Agriculture plans committee to end import "mafia"|
Minister of Agriculture Angel Estevez says he is tackling the problems created by what he describes as the "import permit mafia."
He said that he was offered RD$50 million in bribes by just one company to maintain the company's permits that are for RD$300 million.
He said a tri-party commission is being created to make the process of granting the permits transparent.
Estevez is against the import permits that he says harm local farm producers.
Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/destacada/2014/08/25/i760961_ministro-agricultura-ofrecieron-rd50-millones-por-permisos-exportacin.html
2.2 million get cedulas in four months|
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) is pleased with the pace of Dominicans applying for their new ID documents.
The president of the JCE, Roberto Rosario said that 30% of the population already has the new "cedula".
He announced on Saturday, 23 August 2014 that 2,702,594 people have requested the document, and 2,220,310 documents had been issued. This is about 30% of the seven million cards that need to be issued in time for the 2016 national election.
The JCE has set an 18-month timeframe for the card-issuing process that began in mid-April 2014.
Rosario announced that more mobile units would be deployed. The mobile centers have processed 611,210 people and issued 507,617 IDs.
He said that overseas, 17,498 people have requested their ID and 14,869 have obtained the document.
There are 67 mobile centers and 174 fixed centers nationwide. There are 10 in operation abroad, which see around 35,000 applicants a day.
The JCE president said they have yet to install card-issuing centers in only three municipalities of the country's 158 municipalities.
The ID cards also serve as voter registration cards for Dominican citizens and will be required to vote in the 2016 presidential, congressional and municipal election.
Public hospitals see two million Haitian patients in 2013|
Public Health Minister Freddy Hidalgo says that 52% of pregnant women receiving care at Dominican border hospitals are Haitian. He said that public hospitals provided two million consultations to Haitian patients in 2013.
On a national level, 18% of patients seen are Haitians. He commented on the heavy burden of seeing such large numbers of Haitians who visit the centers every day.
He made these comments during an interview with Hector Herrera Cabral for his Channel 11 D'Agenda TV show on Sunday, 24 August 2014.
Hidalgo said the European Union should finance the construction of hospitals on the Haitian side of the border. He said that if necessary, the Dominican Republic could staff the hospitals.
During the interview, Hidalgo also mentioned that 70% of traffic accidents in the country involved drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Hidalgo also pointed out the extensive program underway to build and repair public hospitals, and success in the reduction of tuberculosis, human rabies, cholera and leptospirosis nationwide.
Regarding the Ebola virus, he said a special area would be located at a public hospital. Listin Diario reported that the center would be located at the Dr. Ney Arias Lora Trauma hospital in eastern Santo Domingo. Another two are planned for the National District and Santiago.
Read more in Spanish: http://www.listindiario.com.do/la-republica/2014/8/24/334898/Centros-dieron-2-millones-de-consultas-a-hatianos
Service economy overtakes production|
A new Central Bank study reveals that manufacturing in the Dominican Republic from 1991 to 2007 has declined from 21.8% to 12.3% of GDP. That is a decline of 44% over the 16-year period. Sector spokespeople say the situation is due to the high cost of producing in the country, lower value added and increased import of products that once were manufactured here.
The National Accounts of the Dominican Republic Year Reference 2007 presented by the Central Bank indicates that what used to be the main sectors of the Gross Domestic Product have lost their influence.
The study indicates that the services sector continues to gain over production in the Dominican economic structure. According to the Central Bank study, services represented 56.8% of the Dominican economy, up 8.8% compared to 1991 when the sector was 48% of GDP.
Read more in Spanish:
Women's business groups call for single tax|
Three businesswomen's associations are proposing a single tax for companies with up to RD$10 million in capital. They say that it is unfair that small businesses should receive the same tax treatment as large companies, as reported in Hoy.
Veronica Urena, president of the National Association of Businesswomen and Professional women (Anmepro); Luisa Maria de Aquino, vice president of the Federation of Women in Business (FEM); Loly Alonso, president of FEM; Fior Rodriguez, first vice president of Anmepro; Nieves Colombani, treasurer of FEM; and Aurora Garcia, president of the Dominican Association of Women in Business (ADME) joined together to make this appeal to the authorities.
They believe that a single tax would come as relief for small-scale and micro business that cannot bear the current tax burden that put companies in what they described as "commercial limbo."
They say that most micro-businesses are family staffed and when they go formal most of the revenues then have to be paid in taxes such as ITBIS and advances.
The businesswomen called for the Ministry of Women to become active in promoting entrepreneurship among women. Veronica Urena of Anmepro says that they are aware that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has donated funds for small business development to the Ministry of Women but they have no information on what is being done with these funds. They say that although they represent the country's only three women in business groups, Minister of Women Alejandrina German has yet to respond to their invitations.
