DR1 Daily News - Friday, 16 December 2016


May 3, 2000
TSA: End transport monopoly
Another loan for Colonial City
San Francisco Monastery gets funds for construction
US$600,000 for electricity sector study
New US-DR extradition agreement goes into effect
Public Health warning against fake fumigators
Gonz?lez Bunster honored by Punta Cana business
WhatsApp’s days are numbered on many phones
Carlos Silver breaks Guinness World Record
22-year old Dominican jumps to death from 10th floor
Salsa dancing with Oscar D’Leon in Santiago
Dominican films to be shown at the Cinemateca
Christmas Concert at the Parque Col?n in Santiago
Miguel Bose coming to Santo Domingo

TSA: End transport monopoly
The Superior Administrative Court (TSA) has banned the monopolies on transport of goods and passengers in the country and is calling for government departments to do their job and end this practice. The TSA is the government court in charge of reviewing whether government departments have complied with the law.

In a landmark decision, the TSA on Thursday, 15 December 2016 ruled in favor of a request made by the National Business Council (CONEP) for government departments to fulfill their roles and put an end to the alleged monopolies in the transport sector.

The TSA agreed with CONEP’s complaint that the ministries of Labor, Industry and Commerce, Defense, Interior & Police and Tourism, and the National Police and the Technical Office of Land Transport were not taking actions to apply Dominican laws that prohibit the imposition of monopolies that benefit private individuals in regards to who could transport goods from Dominican maritime and air ports to their final destination.

The TSA also agreed with CONEP on individual and companies’ right to free enterprise, freedom of movement and labor. The ruling states that the present situation affects a large number of people, as well as collective rights and interests, including those of the government itself.

The TSA ordered government departments and entities to comply with Law 578-65 against monopolies, Law 290-66 on free competition and price fixing, Law 489-89 on measures to be taken to organize and control transport, and Law 541-69 to prevent anti-competitive practices in the transport of tourists.

It establishes that OTTT regulations are insufficient and ordered the OTTT to comply with its obligation of issuing and implementing all necessary measures to organize and control land transport of passengers according to the legal rules in effect, existing needs and monitoring for the fulfillment of dispositions that are necessary to eliminate all anti-competitive practices and that prevent any entity from intervening and dominating the establishment of prices in transportation matters.

The TSA fixed a provisional penalty of RD$5,000 a day for entities that fail to implement the ruling in each of the government institutions. The Dominican Rehabilitation Association (ADR) will be the beneficiary of the penalty.

Conep executive vice president Rafael Paz described the ruling as a landmark decision that marks the start of a new phase for building a free market and decent transport system in the Dominican Republic. He called for all parties involved to define the new transport model for the country. He said this opens the way for better days for the transport drivers with opportunities for formalizing their employment.

“I believe this process has defeated fear, the fear that existed, when people would say there was no way to establish order or take measures on transport. That is all in the past,” said Paz.

Meanwhile, one of the beneficiaries of the monopoly, Antonio Marte of the Central Nacional de Organizaciones del Transporte (Conatra), said the decision did not surprise him because government and business leaders had reached an agreement.

The media reported that the Federaci?n Nacional del Transporte La Nueva Opci?n (Fenatrano) president, Juan Hubieres fainted upon hearing the court decision and was taken a hospital for emergency treatment.


Another loan for Colonial City
After an initial US$50 million loan to cover the initial costs of remodeling the Colonial City, the government has received authorization for a second InterAmerican Development Bank loan this time for US$90 million. These funds will also be managed by the Ministry of Tourism.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says that the second loan will help restore public spaces and historical monuments, including the San Francisco Monastery. It is also aimed at improving living conditions for residents, developing the local economy and strengthening historical site management. The loan is for a 24-year term, with a 6.5-year grace period and LIBOR-based interest rate.

The program seeks to help 200 low-income households tackle gentrification dynamics, fund a plan to recover facades, and finance a plan of indirect incentives for affordable homes. It also covers the cost of restoring the wall surrounding the old city, as well as surrounding public spaces.

According to the IDB, other goals include improving economic prospects for small and micro-sized enterprises – prioritizing those that are owned by or that employ local residents – through initiatives that include increased training in tourism services delivery, reorganizing the Mercado Modelo arts and crafts market and promoting a cultural program to be implemented through public-private partnerships.

