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Daily News - Friday, 07 August 2009

UASD campus in Bonao
President Leonel Fernandez inaugurated a campus of the state university UASD yesterday in central Bonao, Monsignor Nouel province, an hour and a half from Santo Domingo. The campus was built by Ozoria & Asociados at a reported cost of RD$1.4 billion. It has 72 classrooms, 18 labs, several sports courts, and a multi-use facility with capacity for 5,000 persons. The complex has capacity for 650 vehicles.
Fernandez said the government is building similar campuses of the state university in San Juan de la Maguana, Barahona and Valverde.

Financing for education
The InterAmerican Development Bank has offered the DR government US$100 million in loans that can be used to promote educational programs in the country. IDB local representative Manuel Labrado also announced yesterday that the IDB will be disbursing US$50 million next year to help the Ministry of Education build five new schools and improve others in the DR.
Labrado says the IDB already has two programs underway with the Ministry of education for US$870 million. These end in mid-2010.
Furthermore, the IDB announced it has delivered a donation of US$942,000 to the Fundacion APEC de Credito Educativo (Fundapec) for programs to train workers and enhance the student loans program. This project will be executed by the Multilateral Investment Fund (Fomin). Signing the agreement were Juan Francisco Puello Herrera, president of Fundapec and IDB representative Manuel Labrado.
This would be the second financing the IDB provides to Fundapec. In 1990 Fundapec received a loan or U$20 million and technical cooperation for US$1.4 million, which were used for their Program for the Strengthening of Technical Education.

Churchill & 27 Febrero
The Ministry of Public Works reports that the intersection of Winston Churchill Avenue with 27 February Avenue will be closed to traffic from Friday at 8pm through Saturday. The closure is to remove asphalt for a subsequent repaving of the roads.

Looking for gold
The Canadian company Goldquest Mining Corporation has received exploration rights for eight mines in the southern and northern parts of the DR. The company will be looking for gold, zinc, silver and copper. Hoy also reports that Goldquest has allied itself withe Gold Fields Dominican Republic in order to purchase 100% of that company's exploration portfolio in the DR. The southern exploration sites are Las Tres Palmas, Jengibre, Loma Viejo Pedro and Los Comios, while the northern exploration sites are Piedra Iman, Cerro Dorado, El Toro, Santa Ana and Las Animas. Currently Linear Gold, Goldquest-Goldfields, Unigold, Globestar and EvertonResources are mining in the DR, while Barrick Gold and Xtrata are expected to begin mining in the DR in 2011.

Bengoa: Sale is irreversible
A defiant Hacienda Minister Vicente Bengoa let reporters know that the 49% sale of Refidomsa is a done deal, and there is no changing that. "Be clear. The deal is done, and is irreversible. Don't fool yourselves. The sale will go through and will be complete shortly," he said yesterday. The Minister of Hacienda was responding to reports that the sale of Refidomsa to Venezuela would be in violation of the DR-CAFTA trade agreement with the US, and Central American nations.
Bengoa said that on 10 August a Venezuelan PDVSA mission will arrive to finalize the deal. This would be the third visit of the technicians. He said only pending is a fourth visit, for the closing of the deal. He said this could happen in October or early November.
As reported in Hoy, Bengoa described those who oppose the sale as "vultures." He said: "The vultures have sent these people to invent things such as that, so that the state may give the Refinery business to them," he said.
Objections to the sale were made abroad by Loretta Sanchez, a US Representative from California and in the DR by Hugo Rivera, a former DR government negotiator for DR-CAFTA. Rivera said the sale of 49% of the Dominican government stock in Refidomsa to PDVSA of Venezuela clashes with the investment chapter of the DR-CAFTA. He said that the agreement requires transparency in government investments and the Clause of Most Favored Nation obliges the government to restrain from offering a privilege to a country that is not a signatory of the agreement.

Strike is still on
The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) has decided to extend its 9 day strike another five days. Minerva Magdaleno, representing the nation's nurses, said that the government doesn't leave them with any choices. Doctors are fighting for increased wages, while the government says the raises will have to wait until next year.
CMD president Waldo Ariel Suero denied reports that the strike has any political motivation or that the strike is funded by the PRD opposition party. He said the rumors are being used to divide the doctors.
With very few patients visiting state hospitals, service is only being given at the emergency rooms.
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Health Bautista Rojas Gomez insists on pegging physicians work to productivity, while he says the doctors want a general pay raise.

Radhames outs Radhames
Deputy Radhames Castro is challenging his colleague Deputy Radhames Fermin, who he says has not been to a congressional meeting or event for more than two and a half years. He said that Fermin's driver doesn't even know where the deputy's office is. Castro is asking Fermin to make his presence felt at Congress immediately and is also asking him to return more than RD$9 million, which he has received over the last two years as compensation. Castro says he had spoken with the Congressional Ethics Committee, but they have yet to respond.

