DR1 Daily News next update on Monday, 10 December 2018
Explosion at Polyplas plastics factory, at least 4 deaths, more than 50 injured
13th Christmas wage: Lots of cash circulating
OPIC president meets with President Medina
911 Emergency Services for Punta Cana area
Interviewing candidates to higher courts
Mirex heads new trade negotiations strategy to boost exports
Uniting the cities of San Fernando and Fantino
Senate passes 2019 National Budget Bill
Orthopedists want drinks banned from sale at shows
Dominican-American named director of maintenance at AA
Headrick wins Chambers Latin America Award 2018
Eight zones compete in National Sports Games
Nothing decided yet for baseball round robin
International Theater Festival opens in Santo Domingo
Dance to the Christmas music by Felix del Rosario

DR1 Daily News next update on Monday, 10 December 2018
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 10 December 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

Explosion at Polyplas plastics factory, at least 4 dead, more than 50 injured
The impact from a gas explosion at the Polyplas plastics factory was felt over several blocks in the Villa Agricolas neighborhood in northern Santo Domingo. The factory is located at Alonso de Espinosa 301 in Villas Agrícolas neighborhood. As reported, the explosion occurred at around 11:40am.

Firemen director Rafael del Rosario confirmed the death of two men and a woman in the blast. He said there were 45 injured. The National Health Service (SNS) reported that around 50 injured persons were rushed to area hospitals. Two are seriously injured. The injured were sent to the Hospital Francisco Moscoso Puello, Hospital General de la Plaza de la Salud, Clínica Cruz Jiminián, the burns unit at the hospital Ney Arias Lora, the hospital Félix María Goico and the Trauma Hospital Darío Contreras.

City Mayor David Collado urged the population to stay away from the area so that the rescue workers and ambulances could do their job.

Initial reports are that the explosion occurred because of mishandling of natural gas. The heat wave emanating from the company’s boiler ignited the escaping gas that was being loaded into a factory storage tank. The factory and several constructions and vehicles in the area suffered major damages.

The explosion was felt for several blocks. The area around the factory is a mix of industrial, commercial and residential properties. Schools and businesses in the area were evacuated. The fire that had began at around 11:40am was put out at around 3:40pm.


13th Christmas wage: Lots of cash circulating as of today
The Government is paying the 13th Christmas wage as of today. Taking into consideration, the Dominican government is the largest employer in the country, this means lots of extra cash will be circulating. The National Treasury announced it will be paying RD$17.08 billion in Christmas wages to employees at around 260 public entities. Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ramon Peralta has said the payments began on 5 December and will continue through 12 December.


OPIC president meets with President Medina
President Danilo Medina received Ray W. Washburne and John Deaver Alexander III, president and senior advisor of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPIC is a federal agency that offers loans and guarantees to American companies looking to expand into emerging markets.

Also participating in the meeting was Forrest E. Hoglund, president of the SeaOne Maritime Corp. They were accompanied by US Ambassador Robin S. Bernstein and Kary Hintz-Tate, interim director of the Office of Economic Policy and Coordinator of Summits of the US State Department.

President Danilo Medina was accompanied by Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo; Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ramon Peralta; Hacienda Minister Donald Guerrero; legal advisor to the President Flavio Dario Espinal; and Ruben Jimenez Bichara, executive vice president of the Dominican Public Electricity Corporation.

The visit occurred at a time when there is speculation the Dominican government would sell majority participation in the Odebrecht-built Punta Catalina power plant. A US coal company is already the chosen supplier for coal for the new thermoelectric central.

The Executive Branch added a clause to the 2019 National Budget that would allow the government to sell the shares in the power plant and the transaction would not need to be approved by the Congress.

Also participating in the meeting with OPIC executives at the Presidency were US Embassy officers Bryan Larson, commercial attache at the US Embassy; Katherine Beamer, political and economic affairs counselor at the US Embassy; Maria Elena Portorreal, trade specialist and Liana Coste Gaton, economic policy at the US Embassy.


911 Emergency Services for Punta Cana area
The 911 Emergency System is now available to service the communities of Punta Cana, Veron, Las Lagunas de Nisibón, San Rafael del Yuma, Boca de Yuma and La Otra Banda in the eastern province of La Altagracia. Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo was present for the start of the service. He is the general coordinator of the 911 Emergency System. He explained the emergency services logistics includes coastal services in speed boats. He said the Dominican Armada already has a speedboat docked in Palmilla, but two more units are being added. He also announced an Air Force helicopter will be stationed in Higuey for air emergency services.

