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Daily News - Friday, 04 April 2014

Bepensa trusts in Dominican markets
The Coca Cola bottling company in the Dominican Republic says that it has invested RD$1.6 billion in building two new bottling lines, one for production of up to 12,000 glass bottles another for plastic (PET) bottles. During the inauguration yesterday, Thursday 3 April, attended by President Danilo Medina and Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo, Bepensa Dominicana president Fernando Ponce said that the Medina administration inspires the confidence to make the investments. The new lines will be used to increase production of soft drinks, juices and flavored water. Production capacity will increase by 28%. Ponce said that the company, a Mexican multinational, employs 2,600 workers in the DR.



Challenge of moving from farming to agribusiness
Minister of Agriculture Luis Ramon Rodriguez is highlighting the effects the soon to start National Development and Export Bank will have on the agribusiness sector. Speaking yesterday, Thursday 3 April, he said that the bank would strengthen the linkages between farm businesses and industry and tourism, which will transform the Dominican Republic's economic base. The government will soon have three structures for providing financial support to agricultural businesses, the new National Development and Export Bank, as well as the existing Agricultural Bank and the Special Fund for Agricultural Development (FEDA) that provides credit to small and medium-sized producers who do not have sufficient guarantees for normal loans.

In his speech at the Dominican Republic Industries Association (AIRD), Rodriguez said that the Dominican Republic needed to increase added value in production by integrating farming with agribusiness in order to meet the challenge of DR-CAFTA. "Linkages between the productive sector and the processing sector are needed and that synergy will enable us to start stimulating agro-exports to reduce poverty in the rural areas," he said. He said that in the 1980s there were 1,972 industries in the country, while now there are only 560.


Country saves US$1.8 billion using natural gas to generate power
AES Dominicana president Edwin de los Santos says that the country has achieved savings of US$1.8 billion by using natural gas instead of fossil fuels since 2004. He said that the US is giving priority to the Dominican Republic and other countries with which free trade agreements have been signed in the sale of natural gas, as reported in Diario Libre.


Art. 85 on boosting corruption: the hottest topic
The ruling PLD party controls the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch and the Legislative Branch, and now legislators have eliminated the citizens' right to sue government officials for corruption in office as part of the reforms made to the Penal Procedures Code. This has caused a major uproar and is the hottest topic this week. The bill has been passed in the PLD-majority Congress and needs the signature of the President to become law.

Former district attorney Guillermo Moreno joined the voices that have been raised in protest against the elimination of paragraph three of Art. 85. Moreno, who has been one of the most active campaigners for the judiciary to act on corruption in government, says that Art. 85 was the only way citizens can act through the judiciary against the impunity built by the PLD and its allies. He said that the Judiciary is increasingly responding to the ruling parties' interests and has consistently rejected investigating and prosecuting corruption. He said that at least Art. 85 forced the judiciary to make evident the "wounds of the chains that tied it to political power."

In a press release, Moreno says that by eliminating the paragraph in Art. 85, "the PLD shows its power, but at the same time its weakness." He stated: "They have the public powers and the high courts, but they do not have the support of citizens and because of that they attempt to silence no matter what."

The removed paragraph identified citizens as "victims of corruption by government officials" and gave them the right to act against them in court.

He describes the change as "an attempt by the government to totally consolidate the regime of impunity that benefits the mafia elites in Dominican politics."


PRD politicians say send Penal Code back for debate
Former Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch has called on President Danilo Medina to observe and return the bill with the changes made to the Penal Procedures Code to Congress. At a press conference held yesterday, Thursday 3 April at the Instituto Dr. Jose Francisco Pena Gomez, PRD politician and former Senate president Ramon Alburquerque said that by doing so, the President would be honoring the commitment he made to the National Assembly to combat corruption and impunity.

