DR1 Daily News - Dominican Republic

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President Luis Abinader said on his five-month in government wrap up that foreign governments have shown an interest in replicating the Dominican government’s distance learning programs. The Ministry of Education decided to prepare daily lessons for students in public schools and air these on local television channels and online. The programming can also be used by private school students.

Speaking to the nation on 18 January 2021, President Abinader said they are so pleased with the programming that even when schools go back to classes in person, these will be continued to be used to improve the education levels of Dominican students.

See some of the classes at:

Ministry of Education videos

Read more about the education programs at:

N Digital

The Chamber of Deputies has begun interviews to find the replacement for ombudswoman Zoila Violeta Martínez. A special commission at the Chamber of Deputies is interviewing 95 aspiring candidates through 29 January 2021. The interviews are streamed online

The candidates have 10 minutes to introduce themselves and talk about why they should be chosen. Then the jurors ask questions for another 5 minutes.

The first 20 candidates are:Cristina Mercedes Laura Aguiar QuezadaVirgilio Felix Almánzar EstrellaJosé Francisco AntúnMaria Altagracia Batista MejíaEnrique Cabral CoronadoFélix Antonio Cruz JiminiánAna Josefa Felipe DivanneMadeline González OrtizClara Argentina González WillemsRosa Rafaela Javier DíazRamón Bienvenido Martínez PortorrealDarío Antonio NinIndhira Severino PérezJazhieel Antonio Pimentel MartínezMaria Ynmaculada Ramos AbreuAlex Leonil Ramón Rodríguez DelfinElizabeth del Rosario Rodríguez Diaz de AlvarezFrancisco Alberto Sánchez HolguínYaskara Georgina Vargas...

Argenis Contreras, a key man among those accused in the murder of lawyer and university professor Yuniol Ramírez Ferreira in 2017, is expected to be deported here from New York this week. While Contreras was arrested in the US in 2018, it was not until this week that a US court authorized his deportation.

Ramírez would have been murdered to impede him from releasing information he had on corruption at the Metropolitan Bus Company (Omsa), the government bus corporation. On 12 October 2017, Ramírez’s body was found with his neck chained to a block inside a stream in Manoguayabo, Santo Domingo West.

It is known that Contreras took a flight from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo to Miami on the same day of the murder. He was a fugitive of justice until he was picked up on 11 April 2018 in a migration action by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. He filed a plea in the United States against his deportation order, alleging that his life would be in...

The World Bank announced Michel Kerf is the new director for the six Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, effective 18 January 2021. The World Bank says the seven countries represent a portfolio of 43 projects worth US$4.7 billion. Project areas include education, health, disaster risk management, violence prevention, social protection, rural competitiveness, land management, and public-sector efficiency.

The Dominican Republic is a member of the Central American Integration System (SICA) bloc of countries with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

“I look forward to working with the governments, civil society organizations, businesses and other stakeholders in these seven countries to support inclusive and resilient recovery from the toll the pandemic and recent cyclones have taken on their countries, especially on the poor,” said Michel Kerf. “This is an opportunity to rethink development through more dynamic growth and job...

19 January 2021

The Ministry of Public Health announced the Dr. Defilló National Laboratory now has equipment that can identify the genetic code that allows differentiating between one strain and another in the case of the Covid-19. Until now, suspect samples had to be sent to the US Center for Disease Control.

Now, health authorities will be able to identify any strain of unknown diseases that may occur. The equipment will enable local epidemiologists to better track the virus and monitor infections.

Dr. Isaac Miguel, technical assistant director of the Dr. Defilló Laboratory, said that the equipment was purchased after the World Health Organization recommended that countries have the capacity to sequence coronaviruses to determine the circulating strains. He said the equipment will also make possible determining the anti-retroviral resistance in the case of HIV.

Read more in Spanish:

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #306 reports 1,625 new PCR cases for the Monday, 18 January 2021 deadline. This compares to the 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases that is 1,686. The past seven days have been a record week since the start of the new administration in August 2020.

Labs carried out 5,741 first PCR tests. The number of tests compares with the 14-day average, 5,653. The country can process 14,000 PCR tests a day. The government says sufficient PCR tests are available. Nevertheless, private lab capacity is pressed by the increased demand for tests from the public.

The government announced the purchase of 300,000 antigen tests from South Korean GenBody supplier for application in hotels for tourists departing to the United States. The Panamerican Health Organization donated another 54,000 to the Dominican government. The US government is requiring a PCR or antigen test carried out within 72 hours of the...

The Dominican government has ensured a stock of 7.9 million doses of Pfizer BioTech vaccines and 10 million doses of University of Oxford/AstraZeneca. An additional 2 million doses of different firms from the Covax-World Health Organization vaccine alliance. The first vaccines are expected to be applied before March 2021 to health care workers

In the “We Are Changing” overview of his government staged on 18 January 2021 and televised to the nation (Estamos Cambiando), President Luis Abinader said there are vaccinations for all Dominicans. The population of the Dominican Republic is estimated at 10.9 million.

Lawyer Carolina Santana says the government contracted for the first 400,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive on 21 March 2021, for the first 200,000 persons, primarily health care workers.

Read more in Spanish:

President Luis Abinader announced on 18 January 2021 that US tourists staying at resorts in the Dominican Republic will be able to get tested at their hotels before departure. The US government is now requiring antigen (IgG/IgM test results within 72 hours of departure.

