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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Monday, 11 September 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Monday, 11 September 2017

    COE reports only Montecristi is in yellow alert
    Foreign Relations coordinates aids to Dominican expats affected by Irma
    Nagua community to be relocated
    Wind gusts decimate plantain farms in northwest
    La Ciénaga park to be remodeled
    In the DR, only the poor get to stay in jail
    PUCMM graduates 71% women, 29% men
    Lifeline proposed to reduce suicides
    Major increase in fuel prices
    DR defeats Egypt in 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 Worlds
    Photography Collective at the Galería Nacional
    El Canario joins Ray Sepúlveda and Johnny Rivera for Hard Rock concert
    Ileana and Fausto Rey at Lucia 203
    Famous Colombian salsa group, Guayacán, coming for concert
    Pablo Alborán announces Dominican concert date

    COE reports only Montecristi is in yellow alert
    In its Sunday, 10 September 2017 bulletin issued at 11am, the Center for Emergency Operations (COE) reported that only five provinces in the Dominican Republic continue under alert.

    Of these, Montecristi continues in yellow alert. Montecristi was in part affected by the high wind gusts and the release of reservoir waters in order to prepare for torrential rains expected for Hurricane Irma that did not happen.

    San Cristóbal, Peravia, San José de Ocoa and Azua are on green alert primarily due to an expected rainstorm for Monday expected to affect this southwestern area.

    The COE reported that as of Sunday, 1,474 persons are still lodged with friends and family, 98 persons are in two government shelters, 993 houses have been affected, 15 communities are isolated by land due to bridge collapses, and 58 aqueducts are still out of operation.

    Foreign Relations coordinates aids to Dominican expats affected by Irma
    The Ministry of Foreign Relations is in charge of coordinating national efforts to assist Dominican expatriates affected by Irma in the Caribbean. Thousands of Dominicans live in Turks & Caicos, Antigua & Barbuda and Sint Maarten and St. Martin, as well as the US (St. Thomas and St. John) and British Virgin Islands, islands that suffered major damages during the Category 5 storm.

    The Presidency has authorized that a Dominican Air Force plane land in St. Martin with humanitarian aid as soon as authorized by the island authorities.

    As reported, the serious damage on the island has isolated the population, affecting a large number of Dominicans living there, including the staff of the Dominican consulate.

    Flights to the islands have been cancelled given the major damage sustained by the airports.

    Nagua community to be relocated
    A community of around 52 zinc-roofed houses that were seriously damaged by the wind gusts and surf surge as Hurricane Irma cruised by the north coast of the Dominican Republic will be rebuilt in another area of Nagua municipality. The houses were located in Boba in the La Gorda municipality in Nagua, María Trinidad Sanchez province. The houses stood right beside the Atlantic Ocean coast and were known to be in a vulnerable area.

    The announcement was made by Minister of Defense Ruben Paulino Sem who toured the area shortly after the passing of Hurricane Irma with the director of the Police Ney Aldrin Bautista and the director of the Social Plan of the Presidency Iris Guaba. The senator of Maria Trinidad Sanchez said the community would be relocated. They were part of a commission appointed by President Danilo Medina to oversee the government’s response to the damage from Irma reported in Nagua, Samaná, Dajabón and Puerto Plata.

    The Ministry of Public Works announced that a brigade of 5,000 civil servants worked quickly to restore passage of roads affected by falling trees and power lines nationwide. Minister of Public Works said that recovery efforts would continue nationwide through Saturday, 16 September 2017, or as needed.

    Wind gusts decimate plantain farms in northwest
    The president of the Dominican Agribusiness Board (JAD), Osmar Benítez reported there were major damage reported to plantain and banana farms in the northwest and rice farms in the northeast with the passing of wind gusts and intense rains brought by Hurricane Irma and its extensive rain bands brushed the north coast. Plantain farms affected were from Santiago to the northwest corner of the country.

    The JAD reported 40,000 tareas (1 tarea = 629 square meters) of plantain and banana farms were affected by the wind gusts. These were located in Castillo Palma, Amina, Boca de Mao, Mao, Guayubin, Castañuela and Palo Verde. In many cases, these are the same areas that had been affected last year in November by intense rains. The president of the Association of Banana Producers (Adobanano), Elnio Duran told Diario Libre that they are evaluating the damage.

