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Daily News - Friday, 07 February 2014

Spanish Trade Minister visits
President Danilo Medina met with Spanish Minister of Commerce Jaime Garcia Legaz at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Thursday 6 February. At a press conference after the meeting, Garcia was prompt to tell the press that Spanish investment in the DR totals more than US$4 billion and generates 70,000 direct jobs. He said the reason for his visit was to review economic and trade relations. He said that Spanish investment makes up 75% of foreign investment in the tourism sector. He said that Dominican businesses have invested EUR80 million in Spain.

"We are interested in assessing the status of Spanish investment in the Dominican Republic and working on how we can make it grow," said Garcia at the press conference. He said that Spanish companies are pleased and proud of being able to contribute to the Dominican economy. The Minister said that he and President Medina discussed how both countries could work to strengthen the legal framework so that it can encourage more Spanish investment in the DR. He said they discussed agreements aimed at preventing double taxation of investors and for promoting the signing of funding agreements for social impact projects in the DR. Garcia Legaz was optimistic that the bill to this intent would soon pass in Congress.

Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo, Spanish ambassador Jaime Lacadena, deputy director general for commerce in Spain, Erick Rovira and ministerial cabinet representative, Beatriz Marin were also present at the meeting with President Medina.





First phase Colonial City works ready in March
Deputy Minister of Tourism Maribel Villalona says that the first phase of the Colonial City facelift will be completed in March. The first phase covers a third of the overall US$30 million IDB-funded project, from Arzobispo Merino and Isabel La Catolica streets on the stretch between the south of Padre Billini street to Arzobispo Portes street. Villalona, who is the general coordinator of the Colonial City Revitalization Program, said that the first phase has taken longer than originally expected because it has served as a pilot plan for the rest of the urban renewal project and new areas were added. She said that archaeological finds had also caused delays. She expects the work on the streets to be finished by the end of this year.


Finnish technology for Dominican weather system
Dominican weather department director (ONAMET) Gloria Ceballos has announced the installation of the SmartMet weather briefing and monitoring system.

This is a donation from the Finland Meteorological Institute (FMI). The new information system ensures more accurate forecasts by analyzing weather conditions in general and helping to demonstrate and assess risks associated with severe phenomena. "The atmosphere, from the ground to the sky is important for weather predictors," she said. This tool is to determine the seriousness of phenomena, including tropical hurricanes," said Ceballos.

The system has also been installed in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua for intercommunicating the Caribbean and sharing data.


Poultry exports to Haiti
The Ministry of Agriculture and Haiti have signed a joint resolution for regulating the poultry trade between both countries under a pre-established procedure. The signing of the resolution was agreed upon during the second meeting of the High-Level Bi-national Commission that met in Jimani on 3 February. The agreement was signed by Luis Ramon Rodriguez Pena and Thomas Jacques, ministers of agriculture for the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The resolution lifts the sanitary ban on Dominican poultry produce and certifies Dominican producers that have been inspected by Haitian veterinary services according to the approved procedures. Only these companies are certified to export to Haiti.

The parties agreed to set up a specialist committee that will also include the IICA, USDA and APJIS representatives in both countries to review and supervise the application of the resolutions of the procedure and technical exchanges in several areas.


New ID cards coming soon
The president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE) that manages the civil registry in the Dominican Republic has announced the renewal process for the new ID card would start in March or April. He said the JCE expects to issue around seven million cards. The cards will be issued free of charge, costing the government between RD$400 million and RD$500 million. The new card will carry images of the Dominican flag and founding father Juan Pablo Duarte.


Progress on the 911 system
Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo says that work is progressing towards the installation of the 911 emergency system. The latest step is the process of mapping the Greater Santo Domingo area, and he asked city residents to cooperate to ensure that this process is completed. Montalvo said that National Statistics Office (ONE) representatives might need access to some homes during the mapping process. The system provides for geo-referencing the calls received. "It is very important to facilitate the correct signage of homes and businesses because in case of an emergency speed is essential and to lose time finding a house or a street that is incorrectly identified can make the difference between life and death," he said. Montalvo added that the ONE staff would be wearing uniforms with a blue sweater and cap reading "Actualizacion Cartografica en apoyo al 911."


