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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Monday, 26 December 2016

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Monday, 26 December 2016

    Presidential Family sends Christmas greetings
    Vocational training for 649,135 at INFOTEP in 2016
    Odebrecht paid US$92M in bribes to Dominican government officials
    Why don't politicians get arrested in the DR?
    The high cost of taxi medallions
    10 deaths over Christmas holiday weekend
    Jose Miguel Patín of SAP arrested in Miami
    Cesfront arrests US most wanted man
    Police investigate theft of TVs in Boca Chica
    Foreigners caught with cloned credit cards
    Argentinean dies of heart attack
    Davis Cup tennis in Santo Domingo
    Dodgers revamp training academy
    Frank Ceara at Teatro La Fiesta
    Ana Feliz and Luis Payan at Casa de Teatro
    Dancing with El Torito
    Villalona and Ventura in Santiago
    Johnny Ventura and Anthony Rios at the Crowne Plaza

    Presidential Family sends Christmas greetings
    President Danilo Medina has posted a family picture of himself with First Lady Candida Montilla and his three daughters on the Presidency website for Christmas. In his Christmas message, the President says that Christmas is a time to renew wishes for peace and generous solidarity. He expressed his wish that this Christmas time would bring no surprises. Medina acknowledged that 2016 had been a difficult year for many Dominicans because of the heavy rains.

    Medina said that although for Dominicans Christmas is synonymous with happiness, he hoped that the holiday period would be marked by moderation, sensible behavior and respect for life. The President urged people to drive carefully and not under the effects of alcohol.

    Vocational training for 649,135 at INFOTEP in 2016
    The government-run Instituto Nacional de Formación Teecnico Profesional (Infotep), the country’s main vocational training center, says that 649,135 people have benefited from 32,954 training courses in 2016.

    The courses are held at Infotep centers nationwide. In a press release, Infotep says that this year 92 new programs were created bringing the total on offer to 814 programs and courses. Infotep says that 110 curricula for programs were updated in 2016.

    Odebrecht paid US$92M in bribes to Dominican government officials
    The Dominican media is following the story of the US Department of Justice penalization for Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht by at least US$3.5 billion for bribing foreign government officials to obtain around 100 projects in 12 countries from 2001-2014. The fine is the largest penalty ever in a foreign bribery case.

    Some of the hundreds of millions of dollars used in bribes to secure lucrative business deals flowed through the United States banking system and some of the schemes were planned in the United States, enabling US authorities to claim jurisdiction in the case.

    The bribes were valued at US$788 million, including US$92 million reportedly paid out to officials in the Dominican Republic. The payments in the Dominican Republic spanned three governments – Hipólito Mejía (2000-2004), Leonel Fernandez (2004-2008, 2008-2012), and Danilo Medina (2012-2016, 2016-).

    Odebrecht is Latin America's biggest engineering firm and is known for quality construction works in the Dominican Republic.

    El Dia reports that its projects include:
    Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Plant (US$2.04B, works begun in 2014)
    Piedra Blanca-Ocoa Crossing Road (US$78M, 2016)
    Hermanas Mirabal Aqueduct (US$110M, 2015)
    Santiago Bypass (US$130M, 2014)
    Eastern Tourist Boulevard (US$110M, 2013)
    Duarte II Corridor (US250M, 2013)
    Palomino Hydroelectric Plant (US$400M, 2012)
    El Río-Jarabacoa Mountain Road (US$100M, 2012)
    Casabito-Constanza Mountain Road (US$112 M, 2010)
    Samaná Aqueduct (RD$5.82M, 2010)
    Pinalito Hydroelectric Plant (US$300M, 2009)
    Northwest Aqueduct (US$382.5 M, 2002)

    From a US Justice of Department document:

    “The Dominican Republic
    In or about and between 2001 and 2014, Odebrecht made and caused to be made more than $92 million in corrupt payments to government officials and intermediaries working on their behalf in the Dominican Republic. Odebrecht realized benefits of more than $163 million as a result of these corrupt payments.

    “For example, in order to secure certain public works contracts in the Dominican Republic, Odebrecht paid bribes to an intermediary responsible for interfacing with the government with the understanding that the intermediary would pass the money, in part, to government officials. Most of the payments were made with unrecorded funds from the Division of Structured Operations with the authorization of Odebrecht Employee 6. Through this agreement, Odebrecht was able to influence government budget and financing approvals for certain projects in the Dominican Republic.”

    An editorial in Diario Libre on Saturday, 24 December 2016 comments that “someone owes us US$92 million”. The newspaper says there was evidence, as well as names and precedents set by the case carried by the US Department of Justice and points out that Odebrecht is returning the money to the countries where fraud was established in the case. “The Dominican Republic should claim this money too, and ensure that no one gets a commission,” writes editorialist Ines Aizpun.

    Meanwhile Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta stated the government is waiting to receive the duly documented information so that the Public Ministry can act accordingly.

    Why don't politicians get arrested in the DR?
    In an editorial on Monday, 26 December 2016, Diario Libre tries to answer the question “why don't politicians get arrested in the DR?” despite the many claims of mismanagement of government resources. The DR does not follow the trend for arrests that has swept through Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Brazil and several other regional countries.

