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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 1 February 2018

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 1 February 2018

    DR1 Daily News next update on 5 February 2018
    Minister of Industry & Commerce: Exports could reach RD$10 billion
    Ministry of Foreign Relations on the 5th round of talks
    President Medina declares Yaque cleanup a national priority
    Ruben Jiménez Bichara: Punta Catalina to begin service in 2018
    Public Works patrols help 5,000 over Duarte long weekend
    Pilgrim from San Juan reaches San Cristobal to protest GoldQuest mining
    Thousands still stranded by PAWA shutdown
    Trujillo’s grandson signs with political party
    Four communities still cut off by Yuna River
    Aguilas fans celebrate

    DR1 Daily News next update on 5 February 2018
    The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 5 February 2018. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the Forums. See the DR1 Forum at

    Minister of Industry & Commerce: Exports could surpass RD$10 billion
    Industry & Commerce Minister Nelson Toca Simó said on Tuesday, 30 January 2018, that the government expects exports to surpass the benchmark of US$10 billion in 2018. In a press release from the Ministry, the minister said that exports in 2016 were US$8.8 billion and those of 2017 increased to US$9.9 billion.

    He also expressed his optimism that small and medium-sized business would be exempt from making advance tax payments (anticipo) in 2018. The tax is calculated on base of what the company’s earnings the previous year, regardless of the sales of the year. The small and medium-sized business generate a third of the GDP of the country.

    Ministry of Foreign Relations on the 5th round of talks
    Minister of Foreign Relations Miguel Vargas described as positive the signing of an Act of the Progress of the Agenda for the Agreements of the Dialogue of Coexistence in Venezuela. President Danilo Medina has acted as custodian of the talks. The Ministry of Foreign Relations announced the document was signed on Wednesday, 31 January 2018, by representatives of the Maduro administration and the opposition, and participating foreign ministers, including Miguel Vargas. Vargas said the signing is a major step forward in the Venezuelan government and opposition talks.

    “We trust that after the parties carry out the corresponding consultations in Venezuela we will be able to meet again on Monday, 5 February to conclude the negotiations with a definitive agreement,” said Minister Miguel Vargas. The talks began on 13 September 2017, with President Medina presiding. The round that concluded on Tuesday, 30 January 2018, was the fifth. Government and opposition leaders traveled to Venezuela for talks and are expected to return to Santo Domingo for the final agreement.

    Opposition leader Julio Borges said there were advances, but not yet an agreement. What is known is that the general elections set for April could now be held in September.

    Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced a meeting in Argentina where the situation in Venezuela will be discussed. Rex Tillerson will travel to Buenos Aires on 3 February and stay two days in Argentina to participate in the regional meeting in the afternoon on the situation in Venezuela. Representatives from Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia are expected to attend, according to local media.

    “We want to maintain pressure on the corrupt regime of Venezuela,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had said in a statement on Friday, 26 January 2018, condemning the snap presidential elections called by President Nicolas Maduro to be held before April 30.

    President Medina declares Yaque del Norte cleanup a national priority
    President Danilo Medina issued Decree 57-18 that declares the cleanup of the Yaque del Norte River a national priority and creates a presidential committee to direct the project. The Yaque del Norte is the most economically important river in the country, supplying drinking water and irrigation from Santiago to Montecristi.

    The commission is headed by the minister of the Presidency, together with the minister of the Environment, the head of the Santiago Water and Sewer Corporation (Coraasan), the director of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI), the director of the Dominican Hydroelectric Generation Company, and the National Institute of Water and Sewers (INAPA). Also taking part on the commission will be representatives from the Santiago Development Association, the Plan Sierra, and representatives from different groups such as the Ecological Society of the Cibao, the Popular Foundation, the Association of Special Coffee Producers; the San Jose Cooperative and other entities that benefit from the waters of the Yaque River.

    Ruben Jiménez Bichara: Punta Catalina to begin service in 2018
    The first generator of the 752 MW Punta Catalina coal-fired thermoelectric complex will go into operation during the last quarter of 2018, according to the executive vice president of the Dominican Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE), Ruben Jiménez Bichara. Jiménez stressed that the personnel of his agency has worked hard and “we are going to get to the finish line.”

    Jimenez Bichara also said that the conflict between the CDEEE and the Odebrecht construction company over an additional US$708 million in the construction of the cold-fired facility is set for arbitration in the United States and they are awaiting a decision. He told reporters from the Diario Libre that “our position has been clear and as a result there have been no negotiations.”

