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Daily News - Thursday, 22 October 2009

Trade with Chile up
According to Listin Diario, trade between Chile and the DR has doubled in the last three years and it is expected that this could increase even further in January 2010 once a memorandum of understanding is signed between both countries. According to Manuel Hinojosa, Chilean Ambassador to the DR, rum, cigars and coffee are among the main exports that Chile receives from the DR. Although exports towards Chile are increasing the trade values remain at a deficit for the DR. In 2008 the DR imported US$60.3 million in goods while the DR only exported US$14.9 million to Chile. The trend is for this to increase: in 2006 the DR exported US$4.6 million, in 2007 US$8.2 million and in 2008US$14.9 million. During the first 6 months of the year exports to Chile registered US$8.6 million and are expected to jump 25% by the end of the year. It is interesting to note that Chile is the second largest Latin American investor in the DR after Mexico. But even the discrepancies there are large, as Mexico has invested US$1.25 billion in the DR, while Chile has only invested US$174 million.

Trade with US down
According to the Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Temistocles Montas, non-petroleum imports from the US fell by 23% in August and DR exports to the US have fallen by 18% during the same period. Montas said that the international financial crisis is affecting female workers the hardest. Montas made these statements during a seminar "Analysis of the global financial crisis from a gender perspective: Its impact on women" organized by the Ministry of Women, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Labor Organization (ILO)
Montas added that the DR has a high level of poverty, with 35% of the population living below the poverty line.

Education gets EU funds
The DR's education sector will get much a needed boost with the announcement that the European Union is donating EUR10 million. Irene Horejs, the head of the EU delegation to the DR announced that there is also a proposal to increase the amount of education aid from the EU to the DR Education Ministry's Strategic Plan by EUR30 million. Horejs said that the EU is committed to helping the DR's education sector, stressing that education is the future of the nation. She cited the importance of education in a modern society, saying that businesses need skilled workers and innovation. Horejs added that without an educated working class these businesses could not progress. Minister of Education Melanio Paredes thanked the EU for the funds saying it would add to the quality of Dominican Education.

IDB makes emergency loan
The Inter-American Development (IDB) has approved a US$500 million emergency loan to the DR in order to support key social service programs in the country. The loan, which was approved by the Bank's board of directors, will also finance the country's plan to streamline energy subsidies and improve financial management of power companies, a move that is aimed at reducing the fiscal deficit. The country will use the IDB financing to increase spending on targeted subsidies, education, health care and the Solidarity Program, a conditional cash transfer plan for the poor. The IDB loan, which matures in five years, will be disbursed in 18 months. The loan has a grace period of three years and its interest rate is based on Libor.

DR top for doctors
The DR and Costa Rica are the countries in the region with most doctors per 10,000 inhabitants. A study due for release by the Public Health Ministry today, outlines that the DR and Costa Rica both have 20 doctors per every 10,000 inhabitants, with Nicaragua and Panama registering 16.4 and 13.8 doctors per 10,000. Guatemala and Belize are lowest in the region with 8.5 and 9.7 doctors per 10,000. The DR also leads with the number of hospital beds per inhabitant, with 2 per 1,000, while Panama has 1.8 and Costa Rica has 1.3 per 1,000 inhabitants.

Rabies vaccines arrive
The Public Health Ministry has announced the arrival of 10,000 doses of rabies vaccines. This shipment will guarantee sufficient medication until February 2010. Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez said that the DR would receive 1.5 million doses of the vaccine by November, and that they would be distributed nationwide.

Deputy admits wrongdoing
PRD Deputy Julio Romero says he will resign and has admitted his involvement in a sex scandal with a minor. Last week Romero was accused of fathering the woman's child while she was still a minor. Romero remained silent on the issue and had not made a public statement until now. Even as he was making his comments, Romero failed to fully take responsibility for his actions, saying that the allegations made against him were unfounded, couldn't be proven, and were being made to hurt someone who has struggled and fought very hard.

Another kidnapping ends
A wave of kidnappings has hit the DR in the last two weeks, but the efficiency and hard work of Dominican special forces and police has resulted in the safe return home of all victims, without injury or harm. Yesterday, another kidnapping was revealed. This time it involved a 5-year old child whose name has not been released. The child was kidnapped on Wednesday from its home in the Embrujo I sector in Santiago. A cell phone message sent to his mother enabled police to trace the message to a phone owner and location. The victim was found in an apartment on Beller Street in Santiago, and SWAT and police officials arrested six people, including 26-year old Ivelisse Perez Rodriguez and 26-year old Jose Rafael Rodriguez.

Krispy Kreme is coming
Krispy Kreme, the popular American doughnut chain, is coming to the Dominican Republic, for all to enjoy. The brand, which gained its fame for their hot-out-of-the-oven glazed doughnut, will open 14 stores throughout the DR within five years. The announcement of the doughnut chain is a sign of the growing local purchasing power and the acceptance of foreign brands in market. Krispy Kreme will join the likes of Papa Johns, Quiznos, Wendy's, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King as the major international food chains in the DR.

Pedro's last stand
The dream of any professional athlete is to go out on top. For many athletes this opportunity never comes. For others, they play beyond their skills and leave as shadows of their former greatness. Not this time. Not for Pedro. The beloved fireball, known locally as the Monstruo de Manoguayabo, has one final chance to be a champion and to leave the game as one of the greatest and put a stamp on his legacy. With last night's Philadelphia win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pedro was guaranteed at least one more chance to walk away from baseball as one of the greatest pitchers in the game. The Phillies practically walked into the World Series, pounding on the Dodgers 10-4. Slugger Manny Ramirez seemed to have taken an early vacation, having only batted 1-3 in the series. Dominican Rafael Furcal was no better batting .143 and going 1-5 in the last game.

Super Albert is human
Baseball fans are astonished at the recent news that Albert Pujols, the hard-hitting first baseman of the St. Louis Cardinals, recently had surgery on his right elbow. The surgery proved that Pujols is in fact human, and not some extra-terrestrial with superhuman baseball powers. Pujols, who was suffering from pain in his elbow but refused off-season surgery, decided to go ahead with the procedure. Instead of reconstructing his torn ligament, Pujols' doctors chose to remove several bone spurs and loose bone chips on Wednesday. The surgery was carried out by team doctor Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama. The operation was labeled a success and Pujols is not expected to miss any time during the 2010 baseball season. Though the surgery will get him on the field quickly, there is a longer-term plan for more invasive surgery in the future, including Tommy John surgery. Pujols, who turns 30 in January, is the favorite to win a second consecutive NL MVP award next month, having completed his ninth consecutive season with at least 30 homers, a .300 batting average and 100 RBIs. Pujols hit .327 and drove in 135 runs. He also led the NL in runs scored with 124 and, for the first time in his career, led the NL with 47 home runs.

Baseball Scores
One week into the Dominican winter league season and already the teams are playing musical chairs in the standings. Unfortunately a second place start is not good enough for Licey fans, as they are already worried they aren't playing well and won't make the playoffs. Did we miss the season already and is the post-season starting tomorrow? During yesterday's match-ups the Tigres beat up on the disappointing Gigantes 4-1, while the Aguilas continue pounding opponents. Last night they rocked the Estrellas 9-3. The Toros eked out a 6-4 victory against the Escogido.
Team W-L Avg. Diff.
AZUCAREROS 3 - 1 .750 --
LICEY 3 - 2 .600 0.5
AGUILAS 3 - 2 .600 0.5
ESTRELLAS 2 - 3 .400 1.5
ESCOGIDO 2 - 3 .400 1.5
GIGANTES 1 - 3 .250 2.0
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