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Daily News - Friday, 02 May 2008

DR1 takes a break
DR1 Daily News will not be updated on Monday. On Monday, Dominicans will celebrate Labor Day. Labor Day fell on Thursday, 1 May, but the actual celebration was rolled over for Monday to create the long weekend. DR1 news will be compiled for the Tuesday, 6 May issue. DR1 Forums are open 24/7 for posting of headline breaking news and commentaries, as well as the usual questions and answer threads.
See http://www.dr1.com/forums

New industrial parks
Industry & Commerce Minister Melanio Paredes announced that four new industrial parks with the promise of creating 45,000 direct and 115,000 indirect jobs will be inaugurated this year. Speaking on competitiveness and industrial innovation at the Herrera Industrial Association luncheon, Paredes said the parks are the Santo Domingo West Industrial Park (Disdo), Favidrio in San Cristobal, the Seis de Noviembre Park (for workers from Santo Domingo and San Cristobal) and the La Canela Park, located in Santiago de los Caballeros.

US$80M for disaster rehab
The World Bank approved US$80 million to support the government rehabilitation efforts after Tropical Storms Noel (October) and Olga (December). The funds will also be used to strengthen the management capacity of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI) and the Dominican Corporation of State Electrical Companies (CDEEE).
Yvonne Tsikata, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, said that the Emergency Recovery and Disaster Management Project will finance rebuilding and restoring physical assets in the electricity, irrigation and water supply sectors. The funds are also targeted to support measures to mitigate potential effects of future emergencies. This US$80 million fixed-spread loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is repayable in 30 years, including five years of grace.

We don't know
The energy distributors and government have been mum on the latest set of rolling blackouts affecting Dominicans. Listin Diario writes that only AES Dominicana and EdeSur have made comments, explaining that service would return to normal in the next few days. EdeSur says they are at a production deficit of 200 MW while AES says that one of the Dominican Power Partner (DPP) plants would return to the system with 105 MW of energy produced by natural gas. The State Run Electric Companies (CDEEE) has yet to explain why blackouts have become more frequent. Reports are that hydroelectric production is down 50%.

Housing feels crunch
The president of the Housing Constructors and Promoter's Association (ACOPROVI) Jaime Gonzalez says that in the last 30 days, costs of construction materials have gone up 25%. At the same time, he said new home sales are down 50% in March and April. Gonzalez expressed concerns that prices could further escalate once the 16 May election has come and gone. Gonzalez asks the government to take actions to prevent instability in the sector.

Air Dominicana grounded
Air Dominicana has been grounded on the basis of technical problems. Director general Ignacio Sanguino explained that the inaugural flight did not take place as planned because the 18-year old Boeing 737 plane had to make a technical stop in Spain when it was on its way to the DR. The plan was for the plane to travel to Brazil and then make its way to the DR for its official presentation. Board of directors member Juan Munoz said they expect the plane be in the DR by the 14th of this month so that first charter flights can begin between the 15th and 20th of May. The Dominican government has 30% stake in Air Dominicana shares.

Saturating voters?
Adriano Miguel Tejada of Diario Libre comments on the fine line between attracting voters and saturating the market. "I have the impression that at this moment the excess of advertising of the purple-colored party is doing more damage than good, " writes Tejada. He explains that when the campaign started out, the idea was to overwhelm voters so that they felt a sensation of of invincibility of the candidate. But he says this could be counterproductive. People may say they are not going to vote, because "what's the point, we already won," or they may not try to convince others to vote for the party, he comments. He also points out that when reaching out to those that are undecided, too much advertising can have the opposite effect and motivate a vote for the opposition, as a way for irritated people to exercise their rejection of the barrage of advertising. Tejada says that the President-candidate would do better if he works to assure the people there will not be problems in forthcoming months, instead of insisting on propaganda that is already tiresome.
Participacion Ciudadana civic group said that the PLD invested RD$80 million in propaganda in April alone. The PRD invested RD$36.5 million, the PRSC RD$20.5 million.

US$569,000 in undeclared cash
Rafael Alberto Luciano Corominas was arrested on Wednesday evening at Las Americas International Airport after US$569,000 in undeclared cash was discovered on board a small airplane of his property that had flown in from Aguadillas, Puerto Rico. Also arrested were Juan Jose Martin Gomez Guichardo and pilot Luis Manuel Ovalles. A civil register officer for Boca Chica, Luciano is the son of the vice president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Judge Rafael Luciano Pichardo. Luciano Pichardo said his son told him he was unaware the money was being transported on the plane. "I have to answer only to my own personal matters, not for those of my sons," he said in a press conference he called at his Supreme Court office. As reported in El Caribe, the pilot, Ovalles, took full responsibility for the money contraband.
Customs Department (DGA) Miguel Cocco said on the Nuria y Huchi en CDN radio talk show that undeclared cash is routinely confiscated at the airport, but what is unusual in this case is the amount. A US$580,000 receipt came with the cash, thus Cocco says there could be US$11,000 missing. Cocco explained that the National Department for Drug Control passed the case onto the Customs Department when no narcotics were found on the plane. Cocco explained the case will be categorized as a money contraband case.

