DR1 Daily News next update on 15 October 2018
Presidency launches Digital Republic program in Santiago
President Danilo Medina visits San Cristóbal medical devices plant
Educating the citizens of tomorrow
Ambassador of Canada calls for predictability in business
Canada and India are DR’s third and fourth largest importers
Hubieres: 10 days to resolve high fuel prices
Intrant shows no authority, says traffic expert
Attorney General requests extradition of three Colombian pilots accused of drug trafficking
Prosecutors sent to trial five in Yimi Zapata visa fraud case
Dominican women’s volleyball team defeats Mexico and Germany, but doesn’t advance in World Cup
Memorable evening: Gala Sacra at Bellas Artes
Crooner Gustavo de Hostos at Hard Rock Café
El Banquete at Teatro Guloya
Movie songs sung by leading Dominican actors and actresses

DR1 Daily News next update on 15 October 2018
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 15 October 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

Presidency launches Digital Republic program in Santiago
President Danilo Medina was in Santiago on Wednesday, 10 October 2018, for the official start of the Digital Republic program that incorporates 34 government services online, including health, education and migration. Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo said that 92 government programs in Santiago are now linked and can be accessed through 130 new Wi Fi points in Santiago. Already the program has distributed electronic devices to 7,878 students and 523 public school teachers. The service is in addition to 200 government services that now are online, significantly reducing delays in government program assistance and cutting red tape.

President Danilo Medina in Santiago attended the symbolic start of the program that took place at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in which he signed an agreement with the Santo Domingo Cyber Park (Parque Cibernético de Santo Domingo) and the Academia Oracle. Students from universities in Santiago, Cotuí and San Francisco de Macorís cities received vouchers for computers, representing their classmates.

During the event, the Ministry of Industry & Commerce delivered computers to small businesses and an agreement with the Reservas Foundation was signed to support small business.

Education Minister Andrés Navarro said that 900,000 students and 80,000 public school teachers would be receiving electronic devices.


President Danilo Medina visits San Cristóbal medical devices plant
President Danilo Medina visited the Edwards Lifesciences Corporation manufacturing plant at the Parque Industrial Itabo in Haina in the southern province of San Cristóbal. Edwards Lifesciences is a global leader in the field of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring. The company manufactures innovative technologies in the areas of structural heart disease and critical care monitoring, with many of these devices assembled in the Dominican Republic. The company is a global leader in tissue replacement heart valves and repair products and transcatheter heart valves.

During the event, company executive vice president for global supply chain, Joe Nuzzolese, said that a key to their success in operating in the Dominican Republic has been their “very talented local work force and their passion to help patients.”

"This new facility represents our commitment to future growth to meet the needs of our patients, with cutting-edge technology," he said. The company began operations in 2000 in the Dominican Republic with 600 employees. Today it employs around 1,800 of which 66% are women.

Also participating in the visit, Luisa Fernández, executive director of the National Council of Export Free Zones (CNZFE) said that in 2017 the Dominican Republic exported US$1.48 billion in medical devices, pharmaceutical and personal care products. She said the Dominican Republic is the second largest exporter of these products in Latin America and the fourth largest global provider to the United States market.


Educating the citizens of tomorrow
Education Minister Andrés Navarro and National District Mayor David Collado signed an agreement to promote civic education programs. The strategic agreement calls for implementing projects in classrooms to strengthen the educational system in the capital city of Santo Domingo. The agreement, which was signed at the InterContinental Hotel on Av. Winston Churchill, will extend the “I Am Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Soy Yo) campaign by the National District government.

The program is coordinated by former Vice President and former Education Minister Milagros Ortiz Bosch, who co-signed the agreement. The program also seeks to motivate citizens to keep the city clean and care for the city’s public spaces. Navarro says his goal is to start early to transform citizens early and turn the Dominican Republic into a model nation for the region.

"As a municipal worker, who spent so much time working in the heat of local development, I am very committed to working with local governments. I believe fundamentally that the sustainable development of the country should be based on local development, " Navarro said.

