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Daily News - Monday, 18 August 2014

Medina and Cassa evoke heroism of Restoration War
Many expected the President to announce new cabinet members at the mid-term point of his four-year presidential term on Saturday, 16 August 2014. Instead, President Danilo Medina delivered a message on the occasion of the 151st anniversary of the restoration of Dominican independence from Spain.

In his message, the President urged Dominicans to work to overcome illiteracy and in this way contribute to a better nation. He also paid tribute to the heroes of the War of Restoration.

President Medina told the Dominican people:

"The War of Restoration was, according to Professor Juan Bosch, the most momentous war in the history of the Dominican Republic. Because it was a war of national liberation but also a social war involving the core of the Dominican people, its impact was such that public opinion at an international level favored the Dominican cause."

On occasion of Restoration Day that was celebrated on 16 August 2014 nationwide, El Dia newspaper editors interviewed the director of the National Archives (AGN) historian Roberto Cassa. As President Danilo Medina did to commemorate the day, Cassa also highlighted the importance of the heroic war. He said that the independence proclaimed in 1865 is the true Dominican independence, more so than that gained from Haiti in 1844. He said the nation had returned to Spanish rule because there was the idea that the Spanish would bring trains and great capital, which didn't happen. Instead the Spanish imposed their domination that was rejected by the Dominicans. Cassa commented that at one time there were 40,000 equipped Spanish troops here, but Dominicans united against them. "At the time of the Restoration Dominicans showed that it is better to be poor and free than prosperous slaves," he told the newspaper.

The War of Restoration broke out on 16 August 1863 and ended with the Spanish troops' departure following Queen Isabella II's annulment of the annexation on 3 March 1865. The country's third proclamation of independence was signed on 14 September 1863. The leading hero of the restoration wars is Puerto Plata's Gregorio Luperon. A museum in the city commemorates his memory.




Medina in Cristo Rey for first day of school
President Danilo Medina was at the new extended day public school, Centro Educativo Padre Eulalio Arias in Cristo Rey low income barrio of Santo Domingo this morning for a ceremony marking the start of the new school year. Some 2,705,297 students are back in school today, Monday 18 August 2014. The government says 6, 207 new classrooms of 10,000 under construction have been added at 422 public schools nationwide. This means 814,474 students in 1,722 schools nationwide will be at school until 4pm, up from around 200,000 during the last school year.


President Medina: government "not a bottomless pit"
Speaking in Dajabon over the weekend of 16-17 August 2014, President Danilo Medina declared that his government would continue to support farming nationwide but called for producers to understand that "this is not a bottomless pit," as reported in El Caribe. He spoke to representatives of 13 farming associations in Dajabon, on the border with Haiti. He said the government is not going around making donations, but is helping farmers with limited financing to see to their most urgent needs. "These funds are not gifts, they are loans. It is financing that has to be paid back to the government," he said. He commented that if the government were to meet all the needs expressed by the farmers, there would not be any more resources left.


Seed bank at the Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens
An investment of RD$20 million is enabling the installation of the country's first seed bank at the Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens, as reported in Diario Libre. The seed bank has the backing of Kew Gardens of London. National Botanical Gardens director Ricardo Garcia says that the seeds would enable key areas to be reforested. He said the seed bank is advanced and the objective is to conserve and manage 3,500 of the island's 6,100 native and endemic plants. He said if well conserved, seeds can last two centuries. "This seed collection is a strategic reserve of the germplasm of Dominican plants," he said. He said the plan dated back to 1980, but the funds were not made available until now.


Services haven't kept up with high rises
The dean of architecture of the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena (UNPHU) University, Omar Rancier, says that while high-rise buildings are not bad per se, there has been a failure when it comes to adapting public services to the increase in density. He stressed the need to approve a regulatory framework and mentioned the bill for a Land Use Law now in Congress. He mentioned the start of construction of the Torre de Plata in Los Cacicazgos without permits, which was stopped after a campaign by local residents.

"Every building that is built in the National District should be an opportunity to have quality sidewalks and quality trees, but given the lack of authority and control and urban discipline, each building and structure becomes a new obstacle to the use of the city," he said, as reported in El Caribe.

