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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Monday, 4 December 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Monday, 4 December 2017

    DR, US and Caricom agree to work together to fight crime
    Christmas decorations at the Presidential Palace
    Venezuelan government and the opposition agree to continue talks on 15 December
    Dominican mail agency signs with USPS to track mail
    Indotel approves Altice merge
    Chamber of Accounts says JCE needs to pay Indra for vote counting equipment
    Miguel Vargas reelected to preside PRD for 4 more years
    Foro Zack focuses on financing climate change projects
    Health providers make the biggest chunk of cash in health system
    RD$4.8 billion sold in Popular Car Fair over the weekend
    Migration lawyer injured by former spouse
    Small plane crash lands on Cibao International runway
    Musicians Diego Ureña and Carlos Fabré win full scholarships to Berklee
    Brazadas por Valores at Body Shop
    Baseball Championship update

    DR, US and Caricom agree to work together to fight crime
    Representatives of the Dominican Republic, the United States and Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries signed the Joint Statement for the 7th Dialogue on Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation. The signing took place at the closing of the two-day dialogue that took place on 29 and 30 November 2017 at the Ministry of Foreign Relations convention center in Santo Domingo.

    The joint statement is a commitment of the countries to work in 2018 to reduce all types of illicit trafficking, advance public security, promote social justice and welcome the necessary international cooperation to achieve these objectives.

    After two days of discussions, the representatives of security agencies of the participating countries promised to fight against transnational criminal and terrorist organizations, curb the smuggling of goods, migrants and human trafficking, as well as improve citizen security, border security and implement a regional maritime strategy.

    The meetings brought together over 200 officials from security agencies of the Dominican Republic, Caricom and US experts to discuss strategies to fight transnational crime under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) begun under the Barack Obama administration in 2010. Representatives came from Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia and Suriname and the United States.

    Christmas decorations at the Presidential Palace
    President Danilo Medina, First Lady Candida Montilla and their family were present for the lighting of the Christmas tree and Nativity Scene at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday, 27 November 2017. Also present was Vice President Margarita Cedeño. The decorations included this year crowns made of recycled plastic bottles.

    Attending were most of the cabinet ministers. Among these: Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo and Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ramon Peralta and his wife Patria Abreu. Defense Minister Lieutenant General Ruben Paulino Sem and Interior and Police Minister Carlos Amarante Baret, and Police director Major General Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte were present. Also Education Minister Andres Navarro, Culture Minister Pedro Verges; Women Minister Janet Camilo; Youth Minister Robiamny Balcacer. Also Minister for Regional Integration Policies Miguel Mejía, Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez, National Treasurer Alberto Perdomo; National Controller Daniel Omar Caamaño, among others.

    The blessing was by Father Geraldo Ramírez Panigua, the liaison between the government and the Roman Catholic Church.

    A children’s choir, Coro Armonía Kids, sung Christmas carols for the event.

    Venezuelan government and the opposition agree to continue talks on 15 December
    President Danilo Medina announced that a follow up meeting with the participation of Venezuelan government and opposition leaders would take place in Santo Domingo on 15 December 2017. This would be the third meeting in Santo Domingo of the Venezuelan political factions. A first meeting was held in Santo Domingo on 13 September 2017.

    The groups met for two days of talks (1-2 December 2017) with President Medina, former Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas as facilitators at the convention center of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

    “Government representatives and opposition leaders have declared significant advances in the search for an agreement for a peaceful solution to the crisis,” said Medina. He said there were agreements on six points and firm goodwill to advance in the talks.

    The president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, opposition leader Julio Borges and the minister for Communication and Information of Venezuela Jorge Rodríguez reaffirmed the positions they have maintained in the talks. Borges said he will continue to defend the rights of Venezuelans to health and food security and continued to insist that free elections be held. Rodriguez said it was an achievement that the opposition agreed to attend the talks. He praised the role of the foreign ministers of Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Nicaragua and host Dominican Republic that participated, calling them friends of the peace in Venezuela.

