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Daily News - Thursday, 30 January 2014

Danilo blasts PM of St Vincent
In his address to the II Summit for the Community of Central American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Havana yesterday, Wednesday 29 January, President Danilo Medina was unusually emotional and decisive in his defense of Constitutional Court ruling 168-13 on nationality and legalization of undocumented residents. He was especially frank, albeit diplomatic, in his response to comments made by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines who is the spokesman for the Caribbean Community (Caricom). Medina told Gonsalves that he should govern in his country and to let him will govern in ours. Medina also said that the Dominican Republic would not accept interference from any country large or small in issues involving the sovereign interests of the republic. The President also confirmed that a bill was being drafted to help people in legal limbo speed up the process of legalizing their status in the Dominican Republic.

See You Tube video of the comments at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKeOrOT6uto

See dr1 English version at: http://dr1.com/premium/news/2014/medinacelac2014.pdf

See dr1 Spanish transcript at: http://dr1.com/premium/news/2014/MedinaCELAC2014Sp.pdf

Talks to continue with Haiti on Monday, 3 February
Minister of Interior and Police Jose Ramon Fadul has confirmed that the next meeting of the Haiti-Dominican Republic Bilateral Commission would be held on Monday, 3 February, as previously established. The meeting will take place in Jimani, on the border with Haiti at 11am. Some 30 people will represent Haiti at the meeting that will also be attended by international observers. Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Elias Jaua Milano has confirmed his participation. The Dominican Republic delegation will be made up of five people, a technical team and three or four Dominican business representatives, Fadul told the press.

The delegates will discuss issues including farming, trade, the environment and migration security. "There is a broad agenda because the idea is to regulate our situation with Haiti," he added.

The first meeting took place on 7 January 2014 in the border town of Ouanaminthe, Haiti.

Mixed reviews for bill on regulating practice of law in the DR
The legislative proposal that seeks to regulate the practice of law in the DR has brought forth both support and rejection from lawyers, who are in favor of the establishment of new regulations for practicing law, and of empowering the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) to implement the proposal. Diario Libre interviewed legal experts Servio Tulio Castanos Guzman, the executive vice-president of the Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (Finjus), jurist Eduardo Jorge Prats, Unibe University Law School dean Jose Perez Gomez and College of Lawyers president Jose Diego Garcia on the bill sent to the Chamber of Deputies.

The main opposition to the proposal comes from Garcia, the president of the Dominican Bar Association, who said that the SJC was trying to destroy the association with the legislative proposal that he described as "disastrous." "The SCJ's intention to take control of the discipline of the legal professional compromises the sense of impartiality to the detriment of the proposal," he said.

Another suggestion was made by Castanos Guzman, who said "there is no doubt that serious deficiencies are to be found at the university level, and I believe that everything should be analyzed, since we cannot concentrate on a proposal that is directed solely at regulating the practice of the profession. We should make the most of the opportunity to see how we can design an academic model that genuinely and effectively contributes to improving the academic level of our lawyers." He added that he supports the evaluations of the lawyers and especially their training.

Jorge Prats also said he believed that the initiative was excellent, while suggesting that they should require the examination by jurisdiction (Justice of the Peace, First Instance, Appeals, SCJ, Higher Electoral Court and Constitutional Court), as is the case in France. The same thing should apply to the notaries public and the judicial interpreters.

Meanwhile, dean Perez Gomez, in his role as the executive director of the National Roundtable of Deans and Directors of Law Schools, has called a meeting of the group to learn about and discuss the nature, content and scope of the initiative that covers lawyers and notaries.


Big Brother to watch over Greater Santo Domingo
The Dominican Republic will start working with a modern system of 'smart' cameras that will support the 911 system that goes into service in February. Part of enhanced efforts to improve safety in cities, the system is aimed at prevention and pursuit of crime.

Some 1,306 cameras will be installed on 375 key intersections in Greater Santo Domingo. The cameras will be monitored from Police Headquarters. Donations from Taiwan and the United States are funding much of the installation of the equipment. The cameras can read license plates, draw up information on the owner of the vehicle in record time, as well as how many people are travelling in the vehicle.

The 911 system will have a modern fleet of ambulances and radio communications and other technological advances. Recently the Chief of the National Police, Major General Manuel Castro Castillo, told Diario Libre that the modern Urban Vigilance system would allow the police to provide a rapid response to any criminal situation that occurs on the streets of Greater Santo Domingo. The Urban Vigilance System has the capacity to place virtual fences and if someone were to leave a package in a restricted area, such as a school, barracks, hospitals, apartment buildings and other sites selected by the authorities, the system will send out an automatic alert.

According to the Urban Vigilance System Manual that was shown to Diario Libre reporters, virtual fences may be placed by the operators at given times. "If for example there is a virtual fence and someone crosses it, the system immediately sends a red alert and we, from here at Police Headquarters, order several patrols that are near the fence to arrive at the scene to see what has happened," said one of the operators. The police will have their own wireless network with 12-hour electricity backup in case the area where the camera is operating is affected by a power cut.

Germany donates equipment to fight crime
The government of Germany has donated technical equipment to the Police to strengthen forensic investigations at crime scene processing. They also donated a Toyota Prado vehicle for use by the Scientific Police. The equipment was delivered to Police chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo by German ambassador Victoria Zimmermann von Siefart. The donation is part of the German Federal Police for Criminal Investigation's international aid program, as reported in Diario Libre.