CITEL meets at Crowne Plaza to talk telecommunications
The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) is hosting several meetings in Santo Domingo bringing telecommunication leaders from all of the Americas. The agenda includes the Strategic Dialogue on Broadband and Internet Development in the Americas on 10 February 2014 at the Crowne Plaza in Santo Domingo. That meeting will be followed by the Sixth Regular Meeting of the Assembly of Citel from 11-13 February, and the 28th Meeting of COM/CITEL on 13 February, as well as the 26th Meeting of the Conference Preparatory Working Group (GTPC) on 14 February.

CITEL is the telecommunications/ICT advisory body of the Organization of American States. It gathers all OAS member states and more than 100 associate members from the telecommunications, Internet, electronic media industry. CITEL was established by the OAS General Assembly in 1994, with the mission to promote the sustainable development of telecommunications/ICT in the hemisphere.

President Medina strengthens hold on PLD
The Danilo Medina faction of the PLD now holds the majority in the Political Committee. As reported in Diario Libre, 400 of the 623 Central Committee members are said to be loyal to Medina. In addition, 15 of the 35 Political Committee members are said to be his followers. Diario Libre says that he has the majority of the five of the seven members of the so-called Otan, the group with the greatest influence within the ruling party. Diario Libre points out that the Medina faction's strategy was effective in preventing controversial senator Felix Bautista's entry into the Political Committee. This win comes parallel to revelations that in the latest Gallup-Hoy poll, Medina was rated upwards of 82% in popularity, the highest for any Dominican statesman.

Journalist Abel Guzman Then of Diario Libre writes in his political analysis: "These results give Medina greater strength and security to govern. It is expected that he will seek to obtain the greatest number of candidates for senators, deputies, mayors, councilors and directors of municipal districts in the 2016 elections."

He says that former President Leonel Fernandez has adopted a politically prudent approach, fulfilling his institutional roles and observing Medina's political momentum. Most Congress members are from the Fernandez camp.

Aspiring presidential candidate and political committee member Francisco Javier Garcia defined Wednesday's election as "a fiesta of Dominican democracy where there were no broken chairs, chaos, or disorder and where the vote was marked by order and respect."

As reported in El Caribe, now neither of the two party strongmen, Danilo Medina and Leonel Fernandez have total control of the party. Prior to the changes, Fernandez controlled the party. El Caribe says that 10 of the PLD members are unconditional supporters of Medina and 10 of Leonel, while 13 declare themselves to be independent.

El Caribe reports that the Political Commission members who are in the Danilo Medina camp are:

Cristina Lizardo, Carlos Pared Perez, Juan de los Santos, Simon Lizardo, Ruben Jimenez Richara, Miriam Cabral, Carlos Amarante Baret, Yomaira Medina, Gonzalo Castillo and Radhames Camacho.

The Fernandez faction: Radhames Jimenez, Rafael Alburquerque, Monchy Fadul, Julio Cesar Valentin, Ael Martinez, Margarita Cedeno, Alejandrina German, Ramon Ventura Camejo, Alma Fernandez and Franklin Almeyda.

The self-declared independents are: Temistocles Montas, Francisco Javier Garcia, Radhames Segura, Jose Tomas Perez, Cesar Pina Toribio, Lidio Cadet, Eduardo Selman, Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal, Jose Joaquin Bido Medina, Bautista Rojas Gomez, Felix Jimenez, Reinaldo Pared Perez and Euclides Gutierrez Felix.

The Political Committee is the body that decides political issues in the party and decisions are taken by consensus, not by majority of votes, as reported in El Caribe.

