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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 1 March 2018

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 1 March 2018

    DR1 Daily News next update on 5 March 2018
    In Valle Nuevo, a new beginning: Villa Popy
    Vargas announces DR assessed for 2017 Migration Governance Index
    JCE says it will not be using the scanners nor fingerprint readers
    Central Bank says it has US$8 billion in international reserves
    Finally, good news for coffee lovers
    RD$11,500 minimum wage for health non profits
    PRM says there is the PLD DR and then the real DR
    Campos de Moya faults President for not mentioning corruption, impunity and rising debt
    Huge presence of legislators at parade? Re-election in the air, Hipolito thinks so, too
    Marcha Verde rejects Medina’s speech as evading issues of corruption
    Neighborhood does not want the Tour Eiffel tower replica
    US donates equipment to COE
    Find your dream job on Facebook
    Merchant tries to embargo Santiago city accounts
    Six rapes, three murders and only a 30 year sentence
    Baby it’s cold outside: 12°C forecast for Saturday in Santo Domingo
    Cibao FC loses to Chivas in Mexico

    DR1 Daily News next update on 5 March 2018
    The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 5 March 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

    In Valle Nuevo, a new beginning: Villa Popy
    The Ministry of Environment inaugurates on Thursday, 1 March 2018, the new housing complex for the small-scale farmers who were evicted from the Valle Nuevo National Park for illegally occupying lands inside the protected area. This new community that brings together the former inhabitants of the villages of Castillo and Siberia was named Villa Popy (pronounced Poe pee) in honor of Don José Armando Bermudez (Popy) whose family donated the lands for the community that is located in the area of Rio Grande near Constanza.

    Minister Francisco Dominguez Brito is presiding over the official ceremony. The village contains 53 housing units for 51 families. The houses are built with concrete floors and walls made of cinderblock and wood. The wood used in the construction of the dwellings came from confiscated truckloads of tree trunks seized by the Ministry of Environment and by the Customs Agency personnel.

    The village is provided with electricity, water and a sewage treatment plant. The new inhabitants will also receive land near their homes that will enable them to continue making a living as farmers.

    In September 2016, Dominquez Brito announced the prohibition of all farming activity in the Valle Nuevo National Park and gave a six-month deadline for abandoning the area.

    Vargas announces DR assessed for 2017 Migration Governance Index
    The Dominican Republic is one of 14 countries assessed in the second round of countries participating in the 2017 Migration Governance Index (IGMRD-2017) report. Minister of Foreign Relations Miguel Vargas announced on 28 February 2018, that the country’s migration policies scored seven points of 10 in the application of its migratory policies, taking into account the years 2013 and 2017.

    Vargas participated in the presentation of the IGMRD-2017 during an event organized on 28 February 2018 with the collaboration of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and held at the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Mirex) Convention Center.

    The Migration Governance Index provides a framework for measuring the implementation and efficiency of migration-related governance around the world. The MGI is a tool for governments to assess the comprehensiveness of their migration policies and to help them identify gaps and priorities to build institutional capacity and programs on migration. Far from establishing a ranking, the purpose of the MGI is to advance conversations on migration governance within participating countries.

    The index assesses the country’s capacity to adhere to international standards and fulfillment of migrants’ rights, whole of government approach to migration policies, engage with partners to address migration-related issues, advance on the socio-economic well-being of migrants and society, preparedness for effective action on the mobility dimensions of crises and assurance that migration takes place in a safe, orderly and dignified manner.

    The Ministry said that the local assessment showed the advances made in legal and institutional capacity for the Dominican government to guarantee the socioeconomic welfare of immigrants, and advances in governance of migratory policies with a comprehensive focus to assure an orderly migration process and continuous institutional strengthening of migration programs. “The country has shown an incredibly high performance in areas of governance of migratory policies with a comprehensive focus, promotion of orderly and secure immigration, and the strengths of a migration regulations and existence of interconnected institutions,” said Vargas.

