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Daily News - Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Puerto Plata orders end to cargo monopoly at ports
In a landmark case, judges Carlos Martinez and Andys Mendoza of the Puerto Plata Labor Court of have ordered an end to the monopoly on cargo transport imposed by the truckowners union (Fenatrado). The truck union claims that a government administrative resolution obliges cargo owners to use them to transport at least 50% of the cargo that is loaded at ports.

The president of the Association of Commerce and Industries of Santiago (ACIS), Sandy Filpo welcomed the decision. He said that companies could now use their own trucks to transport their merchandise. He said the court decision creates a precedent that should be followed in other jurisdictions.

Through threats of vandalism and violence, Fenatrado has forced users of cargo transport to grant their affiliates 50% of all cargo transport. They claim that a government administrative resolution supports their monopolistic practices. This is in violation of the Constitution that guarantees the right to free enterprise and free market for the purchase of goods and contracting of services based on agreement between the parties, and the ban on monopolies or oligopolies that alter the harmonious relationship between supply and demand.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/08/27/i763871_corte-puerto-plata-rompe-monopolio-transporte-carga.html

15,082 overseas scholarships in three years
Higher Education Minister Ligia Amada Melo reports that over the three-year period from 2012 to 2014, 15,082 scholarships have been issued for studies abroad. The country breakdown for the scholarships is: Spain (1,352), United States (302), Brazil (96) and France (85). Students have also been awarded scholarships to study in countries including Cuba, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Honduras, Argentina, Costa Rica, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Higher Education negotiates with universities in these countries for financial backing for Dominican students, and the government also makes large contributions. The scholarships are available for a wide range of studies.

To apply for the scholarships, the students must be Dominican and have an 80+ average from high school or university. For more information, see http://www.mescyt.gob.do

Proindustria speaks out for local manufacturing
The director of the Center for Industrial Development and Competitiveness (Proindustria) favors the elimination of the 18% ITBIS tax on uncollected bills and the 1% on assets.

Proindustria director Alexandra Izquierdo expressed her concern that local manufacturing is losing its share of GDP. Alexandra Izquierdo says that no country can develop with a declining productive sector. She added that measures must be taken to reduce the high cost of energy.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.listin.com.do/economia-and-negocios/2014/8/26/335133/Preocupa-caida-de-la-actividad-industrial

Negative trade balance with Japan
According to a document presented to the Senate by the Japanese ambassador, Takashi Fuchigami, the Dominican Republic's exports to Japan are at US$28.6 million a year, consisting of ferronickel, medical equipment and cacao. The DR imports US$173.5 million in vehicles and machinery, for a recent negative trade balance of US$144.9 million with Japan.

The senators say that Japan has compensated the negative trade balance with donations up to 2012 that have totaled US$254.94 million plus technical cooperation of US$309.88 million.

Japan also loans the Dominican Republic money and at the moment the amount outstanding is US$315.80 million.

Read more in Spanish: http://hoy.com.do/balanza-comercial-con-japon-negativa-en-us144-9-mm/

Chamber of Deputies passes Loma Miranda Park bill
On Tuesday, 26 August 2014, the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that grants national park status to Loma Miranda. The main focus of the declaration is to ban Falcondo from carrying out mining operations in the mountain. The Ministry of Environment has already rejected an environmental impact study presented by the company that had requested permission to mine in Loma Miranda.

National Park status bans commercial operations in the park area. It will also affect local farmers and landowners. The bill now moves to the Senate for approval. President Danilo Medina had said he would wait for the bill to pass in Congress before issuing his opinion. The President can still veto the bill.

As reported, the bill could mean large compensations to the landowners by the state.

Read more in Spanish:



Chikungunya slowing down
The number of chikungunya cases in the Dominican Republic now stands at 429,000 as of 15 August 2014, making it by far the country with the highest number of people infected in the Western Hemisphere. Six people have died from the mosquito-borne illness in the DR.

According to the latest Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) report, released on Friday 22 August 2014, approximately 585,000 cases have been reported in the Americas since the first cases appeared in December 2013.

Despite the large numbers in the Dominican Republic, Health Minister Freddy Hidalgo says that the incidence of the disease has been decreasing in all regions of the country in the last six weeks.

After reporting some 13,000 cases during the latest week, the epidemiological report states that the provinces with the highest incidence at week 32 are Puerto Plata with 1,733, La Vega with 1,370, while Santiago recorded 1,210, Espaillat 1,217, and the National District 1,315.

