Senate chooses fifth judge for Chamber of Accounts
Deputies rule no more cell phones in jail
Road improvements demanded from Puerto Plata
Pregnant women: know your new rights
JCE moves PRD moved to minority party category 
PLD calls for justice in Odebrecht case
Faprouasd calls for purge in UASD payroll 
Immigration raids in Puerto Plata
Dominican migrants questioned in the United States
Archbishop Francisco Ozoria heads board of Televida
Malnutrition decline slows
Drug raid on Duarte Highway
Tourist reported lost in Bavaro found idle on the beach
Cuban Augusto Enríquez sings at Casa de Teatro 
Marjorie Jiménez at Centro Cultural Mirador
Chef Maria Marte to speak at food forum
Cattleranchers’ Fair set for 11-19 March at Feria Ganadera



Senate chooses fifth judge for Chamber of Accounts
Margarita Melenciano Corporán was chosen by the Senate to replace resigning Pablo Domingo del Rosario as the fifth member of the Chamber of Accounts. The Chamber of Accounts is the government body in charge of auditing government departments. Melenciano received the vote of 20 of the 23 senators present during the Tuesday, 7 February 2017 session. 

In Linkin, Melenciano appears as a partner in the accounting firm of Melenciano, Ureña, Méndez & Asociados. 

She was elected for the Chamber of Accounts for the term 2016-2020. 


Deputies rule no more cell phones in jail
The Chamber of Deputies has approved the second and final reading for the bill that proposes to implement bans on the use of cell phones in jails. The bill orders prison wardens to block the cell phone signals in their facilities.

The initiative proposed by deputy Juan Julio Campos (PLD-La Altagracia), highlights that a number of crimes have been instigated from inside the jails themselves.  Inmates have been known to use cell phones to plan extortion, threats, kidnappings, homicides, escapes and other crimes. 

In addition, the bill states that drug dealing in prisons is being carried out using cell phones, and threatens the security of the population as a whole. 

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/...eles-CL6195260


Road improvements demanded from Puerto Plata
Business groups and legislators from the north are once again demanding the repairs of an existing road and construction of a new road connecting Santiago and Puerto Plata. In a visit to the National Congress, the business groups also called for the construction of the Gurabo to Montellano new road that would shorten the distance from Santiago to Puerto Plata. 
 
Representatives from the Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Tourist Companies of the North have complained about the poor state of the Navarette-Puerto Plata road. They say it is causing tourists to cancel reservations due to the time it takes to get from Puerto Plata to the central Cibao region. 

They are asking the government to act urgently to repair the old and construct the new road.

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/...lata-YJ6193302


Pregnant women: know your new rights
In addition to the extension of maternity leave to 14 weeks up from 12 weeks, there are other changes benefiting pregnant woman that will be in effect as of 9 February 2017. As in the past, pregnant women cannot be fired from their job during their maternity leave period. 

In addition, there are other new rules that have been approved as part of the country’s adherance to the Maternity Protection Convention (No. 183), adopted by the International Labor Organization in 2000. These new rules include that woman who are breast-feeding can leave an hour earlier from work to attend to their infant. This can occur for an entire year and the nursing mother must be paid regular wages. 

The convention also establishes that pregnancy tests are banned when hiring women employees, as this is considered discrimination against women. 

Minister of Labor Maritza Hernández had said there was no need to make amendments to the Labor Code to implement the extension on maternity leave. 


JCE moves PRD moved to minority party category 
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has decided to change the order of the political parties in the electoral ballot and the economic distribution made by the state to the different groups.

With this change, the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) moves up to take third place, in the place of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD). 

The ballot is headed by the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) in first place; the Revolutionary Modern Party (PRM) in second place, the PRSC in third; the PRD in fourth place; the Institutional Social Democratic Block (BIS) in fifth place and the Alternative Democratic Movement (MODA) in sixth place.