The Dominican government recently received 54,400 of the antigen tests from the Pan American Health Organization.

The Dominican government has also purchased 300,000 GenBody Covid-19 Ag antigen rapid tests manufactured in South Korea. Results are ready 15 minutes after the sample is taken from the nose or throat.

The local supplier is Abastesa, SAS. The company says it has been supplying Dominican airports since September 2020 with more than 200 Confiscope G20 at Dominican airports in coordination with the Ministry of Defense, the C5i intelligence unit and the Airport Security Corps...

Distance learning classes for Third Grade Elementary School / Youtube / MINERD

The logistic and technical support the United Nations is providing to the Ministry of Education costs RD$13 billion (US$233.9 million), Diario Libre reports. The government has invested around RD$10.32 billion to purchase 752,000 laptops, tablets, notebooks for public school students and teachers. The newspaper reports that from October to December 2020, the Abinader administration paid RD$13.29 billion for the advisory services.

President Luis Abinader praised the Ministry of Education distance learning programs, during the televised explanatory talk on Monday, 18 January 2021 evening. He said other governments have expressed interest in replicating these. He said the distance learning programs close the gap between rich and poor in computer learning and computer skills.

Read more in...

The National Council of the Magistracy (CNM) held its second hearing of the aspirants’ presentations to four available Constitutional Court judge positions. Twenty-four aspirants were interviewed on 18 January 2021, including the president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) Mariano Américo Rodríguez Rijo.

In addition to Rodríguez Rijo, those assessed were: Erick José Hernández-Machado, Martha Erneris Jáquez Hiraldo, Julio César Madera Arias, Juan José Martínez Ventura, Pedro Antonio Mateo Ibert, Daira Cira Medina Tejeda, Claudio Aníbal Medrano Mejía, Víctor Rafael Menieur Méndez, Yobany Antonio Mercado Rodríguez, Yokaurys Morales Castillo, Wilson Francisco Moreta Tremols, Bernabel Moricete Fabián, Aldemaro José Muñiz Mena, Sergio Antonio Ortega, Guillermo Antonio Peña Capellán, Mercedes Peralta Cuevas, Sonia Milagros Perdomo Rodríguez, Eduardo Pérez...

The Board of Directors of the Technology Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC) is swearing in new rector Julio Sánchez Mariñez in a virtual session at 11am on 19 January 2021 (YouTube channel @INTECrd)

Julio Sánchez-Maríñez is a psychologist who graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), with graduate studies in Planning and Administration of Higher Education at INTEC and a doctorate in Organizational and Managerial Studies from the School of Business of the State University of New York in Albany.

Sánchez-Maríñez had served as Rector of the Salomé Ureña Higher Institute of Teacher Training (ISFODOSU) from 2013 until this year. Previously he was the high school director at the Colegio Dominicano De La Salle. He has also held positions as executive secretary of the National Council of Higher Education (CONES) and teaching and research advisor at...

The First Collegiate Court of the National District accepted the testimony of witness Carmen Nadieska Alvarez de Maio, criminal investigations analyst at the Justice Department (Ministerio Publico). She presented evidence in financial documents of transactions and checks paid by companies owned by former Odebrecht commercial representative Angel Rondon Rijo to former senator Andres Bautista, and former National Hydraulic Institute director Juan Roberto Rodriguez and former senator Jesus (Chu) Vasquez. Vasquez is minister of Interior & Police in the Abinader administration.

The witness mentioned evidence on transactions carried out by the companies Consultores y Contratistas Conamsa, SRL, Lashan Corp, Arma SA, Hacienda Los Angeles SRL and Agente de Cambio Los Angeles.

Álvarez De Maio, at the request of the Justice Department, crosschecked the information...

The Dominican Republic’s only Miss Universe, Amelia Vega shared a picture of her newborn daughter, shortly after her birth posing with her husband NBA player Al Horford. This is their fourth child and third daughter. Their other daughters are Alia, Ava and son Ean. Vega won the Miss Universe title in Panama in 2003.

The parents named the baby Nova Horford Vega. She was born on 15 January, Vega announced to her followers on her Instagram account.

“Nova Horford Vega1/15/2021. There are no earthly words to express my gratitude to God for the beautiful gift of life that we live today by his grace. It is simply indescribable the ability of a mother’s heart to grow with the arrival of another baby. You have been here so little and since I saw you I could not imagine our lives without you.#BabyNova #Baby4 #PartyOf6 #LaGloriaADios,” wrote Amelia Vega.

Read more in...

The Aguilas Cibaeñas wiped out aspirations of the Gigantes del Cibao and came away with their 22nd Professional Winter Baseball Championship title. They are tied now with the Tigres del Licey for the most wins in the Dominican professional baseball league.

The final game of the 7-4 series was played in San Francisco de Macorís, where the Gigantes were homeclub. The Aguilas won the game 7-4. Slugger Juan Lagares of the Aguilas was named the Most Valuable Player.

The Aguilas made a comeback in the series, as they had lost their first two games to the Gigantes. Team manager Felix Fermin now owns up to eight championships in the Dominican baseball league.

The Aguilas will represent the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series to be played in Mazatlan, Mexico from 31 January to 6 February 2021.

Read more in...

