Tis the season to be merry: government bonus on 4 December
JCE president says TSA court is jurisdiction to hear Indra payment case
Most gas stations are operating irregularly
Infant mortality too high in the Dominican Republic
Orange and Tricom are now Altice
Extortion over autopsies
Haitian street vendors have told the city government of Santiago that they are not moving
Jails in the country are a disgrace
Eddy Santana of Yuniol Ramirez murder case sent to domiciliary arrest
Estrella calls for review of Santo Domingo-Samana toll booth road
The high cost of keeping a pet
Rains to continue
Arrest warrant issued for plastic surgeon
Ton of cocaine seized in drug bust near Dominican territorial waters
David Ortiz celebrates his birthday on Av. Venezuela
Speed racing on Sunday, 26 November
Hector Acosta at Hard Rock Live
Felix del Rosario’s Christmas merenguess at Lucia 203
Wason Brazobán back at Hard Rock Live




Tis the season to be merry: government bonus on 4 December
Administrative Minister of the Presidency, Jose Ramón Peralta, announced the government would begin payment of the Christmas bonus, or 13th wage, starting 4 December 2017. The government will be making payments for RD$14 billion. The cash injection is expected to stimulate the economy.

Peralta said the early payment this year will make it possible for families to plan their shopping with time and fully enjoy their Christmas holidays. He said retired government officers would be the first to get their bonuses, including retired military. Next to follow will be active military and police. Next all other government officers employed in the central and decentralized institutions.

Peralta made the announcement on his Twitter account.


JCE president says TSA court is jurisdiction to hear Indra payment case
The president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), Julio Cesar Castaños Guzman, is confident a local solution will be found to the US$13.9 million debt Indra Sistemas is demanding for the electronic vote counting system the company sold to the JCE for the 2016 general elections.

Castaños told the press that the dispute would not be taken to international arbitrage and that an institutional local solution would be found. “This case will not go to international arbitration, it is not considered in the contract, nor is in the will of the parties,” he said. He said that the contracting parties chose the Administrative Superior Court (TSA) to settle legal differences. He said the board can take its own decisions and is not subject to corruption.

Castaños explained that the JCE board would make a decision in regards to the payment demanded by Indra after a special investigation on the contract for the supplying of the voter counting equipment for the May 2016 general elections. The JCE is awaiting a final report from the Chamber of Accounts, the government auditing division.

Castaños mentioned they have evidence from the reports of international observers and international organizations including the OAS and Unasur, that the performance of the equipment supplied by Indra was not what was advertised to be. He said around US$20 million has been paid for the equipment.

Last week the JCE reported that the board members met with Spanish Ambassador Alejandro Abellan García de Diego and representatives of Indra Sistemas. 20% of the company is owned by the Spanish government.

The electronic vote counting system was contracted by the board presided by Roberto Rosario.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...lecciones-2016
http://www.7dias.com.do/portada/2017...os-guzman.html
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...ices-YD8621472


Most gas stations are operating irregularly
The Ministry of Industry & Commerce (MICM) has ordered those companies that sell fuel to immediately renew their licenses and operation permits. The Ministry says that 80% of the gas stations have one or more licenses expired.

Representatives from the Ministry reported that of 2,668 gas stations nationwide, 2,134 are operating with expired licenses. Of these 1,304 serve gas and diesel stations, and 1,364 serve LPG.

Manual Jimenez, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry & Commerce, said there is no actual timescale for renewing the licenses but that this should happen in a prudent period of time.

The gas stations need to obtain permits from three different institutions -- the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of the Environment, and the MICM. The licenses need to be renewed annually.

http://eldia.com.do/estaciones-de-co...encia-vencida/


Infant mortality too high in the Dominican Republic
The president of the Dominican Medical College (CMD), Waldo Ariel Suero, has complained that from 2015 up to last month, October, 1,545 newborns had died in the Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia Maternity Hospital.

Waldo Ariel Suero said that of total 16,516 live births in 2015, 525 infants have died. In 2016, 513 of 14,825 died, while up to October this 2017 so far 507 babies died from 10,980 live births

Suero called the situation barbaric and said the deaths were due to inadequate conditions in maternity ward as a result of delays in the repairs to the hospital, which meant that up to six newborn babies could share one crib.

He made the comments, saying that they would wait until Sunday, 26 November, without putting pressure on the Public Health authorities, hoping that they and the union could come together and find a solution to the ongoing conflict between the two groups that has led to several strikes.

The Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia Maternity serves large numbers of Haitian women, many of whom arrive to the hospital to give birth in critical condition and without previous medical records.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...anos-LM8619962


Orange and Tricom are now Altice
Orange and Tricom stores and offices are now branded as Altice. The international company on Monday, 20 November 2017 formally launched its new corporate identity that merges the two big players in the Dominican telecom market.

Martin Roos, CEO of Altice Dominicana, said the merge is part of a global strategy of the company. He said the new logo conveys the open roads ahead, without limits or borders, and the intention of the company to continuously innovate and reinvent the future. He said the company overall has invested RD$20.4 billion in the Dominican Republic. He announced new alliances with educational centers nationwide.

Roos explained Altice has more than five million residential and business customers in the Dominican Republic. Altice is an Netherlands-based multinational telecoms company, that was founded and is headed by the French billionaire Patrick Drahi.

https://altice.com.do/


Extortion over autopsies
Pathologist Sergio Sarita Valdez has revealed that many families who have lost a relative in a manner that requires an autopsy to be carried out, are often victims of extortion by the Institute of Forensic Pathology. The families need to pay in order to be returned the bodies. By law, autopsies need to be performed in non-natural deaths.

Sarita Valdez, who used to be the director of the Institute, said that due to the large number of violent deaths in the country, there are not sufficient Forensic Pathology resources, neither people nor materials, to handle these cases, which means there is limited capacity to conduct an autopsy in one day, unless it is an important case and due to the potential repercussions, the authorities want the process to be carried out quickly.

Being interviewed by Héctor Herrera Cabral in the program D´ Agenda on Channel 11, Valdez explained that given the number of cases, there has to be a type of raffle system to decide if the victim died as result of an event that does not need an autopsy.

He added that no one actually knows how long the body will be in pathology, so when a family member asks about their relative, they are told the autopsy will be carried out the day after next, and then the family member asks what they have to do to have the body immediately returned to them and that is where the opportunity for extortion begins.

http://almomento.net/hay-corrupcion-...n-ex-director/


Haitian street vendors have told the city government of Santiago that they are not moving
The city government of Santiago under new mayor Abel Martinez has dedicated many days to reorganizing the public areas, including the removal of street vendor shacks to restore pedestrian mobility. The city officers have met with resistance mostly from undocumented Haitian vendors that occupy sidewalks, streets and other spaces. The Haitians have taken over street sales previously carried out by Dominicans, the first to leave when the mayor ordered streets of the historic city center to be cleared.

Grey Núñez, spokesman for the city government of Santiago, said that now most of the vendors are Haitians who resist being removed and return once the authorities look the other way. Núñez explained the vendors are unfair competition to the stores that offer the same articles but follow city and government regulations and pay taxes.

Núñez, nevertheless, said the city government of Santiago would respect the tradition that has always allowed street vendors to take over the city for the sale of Christmas goods, such as fruits and candies, traditional of the holidays. He said the authorization is seasonal only for those who sell these products on Avenida Las Carrereas.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...ia-de-santiago


Jails in the country are a disgrace
The president of the National Commission for Human Rights in the Dominican Republic (CNDH-RD), Manuel María Mercedes, has said that at present in the country there is no political will to help those in prison and to correct the serious situation in the jails, where the rate of overcrowding is 89.7%. Many inmates are sleeping on the floor.

María Mercedes emphasized that the prison system is facing a difficult situation with the overcrowding making it difficult to comply with the minimum standards of the UN health and safety in prisons.

He said that the prison food is of low quality, there is insufficient water and access to health services scant, with deaths of inmates occurring due to a lack of timely medical assistance.

Meanwhile, executive vice president of the Foundation for Institutionalism and Justice (Finjus), Servio Tulio Castaños Guzmán, said that the state has never been interested in the penitentiary system and this is why the jails have so many problems, including the prevalence of criminal gangs.

Castaños highlighted how La Victoria jail is the one with the most problems, and an example of what a prison should not be. He suggested it be turned into a museum, similar to the jail where the former South African president Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. The president of the CNDH felt that La Victoria should be closed and suggested that President Medina make one of his surprise visits to the 8,973 men held there, with an overcrowding rate of 346.2%.

The vice president of Finjus pointed out that there was what he called a bipolar system with the new jail system and the old, and highlighted that the rate of re-offending was 5% for those in the new system and 50% for those in the old system.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...r-las-carceles


Eddy Santana of Yuniol Ramirez murder case sent to domiciliary arrest
The Second Hall of the Appeals Court of the Province of Santo Domingo East authorized domiciliary arrest to businessman Eddy Santana Zorrilla. He is accused of bribery, criminal association and fraud to the government related to the murder of lawyer Yuniol Ramírez on 11 October 2017 who had been investigating corruption at the state bus agency, OMSA. Santana is a leading supplier to the agency.

