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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Tuesday, 26 December 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Tuesday, 26 December 2017

    Methanol in Cleren kills many in border provinces
    Traffic accidents up for Christmas
    Maintenance on city tunnels in Santo Domingo
    Expect Punta Catalina power plant to be sold in 2018
    Marcha Verde convenes peaceful protest for 28 January 2018
    US makes public removal of Odebrecht rep’s travel visa
    Venezuelan capo used DR to launder drug money
    DNCD seizes 499 packages of suspected cocaine
    Baby Astrid continues to recover: a success story
    Baseball championship resumes on 26 December 2017
    Vuelta Independencia set for 22-27 February 2018
    Jazz en Dominicana celebrates 8th anniversary
    Ocoa Bay invites to celebrate the New Year’s

    Methanol in Cleren kills many in border provinces
    The Ministry of Public Health is alerting the public, especially those living in border areas with Haiti, to watch for acute intoxication from drinking “cleren”, “triculí” and “tafiá,” an alcoholic beverage artisanally-made in Haiti.

    In a press conference called on Monday, 25 December 2017, the Ministry of Public Health revealed that 33 people have been hospitalized for acute intoxication after drinking “cleren” contaminated with methanol. It is reported that 12 people had died of “cleren” poisoning as of the morning of the 25th.

    It is believed that others have died due to “claren” intoxication, but these victims have not yet been identified. Among the victims is a man who had been at the wake of one of the first persons who had died from the intoxication in Pedro Santana, Elias Piña. The intoxication has affected persons living in the provinces of Elías Piña, Santiago, Dajabón and San Juan de la Maguana.

    Health officials urge the public not to consume artisanal alcoholic beverages. They also advised that any person experiencing headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, sleepiness, nausea or blurred vision visit the closest hospital immediately. The symptoms of cleren poisoning can be confused with the effects of intoxication from the overconsumption of other common alcoholic beverages.

    The Ministry of Public Health officers say the authorities are carrying out efforts to seize the contaminated alcoholic beverages and step up measures to prevent their entering the country. There have been no arrests so far related to the contaminated beverages. A campaign is being carried out over the radio in the border area in both Creole and Spanish to alert the population to the dangers of the popular drinks being adulterated. They alerted the people to be wary of any drink that does not have a sanitary registration.

    In the statement, the Ministry of Public Health says that what is known is that in some cases the cleren ingested by the affected persons was purchased in the community of Los Cacaos of the municipality of Du Centre in Haiti, in others it was purchased from people who sell it at their homes, and in others, it was consumed at border towns.

    Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, has highly toxic and can cause metabolic acidosis, neurologic sequelae, and even death, when ingested. It is a constituent of many commercially available industrial solvents and adulterated alcoholic beverages.

    Traffic accidents up for Christmas
    Amaury Garcia, the director of the Ney Arias Lora Trauma Hospital in Santo Domingo North, said that the number of road traffic accident patients attended to over the weekend had doubled compared to last year. He said normally 20 to 30 patients are seen for traffic incidents at the hospital, but that on Saturday, 23 December 2017 alone they had received 60 cases.

    The physician advised against drinking and driving. He said those that drive under the influence are putting their lives and those of others in danger. The Ministry of Interior & Police for the Christmas holidays revoked the curfew on drinking.

    Among the deaths over the Christmas holiday was Engels del Orbe, editor of the CDN Sports Max TV program. He died as a consequence of the collision with another vehicle that in turn had been hit by a SUV at the intersection of Tiradentes and Roberto Pastoriza. Del Orbe reportedly died of a heart attack, shortly after arriving to the hospital after the accident.

    Statistics for the Christmas holidays were not released by the Center for Emergency Operations that said these would be compiled and reported in a press conference on Tuesday, 26 December 2017. El Dia protested the authorities holding back the information.

    Maintenance on city tunnels in Santo Domingo
    The Ministry of Public Works announced that as of Tuesday, 26 December, and through Friday, 29 December 2017, several tunnels and overpasses in Greater Santo Domingo will be closed to traffic for repairs and servicing.

    Traffic will be suspended on those days in the evenings as of 10:30pm to 5am in both directions on the Expreso V Centenario with Av. San Martín overpass.

    On Wednesday, 27 December, in both directions, the overpass at Autopista 30 de Mayo, near Km. 12 of the Santo Domingo-San Cristobal highway will be shut down.

    On Thursday, 28 December, maintenance works will continue on the underpass at Av. John F. Kennedy and Av. Máximo Gómez.

    On Friday, 28 December, traffic in both directions will be shut down on the Las Americas Expressway.

    Expect Punta Catalina power plant to be sold in 2018
    As part of the 2018 National Budget Law, the Medina administration included an authorization to the Executive Branch to sell shares or capital participation of the government in companies or projects that surpasses no more than 5% of the non-financial sector public debt, or approximately IS$1.453.7 million, given that the non-financial public debt is at US$29,074 million as of October 2017, as reported in Diario Libre. Article 10 of the National Budget containing this provision had been contested by opposition legislators Faride Raful and Francisco Paulino because of its lack of specifics.

