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Daily News - Friday, 17 January 2014

DR1 breaks for La Altagracia long weekend
As is traditional, DR1 Daily News will not be updated over the La Altagracia Day long weekend. While Monday, 20 January is a working day, many will take the day off from normal activities converting it into a five-day long weekend. This results in less than the normal flow of news. Breaking daily news can be posted 24/7 on the dr1.com/forums and will be compiled for the Wednesday, 22 January issue.

Wage increases for public school teachers
The Ministry of Education has announced a 10% wage increase for public schoolteachers, effective in paychecks issued on 25 January. Minister Carlos Amarante Baret recalled that in 2013, public school teachers received a 36% wage increase.

Amarante Baret told journalists that he accepted there were deficiencies in the quality of public school teachers. He said the focus is on strengthening the quality of education. Earlier this week it was reported that almost 60% of public school teachers who were tested failed. The minister said that his ministry would continue working on the construction of classrooms, longer school days and training of teachers.

Growth in 2013 was 4.1%, 5% forecast for 2014
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Thursday 16 January, Central Bank governor Hector Valdez Albizu announced that the Dominican economy had grown by 4.1% in 2013. Valdez Albizu said that all the actual figures are better than the International Monetary Fund estimates for the Dominican Republic. He said that inflation was 3.88%, which was well below the 5% estimated by the IMF. Valdez said that private credit was up 3.2 times. He said growth in the last quarter of the year was 7.2%. He forecast growth of 5-5.5% for 2014. He said that sectors influencing the growth of the Gross Domestic Product were farming that grew 7.8, from October to December, mining 114.1%, and construction 19.7%. Manufacturing and industrial free zones were up 3.4%, financial institutions 10.6%, and hotels, bars and restaurants 8.5%.

At year-end the tourism sector (hotels, bars and restaurants) closed with a 6.3% increase, farming with 4.4%, free zones 2.5% and construction 7.3%.

The CB Governor said that expectations are that the exchange rate would remain stable in 2014 and that banking credit increased by RD$84 billion compared to last year.

On the downside, unemployment was up in 2013. The Central Bank says that it is now at 15%, up from 14.3% registered for 2012. The Central Bank estimates that almost 70,000 new jobs were created, in many cases because informal businesses have formalized their operations.

Farm exports resumed to Haiti
Dominican-produced chicken and egg exports have resumed through border control entry points to Haiti, as reported by Minister of Agriculture Luis Ramon Rodriguez yesterday, Thursday 16 January. He said that both nations had agreed to a phyto-sanitary protocol to regulate bilateral trade. The minister said that Dominican poultry producers are investing in a poultry farm in Haiti. Rodriguez said he received a note from the Haitian Minister of Agriculture Jacques Thomas saying that there are no longer any objections to the export of Dominican eggs and poultry. He said the agreement established that Haitian importers would purchase the poultry from pre-approved Dominican farms.

Last year, Haiti banned poultry imports on the grounds that there was avian flu in the Dominican Republic. This was proved false.

The formal resumption of exports is also good news for the Haitian people, who had been paying a premium for eggs and poultry as a result of the Dominican import impasse.


65 minors with alcohol poisoning over the holidays
Attorney general Francisco Dominguez Brito says that public hospitals report admitting 65 underage children for alcoholic poisoning over the Christmas-New Year holidays. He said the courts have already started procedures against the parents of two of the children affected by alcohol. He said that in cases where a minor dies for this reason, homicide charges will be levied against the owners of the establishments where the liquor was known to be have sold. He said that the 65 minors listed are 44 boys and 21 girls, all between the ages of 12 and 15. He said there is a case of a two-year old who died due to poisoning. The AG said that in 2012, hospitals reported 20 poisoning cases, so this year the cases have tripled. He said that parents are violating the rules in the Children's Code and are therefore subject to fines. Dominguez said it is irresponsible of the parents to allow children to consume alcohol. He said that there are two cases open in the judiciary and there will be more. "We want to avoid new cases," he said, as reported in Diario Libre.


