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Daily News - Friday, 02 May 2014

DR1 breaks for Labor Day holiday
The DR1 daily news digest will not be published on Monday, 5 May, the official Labor Day holiday. Labor Day or International Workers' Day is 1 May, but as it fell on a Thursday this year the Ministry of Labor moved its celebration to Monday. News will be compiled for the Tuesday, 6 May issue. For breaking news and 24/7 comments, see the DR1 Forum at www.dr1.com/forums

Business sector advocates for fewer obstacles
Speaking at the Senate yesterday, Thursday 1 May, National Business Council (Conep) president Manuel Diez Cabral called for a reduction in the number of obstacles to doing business and exporting. The business leader highlighted that Dominican business will be faced with increased competition now that protectionism is gradually being eliminated as DR-CAFTA advances.

In the Dominican Republic informal and government employment is on the rise, but this is not the case for formal employment in the private sector. To encourage job creation, Diez Cabral called for eliminating the anti-export slant in the Dominican tax system, distorting taxes, pre-tax payments and other advance payments that push many businesses to operate in the informal sector. He called for more promotion of exports, a pro-export tax system, solution of electricity problems, improvements in cargo and passenger transport, problems with costs and access to financing, along with other measures.

Aquiles Bermudez of the Dominican Free Zones Association (ADOZONA) also spoke during the session, advocating for a comprehensive electricity pact and labor reform to rationalize labor benefits and create more jobs. He called for changes to the Customs Law 34-89, Free Zone Law 8-90 and Competitiveness and Industrial Innovation Law 392-07.

Representing the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), Ligia Bonetti said that there was a lack of political will to renew the reinvestment of profits that expired a year ago. She also called for a more efficient export platform and the start of the single shop for foreign trade. She highlighted the US$3 billion trade deficit with the United States, mainly caused by the 56% increase in imports, while exports have not grown significantly. The spread between exports and imports to and from Central America is similar. Bonetti said that the country depends on unstable flows of remittances, investments and loans and that there has been only a 2% increase in exports in real terms despite the 6% increase in GDP from 2005-2012. She criticized the way that present economic model gives priority to borrowing abroad, the services industry and imports, instead of focusing on production and exports.

Linked systems aim to ensure traffic fine payment
Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo says the government is working on ways to ensure that drivers who owe traffic fines are obliged to pay them. He said he has met with the Department of Taxes, the Ministry of Public Works and the Departments of Migration and Passports to link up their systems so that they receive the data of people with outstanding fines. He said they agreed that drivers with unpaid fines would not be able to renew their license or their vehicle license plates. They will not be able to obtain good conduct documents from the police and they will be issued an exit ban preventing them from traveling abroad until the fine is paid.

The program will be implemented starting June.


JCE and MLB sign agreement to check for document fraud
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) that manages identity registration in the DR and Major League Baseball (MLB) signed an agreement yesterday, Thursday 1 May in which the JCE will investigate, prosecute and penalize alterations of identity documents of any aspiring ballplayer.

JCE president Roberto Rosario said the MLB would be granted access to the JCE electronic database, including biometric data, to verify the identity and age of future players. MLB spokesman Rafael Oscar Perez Taveras said the agreement strengthens the trust the organization has in the investments its teams have been making in the DR and in helping the communities where the players come from. He said the MLB teams invest around US$170 million a year to help poor families.

The agreement was signed by Roberto Rosario for the JCE, MLB director of investigations Nelson Tejada Quinones, and Oscar Perez Taveras, MLB director of operations.

Andres Mateo countersues senator Felix Bautista
Author Andres L. Mateo is now suing senator for San Juan de la Maguana and close associate of former President Leonel Fernandez, Felix Bautista for damages. Bautista recently chose to not include Mateo nor the publishing house in a suit against the authors of the book "The Dark Side of Sun Land", written by economist Jaime Aristy, lawyer Alejandro Ayuso and writer Andres Mateo and published by Editora Buho SRL in the Dominican Republic. After the book was released in Florida, Bautista decided to sue the authors and the publishing house.

The Civil and Commercial Chamber of the Court of First Instance of the National District will hear the case.

Mateo is suing for RD$112 million in reparations for damages suffered as a result of the suit that had been placed in the United States and Spain.