    Jimenez Bichara told the reporters that the country’s electricity needs grow by 125MW a year and that a similar project to the one in Punta Catalina will be necessary and should go online in the year 2022.

    Public Works patrols help 5,000 over Duarte long weekend
    The Ministry of Public Works reported assisting 4,797 persons on the nation’s highways over the Duarte long weekend. The Ministry service patrols included ambulances, mobile repair workshops, and towing services. The statistics for the weekend operation indicate that 1,730 persons were assisted in the north, 1,258 in the south and 1,200 in the east.

    Pilgrim from San Juan reaches San Cristobal to protest GoldQuest mining
    The awarding of a mining concession to the GoldQuest company to mine gold in the mountains in the San Juan de la Maguana province has certainly stirred much public opposition. Yesterday afternoon it was reported that Radhames Sanchez, a pilgrim who began a protest walk all the way to Santo Domingo as part of a local San Juan de la Maguana protest against the gold mine, had already reached the town of San Cristobal.

    The principal criticism is the huge mining concession will affect water sources that irrigate the San Juan valley that is often called “The Granary of the South.”

    According to Angelo Rafael Quezada, who belongs to the group known as “Defenders of the Valley,” Sanchez will reach Santo Domingo and deliver a letter to President Danilo Medina, asking him to reject the gold mine. Mining has a bleak reputation in the Dominican Republic, with farmlands in Monseñor Nouel province and Sánchez Ramírez province decimated by mining operations.

    Another news report mentions that Catholic bishop José Dolores Grullón Estrella has spoken out against the mining project because of its alleged adverse effects for the agriculture in the valley. The bishop insists the province is farming territory and efforts should continue to utilize the farming and ecotouristic assets in the area, not mining. He doubted the exploitation of the Hondo Valle mine will contribute to human or economic sustainable development. He advocated closing the province to mining.

    Energy and Mines Minister Antonio Isa Condé has stated “if the community of San Juan does not want the mine, then there should be no mine.” He was referring to the objections voiced by different sectors of San Juan de la Maguana regarding the possibility of exploiting the gold deposits in the area of GoldQuest Romero project. In a press release, Isa Condé said that “it is the policy of the government that any project of this nature should have the social acceptance in the area in which it is to develop.”

    He also noted that the eventual approval by the Executive Branch does not imply that GoldQuest will be able to begin operations because this depends on the Ministry of Environment that must define the project as viable within an environmental framework. He said that he was confident that if the studies conducted by the Ministry of the Environment were to conclude that the mining project would affect the watersheds in the area, then the ministry would not grant the environmental license necessary for the exploitation of the gold mine.

    Isa Conde, nevertheless, said that GoldQuest has assured that it will not touch or affect the surface or the existing forests, because the project calls for underground mining at more than 150 meters deep. Isa Conde said that the project developers argue the mining will not impact the San Juan River, because the internal recirculation of the water used in the process and the use of collected rain will only be from the project area, guaranteeing the quality of the basin's water resources.

    The underground mining exploitation area is 500 meters from the San Juan River. The José del Carmen Ramírez National Park to the East and the José Armando Bermúdez National Park to the northwest border the mining site.

    The operation calls for exploiting a mine with estimated 840,000 ounces of gold, 980,000 ounces of silver and 135 lbs. of copper. The company says that the separation of the minerals would be carried out abroad.

    Thousands still stranded by PAWA shutdown
    At Las Americas International Airport at least 1,200 passengers with tickets on suspended PAWA Dominicana flights were demanding solutions from the airline. The operations of PAWA Dominicana were suspended for three months by order from the Civil Aviation Board (JAC) after the company accumulated debt for about US$7.8 million. PAWA Dominicana owes US $3.0 million of its debt to the Aerodom company that operates the airport.

    For some three days now hundreds of Dominicans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, and other nationalities who had bought tickets on PAWA to travel to Havana, Caracas, Aruba, Curaçao, St. Martin and Puerto Rico have been stuck at Las Americas International Airport trying to get to their destinations.

    One report says that of the 1,734 passengers who had been stranded at the airport over the Duarte long weekend, some 517 have been able to reach their destinations in Aruba, Curaçao, Cuba and Venezuela through other airlines.

    Luis Camilo, the head of the Civil Aviation Board (JAC) says that he expects that this week other passengers especially those headed to Puerto Rico and St. Martin will be able to reach their destination on aircraft rented for this purpose.