    In his attempt to answer the question posed to him by a foreign friend, the newspaper’s executive editor Adriano Miguel Tejada says the main reason is the absence of a major economic crisis in the country that would lead to widespread discontent and civil uprising. He comments that to prevent this crisis, the government has taken on public debt.

    The second reason is the extraordinary control that the ruling PLD party has over all the institutions in the country. He recalls that the few cases when political leaders have been accused and sent to jail have occurred after changes of government, with the most emblematic that of Dr. Salvador Jorge Blanco, the PLD government’s PEME scandal and the PRD’s Plan Renove.

    “But the Dominican Liberation Party learned the lesson, and by controlling the institutions, has been able to remove the most resounding cases in which key party figures are involved, given that their sentences would have affected more heavyweight politicians,” he writes.

    “Of course, the lack of a true civic attitude against corruption and persistence in the effort, together with the complicity of all the parties of the ‘system’ has prevented justice from being served against the corrupt,” he writes.

    “And then I understood why others were sent to jail. The politicians tell us that the others are the bad ones. They are angels,” he concludes.

    The high cost of taxi medallions
    An investigative report in Diario Libre published on Monday, 26 December 2016, focuses on the transport system controlled by cartels. The newspaper asks if the drivers are really employees who are being cheated out of their benefits.

    Last week, the Superior Administrative Court (TSA) that rules on government compliance, ordered government institutions to do their job and stop allowing transport monopolies.

    The report points out that the shared taxi and syndicated bus operators are best known for causing traffic jams and chaos on city streets and avenues while the authorities look the other way. The drivers, nevertheless, say they are mere pawns of groups organized in federations and associations that set the rules and exploit them and they have no way of complaining.

    The drivers revealed the high sums they have to pay for the right to work (sort of medallion) on the routes monopolistically held by the federations and associations. Drivers speaking off the record put numbers to the high cost of working the routes.

    For instance, the Los Alcarrizos-Duarte Highway Km 9 route costs RD$250,000 (paid in weekly quotas). In addition, they need to pay RD$500 for work day and RD$100 additional when passing the controls. A day’s work will produce RD$1,500 of which he says he needs to put aside around RD$800 for fuel.

    The Esquina Caliente de Herrera-Av. Rómulo Betancourt-Parque Independencia route costs RD$800,000, paid in RD$800 weekly installments, RD$200 control stop. If they do not own a vehicle, then they pay RD$1,800 to drive an assigned vehicle.

    The Av. Abraham Lincoln-Lope de Vega route (from San Cristóbal in Ensanche La Fe to Av. Independencia-Robert Reid Cabral Hospital costs RD$250,000, paid in weekly installments of RD$350 per day (green colors) or RD$280 (yellow colors) circulation next day. This adds up to RD$12,600 a month in right to drive on the route.

    Passenger fares are RD$25-RD$50 on the routes.

    Diario Libre reports that while the law establishes prerogatives for the Land Transport Office (OTTT) and AMET to approve and grant route permits and set fares, in the practice this is managed by the syndicates themselves.

    8 deaths over Christmas holiday weekend
    The Emergency Operations Center (COE) reports at least 8 deaths over the Christmas holiday weekend (24, 25, 26 December) in 410 traffic accidents. The COE reported that 3,749 people received assistance, including 2,656 on roads and highways. A total of 1,093 medical emergencies were reported.

    Jose Miguel Patín of SAP arrested in Miami
    The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has arrested Dominican-American aviation businessman José Miguel Patín of Servicios Aéreos Profesionales (SAP Group) in Miami, Florida. He faces charges for drug trafficking. This is his second offense. Patín was arrested by DEA agents on 6 December 2016 and is at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. Acento says that according to standard DEA penalties, Patín could face a 20-year jail sentence.

    He was arrested together with Dominican pilot Wilkin de Jesús Matos Félix who works for SAP.

    The investigation is being carried out by special agent Michael Shaw. Patín and the pilot are accused of trafficking in cocaine and the case is being heard by judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes, as reported in

    SAP is based at the La Isabela International Airport and offers chartered services, ambulance services and private flights to Miami, Puerto Rico, Cuba and other Caribbean islands. Patín founded the airline in 1981.

    Cesfront arrests US most wanted man
    65-year old US citizen Aubrey George Archer has been arrested in the northwestern province of Dajabón on the border with Haiti. He was detained in Duarte Park in Dajabón by border security agents (Cesfront) after his appearance led to suspicion. Investigations showed he was listed in the system as one of the most wanted fugitives from justice list since 1988. He is sought for sexual assault and making terrorist threats, according to the prosecutor’s office in Somerset County, New Jersey. He is expected to be deported.

    Dominican authorities said that Archer was in possession of several passports with different names when he was arrested.

    Police investigate theft of TVs in Boca Chica
    The Police have reported the detention of five people suspected of complicity in the theft of a freight container with 1,163 flat screen TVs that had been seized and was stored in the Andres Port in Boca Chica pending payment of duties. The TVs are worth around RD$7 million.

