Central Bank meets Stand-By Arrangement commitments
Public hospital talks to continue on Tuesday, 26 July
Improving traffic on the Malecon
Edesur explains recent blackouts
Ministry in denial over Bahoruco deforestation
Many senators are no-shows for hearing on controversial bill
Smuggling children from Haiti to Dominican Republic
19 injured in bus crash on Duarte highway
17,000 persons in traffic accidents in first six months
Dominican teams undefeated at Norceca U20 and U18
Celebrating Fernando Echavarria at Hard Rock

Central Bank meets Stand-By Arrangement commitments
The Central Bank reported on 19 July 2016 that it has met all financial commitments with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the 2009 Stand-By Arrangement. The Dominican government had received a credit of US$1.7 billion, of which only US$1.19 billion had been disbursed. The Central Bank had not met certain conditions imposed by the IMF to gain access to the entire credit package. Officials at the Central Bank reminded the press that the main objective of the agreement with the IMF was to jump start the nation’s recovery back towards macroeconomic stability and strengthen key sectors to stimulate economic for growth that had suffered due to the down turn in the economy during the 2007-2009 international financial crisis.

Public hospital talks to continue on Tuesday, 26 July
Negotiators representing public hospital medical personnel called the government’s offer for scaled wage increases plus incentives and the proposed restructuring of the workday for hospital staff unacceptable.
The physicians and other health care professional met with government officials for three hours on Thursday, 22 July 2016, but were not able to reach an agreement.
However, the medical staff gathered at the National Health Pact (Panasalud) voted to continue the talks now set for Tuesday, 26 July 2016. The negotiating team is headed by Nelson Rodriguez Monegro, director of the National Health Service of the government and Waldo Ariel Suero, president of the Dominican Medical Association (CMD).
Father Jesus Castro Marte, who is rector of the Universidad Catolica Santo Domingo, is serving as mediator.
The government has published full page advertisements in Diario Libre and El Dia with details of the recent offer made to Panasalud representatives.

Improving traffic on the Malecon
Government road improvements on the Malecon seaside drive Malecon are advancing. The Ministry of Public Works says it is creating new ways to expedite traffic at snag points at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the intersection with the Av. Abraham Lincoln, the Universidad del Caribe and the Feria Ganadera on the western side of the road. The works include the construction of four jug handles and an exclusive lane so that those driving West-East do not have to stop for red lights.
To facilitate the widening of the avenue and to accommodate the jug handles, the public works department has had to encroach on the rocky seaside. Some 20 points along the Malecon are being expanded to facilitate the U turns.
The Minister of Public Works, Gonzalo Castillo, has explained the works are part of the general plan of the Ministry to improve the flow of transit in Greater Santo Domingo. The Ministry has proposed to improve traffic flow at 700-800 points in the city. The works, that will cost between RD$400 and RD$500, are expected to be completed by 15 August 2016, the last day of the present term of President Danilo Medina.

Edesur explains recent blackouts
The government energy company, Edesur claims that the recent increase in blackouts experienced by its customers is due to a reduction in the capacity to generate enough electricity. In a press release, Edesur says that since Friday, 15 July 2016, the service has been interrupted for 5,948 hours affecting 451,801 customers. There have been 1,479 blackouts along 164 circuits. The situation has affected residents and businesses in Azua, Barahona, Bani, San Cristobal, San Juan de la Maguana, and Greater Santo Domingo.
A number of Edesur’s power plants are not producing enough electricity. These plants include Macoris II, with 100 megawatts (MW); San Felipe, with 185; and Los Mina V, with 105.
Other plants that have been out of service for multiple reasons are: Itabo II, with 132 MW; Haina, with 132; Itabo I, with 128; and AES Andres, with 300.

Many senators are no-shows for hearing on controversial bill
Of 32 senators, only 13 attended the legislative session held on Thursday, 21 July 2016, meaning there was not a quorum for the PLD majority-Senate to consider amendments to the Penal Code. The bill had passed in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, 19 July.
On the docket was the controversial issue of abortion provisions in the Penal Code. In the revision passed in the Chamber of Deputies, the government has only allowed that an abortion be made if the mother’s life is in danger. Abortions in the case of malformations of the fetus or if the pregnancy was the result of incest are outlawed and heavily penalized.
The senators say there is no rush. As reported the bill will not expire and can be reviewed for passing in the next legislature that opens on 16 August.
The present legislative term expires on Monday, 25 July 2016 at midnight. This will be the last working day. Afterwards the legislators are scheduled to return to Congress work on 16 August, the day that also marks the start of the second term of the ruling party’s President Danilo Medina.

