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Daily News - Friday, 11 July 2014

Two dozen more schools for the Deep South
A seemingly unending stream of new schools greeted President Medina as he toured parts of the far south western provinces yesterday, Thursday 10 July 2014. Medina inaugurated 25 more schools in Barahona, Bahoruco, and Independencia. The new and remodeled schools contain a total of 323 schoolrooms for 12,305 students who will be attending the extended school day. The Ministry of Education says it has spent RD$650.6 million on these new facilities. The President inaugurated the schools in three separate ceremonies held in Barahona, Tamayo and La Descubierta, in the south west of the Dominican Republic.

The first place visited by President Medina was Tamayo, in the province of Bahoruco, where he inaugurated the Lidia Maria Reyes Beltre School, the Jose Gabriel Garcia Primary School and the Gregorio Urbano Gilbert School, located in Monserrat, Los Robles and El Jobo, in Tamayo. The Pedro Mir Primary School, in El Manguito in Neiba, the La Clavellina Primary School, in the municipality of the same name and the Liceo La Clavellina, in Villa Jaragua. The President went on to the province of Independencia to lead the ribbon-cutting ceremonies to inaugurate the La Descubierta and Pilar Mendez Primary Schools, the Jose Francisco Pena Gomez High School in Postrer Rio, the Leonor Nova Volquez Primary School in Jimani and the Manuel Novas Cueva Technical High School, also in Jimani. A central ceremony took place in Barahona, at the Barahona II High School, named after Maria Montez, the movie star who hailed from the province. They inaugurated 14 schools in the provincial capital, including the Barahona II, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, La Guazara and Francisco Amadis Pena high schools. The central speech was delivered by the Minister of Education, Carlos Amarante Baret.

Medina congratulated on mountain road decision
Engineer Teodoro Tejada has sent his congratulations to President Danilo Medina for his decision not to build the San Juan de la Maguana-Santiago mountain road, as reported in Diario Libre. Tejada described the decision as "wise and logical."

He recommended that the government rebuild and expand the already existing roads between San Juan, Guananito, Arroyo Cano, Bohechio, Padre las Casas, Guayabal and Constanza and the route that links San Jose de Ocoa, Rancho Arriba and Piedra Blanca, which would cost around US$85 million compared to the early estimate of US$500 million for the San Juan-Santiago road.

Earlier this week, the government announced it would not go ahead with its plans for the road because of the high cost. The road, which would have crossed through several national parks, met with strong opposition from environmentalists.

Why is Ban Ki-moon visiting?
National District deputy Vinicio Castillo Seman says that United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who is visiting the Dominican Republic next week, is coming to pressure the Dominican government to approve a ruling for Naturalization Law 169-14, which would naturalize around half a million Haitians who claim to have been born here. Ban Ki-moon is arriving on an official visit on Monday 15 July 2014.

Castillo Seman says the ruling as proposed violates the Constitution, Law 169-14 and Constitutional Court ruling 168-13. "The Dominican people need to know, that, just as the United Nations has openly called for fast-tracked Dominican nationality for more than 500,000 Haitian citizens who claim they have been born in our territory, the essential objective of the visit is to pressure the President Medina and the Dominican government to sign the ruling that United Nations officials have worked on with Dominican government officials," he said, as reported in Diario Libre and El Nuevo Diario. He said that Medina should take advantage of the visit to remind the United Nations to take on their own responsibilities and help Haiti. "If they are so concerned about the human rights of the Haitian citizens who live in the DR and their lack of documentation, then we have to ask what that organization has done on matters of civil registry and identity in Haiti in the past 20 years," he said.

He said this is the same sort of pressure that the UN and the United States put on President Balaguer in 1994 and has continued to do throughout the past decades.

Read more in Spanish: http://elnuevodiario.com.do/app/article.aspx?id=382322

and in English: http://www.sfltimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16438&Itemid=295

Bilateral talks in Juan Dolio
The bilateral talks between the Dominican Republic and Haiti continued in Juan Dolio yesterday, Thursday 10 July 2014. The central issues were a joint declaration and a commercial agreement to allow goods and services to be imported without discrimination. According to Diario Libre, as well as high-ranking members of both governments, this third meeting in the on-going dialogue included business sector representatives from both countries as well as observers from the European Union, the United Nations Development Program, and Venezuela. Article 3 of the memorandum deals with commercial exchanges and mentions treatment as most favored nations when it comes to duties and tariffs. One key point is that goods that do not pass through the specified customs points of Dajabon/Ouanaminthe, Comendador/Belladere and Jimani/Malpasse and Pedernales/Anse-a-Pitre will be sanctioned.

Pared Perez will not seek Senate post in August
In an announcement made yesterday, Thursday 10 July 2014, Senate president Reinaldo Pared Perez declared that he would not be seeking reelection to the post so that he could devote all his time to his campaign for the PLD presidential nomination for the 2016 elections. Speaking at a press conference, he announced his plans to seek the PLD nomination for the presidency. He said that he was making the announcement as the 16th of August was approaching when according to the Constitution, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies have to elect their respective leaders.

He said that he would continue to fulfill his duties and functions as Senate president and as the chairman of the Joint Chambers and the head of the National Assembly until 16 August.

At the press conference, which was attended by senators and several political advisors, he thanked the the PLD Political Committee for their support and trust, and his senate colleagues, as well as former President Leonel Fernandez and President Danilo Medina.

