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Daily News - Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Economy Minister denies new taxes or electricity rate increases
Minister of Economy Temistocles Montas said yesterday, Tuesday 18 March that the government would not be introducing new tax reforms or raising the electricity rates. A statement at the conclusion of last week's visit by the International Monetary Fund mission recommended tax increases and the automatic adjustment mechanism for electricity rates. Montas, who has announced his aspiration to be the PLD candidate in the 2016 presidential election, said:

"The government will continue to rationalize spending so that we can meet our goals in terms of policies to be implemented from now on so as to enter into a gradual debt reduction process," he said, as reported in Diario Libre.

The IMF warned about the rising high level of government indebtedness in relation to GDP.

Dominicans don't renew driver's licenses
A report from the Department of Ground Transport (DGTT) has found that of 1,800,434 driver licenses that were issued to 11 March 2014, only 839,000 have been renewed, as reported in Diario Libre. The renewal process is simple, and can be completed in much less than an hour.


Public school students to get birth certificates
The Ministry of Education reports that its Community Participation Department is helping 91,000 public school students who have not been able to complete their registration for lack of identity documents.

As reported in Diario Libre, department director Bienvenido Flores Pichardo announced that in the next two months they would try to declare 80% (around 72,800) of students affected. Their lack of legal status prevents them from graduating from high school, and getting jobs to progress in life and move out of poverty.

Pichardo said it is a complex situation that affects around 780,000 families, adding that many of these students have not been declared because their parents and grandparents do not have birth certificates either.

The Ministry of Education has allocated RD$60 million to support the students and their relatives in the application process, including notary, psychological, food allowances and transportation costs.

The process is being coordinated with the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Interior and Police, the Central Electoral Board and the Migration Department.

An inventory by the Ministry of Education found that the largest number undocumented students are enrolled in schools in Santo Domingo and the south, mostly in elementary school. Flores said that approximately 65% are acknowledged as Dominicans, while only 35% are said to be foreigners. In the case of the foreigners, Flores said they would be registered in the Foreigners' Book.

The goal is to provide legal documentation to the children and their families to reduce poverty and meet one of the Millennium Development Goals that is to provide quality education.


US migration facilities to Haiti encourage illegal trips
Speaking yesterday, Tuesday 18 March, Minister of Defense Sigfrido Pared Perez said there has been what he described as "a stampede" of immigration from Haiti motivated by the special facilities the United States is granting Haitians who make it to US territory, as reported in Diario Libre. Rear Admiral Edwin Dominici said that in the 18 months from August 2012 to February, the Armada stopped 235 illegal boat trips to Puerto Rico and arrested 3,012 people, including 1,795 foreigners. Navy spokesman Juan Sandoval Garcia said that some 16 organizations that organized boat trips were dismantled.

More Haitians trying to enter country illegally
According to Major General Ruben Dario Paulino Sem, during the first two months of this year, the Dominican Army prevented 8,500 Haitian nationals from entering the Dominican Republic illegally in several parts of the border area, a number that he described as "unprecedented".

While stressing that January and February have always been busy months, with many taking advantage of the returning Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, after speding the festive season with their families in Haiti, Paulino Sem said that since last year, the Dominican Republic had noted a significant increase in the number of Haitians trying to enter illegally for the first time.

He said that the interceptions had been achieved through a significant increase in border patrols, by sending a Task Force to the border of the two countries every 15 days and stepping up the work of Intelligence Directorate G-2. He said that in 2013, 52,000 Haitian nationals tried to cross the border illegally and had been returned to Haiti while the number was only about 20,000 in 2012.




Need for water meters
Aridio Santos, president of the College of Engineers, Architects and Surveyors (CODIA) is proposing that every home and business should have a water meter.

Santos said that meters were needed urgently to control water use and prevent losses especially during drought periods.

He said that the installation of the meters would generate income for the Santo Domingo Aqueduct and Sewage Corporation (CAASD) that could be used to improve distribution, ensure better water quality and guarantee supplies.

He went on to say that the public should understand the need to pay for water and learn how to ration it, especially when the rivers were low in periods of drought. He said that many did not realize how much it cost to ensure good water quality and that constant monitoring and testing was essential.


Good year for Banco Popular
Speaking to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting, Manuel A. Grullon, president of Banco Popular Dominicano said that the bank had grown by 12.6% in 2013, with its total assets now worth $251,783.8 million.

Grullon said that the Net Credit increase by 8.7% over 2012 which was mainly due to commercial loans to the production sector which rose by RD$10,595 million over 2012 and the account was higher quality than in 2012 with fewer defaults.

Total deposits increased to RD$211,708.1 million, which represented a 12.5% increase over 2012 and the overall Solvency Index stood at 13.45% at the end of 2013, which was over the 10% required by authorities.


More changes to the police
The National Police has announced more changes throughout the country.

Brigadier General Orison L. Olivence Minaya is to be the new head of the Cibao Central region, based in Santiago and taking over from General Pablo de Jesus Dipre who goes to the Cadet Academy.

