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Daily News - Friday, 18 July 2014

Medina inaugurates five new schools
President Danilo Medina inaugurated five new schools in Santiago Rodriguez yesterday, 18 July 2014, adding a total of 91 new classrooms to the Extended School Day Program, benefitting 3.185 students. The schools cost a total of RD$222 million, as reported in Hoy. The ceremony took place at the Jose Maria Sierra School in the presence of officials, parents and students. The other schools were the Nuris David Echevarria, Eduardo Estevez, San Jose and the Professor Juan Bosch.

Gonzalo Castillo: Mountains and costs stall Cibao-Sur Highway
Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo told journalists from the Nuevo Diario that by focusing on details and budgetary controls, his stint as minister has been successful so far. He told the editors that President Medina asked him to look at the small projects, since the big ones would take care of themselves.

Speaking about projects such as the Cibao-Sur Highway, the minister said that there were two road projects under study. One was the route from Piedra Blanca to San Jose de Ocoa and the other San Juan de la Maguana to Santiago. He noted that the connection between Ocoa and Sabana Larga has been completed and that this will avoid that in times of hurricanes the area is cut off.

Castillo explained that in the first case, the stretch from Sabana Larga, Rancho Arriba, Juan Adrian and Piedra Blanca gives access to the area where 60% of the nation's greenhouses are located, where 55% of all the country's produce comes from. He said that if the President approves it, in September they will begin to rebuild the section between Sabana Larga and Rancho Arriba, which is the most costly and covers 52 kilometers.

Regarding the second case, the Minister of Public Works said that studies were carried out on the feasibility of a highway between San Juan de la Maguana and Santiago, revealed that many rivers would be affected and this was explained to the Catholic bishops of the area that have strongly supported the construction of the road. He said, however, that a route was found following the top of the mountains but it does not lead to Santiago, but rather to Mao, Navarrete and Moncion, and is a "very long and costly" road. "This route will cost between US$300 and US$500 million, and where are we going to get that kind of money?" he said.


Leonel Fernandez suggests CELAC be speaker for Latin America
Former President Leonel Fernandez, who is the head of the Global Democracy and Development Foundation (Funglode), suggested that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) be the speaker for the region in all interregional discussions on global issues. Fernandez made the suggestion as part of his participation as the principle speaker at the conference "The Challenges of Latin American Integration: CELAC and Unasur" held at the Metropolitan University for Education and Work (UMET) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

According to the Listin Diario, Fernandez said, "CELAC should go beyond regional integration and be a voice in the global scene." The former President suggested the creation of a special commission to deal with Chinese relations with Latin America as well as the relation of the region with the Russian Confederation, the Arab League and the African Union. He praised the advances of Unasur and suggested that CELAC might imitate these steps.

PRD prepares for convention
In the headquarters of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) they have already increased the security measures in preparation for the 30th Ordinary Convention on Sunday, 20 July 2014. The ballots will be five in total and divided into A, the presidential level; B for the secretary general; C for the secretary of organization; D, for the vice-presidents and E for the deputy secretaries generals. Some 8,000 persons will work in the convention, and the voter rolls include 538,478 members of the rank and file that will vote at 341 polling stations.

The elections will choose 32 national vice presidents, and 32 deputy secretaries general, which together with the president, secretary general and secretary of organization make up 67 positions.

There are four candidates for the presidency, three for secretary general, four for the national secretary for organization, 103 candidates for deputy secretary general, a total of 244 candidates. The Superior Electoral Tribunal convened for today at 9:00 a.m. a hearing in which they would listen to arguments of the appeal filed by the presidential candidate for the PRD, Guido Gomez Mazara, against the voting hours established by the commission that are from 6:30 am until 3pm.

The president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE) Roberto Rosario Marquez reported yesterday that this agency has asked the Ministry of Education to facilitate public schools for the convention of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), programmed for next Sunday.

JCE: old cedula will expire
In another vein, the JCE president revealed that within two or three months they will issue a resolution announcing the expiration of the old personal identification and voter registration card known as the "cedula." Nevertheless, the election official did not specify the date on which the old document would no longer be valid.

Rosario Marquez spoke during the signing of an agreement with the city government of Santiago to install a center for issuing the identification cards in City Hall. After the signing of the agreement, Santiago mayor Gilberto Serulle said that he would put all of his efforts to achieve the success of the plan of providing the new document and seeing that all the inhabitants of Santiago obtain the new identification card.

UASD wants more money
The rector of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), Ivan Grullon Fernandez said yesterday that for this institution of higher learning to function adequately, it needs the budget to be increased to RD$11 billion. On being consulted by the Permanent Commission of the Chamber of Deputies for the Chamber of Accounts regarding the institution's budget, the rector said that the current budget of RD$6.2 billion is not sufficient. He pointed out that Mateo Aquino Febrillet, the previous rector, left a deficit of RD$200 million for the Cooperative of UASD Employees and Professors (Cooeprouasd).

Grullon Fernandez asked the legislators for their mediation to get a meeting with the president of the Chamber of Accounts, Licelot Marte de Barrios, to explain the delays in the flow of information for the audit that the Chamber of Accounts is currently performing, and that at no moment are they seeking to block the work. He assured the legislators that the audit he was referring to is focused on the past administration and is not aimed at persecuting anyone, but rather to contribute to the administrative transparency in order that they can correct errors that exist in the handling of the budget.

The rector of the UASD reiterated his criticisms of his predecessor, Mateo Aquino Febrillet, and revealed that during Aquino's administration, the administrative payroll "went through the roof." Grullon said he had already fired 840 employees. He argued that the populism of the former rector led him to appoint 170 new employees just before the end of his term of office. "The University cannot be used as a city government, nor can it be used as a charity house, or an employment agency. It is an academic organization that should be managed with strict controls and the resources of the public must be defended. Therefore we cannot fill ourselves with employees and superfluous personnel that we do not need," he said.

