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Puerto Rico Participating In UN Summit

Rossello Criticizes Governor’s Rejection Of Clinton Vieques Pact

Berrios Attacks Inaction On New Navy Maneuvers

California Tops Levittown For Pony League Title

Calderon Approves Economic Development Bills

SIP Assigned To NPP Legislators Involved In Flag Incident

Jury Finds Rivera Guilty Of Extortion

Puerto Rico Participating In UN Environment Summit

August 26, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Puerto Rico will participate in the United Nations (UN) Summit on Sustainable Development to be held Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 (ONU) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado said this is the fifth UN summit in which the Puerto Rico government is invited to participate.

"We are making history with our participation. In South Africa, Puerto Rico will participate as any other nation and will have a turn to address the General Assembly," Mercado said.

The UN summit is the continuation of a meeting held in Brazil in 1992, and its organized every 10 years to discuss environmental issues.

The local government will be represented by the Deputy Secretary of State Miguel Soto; the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Secretary Salvador Salas; Solid Waste Management Director Luis Rodriguez; and Environmental Quality Board President Esteban Mujica.

La Fortaleza Dismisses Rossello's Criticism About Vieques

August 25, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - La Fortaleza rebutted the comments that former Gov. Pedro Rossello has made against Gov. Sila Calderon regarding her assertiveness in dealing with the Vieques issue.

Rossello said it is ironic that the Calderon administration let the presidential directives he had worked for with former U.S. President Bill Clinton go down the drain and now it wants U.S. President George W. Bush to put his words on paper to ensure that the U.S. Navy will withdraw from Vieques in May 2003.

Jorge Colberg Toro, secretary of Public Government Affairs, said Rossello had no moral standing to give advice on public policy when members of his former administration have been convicted of corruption.

Colberg Toro said Gov. Calderon has reiterated her policy on Vieques. He also said she was right to criticize the Rossello-Clinton agreement, because it proved to have no power to make the Bush administration comply with what had been agreed.

But Rossello lambasted Calderon for trying to minimize the effort he made in the fight for Vieques. He said there was a presidential order that had a complete plan to deal with the Vieques issue that was valid.

He urged the public to ask themselves what has Calderon done for the people of Vieques that hasn't already been included in the presidential directives that he worked for.

Meanwhile, Calderon has acknowledged that she is powerless to interfere in the upcoming military maneuvers to be held for 23 days in September.

Berrios Criticizes Governor's Inaction In The Vieques Issue

August 25, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - During his visit to Vieques on Saturday, Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) President Ruben Berrios criticized Gov. Sila Calderon for assuming a submissive position regarding the new round of military practices that have been scheduled to begin on the first week of September.

"This is not the time for submission; this is the time to warn the U.S. of the consequences of continuing the bombing in Vieques and of not putting its commitment to withdraw next year in writing," Berrios said.

The PIP president urged Calderon to exert pressure on U.S. President George W. Bush to make him put his words in writing. Bush has said ihe would honor May 2003 as the deadline for withdrawing the U.S. Navy from Vieques. However, he has yet to sign anything on the matter.

Meanwhile, Vieques activist Ismael Guadalupe supported Berrios' stance.

"I would want to see more strength in the governor to keep her promise to halt and oust the Navy immediately," Guadalupe said.

Berrios said he would meet with union leaders in the U.S. mainland as well as with other activists who are in favor of ousting the Navy, to work on a strategy in case the military decides not to withdraw from Vieques next year.

Berrios, who seemed to be in good health despite his recent kidney problems, didn't rule out the possibility of engaging in acts of civil disobedience once again.

"I will do whatever I have to do," he said.

Title Game A Rout California Squad Beats Puerto Ricans, 10-0


August 25, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. All Rights Reserved.

At the end of the championship game, a California fan in the Lew Hays Field stands triumphantly proclaimed: "We're going to Disneyland." Such a spoil of victory is no big deal to these Norwalk boys. For them, home is about 20 minutes north of that Mickey Mouse place.

