DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 15 March 2018


May 3, 2000
DR1 Daily News next update on 19 March 2018
SICA meeting in Santo Domingo calls for more talks
Education program launched with Spanish government cooperation
Japan donates US$89,000 for rehab services in Dajabon
Earthquake drills in Santiago
ADP withdraws from case before TSA
Solomonic agreement ends Agencia Bella sidewalk impasse
PUCMM promotes its Spanish Language doctoral degree
ITLA opens branch in Veron to serve Punta Cana
UASD honors Claudio Chea for his contributions to the movie industry
Altice denies it’s up for sale, says only long distance to change hands
DR awaits Haitian suspect of killing Dominican couple
Dominican confesses to murder of her stepson in Spain
Baby it’s cold outside!
1,000 volleyballs for local volleyball players
Cattlerancher’s Fair at Feria Ganadera grounds
Santo Domingo International Book Fair set for April 2018

DR1 Daily News next update on 19 March 2018
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 19 March 2018. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the Forums. See the DR1 Forum at http://www.dr1.com

SICA meeting in Santo Domingo calls for more talks
The 73rd Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Central American System of Integration (SICA) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation for the Kingdom of Spain Alfonso Dastis took place in Santo Domingo on 14 March 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss strategies to strengthen cooperation between Spain and the region.

The conference took place at the convention center of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The visitors were hosted by Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado. The Dominican Republic holds the temporary presidency of the SICA from January to June 2018.

During the meeting the ministers approved the cooperation program for Fondo España-SICA for the next three years (2018-2021). The main points of the program are: the promotion of the democratic security model of Central America; environmental sustainability, human rights and gender; deepening the benefits of economic integration and supporting the effectiveness and coordination of SICA. The programs are to receive funding from the Spanish Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (Aecid).

Dominican Foreign Minister Vargas Maldonado highlighted that while SICA countries imported more than US$1.6 billion from Spain in 2017, only US$420 million was exported. “These statistics show the importance of our trade relationship and are a challenge for the region. We need to generate more export opportunities to reduce the present trade deficit,” he said.

The Dominican Foreign Minister suggested more SICA-Spain dialogue spaces to create additional opportunities in the region through comprehensive and sustainable public policies that reduce the substantial accumulated social debt and spur sustainable economic development.

During the activity, the Secretary General of SICA, Vinicio Cerezo, recommended greater steps be taken towards integration and the forging of agreements based on common development objectives.

The Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said that his country feels very close to the region and is highly favorable to the receptivity of the SICA group.

Participating in the deliberations were Sandra Jovel, foreign minister of Guatemala; María Dolores Aguero, foreign minister of Honduras; and deputy foreign ministers for Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

As part of his agenda in the Dominican Republic, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis visited President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace. He was accompanied by Fernando García Casas, Spanish secretary of state for cooperation and Iberoamerica.


Education program launched with Spanish government cooperation
Foreign and cooperation minister for Spain, Alfonso Dastis and the Ambassador of the European Union in the Dominican Republic Gianluca Grippa were witnesses to the launching of a government program to strengthen public education in the Dominican Republic.

The Program to Back Education and Technical Professional Training (PRO ETP II) is sponsored by the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID).The program is backed by EUR16 million (US$19.8 million) from the European Union.

The program will be coordinated by the Ministry of the Presidency with the participation of the ministries of Education, Higher Education, Work, Economy and the National Institute of Technical Professional Training (INFOTEP), according to a communiqué of the Presidency.

The objective of the program is to ensure that the national education and vocational technical training system responds to the demands of the education sector, the productive sector and local training needs.

This program "will help us to strengthen the system of education and professional technical training and to implement the National Framework of Qualifications," said the Dominican Minister of the Presidency, Gustavo Montalvo, during the program announcement ceremony held at the Presidential Palace.

Dastis explained that the program will help ensure that the Dominican Republic can respond to the demands of the labor market and the productive sectors. The main lines of the program are institutional strengthening, the development of the regulatory framework, curricular adaptation, research and teacher training, he stressed.

In his speech, Dastis acknowledged "the efforts and commitment that the Dominican government has assumed with the improvement of the supply and quality of public education.”

The main executing entities of the projects covered in this program, under the coordination of the Ministry of the Presidency, will be the Ministries of Education; of Higher Education, Science and Technology; of Work, and of Economy, Planning and Development, together with the National Institute of Technical Professional Training (INFOTEP), according to the Presidency press release.

