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Daily News - Tuesday, 03 June 2014

Legalization Plan gets off to slow start
The National Foreigner Legalization Plan started yesterday, Monday 2 June 2014 with free documentation procedures at 12 governor's headquarters in 12 provinces and the National District as well as Central Electoral Board (JCE) offices. The plan is to make it easy and significantly reduce costs for residents in the Dominican Republic to get legal. The authorities have committed to resolve each case in 45 days. The government expects to legalize 500,000 undocumented residents.

In Santiago, only 12 people went the first day: six Haitians, two Chinese, two Mexicans, one Colombian and one Honduran. Office supervisor Amaury Duran said that many foreigners had come in with expired work visas.

The authorities hope that applicant numbers will gradually increase as word gets round about the process and people are reassured that their human rights will be respected.

International Affairs director at the Ministry of Interior and Police, Yeni de la Rosa, who is also responsible for supervising the process in Santiago and San Pedro de Macoris, told Listin Diario reporters that there was a low turnout at the legalization center on the first day because most potential beneficiaries do not know about the new facilities.

She said that applicants need to prove how long they have been in the country, their income and their place of work, as well as where they live. She added that there were many other requirements but not everyone had to comply with them all.

"This plan means progress because without a legal document I was condemned to poverty," said Haitian pastor Fredery Honore, who started his legalization process.

In Barahona, very few people attended the center behind the Town Hall, according to the Listin.

Diario Libre reported the case of Haitian Joseph Pierre, 29 years old, who expects to make the most of the free service. He said he arrived illegally 13 years ago and works as a trader. "They asked many questions, for instance, where I live, if I have children, if I have a wife, if I am married, I was treated well," he said.

Foreigners need to present an identity document from their country of origin in order to to start the process.





President Medina receives FIDA director
Latin American and Caribbean division director at the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Josefina Stubbs, visited President Danilo Medina yesterday, Monday 2 June 2014 to exchange ideas on the programs they are implementing in the country.

She said her visit was also aimed at supporting the President in his development programs with businesspeople and farmers.

IFAD, a specialized United Nations agency aimed at eradicating rural poverty, has two major programs in the country, one in the east and one in the west supporting coffee growers and women growing vegetables.

The director general of the Multilateral Cooperation Agency (DIGECOOM) Antonio Vargas and his economic sector director Emerson Vegazo were also at the meeting.

Josefina Stubbs, who is Dominican, has been working in the economic and social development of the region for 23 years. She has also worked for Oxfam Great Britain as regional representative for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.


Most 911 calls are nuisance calls
Deputy Minister for the Presidency and 911 spokeswoman, Zoraima Cuello says that during the first 48 hours of operation of the 911 National Emergency and Security System, they successfully responded to 1,216 emergency situations.

She said that they received 42,373 calls, which included 1,216 actual emergencies, and the remaining 28,903 could be classified as nuisance calls.

Cuello highlighted the number of nuisance calls, some of which were made by children, and warned that up to 15 minimum salaries could be imposed as a fine, and possibly even more. She went on to say that 60% of the genuine emergency calls were for the National Police, 19% for the health services, 8% for the Metropolitan Transport Authority, 7% for firefighters and 6% for the Ministry of Public Works.

As far as the type of emergency was concerned, 290 were for physical aggression, 263 traffic accidents and 81 for roadside assistance. 75 were for domestic violence, 47 fires and 66 needed assistance for a robbery.

In the case of the nuisance calls, most callers simply hung up the telephone, others stayed on the line in silence and some tried to make a joke of it.

Zoraima Cuello said that they were thinking of additional publicity to warn of the consequences of making nuisance calls, and that the fact that there were 30,000 situations where the lines were busy on a nuisance call put other lives at risk in real emergencies.

She said that 275 numbers have made more than five nuisance calls each, which had been identified and their owners were now under investigation.


No more unregistered SIM cards
The Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) has announced that the ban on the sale of unregistered Sims is now in effect. Telecommunications companies were given six months until the start of June to set up systems to verify the personal details of new mobile customers. The measure is expected to contribute to the effectiveness of the new governmental 911 emergency system. Telecom providers are now requiring people to have a cedula (ID card) or passport for the sale of a Sim card and service payments.


Minister Rojas favors Sabaneta-San Juan roadway
During a discussion about the new Cibao-South highway yesterday Monday 2 June, Environment Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez said that they have studied the different routes for this road, and the shortest is the one indicated by Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo, from Sabaneta in San Juan province to Santiago Rodriguez.

Bautista Rojas Gomez said that vehicular access to the area would allow forest fires to be fought more effectively, because fire fighters currently take up to five days on mules to reach the area, and when they do arrive, they are exhausted.

There is major opposition to the chosen route for he road on the grounds that there are already roads to the area that can be improved to prevent the major environmental damage that is expected if the road cuts through the vulnerable national parks.


Turtle protection program begins
The Sub Ministry of Coastal and Marine Resources, part of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, has started a national turtle-nesting program in order to protect the species.

