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Nothing New IN AAV’s Speech, Rossello Says… Computers To Find Tax Evaders… Status Bill Could Be Passed Soon… Soldier Killed In Iraq Is Buried With Military Honors... Police Arrest 41 People In Anti-Drug Operation... AA Overweight Bag Charges… AAV Calls For Better Economy, Education, Security

Nothing New In Governor’s Speech, Rossello Says

March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – For Sen. Pedro Rossello, the excessive use of the word "new" was the only new thing in the first State of the Commonwealth Address by Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Wednesday night.

"I see nothing new, except that he used the word 'new' many times … it was very short to respond to the grave crisis that the Popular Party administration has created, that is their administration in the past four years," Rossello said Thursday.

"In terms of new information, I saw none; in terms of new initiatives I saw none that were not extensions of work that is already in progress," he added.

Rossello was present until the end of Acevedo Vila’s speech, but disappeared very quickly, and so could not be interviewed by the media.

Treasury Will Use Computer Program To Find Tax Evaders

March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – In an attempt to combat tax evasion, the Treasury Department in two weeks will begin to use a computerized system that compares information from taxpayers through multiple sources, and tries to come up with profiles of possible tax evaders.

This was announced by designated Treasury Secretary Juan Carlos Mendez, who said the data will be compiled and compared by the Fair Taxation Program at his agency.

According to media reports, the computerized system is supposed to detect inconsistencies in the income that taxpayers report to the Treasury, and the goods they possess.

With the Fair Taxation Program, the Treasury can compare the income of taxpayers and goods they have recently acquired, as well as financial transactions they are involved in.

Status Bill Could Be Passed By End Of March

March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Legislature could conceivably pass status bills before the end of March, legislators say.

This was announced by the president of the House Government Committee, Jenniffer Gonzalez, and her colleague on the Federal Issues Committee of the Senate, Jose Garriga Pico, who are leading the work on measures related to status.

"The next week or the week after that, around the middle of March, we will be releasing a bill on status," Gonzalez said, explaining that by "releasing" she means putting it up for consideration before the House.

Meanwhile, Garriga Picó said that full Senate could be considering the bill on status by March 28.

Soldier Killed In Iraq Is Buried With Military Honors


March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

BAYAMON (AP) — Puerto Rican soldier Lisbeth Robles Diaz on Thursday received a promotion to sergeant in the U.S. Army, but she was not alive to receive the honor.

Robles Diaz died last week in Iraq, when the driver of the military vehicle she was riding in lost control and crashed.

The soldier was buried Thursday in the military cemetery in Bayamon, surrounded by friends and family who wore white shirts with her photo on them, and a message that read, "Lisy, you will always be in our hearts, you are our hero."

Prior to burial, she was also posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal, for having rendered "exceptional service to the Army and for being a role model to other soldiers," according to Gen. Jose Rosado, commander of the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico.

Robles Diaz’s father, Santiago Robles, expressed sadness and resignation about the death of his daughter, who loved the military.

"She made this decision and we agreed, because we loved her," he said.

Police Arrest 41 People In Anti-Drug Operation

March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - Police arrested 41 people in an anti-drug operation Thursday at three housing projects in Mayaguez, said police Lt. Col. Francisco Carbo, district commander.

More than 200 officers participated and they seized 177 tiny packets filled with cocaine, 165 marijuana packets, 69 crack vials, 25 bullets and nearly $2,500 in cash, police said.

The suspects were taken to a jail in the south-coast city of Ponce after they didn't post bail totaling $760,000, authorities said.

From time to time, authorities conduct major anti-drug operations in a bid to combat a violent crime wave in Puerto Rico. There were 793 homicides - mostly drug-related - in 2004, making it the highest in eight years.

Authorities reported 140 homicides so far this year, 25 less compared to the same period last year.

New Charges For Overweight Bags


March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005
MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved. 

American Airlines and American Eagle said they are now charging for minimally overweight bags on all international flights and flights to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, extending the same rules that applied to checked baggage on domestic flights.

Bags checked to all destinations that weigh between 51 and 70 pounds will be charged a standard $25 fee, the airline said.

The change applies to tickets purchased after March 1.

Governor Calls For Improvements To Economy, Education, Security


March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – With a call for "shared responsibility" between government and the rest of society, Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Wednesday made his first State of the Island address, and spoke about improvements to the economy, education and security.

The governor called to integrate the three areas in what he called a "Triangle of Success" that will include: the creation of 1,000 new Puerto Rican companies in four years and a plan for exports; a lowering of the school dropout rate and improvement in academic achievement; new technology for security agencies and reform to criminal investigations.

"Today, I am proposing that we focus on our resources, our energies and the force of our people to build this Triangle of Success: an economy that generates more and better jobs, primary schools with education for our children, and security in our streets, urbanizations and neighborhoods," the governor said.

Acevedo Vila also proposed a new model of economic development aimed at investing government resources in biotechnology, information, telecommunications and related service industries.

The infrastructure plan for the island presented by Acevedo Vila includes the extension of the Urban Train to Caguas and Carolina, the development of a "Red City" between train stations, the opening of the Conventions District in Isla Grande and the construction of the Puerto de las Americas.

Acevedo Vila was received with applause at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday evening at the House floor, filled with legislators, judges, agency chiefs and officials.

New Progressive Sen. Pedro Rossello applauded slightly when Acevedo Vila entered the House, but applauded louder when former governor Rafael Hernandez Colon entered.

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