DR1 Daily News next update on Monday
President Medina issues decree for National Girls’ Day
Mobilise Your City helps Santo Domingo plan transport
New minimum wage in effect as of 1 November 2017
Superheroes act to get Santiago drivers to obey the law
Striking doctors prevent military doctors from working
Medical strikes could spill over to private clinics that demand indexation of prices
ADP president refuses to share financials
Alan Duncan and Greg Hands meet with Dominicans in London
AmCham signs agreement with competitiveness agency
Alvaro Arvelo back on the Gobierno de la Mañana talk show
Wife and doctor of Quirinito questioned
Sobeida poses in bikini and gets back in the limelight
Peruvian tall ship visited Santo Domingo
Mexico to become involved in Venezuelan dialogue
Jehovah’s Witnesses’ baby dies despite blood transfusion
US ICE says 9,000 visas and residences revoked to Dominicans
Dogs to help fight drug trafficking at border with Haiti
Play ball!
World class volleyball at the Olympic Center
La Bayadera ballet at the National Theater

DR1 Daily News next update on Monday
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 16 October 2017. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the Forums. See the DR1 Forum at http://www.dr1.com

President Medina issues decree for National Girls’ Day
Yesterday, Wednesday 11 October, 2017, President Danilo Medina issued Decree 357-17 that declares 11 October as “National Girls’ Day” to recognize the empowerment of this group and that investment in minors is fundamental for economic growth and achievement of the national objectives for sustainable development, including an end to poverty and gender equality.

President Medina also made reference in the decree to Resolution 66/170 from the United Nations that has designated the same date as International Girls’ Day.

The National Council for Childhood and Adolescents (CONANI) is in charge of carrying out informative and educative activities on this date.

For the occasion, Vice President Margarita Cedeño had 12-year old student girl Sarah Estela Mendoza Báez, tag along with her on a normal workday after visiting with President Medina at the Presidential Palace.


Mobilise Your City helps Santo Domingo plan transport
Speaking during the workshop, “Sustainable Urban Mobility in the Dominican Republic,” the director of the National Transport Institute (Intrant), engineer Claudia Franchesca de los Santos said that urban mobility is transcendental for economic and social development in the Dominican Republic. She said the later is a priority of the Medina administration. The workshop was organized by the Ministry of the Presidency, the French Alliance for Development (AFD) and the Ministry of Public Works. It is part of the international Mobilise your City initiative that is helping cities plan mobility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

De los Santos highlighted that the Dominican government shares the interest in reducing carbon dioxide emissions as is proven with the passing of the Mobility Law 63-17. She highlighted that improvements in mobility is one of the main demands of Dominican citizens, and that is the reason of being of the new Intrant, the body entrusted with the responsibility of bringing improvements and safety to transport in the country.

De los Santos expressed appreciation for the French Alliance for Development having chosen Greater Santo Domingo to implement the Mobilise Your City project. She said the rigorously carried out study of mobility resulting from the participation in Mobilise Your City would become an essential tool for establishing public policies in the main urban center of the country.

Also speaking at the event, Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo said that only with the development of a sustainable mobility system would the country be able to face many of its challenges. He said improvements in the flow of vehicles will be reflected not only on the environment, but also in an increase of competencies resulting from the decline in the cost of cargo transportation.

Speaking at the conference were Herve Conan, director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD); Thierry Gouin, Cerema; and Francois Carcel, project manager- transport sector specialist for the AFD.

Also attending the workshop was French Ambassador José Gómez who said that all relative to climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases is important to the French government.

The event took place at the Crowne Plaza on 10-11 October 2017 with the participation of city governments, transport stakeholders and decentralized government entities.

MobiliseYourCity initiative is supporting the planning of sustainable urban mobility in order to develop more inclusive, liveable and economically efficient cities and reduce GHG emissions. 100 cities and 20 national governments are being engaged in deep transformational actions through the implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) supported by National Sustainable Urban Mobility Policies and Programmes (NUMP). MobiliseYourCity aims to assist cities in their efforts to cut at least 50% of their urban transport related emissions by 2050 compared to business as usual.