Judges Francisco Madera, Pilar Rufino Díaz and Wendy Valdez accepted to change the pre-trial custody coercive measure for domiciliary arrest for a year. Judge Madera said he favored two months pre-trial custody and not domiciliary arrest. Judge Diaz argued that Santana has not been included in the murder accusations by state prosecutors. Nevertheless, the family of Yuniol Ramírez have accused Santana of being key player in the murder of their relative and have requested a change of where the trial is being heard.

In the case, under pre-trial custody are the former director of the OMSA, Manuel Rivas, and OMSA former employees José Antonio Mercado Blanco (El Grande) and colonel Faustino Rosario Díaz.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...ion-en-su-casa


Estrella calls for review of Santo Domingo-Samana toll booth road
Former Minister of Public Works and president of the Partido Dominicano por el Cambio (DxC), Eduardo Estrella, is demanding that the government review the concession contract for the construction of the Santo Domingo-Samana toll highway. He called the terms of the contract fraud against the state.

Estrella observed that in the 2018 National Budget, the government has allotted RD$2.8 billion to be made in payments to the builder of the highway. He said this is evidence that the contract is damaging to the national interest. Estrella said that money could be used to build 1,400 dwellings at RD$2 million each to help reduce the housing deficit.

Estrella highlighted that the RD$2.8 billion payment is in addition to the tolls users of the highway will need to pay in 2018. He said the Santo Domingo-Samana tolls are the most expensive in the country.

“It is estimated that the highway cost US$222 million but only from 2012 to 2017 taxpayers have paid US$324.8 million. He said with the excess, the highway could have been expanded to four lanes making it safer. Furthermore, Estrella pointed out that if the government does not act it will continue to cost the treasury because the contract was signed for 30 years, and only ten years have gone by.

http://hoy.com.do/estrella-demanda-r...retera-samana/


The high cost of keeping a pet
A report in Listin Diario on 20 November 2017 suggests that caring for a pet dog can cost RD$7,000 to RD$18,000 per month and that pet food alone may add RD$1,000 to RD$4,000 a month to the family budget. “To keep a pet health, fed well, looking good and comfortable is an investment, a luxury,” reports the Listin Diario.

The newspaper reminds those considering buying their children a pet for Christmas that on top of the price of the pet they will have to add vet vaccination services, deworming, surgeries, grooming and dental services. The president of the Dominican Association of Veterinarians (Colvet-RD) Félix Flores says pet’s health is important because it can affect the health of their owners. He explained that pets (dogs, cats, birds) carry microorganisms and parasites on their paws, skin and feathers. The veterinarians say that taking care of pets is not an expense, rather an investment.

From January to July 2016 imports of pet food was more than RD$140 million, another RD$19 million was imported in veterinarian products.

Flores says there are around 1,500 active veterinarians in the country. “Since economic conditions of citizens in this country have improved, there are now more businesses that offer services to help care and handle pets,” said Flores.

https://www.listindiario.com/economi...ica-dominicana


Rains to continue
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) has said that 21 provinces are still under alert for possible floods. The National Meteorological Agency (Onamet) forecasts rains will continue due to a low pressure weather front passing over the country.

Onamet say most of the rains will be felt in the northeast, east, south east, south west and Central mountain area.

The provinces under green alert are Duarte (especially Bajo Yuna), Azua, María Trinidad Sánchez, Santiago, San Cristóbal, Samaná y Puerto Plata, Espaillat, Peravia, San Juan and La Vega. In addition, La Altagracia, San José de Ocoa, El Seibo, San Pedro de Macorís, Hato Mayor, Romana, Independencia, Barahona, Santo Domingo, National District and Pedernales.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...cias-AY8616893


Arrest warrant issued for plastic surgeon
A National District judge Elías Santini has ordered the arrest of plastic surgeon, Edgar Contreras, who was sentenced, along with two of his brothers, to three years in jail, with two years suspended.

Yesterday, Monday 20 November 2017, Judge Elías Santini notified the Department for Fugitives at the Public Prosecution Office along with the National Police, to carry out the arrest of the surgeon and his two brothers. An arrest warrant is also out for their mother.

The sentence against them was handed down on 11 September this year, by the Supreme Court of Justice, ordering Edgar Contreras, Omar Contreras Rosario and his sister dentist Luz Divina Contreras Rosario to three years in jail with two suspended.