Hidalgo says he expects the downward trend to continue in coming weeks.

Read more: http://outbreaknewstoday.com/dominican-republic-chikungunya-case-count-at-429000-incidence-decreasing-health-officials-15261/

National Theater main hall closed for repairs
The Ministry of Culture has ordered the closure of the Carlos Piantini Hall at the National Theater in order to start repairs immediately. The decision was reached after last weekend, when a performance by the Prague Ballet was affected by a heavy rainstorm that caused rainwater to leak onto the stage. As announced, all events scheduled for the theater will be cancelled, with the exception of a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra this evening, Wednesday, 27 August 2014 and the stage production of Hamlet by the Globe Theater on Saturday, 30 August 2014.

Culture Minister Jose Antonio Rodriguez said the repairs had not started earlier so as not to affect the booked performances.

The Ministry says that shows at the smaller halls, the Ravelo and Aida Bonnelly de Diaz, will also continue.

Ivan Ogando appointed to Flacso
The Latin American Social Sciences Institute or Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO) has appointed Dominican Ivan Ogando as its new director.

Flacso is an inter-governmental autonomous organization for Latin America and the Caribbean dedicated to research, teaching and spreading of social sciences. Ogando was previously director-general of Cariforum.

On the occasion of his presentation at the Museo de Casas Reales in Santo Domingo last week, Ogando said that he would work to strengthen the Flacso program, with both an academic and institutional focus.

Appeal sought for case against Canoa in Cabarete
Tourism business organizations in Cabarete and Sosua are urging Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito to appeal against a decision by a court in Puerto Plata that has discharged Gabriel Mora (Canoa) and Eddy Morfe of accusations of corruption involving RD$189 million in the local government of Cabarete.

During the hearing on Monday, 21 August 2014, judges Rosa Francia Liriano, Irina Ventura and Venecia Rojas said that the arguments presented by the Attorney General did not contain sufficient proof to declare the accused guilty.

The leaders of the Cabarete Development Association (ADECA), Michel Gay-Crossier, the Sosua and Cabarete Hotel Association (ASHORESOCA) Tomas Callender and the Sosua Sustainable Development Association Andres Gustavo Pastoriza said that the appeal should be heard in a court outside of Puerto Plata. They said that historically, judges in Puerto Plata have ruled leniently in favor of the former municipal director of Cabarete. They expressed doubts after defenders and friends of Canoa and Morfe declared publicly that their discharge had been "arranged" and that they would be released on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The accusation against Canoa and Morfe was presented by Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito in February 2013 for serious damage to the Laguna de Cabarete, along with other charges.

Read more in Spanish: http://acento.com.do/2014/politica/8168652-asociaciones-piden-dominguez-brito-apelar-decision-tribunal-descarga-canoa/

Woman accused for Euros smuggling
A Dominican woman was arrested on Saturday, 23 August 2014 at Punta Cana International Airport trying to bring around EUR200,000 into the country. She had arrived on a flight from Brussels and the authorities suspect that the money was intended for funding drug-dealing operations.

According to the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD), she was detained following a lengthy intelligence operation. The money was concealed in a double-bottomed suitcase.

The 21-year old woman arrived in the country with her one-year old daughter, who was handed over to her grandmother after her mother's arrest.

Read more in Spanish: http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/08/25/i760221_apresan-joven-dominicana-con-200-mil-euros-aeropuerto-punta-cana.html

Juan Luis Guerra releases "Tus besos"
Dominican Juan Luis Guerra has released a new music track, Tus besos. The song is described as a mix of bachata in 1950s and 60s-style rock and roll.

Listen to his music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5I-N37vpCc

More rains forecast for this week
The Weather Office is forecasting more rains for the rest of the week. A tropical wave is moving through and will bring rains nationwide. This is addition to the extensive cloud systems that resulted from the passing of what is now Hurricane Cristobal.

Lows of 22C are forecast for Santo Domingo and Santiago, 23C in Punta Cana.

Highs of 33C are forecast for Santiago, with lower temperatures of 31C for Santo Domingo and 30C for Punta Cana.

Victor Estrella wins at US Open
Dominican Republic's best tennis player ever, 34-year old Victor Estrella Burgos won his first game at the US Open Tournament in Flushing Meadows, New York yesterday, Tuesday 26 August 2014. Estrella is the first Dominican ever to make it into the top 100 of the Association of Tennis Professionals and the first Dominican to play in the US Open. Estrella is ranked 80th in the world.

