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Daily News - Monday, 28 July 2014

Metro tunnel 'ready in November'
Santo Domingo Metro office deputy director Leonel Carrasco says the tunnel built for the extension of the northern line of the Santo Domingo metro that will connect eastern and western Santo Domingo will be ready by November 2014. He said this means the extension of the second line could be in operation before the end of the Medina administration in August 2016, as reported in Listin Diario. He mentioned a US$285 million budget. Carrasco said he expected the bridge over the Ozama River to be completed by the end of 2015. The extension will involve the opening of four new stations and preparation for additional feeder lines, including one along the San Vicente de Paul Avenue to Ensanche Isabelita, near the National Aquarium, another from San Vicente de Paul to Megacentro.

Carrasco admitted that Metro services have been affected by budgetary problems for maintenance of escalators and elevators at the open stations.

He commented that the metro serves around 210,000 passengers from Monday to Friday and the machines operate 10-15 hours a day. He said the Metro generates RD$1.3 billion a year in fares and costs RD$400 million, but the revenues go directly to the National Treasury.


Ministry of Agriculture orders only two rice harvests a year
The National Rice Commission (CONA) has issued a resolution that establishes only two farm cycles for rice in the country. The first was announced to start on 1 December of each year with a harvest in spring. Minister of Agriculture Angel Estevez says this is a far-reaching decision that will have a positive effect on breaking the cycle of infestations and will produce greater yields and better quality grain. He said the planning will also make Dominican rice production more competitive. The decision was backed by Cesar Espaillat, president of the National Federation of Rice Producers.


DR and Bahamas sign agreement
The Ministry of Foreign Relations announced the signing of a Basic Agreement on Technical Cooperation with the Bahamas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nassau on Thursday, 24 July 2014. The agreement was described as an important step forward in strengthening relations.

The agreement forms an umbrella that will facilitate and enhance trade and commercial cooperation, academic exchanges and other similar projects of mutual interest technical cooperation between the governments of both countries. The agreement includes specific projects of mutual interest, in addition to the objectives that contribute to the economic and social benefit of both nations.

It establishes that it will come into force on the first day of the month following the date in which the parties convey to each other that they have completed their domestic requirements through diplomatic channels.

The agreement also addresses the Bahamian concern for illegal fishing and poaching in Bahamian waters, an issue that has brought tension between the two countries in recent years.

The agreement was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Frederick A. Mitchell for the Bahamas and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Cesar R. Dargam Espaillat.



Government borrows more than authorized in budget
Congress approved budgets for RD$54 billion more than authorized in the National Budget this year, reports Diario Libre today. In the first ordinary legislature that ended on Saturday, 26 July 2014, legislators approved loans, authorized public debt placement and international bonds placement for RD$202,647,296,840.21 to the government. The biggest loan corresponds to the EPC Contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the power generation plant, Central Punta Catalina in Bani. The coal-fired plant will have the capacity to generate 674.78 megawatts. The project has been contracted for US$2.04 billion.


DGII says it will sign agreement for FATCA compliance
Dominican Tax Agency (DGII) director Guarocuya Felix says the government has reached agreements in substance regarding the application of FATCA (Model 1GA). FATCA requires foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report to the IRS information about financial accounts held by US taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

Furthermore, he said that the country is a new member and is being observed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Global Transparency Forum and needs to work to eliminate all obstacles to transparency in information. OECD groups 122 countries. He explained that this establishes duties and obligations for the DR to improve legislation to facilitate exchange of tax information among jurisdictions. He announced that the Ministry of Hacienda and the United States would sign the FATCA intergovernmental agreement for sharing of information on US citizens resident in the Dominican Republic.



Working for politicians
In today's Diario Libre, Monday 28 July 2014 editor Ines Aizpun writes about her frustration in the face of what she describes as the increasing gains of politicians over the working class.

"Citizens protest about the legislators' slush funds; they talk about internal battles between Leonelistas and Danilistas for government posts.

Citizens complain about the slumification of the cities; they organize entertainment in the parks so this is not noticed.

We tighten our belts; they take on debt without restraint.

They talk about public revenues as if they had no owners; we see how it slips out of our pockets.

We have to deal with unemployment, they control the labor market, continue to pad the payroll and distribute it.

They speak profusely about entrepreneurship; we try it and quit because of the obstacles.

Politicians have invaded all the aspects of daily living, without citizens feeling that this control responds to a plan that can benefit society.

Citizens see politics as a source of jobs because the political class has organized a state that is growing by the day, and that is more invasive and more controlling.

We are faced with a political class that is sustainably getting rich without scruples. We are working so that the PLD can dispute power, so that the PRD can continue on its trip to nowhere and the PRSC and the FNP can treasure their quotas.

Juridical security or institutions, indispensable bases for possible development, are not advancing. There is not more democracy, more freedom, or more justice than 18 years ago when the PLD first became the government.

A future where citizens are subject to the political class is being organized. Exactly the opposite of what should be."


