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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 18 October 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 18 October 2017

    De la Rue unveils new Dominican passport design
    Ministry of Energy and Mines issues new rules
    Villa Altagracia city government fined for trash dump
    Duarte Institute celebrates tribute march today
    Ministry of Defense boosts security along the border
    A new program to enhance Dominican fruit and vegetable exports
    Different Ideas about billboards and debtors
    Dominican voters go independent
    Green March calls for nationwide protest on 29 October 2017
    New Papal Nuncio Ghaleb Mousa Abdalla Bader arrives
    Written statement by El Grande in Yuniol Ramirez murder case
    Yuniol Ramirez’s family says culprits are being left out of the murder case
    Onamet: Keep your umbrella handy
    The New York Band at Hard Rock Live
    Poetry Week in the Dominican Republic

    De la Rue unveils new Dominican passport design
    The British company, De la Rue took advantage of the 6th Dominican Week in the United Kingdom to present the new design for the Dominican electronic passport. De la Rue was awarded the contract for 500,000 machine-readable passport booklets for the Dominican Republic in January 2017. The new passport will be available in 2018.

    The new passport has imprints of the Bayahibe Rose (the national flower), the Cigua Palmera (the national bird - Dulus dominicus), the Rhinoceros Iguana (Cyclura cornuta) and the Limón Waterfall in northeastern Samaná.

    The director of Passports in the Dominican Republic, Ramon Rodríguez, said that the new passport
    incorporates state-of-the-art passport security technology. Dominican Ambassador, Federico Cuello Camilo, praised the newly designed Dominican passport.

    The event took place last week at Canning House in London sponsored by the Dominican Embassy in London and the British Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic.

    Ministry of Energy and Mines issues new rules
    The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) issued on 17 October 2017, three resolutions regarding mining concessions. The Ministry also established the obligatory certification of no-objection for the export of metallic and nonmetallic substances.

    The Ministry explains that these resolutions, based on Mining Law 146 -71, will enable the ministry to better structure the extraction of minerals until new and more advanced legislation is approved. The measures have been taken after the MEM had suspended the acceptance of new requests for mining concessions for six months and postponed the granting of new concessions for at least 90 days.

    The decision was taken in order to improve the regulations of the sector under the Mining Law currently in force and give the ministry time to present the legislative proposal that is needed to regulate the energy and mining sectors of the Dominican Republic.

    Resolution 48-2017 specifies the economic and financial requirements that must be addressed by those requesting new concessions to exploit mineral deposits as a way to guarantee that these deposits are really viable. The resolution also establishes a 25-year limit to any mining concession as well as a surface limitation of 5000 ha for any single concession and no more than 15,000 ha of concessions for a given entity or company. It also addresses the responsibility of the entities with concessions to cover damage caused by their activities and they must offer guarantees of mine closures at the end of any operation.

    Resolution 47-2017 institutes a precise set of rules for the disqualification of any current mining venture under the current Mining Law. This resolution names and expands the list of officials who may not request mining concessions for two years after they have left their jobs in the public sector. In addition, a person with ties to a mining concession must resign that position if appointed to a public post.

    Finally, Resolution 34-2017 calls for the obligatory certification of no-objection for the export of metallic or nonmetallic substances. The full body of these resolutions can be accessed on the ministry’s website.

    Villa Altagracia city government fined for trash dump
    Ministry of Environment fined the city government of Villa Altagracia with RD$2,302,875 for establishing a trash dump without minimal conditions. “It is not admissible that situations such as this continue in the country, that of an open sky garbage dumps without treatment for residual waters, without equipment, without minimal conditions to operate, threatening the health of the people,” said Environment Minister Francisco Domínguez Brito, in a Ministry of Environment press release.

    The Villa Altagracia trash dump is located less than 10 meters from Duarte Highway and causes visual and atmospheric contamination, says the Ministry.

    Resolution DJ-RAS-4-2017-0266 gives the city government of Villa Altagracia 60 days to close the dump and start operations at a controlled trash dump that is under construction following Ministry of Environment guidelines.

    Duarte Institute celebrates tribute march today
    The Duarte Institute is celebrating on 18 October 2017 a civic march to honor Juan Pablo Duarte, the founding father of the Dominican Republic. This comes after a well-known journalist, Alvaro Arvelo jr., smeared the memory of the patriarch during the popular morning news and commentary program “Gobierno de la Mañana” morning talk show last month. In the aftermath of his comments in a joust with historian Roberto Cassá, Alvaro Arvelo Jr was moved to resign from the show, and then was suspended for 20 days by the National Entertainment Commission (CNEPR).

