The Green Book arrives at Presidential Palace
Coraasan fixes sewers in Santiago
New map will provide important seismic information
World Bank tells DR to keep free zones
Federico Henríquez receives National Literature Award
Expert calls “landfills” timebombs
Collapse causes more damage in Los Prados
Uber will now provide motoconchos
Smuggled firearms seized at Haina Port
MLB makes changes to its rules
Victor Estrella plays in the Rio Open
French Montana coming to Hard Rock Live



The Green Book arrives at Presidential Palace
Representatives of the Green March collective delivered to the Presidency on Wednesday, 22 February 2017, a petition demanding that President Danilo Medina appoint a commission and a special prosecutor to investigate the Odebrecht corruption case. 

Two of the Green March representatives, Carlos Pimentel and Maria Teresa Cabrera, also delivered a Notary Certification of the 312,415 signatures in the Green Book that have been collected to date calling for the end of impunity for government corruption. The book will remain open and continue to receive signatures in person or online. 

The documents were received by the legal advisor to the Executive Branch Flavio Dario Espinal and deputy ministers for the Presidency Zoraima Cuello and Alejandro Liriano. 

The members of the collective said that they will continue obtaining signatures.  The Green March commission felt it was important to send a message to the government that in only one month, they could rally the support of more than 300,000 persons who have demonstrated their resolve to fight against impunity. The book can be signed online. 

On Wednesday 22 February, scores of people throughout the country wore green to protest impunity.

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/...acio-NF6373942
http://www.transparency.org/news/fea...o_end_impunity
http://www.marchaverde.com


Coraasan fixes sewers in Santiago
The Santiago Water and Sewer Corporation (Coraasan) has addressed sewer issues in several neighborhoods in the city, including La Cienega, Las Colinas, Tierra Alta and los Robles. The repairs required several hundred meters of smaller diameter tubing and pipes be replaced with much larger piping some of which was 30 inches in diameter. In sectors such as Villa Maria, a partial collapse of the sewer system was repaired and exclusive areas such as Los Samanes, Villa Maria, Samanes Residence, Los Laureles and Monte Adentro now have more efficient sewage disposal.

The city agency also told reporters of El Nacional newspaper that they are working on the cleanup of the outer Arroyo Gurabo in the southern part of the city near the Palace of Justice. 

Because of the rains late last year, there are large deposits of sediment and solid waste along the Arroyo that impede the access to the water treatment plant at Rafey.  As the first municipal aqueduct management group outside of Santo Domingo, Coraasan provides water to much of the province of Santiago as well as the city of Moca. 


New map will provide important seismic information
The National Geological Service, together with the Geological and Mining Scientific Research Institutes from Spain and France, will present in March 2017 the results of a “micro-zone seismic map of Greater Santo Domingo and Santiago. This map will identify the most vulnerable places for earthquakes and will recommend what type of construction should be permitted at each location.

The presentation of the results of the study will be part of the conference the International Congress of Applied Geology, which will be presented by the Dominican Geological Society (Sodogeo) from the 15-17 March at the PUCMM university in Santo Domingo. 

Miguel Diaz, the society president, said that the studies offer members of the society as well is the general population information and understanding regarding seismic risks and provide engineering standards which have to be adopted in order to carry out construction projects. 
http://sodogeo.org/


World Bank tells DR to keep free zones
A new World Bank report suggests the adoption of a series of government policies designed to strengthen free trade zones in the Dominican Republic as a path toward sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and as an effective means to attract direct foreign investment and generate better-qualified and better-paid jobs. 

The World Bank has released the November 2016 special report on present and future perspectives in the Dominican Republic with recommendations for enhancing the ability of these Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the Dominican Republic. Among the recommendations, is the promotion of domestic linkages between the tax free export industries and national industries. 

