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Daily News - Wednesday, 10 June 2009

DR1 breaks for Corpus Christi
DR1 Daily News will not be updated on Thursday, 11 June, a religious holiday, or on Friday, 12 June for the long weekend.
News for the 11th and 12th of June will be compiled for Monday's news digest. Thursday, 11th June is Corpus Christi Day, a Roman Catholic holiday.
For any major breaking news stories, please check in with the DR1 forums, updated 24/7 at www.dr1.com/forums

Fernandez's mom unwell
Eighty-nine year old Yolanda Reyna, mother of President Leonel Fernandez, has been hospitalized at the CEDIMAT hospital at Plaza de la Salud after being diagnosed with a cardiac arrhythmia. Her son visited her at the hospital and later told the press that his mother was in good spirits and doing well. She is due to be discharged later this afternoon.

Infant mortality still high
The DR has not managed to reduce its infant mortality rate, which still hovers at between 20 and 23 deaths per 1,000 births for babies under one month old. Mortality rates for children between the ages of one month and five years is pegged at 30 deaths per 1,000 births.
Doctors say that respiratory defects and gastrointestinal problems are still the leading causes of death among newborns.
The Dominican infant mortality rate figure includes thousands of babies born to Haitian mothers who cross the border to give birth in the DR, without previously having received adequate medical care.
In related health news, the director of the Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS department at the Ministry of Health, Luis Ernesto Feliz Baez, says that 985 minors in the DR have HIV/AIDS. He said that 70% are receiving anti-retro-virals and the remaining 30% are still in initial stages and don't need treatment.

Consecutive re-election prohibited
The Constitutional Revisory Assembly has voted to ban presidential re-election, in line with an agreement signed by President Leonel Fernandez and new PRD president Miguel Vargas Maldonado. "The Executive Branch is led by the President of the Republic, who will be chosen every four years, through direct vote, and is prohibited from running for office during the following presidential period." However, a former President will be able to come back and campaign for a presidential election after a four-year break.
The stipulation returns the DR to the provision on re-election that was included in the 1994 Constitution.

Storm victims get homes
A total of 332 new homes have been handed over to residents of the province of Monsenor Nouel. The homes were promised to the residents after tropical storms Olga and Noel devastated their dwellings in 2007. The new houses were built with a budget of RD$187,157,495. Speaking on behalf of the re-housed families, community representative Bernarda Camarena thanked the government. National Housing Institute (INVI) director Alma Fernandez said the government still has to hand over 914 homes to victims of the storms.

AH1N1 update
Nineteen new cases of AH1N1 flu have been reported, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 91. None of the latest patients have been hospitalized and the virus continues to be mild in the DR.
The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) and the Health Coordinators Union is calling on the government to spend more on fighting the spread of the flu around the DR.
The Ministry of Public Health has announced that is strengthening measures aimed at preventing deaths from AH1N1.Of total cases, 61 have been reported in the National District and 13 in the province of Santo Domingo. Four cases have been registered in La Altagracia, four in Santiago, three in Peravia (Bani), two in Samana, and one each in La Romana, Monte Plata, Valverde and Puerto Plata. The Ministry of Public Health attributed one death, of a 17-year old patient, to the virus. But Dr. Cid Troncoso, director of the La Altagracia Maternity Hospital, has denied that she died from the virus. He said that the young woman, who was pregnant, was suffering from acute tuberculosis and heart problems.

Car buyers feel crunch
Despite signs that the international financial crisis has peaked, Dominican car buyers are still feeling the crunch.
According to Hoy, figures from vehicle dealers association Anadive indicate that between 40% and 45% of all financed vehicles are being returned to dealerships due to default on repayments by owners.
Anadive president Cesar de los Santos says that there has also been a freeze in the car sales market because of high interest rates on vehicles. He added that it is a shame that while interest rates have dropped for new loans, older loans still have the same, high rates, making it difficult for owners to make payments.
De los Santos says that car sales have dropped by 60% this year.

Barrick makes purchase
Listin Diario is reporting that mining company Barrick Gold has purchased the Monte Rio power company. The operation of the company, which was owned by a group headed by former National Business Council (Conep) president Elena Viyella de Paliza, will continue its current operators through 2010. The newspaper says that the purchase of the plant, which will continue running as a private entity, was made in order to ensure that Barrick Gold's Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation (PVDC) received an energy supply. Listin is also reporting that Barrick purchased two floating power generators that will be installed by 2011.
The purchase of the Monte Rio Power generator means that less power will be available for the national grid.

Abud is sentenced
Former Police Major Frederick Medina Abud has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of his former neighbor Toribio Piti Montero. Abud was also ordered to pay a fine of RD$5 million for each one of Montero's children for the 2008 incident in which he shot Montero three times. According to Hoy, Abud shot Montero over a dispute over an illegal electrical connection. Abud had also been linked with the Paya drug massacres, but nothing has come from these allegations.

Aguayo continues to win
Dominican sailor Raul Aguayo is continuing his successful 2009 campaign after winning the 20th Caribbean Laser open championship. The event took place in St Martin over the weekend. Hoy reports that Aguayo dominated the seven events of the championship series. Aguayo said he felt very satisfied with his performance.

Manny opens up
Manny Ramirez has finally opened up to the media on his eventual return to the field. But Ramirez, usually tight-lipped on most matters, failed to make any mention on his 50-game suspension from baseball or the drugs he might have been using that caused him to fail a drug test. "Whatever happened, that's in the past and I'm coming to play my game and move on. I don't want to be a distraction for this team. I didn't kill anyone, I didn't rape anyone, so that's it. I'm just going to come and play the game." Ramirez made his comments after finishing up individual practice at Dodgers Stadium. Ramirez has been practicing in the weeks following his suspension and said he was ready to get on the field. The slugger says he might need a few at bats in the minor leagues before heading back to the big show, but added, "It's going to be fun, it's going to be crazy. I love it, I'm looking forward to it. I'll be ready to go."

International Theater Festival
The VI International Festival of Theater (FITE), which takes place on 17-24 June in Santo Domingo, features performances of several world-class plays.
Tickets are a mere RD$50 for many of the plays, the bargain of the year. In all, 61 productions from eight countries will be staged.
Theater groups are coming from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Canada, Ecuador, Spain, Guatemala, Venezuela and the DR.
This year the event is dedicated to Maricusa Ornes and Eduardo Di Maura of Argentina.
The event opens on 17 June with a performance of "La muchacha de los libros usados," from Ecuador (Teatro Malayerba).
The event takes place across 15 venues: Teatro Nacional, Palacio Bellas Artes, Teatro Guloya, Teatro Luna, La Cuarta Espacio Teatral, Las Mascaras, Gran Teatro del Cibao, Centro de la Cultura de Santiago and on stages in barrios in Santo Domingo.
Also see www.dr1.com/calendar for more details on the festival and other upcoming events.
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