Easter Week vacation update
Archbishop speaks with optimism
International drama festival cancelled, funds to be used for local groups
Highly profitable pension providers
San Juan Court orders the suspension of operations at Romero Project
Illegal motor racers arrested and their bikes seized
Kentucky woman dies in Easter Week crash
84 Dominicans open on rosters of MLB, good start for many
Felipe Rojas Alou publishes his life story
Dominican Nathalie Hazim wins Independent Music Award
Yago set for Teatro Nacional
Santiago Cruz coming in May
Barbarella set for 30 May
Maluma is booked for summer concert

Easter Week vacation update
The Ministry of Public Works and the Digesett escorted Easter Week travelers as they returned to the major cities on Sunday, 1 April 2018, in the afternoon. The traditional operation sought to keep traffic accidents down by forcing motorists to travel at moderate speeds on the main highways.

The Center for Emergency Operations announced it would release its report for the Easter Week holiday at 11am on Monday, 2 April 2018.

Meanwhile, local media reported that “no news is good news”, with the leading trauma hospital, the Darío Contreras Trauma Hospital reporting admitting fewer than normal for the holiday period. The number of trauma patients was well below the day-to-day admissions at the hospital.

Nevertheless, Diario Libre estimated the victims of the Easter Week holiday were at least 39, which would be double the official tally of 15 given by the COE in 2017. El Caribe reports that 145 patients were treated at the emergency of the Ney Arias Lora Trauma Hospital on Saturday, 31 March 2018. Of these, 12 were injured in motorcycle accidents. This was down from 175 cases in 2017.


Archbishop speaks with optimism
Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Monsignor Francisco Ozoria called for Dominicans to look forward with optimism, happiness and hope. “The resurrection of Jesus Christ moves us to optimism. Each problem in the family and in society needs to be dealt with the optimism and hope that resurrection brings,” he said.

The Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic has benefitted with recent major investments made by the Medina Administration, including new facilities for the church in San Pedro de Macorís and Barahona. Ozoria prior to being archbishop for Santo Domingo, was bishop for San Pedro de Macorís.

Diario Libre also reports on the major investment made by the government in the Bayaguana sanctuary, Cristo de los Milagros, estimated to cost RD$300 million.


International drama festival cancelled, funds to be used for local groups
Culture Minister Pedro Verges announced that funds that in the past have been allotted to the International Theater Festival would be used this year to directly support local theater groups. Verges made the announcement after being criticized by local theater groups for the Ministry’s decision to cancel the long-running festival.

The Festival de Teatro Aficionado Emilio Aparicio is set for May. Verges also announced the start of repair works on the Sala Manuel Rueda at the National Music Conservatory in the Plaza de la Cultura. He said improvements will also be made to the classrooms at the Escuela de Arte Dramático at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Verges had made the announcement of the repair last July 2017, but the funds, apparently have not been available until now.

Verges said the International Theater Festival (FIT 2019) and the Festival Nacional de Teatro (Fenate 2019) would both be held in 2019. He explained that the academic part of the FIT 2018 will go on as planned and international drama professors will provide instruction as programmed. He announced the Ministry of Culture is backing new theatrical initiatives in Santiago Rodriguez and Neyba in Bahoruco province. He said the postponing of the event also makes possible to comply with scheduled wage increases for members of theater companies.


Highly profitable pension providers
In 2017, the pension providers (AFPs) authorized by the government reported earnings of RD$3.03 billion. The Popular Financial Group pension provider, AFP Popular, alone, reported earnings of RD$1.5 billion. Next most profitable was that of the Scotia Bank, AFP Scotia Crecer, that reported earnings for RD$1.08 billion.

Diario Libre reports that the profits were on income of RD$5.8 billion. The companies paid the government RD$1.1 billion in taxes.


