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Daily News - Friday, 23 May 2014

President Medina inaugurates Forever 21 at Agora Mall
President Danilo Medina was at Agora Mall yesterday, Thursday 22 May to inaugurate the Forever 21 store. The founder of the fashion store, Korean-born US businessman Do Won Chang came for the event. Agora Mall board member Miguel Barletta said that the Presidency was interested in creating a climate of trust to attract foreign investors. Forever 21 is regarded as one of the most successful women's fashion brands in the world.

ProConsumer agency can set fines, says Supreme Court of Justice
The Supreme Court of Justice has overturned a court ruling that had relieved a propane gas vendor of fines set by the Pro Consumer agency for detected irregularities in product dispatches. In a ruling issued yesterday, Thursday 22 May, the Supreme Court confirmed that the National Institute for the Protection of Consumer Rights (ProConsumidor) was the government entity that is competent to apply fines.


Dominican Republic congratulated for SICA presidency
Hugo Martinez, general secretary of the Central American Integration System (SICA), has praised the Dominican Republic for its performance as chair of the organization. He said that the country had exceeded expectations and set a very high standard for other countries to follow.

During his visit to Santo Domingo, he announced that the next Summit for Heads of State and Government would take place on 27 June 2014, in the Dominican Republic with President Danilo Medina in the chair.

He was speaking after meeting with President Medina at the Presidential Palace yesterday Thursday 22 May. He went on to say that various agreements would be signed at the Summit, covering economic issues, security, integrated risk management and climate change as well as the transfer of the temporary presidency to Belize that takes over for the second half of the year on 1 July.

Hugo Martinez was accompanied by Deputy Foreign Relations Ministers Jose Manuel Trullols and Cesar Dargam.


Vice President aims to solve hospital problems
Vice President Margarita Cedeno and Public Health Minister Freddy Hidalgo met with the management of the Robert Reid Cabral children's hospital for more than two hours yesterday, Thursday 22 May. They agreed to pay the hospital's suppliers who are currently owed RD$82 million.

The agreement was to pay RD$15 million of the debt, and Vice President Cedeno then attended a similar meeting at the Luis Eduardo Aybar hospital to discuss solutions for the hospital, which recently declared a state of emergency.

Public hospitals have been affected by the government decision to stop charging any fees to patients. The move led to a greater than expected demand for services that has not been matched by extra subsidies from the central government.


Vinicio Castillo to replace Pelegrin Castillo in Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies has chosen Vinicio Castillo Seman to replace his resigning brother, Pelegrin Castillo as deputy for the National District. Pelegrin Castillo resigned after being appointed the country's first Minister of Energy and Mines.

Minou is not standing for President
National District Deputy, Minou Tavarez Mirabal has clarified that she did not resign from the ruling PLD to run for President for any other party or as an independent candidate.

She said that she had explained her reasons for resigning in a letter to Leonel Fernandez quoting a poem by Mario Benedetti, "You have to stop crying over lies and sing the truth".

She confirmed that her resignation had nothing to do with her cousin Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal, who is a member of the PLD Political Committee, saying that he had his own life to lead.

PLD General Secretary and Senate president Reinaldo Pared Perez said that the organization regretted her decision to leave the Party and the Central Committee and said he respected her decision that he described as personal.

Meanwhile, an editorial in Diario Libre says that Minou's resignation is one of the first episodes in "the great political party crisis that lies ahead." The editorial points out: "These parties, that still have dreams, have become true government corporations that need to tax citizens every day more to keep their machinery oiled but that taxation capacity is coming to its limit." The editorialist concludes that there is hope that Minou's trumpet may rally the troops.

Minou Tavarez told Diario Libre that the PLD she joined 20 years ago has abandoned its original principles, and she does not feel she has any space there and that it is not worth it.

She said corruption and impunity has filled her cup, and the last straw was the proposed change to the Penal Procedures Code. Minou Tavarez was outspoken against the change aimed at preventing laypersons from suing government officials for corruption in office.

She commented she seeks to be part of a great political-social coalition for democracy and hopes many others will be willing.




Ministry of Hacienda reduces number of lotteries
The Dominican treasury has cut back on several of the daily lottery drawings, which have grown more and more over the years.

A press release from the Ministry of Hacienda states that there was a need for greater harmony in the sector and state that on 1 June 2014 only the electronic lottery concessionaires can hold a single drawing per day at the hour established in the resolution.

The schedule established is the following: For Loto Real, at 12:55 p.m., Gana Mas of the National Lottery, at 2:55 p.m., the drawing of Loteka at 6:45 p.m., Leidsa at 8:55 p.m. and finally the traditional drawing of the National Lottery at 9:00 p.m.

The concessionaires of electronic lotteries (Leidsa, Loto Real and Loteka) and Fenabanca can continue to sell the drawings of the National Lottery.


City government audits expose corruption in office
The Dominican Chamber of Accounts (CCRD), the government entity in charge of auditing government bodies, has handed over the audits of more than 45 town councils that have broken the law, to the Specialized Prosecution Unit for the Pursuit of Corruption (PEPCA).