He is also asking for the payment of the legal costs in which he incurred to defend himself in the case.

Felix Bautista and Sun Land Group are claiming damages for US$25 million.

The book was published in 2012 and was later released in Miami.



Many Haitians die in failed boat trip to Puerto Rico
The Dominican Armada (Navy) recovered six bodies of four women and two men from a shipwreck of an illegal boat trip that was presumed to be heading to Puerto Rico yesterday, Thursday 1 May. Two Dominicans, suspected captains of the boat, survived and are in police custody, according to a report in Listin Diario. Another 14 Haitians were rescued. The Rescue Team (EREE) reported that the boat had been stolen from a hotel.

Navy captain Victor Manuel Pilier told the press that there had been 22 people on board, including the two Dominicans who are presumed to be the captains, and some 20 Haitians. Units of the Armada, Civil Defense and Boca Chica firefighters took part in the search for survivors.

Listin Diario reports that the organizers of these illegal trips usually charge between US$1,000 and US$1,500 for the trip to Puerto Rico.


Pablo Milanes at the Santo Domingo Book Fair
Leading Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanes is on stage on Friday and Saturday at the National Theater as part of the Santo Domingo Book Fair. His shows are at 7:30pm and admission is free, but limited to the capacity of the theater.

For more on the program, see www.ferilibro.com/2k7/images/programa%202014%20pdf%20final.pdf

Film festival at Novocentro
The Muestra International de Cine de Santo Domingo, now in its 16th year, is open at the Novocentro Fine Arts movie theater on Av. Lope de Vega in Santo Domingo this week. This year the event is dedicated to Canada, but there will also be films from 20 other countries. It opens with the film Gabrielle, directed by Louise Archambault. The festival began on 30 April and will continue through 10 May. Many award-winning films are included in the selection.

Films from Canada are:

Gabrielle (Louise Archambault)

Blackbird (Jason Buxton)

Sarah Prefers to Run (Chloe Robichaud)

Incendies (Denis Villeneuve)

Inch'allah (Anais Barbeau-Lavalette)

Rebelle (Kim Nguyen)

The other films include:

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix van Groeningen, Belgium)

Los bastardos (Mexico, Amat Escalante)

Cannibal (Spain, Manuel Martin Cuenca)

Like Father, Like Son (Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda)

Two Lives (Germany)

Family United (Spain, Daniel Sanchez)

The Notebook (Hungary, Janos Szasz)

Love Steaks (Germany, Jakob Lass)

La Paz (Argentina, Santiago Loza)

La pelicula de Ana (Cuba, Daniel Diaz Torres)

Bad Hair (Venezuela, Mariana Rondon)

Dust on the Tongue (Colombia, Ruben Mendoza)

Walesa: Man of Hope (Poland)

The Great Beauty (Italy, Paolo Sorrentino)

The Grandmaster (China, Kar Wai Wong)

Blue Is the Warmest Color (France, Abdellatif Kechiche)

Blanco (Dominican Republic)

Play about couples breaking up at the National Theater
Four-time divorcee playwright Giovanny Cruz presents "El Diablo ya no vive aqui," a drama about couples going through separations. He wrote the play but says he has not included any of his former four wives as characters. The play opens for the weekends of 8-11 and 15-19 May at the Sala Ravelo of the National Theater. Afterwards, it will be staged at the Teatro Regional del Cibao in Santiago from 22-24 May. It is a production by Juancito Rodriguez starring Lumy Lizardo and Frank Ceara.

Travolta's Girlfriends opens at Teatro las Mascaras
Starting Friday, 9 May, Teatro las Mascarasa will be staging "Las Novias de Travolta," a comedy by Uruguayan playwright Andres Tulipano. The play, which is directed by Germana Quintana, set attendance records in Uruguay when it opened in 2004 and was restaged in 2010. It tells the story of four friends who fall in love with John Travolta in the movie Grease. See Lidia Ariza, Pamela de Leon, Grace Moore, Marison Marion Landais and Wendy Alba in the leading roles. Performances are on Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm and Sundays at 6:30pm. The Teatro Las Mascaras is a small theater so it is essential to go early to get tickets.

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

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