San Juan Court orders the suspension of operations at Romero Project
Judge Dante Almonte of the Penal Chamber of the First Instance Court of San Juan de la Maguana ordered a stop to works GoldQauest is carrying out in the Central Mountain Range at its Romero project concession. The Canadian multinational was authorized by the Ministry of Energy and Mines to explore the Loma de Hondo Valle and develop an implementation strategy on the so-called Romero Project. For the exploitation to start, nevertheless, presidential authorization and that of the Ministry of Environment are pending.

The judge ruled in favor of a petition for an injunction filed against the mining company by the San Juan de la Maguana chapter of the Dominican Association of Lawyers San Juan and the local United Southwest Committee for Water and Life (Comité Suroeste Unido por el Agua y la Vida).

Goldquest was ordered to pay RD$10,000 per each day it remains in the area and deemed not to heed the judge order.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines in its request for the presidential authorization for the exploitation of an underground gold mine says the exploitation would be for seven years and the company would pay the government US$224 million. The exploitation would take place 500 meters above a major reservoir in the area and the company says it would build a reservoir to source rain water for the operation.

The mining project has met strong local opposition on grounds that it would decimate the farming operations in the province. Bean farmers belittle the US$224 million payment, saying that this amount pales in comparison to the RD$1.5 billion generated by the bean farming.

In an official statement on 27 March 2018, GoldQuest announced the injunction against its activities. It says that it has been advised that the Penal Chamber of the First Instance Court of the Judicial District of San Juan de la Maguana has reached a decision in response to a constitutional injunction remedy filed by a group of individuals against GoldQuest Dominicana SRL, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company.

The company says that so far only a verbal summary of the decision was delivered by a court clerk, with the written statement expected this coming week that will clarify the decision. GoldQuest explains that the summary of the decision includes a requirement that the subsidiary suspend its activities at the Romero Project until certain certificates and licenses are issued. But GoldQuest will apparently seek to clarify which certificates and licenses must be obtained before activities can be authorized. In addition, based on the information currently available, the Company is not able to determine the extent of its activities that must be suspended or the exact area the Decision pertains to.


Illegal motor racers arrested and their bikes seized
Highway patrols took action over the Easter Week holiday to put a stop to the motorcycle racing on major highways. The media reported that patrols assigned to the Comisión Military y Policial of the Ministry of Public Works and the DirecciΩón General de Seguridad de Transito y Transporte Terrestre (DIGESETT) seized the motorcycles of several who were caught racing or doing acrobatics on the road, putting in danger their lives and those who use the highways. The participants race for high sums of money.

General Estanislao Gonell Regalado warned the races faced being arrested and their bikes confiscated to prevent tragedies. The first confiscations were on Good Thursday and Good Friday at Km 30 of Las Americas Expressway, near Villa Altagracia on Duarte Highway and on 6 de Noviembre Highway that leads to San Cristobal.


Kentucky woman dies in Easter Week crash
An American woman identified as 45-year old Carol Ann Murphy from Kentucky, USA, died at around 7pm Saturday, 31 March 2018, when traveling on the La Romana-San Pedro de Macoris highway. The vehicle she was driving slid off the Cumayasa Bridge and the SUV landed in the shallow river. Rescuers also recovered the corpse of an unidentified female passenger who may have been a nanny employed by Ms. Murphy. Baby items were found inside the vehicle, but the corpse of the baby had not been recovered at the time of the report.


84 Dominicans open on rosters of MLB, good start for many
Dominican ball player Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets opened the Major League Season on Thursday, 29 March 2018, with his first home run of the season, contributing to the Mets victory of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Miguel Angel Sanó batted for homerun in the game the Minnesota Twins won 7-0 over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Edwin Encarnacion batted two home runs for the Cleveland Indians.

Outfielder Carlos Gomez of the Texas Rangers also homered to start his season in MLB. Nelson Cruz, a native of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, belted a two-run homer to propel the Seattle Mariners to victory in their opener.