Montalvo said that likewise, service for the La Romana area has been improved with two speedboats assigned to the area. One of these will patrol Catalina Island and another larger vessel will be located in Saona Island this December 2018.


Interviewing candidates to higher courts
The Presidency has begun interviews of candidates for the four vacancies of the Constitutional Court. The judges that will be replaced are Victor Gomez Berges, Leyla Piña, Idelfonso Reyes and Jotting Cury. The National Council of the Magistracy (CNM) needs to interview 46 candidates.


Mirex heads new trade negotiations strategy to boost exports
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas announced a New Strategy for Trade Neogitations for the Dominican Republic that was prepared by the National Commission of Trade Negotiations (CNNC), the inter-institutional body coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The plan seeks to increase the export of Dominican goods and services, with a greater diversity of products and markets.

Vargas said that the strategy defines when, how and why to negotiate trade agreements, with a focus on exportable products and with safeguards for the sensitive sectors in the country. It seeks win-win scenarios said Vargas.

He explained the document is the result of joint efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Mirex) and the Business Commission for International Negotiations (CENI). Vargas said the 24 trade experts at Dominican embassies and consulates abroad will help coordinate the participation of Dominican companies in trade missions and international trade fairs. He said Mirex has agreed the creating of trade and investment councils with the governments of Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, among others.


Uniting the cities of San Fernando and Fantino
Dominican ambassador in Trinidad & Tobago Jose Serulle Ramia announces the signing of agreements with the city government of San Fernando, a city of around 80,000 persons in Trinidad & Tobago. The agreements seek to promote trade, business and cultural linkages between the Dominican Republic and San Fernando and associated productive sectors. As part of the program of activities, a major conference is planned in which the Dominican Ambassador Serulle will lead a seminar entitled, “Evolution and Transformation of Dominican Society since 1844, its role in the reaching out to Caribbean states”.

The city government of San Fernando agreed to prepare a memorandum of understanding for signing by the city government of the small town of Fantino in Sanchez Ramirez with its population of 22,000.

Likewise, the embassy is promoting the participation of Dominican business and public sectors in the Trinidad & Tobago Association of Manufacturers and Investment Convention set for July 2019.

The Embassy is working closely with the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce to evaluate business and investment opportunities and identify goods and services for trade between both countries.

Trinidad & Tobago is the leading Dominican trade and business partner in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Senate passes 2019 National Budget Bill
The PLD-majority Senate passed the National Budget Bill and addendums sent to the legislative body by the Presidency. The budget was approved for RD$921.8 billion, of which RD$643.9 billion will go to current expenditures and RD$121.5 billion for capital expenditures. It now moves to the Chamber of Deputies for consideration. The budget estimates GDP growth of 5%, inflation of 4% and average exchange rate of RD$52.18 to the US$ for 2019. It projects that cost of per barrel of fuel will be US$62.90 next year.

The bill is expected to pass in the Chamber of Deputies where the ruling party is also in the majority.


Orthopedists want drinks banned from sale at shows
The Dominican Orthopedics and Traumatology Society is demanding that the sale of alcoholic beverages be banned at shows. The physicians say audience members who consume too much alcohol during events represent an unacceptably high risk to public safety when they take the wheel after the show while under the influence of alcohol.

Dr. Julio Landrón said every year between 3,000 and 3,500 Dominicans die in traffic accidents. He said that 12 out of 14 persons involved in traffic accidents are left with permanent injuries. He said bad driving practices and alcohol consumption are major causes of the traffic accidents.

“This is the only country in the world where you can call on the telephone to order alcoholic beverages and that are then delivered by a motorcyclist whose does not have a license, insurance or a no protective helmet,” he complained. He said this is the only country in the world where there is an alcoholic beverages drive in where you can purchase alcohol right from the comfort of your vehicle,” said the orthopedist during a press conference.


Dominican-American named director of maintenance at AA
A Dominican-American has been promoted to the prestigious position of American Airline’s FAA-certificated Director of Maintenance. In a press release, the airline company explains that the job is one of five key positions that are essential for any airline to operate in the United States. These positions are chief pilot, director of operations, director of safety, chief inspector and director of maintenance.

On 13 November 2018, daughter of Dominican parents, Evita (Evie) Garces was promoted from managing director of Maintenance Operations Control at American Airlines to the company’s new FAA-certificated Director of Maintenance. This is a first time the position is held by a woman and a Latina, says the airline.