18 January 2021

General Eduardo Alberto Then, police commander in the Cibao, is telling fans of the Águilas Cibaeñas and Los Gigantes del Cibao to celebrate their team’s win at home. The 2020-2021 Professional Winter Baseball Championship ends tonight with the final game being played in San Francisco de Macorís. General Then says the police will not allow street celebrations.

He pointed out that health is above any celebration and that is why the Police will enforce the health regulations.

The game will be televised and streamed online. It starts at 7pm at the Julián Javier Ballpark in San Francisco de Macorís. The 2020-2021 championship has been played to empty stadiums.

Read more in Spanish:

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #305 reports 1,848 new PCR cases for the Sunday, 17 January 2021 deadline, a new one-day high. This compares to the 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases that is 1,669. The past seven days have been a record week since the start of the new administration in August 2020.

Labs carried out 6,967 first PCR tests. The number of tests compares with the 14-day average, a low 5,359. The country can process 14,000 PCR tests a day. The government says sufficient PCR tests are available. Nevertheless, private lab capacity is pressed by the increased demand for tests from the public.

The 4-week positivity rate is 22.12%, continuing the upward trend reflecting the increase in cases following the Christmas holidays. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 26.53%. The number of reported active cases is...

A study sponsored by the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University (UNPHU) alerts that the replacing of patios in family homes with high rises contributes to the rise in temperature in the capital city, as reported in Hoy. The architectural research reveals an increase in city temperatures by at least 1.5 degrees Celsius due to the destruction of trees and green areas that are affecting the quality of life of city dwellers.

Researchers Gilkauris Rojas Cortorreal (UNPHU), Constantinos Saliaris, Julio Peña and Solhanlle Bonilla (Intec) conclude the city of Santo Domingo needs more green spaces. The UNPHU has published the research paper: “Determination of the Potential of Green Infrastructure as a Tool for Adaptation to Climate Change in the National District.”

Recently the city government authorized the construction of more high rises in the city center. The architects and...

Local infectologists attribute the present spike in Covid-19 cases to friends and family gatherings for the Christmas holidays. Dominicans are now suffering the effects of the extended curfew that was ordered to contain the spike.

Now there is an extended weekend coming and virus specialist Héctor Balcácer Estévez warns that all the efforts of the present lockdowns in January could be lost if the extra time translates into people getting together without sufficient preventive measures.

Thursday, 21 January is a religious holiday in the Dominican Republic honoring Our Lady of High Grace (Virgen de la Altagracia). And it is followed by Duarte Day, which honors Juan Pablo Duarte, the country’s forefather that falls on Tuesday, 26 January but will be celebrated on Monday, 25 January. Hundreds of thousands of city-living Dominicans are expected to mobilize for the long...

Juan Lagares hit a grand slam to deliver the crucial game win to the Águilas Cibaeñas 6-3 on Sunday, 17 January 2021. The Aguilas beat the Gigantes del Cibao and tied the final series 3-3, in the sixth game that was held at the Cibao Stadium in Santiago.

Media reported two dozen fans were seen in the stands, including Public Health Minister Plutarco Arias. Arias said he was invited to deliver the trophy, in case the Gigantes had won that evening. The baseball protocol disallows fans from in-person watching of the games.

The Sunday victory was the second consecutive win by the Aguilas. The deciding match will be played Monday, 18 January 2021 at 7pm at the Julián Javier Ballpark in San Francisco de Macorís, where the Gigantes del Cibao are homeclub.

The games are televised and streamed online. See Lidom

Read more in...

17 January 2021

President Luis Abinader will be speaking to the nation on Monday, 18 January 2021. The setting provides for supposedly the general public to ask the President questions. How the people are chosen has not been explained.

President Luis Abinader has been the most publicly available of heads of government ever. He is frequently available for questioning.

The Presidency announced the President would speak from 8 to 9pm in a program, “We Are Changing” that is expected to be another wrap-up of the government achievements in its first six months in government.

Read more in Spanish:

In political-speak, in the Dominican Republic, the term “tax reform” is the equivalent of saying a tax increase. There is just no way around it. Jose Paliza, the Administrative Minister for the Presidency, told reporters and a television audience late last week that the current administration was going to dedicate 2021 to the work of obtaining a consensus regarding the new tax structure, especially after reviewing each and every one of the line items included in the current tax legislation.

Three basic theses were present in his comments:The tax reform would make it easier to deal with taxesA clearer tax structure would attract more foreign investmentThe government needs more money

Paliza expects the long-awaited Electricity Pact to be signed in the next few months.

Both the Electricity Pact and the Fiscal Pact are ordered by the National Development Strategy Law...

Sigmunda Freund, Samuel Pereyra and Andrés Vander-Horst / Diario Libre

Three government agencies have established a Trust for Pedernales, the small town on the most southwestern corner of the Dominican Republic. Pedernales is best known for Bahía de las Aguilas, the undeveloped stretch of many kilometers now only reached by sea.

The Pro-Pedernales Trust will be in charge of the necessary studies for the construction of the needed infrastructure for the tourism development in the province.

The Pro-Pedernales Trust was signed by Sigmund Freund, executive director of Public-Private Partnerships Agency (Dgapp); Samuel Pereyra, general manager of Banreservas and president of the Board of Fiduciaria Reservas; and Andrés Vander Horst, general manager of Fiduciaria Reservas.