The current JCE reversed the decision taken by the last JCE administration on 8 May 2016 when a week before the 2016 general election it was determined that the votes at the presidential level would be the deciding factor for the order of the parties, instead of the order of the parties being determined by the sum of the votes at the three government election levels (municipal, congressional and presidential), as had occurred in the past. 

The PRD allied with the ruling PLD in the 2016 general election and named President Danilo Medina as the party’s presidential candidate. 

Last year, an electoral year, political parties received RD$1,610 million, of which 80% by law is distributed to the three parties that have obtained 5% or more of the votes in the previous 2012 election – PRD, PLD and PRSC. The remainder, or 20%, is distributed among the minority political parties. 

The new decision demotes the PRD to minority party status, with a considerable decline in resources to be received for political activities. 

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...leta-electoral


PLD calls for justice in Odebrecht case
The secretary general of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Reinaldo Pared Pérez, during the meeting of the PLD on the night of 6 February 2017, called for the Attorney General to continue investigations into the Odebrecht bribery case until it is resolved.  

Pared Perez was speaking after the end of the meeting, attended by 30 of the 34 members. During the meeting the Odebrecht case was discussed, along with other issues.

Those not present were President Danilo Medina, Miriam Cabral, Dominican ambassador in the United States, Jose Tomas Perez and president of the Dominican Petroleum Refinery, Felix Jimenez.

http://eldia.com.do/reinaldo-pared-e...bre-odebrecht/


Faprouasd calls for purge in UASD payroll 
Santiago Guillermo Ventura, president of Faprouasd, the association of professors of the state university, blames the present rector of the UASD, Ivan Grullon, for using the budget of the state university to hire persons that render no service to the university.  

He said the UASD budget for payroll was RD$534 million in February 2014 and had ballooned to RD$600 million in 2016, despite that fact there were more faculty on the payroll in 2014 (3,257) than are currently employed (3,108). He demanded an explanation of how, with less professors on campus, the payroll has increased so much. 

Guillermo Ventura said that cutting waste in the payroll budget would result in free up sufficient funds to implement the requested 15% wage increase demanded by the striking professors. He said the payroll savings would also be sufficient to finish the construction of the Colegio Universitario building, the physics, chemistry and biology labs, and more. 

He also said the money could be used to hire the around 2,000 teachers that are necessary to reduce class sizes that now average around 70 students. 

Guillermo Ventura said that wages of state university professors are based on an hourly payment by category that ranges from RD$385 to RD$617 the hour. He said professors can make from RD$4,500 to RD$125,000 per month, plus benefits.

Meanwhile, a story in Listin Diario, points to the irony between what Guillermo Ventura says and his own teaching practices. The report points out that Guillermo Ventura bills for teaching 10 subjects but only teaches three. When asked about the situation, Guillermo Ventura said this is because he is a union director. He said he makes RD$102,360 a month in wages as a professor plus RD$40,000 as the president of the professor federation and is allowed to only serve 25% of his academic load while in the position. This is in addition to the most generous benefits among university professors in the Dominican Republic that Guillermo Ventura receives as a UASD professor. 

The Listin Diario also criticizes that the spokesman for students (FED association), 45-year old Ambiorix Rosario for being ‘a professional student’.  Rosario has been enrolled in medical school at the UASD for 27 years. Ten years into the career, he had only passed 15 subjects and had a grade average of under 60 points, according to a story published in Rumbo magazine by Maria Isabel Soldevila in 2011.
 
The UASD faculty strike has kept students out of classes since the semester began at the end of January. There are around 200,000 students enrolled in the UASD. 

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...esor-exonerado
http://acento.com.do/2017/actualidad...infuncionales/


Immigration raids in Puerto Plata
On Wednesday, 2 February 2017, officials from the Migration Agency (DGM) were in Sosua, Puerto Plata to check for illegal labor practices, with an apparent focus on verifying the legal status of workers. Officers checked bars and restaurants to see if those who worked there were in the country legally and authorized to work here.

A number of businesses were fined because the owners or employees failed to produce documents or proof of their legal status in the country. Officials were also checking documents of foreigners who may have been staying in the country illegally and who were under investigation by Interpol. 

