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Daily News - Wednesday, 05 March 2014

Government targets more people in literacy campaign
Do you know how to read? The Presidency is launching a campaign to find more than 300,000 people in the country who have yet to sign up for the government literacy programs. The Medina administration's stated goal is to eradicate illiteracy in the country by the end of 2014. Presidency Special Programs (Digepep) director general Pedro Luis Castellanos said that more than 500,000 people have signed up for the program, and 300,000 have already learned to read and write. The goal for December is to have taught all 851,396 people identified as illiterate to read and write. The campaign has successfully reduced illiteracy in the Dominican Republic from 12% to less than 9%. The government spent RD$1.2 billion on the program in 2013.

See www.digepep.gob.do


Medina administration moves to regulate land use
The Medina administration is moving towards establishing the land development ordinance in the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Economy reports. On Friday, 2 March, the Ministry unveiled the technical report for the application of the land use plan whose implementation is required by the National Development Strategy Law. The plan includes managing public policies for land ordinance, public policies and facilitates integrated risk management at a national and local level. The report was released by the Land Development Ordinance Department (DGODT), part of the Ministry of Economy (MEPyD). The Strategic Environmental Assessment Report of the National Territorial Ordinance Plan (PNOT) is sponsored by the USAID/TNC Environmental Protection Program with support from a technical team of the Ministry of Environment, the National Council for Climate Change and the Mechanism for Clean Development, as well as DGODT.

The decision to move ahead with land ordinance is key for the Dominican Republic, where many corrupt municipal governments are known to have not allowed for an efficient use of land resources to date.


Venezuela commits to keep supplying petrol to the DR
The president of PDV Caribe, the Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) affiliate that supplies Venezuelan fuel to the Dominican Republic, Bernardo Alvarez was in Santo Domingo yesterday, Tuesday 4 March for a meeting with President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace. Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Alvarez confirmed the Venezuelan government's commitment to the Dominican Republic and other Petrocaribe oil alliance countries. He said the DR buys 116,000 barrels of fuel a day from Venezuela. Alvarez described Petrocaribe as a regional integration model that is unique in the world and in history.

"We announce Venezuela's interest in creating a marketing distribution company for the whole ALBA-Petrocaribe area to sell products aside from oil".

Alvarez said they are also interested in carrying out telecommunications projects. He went on to describe the DR as a data transmission hub in the Caribbean. He said that Venezuela has an undersea fiber-optic cable that reaches Cuba and Jamaica and the plans are to link the DR too.

"This country has exceptional conditions to be a great platform for uniting the Caribbean countries in economic projects," said Alvarez.

As reported in El Dia, the entity hopes to develop gas and power generation projects in the country.

He said the Dominican Republic has developed a payment plan for US$150 million in products that will cover the bill for this year and part of 2015.

Also attending the meeting was Jose Ramon Suriel, who was described as the Petrocaribe debt exchange coordinator said: "Petrocaribe continues and will expand even further and I believe in the future it will serve not only for the integration of the Dominican Republic with Venezuela, but for all the countries in the area."

Alvarez said that the DR will be able to compensate US$120 million of the debt this year and another US$30 million in 2015, as reported in Diario Libre. Speaking at the Presidential Palace, Alvarez said that the Ministry of Agriculture is proposing to sell poultry to Venezuela. He said that Venezuela would also consider construction materials, such as cement. The idea was to receive payment in goods and services as a way of moving the economies of the region, said Alvarez.

Petrocaribe agreement allows the DR to purchase oil under preferential conditions with interest payments of 1 and 2% a year, and with a 20-23 year grace period. The DR has accumulated a debt of US$3.62 billion, which is 25.3% of the foreign debt of the non-financial public sector, as reported in Diario Libre. This makes Venezuela the country's largest creditor. When the agreement was signed in 2005, the DR owed Venezuela US$194.5 million. As reported in Diario Libre, with the average fuel price at US$101 per barrel, the government expects to finance US$600 million in fuel imports with Venezuela.




Doing Business in Dominican Republic gets a World Bank boost
A mission from the World Bank and its affiliate the International Financial Corporation (IFC) will hold meetings with the Ministry of Economy on improving the business climate in the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Economy reported yesterday, Tuesday 4 March. The mission will hold meetings through Friday, 7 March. The mission, led by private sector development specialists Christian Quijada and Alejandro Espinosa, will be discussing findings of the recent World Bank Doing Business report.