With the support of a coalition of international partners (development agencies, urban and transport planning agencies, NGOs and development banks), MobiliseYourCity provides a methodological framework, capacity building and technical assistance, and facilitates access to financing at both local and national levels. The initiative will set up an international reference platform to share best practices about sustainable urban mobility planning and implementation of SUMPs and NUMPs.



New minimum wage in effect as of 1 November 2017
From 1 November 2017, businesses need to apply the second part of the increase in the minimum wage of 7% approved by the businesses and the unions, with the guarantee of the National Salaries Committee (CNS). The first part of 13% was paid last March.

National Salary Commission president, Félix Hidalgo, said that with the new wages, a company with capital equal to or more than four million pesos will pay RD$15,447, those from two to four million pesos will pay RD$10,620 and those less than two million will pay RD$9,411.


Superheroes act to get Santiago drivers to obey the law
The city government of Santiago, under Mayor Abel Martínez has resorted to cartoon characters to change the culture of traffic violations in the country’s second largest city. The campaign seeks to empower city drivers as superheroes (Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America and Superman) and encourage them to use their powers to respect pedestrian rights. The superheroes are on city streets to ensure that the drivers leave open the white lines for pedestrian crossing at intersections.

Likewise, the city government placed billboards warning that local business that did not pay the municipal taxes would be listed on the billboards.


Striking doctors prevent military doctors from working
Yesterday, Wednesday 11 October 2017, was the first day of a two-day strike called by the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) to protest that the government had not complied with the agreement signed last year. In hospitals such as the Darío Contreras trauma center, military doctors who tried to fill in for striking doctors were prevented from doing so by their public health service colleagues. The national strike is for 48 hours and will end on Friday, 13 October.

In some cases the doctors on strike interrupted consultations and sat on beds and desks so the military doctors could not attend to the patients.

Public Health Minister Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino said that she had set up a commission of lawyers to investigate the supposed lack of compliance of the government with the agreement, and went on to say that the government had invested more than RD$10,000 million in the health care system. The government says they are not in compliance in the case of 369 physicians that are being investigated for irregularities in their compliance on the job.


Medical strikes could spill over to private clinics that demand prices indexation
Private clinics are protesting that the government has not indexed the payments made for their services by family health plans and social security plans. The clinics say they could go on strike affecting affiliates to the family health plans in the private sector if their demands are not met.

The president of the National Association of Clinics and Private Hospitals (Andeclip), Rafael Mena, warned that they are taking steps to convene a 24-hour work stoppage at all affiliated clinics, where they would no longer provide services to affiliates to the Dominican Social Security System (SDSS).

Mena says for the inflation indexation established by law has not been applied in two years, with the clinics having to absorb the wage increases for their staff, increases in cost of security, increases in basic services, and the delays in payments made by the family health plans (ARS) to bills presented while these are audited by the ARSs.

The announcement coincides with that made by the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) for a 48-hour strike this week. And the National Association of Nurses (Asonaen) announced a 4-hour work stoppage at the Materno Infantil San Lorenzo in Los Mina neighborhood.

Mena said they would meet and would consider work stoppage as this seems to be the only language the authorities understand.


ADP president refuses to share financials
The president of the Dominican Association of Public School Teachers (ADP), Eduardo Hidalgo, says the union is not obliged to provide financials to the general public as requested by the president of the Dominican Alliance Against Corruption (Adocco), Julio César de la Rosa Tiburcio. Adocco has requested the ADP share financial information on spending from January 2012 to September 2017 regarding discounts made to the public school teachers for payment of their membership quotas. Hidalgo instead says he is giving Adocco 72 hours to desist from the request. He says the ADP is a union registered at the Ministry of Labor that is only accountable to its members.

Tiburcio is requesting the financials after receiving complaints from teachers who have said they are unaware of what ADP does with the money discounted from their wages.

Tiburcio responded to the refusal by Hidalgo of the ADP who argues they cannot be held accountable because they are receiving the funds from the Ministry of Education. Tiburcio says that the ADP receives funds from the Ministry of Education that acts as their retention agent and not directly from the public school teachers that are the union members.

The retentions were known about after an audit carried out by the Ministry of Education.

