President Danilo Medina backs coffee producers in Polo|
In his latest "surprise" visit over the weekend of Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 March, President Medina was in Polo and Villa Nizao in Paraiso in Barahona to meet with coffee, passion fruit, cacao and poultry farmers. He said that RD$39 million would be available to support coffee farming in Barahona (Polo and Paraiso) through the Special Fund for Agricultural Development (FEDA) program.
Of the RD$39 million, RD$12 million will go to Organic Coffee Producers Cooperative (Coopaprocosemup) in Polo, led by Israel Cuevas Feliz and RD$27 million to coffee growers in Villa Nizao in Paraiso for needed renovations of their farms with roya pest-resistant varieties.
He was accompanied on the trip by the Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo, Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo and FEDA director Antonio Lopez. Medina said the loans would have low interest rates but must be repaid so the funds could later be used for others.
On the trip to the Southwest, the President also approved the reconstruction of the multi-use facility in Polo, as well as streets and sidewalks in the municipality. He promised a minibus would be sent to transport students from Polo to the Barahona UASD University.
Ministry of Culture takes blame for Ibero-American Park amphitheater|
The Ministry of Culture says it is responsible for the construction of the Ibero-American Park amphitheater in Santo Domingo. Students and staff at the National Music Conservatory are opposed to the open-air theater saying it interferes with their studies. Residents in the area also protesting that the events organized at the park, now under the City of Santo Domingo, disturb their peace with traffic jams and noise.
The Ministry of Culture asked the City Government of Santo Domingo (ADN) to build the amphitheater that will be used to stage performances by groups that are part of the Ministry's Bellas Artes system, the Ministry told Diario Libre.
Minister of Culture Jose Antonio Rodriguez argued that there is ample space in the park. Opponents to the construction say that Decree 333-91 establishes that no building can take place in the area without the consent of the National Conservatory of Music. Rodriguez says that work would stop from 3 to 6pm to allow music classes to take place at the conservatory.
Carmelina Alcantara, president of National Conservatory of Music students association pointed out that there is already a natural amphitheater in the Cueva de Santa Ana. She said that the government should invest in repairing the Manuel Rueda hall at the Conservatory where performances would not cause any inconvenience.
City government says new maintenance unit will take charge|
The City Government of the National District (ADN) has been criticized for its children's playground facilities that are later abandoned and taken over by homeless people. A report in Listin Diario says this has been the case in several parks, including Jardines del Norte (John F. Kennedy), Nunez de Caceres (remodeled at a cost of RD$358 million).
ADN general secretary Andres Navarro said that the city government has a new unit for maintenance that began operations this March and will work on these playgrounds and others such as those located in La Cienaga and El Duarte.
He also announced that work would continue on remodeling the Paseo Maritimo on the Malecon as well as a second phase on the western side of the avenue.
UNDP to present proposal for Bill of Political Parties|
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has announced it will be presenting a project to back the modernization of the political party system in the Dominican Republic.
The UNDP plans to promote the approval of a Political Parties Bill to modernize the way Dominican political parties manage themselves, according to the United Nations System representative in the Dominican Republic Lorenzo Jimenez de Luis, in an interview with Diario Libre.
The proposal was drafted by Uruguayan political experts Miguel Manzi and Juan Rial. The aim is to modernize the structure of the political parties so they can be true spaces for dialogue. They say that their goal is to prevent the Dominican Republic from losing its democratic structure because of the "sclerosis of the parties."
They point out that the country has an Electoral Law, but compared the situation to the country having a four-lane highway system with perfectly paved roads with 19th century cars.
Jimenez said the Political Parties Bill needed to be drafted by Dominicans, and that they just want to help. "It is sad that it is the only country in all the hemisphere that doesn't have a Political Parties Law."
At present Dominican taxpayers pay billions to support a political patronage system that is seen as lacking accountability. Furthermore, recent internal factional political clashes have diminished the influence of opposition political parties, making political patronage even more prevalent. The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report lists public trust in politicians at 143 of 146 countries ranked. Other indicators of the prevailing political patronage in that report are the country ranking 145th in favoritism in decisions by government officials, and 138th in wasteful government spending.
Puerta del Conde restoration criticized|
Over the weekend of 15-16 March, the press focused on the changes to the Puerta del Conde, where the coral stones have been covered with plaster. The monument commemorates the site where the Dominican Republic's independence was declared in 1844 and the Dominican flag raised for the first time.