Also attending the presentation at the Presidential Palace were Finance Minister Donald Guerrero, Higher Education Minister Alejandrina Germán, the director of the Institute of Technical Professional Training (Infotep), Rafael Ovalle, and the general director of Multilateral Cooperation, Antonio Vargas.


Japan donates US$89,000 for rehab services in Dajabon
The Embassy of Japan is helping the Dominican Rehabilitation Association (ADR) to improve its services offered in Dajabon, on the border of Haiti. Dozens of Japanese immigrants settled in Dajabón many decades ago, that has kept Dajabón in the mindset of the Japanese government.

Ambassador Hiroyuki Makiuchi said the US$88,934 donation will make it possible to increase the number of persons with disabilities served in Dajabón.


Earthquake drills in Santiago
On the morning of 14 March 2018, the city of Santiago underwent an emergency drill for a catastrophic earthquake. The Ministry of Environment and the Emergency Operations Committee (COE) organized the simulacrum. Sirens sounded throughout the city as of 9:45am with all public and private institutions in the city participating. 911 vehicles were seen transferring “the injured” to health centers. Even helicopters were active.

The Regional University Hospital Cabral y Baez, the Arturo Grullon Children’s Hospital and the IDSS hospital together with major private clinics such as the Union Medica and the Metropolitan Hospital of Santiago (HOMS) also took part in the drill. At the different schools students gathered at their assigned places of safety under the watchful eye of their teachers. Even the government office buildings were emptied during the drill. The Cibao International Airport was also the scene of emergency drill.

According to Minister Francisco Dominguez Brito and COE director general Juan Manuel Mendez, this activity has served to raise the awareness in the population of the importance of being prepared for an earthquake. He said the preparedness exercise could save thousands of lives. Dominquez Brito expressed his satisfaction with the orderly manner in which the simulation was carried out.


ADP withdraws from case before TSA
The Dominican Public School Teachers Association (ADP) has withdrawn its support to the writ of protection before the Superior Administrative Tribunal (TSA) filed by a group of more than 60 teachers. The recourse seeks the suspension of Order 24-2017 that established the Minister of Education have the final say in choosing from a single slate of three candidates for regional directors. The single slate names were chosen during a comprehensive selection procedure.

According to Frank Sabino, the ADP spokesperson, although they have withdrawn from participating in the writ of protection, they have asked a group of lawyers to prepare a case for the definitive annulment of the order. He said the teachers who feel they have been prejudiced by the Order 24-2017 have filed the writ of protection and although the ADP supports them, they have decided at this time to not formally prepared a lawsuit in the name of the union.

In the meantime, the TSA, which is responsible for reviewing government activities to assure compliance with existing laws, has requested additional materials to review and has delayed a ruling in this case.


Solomonic agreement ends Agencia Bella sidewalk impasse
The city government of the National District reached an agreement in which Agencia Bella would contribute 30% to the cost of building a sidewalk in front of their headquarters on Av. John F. Kennedy. Agency Bella is the importer of Honda vehicles in the Dominican Republic.

When the Ministry of Public Works expanded the avenue, the construction swallowed the sidewalk that was never replaced. The city government under Mayor David Collado has negotiated with a group of businesses that agreed to buy 70% of the needed area, or 66 square meters of sidewalk area from Agencia Bella, with the company contributing the remaining 30% of the needed area to the city. The stretch is located between Gracita Alvarez and Luis Lembert streets. The sidewalk will be built by the National District government.

The city government and Agency Bella agreed to share the costs of restoring the front gateway to the company. Work on the demolition of the concrete structures where the sidewalk will go were begun on Wednesday, 14 March 2018. The works are expected to be completed in two months time.


PUCMM promotes its Spanish Language doctoral degree
The Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra is promoting their doctoral studies in the Spanish language. The doctoral program confers the title of “Doctor in Spanish Studies: Linguistics and Literature.”

This is a first in the Dominican Republic, acknowledged Superior Education Minister Alejandrina Guzmán upon making the announcement. She congratulated the PUCMM for creating the doctoral studies program.

PUCMM rector, Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera, expressed his pride that the university in establishing the first doctorate with its own title. He said this is a landmark step in university education. Enrique Sánhez Costa is the coordinator of the program.

The first graduates will be this April 2018.