Navarro worked for many years as secretary general of the National District government. He highlighted the goal of the program of generating a new culture of co-responsibility and how sustainable development is based on local development.

National District Mayor Collado said: “I am convinced that the city of Santo Domingo is taking a significant step forward today.”


Ambassador of Canada calls for predictability in business
Keynote speaker at the Canadian-Dominican Chamber of Commerce Thanksgivings Day luncheon, on Monday, 8 October 2018, Canadian Ambassador Shauna Hemingway stressed the important bilateral relations and the potential of Canada as a partner of the Dominican Republic.

The ambassador observed that many Canadians came as tourists for the first time, but then fell in love with the country and returned to build a life and new business, making contributions to the land. She mentioned that 837,000 Canadians visited the Dominican Republic last year. Around 75 weekly flights land at Dominican airports from Canadian destinations.

She spoke of large Canadian investments in the country, mentioning banking (Scotiabank), textiles (Gildan), mining (Barrick, Goldquest), infrastructure (Magil and Ocean Group), farming (Gerard Trudeau), renewable energies (Emerald Solar).

Hemingway proposed to the authorities and sectors of the country to promote predictable and transparent rules. She remarked that integrity and honesty are highly valued in Canada, and said these are values that should be protected and extended to the world of business and diplomatic relations.

"The entrepreneurs with whom I meet, often do not ask us about business advantages or exceptional access, rather they look for predictability and certainty. And it makes sense. An investor wants to know that he can trust the rules of the destination country and adapt to its legal framework," said the diplomat.

She called for adhering to an international system that ensures access and predictability offers a level playing field where everyone can enjoy success with effort and commitment.

"And it is our countries, with medium economies, that will benefit the most," she said. She also advocated the responsible use of natural resources and to work on the issues of inclusion and diversity.


Canada and India are DR’s third and fourth largest importers
Dominicans export more to Commonwealth Countries than is imported, according to Fernando González Nicolás, president of the Commonwealth Roundtable in the Dominican Republic when speaking during the Embassy of Canada Thanksgivings Day luncheon on Monday, 8 October 2018. The event is organized by the Canadian Dminican Chamber of Commerce (Canchamrd).

He said Dominican exports in 2017 were US$1.67 billion, while imports were US$1.39 billion, with a surplus of US$283 million for the Dominican Republic.

Commonwealth countries Canada and India are the country’s third and fourth largest importers. Canada purchased US$786 million in 2017, and India US$578 million. The United States and Haiti are the country’s two largest markets.

Moreover, González Nicolás says that Commonwealth countries have the main mining companies in the world. He said there is an environmental protection awareness and the main financial institutions of the world are located.

González Nicolás highlighted that the roundtable seeks to promote bilateral economic, trade, social and cultural relations with the country and 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth around the world.

Also speaking at the event, Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas highlighted that Canadian investments in the Dominican Republic are now around US$4.98 billion and total trade is US$1.07 billion in 2017.


Hubieres: 10 days to resolve high fuel prices
Juan Hubieres, spokesman for the Fenatrano passenger transport association on Wednesday, 10 October 2018, called a press conference at the Casa Nacional del Movimiento Rebelde to essentially set a deadline for the government to publicly state what they want to discuss and what they have to offer the country. He announced Fenatrano affiliates would continue to call unannounced work stoppages of their affiliated units. He said he would not sit down to discuss deals with the government. The mini-buses association claims exclusive rights to several key Dominican transport routes.

“We want to tell you that while the government may be negotiating with the other transporters, we do not have any business deals underway with the government," said Hubieres. "First, they have not called us to talks. Second, I am not going to sit down to talks if there is not a pre-established agenda that is known to the members and the public in general, said Hubieres.

He said that the high fuel costs directly affect the Dominican people. He called on the government to explain the use to the overvaluation of the propane gas. He said the fuel prices in the Dominican Republic are the highest in the region and called for the creating of a commission for talks. He said he is giving the government 10 days to resolve the high price of fuel. He says if the government would abide with the Hydrocarbons Law 112-00, the prices of fuel would drop 30%.

