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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Monday, 12 June 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Monday, 12 June 2017

    Nelson César Toca Simó named Minister of Industry and Commerce
    Kazakhstan sees in DR role model for tourism development
    Ministry of Environment bans bird hunting
    Free zones show growth in 2016
    EGE Haina to build 48-MW wind farm in Dominican Republic
    Green March calls for change of judges in Odebrecht corruption case
    Roberto Santana on risks of sending Angel Rondón to La Victoria
    Summaries of the Odebrecht accusations and defense positions
    Air Cocaine French convict deported to France
    Dominican wins 2017 Berklee prodigy scholarship
    Duke’s Blue Devils to play Dominican basketball team
    Bachata at Casa de Teatro

    Nelson César Toca Simó named Minister of Industry and Commerce
    President Danilo Medina replaced Minister of Industry and Commerce Temístocles Montas with architect Nelson César Toca Simó by Decree 210-17. 

    Montas is in pre-trial detection. He faces charges of receiving money from Angel Rondon Rijo to ensure the transacting and financing of the loans for Odebrecht projects. He is also accused of accepting money for his pre-candidacy of the Presidency in 2008, 2012 and 2016, as reported in Diario Libre. 

    7 Dias reports that back in 2008, Toca Simó was removed from the Department of Urban Planning of the National District Municipality (ADN) by the Council of Aldermen of the National District after accusations of presenting obstacles to the granting of construction licenses and permits for changes in land use. The motion was backed by former city mayor Roberto Salcedo. 

    A year later, Toca would be named by then President Leonel Fernandez to the post of deputy secretary of Economy and Planning. He worked closely with Montas at the Ministry of Economy and Planning. 

    Diario Libre reports he remained on the payroll of the Ministry of Economy and Planning as of September 2016 in the role of advisor with a monthly wage of RD$255,000. In January 2017, he appeared at the Ministry of Industry of Commerce with the same wage of RD$255,000 and the same position as advisor.

    Kazakhstan sees in DR role model for tourism development
    The Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan signed a memorandum on tourism cooperation during the visit of Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas to Kazakhstan. The agreement was signed in a ceremony presided over by Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas and Kazakh Culture and Sports Minister Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, who also serves as the government’s tourism affairs coordinator.

    The trip was part of the Dominican Republic’s participation in the Expo 2017 Astana international exhibition, open from 10 June to 10 September 2017. 

    The agreement is aimed at promoting, improving and supporting efforts and activities of tourism-related professional institutions and other organizations.

    A press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Relations indicates that the parties pledged to pay special attention to the development of bilateral tourism relations with a view to strengthening their economies and fostering greater mutual understanding of their respective cultures. It added that they would focus on the exchange of experiences in the financing area and skills development for small and medium enterprises in the tourism sector.

    Vargas said that 4,500 Kazakh citizens traveled to the Dominican Republic in 2016, and the number is expected to increase this year. 

    Mukhamediuly says the Dominican Republic is a model for further developing the Kazakhstan tourism industry.

    Kazakhstan has set a target of receiving around 8 million visitors annually by 2025. The Dominican Republic received upwards of 6 million travelers in 2016.

    Ministry of Environment bans bird hunting
    The Ministry of Environment announced a two-year ban on hunting and capturing wild birds nationwide. Resolution 0019-2017 signed by Minister of Environment Francisco Domínguez Brito prohibits collecting eggs and destroying bird nests. 

    The ban covers all species, including migratory birds. The ban begins on 29 July 207. As of that date all hunting permits are suspended. The ban is to protect many species that are threatened by extinction.

    Free zones show growth in 2016
    The National Council of Export Free Zones (CNZFE) presented its Statistical Report 2016.  The report indicates that there are 645 free zone manufacturing industries in operation in the Dominican Republic. 

    CNZFE director Luisa Fernandez said that the sector is showing steady growth. She said there are now 68 industrial free zone parks in operation nationwide, up 4.6% compared to 2015. Exports from the duty free zones accounted for 55.7% of all exports of the Dominican Republic in 2016.

    Download the statistical report at

    EGE Haina to build 48-MW wind farm in Dominican Republic
    EgeHaina power company announced the start of construction of a 48.3-MW wind farm in southwestern Enriquillo, in Barahona province. 14 wind turbines will be installed next to the existing 49.5-MW Larimar wind farm inaugurated in March 2016. Further to the south, EgeHaina also operates the large Los Cocos Eolic Park in Pedernales. EgeHaina operates three wind farms and one solar (in San Pedro de Macorís), adding 128.5 MW of clean energy to its portfolio. 

    EGE Haina's general manager Marcelo Aicardi said that once the project is in operation, the company will have invested more than US$400 million (EUR356.6m) in renewable energy in the Dominican Republic. 

    Green March calls for change of judges in Odebrecht corruption case
    During the Sunday, 11 June 2017 protest in San Pedro de Macorís, spokespeople for the Green March called for a change of three of the Supreme Court of Justice judges appointed to decide on the Odebrecht corruption case. 

