DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 15 March 2017


May 3, 2000
New ambassadors present credentials
Free WiFi at the UASD
No decision on Blas Peralta case
There may be prosecutions in the State Sugar land sale case
More accusations against Hipolito
Plantains leading to high level of exports
Concentration against impunity called for Sunday, 19 March
Drugs discovered in Punta Cana
US northeastern flights getting back to normal 
Puerto Rico bests DR in World Baseball Classic
Annual livestock fair at Feria Ganadera grounds
Reality show to chose new talent for Soberano Awards night

New ambassadors present credentials
On Tuesday 14 March 2017, President Danilo Medina received credentials from six new ambassadors who will be representing their respective governments in the Dominican Republic. President Median spoke with each one individually for around five minutes.

These are the ambassadors of: Morocco, Zakaria El Goumiri; Costa Rica, Xinia Vargas Mora; Switzerland, Robert Schnider; Greece, Rose Jeremia; Hungary, Andras Gabor Drexler; and Vietnam, Nguyen Trung Thanh.

The ceremony took place in the Ambassadors’ Salon in the Presidential Palace. Medina was accompanies by Vice President Margarita Cedeño and Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado, among others.


Free WiFi at the UASD
The president of the board of the Dominican Telecommunications’ Institute (Indotel) José del Castillo Saviñón announced free WiFi internet will be installed at the main campus of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) as well as in the state university’s 18 regional campuses around the country.

Del Castillo made the announcement during an event when Indotel donated 1,000 computers to the state university.  

Del Castillo reminded that Indotel had made a first donation of 1,000 computers to the UASD in November last year. Del Castillo said that many of the students use cell phones, tablets and lap tops for their studies and many cannot afford Internet data plans. 


No decision on Blas Peralta case
A National District judge has announced that the decision regarding whether infamous truckers union Fenatrado boss Blas Peralta and others accused of the homicide of the former rector, Mateo Aquino Febrillet will be sentenced, will be announced on 3 April 2017 at 4 pm.

Judge Rigoberto Sena will issue his opinion for the ruling on whether Blas Peralta, Rafael Herrera Pena, Geraldo Felix Bautista Mena y Franklin Alejandro Venegas Rivas will have to face a sentencing trial in the case of the homicide that happened on 11 March 2016. 

The delay is due to the fact that there were several petitions that could not be heard during the preliminary hearing that took place on 13 March and the judge wishes to evaluate whether the evidence is sufficient or not. 

Leaving the courtroom, National District prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso said that she was pleased with the judge’s decision and was sure that the group would be sentenced.

The defense lawyer for Blas Peralta, Francisco Taveras maintains his client’s innocence stating it was not him who fired and killed Aquino Febrillet. He maintains that there have been several irregularities on behalf of the prosecution, stating that when Peralta was arrested having gone to the authorities voluntarily, a gunshot residue test was carried out but they still did not have the results. He said that this shows that Peralta was not the one who pulled the trigger.


There may be prosecutions in the State Sugar land sale case
A team from the Public Prosecution service is analyzing the report that was submitted by the Executive Branch on the assumed irregular sale of land belonging to the State Sugar Company (CEA).

According to Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez, the group is looking to establish a preliminary report to determine whether there are infractions that should be prosecuted.
He said that once this stage is completed there is a timeframe of 30 working days to submit the recommendations for prosecution. 

The evaluation is being carried out by state lawyer and prosecutor for the real estate jurisdiction, Gedeon Platon Bautista Liriano; National Direct of Persecution for the Prosecution Service, Juan Amado Cedano, and Laura Guerrero Pelletier, head of the Specialized Prosecution Service for the Persecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA). 


More accusations against Hipolito
Former President Hipólito Mejía (2000-2004) is involved in another corruption scandal, this one based in Spain. Spanish daily newspaper, Elmundo.es has published the story on the Pujol company involvement in an alledgedly overpriced project. The investigations involves businessman Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, who is the son of the former President of Catalunya, Jordi Pujol.

According to the newspaper, the Spanish police have found a USB memory stick with documents showing that Pujol Ferrusola used his influence to ensure that Spanish President José María Aznar assist with a contract in which he too was involved in, in the Dominican Republic.

It concerns the building of the Merca Santo Domingo fresh produce market that began in 2001, involving a consortium consisting of a company owned by Ibadesa, owned by Jose Herrero, and also involving Jordi Pujol Ferrusola. 

The consortium had difficulty raising the US$49 million project cost and so then Dominican President Hipólito Mejía sent a letter to his Spanish counterpart giving priority to this work. The contract was then signed in December 2000 by the then secretary of State for Agriculture but there were allegations that it was overvalued by 153%.


Plantains lead to high level of exports
According to the chief executive of the Dominican Agribusiness Board, Osmar Benítez, the Dominican Republic's plantain sector contributes more than RD$14 billion per year to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and is one of the products that most promotes the economy's development. 

Benítez said that Dominicans consume 200 million plantains each month, around 2,400 million plantains per year. Producing this requires 44,016 hectares. 