He defeated Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands who was ranked 72nd in the world 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 and 6-2.

Estrella will now go on to play 17-year old Borna Coric from Croatia who is ranked 204th by ATP. Despite his relatively low ranking, Coric is described as a rising star. In round one of the US Open he defeated Czech Lukas Rosol who is ranked 29th by ATP.

News reports have highlighted that Estrella made history becoming the oldest tennis player to debut in the US Open.

As reported in Diario Libre, the president of the Dominican Olympic Committee pointed out that Felix Sanchez had won his second gold medal on the same date, 26 August, in 2012. Diario Libre reports that the win represented US$60,420 in earnings for Estrella.

Follow the US Open action at http://www.2014.usopen.org/




Dominican team to FIBA Cup chosen
Orlando Antigua has chosen the Dominican team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup that opens in Madrid on 30 August 2014. The selection consists of guards Juan Coronado, James Feldeine, Edgar Sosa, Ronald Ramon, Manuel Fortuna and Victor Liz. Also forwards Eulis Baez, Francisco Garcia, Orlando Sanchez, Jack Michael Martinez and Edward Santana, and center Eloy Vargas. This is the same team that qualified for the world basketball games, with the addition of Victor Liz.

The Dominican Republic (ranked 26th by FIBA) will play its first game against Ukraine (ranked 45th) in Bilbao on Saturday, 1 September 2014 at 6:30am Dominican time. The DR is in Group C where it will also play New Zealand (#19), Finland (#39), Turkey (#7) and the United States (#1).

This is the second time the DR will compete in a FIBA World Championship. The first time was in 1978.

Read more:



Caribbean Series 2015 dates released
The winning team in the Dominican Professional Winter Baseball League will travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico to play the Caribbean Series from 2-8 February 2015.

The organizing committee recently released the games program.

The DR's first match will be against Venezuela on 3 February, against Mexico on 4 February, against Cuba on 5 February, and against Puerto Rico on 6 February.

Volunteers sought for Funglode Film Festival
Funglode is recruiting volunteers to work in the Funglode Film Festival scheduled to take place 11-19 November nationwide. There will be screenings in Barahona, Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Cap Cana, Nagua and in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. To participate, see http://www.festivaldecineglobal.org

International Dance Festival at Bellas Artes
Dance companies from Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Martinique, Norway, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland and host Dominican Republic will be participating in the 9th International Dance Festival (Edanco 2014). The event opens at the Palacio de Bellas Artes on 16 September and performances will continue through 28 September. The festival is organized by Edmundo Poy.

The Nadine Animato Dance Company from Israel opens the festival at 8:30pm on 16 September. Earlier that day, the Maduixa Teatre of Spain will dance in the Children's Edanco at 5:30pm at the Monina Sola hall of the Centro Cultural Narciso Gonzalez in Villa Juana, Santo Domingo.

The Academia Pique of Canada will perform twice, on 24 September at 5:30pm and 8:30pm at Bellas Artes.

Tickets are RD$100 for performances at 8:30pm Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, 21 September, there will be two performances, one at 11:30am and another at 8:30pm. On the closing of the festival, on Sunday, 28 September, a Dominican Night will be held, with Dominican ballet performances at 5:30pm and 8:30pm.

Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival opens 10 September
The DR Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) sponsored by Funglode will take place from 10-14 September in 10 cities nationwide: Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, San Francisco de Macoris, Bani, San Juan de la Maguana, La Vega, Samana, San Cristobal and Sosua.

Enrique Cerasuolo is attending for the screening of his film, "Last Call" that will open the festival on 10 September at the Palacio de Cine in Santo Domingo's Agora Mall at 5pm.

The festival screenings will be followed by interactive panel discussions with directors and experts. The focus is on oceans, biodiversity, ecological economy, sustainable agriculture and climate change.

The festival also includes a children's educational program in line with the festival's goal of raising awareness and enhancing the understanding of environmental issues among Dominican audiences.

Be Crazy concert postponed until 5 September
Promoter Leo Subervi announced that the Summer + Crazy concert, with a performance by the Be Crazy band has been postponed until 5 September due to the rains that have been falling in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Cristobal. The group will perform as of 6pm at Plaza de Espana in Santo Domingo's Colonial City.

Be Crazy is made up of seven graduates of the National Music Conservatory.

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

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