The study will focus on business regulations that affect medium and small business from the start to the closing of operations and recommendations for best practices, said Sandra Gonzalez, Business Climate and Competitiveness director at the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development.

She said that this is a follow-up to the cooperation agreement signed in October 2013 for US$270,000 to implement reforms in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders and business closures. The goal is to be able to improve the climate for doing business here and create more formal jobs. She says the goal is to improve the country's ranking for 2015.




Tax Department announces new vehicular documents this year
Tax Department (DGII) director Guarocuya Felix has announced that when vehicle owners renew their car circulation permits this year they will receive a plastic document, similar to the driver's license. Previously, the car circulation permits were a piece of paper. He announced the renewals would begin on 1 July. He said that the plastic cards would be issued in colors that will identify the use of environmental friendly fuels (green). He announced cars would again be assigned two plates: for the front and back of the car, in order to increase security.

The DGII is in charge of registration of the vehicle and the charge of the circulation permit.

See the video here www.youtube.com/watch?v=985AtSDh8fA&feature=youtu.be

South Africa could open embassy here soon
Naphtal Manana, ambassador of South Africa for the Dominican Republic visited Foreign Relations Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso yesterday, Tuesday 4 March and discussed the possibility of opening a South African embassy in the country. The countries formalized relations in 2002, but the South African ambassador covering the DR is based in Havana. The Dominican Republic has an embassy in South Africa. The ambassador also addressed cultural and cooperation activities between both countries.


Merengue's Hector Acosta goes into politics
The famous merengue bandleader, Hector Acosta (alias El Torito) recently announced he was retiring from show business. On Tuesday, 4 March he announced why. He seeks to be the PRD candidate for Monsenor Nouel province (Bonao) in the May 2016 general elections. He said he has met with the leaders of both PRD factions, Miguel Vargas and former President Hipolito Mejia and both have offered their support. He made the statement while being interviewed on Yuna Vision, a local Bonao TV station in the Topicos Diferentes program produced by Herberto Paulino.

"I am counting on God and the people to win this position and be able to represent Monsenor Nouel in the Senate of the Republic with honor, dignity and not paint little birds in the air to this society with lies or falsehood," he said, as reported in El Caribe.

When asked about Falcondo and the Loma Miranda mine proposal he said: "That mining company has this people in a state of upheaval and uncertainty, let them go if they do not mine in Loma Miranda. I say they can leave the Dominican Republic because people will go on living."


IAHCR William Medina Ferreras case to be tried in DR court
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) is taking the man known as William Medina Ferreras to court. Medina sued the Dominican Republic for expelling him on racial grounds before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the video of his appearance in a hearing held in Mexico in October 2013 was circulated in the DR. The Dominican Republic presented evidence of identity fraud at the hearing. Medina claims to have been born in Cabral, Barahona to Dominican parents Abelardo Medina and Consuelo Ferreras. At the time, the JCE showed a video where three children of the same parents deny the relationship. Medina has a Dominican birth certificate and identification document No. 019-0014832-9. The JCE was able to prove that they were fraudulently obtained. JCE president Roberto Rosario said that investigations have revealed that the man calling himself Medina Ferreras is actually a Haitian known as Winet of Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti. The JCE says that because of the case they have suffered incalculable damage that has directly affected their performance as a service institution. With the suit they seek civil reparations for the damage and losses that Rosario said were estimated at RD$1 million, as well as for the corresponding penalties to be imposed.

The JCE is also asking the District Attorney to investigate four Egyptians who are suspected of identity fraud. Rosario said they have received reports from state security agencies that Mohammad Shad gave Mohhamad Shandu, Atif Khan and Sharooq Massad Syed US$7,500 for three identity documents. "We have ascertained that at least one of the documents is false," said Rosario. The name of a Dominican was used.

The civil cases were presented to National District prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso by Rosario, together with JCE civil registry coordinator Cesar Francisco Feliz and JCE general secretary Ilario Espineira.







Dominican volleyball team focuses on world matches
Followers of the Dominican women's volleyball team, ranked eighth in the world, can watch them playing in La Romana from 13-19 May as part of a World Championship qualification round. The three-time Central American and Caribbean Champion will be playing in the Veracruz, Mexico Central American and Caribbean Games in November of this year. But coach Marcos Kwiek says that given its ranking as eighth in the world, the DR is setting its sights on the World Grand Prix, the Pan-American Cup and the Norceca championships, as reported in Diario Libre.

