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    Default DR1 Daily News - Monday, 15 August 2016

    DR1 breaks for 16 August holiday
    Maduro and Morales to attend Medina inauguration
    Taiwanese Vice President Chen Chien-Jen visits
    David Collado to empower city residents
    IDSS ordered to merge with public health hospital system
    Two-person motorcycle ban not yet
    National Business Registry Stats
    DR private credit below regional standard
    World Bank Doing Business Report
    Turning a brothel into a women’s jail
    Senator Canaan Rojas says the truth will come out
    Brazilian financing linked to corruption
    Brewster says US backs Super Tucano investigation
    Former Defense Minister: Others should be named in “Tucanogate”
    Helicopter totaled, pilot survives
    Juan Luis Guerra leads NYC Dominican Parade Day
    Dominicans in the Olympics
    The Pineapple Ball on the Malecon

    DR1 breaks for 16 August holiday
    DR1 Daily News will not be updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016, a national holiday. Headline news will be compiled and published on Wednesday, 17 August 2016.

    August 16 is Restoration Day, celebrating the Dominican Republic’s return to independence from Spanish rule.

    This year, the day also sees the inauguration of Danilo Medina’s second term as President, in a ceremony that will be attended by visiting heads of government and state. President Medina will also be announcing his cabinet for 2016-2020. There has been considerable speculation on who will stay and who will be replaced.

    Headline news may be posted 24/7 on the DR1 Forums at

    Maduro and Morales to attend Medina inauguration
    Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Juan Carlos Varela of Panama, Jimmy Morales of Guatemala and Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras have confirmed their attendance at President Danilo Medina’s inauguration on Tuesday, 16 August 2016. Haiti will be represented by acting president Jocelerme Privert.

    Prime ministers Andrew Holness of Jamaica, Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, Ben Whiteman of Curacao and Williams Marlin of St. Martin as well as Vice Presidents Chen Chien-Jen of Taiwan, Salvador Valdez Mesa of Cuba, Ana Helena Chacon Echeverria of Costa Rica, Moises Omar Calleslevens Acevedo of Nicaragua and Gabriela Micheti of Argentina will also be attending.

    El Salvador will be represented by Foreign Relations Minister Hugo Martinez. The United States will be represented by Labor Minister Thomas Perez.

    The Presidency says that the inauguration will formally begin with the National Assembly swearing-in protocol and speeches at the Congress headquarters at 10am. President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeno will then head to the Presidential Palace to swear in their administration’s cabinet for the 2016-2020 term.

    Next President Medina is scheduled to attend a Te Deum to mark the 172nd anniversary of the Restoration of the Republic at the Santo Domingo Cathedral. The event commemorates the nation’s return to independence following its annexation by Spain in 1865.

    At 2pm, President Medina will lay a floral wreath at the Altar de la Patria in honor of the nation’s founding fathers: Duarte, Sanchez and Mella.

    At 7:30pm, President Medina, Vice President Cedeno and cabinet ministers will host a reception for international dignitaries and special guests at the Salon de Embajadores at the Presidential Palace followed by a gala dinner for the visiting heads of state at the Las Cariatides Hall of the Presidential Palace. Tuesday, 16 August is an official holiday in the Dominican Republic.

    Taiwanese Vice President Chen Chien-Jen visits
    Vice President Chen Chien-Jen of Taiwan arrived on Sunday, 14 August 2016 for a visit to the Dominican Republic. He is visiting for President Danilo Medina’s inauguration on 16 August and will stay extra days for bilateral meetings on local cooperation projects before leaving on 17 August.

    The vice president’s agenda includes a dinner at the Presidential Palace, a visit to Senate president Cristina Lizardo, meetings with legislators, a visit to a Monte Plata’s General Energy Solutions mega solar energy project, a visit to the Integrated Care Centre for Disabilities (CAID), an orchid farm on the Duarte Highway, and the 911 National Emergency System. He will also meet with former recipients of Taiwanese scholarships in the country.