The funds will also be used to build new water, sewerage, and storm drain systems. Other areas of improvement include electricity and communications wiring, road building, installation of public lighting, street fittings and fixtures, road signs, and tree planting on priority roads with a climate change and adaptation perspective and prioritizing pedestrian traffic.

The program also includes improving the Colonial City governance and implementing sustainable management principles and plans to boost tourism and tourism-related services.

“The project will provide an integrated answer to the needs of Santo Domingo’s Colonial City residents and visitors,” said Belinda P?rez, IDB project team leader. “It requires active participation and coordination from a range of public institutions and from social and private actors.”

The IDB has been engaged in historical center restoration activities since 2012, with the implementation of the Santo Domingo Colonial City Tourism Development Program.


San Francisco Monastery gets funds for construction
In an official press release, the Inter-American Development Bank has announced that part of the funds in the recently announced US$90 million loan granted for the Ministry of Tourism Colonial City renovation project are being allocated to the San Francisco Monastery project.

In 2015, the Ministry of Tourism awarded the tender held for the renovation to a Spanish firm. The aggressive renovation, which will drastically change the fa?ade of the 16th Century ruins, met with widespread rejection from the local architecture and cultural community. UNESCO and Icomos (International Council of Monuments and Sites) have also opposed the Spanish design proposal.

US$600,000 for electricity sector study
The Electricity Superintendence (SIE) has announced that a US$600,000 technical cooperation agreement for the electricity sector has been signed with the Inter-American Development Bank. As part of the agreement, which was signed by IDB representative Flora Montealegre and Electricity Superintendent Cesar Prieto, the SIE will contribute US$60,000 in matching funds.

The funds will go towards carrying out a study on the national electricity market to improve and optimize its operation.

During the announcement of the technical cooperation agreement, Montealegre described the electricity sector as the “Achilles heel of the Dominican Republic”. She said that the IDB could see there was willingness to fix this weak point.

She stated that the Electricity Pact negotiated between the private and public sector was indispensable, given the need for major changes in the sector. Cesar Prieto commented that work is underway for the pact and guaranteed it would be signed in 2017.


New US-DR extradition agreement goes into effect
Minister of Foreign Relations Miguel Vargas and United States Ambassador James Brewster announced the start of implementation of the new extradition agreement signed between both countries at the Ministry of Foreign Relations during a ceremony held on Thursday, 15 December 2016.

During the event, Vargas stated that both nations are now obliged to extradite suspects for high-tech crimes, terrorism, drug trafficking, contract killing and asset laundering. These crimes were not covered by the previous extradition agreement.

Vargas said the implementation of the new extradition agreement reforms proves that bilateral relations between the US and the Dominican Republic are at their best moment. He said the DR would continue to promote agreements to fight crime.


Public Health warning against fake fumigators
The Ministry of Public Health is warning the public that criminals are posing as public health fumigation contractors. The Ministry says that these imposters are taking advantage of the situation to pose as fumigators in order to rob the households.

In a press release, the Ministry is advising families to be alert and take preventive measures to ensure that they or their domestic employees are not taken in by the fraudsters.

The Ministry says it has received complaints that the supposed fumigators show up with the usual equipment and then check for valuables if left alone for any period of time.

The Ministry of Public Health clarified that its workers usually fumigate in public spaces and common areas and only fumigate inside homes in rare exceptions.


Gonz?lez Bunster honored by Punta Cana business
The Association of Hotels and Tourism Projects of the East (Asoleste) has presented the Businessperson of the Year Award to Rolando Gonz?lez Bunster, chairman of the Punta Cana-Macao Energy Consortium (CEPM) board for his contributions to the development and growth of the country’s leading tourism area.

The award was presented during a gala dinner organized by the Association at the Meli? B?varo resort.


WhatsApp’s days are numbered on many phones
The WhatsApp messaging platform that lets mobile phone users without an Internet plan to make free phone calls as well as messaging will be cancelled for many popular phones still in use in the Dominican Republic as of 31 December 2016.

Diario Libre says this is bad news for users of Windows Phone 7, iPhone 3Gs (iOS 6) and the phones using the Android 2.1 and 2.2 operating systems. BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry 10 users have known for some time that their days of using WhatsApp are numbered. The same applies to users of Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60 that are getting six more months time to use the platform.