Alan Duncan and Greg Hands meet with Dominicans in London
During a meeting of local business and government officers with United Kingdom Foreign Relations Minister Alan Duncan in London, the latter emphasized the intention to strengthen commercial ties after the UK completes the Brexit procedures. The meeting took place in the framework of the 6th Dominican Week in the UK event.

Duncan expressed that the UK wants a better and stronger relationship with the DR, that they exited the European Union but not from Europe or the world. He said that they would be strengthening relations with countries that are not part of the European Union.

In a separate meeting with the Dominican mission, Greg Hands, Minister of State in the Department for International Trade, who highlighted the UK is aware that the DR is the leading trading partner of the UK in the Caribbean. He says Brexit has to be seen as a business opportunity. The Minister of State for Trade Policy has responsibility for the Trade Policy Group, which leads for the department on developing, coordinating and delivering a new trade policy.

Participating in the meetings for the Dominican government was Industry & Commerce Minister Nelson Toca Simó, Dominican Ambassador in London, Federico Cuello Camilo and the president of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic (BritCham), José A. Rodríguez.

In both meetings, Minister Toca ensured the willingness of the Dominican Republic to maintain the best of relations with the United Kingdom through simple instrument that would give bilateral continuity to the present Economic Partnership Act between Cariforum countries and the European Union.
Toca expressed the interest of the Dominican Republic in accessing a line of credit of L750 million through the British export agency, the UK Export Finance (UKEF) for infrastructure projects.

The 6th Dominican Week in the UK was organized by the British Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic and the Dominican Embassy in London.


AmCham signs agreement with competitiveness agency
The National Competitiveness Council and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmChamDR) announced an inter-institutional agreement to establish the bases for the preparing of national innovation policies. The agreement will include initiatives, projects, activities and action plans for institutional changes to enable the country to be more competitive.

Executive director Rafael Paz signed for Competitividad and David Fernandez for AmCham.

The Dominican Republic dropped 12 places in the recently announced World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index. Most of the problems identified by the study result from deficiencies in government institutions.

Executive director Rafael Paz signed for Competitividad and David Fernandez for AmCham.


Alvaro Arvelo back on the Gobierno de la Mañana talk show
Z101FM station director JM Hidalgo explained that Alvaro Arvelo (Alvarito) had not yet been officially notified that the National Commission of Entertainment and Radio (CNEPR) has imposed a 20 day suspension, preventing him from appearing on radio or television. Despite resigning from the Gobierno de la Mañana morning show live, he returned to work the next day ignoring the news that he had been banned from talking on radio or TV. On air, Arvelo had also resigned, but returned to work.

Resolution 002-17 was issued after the Instituto Duartiano accused him of denigrating the founding father Juan Pablo Duarte with his remarks on 28 September 2017. Nevertheless, it was reported that a member of the commission was told to dismiss the ban by a key person in the Presidential Palace. But JM Hidalgo, of CNEPR denied the call to cancel the suspension. He said Arvelo and the radio station Z-101 were notified and need to comply or they will be taken to court as established by CNEPR’s Ruling 824.

The commission had ruled that Arvelo used expressions contrary to morals and good customs when referring to Duarte when hosting historian Roberto Cassá, of the National Archives, on the Gobierno de la Mañana talk show on Z101.

In commenting on Duarte, Arvelo had called the founding father a “coward”, “who did not have character nor balls” and had preferred exile for 20 years in Venezuela, rather to fight in the restoration wars. He also said that Duarte was a manic depressive, a homosexual and irresponsible for having abandoned his ailing mother and his family in the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, Angel García of the Instituto Duartiano expressed disappointment with the 20-day suspension saying that it was too short, given what Arvelo had said. In a press conference he recalled that communicator La Tora was suspended for 30 days for having offended Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez, and asked who is more important Duarte or Rodríguez.

García also observed that if article 7 of Law 127-01 were applied, Arvelo could have to go to prison for a month, but he doubted it would happen given the Alvarito’s relationships with the government.

Meanwhile, an editorial in Diario Libre on 12 October 2017 defended Arvelo saying he had the right to say what he thought, even if it was a negative opinion on the founding father.” Diario Libre wrote: “Living in democracy is difficult. You have to accept all the nonsense that the other wants to say, because the alternative is dictatorship, the silence imposed by force.” The editorialist said that those who do not like Arvelo’s expressions can stop listening to the program or can write in protest to the program’s sponsors.


