President Medina seeks answers to Odebrecht bribes
Angel Rondón named in Odebrecht corruption case
Central Bank reports inflation was 1.70% in 2016
Electricity Pact committee to meet
CELAC community meetings underway
Ministry of Economy invites business to request JICA volunteers
Dario Contreras to be rebuilt - again
First day school attendance up on last year
911 going well in San Cristobal
No money received to drop Blas Peralta case
Robertico Salcedo kidnap plot?
Félix Paulino was released on assistant Public Prosecutor’s orders
DR linked to Calabria mafia operation*
More flood warnings
Yoga guru David Kyle to give teacher training in Jarabacoa
Tribu del Sol pop rock concert
Jazz at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel




President Medina seeks answers to Odebrecht bribes
President Danilo Medina has decreed the formation of a committee to investigate the bidding and decision process for the Punta Catalina coal-fired power plant, which was won by Odebrecht as part of a consortium that bid for the work.

The President picked Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado, Reverend Jorge Alberto Reynoso Cabrera, National Business Council (CONEP) president Pedro Brache, businessman José Luis Corripio Estrada (Pepín), union leader Gabriel del Río Doñé, executive vice president of the Foundation for Institutionalism and Justice (Finjus) Servio Tulio Castaños Guzmán, Dominican Press Association president Persio Maldonado, former vice president of the Dominican Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) Celso Marranzini, former CDEE administrator Cesar Sanchez, and economist Jaime Aristy Escuder.

The committee has been given the task of questioning any government officials it wishes to investigate as well as representatives of the professional companies that assisted the CDEEE in the selection process. It should also report back as quickly as possible on the results of the investigation and provide all the relevant information to the Public Prosecution Service.

The announcement follows after a US court revealed that Odebrecht had paid US$92 million in bribes to secure US$163 million worth of construction contracts.

Commenting on the creation of the new committee, the editor in chief of El Día newspaper recalls his own experience with a Ministry of Foreign Relations oversight committee. He was appointed to the committee but it was denied access to look into cases of suspected nepotism, political patronage in jobs, inflated wages and cases of favoritism, so he resigned. Writing in El Día on Wednesday 11 January 2017, Molina comments “I’m telling that story because after yesterday’s presidential decree forming a commission to investigate the Odebrecht mess that is already in the hands of the state prosecutors is equivalent to telling the Attorney General: ‘Stay put, we will handle that case ourselves.’” He concludes: “If I were the Attorney General, I would resign today.”

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...punta-catalina
http://eldia.com.do/si-fuera-yo-2/


Angel Rondón named in Odebrecht corruption case
Marcelo Hafke, general manager of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht met with attorney general Jean-Alain Rodríguez and Laura Guerrero Pelletier of the Anti-Administrative Corruption Agency (Pepca) on Tuesday, 10 January 2017. The meeting lasted seven hours, as reported in Diario Libre.

Hafke was accompanied by his lawyer Robert Valdez. After the meeting, the attorney general office told the press that the next person they were planning to question was Angel Rondón, the commercial representative of Odebrecht in the Dominican Republic. As reported, Rodríguez expects Rondón to identify the people and the sums that were distributed with the funds.

El Día describes Rondón as an efficient lobbyist who has been linked to the mythical figure of the Man with the Briefcase in the Renove (Sam Goodson) transport corruption case in which several government officials and transport union leaders were sentenced. His name has also been mentioned in connection with the Baninter case when together with Miguel Pimentel Kareh (who was the first director of the OISOE department under the Medina administration), the Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos merged with Baninter. In the ruling on that case, together with Ricardo Pellerano Paradas they committed to reimburse RD$75.4 million and US$213,000 to the Central Bank and Baninter for irregularities in the deal.

The Attorney General office has also banned Odebrecht from involvement in any operation or tender until investigations are concluded.

A New York Court recently revealed that US$92 million in bribes had been distributed to secure US$163 million in construction contracts.

Odebrecht has carried out works in the Dominican Republic over three different administrations – Hipólito Mejía, Leonel Fernández and Danilo Medina.


