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Daily News - Thursday, 10 July 2014

Agenda of Thursday DR-Haiti bilateral talks
Minister of Interior and Police Jose Ramon Fadul, who is the president of the National Migration Council, said yesterday that during the high level Dominican Republic-Haiti bilateral meeting that will take place in Juan Dolio on Thursday, 10 July 2014, the topics on the agenda include border security, environment, drug trafficking, migration, trade, reforestation. The high level officers from both countries will also review the implementation of agreements. Other agreements decided upon during a previous meeting of the members of the different bilateral commissions on Monday, 6 July 2014 at the Ministry of Foreign Relations will be signed, too.

Fadul says that the main obstacle Haitians seeking to legalize their residence status in the Dominican Republic under the Foreigner Legalization Plan is the generalized lack of documentation and this will be discussed during the meeting in Juan Dolio.

Participating in the high level talks are Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo, legal advisor to the President Cesar Pina Toribio, Minister of Interior and Police Jose Ramon Fadul, Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo Savinon, deputy Minister of Foreign Relations Jose Manuel Trullols and Henry Molina, deputy minister of the Presidency. Likewise, a commission of businesspeople from both countries and observers of several international organizations will participate.

The Haiti delegation is expected to be presided by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

UN secretary general to visit 15 July
On the agenda of the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon in the Dominican Republic is a meeting at the Presidential Palace where he will meet with President Danilo Medina to discuss the work of the United Nations in the Dominican Republic and the agenda for the organization in 2015. He will also visit the Centro de Capacitacion Progresando in Boca Chica, a vocational training program under the Office of Vice President Margarita Cedeno.

Ban Ki-moon will visit on 15 July 2014.

This will be the third visit of a UN secretary general to the country. Javier Perez de Cuellar was first in 1985 during the government of President Salvador Jorge Blanco, Kofi Annan came in 2006 during the government of President Leonel Fernandez.

Herman Van Rompuy visiting on 20 July
The president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy will visit Santo Domingo on 20 July 2014 to participate in the celebration of the 25 years of political, diplomatic relations and economic cooperation between the Dominican Republic and the European Union. President Danilo Medina and Van Rompuy will participate in an agenda planned for the visit that is being organized by the team of ambassador Alberto Navarro, chief of the European Union in the country.

On the agenda is signing of the renewal of the National Indicative Program, "as a sign of confidence in the country, which has demonstrated its commitment to democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law," explained the delegation upon announcing the visit.

Also on the agenda is participating in a gala concert at the National Theater on 21 July to commemorate the 25 years of relations.

This is the first time that the president of the European Union visits the Dominican Republic. Antonia Calvo, in charge of business affairs for the European Union delegation says that the DR is a priority partner for the European Union in the Caribbean.

President Leonel Fernandez had met with Rompuy during a visit made to the European Council in Brussels in July 2012, prior to leaving the Presidency in August 2012.

The European Union is the second trade partner of the DR and the country's most important foreign investor. It is also the DR's first economic development partner.

It is estimated that over the past 25 years, the European Union has provided economic cooperation for more than EUR1 billion, or around RD$60 billion pesos to the Dominican Republic.

Rompuy is a former Prime Minister of Belgium and has been President of the European Council since 2009. He is in his second term in office that runs through 30 November 2014.

Read more in Spanish: http://presidencia.gob.do/comunicados/presidente-consejo-europeo-viene-rd-para-celebrar-25-anos-de-cooperacion

Toll increase coming later this year
People had almost forgotten the announced increase of tolls on the Duarte, Sanchez, 6 de Noviembre and Las Americas highways. Now Enrique Ramirez, of the Banco de Reservas, that manages the trust that feeds off the tolls, says the increase is forthcoming. As reported in Listin Diario he did not announce a date. He said the increase would be less than the RD$100 initially announced by Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo. Tolls on those highways are presently RD$30 for both directions. Ramirez said the reduction is possible because the government chose to not go ahead with the construction of the San Juan to Santiago highway that would have cut through several national parks and cost upwards of US$500 million.


Health insurance for public school students
The Ministry of Education Carlos Amarante Baret announced signing an agreement with the Seguro Nacional de Salud (Senasa) government health provider to affiliate 200,000 students in public schools. Altagracia Guzman Marcelino of Senasa said that by benefiting the students with the health programs, they will be benefitting the parents and reducing their economic burden. The process to affiliate the students will be carried out at the schools themselves, she explained.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.listindiario.com/la-republica/2014/7/9/329154/SENASA-afiliara-a-200-mil-estudiantes-del-sector-publico

Payroll increases at power distributors
Now under governmental control, the three power distribution companies (known here as Edes) have been consistently increasing their payroll. As reported in Diario Libre, despite posting a deficit of US$1.9 billion, the power distribution companies added 742 employees from 2012 to April 2014.

