President Medina travels to Colombia|
President Danilo Medina will travel on 6 August 2014 to Bogota, Colombia to attend the inauguration of the second term of President Juan Manuel Santos on 7 August. Medina will depart from the San Isidro Air Base on a private plane at 5 pm to Colombia and will return the next day in the afternoon. He will be accompanied by Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ramon Peralta, Minister of Hacienda (Finance) Simon Lizardo and Acting Minister of Foreign Relations Jose Manuel Trullols. President Medina will also travel with his personal assistant Carlos Pared Perez and chief of the Presidential Security Corps Major General Adan Caceres Silvestre, as reported in Diario Libre.
Government insists on taxing Internet purchases|
Ministry of Hacienda (Finance), the DGII, and Customs Agency insist that the taxation of Internet purchases under US$200 will begin on 15 August 2014. These imports had been exempt from taxation as per Law 277-12.
Customs director Fernando Fernandez has said the exemption now only applies to articles made in countries with which the DR has free trade agreements, and does not apply to imports of products made in Asia, for example.
In a joint note, the government entities referred to Art. 4 of Decree 402-05 where they explain it is clear that this action does not grant tax exemptions nor create new taxes. They argue duty free treatment was given because of a "confusion."
Nevertheless, when Fiscal Reform Law 253-13 revoked the privilege, at the request of President Medina, the PLD majority Congress passed Law 277-12 that reinstated the duty free treatment to imports under US$200 transported by couriers, regardless of their origin.
The measure is being disputed by several lawsuits filed at the Superior Administrative Court (TSA). The TSA reviews the legality of decisions taken by government bodies.
Nude protest is illegal in DR|
Laura Castellanos, legal counsel to the Association of Dominican Courier Companies (Asodec), warned protesters belonging to the Juventud Democrata Institucional (JDI), the youth brand of the minority party Partido Democrata Institucional (PDI), that their announced nude protest is illegal. "It is a form of protest we do not encourage nor support," she told the press speaking in the name of Asodec. Asodec has been very vocal in protesting the Customs Agency notice that as of 15 August 2014 Internet purchases under US$200 (that previously were tax exempt) would be subject to taxation. The organizers of the nude protest had urged participants to gather at the Parque La Lira between Abraham Lincoln and at the start of Lope de Vega Avenue to protest the announced government elimination of duty free treatment on Internet purchases under US$200.
Lawyer Trajano Vidal Potentini of the Justice and Transparency Foundation, a legal entity that has filed a recourse at the Superior Administrative Court (TSA) to challenge the legality of the new taxation ruling acknowledged that the nude protest is a crime.
Lawyer Julio de la Rosa Tiburcio also said that the Dominican Penal Code has penalties for those that would violate what are considered "proper behavior" in the country.
Foreigners get nationality free, Dominicans have to pay US$500|
The president of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, Federico (Quique) Antun complained publicly yesterday that while the naturalization process is free for foreigners in the Dominican Republic, Dominican expats abroad have to pay upwards of US$500 at Dominican consulates to initiate the naturalization procedures for their children born abroad. He noted that the irony that Dominican authorities have set aside more than RD$1 billion to register foreigners living in the DR, but nothing has been set aside for Dominicans who live abroad.
Expats presented the complaint when he visited the chapters of the PRSC in the United States. On behalf of his political party, Antun demanded equal treatment in naturalization processes for Dominicans born abroad.
Pension funds yield drops|
The Superintendent of Pension Funds (Sipen) Joaquin Jeronimo said that while the total in Dominican pension funds is now at RD$275.65 billion as of 30 June 2014, or 10.9% of the GDP, the yield on these savings has been declining. Jeronimo said the funds have been performed at nominal yield of 11.76%, but the real yield was reported to be 7.47%.
Capitalization of the Pension Funds are managed by five Pension Fund Administrators (AFP). The Sipen report indicated that RD$76.88 billion are in AFP Popular, representing 35.7%; RD$53.57 billion are in AFP Scotia Crecer, which is 24.9%; RD$47.84 billion are in AFP Siembra fund, which represents 22.2%; in AFP Reservas there are RD$35 billion that is 16.2%; and in AFP Romana there are RD$2.22 billion representing just 1%.
Jose del Castillo wants to be Barahona's senator|
Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo is openly campaigning for the PLD candidacy for senator for Barahona, his home province. As reported in El Nuevo Diario he said that over the past several months he has held meetings with the PLD members in that province.
He noted that as part of his campaign he has already placed billboards in the province that advertise his aspirations to become Barahona's senator.
Other aspiring senator candidates in the province are Barahona governor Pedro Pena and the present senator of Barahona, Eddy Mateo Vasquez, who is seeking re-election.
Research calls for more R&D for manufacturing|
The Dominican Republic Association of Industries (AIRD) has published a research study entitled, "Analysis of Intellectual Capital of Dominican Companies: the Importance of Ideas and Knowledge". Among other things, the study recommends that the Tax Agency (DGII) recognize intangibles as company assets, as reported in El Nuevo Diario.
The study was carried out by Victor Gomez Valenzuela and sponsored by the Dominican Office of Intellectual Property, the National Competitiveness Council, Atabey and the AIRD.
The study concludes that the Dominican economy can be knowledge- based, but strategic investments must be made to foster innovation and long-term growth of this sector.
The study confirmed that it is necessary that as a society we understand that it is not possible to create sustainable high value sources of development capital and social inclusion if the capacity of Dominican industry to become competitive in the long term is hindered.
