Carmelo Rios.

However, the 11 senators who attended the caucus favored that the NPP delegation abide by the majority decision.

Rossello said he would request that the Senate presidency be declared vacant in the next Senate session on Tuesday.

On Friday, McClintock said the party can’t expel them because according to party rules, members are not obligated to abide by caucus decisions they believe are immoral and against public order.

He also said Thursday’s meeting wasn’t a caucus because, according to Senate rules, he, not Rossello, should have been the one to call it.

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