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Daily News - Tuesday, 11 March 2014

President Medina inaugurates more schools
Yesterday, Monday 10 March, President Danilo Medina inaugurated nine schools with 86 new classrooms in the southwestern province of Peravia (Bani) for a cost of more than RD$296.7 million.

Education Minister Carlos Amarante Baret said the schools are part of the extended school day program. The schools building program includes 10,000 classrooms for 2013 and a similar number in 2014 and 2015.

The President inaugurated schools in Villa Sombrero, Matanzas and Rio Arriba.


President Medina submits bond issue proposals
President Danilo Medina submitted two proposals to the Senate, one for a US$1.5 billion bond issue to be placed on the international capital market and a second for RD$33.61 billion to subcontract the public debt from local banks yesterday, 10 March.

The note attached to the proposal said that the money would be used in manage this year's fiscal budget and that the bond issue will be issued by the Treasury.

President Danilo Medina said that this is the first time in the history of the nation that the Senate will authorize the Executive Branch to issue sovereign bonds on the international market, both in pesos and dollars.


Hector Valdez: IMF visit is routine
The governor of the Central Bank, Hector Valdez Albizu is bullish on the Dominican economy. He says it posted growth indicators for more than 5% in the first month of the year and inflation is within the range forecast. He rejected suggestions that the mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked with any proposal for a new taxation bill, adding that the visit was simply routine.

He confirmed that he would be meeting with the mission from the IMF on Friday 14 March for a review of the conclusions following the assessments the IMF has made of several economic sectors.


Working on a fishing agreement with Morocco
The Dominican Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to the content of a cooperation agreement for maritime fishing and aquaculture in order to stimulate production.

During a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Relations yesterday, Monday 10 March, the director of Cooperation for Legal Matters for Marine Fishing in Morocco, Zahra Rochdi, and the executive director of the Dominican Fishing and Aquaculture Board (Codopesca), retired Vice Admiral Francisco Manuel Frias Olivencia, said that they were both satisfied with the terms of the agreement.

Also at the meeting were the Moroccan ambassador, Brahim Moussa, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Juan Andres Pla Gomez and ambassador Jose Juan Cimadevilla, who heads the African Affairs section at the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

The agreement includes organizing training courses and exchange of experiences between both countries.


New air traffic control system for SDQ and PUJ
The Dominican Aviation Institute (IDAC) will inaugurate two air traffic control centers, one at the Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) and the other at Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), with an investment of around US$14 million.

According to a press release, the Director General of IDAC, Alejandro Herrera, said that both centers would have the most modern equipment that will enable the controllers to work faster and more efficiently.

The statement described the inauguration of these centers as an historic event in Dominican aviation history, adding that IDAC was only waiting for the inauguration to begin using them, for which there was as yet no specific date.


Larimar school for Barahona
The government has started building a workshop/school for artisans in Bahoruco in the southwestern province of Barahona. The school will train people to work the endemic semi-precious stone, thus boosting the local economy.

The director of Banca Solidaria, Mayra Jimenez, inaugurated the construction of the building which will cost RD$31.5 million and will be staffed by international teachers to improve the quality of the larimar refining process, aimed at increasing employment opportunities and improving living conditions for local people.

She said that the workshop/school would be equipped with modern machines and materials for carving, for polishing and other jewelry tools.

She said that as a result of the project, larimar would sell throughout the world, as it would be more attractive to the international market. The school will also include a museum and a shop.

Engineer Jose Luis Batista, who is in charge of the construction, pledged to finish the work by the end of June.


Indotel approves sale of Tricom to Altice
The Dominican government telecommunications regulatory authority, INDOTEL announced last week that it has approved the sale of Tricom to the Luxembourg-based investment fund Altice Group. Altice Group has also purchased Orange telecommunications operations in the Dominican Republic and will be merging both. Indotel reported that it gave its permission for the transfer of 88% of Tricom to Altice Group, while the remaining 12% stake will be retained by the previous majority shareholder Hispaniola Telecom, which is controlled by Amzak Capital Management and Inversiones Bahia.

In November 2013, Altice Caribbean, a subsidiary of Altice Group, agreed to purchase Tricom for US$400 million. It subsequently reached an agreement with Orange Group to purchase the latter's Dominican operation for US$1.43 billion. The merge is expected to take seven months and will start once the takeover of the two companies is completed. Authorization for the sale of Orange to Altice, however, is still pending.