Central Bank reports inflation was 1.70% in 2016
While consumers would say that the inflation rate seems much higher, despite the rising fuel and food prices the Central Bank reported that from December 2015 to December 2016 the inflation rate was 1.7%. This would make it the second lowest in the past 33 years. Inflation posted is below the lower limit forecast for the country in its annual monetary program that was 4.0% (+/- 1%).

In a report posted on Friday, 6 January 2017, the Central Bank says that inter-year inflation was 1.89% at the close of the year. This indicator measures inflationary pressures of monetary origins, isolating this from exogenous factors.

http://www.listindiario.com/economia...aja-en-33-anos
http://www.bancentral.gov.do/notas_b...016-fue-de-170


Electricity Pact committee to meet
Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo has announced that the government plans to meet over the next few days to push forward the Electricity Pact agenda.

Montalvo said that it was very important to President Danilo Medina and that the meeting would be chaired by Monsignor Agripino Núñez Collado, former rector of the PUCMM University. During the meeting the work program will be established together with the objectives to be achieved.

Montalvo recalled that the government’s ultimate objective was to resolve the problems of the electricity sector once and for all and provide everyone with a quality, sustainable and reasonably priced electricity service.

Meanwhile, the executive vice president of the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) Ruben Jiménez Bichara said this year the pact would be signed because there are no reasons not to.

http://hoy.com.do/gobierno-convoca-a...cto-electrico/
http://hoy.com.do/jimenez-bichara-as...cto-electrico/


CELAC community meetings underway
As part of preparations for the Fifth Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit of Heads of Government and State being held in Punta Cana on 25 January 2017, the CELAC international cooperation working group is meeting in Santo Domingo on 12-13 January.

The deputy minister for international cooperation at the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development, Inocencio García, said that CELAC’s cooperation policies will be defined during the summit, and trends in South-South and triangular cooperation during the past year will also be discussed. The agenda also includes development funding, which has drastically declined in recent years. In addition, the ministers will be assessing a strategy that will enable middle-income countries like the Dominican Republic to continue receiving financial assistance to sustain the progress made in recent decades.

Another key item on the agenda is a review of development aid priorities for Haiti.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Program (FAO) will be presenting steps for an initiative aimed at strengthening public policies to adapt family farms and small-scale agriculture to climate change in the Caribbean.

García says that 23 countries have confirmed their attendance, including seven from the Caribbean region.

During the Fifth CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government, the Dominican Republic will pass on the presidency to El Salvador. On the eve of the summit, the 21st Meeting of National Coordinators for CELAC will be held in Punta Cana.

The CELAC members are Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.

http://www.7dias.com.do/portada/2017...o-domingo.html


Ministry of Economy invites business to request JICA volunteers
The Ministry of Economy (MEPyD) is calling on public, educational and non-governmental entities interested in technical assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to apply now through 20 February. JICA is offering assistance in competitiveness, environmental protection, climate change mitigation, social and land development, sports, culture, the arts and more.

Japanese volunteers can be requested for two-year periods, which can be extended. Anyone interested should contact Ronaldo Torres, the cooperation officer at the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development’s Under Ministry for International Cooperation, Tel 809 221-5140.

The government of Japan pays for the volunteers’ international travel and medical expenses. The host needs to cover local transport, food and board.

JICA has been sending volunteers since 1985, and an estimated 900 Japanese volunteers have assisted Dominicans in areas including community development, quality control, marketing, mathematics, environment and physical therapy.

http://www.elnuevodiario.com.do/app/...aspx?id=514887


Dario Contreras to be rebuilt - again
The Office of Supervising Engineers for State Works (OISOE) will receive a RD$5.5 billion budget in 2017 for building and rebuilding hospitals across the country. This includes the Dario Contreras Trauma Center, which was rebuilt and inaugurated less than two years ago with a controversial investment of RD$1.7 billion. A further RD$106 million has now been assigned for yet another “reconstruction”. At the time, media reports pointed to overpricing in the construction and poor quality of the work delivered.

According to the National Budget, over RD$5 million will be used for supervision and inspection of the construction works. However, the hospital director, Dr. Jose Aponte said he had no idea about the additional budget.

The Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia Maternity Hospital has been undergoing a tortuous process of remodeling for three years and will only receive RD$16.9 million to finish the work. Reports are the government is allocating RD$260 million to build a hospital in Juan Bosch City and RD$2.5 billion for the Dr. Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital.