    La Ciénaga park to be remodeled
    National District Mayor David Collado announced a brigade of 110 workers would be dispatched to the riverside slum area of La Ciénaga to avoid the spreading of disease due to the expected rising river waters of the storm that passed to the north of the island.

    Prior to the hurricane, Collado visited the area on Wednesday, 6 September 2017, when the city was under threat of being affected by Hurricane Irma. During the visit to the area, Collado promised residents to refurbish the neighborhood park and rebuild the basketball court that had been abandoned. He said the park would be remodeled in the next two weeks.

    In the DR, only the poor get to stay in jail
    The coordinator of the Citizen Participation (Participacion Ciudadana), a civic watchdog group, Patricia Sosa, lashed out at Dominican judiciary for the release on bail of the two last individuals accused in the Odebrecht scandal: former Minister of Public Works and secretary of Finances of the ruling PLD political party Victor Diaz Rua and Odebrecht commercial representative Angel Rondón. The other 13 accused by the state prosecutors had previously been released from initial pre-trial custody orders.

    The state prosecutors have until 7 February 2018 to present the formal accusations. So far, the Attorney General’s Office has based its case on the file of the statements made by Odebrecht officers that were received from Brazil prosecutors.

    In a press release, Citizen Participation pointed out: "The Odebrecht scandal is a case based on corruption in which the company admitted to have paid bribes to representatives, public officials and their affiliates, in excess of US$92 million dollars to benefit from the allocation of state works. To date, our country is the laughing stock of the world because of the apparent absence of a serious intent to prosecute those involved,” she highlighted.

    Sosa said that in the Dominican Republic, the fight against corruption consists of just empty words and meaningless speeches made in an attempt to deceive the citizenry. She asked if the reasons for the pre-trial custody originally imposed by Special Instruction Judge Francisco Ortega Polanco had changed. Sosa says at the time, she had argued there was sufficient proof of probable cause that those detained were involved directly or indirectly in wrongdoing and their release by the judiciary could prevent, stall or impede an investigation.

    Sosa complained that only the powerful, those with ties to the power of the state and those with lots of money, are shielded from responsibility of their unlawful actions. “Our jails are overpopulated by poor people. None of these poor souls benefit from alternative interpretations of the penal code that allow those accused of serious crimes against society to walk away from jail”, she lamented.

    Sadly, she said, the principle that the justice system is tested in cases where people with political and economic wealth are tried where all should be equal for justice is an illusion in the Dominican Republic.

    The director of the civil society organization added: "We are in favor of a swift and effective justice system – not a penal code that facilitates impunity from prosecution of those who have garnered public resources an illicit manner simply due to their position in the government. It is necessary to punish those found guilty of committing illegal acts that pose a serious threat to the exercise of a healthy, democratic society. There must be penalties in place that clearly act as deterrents to those who would commit crimes that undermine the legitimacy of our public institutions and erode the rights afforded to each member of our society. Make no mistake, corruption within the body of our government runs contrary to our country’s moral order and sense of justice for all.”

    Former Minister of Public Works, Victor Díaz Rúa was allowed to post bail for RD$50 million, ordered to be available for periodic presentations at court and banned from leaving the country. His guarantors were journalists Namphi Rodríguez and Tamara Sánchez; Franklin Almeyda Rancier, Manuel de Jesús Pichardo, Domingo Abréu Jiménez and Franklin Alberto Rodríguez Garabito.

    Angel Rondón, commercial representative of Odebrecht benefited from a RD$70 million bail. His guarantors were José González Pérez, of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, and Manuel de Jesús Paniagua, a vehicle dealer.

    Rondón has acknowledged receiving a similar amount to US$92 million but has insisted the sum was for services rendered in favor of the company.

    Others accused in the preliminary phase of the case are: former Minister of Industry & Commerce Temístocles Montás, former PRM deputy Rudy González; the president of the PRM, Andrés Bautista; former directors of the Public Electricity Corporation Cesar Sanchez and Radhamés Segura; former director of the National Drinking Water Institute (INAPA), Roberto Rodríguez; former director of the Dominican Hydroelectric Generation Company (EGEHID), Máximo Leónidas de Oleo Ramirez; Bernardo Castellanos; PRM deputy Alfredo Pacheco, and PLD senators Julio César Valentín Jiminián and Tommy Alberto Galán Grullón; lawyer Conrado Pittaluga Arzeno.

