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Daily News - Monday, 19 May 2014

Naturalization bill moves in Congress
With a unanimous vote, the Chamber of Deputies passed the two required readings on the "Bill that Establishes a Special Regime for Persons Born in the National Territory and Were Irregularly Registered in the Dominican Civil Registry and on Naturalization" submitted by the Presidency last week.

Over the weekend, the bishops of the dioceses of Santiago, San Pedro de Macoris and La Altagracia (Punta Cana) went public with their support to the naturalization bill and the implementation of the National Foreigner Legalization Plan ordered by Constitutional Ruling 168-13.

The plan seeks to document all persons living in the Dominican Republic so these have legal status. It provides a fast tracked path so that long time residents who it is determined are not Dominican can seek legal residence or naturalization. Those that do not undertake the established legalization procedures within the year and a half period established by the Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13 must return to their prior country of residence.

Monsignors Ramon Benito de la Rosa y Carpio (Santiago), Francisco Ozoria (San Pedro de Macoris) and Nicanor Pena Rodriguez (La Altagracia) congratulated President Danilo Medina for the bill that they understand resolves the status impasse in a legal and humanitarian manner. Monsignor Jose Grullon Estrella (San Juan de la Maguana) said that the bill was prudent and balanced.

"The bill resolves the immigration problem covered by a sovereign decision, adhering to our juridical framework, free of foreign formulas and pressure," said De la Rosa y Carpio. He said that the DR has given an important step to find a solution to a problem that demanded an urgent outcome, as reported in El Dia.

The bishops urged the Senate to approve the bill without changes.

The PLD has 31 of the 32 senators. The bill is expected to be on the Senate agenda on Wednesday, 21 May.

Conep and Guillermo Moreno in favor of naturalization bill
The National Council of Business (Conep), the leading Dominican business organization, has greeted as positive the "Bill that Establishes a Special Regime for Persons Born in the National Territory and Were Irregularly Registered in the Dominican Civil Registry and on Naturalization" that was submitted by the Presidency last week.

Conep says it was a priority to find a humanitarian solution to the cases of persons directly affected by the Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13, but while respecting the guidelines established in the ruling. The Constitutional Court is the highest court in the Dominican Republic.

Former district attorney, Guillermo Moreno also spoke up in favor of the bill. He commented that while constitutionally debatable, he felt it was positive that it recognized Dominican citizenship to persons born in Dominican territory that already had received legal documentation from the government.

Moreno said that the time is right to demand that the government confront the mafias that profit from migratory chaos at the border with Haiti and that are behind the smuggling of merchandise, persons, drugs and arms.



Senate notified naturalization bill violates Constitution
The National Network for the Defense of Sovereignty sent a legal notification to the Senate indicating that the bill that establishes a special regime for persons born in the DR that were irregularly registered in the Civil Registry violates the Constitution of the Republic. The group specifically mentions that the 2010 Constitution establishes that to reform nationality and citizenship issues, a bill need to be submitted to Congress for the ordering of a meeting of the National Assembly for Revision of the Constitution. The bill needs to state the articles that are subject to the reform. The approval of any reform requires the ratification by a majority of citizens with the right to vote through a referendum for approval that would be called by the Central Electoral Board after the National Assembly has voted and approved the reform.


Merca Santo Domingo to boost more farm exports
Administrative Minister of the Presidency, Jose Ramon Peralta announced that the government has plans to use the Merca Santo Domingo wholesaler market as an export platform for farm produce. He said that the market has already had a significant impact facilitating commerce between local suppliers and buyers.

"International buyers can now come and see good quality farm produce presented in a hygienic and exemplary way, which will not only help wholesale and retail commerce but also international commerce," he said, as reported in Diario Libre.

Eusebio Guzman, director of Merca Santo Domingo, said the market will be open to the general public on weekend, while it will exclusively sell to wholesalers and retailers on Monday to Friday.


Environmental experts protest new South-Cibao roadway
The Santiago Ecological Society (Soeci) says that the route that would be chosen by the Ministry of Public Works for the construction of a new Cibao-South road is the worst of the alternatives, as reported in Diario Libre. Soeci president Victor Medrano said that the route would cause major environmental damages to protected areas.

