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Daily News - Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Dominican-style Corn Flakes now made here
President Danilo Medina visited San Pedro de Macoris yesterday, Monday 28 July 2014 for the inauguration of the first breakfast cereal (called locally 'cornflakes') factory in the Dominican Republic.

The new business, known as El Rey or The King, belongs to the Cesar Iglesias Group that already employs 1,600 Dominicans. Company president Miguel Feris Iglesias said that their expansion is a result of the confidence they have in the future of the country.

Administrative vice president Cesar Norberto Armenteros said that they would be producing six different brands of cereal, of international quality.



President's popularity rating still high
According to Administrative Minister for the Presidency Jose Ramon Peralta, the latest research survey shows that President Danilo Medina's popularity rating is over 80% across the whole population and over 90% amongst supporters of the ruling PLD party.

He said that the survey also revealed that 75% wanted Medina to be reelected. The 2010 Constitution bans consecutive presidential reelection.

Peralta said that the survey showed that the President's public policies were working and that the public wanted them to continue. He said that the figures always went up and down but that it would be marvelous if he still had a 60 or 70% popularity rating at the end of his term in office.

He said that in his opinion, the public is satisfied with President Medina because he is giving hope to the country with very clear programs to eradicate poverty and that he also pays attention to the people.


Mining up from 0.48% to 14.82% in 4 years
The role of mining to the Dominican economy has grown from 0.48% in 2010 to 14.82% of total exports, according to economist Luis Vargas in a paper presented at the first national seminar on the electricity system, renewable energy and metallic mining. The seminar was sponsored by the science and engineering schools at the INTEC university.

Vargas said that the subsector mining in regards to the GDP and the Economically Active Population is also on the rise. He said the subsectors played a key role the configuration of a new pattern of production, investment and yield. He said this is a generation where "extractivism" is taking hold of Latin America where the state receives a greater share of corporate profits and applies laws and policies for environmental conservation, as a result of international conventions and pressure exercised by the communities where the mines are located and the environmental movement.



Mortgage interest rate at 10.17%
As of 24 July 2014, official statistics indicate that home loan average for the first half of the year is now at 10.17%. In 2013, the average for home loans was 11.85%.

The lower cost of mortgages is attributed to monetary policies adopted by the Central Bank to ease on bank reserves.


Investment in treatment for hepatitis
As part of the commemorations of World Hepatitis Day yesterday Monday 28 July 2014, the Public Health Ministry announced plans to invest RD$300 million a year for people with hepatitis who seek treatment through the public hospital system.

Program director Sandra Fermin said that the treatment would cover 100% or around 500 patients each year with Hepatitis B and C.

Fermin said that anyone whose socio-economic situation met the requirements should subscribe to the "Liver" Program where they would be monitored by professionals on the Liver Committee.

She said that the program would run in five public hospitals - Cabral y Baez in Santiago, Padre Billini, Moscoso Puello, the Dominican Social Security Institute and Marcelino Velez Santana.

She said that she believed that the new treatments available mean that hepatitis C would soon become a thing of the past. Fermin added that there are now fewer hepatitis cases and that the mortality rate was much lower due to early detection.


More government revenues but basic sectors warn of slowed growth
The Medina administration has successfully met its budgeted totals, but a report in El Caribe warns that key taxation areas show there are problems. For the first five months of the year taxation reached RD$175 billion for a 102.3% budget compliance. But the main tax on sales (ITBIS), that should contribute 25% of all taxation revenues, underperformed with a 97.5% in its domestic component. The ITBIS levied in Customs reported a 105% level of compliance. The government had also estimated RD$20.3 billion in the fuel tax, but only secured RD$19.2 billion in the first five months of the year. Despite the increasingly higher cost of fuel, taxation for Law 112-00 was 93.5% and 97% for Law 557-05 for hydrocarbons.


Government taking on unauthorized debt
Diario Libre reports that the 2014 National Budget authorized the government to take on loans for specific projects for US$3.37 billion and EUR7 million. These loans were to be made with international commercial banking for terms of a minimum of seven years and market interest rate.

Diario Libre reports that the total approved in the budget does that include the issuing of global bonds that Congress authorized for US$1.5 billion in the 2014 National Budget.

In the financial analysis, Diario Libre reports that as of May, the government had already placed bonds for the authorized amount at 30 years and an interest rate of 7.45% and 7.5%.

According to the report, the amount does not include the authorization so that the Ministry of Hacienda issue bonds for the domestic market and take on debt with the local banks for RD$33.6 billion.

The newspaper reports that overall the PLD-majority legislators have approved new debt for US$6 billion. PLD senators have defended the borrowing of RD$202.64 billion in bonds from 27 February to 26 July 2014.

Senator Rafael Calderon said that the funds were being used for social programs, including housing, aqueduct construction and education.