Brigadier General Nelson Rosario Guerrero, who was the supervisor of prisons under the control of the National Police, becomes the new Director of Legal Affairs, taking over from Colonel Jose Francisco Garcia Lara.

General Ludwig Suardy Correa is to be the head of the Cibao South area, based in Bonao following the death of General Juan Ramon de la Cruz Martinez.

General Pablo Almonte Morales takes over as supervisor of prisons under the control of the National Police.

Brigadier General Claudio Peguero Castillo becomes Strategic Planning Director taking over from Colonel Julio Betances Hernandez who moves to become Director of the Police Institute for Higher Education (IPES) in place of General Ramon Francisco Rodriguez Sanchez who has retired.

General Boris C. Campagna is to become Head of the Police Unit for children and adolescents in place of General Juana Campusano Jimenez.

Finally, Brigadier General Juan Antonio Pilarte Feliz is to be head of Technical Support taking over from General Goico Campana and General Rafael A Cabrera Sarita is to be head of Community Policing.


Three miners killed
An engineer and two workers have died inside a mining hole more than 60 feet deep in an area called Los Hoyos in Mariano Cestero in the north western province of Restauracion.

The fatalities were named as civil engineer Ramon Gutierrez Parra (Monchy), aged 39, Mario Santana Duran and Moreno de la Rosa, from Villa Los Almacigos in Santiago Rodriguez province.

Jesus Gutierrez aged 31 and brother of the dead engineer and Virgilio de la Rosa Cuevas, cousin of Moreno de la Rosa, who also died, were rushed to Ramon Adriano Villalona hospital in Loma de Cabrera after trying to rescue the victims, but they were subsequently discharged.

Emergency services personnel and police agents were on the scene where other excavations could be seen, which were said by some to be illegal.

The incident took place on Monday afternoon, 17 March and the bodies could not be brought out of the hole due to a lack of equipment and oxygen. The work was expected to resume yesterday, Tuesday 18 March.

Eyewitnesses told reporters that the three men had died after another unidentified person turned on an electric generator where they were looking for gold.

The preliminary report by the doctor who examined Herrera's body says that he died of carbon monoxide inhalation and that his two companions had probably died from the same cause.

Meanwhile, Canada-based mining company Unigold denied responsibility for the deaths of the three workers and the injuries suffered by the other two men.

Unigold claimed that the people who were affected were not authorized to undertake the prospecting search.



Repatriated Dominicans
Yesterday afternoon, Tuesday 18 March a group of 100 Dominicans arrived back in the country after being deported by the United States having served sentences for drug dealing, homicide, fraud, rape, kidnapping and other offences.

Of the 100, 52 had been sentenced for drug dealing and some had served up to 12 years in jail, and the sentences had been served in jails in New York, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Philadelphia and other US cities.

They were met at Las Americas airport by Immigration officials, a delegation from the United States embassy in the country, Police, officers from the Department of National Intelligence (DNI), Specialized Corps for Airport Security (Cesac) and other organizations.

They were then taken to the Migration office, processed and those with outstanding arrest warrants in this country taken to the relevant authorities. The rest were handed over to their families.

This 100 brings the total repatriations so far this year to 387, which is 108 more than the same time period last year. More than 8,000 Dominicans are still in jail in the United States, most for drug dealing, murder and fraud.


Anniversary of battle
Today is the 170th anniversary of the battle of 19 March, which marked the beginning of the freedom and sovereignty of the Dominican Republic. Although the proclamation of national independence was made on 27 February 1844, this event actually happened three weeks later.

The battle, which was led by General Pedro Santana on the Dominican side against Haitian General Charles Herard, took place in Azua. Once the Dominicans had declared independence, Haitian president Charles Herard Aine assembled an army of 30,000 men to try and stop the independence movement once and for all. He sent them to three areas n 10,000 went to the north to take Santiago and Puerto Plata, the second group went to Azua and San Juan de la Maguana and the third, headed by Souffront were to take Neyba.

Dominican troops were stationed at strategic points around Azua, although there were far fewer than on the Haitian side. In addition, smaller groups attacked the Haitian army as they approached Azua.

Several events will be held to celebrate the battle today, Wednesday 19 March, including a traditional military parade, sports events and musical performances.


Turtle man needs your help
Environmental groups are backing efforts to restore Barahona park ranger Blanco Turbi's eyesight. The man is a legend in the southwest for his many years of selfless work to preserve marine species in the area. He is best known among communities in Oviedo Lagoon and the Jaragua National Park.

Domingo Abreu, one of the country's leading environmentalists, tells Turbi's story.

Initially out of curiosity, and then on his own initiative, and later because he received training as a park ranger, Turbi took care of hundreds of eggs left on Mosquea, San Luis, Inglesa and Fernando beaches in off-the-beaten-path areas of Barahona. He mainly sought to protect them from ignorant locals. They would be born in his house and he would then return them to the beaches where the eggs were laid and the turtles could walk out to sea.