    Chen will visit the Casas Reales Museum, the Columbus Alcanzar and the colonial city. He will also be meeting with the Taiwan expatriate community in the Dominican Republic.
    Taiwanese Ambassador Valentino Tang said that Taiwanese funding is contributing to the expansion of textile factories located in Tamboril in Santiago. He envisions increasing the number of jobs from 1,200 at present to 12,000.

    He also mentioned the bamboo processing plant in Bonao, for using bamboo to manufacture furniture. He said the plan is to reduce the use of imported wood in furniture. He mentioned Ikea as a big user of bamboo for its products.

    Ambassador Tang made the comments during a meeting with El Dia editor Rafael Molina Morillo, accompanied by minister counselor Francisco Tzu-Hsin Chang.

    David Collado to empower city residents
    When he takes the reins as Santo Domingo mayor on Tuesday, 16 August 2016, David Collado plans to reach out to city residents from day one. He says he will be implementing an educational campaign based on the experience of the Colombian city of Medellin. As part of this campaign, drivers will be encouraged to give way to others and city residents will be encouraged to empower themselves with a pro-city spirit.

    The mayor-elect said the authorities would use 25% of the billboards in the city for the campaign, as the law authorizes. Collado said they would also be used to promote cultural events such as Dominicana Moda. He has also created a board with filmmakers to promote cinema in the city.

    David Collado says that Dominicans can do better, pointing out that as soon as Dominicans travel abroad they use seat belts or throw garbage because they know there are consequences.

    IDSS ordered to merge with public health hospital system
    The Presidency has issued Decree 200-16 deciding the fate of the Social Security Institute (IDSS). The Commission for the Integration of the Single Network of Public Health Services has been ordered to work to merge the IDSS with the National Health System. Until now, the IDSS has operated independently. More than 26 IDSS health centers will now be managed by the National Health System, consolidating all public health hospitals.

    The Single Network will consolidate the separation of roles of the Ministry of Public Health, in charge of overseeing the system and public health and the National Health Service, in charge of the management of the network and the medical centers. The president of the commission is the Minister of the Presidency.

    Meanwhile, in the talks with medical personnel at public hospitals, the government announced new agreements were reached with staff at the IDSS hospitals for wage increases conditioned on meeting set working hours.

    Two-person motorcycle ban not yet
    Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo was quick to deny reports that the government has banned more than one person from riding a family-owned motorcycle without a permit from the authorities starting Monday, 15 August 2016. He was responding to media reports on Resolution 02-16 issued by the Land Transit Department (DGTT) that limits motorcycle use to just one person at a time. The resolution exempts motorcycle-taxis, known here as “motoconchos,” from the rule.

    The measure also stated that both driver and passenger would be required to wear helmets. Only in the capital city of Santo Domingo has the government been enforcing the use of helmets, not so in inner cities.
    The DGTT resolution stated that the measure would go into effect on Monday, 15 August 2016.

    The resolution divided motorcycles into those that transport fare-paying passengers (motoconchos), those used for messenger services by private and government entities, and those for the owner’s personal use.

    The DGTT said that for a passenger to be carried on a motorcycle for personal use, an authorization from the DGTT needed to be requested. For the permit to be granted, the applicant needed to meet all the requirements for the motorcycle and motorcycle driver, including driver license and motorcycle registration. Most motorcycle drivers and motorcycles on the roads in the Dominican Republic do not meet these requirements because of lax enforcement by the land transit authorities over the years.

    The measure is aimed at improving public safety as it is estimated that 80% of street robberies are carried out by people on motorcycles. In addition, most traffic accidents involve motorcyclists.

    Nevertheless, Montalvo said that the task of organizing motorcycle transport should be part of a larger-scale process implemented in phases. He acknowledged that motorcycles are the main method of transport for many families.