Writing in Diario Libre today, Tuesday 29 July 2014, economist Eduardo Garcia Michel says that the quasi fiscal debt has also been increasing. In June 2004 it accounted for a RD$82.78 billion debt, but by June 2014 this had grown to RD$330.98 billion.




North of country having electricity issues
The EdeNorte distribution company says that a series of breakdowns affected the system at the Puerto Plata substation on Saturday afternoon, 26 July as well as the Puerto Plata I-San Marcos line and the Puerto Plata I-Playa Dorada line on Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, 27 July 2014.

The company said that that was the main reason for the lack of electricity in Puerto Plata municipality last weekend.

In addition, a number of problems were reported on the line from Playa Dorada to the airport which affected the electricity supply in Montellano, La Aviacion, Sosua, Cabarete, Sabaneta and Gaspar Hernandez.

Operations were affected at the International Gregorio Luperon Airport as well as the Madre Vieja substation which belongs to the Puerto Plata Water and Sewage Corporation (CORAAPLATA), causing water cuts in the whole area as well. EDENORTE said that they were working to solve the problem as quickly as possible.


Illegal arms destroyed
Yesterday, Monday 28 July 2014, Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito attended the destruction of more than 2,000 illegal firearms of various types and calibers that had been confiscated around the country.

The event was also witnessed by the Minister of Interior Jose Ramon Fadul, National District Mayor Roberto Salcedo, National Police chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo, National District prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso, and Minister of Culture Jose Antonio Rodriguez.

At the Peace and Brotherhood monument in the Centro de los Heroes in Santo Domingo, a hundred children released the same number of doves into the air as a symbol of peace and the hope that the Dominican Republic would become a country free of violence.

A number of personalities including journalist Roberto Cavada and lawyer and shooting survivor Jordi Veras also attended the event.

Francisco Dominguez Brito said that from January to June this year, 576 people had lost their lives due to firearms and another 227 were stabbed. He said that the destruction of the weapons was part of the National Citizen Safety Plan introduced by President Danilo Medina and that whilst the number of deaths was high, there had been 76 fewer than over last year.


Fire in Constanza still burning
The Minister of Environment Bautista Rojas Gomez has announced that a private fire fighting plane and two Air Force helicopters will now be used to try to control the fire in Valle Nuevo, Constanza. He also said that he was coordinating help with the United States and Colombia.

Rojas Gomez said that the authorities were dealing with an emergency, but there were no homes or agricultural land in the affected area.

He said that the first fire that started 10 days ago was more or less extinguished but last Wednesday some farmers started another fire that got out of control. He said that so far more than 5,000 tareas, 777 acres, had been burned and that 200 people were trying to put the fire out.

He finished by saying that whoever had started the fire would be prosecuted and that 70% of the affected pine forest would recover once the rains started.


Motorcycle drag race ends in tragedy
An informal motorcycle race on the 6 November highway on Sunday, 27 July 2014 has cost the life of a 22-year old man from Santo Domingo.

Enriquez Luis Rodriguez Puello was taking part in a competition that had prize money of RD$100,000.

The accident happened when one of the competitors pushed Rodriguez Puello's motorbike with his foot and he hit the railing of a bridge going over the highway, in front of the Goya factory.

The motorcycles are prepared for the race to run fast and without brakes, which frequently causes accidents.

Local residents say that despite the fact that the Metropolitan Transport Authority (Amet) is close by, the races are held three or four times a week, usually on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, starting at 2pm and finishing about 8pm.


Omega to stay in jail
A court in Santiago has confirmed a three-month prison sentence on remand for merengue singer Antonio Peter de la Rosa (Omega), who is accused of shooting and wounding several people in a commercial center in Santiago earlier this year.

The court made the decision following a request from the Public Prosecution Service, even though the victims have not pressed charges against the singer.

Omega is accused of shooting Felix Antonio Rumaldo Martinez, 25 and Adalberto Genao Vargas, 18, during an incident in Colinas Mall on March 8 2014.

Omega started serving his sentence in the Rafey Men's prison in Santiago on June 2, after being arrested in Santo Domingo when leaving a discotheque.


Charles Aznavour's music at the National Theater
"Iremos a Verona" is a romantic play told through the lyrics of memorable Charles Aznavour songs. The plot takes place in a Caribbean island. The play will be showing at the Sala Ravelo of the National Theater on 30-31 July and 1, 2 and 3 August. It is directed by Ruth Alfonsina Emeterio, production by Samuel Esteban. Tickets: RD$300. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 6:30pm.

Ana Carla Maza violoncello benefit at the National Theater
18-year old Cuban violoncellist Ana Carla Maza will be playing at the National Theater's Aida Bonnelly Hall on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 at 8:30pm. She will play arrangements of pieces by Dominican composers accompanied by Maestro Manuel Tejada. The concert is a fundraising initiative by the Fundacion AAVA Dominicana in benefit of the Escuela San Jose de los Mogotes.

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

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