You could pay even more than the 30% tax on your telecom bill
Tourism growing by bounds
Yaque River on the rise; Tavera dam water being released
Dominican docs now want a 25% wage hike
AMET agents caught peeing in public
Transportation magnate goes to trial for murder
Weather Service reports the sun will be shining
Major League Dominicans hit monstrous home runs
Nate Lashley wins Web.com Tour Corales
La Silla Awards: Recognizing the best in Dominican film-making
Not to be missed: The Santo Domingo Music Festival 
Mother's Day flower show at Agora Mall
Gustavo de Hostos at Hard Rock Live



You could pay even more than the 30% tax on your telecom bill
If you look at your telephone bill, including Internet and cable services, you will notice that there are three different charges (taxes) on your phone and Internet and cable billing totals: 18% for the Itbis (value added tax); 10% for the Selective Consumer Tax (the luxury tax) and 2% for the telecommunications development tax. 

We’re now finding out there is a legislative proposal to increase the telecommunications tax. The plan is to finance the National Emergency System 911 with the additional to the telecommunication tax.

The legislative initiative seeks to have service providers pay the government US$0.02 or its equivalent in Dominican pesos, according to the exchange rate established by the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, for each minute of voice communication via the local providers. The legislation also proposes another fixed amount of US $0.0025 for each international text message that ends up on Dominican telecommunications networks. 

According to experts, the taxes charged for telecommunications in this country are already the highest in the region. According to the ECLAC report, “The State of Broadband in Latin America and the Caribbean 2016,” the country is below average with regard to broadband access and much of this can be blamed on the high cost of the service. Regarding access to fixed broadband communication, the Dominican Republic is among the countries with the least penetration, in the neighborhood of 5% to 15% of the population in 2015. With regard to mobile wideband communication the numbers say that less than 50% of the population have access placing the country only above Haiti, Honduras and French Guiana. 

In March 2017, of the approximately 10,000,000 telephone lines, 66% belong to prepaid mobile phones. Estimates place the number of Internet accounts and the Dominican Republic at about 6.2 million.


Tourism growing by bounds
Most people would say that Dominican tourism is growing by “leaps and bounds,” however with the Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia announcing a near 17% growth in April 2017, there does not seem to be many leaps, but a single, very large, bound. 

According to the minister and his press release: “April was an exceptional month of national tourist growth. The numbers are a pleasant surprise, thanks to the efforts of the public and private sectors. He said that besides the 16.8% growth that represents only foreign visitors in April, the non-resident Dominicans reached a 15% growth rate. 

García told reporters from the Diario Libre that these numbers are only surpassed by growth that occurred in May, 2014 that was 17.15%, and that of September 2015 that reached 16.70%. He said that in April the country received a total of 557,519 nonresident individuals, 72,700 more than last year, representing an increase of 15%. 

The minister noted that tourists from Russia, the United States, Canada, Spain, Colombia, Panama and Argentina contributed the most to the double-digit increase. So far this year the United States heads the list of the most foreign visitors, followed by Canada, Germany, Russia, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Venezuela and Colombia.


Yaque River on the rise; Tavera dam water being released
The Dam and Reservoir Committee announced water from the Tavera Dam in Santiago is being released, even while rains have diminished over the Cordillera Central mountain range in the last day or so. 

At one point, the water level at the dam was at 324.8m above sea level, when 327m is the maximum permitted water level. At that moment some 442m³ of water per second were entering the Tavera watershed, and only 198m³ were being discharged through the floodgates or the hydroelectric plant. 

The technicians reported to the Diario Libre that the releasing the water represents no danger for families that live near the dam itself.  However, water levels of the Yaque River between Baitoa and Montecristi are expected to rise. Francisco Arias, the regional director Of Civil Defense, reassured families living near the dam itself and the Yaque River not to be alarmed by the false rumors of flooding, since the release of water that is not present any danger at this time.


Dominican docs now want a 25% wage hike
The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) began their campaign yesterday, 10 May 2017, to secure a 25% wage increase. Their campaign will continue with a national strike if the Ministry of Public Health and the National Health Service do not implement the 25% increase in the salaries of the doctors who work in the decentralized hospitals run by the state. Earlier this year, the CMD had reached an agreement for over the board wage increases for public hospital but the decentralized hospitals were not included because the medics employed in these are hired by individual contracts. 

Dr. Waldo Arielle Suero, the CMD head, told reporters on Wednesday, 10 May, that they are beginning a vigil with black lab coats at the Marcellino Velez Santana Hospital in Herrera and he warned that the protest would continue at different hospitals including the Juan Bosch in La Vega, the Hugo Mendoza pediatric center and the National Cancer Institute and other institutions. 


AMET agents caught peeing in public
Recent photos of members of the AMET traffic police urinating in public spaces sped through the social media and yesterday afternoon. AMET announced that the two officers involved (mentioning name and rank) had been discharged from the service. 