Ministry in denial over Bahoruco deforestation
Yesterday, Thursday, 21 July 2016, the Ministry of Environment denied accusations that it has granted permits that make possible the export of charcoal irregularly farmed in border provinces.
Deputy Minister for Forestry Resources of the Ministry,
Manuel Ferran said that while the mass illicit felling of trees is directly related to the immigration of Haitians and poverty in the countryside, it is not an activity that has the backing of the Ministry. He was denying a situation of mass deforestation on the border with Haiti brought to a global audience in the documentary “Death by a Thousand Cuts” by Jake Kheel and Juan Mejia Botero, and Kheel’s talk at the July 2016 American Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Kheel is vice president of the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation.
Ferran instead blamed dozens of thousands of Haitians living and working on the border for the degrading of Dominican forests. He said the Haitians have replaced Dominicans in the felling of trees and production of charcoal. He denied the Ministry of Environment has issued permits in protected areas. He also criticized the weak Dominican judiciary, saying time after time those found with clandestine charcoal production have been prosecuted, but promptly get off these charges and return to their illicit work.
In the documentary, “Death by a Thousand Cuts,” the film-makers denounce that the production of charcoal has resulted in the deforestation of the Parque Nacional Sierra de Bahoruco, endangering one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The film reveals that the situation is so profitable and the scale so large that Haiti is exporting charcoal in large quantities.
Kheel revealed that the company El Abanillo, located in Juancho, Pedernales received a permit to cut 257,237 trees a year for charcoal production, with the pretext of this being sustainable production.
Kheel revealed the negative effects of the large illicit charcoal industry with local and Haitian involvement in production and distribution from markets in Haiti, despite the destruction of the flora and fauna in the Dominican Republic.
He explained Haitians are operating the illegal charcoal industry in the Dominican Republic after reducing forestry coverage in Haiti to 2%, compared to the 25-39% forestry coverage of the Dominican Republic. He explained more than 80% of Haitian households continue to use charcoal to cook. With the wiping out of the forests in Haiti, this charcoal now comes from the illicit deforestation of Dominican forests.

Smuggling children from Haiti to Dominican Republic
Military authorities continue to highlight the issue of increased smuggling of children from Haiti over the past four months. As reported, an estimated 5,000 undocumented persons, including 607 children and newborns have been detained at the border crossings. Many of the children are crossing the border without the company of their parents. The military is investigating a suspected network of smugglers that is behind the increase in the number of children crossing the border illegally. Most of the illegal crossings are in the border area of Dajabon. The increase in smuggling is of grave concern to the military and human rights activists who serve in the area.
As reported on Wednesday, 21 July 2016 alone, members of the S-2 of the Dominican Army intercepted 74 Haitians clandestinely crossing the border. Of the total, 24 are women, 13 men and 37 children. The detentions took place at the military post of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Santa Maria and Copey.
The detainees were believed to be headed to Santiago, Mao, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo.
The executive director of Solidaridad Fronteriza, Benigno Toribio, expressed his concern for the increase in trafficking of Haitian children. He said the situation was discussed yesterday at the meeting of Redes de Proteccion de la Ninez, a network of organizations that work to protect children. Toribio said the recent increase in the number of children wandering the streets in Dajabon is evidence of this unfortunate social crisis effecting scores of defenseless children.
Major General Jose Eugenio Matos de la Cruz, chief of the Army, said that security agencies are investigating the suspected network that traffics children from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. The children arrive at the border in pick-up trucks, buses, motorcycles, horses and mules.
The Army announced on Thursday it would increase efforts to reduce smuggling of children. Puro de la Cruz, spokesman for the Army said that when a person is suspected of trafficking children they are immediately detained and sent to the judiciary for processing. The authorities lament that that many times the human traffickers are taken in to custody, but because of loop holes in the justice system, many of those suspected of human trafficking are promptly released. Many of those released quickly get back to the nefarious task of endangering the safety of innocent people.
The detentions of undocumented individuals who cross the border illegally occur at many check points in communities throughout the northwest Dominican Republic, including La Vigia, Canongo, Sanche, Los Cayucos, La Aviacion, La Bomba, Esperanza, Guayubin, Santiago de la Cruz, Las Caobas, Copey, El Puente, Hatillo Palma, Jicome, Manzanillo, El Guanal, Botoncillo, Los Miches, in the provinces of Dajabón, Montecristi, Santiago Rodriguez and Valverde.
The president of the Commission of Human Rights of Santiago and the Northern Region, Dionisio Jerez expressed his concern and called for the authorities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to work together to end this practice. He said when children are smuggled, they are vulnerable to all sorts of abuses. He said the situation is criminal.
Listin Diario reported an increase of women and children begging on Santiago city intersections and in public spaces is further evidence of the increase in the smuggling of people over the border.

19 injured in bus crash on Duarte highway
At least 19 of 50 passengers were injured in a Transportes Espinal interurban bus accident on Km. 56 of Duarte Highway, as reported the Metropolitan Transport Authority. AMET says that three passengers were seriously injured. These were 39-year old Joel Rodriguez, resident in Santiago who was sent to the Juan Bosch Trauma Hospital in La Vega; 43-year old Maria Magnolia Mora, also resident in Santiago, sent to the Clinica Union in Santiago. And 25-year old Haitian Celsilio Bosa, resident in Las Palmas de Herrera, Santo Domingo province was taken to the Vinicio Calventi Hospital in Los Alcarrizos.
Other slightly injured passengers were treated at hospitals in Piedra Blanca and Villa Altagracia. The bus had capacity for 60 passengers.

17,000 persons in traffic accidents in first six months
There have been 17,000 victims of traffic accidents who received attention at the four main trauma hospitals in Greater Santo Domingo in just the first six months of the year. The medical treatment of the victims comes at a cost of RD$130 billion to the state and is considered by many to be the most important public health problem.
Engineer Mario Holguin, president of the Fundacion Red de la Dignidad (Fundared), said that for the entire year of 2015, there were 14,278 traffic related accident victims. “This means that this year, we have already surpassed the number of traffic accident victims compared to all of last year – no doubt that this is a serious situation,” said Holguin.
He said so far this year the Dario Contreras Trauma Hospital has handled almost 10,000 victims of traffic accidents; the Ney Arias Lora some 6,000 victims; the Marcelino Velez and Vinicio Calventi another 600 each.
Dr. Felix Hernandez, director general of the Metropolitan Regional Health Service (SRSM), said that motorcyclists were involved in 64% of the traffic accidents. He speculated that an increase in races carried out by youths 15-25 years, (some even sponsored during regional patron saint festivities in the provinces) could be a major contributor to the problem. Also, a lack of driver education and the risky behavior associated with the ‘macho mentality’ of many young men expose the population to serious injuries or deaths on our roads.

Dominican teams undefeated at Norceca U20 and U18
The next generations of Dominican women volleyball players are showing their class in matches in Florida this past week. The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and hosts United States under 20 years women’s teams are undefeated after two days of competition at the USA Volleyball High Performance Female Championships taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Norceca reports that in Tuesday, 19 July matches matches, the Dominican side cruised past the USA Girls Youth 2 Team 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-13), while USA got an easy 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-17) win over USA Girls Youth 1 Team.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico finished with the top hand in four sets against Canada, winning 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22) in a tight contest.
Massiel Matos and Nathalia Martínez stood out for the Dominican Republic with 13 and 12 points, respectively, and Madelin Medrano added 11 in the win. Geraldine Gonzalez led the defense at the net with four blocks of her own.
Likewise, in Pool 1 of the U18 division, the Dominican Republic maneuvered to win two more matches to improve to 3-0 while Puerto Rico came out with a 1-1 balance and sits now at 2-1 in the standings in Pool 2.
The Dominicans won 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21) over GEVA (New Jersey) and 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-17) against SCVC (Southern California).
Puerto Rico defeated USA White 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-23) and then succumbed 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-12, 15-6) against Florida.
To follow the games, see ww.norceca.net/

Celebrating Fernando Echavarria at Hard Rock
Familia Andre band members and friends are meeting in a tribute to the late group founder and musician Fernando Echavarria. The performance will be on Friday, 22 July 2016 at the Hard Rock Café in Santo Domingo. Showtime 9pm.
Echavarria died last year of a heart attack shortly before a performance.
Several of his memorable best hits include: De Oro, Marcela, Pato Robao, Donde E que E.
Listen to his music:

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