Oscar de la Renta Pediatrics Care Center in Punta Cana
Ministers Vargas and Antonio Rodrigue to meet in Santo Domingo
Minister Isa Conde says Punta Catalina has already lowered power prices
National Council of the Magistracy to choose new judges for Constitutional Court
Electoral Court restores PRD above PRSC
Rain rain, how much did it cost?
Traffic jam in Santo Domingo caused by water lilies
Banco Peravia is still in the news
A call to reduce teenage pregnancies  
Dominican Republic is still far from sufficient research investments
Book Fair also hosts writing seminars
Chilean bests José Joaquín Puello for presidency of Pan Am Sports Organization
Conjunto Clásico and Raulin Rosendo together at Hard Rock Live

Oscar de la Renta Pediatrics Care Center in Punta Cana
President Danilo Medina traveled to eastern La Altagracia province to attend the opening of the Oscar de la Renta Pediatrics Care Center in Punta Cana. The center will service a population of around 15,000 children that live in Verón and the Punta Cana tourism areas. Also attending the opening was First Lady Cándida Montilla, the president of the Grupo Puntacana Frank Rainieri and Annette de la Renta, widow of Oscar de la Renta.   

The health center was made possible through a strategic alliance between the Ministry of Public Health, the National Health Service (SNS) and the Fundación Grupo Puntacana, the Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio (USA) and the Edward Vía College Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), a private, non-profit osteopathic medical school located on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blaskburg, Virginia (USA). Dominican resident in Ohio, Rosario Mallen has been the liaison with the Akron Children's hospital. 

The center has a capacity to offer a range of services in ambulatory rehabilitation, general, family and preventive medicine, imaging, lab services, 24-hour emergency services and dental services.

While in the Punta Cana area, President Medina also delivered the expansion of the Instituto Agropecuario that will operate now as a vocational high school, benefitting 280 students in Santa Cruz del Isleño. Also, in Macao, Medina inaugurated the Centro Educativo del Nivel Primario Camila Henríquez Ureña. 


Minister Isa Conde says Punta Catalina has already lowered power prices
Minister of Energy and Mines Antonio Isa Conde told reporters from the nation’s newspapers yesterday that even without being completed, the new generating facility of coal-fired generators at Punta Catalina is making a favorable impact in the energy market. The construction has motivated competing generators to offer better prices for the sale of energy. 

Minister Antonio Isa Conde said that with the expiration of the Madrid Accord, the new public tenders for energy have brought better prices for the power distributors. Saying that, he urged for the prompt completion of the huge project. He said once in service, the fuel matrix for electricity generation will offer even more competitive prices in the contracts signed with the electricity distributors. 

He noted that the generation complex is being built with the latest technology to reduce the environmental impact of what is considered to be the world’s dirtiest fuel.

Ministers Vargas and Antonio Rodrigue to meet in Santo Domingo
The foreign ministers of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Miguel Vargas and Antonio Rodrigue will be meeting on Thursday, 27 April 2017, in Santo Domingo. Migration, bilateral trade and cooperation will be on the agenda. 

They previously met in Kingston, Jamaica during a meeting of the Cariforum, that coincided with the start of the government of President Jovenel Moise in Haiti in February 2017.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic highlighted the importance of the meeting to consolidate and strengthen relations between the two countries who share an island. There are expectations that initiatives will be proposed that would focus on the development of the border. 

The ministers will be discussing initiatives for attracting investment, construction of infrastructure and formalizing of trade, the generation of employment in the border region and improvement of quality of living standards for border province residents. 

The Ministry expressed satisfaction with the notice issued by the Embassy of Haiti in the Dominican Republic that, starting on 28 April 2017, the Haitian government would deliver the documentation requested by Haitians resident in the Dominican Republic so they can complete their procedures for legalizing their status in the Dominican Republic begun under the National Status Legalization Plan (PNRE) in 2014. Thousands requested Haitian identity documents such as ID cards, passports and birth certificates. 

Haiti is the second most important trading partner of the Dominican Republic. The DR and Haiti share a border of 300 km, that is crossed by hundreds of people each day as well as many goods.  The border region also endures illegal smuggling of arms and drugs. 

The Dominican Republic recently named Alberto Despradel (Chico) to be the new Dominican ambassador in Haiti, replacing long time Rubén Silié. Despradel who was the Dominican ambassador to Haiti during the government of former President Hipólito Mejía. 


National Council of the Magistracy to choose new judges for Constitutional Court
National Council of the Magistracy convened to work as of 15 May 2017 by President Danilo Medina will need to replace four judges of the Constitutional Court (TC), in addition to the five judges for the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and at least two judges of the Supreme Court of Justice. 

Of the 13 judges of the Constitutional Court, four end their terms on 22 December 2017. They were elected in 2011 for a six-year term. 

