Daily News

Daily News - Tuesday, 31 March 2015 (Archived Daily News)

24-hour electricity for Easter

President Medina discusses Haiti with US State Department counselor

President Danilo Medina hosted a visit by US State Department Counselor, Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon Jr., yesterday Monday, 30 March 2015 for discussions on bilateral issues and relations with Haiti. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Shannon said the talks had been very productive and thanked the President for his hospitality.

Foreign Minister Andres Navarro was present during the talks, as well as US Ambassador James Brewster and the US State Department special coordinator for Haiti, Thomas Adams.

Regarding the relationship with Haiti, he highlighted the work the Dominican Republic is doing to maintain the dialogue and tackle problems affecting both countries.

"The United States, as a friend and partner of both countries, has a great interest in the success of these talks and we are going to act as a partner in solidarity with the DR and Haiti," he told the press

The visit of the US State Department Counselor and special coordinator for Haiti takes place two and a half months before the 15 June 2015 expiry of the timeframe given to Haitians to legalize their status in the Dominican Republic under the fast-track procedures of the National Foreigner Legalization Plan.

After the meeting in Santo Domingo, the US officers were scheduled to travel to Haiti. Shannon said that he would be meeting with Haitian government officials and civil society organization representatives to discuss immigration and workers' rights. One of the main obstacles to the success of the plan has been the lack of cooperation from the Haitian government in providing its nationals with documentation.

Shannon said they also discussed cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking, which he described as excellent and the upcoming Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama on 10-11 April 2015. Also discussed was the recent ban on Dominican exports of fruits and vegetables after MedFly was detected in a shipment to Europe at the Punta Cana International Airport was also discussed during the meeting with the high-ranking US State Department officials.



Interest rates reduced

The Central Bank has reduced interest rates by 50 basis points from 6.25% a year to 5.75% effective 1 April 2015. At the same time the overnight deposit rate will go down to 4.25%.

The Central Bank said that the inflation rate for February was at 1.02% and the projection for the year shows that inflation will remain in the 4.0% 1% range.

By reducing interest rates it is hoped that the liquidity in the financial system will improve and it will also help to increase reserves.

According to Consensus Forecast, the United States will grow by 3.1% in 2015, the Euro Zone by 1.4% and Japan by 1.1%.

The Dominican economy is still dynamic, growing by 6.6% in January. In March, the annual credit growth in the private sector was 13.4% up on the same time period last year.


24-hour electricity for Easter

The general manager of the EdeSur power distribution company, Ruben Montas, has announced a plan costing around RD$9 million to guarantee electricity service in the country's tourist areas from noon on Thursday 2 April to midnight on Easter Sunday, 5 April 2015, the peak days of the Easter holiday.

According to Montas, this will contribute to the enjoyment of Dominicans and foreigners in these areas and also help with security and safety. He went on to say that there would be 24-hour electricity during the time period and that extra personnel would be available to deal with any problems


Red Cross getting ready for Easter Week

The Dominican Red Cross has announced that it will have around 4,612 volunteers working from 450 assistance points as well as 60 ambulances and another 35 support vehicles during Easter Week. Communications director Roberto Lebron said that they were ready to help those in need as they are every year. The volunteers include doctors, paramedics, nurses and search and rescue specialists. The Emergency Operations Center will be coordinating the activities.

Lebron added that Blood Banks have increased the amount of blood available and that anyone who needed help in an emergency could call the Red Cross on 809 334-4545.


Easter Week accidents begin early

Right at the beginning of Easter Week, on Sunday 29 March 2015, 11 people were killed in traffic accidents in Altamira in the north, Azua in the southwest, and on the Las Americas Highway.

Shortly before 8pm on the road from Puerto Plata to the Altamira tunnel, five people burned to death when an SUV crashed into a bus. The victims were named as

Luis Felipe Alvarez, 48, 12-year old Norelis Alvarez, Juan Bautista Moya, 55, Gladis Cruz, 64, and three-year old Enger Baez Moya.

A 30-year old man, Reinaldo Medina Cruz was injured and taken to Jose Maria Cabral and Baez Hospital in Santiago.

According to the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET), the SUV burst into flames after the crash and the occupants could not get out.

The accident on Las Americas highway caused the death of three men when their vehicle went off the road, rolled over and hit a palm tree. They have been named as 49-year old Freddy Matos Cordero, Luis Gonzalez Nunez, 44, and another man who has not yet been identified. A seven-year old boy was injured.