Statistics from the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) show that EdeNorte had 2,604 employees and these had increased to 2,807 by April 2014. Edesur increased from 1,756 to 2,024 workers. And EdeEste went from 1,941 employees to 2,211 in 2014, as reported in Diario Libre.

The news report highlights that the increases in payroll have happened at times when the entities are posting large operating deficits that need to be subsidized by the government.

In 2009, there were 5,479 employees in the power distribution companies. This increased to 7,020 by April 2014. EdeNorte, EdeSur and EdeEste have accumulated operational deficits for US$3.4 billion.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/economia/2014/07/10/i693091_las-edes-incrementan-sus-nminas-pese-tener-grandes-dficits.html

Banco Popular wants to be your bank
Banco Popular Dominicano, well known for its internet banking system, now is promoting its Sub Agente Popular system that now turns neighborhood businesses into bank agents. Affiliates include colmados, pharmacies, hardware shops, even gas stations.

The bank announced that 475 affiliates that now soon be able to offer limited bank services that have been established in 68 municipalities in 27 provinces of the country. The subagents are located in 36 municipalities where previously the bank did not offer services.

The program began in April 2014 with 200 points of service, of which 70 are now in operation.

Banco Popular estimates that 60% of the population does not use bank services, and the new network is a way to bring the services closer to them and attract new clients.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/economia/2014/07/10/i693101_banco-popular-afilia-475-subagentes-bancarios.html

Senate approves CAF and ICO borrowing
The Senate approved that the country take on new loans from the Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF) for US$33 million and the Instituto de Credito Oficial del Reino de Espana (ICO) for EUR5,274,247.

The CAF funds will go to finance an urban development housing program in its second phase that is implemented by the Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda. The funds from the ICO will go to finance potable water projects in Los Botados (Yamasa) under the Instituto Nacional de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado (INAPA). The bill needs the approval of the Chamber of Deputies.

Economists discuss rising government debt
Economists Miguel Ceara Hatton and Ernesto Selman said that the rising US$30 billion debt, lack of jobs and distortions in the production model are obstacles to increased investment and economic development. In interviews with the Corripio Communications Group, the economists said that the rising debt is a matter of the rising concern. They commented that 91% of the interest payments due in 2014 are being paid with new loans the government is taking out. "Not only are we paying the capital with new debt, but also the interest," said Ceara Hatton. He said this is money that is being wasted as the government is borrowing not for anything productive, but just to pay interest on previous loans, as reported in Hoy.

The government debt today represents 45% of the GDP.

Read more in Spanish:



Travel up 12% in June
Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia said that travel increased in June 2014 by 12%. He said this represents accumulated growth for the January-June 2014 of 8.5%.

"While the World Tourism Organization forecasts growth for the Caribbean region between two and three percent, we have reached growth of almost 9%," he said when speaking at the 10th anniversary of Delta operations in the country.

He said that in June there were 442,039 tourist arrivals, for a growth of 11.7% compared to the same period in 2013. He said that from January to June arrivals increased 208,763, for a total 2,669,625 tourist arrivals for the first half of the year.

He attributed the increase to the efficient promotion carried out by the Ministry of Tourism abroad.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.listin.com.do/economia-and-negocios/2014/7/9/329207/Informe-Llegada-de-turistas-crecio-12-en-el-mes-de-junio

Expo Cibao in Santiago
The Chamber of Commerce of Santiago announced the leading trade and commerce event, Expo Cibao 2014 is scheduled for 17-21 September. The president of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce and Production said the event includes business match making, exhibition hall, workshops and talks. Some 150,000 visitors are expected. This is the 27th year of the event.

In memory of Sonia Silvestre
On Saturday, 12 July 2014, several of the leading singers of the Dominican Republic will gather for a tribute to Sonia Silvestre. Booked to perform at Casa de Teatro in honor of Sonia Silvestre are Cecilia Garcia, Xiomara Fortuna, Adalgisa Pantaleon, Maridalia Hernandez, Patricia Pereyra, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Pavel Victor Victor and Claudio Cohen. Casa de Teatro is located at Calle Arzobispo Merino 110, Colonial City. Tel 809 686-7840.

Marel Alemany at Casa de Teatro
Contemporary tropical music singer Marel Alemany is a regular at Casa de Teatro. This Sunday, 13 July 2014 he performs at 10pm at the Cafe Teatro. Arzobispo Merino 110, Colonial City. Tel 809 686-7840.

See him perform at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq2PIgAph2c

YOA Orchestra at the Plaza Juan Baron
The 75-musician YOA Orchestra of the Americas is playing with 45 musicians of the Youth Philarmonic Orchestra of the Dominican Republic a free concert sponsored by the Symphony Foundation is playing a concert presented by the Symphony Foundation on Sunday, 13 July 2014 at 6:30pm at the Plaza Juan Baron of the Malecon.

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

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