Dominican Republic top in organic cacao|
The Ministry of Agriculture has announced that the DR exported US$214 million worth of cacao (69,000 metric tons) to international markets last year. This is an increase of US$59 million over the previous year.
The comment was made on occasion that today, Wednesday 1 October 2014, is Cacao Day marking the start of the new cacao harvest that runs from October to July.
Agriculture Minister Angel Estevez sent a congratulatory message to farmers saying that thanks to their work the country is still the world's leading organic cacao exporter.
The Dominican Republic has exported more than 128,311 metric tons of organic cacao in the last 10 years, with an average of 12,000 tons a year.
Cacao Department director Jose Gonzalez Fabian said that the Ministry would continue with their series of programs to support the production.
The main regions where cacao is produced are the northeast with 61%, the east with 13%, central with 10%, north with 9%, and north central with 7%.
There are 40,000 farms with 36,000 farmers and cacao indirectly benefits 300,000 people.
Economy doing well, says Central Bank governor|
Central Bank governor Hector Valdez Albizu says that the national economy is going full steam ahead as confirmed by J.P. Morgan, the financial services firm contracted by the government for recent bond placements.
Valdez Albizu commented that growth in the United States economy is positive given the close ties between both nations.
The Central Bank governor was speaking at a meeting of the Senate Treasury Committee that was studying a proposal submitted by the Executive Branch for an increase in the capital of the governmental Banco de Reservas to RD$10 billion. The current capital is RD$3.5 billion.
As far as the national debt was concerned, Valdez Albizu said it was at 47%, rejecting higher figures such as 55%, 53% and 50% used by other economists. Valdez Albizu said he doubted that the exchange rate would reach the RD$46-US$1 projected in the 2015 National Budget bill.
National Budget needs to spur development|
In an editorial in Hoy today, Wednesday 1 October 2014, the newspaper criticizes the fact that the National Budget has again failed to be used as a development tool. The editorialist says that the budget lacks a fiscal reform to set the sources of revenue and better distribution of spending. It mentions that the lack of revenue leads the government to borrow more in order to match the high pace of public spending, including paying many people who were removed from government posts but left on the payroll with the same wages as "advisors." In addition, more than half the tax revenue will be used to pay for the electricity subsidy, interest payments and wages of the bloated government payroll.
"At some point, and let's hope this is not forced upon us by a crisis, the government and economic stakeholders need to reach a pact for comprehensive fiscal reform that the government resists and the private sector conditions to keep its privileges."
"The government says there is a fiscal deficit to the call for improved judiciary, city government management or other priorities, but there is an abundance of funds for political patronage. The government needs a fiscal reform that turns the National Budget into an authentic tool for leading development that creates jobs, improves public services and makes government spending better and more efficient," writes the editorialist.
Complaints about the national budget|
The Dominican Alliance against Corruption (ADOCCO) says that the government has been negligent in excluding hundreds of institutions from the proposed budget for 2015.
The affected institutions include the Foundation for Justice and Transparency, FJT, the Dominican Alliance of the Defense of Consumers and Users, ASODECU, the Youth Drug Use Prevention Group, CIJUPD and ADOCCO. They say that they find it suspicious that the institutions that fight against corruption and that are opposing the imposition of the tax on Internet purchases under US$200 happen to be the ones that have been excluded.
ADOCCO lamented the fact that it appeared that President Medina's government had violated the law in terms of the percentage assigned to the Judiciary, as well as the amount which should be paid to the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), as pointed out by the president of the Judicial Branch, Mariano German Mejia.
German stated that the RD$5,222 million assigned to the judiciary for 2015 would not enable them to provide a quality judicial service and that they would need at least double that amount.
As far as the UASD is concerned, Rector Ivan Grullon has said that if they did not have a budget increase for 2015 they would find it difficult to manage.
Renew your car driving permit sticker|
The Tax Agency (DGII) has announced the start of driver circulation permits (marbetes), to be issued at the same rates as in 2014. Nevertheless, the 2015 National Budget includes implementing 1% of the value stipulated in the 2012 Tax Reform Law (Law 253-12). Due to protests, the tax (Impuesto de Circulacion Vehicular - ICV) application of the tax was postponed in 2013 and again in 2014.
This year, car owners need to pay RD$1,200 for vehicles manufactured before 2009 and RD$2,200 for those manufactured as of 2010.
Red alert for the elderly in the Dominican Republic|
Maria Luisa Hernandez, family practitioner at the Plaza de la Salud General Hospital (HGPS) Geriatrics Service says that around one million elderly people in the DR do not have adequate services or social protection. She called for more clubs, senior homes and daycare centers for this sector of the population. She said most senior citizens in the Dominican Republic are not affiliated to health plans and cannot afford the high cost of medical services and pharmaceuticals.
Rafael Blanco Tejera: Samana's challenges|
Samana tourism stakeholders met yesterday, Tuesday 30 September 2014 in an event organized by the Samana Tourism Cluster (CTS) to push for a joint public-private agenda.
CTS president Rafael Blanco Tejera said that the challenges were complex and diverse, and that they included the high cost of the toll roads, urban organization and stopping the slumification of Samana's beaches.