    National Business Registry stats
    The National Statistics Office (ONE) has released the final results of the First National Registry of Businesses. The registry confirms that 85% of businesses in the country are micro and informal.
    The research took two years and cost RD$100 million. It established that nationwide there are 457,085 businesses, of which only 67,000 are formal.

    Of the total number of businesses, 67% (289,503) have one or two employees. 16.7% employ three to four workers and 9%, or 40,919 have 5 to 10 employees.

    ONE director Pablo Tactuk said the poll was essential for the planning of public policies for business.

    DR private credit below regional standard
    The Dominican Republic is the black sheep in the DR-CAFTA member countries in regards to borrowing by private companies. In his Argentarium column in Diario Libre Alejandro Fernandez reiterates his point that the Dominican government has displaced the private sector as the main client of Dominican banks.
    Of the six DR-CAFTA countries, the credit to the private sector in the DR is only 27.6% of the GDP. This is half of the access to bank borrowing of those in Costa Rica (58.1%) and Honduras (56.3%).

    In the DR, though, private borrowing was up from 2012 to 2016 from 20.5% to 27.6%. The 7.1% increase mainly benefits credit card holders, mortgage loans or consumer loans, with US$3.3 billion, or about 45% of the total increase. Loans to commerce and construction were also up in absolute terms.

    Fernandez points out that credit to households doubled the US$1.8 billion of 2012. However, lending to the so-called productive sectors was up US$1.2 billion, but about the same as the previous four years.
    As evidence, he said that credit to the agriculture sector was up US$175 million, but credit card borrowing was up US$280 million, both in the 2012-2016 period.

    World Bank Doing Business Report
    The DR is ranked mid-way in the World Bank Doing Business 2016 report.

    The country scored 93rd in the rankings of 189 participating countries. Neighboring Haiti is ranked 182nd.

    The DR score came from the agglomeration of the following ranks):
    Starting a business (110)
    Dealing with construction permits (44)
    Getting electricity (149)
    Registering property (82)
    Getting credit (97)
    Protecting minority investors (81)
    Paying taxes (77)
    Enforcing contracts (115)
    Trading across borders (57)
    Resolving insolvency (159)
    The overall ranking of other DR-CAFTA countries are:
    Costa Rica (58)
    Guatemala (81)
    El Salvador (86)
    Honduras (110)
    Nicaragua (125)

    On the World Bank Doing Business ranking, Puerto Rico is 57th, Jamaica 64th, Panama 69th, Trinidad 88th.

    Turning a brothel into a women’s jail
    After being closed by the authorities earlier this summer, the Casa Blanca Night Club in Santiago has been refitted as a women’s jail. A total of 21 inmates were relocated from the overcrowded Rafey Mujeres women’s jail to rooms at the former nightclub on Thursday, 11 August 2016.

    Santiago Court of Appeals judge Victor Gonzalez said the Attorney General office took the decision in coordination with the authorities of the new jail model and Santiago prosecutors. Santiago prosecutor Luisa Liranzo told El Caribe said that while the confiscation was being validated the state must be responsible for the operation of the property.

    Senator Canaan Rojas says the truth will come out
    Ruling PLD Central Committee member Senator Luis Rene Canaan Rojas spoke out on Sunday, 14 August 2016 to say he was available for questioning as part of investigations into the Dominican government’s purchase of Super Tucano aircraft. The light air support military aircraft sold by Brazilian Embraer was purchased to combat drug trafficking during the Leonel Fernandez administration in 2008.

    Canaan statement’s was released by the ruling PLD party’s communications secretary. Canaan Rojas said that it was in his interest for the purchase process to be clarified.

    He stated: “To the country, my party, my family and the voters of the Hermanas Mirabal province who again elected me as their senator with a larger percentage than on previous occasions, a historic 66%, I assure you that I have not committed any act that betrays the trust put in me or in my honor,” he stated.

    He said he was confident that the truth would prevail.