    He said the IOM Index shows that migration is neither positive nor negative by itself, but rather depends on how it is managed by the state. Vargas stressed that managing migration is entirely at the discretion of each state and there is no international instrument, treaty or convention that can dictate the way a country manages its migratory flows.

    At the event, the chief of the IOM in the Dominican Republic, Jorge Baca highlighted that 22 government institutions, under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Relations and with the technical support of the IOM have taken an innovative and unprecedented step forward. He lauded the participation of the country in the Index and the creating of an Inter-institutional Technical Commission on Migratory Affairs (CTIAM). “Migration is not a problem to solve, but rather a reality that needs to be managed,” he said.

    While financed by the IOM, the project itself was initially completed by the Economist Intelligence Unit between 2015 and 2016.

    JCE says it will not be using the scanners or fingerprint readers
    The Central Electoral Board (JCE) announced it will not use the US$39 million scanners and fingerprint readers purchased for the 2016 election. Instead, the agency will return to the system used for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections with the incorporation of some IT solutions that have proven trustworthy in other countries. The equipment is described by the JCE as inconsistent and unreliable.

    The electronic equipment had been purchased by the previous board of judges under past JCE president Roberto Rosario didn’t work for the 2016 election. The new JCE board says it will not take a chance on the equipment in the 2020 general elections. Rosario had justified buying instead of leasing the equipment arguing that the JCE would rent it out to other boards in the region. This never happened. In addition to the high purchase cost, the equipment has also cost millions in storage costs.

    At the time of the purchase, Rosario had defended the system saying it would expedite the count and transmission of votes in a more secure and transparent manner. But the machines were deemed to be not reliable, mainly due to the fact that 19,000 technicians using the equipment were not insufficiently. Also, 36% of the voting stations could not transmit any data because of failures in transmission lines. As a result, more than 50% of the voting certificates for preferential votes had to be manually processed. The JCE also says that the equipment is now obsolete and would require a huge investment in upgrades in software and batteries.

    Now, on Wednesday, 28 February 2018, the JCE announced it would not use the equipment that had been purchased for the automating of the registration of voters and for the electronic counting of the votes in the 2016 general election. The seller was the Spanish company Indra.

    The decision was made after listening to recommendations of the Commission of IT Advisors with representatives of universities and private companies. The JCE still owes Indra US$13 million on the purchase. The JCE feels the color photographs available on the voter registration lists are adequate enough to identify the voters.

    Central Bank says it has US$8 billion in international reserves
    The Central Bank expects the Dominican economy to end the year with 5.5% to 6% growth. It reports a record high of US$8 billion in international reserves. Inflation in January 2018 was 0.28%, with inter annual inflation now at 3.86%, within the 4.0% ± 1.0% range set by the Central Bank in its monetary program for the year. The Central Bank has kept at 5.25%, the interest rate used to shape monetary policy.

    Finally, good news for coffee lovers
    This year the national coffee market will have 450,000 quintals of coffee more than last year as a result of the vast replanting of coffee plantations that involved the introduction of coffee varieties that resist the damaging coffee rust virus.

    According to the president of the Dominican Coffee Confederation, Ricardo Lespin, over the last six years more than 1,000,000 ha of coffee plantation have been renewed with some 45 varieties of coffee plants that are resistant to the rust. Lespin said: “Starting this year good-quality coffee will be produced here.”

    He stressed that this increase in coffee production is the result of the program for promotion and renovation initiated by the old Dominican Coffee Council, which is now the Dominican Coffee Institute and that began with 69,800 ha of coffee in 2016 and 13.5 million coffee plants. Coffee drinkers can expect a much better cup of coffee in the coming months.

