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Riot Charges Filed Against NPP Leaders

Serrano Criticizes Navy Over-Flights

2 Priests Held

Anti-Navy Activists Sue Justice

Referral Of PDP Legislators To Justice Expected

Calderon Vetoes Law Limiting Gov’t Ads

Fund For Children Of 9/11 Victims Established

Women Lose To Bulgaria In World’s Volleyball

Accusations On Riot Charges Filed Against Members Of NPP

September 11, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The San Juan prosecution filed on Tuesday accusations on charges of riot against the New Progressive Party’s (NPP) Carlos Ignacio Pesquera, Leo Diaz, Edwin Mundo and Thomas Rivera Schatz, along with a list of 27 witnesses who should be present at the trial.

The hearing at which the charges will be read is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13 and will be presided over by Administrative Judge Heriberto Sepulveda. However, Sepulveda will not be hearing the case, according to published reports.

The trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 12.

The list of witnesses includes 18 Women’s Advocate Office employees, police agent Jose Marrero Rivera, Channel 6 photojournalists Jorge Negron Velazquez and Francisco Reyes Rosario, and Channel 6 news director Nora Soto, among others.

According to the accusations, they "illegally, voluntarily, maliciously, and with criminal intent, acted with others and without the authority, shattered the peace of employees and officials of the Women’s Advocate Office by using force and violence."

Mayor Criticizes Navy Flights Over Populated Area In Vieques

September 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002 EFE. All rights reserved.

Vieques - Vieques Mayor Damaso Serrano on Tuesday criticized flights by U.S. Navy aircraft over populated areas on the island municipality of roughly 9,000 residents.

U.S. forces are involved in their second week of military exercises on Vieques , an island southeast of Puerto Rico .

Serrano told EFE that he opposes flights not only over populated areas but anywhere on Vieques , because the maneuvers have proven disastrous to public health and the environment over the past 60 years.

The mayor said he disagreed both with the deployment of a large number of police to guard the restricted zone around the Navy's Camp Garcia firing range and with the way in which arrests of protesters have been carried out.

Those demonstrators arrested by the Puerto Rican police have been turned over to the Navy for prosecution.

Since the U.S. Navy began its current round of military exercises more than a week ago, at least nine people have been arrested by military personnel inside the restricted zone and 10 have been arrested by Puerto Rican police officers in various incidents around the perimeter of the military installation.

Serrano said that "we all have to do our jobs, the organizations - civic, labor and religious - have to do theirs. I have to do mine as mayor and the governor (Sila M. Calderon) has to do hers. Together we will make sure the U.S. Navy leaves the island on May 1, 2003."

The mayor added that at a recent meeting with New York Gov. George Pataki, the governor informed Serrano that President George W. Bush had told him the Navy would leave Vieques May 1, 2003, as the U.S. chief executive had previously pledged.

Navy Detains Two Priests On Vieques During Exercises

September 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - U.S. Navy security officers detained two Roman Catholic priests on Vieques for trespassing on Navy lands Tuesday as fighters jets dropped dummy bombs on the island during military exercises.

The latest arrests bring to 11 the number detained for trespassing since the latest round of exercises began Sept. 3, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Kim Dixon said.

Meanwhile, anti-Navy activist Ismael Guadalupe said five other men entered the Navy's bombing range on the island's eastern tip Monday in an effort to prevent the training.

He said they remained there on Tuesday morning and were in contact with activists miles away by cellular phone.

The Rev. Nelson Lopez of Vieques identified the two detained priests as the Rev. Mauro Simpson, a 77-year-old monk, and Rev. Felix Montalvo, 58. Both came from the Sweet Name of Jesus parish in Humacao.

Lopez, a Catholic priest who has participated in past demonstrations against the military exercises, said the two priests entered Navy lands through a hole in a fence.

A squadron of F-14s and F-18s launched from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman were dropping 25-pound inert bombs, Dixon said. The current round of training is to last about two more weeks.

The military has used the bombing range for more than six decades. Opposition grew when a civilian guard was killed by two bombs dropped off-target in 1999. Since then, only inert bombs have been used.

Opponents say the exercises harm the environment and health of Vieques' 9,100 residents. The Navy denies the claims.

