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Daily News - Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Maximiliano William Munoz is new Defense Minister
President Danilo Medina has made changes to the top ranks of his military staff. According to Decree 300-14 issued on Monday, 18 August 2014, the new heads are:

Ministry of Defense: Lieutenant General Maximiliano William Munoz Delgado (Army) is the new Defense Minister. Former Army chief Major General Ruben Dario Paulino Sem was named deputy minister of Defense for military affairs. Former head of the Armada Vice Admiral Edwin Dominici Rosario was named deputy minister of Defense for naval and coastal matters. Air Force Major Ramon Hernandez Hernandez was named deputy minister of Defense for aviation matters. Army Major General Pedro Caceres Chestaro was appointed inspector general of the Armed Forces.

In Decree 301-14 issued on Monday, the President also appointed:

Chief of the Air Force: Major General Elvis Feliz Perez. Brigade General Juan Manuel Puig Hernandez is the new sub-commander of the Air Force. Brigade General Rafael Alegria Arias is the new inspector general of the Air Force.

Chief of the Army: Brigadier General Carlos Manuel Aguirre Reyes. Brigade General Rafael Carrasco Paulino was named deputy head of the Army. Brigade General Pedro Hurtado Cabreja is the new inspector general of the Army.

Chief of the Armada: Vice Admiral Edmundo Felix Pimentel. Rear Admiral Emilio Recio Segura was named Deputy Commander of the Armada. Rear Admiral Felix Cedeno Guerrero is the new inspector general of the Armada.

Likewise, President Medina made changes in security and transport corps under the military forces that were announced in Decree 302-14.

Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET): The new director is Air Force pilot, Brigadier General Pablo Arturo Pujols.

Electoral Military Police: Brigade General Eduardo Manin Liberato (Army)

Specialized Corps of Border Security (CESFRONT): Brigade General Carlos Manuel Aguirre Reyes (Army).

Specialized Corps of Tourist Security (CESTUR): Air Force, Brigadier General Juan Carlos Torres Robiou.

Specialized Corps of Airport Security and Civil Aviation (CESAC): General Aracenis Castillo de la Cruz (Air Force)

Specialized Corps for Metro Security (CESMET): General Boanerges Reyes Batista (Army)

San Isidro Air Force Base: General Miguel Paulino Espinal

Puerto Plata Air Force base: Air Force General Richard Vasquez Jimenez

Specialized Corps of Port Security (CESEP): Rear Admiral of the Navy, Felix Alburquerque

Vocational Schools of the Air Force and Police: Luis Payan Diaz

Specialized Corps of Fuel Controls: Huascar Dario Gonzalez Payano

By decree 303-14, the President named:

Colonel Ramon Artiles Santamaria (Air Force), as director of the Ramon de Lara Military Hospital, and Colonel Agustin Iglesias Melo (Army), as director of the Central Armed Forces Hospital.


President meets with Ibero-American Gastronomy Academy
The Ibero-American Gastronomy Academy has plans for the Dominican Republic. Yesterday, Monday 18 August 2014, key representatives met with President Danilo Medina to exchange ideas on the initiatives outlined for the country.

Defense Minister Admiral Sigfrido Pared Perez gave details on the visit. He highlighted that the gastronomy academy would contribute to the integration of culture and tourism.

Academy spokesman Jose Carlos Santiago said that this would be the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

This initiative would establish the Dominican Republic as a hallmark along with the other 12 participating nations.

Pared Perez is an academic in the new institution along with others including Jose Soto, Luis Ros and Manuel Gonzalez Cuesta.



President meets Miss Universe and Miss Dominican Republic
President Danilo Medina received Miss Universe 2013, Gabriela Isler of Venezuela and the new Miss Dominican Republic, Kimberly Castillo at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Monday 18 August.

The beauty queens spent 20 minutes with the President. Miss Universe was here as a judge in the Miss Universe Dominican Republic competition. The Presidency reported that she spoke about her home country, Venezuela, with the President.

Meanwhile, the Presidency reported that Kimberly Castillo told President Medina about her experience of being crowned as Miss Dominican Republic on Sunday night, 17 August 2014.