In another outstanding start of season, fellow Dominican player San Francisco Giants Johnny Cueto got his start with six strong innings and allowing only one hit over seven innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

These were just five of the start of season performances by the 84 Dominicans that are on opening day 25-man rosters of the 30 Major League Baseball teams in the United States. The Dominican Republic leads in numbers of foreign-born players. Nevertheless, the 2018 total is less than the 93 players that opened in MLB last season.

Venezuela follows in number of foreign-born players with 74, then Puerto Rico with 19, Cuba with 17, Mexico with 11, Japan, 8, Canada and South Korea 6, and Colombia and Curacao, 5 each.

Diario Libre publishes a selection of ten Dominican ball players it recommends to follow this MLB season. These are: Cleveland Indians Edwin Encarnación, Robinson Canó of the Seattle Mariners, Bartolo Colón with the Texas Rangers, Alex Colomé with Tampa Bay, Marcell Ozuna with the St. Louis Cardinals, Jean Segura with the Seattle Mariners, José Ramirez with the Cleveland Indians, Gary Sánchez with the New York Yankees, Nelson Cruz with the Seattle Mariners, and Albert Pujols with the Los Angeles Angels.


Felipe Rojas Alou publishes his life story
He is just as legendary as a baseball player as well as a manager and parent, 82-year old Felipe Rojas Alou is now promoting his new book on baseball, his life and family, “Alou: My Baseball Journey” that tells about his career since he became the first player to come directly from the Dominican Republic to the Major Leagues in 1958.

The book is co-authored by Peter Kerasotis, and published by University of Nebraska Press.


Dominican Nathalie Hazim wins Independent Music Award
Dominican singer Nathalie Hazim won the EP category at the 16th Independent Music Awards. She competed against fellow nominees Artel Rosa, Gabriella Grisi and Juana Luna. She received the World EP Award on Saturday, 31 March 2018 at a ceremony at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

Hazim becomes the first Dominican to win an award at the IMAs that honor the year’s most exceptional and artistically daring projects from self-released and indie label talent from around the globe.

She was one of the more than 400 innovative self-released and indie label projects culled from thousands of submissions worldwide that were nominated by fans and industry panelists in 96 album, song, EP, music producer, music video and design categories.


Yago set for Teatro Nacional
The Soberano Award-winning local version of Shakespeare’s Othello by “Yago, yo soy el que no soy”, will be presented at the National Theater as part of the 21st Santo Domingo International Book Fair (FILSD2018). The play was recognized as the best play of the year. The adaptation of the Shakespeare drama is by the Compañía Nacional de Teatro. The director of the theater company, Fausto Rojas, received a Soberano for best director.

The Ministry of Culture has not yet announced the date of the performances that will be held during the cultural events programmed from 19 to 30 April at the Plaza de la Cultura. Among the highlights of 2018 is the dedication to lawyer and writer Lupo Hernández Rueda and a special tribute to poet Juan Antonio Alix. Guatemala is the guest country, with special events to focus on Literature Noble Prize winner Miguel Angel Asturias.

For more information, call 809 221-4141, ext. 5521 or email [email protected]

Check for when the Book Fair scheduled is posted at:

Santiago Cruz coming in May
Colombian singer-songwriter Santiago Cruz is booked for a Thursday, 24 May 2018, performance at the Gran Teatro del Cibao in Santiago. He will also perform on Saturday, 26 May 2018, in Santo Domingo at the Teatro la Fiesta of the Jaragua Renaissance Hotel.

Barbarella set for 30 May
The Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, brewers of Presidente Beer, announces the year’s leading electronic music concert will be on Wednesday, 30 May 2018, at the Felix Sánchez Olympic Stadium in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center.

Maluma is booked for summer concert
Colombian reggaeton singer and songwriter Maluma is booked for a 15 August 2018 concert at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo. The presentation is part of his F.A.M.E. Tour (Fe, Alma, Música, Esencia). He will be performing at the Palacio de los Deportes after filling the Madison Square Garden in New York City.