    The citizen movement spokespeople accuse judges Hiroito Reyes, Frank Soto and Alejandro Moscoso Segarra of strong ties with the interests of the ruling PLD political party. The manifesto argued that the three judges are known for favoring corrupt PLD officials handing down extraordinarily lenient sentences in the past. 
    Speaking at the march, psychiatrist José Dunker spoke fo the strong political ties of the judges. 

    Spokespeople for the movement also called for President Danilo Medina to sit for questioning. “There are serious indications of illegal financing of his past two electoral campaigns using Odebrecht funds,” said the movement in the reading of the Green March manifesto. 

    "That no member of the Odebrecht quagmire goes unpunished," said the proclamation. This was in reference to statements by president of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Perez (PLD-National District) who said he was able to navigate in the mud without getting sullied. The manifesto also called for the criminal prosecution of Odebrecht project overvaluations, the contract for the Punta Catalina plant and the irregular sale of the lands of the State Sugar Corporation (CEA) that triggered a tragedy in San de Macorís. 

    Thousands of persons from La Altagracia, El Seibo, Hato Mayor and La Romana participated in the San Pedro de Macorís march that peacefully ended at the San Pedro de Macorís Cathedral. 

    The Green March Movement called for a national march in the National District on Sunday, 16 July 2017.

    Roberto Santana on risks of sending Angel Rondón to La Victoria
    Prisons expert Roberto Santana recommends Odebrecht lobbyist Angel Rondon, accused in the US$92 million Odebrecht bribes scandal, be taken to a new model penitentiary and not to the La Victoria jail where he was assigned to by judge Francisco Ortega. In an interview with Listín Diario, Santana recommended Rondon be taken to the Manoguayabo special operations jail, where there are many inmates from the Paya case. 

    Santana is the director of the Academia Regional Penitenciaria, and a regional expert on penitentiary systems. He has been recognized for his outstanding work in implementing model jails in the Dominican Republic. 

    He said that if Rondon is taken to la Victoria he will be able to continue doing “anything” because in that jail there are no guarantees. 

    Santana observed that when a person is sent to jail it is for different reasons – for example, if that person is a threat to society or his or her freedom is an obstacle to the judicial case in which he or she involved must be taken into consideration.  

    He also observed the Medina administration could be affected. “If something happens to Rondón in jail, what is the population to think… that he did it to himself or that those who do not want him to talk were responsible.” He explained that if something happened to Rondon the public is going believe the government silenced him, since everyone knows the accused are government officers. 

    Santana said in La Victoria Rondon’s life is at risk because anyone fearing that Rondon would “spill the beans” could attempt to harm him while in jail. Rondón is the only of the 14 accused by the judiciary that was sent to La Victoria Jail. He is accused of being the middleman used by Odebrecht to bribe government officials and legislators. 

    Santana argued that Rondón is the only one who can offer precise details on the responsibilities of the others involved because he was identified by Odebrecht as being the messenger that delivered the bribes. 
    "If there is no guarantee that that person (Rondón) will be safe, that he will continue to be alive, to be in health, then who is going to make the accusations," wondered Santana. He expressed his concern that “the key informant in the case is being sent to the most vulnerable jail or detention center”.

    Santana said there is a high possibility the country could be left without being able to bring to justice those who authorized and accepted the bribes (because of the Attorney General homologation deal with Odebrecht that released the company and affiliates from responsibility) and without the messenger that delivered the bribes. “If we lose those two components, then I ask, is there a case? Probably there will not be a case,” said Santana. 

    Santana recalled that Rondón, after learning that he was being sent to La Victoria, stated: “Now is when this is going to start.” He said that is a statement of accepting a challenge, an announcement of confrontation to come. 

    Rondón has refuted having carried out the bribes. While he has accepted that he received an amount around US$92 million from Odebrecht, he has insisted these were his fees for helping the company secure the contract work from the Dominican government. 

    Santana said he releases judge Ortega from responsibility, because all he did was accept recommendations made by the prosecutors.

    Summaries of the Odebrecht accusations and defense positions
    Diario Libre newspaper published this Friday a summary of the accusations to the 13 government officials, suppliers and legislators involved in the Odebrecht bribes scandal. 

    Acento news portal also shares the defense bar arguments rendered during the three-minute window offered to each of the accused in the hearing with judge Francisco Ortega. 

    Nuria Piera dedicated her Monday TV investigative program to summing up what the Odebrecht scandal means for the country. She points out the contradiction between the five-months investigations the Attorney General took to prepare the case to just submit 14 persons to the judiciary. Piera speculates it will be up to the United States government to release the longer list of those involved or to use the information for negotiations with the Dominican government.