Dominican volleyball expertise helps Haiti
Modern volleyball facilities are under construction in Haiti with the assistance of Dominican volleyball experts. The DR is helping to construct the Olympic Center of Haiti, a sports complex that includes an indoor gymnasium where international tournaments can be played. It will be inaugurated at the end of May or early June.

Dominican Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, who is president of the NORCECA Confederation, made the announcement at the conclusion of the annual meetings of all the commissions of continental volleyball and beach volleyball governing body on Sunday, 3 March in Santo Domingo.

"The height of the indoor gymnasium was redesigned, at our request, in order to comply with all the international volleyball specifications," said Marte Hoffiz. "That is a key step towards developing volleyball in the country by bringing some international NORCECA competitions."

The complex also includes outdoor multi-purpose courts as well as beach volleyball courts. Marte Hoffiz said that three outdoor Sport Court volleyball-playing surfaces were donated by NORCECA Confederation this year in addition to one provided in 2013.

"We have stepped up our support with the donation of sport equipment to Haiti and also with the organization of several courses and clinics in a joint initiative with FIVB," he said. Marte is recognized as the father of women's volleyball in the Dominican Republic, taking the Dominican team from scratch to its current 8th world ranking.

"Our goal is to change the lives of many young Haitians who love to practice sport," stated Marte Hoffiz. "It is a social responsibility we have towards people living in extremely difficult conditions in Haiti."

The International Olympic Committee and several International Sport Federations are contributing to the construction of the Olympic Center of Haiti located outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of the country, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.

Winners of the National Carnival Parade
The Ministry of Culture has announced the winners of the carnival parade in all categories:

Devils category:

Los Lechones (Santiago), Los Macaraos (Salcedo), Taimascaros (Puerto Plata).

Popular Creativity:

Cultural evolution rescuing our roots (Bonao), Los Centauros (San Juan de la Maguana).


Los Guloyas (San Pedro de Macoris), Duarte Today and Always (Santiago), Los Pintaos (Barahona).

Individual Characters: Electron (National District), Dressed in White (Santo Domingo Norte), Fantasia flamenco (Puerto Plata).

Fantasy Characters:

Remembranzas de un Robalagallina (Montecristi), Fantasia de un Comendador (National District), Fantasia en Papel (Cotui).

Ali Babas:

Los Sultanes de Villa Agricola (National District), Dominican Republic is Joy and tradition inspired by Venice (Santo Domingo Norte) and Biomega Invasion (National District)


Los demonios del jefe (San Juan de la Maguana), Dominicano Soy (Puerto Plata), Grito de Independencia (San Juan de la Maguana).

Each category received RD$100,000 for the winner, RD$75,000 second place and RD$50,000 for the third place.

Watch out for these winning carnival groups in the upcoming parade to be held in Punta Cana Village, Punta Cana on Saturday, 8 March.

Ministry of Culture says KKK participated in history category
In response to public and media criticism of the participation of a Ku Klux Klan costumed-group in the National Carnival Parade on Sunday, 3 March, the Ministry of Culture says they did so in the history category. Photos of the parade were published in 7dias.com.do with commentary that highlighted the negative connotations of the KKK. The Ministry explained that they were allowed to do so in the same way groups have represented aspects of the Trujillo dictatorship and other bleak moments in history.


Easter is time for the Sweet Beans dessert
Nestle's Carnation Evaporated Milk has launched a promotion to remind Dominicans that this is the time of year for the unique Sweet Beans dessert. The dessert is made with beans, coconut, cinnamon, sweet cloves, sugar, butter, evaporated and condensed milk.

No two recipes are the same, and there have even been contests for the best sweet beans dessert. It is so popular that the local Helados Bon even prepares a seasonal Sweet Beans Ice Cream.

Sweet Beans are traditionally eaten during Lent and Easter. It is customary to make a big pot at home and then share portions with friends and family.


Sacha Tebo works at Novocentro
Novo Centro and Galeria de Arte Gracia are presenting an exhibition "To the Beat of the Colors of the Caribbean" at the Lope de Vega avenue commercial center in Santo Domingo. The exhibition features a display of sculpture-jewels as well as paintings and drawings by the famous Haitian artist, Sacha Tebo, who worked in the Dominican Republic for many years. The exhibition, commemorating 10th anniversary of his death, will remain open until 31 March at the second floor art gallery at Novocentro. For the opening of the exhibition this evening, Wednesday 5 March at 7pm, art critic Gamal Michelen will speak about the work of the artist. There will be a live demonstration of his work in metal with the sponsorship of the Fundacion Jose Ignacio Morales El Artistico.

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

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