Home  Message Archive  2015  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998  Premium News Service


Daily News - Friday, 03 October 2008

Fernandez in Florida
President Leonel Fernandez was in Miami to participate in the Miami Herald-sponsored Americas Conference at the Biltmore Hotel Thursday. Fernandez was also a keynote speaker at a Beacon Council event where he spoke and meet with around 600 Floridian businesspeople.
For some days now, President Leonel Fernandez has been arguing that the DR is well prepared to handle any adverse reaction to the US financial crisis, but during his speech at the Americas Conference Fernandez commented that the US crisis could reverberate in the DR. Though this has yet to happen, he says it could hit in the near future. Fernandez said the DR's GDP has grown by 7% in the last seven months and the government would do all that is possible to protect the nation's productive sectors.
Fernandez said that Latin American economies needed to develop mechanisms to withstand the current world crisis. The President added that the world is facing four or five crises at the same time. He focused on how the close linkages to the US market, the country's largest trading partner, make the Dominican economy vulnerable. Fernandez also spoke about the harm that speculation has done to the petroleum markets and its effects on the rise in fuel prices. Fernandez added that the DR fuel bill has increased to a whopping US$5 billion.
President Fernandez in the evening attended the 2008 Annual Meeting and Lifestyle Auction , sponsored by the Beacon Council and also held at The Biltmore. The gathering was held to help raise needed funds to market the business assets of Miami-Dade County. At the event, President Fernandez delivered a special keynote address, "Strategic Alliance between the DR and South Florida." During his talk, President Fernandez highlighted the opportunities offered by the DR-CAFTA treaty and the fact that the DR could serve as a bridge between Florida and the Asian markets. Fernandez stressed the strategic alliance would open up more trading opportunities for markets that don't currently have trading links with Southern Florida.

DR wades the crisis so far
Despite the global crisis, growth continues at the Dominican Republic Exchange. Trading leaped to RD$25,429,696,170.23 for the first ten months of the year, for a significant 221.31% growth compared to the same period last year. The total volume traded for the year 2007 was RD$15,414,587,959.17
Three new issues were approved during the third quarter: BHD Valores for RD$1 billion with a two to five year maturity; Metro Country Club for US$16 million with a four year maturity and Motor Credit for RD$300 million with a three year maturity.
Darys Estrella, general manager of the Dominican Republic Stock Exchange says that the crisis has not really impacted the Bolsa directly because there is an almost zero correlation between our exchange and the other big exchanges. "Our market continues to be 100% fixed income which means there are no equities listed here that local or foreign investors can sell in times like this. When you see a 700+ point drop in the DOW, our bond prices remain the same," she explained.
Nevertheless, she says the Dominican economy overall could be impacted if remittances, tourism and foreign direct investment drop. "However, the country's remittances and tourism revenues have remained fairly resilient," she comments. According to estimates from the DR Central Bank, during the first half of 2008, tourism revenues increased by 6.3% and remittances increased by 6.6% compared to the same period last year.
For more information, see www.bolsard.com

Developing alternative energy
Two US companies, Hart Energy Consulting and Energy Security Group, have submitted a project aimed at helping implement Law 57-07 on alternative energy, specifically using ethanol mixed fuels. The project's objective is for 10% of the local fuel consumption to come from ethanol fuel. This could greatly reduce the nation's foreign fuel bill. Initial studies would cost an estimated US$300,000 and will be done through a cooperation agreement between the US State Department and the Organization of American States, which is also helping to implement the law.

Construction decreases
The start-up of construction projects has decreased by 90% in the last two months, according to the president of the Housing Construction and Promotion Association (ACROPROVI), Jaime Gonzalez. Gonzalez blames the lag in construction on the rising financial costs. Gonzalez says that sales of new homes are down 70% in 2008, compared to 2007.

