DR1 Daily News next update on 28 May 2018
Foreign Minister Vargas goes to Washington for talks at US State Department
Reinaldo Pared Perez says Danilo won’t run, he seeks to be the PLD candidate
Fenatrado announces rate hikes for freight
Ballplayers aren’t the only ones who want PEDs
More than 3,000 hit by outbreak of chickenpox
Introducing Dominicans to circular economy
Margarita Cordero announces 7 Dias closes
Alejandro Fernández publishes national bank ranking
AES donates rehab center to eastern Santo Domingo
Marcha Verde: Include overvaluations of Odebrecht works
Natural gas leads in Dominican energy matrix
Venezuelans make off with RD$3.2 million in 3 days
Keep the umbrellas handy
DR loses to Turkey in Nations League

DR1 Daily News next update on 28 May 2018
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 28 May 2018. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the Forums. See the DR1 Forum at http://www.dr1.com

Foreign Minister Vargas goes to Washington for talks at US State Department
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas met in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, 23 May 2018 with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States Department of State Thomas Shannon. In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Relations reported that the meeting was to strengthen the relations between both countries and to look into matters on the bilateral and regional agenda.

When in Washington, Vargas received the Cultural Heritage of the Americas Award for Dominican merengue at the Organization of American States. The merengue is recognized as a “cultural expression of the continent.”

He also attended a session of the US House of Representatives where late PRD leader José Francisco Peña Gómez was recognized for his contributions to democracy.

The meeting at the US Department of States comes shortly after Robert Copley, acting ambassador for the United States in the Dominican Republic, visited the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo to express displeasure and “disappointment” over the establishing of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and concern over China’s track record on investment in developing countries, including loans for projects with impacts on the environmental, labor and community development.


Reinaldo Pared Perez says Danilo won’t run, he seeks to be the PLD candidate
The president of the Dominican Senate, Reinaldo Pared Perez, told reporters on 23 May 2018 that President Danilo Medina “would not run,” when he was questioned on a radio program about the possible bid for reelection by current president Medina.

President Danilo Medina himself has not come forth to tell whether he will run or not. For Medina to run in 2020, he must foster a second change of the Dominican Constitution. The 2015 Constitution prohibits him from seeking what for him would be his third term in office.

Pared Pérez told the reporters that he understands that President Medina would instead back a presidential candidate of his choice. He went on to say that the “purple party” should present a new face in the 2020 elections and he said that the party was in need of renovation.

Along these lines, Pared Perez has announced his own intention to run for the presidential candidacy for the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD).

As he spoke on the radio program “El Sol en la Mañana”, he said that he feels that the people see him as the successor to President Danilo Medina. He went on to talk about the Political Parties Bill and the Electoral Regime Bill and said these would be studied by a joint committee so they can be passed in Congress in June.

The Political Parties Bill was recently passed in the Senate. But now the bicameral committee will decide on changes to be made so the amended bill can return to the Senate for passing.


Fenatrado announces rate hikes for freight
The National Federation of Dominican Transportation (Fenatrado) announced on 23 May 2018, that there would be increases in the shipping rates for ground freight. The announcement comes after several weeks of rising fuel prices.

The president of Fenatrado, Ricardo de Los Santos, said that discussions are taking place on how much to raise the prices of the transport services.

De los Santos said that the current rates used by some 30,000 affiliates date back to 2015 when a gallon of diesel fuel cost RD$142 pesos. He said just this year, fuel prices have shot up 30% to RD$189 per gallon. He pointed out that together with this there have been significant price increases in lubricants, tires and spare parts.

Furthermore, de Los Santos called on the government to honor a debt of some RD$200 million for services that they have provided to the construction sector of the current administration.


Ballplayers aren’t the only ones who want PEDs
The Dominican Society of Pediatric Endocrinology warned on Wednesday, 23 May 2018, on the increase in demand for performance enhancing substances by young athletes whose ages vary between 11 and 14 years. The society expressed its regret that the parents of these minors are those who come to the doctors’ offices to request the approval of the substances that can even cause death.

The warning comes from Dr. Elbi Morla, the president of the society, who warned that the substances can cause death and permanent injury and he recommended that the state apply new policy to avoid the problem becoming worse. He said that sports where these substances are used are baseball and football, with the latter being much practiced by young middle-class athletes. He noted that these substances are growth hormones, testosterone and other anabolic steroids used to increase performance.