Architect Christian Martinez Villanueva, the advisor for the remodeling of the historic monument, says that the plaster was applied to prevent the stone wall from deteriorating. He said that the colonial structure was decaying and the plaster would be a protective covering. The structure dates back to 1665.
The works are being carried out by the Office of Supervisory Works of the Presidency (OISOE) and the Ministry of Culture. Martinez is also director of the Museum of Dominican Man. The cost is said to have been RD$35 million.
El Nuevo Diario quotes a series of comments in response to the works. Italian expert Simona Cappelli de Taveras said that the plaster was applied without removing the contaminating elements.
"As always, whoever carried out these works has shown impressive ignorance. It is evident from the photo of the plastered surface that as usual, on top of an affected wall, there is a strong presence of algae (the black covering of the wall), as well as contaminants, including fuel and dust from cars. These substances can only be eliminated with specific chemicals. Failing to eliminate them means leaving a serious problem that in time (five or six months) will return to the surface, as has happened at the Iglesia de los Dominicos and other pseudo-restored houses," says the expert.
Heart attacks increase in DR|
The head of cardiology at the Salvador B. Gautier Social Security Hospital says they are seeing a 30% increase in deaths for heart disease. Dr. Fulgencio Severino said this is a national epidemic that demands urgent political policies.
Severino said that many of these deaths are preventable if risk conditions such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, smoking, and lack of weight control are reduced, while increasing access to pharmaceuticals for controlling hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia.
The director of the Dominican Cardiology Association, Dr. Ernesto Diaz Alvarez lamented the fact that low-income patients do not have access to latest technology.
Tough times to find that first job|
Companies are unlikely to hire candidates who do not have experience. A recent job study by Jacqueline Malagon for the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) says that the deficiencies affecting young people are: poor academic qualifications, lack of experience, weakness in desired skilled, weakness in leadership and managerial skills, and distortion between what was learned in school and what is needed in practice, as reported in Diario Libre.
A news story today says that 32.17% of young jobseekers are between the ages of 15 and 24. The report says that the youth unemployment rate is up from 30.5% in 2012.
Unemployment rates decline as people get older. The rate for the 25-29 age group is 18.34%, while it is 12.34% for people between the ages of 30 and 35, and 8.07% for the over-35s, according to the study.
Take a taxi only with registered companies|
A report in Diario Libre today, Monday 17 March recommends taking taxis from registered companies. In the Dominican Republic taxi rides are relatively cheap and safe, but the report warns that some rides offer more guarantees than others.
As reported, there are around 25,000 taxis of which 10,000 are inter-communicated. The taxi service in the country is regulated by Law 7600 that created the Council for Administration and Regulation of Taxis (CART).
Approximately 100 taxi companies operate the Greater Santo Domingo (National District + Province of Santo Domingo). "Nevertheless, it is not always advisable to board the first vehicle you find. It is better to call one of the companies that operate under the law to request the service, then confirm that the details of the vehicle that has arrived match the description provided by the company radio operator. The reason is simple: Aside from the 100 taxi companies in Greater Santo Domingo, there are approximately 50 from provinces in the East, Cibao and South for another 25,000. But only 10,000 of those 25,000 are inter-communicated. The others are not affiliated, says the Dominican Taxi Companies Association (Adetaxi).
The association spokesman said that when a taxi is contracted by radio service, the user has a telephone where they can call, a physical place where they can locate, in case of a complaint, a person and a vehicle that can be identified because the radio service has to meet the CART requirements.
As reported, 3,487 units of 25,000 that circulate nationwide are affiliated to CART.
Adetaxi president Esteban Vargas warned that many people hit the streets after work to pick up passengers. He said that the registered taxis guarantee that 90% of passengers can recover any items they leave behind.
The taxi companies include Aero, Anacaona, Cacique, Capital, Son, Express, La Monumental, Tecni, La Ruta, Santo Domingo, Las Colinas, Popular, Sonido, Miraflores, Nacional, La Vega, Eric, La Ruta and Cibao.
The minimum cost for service is RD$180 and RD$200.
Radhames Segura launches pre-candidacy|
The former general manager of the Dominican Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) is the next PLD member to formally announce his bid to be the party's candidate in the 2016 presidential election. Other hopefuls that have announced their aspirations are Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia, Minister of Economy Temistocles Montas, and Senate president Reinaldo Pared Perez.
On Sunday 16 March, Segura appointed his work team at an event held at the Club Mauricio Baez in Santo Domingo.
