DR1 breaks for Easter holidays|
The DR1 Daily News will not be updated on Holy Thursday, 17 April nor on Good Friday, 18 April in observation of the Easter Week holidays. Headline news over the holiday period will be compiled for the Monday, 21 April issue. For breaking news commentary, see the DR1 Forums that are open 24/7 at http://www.dr1.com/forums
Happy Easter holidays!
Easter in the Dominican Republic|
Easter Week is the peak domestic travel time in the Dominican Republic. There are a lot of major shows scheduled at vacation destinations to entertain a wide range of musical tastes during this special holiday week.
For instance, this weekend, at Altos de Chavon, merengue star Eddy Herrera opens the show with Venezuelan singer Franco De Vita.
In Punta Cana, DJs Wayne and Woods and their electronic music is scheduled from 10pm-11pm on 17 April. Alexis and Fido and their reggaeton music are on stage from 10 to 11pm on Friday, 18 April. Afrojack & Friends electronic music show follows on Saturday, 19 April from 9pm to 10pm.
And let's not forget that the Bavaro Festival will be in full swing through 20 April, featuring exhibitions of works by local artists, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, folk art. To get you moving, the Festival also features folk and salsa dancing. See http://bavarofestival.com/events-2/
Boca Chica will be the spot to see live performances of Chiquito Team Band, Juliana, Milka, La Mas Dura and more on the beach from Thursday to Sunday.
The Sun Festival is the prime live entertainment event for the Las Terrenas, with urban singer Arcangel, DJ Diony and DJ test among other electronic music gurus entertaining the young and young at heart at this Samana beach area.
In Puerto Plata, Dominicans and legal residents can put together a group of 10 and take advantage of group rates at Ocean World Park through 30 April. Cabarete is sure to be alive with contemporary sounds over the weekend.
On a more traditional note, in Santo Domingo, churches in the Colonial City will stay open until late on Thursday for the Easter walk. It is best to start this at the Convento de los Dominicos around 8pm through 11pm.
The masses at the Santo Domingo Cathedral with the performance of the Cathedral choir are particularly memorable. The masses will be celebrated on Thursday, 17 April at 8pm, Saturday, 19 April, at 3:30pm and Sunday, 20 April, during the 12 noon mass. The Hostal Nicolas de Ovando is inviting to a special Easter brunch on Sunday.
Don't drink and drive|
The executive director of Civil Defense, Major General Luis Antonio Luna Paulino urges those going on vacation this Easter Week to take extra care.
He said that 4,000-5,000 volunteers would be working from Thursday lunchtime to Sunday evening at 1,500 assistance points set up where the biggest crowds are expected.
He was speaking at the launch of a campaign to prevent road traffic accidents and promote the responsible drinking of alcohol, called "Join in the promise: If you drink you don't drive", sponsored by United Brands and Diageo Dominicana.
Ana Sofia Arias, head of social responsibility for United Brands, said that flyers would be handed out at the Civil Defense posts around the country as well as at the tollbooths on the Las Americas highway, Duarte highway and November 6 highway.
AMET out in force for Easter in the DR|
All personnel from the Metropolitan Transport Authority (Amet) are now in position on the highways and roads throughout the country in an effort to prevent accidents during Easter Week.
Amet spokesman Roberto Lebron said that they would be working in conjunction with the Emergency Operations Center (COE), the National Police, Ministry of the Armed Forces, Ministry of Public Works, Dominican Red Cross, Civil Defense and other emergency organizations.
He said that by noon today, 16 April at least 4,000 officers, headed by General Brown Perez, would be working the streets.
Lebron noted that AMET was ready to impose stiff penalties for motorists who broke traffic laws. For example, motorists who run a red light or motorcyclists driving without a helmet would have their vehicle confiscated and would not get it back until they presented the original vehicle registration and title. In addition to presenting the proper papers for their motorcycle, motorcyclists will need to show the Amet official their motorcycle helmet to retrieve their bike.
Speaking on the radio program "Tu Derecho a Saber", Lebron reminded the public that unauthorized large trucks will not allowed on the roads after Thursday and people will be prohibited to ride in the open back of a pick-up either. As always, small children are not allowed to travel in the front seats of vehicles unless there is no rear seat.
He said that during Easter Week that officers at many Amet posts along the nation's road and highways would also be using breathalyzers to check for the alcohol content of drivers, especially around car washes, liquor stores and the so-called colmadones.
Ahmet Dayutoglu of Turkey visits to sign agreements with the Dominican Republic|
Following a meeting with President Danilo Medina, visiting Turkish Minister of Foreign Relations Ahmet Davutoglu announced that the Dominican Republic and Turkey signed several economic and civil aviation cooperation agreements.