    Canaan is accused, along with Colonel Carlos Piccini Nunez, of complicity in the purchase. The Administrative Corruption Prosecution Agency (PEPCA) says that he made trips to New York and Brazil with Piccini to make arrangements for the alleged bribes. The authorities have documents showing that the senator received US$3,520,000 for the bribes to be paid to legislators in return for the approval of the purchase of the Super Tucanos.

    Brazilian financing linked to corruption
    Diario Libre reports on the financing received from the Brazilian export promotion bank, BNDES for controversial projects to be implemented by Dominican governments. The newspaper recounts that relations between the two countries between 1913 and 2000 were all about diplomatic appointments, awards and very few agreements. This changed when Dominican governments borrowed US$2.13 billion from Brazil.

    The first time was during the President Hipolito Mejia government, when the first loan of US$10.7 million was received from the Brazilian government entity, Finame (Special Agency for Industrial Financing). The funds were for equipping a project and logistics support for community development.

    After that, 25 contracts followed, 19 of which were financing. Again, the PRD was the first to sign for loans with BNDES, the Brazilian government’s export financing bank. The first was for US$8 million for financing the Plan Renove, an initiative for improving public transport that ended in a major corruption scandal.

    In September 2005, the PLD signed a loan agreement with BNDES and Deutsche Bank for US$89.9 million for the expansion of the northwest aqueduct with Inapa and Odebrecht construction company. It was the first of another 15 loans from Brazil that were approved during Leonel Fernandez’s 2004-2008 and 2008-2012 consecutive government terms.

    The funding is now in the spotlight as part of “Operacion Lava Jato” in Brazil, which is investigating BNDES financing for Odebrecht for projects in and outside of Brazil. Odebrecht and state oil company Petrobras are accused of contributing funds to campaigns inside and outside Brazil in exchange for the approval of loans.

    As reported in Diario Libre, Odebrecht is currently the subject of two cases of overvaluation in Dominican courts – one for the reconstruction of the Jarabacoa-El Rio (Constanza) road and another for the construction of the coal-fired Punta Catalina power plants. As reported, Odebrecht was granted the US$1.94 billion contract for their construction even though a Chinese company, the Gezhouba Group, had proposed to build the plants for US$900 million.

    Brewster says US backs Super Tucano investigation
    At the time it was said that the United States aviation sector was the big loser when the Dominican government chose to purchase Super Tucano airplanes to police Dominican skies from Embraer, a Brazilian company.

    On Friday, 12 August 2016, US Ambassador James Brewster said that his country was backing the Attorney General’s investigation into bribes in the Super Tucano case. He told the press the US would assist in the investigation of asset laundering and big crime. Brewster said his country backs all actions in the struggle against corruption and crime.

    “We support the investigations carried out by the Dominican government. When there are cases of corruption we back the investigators in any way possible,” he said, as reported in El Nacional.

    He said he had met with the US Attorney General to ask for the assistance of the FBI and other US investigating agencies to ensure that asset laundering and other high-level crimes are correctly processed.

    Brewster was speaking at the Attorney General Office during the launch of the Criminal Investigations Unit, which will work on transnational crime cases. The first crime investigation graduates will be working with the FBI.

    Former Defense Minister: Others should be named in “Tucanogate”
    On Friday 12 August, former Minister of Defense Rafael Pena Antonio asked for equal treatment before the law. He is one of four people arrested on accusations of involvement in the alleged bribery case related to the purchase of eight Super Tucano turboprop aircraft from the Brazilian Embraer company to police drug trafficking. Brazil’s BNDES lent US$93 million to the Dominican Republic government for the purchase.

    At the time, the media carried objections to the additional cost of the Dominican purchase compared to ones made by other countries, and the high cost of the turboprop aircraft. Pena Antonio’s lawyer told the press that selective justice is in play in this case.

