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Daily News - Wednesday, 21 May 2014

President Medina meets president of Sevilla football club
President Danilo Medina hosted a visit by the president of Sevilla Futbol Club, Jose Castro Carmona at the Presidential Palace, yesterday, Tuesday 20 May 2014. The team plays in Spain's top football league.

Castro Carmona said that he had been in touch with the Dominican authorities since last summer to look for ways of establishing football schools in the country, with professional training and practice. Barcelona FC has already established itself in Santo Domingo.

He said that he thought that sport could help to develop the young people in the country and that President Medina was interested in his idea.

He finished by saying that Seville Football Club had been in operation for more than 100 years and was the winner of this year's Europa League, and that they had a structure that they could put to good use in teaching.

Football is catching on, with the national school league generating much interest among young players and their parents.


911 launches in 10 days
President Danilo Medina will inaugurate the National Emergency System 911 on Friday 30 May, announced official government spokesman Roberto Rodriguez Marchena.

Rodriguez Marchena said that the system would be open to the public as of 31 May. He warned that fake calls could endanger other people.

Initially the service will be available in Greater Santo Domingo that includes the National District, Santo Domingo North, East and West, Boca Chica, Pedro Brand, Los Alcarrizos and Guerra.


Training program for shoemakers
The government has launched a training program for 5,000 people to satisfy the demand for qualified shoe making personnel due to the installation of new shoe manufacturers in the country.

The National Institute of Technical-Professional Training (Infotep) will provide the free training in the operation of a variety of machines used for shoe manufacturing and the production process, as well as mechanics and supervisors.

In the short term Infotep will train people for the companies already operating here and then will continue to train people to meet the demand for the new companies that will be establishing operations in the future.

Administrative Presidency Minister Jose Ramon Peralta said that the initiative is part of a government plan to create more jobs at free zones, with the target of creating 400,000 jobs during the Medina administration. He said that 100,000 jobs had already been created in the last year.

He highlighted that the DR stands to gain from China's loss of competitiveness in the shoe industry. He said the government is drawing up a plan to attract more foreign investment into the sector.

Jose Ramon Peralta also announced that they would begin a process of remodeling and renovating the free zone industrial parks throughout the country, starting in San Francisco de Macoris in around two weeks time. He said that this would also help to create the right conditions to attract new overseas investors.

The Dominican Republic has 53 industrial free zones in 28 provinces with more than 610 companies.



New wind farm in Luperon
Investors broke ground yesterday, Tuesday 20 May to begin the construction of a new 100-megawatt wind farm in Guzmancito, in Luperon municipality, in Puerto Plata province.

The project is being implemented by Poseidon Renewable Energy, Inversiones Energia 3,000 and Valoren SA with the first stage taking 12 months at a cost of US$180 million.

Inversiones Energia 3,000 general manager Jean Christophe Bestaux said that 200 direct jobs would be created in Los Guzmancito and that the wind farm would bring clean energy to more than 100,000 families in Puerto Plata and Santiago as well as benefiting tourism and the local economy.

The project includes the installation of a transmission line and the construction of an electrical substation to link the energy produced to the national electricity system.

The wind farm also has a contract to sell energy to the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE).

Present was the mayor of Maimon, Ramon Saldana and Elpidio Morrobel representing the governor of Puerto Plata, Eridania Llibre.


Hospital declares state of emergency
Doctors and directors of the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) have called a state of emergency at the Luis Eduardo Aybar hospital in Santo Domingo and are giving the public health authorities a week to come up with a solution to the precarious conditions under which the hospital is operating.

The decision was taken during a meeting at the hospital when the doctors spoke about the shortages there, as well as the lack of water and elevators, which meant that doctors and patients had to carry patients, the lack of basic equipment and security.

The head of Pediatrics at the hospital, Edison Feliz, chaired the meeting that was also attended by the District Medical Association president Mery Hernandez, hospital director Cesar Gesurum, Burn Unit director Eddy Bruno and the director of metropolitan health services, Enriquillo Matos.

Matos promised to take their demands to the Minister of Public Health and work with them to find a solution.

The doctors pointed to a lack of supervision by the authorities, shortage of beds, and a lack of stretcher bearers, adding that the ones who are there will only work if paid by the patients' relatives, operating theaters without air conditioning and equipment, laboratories without reagents, no blood bank, no parking, and no prescription pads.


