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Daily News - Tuesday, 29 April 2014

President Medina travels to Mexico
President Danilo Medina travels to Merida in Mexico today, Tuesday 29 April to participate in the Sixth Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (AEC).

He is due to leave at noon from the San Isidro Air Force Base.

The themes for discussion at the summit include cooperation and the process of preventing serious risks in the Caribbean as well as sustainable tourism, transport, infrastructure and initiatives which will benefit the region.



New Minister of Mines
Pelegrin Castillo handed in his resignation as a Deputy after being appointed to the post of Minister of Energy and Mines by President Danilo Medina.

Castillo has been a Deputy for almost 20 years, representing the National Progressive Force (FNP) for the National District.

The new Ministry of Energy and Mines has the mandate of formulating, adopting, directing and coordinating national policy for the exploration, exploitation, transformation and benefit of minerals, metals and non-metals, and has a budget of RD$692.9 million for 2014.


New jobs being created
According to Minister of Labor Maritza Hernandez, 23,721 new jobs were created in the areas of commerce, tourism and mining between January and March this year.

Hernandez said that the data had come from the Social Security Treasury (TSS) and added that they were well on their way to achieving the government target of reaching 400,000 employees.

She went on to say that if new jobs continued at the same pace especially empowering the small and medium-sized businesses, that the target would be reached, but stressed that the key challenge was that the new jobs should be of good quality, with decent salaries which people could survive on.


Only 25% of potential teachers pass exams
Minister of Education Carlos Amarante Baret has announced the results of the Public Examinations for Teachers, which ended on 10 February. A total of 17,492 people registered for the examinations, 16,340 actually sat them and only 4,212 passed, which represented 25%.

He said that the candidates who did not pass would have a second chance to take them in a new round of examinations with the entry date of 2 June and the examinations on 12 June.

More teachers need to be recruited at the pre-school and primary and middle school levels as well as principals, vice principals, and physical education teachers.

Amarante Baret said that he was hoping for between 10,000 and 15,000 applicants for the next examinations and that anyone interested should enter by submitting the relevant documentation including copies of their qualifications, experience, and their identity card.

Higher Education Minister Ligia Amada Melo and the Teachers' Association (ADP) president Eduardo Hidalgo said that they hoped more candidates would pass the next series of examinations.

Amada Melo attributed the low pass rate to a discrepancy between Ministry requirements and what is actually being taught at the 25 universities that teach a degree in education. She said that she was working to reformulate the degree course to reflect this.


Latest figures on chikungunya
The Ministry of Public Health says that 3,690 suspected cases of chikungunya have been registered in San Cristobal province alone. The health authorities are urging the public to work towards eliminating breeding areas for mosquitoes in gardens, alleyways and streets.

According to epidemic bulletin for Week 14, Nigua in San Cristobal province has 2,348 suspected cases, Barcequillo hospital in Bajos de Haina near Nigua has seen 1,142 suspected cases between weeks 12 and 14 and the numbers are on the increase. In San Cristobal itself, around 200 possible cases have been reported.

As well as San Cristobal, the Public Health authorities have confirmed new cases of chikungunya in Hato Mayor, Santo Domingo and the National District - although the numbers have not been confirmed.

The authorities say that measures to eradicate the virus are focused on applying larva prevention chemicals to water containers around the home and garden and fumigation.


New Police Graduates
National Police chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo has led a graduation ceremony for 1,284 new police officers who will be joining the new 911 National Citizen Safety System that enters into operation next month, and the Special Operations Department.

Speaking at the event, which took place yesterday, Monday 28 April, Castro Castillo said that the 911 system would enable the emergency services to respond more effectively to emergency calls and called on the graduates to serve the country and guarantee the safety of its citizens for the benefit of society as a whole.

Deputy police chief General Alejandro Dipre Sierra led the swearing of the oath and Private Joan Michael Mejia Valdez gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the graduates.

Awards were presented to Private Adalberto Antonio Genao Perez and Private Joanssett Mejia Telleria for Best Academic Performance, Private Jose Rafael Acosta Parra and Private Nay Junior Araujo De Los Santos for Police Spirit, Private Luis Angel Torres and Private Fernando Burgos Polanco for Good Conduct and Private Ray Fernando Luzon Polanco for Concept of Duty.

Major General Castro Castillo and General Dipre Sierra were accompanied by Generals Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, Latif Miguel Mahfoud Rodriguez, Pablo de Jesus Dipre, Juan Pilarte Feliz, Juana Campusano Jimenez, Jorge Mancebo Bautista, Rafael Cabrera Sarita, Orlando Martin Pichardo Reynoso, Aquino Reynoso Robles, and Colonels Pedro Castro Castillo, Ivan Leonidas Mateo Leon and Jacobo Mateo Moquete.


