Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda visits
Students and teachers to receive computers
Eight roadways targeted for reducing traffic jams
Santo Domingo to have new public transport
To government officers: Declare worth or no wages
Ministry of Economy: Poverty declining
16 years of PLD government has yet to resolve problems
Medical talks break up
Santiago mayor to solve garbage problem
Celebrating Dominican-Swiss relations
Delta glitch affects travelers in DR
4,000 parking lot set up at Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana
Blas Peralta murder case delayed again
Tourist attackers arrested
Two die of carbon monoxide poisoning
Weather alerts lifted
Dominicans in the Olympics
Israeli film festival
Miriam Cruz concert at Zutros

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda visits
President Danilo Medina hosted a visit by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne at the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo on Monday, 8 August 2016. The courtesy visit began at 10am and lasted around half an hour. Prime Minister Browne was accompanied by the honorary consul of Antigua and Barbuda in the Dominican Republic, David Ricardo Koenig. They were accompanied to the President’s office by Minister of Foreign Relations Andres Navarro.

Students and teachers to receive computers
The Ministry of Education is working on a new program called Digital Republic, described as a digital revolution that will immerse students and teachers in information technology.
The program is due to start this year with a pilot study in 200 schools where it will be used by 5,200 teachers and 65,000 students.
In the first two years computers with free WiFi connections will be distributed to 24,000 teachers and 300,000 students in 5,600 schools and 500,000 students and 40,000 teachers over four years – the economic situation allowing.
Education Minister Carlos Amarante Baret said that he also wanted the plan to be available to small schools in poor areas. He said that they have analyzed similar projects throughout Latin America ahead of the project implementation to learn from their mistakes and apply the best practices.
He added that the program would especially help children from low-income families who cannot afford a computer at home.
The initiative is part of the “one student, one computer, one teacher, one computer” program with the eventual objective of giving nearly a million students and 79,500 teachers a computer.

Eight roadways targeted for reducing traffic jams
The Ministry of Public Works has announced the implementation of a traffic plan starting 22 August 2016 focusing on 13 main avenues in Greater Santo Domingo: the Autopista 30 de Mayo (western side of the Malecon), Av. Gregorio Luperon, Av. Nunez de Caceres, Av. Presidente Antonio Guzman (Privada), Av. V Centenario, Av. Abraham Lincoln, Av. Sarasota (between Lincoln and Churchill), Av. Los Proceres, Av. Republica de Colombia (from the Intec rotunda to the US Embassy), Av. Cayetano Germosen, Av. Anacaona, Av. Mirador del Sur and Av. Prolongacion 27 de Febrero. The plan aims to improve traffic flow by 10%.
The focus is on eliminating parking on sidewalks, blocking of intersections and keeping only one vehicle to each lane.

Santo Domingo to have new public transport
The Fenatrano and Sitraur transport associations have presented a new transport model that they are considering as a way of improving the public transport system in Greater Santo Domingo.
The measures include 100 new public shared taxis (conchos) and 78 buses with capacity for 37, 45 and 70 passengers, which will start operating on the 27 de Febrero Avenue route.
Fenatrano leader Juan Hubieres said that the plan is part of a proposal to get rid of the aging vehicles. He said that there were now more than 500 vehicles with air conditioning and in good condition out of the 1,100 on that route.
He added that the new vehicles would also be equipped with GPS and passengers would be able to see the driver’s name and to communicate with the driver and Fenatrano management in the case of an emergency.
He said that this project would contribute towards citizen safety and would gradually be applied across all of the routes affiliated to their federation.

To government officers: Declare worth or no wages
The Chamber of Accounts, the government audit office, has asked the Central Electoral Board (JCE) for a list of the names of the people who have been elected to political posts and will take office on 16 August, as well as the legislators and mayors who are leaving their posts to coordinate the provision of their asset declarations.
Chamber of Accounts, president Licelot Marte de Barrios said that this year the government would retain the wages of public officials who do not submit their statements of assets. An estimated 1,200 government officials did not present their asset statement during the past four years, President Danilo Medina’s first term of office.
She said that this included the Executive Branch and the members of the high courts, including the Supreme Court, and the senior management at the Central Electoral Board (JCE).

Ministry of Economy: Poverty declining
According to a bulletin issued by the Technical Inter-institutional Committee for the Measurement of Poverty (CTP), the general poverty rate in the Dominican Republic has declined by 36.4% in 2014 to 32,3% in 2015.
In absolute terms this means that in 2015 a total of 3,375,110 people were living in poverty, which was 322,000 fewer than the previous year and a reduction of 818,000 over the past two years.
According to the study, poverty is higher in rural areas (40.4%) than urban (28.4%).
As far as extreme poverty is concerned, defined as households with an income per capita below the General Poverty Line, the rate was 7% of the population which is a reduction of 1.4 percentage points over 2014 when it was 8.4%.
The report, which was released by the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD) and the National Statistics’ Office (ONE), reflects the sustained decline in the general poverty rate since 2013 with the current level similar to those years before the 2003 banking crisis.
The reason for the fall is said to be the increase in wages and better distribution of income across households.