Dominican Republic needs to improve personal safety
On the recently released Social Progress Index supported by the Social Progress Imperative organization, the DR is ranked midway with overall 63.03 or 68th of 132 countries. The country is relatively strong in basic human needs dimension that includes nutrition and basic medical care, but needs to improve on personal safety.

In received a score of 32.9 out of 100, mainly due to the high rate of traffic accidents.

The report states that the DR excels at providing building blocks for people's lives such as access to basic knowledge, but would benefit from greater investment in access to information and communications. The report says that in the opportunity dimension, the DR outperforms in providing opportunities for people to improve their position in society and scores highly in personal freedom and chose yet falls short in access to higher education.



Meeting to solve public transport crisis
National Police chief Manuel Castro Castillo, Interior and Police Minister Jose Ramon Fadul, Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) director General Juan Geronimo Brown Perez and President Danilo Medina's assistant Carlos Pared Perez met at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Tuesday 20 May to discuss the traffic chaos caused by drivers of public shared taxis who blocked a main city thoroughfare in protest after AMET prevented them from using tunnels and overpasses.

Thousands of passengers had problems getting to work yesterday morning after the drivers blocked the entrances to the tunnels and the elevated sections on 27 Febrero Avenue as a protest against AMET who were stopping them from using them.


Burgeoning cronyism in Dominican diplomacy
A news release circulated on 16 May 2014 by Reuters news service focuses on the Dominican Republic's bloated bureaucracy and highlights that the Dominican Republic's foreign service "appears to have few rivals in the Americas when it comes to political cronyism and wasted taxpayers' money."

As an example, journalist Ezra Fieser writes that the DR lists 77 people on the payroll for its mission to the UN, 63 in NY and 14 in Switzerland. But the UN Blue Book of accredited personnel shows only 37. It comments that Colombia, with a population four times and an economy more than six times larger, has 16 UN diplomats, and Mexico has 21.

Political patronage is a long-standing gripe in Latin America where "phantom" state sector jobs have been the target of lending institutions such as the World Bank, anxious to cut the burden of bloated bureaucracies.


Parties rated by Asisa political poll
According to the results of research conducted by Asisa Research Group for El Caribe newspaper between 9 and 11 May, 56% of the population says they are PLD sympathizers and 34% support the PRD.

PLD supporters tend to be younger; 70.4% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 support the ruling party, compared to only 24.7% in this age group supporting the main opposition PRD party.

Residents of the National District, Santo Domingo province and the east are also more likely to be PLD supporters whereas the PRD is stronger in the south and the Cibao area.

The PRSC's support is concentrated in the east where it has 4.1%, and the Alliance Party led by Guillermo Moreno is almost exclusively limited to the National District with 2.3% of residents supporting it.

The research also examined the differences between the parties as perceived by the population. The major perception of the PRD is that it is seen as being close to the people by 38.3% but nevertheless the PLD has a higher percentage for the same attribute at 48.3%.

The PLD is seen as having the best vision for the future with 59.8%.


Vinicito could replace brother Pelegrin Castillo in Congress
The FNP minority party, a PLD ally, has submitted three names as potential replacements for Pelegrin Castillo, who recently resigned his Congressional seat after being appointed Minister of Energy and Mines. By law, the party has to submit potential replacements, nominating Vinicio Castillo Seman (Vinicito), Milqueya Portes and Santos Miguel Roman. The Chamber now needs to select the replacement from the three.

Naturalization bill controversy continues
Many who claim they were born in the Dominican Republic continue to insist they should automatically be given Dominican citizenship, and not follow the path proposed in the Foreigner Status Legalization Plan. The Reconoci-do movement maintains that Dominicans are racist for not granting automatic citizenship to immigrants from Haiti.

Meanwhile, some legal experts are saying that the naturalization bill presented to Congress and unanimously approved in the Chamber of Deputies violates the Constitution and Dominican laws. The bill now needs to pass in the Senate.

Lawyer Julio Cury said that the naturalization bill passed in the Chamber of Deputies and now pending for approval in the Senate violates Art. 110 of the Constitution, which bans laws from being applied retroactively. He said a situation deemed as illegal by a present law cannot be retroactively validated by a new law. Others list many other violations in the proposed bill, including Art. 18, 19, 20, 21, 272 of the Constitution, as well as the Naturalization Law 1683 of 1948 and Constitutional Ruling 168-13.