There is speculation that the Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo will announce that the route Sabaneta-Moncion-El Rubio-San Jose de las Matas-Santiago is the most convenient from an economic and ecological point of view to connect San Juan de la Maguana in the southwest with Santiago in the center of the country. The government has been analyzing 17 alternatives. The Sabaneta-Santiago road would arguing that it is the shortest and most jobs will be created. There is speculation the new route would facilitate mining exploitation in the area.

As reported in Listin Diario, Castillo said some weeks would be taken to prepare the budget for the road.

It is speculated that the chosen route for the new road would start in Sabaneta in southwestern San Juan de la Maguana and would cross the Central Mountain Range and protected areas. Medrano of Soeci said that it would cause serious damages to the forests and rivers, including the Yaque del Norte, the main source of water for Cibao region aqueducts.

He said more than 100 small rivers will be affected and approximately 15 million square meters of protected forests will be destroyed.

"I think it is an error to choose the route taking into consideration that it is the shortest distance and the economic cost of the road, leaving aside the environmental factor," said Medrano. He said better alternatives are to use the international road to connect the southwest with the northwest (Pedro Santana and Restauracion), or the Jarabacoa-Ocoa-San Juan route, or Piedra Blanca-Rancho Arriba-Ocoa-San Juan de la Maguana.

The Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic says the roadway will cause permanent damage to river resources. A recent study prepared by environmentalists Eleuterio Martinez and Jose Manuel Mateo outlines the possible damages. Mateo is the director of biodiversity at the Ministry of Environment. The study carried out for the Academy of Sciences showed that the land movements to build the mountain road would result in the sedimentation of the rivers, would endanger the operation of the Sabaneta Dam that provides water to irrigate 300,000 tareas of farm land (1,887 hectares), and would affect several national park and reserves of the country, opening these to land invasions by squatters.

Luis Scheker, vice president of the Academy of Sciences, said that the results of the study were sent to the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Public Works on 12 January 2014 but were not officially acknowledged by either of these ministries.

While the route has yet to be formally announced by the government, earlier Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo has said there are plans to start construction no later than August 2014.




Dominicans say DR is headed in the right direction
An 11 May 2014 Asisa poll shows most Dominicans are pleased with the direction the Dominican Republic is heading in. For the survey, 1,200 Dominican voters were polled. On average 58.3% feel that the Medina administration is leading the country in the right direction.

The poll shows that Medina has more support in the largest population segment, that of youths 18-24 years with 64.5% and among women with a 62.2% favorable rating.

Among those who identified as PLD followers, 82.9% say the country is headed in the right direction, compared to an also high 76.2% of those identifying with the leading opposition party, the PRD.

The poll identified that Dominicans perceive the areas of most progress made by the Medina administration have been education, public freedom and health. Those in which there has been the less progress are access to jobs, housing and social equality.

The poll asked Dominicans to rate local institutions and only the churches, central government and universities received percentages over 50%.

Dominicans want most for the government to reduce the cost of living, the cost of electricity, and create more jobs.


Leonel Fernandez says leaders need to be patient
Former President Leonel Fernandez used his extraordinary public speaker capacity to make a point for being patient in politics. In his conference "Leadership and Power: How to be 21st Century Leaders" to members of the Youths with Leonel (JUDEL) at the Hotel Embajador, Fernandez commented that the succession of leadership is like a torch that requires the patience of he who will receive it, to not clash with whom will pass it, and wait for it to be passed, and not take care to not snatch it to not be burned.

A three-time President of the Republic (1996-2000, 2004-2012), Fernandez is the president of the ruling PLD party. A recent poll said he was the strongest contender for candidate for the PLD.

In his conference, he said that in politics there is no permanent victory or defeat. "You can have experienced a setback, but that does not mean that you are defeated. One can rise again and climb the next mountain," he said.



Dominican moms not into breastfeeding
Yanet Olivares, coordinator in the country for the La Leche League (LLL) says that according to the Endesa 2013 poll, 76.6% of Dominican mothers will breastfeed their babies at birth, but only 9.5% will do so exclusively to the third month, and only 6.7% through the first six months. The World Health Organization recommends starting to supplement with other food after six months of exclusive breastfeeding. Olivares says the DR is in the last place of 21 regional countries in exclusive breastfeeding, according to data collected by the World Health Organization and the Panamerican Health Organization.