ITLA opens branch in Veron to serve Punta Cana
The Las Americas Technology Institute (ITLA) announces the start of classes at its new Verón campus inaugurated on 14 March 2018 in the Punta Cana beach resort destination area. The technical higher learning institute was built with cooperation from the Consorcio Energético Punta Cana Macao (CEPM), the main utility company in the Punta Cana area, and is part of the República Digital program of the Medina administration. It is located on Avenida Punta Cana.

Speaking at the inauguration, ITLA director José Armado Tavárez, said the programs offered include courses in tech equipment repair, software and networks. The center has two classrooms equipped with 35 computers and smart boards.

Participating in the inauguration were engineer Ramón Antonio Ramírez, municipal director municipal of the Distrito Verón, Punta Cana, Ing. José Armando Tavárez, rector del ITLA, Jesús Pulinada, general manager for Consorcio Energético Punta Cana Macao, Meraris Vargas, social responsibility superintendent for CEPM, among others.


UASD honors Claudio Chea for his contributions to the movie industry
UASD rector Iván Grullon bestowed the title of honorary professor to Claudia Chea Ariza for his contributions to the development of movie making in the Dominican Republic. Chea is highly regarded for this production of advertisements and documentaries for television in the Dominican Republic, the United States and Latin America. Chea is also an expert on lighting and was also responsible for the award-winning illumination works at the Cueva de las Maravillas cave.

Grullon said: "This is a deserved recognition to a great cinematographic photography artist, because his brilliant professional career fills this academy with satisfaction and pride."

Among other accomplishments, Chea has excelled in the production of commercials and documentaries such as “Camino al Pico Duarte” and “El paso de la Virgen” and was an assistant in the direction of photography during the filming of El Padrino II.

Altice denies it’s up for sale, says only long distance service to change hands
In a press release, Altice Dominicana clarified that the company is not for sale and what is advanced is a business deal with Tofane Global in which Tofane Global would take over the handling of long distance international traffic for Altice operations in French, Portuguese and Dominican markets.

The long distance business is specifically that traffic of international calls between different destinations, which fixes the cost per minute of these calls and between different operators that intervene in the communication. As reported, the exclusive negotiation with Tofane Global promises to provide better quality to the international calls, since the company is world leader in this technology.

Regarding this deal, Martin Roos, the CEO of Altice Dominicana, told the media “the signing of this transaction that is the exclusively to the market of long distance calls which is not strategic for our group and therefore makes no impact on our operations in the local market, which is to say no impact on regular commercial activities undertaken by our clients, consumers and companies which we serve.”

For the Altice operations in the Dominican Republic, he said the company continues in full execution of their expansion plans with investments of over RD$6.6 billion for 2018 and RD$33 billion by 2020. He says will bring about the consolidation of the best coverage of our networks and infrastructure as well as our offer of products and services.


DR awaits extradition of Haitian suspected of killing Dominican couple
The murder of Julio Reyes Perez, 66, and his wife Nereida Urbaez, 55, has caused a wave of anti-Haitian feelings in the area of Pedernales in the southwest region of the Dominican Republic.

The National Police have announced that they are processing the paperwork for the extradition of the Haitian Noel Ednol (aka Libon) who has been detained by Haitian authorities. Libon is a suspect in the murder of the elderly couple. He was arrested in Haiti after allegedly fleeing Pedernales on 19 February 2018, following the machete attack of the Reyes and Urbaez during a robbery.

At the time of his arrest he was driving the Suzuki AX-100 motorcycle that he alledgedly stole from Perez after the murder. Perez died instantly from his wounds and his wife passed away three weeks later, not being able to recover from the injuries suffered.

Although there is apparently no formal extradition treaty between the Dominican Republic and Haiti (according to press reports), experts say that the police forces in each country normally cooperate in order to bring criminals to justice who flee across the border. The Dominican authorities are confident that the suspect will be brought to justice in the Dominican Republic.

According to the Diario Libre, as soon as the murders were reported, the National Police and local authorities worked hard to calm the angry mob that called for all Haitian migrants to leave the town of Pedernales. Large numbers of undocumented Haitians live and work in Pedernales.

Officers and agents of the border security force (Cesfront), the National Police, and the Army worked with local civil authorities including the provincial governor and judicial authorities to assuage the rage and violent reprisals.