Political analyst Alfredo Freites commented that of the 10 new members to the Political Committee, former President Leonel Fernandez was only able to place three n his wife Margarita Cedeno, Chamber of Deputies president Abel Martinez and former attorney general Radhames Jimenez. He comments the next step will be for the Medina partisans to seek to control Congress in the 2016 election. President Danilo Medina is regarded as a master strategist.

Who are the strongest politicians into 2016 election?
Gallup-Hoy poll gives insights into the most attractive politicians in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. The poll includes President Danilo Medina even though he cannot run for President in 2016.

Speaking on the Carmen Imbert morning radio talk show, political analyst Ramon Holguin said that the poll results without Danilo Medina shows Margarita Cedeno claiming around 40% of the perception of who the PLD candidate should be. He commented that she is benefiting from the vote that is favorable to the Medina government.

Holguin stressed this is a political party preference, not the voters' preference. He said it reflects the acceptance of voters to that politician.

Those polled answered the question "who do you think the party's Presidential candidate should be?"

The answers for the three leading political parties were:

PLD: Danilo Medina 47.3%, Leonel Fernandez 18.7%, Margarita Cedeno 11.1%, Francisco Javier Garcia 3.1%, Reynaldo Pared Perez 1.7%, Jaime David Fernandez 1.2%.

PRD: Luis Abinader 24.4%, Hipolito Mejia 21.9%, Miguel Vargas 21.3%, Milagros Ortiz Bosch 1.8%, Orlando Jorge Mera 1.1%.

PRSC: Amable Aristy Castro 37.3%, Carlos Morales Troncoso 7.3%, Victor (Ito) Bisono 6.7%, Quique Antun 1.4%, Eduardo Estrella 1.2% Jose Hazim 0.8%.


Duarte statue for high point in Santo Domingo
Sculptor Juan Gilberto Nunez has placed a new statue of Duarte at a high point on the top of a residential tower near the Hotel Embajador. The statue overlooks the city of Santo Domingo.

"It is about placing Duarte at the highest point of the city, from where it overlooks the urban panorama and one can get the feel of his patriotic efforts in favor of national sovereignty," said the sculptor when making the announcement.


Quirino is a free man
Diario Libre reports today, Friday 7 February that former army Colonel Quirino Ernesto Paulino was released from jail in the US with an order of sentence fulfilled issued by judge Kimba M Wood on 23 January 2014. Paulino Castillo was released from jail on 24 January. He had been in jail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center of Brooklyn (CMC) for nine years. He was arrested on 18 December 2004 when transporting 1,387 kilos of cocaine, valued at US$30 million. Of the 21 accused in the case, 18 have already secured their release, reports Diario Libre.


Interpol captures 20 fugitives in DR
At least 20 dangerous international criminals who tried to evade justice by moving to the DR have been captured and extradited by the International Police (Interpol) of Santo Domingo in the past six months, as reported in Listin Diario. Meanwhile, according to the local Interpol office, 146 Dominicans who fled after committing crimes that include murder, fraud, drug trafficking, rape, asset laundering and bank robbery are being sought. Most of the foreigners have been located in Puerto Plata, Greater Santo Domingo and Santiago. Many were from Cuba and Mexico, but also from further afield, from countries like Russia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Recently, citizens of Italy, Spain, Canada, Serbia and Germany were deported. One of the most recent arrests by Interpol was Czech national Petv Masopust on 24 January. He was hiding in Sabana Luperon, Puerto Plata after evading the judiciary in his country on major fraud accusations. Another Czech, Miroslav Vrana was also arrested recently. He was being sought for cocaine trafficking.

The head of Interpol's National Central Office in the Dominican Republic, Colonel Roberto Albino Filpo said that 50 specialized agents work in his department. He said the modernization of equipment and learning new technologies has helped to capture the criminals.

As reported, the list of the 146 Dominican fugitives includes Onel Baez Guzman, who killed a window cleaner on Santo Domingo's Sarasota Avenue in November and Estervin Rikervin Vilorio Calas, accused of the RD$38 million robbery from Caribe Express in January.