The following day, the DGM agents extended their investigations to include Cabarete. As a result, a number of businesses in Cabarete were fined for employing undocumented foreigners. 

Sosua News reports, however, that the raids may have been a bit overzealous as several innocent tourists who were patronizing these establishments at the time of the raids were swept unlawfully detained and threatened with fines. A DGM spokesman admitted that the agency had, by mistake, accused innocent tourists of violations.

The agency offered its sincere apologizes to those visitors that were mistakenly targeted.

DGM took the opportunity to advise tourists that the standard tourist card for a legal stay is valid for up to 30 days upon arrival.  Those tourists who wish to stay longer than 30 days in the Dominican Republic are allowed to pay a fee when leaving the country. 

http://www.sosuanews.com/index.php?id=4722&article=1
http://dr1.com/forums/showthread.php...nd-Up-in-Sosua


Dominican migrants questioned in the United States
Dozens of Dominicans returning from the Dominican Republic to the United States, where they are legally residents, are being intercepted and interrogated for several hours by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Several of the retuning passengers were apparently coerced into signing Form I-407, which allows those with green cards to voluntarily abandon their status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States. This form is used when a green card holder decides to return to their homeland and give up their US residency. 

Many, including those who have no criminal record have been asked to sign the document and return on the next available flight to the Dominican Republic, which will be paid for by the United States government. 

The largest numbers of those affected have been stopped at the airports of John F. Kennedy in New York, Liberty in Newark (New Jersey) and Logan in Boston. In addition there were many such incidents at the Miami International airport. 

Diario Libre reports that ICE agents have intercepted Dominicans in the corridors of terminals before the passengers even reach the official immigration area.

Following complaints about the practice, the Dominican Consulate in New York and the Coalition of Northern Manhattan for the Rights of Immigrants (CNMIR) have begun a local media campaign that informs Dominicans of this ICE practice, advising those Dominicans who have police records of any kinds that they run the risk of being investigated by ICE if they leave and try to reenter the US.  

http://www.diariolibre.com/mundo/eeu...ia-NG6190960 
http://www.scpr.org/news/2017/01/30/...s-to-sign-awa/


Archbishop Francisco Ozoria heads board of Televida
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Francisco Ozoria, announced he would be taking over the chairmanship of the board of Televida, Channel 41, as part of the new communications strategy of the Roman Catholic Church. He said the goal of the church is to attract more young people. He is replacing Monsignor Victor Masalles who was appointed Bishop in the province of Peravia. 

Ozoria announced that Father Manuel Ruiz was appointed executive director of the TV station, while Father Miguel Ángel Amarante was named special episcopal vicary for teenagers and youth. Father Ruiz will continue as parish at the San Juan Bautista de la Salle Church. 

In the Dominican Republic, the Archbishop carries out campaigns on Channel 41, Radio ABC and Vida FM. 

http://hoy.com.do/iglesia-anuncia-ca...-comunicacion/


Malnutrition decline slows
Data from the United Nations’ Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO) has indicated that the pace of the reduction in the levels of malnutrition in the Dominican Republic has slowed over the last four years. 

In its most recent report, “Panorama of Food and Nutritional Security in Middle American 2016” the international organization reported that the level of undernourishment was 18.1% of the country’s general population between 2009 and 2011. This rate of reduction dropped to 13% between 2012 and 2014. The percent decline in the reduction of undernourishment only declined slightly, to 12.3%, during the latest period of 2014-2016.

The undernourishment level measures the percentage of the Dominican population that is below the standard minimum level of daily food consumption. Nevertheless, the FAO stated that the Dominican Republic is one of the regional pioneers in the implementation of programs that assist at risk families to meet their daily nourishment requirements. The network of food centers (Comedores Económicos), established in 1940, is cited as a major contributor to the government-led fight against undernourishment. The FAO also mentions an increase in government spending on social programs that has risen from 6.4% of GDP in 2004 to 7.1% by 2011.

