More free zone companies
Wall along river nearly complete
Paraguay President Horacio Cartes to visit 
Friends with benefits: Yolanda Martínez & Miguel Alfonseca
CEA pays RD$60 million in wages 
Unigold optimistic to be granted clearance for Neita exploration concession
More women in higher education than men
Haitians taking over from Dominicans in Montecristi
Pedro Brand Mayor shot at
Juan Luis Guerra booked for Soberano Awards
19C temperatures forecast
DR plays Canada in WBC on 9 March



More free zone companies
The Minister of Industry Commerce and Small and Medium Businesses (MICM), Temistocles Montás, in his role as president of the National Board of Free Zones (CNZFE) has announced the approval for the installation of 15 new businesses in export free zones. The companies will be located mainly in the cities of Santiago, Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Macoris and San Jose de Ocoa.

The new manufacturing companies represent an investment of RD$3,614.3 million and are expected to create 1,545 direct jobs. Montás highlighted that the new companies will generate foreign currency to the order of around US$20.4 million. 

In addition, a press release issued by the Ministry confirmed that a contract has been signed by the Dominican government and Eco Green Free Zone Park, SRL for the development and operation of the Industrial Luperon Verde Free Zone in Puerto Plata. This is an estimated investment RD$100 million and promises the creation of around 600 direct jobs.

http://www.diariolibre.com/economia/...ones-XX6473167


Wall along river nearly complete
The National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI) is on the final stage of the construction of a 2.5 meters tall clay wall along different sections of the Yaque del Norte River. At some sections the wall is seven meters high. 

The retaining wall will protect 8,000 tareas (1 tarea=629 square meters) of rice and banana farms as well as several communities in the province of Montecristi against flooding. 

President Danilo Medina, after touring the damage caused by the floods in November 2016, ordered the construction of the wall to protect the communities of Hatillo Palma, Villa Elisa, Palo Verde, Las Bananeras, Rincon Belen and Los Ahogados. 

http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/03/0...muro-rio-yaque


Paraguay President Horacio Cartes to visit 
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas announced that President of Paraguay Horacio Cartes will visit to be present at the Santo Domingo International Book Fair. Paraguay is the guest country this year. The book fair will take place from 21 April to 1 May 2017.  

On Monday 6 March 2017, Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas met with the President of Paraguay Horacio Cartes in Paraguay. The visit was to strengthen ties for better trade and investment relations between the two countries. The Ministry of Foreign Relations reported that Cartes, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Relations of Paraguay Eladio Loizaga, met Vargas in his official residence in Asunción.

It was agreed that there will be visa-free travel between the two countries. Vargas also met with Paraguay businessmen of the Paraguay Industrial Union (UIP) to establish commercial contacts. 

In 2016, Paraguay exported goods to the Dominican Republic to the value of US$8.5 million with very little being exported to there from the DR.

http://www.listindiario.com/las-mund...ler-dominicano


Friends with benefits: Yolanda Martínez & Miguel Alfonseca
TV investigative journalist Nuria Piera aired on Saturday, 4 March 2017 an investigative report on a tender for the redesign of the ProCompetencia promotional strategy and logo part of the developments during the first six months of TV and radio host and lawyer Yolanda Martínez’s tenure as president of ProCompetencia. The report focuses on wasteful spending and an alleged lack of competitiveness in Martínez’s decision-making. ProCompetencia was created to promote and guarantee free competition for market efficiency. This is the third time that ProCompetencia designs its logo. 

The TV report looks into the close relationship between Miguel Alfonseca and Yolanda Martínez that has been shared on their Instagram accounts. TV journalist Nuria Piera says they are more than close friends, hinting at how Martínez has used her position to benefit her friends and allies.  Alfonseca is better known as the top executive of Kraneo, a leading advertising agency.

Previously, Nuria Piera had aired two programs on ProCompetencia. The first was in 2012, when she highlighted the high cost of the agency to the government. She pointed out that the board’s expenses were exorbitant, running up government payroll expenditures to around RD$5 million a month.  However, because the government had failed to appoint an executive director, ProCompetencia was unable to carry out its mission. Piera called it a parasitical entity. 

In September 2016, Piera again focused on the agency when President Medina appointed TV host and radio broadcaster and lawyer Yolanda Martínez to replace past president, Michel Cohen, who had just released a series of studies conducted with IDB support on the monopolistic position of several leading Dominican companies. Cohen had a contract that had not yet expired. 

Shortly after the appointment of Martínez, in January 2017, an executive director would be named at the organization, Nilka Elisa Jansen. This meant ProCompetencia could get on with the business for which it was created, that is to foster free market competition. 

