In search of Cleopatra's tomb|
Kathleen Martinez, the Dominican lawyer-turned-archaeologist who heads a team of researchers looking for Cleopatra's tomb in Egypt, met with President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo yesterday, Monday 10 February. She told him the seventh expedition to the chosen sites near Alexandria was starting this Sunday and that she is confident that she will find the tomb.
Gonahead for finishing Metro second line?|
Minister of Hacienda Simon Lizardo confirmed yesterday, Monday 10 February that the government plans to disburse the funds for resuming construction on the second Santo Domingo Metro line. The second phase involves crossing the Ozama River and extending the Metro into Santo Domingo East, the most populous area of Greater Santo Domingo.
The Transport Reorganization Office (OPRET) that is in charge of the construction of the Metro had stopped working on the second line of the Metro due to lack of funds. In the 2014 Budget it had requested RD$4 billion but was only granted RD$2.8 billion.
The Metro is popular with commuters due to the low cost and because it is a fast and secure transportation. Residents of the east side have been calling for its extension.
Speaking at the Presidential Palace, Lizardo forecast that 2014 would be a record year for cutting the public debt. He said the Medina administration wanted to reduce it to no more than 2.8% of GDP.
Haitian government to issue identity documents|
The Haitian government has announced it will set up mobile units in the Dominican Republic so that undocumented Haitians in the country can regularize their status under the Foreigner Legalization Plan recently announced by the Dominican government.
Speaking at a press conference, the Director General of Haiti's National Identification Office (ONI), Jean Baptiste Saint-Cyr, said that the plan would be run by Haitians. He did not specify whether any Dominican personnel would be involved.
He said that the idea was to allow Haitians living in the DR to obtain identification documents like birth certificates, and that the start of the initiative is the outcome of the talks between both countries.
Saint-Cyr said that the process would be supervised by the Treasury, Justice Ministry, Interior Ministry, the ONI and the Haitian government, and had a budget of US$2.5 million.
During a visit to Haiti last year President Danilo Medina offered Haiti the old Dominican ID system equipment for identifying its citizens.
CITEL telecommunications meetings in Santo Domingo|
Delegates from 35 countries are attending a discussion on the development of broadband and Internet development at the 6th Assembly of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission in Santo Domingo from 11-13 February. Senior governmental officials, representatives of the private sector, tech experts and academics met yesterday, Monday 10 February to discuss public policies, planning and priorities, regulatory and economic environments, technological innovation and digital adoption. Other telecommunications meetings will continue through the 14th.
The General Deputy Secretary of the International Telecommunications Union, Houlin Zhao attended the inaugural event. The meetings are being chaired by the president of the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications, Gedeon Santos.
CITEL is the telecommunications/ICT advisory body of the Organization of American States. It gathers all Organization of American States (OAS) members and more than 100 associate members from the telecommunications, Internet, electronic media industry. The OAS General Assembly established CITEL in 1994 with the mission of promoting the sustainable development of telecommunications/ICT in the hemisphere.
Inflation in January was lowest in 15 years|
The Central Bank reported that inflation in January, compared to December 2013 was 0.23%. The Central Bank says that inflation over the past 12 months was 2.82%. He says this compares to 4.76% for the same period last year, and is the lowest for the first month of the year in the past five years.
The Central Bank says that the effect of the increase of the ITBIS from 8 to 11% on many basic products has had less of an effect than what was expected. Many large stores had announced they would postpone the increase of the tax on sales to February.
Dominicans optimistic for better times ahead, says CID-Gallup poll|
The latest CID poll says the country's leading problems are the high cost of living and unemployment, followed by safety issues. Respondents to the survey, which took place from 11-18 January expressed optimism for better times ahead. One in five said they were victims or someone in their home had been a victim of robbery or mugging in the past four months. The number was higher in Santo Domingo. One in every four polled said they were not linked to any political party. As reported, the higher the educational level, the less likely a person is to be involved or interested in politics. Nine of every 10 polled expressed a positive opinion about President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeno. Medina is much more popular than his predecessor Leonel Fernandez. Three out of every four polled reported a favorable performance by Medina.
Consultoria Interdisciplinaria en Desarrollo-Gallup Centroamerica (CID) is a leading Central American polling company.
Nurses not been paid at IDSS in Puerto Plata|
Nurses affiliated to the Dominican Social Security Institute (IDSS) who work in hospitals throughout Puerto Plata province have been on strike for the last two weeks. They say they have not been paid since last year.
The strike is affecting hospitals in Imbert, Guananico, Altamira, Ricardo Limardo in Puerto Plata and Gregorio Luperon hospital in Montellano where the nurses, doctors and other personnel belonging to the IDSS, show up to work but stand with their arms folded and do not actually work.
One of the nurses said that they are striking not only as they have not been paid their salaries but also as they have not been paid a 10% incentive that should have been paid in November.
Humberto Salazar, director of the governmental Health Sector Reform Commission (CERSS) has called for the law that ordered the closing of the Dominican Social Security Institute to be applied. Salazar reminded unions that want the government to keep the entity going that Law 87-01 that created the social security system is clear in that it gave a five-year timeframe for the IDSS to adapt to the new system. That was 13 years ago. He said that the government could not continue backing an institute that is financially and organizationally dysfunctional. Salazar said that the IDSS does not fulfill its role and has not been capable of adapting to the present needs of the health sector.
