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Daily News - Wednesday, 17 June 2009

ACC 2010 committee appointed
The committee that will oversee the organization of the American Capital of Culture 2010 in Santo Domingo was appointed last week. Committee members are Culture Minister Jose Lantigua, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia, City Mayor Roberto Salcedo, PUCMM University Rector Monsignor Agripino Nunez and businessman Jose Luis Corripio. Also at the meeting that dealt with the initiative to lead the organization of the event were deputy ministers of Culture Lourdes Camilo and Alexander Santana, Jose Oviedo of the PUCMM, Deputy Minister Taty Olmos and the executive secretary of the Dominican UNESCO commission, Nikauli Vargas. The committee will now prepare a master plan for the event that will be presented to President Leonel Fernandez in the coming weeks.

Commission to study Refidomsa sale
President Leonel Fernandez has set up a committee that will study the proposed sale of 49% of Refidomsa to Venezuela, said Economy, Planning and Development Minister Temistocles Montas. Also in the commission are Presidency Minister Cesar Pina Toribio, special adviser to the Presidency on drugs lawyer Marino Vinicio Castillo and jurist Mariano German.
The sale of Refidomsa to the Venezuelan state-owned PDVSA vompany is being debated by business sectors that are asking for transparency during the negotiations. Others have argued the sale of such a large stake of the company would increase Dominican dependency on Venezuelan fuel.

JCE will handle corruption case
National District DA Alejandro Moscoso Segarra has announced that the Central Electoral Board (JCE) will be responsible for reprimanding and punishing seven employees accused of issuing fake documents to foreigners.
The DA also recommended that Lorenzo Liranzo and Angela del Rosario Espejo should be charged for their role in the document mafia.
Del Rosario is suspected of declaring children who weren't hers as her own.
The investigation into the mafia took place over a six-month period.

Cooking with wood still common
According to the 2007 National Survey on Income and Spending (ENIGH 2007) 1,195,512 households have at least one car. The study reveals that 23.7% of the population has motorcycles while 11.7% have cars, 3.9% have a pick-up truck and 3.3% have an SUV. The remaining 4.4% use some other form of transport.
But on the other hand, 256,067 (10.4%) of the population still use wood to cook their meals, 78,015 households (3.1%) use charcoal to cook food.
A total of 2,016,000 families use propane. As many as 13.5% still uses charcoal or wood for cooking. The survey also found that 29,857 households use electric stoves to cook their meals, but this should soon come to an end with the elimination of the fixed fee rates under the PRA programs.
The study shows that Dominicans use 48% (21% on food, 17% transport and 10% housing) of their income on food, transport and fuel.
The study also reveals that 13.8% of income is used on eating out, while only 2.8% of income is used on health services. This is relatively low compared to the 5.8% used for furniture and 5% on jewelry and clothing.
The average salary for Dominicans, as of 2007, was RD$8,648 per month for a main breadwinner in the family and RD$6,889 for secondary earners.
Researchers interviewed 9,600 people in 31 provinces.

Dominican health issues
Statistics from the 2007 National Survey on Income and Spending (Enigh 2007) reveal that the flu, hypertension, respiratory infections and diabetes are among the most common sicknesses affecting Dominicans.
ENIGH, citing statistics from the National Statistics Office (ONE), reports that in 2007 413,683 people suffered from hypertension while the number of people with diabetes jumped to 150,324, of whom 84,344 were women.
The results also reveal that 30% of all Dominicans reported some type of health problem of whom 2,718052, or 90% of those interviewed, said they received some type of medical treatment for their ailment.
Finally, the study reveals that in 2007 Dominicans spent RD$1,517809,356 on medicines and medical equipment.

Trade deficit with US persists
The trade deficit between the US and the DR is US$628.8 million in the "red" into the first four months of the year.
According to statistics from the US Commerce Department, the US exported US$1.69 billion in goods to the DR, while the DR exported US$1.06 billion to the US.
The Dominican trade deficit with the US has significantly increased following the implementation of DR-CAFTA in 2006.
Dominican business has not been able to make the most of the trade agreement.
The US is the DR's main trading partner with a total of almost US$40 billion in sales between 2004 and 2008.

Dealers burn house
Two men are dead and another two are in jail after a movie-like ending to a surveillance sting at a house in Juan Dolio.
Listin Diario reports that Drug Enforcement (DNCD) agents went to the house to complete drug surveillance and were waiting for the local DA to show up in order to carry out a raid. But prior to the DA arriving the two men inside set fire to the house, while the other two began a gunfight with the DNCD agents.
The two surviving men, Francisco Castro Santana (Danny) and Nelson Miguel Echavarria (Corazon) were taken into custody.
Police found a machine gun, an Uzi sub-machine gun, a 9mm gun and a stolen Toyota SUV.

DR on trafficking watch list
The DR is one of the countries on the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report 2009. Although the DR has made advances in curbing the levels of human trafficking, it has been put on the Tier 2 Watch List meaning that the government, while not fully complying with the minimum standards, is making significant efforts to meet these minimum standards in stopping human trafficking.
According to the State Department the DR "is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor."
The report continues by describing the child sex tourism problem, particularly in coastal areas, where child sex tourists from various countries arrive all year round.