New cell phone crime
In a joint operation by the Attorney General Office and the National Police, a series of raids have been carried out on cell phone shops in the Villa Francisca and Capotillo areas of the capital as well as Duarte Avenue in the National District and thousands of mobile phones confiscated. The Specialized Prosecution Unit against Hi-Tech Crimes in coordination with the Police Hi-Tech Crimes Department (DICAT) carried out the operation.

They also announced the discovery of a new crime to the country involving so-called smart phones, which involves deleting the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) code, which identifies the phone around the world and which the criminals can allegedly now change.

According to John Henry Reynoso, head of the Specialized Prosecution Unit Against Hi-Tech Crimes, this is one of the reasons why thefts of iPhones, Blackberry devices and the like are so common.

Several arrests were made, including cellphone storeowners, messengers, salespeople and technicians.

As well as confiscating cell phones, they also seized computers, equipment for unblocking phones and motor vehicles.


Haitians arrested
The Minister of Interior and Police, Jose Ramon Fadul, has announced that around 20 Haitians who were arrested in Moca will be brought to trial for allegedly burning the Dominican flag.

He warned that no one, whether Dominican or Haitian, would be allowed to be disrespectful to national symbols.

He went on to say that is was not a persecution of foreigners, but simply obeying the law and that the investigation was ongoing but whoever is found guilty would be punished.


Housing problems along the Ozama River
According to Angel Paredes, Director of Urban Community Development for the NGO Ciudad Alternativa, 86.86% of the homes in the Ozama region are classified as medium or high-risk and 10,758 houses are irrecoverable as they have been built using very poor materials or have been constructed in uninhabitable areas.

Between 2011 and 2012 the organization has managed to transfer 350 families from La Cienaga and Los Guandules to other areas and another 150 homes have been repaired.

Since February, with the help of the European Union, Ciudad Alternativa is rolling out the Healthy and Sustainable Habitat Project in 10 neighborhoods on the banks of the Ozama river, focusing on cleaning up the 46 streams in the area from Simon Bolivar up to La Cienaga on the western banks and from Los Tres Brazos to El Dique on the east.

Ciudad Alternativa Executive Director Roman Batista said that the aim is to satisfy the demands of the population for quality services to live a decent life such as drinking water, small bridges and pedestrian access as well as home improvements.

According to their data, in the Ozama region (Los Mina Viejo, Los Tres Brazos, Ensanche Ozama, 24 de Abril, Simon Bolivar, Gualey and Domingo Savio), there is a housing deficit of 32,153 units, as well as an increase in poverty from 2002 to 2012.


Columbus Lighthouse in a mess
The Governor of the Columbus Lighthouse, Mario Bonetti, has lamented the fact that the lighthouse is in darkness and that it now has nothing to attract visitors given the lack of attention by the authorities.

The lighthouse, inaugurated in 1992 during the government of Joaquin Balaguer, now only has two hours a day of electricity and the surrounding area is unkempt.

Bonetti said that it has been completely neglected since 2000 and treated like a corpse that was once a beautiful body, and he called on the State for urgent intervention.

He went on to say that due to the lack of electricity and guards n before there were more than 50 marines guarding it and now there are only three n the lighthouse area is subject to robberies and attacks.

Nonetheless he said there are around 150 tourists - mostly Russian - visiting every day, providing an income of between RD$400,000 to RD$500,000 to the state per month.

He said that he had written to the Santo Domingo East town hall, the water authorities, the electricity company and the Dominican Navy but has had no replies at all.

Bonetti also lamented the state of deterioration of the Dominican flag that flies at the west side of the lighthouse but is in tatters due to sun and wind damage.


Dinosaurs back at the Botanical Gardens
The Santo Domingo Botanical Garden is hosting Bosque Jurasico 2, a dinosaur display. The event has been organized by Xone Entertainment and produced by the Ocean Dom Group. This is a follow up to a first exhibition in 2012. Promoters say that giant models of 34 species can be seen during the 1:15-hour tour, which is accompanied by scientific explanations. The exhibition opens on 24 April and continues throughout May and June. This year there will be an area with large inflatable playground, a three-stop zipline, bungee jumping, slides, paintball and more. Tickets are RD$350 per person, sold at the Botanical Garden and Bon Ice Cream shops.


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

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