    RD$11,500 minimum wage for health non profits
    The National Salaries Committee (CNS) ordered an increase to RD$11,500 of the minimum wage for non profit organizations (ISFLs) working in the health, rehab or education for persons with special needs sectors, the Ministry of Labor reports in a press release. Among those attending the discussions on the wage increase were Rogelio Ledesma, of the Patronato de Lucha Contra la Lepra, Inc; Wanda Polanco of Alianza ONG and Dolores Mingues, of the Asociación Dominicana de Rehabilitación. Also labor representatives Isabel Tejada and José de los Santos, of the Confederación Nacional de Unidad Sindical (CNUS).

    PRM says there is the PLD DR and then the real DR
    The leading opposition party, the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) says that the state of the nation speech on 27 February 2018 by President Danilo Medina again shows there are two countries: that of the opulence for the members of the PLD and the government, and the other one with poverty and lack of hope for most Dominicans.

    "In the Dominican Republic of the PLD party members there is wealth and no poverty, all public services work, traffic is regulated and orderly, even by the air with 'flying chairs'," the organization said in a statement.

    The PRM also remarked that the political party has ensured abundance of work for party members in the state with luxury salaries and that their children study abroad with scholarships paid by the state.

    Meanwhile, the PRM observes that in the other Dominican Republic most of the people live in poverty, hospitals do not work, there is no electricity, potable water and sewage services are practically non-existent, public transport is a disaster, justice is not impartial or independent, education is not of quality, there are no jobs, wages are low and the people do not have enjoy money to pay for medicines or food.

    The PRM observes that after 18 years of PLD government, there is now a marginalized society that is impoverished and without hope, with 6 out of 10 young people wanting to migrate away from the “PLD paradise”.
    The opposition organization said that the country's public debt is more than US$37 billion and in 2017 increased at a rate of RD$421 million a day.

    Also criticized is that the public deficit of the past 10 years that in 2017, according to IMF data, is now at 3.2% of the GDP. The PRM also mentioned the responsibility of the Central Bank in the growing debt of more than US$10 billion in order to maintain exchange stability and low inflation.

    Campos de Moya faults President for not mentioning corruption, impunity and rising debt
    Commenting on the state of the nation address by President Danilo Medina on 27 February 2018, the president of the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), Campos de Moya, said the speech did not fulfill the expectations of the public that had asked for Medina to address issues such as corruption and impunity, the increasing public debt and changes in the makeup of his administration’s cabinet.

    De Moya said: "Well, we have a government that has ministers who have been in their posts a long time already. They have become accustomed to the positions they occupy, and society was expecting changes to bring new people for a new direction for the government.”

    De Moya also said that the measures announced by the president to reinforce the border with Haiti also did not meet Dominican society’s expectations. He observed that measures that Medina announced in his address should become permanent and routine to guarantee the surveillance at the border.

    Campos de Moya made the remarks during a telephone interview for the radio show La Super 7 en la Mañana.

    Huge presence of legislators at parade? Re-election in the air, Hipolito thinks so, too
    With the presence of 21 senators and 81 deputies at the 27 February 2018 military parade commemorating the 174th anniversary of the proclamation of Dominican independence from Haiti has some political analysts interpreting this action as the beginning of a movement for the reelection of President Danilo Medina.

    It was Roberto Rodriguez Marchena, the presidential communications director and government spokesman during a television interview who remarked about the number of legislators attending the parade in order to be next to President Medina.

    All along the entire parade route all the way to the National Congress, there were Medina supporters carrying placards calling for the President to seek four more years. Also along the Malecón (the George Washington Ave.) and around independence Park signs calling for “4 more years” and “You have done well, the people rule” were visible.

    The government spokesman insisted that they were not carrying out a reelection campaign and that the government was concentrating on governing. Rodriguez Marchena said that the President’s Independence Day speech dealt with reality.

    Former President Hipólito Mejía also says read re-election in Medina’s state of the nation address and recent actions. He said his political nose tells him that President Medina is getting ready to seek reelection and observed that “God help us and keep us clear of these actions of the President”. Mejía observed that Medina will again need to amend the Constitution and doubted this would happen, but then he recognized that in this country “anything is possible,” he told Channel 11 El Día TV show hosts Huchi Lora and Amelia Deschamps.