The Trust will facilitate the construction of an international airport and...

The official whale-watching period began on Friday, 15 January 2021 in the Dominican Republic. The season extends until the end of March. The unique, and visceral, close-up observation of the humpback whale is one of the most important events of the tourist season. It is a north coast attraction that not many people really know about and there are very few places in the world where these huge creatures can be observed up close.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 humpback whales travel from their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic to the warm waters around the Dominican Republic every year. The whales come here for two reasons. To mate and to give birth.

Samaná, the northeastern peninsula, is the center of most whale-watching excursions. This is where the show is really great. While it Is possible for the occasional sailor off the coast around Rio San Juan to come across one of the behemoths...

17 January 2021

Photographs showing Constanza valleys covered by blankets of snow have been circulating on social media. This year, the temperatures in the mountain area of La Vega province have dropped below zero.Recent reports are of lows of five degrees below zero Celsius.

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Cruel behavior against animals is penalized in the Dominican Republic. The coordinator of the animal abuse division of the Attorney General Office, Marilyn Lois Liranzo and Karina Pimentel, acting director of the Animal Abuse Division of the Attorney General Office, sought to make an example of a young man captured on video abusing a small dog in the upscale Bella Vista neighborhood at El Angel apartment building on Av. Rómulo Betancourt. The video became the trending topic over the weekend in the Dominican Republic after it was uploaded and shared by neighbors who protested the abuse.

The Attorney General Office arrested Arturo Nanita for kicking the black French bulldog loose in an apartment terrace. The pet was rescued by the authorities who said the abuser will be submitted to justice for violating Law 248-12. The law establishes that pet owners cannot harm their...

Vice President Raquel Peña announced the country will be purchasing 7.9 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (BNT162b2). Public Health Minister Plutarco Arias signed the agreement on behalf of the Dominican government. Vice President Peña presides the Health Cabinet in the Abinader administration.

The vaccines will be available in the second quarter of the year. The Drugs, Food & Health Products Agency (Digemaps) and Congress have yet to authorize the purchase.

So far, the Program of Essential Medicines and Logistic Support Central (Promese/Cal) has identified eight ultra-freezers that are suitable for the storage of the Pfizer vaccines. These have capacity to store up to 400,000 doses at the between -80°C and -60°C requirement.

The Abinader administration has already contracted to purchase 10 million doses of the University of...

Ivermectin imports have increased fivefold since Covid-19 was diagnosed in the Dominican Republic, reports El Caribe. The inexpensive, over-the-counter medicine, has been used for decades to treat livestock, pets and people infested with parasitic worms. The drug won the Nobel Prize in 2015 and is not subject to a pharmaceutical patent. Last year, local physicians began prescribing it after they found it helped save lives.

Most of the drug comes from Costa Rica and El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, Spain, China, Brazil, United States and Canada.

The drug is also used extensively in El Salvador to treat Covid-19. It is not an approved treatment in Costa Rica. The number of Covid-19 deaths to 1 million persons in Costa Rica is 472 as of 15 January 2021, compared to 223 in the Dominican Republic and 229 in El Salvador.

According to the Customs Agency statistics...

The United States National Institute of Health has given the okay to Ivermectin as an option for use in Covid-19. One week after Dr. Paul Marik and Dr. Pierre Kory, founding members of the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), along with Dr. Andrew Hill, researcher and consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), presented their data before the NIH Treatment Guidelines Panel, the NIH upgraded their recommendation on Ivermectin, making it an option for use in Covid-19.

This new designation upgraded the status of Ivermectin from “against” to “neither for nor against”, which is the same recommendation given to monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma, both widely used in the United States.

The FLCCC statements says that by the NIH no longer recommending against Ivermectin use, doctors should feel more open in prescribing Ivermectin as another...

While curfew is keeping people locked down at home, there is a scarcity of PCR tests in the country, the weddings of a select few continue to be celebrated, supposedly following health protocols. Over the weekend, social media was abuzz with the news of the wedding of the son of Vice President Raquel Peña and the sister-in-law of Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ignacio Paliza of Puerto Plata. The wedding took place in Santiago, the country’s second largest city, where there is an outbreak of Covid-19 at the present time.

Vice President Raquel Peña is the head of the Health Cabinet that recently extended the curfew that has shutdown restaurants, bars and gyms and is keeping Dominicans locked at home after noon on Saturday and Sundays.

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The Attorney General Office revokes curfew instruction but…. After protests over the curfew fines announced last week by the Attorney General Office, the Justice Department announced it would review the measures. The Attorney General Office then issued new orders that can be worse for those found in violation.

The old orders called for fines of RD$1,000 to those on foot, RD$2,000 to motorcyclists and RD$5,000 for those in a vehicle.

Now, Attorney General Miram German Brito says those found in violation of curfew will be sent to a justice of peace who will need to establish the fine. But the justice of peace will apply Public Health Law 42-01. The lowest fine in the Public Health Law is RD$10,000, for a tenfold increase!. Looks like more negotiating will be taking place with police and military as people avoid going to court over the fine.

Whereas before the local...

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #303 reports 2,370 new PCR cases for the Friday, 15 January 2021 deadline, a new one-day high. This compares to the 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases that is 1,528. The past seven days have been a record week since the start of the new administration in August 2020.

