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Daily News - Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Assembly stalemate broken
After numerous discussions and the presentation of a report by the Verification and Auditing Commission, the stalemate between the PLD and PRD about the composition of the National Magistrates Council (CNM) has been broken. The stalemate had paralyzed the Constitutional Revisory Assembly's work since last Tuesday, after the terms of the pact signed by President Leonel Fernandez and PRD president Miguel Vargas Maldonado that shifted the make-up of the body that appoints judges were rejected. The Assembly has now agreed that the remaining members of the CNM will come from the largest opposition party, which in this case, is the PRD. Voters agreed 169 in favor and 18 against, in keeping with the original terms of the pact. PRSC assembly member Ramon Rogelio Genao voted against the decision and said he would take the issue to the Supreme Court. The CNM will now be made up by the President, the president of the Senate, a Senator, from a party that is different to that of the President's, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, a Deputy that belongs to the largest opposition party, the president of the Supreme Court, a second judge chosen by the Supreme Court's President and the DR's Attorney General.

Constitutional Tribunal set up
Despite opposition from the PRSC, legislators have voted to create a Constitutional Tribunal to back up the Constitution. The voting for this change was a departure from last week's schism between the PLD and PRD, in which the PLD rejected a proposal that was based on the terms agreed in the pact between Leonel Fernandez and Miguel Vargas Maldonado. Legislators voted 107 in favor and 7 against. The Tribunal will be made up of 13 members, and all decisions must have the support of nine judges. The Tribunal's role will include upholding the "supremacy of the Constitution, the defense of the Constitution and defense of citizens' fundamental rights." The Tribunal's decisions are "final and irrevocable" and will be "an administratively and financially autonomous entity."

It seems so obvious...
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) may have been stating the obvious when it announced yesterday that anyone who is involved in drug trafficking or are drug traffickers themselves may not run for political office in 2010. JCE president Julio Cesar Castanos Guzman said that it was the Board's responsibility to ensure that candidates for political office are not involved in illicit activities. The announcement followed a conversation with lawyer Marino Vinicio Castillo, who says he was informed by two members of the Chamber of Deputies about the possible participation of local drug traffickers in the 2010 elections. Castillo has yet to name names.

Unemployment remains stable
Minister of Labor Max Puig says that the DR's unemployment rate is 15%, the same as in 2008. Puig released the figures and expressed optimism in the light of the fact that the Economic Council for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) had both predicted that the DR's unemployment rates would increase by three percentage points.

Dengue warnings
Fears of a dengue fever outbreak have once again hit the Dominican Republic. Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez assured citizens that the National Epidemiology System is on full alert. So far this year 26 deaths have been directly linked with dengue fever, which is transmitted by the Aegis Aegypti mosquito. Listin Diario reports that last week alone 25 children were taken to the Robert Reid hospital, and of those children 60% were diagnosed with a severe strain of dengue, which can be fatal if left untreated. That particular hospital has treated 74 children for dengue during the month of October. The increase in dengue cases has been dramatic. In September 2008 hospitals only registered 88 dengue cases, while in September 2009 they recorded 217 new dengue cases. The director of the Robert Reid Children's Hospital, Emilio Mena Castillo, says the hospital is receiving between 10 and 12 new cases every day.

CMD at it again
The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) says it will resume its plan of action in its bid for higher wages for state sector health professionals. The decision was made after the CMD left the negotiations table with the commission set up by the government to break its impasse with the doctors. The CMD is campaigning for higher wages and other benefits, as well as the reinstatement of five doctors who were involved in an altercation with a hospital administrator during a recent strike. The government has refused and little headway has been made in the negotiations, which began in August, with Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado as mediator. The CMD will go back to its campaign of marches, strikes and hunger strikes in order to get their point across.

PLD rejects Williams
The PLD's Political Committee has rejected Senator Alejandro Williams' application for his candidacy for re-election in the 2010 senatorial campaigns. The decision was based on the fact that Williams had "betrayed the party". Senate president Reinaldo Pared Perez explained that Williams' case required special attention because of its history. This has been the only public reprimand for Williams after it was revealed that the senator hardly ever attended Congressional sessions and instead spent most of his time working at his dental clinic in New York City. Once the story was leaked he was accused of hiring "goons" to intimidate the journalists who were covering the story. Neither the PLD nor the senate reprimanded Williams, who at the time appeared to have walked away from the scandal scot-free.

