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Daily News - Thursday, 13 August 2009

LF: war on drug sales
President Leonel Fernandez announced yesterday he was declaring war against the micro-trafficking of drugs.
Diario Libre says that the National Department for Drug Control (DNCD) has pinpointed 19,000 of the micro-positions for distributing drugs nationwide. The goal is to dismantle the sales points.
Fernandez wants more aggressive action against drug dealers by the state's security organizations.
"And if these points are recycled we will have to see if there is complicity in the state's security institutions, because what could be happening is that there really are agents that are receiving benefits from this operation and that are not fulfilling their duty," said Fernandez.
The President also promised to create new job opportunities for youths. The President says the micro-traffic is the principal threat to Dominican youth.
Yesterday, the DNCD announced major changes to their organization structure nationwide.
Fernandez spoke when presenting graduation class rings and laptops to the 11 winners of the National Youth Prize 2009, Fernandez praised Dominican young people, saying that he was proud of them. In his long talk, the nation's leader also kidded and joked and told anecdotes to the youngsters, many of which will take part in the courses in leadership that are sponsored by the Ministry of Youth in United States universities.
"I have not forgotten to take note, nevertheless, of how much we have come forward, a certain progress that we have experienced. These young people are receiving gold rings and a laptop. In my time we just got a diploma," he commented, bringing about the chuckles of students.
The government (primarily state prosecutors and judiciary) has been criticized for its inefficient policies to combat increasing drug trafficking in the country. Peravia Senator Wilton Guerrero has insisted drug traffickers are in complicity with high up government officers, prosecutors, police officers, the military and drug trafficking control agents.

National District crime stats
National District (Santo Domingo) prosecutor Alejandro Moscoso Segarra says that there were 1,008 homicides between January 2006 and June 2009, for an average of 28 cases per month. He said that in the first half of 2009, there have been 129 homicides, of which 94% were men. 80% of the killings were due to gun shots, and 16% stabbings. He said 50% of the killings happened from Friday to Sunday; 61% from 6pm to 6am.
In the breakdown by motive:
- 2% intrafamily
- 3% accidents
- 4% drugs
- 10% love crimes
- 14% unknown
- 14% clash with the Police
- 25% robbery
- 35% fights
Moscoso said the homicide rate per 100,000 from Jan-June 2009 in the National District was 25.14%, for an average of 22 per month.
Yesterday, participating in the same interview with Hoy, chief of the Police Major General Rafael Guillermo Guzman said that 75% of crimes committed in the DR are drug-related.

US$45 million loan to finish market
The Executive Branch submitted yesterday to the Senate a US$45 million loan from the Deutsche Bank Sociedad Anonima Espanola for the completion of the Merca Santo Domingo wholesaler facility at Km. 22 of Duarte Highway. The contract establishes the five-year loan bears interest of 5.75% above Libor.
The project was begun during the Hipolito Mejia presidency (2000-2004) to reduce the levels of intermediation between farmers and retailers. The loan agreement stipulates that the Presidency's Office of Supervisory Engineers of the State (OISOE) would complete the project.
Recently, the Agribusiness Council (JAD), the nation's leading private organization grouping farm and agribusiness companies, petitioned the government for the operation of the facility.

Time to renew license plates
Beginning Monday and lasting until 30 November, the Department of Taxes (DGII) is renewing vehicle registrations. The government expects to collect RD$1 billion.
This would be RD$300,000,000 less than last year's collections, according to DGII director, Juan Hernandez. He said that vehicles up to the 2004 model year will pay RD$1,400, which explains the expected decline in collections, since before these vehicles paid more. For vehicles from the 2005 model year, the fee for the renewed registration sticker is RD$2,200.
Hernandez reminded vehicle owners that a fine is set at RD$600 if the deadline is missed.
This year, the DGII says 1,051,708 vehicles require the renewal of the Yearly Motor Vehicle Circulation Tax. Of these, 48% are cars, 24% cargo vehicles and 20% are SUVs.
As reported in Diario Libre, there are 263 places nationwide where the stickers can be obtained.
To obtain the renewal, vehicle owners need to present a copy of the vehicle registration at any of the savings and loan associations, or in banks such as BDI, BDA, ADEMI, Vimenca, Las Americas and Adopem. The DGII offices in Las Terrenas, Pedernales, Jimani, Villa Vasquez, Samana or Sanchez will also be issuing the stickers.
Online requests are accepted on the DGII website www.dgii.gov.do, by clicking on the option "Marbete 2009", entering the license plate number, and the credit card number, and the new registration will be delivered to the address indicated.