In the role, Garces is responsible for ensuring that all work on the airline’s aircraft is performed in accordance with Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs); making sure that aircraft maintenance schedules are followed and completed in thorough and timely fashion. Garces will also serve as the main maintenance liaison between the FAA and American Airlines. She and her team also oversee the day-to-day technical operations of American, which includes oversight of aircraft maintenance, vendor operations in more than 150 cities, ownership of the aircraft maintenance deferral process and the management of out-of-service aircraft. The role was previously occupied by Steve Bobzin, who retires at the end of the year.

Garces’ love for aviation began at an early age when she attended Aviation High School in New York City. She graduated from the College of Aeronautics in New York and has a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University.


Headrick wins Chambers Latin America Award 2018
The full-service law firm of Headrick was voted the best law firm in the Dominican Republic for 2018. The award was announced on 30 November 2018, during a celebration in Miami, Florida, USA. The award was accepted by Headricks partner Mary Fernandez. It is the fourth time the firm has received the award.

The Chambers Awards reflect notable achievements, impressive strategic growth and distinguished client service by the firm.


Eight zones compete in National Sports Games
The 14th National Sports Games open on 6 December 2018 with the inauguration ceremony at 6pm at the Baseball Stadium of the city of Salcedo, capital of the Hermanas Mirabal province. President Danilo Medina and Sports Minister Danilo Díaz, the president of the Dominican Olympic Committee Luisin Mejia will be present for the inauguration. The games will be televised on Channel 4.

The competitions that began on 5 December will be played out at venues in the northcentral region of the country throughout 16 December 2018.

The 14th National Sports Games will be spread out at venues in Moca, Salcedo, Villa Tapia, Tenares, San Francisco de Macoris and La Vega. 3,710 athletes are registered for the competition. The athletes will compete The athletes will compete for 2,232 gold, silver and bronze medals in 33 sports disciplines with a total of 212 events.

The games had been suspended since the 13th version was held in Monte Plata in 2006. Those who had opposed the games argued that the millions invested in infrastructure that was for the most part abandoned would be put to better use in smaller tournaments.

Businessman Edi Medina, president of the organizing committee, is proud of the installations that have been fitted throughout the Hermanas Mirabal, Duarte, (San Francisco de Macoris), and Espaillat (Moca) provinces.

Competitors for the 14th game have been divided into eight zones with 285 male competitors and 307 women competitors. These are:
Zone 1: Metropolitan (National District)
Zone 2: (Province of Santo Domingo)
Zone 3: Northern provinces
Zone 4: Southern provinces
Zone 5: Eastern provinces
Zone 6: Hermanas Mirabal, Duarte and Espaillat
Zone 7: Europe
Zone 8: United States, Puerto Rico, Panama and Caribbean islands


Nothing decided yet for baseball round robin
As of 5 December 2018 there are still 10 games to be played before the regular season of the Professional Winter Baseball Championship ends on 17 December. The Estrellas Orientales are in the lead, but any of the six teams participating in the championship mathematically still can make the top four that will continue for a shorter round robin series to decide the playoff teams.

The teams standing is:
Estrellas Orientales (23-19)
Leones del Escogido (22-20)
Tigres del Licey (22-20)
Aguilas Cibaeñas (20-22)
Gigantes del Cibao (20-22)
Toros del Este (19-23)


International Theater Festival opens in Santo Domingo
The 10th Festival Internacional de Teatro (FITESD) opens at venues in Santo Domingo this Thursday, 6 December 2018. Drama groups from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and local groups will be performing through 16 December.

Tickets are RD$100 for events at the National Theater and Bellas Artes. Performances this year will also be at the Gran Teatro del Cibao (Santiago), the Centro Cultural de España, Centro Cultural Narciso González, Centro Cultural Mauricio Báez, Centro Cultural Monina Cámpora, Centro Cultural Babeque, Casa de Teatro, and the Paraninfo de la Facultad de Artes de la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo.

The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. See the program at:


Dance to the Christmas music by Felix del Rosario
Lucia 203 in the Colonial City announces it is presenting on Friday, 14 December 2018 as of 9pm a concert with music celebrating the legacy of Maestro Felix del Rosario. Performing will be the Los Magos del Ritmo Orchestra, founded by the legendary merengue singer-composer and band director.

Del Rosario is always remembered for his catchy Christmas merengue songs: “Llegó la Navidad”, “Alegre vengo”, “De la montaña venimos”, “Fiestas navideñas”, “Cantares de Navidad”, “Cascabel”, “El tren de la Navidad”, “Felicitaciones”, “Cantemos, cantemos” and “Las navidades.”

Tickets are for sale at Meson de Bari in the Colonial City and at Ticket Express online.