Ministry of Education bets on vocational high schools
Legislators reject ceiling to their vehicles imports
DR backs unity in Spain
You are on camera all the time in the Colonial City
Central Bank authorizes RD$11 billion
Green March protests at Omsa headquarters
18 fired at Omsa bus agency
Shauna Hemingway: Trade agreement expert now heads Canadian Embassy
Italian Ambassador Andrea Canepari to reboot Italian Embassy
Gianluca Grippa is new European Union ambassador
Christopher Naudin sentenced to five years in jail
5.0 quake felt in Santo Domingo
286 on Dominican team to Juegos Bolivarianos
Winter Professional Baseball wrap-up




Ministry of Education bets on vocational high schools
Education Minister Andrés Navarro said during the opening on Sunday, 29 October 2017, of the Workshop for Strengthening the Quality and Expanding Technical-Professional Education in the Dominican Republic, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, that the country requires major changes in the educational system with an emphasis on expanding vocational training so that young graduates can early on find jobs.

Polytechnicals have been a success in the Dominican Republic. There are waiting lists for entry into government polytechnical schools as parents have recognized the quality of the education of these schools and that employers readily employ the graduates.

“Today more than ever it is necessary to make an effort to expand technical training, because traditional curriculum focused on standard academic skills is not as much in demand as expanding technical-professional skills,” he said. Navarro is confident that the new curriculum for public schools will provide students with the skills required by the labor market.

Navarro spoke at the opening of the workshop. Word has gotten around about the successes of the polytechnical schools. Navarro said every time President Danilo Medina visits a community in the interior of the country, he is asked to order the construction of a polytechnical school there.

Vice Minister of Education Denia Burgos highlighted the advances in preparing the project that would be developed over four years.

In addition to Minister Navarro and Vice Minister Burgos, also participating in the activity were: vice Minister of Education Víctor Sánchez and Rafael González; Mary Kasse, director of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Education; Mercedes Matrillé, of Technical-Professional Education at the Ministry of Education; Jeannette Thompson, IDB representative; Luca Lo Conte, of the European Union; Antonio Caparros, executive director of the Fundación Inicia; Darwin Caraballo, of EDUCA; Deyanira Matrillé, of the Ministry of the Presidency, and other department heads of the Ministry of Education.


Legislators reject ceiling to their vehicles imports
The ruling PLD party is majority in Congress and has it relatively easy moving through bills and the National Budget every year. That is, as long as the perks and benefits of the legislators themselves are kept at their very attractive levels.

Media reported that the legislators expect to remove a ceiling that would have limited to US$100,000 the duty-free cost of the two-vehicles per term allowed to the legislators. At present, legislators can import a vehicle, supposedly for their personal use, at any cost. The duty-free import licenses, most frequently are transferred by the legislators to other persons.

Luis Reyes, director of the National Budget office, was informed by Dionis Sanchez that the bicameral commission that convenes senators and deputies in Congress is already studying a bill regarding the tax exemptions and the US$100,000 ceiling would conflict with this.

Elpidio Baez of the PLD said the subject had come up privately and they had been told the clause with the top limit for duty-free imports would be eliminated. He questioned why the government would request that the legislators eliminate this perk, since it has historically been part of the benefit package for congress members.

In a follow up story in Diario Libre on Monday, 30 October 2017, businessmen and civic society representatives backed the government on reducing the privilege. Ivan Ogando, of the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales said that the argument of acquired right is a poor defense when it is of public knowledge that in many cases the lack of controls on the use of the vehicular exoneration results in this being sold for others to import luxury vehicles that have nothing to do with the legislative role of the legislators. Antonio Taveras, president of the Association of Industries of Herrera and the Province of Santo Domingo said the exoneration is an irritating privilege that should not continue.

http://hoy.com.do/intento-limitar-ex...n-discusiones/
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...esto-KD8467804
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...ores-XD8476451


DR backs unity in Spain
The Dominican Republic government says it recognizes one Spain as it made known its position regarding the domestic crisis that confronts Catalonia’s separatist government and the national government in Madrid. By way of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Dominican government called for the discussions to be done according to the rule of law, according to the Spanish constitution.

In a press notice, the Ministry of Foreign Relations has come forth to address the “deep historic and cultural ties with Spain, and that is why our government and our people are following with concern the events in Catalonia in recent days.”
“The Dominican Republic rejects any action taken against the constitutional order and Spanish law and supports the government of Spain in the defense of the rule of law and the unity of its territory,” stated the Mirex note.

“We are confident that stability and dialogue will prevail in the search for solutions that guarantee peaceful coexistence throughout Spain,” reads the note.

Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado issued the statement after the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona passed a motion unilaterally establishing a new country on Friday, 27 October 2017. The Spanish government subsequently removed the Catalan president of his duties and dissolved the regional parliament, imposing direct rule on the region.

http://www.mirex.gob.do/medios/notic...cado-de-prensa


You are on camera all the time in the Colonial City
There are 323 surveillance cameras keeping track of street movement in the Colonial City. The Center for Video Surveillance under the Programa de Fomento al Turismo Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo is monitoring all visitations to the Colonial City.