MD strike on hold, dialogue starts
Public hospital doctors and nurses are back at work, after a long two week work stoppage. They accepted sitting in for talks with the government, with the mediation of Monsignor Agripino Nunez.
Dr. Waldo Ariel Suero, president of the Dominican Medical College, that groups public hospital doctors, said they expect a wage increase and the reinstatement of 5 doctors and 2 nurses that were cancelled after an aggression against the director of the Francisco Moscoso Puello Hospital.
The medics and government health authorities will be meeting at the PUCMM campus at 10am today. The public hospital doctors will have Dr. Jose Joaquin Puello and Dr. Cesar Mella as their spokesmen, said the president of the CMD. Dr. Waldo Ariel Suero says they expect to come up with a document to present to President Leonel Fernandez that establishes a salary increase for the beginning of next year. Suero's term as president of the CMD ends in December.

Parties law might be unconstitutional
The president of the Central Electoral Board, Julio Cesar Castanos, said yesterday that the Law of Political Parties, approved by the Chamber of Deputies, could be declared unconstitutional unless the source of its funding is established. Castanos explained laws need to say where the funds will come from.
He also commented it would be necessary to wait until the President signs the law to determine if the parties that have set their dates for their primaries will change them. The new Law of Political Parties establishes all parties have to hold primaries on the same day.
The bill may not be passed after all. The Senate needs to pass the bill before Saturday, or it will expire in Congress.

Buy local to save $ and jobs
If the same quality pipes can be produced locally at a better price, why import? The president of the Association of Industries of Herrera, Manuel Cabrera is asking government for an answer to that question. Cabrera suggests that when the state opens bidding on a public works project, locally produced goods should be given preference as long as these meet the specifications.
A leading local plastic pipe producer is complaining the Brazilian contractor, Odebrecht would be importing PVC pipes that can be sourced locally for construction of the Samana aqueduct, a government contract. In a paid advertisement, the local producers say they offer nearly 50% savings to the government on the pipes.
The companies warn that aside from having to pay more for the imported pipes, the government also loses tax revenues, and the country loses jobs. The plastic pipe plant has had to reduce production by nearly 50% due to the drop in local demand in part due to the international competition.

Government, the entrepreneur?
Business lawyer Marisol Vicens Bello questions Art 197 of the new Constitution draft approved by the Constitutional Revisory Assembly in its first reading that would ease the way for government to take on a more active business role rather than a regulatory one.
She says the Art 197 reads: "The State will guarantee economic pluralism based on the coexistence of several forms of property ownership and business. Under the principle of subsidiarism, the state can by its own right or in association with the private sector be active in business to provide public services, or to ensure access to basic goods and services to the population and to stimulate the local economy."
Vicens says that the insistence by ruling party legislators in keeping to this wording is wrong. She says what is needed is that the state be a strong and efficient regulator, that ensures the fulfillment of the law that may in turn facilitate development. She says the business sector wants the article changed to read: "The State guarantees freedom of doing business, and will create the necessary public policies to stimulate national development."
She questions the government insistence in incorporating into the Constitution the role of the state as an entrepreneur. She says this is consecrated further in Art. 198 that speaks of "public and private business activities."

Consumer Price Index up a bit
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July showed only a slight increase of 0.12% over June, due mostly to a 1.69% drop in transportation costs.
The decline in the cost of transportation had a downward impact on the cost of food and beverages, and even housing indexes.
According to the Central Bank the 1.69% decrease in transport was due to the decline in the price of gasoline -- 3.61% for premium and 3.19% for regular.
The Central Bank says that the index for transferable goods, those that can be imported and exported free of restrictions, registered a decrease of 0.86% with regards to the previous month, due mostly to the lower fuel costs.
On the other hand, the goods and services that are not transferable, that is those that can only be commercialized within the local economy or are subject to restrictions on the international market, increased by 1.05% due to increases in the prices of fresh poultry, energy, among other items.
These numbers place the accumulated CPI for the year-July 2008 to July 2009-at 3.31%, much less than the 9.31% registered by the Central Bank for 2008.
According to the monthly report issued by the Central Bank on the behavior of the Consumer Price Index, the annual inflation rate-July 2008 to July 2009-fell by 1.22%, the lowest in Latin America.

Presidente invests in the Caribbean
Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana (CND), the Presidente beer brewery, is about to purchase the controlling stakes in Antigua Brewery Ltd, as reported in the Antigua Sun.
As reported, the CND has entered into an agreement for the acquisition of 93% of Antigua Brewery and 75% of Antigua PET Plant Ltd.
It has entered into a US$31 million purchase agreement for Royal Unibrew A/S controlling stakes in its beer, malt, soft drink and water operations, not only in Antigua but also in St. Vincent and Dominica.
CND is the leader in the Dominican Republic's beer and malt markets and Royal Unibrew A/S is a Danish publicly-traded company with operations in Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and the Caribbean.
The transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close no later than February 2010.