DGII and businesses sign truce on tax printers
The Tax Department (DGII) and associations representing a series of commercial interests have signed a sort of truce as a step towards avoiding a general strike called for the first week of February. According to Diario Libre, the DGII and these associations agreed to a tax credit that will reimburse the businesses that install these tax printers over a two-year period. Food retailers are calling for an extension of the deadline for the installation of the machines that print out sales receipts with the government's taxes included.


PUCMM files for a nanotech patent
The Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) has announced it is applying for a patent on a new nanotechnological invention. According to the Minister of Higher Education Ligia Amado Melo and PUCMM rector Monsignor Agripino Nunez, the university has filed for patents in the United States, Taiwan, and in the PCT consortium of 148 countries. According to Dr Fabrice Piazza, head of research at the PUCMM Nanoscience Laboratory, the new process consists of coating a conglomerate of carbon nanotubes of between 100 and 200 nanometers in diameter with silicon carbide and carbon nanocrystals. For an idea of scale, a human hair is 100,000 nanometers in diameter. The process will be useful to industry, biomedicine and electronic applications.

DR's first robotic surgery at HOMS
The first robot surgery in the Dominican Republic was performed by a team of surgeons from the Arizona Medical Dominican Friends Foundation, headed by Dr Severino Rodriguez at the Metropolitan Hospital of Santiago (HOMS) on 19 January. In an interview with Listin Diario, HOMS spokesman Dr Rafael Sanchez Espanol said that the ultra-modern Da Vinci SI system is only in use in Puerto Rico and HOMS in the Caribbean. The equipment, like its namesake, can perform multiple tasks including general surgery as well as more specialized interventions in the head and neck, kidneys, prostates and other areas. Surgical procedures take place in a special, hi-tech series of ORs with online capabilities. The local team of doctors headed by Sanchez Espanol was trained in Houston, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona by the Da Vinci Corporation.

Hair products generate US$40 million in exports
Anyone who has lived or visited the country knows just how important hair care is to Dominican women. As a result, Dominican-made hair products are making a significant contribution to the country's exports to the United States and Europe. Products from Dominican cosmetic laboratories are rated very highly by Latin and Afro-American women and the Dominican Cluster of Beauty Products has received good feedback from consumers.

Public transport strike is Santiago strands thousands
Many businesses suffered from a lack of customers and employees yesterday, Wednesday 29 January, as a large-scale strike by all the public transport unions was close to 100% effective in Santiago and the suburbs. At the same time, other drivers were able to drive safely, calmly and quickly around the city, on streets and avenues reminiscent of Good Friday during Easter Week. The strikers proved the point that they are, indeed, the major cause of the reigning chaos in traffic. There were some violent incidents as the protestors struck out to impose their will on transportation from other cities, such as Puerto Plata, and their threats of setting fire to anything moving kept even those who wanted to work from going out on the streets. The transport union leaders said that the strike was in protest at the continual fuel price increases and the lack of safety for drivers, and a call to repair the many potholes in the streets of Santiago. The unions also called for modifications to the Hydrocarbon Law that allows weekly changes in gas prices and for transparency in the Bonogas system through which the government provides incentives to maintain passenger fares at current levels.

French fugitive arrested skipping hotel
Agents from the Specialized Tourist Safety Corps (Cestur) have captured a Frenchman, nationalized as an Italian, who is a fugitive wanted for money laundering and fraud in the United Kingdom. The fugitive, Jack Mayer, was arrested yesterday, Wednesday 29 January as he tried to leave his hotel on Av. 27 de Febrero in Santo Domingo without paying his US$13,000 bill. The hotel, the Weston Suites Hotel & Casino had filed a complaint against Mayer for a long overdue bill. According to Cestur commander Amilcar Fernandez Tejada, the arrest followed a joint operation between the DNI and the Police Criminal Investigations Department.

Caribbean World Series, with Cuba
For the first time in most people's memory, Cuba will take part in the Caribbean professional baseball championship on Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela this week. The Dominican Republic will play Puerto Rico on the opening day, Friday 1 February. Major League Baseball has set a 7 February deadline for all winter league baseball, so this year's tournament between teams from the DR, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela will be much shorter. The teams will play against each other once, and the top four teams will play 1-4 and 2-3 with the winners playing for the title of Caribbean World Series Champion. This year's star attraction is Cuba, represented by Santa Clara and said to have at least four players who could step into the Major Leagues right away, including a catcher said to be the best in baseball. All games will be transmitted in the DR.

Watch out for traffic jams today: Victory parade
The champion Tigres del Licey will celebrate their victory over the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League Championships with a huge victory parade this afternoon, Thursday 30 January that is certain to tie up traffic in parts of Santo Domingo. According to El Caribe, the parade will start at 3pm and follow a route starting at the Quisqueya Stadium and going along Tiradentes Avenue to John F. Kennedy, along all of Quinto Centenario, taking the bridge at 17 and then Venezuela Avenue. On Venezuela the route will go to Las Americas and then Juan Bosch, then to the floating bridge back to the National District and the George Washington Avenue (Malecon) to Maximo Gomez, 27 de Febrero, Tiradentes and end, once more, at the Quisqueya Stadium where a party awaits the team and guests.

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

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