    Economist Jose Rijo Presbot speculates the only project of such magnitude is the Punta Catalina thermoelectric power plant. The construction at the power plant has recently been affected by demands by Odebreht for an US$708 million to complete the contracted work.

    On 30 November 2017, in a presentation of the budget to legislators, the director of the National Budget Luis Reyes had said that the plan was for the government to partially divest itself of Punta Catalina thermoelectric power plant once the construction is completed and the plant is in operation, as reported in Diario Libre.

    Marcha Verde convenes peaceful protest for 28 January 2018
    The civic movement Green March (Marcha Verde) is calling for a Sunday, 28 January 2018, march on the intersection of Av. Mexico with Calle 30 de Marzo in front of the Presidential Palace. The march will take place beginning at 9am. The group said that the list of actions to be taken in 2018 will be announced at the conclusion of the January march.

    A press release of the group says that the gathering is to commemorate the birthday of founding father Juan Pablo Duarte and the anniversary of the first Marcha Verde demonstrations that seek an end to impunity for administrative corruption-linked crimes. “We urge all protestors to dress in green and go with their families to express the public’s irreversible demand to end the regime of corruption and impunity that has our country has been subjected to, resulting in a political and institutional quagmire. 2018 will be the year of the citizens’ triumph against corruption and this march will send a clear message to the government," read the Green March statement

    US makes public removal of Odebrecht rep’s travel visa
    Angel Rondon, self-described as the commercial representative for the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, confirmed to El Dia over the Christmas holidays that his US visa has been revoked.

    While unusual, the US government has issued a statement indicating that the visa had been cancelled and the reason for this. The US government published online that the visa of Angel Rondon was removed in his two Dominican passports that were issued in 2015 and expire in 2021 for the accusation of corruption levied on him in the judiciary. Rondon has denied he is an officer of the Dominican government. Rondon is included in the executive order on 20 December 2017, blocking the property of persons involved in serious human rights abuses and corruption.

    Rondon acknowledged he received an amount similar to the US$92 million Odebrecht admitted paying in bribes in the Dominican Republic. However, Rondon has denied his compensation had anything to do with a bribe. He has insisted the money was for fees in payment of his services in assisting Odebrecht to get contract work from the Dominican government.

    The US Embassy in the Dominican Republic issued a note on 21 December 2017:

    “Today, together with the President and the Department of the Treasury, the Department of State took action against persons who have committed serious human rights abuses and engaged in corruption. Included in these actions was a Dominican, Angel Rondon Rijo. This action allows for the imposition of visa restrictions and blocks access to the US financial system.

    “The Department of State is committed to promoting and protecting human rights and combatting corruption with all the resources at its disposal. The actions taken today, combined with other US efforts, continue to advance a world order that reflects our values and enhances the security of the United States. Today’s actions demonstrate the willingness of the U.S. to continue to pursue tangible and significant consequences for persons that commit serious abuses of human rights or corruption”

    The action indicates that all property and interests in property of the affected individuals that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.

    Rondon commented to local reporters that his access to the US financial system has been suspended for the same reasons. Rondon says he has no assets in the United States, with the exception of a bank account to pay for his credit card US dollar charges.

    In an interview in Diario Libre published on 21 December, Rondon insisted that that he had a commercial representation contract with Odebrecht since 2001 and he had billed for fees of US$102 million, of which he had been paid US$83 million. Rondon said he would sue the company for the remainder in the United States where Odebrecht still had contract work underway. There nothing has happened, Odebrecht only was corrupt in other countries, not in the United States,” he told Diario Libre.

    He told the Diario Libre reporter that US Consul Channy Magger had called him to notify him of the cancelled visa. He said depending on the results of the legal case against him, he could request the visa again.

    Rondon said that the decision is “untimely” because the case is still pending in Dominican courts. Nevertheless, he said the case puts pressure on Dominican justice.
    The Attorney General Office is scheduled to present formal charges against 14 persons that were served pre-trial measures. In its presentation for the pre-trial measures, the Attorney General Office based itself on observations made by Odebrecht officers in Brazil.

    Coinciding with the release of information that Angel Rondon’s visa had been cancelled, acting ambassador of the United States in the Dominican Republic, Robert Copley, published an opinion piece in the Listin Diario titled: “A Step Forward to Fight Corruption.” He gives background on the Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 enacted in 2012 to prevent that corrupt Russian officers use the US financial system to launder their illicit earnings. The removal of the visa to Angel Rondon is based on this act. It also bans US citizens or US residents from having dealings with the persons that are listed.

    In his opinion piece, Copley writes:
    “All too often, the abuse of human rights and committing acts of corruption are overlooked. Around the world there are democratic and judicial institutions that are weak, that have no independence or that it is difficult, if not impossible, to fight the powerful economic and political elite that commit these crimes. The actions of the US government show that we will not remain silent in the face of impunity.

    “In this region, the Odebrecht case has promoted important advances in many countries in the fight against corruption. In the United States, our investigation of that case continues. The statement made by the US government yesterday focuses attention on these acts, imposes significant and real consequences on the perpetrators and serves as a warning to others.”