The Economist: Medina, doing well, but could do better
The Economist magazine has published a profile of Dominican President Danilo Medina saying that for a politician who is two years into his term of office, Medina "is enviably popular". The publication highlights that Medina's approval ratings are sky-high; they reached around 90% in one poll, a level usually associated with dictators rather than democrats. Research firm Latinobarometro ranks him as the most popular leader in Latin America, as reported.

The Economist attributes much of his popularity to his image as a down-to-earth leader who travels around the country on impromptu visits, pledging financial support that is actually delivered. A campaign pledge to boost education spending to 4% of GDP is being implemented. The Economist writes that he also wins plaudits for championing a literacy drive. A weak and fractious opposition helps.

The British publication says that Medina got high marks internationally for creating a path to citizenship for some people of Haitian descent, following a court ruling that threatened to leave them stateless.

The Economist reports that even economists seem to like him. According to Franco Uccelli of J.P. Morgan, "His greatest achievement [is] massive fiscal consolidation without sacrificing growth," The central government deficit narrowed from 6.8% in GDP in 2012 to 2.6% in 2013 and is expected to end around that level in 2014. Real GDP growth rose from 3.9% in 2012 to 4.1% in 2013 and is likely to close 2014 at around 5%, thanks largely to tourism, remittances and mining exports."

But The Economist also comments that Medina's record on many issues "is far from perfect". It says that the Dominican Republic has the same energy problems as other parts of the Caribbean. It continues to suffer from frequent power outages, which experts blame on inadequate investment and rampant electricity theft.

Crime also remains a serious problem, as seen by the publication. It reports that "despite the president's pledge to create 'a new police' when he took office in August 2012, the force remains plagued by corruption and inefficiency. "Several plans have been implemented but none attack the roots of the problem and the perception of widespread insecurity continues, as do repeated problems in the judiciary," says Adriano Tejada, editor of Diario Libre, as quoted by The Economist.


Tax on Internet purchases stopped
Judges at the Superior Administrative Tribunal (TSA) have ordered the director general of Customs to not tax Internet purchases under US$200. Customs had announced the measure would go into effect on 15 August 2014.

The upper court, headed by Federico Fernandez and also including Rafael Ciprian and Mildred Hernandez, took the decision following a writ preventing the tax issued by the Foundation for Justice and Transparency, Dominican Defense Alliance for Consumers and Users, the Dominican Electronic Chamber of Commerce and the Dominican Association of Courier Businesses (ASODEC).

The upper court also rejected the defense put forward by the Customs and the other advocates of taxation on Internet purchases, including the National Organization of Commercial Businesses, the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production, the National Association of Importers, the National Business Union and the National Association of Textile Industries. The organizations say that the duty free treatment is unfair trading.


Haiti and the Dominican Republic to work together
National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) chief Major General Julio Cesar Souffront Velazquez, German Ambassador Victoria Zimmermann Von Siefart, and the director of the Haitian anti-drugs agency, Joris Mergelus, headed a graduation ceremony for 27 officers and agents from both agencies yesterday, Monday 18 August 2014. The agents had attended a training course on "The Fight against Drug Crime".

The workshop was sponsored by the German Embassy and given by German expert, Karls Roland, from the German Anti Drug Agency (BGA). Twenty Dominicans and seven Haitians attended the workshop.

Souffront Velazquez thanked the German Embassy for the course and said that it was vitally important that the two countries worked together against drug criminals.

Zimmermann Von Siefart highlighted the importance of international police cooperation against a crime that knows no geographical boundaries.


Need to modernize agriculture sector
According to Doctor Rafael Ledesma, the country is facing a need to increase agricultural production for export, improve the health, safety and quality of foodstuffs, and reduce costs to compete in international markets.

Ledesma, who has 35 years of agriculture experience in several countries, is president of the Greenhouse Cluster and executive director of Farmer to Farmer in the country. He stressed that the agriculture sector needs to modernize to become more productive, efficient and competitive. He said that other challenges were to increase wages for agricultural workers, to generate jobs and offer attractive living conditions for rural families.


Dominicans returning home from Spain
The continuing economic crisis affecting Spain and other European countries had led to a mass return of Dominicans to the country. Many have lost their jobs or their small businesses have gone under. In addition, in the last few weeks hundreds more have returned with tickets bought by the Dominican consulates in the United States, Puerto Rico, Panama, Venezuela, Aruba and Curacao, St. Martin, Guadeloupe, and other countries.