A commission of PRD members made up by Alburquerque, Ortiz Bosch, together with Hector Guzman, Belgica Soler and Salvador Ramos said that society is shocked at the high crime and violence rates and that the Police, the Judiciary and the authorities have failed to demonstrate that they have the capacity to tackle it successfully. They called for more changes to the Penal Procedures Code to make it more flexible and efficient in fighting crime. They say the code as passed in Congress creates more problems than the ones it sought to solve and they called for increased debates across all national sectors. They say the code as approved in Congress violates the Constitution in several ways. The PRD politicians described the prohibition on citizens suing government officials for corruption in office as a serious deficiency of the new code.




Aristy Escuder says banks confirm transfers in Sun Land case
Economist Jaime Aristy Escuder, co-author of the "The Dark Side of Sun Land" book on the controversial case involving alleged mismanagement of government funds during the Leonel Fernandez administration, says three banks involved in the case have provided financial information on the accounts that were used to receive and transfer funds for the issuing of US$130 million in promissory notes. The banks that have released the supporting evidence were the Wells Fargo, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

"The information provided by the banks not only helps confirm the two transfers for more than US$21 million published in the book, but also expands the amount of funds that the company received on instructions from Felix Bautista," he says, as reported in Hoy.

Felix Bautista, now a senator, is suing Aristy for the book's publication. The suit was filed in Florida because the book was published there.

Aristy says that the intention is to silence the truth about the fraud that was committed. He said the bank documents would be published before the end of the case and there are people with specific instructions to do so if anything should happen to him.


World Congress of Martial Arts Championship in Punta Cana
The 34th World Congress of Martial Arts Championships will take place in Punta Cana from 7-14 May. 150 athletes from all around the world are coming for the event that will take place at the Hotel Riu Bambu, a resort in northern Punta Cana.

The WCO World Championships include two major disciplines: forms, where athletes score points for routines, and sparring, which is a fight against an opponent for points. Competitors range from children from six years of age to categories for the over-60s. There are competitions in weapons, forms, special needs, chanbara and sparring categories.


Towns and Francis to play in Nike Hoop Summit
Dominican national basketball team players Karl Towns Jr. and Brandone Francis will be taking part in the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit, regarded as the United States' premier annual basketball game for high-school-age boys. Both were on the Dominican Republic national team that qualified to play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup held in Madrid.

The event features America's top seniors playing against a World Select Team comprised of elite international players under the age of 19.

This year the event will be played from Portland, Oregon on Saturday, 12 April.



Santiago hosts 2014 ITTF Latin American Championships
The best regional table tennis players are in Santiago to compete in the ITTF-Latin American Championships 2014. The Championship is a preparatory event for the Central American and Caribbean Games (July 16 - 20, 2014). ?The event is taking place 1-6 April.


Aventurate 2014: the annual ecotourism fair
Agora Mall in Santo Domingo is presenting a choice selection of nature, adventure and other alternatives to sun, beach and sand tourism this Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 April. The event is sponsored by USAID and the Dominican Tourism Competitiveness Consortium (CDCT). It is the place to go to learn more about small hotels, adventure tours and other fun options for vacationing in the Dominican Republic. The event is held two weeks before the Easter vacation, so there is still time to book rooms for the peak holiday weekend in the Dominican Republic. This year the event is being held from 9am to 8pm at the Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy avenues mall to attract walk-in traffic and promote the many businesses more effectively.

German goods market in the Colonial City
The weekly German goods market is taking place this Saturday, 5 April as of 11am. This is an opportunity to meet German baker Matthias Ludwig and learn about the many kinds of popular German bread. Sylvia Hampe will be selling her kitchen delights and arts and grafts. Ralph Kummermehr will be selling his Dona Mercedes cigars. Popular Embutidos Tropical and Kitsch Tropical Experience sausages will be available for purchase. Also for sale is Produale with its German products.

The market features a BBQ special with many German specialties. Parking is available at the Banco de Reservas.

The market takes place at Calle Isabel la Catolica 212 in the Colonial City, Santo Domingo.

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

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