“The Dominican Republic is one of the global pioneers in the use of free-trade zones. This report identifies the three main challenges on the path to a more competitive and inclusive sector: the impact of the productive transformation of free-trade-zone in job creation; the level of attraction for competitive international providers; and the level of linkages with domestic companies,” said Cecile Fruman, Director of the World Bank’s Global Trade and Competitiveness Practice.

The report “Free-Trade Zones in the Dominican Republic: Policy Considerations for a More Competitive and Inclusive Sector” underscores that, currently, free-trade zones generate 140 thousand direct jobs, most of them low-skilled ones. Because of this, and in view of the growth of more sophisticated industries requiring a more skilled workforce, priority should be placed on the development of support programs for labor adjustment, as well as improving workers’ capacity, with a particular focus on women.

“Free-Trade Zones in the Dominican Republic have been and continue to act as growth engines for the country. To support inclusive growth the consolidation of this model depends essentially on facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology between free-trade zones companies and the rest of the economy,” said Alessandro Legrottaglie, World Bank representative in the country. “This report complements the Policy Notes published by the World Bank Group in supporting government efforts to achieve a sustainable and more inclusive growth by expanding economic and social opportunities for all Dominicans.”

The report highlights that starting in 2009, a modest recovery in activities has been observed in these zones. However, in the last decade a growing dependency on imported inputs can be seen. Simultaneously, the resurgence of more sophisticated manufacturing processes has resulted in more complex value chains, increasing the amount of production stages present in the country. Currently, the creation and optimization of backward linkages among local companies present in free-trade zones is one of the priority issues.

“Competitiveness is a priority for the country. The IFC believes that SMEs are key for development, as they are the main generator of jobs and a great potential for growth. It is important to improve their capacity in order to incorporate them into free trade zone production chains, therefore boosting competitiveness and the development of the local economy,” said Guillermo Villanueva, IFC chief in the country.

The country has moved forward through the implementation of pilot programs aimed at increasing productive linkages since 2015. At the same time, an agreement has been established with six public and private institutions that will work on designing policies to connect local companies with the ones located in free-trade zones. These efforts are on the right track and must be continued and strengthened. In the medium term, a rigorous impact evaluation of backward linkages programs should be implemented.

http://documentos.bancomundial.org/c...nican-Republic


Federico Henríquez receives National Literature Award
Writer, essayist and journalist Federico Henríquez Gratereaux received the prestigious Annual Literature Award, sponsored by the Fundación Corripio and coordinated by the Ministry of Culture at the main Carlos Piantini Hall of the National Theater on 21 February 2017. The award comes with RD$1 million in cash prize money. Culture Minister Pedro Vergés gave the keynote speech of the evening.
http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...nal-literatura


Expert calls “landfills” timebombs
Steve Boyer, who has 35 years of experience dealing with the disposal of solid waste and sanitary landfills, recently completed research of some of the main municipal areas in the Dominican Republic, including Greater Santo Domingo, Santiago and much of the East. He told Diario Libre reporters that these garbage sites are ticking time bombs for the local ecology. 

Boyer says that because of the poor handling of the solid waste there is high probability that contaminated effluents will penetrate into the soil, affecting aquifers as well as surface water. 

The representative of the Eco-Reciconst company, Boyer, visited landfills in Puerto Plata, Higüey, La Romana, Monsignor Nouel as well as San Pedro de Macoris.  He said he observed the mishandling of  solid wastes in all landfill sites he visited. Having studied waste disposal in the Dominican Republic for many years, Boyer told reporters the landfills need to be sealed to avoid liquid refuse from sources such as hospital waste and old batteries from seeping into the groundwater. 

A recommendation from the study was to implement programs to recycle solid waste.  The study, paid for by a recycling company, pointed out the importance of the government to enforce industry-accepted standards of solid waste disposal.  

The director of the Commonwealth of Municipalities, Onofre Rojas said estimates indicate in Greater Santo Domingo produces more than 4,200 tons of garbage per day, and most is trucked to the Duquesa dump. 