Hundreds of people have tried to thwart the exercises by invading the range and have been arrested, jailed and fined.

Anti-Navy Activists File Lawsuit Against Justice Department

September 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — "Coordinadora Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques" and a group of Vieques residents filed a writ to request that the court command the Justice Department to hand in the documents pertaining to the local government’s negotiations with the federal government regarding the use of the Vieques target zone.

The "Comite Pro Rescate y Desarrollo de Vieques," "La Alianza de Mujeres Viequenses," activists from "Campamento Milivi," Luisa Guadalupe, retired fisherman Carlos Zenon, and Vieques Catholic Parrish Priest Nelson Lopez also joined the lawsuit.

The defendants demand that the Justice Department submit all documents regarding the negotiations initiated with the U.S. Navy after the Planning Board denied certification that would have established that the military maneuvers in Vieques are consistent with the Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Plan.

They also seek documents pertaining to the mitigation measures suggested by the local government to the Navy.

Imminent Referral Of PDP Legislators To Justice

September 9, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The State Elections Commission (CES) President Aurelio Gracia Morales, confirmed his decision of referring the cases of several Popular Democratic Party (PDP) members to the Justice Department, for possible violations of the Electoral Law, despite the fact that they have requested reconsideration.

PDP Sen. Cirilo Tirado claimed that Gracia Morales agreed to rectify two findings that were made last July, of failing to report all the payments made to the media and of not reporting all the earnings received in 2000.

Despite the corrections, Gracia Morales said the case still has to be referred to the Justice Department, according to published reports.

The rest of the PDP legislators failed to convince Gracia Morales to change his conclusions in the cases of legislators Roberto Prats, Ferdinand Perez, Jose Luis Dalmau, Roberto Vigoreaux y Juan Cancel Alegria.

The SEC President also dismissed the reconsideration motions presented by New Progressive Party Sens. Kenneth McClintock and Lucy Arce, as well as independent representative Jorge de Castro Font.

Governor Vetoes Law To Limit Government Advertising

September 9, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Gov. Sila Calderon vetoed a bill imposing controls and obliging the government to reveal the amount spent in advertising.

Luis Torres Negron, La Fortaleza’s Press officer, confirmed the veto.

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Jose Luis Dalmau failed to explain the reasons why the governor might have vetoed the legislation which was approved by both legislative bodies last June 25, without any amendments and without discussion.

The legislation would be enforced three years prior to a general election and would have granted the State Elections Commission the responsibility to establish the rules to comply with the law.

Special Fund For Children Of Sept. 11 Victims

September 9, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Gov. Sila Calderon signed an executive order creating a $1 million special fund for grants for the sons and daughters of the 240 Puerto Rican victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Calderon said in published reports that the Government Development Bank (GDB) will be in charge of the fund, which already has $728,000, obtained from private donations. The remainding $272,000 will come from a special allocation of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The grants will benefit 80 to 100 children who will receive student aid for their studies up to a maximum of $3,000 annually.

In the case of undergraduate students, the grant could reach a maximum of $12,000 at $3,000 annually.

Bulgaria Beat Puerto Rico For Last Eight Spot In Women's Volleyball Worlds

September 9, 2002
Copyright © 2002 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY. All rights reserved.

STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) - Bulgaria beat Puerto Rico in straight sets here on Sunday to qualify for the quarter-finals in the 20002 women's volleyball world championships.

The Bulgarians won the Pool F clash 25-15, 25-16, 25-17.

This was the Bulgarians' second victory in the second round Pool F competitions which started here on Friday.

In an expectedly lop-sided game for the strong Bulgarians, things did not seem to be so easy as, after the Bulgarians comfortably took the first two sets, the Puerto Ricans managed to tie with their opponents at 5-5 and then led by one point in the third set. The Caribbean side's lead, however, failed to last long as the strong Bulgarians quickly came to the lead and pulled away to take the set and won the match.

With their goal to reach the second round fulfilled in their first ever appearance at world championships, Puerto Rican team manager Francis Salid expressed his thanks through a loudspeaker for "the love and support" to his team from the German spectators. He then joined head coach David Aleman and players in dance for celebration on the court, amid cheers from the stands and court-side staffs.

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