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Daily News - Monday, 14 July 2014

Ban Ki-moon to meet with Congress
The secretary general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon will meet with Dominican senators and deputies gathered in the hall of the National Assembly during his visit this week to the Dominican Republic, as reported in Hoy. He is expected to discuss migratory issues.

On Ban Ki-moon's agenda is also a visit with President Danilo Medina to discuss the work of the United Nations in the Dominican Republic, the agenda for the organization in 2015 and government poverty reduction programs.

As reported, Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Santo Domingo on 15 July 2014 after making a first stop in Port-au-Prince where he will meet with Haitian authorities.

23 new industries under Proindustria program
The Center for Development and Industrial Competitiveness (Proindustria) announced that 23 industries have been approved this year to receive the tax exemption benefits granted by Law 392-07 on Competitiveness and Industrial Innovation. The director of Proindustria, Alexandra Izquierdo said agribusiness, steel, iron, food, packaging, construction material companies will benefit from government policies and support programs for innovation in manufacturing.

Making wages more transparent at city governments
Mayor of Santo Domingo has received a wage increase from RD$170,000 to RD$265,000, or a 55% increase. At the same time, 37 councilors from the city government and other high-ranking city officers received increases ranging from 30 to 55%. Other increases were ordered for city government officers of Santo Domingo North municipality, as reported in El Caribe.

City councilor Waldys Taveras explained that there has not been a real wage increase. He said that what was being paid as diet is now allotted as a wage. He explained that per diem perk had been used so that the officers could pay less in income tax and social security, but now things are more transparent. He said that per diem is now only assigned when there is travel outside the city or the country.


Southwest road improvements to enhance driver safety
Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo announced the construction of the Bani bypass would start in September 2014. The highway would pass by the south of the province to serve new tourism developments in the area. He made planned for the area. The road would detour traffic headed past Bani from passing through the city.

Castillo told Listin Diario that the bypass has been discussed for 25 years. He said the Medina government would complete it. As reported, recently President Medina overflew the area to learn about the different route options.

Castillo was in the area supervising advances on the construction of the Southern Corridor that includes stretches in Peravia, Azua, Barahona and San Juan de la Maguana provinces in the Southwest.

The works include improvements to the stretch from Bani to Azua (43.7 km), Azua to Km. 15 Azua (13.51 km), Km. 15 Azua to Barahona (58 km), Km. 15 Azua to the entrance to San Juan de la Maguana (63 km).

Castillo highlighted that the road improvements will benefit farming, industry and passenger transport. He said funds are from the Inter American Develoment Bank (IDB) and the contractor is Constructora Rizek.

Road improvements are expected to enhance safety on the today two-lane connection to the southwest. On Saturday, 12 July, five persons died in a tragic accident. Another 34 persons were injured. A pickup, with a reportedly drunk driver, made a reckless pass, causing the clash of a freight truck and a Caribe Tours bus early in the morning, as reported in Listin Diario. The drivers of all three vehicles died in the triple crash. The bus was covering the route of Sato Domingo to San Juan de la Maguana.

The highway expansion is expected to reduce accidents.




El Dia panel discusses Loma Miranda
One of the most controversial issues in recent years, the mining exploitation of Loma Miranda was discussed before for the general public on Sunday, in an event sponsored by El Dia newspaper. The panel was moderated by the executive editor of El Dia, Rafael Molina Morillo. One of the key conclusions was the need for a general mining land use plan for the country to determine where mining will not clash with other uses.

A movement head by Catholic Church priests and the Academy of Sciences has opposed the mining exploitation of the Loma Miranda in central La Vega province, and called to protect the area naming it a national park. During the panel, the pros and cons of such a move were discussed. El Dia published summaries of speaker presentations in their 14 July 2014 issue.

Geologist Osiris de Leon says that the declaration of Loma Miranda as a National Park will create an international legal conflict that could be costly to the government. He argued Falcondo has a contract granting 75 years of rights and would demand a hefty penalty for the ban on exploiting gold in its concession. He recognized that the mining companies have not fulfilled their commitments to restore mined areas nor create jobs outside of mining.

