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Daily News - Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Numeric portability about to start
The Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) has announced that beginning 30 September 2009 consumers will be able to keep their cellular numbers, even if they switch service providers. This has been a long-standing issue.
INDOTEL director Jose Rafael Vargas says the DR follows Brazil and Mexico and is the third country in Latin America to offer the service. He said cell phone providers have invested US$28 million to make this program possible.
Vargas said that consumers will be charged RD$80 pesos to switch from one provider to another. The change should take 3 to 10 working days. There are 7.9 million cell phone telephone numbers in use in the DR, and 17 companies offer the service. Vargas expects numeric portability to result in better service and rates for consumers.
The operation is handled here by the informatics division of El Corte Ingles, a Spanish conglomerate.

Measuring the noise
Minister of the Environment Jaime David Fernandez announced the installation of noise meters in Santiago and Santo Domingo to monitor the levels of noise around the city. According to El Caribe, noise needs to be a max of 60 decibels.
Fernandez explained that businesses or persons that break the noise limit will get a first warning. The equipment causing the noise will be confiscated if they continue with loud music or sounds. He also announced the installation of sensors in Jarabacoa to monitor for forest fires in the area.
The announcements were made during a meeting between the Ministry of Environment and the Las Americas Institute of Technology (ITLA). Both entities agreed to cooperate in implementing the monitors and the accompanying systems. The Ministry will cooperate with ITLA to create new technologies for sustainable development.

Pay those traffic fines
Any driver who has pending the payment of a Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) fine will need to pay this to renew the driver sticker of a vehicle in his/her name. To check whether there is a fine pending in your name, type in your driver's license or cedula at http://www.amet.gov.do/index.php?option=...
The period to renew the car stickers expires in mid November.

Government collects, does not pay
An audit by the Chamber of Accounts determined that 16 government departments have been collecting income tax charges, but not transfering the funds to the DGII. The department are estimated to owe about RD$40 million in taxes collected but not paid to the DGII.
Several of these institutions are delinquent since 2006 and others have never transferred the funds.
In a press conference, Licelott Marte de Barrios of the Chamber of Accounts and Juan Hernandez of the DGII said the names of the delinquent entities are listed on the Chamber of Accounts website. Among these are municipalities, central government departments and autonomous institutions.

No new tax reform
Juan Hernandez, director of the Tax Department (DGII) discarded an increase in taxes for the next three years. Hernandez explained that Hacienda makes the country's fiscal policy, not the Tax Department. Minister of Hacienda Vicente Bengoa had said earlier that despite the fact htat the country's revenues for 2009 are well below what was expected, there would be no increasing taxes to fill the gap.
Hernandez commented though tax based revenues have decreased by 2% between January-July, the regional average decline is14%.

Samana highway dangerous?
The new highway that connects Samana to Santo Domingo has been touted for its efficiency, cutting travel between the capital city to that northern region to 2.5 hours. But some residents feel the highway has some structural deficiencies that have caused a disproportionate number of accidents since the roadways was inaugurated.
Recently, on 29 July, three persons died during a crash on the highway and on 23 August seven persons died, while 15 were injured on the highway. This has lead to concerns that the roadway is in fact truly dangerous.
However, the director of Land Transit Authority (OTTT), Rafael Tobias Crespo Perez and the deputy director of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) Rafael Encarnacion Santos, both blamed the accidents on dangerous driving and not on any inherent construction deficiency. Both officials say the drivers speed and ignore road safety rules, which leads to accidents.

Christopher Lambert to head US Embassy
President Leonel Fernandez received the new chief of mission of the US Embassy in the DR at the Presidential Palace yesterday. Christopher Lambert, who has been named as the new charge d'affairs at the US Embassy replaces Roland Bullen, who is leaving the DR on Sunday.

Dominguez cleared by hospital
Santiago Senator Francisco Dominguez Brito was released from a New York City hospital after his test results came back negative. Domingo Brito was interned hospital last week at the St. Luke's-Roosevelt hospital. Family members say the senator is doing well, but a date for his return is unknown.

New Airport security director
Armed Forces Minister, Major General Rafael Pena Antonio swore in General Pedro Rene Valenzuela Quiroz as the new director of the Specialized Security Corps of the Airport (CESA). He replaces Brigade General Carlos Robles Diaz.

The 'ole switch-a-roo
It hadn't happened in 50 years and it won't be forgotten for another 50. General Rafael Jorge Gil might have been content at his latest accomplishment, climbing the professional ladder, but his success didn't last 48 hours, if that. Jorge had been named Commander of the National Police in San Juan de la Maguana's department. He had been named to the position on Saturday. But before he could sit down and warm up his seat, he was replaced by General Manuel G. Rodriguez. No word on why Jorge was replaced so quickly, but the confusion and surprise will probably last longer than Jorge was in office.