Police recovers RD$600,000 of RD$38 million robbery
The Police says it has recovered RD$600,000 of the RD$38 million stolen from a Caribe Express security transport vehicle on the Duarte Highway in January. The money was found when agents from the Criminal Investigations Department (Dicrim) searched a house on Calle Juan de Morfa in Bonao and fugitive Luis Enrique Rodriguez (Magallanes) was arrested. He is believed to be one of the masterminds and executors of the robbery.


Visa to India made easy
The Indian diplomatic mission consular officer will be making one of his periodic visits the Dominican Republic from 9-13 February to facilitate issuing of travel visas and other matters.

Consular officer Om Prakash will be staying at the Hotel BQ (Av. Sarasota #53, Bella Vista, Santo Domingo) where he can receive anyone interested in consulting on consular-related matters on 9 Feb, 11 and 12 February (from 10am to 1pm, and 2 to 5:30pm). He can be contacted on his cell 829 979-2915 for consular-related matters. Anyone interested should send scanned copies of applications of visas and front page of passports along with supporting documents (in accordance with the visa category applied for) be sent to the India Embassy in Havana, Cuba by 8 February 2014 for clearance. For more information, contact [email protected]

Luguelin Santos makes personal best in Sweden
Dominican Luguelin Santos, silver medalist at the London Olympics, achieved a new personal best during the 2014 XL Galan held at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. He clocked in at 45.89 to be second behind Czech runner Pavel Maslak who registered 45.66 in the 400m. Maslak holds the current world leading time.

Santos had been training for the event in Montreal and his next major commitment will be in Sopot, Poland from 7-9 March. He will also compete in the Drakes Relay, scheduled for 26 April in Des Moines, Iowa, as reported in Diario Libre. LaShawn Meritt and Kirani James will be competing in that event.



Carnival this Sunday nationwide
This Sunday afternoon there are carnival celebrations in Bonao, Santiago, Santo Domingo (Av. Maximo Gomez and Av. Espana), Puerto Plata (Malecon), La Vega.

While the action is on city streets on Sundays in February, those who want to get an overview of carnival in the Dominican Republic may also consider attending the Gran Gala de Carnaval Brahma 2014 that will take place in the comfort of the Gran Teatro del Cibao in Santiago on Friday, 21 February. This is the 24th year of the event that is sponsored by the Brahma and Presidente beer brewery (CND). Tickets are RD$1,000 and RD$700 and RD$500 in balcony.

Presidente Latin Music Festival goes global
The largest entertainment group in Latin America, the Inter-American Entertainment Corporation (Grupo CIE) has been contracted to produce the Presidente Latin Music Festival in 2014. The company is regarded as one of the worldwide leaders in its field.

In a presentation to the press, CIE spokesman Eduardo Martinez said that this year the festival would open to music from all over the world. Traditionally, the festival has focused on Latin music, but this year it will include great international stars of all styles of music.

"The Presidente Festival is a celebration to thank Dominicans for choosing Presidente beer," he said. "It is a show that evolved together with the tastes of the greater public and world trends. He said that "CND (the Dominican National Brewery) honors this responsibility towards Dominican culture by producing a Presidente Festival that is better every year and where we can offer the best of what is ours." This year's Festival Presidente will take place at the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo on 3, 4 and 5 October.

DR fails to make Caribbean Series playoffs
In its return to the Caribbean Series, the team representing the Dominican Republic, the Tigres del Licey failed to make it to the playoffs. The team lost 3-2 to the Naranjeros de Hermosillo, the Mexican team in the ninth inning last night, Thursday 6 February.

To follow the rest of the series, see http://seriedelcaribe2014.net


Team W-L Percentage
Venezuela 3 - 1 0.750
Mexico 3 - 2 0.600
Puerto Rico 2 - 2 0.500
DR 2 - 3 0.400
Cuba 1 - 3 0.250

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

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