    Mejía, who amended the Constitution in 2002 so he could seek reelection in 2004, again said he was wrong to do so, having admitted his mistake publicly on several occasions.

    Marcha Verde rejects Medina’s speech as evading issues of corruption
    The Marcha Verde movement (Green March) insisted yesterday that the speech by President Danilo Medina before the National Assembly is a continuation of his evasive tactics regarding the principal cases of corruption that have occupied the public’s attention over the last year and puts into evidence “his complicity with corruption and the impunity of the accused.”

    During a protest in front of the National Congress the day after the President presented his account of the previous year of his administration, the green movement called the speech a joke to the citizens when Medina proclaimed “that his administration was the most transparent and efficient in its public expenditures.” Marcha Verde observed that none of the people responsible for the headlines featuring corruption cases such as the Oisoe, the sale of the lands of the CEA, the scandal in Los Tres Brazos, Bajos de Haina as well as those that were involved in the scandal surrounding the Santo Domingo Metro and the Brazilian company Odebrecht have been tried in court.

    Green Movement leaders said that President Medina “had an obligation to present accounts before the National Assembly and citizens regarding the possible participation of Odebrecht in the financing of his own electoral campaign. They went on to criticize the fact that there was no explanation for the fact that the contracts and operations of Odebrecht are still ongoing, when the Procurement Law 340-06 of the Dominican Republic prohibits state institutions from signing or maintaining contracts with companies whose owners have been convicted of illegal practices.

    Neighborhood does not want the Tour Eiffel tower replica
    The decision of the Santo Domingo West municipality to relocate the Tour Eiffel tower replica that is installed in front of the Plaza de la Bandera to the Parque Las Caobas in western Santo Domingo is opposed by residents in the area. The residents expressed their concern it will become a gathering spot for people to drink and listen to loud music, ending the days of the peace and quiet in the neighborhood. The community organizations that have opposed the relocation site are: Unión Comunitaria de Las Caobas, Comunitarios Unidos por una Buena Causa, Casa de la Restauración Nuevo Pacto and the Comisión Nacional de Los Derechos Humanos de Las Caobas.

    The groups suggested the Tour Eiffel be located in an area where it does not cause disruption. Instead of the residential neighborhood, they propose the replica be taken to the Km 9 of the Duarte Highway or the triangle that forms between the 6 de Noviembre Highway and the Isabel Aguiar and 27 de Febrero avenues.

    Furthermore, the community spokespeople told the press that the money for the relocation would be better invested in the construction of a pedestrian overpass for students of the Politecnico Madre Rafaela Ibarra and Escuela Mario Moreno, to improve public lighting, to install surveillance cameras or repair the streets that connect Palavé, Bienvenido and Hato Nuevo.

    US donates equipment to COE
    The Embassy of the United States, on 28 February 2018, donated to the Center of Emergency Operations (COE) equipment and supplies for the handling dangerous substances. This equipment will allow personnel from the COE to carry out decontamination processes in the event of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear contamination. The equipment was received by General Juan Manuel Mendez the long term head of the COE.

    The donation is worth approximately US$500,000 and consists of purifiers, decontamination showers for both chemical and radioactive substances as well as HAZMAT suits and related equipment.

    Acting US Ambassador Robert Copley noted that the United States and the COE have worked together for years. He noted that over the last three years the disaster agency has become one of the major centers for disaster relief in the region. He said that the integration of meteorological tools as well as planning have allowed the COE to obtain a better knowledge of how certain areas will be affected and where they should locate their assistance teams.

    Copley explained that in 2016 and 2017, hurricanes Matthew, Irma, and Maria did not cause greater damage because of the actions by the COE and the inter-agency groups it coordinates. Preventive actions focused on protecting the lives of the Dominicans in the affected areas.