    Participating for the government of Venezuela were Jorge Rodriguez, Communications Minister and Delcy Rodriguez, president of the Asamblea Constituyente. The participants for the opposition in the talks have been: Julio Borges, deputy Luis Florido, Vicente Diaz, former rector of the National Electoral Council, Ana Leonor Acosta of the Committee of Relatives of Political Prisoners, and Alonso Medina Roa, of the Penal Forum.

    Dominican mail agency signs with USPS to track mail
    The Dominican Postal Institute (Inposdom) and the US Postal Service (USPS) signed an agreement when meeting in Uruguay to increase levels of security and efficiency in the mail between both countries. Signing were Modesto Guzman, executive director for Inposdom and Franca Davis, managing director for global business at USPS. The agreement calls for the exchange of customs data.

    Guzman explained that the flow of information will facilitate the mail to and from both territories, allowing authorities to identify and track any shipments that could represent a threat. He said the new high tech conventions seek to proactively prevent crime through the mail services despite this threat being “minimal,” said Guzman.

    Also present at the signing for USPS were Lea Emerson, executive director, International Postal Affairs; Jimmy Ortiz, manager, International Postal Relations; and Tiffany Roman Biffa, International Postal Affairs specialist. Also present was Greg Thome, director of the Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies [IO/STA], Bureau of International Organization Affairs [IO], of the United States Department of State.

    Indotel approves Altice merge
    Altice chief executive officer Martin Roos has said he is pleased with the conditions established in Resolution No. 77-17 by the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) upon authorizing the merge of Orange and Tricom in the Dominican Republic. The resolution authorized Altice keep the 30 megahertz spectrums each that had been already authorized to Orange and Tricom.

    Roos said that in 2014 when Altice completed the purchase of both companies US$225 million in taxes were paid to the government for the sale of the shares and they from day one had told Indotel about the intention to merge both companies.

    Resolution No. 77-17 establishes that the company invest RD$625 million to guarantee the expansion over a three-year period of wide bandwidth mobile service in the southern provinces -- Bahoruco, Barahona, Dajabón, Elías Piña and Pedernales. Altice will also make a three-year contribution of RD$4 million per year to the Indotel/ITLA Academic Excellence fund. The company also commits to install 600 public wi-fi points throughout a three year period in places chosen by Indotel.

    Roos told Diario Libre that the merge now puts the company in a competitive position with Claro, the market leader. Grupo Altice has 41% of mobile phone service, and 20-25% of fixed lines, Internet and cable TV.

    Chamber of Accounts says JCE needs to pay Indra for vote counting equipment
    The Chamber of Accounts of the Dominican Republic recommended the Central Electoral Board pay the arrears with the Spanish company Indra Sistemas that supplied electronic vote counting equipment for the 2016 general election. The equipment that would have operated on the day of the 2016 election cost taxpayers US$35,266,003.

    Back in 2016, then president of the JCE had defended the high cost of purchase instead of a rental saying that the equipment would be rented out to other central electoral boards in the region to recover its cost. In reality, the equipment failed to serve its purpose with most of the votes having to be manually counted. The equipment has never been rented out. It also has incurred high storage costs for the JCE.

    As reported, the board of the Chamber of Accounts on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 approved the final report (Resolution AUD-2017-032) on the special investigation carried out into the differences between Indra and the Central Electoral Board (JCE). Indra claims a debt of US$13,927,931. The report established that the main officers of the JCE acted within the constitutional, legal, and within the rules and norms for public fund administrators.

    The resolution was signed by Hugo Francisco Álvarez Pérez, president of the Chamber; Félix Álvarez Rivera, member; Margarita Melenciano Coporán, member and Carlos Tejada Díaz, secretary of the board.

    The opinion from the Chamber of Accounts had been requested by the new board at the JCE after officers of the IT department said that the equipment could not be used for the 2020 election.

    Listin Diario reported that in a letter sent by the financial director of the JCE states that the 2016 used up all the resources allotted by the central government for that election and that the JCE does not have the US$14 million to pay the debt. “We expect the Dominican government to provide the funds to meet this commitment.” The letter is dated 16 May 2017.

