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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 27 December 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 27 December 2017

    DGII announces new tax exemption levels for wages
    JCE defends right to name abandoned children
    COE reports 15 fatalities over Christmas weekend
    Odebrecht just won’t go away
    Hispaniola Hawk in danger
    Asonahores objects to new building codes
    Those with bad hangovers should seek hospital care, says Public Health
    Three-month pre-trial custody ordered to accused of raping Venezuelan
    Hurricane preparedness time is now
    Licey wins first game of the baseball round robin

    DGII announces new tax exemption levels for wages
    The Tax Agency (DGII) has published the tax exemption levels to be applied to wages and earnings in the Dominican Republic in 2018.

    These are:
    Earnings up to RD$416,220 a year are exempt. That breaks down to people making up to RD$34,685 a month will not pay income taxes.
    Earnings from RD$416,220.01 to RD$624,329.00 will pay 15% on the difference over RD$416,220.01.
    Earnings from RD$624,329.00 to RD$867,123.00 will pay RD$31,216.00 plus 20% on the difference over RD$624,329.00.
    Earnings from RD$867,123.00 and more will pay RD$79,776.00 plus 25% on the difference over RD$867,123.00.

    JCE defends right to name abandoned children
    The head of the Central Electoral Board, Julio Cesar Castaños Guzman, told reporters yesterday that it was certainly not the intention of the JCE to break any law in the case of their Resolution 03-2017 issued by the JCE on 23 May 2017. The resolution made a selection of last names to be assigned to abandoned children.

    Castaños Guzmán made it clear that the institution is willing to re-examine its procedures in these cases and encourages the submission of opinions and suggestions from institutions and individuals to uphold the societal rights and dignity of orphaned children.

    Castaños Guzman said that the JCE acted on the principle of the highest interest for the child. He said the current policies are based on language in international treaties that encourage a more open interpretation of the civil registry laws in cases of abandoned minors who are vulnerable in society because of their precarious legal status.

    To emphasize his point, Castaños Guzman noted that without last names they can not obtain an identification card (cédula), which means they have no opportunity to get married, to work, to benefit from Social Security, to study etc., or in other words, “they are excluded from being a person.”

    He says that the JCE currently has 261 open cases in which boys and girls, including adolescents, have been abandoned or have left orphanages and whose birth certificates only have their first names, with no known parents or last names. Without this critical information, it is impossible for the government to issue an ID card when these youth come of legal age.

    COE reports 15 fatalities over Christmas weekend
    The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) reported on Tuesday, 26 December 2017, that 15 persons died in traffic accidents over the Christmas holiday weekend. The agency offered these details during a press conference that presented the first report of their safety operation called “Christmas Happiness for your Values and Safety.”

    The COE registered 744 traffic accidents, of which 505 occurred in city streets and avenues and 239 happened on highways and freeways. The COE reported that motorcyclists were involved in 61% of all the road accidents. The COE noted that 455 of the accidents involved motorcycles, 244 involved light vehicles, four involved heavy vehicles and there were 41 pedestrians hit by moving vehicles. At the same time, 810 persons were injured including 14 fatalities caused by motorcycles. One pedestrian was hit by a car that was involved in an accident.

    The COE also reported that some 324 persons were treated for alcoholic intoxication, including 26 were minors between the ages of one and 17 years of age. According to the report, 26% of the accidents occurred in Santiago, while the National District (13%), Santo Domingo (12%), Puerto Plata (8%) and San Cristobal (6%) also reported accidents.

    Between the Public Works Highway Assistance vehicles, the AMET, and Civil Defense, there were 5,499 responses to incidences. Medical assistance was provided to 1179 individuals by authorities.

    Odebrecht just won’t go away
    The Odebrecht corruption scandal, perhaps the biggest story of this year 2017, stays in the news as business leader Antonio Taveras Guzman spoke out yesterday regarding the messages and actions by the government of the United States regarding the handling of the case. Taveras Guzman said that he felt that the US was seriously questioning the integrity of Dominican institutions and appeared to place doubt about the application of the rule of law in the country.

    According to the business leader, who is the president of the Association of Industries in Herrera, if the Dominican Republic had a truly functioning legal system that imposed sanctions in cases of unlawful behavior and if the Justice Department were truly independent, the people would not be suffering the consequences of shame and embarrassment of seeing foreign countries insinuating the weakness of the legal system in Dominican society in addressing one of the largest scandals in its entire history.

    Taveras Guzman said that the suspension of the travel visa and the freezing of assets in the United States of one of the accused (Angel Rondon Rijo) is a clear message to Dominican authorities concerning the apparent lack of rigorous administering of justice in the Dominican Republic. He said that the article published in a local newspaper by Robert Copley, the Charge d’ Affairs at the United States Embassy in Santo Domingo, was from start to finish a brief account of the scant institutional development of the country and portrays a lack of confidence in the local justice system.

    Taveras Guzmán also pointed out that the lack of confidence in the justice system serves to put a brake on private investment in the country that is necessary for economic growth and that creates unrest in the business sectors and among the companies already established in the DR. He noted that the article written by the acting US ambassador stressed that with the exception of the Dominican Republic, in all those countries where Odebrecht bribes were handed out, there have been clear and forceful legal consequences of these misdeeds, “while here the legal actions taken are more like a distraction than a case that is being seriously adjudicated in the courts.”