    Find your dream job on Facebook
    Job seekers in the Dominican Republic can now reap benefits from the Facebook job application feature to search and apply for openings at local businesses. Facebook’s 1.86 billion user count opens doors to hundreds of thousands of Dominicans that are looking for jobs.

    On Wednesday, 28 February 2018, Facebook expanded the job search and application tool it had released almost a year ago in the United States and Canada to another 40 countries, included the Dominican Republic.

    Facebook is making it easier for businesses to get their listings online by letting them post openings through the Facebook app. Once the company has posted a job, managers can sift through applicants and directly reach out through Messenger. Job seekers can also subscribe to a company’s listings.

    The application is similar to LinkedIn, but applied to the person’s Facebook network. It helps lower-skilled workers and people who aren’t actively looking for a job to find that dream job. Facebook users can look for and apply to jobs directly on the mobile app and on the web. Businesses with Facebook Pages can create new job posts, see applications, and schedule interviews.

    Merchant tries to embargo Santiago city accounts
    A Santiago merchant, whose lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) was decided in his favor, is now seeking to make effective the embargo on Santiago city accounts in order to recover several million pesos that he is owed. Lawyer Carlos Tavarez, acting on behalf of the plaintiff, Pablo Enriquez, who is the president of Electromuebles La Puente, announced the embargo. He told reporters that Enriquez has not been able to collect nearly RD$3,000,000 that have been owed for over three years for articles purchased, apparently because one official in city government opposes the implementation of an agreement that had been reached between the parties.

    Therefore, Tavarez is filing the embargo on behalf of his a client in accordance with the favorable sentence issued by the Supreme Court several months ago.

    Six rapes, three murders and only a 30 year sentence
    With many family members present, the judge for the execution of the sentence for San Cristobal denied parole to Luis Alberto Cabrera, called “Jack the Ripper” by the media. Cabrera has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder and rape of three women between the ages of 20 and 29 and also for the rape and stabbing of another three women. The decision to deny parole was handed down by magistrate Caterin Rubio.

    Members of the families of the victims expressed their appreciation for the court decision to not grant parole at the half term of the sentence. The criminal left the court under heavy guard to return to the Najayo Men’s Prison where he has spent the last 15 years and is scheduled to spend the next 15 years.

    Baby it’s cold outside: 12°C forecast for Saturday in Santo Domingo
    Record low temperatures of 6° and 8°C (between 42° and 46°F) were registered in the mountainous areas of the Cibao and the Southwest on 27 and 28 February 2018. The cold temperatures will continue, while there is a scant possibility for rains today over most of the Dominican Republic, according to the National Meteorological Office (Onamet).

    But the Metereological Office is forecasting record lows of 16°C and 12°C for the capital city of Santo Domingo on Thursday and Friday (1 and 2 March 2018).

    The Meteorological station in Hondo Valle, Elias Piña on the border with Haiti, registered a temperature of 8°C, while in Jarabacoa and Constanza in La Vega province and positive in Padre las Casas in Azua registered temperatures between 10° and 15°C. The cities of La Vega and San Juan de la Maguana registered temperatures of 18°C. Santo Domingo residents woke up to a low of 18°C on 28 February 2018.

    Onamet reported that there will be a slight chance of rain in the provinces the La Vega, Duarte, Monsignor Nouel and La Altagracia because the low pressure trough has left the area and has been replaced by a massive dry cool air.

    Cibao FC loses to Chivas in Mexico
    The Dominican Republic team, Cibao Football Club lost to Chivas de Guadalajara (Mexico) 5-0. While the match was relatively competitive in the first half, Chivas exploded for four unanswered goals in the second half to run away with the game.

    The teams played in Guadalajara in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF League of Champions. Guadalajara had already won the first confrontation of the two teams played in Santiago de los Caballeros. That match ended 2-0.
    Last edited by Dolores; 03-01-2018 at 09:58 AM.

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