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Daily News - Friday, 04 July 2014

President Medina receives Edrington CEO
President Danilo Medina received Ian Curle, CEO of the Edrington Group of Scotland that purchased 60% of Brugal stock in 2008 at the Presidential Palace, yesterday, Thursday 3 July 2014.

The Presidency reported that the company plans to increase its investment in the Dominican Republic in the near future. President Medina discussed the benefits and opportunities that global brands such as Brugal have brought the country.

They also spoke about the new market export plans for Brugal that is currently being sold in over 40 countries across five continents including in the United States, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia.

As reported, Edrington has invested around RD$1.6 billion locally, equipping Brugal with modern technology to enable it to compete internationally with both quality and efficiency. It is now among the world's top 16 best-selling premium drinks.

The chairman of the board for Brugal, Graham Hutcheon, executive president for Brugal, Augusto Ramirez Bono and the director of communications and PR for Brugal, Luis Concepcion were also at the meeting.

Read more in Spanish: http://presidencia.gob.do/comunicados/multinacional-edrington-conf%C3%ADa-en-clima-de-inversi%C3%B3n-en-rep%C3%BAblica-dominicana

President Medina inaugurates schools
President Danilo Medina inaugurated another seven schools yesterday, Thursday 3 July 2014, this time in Santo Domingo province.

His first stop was at the Cristina Maria de Leon School before going on to El Almirante bringing the number of schools inaugurated since February 2014 to 250 with 3,487 classrooms equipped to provide the extended school day.

The other schools inaugurated yesterday were the National Police High School in the El Nuevo Amanacer neighborhood, the La Urena High School in Los Frailes, San Luis School in San Luis and the Maria Caro and Casandra Damiron schools in Boca Chica.

The opening ceremony included speeches from a student, Rhaibelys Montero, Education Minister Carolos Amarante Baret, Director of the Office of Supervising Engineers for State Works, Miguel Pimentel Kareh, the Mayor of Santo Domingo East, Juan de los Santos and school principal Claris Jimenez Garcia.

Read more in Spanish:


Surprise visits cost RD$11 billion
More than RD$11 billion of government funds have been made available mainly to small scale producers during the surprise weekend visits that have become a hallmark of Danilo Medina's presidency. The Administrative Minister of the Presidency, Jose Ramon Peralta disclosed this detail yesterday, Thursday 3 July 2014 whilst signing an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in which the Dominican government and the international organization pledged to provide rigorous and systematic follow up to the President's visits.

Peralta said that the President has made 70 surprise visits to 31 provinces since he took office, making 451 commitments, 251 of which were linked to farming, and 200 to community development.

He said that the UNDP would be conducting a study to follow up on the visits to ascertain the real impact 'of each and every project'. Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo said that this evaluation meant that each of the projects would be thoroughly checked and a detailed analysis would be given to the government.

Montalvo added that they had identified 50 projects for assessment that have been underway for long enough. The Presidency Minister revealed that as part of the process, "a questionnaire will be handed out to the beneficiaries of the initiatives and also to those who have not benefitted. This will enable us to obtain information about their living conditions and the changes which have taken place".

The agreement was signed by the resident coordinator of the United Nations in the country, Lorenzo Jimenez de Luis, who said that the results of the study would be available in March 2015.

The Administrative Minister responded to the order by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that the country needed to change its economic model due to unemployment, which is seriously affecting a large percentage of young people in the country.

"This work we are doing will help us to overcome deficiencies such as unemployment. This government is focused on job creation, by going to the sectors with the greatest needs in the country. We are focused on that," said Peralta after signing the agreement with the UNDP at the Presidential Palace.

Nevertheless, he asked for time to achieve the objectives: "This will not happen overnight. It is a process".

Read more in Spanish:



New head of the Catholic Church
The Conference of the Dominican Episcopate (CED) has elected Monsignor Nicanor Pena Rodriguez, bishop of the La Altagracia diocese as the new president of the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church in the country. He replaces Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, who has completed two consecutive periods as head of the Church. Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez has reached retirement age.