    The march will include different personalities and representatives of major institutions beginning today at 9 o’clock at Duarte House in the Colonial City. José Joaquin Perez Saviñon will speak on Duarte. Masonic lodges, the Sons of Duarte, veterans of the 1965 revolution together with representatives of different educational centers will take part in the march.

    Ministry of Defense boosts security along the border
    The departure of the United Nations Stabilization Mission (Minustah) from Haiti has moved the Dominican Ministry of Defense to increase its presence along the border. The Minister of Defense, Lieutenant general Ruben Dario Paulino Sem, confirmed on 17 October 2017, that some 800 soldiers were added to the security force along the border.

    In July 2017, the police of Haiti and the Dominican Republic agreed to establish liaison officers in both countries to facilitate the exchange of information in order to fight criminal activity. Defense Minister Paulino Sem noted that the border had been reinforced before the withdrawal of the Minustah detachment.

    Last Sunday, 15 October, the Minustah ended its tour in Haiti that had lasted 13 years with a man force of 2,300 blue helmets.

    Beginning on Monday, 16 October, a new United Nations mission was established in Haiti and it is called the Mission To Support Justice in Haiti. It is composed of seven police units with some 295 officers that will be there for initial period of six months. The goal is to strengthen Haitian institutions together with the justice system and support Haitian police and protecting human rights.

    Haiti with some 11 million inhabitants has a police force of 15,000 officers and is working on the creation of a new Armed Forces starting with 500 new recruits.

    An immigration expert, Juan Manuel Rosario, told the Diario Libre, that the departure of the Minustah mission creates a need to strengthen border security because of the weakening of the internal controls inside Haiti in order to prevent that turbulent events in Haiti spill over to the Dominican Republic.

    A new program to enhance Dominican fruit and vegetable exports
    The Dominican Agribusiness Board (JAD) together with the Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP) announced on 17 October 2017 the launching in the Dominican Republic of the international program called “Fit for Market” that is focused on producing sustainable and competitive farm production. The program seeks to help producers access not only the local markets but also regional and international markets by producing clean, sustainable and healthy products.

    The Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP) is a civil society organization established to support the development of a sustainable competitive agriculture and agribusiness. COLEACP countries are implementing the Fit for Market Program. The specific objectives are to assist smallholder farmers, producer groups, farmer organizations, and small and medium enterprises (SME), to access international and domestic fruit and vegetable markets by complying with the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards and market requirements, in a sustainable framework.

    The project is the result of cooperation between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and will last for five years. The project has a budget of €25 million.

    Osmar Benitez, the executive president of the JAD, noted that the JAD Board is always on the lookout for new projects and programs that can be brought to the country to favor local farmers. Benitez issued an invitation to farmers of fruits and vegetables interested in this program to get in touch with the JAD.

    He also said that the program would be used to back farmers planting garlic in Cosntanza. He said that the country consumes 180,000 to 200,000 quintals of garlic a year and only produced 18,000 quintals last year, for around 10% of the demand. He has expectations the Fit for Market program can help reduce garlic imports.

    The Fit for Market program includes training sessions, certification programs, small producers support, programs for local support for farmers and technician visits among other things. Sustainable production is the principal focus of this program in an effort to increase production at the same time that the environmental impact is decreased.

    Different ideas about billboards and debtors
    Different opinions abound in Santiago regarding the order by Mayor Abel Martinez to publish on a huge billboard the first 10 names of the companies that the city claims owe millions to the city government in back taxes. Lawyers representing businesses are divided as to whether this was the right move or not, as reported in Diario Libre.

    The presidents of the Industrial and Commercial Association of Santiago (ACIS), Carlos Guillermo Nuñez and the Historical Center of Santiago, José Octavio Reynoso, criticized the billboard, saying it was perhaps not the best way to collect municipal taxes. Carlos Laura, a former president of the Merchants Association of the Historical Center of Santiago, said that the measure was a step in the wrong direction. He recommended that Mayor Abel Martinez change his style since it appears to be hurting local businesses. Lawyers José Dolores Jimenez and Ramon Estrella, who head professional associations in Santiago, also refused to support the public embarrassment of these companies.