Dominicans returning from Spain interviewed by El Nacional at Las Americas Airport said that life for Dominicans there, especially for those who were illegal, was very difficult and that some were just surviving thanks to the help of friends who gave them clothes, medicines and food.

They said that there were many Dominicans, maybe even thousands, who wanted to return home but did not have the money or family to help them. They said that many had lost their businesses as they were unable to repay their bank loans.


Turtle shell souvenirs confiscated
The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources has confiscated more than a 100 carvings made out of turtle shell. Trading in turtle shells is illegal according to Environment Law 64-00.

The measure is part of a nationwide conservation plan by the environmental authorities aimed at eradicating the hunting and killing of turtles and selling of turtle shells in the country.

The Ministry said that the confiscation took place on the beaches of Paya, los Guineos and Bibijagua, in La Romana and La Altagracia provinces in more than 15 establishments and that the articles included combs, boxes, earrings, and other items made from turtle shell. The artifacts were delivered to the National History Museum.


Prosecutor to be prosecuted for planting gun
Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito has ordered the arrest of San Jose de Ocoa public prosecutor Jose Miguel Cuevas Paulino after proof that he had planted a firearm under a bed during a search of suspect Erin Miguel Andujar's (alias Pena) house was presented. Andujar has confessed to being a drug distributor in Ocoa, but no drugs were found during the search by Cuevas and prosecutor Felipe Isa.

A video recording showed the gun being placed under the bed by Cuevas on Tuesday, 12 August 2014. Dominguez Brito ordered an investigation into all employees at the Ocoa Prosecution Office to guarantee due respect for the law, as reported in Hoy newspaper. Dominguez said that his office defends the rule of the law and due process. He said that these kinds of actions were unacceptable regardless of the crimes a suspect may have committed. "We confirm our commitment to the truth and that incidents of this nature should not be without consequence," said the Attorney General.

Andujar was injured by Police officers during an anti-drug operation near Ocoa several months ago after reporting that he paid a "toll" of RD$10,000 a week to then prosecutor Rosanna Rodriguez, who was replaced by Cuevas Paulino, and several members of the local police.

See the video showing the weapon being planted:



Bartolo Colon flies back home to say goodbye to his mom
Star Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon made it back in time to say goodbye to his mother, 63-year old Adriana Morales who had been suffering from breast cancer. She died of heart attack, her doctors told Listin Diario. She was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at the Corominas Clinic in Santiago on Friday 15 August 2014. Colon plays for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Republic. He was due to start for the Mets yesterday, Monday 18 August 2014, but when he was told about the severity of his mother's condition, took a game leave and flew down to Santiago arriving on a private plane at noon.

Recently, Colon became only the third Dominican in MLB to pitch for 200 wins, behind Juan Marichal (243) and Pedro Martinez (219). The Mets expect him back in action within the next seven days. A wake for his late mother will take place in Santiago and she will be laid to rest in her native Altamira, Puerto Plata tomorrow, Tuesday 20 August 2014.

Still no rain
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) has said that there will be little rain due to a high-pressure system over the country.

Weather forecasters say that temperatures will remain very high and about 34 degrees Celsius during the day across the whole country also due to Saharan dust and a warm wind blowing over from the east south east.

Occasional showers are forecast for the central mountain range and Los Haitises in the northeast.


Borrowed Songs at Hard Rock Cafe
Everyone's favorites with Laura Rivera and guest performers Maridalia Hernandez, Pavel Nunez, Covi Quintana, Maximo Martinez and Tony Almont tomorrow, Wednesday 20 August 2014, at 9pm at the Hard Rock Cafe Santo Domingo at Blue Mall. The musical director is Rafa Payan. Tickets for sale at Supermercados Nacional, Jumbo, Uepa.com for RD$800 and RD$2000 VIP. Reservations 809 686-7771.

AlternaTRIO at Terrazas del Meson
The Galleries & Las Terrazas del Meson presents AlternaTRIO playing boleros and golden oldies this evening, Tuesday 19 August at 9pm. Av. Mirador del Sur, Santo Domingo.

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

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