Blanco Tejera says that the three basic priorities of the agreement are: land zoning, support for small tourism businesses and community tourism education programs. The governor of Samana, legislators, municipal authorities, and private sector representatives are taking part in the event.
Traffic accident injuries to remain covered|
The National Social Security Council (CNSS) has extended the deadline for a decision on insurance cover for traffic accidents until 9 January 2015, and are keeping the rate at RD$7.50 per head.
According to the general manager of CNSS, Rafael Perez Modesto, the Constitution and the Dominican state guarantees the health of its citizens whatever risk affects them and this includes traffic accidents.
He called on the Administrators of Health Risks (ARS), the National Health Insurance (SENASA) and their network of Health Services Providers (PSS) to continue to provide the cover.
Attorney General prosecutes senator Felix Bautista|
The Attorney General Office has seized a large number of assets belonging to the Sociedad Inmobiliaria Rofi, SRL, of which senator Felix Bautista (PLD-San Juan de la Maguana) is the leading known shareholder, the headline story in Diario Libre reports today, Wednesday 1 October 2014. The properties now held by the state include apartments, villas in Casa de Campo, houses, lots, and an asphalt factory. This move comes as part of an investigation by the Specialized Prosecutors for Prosecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA). It includes the confiscation of 40 buildings with eight apartments each, a high-rise building with 16 floors and another with 14 floors. The list of 100 properties spans the country.
Diario Libre says that the senator has submitted a legal recourse through the Supreme Court of Justice. Judge Frank Soto Sanchez is in charge of hearing the request.
Felix Bautista is the organizational secretary of the ruling PLD party and one of former President Leonel Fernandez's closest aides.
Former papal nuncio proven porn fanatic|
Evidence has emerged that the 66-year old former Vatican ambassador in the Dominican Republic from 2008-2013, Josef Wesolowski is a pornography fanatic. He collected more than a hundred thousand pornographic images and videos of minors on his computer, according to news reports. He was arrested in the Vatican last week while an appeal against his defrocking and stripping of diplomatic protection is being heard. The files were found in his office computer in the Vatican Embassy in Santo Domingo. Wesolowski left the Dominican Republic surreptitiously after TV journalists were on his trail when his child sex abuse practices came to light.
Solo rower arrives from Africa|
US rower Victor Mooney is making a stop in Samana as part of his 5,000-mile solo Trans-Atlantic row. He is rowing from the coast of Africa to New York to increase awareness of AIDS.
Mooney arrived in Samana yesterday, Tuesday, 30 September 2014 aboard his 24-foot boat, The Spirit of Malabo. He had just completed 3,490 miles since his departure from Maspolamas in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa on 19 February 2014. During his short stay in the Dominican Republic he will rest, replenish supplies and campaign for AIDS awareness before trying to reach the mainland United States.
To contact Mooney, write to Jodie Thomas at [email protected]
George Clooney's bride marries in Oscar de la Renta|
36-year old British human rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin chose an embroidered white dress by Dominican-American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta for her Venice wedding ceremony with Hollywood's hottest bachelor, George Clooney on Saturday, 27 September 2014. The gown was hand-embroidered with pearls and diamante accents and made of lace especially flown in from France, as reported in Hello Magazine (the UK version of Spain's Hola!).
A retrospective on the 50 years of Oscar de la Renta can be seen through November at the National Art Gallery at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Av. Maximo Gomez, Santo Domingo.
De la Cocina al Ojo|
"De la Cocina al Ojo" and "La Revolucion Mexicana" exhibitions are open at the Museo Bellapart on Av. J. F. Kennedy corner Dr. Lembert Peguero through Friday, 31 October. The museum is offering free admission on Saturday, 4 October 2014 from 10am to 11:30am with a guided visit by architect Guadalupe Casasnovas to the exhibit and its extraordinary collection of Dominican art. Agencia Bella, Av. J. F. Kennedy corner Dr. Lembert Peguero, Santo Domingo. Tel 809 541-7721 Ext. 296.
And What If It Doesn't Work? - Teatro Guloya|
Teatro Guloya in the Colonial City presents the young dramatic talent of Teatro Joven. "And What If It Doesn't Work?" (Y si no funciona?) will be staged by Teatro A la Mala, directed by Eleccio Caraballo with Perla Vasquez in the leading role. Tickets RD$100. Thursday, 2 October at 8:30pm. Calle Arzobispo Portes No. 205, Colonial City, Santo Domingo Tel.809 685-4856
"I Never Cheated on my Wife" at Teatro Las Mascaras|
Starring Jorge Santiago and Francis Cruz, director Germana Quintana presents the drama "Nunca engane a mi mujer" at the Teatro Las Mascaras. Calle Arzobispo Portes 56 almost corner Arzobispo Merino, Colonial City, Santo Domingo. Tel 809 687-9788. This is a small theater, so it is advisable to arrive early to get seats. Performances at 8:30pm on Friday 3 October and Saturday 4 October and at 6:30pm on Sunday 5 October 2014. Tickets RD$400.
For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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