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Daily News - Tuesday, 23 September 2014

DR1 breaks for Mercedes Day
DR1 Daily News will not be updated tomorrow, the Mercedes Day national holiday, Wednesday 24 September 2014. The news will be compiled for the Thursday, 25 September 2014 issue. Our Lady of Mercedes Day commemorates Dominican Spanish heritage. There will be a procession from Las Mercedes Church in Santo Domingo's Colonial City and activities at the Santo Cerro Church in La Vega.

The Santo Cerro Church is located on a hilltop with sweeping views of the Cibao Valley and can be reached in a five-minute drive from the La Vega intersection of the Duarte highway.

The Virgin became the patron of the Dominican Republic after according to the legend during a battle with the indigenous Tainos, Christopher Columbus himself placed a cross on the hill at the La Vega site. When the Tainos attacked the cross, the Virgen de las Mercedes appeared above one of the arms and the frightened Tainos fled.

To this day, on September 24th, thousands of pilgrims visit the church to commemorate the holiday that honors the patron of the Dominican Republic. A replica of the cross can be seen at the church site in La Vega.

For breaking news and 24/7 commentaries, see DR1 Forums at http://www.dr1.com/forums/forum.php

Medina, Fernandez and Miguel Vargas coincide in New York
President Danilo Medina, former president Leonel Fernandez and PRD president Miguel Vargas were all in New York, yesterday, Monday 22 September 2014, attending several events. It is not known if they had planned to meet up, although it was reported that Fernandez and Vargas were both staying in the Marriott Hotel. Vargas and Medina are believed to have travelled on the same flight to New York on Saturday, 20 September 2014.

President Medina is in New York to address the 69th United Nations General Assembly on the afternoon of Wednesday, 24 September, while Vargas has a series of meetings with US authorities, and Fernandez is beginning a tour that will take him to Massachusetts, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

President Medina is expected back on Wednesday.

http://elnacional.com.do/danilo-leonel-y-miguel-coinciden-en-nueva-york/

DR to work for more affordable Internet
Indotel president Gedeon de los Santos is serious about cutting the cost of Internet service in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, 21 September 2014, he signed up for the Dominican Republic to become the first Latin American country to join the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). The goal for the DR is to drive Internet costs to the UN target of 5%, down from 25% at present.

A4AI estimates that Dominicans pay 25% of their monthly income for a 500 MB package compared to only 3.4% in El Selvador, and 5% in Jamaica.

Speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Santos said:

"Indotel is committed to universal telecommunications/ICT services, especially broadband services across the entire national territory and for all Dominicans, regardless of geographical location, economic status, gender, age and physical ability. Working with A4AI to reduce prices of broadband in our country is yet another step towards achieving our goal of reducing inequality in access to ICTs in the Dominican Republic."

In turn, Sonia Jorge, executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet added: "Affordable access to the Internet changes lives. It allows entrepreneurs to start successful businesses, students to access world class educational materials for free, women to have access to information about their rights and governments to deliver better services to their citizens.

She said that while 46% of Dominicans has occasional access to the Internet, only 20% can afford the service, which prevents them from making the most of of new technology and information.

The MoU brings together public, private and civil society sectors to work as a coalition to identify key obstacles in regulatory policies that keep access prices high in the country. Next the stakeholders commit to collaborate to create ICT policies and regulations designed to slash the cost of Internet access.

The A4AI plan is to build a national coalition with all the stakeholders (telecoms, government, civil society organizations) that will identify the challenges and create a shared vision to define policy changes and regulatory changes. The coalition would then be part of the implementation attached to the best practices that show examples of what can be done in the national context.

The A4AI has the support of the Internet Society, DIRSI, Google, Omidyar Network, UK DFID, USAID, and the World Wide Foundation among other members in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to achieve the objectives of lower Internet costs for consumers.

It is estimated that 50% of Dominicans have access to the Internet, compared to 74% in Puerto Rico and 64% in Trinidad & Tobago.

http://a4ai.org

Traders to work together to fight cigarette smuggling
The National Traders and Business Owners' Federation (Fenacerd), the National Retail Traders' Council for (CNCP), the Dominican Cigarette Industry Association (Asocigar), the Santiago Wholesalers Association (Amaprosan) and the Wholesale Traders' Association (ACM) have announced the signing of an agreement to fight local sales of contraband cigarettes. The associations seek to create awareness among retailers about the negative consequences of selling illegally imported cigarettes from Haiti.

As reported, 25 million cigarettes have been seized and destroyed in joint operations with the Customs Agency (DGA), the Tax Agency (DGII) and the Specialized Border Security Corps (Cesfront) in 2014.