    Then-president of the Senate and a strong lobbyist in Congress for the approval of the loan in 2008, Reinaldo Pared Perez told Diario Libre that Pena was being mistreated when he was kept at risk to his safety in custody on the fifth floor of the Prosecutors Office with all the other inmates.

    Pared Perez said that all 32 serving senators during 2006-2010, starting with himself, should be interrogated in the case. So far, only the senator for Hermanas Mirabal, Luis Rene Canaan has been singled out and arrested. Diario Libre said that details of the investigation leaked to the media on Thursday, 11 August 2016 suggested that he had received the cash to guarantee the votes needed in Congress for the approval of the loan to purchase the Brazilian airplanes.

    Earlier, deputy Juan Carlos Quinones said that if there had been bribery, the highest echelons of the ruling PLD party would have been aware because they told the legislators to approve the loan, as reported in Diario Libre. He said it is customary for the PLD legislators to back the bills received from the Executive Branch.

    Senator Adriano Sanchez Roa (PRSC, Elias Pina) said that prosecutors should continue investigating and if evidence is found then act in consequence.

    On Friday, the hearing on the case was postponed to Monday, 15 August 2016.

    In addition to the former Minister of the Armed Forces, the prosecutor’s office has also arrested Air Force Colonel Carlos Piccini and businessman Daniel Aquino Mendez and his son Daniel Aquino Hernandez.

    The case against the legislators will need to be heard by the Supreme Court of Justice.

    Helicopter totaled, pilot survives
    A helicopter crashed in Santo Domingo’s El Higuero airport on Sunday, 14 August 2016, but its pilot, Air Force General Victor Reynoso had a miraculous escape. He was taken by air ambulance to the Ramon de Lara Air Force Base hospital. The Civil Aviation Board is investigating the causes of the crash, which occurred during an emergency landing.

    Juan Luis Guerra leads NYC Dominican Parade Day
    With singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra as the Grand Marshal, this year’s Dominican Parade marched up Sixth Avenue on Sunday, 14 August 2016 honoring Dominican women’s contributions to US communities. New York City is the second largest Dominican city, only after Santo Domingo, with over 700,000 people of Dominican heritage, according to the Pew Research Center, and the parade is a traditional manifestation of Dominican presence and culture in the city.

    The Dominican consul general, architect Eduardo Selman led the march accompanied by newly elected New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat.

    This year, the parade paid tribute to outstanding women in line with the theme for the 2016 Dominican Day Parade of "Celebrating and Empowering Dominican Women."

    The women who were honored were:
    Godmother of the parade: Daisy Auger*Dominguez, global head of diversity staffing at Google.
    International godmother of the parade: Alicia Ortega, general executive director and VP of Noticias SIN
    Lifetime achievement: Nurys De Oleo, senior advisor at the Office of NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat
    Public service ambassador: City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland
    Community service ambassador: Zenaida Mendez, director of the Manhattan Neighborhood Network el Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center
    Community service ambassador: Ana-Ofelia Rodriguez, director of community engagement of Broadway Housing Communities
    Community service ambassador: Rosita Romero, executive director, Dominican Women Development Center
    Anacaona: Carolina Contreras “Miss Rizos," owner/founder of Miss Rizos Beauty Salon
    Cacique: Mino Lora, co-founder of the People’s Theater Project
    Cacique: Diomary Pena, 2016 Soberano Award-winning singer
    Cacique: Raquel Cepeda, author of "Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina," journalist, critic, filmmaker
    Rising star: Alejandra Castillo, national director of the Minority Business Development Agency
    Rising star: Jenny Jorge, vice president of operations at Compare Foods
    Rising star: Rosanna Vargas, litigation attorney at Akerman LLP, commissioner of the city board of elections
    Ambassador of the arts: Scherezade Garcia, visual artist
    Ambassador of the arts: Yorka Ralwins, painter
    Ambassador of the arts: Iliana Emilia Garcia Ubinas, visual artist
    Ambassador of the beauty industry: Patria Lopez, founder/owner of Josie’s Beauty Center & Spa
    Ambassador of communication: Sibila Vargas, WNBC-TV news anchor
    Fashion ambassador: Milagros Batista, founder/owner of Batista Collections
    Community service ambassador: Lucia Rodriguez, founder/owner of Lucia Rodriguez Wedding & Fashion Designs
    Health ambassador: Cooperative Home Care Associates
    Health ambassador: Dr. Angela Diaz, director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
    Health Ambassador: Dr. Amarilis Jacobo, general dentistry in private practice, president of the Hispanic Dental Association
    Taste ambassador: Daysi Medina Lebron, founder of Bizcocho de Colores
    Taste ambassador: Margarita Santana, founder/owner of Margot Restaurant
    Ambassador of science and innovation: Dora Maria Abreu, IT project manager at Credit Suisse, speaker, trainer and coach at John Maxwell Team
    Ambassador of science and innovation: Dr. Karina Edmonds, technology transfer coordinator for the US Department of Energy
    Special recognition: Clarissa Molina, Nuestra Belleza Latina 2016