Baseball news
In baseball, it looks like David "Big Papi" Ortiz is back, sort of. Ortiz, who has slowly been creeping out of a much-publicized slump, hit a one-run homerun in yesterday's 8-2 crushing of the Florida Marlins. Ortiz also had a two-run single in the game.
Ortiz now has 5 homeruns for the season, which doesn't seem like an eye opener, but considering Ortiz had just one during the first six weeks of the season and four in the last nine games, there is much hope for BoSox fans. Ortiz is also now batting .210, which is better than the measly .193 he was batting two weeks ago.
In other news, Albert Pujols is tearing up opposing pitching. Pujols hit his fifth homerun in as many games yesterday, bringing his season total to 23.
He is leading the league in dingers. Pujols' bomb helped the Cardinals win against the Detroit Tigers, 11-2 and has them in second place in the NL's Central Division.

Say it ain't So-Sa!
Baseball has been dealt yet another blow, and this time from one its most beloved figures. A report in the New York Times reveals that Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in 2003.
The news was verified by lawyers with knowledge of the drug testing results from that year, but who will remain anonymous because they are not allowed to speak on those results. These results substantiate rumors that have surrounded Sosa, his career, his homerun race in 1998 and would be another strike against a sport still reeling from the aftermath of what has been dubbed "the Steroid Era."
Sosa's inclusion in the ring of liars and cheats is more damning considering that only two weeks ago he gave an interview to ESPN Deportes in which he said he would retire and calmly wait for induction into the baseball Hall of Fame.
His chances at the Hall are now heavily damaged, if one considers the less than stellar support fellow Steroid Era player and suspected drug user Mark McGwire received when he was up for Hall induction.
Sosa, who is sixth on Major League Baseball's career homerun list and last played in 2007, had long been suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, but until now had never been publicly linked to a positive test.
The revelation that Sosa in fact did take PEDs could prove a legal nightmare for "Slammin Sammy,' considering that he testified, under oath, to Congress that he had "never taken illegal performance enhancing drugs."
According to Schmidt, the 2003 test that ensnared Sosa was the first such test conducted by Major League Baseball. Under guidelines agreed upon with the players union, the test results were to remain anonymous but would lead to testing with penalties the next year if more than five percent of the results were positive. However, many of the names on the list have been leaked, including that of Alex Rodriguez.
What's most troubling, if the revelations are confirmed is that in the years following his career Sosa knowingly lied and deceived the public about his career and his use of drugs. "To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything," said Sosa during his Congressional hearing.
Quoted by Fox Sports, fellow baseball icon Pedro Martinez said, "This news would make me feel terrible if it is proven that Sammy tested positive. This is a problem for all of baseball, not just Dominican baseball. But in reality, this is a problem of education that has to be attacked." Sosa is now one of many MLBers caught up in the scandal and is an additional stain on the Dominican legacy of the sport. Fellow players Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada and Manny Ramirez have all been linked to PEDs.

Pan Am Judo Championship
The top judo athletes from Panama, Nicaragua, Chile, US, Honduras, Bolivia, Haiti, the US, Venezuela, Netherlands Antilles and the DR will be competing in the XVI Pan-American Judo Circuit that will take place at the Judo Pavilion at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center.
The event opens with the Pan-American Senior Championship, and continues on Saturday with the Fedojudo International Cup.
Competitions will be in the 45, 48, 52, 57, 63, 70, 78, 78+, and open categories for women. For men, the categories will be 55, 60, 66, 73, 81, 90, 100 and 100+ and open categories.

New bowling facility
Bowling gets new courts that will be open to the general public starting this Thursday, 18 June. The new lanes are at the Sebelen Bowling Center's new third floor at Plaza Bolera on Abraham Lincoln at the intersection with Roberto Pastoriza Avenue.
Twenty-two new automated lanes ensure that the bowling center remains the most modern in the Caribbean.

Extreme Air Freestyle Motocross
Motorcycle stunts at their most daring will be on stage at the Olympic Stadium this coming 27 June when the Extreme Air Freestyle Motocross show comes to town. Acrobats, fireworks and the incredible skills of the motorcycle riders are sure to delight audiences.
Coming for the show are Mike Meztgler, who jumped the fountains of the famous Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Also Jimmy Fitzpatrick, and Taka Higashino, who won medals at the ESPN X Games and the Red Bull X-Fighters, Julian D'Ussea, Matt Buyton, Nick Dunne, Dan Pastor, Scotty Stephens and Curtsty Demon.
Among the acrobatics that will be performed are the double back-flip, Superman Indian air, 360-whip, no-hander back-flip and heel-clicker.
This is a Bravo Entertainment production.
Tickets are on sale at MovieMax opposite La Cadena supermarket (off Abraham Lincoln Avenue) for RD$500, and RD$1,500 VIP.
For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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