Read more in Spanish: http://hoy.com.do/encuentro-economico-empresarias-proponen-tributo-unico-para-negocios-de-rd10-millones/empresarias/
AEIH wants costs cut to increase real wages|
The president of the Association of Herrera and Province of Santo Domingo Industrial Association (AEIH) Victor Castro says that he takes President Danilo Medina at his word when he says that wages are low, and challenged the government to help change this situation by increasing purchasing power.
At a recent press conference, President Danilo Medina complained that wages were too low in the private and public sector.
As reported in Hoy, Castro said that raising wages is not a sustainable solution. He says when a general wage increase is introduced it simply increases companies' labor liabilities and unleashes a cost transfer chain that gobbles up the wage increase.
Castro said that instead, efforts needed to be focused on increasing real wages that in the past 10 years have fallen by 27%. He called for improvements in public services and general economic cost reductions.
He said that what was needed was more competition, and the destruction of cartels, monopolies and oligopolies that affect the quality of life and real wages. He said that awareness needed to be raised among businesspeople that better wages would guarantee more consumers with increased purchasing power that benefits all.
Labor union representatives are campaigning for a mandatory wage increase across the board. The current legislation only allows the National Wages Commission to set minimum wage increases.
AMET bans double load freight trucks, business complains|
The new head of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) General Pablo Arturo Pujols has banned double-load freight trucks from the roads in the country's metropolitan areas. The decision was taken to prevent accidents and has been implemented since Thursday, 21 August 2014 when double-load freight trucks were stopped nationwide.
AMET has said the measure is based on Arts. 170, 171 and 172 of Law 241-67 on Transit.
The system helped reduce truckers' costs given the government-sanctioned truck owner monopoly. The president of the Dominican Republic Association of Industries (AIRD) Ligia Bonetti has protested the decision.
Pujols said that a meeting is being coordinated between industry representatives and the Ministry of Public Works. Bonetti said that the surprise decision affects the companies' logistics, leading to higher costs and delays in delivery of merchandise.
Leonel Fernandez on the campaign trail|
Former President Leonel Fernandez says that a presidential election campaign is about the future, not the past, as reported in El Caribe. He says farms will be the priority of the next PLD administration due to the growing need for food and water.
He said that according to projections, the island of Hispaniola would have a population of 40 million by 2040 n 20 million in the DR and 20 million in Haiti.
"This will require more capacity for food and water supply," he said. He said that 80% of food consumed in the country was produced locally. "Now we need to evolve from being producers and consumers to exporters of food and we will achieve this in the next PLD administration," he said.
He highlighted his support for farming during his three terms of office and mentioned the construction of the northwestern and southwestern aqueducts.
Fernandez was speaking during a launch of events by the Rural Society for Leonel (Sorudel) that is campaigning for him to be the PLD candidate in 2016.
Referring to the possible re-election of President Danilo Medina due to his high levels of popularity, Fernandez said that Medina has said he will address the subject when the time was right and so he would not speak of the issue either. He said that "when the winds blow stronger he will decide whether or not to seek the candidacy," as quoted in El Caribe.
The former President and president of the ruling PLD party would be the man to beat in the PLD where others are actively seeking the party candidacy.
Given the lack of any strong opposition, with the fragmented PRD and PRSC, political analysts say that whoever the PLD candidate may be, he or she is likely to win the 2016 presidential election.
Read more in Spanish: http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2014/08/25/leonel-campo-sera-primero-otra-gestion
Who is Miss DR Kimberly Castillo?|
In an interview with El Nacional, the recently elected Miss Dominican Republic says that she comes from a big family. She grew up with six siblings on her father's side and three on her mother's side. She says that her father's great-grandfather, Antonio Castillo, was from the city of Cosenza in Calabria, Italy. She said that while the family was from Higuey, her family moved to Santiago for work reasons when she was 10. Her family has an atelier n Kimcas n in the city.
Her mother is Agueda Mota, her father is Antonio Castillo. She says she has had a boyfriend, Carlos Dominguez, for four years.
She is a professional pattern designer and graduated in Visual Merchandise from a technical university in Milan, Italy. She also works as a model and has modeled in Italy. She is now studying industrial dressmaking at Infotep. She praised the Infotep courses, saying that they were high quality and free if charge. She said she wants to develop her own brand and go international.
Read more in Spanish: http://elnacional.com.do/venimos-de-abajo-mi-familia-se-ha-hecho-con-mucho-trabajo-y-sacrificio/
Loto winner seeks advice for RD$218 million win|
50-year old Bernardo Antonio Tejada Eloy was reading Diario Libre when he found out he had won RD$218 million in the Leidsa lottery. After taxes, that is RD$163.5 million for him. He lives in Moca and works as a driver at Cloro Macier.