Nationality-free zone?
Fundacion Justicia y Transparencia president Trajano Vidal Potentini says that the Decree 250-14 issuing the ruling for the application of the Naturalization Law 169-14 turns the Dominican Republic into a nationality-free zone. He criticized what he described as the Medina government's flexibility in accepting who was born here and the fact that the applicant can obtain Dominican nationality within a two-year period at the expense of the Dominican government.

The ruling establishes that as proof of birth here the government will accept a statement from a public hospital or private medical center indicating the mother's name, and the baby's gender and date of the birth, or seven Dominican witnesses before a Notary public indicating the baby's date of birth and names and the names of the parents, and a sworn statement before a notary public by the midwife indicating the date and place of birth and the mother's name.



Chikungunya cases drop in Santo Domingo
Hospitals are reporting fewer cases of Chikungunya in the Greater Santo Domingo area. Hoy newspaper reports that reduced numbers of suspected cases of chikungunya and dengue fever are now being registered in emergency rooms.


Police inaugurated intelligence center to fight organized crime
President Danilo Medina inaugurated the new Center for Intelligence to Combat Organized Crime at the police headquarters on Friday, 25 July 2014.

In his keynote speech marking the opening of the new center, Police Chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo said the increase in organized crime activities have made it difficult for the Police to effectively fulfill the guarantee of public safety. "It is painful to acknowledge that organized crime activities have increased beyond our institution's response capacity," he stated. Minister of Defense Admiral Sigfrido Pared Perez, Minister of Interior and Police Jose Ramon Fadul and Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo were also present at the event.

In the presence of President Medina, Castro Castillo admitted that the Police has been overwhelmed by the actions of organized crime. Castro said that traditionally, the high crime rate and media pressure obliged the police to work on a day- by-day basis without stopping to evaluate the result of their fundamental activities in order to plan, design and develop strategic programs that would enable them to confront the advances of crime systematically and with foresight.

Servio Tulio Castanos, executive vice president of the Fundacion Institucionalidad y Justicia (FINJUS) said that it is important that the Police now has a diagnostic of the real situation of organized crime and is designing policies to combat it.



Footwear and cigars growth industries in Santiago
Santiago Chamber of Commerce executive director Fernando Puig and board members Osmar Schwarbarl and Juan Carlos Hernandez say that "the good days of the 1980s" are back at the Santiago free zones thanks to an increase in contracts benefitting the industries in recent years and new expansions at the industrial parks.

He commented on new investments from Brazil, China and South Korea, and mentioned the expansion of operations by US company Swisher International, which is seeking to become the largest handmade cigar manufacturer in the world. Last year the company moved some of its cigar-making production from Jacksonville, Florida to Santiago, at the same time as it set up a new division for premium cigars.


DR women's basketball gets ticket to play in Toronto
By defeating the Virgin Islands 61-55, the Dominican women's national basketball team has won the last ticket to play in the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015. FIBA described the match held in Monterrey, Mexico on Saturday 26 July 2014 as "vibrant and well fought."


Men's team to Centrobasket named
Coach Jose Mercedes announced on Friday, 25 July 2014 that the 12 members of the Dominican Republic national men's basketball team will play at the Centrobasket 2014 tournament, which will take place in Nayarit, Mexico from 1-7 August.

The selection is: guards Juan Coronado, Adris Leon and Kelvin Pena, shooting guards Victor Liz and Manuel Fortuna, Gerardo Suero and James Maye will be small-forwards, Ronald Roberts, Edward Santana, Eloy Vargas, Orlando Sanchez and Manuel Guzman will play the positions of 4 and 5.

Centrobasket is a qualifier for four tickets to the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship and seven spots in the 2014 Central American Games in Veracruz.



Hermanos Rosario and Sergio at Jet Set
Hermanos Rosario, Sergio Vargas and Chiquito Team Band are booked for a Monday, 28 July 2014 appearance at Jet Set in Santo Domingo. As of 9:30pm, enjoy merengue, salsa and boleros by these three top bands. Jet Set is located at Av. Independencia, El Portal neighborhood.

Urbanova at the National Theater
The Bachata es Bossa concert will take place on 15 August 2014 at the Aida Bonnelly concert hall of the National Theater in Santo Domingo. Well known bachata songs have been arranged into bossa nova for the concert. Urbanova is known for its musical fusions. Tickets are RD$500 at the National Theater.


Drawings and music at Terrazas del Meson
Architect Iris de Mondesert is holding an exhibition at The Galleries of the Terrazas del Meson de la Cava in Santo Domingo as of this Tuesday, 29 July 2014. She will be showing her drawings, "Skin and Roofs". This Tuesday, Terrazas del Meson also presents the live presentation of a jazz concert with Grupo B.

Miss Dominican Republic at the National Theater
The pageant to choose the Dominican representative at the 2014 Miss Universe pageant will be held on 17 August at the National Theater. The host city for the 63rd Miss Universe has yet to be announced.

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

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