    In an op-ed contribution to Diario Libre published on 11 September 2017, former National District prosecutor and Al País presidential candidate, Guillermo Moreno speculates that the release of Víctor Díaz Rúa and Angel Rondon is because these know too much. “If either of these says what they no, I can assure you that the presidency of Danilo Medina will last less than a cockroach in a chicken pen.”

    In the op-ed article, Moreno mentions the illicit financing, payment of electoral strategist Joao Santana, transfer to the Dominican Republic of the Odebrecht structural operations office (the bribes office), the direct involvement of Medina in the overvaluation of Punta Catalina thermoelectric power plant, purchase of legislators to introduce the re-election in the Constitution, among others for which Medina could be tried. Moreno observes, nevertheless, that differently from the situation of Presidents in other countries, Medina has a comparative advantage in controlling prosecution, Judicial Branch and Legislative Branch in the Dominican Republic.

    PUCMM graduates 71% women, 29% men
    70.73% of the graduates in the Pontifical Madre y Maestra Catholic University (PUCMM) 63rd commencement ceremony on Saturday, 9 September 2017 were women, continuing the trend that began many years ago. Of the 1,107 new graduates, 783 were women and 324 men.

    The commencement marked the 55th anniversary of the largest private university in the Dominican Republic. Attending was Education Minister Andrés Navarro, among others.

    Of the 1,107 graduates, 664 were undergraduate students and 443 graduate students. Rector Father Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera said that throughout its first five decades of service, the university has graduated 81,125 men and women. Of these 53,216 have studied at the Santiago campus and 27,910 at the Santo Domingo campus.

    The keynote speech was by Dr. Gabriel García Martínez, coordinator of the Master in Corporate Social Responsibility of the Valencia Polytechnical University in Valencia, Spain. He was invited given that it was the first graduation of the masters in corporate social responsibility and sustainability of by the university, a joint program with the Spanish university.

    Lifeline proposed to reduce suicides
    A 42-year old Colombian woman identified as Maria Andrea García Osorio died after falling from the second floor of Sherry IV located on Av. Enriquillo. She worked for a United Nations agency in the country. She is suspect of having committed suicide. Her case will be added to the growing number of suicide deaths in the Dominican Republic.

    Listin Diario reported that in the first half of the year 269 persons committed suicide in the Dominican Republic. In the past decade, 5,664 persons are recorded as having committed suicide.

    The suicide toll for 2017 by month is: January (36), February (43), March (35), April (48), May (51), June (56). Of these 231 are men and 38 are women.
    Registered suicides have been more than 500 a year from 2007 to 2016. Peak years were 638 in 2012 and 637 in 2011. The most frequent methods used are: hanging, poisoning and firearms.

    The Dominican Society of Psychiatry (SDP) proposes to create a National Plan to Prevent Suicides and a toll-free suicide line. “Most people who threaten to take their own life, in fact do not want to die, what they want is help, it's a cry for help," said Dr. Julio Chestaro, president of SDP. He said it is necessary to break with the stigma, myths and taboos in mental health care, in order to eradicate the belief that only those who are crazy need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist."

    He suggested that educational campaigns be developed to eliminate such deep-rooted beliefs as that whoever talks of committing suicide will not do so or that in most cases the intention is to manipulate those closest to them, especially in the case of children and teenagers.

    “Suicide is not a solution, but mental issues such as depression lead people to believe it is their only option,” said Chestaro. He said that when you talk with and pay attention to a person who has expressed or demonstrated suicidal tendencies, the person appreciates this intervention, because it gives them the opportunity to express their anxieties, fears and frustrations.

    The proposal for the lifeline coincided with Sunday, 10 September 2017, commemorating the Global Day for Suicide Prevention, an initiative of the International Association for the Prevention of Suicide (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Major increase in fuel prices
    It would seem that the government was looking to finance Hurricane Irma disaster mitigation efforts through higher taxes on fuel. On Friday, 8 September 2017, the Medina government announced a major increase in the cost of fuel. The argument is that the base on which the prices are pegged, the West Texas Intermediate price per barrel has increased, affected by Hurricane Harvey.

