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Daily News - Friday, 09 May 2014

Ruling delivered to implement National Development Strategy
President Danilo Medina issued the ruling for the application of the National Development Strategy (END) today, Friday 9 May. The strategy sets out policies, plans and projects for the public sector for the period up to and including 2030. Decree 134-14 dated 9 May states in Art. 2 that the Central government, the decentralized and autonomous organizations, social security institutions and non-financial public entities, municipalities and municipal boards and the financial public sector are subject to the ruling. The ruling makes all public sector institutions responsible for implementing the plans, programs, projects and regulatory instruments in accordance with their basic roles and the vision of the nation from now until 2030.

IDs now issued nationwide
More offices to get the cedula

The Central Electoral Board (JCE) announced that Dominicans can now request their new IDs (cedulas) at more JCE offices nationwide. In a first phase the IDs were only being issued at the offices located in main cities. The JCE said it has opened additional offices in La Romana, Bayaguana, Consuelo, Monte Plata, Quisqueya, Ramon Santana, Sabana Grande De Boya, San Jose de Los Llanos, Yamasa, Bavaro, El Seibo, Guaymate, Hato Mayor, Higuey, Miches, Sabana de La Mar, San Rafael del Yuma and Villa Hermosa. For residents in the southern regions, the offices at Cambita Garabitos, Nizao, Bani, Sabana Grande de Palenque, Sabana Yegua, San Cristobal, and many others have been opened, as reported in Diario Libre.

The IDs need to be secured in time for the 2016 national elections. The JCE is also sending mobile units to large companies for the issuing of the new IDs to company employees.

Tourism, interior and police, health, industry, trade agreements with Haiti
Bilateral talks under the High Level Commission for the Dominican Republic and Haiti continued between the two countries yesterday, Thursday 8 May with the signing of four agreements. Two Dominican Republic government ministers traveled to Haiti and two Haiti government ministers came to the DR for the signing.

Dominican Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia Fernandez and his Haitian counterpart Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin signed a bilateral agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo. DR Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso, Haitian ambassador Fritz Cineas, and the president and executive vice president of the DR National Association of Hotels and Tourism Luis Rodriguez and Arturo Villanueva were also present.

The framework establishes that the agreement falls under the laws of both countries and includes cooperation in responsible and sustainable tourism. The technical-touristic agreement covers legislative, planning, regulation, training, tourist security and health, air transport and environment matters, among other topics. The agreement establishes that both parties commit to promoting relationships and agreements with private entities from both countries in order to stimulate tourism investment in each country. The technical assistance is tied to specific agreements and the ministers will serve as liaisons.

The Dominican Republic's Interior and Police Minister Jose Ramon Fadul (Monchi) and Haiti's Interior Minister Reginald Delva also met and signed another agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo and committed to working to strengthen friendship ties between both countries. Minister Fadul announced that work on the National Status Legalization Plan would begin as of 1 June 2014 as planned. Fadul said that Haitians make up the largest number of immigrant nationals in the country. As reported in El Nuevo Diario, Reginald Delva said that his government would cooperate with the plan by providing documentation to its citizens. Nevertheless, he said that care would be taken to prevent fugitives from Haitian jails, who escaped after the 2010 earthquake, from benefiting from the legalization plan. He said that his country would follow up on complaints of mistreatment of Dominicans in Haiti and announced that both countries would work towards combating trafficking in Haitian children.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo and Minister of Public Health Freddy Hidalgo traveled to Haiti and signed two more agreements.

Minister Wilson Laleau of Haiti signed the industry and trade agreement. The agreement covers reciprocity in exchange of goods and services, respect for sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations, exchange of information on national trade rules and notification prior to the imposition of any measure, ruling or regulation on commerce, with the exception of sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures.

The agreement signed with the ministers of public health agrees to strengthen HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevention work, epidemiological monitoring and control of diseases transmitted by vectors and cholera.


Dominican engineers build mega sports center in Port-au-Prince
Construction of installations at Haiti's new Olympic Center is making swift progress. The center has received funding from the International Olympic Committee and international sports federations, and is being implemented as part of the IOC's "Sports For Hope Program" at an estimated cost of US$29 million.