The Marcelino Velez Santana Hospital will receive RD$150 million for its expansion. A further RD$210.5 million has been assigned for works at the José María Cabral y Baez Hospital in Santiago and the Rosa Emilia Tavarez Cancer Institute gets RD$175 million.

http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/01/1...ario-contreras


First day school attendance up on last year
Barely a third of public school students showed up for the first day of school on Tuesday, 10 January 2017. After one of the longest Christmas-New Year’s-Three Kings Day holidays in recent years, schools across the country reopened on Tuesday, 10 January 2017. The percentages for attendance ranged from 49% up to 70% in schools across the province, despite the Ministry of Education calling for 100% attendance on the first school day of the year.

The Ministry of Education urged students to not miss a day, but roll calls showed that only 34.7% returned on the first day. While still too low, the Ministry of Education said that in 2016 only 17.3% showed up for the first day of school after the Christmas vacation. In 2015, the back to school percentage was 31.37% and in 2014, it was 21.32%.

Attendance at public schools in the National District and province of Santo Domingo was higher than the national average, at 50%.

http://hoy.com.do/navarro-felicita-a...e-la-docencia/


911 going well in San Cristobal
After one month in operation, the 911 emergency service in San Cristóbal and Haina has responded to 2,416 emergencies, including 639 traffic incidents.

The extension of the 911 emergency coverage area, with a population of 425,000, has resulted in a 27.5% increase in calls to 911, according to Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo.

Of the 1,777 emergencies attended, 380 were for accidents, 231 people in danger, 207 for domestic violence and 138 for physical aggression. Another 103 were for people in a critical state of health, 90 for fires and 75 for breathing difficulties.

As well as the municipalities of Haina and San Cristobal, the service now also covers San Gregorio de Nigua and the municipal districts of Hatillo, Hato Damas and El Carril.

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...stobal-y-haina


No money received to drop Blas Peralta case
Edward Andrés Montás Lorenzo has denied receiving RD$15 million in return for withdrawing his lawsuit against Blas Peralta, who is accused of the murder of the former rector of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), Mateo Aquino Febrillet.

Speaking at a press conference at his home on Tuesday, 10 January 2017, Montas Lorenzo declared that he would still act as a witness at the trial of Peralta and the others who are implicated in the case, but rejected Aquino Febrillet’s family’s accusations of him being a traitor for withdrawing his suit.

He reiterated that when he was also shot in the attack, his mother, on being told he was dead had a stroke and is still in hospital and as a witness he will not have to attend hearings, which he would have to if he was a plaintiff, so he will be able to spend more time with his bedridden mother.

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...a-blas-peralta


Robertico Salcedo kidnap plot?
According to Brayan Peter Félix Paulino, who is under arrest, the gang headed by the deceased John Percival Matos was planning to kidnap the television producer and actor Roberto (Robertico) Angel Salcedo.

Félix Paulino is accused of carrying out several armed bank robberies and getting away with millions. While known for committing four robberies (Villa Mella, Charles de Gaulle, Bella Vista and Plaza Lama), the Police also reported finding a long list of future crimes the gang was planning to commit. The popular movie and TV star and producer Robertico Salcedo was on the list. In response, Salcedo said he would beef up his personal security.

However, National Investigations Department of (DNI) head Retired Admiral Sigfrido Pared Perez said that in his opinion this was a fantasy and would only be dreamed up by someone who thought they were acting in a film. Speaking on the “A Diario” program Pared Perez said that the gang did not have the structure to carry out such an act, and that it was up to the Public Prosecution Service to establish Félix Paulino’s guilt as it was still not confirmed if he was a member of the gang.

Meanwhile, National District prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso bluntly said that her investigations so far have led her to believe Félix Paulino was jointly responsible for the crimes and not an accomplice.

Robertico Salcedo is the son of former three-time mayor of Santo Domingo. In recent years he has become best known for a successful series of comedy movies.

http://www.listindiario.com/entreten...s-de-secuestro
http://almomento.net/brayan-dice-la-...salcedo/278987
http://almomento.net/director-dni-ve...salcedo/279201


Félix Paulino was released on assistant Public Prosecutor’s orders
An assistant to the Public Prosecutor in San Cristobal was the person who ordered the central Criminal Investigation Unit (Dicrim) to release Brayan Peter Felix Paulino, who was arrested on 12 December 2016, according to the police notebook for 13 December.