In a response to the citizen uproar, General Frener Bello Arias, the AMET commander, looked at the images and ordered an investigation into the case.   As a result, he ordered both individuals to be relieved of their duties at AMET. He told reporters from El Nacional newspaper that the behavior of the officers was against the rules and morals of the institution as well is a lack of respect for citizens and therefore unacceptable. 

General Bello told reporters: “We must practice by example, and this action does not correspond to the discipline are officers must display in public.” The general goes on to say the following: “while it is true that this is a physiological necessity, these men should have found alternatives so not to conduct themselves in an embarrassing manner. The streets and avenues of the country should be a source of pride and are institution takes seriously our mission to uphold these values.”


Transportation magnate goes to trial for murder
In spite of all of his efforts, the transportation businessman, Blas Peralta will have to go to trial for murder after the Third Chamber of the Penal Chamber of the Court of Appeals of the National District refused to accept an appeal in which the businessman sought to annul the ruling that ordered the start of the trial for the murder of the former rector of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Marco Aquino Febrillet. 

Peralta objected to the ruling handed down by the Sixth Court of Instruction of the National District last 13 March ordering him to stand trial for homicide. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals said that the decision to open a definitive trial could not be questioned appealed. The information was provided to 7 Dias news portal by Danilo Lapaix, the lawyer for Jessica Aquino the daughter of the unfortunate university professor. 

Peralta, the former president of the National Federation of Dominican Transportation (Fenatrado) aspired to be a deputy for the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) for the province of San Cristobal when he supposedly shot at the vehicle carrying Aquino Febrillet, who was campaigning for the Senate seat of the same province. The incident came after an argument between Peralta and another candidate, Edward Montas, who was traveling in the same vehicle as Aquino Febrillet.


Weather Service reports the sun will be shining
The National Weather Office (Onamet) is forecasting good weather nationwide for the next few days as a recent trough passes over the island and heads out to sea. 

For Santo Domingo there will be hot noontime temperatures of 29-31C, but in the early morning the temperatures will drop to a comfortable 22-24C. Puerto Plata temperatures will be slightly higher, with a forecast for 30-32C and lows of 21-23C. In Punta Cana, similar temperatures of 30-32C for the high and 20-22C for the low are forecast. 

As of Wednesday, 10 May 2017, the Onamet had only four provinces – La Vega, Duarte (El Bajo Yuna), Sánchez Ramírez and Santiago under green alert. 

http://onamet.gov.do/?param=pronostico-general


Major League Dominicans hit monstrous home runs
Marcel Ozuna of the Miami Marlins has hit the third longest home run so far this season in the major leagues, a 467-foot blast on 3 May 2017, which flew over the right-field wall of Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. The list of longest home runs is headed by Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals who, on 5 May hit a 469-foot home run and the Arizona Diamondback’s Jake Lamb hit one 468 feet. 

Last night Gary Sánchez, the catcher for the New York Yankees put one over the wall at the Great American Ball Park, the home of the Cincinnati Reds, that measured 448 feet.

Other Dominicans with tape measure home runs are Manny Machado, the third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles who hit one 466 feet, Hanley Ramirez the designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox (463 feet) and Manny Machado again at 456 feet. Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins it one 452 feet, and Jonathan Villar of the Milwaukee Brewers and one 451 feet on 1 May. Last on the list is Carlos Gomez of the Texas Rangers who launched a 450 foot moonshot.


Nate Lashley wins Web.com Tour Corales
34-year old Nate Lashley is the winner of the Web.com Tour Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship title held in Punta Cana’s Corales Golf Club. The winner gets a big boost for a chance to play in the PGA Tour. Lashley ended with a 20-under-par 268 score, one stroke in front of Argentina’s Augusto Nuñez. He earned US$112,500 in the tournament. Puerto Rico’s Rafael Campos (70) tied for third with Seth Reeves (67) and Tyler Duncan (68) at 18 under.

The PGA reported that Lashley, as the only multiple winner of the 2016 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, earned $140,897 in prize money to set a new single-season earnings record. He also had the lowest scoring average at 69.34 strokes per round and secured the Order of Merit title and the Roberto De Vicenzo Award with an impressive 10-shot win at the season-ending Shell Championship in Miami in December.

http://www.pgatour.com/webcom/daily-...mpionship.html
http://www.foxsports.com/golf/story/...epublic-050717


La Silla Awards: Recognizing the best in Dominican film-making
Dominican film makers will be honoring their best on Friday, 12 May 2017 during an event televised by Color Vision, Channel 9 from the auditorium of Casa San Pablo at 8pm. The Premios La Silla 2017 are chosen by judges selected by the Dominican Association of Movie Industry Professionals (Adocine) and cover 22 categories in movie making. 

The president of Adocine, Juan Basanta, promises an outstanding event this year. The event is produced by Raul Camilo and conducted by Frank Perozo. In their fourth year, this is the first time the awards will be televised. 