Attorney General office should not administer confiscated assets
The president of the National Drug Council (CND) and the Money Laundering Committee, Fidias Aristy, is opposed to the proposal that the Attorney General office should administer assets that have been impounded in drug trafficking or money laundering cases.

He said that there was a need for a transparent administration system for these goods and that an independent specialist agency should handle them.

The head of the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD), Major General Julio Cesar Souffront Velazquez, agreed that the Public Prosecution Service should not handle confiscated assets in these cases. He recalled that several years ago international organizations recommended improving the management of confiscated goods or creating a new office to manage them.

The view was also shared by the Minister of Defense, Admiral Sigfrido Pared Perez, who said that the goods that were confiscated and managed by the DNCD and other organizations had not been the subject of any problems when, following the judicial process, they were handed back to their original owners.


Drug gang released on bail
National District judge Elka Reyes has released a group of people accused of being members of an international drug network operating from South America to the Caribbean and the United States.

The group comprised Dominicans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, US citizens, Jamaicans and Bahamians, including the president of Caribair.

The judge released them from preventive custody on RD$30,000 bail each, and imposed periodic court appearances and exit bans from the country.

Caribair president Rafael Senen Rosado Fermin, and Sergio Rene Gomez Diaz, Jose de la Cruz Morales, Cristian Antonio Suarez Javier and Holmes Errol Outram were among those released on bail.

The Public Prosecution service, represented by prosecutors Francis Soto, Gedeon Platon, Milciades Guzman and Denny Silvestre, asked the court to begin the trial against the 12 and the judge agreed to send them for trial.

In October 2012 the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) dismantled the alleged gang of drug dealers who were suspected of transporting large amounts of cocaine from Central America to the Caribbean and onwards to the United States.


Italian arrested for raping employees in Italy
The National Investigations Department (DNI) has arrested an Italian fugitive from justice Giulio de Angelis. De Angelis was being sought to complete a 20-year prison sentence in Italy for raping three employees in his company in Trento.

DNI chief Major General Maximo William Munoz Delgado said that de Angelis was located in Bayahibe and tried to kill himself with a knife when arrested, but was prevented from doing so by DNI agents.

Munoz Delgado said that his deportation to Italy is now being coordinated with the Italian authorities and Interpol.


Puerto Bahia announces its springtime regatta
Sailors will be gathering this weekend (14-16 March) at Samana's Puerto Bahia Marina for the XVI Regata Abordo del Caribe sponsored by Puerto Bahia & Residences with technical support from the Dominican Sailing Federation

Regata Abordo has become a sailing tradition. There will be opportunities for great photography as all the sails unfold. The Open Cruising Class event includes free dockage at the Puerto Bahia Marina over the four-day period of the race.

Desalia 2014 at Cabeza de Toro
Barcelo Desalia, the leading Dominican electronic music fiesta, is on this year for 15 March at the Cabeza de Toro beach in Punta Cana. The organizers say it will be a technological extravaganza with a robotized stage of 40 meters, interactive mapping, 85,000 watts of sound, 150,000 watts of automated lighting, 120-inch HD 4k projection screen, and four lasers with artistic programming. Starring Bob Sinclar, Danny Avila, duo Les Castizos and Luigii Nieto, Luke Garcia, violinist Miguel Lara, the event is sponsored by Barcelo rum. It also includes a party at the Oro discotheque at the Hard Rock Punta Cana resort. The white dress code is enforced.


March Theater at Bellas Artes
The theater season begins this Friday, 14 March at the Bellas Artes Maximo Aviles main hall in Santo Domingo. The season is dedicated to the late Dominican playwright Rafael Villalona and will feature three of his best plays. These are La noche de los asesinos (14, 15, 16 March), El pagador de promesas (20, 21, 22 March), and La batalla de los angeles (26, 27, 28 March). Shows are at 8:30pm on Friday and Saturday and at 7pm on Sunday. The plays are for mature audiences. Tickets are RD$100.

"Light of a Cigarette" at Las Mascaras
Teatro Las Mascaras, the off-Broadway-style theater in Santo Domingo's Colonial City is staging La luz de un cigarillo ("To the Light of a Cigarette") on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 6:30pm through Sunday, 27 April:

The play has three Soberano Awards nominations in the categories of Best Actress, Best Director and Best Play. Starring Aleija Johnson, Brian Payano and Hanely del Rosario, and directed by Germana Quintana. Tickets: RD$400. The hall is small, so it is advisable to arrive early to ensure a seat.


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

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