He also stated that the country exported plantains worth US$5 billion to international markets. Of this the country exports around RD$200 million of plantain to the United States, Haiti, St. Martin and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Benítez was speaking at a field day in a non-traditional plantain trial farm, located in Canela, which was attended by producers from different parts of the country and leaders of organizations linked to agriculture. At the event, he highlighted the importance of production based on good market planning.

Benítez said the country has more than 44,016 hectares of plantains and they are mainly concentrated in the provinces of Espaillat, La Vega, Hermanas Mirabal, Sanchez Ramirez, Santiago, Valverde, Barahona and Montecristi. 


Concentration against impunity called for Sunday, 19 March
The Green March (Marcha Verde) civic movement that seeks an end to impunity for government corruption is calling for concerned citizens to meet on Sunday, 19 March 2017 at Independence Park on the eastern side of the Colonial City. 

The movement has been promoting the journey of torch-bearing activists throughout the nation. These are now scheduled to meet at the capital city event. 

The activists have requested that the Medina administration contract independent United Nations prosecutors to follow up on the Odebrecht announcement of having paid US$92 million in bribes to Dominican government officials from 2001 to 2014. Investigations into the matter in the Dominican Republic have yet to yield to the first arrest. 


Drugs discovered in Punta Cana
The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD), with the support of the Specialized Corps of Airport Security (CESAC), has confiscated 20 packets of drugs, presumed to be cocaine or heroin at the Punta Cana International Airport in La Altagracia province. 

The drugs were found in luggage in the check in area and preliminary analysis shows they weighed 21 kilos and 98 grams. Several people are being investigated by the DNCD in connection with the case. 

In addition, the DNCD announced that they have arrested a man from South America who was caught trying to bring in sheets of heroin via Las Americas International airport weighing just under four kilos. 


US northeastern flights getting back to normal 
On Tuesday 14 March 2017, 24 flights were cancelled to and from the cities of New York, Boston and Newark, from Las Americas, Cibao and Gregorio Luperon in Puerto Plata due to the Stella snowstorm that affected the northeast of the United States. 

Aerodom, that manages the Las Americas and Puerto Plata international airports, is recommending that all passengers travelling to those cities check with their airlines to determine when they will be able to fly. Thousands of passengers have been affected by flight cancellations. Aerodom reported on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, that Delta, JetBlue and United flights to northeastern cities were returning to normal.


See flight schedules at http://aerodom.com

Puerto Rico bests DR in World Baseball Classic
Puerto Rico defeated the Dominican Republic 3-1 on Tuesday night in the Pool F opening game of the second round robin in the World Baseball Classic taking place in San Diego, California. World Baseball Classic highlighted the stellar performance by Puerto Rican pitchers and the strong showing by veteran catcher Yadier Molina. Molina stopped the Dominicans pulling a bases-loaded rally as it had to come from behind to defeat Team USA and Team Colombia earlier in the series. Molina also homered, drove in two runs, threw out a baserunner for a pivotal out late in the game and helped guide the pitching staff through nine innings of one-run ball.

The Dominican Republic's lone run, a solo shot by Nelson Cruz  came against Puerto Rican starter Orlando Roman in the second inning. This is the first loss by the Dominican team since 2009. 

Team DR is playing in Pool F from 14-19 March 2017. Others in the pool are USA and Venezuela. The Dominican Republic next plays Venezuela on Thursday, 16 March at 10pm EDT and the United States on Saturday, 18 March at 10pm EDT.

Japan and Netherlands have already advanced awaiting the two winners of the Pool F series. The strongest contenders are teams Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and United States.


Annual livestock fair at Feria Ganadera grounds
The Feria Ganadera, the national agropecuarian fair, is taking place on the Malecón in Santo Domingo from 11-19 March 2017. This is an opportunity to see some of the best paso fino and paso higueyano horses and the best livestock in one place. 

Organizers expect sales of farm products of more than RD$100 million during the event and an attendance of 2.5 million people. The event opened on Saturday with the participation of 70 exhibitors and 100 companies. 

Reality show to chose new talent for Soberano Awards night
The 21 finalists have been chosen in the pre-Soberano Awards reality, “Sueño ser artista.” An audition was held in social media and 1,389 aspiring new talents participated. The Soberano Awards are sponsored by the Dominican Showbusiness Association (Acroarte) and the Presidente beer brewery.  

The finalists include seven artists in three categories – singing, acting and dancing. The jurors were choreographer and dancer Carlos Veitía; movie and theater actor Johannié Mercedes and musical producer Dioni Fernández. 

The 21 finalists were presented on Sunday, 12 March 2017 at the Sambill mall in a TV special produced by Giancarlo Beras Goico for the program “Rumbo al Soberano”, on Telemicro, Channel 5. 

The best three talents will be selected and are guaranteed performances in the Soberano Awards show on 28 March 2017 at the National Theater in Santo Domingo. The general public can vote for the best talents online through 22 March at http://www.premiossoberano.com

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