Last days to apply for local and foreign university scholarships
Dominican economy continues to grow
Medina administration to defend retaking Duquesa waste dump
Physician urges legislators to approve abortion exceptions
High mortality rate continues
Controller’s Office says purchases without contracts were covered by Resolution 15-08
Azua robbery money slowly being recovered
Dominican driver kidnapped in Haiti
Snow White at the Blue Mall




Last days to apply for local and foreign university scholarships
The Ministry of Superior Education (MESCyT) is promoting the scholarships available for Dominican citizens university studies in the country and abroad. The deadline to apply is between 17 April and 4 May 2018.

See the scholarships here:
http://mescyt.gob.do/index.php/progr...nternacionales
http://mescyt.gob.do/images/01_img_m...-2018-2019.pdf


Dominican economy continues to grow
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Dominican economy is projected to grow by 5.5% this year and 5% in 2019.

Overall in Latin America growth is anticipated to be 2% that is higher than previously estimated, due in large part to Brazil’s economic forecast that has increased from 1.9% to 2.3%. Mexico maintains a growth forecast of 2.3% but Chile has increased its forecast (from 3 % to 3.4 %) along with Ecuador (from 2.2 % to 2.5 %). The figures in the region are also affected by the economic crisis in Venezuela with a contraction of growth estimated at 15% for this year and 6% for 2019. There are also decreases in forecasts for Argentina from 2.5 % to 2 %, Colombia (from3 % to 2.7 %) and Peru (from 4 % to 3.7 %).

http://www.imf.org/en/Countries/DOM


Medina administration to defend retaking Duquesa waste dump
Flavio Darío Espinal, legal advisor to President Danilo Medina, announced the government would hire a firm specializing in international arbitration cases to defend the country in the Lajun Corporation law case. The company is requesting before the United Nations Arbitration Tribunal that the government pay more than US$300 million for violations to a free trade agreement. The case was opened on 19 December 2017.

Espinal said that a team of government officers from the Foreign Commerce Agency (Dicoex) of the Ministry of Industry & Commerce, the Ministry of Environment, the City Government of Santo Domingo North, the Commonwealth of City Governments of Greater Santo Domingo, and the Legal Advisory Office of the Presidency would work closely with the chosen law firm in the defense.

The announcement is made after opposition PRM party municipal affairs director Waldys Taveras, alerted the Dominican government had not taken appropriate actions to prove the fraudulent sale of the property to Lajun.

"I want to reiterate or say that the population must be confident that the Dominican government in this case, like in any other of another nature, but especially in this case, will do everything in its power to carry out a rigorous defense, a strong defense in which we make the public interest prevail, " he said responding to the press at the Presidential Palace.

Last year, the Ministry of Environment took control of the Duquesa dump that was managed by Lajun on grounds of public health and the environmental reasons. Lajun had operated the dump for 10 years.

Previously, on 27 September 2017, the city government of Santo Domingo North had obtained a ruling that permitted the expelling of the company for mismanagement of the waste deposit. A hearing is scheduled for 23 April 2018 regarding a legal recourse submitted by the State Sugar Council (CEA) before the Land Court that seeks to annul the sale of the Duquesa land.

The secretary general of the Dominican Municipal League, Johnny Jones says that the juridical aspects need to be consequential with the technical part that needs to be handled by the Ministry of Environment. “What is first is the health of the people, environmental improvements and the adequate disposal of solid wastes. That is the responsibility of the authorities of the Santo Domingo North municipality, the Commonwealth, the Federation of Dominican Municipalities (Fedomu) and the Municipal League, he told El Caribe reporters.

http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2018/04/1...raje-de-lajun/
http://hoy.com.do/1743728-2/


Physician urges legislators to approve abortion exceptions
Dr. Victor Terrero, the executive director of the National Council for HIV-AIDS (Conavihsida) visited legislators on 17 April 2018 to lobby for the passing of the bill that would establish exceptions to the ban on abortions in the Dominican Republic. A Commission of Justice of the Chamber of Deputies has maintained the ban.

Dr. Terrero says that abortion is not a crime, but a result of social problems. He reminded the legislators that women are the majority vote. He framed the upcoming vote as whether the Dominican Republic will have feudal or modern laws concerning the health and wellbeing of women. He said what is up for discussion with the article on abortion in the Penal Code is the rights of Dominican women.