The court also ordered six months of house arrest for Valentina Rosario, widow Contreras, their mother.
The family members were sentenced for falsifying company documents at the Centro Medico Gascue that resulted in a substantial financial loss for six shareholders.

Ramón Antonio Bretón Alba, one of the victims, explained that Omar Contreras was the major shareholder but he took a personal loan out with a bank using the company building as a guarantee. The guarantee was then bought by Luis Carbuccia and Eladio Martínez, who then sold the medical center to six doctors and other people.

http://elnacional.com.do/juez-ordena...gar-contreras/


Ton of cocaine seized in drug bust near Dominican territorial waters
Florida media are reporting that an approximate ton of cocaine valued at an estimated US$23 million wholesale was seized from a go-fast boat on 11 November 2017 off Dominican territorial waters. The boat was detained “just south of Jaragua, Dominican Republic,” the US Coast Guard reported. The drugs, packaged in 30 bales, were brought to St. Petersburg, Florida on board the US Coast Guard Cutter Pelican on Monday, 20 November. Three suspected smugglers were taken into custody.

As reported, the drug bust was carried out under the direction of the US Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S). “This offload today is the result of the combined efforts of our partners and allied men and women who continue to work day and night to stop these criminal organizations from profiting off transnational crime and smuggling,” said Capt. Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response, Coast Guard’s 7th District. “This offload represents approximately one ton of illicit drugs that will never hit our streets.”

The Coast Guard has been working with its counter part in the Caribbean to help stop drug trafficking and smuggling on the Caribbean Sea, say Coast Guard officials.

http://wtkr.com/2017/11/20/coast-gua...th-of-cocaine/


David Ortiz celebrates his birthday on Av. Venezuela
Retired Boston Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz was in Santo Domingo to celebrate his 42nd birthday with his pals at the Dial Bar on Av. Venezuela corner Av. Presidente Vásquez. The Av. Venezuela is best known for its large bars-dance lounges. When a Listin Diario reporter noted Ortiz was at the bar, she asked him why a multi-millionaire such as him chose such a setting and he highlighted it was so he could have more cash left over for his children’s foundation.

Ortiz was celebrating with a table of around 12 pals. Parked outside was his blue Lamborghini. Ortiz was attired in black, and could be seen laughing and in front of him a bottle of champagne and several glasses of whisky. Two trays of snacks – fried plantains, chicken and beef were being passed around.

Ortiz was available for taking selfies with those entering the bar and noting it really was Big Papi.

https://www.listindiario.com/el-depo...nida-venezuela


Speed racing on Sunday, 26 November
The Autodromo Sunix presents the closing race for the annual auto racing championship, the Gran Premio Viva 2017 on Sunday, 26 November 2017 starting at 10am. See the best drivers battle in the finals of the Dominican Touring Series (DTS) at the Las Americas Expressway Km 17, Santo Domingo Este. Tickets RD$300, RD$800, RD$1,200, RD$3,000. Children RD$500. For details, see http://www.autodromosunix.com


Hector Acosta at Hard Rock Live
Listen to the soft merengues and the boleros of Hector Acosta (El Torito) at the Hard Rock Live on Thursday, 30 November 2017. 10pm. Tickets for sale online at Ticket Express.


Felix del Rosario’s Christmas merenguess at Lucia 203
Felix del Rosario, his legacy, and his music will be staged at the Lucia 203 on Friday, 8 December 2017 as of 9pm. The event is an evening for dancing merengue to the beats of the Los Magos del Ritmos orchestra, founded by Felix del Rosario. The evening seeks to keep alive the legacy of maestro Felix del Rosario, a leading Dominican musician, singer and composer. Felix del Rosario died in 2012.

The presentation will include several of the famous Christmas merengues by Del Rosario, including Llego la Navidad, Alegre Vengo, De la Montaña Venimos, Fiestas Navideñas, Cantares de Navidad, Cascabel, El Tren de la Navidad y las Navidades.

Tickets are for sale at 809 221-5444 or at the Meson de Bari Restaurant for RD$1,000.


Wason Brazobán back at Hard Rock Live
Dominican singer-composer Wason Brazobán will be at Hard Rock Live at Blue Mall in Santo Domingo on Friday, 21 December 2017 for the presentation of his concert “De viaje por la vida.” This is a repeat of the 20 October concert that lasted over three hours and was a total sell out many days before.

At present, Brazoban is on tour in the United States. Among his best hits are: “La Mala”, “La Receta”, “Buscando Paz”, “La Mujer que a mí me Gusta”, “Mi Reyna”, “Si estar contigo”, and “Se Dice” .