The Pony League World Series final last night went to these California 13- and 14-year-olds, who must practice hitting baseballs over Space Mountain. Inside this Washington ballpark that suddenly turned into a launching pad -- five of the 23 grand slams in the tournament's 50-year history came this past week -- Norwalk was the life of the bash. It pounded out 11 runs apiece in its three-game run to the championship and then promptly dropped a 10-0 smashing last night on Levittown, Puerto Rico, in a contest called after five innings because of the mercy rule.

"They played an excellent game. A perfect game. And their first five batters in the order are excellent batters. With power," said Puerto Rico Manager Luis Alvarado:

Calderon Approves Economic Development Bills

August 24, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon signed into law several bills intended to promote the economic development of the island.

The bills include the creation of the Ports of the Americas Authority.

La Fortaleza Press Secretary Luis Torres Negron announced that the bills also include a budget increase for the Infrastructure Financing Authority.

According to a prepared statement, the Ports of the Americas Authority would be responsible for selecting a developer and an operator of the transshipment port to be developed in Ponce and Guayanilla. The authority would also be in charge of negotiating the terms and conditions of the contracts with the developer and operator.

The authority would be directed by a board of directors comprised of the secretaries of Transportation & Public Works, Economic Development, and the executive director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (Pridco), as well as the mayors of Ponce and Guayanilla. The board will also include five people named by the governor.

Another bill signed into law creates a fund to promote products made in Puerto Rico. The new law allocates $1 million to Pridco for the development of promotional programs and marketing campaigns to help sell local products.

Meanwhile, another law allows for minors over 16 years old to work 40 hours a week during summer with their parents' consent and the permission of the Labor and Human Resources secretary.

SIP Assigned To NPP Legislators Involved In Women’s Advocate Office Incident

August 24, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Special Independent Prosecutors (SIP) panel decided on Friday that there is enough evidence to determine that New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Miriam Ramirez and NPP Reps. Jose Aponte, Jose Luis (Nuno) Lopez and Jenniffer Gonzalez participated in a riot last June 20 at the Women’s Advocate office in Old san Juan.

The panel of former judges designated prosecutor Ruben Guzman Torres to investigate the case.

In a press release, the SIP panel said it had resolved not to designate a SIP for NPP Rep. Iris Miriam Ruiz because there was no evidence of her participation.

The SIP panel office announced that Guzman Torres would conclude the investigation to determine if the filing of charges against the legislators should proceed. The SIP has 90 days to present a conclusion.

The legislators accompanied NPP President Carlos Pesquera, on June 20 to place a U.S. flag in the Women’s Advocate Office lobby, after Women’s Advocate Office director Maria Dolores Fernos refused to do so.

Pesquera and other three NPP leaders are summonsed to appear before court in a preliminary hearing on the case for charges of inciting a riot on Tuesday Aug. 27 at 9 a.m.

Jury Finds Rivera Guilty Of Extortion

By Iván Román | San Juan Bureau

August 24, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Orlando Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A jury Friday convicted former Gov. Pedro Rosselló's personal assistant of selling political access to businessmen who were seeking -- and ultimately got -- government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

María de los Angeles Rivera Rangel, Rosselló's top aide during his eight years in office, was found guilty of conspiracy and extortion. Her conviction is the latest among about 60 officials and businessmen tied to Rosselló's administration who have met the same fate.

"The jury are individuals representative of my people, and my people are fed up with this," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Guillermo Gil, who has accused Rosselló's New Progressive Party administration of corruption in the past. "Our people are obviously affected by a cancer. Today we took out a tumor, but the cancer has spread."

Rivera, 52, showed no emotion when the verdict was read and was stoic as she navigated the crush of television cameras. Sentencing is set for Jan. 10. Gil said she could face about four years in prison.

The jury believed prosecutors' claims that Rivera received $125,000 -- about $6,000 a month -- from four prominent supporters of the controversial "Businessmen with Rosselló" group in exchange for meetings with agency heads.

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