Felix Paulino was arrested for driving a motorcycle without documents and told investigators that he was released after paying a bribe of RD$25,000.

Captain Andujar Lopez stopped him on 12 December when he was on the motorcycle with 20-year old Juan Kelly Pilar Rosario, near the preventive jail of San Cristobal. The motorcycle was confiscated and both men were arrested.

The following day, according to the police notes, they were released and handed over to Jonathan Rodriguez. According to the police, Felix Paulino identified himself as 23-year old Winston Alfonso Medina, who did not have an identity card, and said he lived in the National District.

It is not known if Dicrim used Felix Paulino’s fingerprints to identify him correctly or not.

http://elnacional.com.do/fiscal-orde...-brayan-felix/


DR linked to Calabria mafia operation
The Italian police have announced that they have dismantled a drug dealing gang with the assistance of the Spanish National Police. The gang is accused of trafficking in cocaine to Italy from South America, via the Dominican Republic.

Several people have been arrested including those linked to a Calabrian mafia family, Morabito-Bruzzanti-Palamara. In addition, 19 arrest warrants are in place for more people.

The gang was operating between Italy and Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic and Spain and the police say they have been able to confiscate large quantities of cocaine that were being sent to Italy and other parts of Europe but the precise amount was not stated.

http://www.diariolibre.com/mundo/pol...cana-FH5955421
http://hoy.com.do/policia-italiana-d...operaba-en-rd/


More flood warnings
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) has increased the number of provinces under green alert to six, warning of possible flooding in areas near rivers and streams.

The provinces under alert are Santiago, Dajabón, Maria Trinidad Sánchez (Nagua), Puerto Plata, Montecristi and Espaillat (Moca).

According to the National Meteorological Office (Onamet), the whole country is still being affected by a frontal system making its way to the southeast/east of the country from the west. Rains are expected to continue for 24 to 48 hours.

An alert is also in place for the Atlantic Coast, from Manzanillo to Cabo Engaño, including the bay of Samana, due to high winds and waves so use of the beaches, water sports and activities is suspended.

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...de-por-lluvias


Yoga guru David Kyle to give teacher training in Jarabacoa
Yoga instructor David Kyle will be holding a 50-hour Rocket Yoga training retreat in Jarabacoa from 12-16 February 2017. Accommodation is available in two neighboring mountain homes. Participants completing the retreat will receive a certificate on Rocket Yoga. Kyle is the highest student trained by Larry Schultz with only 500 E-RYT given from the direct study with Schultz. He has more than 22,500 hours of teaching registered in the Yoga Alliance. The cost is US$1,000, which covers the certificate (US$850) and US$150 for room and board.

Kyle is the founder of Progressive Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and owner of Ashtanga Yoga Puerto Rico.

For more information, write to retreat organizer Claudia Peña at claudiabeatrizpd@gmail.com


Tribu del Sol pop rock concert
Laura Rivera, Rafa Payán and Miguel Pumarol are performing “one more time” on Wednesday, 22 February 2017. Many regard them as the most popular Dominican pop group. They will be accompanied by the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, directed by musical producer Amaury Sánchez. They promise to play all the favorites in a night full of romance and magic, including “Por ti”, “Fuiste más”, “Búscame”, “Ni siquiera el sol”, “Mi mundo gira”, with new arrangements by maestro Amaury Sánchez.

After their break up, the members of “Tribu del Sol” went on to enjoy solo careers.

The concert is named “Acustico” and will feature guest performers, some who have been members of the band in the past, including percussionist Guarionex Aquino.

Tickets are for sale at Ticket Express online and at the Bellas Artes box office.


Jazz at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel
Jordi Masalles & Tiempo Libre are playing at the Fiesta Sunset Jazz at La Azotea, the rooftop night club of the Dominican Fiesta Hotel in Los Cacicazgos on Friday, 20 January 2017. It will be an evening for listening to good jazz, Latin rock, blues, swing, funk, bossa – live piano playing, saxophones, bass and special guests.

Read more on ongoing and upcoming events at:
http://www.dr1.com/calendar


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