He called public’s attention to the growing demand for the prohibited substances to increase performance by children. Dr. Morla expressed particular frustration with the parents themselves who take their children to clinics in search for this type of substance on the recommendation of trainers. He noted that many young athletes have died from the use of anabolic steroids, some of which are used to inject thoroughbred race horses. He further noted that these PED’s were also in great demand by persons between the ages of 18 and 25 who work out at different gymnasiums in the country.

The use of these medications is not controlled by the Ministry of Public Health. The doctors noted that one of the effects of these medications is erectile dysfunction.


More than 3,000 hit by outbreak of chickenpox
The Dominican Republic is facing an outbreak of chickenpox and over the last week more than 880 cases were reported. The Epidemiologic Department at the Ministry of Public Health registered during the four weeks 3,316 cases that represent an increase of 14% over the same period last year. Chicken pox is a virus that regularly attacks people during the summer, although tropical climate favors its appearance during any time of the year.

Officials from the Ministry of Public Health recommend quarantining patients in their homes and not allowing contact with other persons who have not had the illness. Persons with chickenpox should not go to work or school or church until the outbreak, the tiny blisters have dried up, in around five days.

Chickenpox is caused by a virus that generally affects children and is not dangerous. It is not one of the illnesses on the recommended vaccination list followed by the Dominican public health sector and that is backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

Chickenpox is not on the Broad Program of Immunizations (PAI) list because it is not considered a health risk. Nevertheless, officials recommend avoiding that those infected scratch the outbreak and damage the skin because this can produce major infections. Affected persons should bath two or three times a day and keep hands clean and fingernails short.


Introducing Dominicans to circular economy
Harvard Extension School consultant Carrie Snyder explained circular economy during a recent conference promoted by the Centro de Innovación Atabey under Domingo Contreras in Santo Domingo. The conference “Circular Economy: Potential and Entrepreneurial Opportunities” addressed challenges and opportunities in the Dominican Republic for switching from a lineal economy to a circular economy in the presence of students of the Santo Domingo Institute of Technology (Intec) at the university with the backing of the United Nations office in the Dominican Republic.

“The potential of circular economy in the Dominican Republic is very high,” she told her audience. She highlighted the important natural resources and the timing is right for the country to evolve to a more responsible, efficient and sustainable economy.”

Snyder became a circular economy consultant after more than 15 years at the multinational technology company, Cisco. There she led global initiative sin operations, supply chain and material flow, optimizing end-to-end processes in support of more than one billion dollars in annual sales.
Now at the forefront of the emerging circular economy initiative, Snyder helps companies through the process of creating and closing loops with sustainable and profitable practices.


Margarita Cordero announces 7 Dias closes
The news portal 7 Dias (7dias.com.do) is closing. Founding journalist Margarita Cordero made the announcement recalling several of the investigative journalism achievements of the online news service. Among these is the investigation that led to the restoring of the Bahia de las Aguilas beach lands back to the government, after denouncing complicity of government officials in the attempted fraudulent privatization deal. She lamented the shutdown by the owner is just another of the closing of sincere efforts at good journalism in the country.

“Every day there are fewer spaces where people can say what they think,” Cordero writes. “Until today, when it closes forever, 7 Dias was one of them.”


Alejandro Fernández publishes national bank ranking
Diario Libre publishes today the annual top 20 bank ranking, an analysis carried out by Alejandro Fernández of Argentarium. In its 10th year, the ranking covers 97% of the bank assets in the Dominican Republic measured by 24 variables.

According to the report, the top three banks are the Reservas, Popular and BHD that together have 67.7% of all the bank assets.

The Superintendence of Banks says the solvency index of the banking sector is 18.3%, much higher than the minimal 10% required by the Monetary Law.

The top most efficient banks, those that spent less compared to their income, were Citi, BHD Leon and APAP.

The most profitable banks (for their shareholders) in 2017 were the Citi, Adopem, Banreservas, BHD Leon and Santana Cruz, with yields above 19%.


AES donates rehab center to eastern Santo Domingo
The AES Dominicana Foundation has donated to the Dominican Rehabilitation Association (ADR) a modern rehab and community center in Los Mina, in eastern Santo Domingo. The donation is part of the corporate social responsibility chapter of the power company.

On hand for the opening of the new center were Edwin de los Santos, president of the Fundación AES Dominicana and Mary Pérez Marranzini, founder and president of the board of directors of the ADR, the most important rehab institution in the Dominican Repubilc.

At the inaugural, De los Santos explained: “When we began preparations for this center in 2014, our initial idea was to provide for the rehab needs of Los Mina. As the plan advanced, it evolved to be a much more inclusive project, a center that reached out beyond, where persons with different disabilities and community needs could be served. Thus, sports, recreational and community facilities were added, a multi-use hall for meetings, conferences and cultural presentations on the 2,000-square meter site. The facility has high roofs, solar panels to supply energy.

