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Daily News - Friday, 14 August 2009

Health meeting yields a 2nd meeting
A first meeting between officers of the Ministry of Public Health and the Dominican Medical College (CMD) yielded no more than a photo opportunity and a commitment to meet again on Tuesday at 10am. The health professionals met after a two-week strike by the nation's public hospital doctors who have been lobbying for more than a year for wage raises.
The latest series of strikes forced the nation's leading negotiator, Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado to convene both sides.
Tensions between both sides were noticeable. Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez refused to reinstate 5 doctors and 2 nurses who were cancelled after an alleged attack on the director of the Francisco Moscoso Puello Hospital. CMD president Waldo Ariel Suero said that if the doctors and nurses aren't reinstated then there could be no real dialogue.
Reportedly, the physicians met for four hours but did not discuss the main issues at hand, focusing on revoking the cancellations.

Residents go back on strike
Physicians at the Francisco Moscoso Puello Public Hospital are back on strike in protest of the firing of 5 doctors and 2 nurses, accused of assaulting the hospital's director, Roberto Lafontaine. This newest stoppage is a strange twist in what has now become the saga of the month.
The nations doctors had gone back to work yesterday when talks were resumed between the Ministry of Public Health and the Dominican Medical College (CMD) with Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado as mediator. But when after a 4-hour first meeting Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez refused to reinstate the doctors, CMD president Waldo Ariel Suero said negotiations would not continue without that concession. There are 200 resident doctors at this particular hospital.

OAS lobbies for ethanol
According to Daniel Carl, economic adviser at the US Embassy in Santo Domingo, the DR could save US$50 million per year in importing fuel costs and reduce emission of gases by 3% if it implements recommendations made by the Organization of American States (OAS). The study, Biofuel Market Development Opportunities in the Dominican Republic, was carried out by the Department of Sustainable Development of the OASfunded by the Embassy. Results into the pros and cons of biofuels were presented yesterday by Francisco Burgos, energy adviser to the OAS yesterday at the Hotel V Centenario.

Cheating students case to be heard
Education Minister Melanio Paredes said that the National Education Council will listen to arguments by 835 students who say they were falsely accused of cheating during this summer's national exams. The Council ordered 835 students retake the national exams and must re-do their minimum hours of community service prior to being eligible for university programs.

Odebrecht justifies pipe imports
Odebrecht Engineering denies that the difference between imported and locally made pipes is at 50%. Local pipe PVC manufacturers want the company to source these locally and not import them from Brazil. But Odebrecht says that the contract signed for the second phase of the Samana Aqueduct with the BNDES Brazilian development bank conditions the soft loan to the purchase of Brazilian goods. The company explains the government signed an export financing credit. The company says that the difference is picked up already in the cost of the contract.
Odebrecht, a major construction contractor to the Dominican government, argues that it employs more than 4,000 Dominicans and carries out purchases to local suppliers for more than RD$1 billion.

Samana highway dangers
Frm 26 July to date, eight persons have died and nine were injured during accidents on the Santo Domingo-Samana highway. Listin Diario attributes the accidents to speeding. The accidents have given the toll road a reputation as a dangerous route. 18 persons have died in the Monte Plata stretch, including a former director of the Dominican Agrarian Institute (IAD), Quilvio Cabrera.
Fireman Rafael Rivera said that people don't drive fast on that highway, "they fly." He called for more control on speeding.
As reported in the Listin Diario, others say the highway has construction and design errors that catch the racing drivers unaware. Jose Ramon Mejia, provincial director for the Civil Defense explained pavement drops come as a surprise to speeding drivers. He also alerted that criminals have taken advantage of the solitary highway to assault those driving on motorcycles. He said they are aware of flying objects thrown at cars to force these to stop and ease the way for a robbery. He said the emergency forces have been alert and are quick to come to the rescue.

Jose Tomas defends government
Former Santo Domingo Senator and today director of the Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation Jose Tomas Perez' comments regarding accusations of corruption in the PLD could provide insight into what his administration would be like if he were ever elected president.
Speaking on allegations of rampant corruption among PLD party members holding government positions, Perez said that a "majority" of the members of the PLD's Central Committee are honest and humble people.
He said the constant accusations on corruption in government seek to corner the PLD. "You can't generalize because of two or three people," he said. He added that 98% of the Committee's 450 members are honest. Perez did not explain how he came up with this figure.
He said that government is vulnerable to corruption, but he defended the administration. Perez failed to address any of the specific outstanding charges of corruption regarding fellow administration members.

Truck falls off bridge
Onlookers who braved heavy rains yesterday gawked in surprise and awe at the wreckage of a truck that fell off the Juan Bosch bridge over the Ozama River. No one was hurt. The truck was moving east-west when the driver, Joel Basilio Ramos, lost control of the vehicle and veered off the bridge. There is speculation Basilio could have been drunk and talking on his cell phone.
Basilio recounts that a guagua, a small public bus, cut him off. He said he braked but they didn't respond immediately and the truck slammed into the protective barrier. Basilio was taken to the Dario Contreras Hospital for a check up.

Waters pound SD
It seemed as if it were never going to stop yesterday as torrential rains poured down on Santo Domingo and much of the National District. Rains began around mid day in the city, with the strongest bursts between 4pm and 7pm. Rains continued until 10:30pm. As a result of the heavy rains, the Center for Emergency Operations (COE) raised the alert warnings frm green to yellow for 14 provinces including La Altagracia, El Seibo, Duarte, Hato Mayor, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris, Santo Domingo, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Vega, Monsenor Nouel and the National District. Officials are warning residents on the dangers of flooding and landslides.
The National Meterological Office (Onamet) is tracking a storm that is 1,500 miles off the coast of Cape Verde moving 13km/h to the east. Rains are expected to continue through Monday.

Generators investigated
According to the the Multi-disciplinary Committee for the Fiscalization of Hydro-Carbons the consumption of diesel by the energy generators decreased by 7.8 million gallons in relation to last year. Hacienda Minister Vicente Bengoa says "something strange" is going on.
Bengoa announced meters would be installed at the energy distributors to determine how much exonerated fuel is actually being consumed. A second measure would remove the tariffs exemption on diesel for the generators.
According to Bengoa for the energy generators, fuel oil makes up 90% of all the fuel the 39 commercial generators consume, of which only 19 are connected to the national electricity grid.

Jana makes Lurzer's Archive
Dominican Freddy Jana was ranked 6th for number of campaigns published in the Lurzer's Archive list of the best 200 illustrators in the world. Jana is creative director for the Partners Ogilvy in Santo Domingo. Jana explains that for him a good illustration needs to have soul, feeling and be alive. "An illustration has value when it makes you feel."
The 200 Best is a collection of the world's best in photography, illustration, packaging, and product/music design.
Jana at present is part of the team that is working on the city branding for Santo Domingo.

Tribute to Michael Jackson
Dominicans Luis Armando Rivera, Hector Anibal, Frank Ceara, Audrey Campos, Carolina Rivas are on stage tonight, Friday, 14 August in a tribute to Michael Jackson directed by Luichy Guzman. Choreography is by Victor Ramirez. Teatro La Fiesta of the Hotel Jaragua at 9pm. Tickets for sale at the Jaragua, Tel 809 221-1414 or through Ticket Express (ticket.com.do)
For more on weekend and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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