Terrero said that unsafe abortions cause around 14-16% of the maternal deaths in the country. He said the five countries where abortion is a crime have the worst indicators of health and the highest fertility rates. A group of feminists protested also outside Congress highlighting that the Dominican Republic is among the nations most affected by high mother mortality and teenage pregnancies, together with Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Suriname.

Terrero said that countries that have de-penalized abortion have the best indicators of maternal and reproductive health. He urged the legislators to heed the recommendations made by President Danilo Medina when he vetoed the changes to the Penal Code and not the “historic error” made by the Justice Commission that studied the code. He said an adequate legal platform is needed so that policies to improve women’s health can be implemented. “The legislators want to impose a feudal penal code that will do more damage than good in solving problems that affect women,” he said.

http://hoy.com.do/victor-terrero-dip...matica-social/
https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...una-resolucion


High mortality rate continues
Statistics from the weekly bulletin from the Epidemiology Department (DIGEPI) of the Ministry of Public Health show that 793 babies have died in the first three months of this year compared to 601 over the same period last year that is an increase of 31.9%.

In the maternity hospital, San Lorenzo de Los Mina, of the 796 registered births up to 31 March this year, 22% died before reaching one month.

The Ministry of Health announced a program to reduce infant and maternal deaths 12 years ago, but so far it has had no success. Teenage pregnancies, absence of prenatal checks and hundreds of births to Haitian woman who come to the hospitals to give birth directly from Haiti have been cited as the reasons for the high infant mortality rate in the country. According to the director of Los Mina hospital, Paulino Díaz Ozoria, the rate of infant mortality in the first quarter of the year was 22.8% for Haitian babies and 26.3% of babies whose mothers were teenagers.

Director of the Maternal-Infants and Adolescents Program at the Ministry of Public Health, Juan Carlos De Jesús, said that they are working on a new plan of action which would shortly be announced. De Jesus declined to give details of the new strategy to combat infant mortality.

In addition, the director of the Presidente Estrella Ureña Hospital in Santiago, Francisco Hernández, and the president of the Dominican Medical College (CMD), Wilson Roa, attribute the high rate of infant deaths to several factors include premature births and the precarious situation in many hospitals, attributed to crumbling facilities, the lack of equipment and supplies as well as a shortage of medical personnel.

Most of the deaths of premature infants are caused by respiratory problems and septicemia.
Last year, 2017 there were 2,932 infant deaths of which 78% (2,280) occurred within the first month of life, with the majority being from 0 to 6 days old.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...2018-DJ9649630
http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2018/04/1...es-infantiles/


Controller’s Office says purchases without contracts were covered by Resolution 15-08
A 2008 resolution allegedly authorized the direct purchases made by the management at the Metropolitan Bus Services Office (Omsa). Director Manuel Rivas and other Omsa directors are under arrest after the murder of lawyer Yuniol Ramírez lead to the widespread press coverage of alleged widespread corruption at the bus company.

A recent Chamber of Accounts audit showed that around RD$2 billion was contracted outside of usual Procurement Department procedures, buses were repaired time and time again running up bills into millions, and several payments for services and goods went to companies owned by persons related to Omsa directors.

The Controller’s Office has defended the direct purchases indicating they were protected by Resolution 15-08 issued in 2008 and confirmed in 2016 by the Órgano Rector de las Compras Públicas.

The Controller’s Office, in a press release, says that the Procurement Department (Dirección General de Contrataciones Públicas) has not notified that Resolution 15-08 has been repealed. The Controller’s Office says that the resolution was not issued for exclusive use by the OMSA, but that it covers all institutions under the scope of National System for Internal Controls and the Controller General of the Republic Law 10-07, dating to January 2007.

The Controller General Office criticized that the Chamber of Accounts in its audit of Omsa operations from 2012 to 2017 did not note the purchases were authorized by Resolution 15-08. The Controller General of the Republic (CGR) says that after objectively analyzing the results of the special report made by the Chamber of Accounts of the Dominican Republic (CCRD) to the Metropolitan Bus Services Office (OMSA), it concludes that the auditors of the Chamber of Accounts ignored the validity of Resolution 15-08 issued by the Dirección General de Contrataciones Públicas, the procurement office.