    Air Cocaine French convict deported to France
    One of four French men sentenced to 20 years in jail for participating in the trafficking of 1,500 lbs of cocaine in 26 suitcases, Alain Marc Paul Marie Castany, was deported to France to serve the remainder of his sentence, reported the Attorney General Office (PGR). 

    Castany is one of four men accused in the case. Others are pilots 55-year old Pascal Jean Fauret and 56-year old Bruno Odos and passenger Nicolas Pisapia. 

    As reported in El Nacional, Castany had secured his release after appealing the sentence when he suffered a traffic accident and may lose one of his legs. The newspaper reported the National District Court of Appeals had confirmed the 20-year sentence to the Frenchman. 

    The case is known internationally as part of the Air Cocaine operations. The Frenchmen were arrested on the evening of 19-20 March 2013, shortly before the departure of a leased Falcon 50 from Punta Cana International Airport to St. Tropez, France. Pilots Fauret and Odos were also on conditional release and escaped on a boat to the French Caribbean with the help of Frenchman Christophe Naudin in October 2015, later traveling to France. They now face charges in France.

    Dominican wins 2017 Berklee Prodigy Scholarship
    Dominican electric bass guitar player Ernesto Núñez won the Miguel Bosé grant, presented by the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation on 9 June 2017. The award is given to promising young musicians that could otherwise not afford to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The 22-year old electric bass player won a US$200,000 Prodigy Scholarship to cover his studies for four years starting this fall. He will study contemporary music writing production. He competed against Hispanic musicians from the Americas, Spain and Portugal.  Núñez plays with the BeCrazy band. 

    Miguel Bosé was present to grant the scholarship that carries his name. In addition, the school offers scholarships sponsored by Enrique Iglesias and Juan Luis Guerra scholarships. Guerra is a graduate of Berklee College of Music (1982).

    Duke’s Blue Devils to play Dominican basketball team
    Duke University’s Blue Devils men’s basketball team has chosen the Dominican Republic national team to play several training camp / exhibition games next season. The team will play summer exhibition games against the Dominican national basketball team in August 2017 as the Dominican team prepares to compete in FIBA World Cup qualifiers. 

    Coming with the team is legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K), who has lead the US dream team to three consecutive basketball Olympic gold medals (Beijing, London and Rio) and the past two world cups (Turkey and Spain). 

    The NCAA allows teams to take overseas trips once every four years and permits them to have early practice time to prepare. The extra practice will be valuable for the Duke team that is welcoming six new freshmen next year and losing eight scholarship players.

    The games will be played at the Carol Morgan School basketball facility in Santo Domingo, Rafael Uribe, president of the Dominican Basketball Federation told Diario Libre. 

    The games are especially important for the Dominican team as it prepares for the first round of FIBA World Cup qualifying tournaments. Shortly after, the Dominican national team will travel to Montevideo, Uruguay to play 28-30 August in Group C of the FIBA AmeriCup 2017, an actual FIBA 2019 World Cup qualifier. There the Dominican national team will play against the United States, Panama and Uruguay.

    In addition to the Uruguay FIBA AmeriCup, groups A, B and D will be playing in Medellín, Colombia (25-27 August) and Bahía Blanca, Argentina (27-29 August). The winner from each group will advance to the final qualifying round, along with the Argentinean team that automatically qualified because of its status as the main organizer of the competition. The final phase will be played in Cordoba, Argentina from 2-3 September, where the winners of the semi-finals will square off in the title game.

    For its part, Group A will be played from 25-27 August in Medellin, Colombia and is composed of Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia and a South American country to be determined. In Group B of continental competition will be based in Bahía Blanca, Argentina and will be in action from 27-29 August, along with the Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Canada and Argentina.

    The Dominican Republic will host a FIBA Americas Qualifier (most likely at the Gran Arena del Cibao in Santiago) on 27 November 2017, when it will face Canada. The team will have previously traveled to US Virgin Islands for a first part of the tournament (24 November). The Dominican team, which is coached by Melvyn Lopez, is in Group D, along with the Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Canada. 

    The team needs a top-three finish to get them into the Second Round and play six more games against the top three sides from Group B, which consists of Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and a team still to be announced.

    The participating teams seek to earn one of four slots available to the Americas in the 2019 FIBA World Basketball Cup to take place September 2019 in China. Only seven teams will participate in the China event representing Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe and America, and the winner of the gold medal in the Rio Olympic Games and the host country of the event (China). 

    The Dominican Republic qualified to the FIBA AmeriCup 2017, while capturing the bronze medal of the 2016 Centrobasket Championship.

    The FIBA AmeriCup and FIBA World Cup are organized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). 

    Follow the Dominican Republic team in the Americas qualifiers:

    Bachata at Casa de Teatro
    Casa de Teatro presents bachata singer Klaudio Viel. The show starts at 8:30pm at the cultural center located in the Colonial City. Viel is promoting his new song, “Pideme lo que quieras.”
    Last edited by Dolores; 06-12-2017 at 03:20 PM.


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