Areas that were originally designed for a single dwelling for five people now service 20 apartments with 100 residents. Meanwhile, doctoral candidate in urban sustainability at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Erick Dorrejo says that while high rises are not necessarily destructive, the construction process is faster than the municipal planning process. He said on the plus side pedestrian movement is promoted and there are fewer private cars on the streets, and less pollution. He warned that high density can lead to sewage pollution due the lack of a rain and an adequate sanitation system. Dorrejo explained that as a result, each building constructs its own sewage treatment system and this is polluting the underground water reservoirs.

Domingo Contreras, a pre-candidate for mayor of Santo Domingo, says another consequence of the high rises is an increase in the city's maximum temperature, which has risen from 32 to 34 degrees Celsius. He said this has happened because 35% of the city is "waterproofed with cement."

"Each house that becomes a building is a loss of green space, and when there are no regulations that oblige the city government to replace it in order to keep environmental balance, then we have an environmental loss," said Contreras.


Famous Encajes La Rosario shop opens new branch
For many years, knowledgeable Dominicans would commute to Villa Francisca to shop in the Encajes La Rosario store. It has now opened a branch at Gustavo Mejia Ricart #111 in Julieta, a block west from La Sirena megastore. The store is known as the city's best-stocked haberdashery, selling materials, zippers, buttons, ribbons, lace and other items of interest to sewing and decoration enthusiasts.


Caribbean expert John Collins passes away
One of the most knowledgeable experts on the Caribbean, John Collins, has passed away in Puerto Rico after a long illness. He died on 11 August at the age of 80. Fellow journalist Doreen Hemlock of the Sun Sentinel of Florida wrote his obituary. Collins died of complications following a hip replacement surgery at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He had spent his final years in nursing homes, and his encyclopedia-like mind had already slipped away, writes Hemlock.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, John adopted the Caribbean as his home and lived in the US Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, St. Maarten and mostly in Puerto Rico. He visited almost every island and nation in the region, many of them repeatedly, and contributed to publications across the archipelago.

Collins' work as a journalist earned him four Overseas Press Club awards in Puerto Rico.

As an adviser on Caribbean affairs, he served three gubernatorial administrations in Puerto Rico from 1985-93, when the island helped develop its Section 936 loan program that provided more than US$1 billion in financing to 12 nations in the region.

"Puerto Rico will never realize how much we owe to John Collins," said Antonio Colorado, the island's former secretary of state and its former representative to US Congress. "Our relations with the Caribbean and everything we were able to accomplish in the 1980s and early 1990s was due in a very important part to what John did."

Collins advised the Dominican Republic administrations of Presidents Joaquin Balaguer and Leonel Fernandez. He also contributed for many years as a fellow to the Global Foundation for Democracy & Development in Santo Domingo, founded by Fernandez.

Earlier, he had been a consultant in the US Virgin Islands to then-Senate President Ruby M. Rouss and to Gov. Juan Luis. He was elected as a delegate-at-large to the Fourth Constitutional Convention in the US territory in 1979.

Collins began in Caribbean journalism as a correspondent for United Press International from 1978 to 1983. He then worked with Caribbean Business weekly in Puerto Rico, first on staff and later as a contributor.

Colleagues remember the blue-eyed, high-energy Collins for his insatiable appetite to understand the Caribbean, read its newspapers, know its history, meet its leaders and influence its policy and development.

He served in the US Air Force from 1952 to 1956, deployed in Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Washington DC, Germany, Morocco and Libya.

He considered among his early career accomplishments work at the United Nations as an official of a foundation supporting the UN Relief and Works Agency helping Palestinian refugees in the 1967-70 period and as a conference assistant during the UN General Assembly in 1958 led by Charles Malik of Lebanon.

Two babies die after maternity hospital fire
Two of 81 newborns relocated from the neonatal intensive care unit at the Maternidad Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia, the country's largest maternity hospital, did not survive being evacuated after a short circuit affected the air conditioning in their ward. Sprinklers rapidly put out the fire, forcing the babies to be transferred. The repairs are due for completion this week.