The awards also honor Camilo Carrau and Franklin Domínguez, whose film “La Silla” is regarded as the first made in the Dominican Republic. The awards were created by the late movie critic Alfonso Rodríguez. 

This 2017 nominees for the best film award are: La Familia Reyna, Cuentas por Cobrar, A Orillas del Mar, Catastrópico, Dinero Fácil and Flor de Azúcar.

The general public can vote for the best in the industry at the Adocine website at: http://www.adocine.org

See the list of nominees at:
http://adocine.org/nominaciones/


Not to be missed: The Santo Domingo Music Festival 
Organizers of this year’s Santo Domingo Music Festival extend a warm invitation to the general public to attend free shows at various public venues throughout the city, in addition to the general festival program. 

The ongoing schedule is:
Saturday, 13 May at 5pm: Flute Ensamble of the National Music Conservatory. Santa Barbara Church park. Free admission. 

Saturday, 13 May at 5pm: Ozama Baptist Church Symphony Orchestra. Megacentro shopping center food court. Free admission. 

Sunday, 14 May at 10am: Tropical Brass performance at the Columbus Park in the Colonial City. Free Admission. 

The Festival then starts in full with the schedule:

Thursday, 18 May: 
PreConcert talk at the Bar Juan Lockward of the National Theater by Margarita Miranda and Eduardo Villanueva at 7:30pm. Inauguration of the Santo Domingo Music Festival in the Carlos Piantini Hall at 8:30pm with the Festival Orchestra directed by maestro Jose Antonio Molina, accompanying at the piano by Behzod Abduraimov. 

Friday, 19 May: 
Master classes at the National Music Conservatory. 10am-1pm: professors Craig Mumm (viola) and Michael Stephan (tuba) and 4-8pm: professors Mary Ann Mumm (violin), Noemi Milodarovic (violin), Tom Kraines (violoncello), Jennifer Grim (flute), Spencer Phillips (double bass), Jason Smoller (oboe and English horn); 8-9:30pm: singing classes with Ana Lucrecia García (soprano), Anna Moroz (mezzosoprano), Francisco Corujo (tenor), Gunter Haumer (baritone). Rehearsal hall of the National Symphony Orchestra, National Theater.  

Saturday, 20 May: 
Master classes at the National Music Conservatory. 10am-1pm: Craig Mumm (viola), Michael Stephan (tuba), Jaime Morales (trombone), 

Monday, 22 May: 
PreConcert talk at the Bar Juan Lockward of the National Theater. Margarita Mitrov and Eduardo Villanueva at 7:30pm. Recital by pianist Gabriela Montero at the Carlos Piantini Hall of the National Theater at 8:30pm. 

Wednesday, 24 May:  
PreConcert talk at the Bar Juan Lockward of the National Theater. Margarita Mitrov and Eduardo Villanueva at 7:30pm. Beethoven 9th Symphony at the Carlos Piantini Hall of the National Theater at 8:30pm. Festival Orchestra and Choir. Conducted by Maestro Jose Antonio Molina. Soprano Ana Lucrecia García, mezzosoprano Anna Moroz, tenor Francisco Corujo and baritone Gunter Haumer. 

Friday, 26 May: 
Caribbean Gems at the Plaza de España. 8:30pm. Open to the general public. Orchestra of the Festival conducted by Maestro Jose Antonio Molina with Elioenai Medina conducting the Festival Choir. Performances by saxophonist Ed Calle 

For more information, call 809-532-6600 or 809-535-8690.


Mother's Day flower show at Agora Mall
More than 10,000 flowers and ornamental plants of a wide range of species, including a special collection of palm trees, are being placed in an area of 378 square meters at the main arcade of the Agora Mall shopping center to celebrate Dominican mothers. Mother’s Day in the Dominican Republic falls on the last Sunday in May (this year it’s 28 May 2017). 

The flower exhibition is a treat for shoppers and is promoted as the largest garden ever under a single roof and a gift to Dominican mothers. 

The event is organized by the National Botanical Garden and landscape artist Nataniel González and is sponsored by Orange telecom. 

The flowers garden will be on display from 19 to 23 May 2017. One of the attractions this year is the private collection of palm trees from many countries by Giusseppe (Pepino) Bonarelli. 


Gustavo de Hostos at Hard Rock Live
Tourism businessman-turned singer, Gustavo de Hostos (El Crooner), is inviting music aficionados to the Hard Rock Live at Blue Mall on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 9pm to enjoy his tribute to the all-time favorite songs by legends, such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Dean Martin. “Gustavo, amigos y puro jazz” is an event organized by Jazz en Dominicana. 

El Crooner will be performing with singer Sabrina Estepan and musicians Oscar Micheli (piano), Nicolás Calcaño (bass), Eric Litman (saxophone) and Wellington Valenzuela (drums).

Reservations Tel 809 686-7771