Florida business mission expected|
The Dominican Republic will host a 130-member delegation from 32 Florida companies interested in doing business in the Dominican Republic. The visit is being coordinated by the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce. Vice president Fernando Ferran said that the businesspeople would be attending a Doing Business with Florida event on 24-25 February at the Magna 365 Hotel (former Melia) on Santo Domingo's Malecon. The Florida Commerce and Transport Secretary is coming for the event.
There is considerable trade between Florida and our country," said Ferran. He added that annual trade with the state of Florida totals more than US$2.5 billion, of which US$1 billion is Dominican produce exported to Florida.
Training and education needed to prevent deaths from heart attacks|
The Dominican Cardiology Society has said that 98% of sudden deaths that occur in the country are preventable. Most deaths occur when the victims do not receive cardiac resuscitation in the first six minutes after a heart attack.
Society president Carmen Encarnacion Roa said that the public urgently needs training in cardiac resuscitation, called "hand to hand" with which she said 95% of those people could be saved.
She was taking part in an event called "Pedal for your heart" where cyclists from all over the country ride bicycles as part of a campaign to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Fatal bus accident at Azua-Bani highway|
An accident between a bus and a SUV yesterday, Monday 10 February on the road from Azua to Bani, near Biyeya beach left one person dead and eight injured.
A 47-year old woman, Dolores Bautista Tapia, was killed. The injured were named as Maria Patricia, 38, Charlie Rosso, 32, Jonathan Romero, 26 and Maria Garcia aged 42. All were treated in the hospital in Azua, while Pablo Tapia, 40, Maria Esquea Pujols, 57, Julio Valdez, 50 and Julio Encarnacion, 52 were sent to trauma centers in the capital.
AG and Nuncio meet to discuss pedophilia|
Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito met with Papal Nuncio Jude Thaddeus Okolo yesterday, Monday 10 February, to discuss various aspects of the pedophilia case involving his predecessor Joseph Wesolowski and Juncalito parish priest Wojciech Gil (Father Alberto).
A press release from Dominguez Brito's office said that during the meeting they agreed that the courts should look for the truth in every case that came before them and apply the correct sentences.
Dominguez Brito gave his assurance that that is what his office was aiming to do.
The press release went on to say that in the Wesolowski case, Jude Thaddeus Okolo said that the Vatican should also make looking for the truth a priority and that the Court in the Holy See was doing just that and analyzing the results of its investigations.
He went on to say that he was in contact with the authorities and that the victims should be protected in every case.
Wesolowski and Wojciech Gil were suspended last year following accusations of sexual abuse of at least eight minors in the Dominican Republic, and the prosecution service in their native Poland announced in September that they had opened an investigation. Nonetheless, the Vatican says that Wesolowski cannot be extradited because he has diplomatic immunity.
Credit card fraud in the Dominican Republic|
An investigative report in Diario Libre today, Tuesday 11 February says that 80% of cyberfraud in the country is credit card related, according to data collected by the Attorney General office. Most of the fraud involves credit card cloning, transferring money and phishing. From October 2010 to December 2013, the Superintendence of Banks received 9,861 claims of fraudulent uses of funds from users. Dominican banks have issued 2.5 million credit cards. The Attorney General Specialized Unit against Hi-Tech Crimes says it has confiscated 3,000 cards in the past 10 months. There were 562 reports of credit card cloning during that period.
The report says that the fraud cost the banking system RD$341.56 million in 2011.
One of the most effective ways to reduce crime is the use of credit cards with a smart chip. Esteban Martinez-Murag of Banco Popular says that fraud has been reduced to a minimum since the introduction of the Visa Debit Card with a smart chip in 2012. He said that it was very difficult to clone the chip.
Frank Reyes arrested|
Popular bachata singer Frank Reyes has been summoned to appear in court in Bonao accused of sexually molesting a 15-year old girl.
According to the girl's family, the event occurred last weekend at a farm in Piedra Blanca in Bonao.
One of Reyes' lawyers, Loamy Pena, said that the singer would talk about the accusation when he appeared in court.
Lego Movie, not Vamos de robo|
Caribbean Cinemas has corrected earlier reports that Dominican thriller-comedy "Vamos de robo" was the most popular movie in Puerto Rico last week. The film that currently tops the ratings in Puerto Rico is in fact Lego Movie. The Dominican film has been showing in Puerto Rico since 30 January. Dominican actors and comedians Fausto Mata, Anthony Rios, Manolo Ozuna, Carlos Sanchez, Cheddy Garcia, Lisbeth Santos and Nashla Bogaert star in the production that was shot in Santo Domingo.
Time to back talented artists at Altos de Chavon fund-raiser|
From 6 to 9pm, The Gallery at Altos de Chavon is welcoming friends of Altos de Chavon to its silent auction of student and faculty art and works by former artists-in-residence. The event is sponsored by the Altos de Chavon Cultural Center Foundation, a US 501©(3) public charity registered in Washington, D.C. that supports donations to worthy students at the Altos de Chavon School of Design. An evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and live music to benefit The Scholarship Fund is scheduled. Donations at the door are US$50 or RD$2,200 per person. For details, contact Martha Victoria [email protected] or Tel 809 523-8470/8011 from 8:30 to 4:30pm.
The event coincides with the weekend of the Elton John Concert at the Altos de Chavon amphitheater on 28 February, and the docking of the docking of the John Walker & Sons Voyager.
Danny Rivera and a romantic evening|
Puerto Rican romantic ballad singer Danny Rivera is booked for a Tuesday, 11 February concert at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo. The concert is a prelude to Valentine's Day, on Friday, 14 February.
For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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