300 new pickups for police patrol units
The Police have received 300 new pickup patrol units for the use in the New 911 Emergency and Security System. The units were delivered by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo to Police chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo. Also present was Minister of Interior and Police Jose Ramon Fadul, and Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito and National Drug Control Department (DNCD) head Major General Julio Cesar Souffront Velazquez, the director of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) General Juan Brown Perez, and other key officers. The units are the first of 500 that will be part of the 911 system's patrol fleet. The police are assigning them to patrols in vulnerable areas in the Greater Santo Domingo. The 911 system also involves the installation of more than 1,000 video surveillance cameras in strategic points of the city to prevent crime.


College of Lawyers outlawed by Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Colegio de Abogados, the professional association for lawyers in the Dominican Republic, violates the Constitution. With Ruling TC/0274/13 dated 26 December 2013, it has ordered Congress to revise the law that created the college. The recourse for review by the Constitutional Court was submitted by lawyer Manuel Ramon Tapia Lopez.

The Constitutional Court argues that the bill was irregularly approved at the time as legislators voted on it in three consecutive readings, which was in violation to the Constitution of the time.

The Law 91 dated 1983 establishes that membership in the professional association is required in order to practice law in the Dominican Republic.



Dominican doctor honored in US
Neuro-psychiatrist Ricardo Espaillat has been recognized as a distinguished fellow, the highest honor granted by the by the American Psychiatric Association.

Ricardo K. Espaillat, M.D. is a long-standing fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the area of General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Psychosomatic Medicine (Consultation & Liaison). He is board certified in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties, and board certified in advanced Clinical Psychopharmacology by the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology. He attended the medical school at the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC) where he graduated with the highest honor (Summa Cum Laude), and completed his psychiatry residency training at New York Medical College, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center.

Distinguished Fellows are nominated first by their district branches before being recommended for approval by the APA Membership Committee and voted upon by the Board of Trustees. Candidates for this category have to meet more comprehensive criteria, including significant achievement in several areas of psychiatry.

"To receive this distinction is an great honor for any psychiatrist because it is a recognition of work carried out as a professional of mental health caregiver."

Espaillat is the founder of the Broward Neurosciences Institute, and the Center Rega for Mental Health in Florida. He is an associate clinical professor at Southeastern Nova University and member of the board and clinical professor at the University of Keiser in Florida.

Vatican: Wesolowski case is handled "with the severity it deserves"
The Polish press reports that the United Nations grilled the Vatican delegation on the Archbishop Josef Wesolowski child sex abuse case at the Geneva hearings yesterday, Thursday 16 January. The Polish priest was the papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic from 2008-2013 when he was removed after investigative journalists began to reveal his involvement in pedophile activities. Another Polish priest working in Juncalito, Santiago, Father Wojciech Gil has also been accused of abusing minors there. In May, Gil relocated to Poland where Polish police are investigating the allegations against him.

Spokesman for the Vatican delegation, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told the UN committee investigating the charges that the case against Polish archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who faces child sex abuse charges, is being "given the severity it deserves".

The Catholic News Agency says that Wesolowski could be convicted under the Holy See's civil law and jailed in Vatican City.

The Vatican's UN Ambassador Monsignor Silvano Tomasi was questioned over clerical sexual abuse of children at the headquarters of the UN's office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the Palais Wilson, in Geneva, 16 January. The Vatican is accused of covering up for its own members.

Archbishop Tomasi told the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Thursday, 16 January that the Vatican announced last week it would not be extraditing Jozef Wesolowski, the former Vatican representative in the Dominican Republic, back to the Caribbean island, or to Poland, to face the charges against him because he was a citizen of the Vatican and will face charges there following an investigation into the case.

"A citizen of Vatican City State has been placed under investigation for alleged sexual crimes committed against children outside the territory of Vatican City State," Archbishop Tomasi told the committee, adding that the case would be handled "with the severity it deserves."

The Vatican signed the convention in 1990 but from 1994 to 2012 presented no annual progress reports on tackling child abuse to the committee, despite numerous investigations of alleged child abuse by clergy, often dating back decades, in the US, Ireland, Germany and elsewhere.

Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for alleged sex abuse. He is now thought to be living in Rome and is protected from extradition by diplomatic immunity.



Pena Suazo score in Golden Globe-winning film
The merengue song "Que no se acabe el mambo" from Jose Pena Suazo's "Puro mambo" album features in the 2013 Italian film, "The Great Beauty" (La grande bellezza) that won a Golden Globe Best Foreign Language Film Award last weekend.

Pena Suazo says this is not the first time one of his scores has been chosen for a film. He recalls that in 1989, the film Hard Way used his theme "El milloncito" that he wrote for Cuco Valoy.

He said that if a film wins the Golden Globe then it means it has quality, and that if his music is part of that win, then the satisfaction is double.

The comedy-drama is the Italian submission to the Oscars ceremony and the Cannes Festival. Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, it tells the story of journalist Jep Gambardella who has seduced his way through the lavish night party scene of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.



Tribute to Our Lady of Altagracia at Agora Mall
Agora Mall, the leading Santo Domingo city mall, announces that for the occasion of La Altagracia Day (celebrated on Tuesday, 21 January) a special exhibit-sale of arts and crafts will be available for purchase in the 4th floor mall courtyard throughout the weekend. Mall manager Silvia Rosales said this is another opportunity for everyone to appreciate and enjoy the creativity of Dominican artisans.

Gigantes and Aguilas don't give up
Today, Friday 17 January is the day for deciding who will match the Leones del Escogido in the playoffs that start next weekend. The Tigres del Licey (Santo Domingo), Aguilas Cibaenas (Santiago) and Gigantes del Cibao (San Francisco de Macoris) continue to be positioned to be able to be that team. Yesterday, Thursday 16 January the Gigantes defeated the Licey in Santo Domingo for a tie. The Aguilas defeated the Escogido yesterday in Santo Domingo to ensure they are still contenders in the games set for today.

Many baseball fans in the city are hoping that Licey will defeat the Escogido and the playoffs will be played between the so-called "eternal rivals", Licey and Escogido. The last time the two teams battled each other in the capital city's Quisqueya Ballpark was in 1998-99, when the ninth game was won by Licey. For results, see lidom.com

The games scheduled for this evening, Friday 17 January are:
- Santo Domingo, Quisqueya Ballpark: Licey vs. Escogido at 7:30pm
- San Francisco de Macoris, Julian Javier Ballpark: Gigantes vs. Aguilas at 7:30pm.

ESCOGIDO 11 - 6 .647 --
GIGANTES 8 - 9 .471 3.0
LICEY 8 - 9 .471 3.0
AGUILAS 7 - 10 .412 4.0

La Altagracia Concert
On the occasion of the La Altagracia Day holiday on Tuesday, 21 January that honors the protector of the Dominican Republic, the 70-musician strong National Symphony Orchestra will be playing its traditional La Altagracia concert this evening Friday, 17 January at 8pm at the Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia in Higuey. Maestro Jose Antonio Molina will be conducting the orchestra and soprano Nathalie Pena-Comas will be singing. The event is sponsored by the Banco Popular Dominicano, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The concert will include music by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Leonard Bernstein. Other compositions on the program include De Espana vengo, Soy espanola and El nino judio by Spanish composer Pablo de Luna.

Laser Regatta in Cabarete
Now in its 12th year, Cabarete is hosting the Caribbean Laser Midwinter Regatta from 17-19 January. The event brings together world competitors in the sport for a week of tough competition, good eating and partying on the beach.

The Puerto Plata event attracts more than 30 competitors from nine countries who use the Cabarete competition as a training event for the Miami OCR. This is an ISAF grade 3 event. The Regatta is also a preparatory competition for the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. Previous competitors in the Cabarete Laser event include gold medalist Paul Goodison of Great Britain, gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe of the United States. US champion Peter Seindenberg has confirmed his participation. There are facilities for chartering laser boats at the CaribWind Center in Cabarete, Puerto Plata.

For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar

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