    The Police said that the freight container with the TVs was removed from the port by armed individuals who entered through a back door. The freight container was later found on the highway leading to La Romana.

    Foreigners caught with cloned credit cards
    The National Police have announced the arrest of two men, one Portuguese and one Bulgarian who were attempting to retrieve cash from ATM machines using cloned credit and debit cards. They are Portuguese Pascoal Florentino Gervasio and Bulgarian Jordan Dimitrov.

    Argentinean dies of heart attack
    The circumstances surrounding the death of 27-year old Argentinean actor Santiago Vazquez who died of a heart attack when vacationing in Punta Cana have now been cleared up. On Friday, 16 December he woke up and after spending an hour speaking to his roommate, he went back to sleep, saying he was not feeling well. While his friend was showering, he died. The media in Argentina said he had spent an intense week leading up to the wedding of his brother, Nico Vazquez.

    Vasquez was a social media influencer with over 250,000 followers on Instagram and appeared in a television series, Esperanza Mia in 2015.ázquez_(actor)

    Davis Cup tennis in Santo Domingo
    Enjoy good tennis at the tennis courts of the Parque Mirador del Este in eastern Santo Domingo from 3-5 February 2017, when Chilean players face Dominicans for Davis Cup Americas Zone Group I matches. The winner moves on to play in the World Group in 2018. The Dominican Republic has a record of 2-1 in confrontations with the Chileans.

    Playing for the Dominican Republic are Victor Estrella (ATP ranked 102nd), José Hernández (241), Roberto Cid (583) and José Olivares (726).

    Playing for Chile are Christian Garín (211), Gonzalo Lama (240), Nicolás Jarry (364) and in doubles Julio Peralta (44) and Hans Pdlipnik (86).

    On Friday, 3 February there will be two singles games at 10am, on Saturday, the doubles game will be played at 11am. On Sunday, the remaining two singles matches starting at 10am.

    The winner of the series will travel to Colombia for matches 7-9 April 2017 and the winner moves up to the qualifying rounds of the World Group.

    Dodgers revamp training academy
    The Los Angeles Dodgers, now under the Guggenheim Baseball Management group, announced the nearly completed renovation of the Campo Las Palmas facility in the Dominican Republic. The academy was upgraded after new limits were set in the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement. CEO Stan Kasten saw a competitive edge could be found in facilities, instruction and training. “We are going all-in on the best, state-of-the-art complex,” he has stated.

    As reported by the team, in line with the upgrades the Dodger Stadium has seen over recent seasons, improvements at Campo Las Palmas were done with keeping the original feel of the grounds.

    Dodgers’ senior vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith explained:

    “We chose to renovate the great campus that we had, gutting and rebuilding six buildings and adding three new ones, adding a third field and another half-field. And we are especially proud of our new Jackie Robinson Hall, where players can gather and we’ll show English movies with Spanish subtitles as an aid in teaching the conversational language. It’s entertainment with a purpose.”

    Changes to the complex include expanding housing capacity, upgrading the weight room, and dining and medical facilities.

    Under former owner Peter O’Malley, the Dodgers opened Campo Las Palmas in 1987. Beyond providing key facilities pertaining to on-field performance, the Dodgers have placed an emphasis on aiding players adapt to all facets of life with an MLB organization.

    Frank Ceara at Teatro La Fiesta
    Frank Ceara performs his “Concierto llenarte de besos, el espectaculo” on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at the Teatro La Fiesta of the Hotel Jaragua Renaissance in Santo Domingo. 9pm. Tickets: RD$1000, RD$1,700 and RD$2,500.

    Ana Feliz and Luis Payan at Casa de Teatro
    Contemporary Dominican singer duo Ana Feliz and Luis Payan of Delivery de Amor (formerly Marte y Venus) are at Casa de Teatro in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 performing with a full band. 9:30pm. The duo is part of the technical team of legendary Juan Luis Guerra. Tickets: RD$500.

    Dancing with El Torito
    Merengue bandleader Hector Acosta is performing at 10pm at Mamma Club on Av. Gustavo Mejía Ricart in Santo Domingo on Wednesday, 28 December 2016.

    Villalona and Ventura in Santiago
    Fernando Villalona and Johnny Ventura will be at Las Vegas Discotheque in Santiago on Friday, 30 December 2016 starting at 11pm.*Tickets for sale at the door for RD$1,200. Tel. 809 806-4413

    Johnny Ventura and Anthony Rios at the Crowne Plaza
    Merengue singer Johnny Ventura and romantic ballads singer Anthony Ríos will be on stage at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Santo Domingo on Thursday, 29 December 2016 at 10pm. Ríos was a member of the Johnny Ventura band before embarking on a solo singing career. Enjoy the classics: "Caña dulce", "El tabaco", "El pingüino", "Viejo amigo", "Pudiera ser", "Una noche no es bastante", and many more favorites. Tickets are for sale online at Ticketexpress for RD$2,000, RD$2,500 and RD$3,000.

    For information on upcoming events:

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    Last edited by Dolores; 12-26-2016 at 12:05 PM.


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