First Lady at Special Needs event in La Romana|
First Lady Candida Montilla was in La Romana on Sunday, 16 November 2014 for the celebration of "Quiereme como soy 2014," at the city's Francisco Micheli Baseball Stadium. The event was organized by parents of children with special needs to create greater awareness. Montilla was received at the stadium by Sonia Villanueva, the chairwoman of the charitable organization's board. A benefit concert with performances by Juanes from Colombia and Juan Luis Guerra from the DR was held the previous evening, Saturday, 15 November, at the Altos de Chavon amphitheater.
The First Lady has been key to the local development of centers for children with special educational needs (CAID).
Club Med announces more investments in the DR|
President Danilo Medina hosted a visit by Club Med's Marilyne Mesiano, Regional Vice President Development and Asset Management and Gregory Lanter, director of development at the Presidential Palace on Sunday 16 November 2014. The executives outlined details of the French company's forthcoming tourism investments in the Dominican Republic. They were accompanied by legal counsel Fabio J. Guzman Ariza and Fabio J. Guzman Saladin of Guzman Ariza.
Club Med recently announced an agreement with the Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil for new Creactive site at Club Med Punta Cana for Cirque du Soleil events in Punta Cana.
In addition, as part of the new Cirque du Soleil facilities in Club Med Punta Cana, more than 25 circus acrobatic and artistic training and play activities for children and adults will be added and included in the club's all-inclusive rate.
The Punta Cana site will be a pilot for the opening of more Creactive sites at other properties. The acrobatic and artistic activities include high bungee, flying trapeze, aerial silk, tightrope, trampoline, juggling, percussion and dance or mask painting, along with many others that are a regular part of the Cirque du Soleil shows. The Creactive concept is expected to debut at Club Med Punta Cana in June 2015. The Punta Cana resort caters to multigenerational vacationers.
The company will also be adding 70 new villas to its 553-guestrooms and family suites in Punta Cana, and it announced it would build a new resort in a yet-to-be-announced part of the country. The three projects will involve a US$125 million investment.
Update on the status legalization process|
The Ministry of Interior and Police says that more than 97,000 foreigners have applied to legalize their status under the National Foreigner Legalization Plan. Of this total, 107 people of 15 nationalities have completed the process and obtained their residence cards. The process began in June 2014 and will continue through May 2015. A total of 24 offices where the legalization process can be started are open nationwide. To begin the process, the applicant needs to provide identification, be it a birth certificate, official ID card, or passport.
No transport fare cuts for now|
Representatives from the Ground Transport Office (OTTT) met with the transporters' unions on Friday, 14 November 2014, but no agreement for fare cuts was reached. Early last week, Hector Mojica of OTTT announced fare cuts of RD$5 on urban routes and between RD$10 and RD$40 on intercity routes. However, when transporters refused to reduce their prices, Mojica called a meeting for Friday. As reported in Diario Libre on Saturday, 15 November, the transporters used the meeting to demand more benefits from the government. They want an increase in the diesel subsidy and for the government to cover part of their operational costs. They are also seeking government support for changing their vehicles.
Mayor Salcedo's Bright Lights park again|
Despite complaints about traffic jams and noise from local residents, Mayor Roberto Salcedo will be turning the lights on bright at the Ibero-American Park in Santo Domingo again on 1 December 2014. It will remain open through 7 January 2015. The park is located next to the National Music Conservatory.
The city government lights up the park with 27 million lights, colorful decorations, arts and crafts, and facades of Victorian houses creating the "Brillante Navidad" lights show. This year, artistic performances will be staged at its new amphitheater, which has a 2,700 seating capacity.
Also new this year is the use of 3D technology on four stages, and what is described as a "dancing lights fountain." Salcedo says that the park will be filled with many new attractions.
Pension plan is big business|
The pension plan companies are reaping yields worth triple what they are paying their clients, as reported in Diario Libre. As of September, the AFPs had profited by 35.20% while the average yield paid to contributors to the system has been 12.27%. In their third quarterly report, the Superintendence of Pensions (SIPEN) said that together the five AFPs had profits of around RD$2.59 billion. Because of their high profitability, the pension companies accepted a complementary reduction of their profit schemes to lower this to 25%.
The report also highlights the bureaucratic difficulties of changing from one pension plan to another. As a result, in 2012 only 0.3% of the affiliates were able to change plan. Of those that have left the system, 48,490, on average they received RD$76,534.58 as life savings.
As of September 2014, the pension fund was at RD$291.35 billion belonging to around three million registered contributors, but only 48.13% actually pay into the system, as reported and attributes this to work instability.
Recycling is growing in DR|
Environment Ministry's environmental policy coordinator Domingo Contreras says that the recycling business in the Dominican Republic is worth more than US$100 million a year, as reported in Diario Libre. He said that this is peanuts compared to the potential of recycling, which he estimated at US$600 million a year. Contreras said that more and more companies are implementing reuse, reduce and recycle programs. He said that non-governmental agencies and informal workers collect the materials for resale. The official added that there are already free zone industries that purchase the materials to use them as raw material.
Small business marginalized from labor talks|
The president of the Association of Industries of Herrera and the Province of Santo Domingo (AEIH) Victor Castro has criticized the exclusion of representatives of the small business sector in the ongoing labor talks, as reported in Diario Libre. AEIH says that small and medium-sized business employs 97% of workers in the DR. "The business base in the small business sector is not taken into consideration, and the labor spokespersons do not represent anyone, while the voices of the true workers are not heard as such," complained Castro.