    Miguel Vargas reelected to preside PRD for 4 more years
    Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Vargas was reelected president of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) for four more years during the 34th Extraordinary Convention of the party held on Saturday, 2 December 2017. During the assembly, several articles in the bylaws of the party were modified.

    Vargas in 2016 chose to back President Danilo Medina so the later could have the sufficient congressional votes to change the 2010 Constitution so he could run for reelection. Dissident party members split to form the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), today the leading opposition party.

    Others elected were Peggy Cabral, acting president. Cabral at the present is Dominican ambassador in Italy. Also elected was Francisco Antonio Peña Guaba as secretary general, Rafael (Fiquito) Vasquez as national organization secretary; Jose Neney Cabrer, national executive president and Yunior de los Santos, as vice president and president of the joint commission.

    As reported, 5,325 delegates participated, making up 88.75% of the enrollment of 6,000 that were convened.

    Rafael Suberví Bonilla, former mayor of Santo Domingo and minister of tourism, was chosen to direct the party in the National District.

    Foro Zack focuses on financing climate change projects
    Foro Zack 2017 will be held in Santo Domingo at the Hotel Catalonia on the Malecón from 5-6 December 2017. The International Forum for Financing to Implement Policies and Mitigation and Adaptation Policies for Climate Change event seeks to share information on the existing options for climate change financing and mechanisms to access these.

    The forum seeks to increase the level of debate between public and private sectors on how climate change is an opportunity to finance a more resilient national development. There will be workshops to help participants become familiar with financing for mitigation and climate adaptation projects that can result in significant local changes.

    Coordinator for the event is Ernesto Reyna, vice president of the National Council for Climate Change and the Clean Development Mechanism.

    Health providers make the biggest chunk of cash in health system
    A report in Diario Libre, based on a new study on the health care providers’ role in the health system in the Dominican Republic, criticized the present model, concluding that it focuses on treating illnesses, while lending scant attention to preventing illnesses.

    Economist Airon Fernandez Gil, of the Fundacion Juan Bosch that carried out the study, said that the leading health care companies and politicians know full well that the money is made when people are sick, not when there are less people getting sick. The report presented by the Fundacion Juan Bosch looks into the high profitability of the system for health providers, known as ARS in the Dominican Republic. These had declared profits of RD$891.1 million a year.

    The researcher said that the country spends around 5.8% of GDP in health, but of that total the government only contributes 1.4%, with the rest coming from insurance and individual spending. He said public hospitals are suffering continue deterioration, while the private ARS are taking in the monthly payments made by employers and workers handling more than RD$168 billion in the past 10 years and over RD$24 billion (US$519 million) in profits over this time.

    He called the industry parasitical because the ARS do not provide health, are not patients, are not doctors, are not clinics nor manufacture medicines to be making the bulk of the profits.

    RD$4.8 billion sold in Popular Car Fair over the weekend
    The Popular Bank Group announced vehicle sales for RD$4.8 billion over the weekend. This is 12% more than during the same event held last year. The bank is financing 3,857 new vehicles that will enter circulation nationwide. The average financing was for RD$1.3 million. The bank reports that the most sold vehicles were SUVs. The event was held from 30 November to 3 December 2017 at the parking lot of the Torre Popular.

    In the Dominican Republic it is easier to get a loan for a vehicle than a loan for an industry or business.

    Migration lawyer injured by former spouse
    The latest headline news story on female violence is that of a migration lawyer who suffered multiple serious knife wounds when attacked by her former spouse in the Barrio Hazim of southeastern San Pedro de Macoris. 28-year old Anibel González Ureña was attacked and injured by Yamiro Oscar Fernández (Ray), owner of the Mega Muebles furniture and appliance store in San Pedro de Macoris. She was hospitalized on Saturday, 2 December 2017 in the evening to the Centro Medico Macorix. Reports are that Fernandez injured the woman in front of their two daughters.

