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Daily News - Monday, 21 April 2014

25 dead over Easter Weekend
The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) in their third bulletin with results up to noon on Sunday, reported that 25 persons had died over the Easter Weekend, A 4th bulletin is expected with the tally through Sunday evening.

All but one of the fatalities were caused by traffic accidents. There was one drowning. The COE bulletin reported 356 traffic accidents, with 587 persons affected. Of the 24 deaths in traffic accidents, 15 involved motorcycles. Of the 356 registered accidents, 195 motorcycles were involved, 160 light vehicles and only one heavy vehicle. The COE estimates that 1.2 million people hit the roads for the long weekend that began on Thursday. There was a 19% increase in travel abroad compared to last year.

The COE reported 142 cases of alcohol intoxication, and 12 food poisoning cases. Medical assistance was provided to 743 persons.

The AMET issued speeding tickets to 77 vehicle operators, and 295 citations for heavy truck operators who were transiting without proper Easter Week permits, 78 additional truck drivers were cited for driving their vehicles in the left lane. Four thousand six hundred and ninety six motorcyclists were detained for driving without protective helmets.

The Ministry of Public Works offered 1,300 assistances to drivers on highways. There were 110 road patrols and 15 mobile workshops on the highways over the weekend.

The COE reports there were more deaths this year than last year.

JCE begins issuing new ID
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) is ready to issue new IDs to Dominicans starting this Monday at 17 JCE centers nationwide. Some 7 million new IDs need to be issued. The JCE says that the first stations to get the ID are:

VIP center at the headquarters at Av. Luperon
Av. Nicolas de Ovando, corner Rafael Castillo (Plaza Andurina) in Cristo Rey,
Av. 27 de Febrero at Delgado;
Centro de los Heroes (Junta del Distrito)
Calle Manuel F. Marmol No. 13, Ensanche Luperon;
Calle Santiago, corner Danae in Gascue.
Edificio Declaracion Tardia at Av. Luperon
Junta del Distrito, Plaza Naco at Tiradentes
Calle Primera No. 17, Los Alcarrizos
Ministerio de Defensa (military and police)
Presidency and Congress (for government)
Listin Diario (for Listin employees)

- In San Pedro de Macoris:
Calle Francisco Alberto Caamano
Calle Mella No. 51

- La Romana:
Calle Daurte esq. Rosa Duarte

- Puerto Plata:
Calle Antera Mota

- Santiago:
Calle Restauracion

- Azua:
Calle Emilio Prud'Homme No. 24

- Barahona:
Calle Duverge, esq. Colon

- San Juan:
Calle Wenceslao Alvarez No. 117

- San Francisco de Macoris:
Calle Mella No. 51 esq. Sanchez
Calle El Carmen No. 17

The JCE will be taking the ID-issuing equipment to some of the country's biggest companies so that large numbers of employees can be issued ID cards at work. The new ID card will be valid for 10 years and citizens will be required to present the new card in order to vote in the 2016 presidential and general elections.

The requirements to get the new ID are:
Copy of the birth certificate or birth data
Blood type certification issued by a blood bank recognized by the Ministry of Public Health.
In case of change in civil status, copy of a marriage certificate.

A document confirming your professional status this must be presented, if you wish to declare your profession on your ID card

Border surveillance improves with new radar
The Air Force reports the installation of a mobile radar unit in Pedernales to improve surveillance of drug trafficking operations either originating in or involving the territory of Haiti. Major General Ramon Hernandez said that the C3 radar is the first of several that will be installed nationwide. Hernandez said that radar units will also be installed in the National District, San Cristobal, and in the East. The radar units will provide more control over the air space and will be in operation by June of this year.


Central American foreign ministers meet in Santo Domingo
Regional integration among Central America and the Dominican Republic will be the focus of a meeting of foreign ministers representing many countries in Central America and the Caribbean that will take place beginning on Wednesday, 23 April. The Dominican Republic holds the temporary chair of the Central American Integration System. The event will take place in Casa de Campo in La Romana. Scheduled to attend are the ministers of foreign relations from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The Minister of Foreign Relations of Mexico is also attending as special guest.

On the agenda is a discussion to be led by the Secretary General of SICA to develop an integrated and coordinated program to monitor and respond to emergencies that affect the region.