Medical Association calls for investigating birth tourism|
Dominican Medical Association (CMD) president Dr. Pedro Sing says that illegal birth tourism from Haiti costs the Dominican government an eye-watering RD$5 billion a year. Dr. Sing called for the authorities to review the country's migration policies, describing them as weak and interest-influenced. He speculated that there are people who are dedicated to the business of illegal birth tourism. Sing said most Haitian mothers arrive at public hospitals and a large number have anemia, hypertension and other illnesses that raise the cost of medical care.
Interviewed by Julio Martinez Pozo on the Channel 7 Toque Final programme, the doctor said that all patients received healthcare services because they are human beings. However, he said that the government needed to improve the legal enforcement of its migratory policies.
"If there were no connections in each country, this traffic would not exist. The investigative organizations need to do their job and look into this business that people talk so much about so that it does not continue to occur," he said.
In the interview, Dr. Sing said that the government should increase public health spending and called for the decentralization of health services as set out in Law 87-01 and Decree 379-14 that create the new National Health Department.
Exporting through Punta Cana|
The ambassador of Ecuador Carlos Lopez Damm reports that companies have begun to export perishables through Punta Cana International Airport to save flight time. The ambassador says there can be savings of six days, as reported in Listin Diario.
The exporters use the airport to export all around the world, with most exports going to Europe. Savings are reportedly worth 30%.
Ambassador Lopez Damm said the project began six months ago using charter flights, and that this is a new option for improving competitiveness of Ecuadorian products, including Ecuadorian roses.
Lopez highlighted the many connections that are available at the airport. He said exports have been made to Russia, Norway, Great Britain, France and Canada. Lopez said contacts are being made for exports to Ukraine, Belgium, Poland and other markets that before it took them up to nine days to reach and now this can happen in three days.
The ambassador commented he has had reports that the Punta Cana International Airport will be creating a new cargo terminal for export products. He also mentioned the effective X-ray service that prevents the delays that can damage the cargo.
Cardinals manager calls for educating ball players|
Attorney General office spokeswoman Tessie Sanchez said on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 that St. Louis Cardinals rookie outfielder 22-year old Oscar Taveras was legally drunk when he lost control of his Chevy Camaro while driving on the Cabarete-Sosua road in Puerto Plata on 26 October 2014. Taveras and his 18-year old girlfriend were killed in the accident.
After the findings were released, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak issued a statement saying that the team has "an obligation to use this as an opportunity to educate our players that they must take responsibility for themselves both on and off the field."
Taveras was one of the most promising emerging players in the Major Leagues. In his first season he had hit .239 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 80 games. In his debut he had homered against the 2014 MLB champion San Francisco Giants team on 31 May 2014.
Four killed in Las Americas highway crash|
Four people were killed in a crash between two motorcycles and a car early Sunday morning, 16 November 2014 at Km 28 of the Las Americas Highway east of Santo Domingo. The injured were taken to the Ney Arias Lora Trauma Hospital. As reported, the victims were headed to Boca Chica from La Caleta when they crashed into a Honda Accord. The fatalities were identified as 19-year old Jeison Cedeno Castillo, 24-year old Carlos Pie Pimentel, and siblings 22-year old Rodolfo Perez Sonaca and 23-year old Silvia Perez Sonaca. 22-year old Leonel Oscar Nunez and Yeuri Perez are being treated for serious injuries. Another of the victims, Rita Gomez, did not require hospitalization.
Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) spokesman Diego Pesqueira said that the driver of the vehicle fled from the scene of the accident.
As reported, the accident occurred when the young people riding two Suzuki AX100 motorcycles attempted to cross the highway.
AMET director General Pablo Arturo Pujols says that there have been 1,845 deaths on the roads so far this year, and motorcycles were involved in 70% of cases. He was speaking on the occasion of the "World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims" on Sunday, 16 November 2014, which also marks the start of "World Road Safety Week" through 23 November 2014. Pujols said that a total of 1,922 people were killed in traffic accidents last year.
British warship seizes cocaine at sea|
British warship HMS Argyll, on a six-month deployment in the Caribbean, seized 850 packages of cocaine in Dominican territorial waters on Saturday, 15 November 2014. The four occupants of the speedboat carrying the drugs were delivered to a US Coast Guard vessel that was also taking part in the anti-drop operation. The National Drug Control Agency helped detect the shipment. The HMS Argyll intercepted the speedboat 81 nautical miles to the southwest of the Dominican Republic near Haitian territorial waters. The DNCD reported that drug traffickers frequently use the route along the boundary with Haitian territorial waters as a way of eluding the Dominican authorities. The interception took place in international waters, closer to Haiti than to the Dominican Republic.
The British ship is in the area to support regional counter-narcotics initiatives to deter the illegal drugs trade in the Caribbean region.
First medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games|
Luis Pie in taekwondo and the Dominican skeet team were the first to win gold medals for the Dominican Republic in the Central American and Caribbean Games that are taking place in Veracuz, Mexico. The DR with Gabriel Mercedes had won gold in the previous games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in 2010. The winners in skeet were Sergio Pinero, Domingo and Eduardo Lorenzo. The DR retained the gold medal that had been won in the Puerto Rico games.
Bavaro Merengue Festival|
The San Juan Shopping Mall parking lot will be the setting for the Festival del Merengue & Ritmos Caribenos on Saturday, 22 November 2014 as of 7:40pm with performances by El poeta callejero, Chiquito Team Band, the Coco Band, Diomedes and Grupo Mio, and the Ministry of Tourism folkloric dance group.
Dario Fo play at Teatro Guloya.|
Teatro Guloya in the Colonial City presents Thursday, 20 November through Saturday, 22 November 2014 at 8:30pm and Sunday, 23 November at 6:30pm, Dario Fo's play "Johanna Padana and the Discovery of America." Performances by Patricia Munoz. Directed by Manuel Chapuseaux. Admission: RD$400 and students with ID, RD$300.
For more on upcoming events, see http://dr1.com/calendar
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