    The Ministry of Industry & Commerce (MICM) on Friday, 8 September increased premium and regular gasoline prices by RD$7, making for a RD$12 increase in two weeks.

    Passengers are concerned this will mean an increase in public transport fares.
    Premium gasoline now costs RD$221.80 the gallon, regular RD$207.70, up RD$7.00 each. Premium diesel goes for RD$169.60 (up RD$5.00) and regular diesel (RD$154.50 per gallon (up RD$2.50).

    Propane gas sells for RD$108.80 the gallon, up RD$1.00, while the price of natural gas holds steady at RD$28.97 the cubic meter.

    DR defeats Egypt in 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 Worlds
    The Dominican Republic’s women’s U23 volleyball team got off to a good start in their opening game over Egypt at the 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship (10-17 September 2017) in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 10 September. The Dominican team is a three-time medalist in the tournament. In the previous tournament in 2015, the DR secured the bronze medal.

    Against Egypt on Sunday, 10 September, the Dominican team struggled to the limit. The “Queens of the Caribbean” had to work very hard for the victory. At the end the DR won 4 of six sets played (12-15, 15-6, 15-8, 15-12, 15-17 and 19-17). All matches in Ljubljana are played under a new scoring system currently being tested: a best-of-seven, 15-point set format.

    FIVB News reported: “Not quite satisfied by their performance but nonetheless relieved at the final result, the Dominican Republic camp were in agreement that they need to improve after their opening day win 4-2 over Egypt at the 2017 FIVB Women's U23 World Championship here on Sunday. Here's the reaction from both sides.

    Dominican Republic coach, Wagner Pacheco: "I am satisfied we managed to win this first match. Egypt played really well and this shows there are no bad teams at this championship. Now we have to rest and prepare well for the match against Slovenia, who will also have the support of their fans."

    The Dominican Republic is in Pool A with Slovenia, China, Egypt, Thailand and Argentina. Pool B teams are Brazil, Turkey, Bulgaria, Japan, Cuba and Kenya.
    The DR next plays Slovenia on 11 Sept at 2pm, Argentina on 12 Sept at 8pm, and China on 14 Sept at 2pm and Thailand on 15 Sept at 11am. Times are Dominican time.

    Photography Collective at the Galería Nacional
    The Galería Nacional at the Palacio de Bellas Artes presents a collective by Fotogrupo, the well-known grouping of photographers in the Dominican Republic. The group is celebrating their 40 years with exhibitions by 44 group members showing 220 photos. Each photographer has chosen to show five photographs of their production over the years. The group was founded by Wilfredo García in 1977.

    The exhibition opens on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 at 8pm

    El Canario joins Ray Sepúlveda and Johnny Rivera for Hard Rock concert
    Dominican José Alberto (El Canario), accompanied by Puerto Ricans Ray Sepúlveda and Johnny Rivera are coming together for the salsa concert, “Combinación Perfecta” at Hard Rock Café at Blue Mall on Thursday, 14 September 2017 at 10pm. Tickets are RD$1,500 to RD$3,500 and are for sale at

    Ileana and Fausto Rey at Lucia 203
    Romantic singers Fausto Rey and Ileana Reynoso will be performing at the Lucia 203 in the Colonial City this coming Saturday, 16 September at midnight. This will be an evening to dance away to boleros, merengue and other tropical music beat. Tickets are for sale on or at the Lucia 203 door for RD$1,000.

    Famous Colombian salsa group, Guayacán, coming for concert
    Guayacán will be performing at the Hard Rock Live Santo Domingo at Blue Mall on Friday, 13 October 2017. Dominican salsa group, Revolución Salsera, will open the show.

    Guayacán has been playing salsa for the past 25 years, and is best known for their hits such as “Torero”, “Mi muchachita”, “Pau, pau”, “Oiga mire, vea”, “Invierno en primavera”, “Cada día que pasa”, and “Amor a cuenta gotas.”

    Listen to their music at:

    Pablo Alborán announces Dominican concert date
    Spanish singer Pablo Alborán has booked a Santo Domingo stop for his 2018 world tour. The show is set for the Palacio de los Deportes at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center on 24 March 2018. The tour is to promote his new songs, “Saturno” and “No vaya a ser”.

    Listen to his music at:
    Last edited by Dolores; 09-12-2017 at 08:22 AM.

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