Fenatrano have been stopping their units at peak hours, causing chaos in Greater Santo Domingo.

On Wednesday, 10 October, Industry & Commerce Minister Nelson Toca Simó said that the government is open to talks. He said both sides have good intentions, and solutions should be found. He expressed optimism that Hubieres would not call for another express work stoppage on next Monday, 15 October.


Intrant shows no authority, says traffic expert
Transporters are showing no respect for the authority of the newly created National Institute of Traffic and Ground Transport (Intrant), as reported in El Nacional. The government entity was created in 2017 to group all government organizations that have to do with ground transport and implement new rules ordered by Law 63-17.

El Nacional reporters say that the traffic jams, the improvised passenger stops by transporters, unilateral fare increases by transporters are the order of the day, despite new Intrant rules. They say there has been inertia on behalf of the National Institute of Transit and Transportation (Intrant) is in a state of suspended animation and has not taken significant steps to implement Law 63-18 on Mobility, Land Transport, Traffic and Road Safety.

Transport experts interviewed by El Nacional reporters say that the Intrant has been incapable of organizing passenger transport. Making matters worse, the Intrant has yet to present to the Executive Branch the 33 internal rulings and complementary regulations ordered by the 2017 law. The law itself gave the Intrant authorities six months after its passing to publicly share the drafts of the rulings.

"The Intrant is responsible for the disorder that exists in the public transport of passengers, as it has not been able to resolve the conflicts that exist in the routes of the multi-fare charging taxis, and has let the drivers operate at their free will," say transport experts of the National Chamber of Ground Transportation (Cámara Nacional del Transporte Terrestre). The Chamber noted that drivers can still be found fomenting panic in the streets as they wield sticks and firearms, under the pretense of defending their business interests while prevent pirate vehicles from invading their territory".

Guillermo Estévez, of the National Chamber of Land Transportation (CANTT), said that the Intrant has failed to fulfill its mission of planning and designing the integrated public passenger transport system, of organizing the routes and other aspects of public transportation.


Attorney General requests extradition of three Colombian pilots accused of drug trafficking
The Attorney General Office (PGR) announced it has submitted to the Colombian government a request for the extradition of three aviation pilots from Colombia that are accused in the Dominican Republic of drug trafficking. The three pilots were recently arrested in Colombia. They are accused of being responsible for the “irregular landing” of an airplane in October 2017 at the La Romana International Airport. 625 kilos of narcotics were found on board.

The three men were identified as Luis Alberto Clavijo, Daniel Guillermo Ocampo Bermúdez and Juan Felipe Andrade Torres.

Under arrest and investigation in the same drug trafficking case are former Air Force colonel Domingo Cruz Figuereo Heredia, former Army colonel Robert Antonio Ramírez Pimentel, and former Police lieutenant Andrés Lorenzo Castillo Padilla and former military recruit Emmanuel Cruz Espinal.


Prosecutors begin proceedings against five in Yimi Zapata visa fraud case
State prosecutors have formally presented evidence and accusations against the president of the Dominican Student Federation (FED), Yimi Zapata. This is the largest student organization at the state university. Also named in the case are Luis Taveras Sánchez, Luis Armando Cruz, Luis Alcides Báez and Guelmis Rivera González in the same case. The defendants are accused of fraud against 19 UASD students who had paid to participate in a United Nations activity in New York City only to be deported from the United States for visa fraud. The students argued they signed on legitimately for the trip and were scammed by the organizers.

José Manuel Marte was excluded from the case after prosecutors determined there was no incriminating evidence against him. Marte told the press he spent around RD$500,000 to clear his name.


Dominican women’s volleyball team defeats Mexico and Germany, but doesn’t advance in World Cup
Participating in the 2018 World Volleyball Cup taking place in Japan, playing in Pool E, the Dominican senior women’s team ended its participation on Wednesday, with a win over Germany 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-17). The team also defeated Mexico 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-15), but lost to Netherlands 0-3 (19-25, 16-25, 14-25) in the second round of the tournament. The Dominican team finished fifth (5-4), but only the top three advanced to the third round of the tournament.