"I inform the country and especially the members of the PLD that I aspire to become the presidential candidate of the Dominican Liberation Party in the 2016 elections of 2016 to then reach the presidency of the Republic." He said his proposal is based on social justice, progress, modernity and strengthening democratic governance.
Segura was removed from his post at the CDEEE by President Leonel Fernandez amidst claims of widespread corruption and political patronage in office.
And why not Bosch?|
An editorial in Diario Libre today, Monday 17 March comments on the latest theft of metallic structures from the tomb of PLD party founder Juan Bosch and asks why should he be the exception. "To steal metal to be sold to be melted for export is a national sport with the complacent look of the authorities, and often with their sponsorship," writes Adriano Miguel Tejada. "Here billions worth of telephone company cables, the swords of heroes of the independence, sewage system covers and a thousand things that affect citizens have been stolen, and the PLD, with all the tools that power has given it has not shown the will to end these crimes," he writes.
UASD: electoral spoils|
Revelations by new UASD rector Ivan Grullon expose why the promotional display preceding the state university electoral campaign is so similar to that of the national elections: politics prevails over academia, says Diario Libre in a back page editorial today, Monday 17 March.
The newspaper writes there are spoils of war that are distributed according to the will and interests of each. "The voters are not many, but the jobs are," comments the writer.
Diario Libre writes: "The new rector puts his hands on his head, as if he were not aware of the reality of the state university, where everything is managed as in the central government. Political jobs included".
"The problem, nevertheless, is not the heavy burden on the budget, which is never enough, nor the shame of the appointments of the past administration," writes the editorialist. The point made is that where to appoint on the payroll those of the new regime, those who won.
"Ivan feels he has his hands tied, and so launches his cry, but no one will listen because the UASD is a dark place with so many interests and no one can fight against that establishment.
"Solution? The same as always: appoint and do not remove others. To hell with the announced plays, because politicians must have something to live on. As long as cynicism allows it to do so, the UASD will hold out, or will start another push for the 'half a million'," says the commentary.
Cap Cana Marina customs agent arrested with cocaine|
The Police anti-narcotics unit (DICAN) has announced the arrest of 33-year old Yeimy Richiez de la Rosa for cocaine trafficking. As reported in El Caribe, Richiez was an employee of the Customs Department assigned to the Cap Cana Marina in Punta Cana. The arrest took place in Higuey where she was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado SUV. When asked to stop by the Police unit she fled and was pursued and collided with the Ford Explorer SUV being driven by the DICAN personnel. The woman lives in Calle La Habana, Luisa Perla in Higuey. When agents searched the vehicle, they found a purple suitcase containing 11 packages of cocaine, weighing 11.28 grams. Richiez reportedly said that she was supposed to deliver the cocaine to a person she did not know and was to be paid RD$1.2 million.
As reported, intelligence services were on her trail.
National Farm and Livestock Fair|
The Feria Nacional Agropecuaria at the Ciudad Ganadera in Santo Domingo began on Saturday, 15 March and continues through Sunday, 23 March. This is the time to see the best of horse and livestock breeds and farm produce. Evening events.
Tropical jazz at Lulu in the Colonial City|
Enjoy an evening of Carlito Estrada and his Bebop Ripiao's magical jazz notes with tropical style this evening, Monday, 17 March at Lulu Tasting Bar at Arzobispo Merino at the corner with Padre Billini, in the Colonial City in Santo Domingo. Carlito Estrada plays saxophone accompanied by Jairo Milanes, piano, Daniel Alvarez, bass and Daniel Alvarez Jr. on drums. 9pm. Tel. 809 687-8360
Joshy y su 4 Jazz are back at Dominican Fiesta's Sunset Jazz|
Young musicians Joshy Melo at the guitar, Salvador Gutierrez, drums, Nicolas Calcano bass and Abel de la Rosa on piano will be back at the Dominican Fiesta's Sunset Jazz for another evening of tropical jazz music. Friday, 21 March at 8pm. Dominican Fiesta Hotel in Santo Domingo, Tel 809 562-8222.
Graphic artist Frank Baseman at Altos de Chavon|
Frank Baseman, regarded as one of the leading graphic designers in the United States, will be giving a lecture at the Altos de Chavon Regional Museum of Archaeology this Wednesday, 19 March at 6pm. Open admission to hear Baseman share his thoughts on graphic design today and his more than 30 years of experience creating effective, visual and communication solutions.
For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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