Colonel dead
Four men and a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Police are dead after a brutal attack in La Caleta section, near Boca Chica. Though details are still being collected, Listin Diario reports that Lt. Colonel Galis Manuel Cordero arrived at La Caleta, dressed as a civilian, investigating an ongoing case. A group of local gang members became aware of his presence and he was shot, receiving a fatal close range shot to the head while sitting in his vehicle. The vehicle slammed into the front door of a local store. A shootout followed between police agents and supposed gang members resulting in four deaths.

Awarding the Dumas
What are the Dumas, you ask? The Dumas are the Dominican Urban Music Awards and will highlight artistry in genres such as mambo (merengue de calle), electronic, rock, Dominican rap, reggaeton and R&B, as reported in El Caribe. Though no specific date was given, the award ceremonies will be in either in June or July at the Palacio de los Deportes and will be televised on Telemicro and Digital 15. The award winners will be chosen by the voting public through text messaging. There is speculation the Dumas awards were created when the genres were left out of the Cassandra, the leading national awards to the arts. But Chey Rodriguez, the show's director, said they seek to promote creativity and promote popular Dominican music. Felix Vinicio Lora, former president of the Dominican Association of Art Chroniclers (Acroarte) has doubts the Dumas awards will be successful. He commented that years back, rockers tried to do the same thing and ended up fighting amongst themselves. Tenor Carlos T. Martinez said that any music that doesn't have quality doesn't deserve to be recognized by the Cassandra's.

Legislators recognize Junot Diaz
Dominican American author Junot Diaz received yet another recognition. The Pulitzer Prize winning author was honored by the Chamber of Deputies as the Literary Ambassador of the Dominican Republic. Diaz met with Chamber President Julio Cesar Valentin who recognized Diaz's talent and community efforts. Valentin said that it was important to recognize the best qualities in people so that these may serve as role models for others. Valentin added that Diaz, who immigrated to the US when he was seven, has never forgotten his humble roots and reflects this in his writings.

Can he do it?
Think the Boston Marathon is tough? Try running from Santiago to Santo Domingo, a total of 160 kilometers. Tomorrow Pedro Guzman Almanzar will try to accomplish this. He starts at the Monumento in Santiago at 11pm and will head towards the capital city. Guzman says he expects to make it to the Parque Independencia Santo Domingo by 11am the next day. This isn't the first time Guzman tries such a feat. He previously ran from Santo Domingo to San Francisco de Macoris in a time of 15 hours and 15 minutes. Listin Diario writes that an ambulance and AMET officers will accompany him on his run.

Aguayo jumps in the rankings
Dominican sailor Raul Aguayo has jumped in the International Sailing Federation's world rankings and is now 74th out of 851 sailors in the men's laser category. The 27-year old electrical engineer took the spot after his most recent performance in Italy. Aguayo, the first Dominican to qualify for the Olympics in sailing, is currently in Europe training for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He plans to travel to Spain (Santander regatta) and Holland to participate in preparatory competitions. Aguayo took sailing very seriously after winning bronze in the 2003 Pan American Games held in Santo Domingo and silver in the Central American & Caribbean Games held in Cartagena, Colombia. <> See http://www.sailing.org

Friday sales
La Sirena has frozen chickens for RD$19.95lb, Brunswick tuna flakes for RD$19.95/170g can, Cranberry Langers juice for RD$79.9/64oz, Brugal Anejo for RD$249.95/lt, Presidente 6-pack for RD$199.95/12oz bottles.
La Cadena is advertising Dewar's White Label 8 years for RD$454.95/750ml, J&B Whisky + bottle Perrier Water for RD$434.95, Kellogg's Corn Flakes for RD$89.95/500g.
Plaza Lama has chicken thighs for RD$26.95lb, chicken wings for RD$31.95lb, fresh pork chops for RD$62.95lb, Eristoff Vodka for RD$289.95/70cl
Jumbo has potatoes for RD$8.95lb, red onions for RD$8.95lb, rice for RD$14.95lb, plantains for RD$7.95ea.
Bravo advertises apples for RD$24.95, frozen chicken for RD$21.95lb, Fab detergent for RD$149.95/2000g
Nacional supermarkets is advertising plantains for RD$7.95ea, Milex milk powder for RD$589.95/2722g, 30 eggs for RD$89.95, Hatuey soda crackers for RD$79.95, rice for RD$14.95lb, potatoes for RD$8.95lb, red onions for RD$8.95lb, fresh pork chops for RD$74.95lb, Angus churrasco for RD$238/lb,
Painting sale at Pinturas & Accesorios, Nunez de Caceres No. 368, a block from the Gustavo Mejia Ricart. Acrilica Superior RD$199/gal
Ferreteria Cuesta has 20% off all items at their stores.
The Ilumel furniture store continues its clearance sale at their Abraham Lincoln location.
La Novia de Villa as a Mother's Day sale of 20-70% off at their Roberto Pastoriza 406 and Paseo de los Locutores 13 stores.
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