Memorable evening: Gala Sacra at Bellas Artes
The Ministry of Culture is inviting the public to the “Gala Sacra” at the Palacio de Bellas Artes by the Teatro Orquestal Dominicano (TODO). The cultural entity has the backing of the Ministry of Culture. It will perform “Misa Criolla,” by Argentinean composer and pianist Ariel Ramírez. The event is open to the general public and is free of charge. The Embassy of Argentina is backing the event.

The orchestra will be conducted by Maestro Simón Caesar Nova and chorus will be under the direction of Ondina Matos de Lendor. The production is directed by actress and playwright Elizabeth Ovalle, who is the director of the Teatro Orquestal Dominicano.

The concert is scheduled for Thursday, 11 October 2018, at the Palacio Bellas Artes starting at 7pm. Soloists are Pedro Pablo Reyes, Guillermo Alejandro, Manuel Lugo and Saulo Betances.

The Teatro Orquestal Dominicano is made up by 170 persons with special needs. It integrates performing arts of drama, singing, dancing, visual arts and percussion.

Also participating that evening will the Chamber Orchestra of the Dominican Armada that will perform “Padre Nuestro”, by Julio Alberto Hernández; “Sanidad en Cristo”, by Binnie Jins; “Auxiliadora y Madre, Cantata de María Auxiliadora”, choral versión by José Manuel Joa Castillo, with the choir of the Teatro Orquestal Dominicano; and the Flower Waltz by Tchaikovky with dancers of the TODO.


Crooner Gustavo de Hostos at Hard Rock Café
Businessman turned singer, Gustavo de Hostos is booked at the Hard Rock Café at Blue Mall on Thursday, 11 October 2018. Enjoy his renditions of “I Did it My Way, Fly Me to the Moon, Cheek to Cheek, Every Day I Have the Blues, Vocé Abuso and many more memorable jazz, blues and bossa nova songs from 9pm. Tickets are for sale at the Hard Rock Café box office for RD$500 and RD$1,000 VIP.

El Banquete at Teatro Guloya
Good acting guaranteed. The black comedy by Dominican actor, dancer and playwright Rafael Morla, directed by maestro Claudio Rivera is on the small stage of the Teatro Guloya in the Colonial City. Performances by Elvira Taveras, Orestes Amador, Francis Cruz and Viena González. Shows at 8:30pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is the story of four factory workers invited to celebrate the birthday of their boss.


Movie songs sung by leading Dominican actors and actresses
Many of the best young singers, actors, script writers, directors and other local movie industry key figures are coming together for a concert on Thursday, 1 November 2018 at Escenario 360 at 8:30pm. Taking the stage for the concert will be Hony Estrella, Jalsen Santana, Poteleche, Nashla Bogaert, Auro Sonico, Stephany Liriano, David Muñoz, Judith Rodríguez, Pablo Cavallo, David Mahler, Josue Guerrero, Olga Valdez, Pepe Sierra, Axel Mansilla, Ico Abrey, Memo Cortines, David Vasquez and Hector Aníbal will be the vocals for memorable movie themes, from Lalaland, Kill Bill, Apocalypse Now, among others.

A big band will include Alex Mansilla, Miguel Yarul, Joel Berrido, Guillermo Perez, Dorrian Ramon, Robin Mayo, Hedrich Baez, Freddy Arturo Ginebra, Fernando Rivas and Taba Blanchard. The event is a production by Pablo Mustonen and Angie Romero and is directed by Taba Blanchard.

The event is sponsored by the government movie agency, DGCine, Caribbean Cinemas, BKT, Cineasta magazine, La Visual Sonora, ARPR Creative Agency and Otto Santos.

Tickets are for sale online at Uepa Tickets and at the box office of Escenario 360. This is a benefit for the Cinema School at the state UASD university.