Wife and doctor of Quirinito questioned
The Attorney General’s office has interrogated the wife of Pedro Alejandro Castillo Paniagua (Quirinito), Jenifer Domínguez, oncologist César Augusto Núñez, his lawyer Ivanna Rodríguez Hernández and medical examiner, Orlando Herrera Robles, in relation to the supposed death of Quirinito. The interrogation was headed up by the director of the Inspectorate of the Public Prosecution Service, Bolívar Sánchez, and assistant attorney general Domingo Cabrera. Cabrera said that there were no sacred cows and that the investigation would determine any wrongdoing in the case.

Meanwhile, director of the National Investigations Department (DNI) Sigfrido Pared Pérez, said that there was no evidence that Pedro Alejandro Paniagua “Quirinito” had left the country as was rumored.
Castillo Paniagua disappeared last July, after he supposedly had died. But it is now thought that is not the case. So far six members of the judiciary and the prison service have been suspended.

An oncologist said that a DNA test of relatives of fugitive Pedro Alejandro Castillo Paniagua (Quirinito) could clarify if the later had mouth cancer. Castillo Paniagua obtained a series of medical and legal permissions that enabled him to avoid serving an original 30-year sentence for murder handed down in 2010. Oncologist Laureado Ortega Mármol said this would determine if cells of another person were used to justify the illness. He said the study needs to be monitored closely by the Attorney General Office so the results are not compromised. Marmol also mentioned procedures for using the paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue blocks to verify the identity of the person tested.


Sobeida poses in bikini and gets back in the limelight
Sobeida Félix Morel, the girlfriend of major Puerto Rican drug capo, José David Figueroa Agosto, has surprised her many social media followers by sharing a photo of herself posing in a bikini. Sobeida served several years in prison for her relationship with Figueroa, but secured a deal with the prosecutors to serve only 3.5 years in jail. The photo is posted in her Instagram account SobeidaReal, meriting many compliments. After leaving the prison on 21 July 2014, Sobeida had kept a low profile.


Peruvian tall ship visited Santo Domingo
Peruvian Navy training ship BAP Union moored at San Souci Port in Santo Domingo as part of a three-day visit to promote peace, cooperation and friendship between Peru and the Dominican Republic. The ship was received by Peruvian Ambassador to the country Augusto Freyre, joined by a delegation of Peruvian Embassy officials and Dominican authorities. It departed on 11 October for its final tour stops in Colon, Balboa (Panama) and Guayaquil (Ecuador).

President Danilo Medina attended a lunch in his honor aboard the vessel, confirming the importance of BAP Union's visit to strengthen bilateral relations between both nations.

The BAP Union is a training tall ship of the Peruvian Navy. It is a four-mast steel hulled full-rigged barque and is the largest vessel of its type in Latin America and the second in the world. The ship carries 250 people, including officials, cadets and other crew.


Police to take lie detector and drug tests
According to the director of the National Police, Major General Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, the police will have to take lie detector tests to check if they are involved in illegal activities, as part of his new strategy to strengthen the force.

Ten polygraph machines have been donated by the United States Embassy and will be used on those police officers currently serving as well as those who wish to join.

In addition agents will be subject to anti-doping tests that are being carried out by Internal Affairs.


Mexico to become involved in Venezuelan dialogue
It now appears that talks between Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela and the country’s opposition will continue and this time, with Mexico’s involvement.

On Tuesday, 10 October 2017, Mexico Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray announced that he will monitor the talks hosted by former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Dominican President Danilo Medina. Videgaray said that the dialogue is also backed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Videgaray said that these negotiations will be credible, conducted in good faith and with “clear objectives and concrete timelines for achievement, in which the responsibilities of the (two sides) are well-defined and accepted by both parties.”

The Mexican official added that he hoped to “contribute in a constructive way to the resolution of the serious crisis that our brother nation is facing.”

In addition to Mexico, the opposition has considered inviting Chile and Paraguay. The latter has maintained a very clear position against Maduro’s regime, and was a vocal leader of Venezuela’s suspension from the trade bloc, Mercosur.


