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Daily News - Wednesday, 04 June 2014

President inaugurates Juan Dolio condominium
President Danilo Medina was in the beach town of Juan Dolio yesterday, 4 June 2014 to participate in the formal inaugural of the Las Olas By Metro condo. The highrise is 16 floors and has 246 apartments facing the sea.

Developer Luis Jose Asilis said that Metro has attracted hundreds of investors to the area through this and other projects such as Marbella, Costa del Sol and the Metro Country Club.

Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia highlighted the attractions of Juan Dolio, a beach town close to the capital city and Las Americas International Airport.


Government announces efforts to stop abuse calls on 911
Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito and Police Chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo in a press conference yesterday announced major measures to improve citizen safety as part of the National Security Plan.

The Attorney General Office announced they would prosecute 394 people for incorrect use of the new 911 emergency telephone number. Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said that in its first three days there had been 45,230 nuisance or prank calls. From 394 numbers, up to five calls had been made. He went on to say they were identifying the numbers and the owners were being investigated.

At the same time, the National Police said that people have up to 12 June to register their ownership for their mobile phone SIM cards, or these would be disconnected.

Major General Castro Castillo explained that for security purposes telecom companies now are requiring each telephone number have an owner identified by a Dominican cedula or in the case of non-residents by a foreign passport.

He said that as of 12 June the telecom companies are obliged to suspend the service of the telephone lines that are not duly identified. Of the 10 million mobile phones in use, eight million are pre-paid phones. Of these, five million still need to be identified.

Castro said some of the numbers are in the name of persons that are not aware their identities are being used. This creates the inconvenience that innocent persons need to be investigated in the case of a crime in which the telephone line is used.

Likewise, he alerted that it is known that more than 80% of the mobile phones used in crimes have SIM cards with unidentified phone lines. 94% of claims for crimes in the Greater Santo Domingo have to do with theft of mobile phones. Criminals later reactivate these with a new SIM card.

Furthermore, research shows that a large part of deaths and injuries caused by criminals happen during the theft of a cell phone. The criticized that the judiciary treats these cases as minor crimes.

In 98% of cases of organized crime (drug trafficking, contract killing, kidnapping) an unidentified telephone line is used. He explained that in many cases, the SIM cards are exported to other countries, such as Colombia. In the case of international fugitives sought by Interpol, 95% use these unidentified phone lines.

Castro said that the efficient operation of the 911 emergency line is affected because calls to the service are being made from these unidentifiable numbers.

98% of offensive calls and death threats and thousands have been used for calls from jails around the country, says the Police chief.


Foreigners take government up on legalization process
While original reports were of a slow start of the National Foreigner Legalization Process, by day two, the pace had picked up considerably. Listin Diario reports that more than 500 persons were registered at the 12 governor headquarters nationwide on the first day. But by day two, three times the number of people were queuing up for legalization. Diario Libre reports that by the second day, more than 2,000 cases had been received. The offices need to resolve each case in 45 days and there is no charge.



Electricity Pact to be issued in six months
According to the president of the Economic and Social Council, Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado, the Electricity Pact would be in place in six months time, following consultations across the country and abroad.

At the meeting of the Council, the proposed decree that President Danilo Medina would issue to bring together the stakeholders to discuss the Electricity Pact was discussed.


Border security enhanced as legalization plan is implemented
Migration announced the boosting of border surveillance after the start of the National Foreigner Legalization Plan to discourage more illegal immigration from Haiti. Director of Migration Jose Ricardo Taveras said that they are reinforcing border controls now that word is getting out that hundreds of thousands of Haitian immigrants will get legal status in the Dominican Republic for free.

He said that a successful part of the operation has been to confiscate vehicles used to transport people illegally and they now have a car park full of them. This past weekend ten vehicles were confiscated.

He went on to say that members of the Armed Forces, especially the Army, and the Specialized Corps of Border Security (Cesfront) as well as the Dominican Armada (Navy) are involved in the operations.

He said that the status regularization program has started well and he would not be surprised if there was a massive migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic as these seek better living conditions in the Dominican Republic.


Haitians take over border towns
Border towns in Pedernales, Independencia, Elias Pina, Dajabon and Montecristi provinces are no one's land with mass immigration of Haitians, claimed PLD deputy Francisco Bautista in a report in El Nacional. He said that the border control authorities, including the Specialized Border Control Corps (Cesfront) are not capable of controlling the immigration of Haitians to the country. He said for decades the Dominican government has not had a structure for defense of the border and sovereignty. He said that the 385 km border can be described as a no-man's land and ghost border.

Bautista said that border town hospitals are full of Haitians, and for each Dominican born there, two Haitians are born. He said there are communities, such as Juan Garcia, where for each Dominican household, there are five Haitian. He denounced theft by Haitians of cattle and horses, without any action by the Dominican authorities.



Ambassador Anibal de Castro says US can learn from DR on immigration
In an op-ed piece published on Tuesday, 3 June in the Miami Herald, Dominican Ambassador in Washington Anibal de Castro highlights the historic citizenship and documentation reform legislation now being implemented in the Dominican Republic. The set of legislation began with Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13 that summarized decades of immigration rulings, to the Naturalization Law 169-14 that completed the government's framework for enacting transparent policy for registering national and immigrant residents.

"For decades the Dominican republic experienced significant gaps in registration, documentation and identification of residents and foreigners. These shortcomings hindered the country's ability to combat human trafficking, ensure the integrity of its territory and implement an effective and just migration policy," he said.

"When it comes to the highly contentious issues of immigration and citizenship, however, the United States might be able to glean some valuable lessons from the Dominican example," explained the ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United States.

