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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Monday, 19 June 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Monday, 19 June 2017

    School to resume 21 August 2017
    Sir Richard Branson campaigns for sharks in DR
    RD$455 billion in pension funds
    Government issues bonds to pay interest rate charges on public loans
    Sovereign bonds for Punta Catalina violates tender
    Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort could be ordered to stop construction
    Irritating jail privileges for former government officials 
    14-year old injured by Haitian with machete recovers with donations
    Another drug haul at Multimodal Punta Caucedo
    Colombian arrested in drug operation
    Dominican colonel arrested in Puerto Rico for drug trafficking
    Dominican volleyball team wins first two in Pan Am Cup
    Opera singing at the Palacio de Bellas Artes
    International Yoga Day on 25 June 2017

    School to resume 21 August 2017
    The Ministry of Education announced that the new school year in the Dominican Republic will begin on Monday, 21 August 2017. This applies for both public and private schools. Minister of Education Andres Navarro said that for the 2017-2018 schoolyear, the government has added 100 new classroom buildings. He said some 4,000 new teachers are being hired.

    Sir Richard Branson campaigns for sharks in DR
    The Ministry of Environment announced a two-year ban on the capture and sale (either domestically or for export) of all species of sharks, rays, parrotfish and sea urchins within the jurisdictional waters of the Dominican Republic. 

    Minister of Environment Francisco Dominguez Brito made the announcement when accompanied by entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist Sir Richard Branson, best known for the Virgin brand companies. Branson visited accepting an invitation by Minister Domínguez. 

    Domínguez stressed Resolution No. 023/2017 was issued to protect the oceans and marine species and thanked Branson for his support. 

    Branson explained that he is backing efforts in the Caribbean to put a stop to the capture of sharks and other species. He spoke of his pleasure in visiting to celebrate the protection of these species for future generations. 

    Domínguez said it was a first step, a call to the need to protect the species that are guarantees to health of survival of marine ecosystems, such as the sharks, the sea urchins and parrotfish. “We are fully aware that a simple ban will not resolve the problem and it will be a greater challenge to enforce the ban. But this time we trust that we have the support of organizations such as CODOPESCA, the Dominican Armada and SENPA, with which we are coordinating this effort,” said Domínguez. 

    The minister of Environment highlighted that foremost the public needs to come forth in support of the ban by not consuming these species and denouncing the stores and restaurants that sell them. 

    Dominguez acknowledged that thousands of fishermen make a living capturing these species, but he stressed the importance of the parrotfish for the wellbeing of coral reefs. “If we do not act now, we will end up destroying it all and then there will not be work for the fishermen, nor will there be ecosystems and we will not have a future if we continue in this direction,” he said.

    The resolution instructs the Deputy Ministry of Coastal and Marine Resources and that of Protected Areas and Biodiversity and the National Service for Environmental Protection (SENPA) in coordination with the Dominican Fishing and Aquaculture Council (CODOPESCA) and the Dominican Armada to enforce the ban. 

    Prior to the presentation, biologists Ruben Torres of Reef Check, Omar Shamir Reynoso of the National Authority on Marine Affairs (Anamar) and Yolanda Leon of Jaragua Group made presentations on the environmental situation in the Dominican Republic and the protection of marine species. Freddy Ginebra served as the master of ceremony. 

    In addition to Sir Richard Branson, among others present was the ambassador of the United Nations and executive director of We Are the Oceans (WATO) Paolo Zampolli.

    RD$455 billion in pension funds
    With 70% invested in government CDs and bonds issued by the Central Bank and the Ministry of Hacienda, the pensions of the Dominican System of Pensions have reached RD$455,322.1 million as of 31 March 2017, according to Bulletin 55 of the Superintendence of Pensions (SIPEN). 

    Of the total, RD$449,873.5 million corresponds to individual accounts of workers affiliated to the Dominican System of Pensions, or 98.8%. 