Labs carried out 8,670 first PCR tests, a record high for this administration. The number of tests compares with the 14-day average, a low 4,917. The country can process 14,000 PCR tests a day. The government says sufficient PCR tests are available. Nevertheless, private lab capacity is pressed by the increased demand for tests from the public.

The 4-week positivity rate is 21.82%, continuing the upward trend reflecting the increase in cases following the Christmas holidays. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 27.34%...

Handmade cigars. Tabacalera de Garcia Factory. Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic.

President Luis Abinader was present for the start of the expansion of the La Romana Free Zone on 14 January 2021. As reported, Central Romana Agroindustrial is investing RD$600 million in the development.

President Abinader said the expansion reflects the confidence in the future of the Dominican Republic. He said the free zone is experiencing increased demand for more space by companies, including some that already operate in the park.

The expansion includes new space for Tabacalera de Garcia operations. Tabacalera de García is the world’s largest producer of cigars, with 5,500 employees. Tabacalera de García manufacturers cigars for many well-known brands and supplies nearly 30% of global demand. Cigar exports are 10% of total Dominican exports.

Luis Emilio...

In the hearing regarding the US$92 million Odebrecht construction company bribes case, former Odebrecht general manager in the Dominican Republic, Marcelo Hofke reaffirmed the payment of US$92 million through an offshore company belonging to Ángel Rondón and lawyer Conrado Pittaluga. Hofke said that he is aware of the bribe payments through company information and conversations with other Odebrecht former executives.

He specified that, according to the information admitted by Odebrecht, these companies were Lashan and Conansa from Rondón and Newport from Pittaluga, which received payments for public officials to secure the construction contracts.

Hokfe spoke in Spanish and said that both Rondón and Pittaluga were intermediaries for public officials’ payment, according to what the company has already admitted. Another company officer, Mauricio Dantes Bezerra had...

On 14 January 2021, Judge Jose Alejandro Vargas rejected the definitive filing of the investigation of the participation of eight accused in the Odebrecht US$92 million bribes scandal. Judge José Alejandro Vargas said the cases against Temístocles Montás, Alfredo Pacheco, César Sánchez, Bernardo Castellanos, Julio César Valentín, Máximo D Oleo, Ruddy González and Radhamés Segura, implicated in the Odebrecht case, cannot be filed because of procedural errors. He said the definitive filing was never officially notified to all the parties involved in the case.

15 January 2021

Lab technician holding swab collection kit,Coronavirus COVID-19 specimen collecting equipment,DNA nasal and oral swabbing for PCR polymerase chain reaction laboratory testing procedure and shipping

A measure that would require all passengers arriving to the United States to have a negative result on a test carried out no later than three days before their departure is the last obstacle to the Dominican tourism industry’s recovery. A viral test (NAAT or antigen test) is required to determine if the person is currently infected with Covid-19 for those entering the US as of 26 January 2021.

Travelers are also urged to contact their airlines to ensure they are in compliance with the new rule before attempting to travel.

Read More:

15 January 2021

The Sirena consumer merchandising group re-opened modernized supermarket stores in three locations in Greater Santo Domingo. The company already operates stores at Lope de Vega Av. and Av. Sarasota. Now it announces consumers can shop at the Sirena Markets at Av. Independencia, Plaza Patio Colombia and Arroyo Hondo in northern Santo Domingo. The modernization includes pick up systems where customers can buy online and then drop by to pick up the goods.

Read more in Spanish:

Procurement Agency director Carlos Pimentel says that the complaints about irregularities in the tender carried out by the Ministry of Education for the procurement of laptops and tablets for public school system and small business are unfounded, reports Acento. The media is following up on an original article in Diario Libre that had questioned the contracts awarded to the companies Madison Import SRL and Omega Tech. Yet Pimentel says the winners did not violate Procurement Law 340-06.

According to a publication made by the newspaper Diario Libre, the company Madison Import SRL, belongs to an alternate member of the board of the government-owned Banreservas, Anel Marcial Veras, who was appointed to that position on 21 August 2020. Diario Libre had reported that won the largest contract in the tender for 725,000 electronic devices was created in 2004 by majority...

15 January 2021

President of the Republic Luis Abinader appointed Carlos Espinal as the new director of the National Theater Eduardo Brito. Espinal is a well known actor, theater director and cultural promoter. The nomination is in Decree 14-21. He had previously been appointed deputy director of the National Theater, replacing former director Niní Cáffaro.

The Presidency named Altagracia Fátima Guzmán Lantigua, deputy director of the National Theater. He also appointed Dante Salvador Cucurullo Pérez as the National Theater’s artistic deputy director.

Read more in Spanish:

android, mobile, apps

The Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel) announced on Thursday, 14 January 2021 the procedure to activate a cell phone line, in compliance with Resolution 070-19. The activation now requires in person appearance at the office of the service provider or authorized distributor. Once there, the person needs to present an identity card, passport or residence permit, and data be validated with the Central Electoral Board (JCE) and other authorized databases. Companies are required to have a National Taxpayer Registry (RNC) number.

Next, the photograph of the person will be taken with the ID card.

The service provider must register the IMEI, the international identity number of the mobile device, and associate the number to the phone’s SIM card.

The beneficiary of the service then must sign a contract. The signature will be compared with that...

The Ministry of Finance announced the placement of US$2.5 billion in sovereign bonds, according to the General State Budget of 2021, approved by the National Congress.