Haiti's Olympic center is being built on the edge of the Canaan slum off Highway 9 and National Highway 1 outside Port-au-Prince.

Construction began in July 2013 and is due to be delivered by the contractors in September 2014. The contract is being implemented by IBT Group in association with the DR's Estrella engineering company, as reported in Le Nouvelliste of Haiti.

The center already has one of three planned football stadiums with capacity for 25,000 people. The stadium alone is a US$21 million project.

A tartan athletics track is also near completion, along with basketball, volleyball and tennis courts.

The indoor gymnasium has been designed to international specifications for playing volleyball, according to Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, president of the Norceca Confederation, volleyball's governing body in North and Central America. Norceca donated three outdoor sport court volleyball-playing surfaces to Haiti.



US$150 million advance needed for coal-fired power plants
The Dominican government needs to make a US$150 million advance payment to the engineering firm Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) for the construction of the Central Punta Catalina power generation plant. The plant, which will have a generation capacity of 674.78 MW, will be built by Odebrecht-Tecnimont-Estrella consortium in the province of Peravia (Bani). The contract was signed on 14 April and the contractor has committed to delivering the works no later than 7 October 2017.

The project involves the construction of two 337.39 MW coal-fired thermoelectric units with a air quality control system that includes a flue gas desulfurization system, the preferred process for coal-fired electric utility power plants burning coal according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, as reported in Diario Libre.

Vendors evicted from Mama Tingo metro station
Santo Domingo North Mayor Francisco Fernandez has responded to recent reports in El Caribe newspaper that described the slumification of the metro station exits, particularly the Mama Tingo Station in Villa Mella. A cleanup of the area was ordered and when vendors showed up at 5am on Thursday, 8 May, they were told they would have to go elsewhere. The cleanup took place at the intersection of Hermanas Mirabal and Charles de Gaulle avenues. There was skepticism as to how long the cleanup would last. As reported in El Caribe, Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) agents supported the evictions. Users of the metro expect the vendors to be back as reported in El Caribe.


And who will pay for the pensions?
Inez Aizpun of Diario Libre points out the reality of job creation in the Dominican Republic. Everyone wants to have a pension when they retire, but she asks - if people aren't paying into the system, who will pay for it? She says the data is there: the increase in jobs is in informal entities. In the formal sector, it is the government that is generating most of the jobs with 400,000 jobs versus only 50,000 created in the private sector.

"If we want social security, we need pensions, and we need to create jobs for people to pay into the system," she writes.

She comments how business owners consider labor costs too high and thus do not create new jobs. She mentions all the obstacles to setting up a business: paying twice for social security, advance taxation that is impossible for small-scale business owners to take on, expensive financing, when it can be had, juridical insecurity, rigged tenders...

"If young people cannot find jobs, there will be no pensions. It will be a system that is dead from the start and will be a high tax on the businesses that do pay taxes..." she writes.

"The state, which is growing larger by the day, becoming more expensive, more in debt, more populist, has to encourage formal job creation, but in the private sector!"


Nine get scholarships to study filmmaking in London
Nine scholarships have been granted by the ECC (Entrenamientos Cinematograficos del Caribe) as part of a capacity building process for filmmaking in the Dominican Republic, thanks to sponsorship from the Indomina Group and the British Chamber of Commerce. Support was also received from Pinewood Group, the UK Embassy in the Dominican Republic and Brugal Foundation, as reported in El Nuevo Diario.

The internship winners are Alain Miguel Muniz, David Pagan, Ana Guerrero, Adria Victoria Mejia, Francisco Valdez, Bolivar Sanchez, Manuel Herrera, Juan Carlos Marchena and Jorge Zeller.

The ECC was set up to train Dominicans in filmmaking. The nine Dominicans will train in several movie-making areas at Pinewood Group in Great Britain. ECC president Mark Silverman made the announcement at a press conference called at the Department of Cinema (DGCine) yesterday, Thursday 8 May. He said the young Dominicans would work as interns on international productions for 1 or 2 months, in the company of some of the world's best movie technicians.