16 years of PLD government has yet to resolve problems
Writing in Hoy newspaper on Monday 8 August 2016, social and political analyst Juan Bolivar Diaz points out that 16 years of the ruling party in government have resulted in economic growth and stability, but this has been based on massive indebtedness that is badly redistributed and large-scale corruption. The legacy of the PLD governments so far includes major investments in Dominican roads, hospitals and public schools.
Diaz comments that the PLD governments have not been able to significantly reduce poverty, improve the quality of education or public health, transport or citizen safety. The concentration of power in the hands of a few has weakened democratic institutions, he adds.

Medical talks break up
The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) and other unions involved in the National Health Pact (Panasalud) talks are accusing the government of breaking up the talks with the idea of increasing medical staff working hours. A human chain protest has been announced at the Francisco Moscoso Puello Public Hospital in the capital for Wednesday, 10 August 2016. The CMD also called a medical staff strike across the entire southern region on Thursday, 18 August 2016.
CMD president Waldo Ariel Suero accuses President Danilo Medina of cheating the unions and being responsible for the breakdown of the talks that have been underway for more than four months. He said that everything points to the President wanting to hold the talks so that it would not affect his presidential candidacy. He added that Medina has instructed his government employees, following four months of negotiations, to push forward an increase in the actual hours physicians work, knowing that would lead to a breakdown in the talks and no agreement would be reached.
He said they would now return to their protest but that they were still open to resuming talks.
Suero also questioned the actions of the Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo saying that he had not been in touch with them for three weeks but then disappeared.
The doctors’ original demands remain at 5% of the budget for the health sector, a 60% across-the-board salary increase, reasonable pensions and resuming the hospital remodeling work.

Santiago mayor to solve garbage problem
Santiago Mayor-elect Abel Martinez has announced that when he takes over on 16 August 2016 he will begin to organize garbage collections as the city has been in a state of emergency due to all of the improvised garbage dumps across the city. He announced that new garbage collection companies would be used to improve the efficiency of the service.
On an average day, Santiago produces between 1,000 and 1200 tons of solid waste but given the lack of garbage collection this volume had increased considerably over the last few weeks.
Martinez added that all of the goings on at the town hall would be investigated and any actions that were against the law would be treated as such. He said that his priority was the municipality and to rescue the city.
When asked about a salary increase for the new authorities he said that the City Hall was already in deficit and he could not add to that.

Celebrating Dominican-Swiss relations
The Embassy of Switzerland celebrated the 725 years of the Helvetic Confederation with a reception at the JW Marriot in Santo Domingo last week. Foreign Relations Minister Andres Navarro attended the event.
A Swiss Embassy press release highlights that Ambassador Line Marie Leon-Pernet commented on the 80 years of harmonious bilateral relations between the Dominican Republic and Switzerland. She recalled that the first Swiss families to migrate to the country had arrived in the 19th Century. “Throughout these two centuries, the Swiss community resident in this lovely Caribbean country has grown and today there are more than 2,000 Swiss nationals registered at the Embassy, mostly retirees who have chosen the Dominican Republic as their second home. She also pointed out that more than 24,000 Swiss tourists visit every year. During the event, Leon-Pernet mentioned families of Swiss origin like Schad, Bucher, Arostegui and Swiss companies Nestle and Davidoff, which have left their social and economic imprints on the country.
She added that bilateral relations were strengthened during the Second World War when Switzerland represented Dominican diplomatic interests in several countries, such as Germany, France and Italy. The Swiss ambassador said that several years later, thanks to significant Dominican investments in construction and tourism a favorable climate has been created for Swiss investment and exports.
She had words of praise for the Dominican-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Tourism under Gaetan Bucher, who is promoting the development of green technologies in the country.
Leon-Pernet said that to mark the 80 years of bilateral links, a special commemorative postage stamp would be issued in the Dominican Republic and Switzerland, thanks to the support of the director of Imposdom, Modesto Guzman.

Delta glitch affects travelers in DR
Delta flight to New York was delayed four hours on Monday 8 August 2016 due to a systems failure that affected the airline’s flights worldwide. The flight that was scheduled for departure at 7:15am Monday was delayed until after 10am.

4,000 parking lot set up at Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana
The management at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana has set aside a new parking area with capacity for 4,000 vehicles for the Romeo Santos concert. SD Concerts president Saymon Diaz says that the aim is to ensure that concertgoers do not experience any problems when arriving or leaving the concert area as usually happens at this kind of event. The new area is located near the golf course and security is provided.