Dr. Clavel Sanchez, of the National Breastfeeding Commission, says that breastfeeding is a first vaccination for babies. She advocates for educating in schools about the importance of breastfeeding. "We need to make normal what is normal," she says.



Av. Gustavo Mejia Ricart stretch still shut down for pipe works
The CAASD is finishing the installation of new rainwater drainage pipes at the Maximo Aviles Blonda to Virgilio Diaz Ordonez section stretch of the Av. Gustavo Mejia Ricart. The CAASD reported that construction difficulties delayed the three day works into an additional work day on Monday, 19 May. The CAASD said works would be completed today.

In tribute to Margarita Copello of the Symphony Foundation
The soft-spoken Margarita Copello has dedicated heart and soul to the well-being of the National Symphony Orchestra. In an interview in El Dia she highlights that Dominicans are naturally musical, and have much talent. She hopes that the expansion of awareness of classical music will be able to reach more Dominicans that today are under the influence of what she called "urban noise".

"Dominicans are musical, coordinated and their soul is musical," she told El Dia. "Now there is a lot of musical noise in the country, and that is sad, but it is going to change, we are working for that," she said.

Copello explained she got involved with the Symphony when its conductor, the late Carlos Piantini, told her in 1986 that if more economic support was not found, the Symphony would disappear. The government wages for the musicians was not enough for the musicians to continue. Copello was then incidental to the creating of the Symphony Foundation that today manages the National Symphony Orchestra, and has found support in the private sector and general public to complement the wages paid by the government. The Foundation also is responsible for the Santo Domingo Music Festival that every two years brings world class musicians to Santo Domingo.


Michael Buttacavoli wins Dominican Republic Open
Michael Buttacavoli, Rick Cochran, and Julian Etulain were the three winners of the Dominican Republic Open, the seventh event of the 2014 NEC Series-PGA Tour Latinoamerica season.

The PGA Tour reported that Buttacavoli (Miami Beach, USA) had been trailing Rick Cochran III by six strokes with seven holes to play, put together a spectacular charge to force a playoff and win the Dominican Republic Open on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm tired, but it feels awesome," said the 26-year old after defeating Cochran on the third hole of a sudden death playoff for the title of the seventh event of the 2014 NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamerica season.

The event featured 144 players from 25 countries and included the winners of the past six events (William Kropp, Daniel Mazziotta, Armando Favela, Marcelo Rozo, Ty Capps and David Vanegas. Of these, none made it to the top 10 results.

The event was played at Casa de Campo's Teeth of the Dog golf course and had a prize purse of US$150,000 with the winner reaping US$27,000.




DR advances to World Volleyball Championship
As had been expected, the DR women's volleyball team advanced to the FIVB Women's World Championship in Italy (23 September n 12 October) by crushing Nicaragua in consecutive sets (25-10, 25-8, 25-11) to a full house crowd at the Eleoncio Meredes Coliseum in La Romana on Sunday, 18 May.

The DR is ranked 8th in the world, Nicaragua 46th. Also participating in the tournament were El Salvador (ranked 62nd) and Guadaloupe (not ranked). The DR did not lose a single set in the tournament.

In the final game against Nicaragua, the Dominican women volleyball team held an 11-0 margin in aces and outblocked their opponents 9-2. They also dominated in the attacks 40-16.

"It was a phenomenal performance by our team," Brazilian Marcos Kwiek said about the Dominicans, as reported by FIVB. "Everything worked like a perfect machine and I am very proud because they were really focused despite the difference between the two teams."

Nicaragua's Coach Rene Quintana told FIVB: "The Dominican team is very strong and we did our best out there. It was a learning experience for us. Now we have to prepare for the final playoff against the other second place teams of the other pools."

In the match for third place, El Salvador defeated Guadeloupe 3-1 (25-23, 17-25, 25-15, 25-23).


Santo Domingo Jazz Festival at Casa de Teatro
From 5 June to 31 July, Casa de Teatro in the Colonial City presents national and international jazz performers. Booked for this year are Holly Holden (London), Patricia Vlieg (Panama), Reis Demunth Wiltgen (France), Roberto Carcasses (Cuba) Grupo La Guanena and Jaume Vilaseca Trio (Catalunya, Spain). From the Dominican Republic, Xiomara Fortuna, Grupo Bonye, Guy Frometa Trio have confirmed their participation.

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

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