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Daily News - Friday, 19 June 2009

Fernandez inaugurates aqueduct
President Leonel Fernandez has inaugurated the second phase of a water treatment plant and other works connected to the Eastern Salinity Barrier aqueduct in the community of El Naranjo in the San Luis section of Santo Domingo East. The aqueduct is expected to provide water service for at least 100 sectors in eastern Santo Domingo. Fernandez led the inauguration ceremony in the company of Italian Ambassador Enrico Guicciardi whose government contributed to the financing of the aqueduct. The US$5 million project has the capacity to supply 91.3 million gallons of water per day.

Fernandez states the obvious
During a meeting with members of the government's ethics committees, President Leonel Fernandez admitted that public administration in the DR is lacking in the organization and discipline that would make public institutions more efficient in meeting the country's needs. He added that public institutions are missing a uniform system, similar to that of the private sector. Fernandez went on to say that weaknesses in the current system have not allowed the prevention of corruption in public administration.
To back up his arguments, Fernandez presented the business model of fast food conglomerate McDonald's, which runs all its stores worldwide with the same standards of operation.
The President said this must be implemented in the DR, but conceded that political will was needed in order to achieve this.

DR-Taiwan banks agreement
Government commercial bank BanReservas and the Import Export Bank of Taiwan have signed a financing agreement that will allow credit options for Dominican businesses that purchase goods or services from Taiwan. Importers will have up to five years in financing for the import of goods such as raw materials or finished products, during which the Taiwanese bank will open a line of credit for the importer through BanReservas.
Bank administrator Daniel Toribio and Hsaio Chun-Ming, lead representative of the Import Export Bank of Taiwan in Brazil, signed the agreement at BanReservas' main offices in Santo Domingo. Members of the Dominican and Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce were present at the signing.

CONEP on Refinery deal
The National Business Council (Conep) has described the purchase of 49% stock in the Dominican Oil Refinery (Refidomsa) by Venezuela's PDVSA as "too risky". Conep president Lisandro Macarulla expressed his concern that the deal could affect the nation's petroleum supply and mentioned Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's track record against free enterprise in his own country. The business leader called on Dominican officials to think twice before selling to Venezuela.
Meanwhile, Diario Libre columnist economist Gustavo Volmar only sees a problem in the deal if the contract awards the refinery exclusivity or privileged import of fuel.

Refidomsa future looks positive
Despite the growing clamors for transparency in the 49% sale of Refidomsa to Venezuela, supporters of the initiative say the sale could be extremely positive for the DR as the country could become a regional center for the production of petroleum derived products. Listin Diario reports that the refinery currently only processes 32,000 barrels of oil per day, even though national consumption totals 145,000 barrels per day. The benefit of the sale could be that because of the DR's strategic location Venezuela would invest millions in renovating the refinery and increasing its capabilities and make the DR a player in the regional petroleum market in the process.

Violence continues in Navarrete
The violence in the northern town of Navarrete continued as protestors and law enforcement faced off over the death of a young protestor earlier this week. The situation in Navarrete can only be described as tense with one unidentified protestor throwing a homemade bomb at a police station. The bomb hit a vehicle but did not explode. Burned tires, a standard feature of Dominican protests, were scattered along the highway that links Santiago to the north west of the country and did the same on the road that connects Santiago to Puerto Plata. Community leaders have expressed their outrage at police behavior and say the death of 21-year old Jose Aquiles Gonzalez should be labeled a murder. Police in Navarrete have continued to patrol the main streets of the town, but have limited their presence in other areas. Protest leader Rodolfo Payero said that the young man's death would not be in vain, adding that protests would continue.

Abel Gonzalez passes away
Renowned Dominican doctor Abel Gonzalez died last night. He was 94 years old. Gonzalez devoted his life to medicine and is best known for founding the Santo Domingo clinic that bears his name. However, a little-known fact about Gonzalez is that he was the doctor who prepared the body of former dictator Rafael Trujillo in the days after his assassination. He was also former president Juan Bosch's personal physician.

Martinez does his part
Baseball player Pedro Martinez, his wife Carolina Cruz, the US Embassy in Santo Domingo and USAID have launched a project "Hay Poder en Aprender" (There is Power in Learning) in Martinez's neighborhood of Manoguayabo on the outskirts of Santo Domingo. This project aims to help 200 young people at risk. Through a combination of vocational training and educational programs, it seeks to help participants recover their self-esteem and dignity, discover their potential talents, and become productive citizens for their community and country. USAID, through Esperanza International and its Major League Baseball-Dominican Development Alliance (MLB-DDA), has committed $100,000 for a one-year period.

Spanish Center activities
The Spanish Cultural Center in Santo Domingo is staging a series of urban-themed cultural events this weekend. Tonight is the last night to watch a show by the Compania Brodas dance company. The hip-hop themed show will take place on the court at the Club San Lazaro, at 7pm. Entrance is free. In keeping with the urban theme the Center is also holding an art exposition in the Colonial Zone. The art exhibition runs through 28 June 2009.
See www.ccesd.org/index.php/Actividades

Music festival at Alliance Francaise
The Alliance Francaise of Santo Domingo is hosting its annual music festival this Saturday. The event features 34 rock, jazz and rap groups with special guest Paul Lay. The event begins on Saturday at 5pm and will run through 12am. Entrance is free.
For more information: www.afsd.net/fr/agenda_culturel.php

Stars in SD for Ballet Gala
The National Theater presents the World Gala of Dance this 3 and 4 July. This is a benefit for the Fundacion Nido para Angeles that helps children with cerebral palsy.
Michelle Jimenez and Jan Zerer, lead dancers of the Dutch Ballet will perform Romeo and Juliet duets and San Francisco Ballet's first ballerina Lorena Feijoo will perform Pax de Deux of the Black Swan. Also coming is Tigran Mikayelyan, first dancer of the Munich Ballet and Leo Mujic and Ilja Louwen, lead dancers of the Ballet Stuttgart. Tickets are on sale at the National Theater box office, tel 809 797-3191.
For more on current and upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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