    However, noted jurist Angel Julian Serulle said that Abel Martinez has the right to publish the names of those who are resisting paying city taxes. He went so far as to say the mayor could place an embargo on the companies’ assets if necessary.

    Diario Libre reported that of the 10 companies that the Ayuntamiento publicized as in arrears on the big billboard at the corner of Juan Pablo Duarte and Salvador Estella Sadhala, one has already been erased: Coca-Cola. A source at the Mayor’s office told the newspaper that as soon as the companies clear up their back taxes their names will be taken from the billboard.

    Dominican voters go independent
    A Mark Penn poll reveals that Dominicans have cooled off on political parties. 58% of those polled now say they are independent, 29% say they follow the ruling PLD, 9% the PRM, 3% the PRD and 1% the PRSC.

    This is the highest number of independents since the polls were first conducted in 1982. The US political pollsters say that the number of independents has increased from 36% in January 2017 to 58% today.

    The number of those that favor the ruling PLD party has dropped from 41% to 29%. The analysts say that the switch of voter party preference from being PLD supporters to being independent creates much volatility and uncertainty within the 2020 electoral panorama for the Dominican Republic.

    The poll numbers of self-proclaimed independents is 74% among those 18-24 years old that make up the largest voter segment in the country. This is up from 43% in April 2016. Only 15% of the 18-24 voters described themselves as PLD followers.

    Among a list of 14 political leaders, the Vice President Margarita Cedeño is the most popular with 70% favorable and 26% not favorable. Her favorability has increased 14 points since May 2016. That popularity has been maintained as in November 2012 it was 60/23 and in April 2013 51/31.

    President Danilo Medina is the second most popular politician with 66/31, although he has dropped 17 points since May 2016. In November 2012, his popularity was 54/24 and in April 2013 61/21. Santo Domingo Mayor David Collado of the PRM also has a high popularity: 56/24. Former PRM presidential candidate, Luis Abinader, is rated 51/39, but has risen 20 points since May 2016. In April 2013 he rated 18/61. Former President Leonel Fernández and president of the ruling PLD is 42% favorable and 56% not favorable, but has risen 11 points since May 2016. In 2013 and 2012 he was seen less favorably: 24/62 and 29/53. Former President Hipólito Mejía of the PRM is frowned upon, with just 32 favorable and 63 not favorable.

    The poll was carried out 30 September to 3 October 2017, with 1,000 persons polled. The margin of error is + – 3.1%.

    Green March calls for nationwide protest on 29 October 2017
    The Green March (Marcha Verde) group called on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 to all citizens and organized sectors of the country to participate in the Green Day or National Day of Mobilization that will be held on Sunday, October 29, in rejection of impunity. The Green March protests the unpunished participation of criminals and assassins at the helm of government departments and the lack of progress in the processing of criminals in the Odebrecht corruption case.

    The Green March is inviting all to wear green clothing or accessories and join the peaceful demonstrations that will be taking place in public spaces nationwide.

    Organizers on that day will be explaining to the population, especially young people, how corruption and impunity affect society and have kept the country in poverty and backwardness.

    "We are going to dress, identify our vehicles, our houses and our hearts with the green color, because we do not want to continue being led by thieves and thugs. We will dress the country green to make it clear that we do not give up, we do not get tired, we will not stop until the thieves of the OMSA, Odebrecht, Los Tres Brazos, Los Tucanos, Punta Catalina, CEA, OISOE and other instances are in jail and not in government, television or in election campaigns, "said Green March during a press conference.

    New Papal Nuncio Ghaleb Mousa Abdalla Bader arrives
    Bishop Ghaleb Mousa Abdalla Bader arrived to the Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo to take up his appointment as representative of The Vatican in the Dominican Republic. He was received by a delegation headed by the Dominican ambassador to the Holy See, Victor Grimaldi Cespedes, together with the secretary at the Nunciature, Father Alvaro Izurieta and ambassador America Ines Velazquez, the director of the department of European Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The auxiliary bishops of Santo Domingo, Benito Angeles, Jesus Castro and Faustino Burgos Brisman were also on hand to greet the new ambassador.