Environmentalist Luis Carvajal addressed the rich biodiversity of the area. He commented that responsible mining only exists in the imagination and science fiction. He said that the restoration of an open pit mining area requires more than planting trees. He spoke of the many species that leave due to the contamination caused by open pit mining. He said that already the Superior Administrative Court (TSA), the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court have banned mining in Loma Miranda.

The president of the Academy of Sciences Milciades Mejia said that Loma Miranda has more biodiversity than many already established national parks. He said that while Falcondo argues it will only exploit an area of 4.6 square kilometers, 30 km of roads would need to be built to access the mine. This would impact the vulnerable area. Mejia says that Falcondo's track record in the country disputes the company claims that it will implement responsible mining practices. He upheld Constitution when he stated that Falcondo cannot claim rights to what is below the ground and that the responsibility of the government is to pay the simple worth of the land in compensation.

Geologist Eduardo Verdeja argued the yields of mining operations for the government. He commented that the government would receive 55% of the profits. He argued that the environmentalists that oppose the project are not basing themselves on real data for the area. He said the area where the mining would be centered is already affected by human activity, such as wood processing, farming, and cattle ranching.

Osiris de Leon


Luis Carvajal


Milciades Mejia


Eduardo Verdeja


Choosing wisely how to produce energy
The Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2014 issued by the World Economic Forum ranks the Dominican Republic as 57th of 124 countries listed. Diario Libre highlights in a headline news story today that the country is only second to Italy in the high cost of power generation for industry, and well above its regional competitors in Central America. The report focuses on the needs for countries to effectively balance the demands for providing affordable, sustainable and secure energy supply to drive development and examples of national efforts to find new and innovative ways to meet the demands of country energy systems into the 21st century.



Education leadership program with Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University and the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) are launching an online and classroom-based educational leadership doctoral program starting this September 2014. Also collaborating are the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Superior Education (MECYT).

The program has enrolled 23 faculty, administrators and professional staff of Dominican universities and schools from kindergarten to high school.

The four-year program seeks to prepare individuals to hold leadership and management roles in K-12 or higher education via a hybrid learning format and with teaching support from WMU faculty.

Two times during each semester, faculty from the Department of Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology in WMU's College of Education and Human Development will travel to Santo Domingo for one week to teach and provide advising to the program's students at the host university, UNIBE.

The program also includes a study abroad component, in which students enrolled in the program will travel to WMU in July each year for three weeks of intensive study and exploration of US educational systems.

The program's development was coordinated by Dominican Juan Tavares, director of international admissions and services in WMU's Haenicke Institute for Global Education, and Dr. Donna Talbot, chair and professor of the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology.

Since 2008, WMU has had a close relationship with the Dominican Republic. Some 400 students from the D.R. have studied at WMU over the past six years.

For more information about the new initiative, contact Dr. Donna Talbot in the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology at (269) 387-3896 or [email protected].

YOA Orchestra of the Americas at the National Theater
The 75-musician YOA Orchestra of the Americas is playing a free concert with 45 musicians of the Youth Philarmonic Orchestra of the Dominican Republic at the National Theater of Santo Domingo today, Monday, 14 July 2014 at 8:30pm. The gala concert is sponsored by the Symphony Foundation. Tickets: RD$1,000-RD$300

Casa de Teatro Santo Domingo Jazz Festival
Every Thursday in July during the hot summer months, Casa de Teatro brings jazz from around the world to its auditorium and outdoors Cafe Teatro. On Thursday, 17 July, the Dominican Republic is represented with the Guy Frometa Trio. Casa de Teatro is located at Calle Arzobispo Merino 110, Colonial City. Tel 809 686-7840.

Ana Carla Maza debuts at National Theater
Award-winning violoncellist Ana Carla Maza is visiting for a 30 July concert sponsored by the Fundacion AAVA. National Theater.



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