Wilfredo Feliz, who is in charge of the program, says that the monitoring enhances security and safety of visitors, but also is a tool for improvement of services. He said it enables the program to monitor tourists as they visit the area. Many of the cameras are installed on light posts.

The cameras monitor the movements of visitors and residents, the traffic, the use of public spaces and loading and unloading cargo operations.

Felix said that another 200 cameras will be installed soon, made possible by a donation of the US Embassy.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...zona-AG8459604


Central Bank authorizes RD$11 billion
The Monetary Board at the Central Bank authorized the use of US$11.5 billion remaining from the release of the legal reserve to stimulate the private sector. This is in addition to RD$23.5 billion that recently had been made available to banks for lending.

The Monetary Board authorized lending up to 8% interest rate for productive sectors, consumption and personal loans and up to 9% interest rate for housing mortgage loans with a minimum term of five years. The Monetary Board also approved as of 27 October 2017 the new version of the Asset Assessment Regulation in regards to small and medium-sized enterprise debtors, refinishing and aspects related to appraisal and guarantees. As of 2 January 2018, this regulation is effective.

https://www.bancentral.gov.do/notici...so20171026.pdf
https://www.listindiario.com/economi...-valdez-albizu


Green March protests at Omsa headquarters
Green March movement activists protested on Sunday, 29 October 2017, in front of the main offices of the governmental Omsa bus agency. The protestors criticized what they called “criminal politicians in government, the lack of transparency and claimed that criminals and murders are employed in government institutions.

In the reading at the event, Alexander Terrero called for jail for the corrupt and the clarification of the circumstances of deaths of the engineer of the OISOE, the State Sugar Council (CEA) and the OMSA. The daughter of murdered lawyer Yuniol Ramirez, Roselin Ramirez was among the Marcha Verde protestors at the Omsa headquarters.

https://elnuevodiario.com.do/marcha-...pcion-la-omsa/
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...ncia-BF8474322
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...cion-FE8475654


18 fired at Omsa bus agency
In 2013, Diario Libre and other Dominican media denounced major irregularities in the operation of the Omsa, then under director Manuel Rivas, appointed in 2012 by the Medina administration.

Previously, a 2010 Chamber of Account audit had produced evidence of irregularities in the department. The government did not act on the evidence and the case followed the usual track for corruption -- media exposure and followed by prolonged silence from government officials. Media attention then waned and no actions were taken against the alleged corruption.

The Omsa once again made headlines when a lawyer who had been taking the Omsa directors to court was murdered.

The Medina administration carried out the usual response to such bad press – the Omsa director was removed and, in turn, top officers at the department were relieved of their duties. The new Omsa director, Hector Mojica, is familiar with the transport sector. He had been director of the OTTT, the government institution that was merged into the new National Transit and Transport Institute (Intrant). Spokesman for Omsa, Melvinson Almanzar. says 18 people have been fired at Omsa.

The Chamber of Accounts is now carrying out an audit that it says should be ready by the end of the year or beginning of 2018.

http://eldia.com.do/directivos-clave...uidos-de-omsa/


Shauna Hemingway: Trade agreement expert now heads Canadian Embassy
The new Canadian ambassador is Shauna Hemingway comes to the Dominican Republic at a time when a long-negotiated free trade agreement with Canada is at a standstill. Negotiations had been well advanced when circumstances led Dominican negotiators to instead move ahead the DR-CAFTA with the United States and file away the agreement with Canada for future.

Hemingway is a graduate in Economics and History from the University of Toronto (1999). She worked as a journalist in Canada and England prior to joining the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2002. In her early years she worked as a trade policy negotiator and was responsible for investment treaty and free trade agreement negotiations with partners in Asia. She worked at the Canadian Embassy in Korea, where she served as Political Secretary accredited to North and South Korea. Hemingway also served as trade commissioner responsible for Mexico, and economic counselor at the Canadian embassy in Mexico.

Hemingway presented her credentials at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, 26 October 2017.

http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca...x?lang=eng#bio


Italian Ambassador Andrea Canepari to reboot Italian Embassy
Andrea Canepari is the new ambassador of Italy in the Dominican Republic. He is entrusted with the reopening of the Italian embassy in the country, closed since 31 December 2014 and reopened in February 2017. There is a large Italian community in the Dominican Republic, extensive trade and tourism relations.

Canepari presented credentials to President Danilo Medina on Thursday, 26 October 2017. He comes to Santo Domingo after four years as consul general in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, upon making the announcement of his appointment to the Dominican Republic, praised the diplomat for his major contributions to the city’s academic, business and professional communities. The newspaper says that the efforts were unusual because consuls in Philadelphia were known for signing visas and hosting parties.

Canepari is credited in Philadelphia “with invigorating what had been a moribund office slated for closure”. The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights how Canepari drafted and inspired people in Philadelphia to get involved in business, cultural (CiaoPhiladelphia) and academic (Convivio) activities that promoted Italy as a modern nation with many business and cultural opportunities for enterprising Americans. He is also credited for his work introducing Philadelphia in Italy. Canepari became the first foreigner to receive Temple University's Biannual Global Award in 2016, a prize given to those who best promote the image of Philadelphia in the world.