Asocigar legal representative Marcos Bisono said that the purchase of contraband cigarettes breaks the law and exposes consumers to health risks. Cigarette smugglers compete in the local market with their significantly cheaper cigarettes, which do not pay taxes or sanitary registration costs.

Cigarette smuggling is estimated to have reduced government revenue by RD$600 million reduction in 2013. The authorities estimate that 200 million units were smuggled in 2013.

Contraband cigarette brands seized in recent months include: Comme Il Faut, Capital, Gold City, Mega Blue, Gold Seal, Point and Jaisermer.

http://www.listin.com.do/economia-and-negocios/2014/9/22/338708/Contrabando-amenaza-industria-del-tabaco

Dominican Republic needs new femicide laws
According to a study published yesterday, Monday 22 September 2014, the Dominican Republic, which is in third place amongst Latin American countries with the highest number of femicides, should start to adopt some of the measures being carried out in countries like Peru, Chile and El Salvador, which have been shown to be effective in reducing the number of deaths of women by domestic violence.

The study was conducted by Greidys Roa Chalas, a researcher from the Public Policy Unit of the Dominican Policy Observatory (OPD), which is attached to the Foundation for Global Democracy and Development (Funglode).

According to the analysis, Peru, Chile and El Salvador have policies that provide early warning of potential problems, training for the Police and Public Prosecution service in domestic violence, specialist assistance to ensure the protection of potential victims and national education campaigns.

Chile, for example, had the lowest rate of femicides in Latin America per hundred thousand inhabitants in 2012, with punishment of up to life imprisonment for the crime.

The study urges the Dominican Republic to enact laws to reduce the level of femicides in this country where at present there is only Law 24-97 against domestic violence, which punishes the murder of women but does not highlight femicides at the required level.

The analysis says that 45 femicide cases were reported in the first semester of this year, a 40% increase over the same period last year. It goes on to say that women should be more involved in the workforce with higher salaries so they are not economically dependent on abusive partners.

http://www.listindiario.com/la-republica/2014/9/22/338666/Estudio-sugiere-replicar-medidas-de-otros-paises-para-disminuir

Truckers' show of strength will cost RD$1 billion
The day off called by the Fenatrado cargo transport union for today, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 will cost the country RD$1 billion, says Boca Chica Freighters Union leader Rafael Caminero. The 182 members of his union serving the Caucedo Multimodal Port would not take part in the truckers' parade being organized by Fenatrado. Caminero said they would continue to work with Armed Forces and National Police protection and they would not join the work stoppage because of their work commitments towards the government and private companies at the Multimodal Caucedo Port. He said that as Wednesday is a national holiday, the work stoppage would last two days, not one, causing major bottlenecks at the ports.

Meanwhile, Fenatrado leader Blas Peralta said that their trucks would stop at port entrances and at key points along highways nationwide to celebrate the union's newly announced National Truckers' Day and pressure the National Congress to create the commemorative day.

The truckers seek to show their force after a court revoked a government resolution that required cargo owners to utilize Fenatrado trucks to transport at least 50% of their cargo.

http://elnacional.com.do/aseguran-paro-de-camioneros-provocaria-perdida-de-mil-millones-de-pesos/

Money laundering warning to cock fighters
The head of the Anti Money Laundering Prosecution Unit, German Miranda Villalona, has warned that drug dealing is now penetrating the cockfighting world and has told the businessmen engaged in this activity to ensure that their businesses are not involved in money laundering.

He said that he was issuing the warning as he currently has seven cases involving major drug dealers with links to cock fighting.

The cases he mentioned involved Jose Calderon Rijo, alias "La Arana" in Bani, Raymundo Antonio Pena, who is linked to a money laundering and drug dealing network made up of Dominicans, Colombians and Venezuelans led by brothers Huber Oswaldo Buitago Ruiz and Angel Maria Buitrago Vacca, as well as other cases in Santiago and the eastern region of the country.

Winston Rizik Rodriguez (alias El Gallero) was active in several cockfighting rings, and Miranda Villalona said that he would soon begin the process of selling off the livestock that was confiscated from him, including 700 cockerels and a farm.

Vilallona said that he expected to meet with the family and lawyers this week and that the money from the sale would be put into the Public Prosecution bank account until the judicial process was completed. He said that he had also identified other properties belonging to the accused that would be sold if necessary.

http://eldia.com.do/procuraduria-alerta-narcotrafico-ha-penetrado-en-las-galleras/

Illegal Dominicans arrested in Panama
Immigration authorities in Panama have arrested 23 Dominican women said to be living and working in the country illegally, during an operation carried out to the west of the capital.