As reported in Diario Libre, he said he was now seeking financial advice and that he is considering becoming a car dealer.
He said he is aware that many people who win the lottery "go nuts." Tejada said that every time he played the lottery he would put the tickets at the foot of the statue of Our Lady of Altagracia in his room. "I now need to go to the Higuey Basilica to pay for a promise I made to her," he told Diario Libre.
He said he would buy a better house and help his parents Bernardo and Mercedes, who also live in Moca. He also plans to help his children Jose Bernardo and Lisseth Alexander, his two sisters and other close relatives.
He said he had been playing the same numbers for a year and a half.
New York Times report on Wesolowski victims|
Boy victims of "the Italian" who sought them out for sexual favors near Montesinos Statue off the Malecon say they only found out who their client was when the news story broke locally, and his real identity was revealed. By then, Wesolowski had abruptly left the country, protected by the Roman Catholic Church. Investigative journalists were on his trail.
He was Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
The scandal that followed is that of the highest Vatican official ever to be incriminated for pedophilia. Shoeshine boys who were his victims admitted to being seduced by the money, as reported in The New York Times. Wesolowski, who was ordained by Pope John Paul II, has since been defrocked, the harshest penalty in the Roman Catholic Church law.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/world/americas/whisked-away-vatican-ambassador-accused-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&module=second-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
Roof leaks almost ruins Prague Ballet|
The long months of drought may have been the reason why the National Theater management did not come through with needed roof reparations in time. But on Saturday, 23 August 2014 the audience at the Prague Ballet performance was shocked to find that the drenching rain outside was affecting the show.
The members of the audience were surprised to see protective covering on the stage. Many thought it was part of the scenery. But when theater staff brought mops onstage, it became apparent there was a big problem. It was raining inside.
Addressing the audience, ballet promoter Cesar Suarez apologized but at the same time blamed theater director Nini Caffaro for the situation. Caffaro says the theater is due for remodeling. Suarez called on his boss, Minister of Culture Jose Antonio Rodriguez to denounce the situation.
The audience experienced embarrassment, the so-called "verguenza ajena." The world famous Prague Ballet was about to perform and could not. First a team of maintenance staff with mops and towels took to the stage for an unusual performance.
The Ballet was forced to adapt its choreography in order to avoid the parts of the stage that could be wet as the downpour continued.
Despite the challenges, reviewers described the performance as excellent and memorable.
The National Theater was inaugurated on 16 August 1973, almost exactly 41 years ago.
Read more in Spanish: http://www.listin.com.do/entretenimiento/2014/8/24/334880/Las-goteras-en-el-TN-casi-arruinan-Balletde-Praga
Rains were good for farming and city water|
Coming at a time when the country was still suffering from severe drought, the drenching rains on Friday 22, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 August 2014 have brought benefits as well as damage nationwide.
The Emergency Operations Committee (COE) reports that more than 4,015 people had to be evacuated in the east, and 600 homes were damaged. A total of 23 communities in the region were cut off by the heavy rainfall. The rains mostly affected the provinces of San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, Hato Mayor and El Seibo where Civil Defense brigades helped with the evacuations. Other provinces affected by heavy rains were Maria Trinidad Sanchez (Nagua), Santiago, Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris), San Jose de Ocoa, Monte Plata and Azua.
COE chief Major General Juan Manuel Mendez says that of the 4,015 people displaced, 3,603 have now returned to their homes. He said the COE continues to maintain an alert for 18 provinces.
In the capital city of Santo Domingo, however, the rains were welcomed. The director general of the city water corporation (CAASD), Alejandro Montas, said that the rainfall had helped improve drinking water supply levels for the entire Greater Santo Domingo area. Montas said that the service would improve as of tomorrow, Tuesday 26 August 2014, when the levels needed for supplying the city's more than 360 million daily gallons of water are reached.
Montas said that water sources in Valdesia, Haina-Manoguayabo, Isa-Mana, Duey, Isabela and Barrera de Salinidad have improved.
Water levels in Valdesia and Jiguey have also improved. But Luis Cuevas, in charge of operations for dams at INDRHI says that not enough water fell in the Central Mountain Range. He said the rains were positive for farms. "All this rain has benefitted Dominican farming that had been dependent on irrigation before."
The Ministry of Public Works reports some damage to the San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana highways.
The meteorological office says that rains will continue to gradually diminish today, Monday, 25 August 2014 as the after-effects of the storm, now known as Tropical Storm Cristobal, continue.
Read more in Spanish:
Peter Novelli Band - Power Blues at Lulu Tasting Bar|
This evening, Monday, 25 August, the Peter Novelli Band - Power Blues will be playing live at Lulu Tasting Bar in the Colonial City in Santo Domingo at 9pm. Padre Billini 151.
For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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