The Bishop of San Juan de la Maguana, Monsignor Jose Dolores Grullon Estrella was elected vice president, taking over from Pena Rodriguez who held the post for the last six years. Both were chosen by the bishop's college, which has a total of 20 members.

More than 20 changes were made to the Special Commissions, but they have not yet been officially announced.

Read more in Spanish:


Legal residence status needed for Dominican citizenship
The Constitutional Court has issued 12 decisions confirming its 168-13 ruling on Dominican nationality. The court maintains that children born to foreigners without legal residence status in the country do not automatically acquire Dominican citizenship. Several Haitian descendants have taken their cases for Dominican citizenship to the courts. Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13 had reiterated an earlier decision on this matter by the Supreme Court of Justice in 2005.


IAPA supports decriminalization of defamation
The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) is backing a call by newspapers in the Dominican Republic for changes in the rules that make defamation a crime. They say the criminalizing of defamation by the Law of Expression and Diffusion of Thought and the Penal Code violates the Constitution.

Yesterday, Thursday 3 July 2014, the daily newspapers El Dia, Listin Diario, Diario Libre, El Nacional, Hoy, El Nuevo Diario and El Caribe published a petition addressing the judges of the Constitutional Court asking for the elimination of 11 articles in Law 6132 on Expression and Diffusion of Thought and five from the Penal Code, which they say are not compatible with the Constitution and the American Convention on Human Rights. The appeal, on the grounds of unconstitutionality was made on 25 February 2013.

In a statement, the president of the Freedom of the Press and Information Commission, Claudio Paolillo, director of the Uruguayan weekly 'Busqueda,' said that, "the repeated requests from Dominican editors are in line with the decriminalization of defamation, a movement towards the freedom of the press and expression, which is being strengthened by jurisprudence and the opinions of the Court and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, respectively".

Yesterday, the Constitutional Court (TC) reiterated its firm decision to guarantee the supremacy of the Constitution, the defense of constitutional orders and the fundamental rights of citizens. First deputy and acting president Leyda Margarita Pina Medrano conveyed the Court's position.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/07/04/i684241_sip-solidariza-con-medios-dominicanos-para-que-descriminalice-difamacin.html

Senators ask UN to fund Foreigner Legalization Plan
Yesterday, Thursday 3 July 2014, Senators Dionis Sanchez, Carlos Castillo and Adriano Sanchez Roa submitted a bill for the Senate to ask the Executive Branch to apply for funding from the United Nations and its member countries in order to implement the National Foreigner Legalization Plan "successfully in all its areas".

The Senators for Pedernales, San Jose de Ocoa and Elias Pina said they had drawn up the proposal because the government does not have enough funds to implement the plan and that the country is not in any condition to support it because the fiscal deficit is increasing and it would need to stop building essential facilities like schools, hospitals and housing.

They state in the proposal that, "the execution of the aforementioned Plan should not depend on money from the national budget for regularizing the situation of immigrants in our country, which is why the international community, especially the UN, United States, Canada and France should provide funding for the implementation of the National Foreigner Legalization Plan".

Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/07/04/i685311_piden-poder-ejecutivo-gestionar-ayuda-onu-para-regularizacin.html

AIRD warns new municipalities would mean double taxation
The president of the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), Ligia Bonetti is warning that a bill aimed at giving municipalities more autonomy, which has already been approved in a first reading by the Senate, would authorize them to charge new taxes. She said this is a threat to the competitiveness of productive sectors that would be faced with both central and municipal taxation.

The bill proposes to convert 234 municipal districts into municipalities, for a total of 390 autonomous entities. One journalist described this prospect as a "political patronage binge."