This transaction was structured in an already existing bond for an amount of US$1 billion with maturity in 2030, at a yield of 3.87%, representing a reduction in the cost for the country, at this term, of 0.63%.

And a new US$1.5 billion bond maturing in 2041, at a yield of 5.3 % was issued. This is the first Latin American and emerging market sovereign issue with maturity in 20 years.

Hacienda Minister Jochi Vicente made the announcement. He said there was a record demand for US$10 billion by international investors. He said this is four times the amount that was placed. Vicente said that the average cost of the Non-Financial Public Sector debt is now reduced by 9 basic points, and the average duration...

President Luis Abinader was present for the start of the Tabacalera Garcia cigar production expansion on 14 January 2021. The La Romana Free Zone factory is the world’s largest producer of cigars, with 5,500 employees. The tobacco manufacturer produces some 33 million handmade and more than one billion mechanized cigars for world-famous brands in more than 30 countries. As reported, the company is investing RD$600 million in the expansion.

Each year, Tabacalera García del Central Romana, the second largest employer in the province behind Central Romana and Casa de Campo, produces some 33 million handmade and more than one billion mechanized cigars for world-famous brands in more than 30 countries.

Read more in Spanish:

The National Council of the Magistracy (CNM) held the first hearing to choose four Constitiutional Court judges. The sessions will be held for four days and are presided by President Luis Abinader or Vice President Raquel Peña. The sessions are streamed live. 65 aspirants are being interviewed. They have five minutes to present the reasons why they seek the positions. The members of the CNM then have 15 minutes to ask questions. The plan is to announce the new Constitutional Court members by next week.

The CNM will also decide whether judge Francisco Ortega will continue at the Supreme Court.

For seven hours on Thursday, 14 January, the CNM met for the first 20 interviews to fill the Constitutional Court’s four vacancies. Legal advisor to the President, Antoliano Peralta, who is the spokesman for the CNM, said the participants in the assessment...

Minister of Energy and Mines Antonio Almonte says that the Abinader administration does not plan to invest in power plants’ construction. It is leaving this up to the private sector. The previous government built the Punta Catalina, a 732MW coal-fired thermoelectric central at a cost of more than US$3 billion.

Almonte said the Abinader government is instead granting facilities to local or foreign investors to build power plants. The government would then purchase the energy and distribute it through the government-owned EdeNorte, EdeSur and EdeEste power distributors.

Almonte said the government is calling for a bidding process for private businesses to build natural gas plants in Manzanillo and Puerto Plata on the north coast to add another 700 MW to the national grid.

“This tender will run parallel with another one for the expansion of the electricity transmission...

Energy & Mines Minister Antonio Almonte will be visiting San Juan de la Maguana where communities have protested the Romero mining project underway by the Goldquest multinational. The community claims the project will cause serious environmental damage. Almonte told Hoy newspaper that he will listen to the community leaders. “Later we will make a report to give to the President of the Republic, to make decisions,” he said.

Almonte said that mining is an important source of foreign exchange for the country. It diversifies the country’s productive capacity and generates jobs. Gold exports were US$1.67 billion in 2019, representing 41.3% of non-free zone exports. In 2020, they are expected to be 42%.

Almonte says mining contributed 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “So mining is a fundamental activity and as a government we are committed to supporting it...

The Central Electoral Board (JCE) signed an agreement on 12 January 2021 with the Organization of American States (OAS) to promote the quality of electoral processes organized by the JCE in accordance with the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The new chair of the JCE, Román Jáquez, stressed that the initiative will allow working under the electoral standard ISO 54001, which complies with a series of international standards to carry out transparent electoral processes. “We are sure that this agreement will strengthen electoral integrity, democracy, institutions and ultimately the electoral system of the Dominican Republic,” said Jáquez.

For his part, the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, recalled the joint work carried out both in the field of electoral observation and technical cooperation in the country...

In these Covid-19 pandemic days, sports tourism is every day more filling the void left by concerts at east coast hotels. For instance, the international gaming community is discovering the advantages of a sanitary bubble in a Punta Cana resort. CapCom Cup 2020 is the latest sports event to announce it will meet at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, a former leader in concerts and shows.

The event will take place at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana from 19 to 21 February 2021. This is the grand finale marking the end to the 2020 season when more than 4,000 players have competed in the Capcom Pro Tour Online. As reported, the players battled through 18 online “all-or-nothing” qualifying premiers, with the goal of making it to Capcom Cup 2020, now to be held in Punta Cana.

The Street Fighter League World Championship will take place on 19 February, with the two best...

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #301 reports 1,104 new PCR cases for the Tuesday, 13 January 2021 deadline. This compares to the 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases that is 1,428.

Labs carried out 4,840 first PCR tests, that compares with the 14-day average that is a low 4,327. The country can process 14,000 PCR tests a day. Nevertheless, private lab capacity is pressed by the increased demand for tests from the public.

The 4-week positivity rate is 20.92%, continuing the upward trend. The 24-hour positivity for the day 22.81%, up from the previous day. The number of reported active cases is now 44,535, up from the previous day.

No new deaths are reported for the Wednesday, 13 January 2021 deadline, none occurring in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. The total deaths is 2,428 since March 2020.

Restrictive...