Pérez Marranzini highlighted that the alliance with the foundation ensures the continuing of services in Santo Domingo East.


Marcha Verde: Include overvaluations of Odebrecht works
The civic movement Marcha Verde is calling for Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez to include in the Odebrecht case to be submitted to the Supreme Court of Justice by 9 June 2018 the findings of an investigation of the overpricing in the 17 public works contracted by the Brazilian company in the Dominican Republic from 2001 to date. The Attorney General has incriminated 14 persons in the preliminary investigation. The case has primarily been based so far on incriminations made by Odebrecht officers in the New York court and Brazilian justice.

Marcha Verde says the investigation of the case should also look into the participation of local companies in the mechanism and bribes payment scheme used by the company to secure contracts and the overpricing to obtain higher earnings.

“No Dominican who respects this country can accept that the case be presented without the including of those responsible for the overpricing of the contracted work, including their local partners that could have participated of the mafiori actions,” says Marcha Verde.


Natural gas leads in Dominican energy matrix
While in 2000, 88% of energy generated in the country was petroleum-based, 9% hydroelectric and 3% coal-fired, today, the country has the most diversified energy matrix in the Caribbean and Central American region.

35% of energy generated in the Dominican Republic is fueled by natural gas, according to a January-December 2017 report presented by the Dominican Association of Electrical Industry (ADIE). Thus, 34% (29.5% fuel #6 and 4.1% fuel #2) was generated with petroleum-based products. 13.86% was coal-fired. Hydroelectric power stations generated 14.24%, 2.47% was from wind sources, 0.31% solar and 0.90% biomass.

Now, even big industries are turning to natural gas. Recently Barrick Pueblo Viejo announced reaching an agreement with AES Andrés in southern Santo Domingo for the supply of the fuel.


Venezuelans make off with RD$3.2 million in 3 days
Three Venezuelans were remanded to three months pre-trial custody on 23 May 2018, by a Santiago city judge. The trio is charged with taking RD$3.2 million pesos in just three days from ATMs throughout the country.

Venezuelans Daniel Alexander Gonzalez, Carlos Eduardo Moronta and Jesus Enrique Formayor are being held in the Rafey Correctional And Rehabilitation Center in Santiago. The three men were arrested in Matanza, in the south part of the city.

According to details offered by the lawyer from the affected Banco Caribe, Luis Leo Nardo Felix Ramos, the three foreigners apparently were part of a gang that preyed on financial and savings-and-loan system In the Dominican Republic.

Banco Caribe lawyer Felix Ramos said that between the 15th and 18th of May these individuals withdrew the amount of RD$3,290,000 pesos using an advanced technology that tricks the ATMs into thinking that the withdrawal is for RD$100 when in reality the sum withdrawn is RD$40,000.

The lawyer for the Banco Caribe told reporters that in Santiago when they were arrested they had carried out six withdrawals of RD$40,000 each and this same operation had been carried out in other parts of the country such as San Francisco do Macoris and Santo Domingo.

He said that the RD$240,000 that had been withdrawn in Santiago had been recovered and will be used as evidence in the case.


Keep the umbrellas handy
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) is forecasting for cloudy skies accompanied by scattered showers and isolated thunder and lightning for Thursday, 24 May 2018. This is due to tropical wave that is slightly increasing humidity and atmospheric instability across the country.

Because of the rains in recent days and those that are expected over the next 48 hours, Onamet is maintaining a meteorological alert over possible flooding of rivers and streams.

The humidity and general instability are caused by a low pressure trough located to the north. The forecast is for cloudy skies accompanied by moderate to heavy showers, some electrical storms and stiff breezes principally in the Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and along the frontier and in the central mountains.

Onamet is keeping an eye on a broad area of clouds and water showers to the Northwest of the Caribbean Sea and Cuba that is associated with a low pressure area. Because of high temperatures, Onamet continues to recommend people wear light clothing and drink plenty of water.

DR loses to Turkey in Nations League
After defeating Argentina, the Dominican women’s volleyball team lost to Turkey in the Nations League taking place in Ankara, Turkey. The DR lost 3-1. The sets went 25-20, 17-25, 25-20 y 25-19.

The DR has yet to play Brazil on 24 May 2018 as the first edition of the Volleyball Nations League takes place 15 May to 8 July 2018 around the world. The tournament is in the second batch of games in the preliminary round.