Business feels electricity is greatest challenge
For the businessmen of the Dominican Republic, the solution of the electricity problem should be the main economic objective for the government, according to a publication released yesterday by the Deloitte firm. Deloitte presented their Fourth Edition of the Business Barometer, which was carried out between 21 April and 23 May 2014. They interviewed 108 top executives of companies that operate in the country. 32.7% of those polled said that the electricity problem is priority, while, strangely, only 7.5% mentioned changes to the Labor Code. In the Deloitte survey, there is optimism regarding the Medina administration. 70.1% approve of the work by President Danilo Medina, an 11 point increase compares to the previous Barometer, when the business people approving the President's work was 59.1%.

During the presentation of the results of the Business Barometer, they also said that 21.5% of the interviews felt that the government should concentrate on tax evasions, and reduce the level of informality, while 20.6% felt that the goal should be to reduce the public debt and there were 17.7% that said that they should eliminate the disproportionate taxes.

This Fourth Edition of the Business Barometer by Deloitte interviewed companies from the following sectors: financial services, mass consumption, manufacturing, energy and natural resources, laboratories and health businesses, logistics, ports and shipping, technology, media and telecommunications and other services. According to the information presented yesterday by the economists Jose Luis de Ramon and Nassim Alemany, the top executives of the Deloitte firm in the Dominican Republic, the businessmen were finally asked if they thought that the modification of the Labor Code would help reduce unemployment in the country and the majority of those surveyed (54.2%) said that the modification of the Labor Code would not help to reduce unemployment, while 45.8% feel that it would.

Dominicans hooked to the Internet
The use of computers in the Dominican population 12 years old and older grew from 28% in 2005 to 49% in 2013, while the use of the Internet grew from 16% to 46%. This was shown by a comparative report carried out by the National Statistics Office (ONE), using as a basis the Enhogar surveys for those periods.

The document notes that by age groups, young people between 15 and 19 are the greatest users (83%). 88% of those with a university degree or postgraduate degree had an Internet account. "In the homes, the increase has also been noteworthy: in 2005, just 9% had computers, and in 2013 the number was 25%," they stressed.

The connection to social networks is the greatest use given to the Internet in the DR. Some 84% of the persons 12 years or older use the Internet for this purpose; 69% use chats or send messages; 59% do homework or learn something, 51% download movies, pictures and music, 49% watch television, videos or listen to music and 44% look for health information. Likewise, the poll revealed that 47% of Dominican women and 45% of Dominican men older than 12 years use the Internet for making sexual contacts.

Police shoot two in DNCD uniforms
The National Police killed two men said to be professional assassins. One of the men had a "false" identification card from the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD). The two men, known by their nicknames as Richard el Sicario and Cuquito el Sicario, were shot and killed by a police patrol in Villa Mella in North Santo Domingo. (Sicario is the current word used to describe a killer for hire). Richard Beltre Feliz (Richard el Sicario) was carrying a DNCD ID card and he and his partner were said to be members of a criminal group that carried out compulsive collection of debts from drug trafficking, "lightning kidnappings" and murders for hire. The men also were found to have DN"CD uniform caps, and weapons such as 9mm and .45 caliber guns.

ONAMET: clear skies, scattered showers (EL CARIBE)
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) says that the skies will be clear over the weekend, but there might be some scattered showers in La Altagracia, La Romana, El Seibo, and Hato Mayor as the result of the clouds generated by a low pressure trough that will continue in place past midday. In the afternoon, the low pressure trough will have left the area and all of the Central Caribbean region will be under the influence of dry and stable conditions for the next 36 hours. There might be some scattered showers in Santiago Rodriguez, Elias Pina, La Vega, Samana and Monte Plata.

Barahona Surf Championship
The Barahona International Surf Championship will be taking place on 19 and 20 July 2014 at Playa Bahoruco in the southwestern province of Barahona. The beach, which is known for its large swells, is one of the prime surfing locations in the Caribbean.

Grupo La Guanena at Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival
Every Thursday in July during the hot summer months, Casa de Teatro brings jazz from around the world to its air-conditioned auditorium and outdoors Cafe Teatro. On Thursday, 24 July 2014, the music of Colombian Grupo La Guanena is on the program. Casa de Teatro is at Arzobispo Merino 110, Colonial City. Tel 809 686-7840.

Alexandro Segui at Casa de Teatro
Cuban rock star Alexandro Segui is a regular at Casa de Teatro. This Friday, 25 July 2014 he will be back again. 10pm. Cafe Teatro. Arzobispo Merino 110, Colonial City. Tel 809 686-7840.


From Boston to Baltimore at the ICDA auditorium
The Theatrical Company of the Instituto Cultural Dominico-Americano presents "De Boston a Baltimore" at their auditorium on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 7pm. ICDA is located at Av. Abraham Lincoln almost corner Av. Correo y Cidron.

Architect Richard Moreta exhibits at the Palacio de Bellas Artes
See the exhibit Digital Architectural Exhibition by Dominican architect Richard Moreta Castillo, a professor of architecture in Germany from 30 July to 14 September 2014 at the Galeria Nacional at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Av. Maximo Gomez. The Galeria Nacional is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 5pm. Thursdays from 10 am to 9pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 6pm.

Sculptor Juan Trinidad at the Palacio de Bellas Artes
See the recent sculptures by Juan Trinidad. Thursday 31 July 2014 through 12 September 2014 at the Galeria Nacional de Bellas Artes. The exhibit is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 5pm. Thursdays from 10 am to 9pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 6pm. Av. Maximo Gomez and Av. Independencia.

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar

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