Meanwhile, Yokasta Guzmán, the Procurement Office director acknowledged the management at Omsa acted protected by Resolution 15-08, not the Procurement Law 340-06. She made the observation when questioned about the serious irregularities the audit performed on the Omsa operations from 22 August 2012 to 17 October 2017 involving billions of pesos and implicating wrongdoing of senior officials of that entity, as well as suppliers and technicians of the Internal Audit Unit of the Controller General’s Office. Nevertheless, Guzman said that the same Resolution 15-08 orders that the procurement law be observed, and thus it cannot be a shield for irregularities.

Local news commentators observed that as the Controller General Office has said Resolution 15-08 is still in effect, thus weakening controls in place to curtail corruption all throughout government, not just at the Omsa now under scrutiny after the murder of Yuniol Ramirez.

On 19 June 2017 the National Council of Lawyers (CONA) presided over by Yuniol Ramírez, had asked for information via the Department of Free Access to Information at OMSA, about the five companies benefited by more than 800 repair contracts by OMSA management. The companies were Grupo Martisdom, Tech Solution, Venditio Line; Josafap Inversiones and Soluciones Thiaubaa.

In the lawsuit brought by Ramirez he claims that according to the purchases orders in 2015 and 2016, OMSA issued 348 authorizations to Josafap for the vehicle repairs spare parts. Similarly, Thiaubaa received 21 authorizations for repairs, while Venditio Line,Tech Solution and Martisdom were beneficiaries of 23, 88 and 11 maintenance contracts, respectively. The last two are owned by businessman Eddy Santana Zorrilla, who admitted having handed over a million pesos to Yuniol Ramírez to withdraw the case. According to the audit results, a total of RD$145,564,199 was paid by OMSA to companies owned by Eddy Santana Zorrilla.

https://listindiario.com/la-republic...enuncio-yuniol
http://www.7dias.com.do/portada/2018...-directas.html
https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...-sobre-la-omsa
https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...aso-de-la-omsa
https://listindiario.com/la-republic...enuncio-yuniol


Azua robbery money slowly being recovered
The Police has recovered three million pesos from the RD$36 million that were supposedly stolen by the guards of their own G4S security truck. Officials believe that the guards were also the masterminds behind the heist. The Police are now confident the case will be solved within the next day or two.
Last Saturday, 14 April 2018, arrested a woman, Grisel Mateo Castillo, who is being investigated as an accomplice to the robbery.

The Public Prosecution service has asked for one year in preventive custody against the driver and the two security guards, Nircido Féliz Fernández, Ruddy Alberto Serrano Féliz and Manuel Elías Pérez Sánchez.

The police have also arrested 33-year old Darlin Vólquez Feliz (Wassa), in Paraiso in Barahona who was in possession of nearly RD$3 million along with 8,800 Euros and Israel García García handed himself into police with RD$831,500 and US$19,700.

http://eldia.com.do/la-policia-apres...tres-millones/
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...-dos-JI9648568
http://eldia.com.do/fiscalia-pide-pr...nes-en-camion/


Dominican driver kidnapped in Haiti
A Dominican driver has been kidnapped in Haiti according to the authorities. According to information, given by Samuel Rondón Muñoz, the brother of the kidnapped man, Kairon Antonio Peralta Arias, he was contracted by a woman to take a group of missionaries to Haiti, and charged RD$74,000 pesos.

The Department of Kidnapping Investigations of the National Police has said that they have met with the Intelligence, Security, Customs and Migration in Elias Piña to put together a rescue plan. The whereabouts of Peralta are still not known, nor is there a motive for apparent kidnapping.

https://listindiario.com/la-republic...icano-en-haiti


Snow White at the Blue Mall
The Grimm Brothers’ “Snow White” will be staged at the Blue Mall, announced producer Luis Marcell Ricart. The performance will open on 28 April 2018. The performance is a benefit for the Fundación Grupo Velutini. Shows will be Saturdays and Sundays as of 5:30pm at the Teatro Blue Room of the Blue Mall that is located on the 5th floor of the shopping center.

Choreography is by Gracielina Olivero, and arrangements for the original songs is by Junior Basurto Lomba. Gabi Desangles will be the witch, other stellar roles are Leticia Taveras (Snow White).