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Daily News - Monday, 03 August 2009

Segura and his summit
Corporation of State-owned Electricity Companies vice president Radhames Segura is now proposing a vertical model for the practically collapsed electric sector he has overseen for the past 7 years. His 8-point proposal published as advertisements in newspapers today would be discussed during a summit he is convening with the National Business Council (CONEP). Segura has not set a date for the summit.
One of Segura's suggestions is that the private sector, that controls part of the nation's production of energy, become more involved in distribution, transmission and hydroelectric generation.
On many occasions Segura has claimed that private business didn't have the best interest of the energy sector in mind and that they were trying to sabotage the sector so that the energy distributors could be sold at the "price of a dead" cow.
Segura is now also proposing the creation of a Ministry of Energy, to oversee the CDEEE, strengthen the Superintendence of Energy and integrate the energy sector.
Segura has been strongly criticized for the excessive and inefficient bureaucracy under his helm at government energy departments.
From 31 January to 27 February 2009, businessmen met with government officers in the Unity Summit convened by President Leonel Fernandez and discusssed energy sector issues at length. El Caribe reports that of 19 recommendations that were accepted during that event, the government has only fulfilled increasing the electricity tariff. It has been a common practice for government to increase billing to those who have traditionally paid for the service, to compensate for deficiencies in collections and excessive current spending in the government-owned energy departments.

Energy rate to stay the same
The Superintendence of Energy has announced that energy prices will stay the same for the month of August, after consecutive hikes during the past two months. Francisco Menendez, head of the Superintendence, said the rate would have increased an extra 5.6%, but the government has made an " economic sacrifice" of RD$420 million, so that prices would not go up.
Despite long blackouts, households and companies utilizing upwards of 400 kWh have experienced major increases in their summer billing, up in some cases almost 100% following the June and July tariff increases. While the government announced increases for 12%, the way the scaled structure of the rate causes billings to almost double.

Privatization at National Park revoked
The Superior Land Court sentenced that investors return to the state 12.5 million square meters of land in the National Park of the East that had been irregularly privatized. The judges annulled the contracts that allotted these to Inversiones Trubia, S.A., property of Spaniards Carlos Sanchez and Andres Lietor, that have been mentioned in the Marbella real estate and corruption scandal in Spain. Reportedly, the Spaniards had agreed to pay US$9.9 million for the property. The shoreline property would have been used for hotel and real estate developments.

Vincho on corruption
Drug czar Vincho Castillo is asking all government officials tied to news reports re corruption in President Leonel Fernandez's government to resign their posts prior to 16 August. He added that this would make it easier for President Leonel Fernandez to name replacements.
Governments traditionally have announced changes on the date that marks another year for the administration.
Castillo added that Fernandez needs to make drastic changes in his administration. Castillo, quoted in Hoy, says that anytime a government official is involved in any case of corruption it is tantamount to a felony.
He also spoke on the general feeling that corruption has run a muck in the Fernandez administration. Castillo claims that the private business sector is an accomplice of the corrupt government officials in many business deals.
Castillo says he has spoken to President Leonel Fernandez about the rampant corruption in the administration. In his own defense, Fernandez has limited himself to describe laws and measures in place in his government to fight corruption.
A recent Gallup-Hoy poll indicates that 84% of potential voters perceive government leaders have acted with impunity towards corruption.

Increasing debt not healthy
Groundbreaking on large public works financed with high-cost foreign debt seems to have brought a look of progress to the DR. But at what price? National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) director Ricardo Bonetti, in an interview with Hoy, explained that stimulating the economy through foreign debt or public spending is a mistake.
"We understand it is a very risky policy and that in the long run will have destructive effects on the economy," he said. He added that though this policy has worked in other countries, in the DR this has not been the case. He said that so far borrowing for public works has resulted in making more money available for superfluous government spending.
Bonetti says that the nation's economic model should be based on incentives granted to business to generate jobs.
Recently, the Fernandez administration announced the start of the overpasses for the John F Kennedy and 27 de Febrero avenues that would be financed with a loan from the Brazilian export finance agency.

