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PIP Lawmakers Face Trial

House Approves Vote Bill

Congress To Discuss Vieques Land Transfer And Housing Funds

Navy Offers Jobs

Status Options To Be Clarified Soon

Voters Think Corruption Higher

Rangers, Jays May Open 2001 In PR

Rossello Would Sue HUD

$215 Million To Job Training


PIP Lawmakers To Face Trial Week Of Sept. 14

September 7, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

The trials against Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Manuel Rodriguez Orellana and Rep. Victor Garcia San Inocencio will be assigned to a judge in the week of Sept. 14, according to a prepared statement issued by the federal court Wednesday.

Both PIP lawmakers were arrested Aug. 3 in Vieques for trespassing on the Navy's restricted area. Both declined to post $1,000 in bail and were imprisoned pending trial.


House Approves Presidential Vote Bill

September 6, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The House on Tuesday afternoon approved the bill to enable Puerto Rico residents to vote for U.S. president in the upcoming elections.

With the vote in favor of only one Popular Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker - Alfredo Lopez Malave - the New Progressive Party (NPP) majority approved the measure, which was passed last week by the Senate.

The rest of the PDP delegation voted against the bill. The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) delegation did not vote because its sole representative, Victor Garcia San Inocencio, has been in jail since Aug. 3 for trespassing on U.S. Navy land in Vieques.

Meanwhile, from inside the Guaynabo federal jail, PIP Sen. Manuel Rodriguez Orellana said constitutional advisers are studying how to challenge the soon-to-be-approved Presidential Vote Law in court.

Rodriguez Orellana, who also was jailed Aug. 3, said if Gov. Pedro Rossello signs into law the measure that would allow Puerto Ricans to vote for the U.S. president in the upcoming elections, the PIP will go to court seeking to have it declared unconstitutional.


Congressional Panel To Discuss Vieques Land Transfer

September 6, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - A congressional panel of the U.S. House and Senate, led by Republican opponents Sen. James Inhofe and Rep. Tillie Fowler, will discuss Wednesday the fate of the Vieques land transfer, officials said.

Inhofe spokesman Gary Hoitsma said the committee hopes to come to an agreement over defense authorization legislation by the weekend or next week.

Hoitsma said the group will remain silent over their action on Vieques until an agreement is reached on the whole legislation.

Directives issued by President Bill Clinton earlier this year provided for the transfer of western lands in Vieques now occupied by the U.S. Navy to the Puerto Rico government. The transfer, opposed by Republicans, must have congressional approval.


Congress To Decide Next Week On P.R. Housing Funds

September 6, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN - U.S. Senate committees will decide next week the future of the $130 million that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) promised to grant the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration (PHA) in additional subsidies.

The subcommittee that assigns the budget of the Veterans Administration and HUD, as well as related agencies, proposed to approve next Tuesday its version of the budgetary measure, according to published reports.

Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) has publicly questioned in several occasions HUD's sense in promising additional funds for the PHA, an agency that the senator and HUD Inspector General Susan Gaffney consider to be embroiled in corruption scandals.


Navy Offers Jobs To Vieques

September 5, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

VIEQUES, Puerto Rico -- U.S. Navy officials have launched a goodwill campaign on the island of Vieques, offering jobs and other economic benefits to residents who will vote on whether the Navy can keep its bombing range on the island.

Nearly 100 people came to a meeting Thursday at the Vieques Country Club, where Navy officials in civilian clothes encouraged residents to sign up for short-term jobs.

Navy officials said some of the short-term jobs could lead to permanent positions on the main island of Puerto Rico, with free transportation provided by the Navy -- depending on whether the Navy wins the referendum that would allow it to stay.

The Navy also announced it would purchase equipment from local suppliers and help secure Small Business Administration loans for start-up business on the island. Meanwhile, public relations executives hired by the Navy made the rounds at local businesses.


White House Aide Expects Status Options To Be Clarified Soon

August 31, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN - White House aide on Puerto Rico, Jeffrey Farrow, on Thursday said he is confident that the options for Puerto Rico's future political status will be clarified before President Bill Clinton's term ends.

During a radio interview, Farrow said the White House is working on finding a mechanism that goes beyond Puerto Rico and U.S. elections and that establishes a precedent to be followed by the next president to be elected.

The president may consider appointing a committee, supported by all three local political parties, to work on the issue.

Farrow said after the Status Summit on June 28 between Puerto Rico officials and Clinton, both Democrat Al Gore and Republican George Bush pledged to continue the process that has started.


Voters Think Corruption Higher Than Ever

August 29, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - A solid majority that spans all educational levels, municipalities, and other demographic groups agree that political corruption is at its worst, according to a published poll.

The poll, carried out by Kaagan Research Associates of New York, shows that 74% of voters not affiliated to any party said corruption is worse now than in the past. About 22% said it wasn't worse.

The results of the poll, which surveyed 1,000 voters, has a 3% margin of error. The interviews were conducted from Aug. 11-17.

About 52% of all voters said "all" political parties engage in corrupt practices or that the two main political parties are equally responsible for the corruption.


Rangers, Jays May Open 2001 In PR

August 29, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers are likely to open the 2001 regular season in San Juan on Sunday night, April 1, several baseball officials said Tuesday.

A decision on the trip is expected in a few weeks. ESPN could televise the game as part of its Sunday night package.

Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, the 1999 American League MVP, would be the top attraction for the game. Rodriguez was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, and lives in Rios Pedros.

Texas infielder Luis Alicea was born in Santurce and lives in Florida. Toronto first baseman Carlos Delgado is from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.


Rossello Would Go To Court Against HUD

August 25, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN - Gov. Pedro Rossello warned the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that it would be in violation of a settlement with the government of Puerto Rico if it fails to disburse $130 million in additional housing funds for the island.

Rossello said if the island doesn't receive the funds he will return to court "but to ask for the $500 million they have in liability for failing to consider Puerto Rico in the same way as the states."

The $130 million stem from an accord with HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo to have Puerto Rico withdraw a lawsuit over discriminatory practices at the agency.

U.S. Congress members have said they won't approve disbursement of the funds until corruption at the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration is investigated.


$215 Million In Federal Funds Allocated To Job Training

August 24, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The U.S. Department of Labor allocated $215 million to implement a law to change and restructure job training programs for unemployed youth and adults and displaced workers.

Youth between 19 and 21 would be trained for available jobs and a program would be available for those who want to get their high school diploma or its equivalent.

For minors between 14 and 18, the program targets those who are school dropouts, pregnant, homeless, have mental disabilities and those who need to complete an educational program to keep a job.

Gov. Pedro Rossello said 131,000 unemployed people in Puerto Rico could qualify for the funds.

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