Jorge Luis Polanco / El Dia

President Luis Abinader named the lawyers that will work closely with the Attorney General Office to end impunity and strengthen public finances. The Abinader administration is cracking down on corruption in the past administrations and the present and seeks to divest assets secured by corrupt means.

The Presidency says Decree 22-21 that names the legal team is an important step in the new administration’s efforts to recover assets and resources secured through illicit acts, omissions, negligence, recklessness, or law violations.

The Presidency declares of national interest the recovery of the public patrimony and says it will invest the recovered assets in projects that improve the quality of life of the Dominican people.

The team of lawyers is to be headed by Jorge Luis Polanco Rodríguez, José Luís Taveras, Claudia Álvarez Troncoso, Manuel Conde...

The Ministry of Public Works announced the infrastructure works it has planned for this 2021. Public Works Minister Deligne Ascención mentioned works to improve vehicular traffic, small projects in rural areas, maintenance of major roads, streets and avenues contemplated in the Strategic Infrastructure Development Plan. He was the keynote speaker for the 58th anniversary of the Dominican Engineers and Architects Association (Codia) on 13 January 2021. Ascención accepted the invitation made by Codia president, engineer Francisco Marte.

The minister announced a new bridge will be built over the Ozama River to connect Santo Domingo East with the National District. The new bridge will connect Manuela Diez street in the National District and Puerto Rico street in Ensanche Ozama in eastern Santo Domingo.

He announced works would begin to extend the...

The National District Mayor’s Office (ADN) announced changes in seven Santo Domingo city streets effective as of Saturday, 16 January 2021. The tweet indicates the changes are in the Evaristo Morales, El Millón, Los Prados and La Julia neighborhoods

The changes are:Max Henríqurez Ureña Street is now only east-west from Winston Churchill Avenue to Máximo Avilés Blonda Street. Between those two roads, José Brea Peña Street’s direction is also changing, and now will be from west to east at that intersection, and driving on Polibio Díaz Street will now be east to west in the Evaristo Morales neighborhood.

The Biblioteca Nacional (El Millón) and Lorenzo Despradel (Los Prados) streets will now be in the same south-north direction from Av. Paseo de los Locutores to Av. Gustavo Mejía Ricart. Guarocuya Street is changed to a west-east direction between Núñez de...

The representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in the Dominican Republic, Rosa Elcarte, urged this Wednesday, 13 January 2021 that the government design protocols that indicate where and when schools can be opened in a semi-presential format.

She called for no effort to be spared to keep schools open. She said the government should prioritize school reopening even in these times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The executive director of Unicef executive director, Henrietta Fore has called on governments to consider returning to the classroom after the evidence that schools are not the cause of the pandemic.

Although there is strong evidence about the effects of school closures on children and there is growing evidence that schools are not the cause of the pandemic, many countries have chosen to keep schools closed and some have not opened for...

The Attorney General Office says it will review the legality of the fines for those who violate curfew. Several legal experts have said the fines announced violate citizen rights. Others say the government can apply these as the country is in a National State of Emergency.

This week, the Attorney General Office announced fines of RD$1,000 to pedestrians, RD$5,000 for those in vehicles and RD$2,000 to motorcyclists caught circulating during curfew hours.

After losing their first two games against the Gigantes del Cibao, the Aguilas Cibaeñas defeated their regional rival six runs to three. The match was the third game of the playoffs. It took place on Wednesday, 14 January 2021 at the Julián Javier Stadium of the Gigantes in San Francisco de Macorís.

Francisco Peña connected a home run with a man on base in the eighth inning to consolidate the win. The Aguilas had been winning the game 4-3. With the victory, the Dominican Professional Winter Baseball Championship 7-4 series is now 2-1 in favor of the Gigantes.

The next game will be on Friday, 15 January 2021 at 7pm at the Cibao Ballpark. The games are being televised and streamed. Fans are not allowed in the stadiums.

Read more in Spanish at: Lidom...

Deputy Minister Camel Curi Lora of the Ministry of the Presidency announced the “Happy Family” (Familia Feliz) housing program. The plan will kick off with the construction of 11,000 dwellings in its first year and another 17,000 housing units through 2024. The plan is to build 62,000 new dwellings.

The government says that low-cost loans will be available for the purchase of homes in government housing projects. The program has a fund of around US$200 million for housing.

There will be several levels of cost of dwellings for purchase:RD$800,000 for families with a consolidated income of RD$16,000 per month. Down payments would be RD$20,000 and monthly mortgage of RD$3,600.RD$1.4 million for families with income of RD$26,000 per monthRD$90,000 with financing from the private sector, with a government bond.

The low-cost mortgages target families in urban renewal...

Elizabeth Mena / El Nuevo Diario

The president of the Dominican Association of Exports (Adoexpo), Elizabeth Mena appreciates the recent efforts by President Luis Abinader to strengthen relations with Puerto Rico and Haiti.

As reported in Acento, Mena sees as very positive that President Luis Abinader has met personally with the heads of government of Haiti and Puerto Rico.

President Luis Abinader has met twice with President Jovenel Moise of Haiti. The Ministry of Foreign Relations recently announced a new Joint Declaration where trade is a key issue. The governments agreed to continue talks until reaching a general trade agreement with transparent, stable, fair and predictible norms to stop the present contraband that affects tax collections in both countries.