Although there have been important advances in eradicating child hunger in the country, according to the FAO, with a malnutrition rate of 4%, the country is still worse off than the average in Latin America and the Caribbean which stands at 3%. In Central America, only Mexico and Costa Rica are also below the average. 

http://www.diariolibre.com/economia/...lera-JK6185308


Drug raid on Duarte Highway
The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) has confiscated 204 packages of a white power assumed to be cocaine or heroin inside a freight container that would have been shipped to the United States.

The DNCD agents, accompanied by the Public Prosecution Service, inspected the containers located in a warehouse of a company on the Duarte Highway, near kilometer 9 and found the bundles of drugs.

DNCD spokesman Carolos Devers said that so far more than a dozen people have been questioned in connection with the raid and that the investigations are on-going.

http://eldia.com.do/dncd-decomisa-20...destino-ee-uu/
http://acento.com.do/2017/actualidad...opista-duarte/


Tourist reported lost in Bavaro found idle on the beach
The National Police reported on Tuesday, 7 February 2017, having located a US tourist who had been reported missing for the past six days. Mark Franklin Sanzo was reported by a reception desk supervisor who noticed him walking barefoot in a disoriented manner along the beach in Bavaro.  A spokesperson for the hotel had reported

Sanzo had been staying at the hotel since 30 January 2017. Hotel staff noted that Mr. Sanzo did not check out of the hotel nor returned to his room. This set off a search for him. 

Sanzo was examined by a team of physicians under the supervision of consular officers of the United States. 

http://www.7dias.com.do/portada/2017...l#.WJov5yMrIuw


Cuban Augusto Enríquez sings at Casa de Teatro 
Cuban singer Augusto Enríquez is performing at Casa de Teatro in Santo Domingo on Wednesday, 8 February 2017 at 7pm. Tickets are RD$500. This is Enríquez’s first visit to the Dominican Republic. His concert is named “Te doy una canción” and features popular songs by legendary Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodríguez. 

Enríquez participated in 2002 in Pavarotti & Friends with the the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti and is one of the founders of the Grupo Moncada. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egsi-fq612Q


Marjorie Jiménez at Centro Cultural Mirador
“Jazz for Lovers” (Jazz para enamorados) will take place Saturday, 11 February 2017 at the Mecenas Café of the Centro Cultural Mirador, located on Av. Mirador del Sur No. 1 in Santo Domingo. Enjoy the music of 4 in Tune with Marjorie Jiménez, Álvaro Dinzey, Gerson Sheppard and Joel Ramírez and the Dueto Aire (Jorge’s Brothers) from 8pm. This is a Guido Despradel production. 

Listen to the music of 4 in Tune at http:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwNu9gEpZy4


Chef Maria Marte to speak at food forum
Chef Maria Marte is the main guest speaker at the III Dominican Gastronomical Forum organized by the Fundacion Sabores Dominicanos. The forum will take place on 17 and 18 February 2017, at the Pedro Mir Library of the state university, UASD. The theme is “Dominican Cooking: Formation and Transformation.”

Maria Marte is the Michelen star-winning Dominican chef of the Madrid restaurant El Club Allard. She will share her experience in learning the craft and working and training others.

Participating in the event are the gastronomy schools from around the country, the governmental vocational training center Infotep and the Ministry of Education. 

For more information, see http://saboresdominicanos.org.do/Foro-Gastronomico-2017


Cattleranchers’ Fair set for 11-19 March at Feria Ganadera
Those who enjoy seeing the best of Dominican livestock, Paso Higueyano horse contests, and other farm-related livestock activities, should visit the traditional Feria Ganadera in March. This year the event will take place from 11-19 March 2017 at the Feria Ganadera grounds on the Malecon. Free admission. 


For information on upcoming events:
http://www.dr1.com/calendar


Archived News stories:
http://dr1.com/forums/forumdisplay.p...-Headline-News

Archived Travel News stories:
http://dr1.com/forums/forumdisplay.p...p-Tourism-News