Naming those fired for drug ties
The National Department of Drug Control (DNCD) now under the leadership of Major General Rolando Rosado Mateo made public that it has separated from the agency Second Lieutentant Buenaventura Polanco Almonte, Sargeant Major William Moreno Baez, and agents Melvin Santiago Figueroa Sanchez, Emilio Joseph Francisco Serrano, John Tomas Diaz Amparo and Jose Luis Ortiz. Rosado said they will be taken to justice.
Polanco Almonte was assigned to the northeast region. He was fired for extortion of RD$25,000 to a drug dealer nicknamed Martin for a stolen computer. The DNCD says that Serrano charged a toll for a drug point in Villa Mella. Diaz Amparo was expelled for changing his statement in court in a case of drugs and weapons. Ortiz Ovalle is charged for a RD$20,000 bribe to free an arrested man.
Rosado Mateo made the statements at the end of a meeting with the president of the National Drug Council, Mabel Feliz. Both agreed to implement joint plans to fight drug trafficking.
During the meeting, Rosado said that in the country 40 micro cartels of drugs operate. He said intelligence operations are in place to counterattack them. He announced the formation of a Microtraffic Intelligence Unit under his new management that will be in charge of updating the movement of the gangs dedicated to microtrafficking.
He argued that the drug trafficking grew in the DR and the Caribbean grew particularly after controls were tightened in Central America and Mexico.

Rosy is free
Rosa Bienvenida del Rosario Almonte, a.k.a. Rosy, is free. The sister of the famed Dominican musicians Tono and Rafa Rosario, was in jail, at Najayo for trying to smuggle into the US more than 9,000 ecstasy pills. She had originally been sentenced to 10 years but only served half of her sentence. Rosy had been in jail with her daughter, Odalis Rosario, who had been traveling with her mother, when they were caught. But judge Norma Bautista de Castillo agreed to a petition to appeal submitted by Rosario's lawyer. Rosy must pay a fine of RD$200,000.

A perturbed 36-year old man from Santiago threw his 5-year old son off Duarte Bridge and then jumped off Duarte Bridge (a height equivalent to 10 floors) yesterday, killing himself. Jose Ambiorix Germosen Diaz died of contussions when he fell on pavement off the Avenida Francisco Rosario Sanchez, several meters away from the Ozama River. The son died when he fell right into a two meter hole, dug for a electricity pole, as reported in the Listin Diario.
Reports are that he was suffering from depression motivated by the separation from his wife. In the pocket of the pants of his corpse, rescue staff found a court order dated 8 March for a meeting to discuss the maintenance payments for his son, biblical quotes and lyrics of romantic bolero songs.
The mother, Mirna Duran, said the tragedy could have been avoided. She said she denounced that her husband had kidnapped the child. She said the Police did not act on her complaint that sthe child was missing for four days. She also accused the relatives of her former spouse for complicity because they refused to tell about the whereabouts of their relative.
Nevertheless, she told Hoy that despite the legal case for maintenance payments for the child, they had good relations and the father visited their home.
A neighbor said that Germosen Diaz was not a violent person. He attributed the problems to the man having lost his job in a free zone two years ago and his never getting over the separation from his spouse. The mother is a secretary.

Rains expected today
Rains are expected nationwide due to conditions moving from the East. Computer models predict 92L that is off the Leeward Islands and will take a similar path as Hurricane Bill, thus it is not expected to threaten any island in the Caribbean region.
Meanwhile, rains are particularly expected in the East, Northeast, Southeast and center of the country, says the weather department.
For updates, follow MikeFisher at http://www.dr1.com/forums/weather-beyond/...

The Louvre and national talents
An extraordinary art exhibit is open at the Palace of the Fine Arts (Palacio de las Bellas Artes) on Maximo Gomez and Independencia. Hermanos Guillen show their terracota pieces of every day Taino culture, Juan Trinidad exposes his particular large scale wood sculptures side by side with the selection of replicas from the Museum of the Louvre in Paris. The exhibition is sponsored by Orange, Air France, the Hostal Nicolas de Ovando, the Alliance Francaise and the Embassy of France and the Chamber of Deputies.
Also ongoing at Bellas Artes (Salon de la Cupula) in August, is the showing of the works of nine maestros that set the standard. These are Jaime Colson, Paul Giudicelli, Gilberto Hernandez Ortega, Yoryi Morel, Eligio Pichardo, Abelardo Rodriguez Urdaneta, Dario Suro, Celeste Woss y Gil and Antonio Prats-Ventos. The Palace of the Fine Arts is located at Maximo Gomez and Independencia. The exhibition is part of the Festival de las Ideas, a retrospective and perspective of Dominican Political Thought organized by the Press Office of the Presidency.
For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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