    According to sources on the Internet, Bishop Abdalla Bader Is also the Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan and is the Apostolic Delegate to Puerto Rico and the titular Archbishop of Mathara in Numidia. Born in Jordan he was ordained in 1975 and became a parish priest in Amman. Well-educated with a law degree from Damascus University, and a PhD from the Lateran Pontifical University in Rome, the new Papal Nuncio also has a doctorate in Church and Civil Rights. He speaks seven languages.

    Written statement by El Grande in Yuniol Ramirez murder case
    Santo Domingo prosecutors have released the written declaration by Jose Antonio Mercado Blanco (El Grande) accused of the murder of Yuniol Ramírez together with fugitive Argenis Contreras. Also accused is the former director of the state bus company, Omsa, Manuel Rivera, who, in statements to the press, has maintained his innocence. The prosecutors refer to Rivera as an author or accomplice in the crime of criminal association, kidnapping, murder and prevarication.

    State prosecutors say that Ramírez was developing a case of corruption against Rivera at the Omsa and had asked for RD$4 million to desist of the case.

    In the declaration to prosecutors, Mercado says that it was Contreras who fired the shot to the head that killed Ramirez as they were riding in a Ford Ranger pickup, property of Omsa, at Km 9 of the Duarte Highway. Mercado Blanco said that Contreras had been charge of purchasing at Omsa and then was made chief supervisor.

    In the statement, Mercado said that on the morning of Wednesday, 12 October 2017, together with Contreras they entered the UASD where they intercepted Ramírez forcing him into the pickup. Minutes later he was dead.

    Mercado Blanco had been working five years at the Omsa as the bus fleet supervisor based at the Omsa headquarters at Av. Prolongación 27 de Febrero in Las Caobas, Santo Domingo West.

    Read the statement by the defendant Mercado Blanco:

    Yuniol Ramirez’s family says culprits are being left out of the murder case
    The family of murdered UASD law professor Yuniol Ramirez complained that the Santo Domingo prosecutors have left out of the case businessman Eddy Rafael Santana Zorrilla and his wife. Ramón Ramírez, brother of the late Yuniol Ramirez, said that Manuel Rivas had asked the businessman to pay RD$1 million to Argenis Contreras González, to commit the murder, allegedly because he was being extorted. Yuniol Ramirez was carrying an anti-corruption case against the director of the Omsa. Contreras was accused by arrested Antonio Mercado Blanco as the person who fired the shot that killed Ramirez after both kidnapped the law professor at the state university UASD. Contreras is said to have left the country, and is a fugitive of justice.

    Earlier in 2013, Diario Libre had published a comprehensive story on allegations of corruption at the Omsa that was ignored by the state prosecutors at the time.

    Ramon Ramirez complained that the state prosecutors refer to Santana Zorrillo as a witness in the case, and excluded his wife or girlfriend, the person who delivered the RD$1 million. Ramirez said that his brother did not accept the RD$1 million and that was the reason for the murder.

    Ramón Ramírez says the prosecutors also plan to leave Faustino Rosario Diaz, a Police colonel employed in the financial department at OMSA, out of the case.

    Ramirez said that when Police investigators opened the vehicle of his brother that was parked in the UASD they found four mobile phones, including one with which he communicated with Rivas, but in the file they only reveal they found three of those phones. Ramirez said that his brother’s girlfriend said that Yuniol had a mobile phone that was long and white, that he used to communicate with Rivas. Ramirez said that the prosecutors are removing evidence.

    Ramirez family lawyer Irvin Cruz says the prosecutor Olga Dina Llaverias is staging a show to exclude part of those that have been accused. He said Rivas is still in the case because the evidence of the corruption scandal at Omsa is too strong. Manuel Rivas Medina is a member of the Central Committee of the ruling PLD party and was very active in securing the re-election of President Danilo Medina in 2016.

    “Now they reached an agreement with businessman Santana Zorrilla, but the agreement was not made by the prosecutors, rather by the government, because he was a financier of political campaigns," Ramirez said speaking together with lawyer Cruz on the La Super & en la Mañana talk show (107.7FM).

    Furthermore, El Dia reported that prosecutor investigations have revealed that employees of Omsa and businessman Eddy Rafael Santana Zorrilla met on seven occasions in October 2017 prior to the murder. The meetings were coordinated by Santana, an Omsa supplier, reportedly at the request of the cancelled director of Omsa, Manuel Rivas Medina, to negotiate with the deceased so that he desist of a case filed with the Superior Administrative Court (TSA) for corruption at Omsa.