They include the audits of the city governments of National District, Santo Domingo north and west, Los Alcarrizos, Santiago, la Vega, Puerto Plata, Villa Altagracia, Las Terrenas, La Esperanza, El Limon, Loma de Cabrera, San Francisco de Macoris, Cabarete, Maimon, San Jose de las Matas, Nagua, La Esperanza, la Victoria, Consuelo, Estebania, San Jose de Ocoa, El Pinar, Hato del Yaque, Sabana Grande de Palenque, Guayacanes, Sabana Iglesia, Licey al Medio, El Punal, Los Hidalgos, La Paloma, El Pozo, Las Terrenas, and Samana.

According to the CCRD, the legal violations include misuse of state funds, lack of receipts for expenditure, violating the Purchasing and Contracting Law, and giving money to friends and associates.

CCRD president Licelott Marte de Barrios said that there were also other issues, which she described as "both delicate and dangerous". She highlighted the fact that the council heads receive hundreds of millions of pesos to provide services to the public and they need to manage this responsibly.

The money they received was 25% for personnel, 31% for maintenance and implementation of municipal services, 40% for infrastructure and 4% for health and education services.


Latin Americans copying from Dominican new jail system
The new system costs twice as much as the old, but in the long term the government benefits because fewer inmates end up back behind bars. Ezra Frieser, in a report for Reuters, writes that one striking difference between the traditional Dominican prison system and the new model shows up in the recidivism rates n the number of inmates committing crimes within three years of being released. He quotes officials as saying that under 5% of the inmates released from the model system re-offended, compared to 50% in the traditional system.

Reportedly, Latin American countries are learning from the DR about creating jails where there is 0% illiteracy and university-level courses are offered. Prison overcrowding and privileges for a dozen inmates are things of the past.

"What's remarkable about the Dominican Republic's example is that it has taken place in a country that has the same socioeconomic conditions as other Latin American countries," Elias Carranza, director for the United Nations' Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, told the journalist.

Frieser reports that 250 of every 100,000 people in the Dominican Republic are locked up, compared to 707 in the United States.

"Before," said Carranza, "when I would go to a government and say, 'Look at what they're doing in Switzerland,' they'd say, 'That's a different world.' But now I can say, 'Look at the Dominican Republic,' and they listen."


Ambulance companies want in on the 911 system
Representatives of companies that provide ambulance and pre-hospital care and the Dominican Association of Pre-Hospital Medical Services (Adempreh) have expressed their concern over the quality of the ambulances that will be used in the startup of the National System of Attention to Emergencies and Safety (911).

They think that the government might require private sector support in order to supply the public demand for services and are offering their services to the government. The companies were created to fill a void for efficient ambulance services by the government.

Milciades Reyes from Movimed said that there would be an avalanche of people asking for the service, then there will be a breakdown in this initial phase, which is critical, and they wanted the government to know that they were available.

They said that Ministry of Public Health authorities contacted them two months ago with a request to provide the 911 System with 20 of their ambulances, and although they said that they were willing to do this, they are still waiting for confirmation.

Reyes explained that they felt a need for the 20 ambulances because there was a deficit as 84 had not arrived from Taiwan but it appeared they had made a decision to start with what is available.

This is why they fear that at the beginning the system will fail and that "the authorities will look bad despite their good intentions."

Movimed president Julio Baez confirmed that they were willing to contribute, especially given their experience but said that they have not been contacted, whilst Ramon Rojas from Promed Dominicana said that they also wanted a relationship that would allow them to provide the missing ambulances.

According to Santiago Acosta from SOS Ambulancia, in the United States, the 911 System uses private services to provide assistance, because they receive maintenance, personnel and service 24 hours a day.


Bahia de las Aguilas court case
Dominican state prosecutors are asking National District Judge Alba Beard Marcos to declare all of the land transfers that took place since 1990 in the Bahia de las Aguilas, null and void.

In addition they asked the Judge to order the immediate eviction of anyone who is occupying the land.

The requests were made yesterday, Thursday 22 May, by by Fermin Casilla Minaya, Laura Acosta Lora, Gustavo Biaggi Pumarol, Manuel Caceres Genao, Blas Minaya, Samuel Ramia, Sofani Nicolas David, German Ramirez and Angel Contreras.

They asked for the cancellation of the titles as they had been surveyed and transferred fraudulently and without state permission.

The Public Prosecution lawyers also asked Judge Beard to declare null and void all of the mortgages, rental contracts, contingency fees, demarcations, and any other thing involving these parcels of land and to return all of the land to the State.


Union head swears at journalists
The traffic chaos caused on Tuesday 20 May by drivers belonging to the Fenatrano transport union led to an ugly incident yesterday, Thursday 22 May between the Union head, Deputy Juan Hubieres and journalists who were interviewing him about the incident.

When he was asked for his version of events, Hubieres appeared very upset and called the journalist several names, accusing them of being "journalists who took bribes to write stories, checkbook journalists and anarchists".

One journalist asked him to prove he was bribed to write stories and asked his fellow press members to hold off with their microphones and tape recorders.

Hubieres continued to use colorful language whilst assuring that he did not support the strike.

