Daily News

Daily News - Friday, 12 February 2016 (Archived Daily News)

Learning how to vote: four ballots in 2016
(Image courtesy of www.jce.do)

Learning how to vote: four ballots in 2016

With 94 days to go before Election Day on 15 May 2016, the Central Electoral Board (JCE) hosted a visit by the delegates of the political parties to test the digital platform yesterday, Thursday 11 February 2016.

This year, voters will receive four ballots to vote for new government officials. The President and Vice President (Ballot A), municipal officials (Ballot B) and senators and deputies (Ballot C), and overseas deputies (Ballot D) will be chosen on the same day.

JCE president Roberto Rosario also met with President Danilo Medina and Minister of Hacienda Simon Lizardo. He said that the purpose of the visit was to discuss the timeline for the election, including the program for receiving the RD$3 billion that is expected in March, including political party government funding.



AMET reaches out to educate pedestrians

The Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) says that 327 pedestrians were killed and another 1,114 were injured by motor vehicles last year. The figure was released as the traffic police announced its new educational program for pedestrians and drivers to prevent more deaths. AMET is distributing leaflets and aims to reach more than 100,000 pedestrians.

The new road safety program is aimed at increasing safety on city streets by improving the behavior of both pedestrians and drivers. The plan will start in the National District and later extended to the Greater Santo Domingo area before being rolled out nationwide.

The initiative includes high school students who will be meeting their educational curriculum requirement of 60 hours of community service by participating in the program.


Eight Zika virus cases; microcephaly in doubt

The Ministry of Public Health's national Epidemiology director, Raquel Pimentel says it is to early to talk about any microcephaly cases that may have been caused by the presence of Zika virus in the country. She pointed out that the virus had only been detected in the Dominican Republic a month ago. In an interview on "Conversando de salud" on Super 7 radio show (107.7FM) yesterday, Thursday 11 February 2016, Pimentel said that there was still no confirmation that the cases detected in recent newborns in Brazil were related to the virus. She highlighted that current initiatives in the Dominican Republic are focused on eliminating breeding areas for the mosquitoes that transmits zika, dengue and chikungunya.

The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed eight cases of zika out of 38 samples sent to CDC in the United States for testing. This brings the total number of confirmed Zika cases in the Dominican Republic so far to 18.


Guillermo Villanueva heads IFC office in Santo Domingo

The International Financial Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing branch of the World Bank, has announced the appointment of Guillermo Villanueva as its resident representative for the Dominican Republic. Villanueva is responsible for coordinating the IFC investment program and advisory services in the country. He will be based at the Torre Novocentro on Av. Lope de Vega in Naco in Santo Domingo.

The Dominican Republic office is also the hub for Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Suriname, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The DR has been a member of IFC since 1961. The IFC has invested US$986 million in the country's private sector.

Benenson Strategy Group: Medina 59%, Abinader 32%

A poll carried out by Benenson Strategy Group from 29 January to 8 February with 1,995 respondents surveyed, reveals that 59% would vote for President Danilo Medina and 32% for Abinader, as reported in El Dia. 48% of respondents said that the government needs to focus on creating jobs and 40% on more aid to the poor.

When asked which were the top problems affecting the country, 59% said the economy, 39% crime and 20% corruption.


Leonel Fernandez presents 30-year development plan

Former President Leonel Fernandez has presented a plan for the development of 1,200 key projects nationwide to encourage development and a better quality of life. His Plan RD2044 was presented at an event held at the Hotel Embajador yesterday, Thursday 11 February 2016. The 2044 date was chosen because it commemorates the bicentennial of the Dominican Republic's foundation.

Fernandez was President of the Dominican Republic from 1996-2000, 2004-2008 and 2008-2012. He sought to be the presidential candidate for the ruling PLD party in the 2016 election, but President Danilo Medina was able to strike deals with key opposition legislators to change the 2010 Constitution to allow his re-election.

Making the presentation, Marco Herrera, director of Funglode, the think tank and educational center founded and headed by Fernandez, said the plan was an invaluable tool. He said that it presented Fernandez's short, medium and long-term vision for turning the Dominican Republic into a model nation, a fair and first world economy through the implementation of planned actions.

The plan focuses on improving the quality of basic services such as potable water, sanitary drainage, electricity, tourism and cultural diversification, productive consolidating through dignified jobs, training and knowledge development, community association, urban and institutional management, sustainable development, and provincial and regional interconnectivity.

Herrera said the process of drawing up the plan was started in 2008, led by Cesar Fernandez, director of Funglode's Urbanism and Infrastructure Center.