They issued a statement asking for the Haitian authorities to turn over as soon as possible the Haitian citizen accused of killing the two elderly persons. As a result, tempers were cooled and the families of the victims are waiting for the judicial process to take over.

Interior Minister Carlos Amarante urged people not to take justice into their own hands and announced that the Haitian authorities had detained one suspect and were preparing to turn him over to Dominican authorities.


Dominican confesses to murder of her stepson in Spain
Dominican immigrant in Spain 44-year old Ana Julia Quezada confessed to having murdered her eight year old stepson Gabriel Cruz. The boy had gone missing on 27 February in Almería, in southern Spain. Quezada’s lawyer, Beatriz Gámez, said her defendant is collaborating with the authorities. The autopsy to the child showed signs of having been strangled. The body was found on Sunday in the trunk of the woman’s vehicle. Ana Julia Quezada had actively participated in the search for the child.


Baby it’s cold outside!
On Wednesday, 14 March 2018 it was sweltering hot in the capital city, but in mountain areas, the weather was a very different story. It was cold, in fact very cold in some mountainous parts of the Cibao Valley.

In Valle Nuevo in La Vega temperatures were less than 1.6°C and in Jarabacoa the temperature was 15°C. Temperatures in most of the cities in the central Cibao region varied between 18° and 22°C. Rains are expected today in Montecristi, Dajabon, Valverde, Puerto Plata and Santiago as a frontal system takes over local weather.

Scattered clouds continue to prevail with easterly breezes and very short rain in places like Santiago, Puerto Plata, San Cristobal, Montecristi, Barahona and La Altagracia because of the clouds brought by the Southeast wind.


1,000 volleyballs for local volleyball players
Cristobal Marte, the man behind the world class status of the Dominican volleyball team, delivered to Sports Minister Danilo Diaz 1,000 Molten brand volleyballs. This is a second time Marte has made a donation of 1,000 volleyballs. He said efforts are underway for donations of balls in 2019 and 2020 by the sports company for a total of 4,000 balls for public schools nationwide. The donation is valued at RD$2.8 million. The balls were donated to the Dominican Volleyball Federation.

Marte is president of the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (Norceca).

Molten brand volleyballs are used in the Olympic Games, the Pan Am Games, the Central American Games and the professional leagues.


Cattlerancher’s Fair at Feria Ganadera grounds
The annual Cattlerancher’s Fair is taking place at the grounds of the Feria Ganadera on the Malecón from 9 to 18 March 2018. Activities related to the farming and cattle ranching are held from 6am to 10pm and are open to the general public. This is an opportunity for all the family to see farm produce, the best horses and cows bred in the country, and more. The event also has the backing of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bagricola.

Santo Domingo International Book Fair set for April 2018
The 21st Santo Domingo International Book Fair (FILSD 2018) this year will take place 19 to 30 April at the Plaza de la Cultura Juan Pablo Duarte. The Ministry of Culture is the organizer.

This year, the book fair will honor Dominican writer, poet and lawyer Lupo Hernández Rueda of the so-named Generation 48, who passed away in October 2017. There will also be a tribute to poet Juan Antonio Alix, on the 100th anniversary of his death.

The Ministry of Culture announced that 30 writers and academics from eight countries have confirmed their participation. Among those coming is Miguel Ángel Asturias Amado, son of Literature Nobel Prize winner Miguel Ángel Asturias. Asturias Amado of Guatemala. He will be a special guest. Guatemale this year is the Guest of Honor country. Workshops, conferences, and recitals are on the program, said Ruth Herrera, director of the FILSD 2018.

The largest delegation of writers is coming from Guatemala, including Carol Zardetto, Enrique Noriega, Frieda Morales Barco, Sabino Esteban Francisco, Francisco Nájera, Francisco Morales Santos, David Unger, Luis Méndez Salinas, Delia Quiñonez, Elías Jiménez, Carlos López, Mario Roberto Morales, Wingston González, Dante Liano, Rosa Chávez, Denise Phé-Funchal and Ana María Rodas.

Writers coming from other countries are: Marina Bianchi, Danilo Manera and Gabriele Morelli (Italy), Sheila Barrios Rosario (Puerto Rico), Juan Francisco Maldonado and César Lozano (México), Amalia Low, María E. Osoria and Consuelo Triviño Anzola (Colombia), Arcea Zapata de Aston (United States), Mario Bellatín (Cuba), and Jorge Urrutia (Spain).