Weekend rains bring relief to Santo Domingo drought
The Santo Domingo Water Corporation (CAASD) welcomed the weekend thunder storms and said that the rains improved the water levels in the Isa, Duey and Haina rivers, adding an additional 47 million gallons to the National District and West Santo Domingo water supply.

Alejandro Montas, director of CAASD, said that water volume is up from 303 million to 350 million gallons per day. He said the higher water volume is a great relief for the agency and residents in the National District and the Province of Santo Domingo. Montas noted that the Haina-Manoguayabo water system that more than doubled its volume, currently reaching 55 million gallons of water per day, compared to only 22 million gallons of water per day just a few weeks ago.

He said that likewise, the water volumes in the Isa-Mana and Duey systems are increasing.

More rains are forecast for the next 48 hours, as a front moves in from Cuba.


New boss at Orange Dominicana
With the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel) approving the Orange-Tricom purchases and merger, the parent company, Altice Group, announced the appointment of Ernest Rallo as chief executive offier of the newly merged company. Rallo has been at Orange Dominicana since November 2011 and has held several positions during this time including, secretary general, vice president in charge of human resources, analyst of risk, security, auditing and processes. Rallo is a French national with electrical and electronic engineering background and has been in the telecom sector for more than 30 years. He had begun his career abroad working with Telmex in Mexico City. Rallo has also worked in Senegal, and Yemen. Finally, Rallo was the Director of Home and Transportation Division for Orange in Rumania.

The Orange-Tricom merge makes the company a formidable competitor to market leader Claro.


Update on the Cibao-South Highway
Eduardo Lamarche Rey in an op-ed commentary on 17 April in Hoy writes that the controversial Cibao-South Highway proposed by the Medina administration could cost upwards of US$500 million.

He comments that the proposed Cibao-South Highway would pass through three national parks. Rey noted that a contract to construct the Ocoa-Sabana Larga-Piedra Blanca highway has been rescinded. There is speculation the Cibao-South Highway is being built to give a boost to mining concessions granted by the Medina administration. Indeed, the new road would cross through mineral rich areas in three mountains n Loma de la Pelona, Loma del Corral and Cordillera Central

Opponents to the project say there are many alternative roads that connect the regions and that the costs of improving and repairing these existing roads would be much less that constructing the new highway.

Lamarche says the new road would impact several rivers, including Yaque del Norte, Bao, De los Negros, Mijo, Blanco, Yabano and Jagua. Likewise, it could impact the Bao, Cienaga de Sabaneta and Moncion dams that provide waters for the northwest and the province of San Juan de la Maguana.

Lamarche reports that the road would be fast-tracked by the government and that this fast track authority allows payments up to 50% over the level of spending authorized by the government for a signed construction contract

Lamarche urges that the government schedule a series of public hearings on this controversial highway project.


Local use of credit cards on the rise
Deloitte Dominican Republic revealed findings of a report that says that use of credit cards in the Dominican Republic is up 53% from 2010 to 2013 for peso transactions. As reported in El Dia, during the period, credit card payments in the country increased from RD$96 billion to RD$146 billion. This means that for every RD$100 consumers spend in the purchase of goods and services, RD$5.5 of that amount was charged to a credit card. The peak periods for local credit card transactions are May (Mother's Day) and December (Christmas). Credit card use in the country is lowest in January and February.


Lionfish injures woman in Boca Chica
Madelin Meran, 25 years old, was stung on the hand by a lionfish in Boca Chica. She was taken to the Dr. Dario Contreras Hospital, treated and released. The invasive species has long spines that inject painful venom. But the venom is not lethal to humans. The fish is a threat to Caribbean reef ecosystems and marine scientists recommend that fishermen focus on capturing lionfish to reduce populations. While the spines of lionfish can give a nasty sting, once they are removed they pose no danger. Lionfish is tasty and can be prepared and enjoyed in many different ways. There several programs across the Dominican Republic that are encouraging the capture and consumption of lionfish.


Fire at Hard Rock Resort affects restaurant
La Isla Restaurant at Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana went up in flames with the hotel full of guests during the peak domestic long weekend. As reported, there were no injuries and the hotel set out to rapidly repair the roof so that the restaurant could resume operations quickly. The blaze exposed apparent deficiencies in fire-response units in Punta Cana.