Dr. Luis Rivera confirmed the babies' deaths on Saturday night, 16 August 2014 at the Robert Reid Cabral Children's Hospital where they had been taken together with seven other newborns. Dr. Rivera said the deaths were due to complications linked to their extreme prematurity. The babies, who weighed 2 lb, were in a delicate condition.

The fire caused considerable damage and 18 infants were relocated to the Hugo Mendoza (2) Reid Cabral (8), Los Mina (5), and Reynaldo Almanzar (3) maternity hospitals. Another 63 babies were relocated to other areas in the same maternity hospital. According to reports, 911 Emergency Center units were used in the transfer.

The director of the Robert Reid Cabral hospital, Rosa Nieves Paulino confirmed that eight babies had been hospitalized, including five in the intensive care neonatal area. She said the babies are in stable condition in their intensive care unit. The newborns weigh between one and 1.3 kg.

Hugo Mendoza public hospital director Nordi Naut said that the three babies they received were in stable condition.

As reported in Diario Libre, the fire broke out in the intensive care unit of the La Altagracia maternity at 8:30am on Saturday, 16 August 2014 affecting the incubators at the hospital.




25-peso coin forgery operation closed
The National Police reports that a clandestine laboratory that was used to manufacture 25-peso coins was dismantled over the weekend of 16-17 August 2014. The lab was located in a house in Sabana Perdida, in Santo Domingo Norte. According to the Police report, 32-year old Ramon Calderon Santos was arrested in the operation. During the search at Calle Primera #12 in Villa Pompa, Sabana Perdida, three machines used to manufacture the fake coins and equipment used to stamp the 25 pesos and a scale were seized. The authorities also seized two motorcycles, an oven for drying the coins and dozens of coins ready to be processed as well as two forged coins. The investigation followed claims by motoconcho drivers and storeowners in La Caleta, Boca Chica that their services had been paid for with fake coins.


Kimberly Castillo is Miss Dominican Republic
A 25-year old professional model, Kimberly Castillo was chosen as the Dominican representative at the Miss Universe pageant last night, Sunday 17 August 2014. She was representing Higuey, the city of her birth, at the Miss Dominican Republic pageant held at the National Theater in Santo Domingo. The runners-up were the representative of Santiago, Aletxa Mueses, the representative of the Dominican community in Mexico, Dhio Moreno, and Punta Cana's representative Analiz de la Cruz.

Castillo won the Miss Italia nel Mondo 2010 pageant in Venice when she was 22 years old. That pageant is for descendants of Italians around the world.








The DR loses 1 wins 1 to University of Kentucky basketball
The Dominican Republic won game 2 (63-62) against the University of Kentucky in a six-game exhibition series in Bahamas that served as a warm up for the start of the US collegiate season for the University of Kentucky and for the DR's commitments in the FIBA World Championships at the end of the month. Jack Michael Martinez delivered the winning shot for the Dominican team with 2.5 seconds left. Other teams competing included the reserve team of Puerto Rico and the Champagne Chalon Reims team from professional basketball in France. The DR had lost the first game, 83-71. The University of Kentucky was the winner of the Bahamas series, 5-1, only losing the game to the DR national team that is ranked 26th by FIBA.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/08/17/3384075/live-uk-basketball-vs-dominican.html?sp=/99/268/798/#storylink=cpy

The next important commitment of the DR team is against Team USA in New York City at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 7pm.





Architect Richard Moreta exhibits at the Palacio de Bellas Artes
A Digital Architectural Exhibition by Dominican architect Richard Moreta Castillo, a professor of architecture in Germany takes place from 30 July to 14 September 2014 at the Galeria Nacional at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Av. Maximo Gomez, Santo Domingo. 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.

Anthony Jefferson & Friends at Lulu Tasting Bar
This evening, Monday, 18 de August, Anthony Jefferson & Friends will be performing live at Lulu Tasting Bar in the Colonial City in Santo Domingo at 9pm. Calle Padre Billini #151.

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

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