Finally in Azua, three people were killed when a car and a motorcycle collided at kilometer 4 of the Azua-San Juan road near Los Jovillos. They were 21-year old William Santana, Leonelo Gerardo Vazquez, also 21, and 14-year old Teresita Torres.


Finjus calls for appeal in Bautista and mayor cases

The Foundation for Institutionalism and Justice (Finjus) is calling on Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito to appeal the dismissal of charges against Senator Felix Bautista and the Mayor of San Francisco de Macoris, Felix Manuel Rodriguez, to give the legal system another chance to ensure that justice is done with no fear of pressure of favoritism from political interests.

They warned that the Supreme Court should guarantee the credibility and impartiality of its decisions and if not, then they would be adding to the already existing crisis of confidence in the legal system as shown in recent opinion polls.

Commenting on the Bautista case, they questioned why the Supreme Court had allowed Judge Moscoso Segarra to be in charge of the case when it was known he had clear links to the accused.


Students clash with police over Bautista ruling

Students from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) and the police clashed yesterday, Monday 30 March 2015 on the university's campus in Santo Domingo when the students were protesting at the judge's ruling in favor of Senator Felix Bautista (PLD-San Juan de la Maguana). The students threw rocks at the police who responded with tear gas. According to reports, the confrontation erupted during a peaceful march against the court's decision.


Skirt or pants in school goes to court

The Higher Administrative Court (TSA) has ordered Liceo Experimental Altagracia Amelia Ricart Calventi and its principal Joselin Fructuoso to allow a student to wear a skirt while a discrimination case that her parents have levied against the school is being heard. The school uniform is shirts and pants for boys and girls alike. Judges Federico Fernandez de la Cruz, Vanessa Acosta and Dilcia Rosario ordered the measure. The parents of the student, Patricia Encarnacion Torres, protested that she was not allowed to attend school wearing a skirt that she had worn in the previous school year.

The parents say that when the student was enrolled in the high school in 2012, the girls' uniform was a skirt and a blouse. The parents are opposed to their daughter wearing pants for religious reasons.

The parents also objected to the girl being sent to the library, where they claim she was the victim of discrimination and bullying.


Earthquakes and hurricanes make DR vulnerable for business

A new report by international insurance company, FM Global, ranks the world's most resilient countries down to the riskiest and most vulnerable to war, natural disaster or economic crisis. FM Global specializes in commercial property insurance.

Venezuela was highlighted as the highest-risk country due to its high inflation, massive public debt and malfunctioning markets even despite its enormous oil reserves.

The ranking placed Mauritania and Kyrgyzstan as the second and third highest-risk countries behind Venezuela, with economic productivity, businesses, infrastructures and supply chain all vulnerable to catastrophe.

They are followed by the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua that, according to the report, could be thrown into turmoil by an oil shock or natural disaster such as a hurricane or an earthquake.

However the Dominican Republic is in 126th place this year, while last year it was ranked at the very bottom of the list at 130 out of 130.

At the other end of the index, Norway retained its ranking as the most resilient country in the world in 2015, followed by Switzerland and the Netherlands.


DNCD makes arrests in Santiago

National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) agents have confiscated just over 30 kilos of a substance believed to be cocaine or heroin and arrested three people accused of belonging to a drug dealing network that used the cover of being an exporter of high-quality furniture to the United States.

During an operation over the weekend of 28-29 March, they also confiscated two firearms, vehicles, and more than RD$60,000 and US dollars in cash.

According to the DNCD, the modus operandi consisted of placing drugs in plastic tubes and hiding them inside the furniture for shipment to the United States from Dominican airports and ports. The furniture containing the drugs was found during one of the raids, on a warehouse in Santiago, where three people, aged 33, 37 and 54 were arrested.

They confiscated a vehicle in a second raid in Jardines del Oeste, also in Santiago.


Rain on the way

The National Meteorological Office (ONAMET) is forecasting light rainfall across much of the country due to a frontal system currently located over Haiti. The rains are expected to have passed before the peak vacation days of Friday 3, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April.

They said that the front is moving from the east south east and will bring thunderstorms to many provinces, especially in the late afternoon and evening in Montecristi, Dajabon, Santiago Rodriguez, Valverde (Mao), Santiago, Puerto Plata, Espaillat (Moca), Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo), Sanchez Ramirez (Cotui), La Vega, Monsenor Nouel (Bonao), Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris), Samana, Maria Trinidad Sanchez (Nagua), Elias Pina, San Juan, Barahona, Azua, San Jose de Ocoa and San Cristobal.


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