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Daily News - Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Road infrastructure a priority for tourism
Speaking to the press before the beginning of the International Seminar on Tourism Destinations Management of Cultural Heritage yesterday, Monday 17 February, President Danilo Medina reiterated his pledge to continue promoting tourism in the country, saying that for this purpose he will keep constructing the road infrastructure needed to meet the target of one tourist per head of population.

He said that Spain and Jamaica have reached the figure of one tourist per inhabitant and that Puerto Rico is now over that figure. Medina went on to say that this goal was achievable for the Dominican Republic, but that road-building investments had to be made in the areas where they were needed, such as the eastern routes, which now only needed to link Higuey with El Seibo and Hato Mayor.

He then said that work on the Navarrete - Puerto Plata road would begin in the next few weeks, which only leaves the south of the country where a ring road around Bani was proposed as well as more investments for developing the region, including Bahia de Las Aguilas, which had been held up due to issues with land titles.



President receives WTO recognition
President Danilo Medina has been presented with a World Tourism Organization Open Letter in recognition of his administration's work in the industry of which the Dominican Republic is the leader in the Caribbean.

The award was presented by WTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai during the inauguration of the international tourist seminar taking place in Santo Domingo.

Speaking at the event, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia commented on the passing of Law 195-13 with amendments to Law 158-01 on tax incentives that will benefit new areas around the country.

The event was attended by key representatives of tourism from around the Americas.


School inauguration program begins
President Danilo Medina embarked on a series of public school inaugurations nationwide starting in Andres, Boca Chica yesterday, Monday 17 February.

The three schools inaugurated were Pedro Antonio Batista, with 23 classrooms, Andres Avelino, 16 classrooms and Dario Gomez high school also with 16 classrooms. All three will offer the new full school day.

Speaking at the event, Education Minister Carlos Amarante Baret said that President Medina was the leader of the transformation of Dominican education for ensuring that 4% of GDP was allocated to education and for the construction of an estimated 28,000 new classrooms during his term in office.

He went on to say that the country has never had a President who has made education such a priority.

Also present at the inaugurations was the director of the Office for Supervisory Works of the State (OISOE), Miguel Pimentel Kareh, who said that these schools would be the beginning of a revolution. As an example, the Pedro Antonio Batista School has a kitchen, laboratories, administrative area, sports facilities and a large cafeteria.

The program will continue in Azua today, Tuesday 18 February, with the inauguration of four more schools, followed by six more in Duarte province on Wednesday.


OAS to prepare study on issuing IDs to Haitians in DR
The Ministry of Foreign Relations has announced the signing of an agreement with the Organization of American States regarding identity cards for Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic. The diagnostic study needs to be completed in four weeks. The agreement, which was signed by Minister of Foreign Relations Carlos Morales Troncoso and OAS representative Araceli Azuara Ferreiro is described as a follow-up to the bilateral meeting between President Danilo Medina and President Michel Martelly at the 5th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) that took place in Port-au-Prince Haiti on 26 April 2013. During that event, the Dominican government offered to provide the installations and necessary infrastructure so that Haitians can be documented in the DR. The agreement also stipulates that the Dominican government will accept the National Identification Card issued by the Haitian National Identity Office as part of the required documentation for regularizing temporary Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic.

Morales Troncoso told the press that the agreement is an important institutional step in the Dominican government's macro plan to legalize Haitian immigration while respecting human rights.


Parlacen offers support
Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) president Paula Lorena Rodriguez has offered support to the Dominican Republic, via President Medina on the presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA) during a visit to the Presidential Palace yesterday, Monday 17 February.

She said that all of the tasks that linked Parlacen and the Dominican Republic would be coordinated through Congress.

Parlacen vice president Mirelys Uceta and secretary, Miguel Oviedo Campos were also present at the meeting.


Dominican Republic joins telecoms commission
The Dominican Republic has joined the Central American telecoms commission Comtelca. The local telecom regulator, Indotel, will represent the Dominican Republic within Comtelca. Comtelca is a technical commission that brings together telecoms regulators in six Central American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The body aims to coordinate and harmonize the regional development of the telecommunications industry.


Pared Perez announces candidacy
Senate president and PLD General Secretary Reinaldo Pared Perez launched his campaign for the presidential nomination for 2016, yesterday Monday 17 February.

The announcement, made at the Magna 365 Hotel (former Melia) in Santo Domingo, was attended by PLD members, senators, deputies and members of the PLD Political and Central Committees.

Pared listed what he would do as President and outlined his qualifications for the post, including his role in the economic transformation and modernization of the country.

He went on to say that he would listen to the needs and wishes of all of society across the whole country.

Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia and Minister of Economy, Planning and Development Juan Temistocles Montas have also announced their intention to seek the PLD nomination.



Navy stops illegal boat trips to Puerto Rico
The Dominican Navy has announced the arrest of 72 people, including 56 Haitians who were trying to travel to Puerto Rico illegally, and the confiscation of three boats.

The operations, which took place over the last two days, Sunday 16 and Monday 17 February, were carried out in the eastern locations of Uvero Alto, Cabeza de Toro, Cortecito and Bayahibe and arrests were also made in San Pedro de Macoris, Miches and Samana.


Killer of African student on remand
A judge in the National District has sent Luis Miguel Beriguete, 21, to six months protective custody, accused of killing a 27-year old student from Equatorial Guinea, Robustiano Olo Mengue Osongone, at Kilometer 9 of the Duarte Highway in January this year.

Others involved in the crime, named only as "Eddy Bon" and "Colita" are still on the run.

According to the warrant, they were in a public shared taxi and one of the suspects told the victim to stay calm as they were going to rob him and pointed a gun at him. They killed him after he began to scream for help.


Polish authorities arrest priest in DR sexual abuse case
Father Wojciech Gil (Padre Alberto) the 36-year old priest accused of child sexual abuse in his former parish of Juncalito, Santiago was arrested in his native Poland on Monday, 17 February. The case was originally exposed by Dominican TV investigative reporters. The priest is known to be a close friend of former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski, removed by the Vatican after investigative TV reporters were also on his trail in the Dominican Republic. Also from Poland, Wesolowski has not been available for comment to the press since he left the country last year.

Wojciech Gil has been under investigation by Polish prosecutors since September, when they traveled to the Dominican Republic to discuss the case with local prosecutors.

Gil had returned to his hometown in Poland after the TV report aired in the Dominican Republic.

"We received documents from the Dominican Republic that, among other things, will allow us to press charges," Przemyslaw Nowak, spokesman for the District Public Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw told reporters.

The priest had denied any wrongdoing in a televised interview in October, suggesting he had been set up by local drug gangs.

Listin Diario reports that community representatives in Juncalito expressed their relief at the fact that charges were being pressed, but said they hoped that the Dominican authorities would request Wojciech Gil's extradition so he can be tried here.

In Juncalito, three parents presented formal charges against the priest, but the authorities suspect that at least 15 minors were sexually abused.

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said he trusted the priest would receive the maximum sentence in Poland.







Once upon a time there was merengue...
The Ministry of Culture is staging the story of Dominican merengue at its auditorium through the beat and songs of Sergio Vargas and his orchestra and the National Folk Dancing group. Sergio Vargas is one of the best exponents of melodious Dominican merengue. This free show, which started on February 14, continues till Friday 27 February at 6:30pm at the Enriquillo Sanchez Hall of the Ministry of Culture on the Malecon at the corner of Calle Presidente Vicini Burgos in Santo Domingo.

"Habia una vez un merengue n una historia para ser cantada" is a not-to-be-missed event.

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

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