Dayutoglu invited President Medina to visit Turkey.
Turkey views the Dominican Republic as a strategic point to coordinate its official international programs and expand its trade with other countries in the Caribbean. The agreements cover aviation initiatives, the implementation of visa exemption protocols for diplomatic passports and economic cooperation.
For example, Dayutoglu, announced the aviation agreement would prepare the way for Turkish Airlines to fly to the Dominican Republic.
Turkey opened an embassy in Santo Domingo in October 2013 and a future free trade agreement is being contemplated as well as the possibility of the DR opening an embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
Ashmet Davutoglo was accompanied by the Turkish ambassador in this country, Aydin Evirgen; the Dominican Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, Jose Manuel Trullols and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations for Economic Affairs and Trade Negotiations, Cesar Dargam.
Dominican Republic to grow dragon fruit|
In an effort to diversify agricultural production, the Dominican Republic has announced a program to bolster dragon fruit (pitahaya) production.
The Minister of Agriculture, Ramon Rodriguez, highlighted the fruit's export potential, focused especially on specialty markets.
He stated that the fruit represents an interesting option for Dominican farmers to diversify production systems and generate more income, while expanding the nation's export portfolio.
The Dominican Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Research (IDIAF) will lead the program with financing from the Agricultural Bank.
The first phase of the program will establish pilot production sites in two regions of the country. These pilot project sites will serve as an educational springboard to replicate the production systems across the country.
Although the white-fleshed dragon fruit grows wild in the Dominican Republic's forests, the fruit has not yet been developed for wide commercial production on the island.
In 2009, IDIAF began collaboration with Taiwanese International Development Agency (ICDF) officials to encourage the establishment of dragon fruit plantations for the export markets.
Currently, IDIAF has eight dragon fruit varieties being evaluated and replicated its fruit station in Peravia (Bani), and the varieties have been made available to producers interested in pursuing production.
Using the Metro helps you keep fit|
Amongst the 29 Santo Domingo Metro stations there are eight escalators and nine elevators out of service, meaning that, on average, one in three stations have accessibility problems. Elderly passengers have been particularly vocal in expressing the inconvenience of having to negotiate the rather long and steep staircases that connect the Metro platforms to the street in stations where the escalators and elevators are out of service.
The director of the Office of Transport Reorganization (Opret), Diandino Pena, attributed the problem to a lack of resources that has hampered the maintenance of the escalators and elevators at certain Metro stations. Pena noted said that the problems would be addressed in the near future.
No rush on gag order in Penal Procedures Code|
The president of the Constitutional Court, Milton Ray Guevara said the court has four months to issue an opinion on the controversial elimination of the clause that restricts citizens from suing government officers for corruption that had been included in Art 85 of the Penal Procedures Code.
The case was presented to the Constitutional Court for opinion. President Danilo Medina suggested modifications in the Penal Procedures Code revised bill and sent it back to the legislature for further study.
The presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies have defended the striking of the article that allows for citizens to sue government officers for corruption while these individuals are still in office. Both Reinaldo Pared of the Senate and Abel Martinez of the Chamber of Deputies argue the 2010 Constitution had already eliminated the right of citizens to sue government officers.
TelexFree ponzi scheme scams 150,000 Dominicans|
The Specialized Anti Money Laundering Prosecution Service, headed up by Judge German Miranda Villalona, and the National District Prosecution office are now investigating TelexFree Dominicana for money laundering, fraud and violating monetary and finance laws following a complaint by the Superintendence of Dominican Stocks and Shares made on 3 March.
Wendy Lora, director of the Department of Organized Crime, is carrying out the investigation into the practices of representatives of TelexFree and their shareholders that may be in violation of Dominican monetary and finance laws.
TelexFree alleged scam has ensnared more than 150,000 people in the Dominican Republic, as reported by various media outlets. Economic analyst, Alejandro Fernandez, estimates that the amount of money tied to the alleged scam could reach US$100 million.
Most of the targets for the alleged scam were working and living in the east of the country. In the San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana, areas certain church leaders had promoted the deal to their followers as having the blessing of God.
However, economic analyst Alejandro Fernandez and TV commentator Roberto Cavada had alerted the public to the ponzi scheme as far back as September 2013. After that alert, the company in question set up a legal branch in the Dominican Republic called TelexFree Dominicana and continued its operations.
In September 2013, Alejandro Fernandez had reported that the business had previously operated in Brazil before it was shut down by Brazilian judicial authorities who considered the operation a ponzi scheme. In the case of Brazil, officials estimated that more than half a million people were affected. Having ceased operations in Brazil, the company then moved its operations to the Dominican Republic in 2012.