Free hand in government spending
The president of the Association of Industries of Herrera, Manuel Cabrera speculates that the government has chosen not to sign a monitoring agreement with the International Monetary Fund to keep a free hand in spending into the May 2010 congressional and municipal election. Cabrera says that the government is a vote-generating machine, which is harmful to the economy.
Cabrera urged President Leonel Fernandez to face corruption and restrict spending, especially on the payroll. He said that there are already 600,000 jobs in government, which would be adequate for a country with 35 million inhabitants. There are 10 million people in the DR.
As reported in Hoy, he said businesses have had to restrict their operations to adjust to the present financial difficulties, but government has not felt the need to do so. He criticized the widespread impunity in government.
Cabrera also refuted statements from the government that it benefits business with RD$104 billion in tax exemptions, and that these should be the first to go in order to adjust the government budget. He said that 76% of the tax exemptions directly benefit consumers. He said another 13%, or RD$13.6 billion, are granted through business incentive laws covering tourism, free zones, among other sectors and are intended to create jobs. Furthermore he said that another 10% or RD$10.5 billion, is administered by Customs.

Political tit for tat at JCE?
Central Electoral Board (JCE) Administrative Chamber head, Roberto Rosario is asking for the National School of Electoral Formation (EFEC) for statement of cash flows to determine the use of budgeted funds. The School is headed by fellow JCE judge Aura Celeste Fernandez, who has become one of the JCE's most outspoken members and one of Rosario's biggest critics.
Fernandez has criticized the lack of transparency and participation of the plenary of judges in major financial decisions at the JCE.
Rosario says the statement should disclose all financial dealings since the school was opened.

School supplies expensive
As parents get ready for the 2009-2010 school year they will notice that prices on school supplies will be noticeably higher this tear. Hoy is reporting that school supplies are an estimated 15% more expensive than last year.
Hoy estimates that a grade school child will need RD$5,000 in school supplies while a high school student will need, on average RD$9,000.
Parents are also concerned with the high costs of books for their children, especially for those attending private schools.

Caamano's boat restored
The sailboat that civil war legend Francisco Alberto Caamano Deno used to come ashore at Caracoles Beach in southwestern Azua with eight guerilla military troops in February 1973 has been officially retired. Caamano landed with the rebels intending to start a peasant revolution to overthrow the late President Joaquin Balaguer and restore the late President Juan Bosch to government. Instead he did not find sufficient support and would be wounded, captured and executed by government forces. Bosch, while democratically-elected, had been overthrown in a CIA-sponsored military coup d'etat in September 1963.
President Leonel Fernandez ordered the boat, nicknamed "Black Jack" that had sunk in Andres, Boca Chica near Los Pinos, to be restored. It will be exhibited at the Fundacion Caamano museum, at Calle Dr. Delgado.
The sailboat was originally bought in Antigua for US$40,000.
Chief of the Navy, Homero Luis Lajara Sola, said the goal is to restore the ship back to its original state. It will be resored at the Astilleros Navales shipyard, of the Navy in Las Calderas, Bani.

Drug cops get jail
Four cops involved in a drug deal gone bad have been sent to jail, for a minimum of three months as their case is heard. One of the officers, Alberto Segura was the head of the police department in La Bombita, Azua, where the drug deal would occur. The incident happened last week and resulted in the death of three people dead, including a police sergeant. Eusebio Corcino Alcantara, Praciteles Mendez Segura and Luis Manuel Collado Cruz, have all been sent to jail for their roles in the drug ring.

Tropical wave rains
Rains and rising temperatures are expected in the DR with the passing of a tropical wave, bringing rain showers nationwide.
Temperature are expected to rise again, once the wave passes over.