Preparing for Metro II
Five international companies have shown an interest in participating in the construction of the Santo Domingo metro's proposed second line. These are Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and Invensys. The second Metro line would run from Los Alcarrizos to San Luis, a distance of 22 kilometers and 24 stations, at an estimated cost of US$600 million. Construction is expected to begin in December and should take an estimated three years to complete. Information on the project was released during the Forum for East Asia Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) event held in Singapore. Listin Diario reports that soil tests for the new line began three months ago.

Blame the trucks
Freight vehicles make up only 15% of the vehicles on the road, but are responsible for 25% of all accidents in the DR, according to Juan Manuel Cabral Baldera, director of the Department of Highway Organization, a dependency of the Transit Authority (AMET). Cabral made his comments during a training and inspection seminar with truck drivers. AMET officials are now placing reflective tapes on trucks to try to reduce accidents.

Kennedy closed
The overpass on John F. Kennedy Avenue, which intersects at Abraham Lincoln Avenue, will be closed for repairs tomorrow, Saturday from 8am until noon. A lane divider at the intersection was damaged after a traffic accident early Friday morning. Expect traffic jams throughout the afternoon.

Say no to new mountain highway
Geographer Zacarias Nieto warns that the construction of the new Cibao-South highway on the route proposed and promoted by Monsignor Jose Dolores Grullon of San Juan de la Maguana would result in the destruction of several rivers and forests in the Cordillera Central that are now protected because they are inaccessible to humans. Writing in Clave newspaper (2 October), Nieto says that four highways already connect the country from south to north, of which three are in disrepair. He suggests that these should be repaired instead of building a new highway.
In addition to the Duarte Highway that connects Santo Domingo with Santiago, the others are the San Jose de Ocoa-Constanza road (with side roads to Jarabacoa and Bonao), the Piedra Blanca-Las Carreras-Rancho Arriba and San Jose de Ocoa. The Villa Altagracia-San Cristobal road, and the Carretera Internacional (connecting the border towns with Haiti with Santiago (Villa Vazquez, Guayubin, Santiago Rodriguez, Montecristi, Dajabon, valley of San Juan de la Maguana via Loma de Cabrera, Restauracion, Pedro Santana, Banica and Las Matas de Farfan.
Nieto adds that experience shows that building highways gives humans more access and leads to the demise of rivers and major deforestation. He said that once a road is built, farm businessmen, poor farmers and forest exploiters move in. He mentions the case of the demise of Jatubey River, and how the road to Valle Nuevo has caused major damage to the Nizao River, a main water source for Santo Domingo and farming in Bani.
For further information, Nieto can be contacted at [email protected]

Campaign against malaria
The US Carter Center, through the ITFDE in Atlanta, Georgia will begin a joint campaign to accelerate the elimination of malaria and lymphatic filariasis in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The initiative stems from a 2006 recommendation from the Carter Center's International Task Force for Disease Eradication (ITFDE) - a group of 12 global experts on infectious disease funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - that it is technically feasible to eliminate the two parasitic diseases on Hispaniola. According to Diario Libre, the island of Hispaniola is the only part of the region that is still heavily affected by malaria. Health officials from both countries will concentrate their efforts on border towns near the Rio Masacre, including Ouanaminthe and Dajabon. Trou du Nord in Haiti will also receive funding for the eradication programs. As part of the efforts mosquito nets, insecticides and other equipment will be purchased and distributed in the border towns.
The Carter Center explains that the elimination of the disease would improve not only health, but would also improves economic opportunity, including agriculture and tourism in both countries. It estimates the Dominican Republic lost approximately US$200 million in tourism due to an outbreak of malaria in 2004. Mobile Haitian workers that commute back and forth between both countries are said to be the main transmitters of the disease in the DR. The experts also warn that as long as malaria exists in Hispaniola, the disease threatens neighboring islands, including Jamaica and the Bahamas, which in the past two years have experienced brief malaria outbreaks originating in Hispaniola.
Malaria was eradicated in the DR in the 1970s, but not in Haiti, thus the new focus to eliminate the disease in both parts of the island.