    Of the RD$455 billion, RD$187,280.06 million or 45.32% is invested in Central Bank certificates of deposit. Another RD$111,542.33 million, 27%, is invested in Ministry of Hacienda bonds. 

    Of the remainder:
    RD$86,425.79 (20.9%) in investment portfolios of commercial banks; RD$14,635.76 million (3.6%) in debt securities of private companies; RD$10,453.61 million (2.5%) in savings and loan associations; 
    RD$839.04 million (0.2%), in savings and credit banks; 
    RD$1,253.65 million (0.3%) in investment funds; 
    RD$534.87 million (0.1%) in multilateral organizations
    RD$221.64 million (0.5%) in the National Exports Bank (Bandex).

    Government issues bonds to pay interest rate charges on public loans
    Economist José Rijo Presbot commented when interviewed on El Dia on Channel 11 TV by Huchi Lora and Javier Cabreja that the government has had to make new bond placements to keep up to date with interest payments on public debt. Rijo said that the foreign debt has grown significantly during the Danilo Medina administrations (2012-2017). He said that this year only in interest payments the country would have to pay RD$114 billion. He said the foreign debt of the non-financial public sector had grown 32.7% from September 2012 to 38.8% in June 2017. He said the government had paid RD$39 billion to public sector bondholders, or about 34% of the total debt. 

    “But what is most serious is that to pay those RD$39 billion, the government had to issue RD$17 billion in local and global bonds,” he said. 

    He said the RD$114 billion in interest rates for the foreign debt accounts for 22% of the National Budget, not including the financial public sector debt, held by the Central Bank, with CDs issued for around RD$470 billion. He said that usually people only talk about the non-financial public debt, forgetting the Central Bank debt of RD$470 billion or around US$10.2 billion. 

    Rijo said that at the present pace the foreign debt this year could end at more than 52% of GDP, up from 42.1% in 2012 when Medina became President.

    Rijo alerted that the government is trying to give the impression it is cutting expenses in order to justify an increase in taxes. He said the government is trying to reduce the fiscal deficit that is at around RD$9 billion. He observed that if the authorities do not demonstrate they really want to end corruption, an increase in taxation could be difficult to achieve.

    Sovereign bonds for Punta Catalina violates tender
    The National Committee to Combat Climate Change (CNLCC) denounced that the recent issuing of US$500 million in sovereign bonds to finance the Punta Catalina thermoelectric power central violates the tender conditions of the project that explicitly said this type of financing would not be valid for the construction of the project. CNLCC says despite the clause in the tender, the government would later send the power central’s contract for approval to Congress establishing the possibility of using sovereign bond financing. 

    The committee says the tender established that Punta Catalina was envisioned as a “turnkey” project meaning the contractor was in charge of securing the financing even when the government guaranteed the payment of the loan.  

    Odebrecht had presented BNDES, the Brazilian export agency, as the financier of 80% of the project, but with the Lava Jato corruption scandal in Brazil the funding dried up. 

    The CNLCC said that the government has used the savings from the nation’s petroleum bills, with the drop in the price of fuel, to advance the construction and in a late development borrowed US$500 million. 

    The CNLCC points to the violation of the tender, Environmental Law 64-00, National Development Strategy Law 1-12, the Constitution in the construction of the project by the Medina administration. 

    CNLCC says that the registration as a supplier to the government was suspended in February 2017, but the government has paid RD$9 billion from January to May 2017 to Odebrecht, and will now advance the US$500 million from the June sale of sovereign bonds.

    Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort could be ordered to stop construction
    Authorities of Cabarete are expected to deliver a construction stop order to Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort for the construction of a hotel on the beach that is considered to be in violation of zoning laws. Rafael Martínez, president of the council issuing the order, said that the executives of the company have not been able to present any document confirming pertinent permits or clearances to carry out the works. 

    As reported, the zoning authorized height for constructions in the area is three floors and Lifestyle is building five floors. Furthermore, there have been complaints that the builders are modifying an area of the beach within 60 meters for a Beach Club and Restaurant that also would be in violation to zoning rules.