Upon making the announcement, Silverman stressed the importance of capacity building. He said that initiatives of this kind would provide the local know-how that is so necessary for local and international productions.

DGCine director Yvette Marichal praised the ECC initiative for developing local talent for the national movie-making industry. Speaking at the event, UK Ambassador Steven Fisher said that the initiative is an example of the cooperation between the two nations for bilateral business and cultural and professional exchanges.

Indomina president Antonio Gennari, Pinewood Republica Dominicana vice president Albert Martinez Martin, and ECC Republica Dominicana executive director Elias Munoz were also present.

ECC is an independent operation that seeks to coordinate and promote training programs that meet with international movie industry standards.


Puerto Plata mom has quadruplets
Four babies were born to 33-year old Denny Santana at the Clinica Corominas in Santiago, yesterday, Thursday 8 May. Her husband, Alberto Almonte, works as an accountant in Los Limones, Puerto Plata. The baby girls were named Alisa, Alina, Dalina and Nashla. Santana already has a six-year old daughter. She asked for help in looking after the baby girls who are still in incubators at the hospital. The babies, who were born prematurely at seven months and three weeks, are being fed intravenously. Their father is asking for government support to help with the baby girls' upkeep.


DR teen pregnancies 'a serious health issue'
A recent study by the International Alliance of Chaplains (Alianza Internacional de Capellania), in affiliation with the United Nations has found that some 1,275 pregnant girls, aged 10 to 16, have been treated in the San Lorenzo de los Mina public maternity hospital in the municipality of Santo Domingo East. A further 1,611 pregnant girls received medical care at the Juan Pablo Pina public hospital in San Cristobal. Alliance community affairs director Sandra Castillo described the situation as alarming and called on the authorities to take more action to reduce the number of pregnant girls.

Pakistanis caught accused of people trafficking
The Anti-terrorism unit of the National Investigations Department, the local FBI, has announced the arrest of seven Pakistanis and one Dominican accused of running a people trafficking network. Pakistani Mehmood Majeed Khan, who headed the network, reportedly used the DR as a bridge for sending people to the US and Canada, using forged documentation. A DNI spokesperson said that Majeed Khan, who has served time for the same crime in the US, operated by using his connection at the La Romana civil registry office, named as Alfonso Fernandez Tirado.


Learn to dance at Adrian Tropical
Adrian Tropical Restaurant in Santo Domingo announces that registration is open for their merengue, salsa, bachata and son dance classes that will take place at the city restaurant's Abraham Lincoln branch. Classes start on Sunday, 1 June and will end on Sunday 6 July. They will take place from 9 to 10:30am.

Merengue Bar and Casino open at the Jaragua
Despite the major remodeling program currently underway at the Hotel Jaragua on Santo Domingo's Malecon, which is due to continue for around a year, the Hotel's Gran Casino and Merengue Bar will remain open. The Merengue Bar features live music seven days a week with their in-house orchestra, La Merengue Bar.

Car Racing at Mobil 1 Track on 18 May
US car racer Chip Herr and Jacky Kawly from Haiti will compete against leading Dominican speed racing pilots Alfredo Najri, Christian Bonnet, Ricky Perdomo and Juan Manuel Gonzalez on Sunday, 18 May as of 10:30am. The racing is at the Mobil 1 Track off Las Americas Expressway. Leading racers from Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, US, Uruguay and the DR will also take part in the event.

Dominican songs in jazz beat at Plaza Espana
Take Dominican music and give it a jazz twist. That is what Pengbian Sang & Retro Jazz do with their concert, Jazzeando el Cancionero Dominicano. Listen to the songs of Victor Victor, Manuel Jimenez, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Juan Luis Guerra, Luis Alberti and Julio Alberto Hernandez... with jazz arrangements. They will be playing a free concert at the Plaza Espana in Santo Domingo's Colonial City on 17 May at 8pm. A second show will take place at the gardens of the Teatro Regional del Cibao in Santiago. Both performances are sponsored by Stella Artois beer.

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

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