    Venezuelan capo used DR to launder drug money
    El Dia reports that the Venezuelan drug capo, 44-year old Yoel Antonio Palmar Vergel, arrested in Colombia, used the Dominican Republic as the bridge to transport drugs to Europe and the United states and also to launder drug money.

    He had purchased large properties in the Dominican Republic to launder the money, including the Malecon Casino Palace in the Malecon Center on the Malecon. Recent investigations show that he bribed the security force at Dominican airports to carry out his operations. The Malecon Casino Palace was shut down by the Ministry of Hacienda on 21 December 2017. It had been operating since 2015. The top officers of the casino were Yoel Antonio Palmar himself and Jaime Sued Pichardo. It operated as Mi Llanura SRL. The same company has other gambling operations in other locations in Santo Dmingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Vega, Punta Cana, Tamboril (Santiago), San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana, as reported in El Dia.

    El Universal newspaper of Venezuela reports that the drug network that operated from Colombia via Venezuela to the Dominican Republic was headed by Yoel Palmar. The new Venezuelan prosecutor accused his predecessor, Luisa Ortega Diaz, of protecting Palmar from judicial investigations. He said she ordered that investigations not continue in any case in which Palmar was involved.

    DNCD seizes 499 packages of suspected cocaine
    The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) reported the seizing of 499 packages of white powder substance suspected of being cocaine on Friday, 22 December 2017, off the eastern coast of the La Altagracia province. Santo Domingo.

    The drugs were intercepted inside a speed boat that was pursued by units of the Air Force (FARD), Armada (ARD) and land forces of the DNCD. The DNCD announced two foreigners were detained as the investigation continues.

    The drugs were sent to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (Inacif) for testing.

    Baby Astrid continues to recover: a success story
    Baby Astrid continues to recover after her heart operation at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    Her parents reported that the little girl who was born with a congenital heart disease on 10 October 2017, spent her first Christmas without breathing tubes. The baby was operated on 13 November after traveling to Boston with her parents on 10 November.

    Her parents reported she was entertaining herself watching cartoons on the TV.

    Mom Loraine Gomez told Listin Diario reporters that the improved health of their baby girl was their best gift for Christmas. “The recovery of Astrid is a miracle that should convey to Dominicans all around the world that there is love, unity and hope,” said a relative.

    Baseball championship resumes on 26 December 2017
    The Dominican Winter Professional Baseball Championship continues on Tuesday, 26 December 2017, with the participation of the Gigantes del Cibao, Leones del Escogido, Aguilas Cibaeñas and Tigres del Licey in a round robin short series. This list is in the order they finished the regular season. The two southeastern teams – Estrellas Orientales and Toros del Este—were eliminated.

    Games are scheduled starting Tuesday, 26 December 2017 through Tuesday, 16 January 2018. The games will be played at the Quisqueya Ball Park, the Cibao Ballpark in Santiago and the Julian Javier Ball Park in San Francisco de Macoris.

    The playoffs will then be scheduled to decide the Dominican Representative in the Caribbean Series that starts 2-8 February 2018 in Jalisco, Mexico with the participation of Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

    Vuelta Independencia set for 22-27 February 2018
    The President of the Dominican Cycling Federation, Jorge Blas Diaz, announced that the Vuelta Independencia will take place 22-27 February 2018. The most important cycling event in the Caribbean, the event takes cyclists from around the world on panoramic routes all throughout the nation. The competition this year has been shortened to six stages, instead of the eight last year. He said there will be race routes to the south, east, Samana (northeast), Puerto Plata, Moca to Santiago and Constanza.

    He announced that teams from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, France, Martinique, Guadaloupe, United States and Holland have already confirmed their participation. He said from the DR seven teams will participate, for around 130 to 150 competitors in total.

    Jazz en Dominicana celebrates 8th anniversary
    Jazz en Dominicana is celebrating the 8th anniversary of Fiesta Sunset Jazz with the Friday, 29 December 2017, concert by Alex Diaz & Santo Domingo Afrojazz – Merengue Organico. The 8th anniversary marks the staging of 388 jazz, blues, bossa concerts in Santo Domingo. More than 280 musicians and singers from all around the country and abroad have participated in the concerts.

    Musicians and fans have come from Haiti, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Curacao, Aruba, Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Holland, Denmark, Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Canada and the United States to appreciate the high standard music of the presentations.

    Enjoy the jazz-merengue music on Friday, 29 December with the participation of percussionist Alex Diaz, Gustavo Rodríguez (piano); Daroll Méndez (base); Ronald Feliz (saxophone); Miguel Montás (drums); and crooner Gustavo de Hostos.

    Ocoa Bay invites to celebrate the New Year’s
    Ocoa Bay is inviting the public to celebrate New Year’s at their club facilities in Palmar de Ocoa from 9pm. The 31 December 2017 event includes a RD$package dancing, buffet dinner and cup of champagne for RD$1,536, including taxes and legal tip. Reservations need to be made by no later than 26 December by calling Tel 849 876-6563
    Last edited by Dolores; 12-26-2017 at 10:59 AM.

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