Carlos Silver breaks Guinness World Record
Singing “My Way,” Dominican Carlos Silver achieved his long-sought goal of entering the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest singing marathon. He sang “My Way” when reaching the 106th hour of singing (4 days and 10 hours). He broke the 105-hour record held by Sunil Waghmare of India that was set in 2012.

Carlos Silver set up shop in a glass enclosure within the Sambil shopping mall on Av. John F. Kennedy in Santo Domingo. He set the new record at 10pm on Thursday, 15 December 2016 and sang for another half an hour. He began his bid for the record on Sunday at 1:30pm. Telesistemas, Channel 11, broadcast the challenge.

According to reports, Silver was hospitalized to ensure he was hydrated and rested. He did not eat any solid food throughout the challenge.

His manager, Alberto Zayas said the Guinness Record marks the re-launch of Silver’s singing career and that they were considering the option of making a documentary about the challenge.


22-year old Dominican jumps to death from 10th floor
22-year old Heriberki Grull?n Rodr?guez who jumped to her death from a 10th floor of a burning building in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday, 14 December 2016, had been planning to visit her family in Santiago de los Caballeros this week. Apparently she panicked when fire broke out affecting two floors of the building and she jumped to her death with her three-year old son.

Diario Libre reports that Grull?n Rodr?guez was scheduled to travel to the Dominican Republic to spend Christmas with her relatives in Santiago de los Caballeros. Her grandparents, Antonia Minaya and Rafael Grull?n told Diario Libre that their granddaughter had been living in Chile for six years since her mother moved there. They asked the Dominican government to help them cover the cost of bringing the bodies home.

According to reports, Grull?n lived on the 10th floor of a building between Pedro Lagos and Aldunate streets in the Chilean capital where a fire broke out on several floors. According to news reports, several people were injured, including the 28-year old husband of the deceased, who was not the father of her child. Several people were rescued from the rooftop.


Salsa dancing with Oscar D’Leon at Jet Set
Venezuelan salsa star Oscar D’Le?n will be charming Dominicans with his rhythms at the JetSet Club in Santo Domingo on Thursday, 15 December and at the Las Vegas discotheque in Santiago on Saturday, 17 December 2016. He will be accompanied on stage by Aramis Camilo, July Mateo (Rasput?n), Di?medes, Peter Cruz, F?nix Ortiz, Henry Garc?a and Raffy Arias.

He promises to perform his greatest hits including “La vela”, “Divina ni?a”, “Taboga”, “Juancito Trucupey”, “El frutero”, “Parampampam,” “Dolor cobarde”, “Mi bajo y yo”, “Detalles”, “El derecho de nacer”, “Mis hijos”, “A ?l” and “Que se sienta”.


Dominican films to be shown at the Cinemateca
La Muestra Nacional de Cine has been underway at the Cinemateca Dominicana in Plaza de la Cultura since Tuesday, 14 December 2016. The festival shows Dominican films.

The schedule for the next movies is:
Friday 16: Alg?n lugar (6:30pm), A orillas del mar (8:30pm)
Saturday, 17: Dos polic?as en apuro (4:30pm), Loky 7 (6:30pm), Bestia de cardo (8:30pm)
Sunday 18: Los fabulosos ma’mejores (4:30pm), Camino a Higuey (6:30pm), Nana (8:30pm)
Tuesday 20: Todos los hombres son iguales (7:30pm)
Wednesday 21: Oro y polvo (7:30pm)
Thursday 22: Morir so?ando (7:30pm)
Friday 23: Rep?blica del color, La familia Reyna (8:30pm)

The screenings are free.


Christmas Concert at the Parque Col?n in Santiago
The Fundaci?n Sinfonieta del Cibao is holding a free Christmas Carol Concert at the Parque Col?n in Santiago on Sunday, 18 December 2016. The Cibao Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Guillermo Mota and with musical arrangements by Eugenio Van der Horst starts playing at 7pm. The concert will be televised by Channel Teleuniverso in Santiago.

Miguel Bose coming to Santo Domingo
Spain’s romantic ballad and pop singer Miguel Bose will be in Santo Domingo for a concert in 2017. The concert is scheduled for the Palacio de los Deportes in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center on 4 May 2017.


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