    Irritating jail privileges for former government officials 
    Listín Diario reported on Sunday, 18 June 2017 of the privileges granted at the Najayo Model Jail to the government officials in pre-trial detention. The rules of the Najayo Model Jail are that all inmates are treated equal. 

    However, the reality is much different. Listin Diario reports an exclusive entrance has been prepared for the visits to the Odebrecht-related arrested men, so they do not have to be subjected to the long lines and search procedures normal people have to undergo. Those accused of the Odebrecht bribes -- Temístocles Montás, César Sánchez, Ángel Rondón, Víctor Díaz Rúa, Ruddy González, Andrés Bautista, Conrado Pittaluga y Máximo De Oleo -- are using the entrance for the jail staff. 

    There is no restriction on color of clothing for those entering to see these prisoners. At the usual entrance, anyone with a green shirt will be turned back because it is the color used in the inmate uniforms. 

    Listín Diario also mentions that the only day when children can visit is on Saturday, but there has been flexibility with that rule for the Odebrecht arrest. 

    In a late development on Sunday, 18 June 2017, one of the inmates, Cesar Sanchez left the jail to be hospitalized.

    14-year old injured by Haitian with machete recovers with donations
    Media reports say that the 14-year old Fausta Antonia Sena García who was attacked by a Haitian with a machete is recovering. The child lost her arms severed by the unnamed Haitian citizen who reportedly was enamored by the child. Three of the 24 machete injuries were to her neck. 

    The child is recovering in a private clinic from a bacterial infection caused by the wounds. What is known that on 17 May 2017, the 14 year old was at the La Pequita River in Pedro Brand when was attacked by the Haitian after neither she nor the family accepted the relationship. 

    The child was taken to Darío Contreras Hospital to be cured, but then an anonymous person called and said that he would cover the costs of a private clinic and help get the prosthesis for artificial limbs. As reported, it is a Canadian who has offered to help remodel the family home. 

    The family says the Police are searching for the Haitian but his whereabouts are yet unknown.

    Another drug haul at Multimodal Punta Caucedo
    The National Drug Control Agency announced the seizing of a cargo of 341 packages of white powder, presumed to be cocaine, at Multimodal Puerto Caucedo port in Boca Chica municipality. The DNCD says the drugs arrived in a freight container from South America. The packages were sent to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences for determining what type of drug and the exact weight.

    Colombian arrested in drug operation
    Colombian John Perozo was arrested in a National Drug Control Agency operation in Juan Dolio, San Pedro de Macoris. The authorities seized 860 packages of cocaine stashed inside a closet in a villa in the Cabamar development in Juan Dolio. During the operation, the authorities also seized two guns, cell phones and other items to be used as evidence in the incrimination of the accused. Lab tests will be conducted to confirm the white substance is cocaine. 

    The DNCD reports having seized 1,925 packages of cocaine in the months of May and June 2017.

    Dominican colonel arrested in Puerto Rico for drug trafficking
    Army colonel Rafael Collado Ureña was arrested at the San Juan, Puerto Rico Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), while allegedly attempting to complete a drug trafficking operation with undercover DEA agents. The operation was carried out jointly with National Drug Control Agency agents who in Dominican territory seized 12.3 kilos of cocaine part of the drug trafficking network associated with Collado Ureña. 

    El Día recalled that Collado, attired in his army uniform, had accompanied the coffin during the burial of former colonel Amado Gonzalez Gonzalez in 2009 after the later was murdered on orders by Puerto Rican capo Jose David Figueroa Agosta. While in active service, González was known to have collaborated with the drug trafficking operations. 

    When journalists asked about why he his accompanying the coffin, he said that late officer was his class promotion friend. El Día reports that Collado Ureña graduated from the Academia Militar Batalla de las Carreras in 1990 and had served for more than 27 years in the army.