"Blanco Turbi has spent his whole life with countless early mornings spent looking after the turtles and marine birds of Oviedo Lagoon: the flamingos, the Northern Shoveler, booby birds, ducks and many others. As a fisherman, his obligations to his family were never a problem for his passion for the environment.

Abeu explains that three years ago, on his watch as park ranger, Turbi suffered an accident that caused a detached retina in his right eye. His limited salary and basic medical insurance cannot fund the RD$250,000 he needs for the surgery to recover his eyesight.

"Thousands of turtles owe their lives to Blanco Turbi, but cannot contribute to his recovery. You can," writes Abreu.

He has begun a campaign for restoring Turbi's eyesight. Donations can be made to the BHD bank account 1359630-001-3 of the Asamblea Nacional Ambiental Inc., the non-governmental organization that is backing this initiative. For more information, write to Domingo Abreu at [email protected]

Cuquin wins Soberano Award
Last night, Tuesday 18 March, Cuquin Victoria became the third comedian to receive the highest honor from the Soberano Awards presented by the Association of Show Business Journalists (Acroarte) sponsored by the Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, the Presidente Beer brewery.

In his speech he thanked all the members of Acroarte and said he wanted to share his award with Fefita la Grande and Sergio Vargas, the other nominees, as well as his wife, his children and all his school friends and other friends, as well as all who voted for him on the social networks.

The ceremony, which took place at the Eduardo Brito National Theater in Santo Domingo, was produced by Rene Brea.

The award for merengue song of the year went to "Esa loca" by Miriam Cruz, and the bachata song of the year as well as bachata singer went to Raulin Rodriguez.

Best presenter of the year went to a foreigner for the first time, Venezuelan Daniel Sarcos for his program "We Speak Spanish Here". The show also won the award for best weekly entertainment show.

Best film went to "Quien manda?" Best actor was Frank Perozo and Best Actress was Nashla Bogaert.

The full list of awards

Dancer of the year - Jonathan Castillo
Classic Choreography - Carlos Veitia n La bella durmiente
Lyric Singer - Nathalie Pena-Comas
Best female artist performing overseas - Aisha Syed
Stage production n La Boheme n Fidel Lopez
Stage actress - Aleja Johnson - La luz de un cigarrillo
Stage actor - Carlos Espinal - Peter el rojo
Best stage play - La luz de un cigarrillo n Quintana
Stage musical - Super Willie contra los villanos
Popular orchestra of the year - Miriam Cruz
Typical music - El Prodigio
Arrangement of the year - Victor Waill
Composer of the year - Romeo Santos
Bachata song of the year - Esta noche n Raulin Rodriguez
Best male artist performing overseas - Juan Luis Guerra
Merengue song of the year - Esa loca - Miriam Cruz
Break out artist of the year - Chiquito Team Band
Salsa performer of the year - Yiyo Sarante
Bachata artist of the year - Raulin Rodriguez
Soloist of the year - Pavel Nunez
Album of the year - Jazzeando el cancionero dominicano
Urban artist or group n Vakero
Contemporary religious music - Johan Paulino
Comedy show of the year - ?Que viva el relajo! n Cuquin Victoria, Jochy Santos, Irving Alberti and Miguel (Producer: Ramses Peralta).
Daily entertainment show - De extremo a extremo
Children's program -Kanquimania
Comedy program - A reir con Miguel and Raymond
Presenter of the year - Roberto Cavada
TV host - Michael Miguel
TV presenter - Daniel Sarcos
Weekly entertainment show - Aqui se habla espanol
Comedian of the year - Fausto Mata
Investigative program - Mil historias -Judith Leclerc
Weekly magazine program - Con Jatnna
Regional entertainment program - Francisco muy diferente
Best overseas broadcaster - Frederick Martinez "El Pacha"
Video clip of the year - Rock radio - Toque Profundo
Special TV program - Las expediciones de junio: Hacia la libertad o la muerte n Fernando Quiroz
Best film - ?Quien manda?
Actor of the year - Frank Perozo
Actress of the year - Nashla Bogaert
Director of the year - Juan Basanta - Biodegradable



Run and travel: 100K Marathon tours north coast
Follow the runners of the five-day 100-kilometer run across the north coast. The run is on from 18 to 23 March to discover the wild nature of the island. It is part of Run of the World, the world's best stage cross-country running races.

A friendly and relaxed environment marks this event that allows runners to get close to the sport with the right approach in safety and good company. On the other hand, the expert and competitive athletes who are running are given the chance to do nature tourism in a special way.

The organizing committee is chaired by Mariluz Vinas.

The stages of the race are taking runners from Sea Horse Ranch to Cabarete Beach, from Puerto Plata city to Isabel de Torres Mountain, from Sosua to Cabarete (Monkey Jungle, Laguna de Cabarete and Parque El Choco) and along the north coast to Las Terrenas, and then to El Moron Beach in Samana. Hotel Viva Wyndham Tangerine in Cabarete Beach is the participating hotel along with Viva Sublime Hotel in Samana.


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

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