Canepari has stated that his mission is to create opportunities for Italy in the Dominican Republic. "It's almost about starting from scratch," the newly-appointed ambassador explained in an interview with his university alma mater Bocconi. He observes the DR is an economy that is growing fast, with opportunities especially in the construction and food industries, as well as tourism. My job, as always, will be to create opportunities for my country here."

Canepari is originally from Pavia, Italy. He is a graduate in Economics from Bocconi and law from the University of Parma).

https://www.viasarfatti25.unibocconi...hp?idArt=18580
http://www.philly.com/philly/busines...-20170525.html


Gianluca Grippa is new European Union ambassador
Gianluca Grippa presented credentials to President Danilo Medina on 26 October 2017 at the Presidential Palace. He is the new European Union ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

A native of Rome, Italy, Grippa was the head of the Division Western Europe at the European External Action Service in Brussels, Belgium. He is a graduate in political science from the Luiss University in Rome. He began his career at the European Commission in Zambia in 1993 as economic counselor. Previously he served in the Italian navy as a lieutenant and spent five years in the United Nations Development Program in Latin America.

Also attending the presentation of credentials to President Danilo Medina in the presence of Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado were Dolores Romeo and Agnieszka Osiecka and José Izarra, officers of the European Union.

In a press release, Grippa stated: “The European Union has maintained a relationship of cooperation and friendship for more than 25 years with the Dominican Republic. Our presence in the country focuses on strengthening the state and democracy, on trade relations, protection of human rights, combatting climate change, among others. My goal during these four years is to maintain and strengthen those ties that unite us.”

His predecessor Alberto Navarro was named to head the European delegation in Cuba.


Christopher Naudin sentenced to five years in jail
Judge José Alejandro Vargas ordered that 54-year old Christophe Rene Henri Naudin serve five years in prison for his participation in cover up operations related to the so-called Air Cocaine case in the Dominican Republic. He is accused of assisting two French pilots sentenced to 20 years in jail for drug trafficking from leaving the country.

The judge validated an agreement between the defense and the Dominican public prosecutor’s office in which Naudin pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and covering up for pilots Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos and accepted to pay the Dominican state a RD$1.5 million (approximately US$33,000) fine. Naudin is a criminologist and aviation security expert.

Naudin had been extradited to the Dominican Republic from Egypt in March 2016 for his involvement in the escape of the two pilots.

The judge ordered that Naudin serve his sentence in Najayo men’s prison. His lawyer, Miguel Valerio, says that a request can be made for him to serve the sentence in France as the agreement establishes the Dominican prosecutors will not oppose the transfer.

http://acento.com.do/wp-content/uplo...C3%BAblico.pdf


5.0 quake felt in Santo Domingo
At 1:44pm, those in southern Dominican Republic felt a good jolt. The Seismological Institute at the UASD says an earthquake of 5.0 on the Richter Scale was felt in the National District (Santo Domingo), Santo Domingo Province, San Cristóbal, Monte Plata, Azua, and Santiago. No human or material damages have been reported.

The UASD earthquake institute says that the center of the earthquake was 18.5 degrees North and 70.4 degrees West, some 14 km from the southwest of Los Cacaos, a community in San Cristóbal, on the border with San Jose de Ocoa province.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the intensity of the earthquake was 4.8 on the Richter Scale and that it occurred 8 km south of San José de Ocoa, with a depth of 17.5 km.


286 on Dominican team to Juegos Bolivarianos
The Dominican Republic is participating for the first time in the 18th Bolivarian Sports Games, organized among 12 Latin American countries in 34 sports, from 11-23 November 2017. The event is taking place in Santa Marta, Cali and Bogotá, Colombia. The organization has invited Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala and Dominican Republic to compete.

Competing for the Dominican Republic are 184 athletes who will compete in 24 sports.
https://www.juegosbolivarianos2017.c...ganizacion/485


Winter Professional Baseball wrap-up
To the delight of their fans at the Tetelo Vargas Ball Park in southeastern San Pedro de Macorís, the Estrellas Orientales continue to lead the 2017-2018 Professional Baseball Winter League, having 9 of their first 12 games since the tournament began on 13 October 2017.

The Gigantes del Cibao are in second place, with 8 wins and four losses, one game away. The Santo Domingo team, Leones del Escogido are in third place, with 7 wins and 4 losses, just 1.5 games away. The 2016-2017 champs, the Tigres del Licey of Santo Domingo, have gotten off to a slow start.

The Licey can only show for itself three wins, and has eight losses, a 5th place of the six teams of the league. But the Toros del Este of La Romana, still have not gotten their team together and keep ownership of the last place with 3 wins and 9 losses.

Check out the league statistics at:
http://estadisticas.lidom.com/Estadisticas/Inicio

See the calendar for the tournament at:
http://www.lidom.com/home/calendario/