Signs will be displayed on certain beaches explaining how people should behave with regard to the turtles and their nests, including Bahia de Las Aguilas in Pedernales, El Valle in Samana, La Vacama in La Altagracia, and Manresa in Santo Domingo province.

The Ministry warns that fireworks are prohibited in turtle nesting areas, as are the use of motorized boats and other vehicles. The warning signs say that the turtles are under protection 24 hours a day with a brigade in charge of keeping the beach clean so that the turtles have easy access for laying their eggs.

Turtles are threatened with extinction largely due to the misconception that their eggs have aphrodisiac properties, the demand for their meat and the use of the shells for decoration. Coastal pollution, especially by plastics, is also contributing to their extinction across the world.

The Ministry also announced the arrival of a new leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) at the Manresa beach in Santo Domingo west, which they have christened "Cacu". It is around 186 centimeters long and has laid around 90 eggs.


Chikungunya cases still increasing
The Ministry of Public Health has announced that the number of registered cases of Chikungunya virus is now at 52,976 and the Chikungunya Clinic at the Plaza de la Salud Hospital is swamped with patients.

Public Health Minister Freddy Hidalgo said that the public education campaign and mosquito breeding elimination program is in full swing, especially in Greater Santo Domingo, National District, San Pedro de Macoris, Hato Mayor and San Cristobal. In the latter province there are now 28,281 cases.

He said the main priority was to eliminate the mosquito breeding grounds from inside and around homes.

Although last week, on National Chikungunya Day, more than 430,000 homes were sprayed and more than 122,000 breeding grounds destroyed, he said the work must continue.

The Essential Drugs Program/Logistical Support Center (Promese-cal) has assured that all the public health centers have the medicines they need to fight the virus including analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs and rehydration salts.

Promese-cal director Elena Fernandez said state drug stores sell the medicines for six and 30 pesos per patient.


Claro Internet service blackout last night
Claro Internet customers lost service shortly after 8:30pm last night, Monday 2 June. The company confirmed the outage on its Twitter account. Service was restored later in the evening.


US unfolds Tradewinds 2014, a major security operation
Military and security forces from around the Caribbean have joined the United States and Canada for maritime security and disaster response training as part of Exercise Tradewinds 2014.

Tradewinds is conducted in two main phases: Phase I, the maritime phase, which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda June 1 through June 10, and Phase II, the land portion, which will be held in the Dominican Republic June 16-25. The exercise supports the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), a regional security partnership between CARICOM member states, the Dominican Republic, and the United States of America.

Taking part in maritime training are units from the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF), as well as national police and coast guard units from The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The crews of these vessels will train alongside members of the United States Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy, which is also providing a fleet diving team and the Kingston-class maritime patrol vessel, HMCS Summerside.

The training during Phase I will focus primarily on maritime security and countering transnational organized criminal groups on the high seas, as well as training to improve the ability to respond to natural disasters and provide humanitarian relief.


Omega back behind bars
Police spokesman Jacobo Mateo Moquete announced that the urban merengue singer, Antonio Peter de la Rosa (Omega) was arrested yesterday morning, Monday 2 June.

A Santiago judge issued the warrant after the singer failed to comply with an obligation to make periodic court appearances as part of his bail terms.

He was arrested on 27 Febrero Avenue in Santo Domingo and sent to Rafey jail to complete a three-month remand sentence.


US citizens fall for call center scam
The Dominican Republic has arrested 17 men on suspicion of stealing data from call centers and extorting money from US citizens. Police are reportedly hunting for four more suspects.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the suspects impersonated its special agents and extorted about US$880,000. The suspects targeted individuals who they believed had illicitly purchased prescription pharmaceuticals through call centers located in the Dominican Republic.

They would call victims in the United States and identify themselves as DEA agents. The victims would then be told that they were under investigation for illegally purchasing prescription drugs, and that the only way to avoid arrest and jail would be to pay a "fine" to the DEA.

In total, the detainees and others who participated in this scheme demanded at least US$3.5 million, and received at least US$880,000, according to US prosecutors. The detainees are currently awaiting extradition to the United States.

"These alleged criminals not only bilked thousands of dollars from unsuspecting Americans but they also called into question the integrity and honor of the DEA and all law enforcement," said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.


Yordano Ventura is the new sensation in the MLB
23-year old Kansas City Royals start pitcher Yordano Ventura is the new MLB sensation. He was signed for US$25,000 in the Dominican Republic where he played shortfield position. He is 5'11 and weighs 180 pounds.

He will play in the MLB pitching the start against the Cardinals this coming Thursday, 5 June.

In a recent game against the Rays, he threw six strikeouts in six scoreless innings. He is known to mix a high-90s fastball with a mid-80s curveball and high-80s changeup leaving batters perplexed.



Anthony Santos at Sans Souci
The Sans Souci Marina presents Anthony Santos this coming Saturday, 28 June. His concert is titled "The Legend of Bachata Live," and there will be space for dancing bachata.

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

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