He went to say that the drivers had not broken any law and that the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) was the culprit for the traffic problems.


Omega on the run
Judge Gabriela Garcia, together with Judges Brunilda Castillo and Wilson Moreta at the Appeal Court in Santiago have declared the urban merengue singer Antonio Peter de la Rosa (Omega) to be a fugitive from justice, after he failed to appear to serve time in jail on remand yesterday, Thursday 22 May, as had been ordered by the court earlier in the month.


Parts of country under red alert for rains
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) has raised the levels of alert in the provinces of La Vega and Monsenor Nouel (Bonao) to red and have declared a yellow alert for Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris, especially Bajo Yuna) and Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo), whilst another 12 provinces are still on green alert for flooding.

At the same the COE reported that 7,076 people were forced to leave their homes due to flooding of 1,779 homes, of which 29 were destroyed.

Those provinces on green alert are Santiago Rodriguez, Espaillat (Moca), Dajabon, Valverde (Mao), Santiago, National District, Puerto Plata, Sanchez Ramirez (Cotui), Elias Pina, Maria Trinidad Sanchez (Nagua), Santo Domingo and Monte Plata.

The bulletin says that the floods are being caused by rising rivers and streams in La Vega, Espaillat, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Elias Pina, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Valverde, Sanchez Ramirez, Monsenor Nouel and Duarte.

In Duarte province the COE reports dozens of homes flooded in Los Manguitos, La Espinola, Barrio Azul, Morro Sucio I and II, Los Rieles, Fantino, Cabuya, Canal Mayo, La Bija and others. In the case of Juana Rodriguez Arriba and Abajo, Los Contreras, Los Peinados, Las Coles they are partially cut off and the rivers that have burst their banks in the province are the Camu, Cuaya and Yuna.

The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) says that there is a front over the Mona Passage that will lead to more storms over most of the country during the next 36 hours but they will be more intense and frequent in the central mountain range, Cibao valley, Samana Bay and Los Haitises and the north and north east of the country.


Dominican model receives proposal at Cannes Film Festival
Dominican model Denny Mendez caused a buzz on social media and international news yesterday, Thursday 22 May, after her Italian boyfriend, Hollywood producer Oscar Generale got down on one knee to propose to her on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet runway prior to a Cannes Film Festival event at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc. Photographers snapped as actor John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston looked on in delight. A former Miss Italy, Denny Mendez is a model-turned-actress who appeared in Ocean's Twelve alongside George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Dominican-born Mendez moved to Italy as a child and sparked controversy when she became the first black Miss Italy in 1996. She was chosen one of the 10 Miss Universe semi-finalists before going on to enjoy a successful career in modeling.

Generale is a specialist in product placement and branding operations in the entertainment industry. He is known as a master of the art of linking the world's leading companies with the highest profile Hollywood stars.

Read more at www.eurweb.com/2012/04/who-is-oscar-generale/#MC5GcjzK3klcimHv.99



Al Horford won't play for DR in FIBA World Cup
Dominican national basketball team captain Jack Michaels didn't want him on the team after he turned down playing for the qualifier, and now the Dominican Republic's best basketball player won't be donning the DR uniform after all. The Atlanta Hawks have announced that he needs to recover from a chest muscle injury. The DR qualified to represent the Americas along with Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil and the United States in the World Cup.

The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be hosted in Madrid this summer. The DR will play in Group C against Turkey, the United States, Finland, New Zealand and Ukraine. The first game will be played on 30 August 2014 against Ukraine, then on 31 August against New Zealand, and 2 September against Finland, and 3 September against the US, and 4 September against Turkey.



Men's volleyball team advances
The Dominican Republic's men's volleyball team moved ahead in the NORCECA Men's World Championship Qualification Tournament yesterday, Thursday 22 May by defeating Barbados in straight sets (25-13, 25-16, 25-21) in Havana. DR coach Jose Alvarez Cutino said the game helped prepare the team for their important match against Cuba. Barbados is ranked 15th by NORCECA, the DR is second.


Mother's Day on Sunday
Take note that Dominicans celebrate Mother's Day on the last Sunday in May. This means that this coming Sunday, 24 May 2014 is Mother's Day in the Dominican Republic. Expect shops to be packed tomorrow, Saturday 23 May for last minute shopping and many restaurants filled to the brim on Sunday, for the celebration out with mom.

The malls are celebrating the event with super sales and presentations.

The auditorium of the Galeria 360 shopping mall on Santo Domingo's JF Kennedy Ave. will be the setting for a concert by romantic singers Danny Rivera and Anthony Rios on Friday, 23 May, Saturday, 24 May and Sunday, 25 May at 8:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the event.

Dominican singing superstar Maridalia Hernandez is booked for a free concert in the central hall of Sambil Mall from 5pm.

Luchy Vicioso and Tito Delgado at Bar de Teresa
On the occasion of the celebration of Mother's Day on Sunday 25 May, a concert with Dominican singer Luchy Vicioso has been planned for the Bar de Teresa in Gazcue in Santo Domingo. The bar, located at Hermanos Deligne 151 almost corner Calle Santiago, is a favorite with music lovers who enjoy a bohemian ambience.

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

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