    Onamet: Keep your umbrella handy
    The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) is forecasting more rains for the coming days because of low pressure area and tropical disturbances to the southeast of Hispaniola. There is a low pressure trough over parts of the northern section of the Dominican Republic and it will be augmented by the dominant trade winds from the southeast. Thunderstorms and sudden showers are expected throughout most of the country.

    Because of these rains, the Onamet is maintaining its advisory to be watchful for flash flooding in both urban and rural areas, particularly in the provinces of Hato Mayor, El Seibo, La Altagracia, San Pedro de Macoris, Monte Plata, Santiago, Dajabon, Santiago Rodriguez, Valverde, Duarte, Sanchez Ramirez and San Juan. Both San Cristobal and Greater Santo Domingo have been warned of possible localized urban flooding.

    The New York Band at Hard Rock Live
    The New York Band concert, “NYB Forever” will be live at Hard Rock Live of Blue Mall in Santo Domingo on Saturday, 28 October 2017. Showtime is at 10pm. The group is made up by Dominican residents in New York that have taken the catchy merengue to new levels, performing in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

    The show won the best show of the year award of the Soberano Awards, the Dominican show business academy. The group has revamped the show and returns to the stage of the Hard Rock Live for the performance. Tickets are for sale online at Ticket Express and at Hard Rock Live box office for RD$2,000 and RD$1,500.

    Poetry Week in the Dominican Republic
    The 6th International Poetry Week opens on Thursday, 19 October 2017 in Santo Domingo and will continue through 25 October with the participation of guest poets from abroad.

    The events begin with the launch of the poetry anthology “Il Fiore della poesia Latinoamericana d’oggi” by Italian writer Emilio Coco at the Casa de Italia in the Colonial City at 5pm, followed by a tribute to painter and writer Eugenio Fernández Grannel at the Museo Bellapart on Av. John F. Kennedy at 7:30pm.

    The formal opening of the poetry week is scheduled for 20 October at the Pedro Mir Library of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) at 5pm. A program of talks by around 30 poets and writers has been prepared to precede the opening. The keynote opening speech will be by UASD rector Iván Grullón.

    21 October, a Saturday this year, commemorates the National Day of the Poet, on occasion of the birthday of poet Salomé Ureña. For the celebration, a forum will take place at the Pedro Mir Library at the UASD starting at 9am. There will be poetry readings and recitals at the Centro León in Santiago and the Centro Perelló in Baní, both activities starting at 10am.

    The city of San Cristóbal will host international guest poets at 9am, with a recital at the Pomier Caves scheduled for 11am. In the afternoon there will be poetry readings at the Centro Cultural de las Telecomunicaciones in the Colonial City. On Monday, 23 October, there will be poetry readings at the Centro Cultural de España in the Colonial City at 9:30am, and at the Instituto Superior de Formación Docente Salomé Ureña at 11am. At 4pm, a stamp emission will commemorate the 100th year of the birthday of poet Carmen Natalia Ramírez Bonilla at the Consejo Universitario of the UASD.

    The UASD will also host several other events, including a tribute to poet Federico Jovine Bermúdez.
    The 6th International Poetry Week is coordinated by the UASD with the backing of Espacios Culturales and the Fundación Corripio.

    Invited poets are:
    Emilio Coco and Walter Raffaelli (Italy), Floriano Martins (Brazil), Leopoldo Teuco Castilla (Argentina), Manuel Orestes Nieto, Javier Alvarado (Panama), Mariella Nigro (Uruguay), Andrea Cote (Colombia), Ivonne Sánchez Barea, Nilton Santiago, Rodolfo Häsler, Pepo Paz and Verónica Aranda (Spain), Pedro López Adorno, Elizabeth Lara, Edgar Paiewonsky (USA), Nelson Cárdenas (Cuba, USA), Miguel Aníbal Perdomo (DR-USA), Vanessa Droz, Eugenio García Cuevas (Puerto Rico), Claudia Sierich (Venezuela/Germany), María Guadarrama (Mexico), Alfonso Quiñones (Cuba-DR), Samuel Gregoire (Haiti-DR), Jesús Losada (Spain-RD), Daniel Barúc (México), Gahston Saint Fleur (Haiti) and Ernest Pépin (Guadaloupe/France).
    Last edited by Dolores; 10-18-2017 at 09:20 AM.

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