Drugs fall from the sky
Dominican officials have announced that a 518-kilo shipment of drugs was seized near Playa Moron, in northeastern Samana. The drugs were reportedly dropped from a plane about 3 nautical miles from Samana. Four men, Fausto Andres Mercedes, Pedro Alexander Mota Hilario, Daniel Esteban Alvarez Alvarez and Luciano Calcano have been arrested in connection with the drugs.
Reports indicate the men were caught at sea when in small boats they sought to retrieve the launched drugs. The National Drug Control Department announced the drugs were packed in 14 large "bricks", which contained 420 total packets. The drug was confiscated and brought to the Santo Domingo headquarters of the anti-drug agency.
El Dia reports that US officials had tipped Dominican security officials that an unauthorized plane had departed from South America. The operation was completed in coordination with help from the US's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the US Coast Guard, the DR Navy, the National Drug Control Department and the Dominican Air Force.

Guerrero: Brito is irresponsible
Peravia Senator Wilton Guerrero called Azua District Attorney Rafael Brito Pena "irresponsible", after Brito Pena left the country, despite a major drug heist scandal in his jurisdiction resulted in the National Police Chief removing all the police stationed in the province. Guerrero described Brito Pena's taking a "vacation" to NY with his family as "an irresponsible act the size of the Central Mountain Range."
The Senator also said that Brito Pena lies to the country when he reaffirms to his constituents speaking on the telephone from New York that everything is under control. But Guerrero says: "Under control of whom?" "Azua is under the control of drug dealers," said the Senator.
Guerrero said that the Azua chief prosecutor should not leave the country in such a delicate moment. He complained that Brito Pena has not ordered the arrest of the main ripoff suspect, a man nicknamed El Musico, who he said continues to stroll the streets of Azua drinking alcohol with policemen in bars and colmadones of the province. He said that while that drug trafficker is loose before the eyes of everyone, for the prosecutor this man is just a "a fugitive of justice", as reported in Hoy.

Azua senator on his province
Senator for Azua Cesar Diaz Filp disputes nearby Peravia province Senator Wilton Guerrero's description of Azua as a "narco province." Nevertheless, the PRD legislator recognizes that drug dealers have gained territory in his province. Diaz Filpo said the removal of all the police stationed in Azua was a "correct" measure by the chief of the Police, Major General Rafael Guzman Fermin. The measure came after on Tuesday, Senator Wilton Guerrero denounced that in Azua more than 20 police agents were involved in drug dealing.

Crappy cars have 72 hours
Santo Domingo's District Attorney's Office and Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) transit police have given the owners of abandoned cars in the Greater Santo Domingo a 72-hour grace period to remove the cars or these will be towed to the Duquesa dump sight. The goal is to clear roads and public spaces, which officials have deemed breeding grounds for crime and trash deposits. This initiative will also include removing cars that are not parked properly and are obstructing traffic.

Homicide leads to outrage
The murder of a young bank executive in the middle-class El Millon sector of Santo Domingo has lead to outrage in the city and in her hometown of San Francisco de Macoris. Kaisha Patricia Requena Grullon, personnel director at the Asociacion Popular de Ahorros y Prestamos, had arrived at her home at 9pm at night when she was met with two men who demanded she hand over her handbag. Onlookers say the 33-year old woman tried to resist the robbery, which led to the shooting. The assailants fled on a RSX115 motorbike.

Zero crime in tourist zones
The director of Touristic Police says there is zero crime in the country's tourist zones. Brigade General Henry de Jesus Gomez Bueno, of the Army, attributes this to an increase in patrols and the collaboration of the community that lives in the tourism destinations. He said Politur recently was outfitted with 35 pickups and another 35 motorcycles for patrolling.
In an interview with El Dia, he said that logistics are expected to improve further with the installation of closed circuits in several tourism zones to be financed by the state and the tourism sector in these destinations.
He said that requirements are higher for recruiting the police that work in the Politur unit of the police.
He said the Politur has a new website at http://www.politur.gob.do

Pitcher gets 30 days
A judge has ordered Dominican Dominican pitcher Julio Castillo to 30 days in jail and three years probation for injuring a fan during an in-game fight.
Castillo should consider himself lucky as he was facing eight years in jail for throwing a fast ball in the direction of the opposing team's dugout. The ball slipped out of his hand and he hit a fan.
The judge ordered Castillo to get anger management counseling, write an apology to the fan, stay employed and work toward a high school equivalency diploma.

Fernandez and a champion
Yesterday, President Leonel Fernandez spoke shortly with Dominican boxing flyweight champion Elio Enai Rojas. During their conversation, in Bonao, Fernandez guaranteed Enai that he would do all in his power to guarantee that a championship fight be held in the DR, under the condition that Enai win that fight at home. Fernandez spoke on how Enai has elevated Dominican pride with his victory and voiced his pride for the newly crowned champion. "You are a dignified representative for Dominican youth," said Fernandez.

Salsa at the Jaragua
Cheo Feliciano and Ismael Miranda, two of the leading salsa performers of all times, will be on stage at the Teatro La Fiesta of the Hotel Jaragua on 15 August. Tickets are for sale at the La Fiesta hall and at Buena Vista Club Bar & Lounge at Gustavo Mejia Ricart corner Winston Arnaud (Plaza Condesa). This will also be an evening of boleros and son music, in addition to salsa. This is a production of Buena Vista Entertainment and Corporacion EM. Feliciano and Miranda will be accompanied by Maestro Rafael Labasta and Orchestra.
For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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