Piera on Saturday, 4 March 2017 would air a new report on ProCompetencia. The focus of the third and most recent TV news report concerns the RD$1.9 million winning bid to redesign the government agency’s logo. Piera points out that this was the third time in recent years the agency’s logo was redesigned.  The tender was won by a company headed by the sister of Miguel Alfonseca, the close friend of Martinez. 

Piera in the report makes the point that the bid for the logo design was issued in the middle of the Christmas holidays.  Indeed, the call for proposals was made on 19 December and the firms were given only eight calendar days (27 December) to present their designs. 

Piera found it strange that the lowest bid, submitted by NG Media, was rejected, even though it came in at almost half the price of the winning bid submitted by Tikitaka Producciones, the company with close ties to her friend. The ProCompetencia tender committee said NG Media had failed to meet the terms of the bidding process. But Piera claims that those terms for which their bid was disqualified from the competition were not expressly documented. 

The second lowest bid, that of Tikitaka Producciones, was instead granted the contract. As mentioned above, the company’s top executive is a sister of Miguel Alfonseca Montes de Oca. Likewise, Piera revealed that the owner of the registration of the name Tikitaka Producciones is Miguel Alfonseca Montes de Oca. 

Piera said that Martinez was not available for comment. 

On Monday, 6 March 2017, Martínez visited her past colleagues at the El Sol de la Mañana radio talk show to say that she had recused herself from the deliberations of the selection committee charged with the choosing the company that would redesign the logo.  She said she does not participate in tenders taking place at ProCompetencia. 

After the airing of the TV show, Martínez said she sent the case to the government Procurement Agency (Dirección General de Compras y Contrataciones) for an investigation into whether there were irregularities in the tender process and whether this should be definitely suspended. The director of the Procurement Agency, Yokasta Guzmán said they would issue a resolution with their opinion. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5LGPIGQPv0
http://www.7dias.com.do/portada/2017...mpetencia.html
http://www.diariolibre.com/economia/...ncia-II6486930


CEA pays RD$60 million in wages 
The State Sugar Council (CEA), for decades a defunct government institution, has maintained a payroll of around RD$60 million a month, as reported in El Dia. The CEA was created in the 60s to coordinate the work of the government state sugar mills. These were sold to the private sector during the Leonel Fernández governments, but the entity, as is evidenced by the high payroll, was kept on apparently for political patronage reasons. 

The RD$60 million payroll detail is from an audit carried out by the Chamber of Accounts, the government auditing entity, of CEA operations from 2012-2014. An El Dia newspaper report points out that the wages at the CEA run from RD$5,000 to RD$300,000. The total is more than the payroll at the Ministry of Energy and Mines (RD$18 million payroll) and the National Council for Aging Persons (RD$13 million payroll). The audit also revealed that a large number of the payroll payments are unsupported. At the time, the government did not take action. 

Last week, the Medina administration appointed a new director at CEA, former governor of San Pedro de Macoris, Pedro Mota, after the murder of two radio broadcasters lead to a scandal that revealed many of the shady deals going on at the defunct government institution. 

http://eldia.com.do/pago-nomina-del-...ras-entidades/


Unigold optimistic to be granted clearance for Neita exploration concession
Unigold Inc. mining company reported on 2 March 2017, that it has received notice from the Ministry of Energy and Mines will uphold its exclusive right to reapply for the Neita exploration concession pursuant to provisions of the Mining Law and the rules of the application of the Mining Law. The company says that consequently no other applications for the concession will be considered. Unigold told its shareholders that it expects to receive a final decision upon the completion of the evaluation of its application.

http://www.geologyforinvestors.com/d...on-concession/


More women in higher education than men
According to the National Statistics Office (ONE) there are 5,086,296 women in the country, more than the 5,082,867 men. 

In addition, according to ONE director, Alexandra Izquierdo, women are more likely to study at university, with 59.6% of the higher education students being women compared to 40.4% men. She said that 63.6% of those studying master’s degrees are women. 

However, despite the fact that a higher percentage of women are enrolled in post-secondary school programs, the rate of employment of women with university degrees is lower than that of men with 81.3% of men having a job post university and only 66.3% of women.

http://almomento.net/en-la-rep-domin...-la-one/295496


Haitians taking over from Dominicans in Montecristi
In the small communities of Palo Verde, Jaramillo, Juliana, Batey Madre, El Gomez, Cabuya, Sanita and Sequia in Montecristi province, which were established years ago, are now only occupied by Haitians, almost all undocumented, because the original inhabitants decided to leave.