Despite the pandemic, exports to Haiti only declined 9.9% during the first 11 months. Exports...

13 January 2021

80 firemen worked hard to put out a fire that began around 2am on 13 January 2021 in a paper warehouse in Villa Juana residential-commercial area in Santo Domingo. 26 fire trucks were deployed to the area to put out the blaze. One fireman was injured.

The occupants of several neighborhood apartment buildings were evacuated.

The warehouse is located at Moca con Américo Lugo.

Read more in Spanish:

The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) named Cornelio Acevedo Rojas (Compa) as the criminal who made several shots in the parking area of Pollo Victorina on Av. Winston Churchill on 12 January 2021. As reported, Acevedo is sought for drug trafficking crimes in the United States. Authorities say he is a dangerous person and is heavily armed.

What is known is that DNCD agents located Acevedo when driving on his vehicle on Av. Winston Churchill. He was approached by DNCD agents and ordered to stop. He did not, and instead, put his vehicle in reverse, crashed the vehicle of the DNCD agents, and then escaped. The persecution continued into the Evaristo Morales residential-commercial sector where he eventually abandoned the vehicle and escaped into a slum area. The authorities continue on the trail of Acevedo.

Read more in...

Protests were carried out on Monday, 12 January 2021 as several people protested the shutdown of businesses.

After a spike in cases over the holidays, the government cracked down on the entertainment business, ordering thousands of gyms, cinemas, theaters, restaurants, bars and clubs to open only until noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Most businesses need to shut down by 5pm Monday to Friday.

People are likewise suffering from acute cases of pandemic fatigue. Many have resisted, and the Police says that 75,000 have been arrested for violating curfew in the past three months.

Meanwhile, in tourist areas, the pandemic fatigue is less. Reports are that enforcement of the curfew is much less in areas such as Punta Cana.

One senator, Dr. Ivan Silva of La Romana, told Acento, that the government should use statistics to open or close areas depending on where...

The director of the National Health System, Dr. Mario Lama said during the Wednesday Covid-19 press conference that the added restrictive measures taken in the past two weeks are already showing results. He pointed out that the positivity rate has started to decline. He attributed the spike in active cases to the marked mobility over the holidays.

Two weeks of increased restrictions should show soon in the statistics, says Dr. Lama. He explained that the population needs to understand the formula to reduce the spread of Covid-19 is an equation of the population and government working together to contain the virus.

“We need the population on our side on weekdays and weekends,” he said. He explained that the government monitors the measures day by day to see the next steps and whether to take specific community measures.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #300 reports 1,595 new PCR cases for the Tuesday, 12 January 2021 deadline. The 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases is 1,429, up from the previous 7-day average of 1,277.

Labs carried out a new record 8,028 first PCR tests, a new record in cases and much more than the 14-day average that is a low 4,286. The country can process 14,000 PCR tests a day. Nevertheless, private lab capacity is pressed by the increased demand for tests from the public.

The 4-week positivity rate is 20.43%, continuing the upward trend. The 24-hour positivity for the day 19.87%, significantly lower than the 27.56% on the previous day. The number of reported active cases is now 43,738, up from the previous day.

No new deaths are reported for the Tuesday, 12 January 2021 deadline, none occurring in the...

Public Health Minister Plutarco Arias acknowledged on 12 January 2021 the positive results in the Dominican Republic in the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients. After the Health Cabinet said that Ivermectin is not an approved drug, prescriptions for the drug signed by the health minister circulated extensively on social media. Dr. Arias, at the Unión Médica clinic in Santiago, together with Dr. Jose Natalio Redondo at the Centro Médico Bournigal in Puerto Plata, spearheaded the use of the drug in the early months of the disease with much success.

Yet, Dr. Arias went public on 12 January 2021, saying that despite the positive results with Covid-19 it is not yet approved by the international scientific community.

Hundreds of physicians prescribe the drug in the Dominican Republic. Pharmacies bundle it with supplements to boost the immune system. Dominicans send the drug...

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Rotator Graphic for af.mil. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario “Charo” Gutierrez)

On Tuesday, Vice President Raquel Peña, and the director of the National Health Service (SNS), Mario Lama, said that the new fast-spreading strain from the United Kingdom is in the country.

Peña, who is also the Health Cabinet coordinator, said that the upward trend in Covid-19 cases is due to the local non-compliance with the preventive measures.

She said the government has sent tests carried out to people who have come from England to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, USA and these have come back negative.

On Monday, the director of the country’s leading children’s hospital, the Robert Reid Cabral Hospital, infectologist Clemente Terrero, said that the new variant of Covid-19 is the cause of the increase in infections.

Yet, the National Health System...

The Vuelta Ciclística Independencia Nacional, the leading cycling race, is on as scheduled for 22 to 28 February 2021, as reported in Diario Libre. The Dominican Federation of Cycling president, Jorge Blas said the event will be celebrated under a sanitary bubble.

He said details are still being worked out and it could be that the athletes overnight in Santo Domingo or in a resort in Punta Cana. This will vary the stages of the race. The race that is now in its 42nd year traditionally takes the participants on a tour of the entire country.

Blas said they are looking at holding the event in the East, so the athletes can then overnight at a resort in the area.

He said six to eight international teams and around ten from the Dominican Republic could participate this year. The number of international teams in the past has reached 25.

13 January 2021

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