Medina: City transportation to improve
Medina: National Sports Games in 2018
Medina: Police to get raise starting in March
Medina bets on Punta Catalina power plant, no sacred cows
Motorcycle taxis protest Uber, new law
911 starts in March in Santiago
Exports to Europe up 10% in 2016
Rolling Stone Magazine on Robin Bernstein
Thomas Perez to lead US Democrats
Febrillet murder trial delayed again
Earthquake felt in most of country
Comedian George Harris at Escenario 360
Grupo Niche at the Hard Rock Live
Hotel Burlesque at the Downtown Center



Medina: City transportation to improve
President Danilo Medina touted the benefits citizens will receive from government efforts to improve transport in Greater Santo Domingo in his 27 February annual report read from Congress on 27 February, Independence Day. He mentioned the two lines of the Metro, the skylift over the Ozama River (expected to be finished in October 2017) and the OMSA feeder buses (with 98 new units to be added, but the date is not set) will be integrated and users will be able to travel any route using a universal token. 

Included in improvements are new bus routes, bus terminals, exclusive bus lanes and intelligent traffic lights. He said the new bus routes would replace 19,000 shared-taxis. He explained the drivers of these would become employees of the new system. He also announced data sharing for security and efficiency by drones is being installed.

https://www.metrord.do/do/destacado/...es-omsa.html 
http://acento-main-cdn.odsoluciones....de-Cuentas.pdf


Medina: National Sports Games in 2018
President Danilo Medina mentioned in his 27 February 2017 annual report that the Ministry of Sports under Minister Danilo Díaz will be bringing back the celebration of the National Sports Games. The last national games took place in Monte Plata in 2006 under the government of former President Leonel Fernández when Felipe Payano was sports minister.

The 14th National Sports Games would be celebrated in 2018, but a date and place have yet to be announced.

The past games left behind mega installations that would suffer from lack of maintenance after the regional games were over. Millions spent on sports installations in Barahona and La Romana were lost for lack of upkeep. 
President Medina also said that he has given instructions to the Ministry of Sports that there needs to be more focus on school sports and that Minister Díaz will follow through on this priority. He announced repairs to 150 community sports installations nationwide. 

Medina added that youth sports programs were a priority of his administration. The President pointed out that other programs directed at young people that have been successful include the Infotep vocational training courses, digital learning programs and various cultural programs. 

http://elnacional.com.do/presidente-...cionales-2018/
http://acento-main-cdn.odsoluciones....de-Cuentas.pdf


Medina: Police to get raise starting in March
President Danilo Medina in his Annual Report to the Nation on 27 February 2017 announced the doubling of wages for the National Police and the military. This means that a patrolman who now makes RD$7,000 will receive RD$16,150. A captain who supervises the patrol and makes RD$17,500 will be paid RD$36,000. A colonel who commands a department will make RD$79,325. 

Medina announced the new wage structure also includes additional pay for the level of risk undertaken by each agent. 

The wage increase for the police will go into effect as of 1 March 2017. For the military, the increases are scheduled to go into effect in July 2017. 

Medina also announced a fund of RD$100 million a year to finance down payments for housing for the police.
Likewise, another fund for RD$50 million is to be used for specialized training. 

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/...dias-HK6419009
http://acento-main-cdn.odsoluciones....de-Cuentas.pdf


Medina bets on Punta Catalina power plant, no sacred cows
President Danilo Medina gave the go ahead to the construction of the Punta Catalina power plants by Brazilian Odebrecht construction company. The power plant is the largest single construction by the company. The Medina government began construction of the coal-fired power plant in Peravia province in 2013. The plant is affected by the controversial Odebrecht corruption scandal. 

Medina argued the benefits the plant would bring to the country. He said it would generate 5.5 million megawatts/hour, around a third of the demand projected for 2018, at a cost of US$0.07.5 per kilowatt/hour. 

President Danilo Medina once again promised that there would be no sacred cows in the Odebrecht corruption case. He again instructed the Dominican judiciary to continue to investigate the case. 

In his annual report at Congress on 27 February, Independence Day, Medina stated that the agreement the Attorney General has reached with the Brazilian company does not stop the investigations carried out by Dominican prosecutors and reiterated the investigations would not be impeded and those who are ensnared in the case would suffer the consequences.

A New York Court revealed in December 2016 that Odebrecht admitted to having paid US$92 million in bribes to secure Dominican government contract work. Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez has announced having reached an unpublished agreement whereby Odebrecht would compensate the government for US$184 million over an eight-year period. 

Of all the people who have sat for questioning by the Attorney General, only Odebrecht commercial representative in the Dominican Republic, Angel Rondón, has accepted receiving a similar amount, but he has stated these were fees for work carried out and not bribes. Contrary to what has occurred in other Latin American countries, the Dominican judiciary has not pressed charges against anyone in the Dominican Odebrecht investigation.  