    7 Dias reported that after the colonel’s arrest in San Juan, Minister of Defense Rubén Paulino Sem ordered his suspension from the Army and said he is coordinating with DEA agents for his return to the Dominican Republic.

    Dominican volleyball team wins first two in Pan Am Cup
    The Dominican Republic defeated Trinidad & Tobago in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-20) in the first match of the 16th Pan American Cup championship on Saturday, 17 June 2017 in its first match. Then on Sunday, 18 June the Dominican women’s volleyball team played Chile, winning in straight sets 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-9). 

    Marcos Kwiek, coach of Dominican Republic explained regarding to the game with Chile: “We are teams going through different process. They are a very young team in the beginnings while we have some young players also but with a lot of international exposure. It was the first match of Bethania after the season in Russia and the team is getting into rhythm.”

    The next game is this Monday, 19 June against Canada. Then the DR will play the teams of Cuba on 20 June and Peru on 21 June. 

    Defending champions Dominican Republic, Cuba and United States are the favorites for the top positions of the overall standings of the Women’s Pan American Cup in Lima and Cañete, Peru from 17 to 25 June 2017.

    Dominican team members are: 
    Niverka Marte, Camil Domínguez, setters
    Brenda Castillo, Ana Yorkira Binnet, liberos
    Annerys Valdez, Marianne Fersola, Yineiry Martínez, middle blockers
    Bethania de la Cruz, Brayelin Martínez, Yonkaira Peña, Erasma Moreno, left outside hitters
    Gaila González, Gina Mambrú, Joselina Rodríguez, right outside hitters,%...20Am%20Cup.htm

    Opera singing at the Palacio de Bellas Artes
    The National Lyrical Company (Compañía Lírica Nacional) presents a concert at the Palacio de Bellas Artes on Tuesday, 20 June 2017 in honor of teachers in the Dominican Republic. The concert marks the National Day of the Teacher. 

    Soprano Ondina Matos, director of the company that is under the Ministry of Culture, said the concert will also honor pianist Liam Brugal, who for years taught for free generations of Dominican singers and piano players. 

    The program for the evening is:
    Viens Malika (L. Delibes) with Antonia Chabebe and Dorka Quezada. 
    La Mia Dorabella (Mozart) with Engel Brito, Alberto Duran and Franklin Melo).
    Mal Regendo all’aspro assalto (Verdi) with Belkys Hernández and Otilio Castro.
    Solenne in quest’ora (G. Verdi) with Juan Tomás and Alberto Durán. 
    Dunque propio finite (G. Puccini) with Pura Tayson, Raquel Payán, Otilio Castro and Eduardo Mejía)
    Chi mi frena en tal momento (G. Donizetti) with Paola González, Vivian Lovelace, Modesto Acosta, Alberto Durán, Juan Tomás and Franklin Melo. 

    In addition to the performances by company singers, special guests will be Raquel Payán, Paola González, Alberto Durán and Franklin Melo. 

    Tickets are RD$200 and can be purchased at the Palacio de Bellas Artes box office or online at Uepa Tickets. 

    International Yoga Day on 25 June 2017
    The yoga schools community in the Dominican Republic, The Art of Living in the Dominican Republic, and the consulate and Embassy of India will be celebrating International Yoga Day on Sunday, 25 June 2017. The actual Yoga Day falls on Wednesday, 21 June 2017. 

    There will be workshops, yoga classes for all ages, and more from 9am to 1pm at the Salon Independencia events hall of the Ministry of Defense on Av. 27 de Febrero. The event is free. Just bring your own mat and water. Events are carried out all over the world to mark Yoga Day. 

    The Yoga Day was instituted by the United Nations on 11 December 2014 after 177 member states voted to accept the proposal made earlier by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a UN General Assembly that year. Modi proposed 21 June as the date, given that it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere (shortest in the southern hemisphere). 

    Modi had argued at the United Nations: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, yoga can help achieve overall wellbeing. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
    Last edited by Dolores; 06-19-2017 at 09:57 AM.

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