    Small plane crash lands on Cibao International runway
    There were no injuries reported after an abrupt rough landing of a small mono motor airplane on the Cibao International Airport runway. However, the airplane HI885 suffered damage to its fuselage. Santiago González, spokesperson for the airport, said the authorities would issue a report on the accident. The accident did not affect the normal flight operations at the airport. The airplane is owned by the Zooherga Aviation School at the airport.

    Musicians Diego Ureña and Carlos Fabré win full scholarships to Berklee
    Diego Ureña Santana, a guitarist from the National District (Santo Domingo) won the prestigious Michel Camilo Presidential Scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Carlos Fabré, an electric bass musician also from the National District won the Berklee College of Music full tuition scholarship for the four-year undergraduate program.

    The winners of the Michel Camilo Scholarship Competition were chosen on Saturday, 2 December 2017 at the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo. The total awards were for US$1,152,000 in 13 awards. The announcement was made following a three-day clinic on performance, composition, and music technology for local students taught by Berklee faculty and guest artist Camilo.

    The Michel Camilo Scholarship is a full scholarship opportunity awarded to one gifted instrumental musician, either Dominican-born or of Dominican descent, who is accepted to Berklee for the upcoming year. The Michel Camilo Scholarship covers the cost of tuition, room, and board, and is renewable over four years of study. This scholarship is donated by Sandra and Michel Camilo, Trustee Emeritus Mike Dreese, and many friends of the Camilos. Berklee College of Music has presented its matching full scholarship recognizing the abundance of local music talent.

    In addition to Ureña and Fabré, 11 other students received scholarships to Berklee College of Music, including seven partial tuition scholarships and four won scholarships for the five-week summer performance program.
    The winners of the partial tuition scholarships were:
    The winners of the partial tuition scholarships were:
    Sheldon Martínez Sandoval from Puerto Plata (drums)
    Juan Garcia Tuba fro the National District (tuba)
    Rony Khoury from the National District ()
    Diego Méndez from Santo Domingo West (guitar)
    Loreng Salcedo de Castro from Santo Domingo (voice)
    Francis Peña Almonte from Santo Domingo West (drums)
    Geann Mendez from the Santo Domingo Colonial City (cello)

    The four winners of the five-week summer performance program were funded by US$36,000 by an anonymous donor. These were:
    John Martez Melenciano from San Cristóbal (trumpet)
    Maria del Rosario Fernández from La Vega (violin)
    Jacinto Lachapel Mercedes from Santo Domingo Norte (piano)
    Laura Montero Mendez from the National District/Santo Domingo (flute).

    Brazadas por Valores at Body Shop
    From 8-9 December 2017, the Body Shop Gym is hosting the annual Brazadas por Valores swimathon. Companies pay for each meter swum over a 24-hour period. In 2016, 1,753,550 meters were swum in 24 hours. The event is organized by the Fundacion Palabra & Vida and the Fundacion Body Shop, its owners Anthony Bernal and Noris Rodriguz and Monsignor Victor Masalles, Bishop of Bani. Funds are gathered for causes supported by Monsignor Victor Masalles. Tickets to watch the event are RD$200 at the door.

    The swimming is carried out as a 24-hour relay with six persons in each lane as of Friday, 8 December at 6pm through Saturday, 9 December at 6pm at the rooftop pool of the Body Shop Athletic Club in Naco.

    See more information at:

    Baseball Championship update
    The Estrellas Orientales of San Pedro de Macoris resumed their leadership of the Dominican Winter Professional Baseball Championship. The Estrellas are the team to have been the most days in first place. The Estrellas are now leading with 21 wins and 16 losses.

    Very close is the Aguilas Cibaeñas team of Santiago with 20 wins and 17 losses, and the Gigantes del Cibao of San Francisco de Macoris with 20 wins and 18 losses. But the capital city teams of the Leones del Escogido and the Tigres del Licey are close enough to still be able to make the final four cut off. The Leones are 19-19, and the Tigres are 18-20. The Toros del Este have the worst record with 15 wins and 23 losses.
    Check out the next games at:
    Follow the league standings at
    Last edited by Dolores; 12-04-2017 at 10:38 AM.

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