Odebrecht contract work has spanned the governments of Leonel Fernández, Hipólito Mejía and Danilo Medina. 

Medina said his government has “nothing to hide.” He said he awaits the report to be presented by the commission of distinguished professionals he appointed to investigate the construction and the tender of the power plant. He defended the public work and said he would not allow that the progress of the country be stopped. Groups claim the project was overpriced to help finance his re-election bid. Medina’s chief electoral strategist Joao Santana was sentenced to eight years in jail this February 2017 for his complicity in corruption cases in Brazil. 

Opposition politicians have been critical of the government’s handling of the bribery scandal. Andres Bautista of the PRM said Medina should be given an Oscar for his performance and said he delivered “promises, more promises.” He noted the President did not answer accusations of corruption surrounding the Odebrecht bribery case and other scandals, specifically mentioning the cases of the Super Tucano Brazilian aircraft, Los Tres Brazos property deal, Supervisory Office of Public Works of the Presidency, State Enterprises Corporation (Corde), and State Sugar Council (CEA). 

Spokesman for the Marcha Verde civic group said that in his speech, Medina proved he is just a part of the structure that props up impunity and corruption that has a hold of the Dominican Republic. Marcha Verde has requested the government hire independent investigators and the United Nations specialists to investigate the bribes, overpricing and illegal financing in the Odebrecht government works. 

http://acento-main-cdn.odsoluciones....de-Cuentas.pdf
http://elnacional.com.do/gobierno-no...unta-catalina/
http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/02/2...mo-mejor-actor
https://www.metrord.do/do/destacado/...ecuencias.html
http://elnacional.com.do/colectivo-m...-de-impunidad/
http://www.diariolibre.com/opinion/e...nes-dk6387270j


Motorcycle taxis protest Uber, new law
Several motorcycle taxi associations have announced that they plan to block Uber from offering motorcycle taxi service.  Uber currently offers regular taxi service in major cities.

Danny Minaya, head of the National Motorcycle Taxi Confederation, says that they are going to fight Uber. He argued that Dominicans who go to the United States are allegedly not allowed to set up a taxi business, so they will not allow Uber to enter the market here in the Dominican Republic. 

Minaya said that this week, motorcycle taxi drivers will march to the Uber office in Santiago. He complained that the new Transit Law 63-17 is also causing problems and affecting their work. 

According to Jochimil de la Rosa, another motorcycle taxi organization head, the new law prohibits children under the age of 8 from travelling on a motorcycle taxi. He says they are asking the government to allow children to travel by motorcycle taxis within specific neighborhoods, although not in congested urban areas. 

In addition, deputy Rafael Tobías Crespo has suggested that the Executive Branch come up with a solution for safe transport for children to get to and from school.

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/...mana-FB6399896
http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...en-los-barrios

Read the new law in Spanish:
http://acento-main-cdn.odsoluciones..../Ley-63-17.pdf


911 starts in March in Santiago
The governor of Santiago, Aura Toribio, announced that the 911 Emergency System will be implemented in Santiago starting in March. She says the system will improve security in Santiago and Puerto Plata, where it will also be started. 

The 911 will be located in a new building going up on Av. Bartolomé Colón at the old site where the Santiago international airport used to be. 

Toribio said that in addition to the cities of Santiago and Puerto Plata, the 911 system will the serve the communities of Sosúa, Cabarete, Luperón and Navarrete. 

President Danilo Medina in his annual report on 27 February 2017 had announced the service would be operational in Santiago and Puerto Plata in July. According to the President, the cities of Moca and La Vega are scheduled to get the 911 service later in 2017. 

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/...arzo-AY6405604


Exports to Europe up 10% in 2016
The president of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic, Hans Witsenboer, announced there was an increase in Dominican exports to Euorpe in 2016. He said that exports reached EUR950 million for the first time, up 10%. Nevertheless, he said in an interview with El Día, during the same year, Dominican imports from Europe were up 11%, and totaled EUR1.8 billion.

Witsenboer expressed his delight at the country’s double digit growth in exports to Europe.  

He mentioned the increase is due to m ore footwear exports (up 46%), cacao (13%), medical apparatus (11%) and bananas (6%). Unprocessed cacao in is the major Dominican export to Europe, totaling EUR120 million. Witsenboer believes that the country needs to export less bulk cacao and more finished products to increase earnings. He mentioned local companies have purchased new machinery to make new cacao products. 

Witsenboer announced the European Chamber of Commerce is organizing the forum Fair Competition for 9 March 2017. See http://eurocamarard.org/


Rolling Stone Magazine on Robin Bernstein
Rolling Stone Magazine carried a report on how the rumored choice of US President Donald Trump for ambassador to the Dominican Republic is raising conflict of interest questions. Gossip Extra online publication was the first to speculate that vocal supporter and business associate of Trump, Robin Bernstein, could be asked to become the new ambassador to the Dominican Republic. However, there are reports that the Trump Organization may be considering negotiating a new licensing deal at Cap Cana in the Punta Cana area, which has raised red flags due to potential conflict of interest. 