Collapse causes more damage in Los Prados
Once again, the fragility of land in the Los Prados residential area of Santo Domingo is making headlines.  On Wednesday, 22 February 2017, social media reported the collapse of part of a construction project at Olaf Palme and Orlando Basil in the Los Prados, affecting the parking lot of the Marmol apartment building. The shed that houses the emergency generator for the construction was affected and the building was left without power or water. 

A wall under construction near the apartment building collapsed, possibly because of a sinkhole. On social media there is a video that shows damage to the wall and a Hyundai vehicle. 

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/...cion-GC6370932


Uber will now provide motoconchos
According to information in today’s newspapers, Uber will now provide motoconcho service or motorcycle taxis through their UberMoto platform in Santo Domingo. The advantage of the motoconchos is that they can move passengers rapidly through traffic jams.

Uber has already initiated the selection process for the motoconchos that will require a valid driver’s license, a police certificate of good conduct and the possession of a motorcycle in good condition, to be not older than 2009. To apply to become an Uber motoconcho, you will have to provide a front and rear photo of the motorcycle with its license plate clearly visible and registration and proof of insurance.

Anyone interested in joining the Uber clan can obtain more information at Plaza Lincoln, locale 8, on Abraham Lincoln Ave., #456, in the National District. The fares to be charged by this new service have not been announced.

The platform can be accessed through http://www.uberdominicana.com


Smuggled firearms seized at Haina Port
At Haina Port, Customs Agency (DGA) seized smuggled firearms and ammunition in three freight containers that had arrived from the United States. Agents found two Magnum and Marlin rifles, and accessories and 480 9 millimeter bullets, 50 caliber 12 and other firearm accessories. 

The munition and guns had been shipped by Martínez Cargo Express Corp. S.R.L., Oce Cargo Express S.R.L and GMPD Shippings. S.R.L. The companies are now under investigation.

http://hoy.com.do/aduanas-incauta-ca...elle-de-haina/


MLB makes changes to its rules
Major League Baseball is currently holding its winter meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, and a big part of the agenda is the consideration given to major will changes to speeding up the game. For nearly two decades since the last rule change, baseball has continued to be a very time-consuming pastime, and as such there is a major preoccupation with a weakening of its fan base that is also aging. 

One of the obstacles to the rule changes in baseball is contained in the collective bargaining agreement between the Players Association and Major League Baseball (basically the club owners) that requires that MLB obtain the consent of the players union before any rule change can be adopted. The owners can mandate a rule change only if the union and its members are advised of the pending changes a year before the rule change goes into effect. 

Late Wednesday, 22 February 2017, in the afternoon, MLB announced that they had reached an agreement with the players union to allow a player to take first base by an intentional base on balls (walk) without having to actually pitch to that batter. Among other issues are how many visits a manager will be allowed to the pitching mound; and restricting the time between pitches.

Whatever is decided in the United States will affect how baseball is played in the Dominican Republic. 


Victor Estrella plays in the Rio Open
Top-ranked Dominican tennis player Victor Estrella played in the Rio Open taking place 20-26 February 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In his first matches, Estrella defeated 39-year old Rubén Ramírez (ranked 147th) of Spain, 6-3, 6-3 but then lost to 24-year old Arthur de Greef of Belgium (ranked 138th) 6-4, 6-4. He then defeated 26-year old Guido Peña of Argentina (ranked 163rd) 6-2, 7-5 in the round of 32, but failed to make the round of 16.

Estrella is ranked 94th in the world, with a career high of 43rd in 2015. 

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/playe.../e224/overview


French Montana coming to Hard Rock Live
32-year old Rap singer French Montana (Karim Kharbouch) will be performing at the Hard Rock Live at the Blue Mall in Santo Domingo on Saturday, 18 March 2017. He is a Morocco-born American hip hop recording artist, who immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 13 years old. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Montana

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