Melky hits for the cycle
Melky Cabrera became the 15th Yankee in history to hit for the cycle, a rare feat in baseball. He also became the first Yankee to complete the feat since 1948. The cycle is a baseball term which denotes a player hitting a home run, a single, double and a triple. Cabrera completed the feat during Sundays game against the Chicago White Sox and was key in helping the bombers beat the Sox.
See http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/...

DR defeats Korea in volleyball
The Dominican women's national volleyball team defeated South Korea in five sets to win one of its three commitments in the Ninbo round of the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix on Sunday. The DR won the match in Pool C, 25-22, 25-12, 18-25, 24-26, 1-10 in 112 minutes, after having lost to China and a spirited battle against Russia earlier this week.
Bethania de la Cruz led four Dominican players in two-digit figures. The DR is ranked 13th in the world.
As reported by the FIVB, the DR team scored the first point of the match with a powerful spike by Altagracia Mambru, but after two straight blocks the Koreans assured an 8-6 lead at the first TTO. The Dominicans then upped their tempo to snatch the lead (12-11) before going into the second TT0 with a three-point advantage. Coming back to the court, Korea won two points in a row to cut the deficit to one before Dominican Republic pulled away again and secured the set 25-22.
In the second set, two spiking errors from Kim Min-ji along with a De La Cruz smash handed Dominican Republic an early 4-1 lead. But the Koreans reacted soon to level at 5-5 before Dominican Republic regained the lead by the first TTO (8-6). Korea then made a few mistakes in attack as Dominican Republic boosted its advantage to seven points at the second TTO (16-9). Leading 24-12, Dominican Republic won the set on a Dharlenis Marte Frica Niverka serve ace.
Korea opened the third set with a 3-1 lead and enjoyed a one-point difference at the first TTO. Thanks to excellent serves, attacks and blocks, Lee's side stretched their lead all the way to take the set by a seven-point margin.
The fourth set was heatedly contested. The DR built a 7-4 lead, only for Korea to win three straight points to even the score. Korea was 16-14 ahead at the second TTO. Dominicans succeeded in tying the score at 17-17 and little separated the teams for the rest of the set. As the breathtaking play continued, it was Korea who reached the first match point, but did not realize it. The Koreans converted on their second set point when Cabral De La Cruz rose from the left flank to spike off bounds.
The DR team rebounded strongly in the deciding fifth set, surging to an early 6-2 lead and going into the first TTO with a four-point advantage. After the break, South Korea win three straight points to pull within at 8-7 before leveling 10-10. But the Koreans could go further while the DR scored five points in a row to seal the hard-fought win.
"We tried our best in the first two sets, but played poorly in the third and fourth. That is common for us, as both teams are very young. We are trying to improve," said Dominican head coach Kwiek Marcos.
The DR will now play in the second round, 7-9 August in Taipei, Taiwan against the US, Holland and Germany, and then from 14-16 August in Hong Kong, against Polland, China and Holland.
Twelve teams are competing in the World Grand Prix series this season. After each team plays three rounds, the top five as well as hosts Japan will qualify for the Grand Prix final round to be played in Tokyo, Japan from August 19-23.

Latin American Idol
Chevere Nights of Telesistema, Channel 11, will be presenting for the first time the Dominican version of the Latin American Idol, that is modeled on the American Idol successful talent show. Milagros German says that more than 3,000 novel performers auditioned for the show that will be aired on Wednesday and Thursday through December. The show starts this Wednesday, 5 August.
Local judges are Jose Enrique Pintor, productions director at Telesistema; actress, singer and theatrical show producer Nuryn Sanlley; Waddys Jaquez, theatrical producer and actor; and choral director Nadia Nicola.
German said that the winner of the local qualifying round will move on to participate in the Latin American Idol show in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Children's Film Festival
The Office of First Lady Margarita Cedeno is sponsoring a Children's Film Festival at Palacio del Cine in Bella Vista Mall. Films from Puerto Rico, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Colombia, Holland, Russia, and the US are being shown most for the first time. The festival coincides with the final vacation weeks for students that go back to school on 17 August.
For more on corrent and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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