"Our concern is not only the scale of political patronage but also how the national producers can survive the enormous fiscal pressure to be exercised when the municipalities have the right to establish local taxation, even when it is in contradiction with national taxation," stated the business leader.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/07/04/i684871_aird-proyecto-amenaza-sectores-productivos.html

Homelessness in Santo Domingo
A new drive to provide more care and attention for homeless people in Santo Domingo is being led by Felix Cepeda of the local branch of the Catholic Worker Movement. The movement, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in the United States in 1933, seeks to provide direct aid and care for homeless people.

"We go out every night and provide clothing and food for homeless people," says Cepeda. He welcomes volunteers who want to contribute their time to help homeless people.

Many homeless people are elderly and do not have relatives, some have mental problems, some have become homeless for drug-related reasons, but others are healthy and young with family problems. They congregate in areas like San Vicente de Paul Avenue and Parque de los Minas.

Felix Cepeda said that he has noticed that many people spontaneously give assistance to homeless people. This has motivated him to continue making his own contribution to society. His goal is to set up a shelter for homeless people.

Cepeda is appealing to the media to encourage more people to join him in his campaign. Cepeda says people can help in a thousand ways, by providing transportation, food, clothing and their time.

Felix Cepeda's appeal for support coincides with a recent announcement from the First Lady's Office about the opening of a center for homeless people in Gualey, in recognition of this growing problem in Santo Domingo.

He can be reached at [email protected] or Tel 809 328-5340.




Fight over sleeping space in jail
At least five inmates were stabbed in a fight that broke out in the San Fernando de Monte Cristi jail early yesterday morning, Thursday 3 July 2014.

The injured prisoners included Victor Tavarez, Gregorio Rodriguez, David Carrasco, Jonathan Tavarez and a fifth man who has not been named.

The injured inmates were taken to the Padre Fantino hospital for treatment.

According to reports, the inmates were fighting over space and privileges in the jail using homemade weapons. The inmates complained that they are treated badly by the governor who also makes them pay to sleep on mattresses, as well as beating them. They also complained that as the jail is so small, many inmates have to sleep outside.

Read more in Spanish:


Cameraman murder suspects arrested
Another two people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of 37-year old cameraman Newton Gonzalez in Santiago on Tuesday 1 July 2014.

According to the Cibao Central Police department spokesman, Colonel Damian Arias Matis, this now brings the total number of arrests to three.

Arias Matos said that two of those arrested could have been the instigators of the murder but would not reveal their names so as not to prejudice the investigation.

He did say that one of them was in possession of the motorcycle that Gonzalez was riding when he was shot and that they also have access to surveillance cameras at the scene as well as a tape recording of a telephone call of a man talking to the cameraman about payment for a tripod.

Read more in Spanish at: http://www.listindiario.com/la-republica/2014/7/3/328434/Apresan-a-dos-que-podrian-ser-los-autores-asesinato-de-camarografo

David Ortiz's 1,000th extra-base hit
Dominican David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox has become the 36th player in Major League Baseball history to hit 1,000 or more extra-base hits. His double in the third inning of the game Boston lost to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, 2 July 2014 was the milestone-making hit. Ortiz is now the only active left-handed batter.

Designated batter for the Red Sox, as of Wednesday, Ortiz had 533 doubles, 18 triples and 450 homeruns for 1,001 extra-bases in his 14-year MLB career.

Read more in Spanish:


Impact of slave trade on Cuban music
A talk on the transatlantic slave trade and its influence on Cuban music is scheduled for the Quinta Dominica on Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 7:30pm. The speaker is Jose A Marti. The Quinta Dominica is located at Calle Padre Billini 202 in Santo Domingo's Colonial City.

See www.quintadominica.com

Yoa Orchestra Concert
The Yoa Orchestra is playing a concert presented by the Symphony Foundation on Monday, 14 July 2014 at 8:30pm at the Carlos Piantini Hall of the National Theater in Santo Domingo. Tickets: RD$1,000-RD$300

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

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