    Trujillo’s grandson signs with political party
    The grandson of late dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo signed an electoral alliance with the Partido Democrático Institucional (PDI), forming the Frente Nacionalista Opositor (Freno), with the purpose of running for the next elections of 2020.

    Luis José Ramfis Domínguez Trujillo signed the political pact with the party's president, Ismael Reyes Cruz, both agreeing that the country needs new leadership and that Domínguez Trujillo "could organize and strengthen power."

    During the announcement at the Hotel Embajador event, Reyes Cruz stressed that it is not correct to judge the grandson of the dictator for the crimes committed by his grandfather.

    Also, Trujillo said that from the alliance begins a new process in the Dominican Republic and that party leaders seek will try to eradicate corruption and take the country along a path of hope.

    There is an impediment, nevertheless. The 2015 Constitution establishes preconditions for a dual national to aspire to the Dominican presidency in the 2020 election. Art. 20 of the Constitution says that a dual national can opt for the Presidency if renouncing the alternate nationality 10 years prior to running for the Presidency. The person must also have resided in the Dominican Republic during those 10 years. Domínguez Trujillo does not meet these conditions.

    The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Ruben Maldonado of the ruling PLD party, described the aspirations of Domínguez Trujillo as “an odyssey, a chimera”. “That is but a dream that was put into that man’s head that will not prosper.”

    Police crackdown on loud music on Puerto Plata Malecon
    The National Police seized two cars, two SUVs and 11 sound systems that caused major noise pollution along the Puerto Plata seafront boardwalk, the Malecon. The Police acted after receiving several complaints from Puerto Plata citizens.

    The Police acted in an operation jointly with the Public Ministry and the Ministry of Environment prosecutors. The Anti-Noise Unit of the Puerto Plata Police said the vehicles were competing as to which could blast music louder.

    The men are accused of violation of Environmental Law 64-00, Noise Prevention Law 287-04, Public Health Law 42-01 and norms on noise contamination issued by the Ministry of Environment (NA-RU-001-03).

    Four communities still cut off by Yuna River
    The lower Yuna River area in Duarte province is well known for the periodic flooding of its surrounding areas, especially after major rainstorms. According to the Center of Emergency Operations (COE), there are still four communities in the region that remain cut off from the rest of the country. These communities are Juana Rodriguez, Los Peinados, Los Contreras and Loma Colorada in San Francisco do Macoris. Flooded sectors in La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez and Sanchez have returned to normalcy after suffering from flooding.

    In the meantime, the National Meteorological Office (Onamet) has reported that there seems to be the possibility of more rain today affecting the north, northeast and the central mountains because of another frontal system that is moving our way.

    Rains are expected today in Montecristi, Puerto Plata, Santiago Rodriguez, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Samana, Hermanas Mirabal and Santiago on the north coast, according to Emmanuel Alvarez, a forecaster for Onamet. While there are small craft warnings along the Atlantic Coast with six and 7-foot waves, the Caribbean shoreline has no restrictions four small craft. Onamet reports more cloudy skies for Santo Domingo, but only a slight chance of rain.

    Aguilas fans celebrate
    The Aguilas Cibaeñas defeated the Tigres del Licey 11-5 in an electrifying game on Wednesday, 31 January 2018 at the Quisqueya-Juan Marichal Ball Park in Santo Domingo to win the Dominican Winter Professional Baseball 2017-2018 Championship in the 7th game of the 7-4 championship playoffs.

    The victory is credited to the efforts of general manager Manny Acta, in his second year with the Aguilas as part of a reorganization of the team following the return presidency of Winston (Chilote) Llenas. The Aguilas had 10 years without a championship. Team manager, Puerto Rican Lino Rivera celebrated his second victory in the Dominican baseball league. He has only managed on two occasions.

    Christian Bethancourt, Aguilas catcher, was named the Most Valuable Player.

    The Aguilas team had come prepared to leave on 1 February to Mexico to play on 2 February in the Caribbean Series in Guadalajara against teams from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Mexico. The Dominican team plays its first game against Venezuela on Saturday, 3 February. The series ends on 8 February.

    The Caribbean Series will be televised on CDN Sports Max, CDN Canal 37 and Digital 15 TV. On radio, fans can follow the series on Voz de las Fuerzas Armadas 106.9FM and 102.7FM.
    Last edited by Dolores; 02-01-2018 at 10:23 AM.

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