According to provincial governor, Marcelino Cordero, the Dominicans slowly began to realize that it was almost impossible to survive there due to the lack of attractively-paying jobs and the increase in the level of crime. 

In these areas there is no police station, no electricity nor drinking water and a very poor road exists to reach them. The main source of work is on banana plantations, where the harvested produce is exported. There is also other work on the other farms but for very low wages.

Due to the almost total lack of Dominicans, especially in Jarmillo and Juliana, the Ministry of Education decided to close the schools as no children were attending. Given the situation, the Haitians began to arrive in large numbers and take over the homes previously occupied by Dominicans as even though the living conditions are so poor. The Haitian residents say, however, that their living conditions are better in these communities than what they experienced in Haiti.

http://elnacional.com.do/haitianos-o...nicanos-en-mc/


Pedro Brand Mayor shot at
On Saturday, 4 March, 2017 a man shot at the vehicle which was carrying the mayor of Pedro Brand along with his chauffer.

At the time of the shooting, Mayor Ramon Pascual Gomez (El Mello) and his chauffeur Luis Cepeda Azcona were on John F. Kennedy Avenue at the corner of Nunez de Caceres. They were travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser when an unknown man on a motorcycle came alongside and shot into the car. Luckily neither was injured. The motorcyclist escaped.

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...resion-a-tiros


Juan Luis Guerra booked for Soberano Awards
Singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra will be performing at the 33rd Soberano Awards 2017, the most important show business event held in the Dominican Republic, producer Edilenia Tactuk announced on 5 March 2017. The show airs on Tuesday, 28 March 2017. 

Guerra is one of the most recognized Dominican performers of all time. He is a winner of 18 Latin Grammys, three Grammy Awards (Bachata Rosa, La llave de mi corazón and the album he produced for Colombian Juanes). He has also on three occasions won the prestigious Gran Soberano of the Soberano Awards. 

He is best known for his innovative bachata and merengue. He will perform with his band 4-40 during the ceremony that begins with the red carpet runway at 7pm. It will be televised by Telemicro, Channel 5 from the National Theater in Santo Domingo. 


19C temperatures forecast
The Weather Office (Onamet) explained that the cold front moving over the country will continue to bring chilly temperatures and rains to the central Cibao provinces, the north, northwest and northeast. The weather system is being replaced by a high pressure system, but areas in the east and southeast will experience the rains as it moves south. Temperatures of 19C are forecast for this week in the early morning in Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.  

By Tuesday, 7 March 2017 the front will be over the Mona Channel between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Rains are forecast to continue due to the high levels of humidity the system will leave in its wake.

Coastal conditions continue to be dangerous with high waves, up to 10 feet high and small boats are advised to stay in port.

http://www.onamet.gov.do/?param=pronostico-general
http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...eaje-peligroso


DR plays Canada in WBC on 9 March
The Dominican Republic is the favorite as the World Baseball Classic opens today with games starting for Pool C in Miami at Marlins Park on Wednesday, 8 March 2017. The DR plays its first game against on Thursday at 6pm. The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. The DR plays Canada, Colombia and the United States in Pool C from 9 to 13 March 2017. The Dominican team is managed by Moisés Alou. 

The players are: 
Pitchers: Fernando Abad (BOS), Dellin Betances (NYY), Santiago Casilla (OAK), Alex Colomé (TB), Bartolo Colón (ATL), Johnny Cueto (SF), Samuel Deduno (DR), Jumbo Diaz (CIN), Jeurys Familia (NYM), Edgar Gardía (DR), Carlos Martínez (STL), Hector Neris (PHI), Ivan Nova (PIT), Wily Peralta (MIL), Alex Reyes (STL), Hansel Robles (NYM), Fernando Rodney (ARI), Bryan Rodríguez (SD), Enny Romero (TB), Luis Severino (NYY), Cesar Valdez (OAK), Edinson Volquez (MIA). 

Catchers: Wellington Castillo (BAL), Alberto Rosario (STL). 

Position players: José Bautista (TOR), Adrian Beltré (TEX), Robinson Canó (SEA), Nelson Cruz (SEA), Manny Machado (BAL), Starling Marte (PIT), José Reyes (NYM),  Mel Rojas (ATL), Carlos Santana (CLE), Jonathan Villar (MIL). 

The defending champion team first met on 6 March 2017 in Bradenton, Florida for the pre-series practices. 

https://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/bracket
http://m.mlb.com/news/article/213140...nican-preview/
http://www.baseballamerica.com/inter...lassic-roster/

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


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