Blas Peralta murder case delayed again
For the second time, a National District judge has delayed the trial of the men accused of murdering the former rector of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), Mateo Aquino Febrillet on 12 September 2015.
Judge Amauris Marcos Martinez made the decision as the lawyer of one of the accused, Blas Peralta, Dr. Francisco Taveras, argued that he needed more time to prepare his defense.
In addition, the lawyer of another of the accused, Geraldo Felix Bautista, did not appear at the hearing and he now has 48 hours to present himself to the court and decide to continue with the case, or a public defender will be assigned.
Aquino Febrillet’s widow Rita Yomaris Solis Tejada, represented by her lawyer, accused the defense lawyers of using delaying tactics saying that the hearing can be delayed a thousand times but those guilty for the death of her husband would receive the full weight of the law.

Tourist attackers arrested
On Sunday, 7 August 2016, the police in La Romana arrested three men, who together with a woman are accused of robbing two Spanish tourists and a Dominican. The thieves stole wallets, cash, personal documents and cell phones from the tourists.
Those arrested are 26-year old Wilkin Joely Nunez, Nathanael de la Cruz Reina, 23, both resident in Villa Hermosa, La Romana, and 27-year old Fernando Gracia Polanco, resident in the El Centro part of La Romana.
The police stated that the robberies of the Spanish tourists, 35-year old Maria Isabel Fernandez Fernandez and 32-year old Lourdes Maria Fernandez Fernandez took place early on the Sunday morning when the two were on a motorbike driven by 28-year old Wilkin Jonathan Capellan Alvarez.
The robbers intercepted them in the Bayahibe area and the police recovered the stolen articles when they arrested them near La Romana International Airport.

Two die of carbon monoxide poisoning
Two young men, aged 19 and 24 have died, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning, in a bar in Sabana Perdida in Santo Domingo North.
According to the police report, the bodies of 24-year old Smaylin Gil Batista Nova and 19-year old Eduardo Rosario Reyes were found inside the Jary bar where they worked, and which is owned by 42-year old Jasiel de Leon.
The bodies were taken to the National Institute of Forensic Science for autopsies.
When the owner arrived at the bar on Sunday afternoon, 7 August 2016, he was surprised to see that it was closed and there was no response from the employees when he knocked on the door. Therefore he, along with local residents broke the door down where they found the two bodies. They both had their wallets and cell phones with them.
The event is under investigation, but napping is suspect.

Weather alerts lifted
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) has suspended the flood and mudslide alerts for the provinces of San Pedro de Macoris, San Cristobal, Sanchez Ramirez (Cotui), Monsenor Nouel (Bonao), Monte Plata, La Romana, Maria Trinidad Sanchez (Nagua), Hato Mayor, Greater Santo Domingo, La Vega, Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris) and El Seibo.
The forecast is for temperatures along with humidity to stay high, and only a little rain, which will not last long, in some areas of the provinces of Hato Mayor, Monte Plata, La Vega, Monsenor Nouel, Santiago Rodriguez and Dajabon, mainly in the afternoons.

Dominicans in the Olympics
Yudelkis Contreras placed sixth in the 58kg weightlifting during her third Olympic Games. She lifted 217 kilos. She also competed in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Her colleague in the weightlifting Rio 2016 events, Luis Alberto Garcia Brito placed eighth in the world in the 56 kg category.
Dominicans next to compete:
9 August:
Jhonny Jose Perez (100 freestyle swimming)

10 August:
Yvonne Losos, equestrian
12 August:
Athletics. Luguelin Santos (400 meters)
Swimming Dorian McMenemy (50 m freestyle)
13 August:
Athletics. Yancarlos Martinez
13 August:
Boxing. Leonel de los Santos (52kg)
14 August:
Boxing. Hector Luis Garcia (56 kg)
Athletics. Ana Tima (triple jump)
15 August:
Athletics. Mariely Sanchez (200 meters)
Athletics. Jaunder Santos (400 meters hurdles)
16 August:
Athletics. Stanly del Carmen (200 meters)
Athletics. Yancarlos Martinez.
17 August:
Taekwondo. Luisito Pie (58 kg)
18 August:
Track and field. 4 x 100.
19 August:
Katherine Rodriguez (67kg)
Judo: Moises Hernandez (80 kg)
Track and field 4 x 400.
Athletics. Mayobanex D’Oleo (Men’s 4 x 100 relay)
Shooting: Eduardo Jose Lorenzo (Shooting Trap Men)
Athletics: Luis Enrique Charles (Men’s 4 x 400 relay)

Israeli film festival
The Fundacion Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode) auditorium will be showing two highly acclaimed Israeli films this Thursday 11 and Friday 12 August 2016.
The films are Salsa Tel Aviv by director Jorge Weller on Thursday, and Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi by director Shemi Zarhin on Friday. Both screenings are at 7pm.
The event is supported by the Shalom Association-Former Israeli Scholarship Winners of the Dominican Republic.

Miriam Cruz concert at Zutros
Zutros Steak Bar on Av. Espana in Santo Domingo East presents merengue star Miriam Cruz in a concert this Friday, 12 August as of 9pm. Miriam Cruz promises to sing her greatest hits “Yo me cuido sola,” “Es necesario,” “Sali de ti,” “La loba,” along with other favorites.

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