Gomez Valenzuela called for changes. He said the country is on downward path to lose its manufacturing base - given that in 2015 most imports will enter the country tax free under the DR-CAFTA treaty. Gomez advocated for the tax authorities to recognize and value the cost of research and development in companies so that the activities can be tax deductible.
Military manning fuel distribution centers|
More than 100 members of the military and police have been sent to the Refidomsa fuel supply terminals in Haina, Azua, and San Pedro de Macoris due to the strike origanized by the Autonomous Drivers Transport Union for Petrol and Related Products (SACTPA) who are demanding a pay rise from their employers.
This security measure was ordered by the Ministry of Defense in coordination with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC), the Specialized Corps of Fuel Control (CECCOM), together with 60 soldiers from the Dominican Republic Army Tactical Unit and 45 police officers.
It is thought that during the protest, the SACTPA drivers would try to block access roads to the terminals stopping all free vehicular travel, which would lead to a disruption to the delivery of fuel across the country.
Drug arrests during July|
The National Police reported that the Central Anti Narcotics Agency (DICAN) has confiscated more than 215,000 grams of different types of drugs and eliminated 1,285 drug sales points during the month of July.
The DICAN spokesperson reports that 958 alleged drug dealers have been arrested and the agency has confiscated 135 motorcycles, eight vehicles, 155 cell phones, 34 weighing scales and seven firearms during the month.
The police said that anti-drug operations had increased across the country on the orders of the head of the police, Major General Manuel Castro Castillo. A particular priority for the agency was to clear public spaces of people who are suspected to be drug dealers.
School books causing headaches|
Purchasing of text books for the new school year is once again proving to be a headache for parents, especially those with children at private schools. Parents complain that they must supply a staggering array of provisions for their children to attend class beginning this month. One parent was told that she must supply the toilet paper for two children who will be attending classes this school year.
The difficulties especially affect the middle class because most public school children will receive school supplies, backpacks, uniforms and books from the government.
Educators note that the price of the books for the basic subjects run between RD$900 and RD$1,000. On top of these costs, the parents have to buy uniforms, back packs and shoes for their kids.
One mother said that she could not buy all her son needed. Her son's shopping list included 14 books (including a Bible) and other school supplies.
National database system for cattle|
Cattle in the Dominican Republic will now be traced through a national database that will track breeding and health records.
The traceability program, launched by the Ministry of Agriculture last week, hopes to bring Dominican cattle health and monitoring protocols up to international standards.
Agriculture Minister Angel Estevez said that the country wants to become one of the largest exporters of meat and dairy in the world.
The Ministry's message is that the initiative, part of an 'irreversible global trend of recording information', will benefit all stakeholders in the meat value chain.
Summarizing benefits for cattlemen: "[The initiative] benefits producers because it enables consumers to obtain timely information about the source of meat. This traceability translates into greater confidence and food safety for consumers," the government said in a statement.
The statement added: "From the business perspective, traceability also allows producers to maintain eligibility in current exports target markets and gain access to new markets.
"The new system will allow livestock producers to improve breeding stock, while reducing the smuggling and theft of livestock."
Vaccinate your house to fight chikungunya|
Spanish chemist, Pilar Mateo, met with the spokesman of the PLD deputies (majority party in the chamber of Deputies) to offer her solution for the eradication of the chikungunya virus in the country.
She has formulated a paint that while not toxic to humans slowly releases insecticides to combat parasite-spreading insects.
Bayer Cropscience has been contracted to distribute Coopex Inesfly Painting and Coopex Inesfly EM House products. The product is approved by the World Health Organization.
The product is based on polymeric microcapsules that stop growth hormones in the mosquitos that spread the disease. Microcapsules in the insecticide kills eggs and young insects, thus reducing the overall insect population. The insecticide-laden paint retains its potency for 2 to 4 years.
Mateo advocates that the solution calls for a community-based approach that leads to sustained change. The special paint is effective against eradicating chikungunya, dengue and malaria, all diseases transmitted by mosquitos.
Homicides down in July|
The head of the Police, Major General Manuel Castro Castillo met yesterday, 5 August 2014, with the 12 regional directors and 62 Department Commanders to quantify the number of serious crimes committed during July. Castro Castillo reported that there had been a 31% reduction in homicides nation-wide, compared to July 2013.
He explained that from 1 to 31 July there were 45 homicides less than were reported in the same period in 2013.
Castro Castillo says these statistics prove the effectiveness of the policies and programs implemented by the National Police. The Major General stated the increased patrols (especially in Greater Santo Domingo) by his officers were probably the biggest contribution to the drop in homicides.
DR defeats Cuba in round 1 of Centrobasket 2014|
The Dominican Republic men's basketball team defeated Cuba 76-72 in a hard-fought game yesterday in Centrobasket 2014. The DR team attributed the win to offense outbursts in the second and fourth quarters of the game. The DR team is the defending champion in the event. The championship was a qualifier for the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship, with the DR, Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico winning the four available slots. The four teams were undefeated in the event.
"Husbands are Always the Last to Know" at the Bellas Artes|
The comedy by Franklin Dominguez, "Los maridos son siempre los ultimos en enterarse" ("Husbands are Always the Last to Know"), opens at the Palacio de Bellas Artes on Friday, 1 August 2014. The show, which will be staged nightly at 8:30pm, will run through 10 August 2014. Dharma Oriach has the lead role. The cast also includes Carlos Gil, Jose Rodriguez, Harold Gil, Franklin Margarin, Francisco Calderon.
Cultura Profetica at Hard Rock Cafe|
The Puerto Rican reggae group Cultura Profetica has included the Hard Rock Cafe Santo Domingo at Blue Mall in their Americas tour for 2014. They will perform on 3 September 2014.
For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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