As reported in El Día on 27 April 2017, the National Council of the Magistracy will need to choose 13 of the 16 members of the Supreme Court of Justice. At least two of the judges will need to be replaced, while the others could be confirmed in their posts. Those that need to be replaced are judge Julio Castaños Guzmán, who resigned to take on his new responsibility as president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), and judge Martha Olga García Santamaría, given that she has reached the retirement age for judges (75 years).

The members of the Council of Magistrates of the Nation are: President Danilo Medina, Attorney General Jean-Alain Rodríguez, Supreme Court of Justice president Mariano Germán Mejía; Supreme Court of Justice judge Frank Euclides Soto Sánchez; the president of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez and the president of the Chamber of Deputies Lucía Medina, both of the ruling PLD party, and opposition senator José Paliza and deputy Josefa Castillo, as representatives of the party with the second largest representation in Congress, both of the PRM. 

Electoral Court restores PRD above PRSC
Shortly after President Danilo Medina scheduled a 15 May 2017 meeting for the National Council of the Magistracy that will choose the replacement judges for the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the TSE court annulled a Central Electoral Board (JCE) decision that had reinstated the composite count of votes to decide the majority order of political parties in the country. The majority order is crucial for the parties to have access to 80% of taxpayer funds for political activities. 

TSE presiding judge Mariano Rodríguez confirmed the criteria to be applied for the categorization of the political parties is that set in Act 31/2016 dating 8 May 2016. 

The newly appointed judges of the JCE had ruled on 7 February 2017 against a previous JCE order that was dated 8 May 2016, only a week before the general election date, whereby the political parties order would be decided only by the presidential vote, and not by the presidential, congressional and municipal votes as in the past. 

The new decision benefits the PRD, a close ally to the PLD into the 2016 election, and whose votes in favor of changing the constitution allowed for the re-election of President Danilo Medina, protested this decision. 

The decision reestablishes party rank as follows:  PLD in first place, PRM in second place, PRD in third and PRSC in fourth place. 

The change in the ranking affects the funds the party receives from the Central Electoral Board for partisan activities. 

The five judges of the TSE are scheduled to be removed and replaced during the 15 May 2017 vote for new judges by the National Council of the Magistracy (CNM), given that their terms have expired. 

Rain rain, how much did it cost?
Minister Gonzalo Castillo of the Ministry of Public Works and Communication is heading the effort to quantify the damages caused by the recent heavy rains in many parts of the country. Castillo wants to quantify the cost of the damage to present them to President Danilo Medina. 

According to Castillo: “It will take a few days to obtain an estimate.” A reconstruction commission is already in place in most of the affected areas. Members of the National Housing Institute, the Economic Dining halls and the director of the Presidential Social Plan are part of the commission. They are quantifying damages in Barahona, Pedernales, Azua, Peravia and San Cristóbal in the south.

Agriculture Minister Angel Estevez is also looking at crop damage in these areas. 

Damages reported by the COE talk of more than 2,500 houses affected by the rain and over 17,000 persons displaced from their homes and nearly 5 dozen communities cut off by the intense rains.

The National Weather Office (Onamet) has forecast a break in the heavy rains for Wednesday, but more rains are forecast as a new trough moves over starting Thursday, 28 April 2017. 

Traffic jam in Santo Domingo caused by water lilies
The floating bridge across the Ozama River was closed yesterday due after the Ministry of Public Works announced the urgent removal of the large amount of water lilies that were pushing against the bridge, possibly affecting its stability. 

According to the Diario Libre, the heavy rains brought the unusual amount of water lilies and other debris down the Ozama. 

Members of the Dominican Armada were working to remove the water lilies that stretched from shore to shore as their passage to the open sea was blocked by the floating bridge. 

Bridge traffic was diverted to the Ramon Matías Mella Bridge until the situation is resolved.

Banco Peravia is still in the news
The District Attorney of the National District said that she would request extraordinary disciplinary measures be used for one of the defendants in the Peravia bank fraud case.  The defendant, who had been overseas and upon his return, voluntarily turned himself in to the authorities in order to negotiate a plea deal with the government. The defendant promised to return RD$125 million in exchange for no jail time and protection from prosecution. 

A source revealed to El Nacional newspaper that Rolando Cabral Veras, the brother of Nelson Cabral, who was also accused of bank fraud, arrived in the country on Monday, 24 April 2017, to seek a plea deal with the Justice Department.  This would be of interest to the monetary authorities who are interested in protecting the savings of depositors. 

According to El Nacional’s 26 April 2017 issue, Cabral Veras was being held in the offices of the District Attorney awaiting the establishment of any coercive measures. The agreement with Cabral Veras would also implicate in addition to the payment of the RD$125 million, his collaboration with the Justice Department in its case against the bank officers. Cabral Veras, a well-known businessman in Puerto Rico and Florida, alleges that his good name was used to hide assets. Other defendants such as Omar Farias Luces have returned RD$40 million to the authorities.

A call to reduce teenage pregnancies  
A group of Dominican and international organizations called upon the National Congress yesterday to raise the legal age to 18 for both marriage and civil unions in the country. They noted that together with Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic occupies the number one position in all of Latin America and the Caribbean in the number of minors who are married or in a relationship. 