Jehovah’s Witnesses’ baby dies despite blood transfusion
It was too late. Despite the attending physicians of a newborn to Jehovah’s Witness parents pushing through justice a court order that allowed for a needed blood transfusion, the baby girl was not able to be saved. The Santiago court ordered the transfusion after the resistance of the parents on grounds of religious convictions. Noticias SIN reports, nevertheless, that the baby did not survive.


US ICE says 9,000 visas and residences revoked to Dominicans
The government of the United States via the Immigration and Customs’ Service has revoked more than 9,000 visas and residencies from Dominicans, over the last 7 years for different violations of migration laws and other offences.

Sources from the United States Embassy in the country, the Attorney General’s office and Migration agency say the cancelled visas affected a large number of former government officials, former diplomats, high-ranking members of the military and police, both on active service and retired. Also former mayors and councilors, former baseball players and members of whole families involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, forgery and acts of corruption.

Most of the cases of those who have had their visas and residencies revoked took place in the period 2010 to 2015 including well known politicians who held important government positions. In addition there are more than 200 former members of the Armed Forces and the police who the United States believe are linked to criminal activities.


Dogs to help fight drug trafficking at border with Haiti
The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) announced the recruiting of four trained dogs for border surveillance operations in Elías Piña and Independencia provinces. The canine unit is part of a border security program financed by the European Union. The dogs have been trained for inspection operations.


Play ball!
The Dominican Winter Professional League (Lidom) games start this Friday, 13 October 2017 with the two most championship winning teams playing at the Quisqueya Ball Park in Santo Domingo. Aguilas Cibaeñas and Tigres del Licey will inaugurate the tournament with the game set to start at 7:15pm. On Saturday, 14 October, there will be games at 5pm at the Quisqueya Ball Park (Estrellas Orientales vs. Tigres del Licey), at the Julián Javier Ball Park in San Francisco de Macorís (Aguilas Cibaeñas vs. Gigantes del Cibao) and at the Francisco Micheli Ball Park in La Romana (Leones del Escogido vs. Toros del Este), this game starting at 7:30pm.

On Sunday, there will be games at 4pm with Leones del Escogido and Tigres del Licey playing at the Quisqueya Ball Park in Santo Domingo, the Gigantes del Cibao playing the Toros del Este at 5pm in La Romana, and the Estrellas Orientales playing the Aguilas Cibaeñas at 5pm at t he Cibao Ball Park in Santiago.

See the regular season schedule at: http://www.lidom.com/home/calendario/

World class volleyball at the Olympic Center
Watch the Dominican women’s national volleyball team, ranked consistently in the top 10 of the world, go for a slot in the World Championships. The Norceca Continental Championship Group A will be played in Santo Domingo from 13-15 October 2017. The event is a qualifier that offers two tickets to the FIVB Women’s World Championship 2018 in Japan. Tickets are for sale at Uepa Tickets and at the Volleyball Pavilion in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center.

The four-team competition officially named “Viva Cup” includes the representatives of Jamaica, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The tournament will be televised by Telecentro Channel 13.

The schedule for the tournament is:
October 13
5:00 Puerto Rico vs. Jamaica
7:00 Guatemala vs. Dominican Republic
October 14
5:00 Guatemala vs. Puerto Rico
7:00 Jamaica vs. Dominican Republic
October 15
5:00 Guatemala vs. Jamaica
7:00 Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

La Bayadera ballet at the National Theater
The Alina Abreu Ballet School presents “La Bayadera” at the Carlos Piantini main hall at the National Theater from 13-15 October 2017. More than 100 dancers will be on stage for the performance of the ballet by Sergei Kuschelok and Marius Petipa inspired on two dramas of Indian poet Kalidasa.

Lead roles are by Alexander Duval (Solor), Allison García as Gamzatti, Lisandra Toro as Nikiya and Camila Hernandez as Tara. Scenography is by Fidel Lopez, lighting by Enmanuel Ferry and Bienvenido Miranda. Music is by Ludwig Minkus. The ballet was first presented in 1877 at the Bolshói Kámenny Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia.