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    Default DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 3 August 2016

    Preparations being made for 16 August inauguration
    Births certificates digitized from 1822
    Amarante details new efforts to improve education
    Pacheco voted spokesman for PRM in Chamber of Deputies
    Imports down and exports up
    Ministry denies owing farmers money
    Conep calls for public-private agreement on transport
    College of Lawyers complains about Public Defenders
    Thousands of Dominicans to benefit from US immigration waiver
    Update on the Los Haitises tragedy
    Stolen ATM found
    Cocaine confiscated and three arrests
    Tropical Storm Earl forms far from DR
    Aisha Syed concert at the National Theater
    Peppa Pig adventures at the National Theater
    Carlos Vives at Altos de Chavon

    Preparations being made for 16 August inauguration
    Heads of state are expected to begin arriving on14 August 2016, to attend the inauguration of President Danilo Medina that will be held on 16 August 2016. So far, the Vice President Chen Chien-jen of Taiwan and the King Felipe VI of Spain have been named among the visiting dignitaries.
    On 15 August, President Medina will host a dinner for the visiting dignitaries at the Presidential Palace before being sworn in at the National Assembly the next day. Following his swearing in ceremony he will return to the Presidential Palace to swear in his cabinet for the 2016-2020 term.
    President Medina will then attend a mass at the Santo Domingo Cathedral before honoring the founders of the nation at the Altar de la Patria.

    Births certificates digitized from 1822
    The Central Electoral Board (JCE) that is in charge of the civil registry in the Dominican Republic announced it has digitized information from 130,000 civil registry books of around 190,000 books. Around 30 million images have been scanned, including birth certificates in French from the Haitian occupation period of 1822-1844.
    Roberto Rosario, president of the JCE, took journalists on a tour of the installations of the Proyecto de Digitalizacion y Escaneos del Registro Civil that is digitizing and scanning all civil registry documents. Rosario said the project should be completed in 2017.

    Amarante details new efforts to improve education
    Education Minister Carlos Amarante Baret in a TV Interview on Hoy Mismo of Chanel 9 yesterday, 2 August 2016, spoke of measures the government is taking to improve the academic rankings of the country’s grade school students compared to other Latin American countries. The DR is currently ranked among the worst in the region in levels of academic achievement. Baret spoke of efforts to improve the quality of education in the country.
    He said that the new school year, which starts 22 August 2016, is an opportunity for teachers to work with students so that they can improve in all subject areas, including reading comprehension, mathematics and science.
    Amarante Baret stressed that there is a particular need to improve instruction in reading and mathematics in the early grades.
    The Minister, acknowledging the present deficiencies in academic preparation for students in the country, said: “We have to stress to both teachers and parents that we have to help our students perform better academically. We cannot continue to constantly be at the bottom of the rankings in Latin America - we are committed to work hard over the next four years to achieve marked improvements in the quality of education so that our students are better prepared.”
    Amarante Baret said the government has been complying with the law that establishes 4% of GDP is earmarked to the education sector and the Pact for Quality Education in the Dominican Republic. According to the Minister, 14,500 new classrooms have been built. He said 3,400 new schools were opened last year. There also have been increases in salaries that has led to an improved quality of life for public school teachers. He mentioned that 930,000 students now attend the extended school day program that provides lunch and snacks at school. He mentioned the extensive free distribution of school books in public schools. Baret noted the government’s investment in the purchase of millions of backpacks and school uniforms, as well as the school breakfast program that benefits 1.7 million children. He says that these investments and programs are helping to reduce school dropout rates.
    He pointed out that for the Ministry of Education to achieve the goal of 90% of students enrolled in the extended school session some 23,000 additional classrooms are needed. He said the plan this year is to build 15,000 new classrooms and an additional 5,000 classrooms next year.
    Amarante Baret said that the results of the National Standardized Tests (Pruebas Nacionales) show slight improvements in the education system.
    He said that the student scores in the Program for International School Assessment (PISA) assessment were not satisfactory but the program has helped the government have a more clear understanding of where there needs to be improvement. The Dominican Republic participated in the 2015 assessment, but the results have not yet been published.
    The Minister said the country needs teachers prepared to meet the education challenges of the 21st century and unfortunately, our universities are not preparing teachers for these new challenges. He said the Ministry of Education has set forth new guidelines for hiring teachers that were drafted together with the Ministry of Superior Education (MESCyT). He said the National Council of Superior Education (CONESCyT) has new guidelines for teacher preparation that are in effect as of August for university graduates in Education. Amarante Baret said some 300 foreign and Dominican university education professors have been evaluated and a selection of these candidates will be hired by the Ministry. He said that around 5,000 educators are participating in a new program that provides a range of training modules to improve student academic performance. The program is being rolled out for teachers in Santo Domingo.

    Pacheco voted spokesman for PRM in Chamber of Deputies

    Alfredo Pacheco was chosen spokesman for the leading opposition party, the Partido Revolucionario Moderno (PRM) in the Chamber of Deputies. Gloria Reyes will be his alternate. The announcement was made by Andres Bautista, president of the PRM. He said that these two legislators have been entrusted with representing the party with the privilege of giving voice to those who have been marginalized. Pacheco was spokesman for the PRD from 1997-2003, and was voted president of the Chamber of Deputies in 2003.

    Imports down and exports up
    The Director of the Customs Agency (DGA), Fernando Fernandez, announced that imports are down by 0.92% from January to June 2016 compared to the same period last year, but that exports have increased primarily due to better gold prices on the world market.
    The total value of imports so far this year is US$8.34 billion, while exports were US$4.20 billion.
    Fernandez said that the increase in exports is primarily due to exports of gold and silver that were up by 14.13% over last year, while other exports increased by 3.97%.
    Fernandez went on to say that the government was on target to meet this year’s revenue goal of RD$103.06 billion, of which RD$54.48 billion has been collected through the end of July. This represents a 6.8% increase over last year.

    Ministry denies owing farmers money
    Agriculture Minister Angel Estevez has said that the Ministry has “an agreement” with farmers in Constanza and not a “debt” as they have claimed.
    He has asked the farmers to show him documentation that proves that the Ministry owes them RD$32 million, as claimed by the National Union of Agricultural Producers (UNAPRODA). He went on to say that if he is shown such proof, he will even the pay the farmers double.
    However, Estevez did say that this week they would settle the agreement that Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ramon Peralta had made with farmers to help them to recover from the economic losses suffered due to the drought.
    The farmers are asking for compensation in the amount of RD$12.8 million for the purchase of garlic seeds and RD$20 million for the government guaranteed purchase of 40,000 hundred weight of onions. They also asked the government to halt the import of garlic.

    Conep calls for public-private agreement on transport
    The executive vice president of the National Business Council (Conep) Rafael Paz has called for a national commitment between the government and the private sector to organize and regulate cargo and passenger transport in the country. He highlighted transport is an issue that, in addition to the impact it has on safety and peaceful coexistence of citizens, is crucial for the business climate in the country. He spoke during as part of the Sustainable Dialogue activity organized by the American Chamber of Commerce that took place on 2 August 2016 at the Unibe university.

    College of Lawyers complains about Public Defenders
    The College of Lawyers in the Dominican Republic (CARD) has complained about what they call “serious irregularities” in the National Public Defenders’ Office.
    Miguel Surun Hernandez, president of the union, revealed that the Public Defenders are offering their services to people who can afford a lawyer.
    He said that this action violates both the Constitution and Law 277-04 that states that the Public Defense is there for indigent clients.
    He also complained that Public Defenders are going to the extreme of visiting jails and police stations looking for paying clients, which is a clear violation of the Law of Defense and violates the fundamental rights to practice for the 60,000 lawyers affiliated to CARD. He explained that the judicial sector had established a system of privilege that favors of Public Defenders allowing them to meet with potential clients where private lawyers were denied access. As a result, 80% of cases are handled by Public Defenders and this practice is prejudicial to CARD members.
    He recommended introducing a rule that would establish which cases could be taken on by Public Defenders along with fixing appropriate fee structures for legal services.

    Thousands of Dominicans to benefit from US immigration waiver
    The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on 29 July 2016 a final rule that expands the existing provisional waiver process and that will allow individuals who illegally reside in the United States and who have children with US citizenship or are lawful residents to regularize their own immigration situation. The rule seeks to support family unity. Thousands of Dominicans are expected to benefit from the new rule that goes into effect on 29 August 2016.
    To qualify for the provisional waiver, applicants must establish that their US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents would experience “extreme hardship” if the applicants are not allowed to return to the United States.

    Update on the Los Haitises tragedy
    Brigades of the Civil Defense on yesterday, 2 August 2016, recovered the bodies of three of four men that were shipwrecked in Samana on Sunday, 31 July 2016. These were Rafael Quezada, Alberto Santiago Rivera and Francisco Almonte. Still missing is the body of Yovanny Quezada. Earlier, the bodies of three women (Carla Mabel Reyes, Rosanna Vargas and Milqueya Cecilia Vargas Saldana) had been recovered.
    There were two survivors, Ruth Capellan and Bertilio Nunez.
    The director of the Civil Defense, Mayor General Rafael De Luna Pichirilo confirmed the boat had left port without authorization. Given the poor weather conditions, De Luna Pichirilo stated that the permission to leave shore would have been denied. The boat also did not carry life jackets, as is required by law.
    The director of the Center for Emergency Operations (COE), General Juan Manuel Mendez said that the tragedy should serve as a lesson for boat operators and citizens in general to comply with rules that require that life jackets be carried on all excursion boats.
    Survivor Ruth Capellan said she witnessed her friends, and her husband, Santiago Alberto Nez, drowning.
    She explained the party left from Varadero de Pueblo Arriba, in Maria Trinidad Sanchez province to Los Haitises. After an hour at sea, it started to rain hard and there was high surf that caused the boat to capsize in an area known as La Pesquera. Capellan said that along with the captain of the boat, Bertilio Nunez, she swam for about four hours assisted by a tree trunk she found in the floating in the ocean. Afterwards, she had to walk for about four hours to reach the town of Sanchez to ask for help.

    Stolen ATM found
    An Automated Teller Machine (ATM) that had been stolen from a bank branch in Santiago on Sunday, 31 July 2016, containing RD$3,060,000 was found completely destroyed in a farm in Villa Altagracia.
    According to the police, the ATM was had been destroyed and burned at a house on the farm in Pino Herrado at Km 69 on the Duarte Highway.
    The police also discovered three video cameras belonging to the ATM. The cameras had also been burned. Other evidence found at the scene was a red motorcycle, a shot gun and an empty bottle that apparently had been used to carry gasoline.
    Police believe the robber to be 44-year old Meregildo Reynoso Maleno (Moreno), who lives in the house where the items were found. The authorities are asking for Reynoso to give himself up.

    Cocaine confiscated and three arrests
    The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) has confiscated more than 21 kilos of cocaine during three simultaneous operations at the airports of Las Americas and Punta Cana. Three Dominican men were arrested during the operations.
    At Las Americas, 15 packages of drugs were confiscated having arrived from Curacao in the possession of a 53-year old man. The 15.5 kilos of drugs were determined to be cocaine after testing by the National Forensic Science Institute (Inacif). It was discovered by a sniffer dog.
    In another operation at the same airport, working on information received from Air France in Paris, a man was arrested with 2.8 kilos of cocaine in his luggage.
    In another operation at Punta Cana airport a third Dominican was arrested trying to board a JetAirfly flight to Brussels, Belgium with more than 3 kilos of cocaine in his luggage.
    The DNCD is continuing to investigate the cases.

    Tropical Storm Earl forms far from DR
    Tropical Storm Earl has been named, but it is already far past the Dominican Republic heading west from Jamaica. The storm no longer is a threat for the Dominican Republic as it moves towards Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.
    The Emergency Operations Center (COE) has discontinued the green alert for 11 provinces as the tropical wave that brought heavy rain and wind to many parts of the country moved away.
    The COE reported that only three families had to be evacuated, and that only one home suffered considerable damage. In Santiago, Civil Defense officials are continuing to monitor the situation at the Valle Verde due to mudslides that have been reported near the bridge.
    The provinces still under alert on Tuesday were San Cristobal, Duarte, Peravia, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Azua, Sanchez Ramirez, Barahona, Monsenor Nouel, Pedernales, La Vega, and Independencia.
    There is a green alert still in effect for small and medium crafts as well as ban on watersports activities along the Caribbean coast from Cabo Engano to Pedernales and the Atlantic Coast from Cabo Engano to Manzanillo Bay due to high surf.
    Boats operating in the Bay of Samana are being allowed to leave port but should stay close to the coastline. Swimmers along the Caribbean Sea beaches are recommended to take precautions.

    Aisha Syed concert at the National Theater
    The most outstanding Dominican violinist of all times, Aisha Syed will be performing at the National Theater in a concert set on Wednesday, 3 August 2016 at the Carlos Piantini Hall of the theater. The recital marks her 15 years as a violinist. The event is organized by Sociedad Proarte Latinoamericana.
    On the program for the evening is Chaccone for Solo Violin by J.S. Bach, Violin Sonata No. 3 by Johannes Brahms, Carmen Fantasy by Pablo de Sarasate, among other works. She will be accompanied by Italian-Uruguayan pianist Ciro Fodere.

    Peppa Pig adventures at the National Theater
    The National Theater presents “Peppa Pig Treasure Hunt” of “The Adventures of Peppa Pig” popular children’s TV series. The show will be presented on 6-9 October 2016, at the Carlos Piantini Hall of the National Theater. The show is presented by Entertainment One. The popular characters Peppa, George, Pedro Pony, Danny dog, Suzy lamb, Mrs. Rabbit, Mrs. Duck and Parrot Poly will be on a treasure hunt with Grandfather dog.

    Carlos Vives at Altos de Chavon
    Colombian singer and composer Carlos Vives will be performing at the Altos de Chavon Amphitheater in Casa de Campo, La Romana on Saturday 17 September 2016. This is part of his “La Fiesta de Todos” international tour. Vives has the record of receiving the most nominations to the Latin Grammy Awards, and he has won nine of these awards and two Grammy Awards.
    Listen to his music at:
    Last edited by Dolores; 08-03-2016 at 10:17 AM.

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