Undocumented individuals who are able to prove that they were born in the Dominican Republic are being given a 90-day period to register for a regular immigration status and enter the naturalization process. The procedures are free.


European Union is DR's second biggest trade partner
According to the European Union representative in the country, Alberto Navarro, the EU and the Dominican Republic trade US$2 billion each year. The EU is the country's second largest trading partner after the United States.

Navarro said that over the last 25 years the EU has provided grants of around EUR1 billion to the DR.

Minister of Foreign Relations Carlos Morales Troncoso highlighted that the European Union is also the main source of foreign investment in the country, with Spain heading the list followed by France, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland.

Navarro also considered that as president of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Dominican Republic has played an excellent role, and is making important advances in the areas of the environment and security.

Navarro confirmed that the EU would participate as an observer in the next SICA Summit for Heads of State and Government that will be held 27 June in Punta Cana.



Promoting Dominican arts and crafts abroad
The Center for Export and Investment in the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD) and the Department for the Development of Arts & Crafts (Fodearte) signed an agreement to seek new markets abroad for Dominican arts and crafts exports. Jean Alain Rodriguez signed for the CEI-RD and Miguel Pimentel Schouwe for Fodearte.

Rodriguez commented that arts and crafts exports increased to US$4.2 million, up 23% compared to 2012.


Central American Transparency and Procurement Forum begins
Business and government officers are participating in the IV Forum for Central America and the Dominican Republic: Transparency, Participation and Access to Public Funds. The emphasis is on small and medium-sized businesses government procurement. The forum ends on Friday, 6 June.

The event has been organized by the Dominican Government Procurement Office, directed by Yokasta Guzman, in support of initiatives by the Ministry of the Presidency under the direction of Gustavo Montalvo, together with Transparency International and Citizen Participation, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

The objective of the forum is to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Central American Integration System (SICA) and to reflect on the importance of public procurement as a tool for transparency, development of productive sectors, especially SMEs, the design and implementation of public policy for access and participation that will guarantee good practices in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

The event is sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the European Union (EU), the Canadian Government, the organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Government Purchasing Network (RICG), the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC), and the Foundation for Institutionalism and Justice (FINJUS).


Metro construction delayed
Work on the construction of the third stretch of the Santo Domingo Metro in Gualey has been on hold for 13 days since the 180-foot metal column collapsed on 21 May, affecting 14 homes and 26 families and injuring a woman who had recently given birth.

Community spokesman Tomas Aquino Perez (Rubio) said that the Transport Planning Office (Opret) that is in charge of the Metro construction had promised those affected to pay for the damages and relocation but so far has not done so.

Spokesman for Opret, Leonel Carrasco has said that the problem is that the Ministry of Public Works has not disbursed the money to compensate those suffering losses.


United States Embassy to celebrate Gay Pride
The United States Embassy in Santo Domingo announced three activities in June to share US experiences with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender human diversity. The US Embassy joins the commemorating of GLBT month in June.

On 18 June, a National Forum on Inclusive Antidiscrimination Legislation will take place. The forum is organized by the Volunteer Network Amigos Siempre Amigos (REVASA) with special guest speaker, Janet Arelis Quezada for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) of the United States.

On 24 June, there will be a film screening of "The Laramie Project" at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) Law school. The film screening will share insights for university students on LGBT antidiscrimination law within the US legislative system. The 2002 drama directed by Moises Kaufman tells the story of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming as a result of his sexual orientation. The film showcases the negative effects of hate crimes and harassment based on sexual orientation on our children and society at large.

On 25-26 June, the Embassy announced a speaker series with Pratt professor and renowned filmmaker, Jorge Oliver on experimental cinema at the Museum of Modern Art. The event is organized in partnership with the Museum of Modern Art, the Direccion General de Cine (DGCine) and UASD Film School and is open to film students, local film producers and directors. The discussion will focus on recent LGBT films, their focus and filmic approach.

Jorge Oliver is a well-known filmmaker and professor whose documentary work includes 2013 documentary Free to Love (Libres Para Amar), Pride in Puerto Rico (1999) and Diaspora (1997), about the migration of Puerto Rican actors to the United States.


Judge asks district attorney for apology
Judge Margarita Cristo Cristo has agreed to withdraw her writ against the National District Prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso if the latter apologizes for her comments regarding the Victor Diaz Rua case. Diaz Rua is a former Minister of Public Works during the Leonel Fernandez administration who is accused of corruption in office. Reynoso had accused Judge Cristo Cristo of asking to hear the case against Diaz Rua so that she could act in his favor.


FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 at local movie houses
Palacio de Cine will show the FIFA World Cup Brasil 2014 games live on a giant screen with HD. From 12 Junes, the games will be shown at the cinemas nationwide.

The chosen movie houses are Palacio Blue Mall (Santo Domingo), Palacio Bella Terra (Santiago), Palacio Multiplaza (Higuey) and Palacio Palma Real (Bavaro).


Cultura Profetica at Hard Rock Blue Mall
Cultura Profetica, the reggae group from Puerto Rico, will be on 4 September 2014 at the new stage of Hard Rock that is moving from the Colonial City to its new location on the fourth floor of Blue Mall at Winston Churchill and Av. Gustavo Mejia Ricart.

Members of the band are Willy Rodriguez (vocals and base), Boris Bilbraut (drums and vocals), Omar Silva (guitar and base), Juanqui Sulsona (piano and keyboards), Eliut Gonzalez (guitars), Egui Santiago (organ and keyboard), Roy Sanchez (percussion), Ilan Ilang Gutierrez (chorals), Kiani Medina (chorals), Esteban Gonzalez (trombone), Eduardo Cosme (trumpet), and Jose Furito Rios (saxophone).


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

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