Novus Gold strikes gold
The Canadian mining company, Novus Gold Corporation announced the discovery of a one kilometer long, north-south trending, gold and copper mineralized structure at its La Yagua gold exploration concession (9,900 hectares) in the DR.
The company says grab samples of oxidized material grade up to 13 grams gold per ton, 41 grams silver per ton and more than 50% of the samples graded more than 1% copper (10,000 ppm geochemical).
The mineralization on the La Yagua property is located on the same stratigraphic interface as the Cerro de Maimon mine (Globestar Mining) located 19 km away that is exploiting a VMS deposit (6Mt of 2.5% Cu, 1.2 g/t Au, 38 g/t Ag and 1.5% Zn). There is potential for 14 kilometers of this favorable interface on the Novus property.
Novus Gold also owns the La Paciencia property (8,600 hectares) which is underlain by the same geology as the major Pueblo Viejo gold deposit located 10 kilometres to the east. The concessions are approximately one hour northwest of the Dominican Republic's capital city of Santo Domingo.

Young man barely escapes lynching
An 18-20 year old, trapped by a mob after he allegedly stole the bag from a woman in the "El Ingenio" section of Santiago, avoided being lynched because he pretended to be dead when a group of furious persons sought revenge and beat him with sticks, stones, pipes and other objects.
One person told Listin Diario reporters Jhonatan Liriano and Ricardo Santana that "he escaped a sure death from us, but at least this criminal won't be so anxious to roam around this sector because we gave him a good beating."
The victim of the mob, whose name was not available, had earlier assaulted university student Vanesia Martinez. Martinez said he threatened her with a knife but she yelled and immediately people caught the would-be thief and the beating began.
This is just another of a growing list of mob violence against alleged criminals caught in the act. Penal lawyer Frank Reinaldo Fermin told the Listin that the collective violence happens due to local frustrations with state prosecution. Furthermore, he said it is difficult for the judiciary to secure a conviction against the mob on charges of 'aggravated homicide.' So far this year only one case has gone to court because the act was taped.

Rains continue and will increase
The rains, scattered thunderstorms and bursts of strong winds are forecast for a large part of the Dominican territory, mostly in the Northeast, Southeast, Central Mountains and the areas along the border with Haiti. A low pressure area and tropical wave is moving through from Puerto Rico to the East and should be felt on Sunday and Monday of next week. Onamet says, nevertheless, that the DR is not in the forecasted route for Tropical Depression 2. For links to follow DR weather, see http://dr1.com/weather/hurricanes.shtml

Men's volleyball
The DR will compete in the 2010 Men's World Championship Qualification Tournament for North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (Norceca) Pool F on 15-17 August. The event will take place at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California.
The DR team (ranked No. 4 in Norceca) will face the US (ranked No. 2), Guatemala (No. 8), Panama (No. 15) in a tournament where the winner will qualify for the FIB World Championships from 24 Sept to 10 Oct 2010 in Italy. The second-place team will advance to a four-team playoff in Guadalajara, Mexico, where it will get one more chance to qualify. There is also a chance for the third-place team to advance to the playoff as the best third-place team from all three third-round tournaments will also compete in Mexico.
The tournament will open 15 Aug with the DR playing Panama at 5 pm Pacific Time and the United States playing Guatemala at 7:30pm. On 16 Aug, Guatemala will play the DR at 5 pm and the USA will face Panama at 7:30pm. Finally, on Monday, Guatemala will play Panama at 5 pm and the US will play the DR at 7:30pm.
To follow the results, see http://www.norceca.org/

Pedro pitched and won
Pedro Martinez was back pitching in the Major Leagues last night and scored a win completing 5 innings and leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 12-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Martinez (1-0) gave up 7 hits, 3 earned runs and struck out 5. He only allowed one walk. This is the first MLB victory in nearly a year for the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Martinez was signed to a free agent contract by the Phillies, current World Series champions, on 15 July.
This was win number 215 for Martinez and his first since 31 August 2008, when he beat the Florida Marlins. The 37-year old Martinez last pitched in the majors for the New York Mets.
He said, "I feel good, a little emotional just going out to pitch." He told the Phillies radio network, "This is the first game. I am anxious for the next one and I hope to correct a couple of things that I did not do today."
In order to get Pedro into the five-man rotation, veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer, 46, and a 10 game winner, was sent to the bull pen, and he was not happy about that, according to reports. Martinez has US$2.0 million guaranteed, and he pitched three minor league games as part of his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Marc Anthony concert postponed
Puerto Rican Marc Anthony has rescheduled his Dominican summer appearance for 18 September. His doctor ordered rest to avoid strain on his vocal cords after he suffered a throat infection when traveling to New York City. Anthony was scheduled to perform as part of the Presidente Beer Summer program on 14 August at the Gran Arena del Cibao in Santiago.
For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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