    Hispaniola Hawk in danger
    The Hispaniola hawk, also known as the Ridgway’s hawk, one of the nobler endemic species in the Dominican Republic, is on the American Ornithology Association’s list of highly endangered species.

    The recently published book “Birds and Colors” presented by the Inicia Group highlights that this important bird, with habitat primarily in Los Haitises in the northeast, is in danger of extinction. In 2000, birdwatchers only counted 300 of that species. Now, international experts working in Los Haitises have developed programs to protect the nests and the chicks.

    The book also stresses the role played by the Punta Cana Foundation, which is headed by Jake Kheel, to preserve the Hispaniola Hawk and how new measures have helped create conditions for new population in the area of the Punta Cana resort.

    The newly published book with great color illustrations by Alex Warwick also has photographs by Mario Davalos, Eladio Fernandez and others. It was edited by Yolanda Leon, Andrea Thomen, Simon Guerrero and James E. Goetz. “Aves y colores” is available at bookstores, such as Cuesta.

    Asonahores objects to new building codes
    The Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic (Asonahores) requested that the Ministry of Tourism reconsider its resolution that changes the height of buildings from 5 to 22 stories along the coastline of Macao, part of the Punta Cana tourist destination. According to the entity, this administrative measure “is absolutely null and void because it is contrary to the principles of legitimate trust and judicial security as laid out in Article 3 (numbers 15 and Costa Rica, Cuba, 18) of Law 107-13 that establishes the procedure for carrying out administrative norms.

    In their press communiqué, Asonahores points out that the appeal refers to resolution 002/2017 issued on 12 October 2017 and only published on 14 December.

    Asonahores considers the change in the construction height levels to be a radical departure of the development model that stresses low density and low heights of the buildings and that has successfully sustained the tourist offerings by the Dominican Republic. These building norms have been adopted in Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica and other countries including those in the Mediterranean.

    Asonahores suggests that the articles in question “demand prior knowledge and certainty of all of the norms and this is not fulfilled in this case because of the surprising increase in the height of buildings that will be permitted, which is something that ignores the 10-year plan that is contained in National Development Strategy Law 1-12.

    Those with bad hangovers should seek hospital care, says Public Health
    The rash of fatalities attributed to artisanally-concocted liquor, known as “cleren”, has moved the Ministry of Public Health to call on the population to immediately seek medical assistance if they are suffering from a strong hangover as the result of ingesting this home-brewed alcoholic potion. In fact, the Ministry has issued an Epidemiological Alert after at least three dozen persons have suffered serious effects and – at last count – 16 people have died.

    The clandestinely-made beverage is sold in colmados in low income neighborhoods nationwide. The Ministry of Public Health has intensified its efforts to publicize its concerns, especially among those residents along the border with Haiti. They urge the people to abstain from consuming this homemade alcoholic beverage.

    Dr. Hector Guerrero, the regional health director, indicated that as of 25 December 2017, at the regional teaching hospital in southwestern San Juan de la Maguana there was one person hospitalized for cleren intoxication who had been erroneously diagnosed as alcoholic intoxication.

    Poorly made cleren can contain a high concentration of methanol because of the distillation of some woods used as raw material or as aroma agents or even the adding of solvents with a high content of methanol as a substitute for ethanol.

    The Ministry notes that an early diagnosis and rapid intervention are important in order to avoid neurological consequences, blindness and death.

    There are few controls by regulators on the sale of the clandestine beverages. El Caribe reporters determined that cleren is sold in the same way as rice in National District colmados. El Nacional reporters said it is often served during wakes in low-income neighborhoods and villages.

    Three-month pre-trial custody ordered to accused of raping Venezuelan
    On Tuesday, 26 December 2017, Santiago court ordered three months pre-trial custody for Alexander Arias Tejada, Anthony Jose Gomez and Luis Manuel Matas Arias accused of raping Venezuelan Elba Gabriela Uribe Colins. On Saturday, 23 December, a Children’s Court had ordered three months custody to a 17-year old, for his participation in the same crime. The gang rape occurred on 9 December in Las Palomas, Licey al Medio in Santiago. The judiciary is on pursuit of five other men in the case.

    Hurricane preparedness time is now
    The DR1 Forum is one of the best sources for following hurricanes as they make their way to the island. But now, one of the members of the forum who has been working along side loss adjusters in the United States Virgin Islands that was hard hit by the hurricanes is urging people to take early actions to prepare for the 2018 Hurricane Season. Forecasters say it could bring the big storms back to the Caribbean.

    While most of the DR was spared the brunt of the 2017 storms, it could be hard hit in years to come and the time is now to correct construction deficiencies and take other measures to mitigate disaster. Many of these are discussed in the DR1 Forum thread.

    Read the tips and discussions at:

    Licey wins first game of the baseball round robin
    The Aguilas vs. Escogido game in the Quisqueya Ball Park in Santo Domingo on 26 December 2017 was suspended for rain, but the Licey defeated the Gigantes 4-3 in the Julian Javier Ball Park in San Francisco de Macoris at the start of the round robin of the Dominican Professional Baseball Championship. The games continue through Tuesday, 16 January 2018 by when the playoff teams will be decided. Sports writers say there is no favorite this year to win the tournament.

    The games are being 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.
    Last edited by Dolores; 12-27-2017 at 09:59 AM.

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