An extensive explanation of other violations is set out in an Open Letter-Reflection by Juan Manuel Rosario to the Dominican People (Carta-reflexion Abierta de Juan Manuel Rosario al pueblo dominicano). See the letter in the comments in the link below.

The arguments are being used to impede the implementation of the naturalization bill.


The worst of DR-CAFTA is over, says Maximo Vidal
Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon held yesterday, Tuesday 20 May, the business group's president Maximo Vidal said that the market liberalization of DR-CAFTA to be phased in by January 2015 would only affect 10% of products covered by the free trade treaty with the United States. He said that 90% of imports are already duty free. The duty free treatment has been phased in gradually, he said, adding that the latest tariffs are at 2 or 1.4%.

"In the past seven years we have already been through the main impacts of the treaty," he said. Vidal highlighted that the country needed to improve cargo transportation and modernize its customs laws. Also speaking at the event, Senate president Reinaldo Pared stated that the new General Customs Bill has not yet been approved because the Customs director has not agreed to meet with the senators who are studying the bill.

US Consulate to close for three days in June
The United States Embassy and consular services in Santo Domingo will be suspended for three days in June to allow time for the move to their new compound in northern Santo Domingo.

The Embassy says that the reduction in services will last from Wednesday 11 June to Friday, June 13. Normal services will resume on 16 June.

The new Embassy and Consulate is located in the Arroyo Hondo sector, north of the Botanical Gardens between Av. Republica de Colombia and Carretera La Isabela. The exact address of the new Embassy is Av. Republica de Colombia #68, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Consular Section entrance is on Republica de Colombia Avenue.

The mission says that during the first week of operations at the new building, consular services, such as passports, consular reports of birth abroad, visas, notary and other special services, will be provided at a reduced level.

The Consulate says that anyone who has scheduled appointments during this period should contact the Consular Communications Unit at 809-221-2171.


Green alert for four provinces
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) has issued a green alert for the provinces of La Vega, Monsenor Nouel (Bonao), Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo) and Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris), due to an increased risk of rivers and streams overflowing, as well as mudslides and flooding.

The COE says that the ground is saturated in these provinces due to last week's heavy rainfall.

In addition, the latest weather bulletin from the National Meteorological Office (Onamet), says that there is an almost stationary weather front over the country moving from the north east to the south west, causing more rain in many places with the most in the north west, north, north east and the central mountain areas.

Residents in high-risk areas should be careful and pay attention to the emergency services and not attempt to cross rivers and streams.


Weather damage in Puerto Plata
Yesterday, Tuesday 20 May, two tornadoes and torrential rainfall caused landsides on some roads in Puerto Plata province holding up traffic.

According to reports, trees were down on the Quebrada Honda-Altamira road, and were quickly removed by Imbert Civil Defense.

As well as blocking the roads, the strong winds and heavy rain caused extensive crop damage in Puerto Plata province, destroying plantains and other vegetables, especially in the communities of La Colorada, Quebrada Honda, Saballo, Altamira and La China.

In Llanos de Perez, two homes were damaged by a tornado that ripped off the zinc roofs.


Earthquake near Samana, felt in Santo Domingo
A slight earthquake was felt in Santo Domingo yesterday, Tuesday 20 May at 5:07pm. The earthquake registered a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was five kilometers west of Samana Bay off the northeastern coast of the DR. Andres Moreta of the UASD Seismological Institute said it occurred at a depth of seven kilometers.


The Devil doesn't live here any more at Teatro Cibao
"El Diablo ya no vive aqui" is now booked for the Teatro Regional Cibao. The play, written by Giovanny Cruz with the leading roles played by Lumy Lizardo and Frank Ceara has been staged at the Santo Domingo National Theater for two weeks to full houses. It continues in Santiago on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 22-24 May at 8:30pm.

DJ Frank Lorber at Guacara Taina
This Saturday, 24 May, the cave known as La Guacara Taina on the Mirador del Sur Park in Santo Domingo presents German DJ Frank Lorber and Dominican counterpart Mickey Destro. Lorber has performed in leading electronic music festivals around the world and has been an integral part of the Frankfurt music scene for the past 20 years. Destro, from the Dominican Republic, is described as a Minimal and Tech House DJ.



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

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