According to 7 Dias online news portal, the NGO Coalition for Infancy is composed of 12 nongovernmental organizations, among them Plan International. The NGOs have presented the initiative called #18NoLess. Their desire to increase the legal marriage age to 18 years without exceptions in the country comes perhaps as a result of recent news reports, particularly in the Diario Libre, which reported that just in the Maternity Hospital La Altagracia in Santo Domingo alone there were more than 4,500 births to mothers who were less than 18 years old. 

The NGO says that the Dominican state has the responsibility to protect children and teenagers “against the alarming numbers and different forms of violence.”

Information offered by the coalition indicates that 37% of the young girls and adolescents are married before 18 years of age that places the Dominican Republic “in the regrettable lead position in the region with regard to this issue.” 

The NGOs also pointed out many of the recent incidents of sexual abuse of minors by authority figures. 


Dominican Republic is still far from sufficient research investments
Gabriel Dutrenit, the keynote speaker at the opening session of the Forum of the Latin American Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (LALICS) taking place at the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC), told her audience that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are still far from the appropriate level of scientific and technological investments that have led developed nations to succeed. 

This lack of investment keeps their populations from having access to the best quality of life, said Dutrenit, a specialist in innovation economics. She said that in Latin America, governments have not been good at identifying investments in science and technology as a way of lowering poverty indexes. She said this is despite international statistics that indicate the direct tie between investments in science and the quality of life. She noted that generally speaking, private entities invest very little in science and technology alleging the uncertainties and economic instability relating to research and thereby leaving this responsibility to fall almost entirely on governments. 


Book Fair also hosts writing seminars
The 2017 International Book Fair being held in Santo Domingo this week has provided a space for anyone who wishes to learn how to write and study the classic authors as well as more modern authors. The programs at the Literary Workshops include poetry, novels, short stories and, something unique, the magic of cinematography. 

According to the Diario Libre of the 73 literary workshops programmed to take place nationwide, 54 of them are taking part in the Literary Workshop Pavilion at the fair. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, the book fair is held annually at the Plaza de la Cultura, just off Maximo Gomez across from the old US Consulate. 

According to spokesman for the Literary Workshops, there is something new every hour, and the aim “is for young people as well as adults to learn something about the art of writing while motivating them to read.” 

There are some 87 different activities programmed for the 2017 International Book Fair at the Literary Workshop.


Notorious Adriano Roman is dead
As will be cited on the front page of most of today’s newspapers, Adriano Roman, this evil scion of an immensely wealthy Santiago merchant, and the nefarious mastermind of two attempted homicides died on Wednesday at the Cabral y Baez Hospital in Santiago of cardiovascular complications. Roman was serving a 20-year term at the Rafey Men’s Prison for his role in the attempted execution of his former wife Miguelina Llaverias. At the same time, he was on trial for masterminding the attempted assassination of lawyer and journalist Jordi Veras some 80 months ago. 

Complaining of ill health, Roman recently spent six months hospitalized in a private clinic in Santiago. 
His lawyers had requested that he serve the remainder of his term under house arrest, but judge Ruben Dario De La Cruz turned down the request. 

Jordi Veras was the attorney for Miguelina Llaverías and was seeking that a multi-million peso judgment levied against Roman for his role in her attempted murder of Llaverías when he was ambushed in the parking lot of a local television station. He barely escaped with his life but was blinded in one eye.  


Chilean bests José Joaquín Puello for presidency of Pan Am Sports Organization
The president of the Chilean Olympic Committee, 55-year old Neven Ilic Álvarez bested Dominican José Joaquín Puello by one vote (26-25) in a second round vote that was necessary during the General Assembly of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) taking place in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Puello is a past president of the Dominican Olympic Committee. Previously, Ilic and Puello had defeated Brazil’s Carlos Nuzman. 

Ilic was elected for a four-year term. He said that preparations for the Pan American Sports Games in Lima 2019 are his number one priority. Ilic will replace Julio César Maglione who held a two year transitional term after the passing away of Mario Vázquez Raña in 2015. Vázquez Raña had held the position for around 40 years. 

As reported, the Dominican Republic secured the Caribbean country votes, but failed to convince all the Central American countries to back its candidacy. Some 41 countries voted, but there were 51 votes cast. This was because 10 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic) had double vote after having hosted the Pan Am Games. 


Conjunto Clásico and Raulin Rosendo together at Hard Rock Live
Puerto Rican orchestra Conjunto Clásico, best known for their salsa music, and Dominican Raulín Rosendo, also known for his salsa music and as a “sonero” are booked for a presentation on Friday, 12 May 2017 at Hard Rock Live. Conjunto Clásico and Rosendo have produced music together in the 80s with much success (Mama vieja, Lago de matrulla). Tickets are for sale online at Tickets Express, and at the box office of Hard Rock Live at the Blue Mall. 

Read about more calendar events at http://www.dr1.com/calendar