Rolling Stone reports that Bernstein and her husband Richard have had a two-decade long business relationship with Trump, serving him as a client at their health care and life insurance company. 

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...stions-w468249


Thomas Perez to lead US Democrats
Son of two Dominican immigrants, Buffalo, New York-born Thomas Perez, was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on 25 February 2017. He is the first Latino to be head the DNC.  The DNC faces daunting challenges to counteract the Trump administration.  

Previously, 55-year old Perez served as Labor Secretary during the Barack Obama administration (2013-2017) and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. Perez is a graduate of Brown University, and Harvard’s Law School and John F. Kennedy School of Government.  

The US media reported that the new chairman must rebuild a party that in the last decade has lost about 1,000 elected posts from the White House to Congress to the 50 statehouses, a power deficit Democrats have not experienced nationally in 90 years.

Pérez’s father, Rafael Antonio de Jesús Pérez Lara was born in the Dominican Republic earned U.S. citizenship after enlisting in the US Army after World War II. He was a physician who had moved to Canada to do his medical residency. His mother, Grace (Altagracia Brache Bernard), was also born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States in 1930 after her father, Rafael Brache, was appointed as the country’s ambassador to the United States. Her father would stay in the United States after differences with then dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. 

http://time.com/4683102/democratic-p...m-perez-unite/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/power...=.c9ba3f3619b2
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/25/u...tion.html?_r=0
http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/02/2...ames-new-chair
http://www.newsamericasnow.com/son-o...against-trump/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Perez
http://eldia.com.do/familia-de-tom-p...a-de-trujillo/


Febrillet murder trial delayed again
As had occurred on 12 previous times, the case against those accused of the murder of former UASD university rector Mateo Aquino Febrillet was delayed once again on Thursday, 24 February 2017 and postponed for 3 March.

But this time, before the new postponement, the National District prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso was able to formally charge the former president of the truckers union Fenatrado, Blas Peralta, and other suspects of the murder of Febrillet and attempted murder of others. 

Reynoso said there is proof the bullet that killed Febrillet came from Peralta’s gun. She explained he had received the gun from the police because he was an honorary member of the Police.  

During the hearing, the defense lawyers for Blas Peralta and former colonel Rafael Herrera Peña requested a suspension claiming his clients were ill, noting that Peralta and Herrera suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes and other complications. 

At the hearing, the National District prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso quipped that the colonel was in better shape than she was, but the court judge accepted the request for another postponement made by the defense. 
Lawyers of the Febrillet family complained this was the 13th time that excuses have been used by defense attorneys to delay the case. The period for preventive custody for the accused ends on 11 March 2017. 

Government prosecutors have accused Peralta of firing the shots that killed Febrillet. Retired police colonel Rafael Herrera Peña, Franklin Venega and Gerardino Félix Bautista Mena are accused of being accomplices in the murder of Febrillet and attempted murder of others. 

http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/02/2...irse-mal-salud
http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...a-blas-peralta


Earthquake felt in most of country
The Dominican Republic shook with the effects of the 4.5 Richter Scale earthquake in the evening of Sunday, 26 February 2017. The earthquake was one of the strongest in recent years. No damage was reported. 

The epicenter was reported to be 5 km southwest of Cevicos, near Cotuí in central Dominican Republic. 

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquak...0do3#executive


Comedian George Harris at Escenario 360
Miami-based Venezuelan stand up comedian George Harris is coming to Escenario 360 at the Galeria 360 mall this coming Friday, 3 March 2017 at 9pm. In his comedy act, “Típico” he has people laughing about the peculiarities that are common to Latin Americans all throughout the region. Tickets range from RD$1,000, RD$1,400, RD$1,800 and RD$2,500. 

Grupo Niche at the Hard Rock Live
On tour in Central America and the United States, the Colombian salsa performers, Grupo Niche, is booked at the Hard Rock Live in Blue Mall on 17 March 2017. The group is best known for their past hits “Ana Milé” and “Sin sentimientos” and their salsa music. 

Listen to their music at: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exPIkIkJ9dE


Hotel Burlesque at the Downtown Center
Directed by Maria Castillo, the cabaret show Hotel Burlesque Tropical Paradise, in its third edition, opens at the Downtown Center on Av. Rómulo Betancourt and Av. Núñez de Cáceres this weekend, Friday 17 March and 18 March 2017.

The show stars Carolina Rivas, Javier Grullón, Techy Fatule, Tony Almont, Gabi Desangles, Crystal Jiménez Vicens, Laura Lecler, Estrella Tió Rosene Pérez and Elena Castro. Musical direction is by maestro Gustavo Rodriguez with Maria del Mar.

Nine shows have been booked for several Friday and Saturday performances – 23, 24, 30, 31 March and 6, 7, 13 April 2017.   

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


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