Who is supposed to find the money?
Responding to questions about the source of financing for the coal-fired generators that are to be set up in Bani, Ruben Bichara suggested that the reporter "had read it wrong." On Thursday, 10 July 2014, the vice-president of the Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) reiterated that the Odebrecht-Tecnimon-Estrella Consortium is the entity that has to find the financing in the international banking establishments for a sum equivalent to 80% of the value of the project, currently estimated at U$2.04 billion. Observers point out that Clause 6.5 of the contract approved by Congress stipulates that it is up to the state to obtain the financing for this maximum amount. "No, it is the company. It is a turn-key contract, which means that you get the project and whoever receives it has to secure the financing."

Nevertheless, the clause regarding the financing of the EPC Contract leaves no room for doubt. It stipulates that "the Dominican state, through the Ministry of Hacienda, will obtain the financing needed to cover the price of the contract up to a maximum of 80%." This means that the Government should obtain loans for up to US$1.632 billion to pay the contractors that are building the two coal-fired plants that will have a net generation capacity of 337.39 megawatts each. This was also confirmed by Jeremias Santana, the CDEEE manager for the construction work on the electricity plants. In an apparent contradiction with Bichara, he said: "the responsibility for obtaining the financing is up to the government," although the consortium is helping.

Judge reserves her decision regarding Yeni
The judge of Special Instruction of the Third Courtroom of the Penal Chamber of the Appeals Court of the National District, Ysis Muniz, has reserved her decision for 6 August, in the case of the request by Judge Margarita Olivo, for the definitive dismissal of her complaint against District Attorney Yeni Berenice Reynoso to be revoked. The magistrate took the decision after three hours and fifteen minutes of debates between the parties in a closed-door hearing, where Reynoso appeared and Cristo was absent because she was out of the country. The lawyers for the magistrate Carlos Balcacer and Pedro German asked the judge to accept the petition and order the expansion of the pursuit of the investigation that supports the complaint and the civil suit, given that there is sufficient merit for continuing the investigation that the trial demands.

Balcacer said that an insult to a judge is not protected by immunity, as the Justice Department is claiming, in his judgment. The District Attorney, who was assisted by her attorneys Jose Lorenzo Fermin, Laura Acosta Lora and Nassef Perdomo, said that she was not repentant for her actions. "And if by complying with the laws I am here, I am here with a lot of honor and dignity." She said she felt that this was an issue of law that is linked "to something that is a legitimate complaint, which is that corruption must be punished." The general prosecutor of the Court of Appeals, Bienvenido Ventura Cuevas, asked the court to ratify the dismissal of the case.

Documentary to focus on the former Escuela Caribe
US cable and satellite channel Showtime has announced that it will air a documentary on the Jarabacoa-based boarding school that received students coming from the US sent for "behavior modification." The film, "Kidnapped for Christ" by filmmaker Kate Logan, which airs on Showtime this coming Thursday, 17 July 2014, exposes how the school was using brainwashing tactics and harmed children. The Escuela Caribe was closed in 2011 but the property was transferred to another Christian ministry called Crosswinds that reopened the school under the name Caribbean Mountain Academy.

For more information: http://www.newsweek.com/where-american-teens-abused-name-god-258182

Sonido para una imagen at the National Theater
Sonido para una imagen is coming back to the National Theater in Santo Domingo. Producer Amaury Sanchez announced the show would be staged at the National Theater on 11-12 July. The Santo Domingo Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing. Carolina Rivas, Frank Ceara and Hector Anibal are booked for the evening, but it will also feature many emerging talents. 8:30pm. The show was first staged 14 years ago and served as a platform for launching many now famous stars, including Maridalia Hernandez.

Puppet show at Teatro Guloya
Teatro Guloya presents Jauya, a puppet show for children. Directed by Viena Gonzalez at 5pm. Tickets RD$200. Calle Arzobispo Portes 205, Colonial City. Tel 809 6895-4856. Saturday, 12 July 2014 and Sunday, 13 July 2014. Puppeteers are Jabnel Colizan, Katherine Natividad and Noel Ventura.

Girlfriends meet again at Teatro Las Mascaras
Teatro Las Mascaras presents "Travolta's Girlfriends," a comedy by Uruguayan playwright Andres Tulipano. In the lead roles: Lidia Ariza, Grace Moore, Pamela de Leon, Wendy Alba and Marisol Marion-Landais. Directed by Germana Quintana. The play tells the story of a reunion between four 42-year old friends after years of not seeing each other. 11, 12, 13 July 2014. Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm, Sunday at 6:30pm. Tickets: RD$400. The theater is small and their plays are popular, so to get a seat and go early, or reserve by calling Tel 809 687-9788. Calle Arzobispo Portes 56, almost at the corner of Arzobispo Merino, Colonial City.

Punta Cana Tri Sports Summer Fest
Punta Cana is promoting its annual Punta Cana Tri Sports Summer Fest. The event is scheduled for this Sunday, 13 July 2014. The base is Casa Club Las Canas, Punta Cana Resort & Club. The competition is divided into two groups: Adults (16 +) who may compete in a Triathlon Sprint Distance, Triathlon Olympic Distance, Duathlon Spring Distance, Triathlon Spring Distance Relay,Triathlon Olympic Distance Relay, 5 K Recreational. There are events for women and men. There is also a triathlon for children between the ages of 6 and 15 divided according to age group. The races start at 6:30am.

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

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