Arlenis Sosa at Dominicana Moda
Dominicana Moda is here and the eyes of the fashion world are once again on the DR. After the success of the Dominican Fashion Week in June, fashion aficionados flocked to Santo Domingo's Embajador Hotel to see what international designers have to offer. The show will include top designers from the DR, Chile, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Barbados and others and will include a special appearance by up-and-coming Dominican Model Arlenis Sosa and Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera. The event ends on Sunday, with after-show parties each night of the week. It will be this week's must-see event.

Colonial costumes exhibition
History comes to life at the Alcazar de Colon Museum in the Colonial City with an exhibition of Colonial City attire, re-enacting life in the court of Don Diego Colon and Maria de Toledo. Creations by fashion designers Leonel Lirio, Hipolito Pena, Robert Flores, Giannina Azar, Magaly Tiburcio, Jorge Diep, Luis Rivas, Berkola, Carla Carbonell, Luis Dominguez and Carlos de Moya will feature in the exhibition. The costumed figures will tell the history of the important historic monument and its first inhabitants. A troupe of actors will perform the story live, showing off the new costumes.

Vladi in the clutch
This year's MLB post-season has had its ups and downs, and no one is more of a testament to this than Vladimir Guerrero. The Angels' right fielder has seen a decline in numbers in recent years, but last night's game proved he still has something left in the tank. The Angels have played sub-par baseball thus far, having fallen behind the strong New York Yankees 2-0. And the craziness of this year's ALCS is one for the ages. Game 3 was no different. Game 3 lasted 4 hours and 30 minutes and saw the appearance of 14 pitchers, 6 homeruns and several key errors. This was the second extra inning game of the series, which saw the Bombers win Game 2 in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the 13th on Saturday night. Vladi's homer helped the Angels jump back from a 3-0 and the game was eventually tied 4-4 going into the 11th. Then came backup catcher Jeff Mathis, who hit a dinger to push the Angels to a 5-4 victory. The series resumes in Anaheim, tonight at 7:57pm, Eastern Time.
The NLCS game 3 between the Dodgers and the Phillies had its own fireworks. The Phillies, last year's champs, moved one step closer to going to the Big Show 2010. The Phillies were one out from defeat until Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run double with two out in the ninth to rally the Phillies to a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers. The Dodgers are now on their heels and are facing possible elimination without putting up much of a fight. All-Star slugger Manny Ramirez has been all but quiet this post-season. The series continues on Wednesday, at 8:07pm, in Philadelphia.

The Buzz
The Dominican baseball season is in full swing, with fans from all teams donning team colors, and arguing endlessly as to why their team is the best of the best. Dominating the conversation this week, however, is not the players on the field, or the fans in the stands, but the cheerleaders doing the cheers. We are talking about the cheerleaders from the Leones del Escogido, who have catapulted the team into the spotlight once again. The Escogido has gone through a rough patch, with very few winning seasons of late, but a new management strategy has motivated fans, at least male fans, to come out and see the game. The team hired a group of Venezuelan cheerleaders for the season and the claws have come out. The beautiful Lionesses have caused a stir with rival Licey's cheerleaders, who are said to be jealous of the attention they have received. More patriotic fans have wondered, why not choose Dominican dancers, who are just as beautiful? This is the first time that a group of "non-Dominicans" has taken the stage as dancers and it is causing a stir.

The Scores
During last night's matches Dominican fans were treated to some spectacular play. The night was filled with emotions at the Tetelo Vargas stadium. The Estrellas wanted a victory and got one, in convincing fashion, beating up on the Toros del Este, 5-1. The stadium was filled to capacity, and Yasser Gomez for the Estrellas did not disappoint, getting two hits and pushing in three runs.
Team W-L Avg. Diff.
AZUCAREROS 2 - 1 .667 --
LICEY 2 - 1 .667 0.0
ESTRELLAS 2 - 1 .667 0.0
AGUILAS 1 - 2 .333 1.0
GIGANTES 1 - 2 .333 1.0
ESCOGIDO 1 - 2 .333 1.0
Today's Games
Estadio Quisqueya, Santo Domingo at 7:30pm: Aguilas Vs Licey
Julian Javier Stadium, in San Francisco de Macoris, 7:30pm: Azucareros vs. Gigantes
Tetelo Vargas Stadium in San Pedro de Macoris, 7:30pm: Escogido vs. Estrellas
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