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Daily News - Monday, 13 July 2009

President Fernandez in Israel
First reports on President Leonel Fernandez's 10-day trip to the Middle East cover the start of his tour in Israel. He arrived to Tel Aviv on Sunday for a 3-day trip in Israel. On his first afternoon he visited sacred sites in Jerusalem. On his 2nd day, he is scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres for the signing of cooperation agreements. On Tuesday, he has a planned visit to the coal-fired Hadera power station and meetings with businessmen interested in doing business with the DR.
Fernandez has said that during his trip to Israel he seeks to learn how to reproduce that country's technological development and advancement in the DR.

Fernandez takes on Zelaya case
President Fernandez received deposed Honduras President Zelaya at the Presidential Palace with honors of state prior to his departure to the Middle East.
President Fernandez has said he will lobby for Zelaya's return to government during the Fifteenth Summit Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) he will attend in Egypt on 14-15 July. Fernandez has defended that Zelaya's return to power is a matter of principle.
Despite the Fernandez government support to Zelaya, said to be a protegee of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, local news commentators have also presented background leading to the ousting of Zelaya in Honduras.

Chabad center in Santo Domingo
Prior to his trip to Israel, President Fernandez had welcomed at the Presidential Palace Rabbi Shimon Pelman, Chabad emissary to the DR. At the Palace, Pelman spoke about the mission of Chabad, its global network of embassy-like Chabad Houses, and the need to develop and grow in the DR.
Rabbi Pelman opened his Chabad center in Santo Domingo just under two years ago, serving an estimated 200 Jewish residents, as well as businessmen and tourists. The city's two largest hotels are nearby and Chabad's kosher catering service is busy.
Pelman and his wife Michal operate a kindergarten and Hebrew school, and lead adult Jewish education.

27 de Febrero overpasses closed
The Ministry of Public Works has announced that the overpasses on Avenida 27 de Febrero will be closed from 10pm to 6am, for 20 nights, for repairs and repaving.
The express roadway will be closed in both directions.
Minister of Public Works Victor Diaz Rua explains that the joints of the highway ramp will be resealed.

PC on government secrecy
The civic group Participacion Ciudadana alerts today to the ingrained practice of secrecy in government, especially regarding government fund allotments. Francisco Checo, spokesman for the organization says that the secrecism in government is in express violation of Law 200-04 on Free Access to Public Information.
He called "inoperant" the government websites that he says should be providing timely information on expenditures and payroll to the general public.

34 groups protest impunity
34 civic and business groups joined on Sunday in a general protest calling for a stop to corruption and alerting to the moral decline of government institutions and political parties. They warned the rising corruption would lead the DR to be a failed society. They criticized the rising inefficiency, corruption, nepotism, political vandalism and permisiveness in government and the political parties.
"Cases such as the CDEEE, the PRA, the INDRHI, the OTTT, Public Works and the National Lottery are barely the tip of corruptions that bad Dominicans have allowed to increasingly permeate government," say the groups.
The groups protested corruption has been maintained, government after government, spurred on by the permisiveness of the authorities and with the tolerance of society that has not imposed moral censureship.
Signing are the Association of Industries of Herrera, Civic Participation, Montalvo Center, the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE), among others.
Concurrently, Marisol Vicens, president of the Confederacion Patronal Dominicana (Copardom) that unites business groups, urged President Leonel Fernandez to go from talk to action, referring to the President's discourse on "zero tolerance to corruption."

Ede-Este cost US$207.2 million
To buy back the power distribution company, Ede-Este, the Fernandez administration took on US$180.7 million in debt - US$157 to generators and US$23.7 million to suppliers. The deal also involved a US$26.5 million disbursement to Trust Capital of the West (TCW) for their 50% private participation in the power distribution company that handled a third of billings in the country. This brings the buy-back cost to US$207.2 million, as reported in El Dia. El Dia reports that as of 31 December 2008, the Ede-Este had a current debt of US$848 million. With the purchase of Ede-Este, the Fernandez government is now the sole proprietor of distribution companies in the DR.

Brain drain is a concern
UNIBE University Dean Julio Amado Castanos Guzman is concerned about the "brain drain" in the DR and its effect on the nation's development. Speaking at the university's latest commencement ceremony, Castanos blames this phenomenon on a lack of real opportunities for college graduates in the DR.

Who killed Christopher Martinez?
Three years after the shooting of the director of the air navigation department at the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC), Christopher Martinez, the judiciary has yet to solve the murder case. Eric Christopher, his son, says the family has provided proof that would lead to the intellectual and material authors of the murder, but the authorities have not moved forward on the case.
Christopher complained that in the country there is a "pandemic of impunity." As reported in the Listin Diario, he said that the authorities have knelt before organized crime, in fear and complicity.
"Our investigations led us to conclude that the controls implemented by my father made difficult the trafficking of drugs, and the business of organized crime and mafiosos in aviation. When he could not be bought, they opted to murder him," said Christopher who has crusaded for justice for his father for years.
"What a shame that the authorities do not understand that society degenerates when crime is not punished and faith in the law is destroyed," said Christopher, as reported in El Dia. He blamed a combination of complicity and fear in aviation sectors. He criticized that General Prosecutor Radhames Jimenez has named a commission that has led to stagnation of the case.
Priest Ramon Castro lamented that Christopher was killed for doing what was right and lamented the authorities have not acted despite the security departments of the state having the names of those that are responsible.