    Dominicans in the Olympics
    Silver medalist in the 400 meters in London 2012, 22-year old sprinter Luguelin Santos failed to qualify for the finals in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. He clocked in at 44.71 during the semi-finals, achieving his best time in a year when he has been affected by a series of injuries.

    Swimmer Dorian McMenemy clocked in at 27.37 in the 50 meters freestyle, but failed to qualify for semi-finals.

    On Saturday, 13 August in the boxing, Leonel de los Santos (52kg) lost 3-0 to Venezuela’s Joel Finol.

    On Sunday, 14 August, also in boxing, Hector Luis Garcia (56 kg) lost 2-1 to Dzmitry Asanau of Belarus. In athletics, Ana Jose Tima, ranked 27th, qualified in Group B. (triple jump) but failed to qualify for the finals. In trap, Eduardo Jose Lorenzo finished 20th, not moving to the semi-finals.

    Follow the Dominican athletes in the Rio Olympics as they compete:
    Monday 15 August:
    Athletics: Mariely Sanchez (200 meters) and Jaunder Santos (400 meters hurdles)
    Tuesday 16 August:
    Athletics: Stanly del Carmen and Yancarlos Martinez (200 meters).
    Wednesday 17 August:
    Taekwondo: Luisito Pie (58 kg)
    Thursday 18 August:
    Track and field: 4 x 100.
    Friday 19 August:
    Taekwondo: Katherine Rodriguez (67kg)
    Judo: Moises Hernandez (80 kg)
    Track and field 4 x 400.
    Athletics. Mayobanex D’Oleo (Men’s 4 x 100 relay)
    Athletics: Luis Enrique Charles (Men’s 4 x 400 relay)

    The Pineapple Ball on the Malecon
    The Pineapple Ball is taking place on Monday, 15 August 2016 at Playa Montesinos on the eastern end of Santo Domingo’s Malecon. The event promises to be one of this year’s main music festivals in Santo Domingo with an evening of merengue, reggae and reggaeton.

    The program includes Alexis & Fido, Mark B, Cultura Profetica, Cafres, Alex Ferreira and Frente Caribe. The second stage will feature DJs Sound of Montecarlo, No Regular Play, Stacey Pullen, Blondish and Rampue on the beach.

    The Pineapple Ball is produced by ShaveUrLegz.

    The event is being held in benefit of the Montesinos Monument with contributions from the RD$2,000 admission going towards improving the area.

    Read more on ongoing and upcoming events at:

    Archives for Daily Headline News:

    Archives for Travel & Tourism News:
    Last edited by Dolores; 08-18-2016 at 08:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dec 2015
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    My dear folks the Super Tucano jets are not jets. They are turboprop aircrafts........

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Corrected! Thank you!


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