Fernandez reported that the Dominican authorities at the time said they could not act because no one had sued.
Subsequently, investigative reporter, Nuria Piera alerted the public about the alleged scam that promised to 'investors' 400% on their investment in only 4 months.
Confiscated goods to be auctioned|
The National Committee Against Money Laundering (CONCLA) has announced the sale of nine apartments, seven tracts of land, three houses, 11 motor vehicles, a watch and a catamaran, all of which were part of the goods confiscated in several money laundering cases. The total value of the items to be sold at a public auction at the Attorney General's office on 15 May is estimated to be worth more than RD$210 million.
The details of the auction were revealed at a press conference held at the Head Office of the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) attended by the Attorney General, Francisco Dominguez Brito, the president of the National Drug Commission (CND), Fidias Aristy, and the president of the DNCD, Major General Julio Cesar Souffront, among others.
Fidias Aristy said that among the things being sold were goods confiscated from Quirino Ernesto Paulino Castillo, Jose David Figueroa Agosto and Emilio Mesa Beltre (El Gringo).
In addition there were properties taken from Fausto Ernesto Severino Marte (El Busi); Eligio Mercedes (Pepito), Alan Luis Quezada Santiago; Damian Enrique Brito; Yunior Silvestre Belliard, Juan Hubiera Mercedes (La Abeja) and Henry Manuel Ruiz.
Aristy said that included in the auction would be three apartments and a house belonging to Quirino Paulino Castillo, located in the National District that is valued at more than RD$88 million. In addition there would be two apartments in the Alco Paradisso Tower, formerly owned by Figueroa Agosto, that are estimated to be worth RD$47 million.
The other properties for auction include seven tracts of land and two houses in Peravia province, previously owned by Rene Sinclair and valued at more than RD$20 million.
Those interested in attending the auction can find further details on the websites of the General Department of National Property, the CND and the Attorney General's Office.
Mother and lawyer jailed for selling children|
Judge Rosa Maria Almonte Francisco from Monsenor Nouel province has handed down three months on remand in jail to a lawyer and a mother accused of selling three of her four children to two brothers from Puerto Rico.
Those remanded are Maria Yesenia Goris Tavarez aged 24 and her lawyer, Juan Jose Vargas.
Goris Tavarez was supposedly paid US$10,000 as a down payment of RD$1 million for the three children aged 3, 7 and 8 years. She denies the charge.
Free New York condoms being sold in DR|
Large numbers of the New York City-branded condoms that are distributed for free across the city's five boroughs under a US Health Department program are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and sold for cash.
At the Pharmacy in Las Galeras on the Samana peninsula, the condoms are sold for about 50 US$ cents each compared to the around US$1 price for Durex condoms.
The New York City Health Department gives away 38 million NYC Condoms a year in an effort to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV, and limit unplanned pregnancies, reports the New York Daily News.
The NYC Condoms come in a wrapper stamped "Not for Resale."
"These are supposed to be free for New Yorkers," said City Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Health Committee, as reported in the Daily News.
"We should ensure that no one is taking condoms from places in New York City where they are needed and selling them for profit outside of the country. But if the condoms are leaving the country, he hopes they're doing some good. If they're ending up in the Dominican Republic, I hope people are using them," he told the Daily News.
Eclipse of the moon, first of four|
Early on Tuesday morning, 15 April, there was a total eclipse of the moon, which became a red and orange color, known as the Blood Moon.
This eclipse was the first of a series of four consecutive "Blood Moons" which will happen roughly once every six months in the Dominican Republic, with the next one being on Wednesday 8 October this year, followed by Saturday 4 April 2015 and Sunday 27 September 2015.
The event began officially in the country at 0:55am when the moon began to take on its strange color with the total eclipse starting at 3am, and lasting until 4am.
DR is partner of European Night of Museums in Paris|
The Dominican Republic is the partner of the European Night of Museums. Those attending and visiting the Unesco headquarters are invited to discover the work of Dominican artists Jorge Pineda and Polibio Diaz. This is the 6th consecutive year in which UNESCO gives its patronage to the European Night of Museums and opens its doors to welcome the public at large to experience a unique cultural evening.
Those attending can also discover the modern architecture of the UNESCO's headquarters as well as part of its Art Collection, including works by Appel, Calder, Chillida, Erro, Giacometti, Miro, Moore and Picasso.
Free entrance to the museum is at 125 avenue de Suffren, Paris 7th (exit at 119 avenue de Suffren).
For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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