Armada arrests 69 headed for Puerto Rico
On Wednesday, 16 April, the Dominican Armada (Navy) reported the arrest of 69 people who had illegally boarded and traveled on boats with the intent of reaching Puerto Rico. Of the total, 52 were foreigners: 39 were Haitians and 13 were Cubans, who paid traffickers to organize a trip from La Altagracia and Saona Island to Puerto Rico. The General Commander of the Armada reported so far they have arrested 822 persons (this year?) attempting to illegally travel to Puerto Rico.


Stabbed child is hanging on
A 4-month old baby, stabbed by her father, a Haitian immigrant after a fight with the mother, is in the intensive care unit at the Hugo Mendoza Pediatric Hospital in Villa Mella. The director of the hospital, Dr. Noldis Naut Subervi, said that the baby is connected to an artificial breathing machine and that the knife injuries have damaged her spinal cord.

Police reported that on Saturday, Luisa Pamela Jean was received stab wounds in the neck from her father, Lounis Jean who has resided in the Las Mercedes barrio of La Victoria in Santo Domingo north for 37 years. According to witnesses, Jean grabbed the baby by the feet outside of the dwelling where she lived with her mother and stabbed her in the neck. The mother of the infant, Patricia Philmar, 17 years old, tried to protect her daughter, but was not able. She later went to a nearby police station to report the assault. When Jean discovered that Philmar had reported the attack, he tried to strangle her. Witnesses to this horrific scene intervened and began beating Jean. Jean, who suffered severe injuries from the beating, was taken taken to the Ney Arias Lora hospital where he died. By the time the Police had arrived at the scene of the crime, they did not have time to intervene as the unruly crowd had added to the chaotic situation.

Dominican singer Sonia Silvestri dies
Sonia Silvestri died on Saturday, 19 Arpil. She was 61. Family and friends were with her as she spent her last week at the Plaza de la Salud hospital in Santo Domingo. On Wednesday, 16 April, she suffered a stroke from which she never recovered. Recently she had been hospitalized for chronic kidney problems. She was connected to an artificial breathing machine.

Silvestri began her professional career singing advertisement jingles and made her TV debut on the Gente a TV show produced by Freddy Ginebra in 1970. She became a star when singing "Donde podre gritarte que te quiero" for the 4th Dominican Song Festival organized by Amucaba in 1971. Although she placed second in the competition, but her career as a singer took off.

Her music will be played at her wake on Monday starting at 9am at the Funeraria Blandino. The wake will be open to the general public. The burial ceremony will be held at 4pm at the Cementerio Nacional at Av. Maximo Gomez. She will be laid to rest alongside her parents.

She is survived by her husband, Jose Betancourt, and her children Andres and Eloisa.







Interiew with Colombia Alcantara:






Victor Estrella to play in Roland Garros in France
Top-seeded Dominican tennis player, Victor Estrella will become the first Dominican to compete in a Grand Slam event of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Estrella will play at the French Open Championships on court 20 at Roland Garros Stadium complex in Paris, France.

Along with the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, the French Open is one of the four historic tennis tournaments that make up the legendary Grand Slam of Tennis.

The French Open and will be held 25 May to 8 June. Estrella is one of 104 players to automatically qualify for the men's singles competition based on the ranking system. As of 14 April 2014, Victor Estrella was ranked 99th in the world according to the ATP, that sanctions 27 tournaments throughout the world.

A total of 128 players will vie for the men's singles title at the French Open.



Dinosaurs are back at the Botanical Gardens
The Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens is hosting Bosque Jurasico 2, a dinosaur exhibit. The event is organized by Xone Entertainment and is a Ocean Dom Group production. This exhibit is a sequel to the first event held in 2012. Promoters say that visitors can observe 34 different species during the 1:15 hour tour. The tour will feature information that is entertaining and scientifically sound. The exhibit opens on 24 April and will run through June. This year's attractions will include a large inflatable playground, a three-stop zipline, bungee jumping, toboggans, paint ball course and much more. Tickets are RD$350 per person, and can be purchased at the Botanical Gardens and Bon Ice Cream shops.


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

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