Fernandez is also the president of the ruling PLD party.



Air Force officer suspected of helping Cuban ballplayers defect

A Dominican Air Force officer is suspected of helping two Cuban baseball players, brothers Yulieski, 31 and 22-year old Lourdes Gourriel, to defect during their visit in the Dominican Republic. The brothers were playing in the Caribbean Series where their team finished in fourth place with four losses and one win. According to witnesses, the ballplayers left their hotel at around 2am on Sunday, 7 February 2016 accompanied by the military officer in a vehicle with Air Force license plates.

Dominican Air Force spokesman Colonel Fernandez Hernandez confirmed that an investigation is underway into officer William or Wilson Solis who is linked to the Cuban ball players' escape. He is said to work in the Air Force sports department. The Air Force says he could be dismissed and charged with people smuggling. The Cuban Embassy has accused Solis of being the contact for the two ballplayers.

The authorities suspect that the two ballplayers have since left the country by crossing the Haitian border.

A few days before the two men fled, Cuban baseball director Humberto Suarez, in charge of the Tigres de Ciego de Avila team, complained that scouts had been contacting the ballplayers.


"El Chino" judge justifies decision; Reynoso to appeal

The president of the Fourth Collegiate Court of the National District, Pilar Rufino Diaz, who ordered house arrest for Pascual Cordero Martinez (El Chino), accused of murder, asset laundering and drug trafficking, has justified her ruling for house arrest for the accused on the grounds that he needed medical care. As reported, El Chino did not submit a medical certificate when he originally requested house arrest. The judge said it was enough for the accused to lift up his shirt to show her his operation scars.

The judge said he had been freed on RD$5 million bail, confirmed by the National District Second Hall of the Penal Court of the Court of Appeals. However, Cordero did not show up to the proceedings and was declared a fugitive on 14 September 2015 and subsequently arrested.

She said that "El Chino" was in pretrial detention on a separate charge in the jurisdiction of Higuey, where he is accused of heading an international drug trafficking network.

National District prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso announced she would appeal the decision to allow house arrest on the grounds that a medical certificate was not presented, and because the decision was just based on a visual examination by the judge.

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito has asked the Supreme Court of Justice to investigate the house arrest ruling.

El Dia reports that in another case, Pascual Cordero was accused of bribing former director of prisons Mario Acosta Santos with RD$1 million in return for being transferred from the jail in Higuey to La Victoria. Acosta Santos was cleared of the accusation by the courts.




Raining over the weekend

A weather system passing over the country is bringing light rains that could cause flooding, reports the national weather service (Onamet). The Emergency Operations Center (COE) has issued a green alert for the northern and northwestern provinces (Puerto Plata, Montecristi, Dajabon, Santiago Rodriguez and Valverde). The front is moving slowly eastwards and Onamet is forecasting light rains nationwide all weekend.


Dancing to Connect show at Ministry of Culture

Battery Dance, a group from the United States, is helping develop young dance talent in the Dominican Republic through the Dancing to Connect program. Eighty young people from across the country who attend the Sistema Nacional de Escuelas Libres have been chosen for the US Embassy-sponsored program. They will be performing at 5pm tomorrow, Saturday 13 February 2016 at the Ministry of Culture's Enriquillo Sanchez Hall in Santo Domingo.


St. Valentine's Day shows abound

Romance is in the air in the Dominican Republic, with a variety of shows dedicated to the themes of friendship and love.

Danny Daniel, Anthony Rios and Camboy Estevez are appearing at the Salon La Mancha of the Barcelo Santo Domingo Hotel this evening, Friday 12 and tomorrow, Saturday 13 February 2016.

Ednita Nazario is booked for a show together with Frank Ceara tomorrow, Saturday 13 February at Teatro La Fiesta at the Hotel Jaragua in Santo Domingo.

Comedians Aquiles Correa, Felix Tejada (Nonguito) and Melendez Levita are performing at the Llamas Bar & Grill in Santo Domingo this evening, Friday 12 February at 8pm.

Los Hermanos Rosario are booked for Saturday 13 February at the Neptuno's in Boca Chica and Restaurante Ziva in Santo Domingo.

Comic play Toc Toc will be performed at the Dominico Americano auditorium at 8:30pm this evening, Friday 12 and Saturday 13 February, and at 7pm on Sunday.

Read more about upcoming events at http://www.dr1.com/calendar

To read more news, see the DR1 News Archives at: http://dr1.com/premium/news/2015/index.shtml