Air show turns dangerous
A fund-raiser for the foundation of the daughter of President Leonel Fernandez at the San Isidro Air Force Base turned into a dangerous stampede when mother nature arrived without warning, knocking down large tents and blowing away vendor booths. In all nine persons were injured.
There were an estimated 3,000 spectators at the show, but weather was cloudy. However, officials kept assuring the crowd the show would go on.
DR1 correspondent reports Lu Olivero reports that the winds came from nowhere. "The clouds were dark, but the strength of the wind was unexpected," he reported. "I turned around and saw three military men trying to hold down the metal supports of the tents, and then a gust of wind collapsed the tents. There was screaming and yelling. It was chaotic," says Olivero.
Civil defense and military officials were efficient in dealing with the situation, while medical officials were on hand to treat the injured.

Guloya lead dies
Donald Hullester Warner Henderson, better known as "Linda", the lead of the Guloya (God-lawyers) cultural troupe Teatro Cocolo Danzante in San Pedro de Macoris, died of consequences of cancer on Sunday. He had been battling liver cancer and Hepatitis C at Plaza de la Salud medical center.
Originally from St. Kitts and one of many English-speaking immigrant settlers in the DR, he was 79 years old.
The Guloyas are descended Afro-Caribbean sugar cane industry workers who migrated to the DR in the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century from other Caribbean islands colonized by the French, Dutch and English. The United Nations' (UNESCO) recognized the group on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2005. The prestigious designation is reserved for communities worthy of special note, protection and nurturing.
Xiomara Perez, director of the National Folklore Department at the Ministry of Culture, spoke of Linda'ss important contributions to Dominican culture.
See http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?RL=29

Testifying for US Supreme Court
Ramona Romero, the first Dominican-American to preside the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), is scheduled to testify on behalf of US Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Thursday, 9 July. Judge Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to become the first Latino Supreme Court Nominee in US history.
The confirmation hearings began today. A date was not released as to when Romero will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Romero is a veteran national Latino leader and one of the original founding boardmembers of the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) in 1997. The Hispanic National Bar Association is the largest and most prominent Latino lawyer association in the United States.
The confirmation process for Judge Sotomayor must first clear the Senate Judiciary Committee before it goes to a vote by the full US Senate.
Only the US Senate has the ability to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. It's expected that the full Senate will vote on Judge Sotomayor's confirmation before the August recess.

Maconi extradited to US
Ernesto Bienvenido Guevara Diaz (Maconi) was extradited on Saturday to Puerto Rico, upon request from the US judicial authorities. He flew to Puerto Rico on a private jet, and from there he would travel to New York to appear before the Court for the Southern District of New York for facing charges on conspiracy and distribution of cocaine in United States, related to the case of former military Ernesto Quirino Paulino Castillo.
Earlier in the week, the Executive Branch had issued Decree 482-09 ordering the extradition, following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Pujols is the marquee tonight
Considered "the greatest player on the planet," St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is on center stage tonight at this year's presentation of the Home Run Derby.
Pujols is having a monstrous season, even by his standards, batting .332 with 32 homeruns, 87 RBI and 73 runs scored. Pujols is on pace to hit 60 homeruns this season, which would be a fitting crown to his 2009 campaign.
And for his tremendous season Pujols will have the honor of catching the first pitch of the game to be thrown by the President Barack Obama.
Though Pujols will be delighting his hometown fans of St. Louis, writers and baseball heads are a bit concerned about his participation in the derby. Many feel derbies tend to change a batters swing and could negatively effects Pujols' second half.
Dominicans Carlos Pena and Nelson Cruz will also be joining Pujols in the derby. Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez will also participate in the event.

Acta's out in DC
Manny Acta, once the youngest manager in the Major Leagues, has been fired by the Washington Nationals. The move, which had been rumored for weeks, comes as no surprise to fans or baseball insiders. That Nationals, under Acta, went into the All-Star break with a league worse 26-61.
"I thank the Nationals for giving me this opportunity and I'm sorry that things didn't work out as expected. It's normal for the manager to pay the price when the team is not doing well," said Acta.
This was Acta's first coaching gig in the Majors. Onlookers say it wasn't Acta's inability to coach that was the problem, rather an inability by management to attract good enough players.

Jackson tribute continues
The world is still reeling from the death of pop icon Michael Jackson and this is no different in the DR, where the tributes to the King of Pop continue.
First Mambo singer Omega paid tribute remixing one of his songs, "Remember the time."
And now the Jaragua Hotel will host a local talent tribute to Jackson on 14 August at the Teatro Fiesta. Frank Ceara, Audrey Campos, Carolina Rivas, Hector Anibal and Luis Armando Rivera will perform the music of Jackson.
For more info on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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