The raid took place in Chame, some 73 kilometers to the west of Panama City where they were said to be working illegally.

The director of the Panamanian National Migration Service (SNM), Javier Carrillo, said that the employers would be fined as well as the Dominicans, who would be sent to a women's prison. Once the women have paid their fines they will be given seven days to leave the country or start the process of regularizing their immigration status.

http://www.listindiario.com/las-mundiales/2014/9/22/338660/Detienen-23-dominicanas-indocumentadas-en-Panama

US citizen drowns off north coast
A businessman from the United States has drowned whilst swimming off Encuentro beach in Cabarete, on the north coast.

Daniel Jeffrey Forman, 53, lived in Sea Horse Ranch in Sosua.

His body was taken to the National Forensic Science Institute (INACIF) for autopsy.

http://www.dr1.com/forums/north-coast/145873-american-man-drowns-playa-encuentro.html

Haitians arrested in Barahona
In Barahona, the police have arrested 36 Haitians who had entered the country illegally. They were hiding in a hotel whilst waiting to be taken to the capital and other parts of the country. According to the Police, two Dominicans who were paid RD$5,000 for the first leg of the journey from Jimani to Barahona were also arrested. They were named as Fabio Ramon Vasquez Espinosa, 61 and Genaro Terrero, 64.

The Haitians, 31 men, two children and three women were found in the Hotel San Rafael. They will be handed over to the Migration office and the Dominicans to the Public Prosecution service.

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/09/22/i803261_apresan-haitianos-que-pagaron-rd5000-para-entrar-pas.html

French pilots trial delayed again
The trial of four French citizens, including two pilots, accused of trying to smuggle 700 kilos of cocaine from Punta Cana to their home country in a private aircraft in March 2013, has been set for 1 December 2014. Ten Dominicans will also be tried following a hearing on 17 June that confirmed that there was sufficient evidence to proceed against them.

The trial was originally set for yesterday, Monday 22 September 2014, but the lawyers for some of the accused requested a postponement to give them more time to study the charges, some witnesses were absent and there was no interpreter for the French defendants.

French pilots Pascal Jean Fauret, 44 and Bruno Odos, 54, flight attendant Alain Castany, 67 and passenger Nicolas Pisapia, 38, were arrested at dawn on 20 March 2013 at Punta Cana airport as they were preparing to leave for Saint Tropez.

They were released on bail after more than a year in jail, but they are not allowed to leave the country. The drugs were found in 26 suitcases inside a private jet owned by a French businessman, Alain Afflelou.

The pilots have always claimed their innocence, saying that according to international law they are not responsible for the contents of any luggage carried on a commercial flight.

However, the Public Prosecutor says that it was not a commercial flight. Although the plane had been rented for this journey, it was in effect a private flight so the pilots are also responsible.

http://hoy.com.do/aplazan-inicio-de-juicio-a-pilotos-franceses/

Peak hurricane season not over, says Cuban metereologist
According to Cuban Meteorological Institute Forecasting Center director Jose Rubiera, the first part of the 2014 hurricane season was less active than expected, but more hurricanes are still expected during October and November. September has traditionally been the most active month in the Caribbean hurricane season.

Rubiera said that there have been five named storms so far this year with only one with of great strength, reaching Category 3.

The North Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and in the last two months the hurricanes still have a propensity to form in the Caribbean, so Rubiera says that people should not let their guard down. He went on to say that this season has been calm because there was no El Nino effect, as forecast.

He said that they had forecast nine hurricanes or tropical storms for this year's hurricane season.

http://www.listindiario.com/las-mundiales/2014/9/22/338654/Inicia-etapa-critica-de-la-temporada-ciclonica-para-el-Caribe

Sergio Vargas, Wason Brazoban and Felix D'Oleo at Sambil
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 is a national holiday and Sambil Santo Domingo shopping mall presents three of the Dominican Republic's most popular music performers n Sergio Vargas, Wason Brazoban and Felix D'Oleo in the show "En 3 Negros," at 9pm. Av. John F. Kennedy at the corner with Paseo de los Aviadores in Santo Domingo. Tickets are available from Uepa Tickets (Movie Max), Nacional and Jumbo supermarkets for RD$1,100 general admission and RD$2,150 VIP. Tickets are also for sale at Sambil Santo Domingo.

Hector Marchena "Trovas por un sueno" at Casa de Teatro
Enjoy the music of singer Hector Marchena at Casa de Teatro this evening, Tuesday 23 September 2014 from 9pm.

Calle Arzobispo Merino No. 110 in the Colonial City, Santo Domingo. Tel 809 689-3430.

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
 

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