Law enforcement roles
Yesterday, police officers, state prosecutors and governors from across the country met to discuss their roles in the judicial and legal process. Participants discussed the Dominican penal code and how each sector fits into applying its statutes. The meeting was led by Prosecutor General Radhames Jimenez Pena, Minister of Interior and Police Franklyn Almeyda and National Police Chief Rafael Guillermo Guzman Fermin. Guzman, quoted in Hoy, said the point of the workshop was to determine how to "harmonize" the work of all parties. Guzman said that the nation's judges should have a similar coordination workshop. The need for this meeting came about as police, prosecutors and government officials have been shifting blame as to who is responsible for investigating crimes as well as who should be responsible for putting criminals in jail and keeping them there.

Suero vs government
Dominican Medical Association (CMD) president Waldo Ariel Suero is protesting the forceful removal of himself and other medics that camped out on the second floor of the Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday. At 2am on Thursday, a Police Swat group carried them outside of the ministry. Suero accuses the government of brutality. Suero says he was injured in the altercation and described being carried out of the ministry headquarters by his shirt and neck, while military and police officers punched him. He added, "they turned the lights out at 8pm and even cut off our access to water. They treated me like a criminal, they even handcuffed me." Suero and the leaders representing CMD medics that are battling for an overall wage increase for public hospital doctors took over the ministry hallway in a new move given that their tactic of ordering doctors to strike at public hospitals have not produced results. The Ministry of Public Health's stand is that raises should only be awarded for productivity.
But if Suero was looking for sympathy he wasn't getting any, at least not from National Police Chief General Rafael Guillermo Guzman Fermin. Guzman defended the action taken against the doctors, saying that although the police had used force, their actions weren't violent. Guzman stated that the police procedures had been clean. Health Minister Bautista Rojas said that the increased police presence was appropriate to prevent further interruption of work activities at the Ministry. Journalists covered the expulsion and photos are shown in the press today.

Ball player: hit-and-run driver?
Police are searching for 24-year old New York Mets reliever Ambiorix Burgos who was driving an SUV when he ran over two women who later died of their injuries in a Nagua hospital.
Josefina Minaya Martinez, 38, and Angely Fana, 29, were struck by a new Hummer on the Cabrera-Nagua highway on Tuesday. A relative of Burgos came forward saying he had been driving the vehicle. The Police arrested him as an accomplice.
Police says that Burgos was involved in other violent events in the area, but on previous occasions the victims settled their complaints out of court.
Several witnesses identified Burgos as the driver of the vehicle.
The Mets have announced they would be carrying out their own investigation into the case. "We are extremely disturbed by the reports regarding the player's potential involvement in the hit-and-run accident that unfortunately killed two women," the Mets said in a statement. "We take this matter very seriously and have begun an internal investigation to ascertain the facts. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of the victims."
The New York Daily News also reports that Burgos had a case for violence against a woman pending in a New York court. Just last month he was arrested on charges of manhandling his girlfriend in a Queens hotel. The 6-foot-3, 244-pound hurler allegedly punched, bit and slapped 26-year-old Maria Lopez in a Holiday Inn room on Sept. 8, cops said. Burgos is due back in court on Oct. 23 to face assault and harassment charges.

Welcome, Mr. October
Manny Ramirez went yard for the second time in two days and is continuing his post-season brilliance. Ramirez, already the all-time post-season homerun hitter, sent a shot deep into the Chicago night helping the LA Dodgers pounce on the Chicago Cubs 10-3. Ramirez's performance so far has propelled the Dodgers to unfamiliar success and has the team only one win away from the NLCS. In other baseball news, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have won their first post-season game ever after defeating the Chicago White Sox 6-4. Finally, the Philadelphia Phillies won their second game in a row against the Milwaukee Brewers. With one more win the Phillies advance to the NLDS.
Home  Message Archive  2015  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998  Premium News Service

The contents of this webpage are copyright 1996-2015.  DR1. All Rights Reserved.