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Daily News - Monday, 08 September 2014

Government buys RD$125 billion from MSMEs
Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo says that the state has bought RD$125 billion from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) this year, up from RD$60 billion last year. The Medina administration had announced that 20% of all purchases needed to be made from the MSME sector.


New peso bills in circulation
The Central Bank has announced that new currency notes are being issued for 2014. They are illustrated with national flower, the Bayahibe Rose, replacing the mahogany flower, the former national flower.

The Central Bank reported that as of 1 October 2014 new bills will be in circulation for the denominations of RD$2,000, RD$1,000, RD$500, RD$200, RD$100 and RD$50. The RD$20 bill will not be changed.

The Central Bank says that the older bills will still be legal tender.

Roberto Rosario: most illegal migrants live in cities
The president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE) Roberto Rosario has told Diario Libre that the data being compiled from the implementation of the National Foreigner Legalization Plan will challenge the myth that most undocumented Haitians originally came to the country to cut sugar cane. The sugar cane cutters were contracted in agreements signed between the Dominican and Haitian governments. He said most applicants live in cities and came to work in construction, tourism and agriculture.

In an interview with the newspaper, Rosario said that during the first two months of the implementation of the 18-month plan, from June to August 2104, 55,638 foreigners requested legalization. He said the plan was going well, and in no way could be labelled a failure.

He said that there were many categories for foreigners to legalize their status n study visa, work visa, temporary residence permit, or permanent residence permit.

Rosario denied that the estimated 200,000-500,000 Haitians with irregular legal status living in the Dominican Republic were refugees as he says the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been promoting abroad. He said these people are "simply in an irregular documentation status."

Meanwhile, the head of operations at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Andres Botero has called on foreigners with irregular status to take advantage of the National Legalization Plan through the Ministry of Interior and Police. He praised the advantages of the plan for undocumented foreigners during a talk organized by the Ministry of Interior and Police in Higuey. A large number of Haitian immigrants who originally came to work in the construction of major tourism resorts are living there after staying on in the country, as reported in El Dia.



Gallup-Hoy poll: crime is main concern
Dominicans say crime is the main problem affecting their lives, replacing electricity problems, health, education, water supply and administrative corruption as the number one concern.

64% of Dominicans said that crime in general, especially muggings, robbery and contract killings, was the main problem that needed to be tackled. Second and third are economics: the rising cost of living and the lack of job opportunities.

62% of those polled said the economy was not performing well for Dominicans, but this is down from 67% in May 2014.

For the poll, 1,200 eligible voters were interviewed between 29 August and 2 September 2014. The margin of error is 2.8%.



Steel manufacturers merge
Industrias Nacionales (Inca) and the Complejo Metalurgico Dominicano (Metaldom) have announced a merger to become the largest steel manufacturer in the Caribbean. They also announced an association with Brazilian steel provider Gerdau, which already controlled 79.97% of Inca.

The new corporation will be called Gerdau-Metalcom, announced Felipe Vicini, president of the Grupo Vicini during the Invest RD Summit held in Santo Domingo last week, as reported in El Dia.


BHD-Leon open for business
The country's third largest commercial bank (after the state-owned Banco Reservas and the Banco Popular Dominicano) created through the merger of the BHD and the Leon banks has announced the completed integration of both technological and operational platforms to fully offer their financial services to clients. The companies announced the alliance in December 2013.

The banks closed over the weekend of 6-7 September 2014 to complete the merger.

The banks announced that as of Monday, 8 September 2014 clients could visit any of the 136 branches of the BHD Leon Bank nationwide. The BHD Leon Bank starts operations with RD$184 billion in assets and a RD$100.5 billion loan portfolio.


Cement manufacturers meet in Santo Domingo
Cement manufacturers are meeting in Santo Domingo this week for the XXXI Inter-American Cement Federation's Technical Congress from Monday 8 to Thursday 11 September 2014 at the Occidental Embajador Hotel. The event includes a trade show, visits to local manufacturers and training opportunities.

Dominican Association of Cement Manufacturers (Adocem) and Cemex Dominicana president Carlos Gonzalez highlighted the competitiveness of local producers. He said that during the event, Latin American experts would analyze the latest technology and efficiency for sustainable operations. He said there are seven large producers with significant export capacity and that local consumption is 3.4 million tons, with total production at seven million tons.

The leading cement producers are Cemex Dominicana, Cementos Cibao, Domicem, Argos Dominicana, Panam, Andino and Cemento Santo Domingo.

Gonzalez says that local demand could increase with a push to build more low-cost housing and use of cement for highway construction instead of imported asphalt. He said that cement highways have a 25-year lifespan, and do not require repairs, unlike asphalt roads that need to be repaved every four years.

He commented that while in 2012 some 15,000m2 of roads were paved with cement, this increased to 150,000m2 in 2013 and by the end of this year, 500,000 m2 will be paved with cement. But he said it still is les than 5% of all road coverage.

He said that President Danilo Medina's initiative to build 10,000 classrooms during his four-year term has given the cement industry a major boost.




Where will former papal nuncio be tried?
Will the Catholic Church leave its former papal nuncio 66-year old Josef Wesolowski to his fate? Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi hinted that the former head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic who is accused of sexually abusing minors could be extradited in his 25 August statement that confirmed that as Wesolowski's diplomatic activity had ceased, so had his immunity.

Wesolowski served as nuncio to the Dominican Republic from 2008 until he was recalled in August 2013, shortly before investigative TV journalists broadcast reports that implicated him in acts of pedophilia.

He could be tried in the Dominican Republic or even in his home country, Poland.

On 27 June 2014, the Vatican issued a canonical court order that dismissed him from the clerical state depriving him of all rights and duties association with being a priest. Wesolowski can still appeal the canonical order.

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito is not in favor of holding the case against Wesolowski here and instead has been cooperating with the Polish authorities.

Nevertheless, Zbigniew Nowsowski, editor and chief of the Catholic monthly Wiez, dismissed reports that the defrocked priest would be tried in Poland. "The crimes were committed in the Dominican Republic, not in Poland. That's why he will not be tried here."

Furthermore, a report in Poland's largest newspaper, Gazeta Wyborszka says it is likely that the case will remain within the Vatican.

The National Catholic Reporter says that the article quoted Pawel Borecki of the Department of Religious Law at Warsaw University: "The Vatican will seek to ensure that this case does not go beyond its borders. Wesolowski is a high-ranking diplomat. He has knowledge of how the Roman curia works. He may also know about pedophilia in the church and if other high-ranking priests are involved in the crime. In a trial abroad he could reveal everything. Therefore, we can expect that the Vatican will not release him and it will hand down a severe punishment."


El Dia: Cockfighting is "in" with drug dealers
In November 2013, Winston Rizik was named the Cockfighting Owner of the month, and was in the running for the Cockfighting Owner of the Year title. Now with his arrest and the head of the National Drug Control Agency Major General Julio Cesar Souffront describing him as the country's most dangerous drug dealer, the links between cockfighting and drug dealing have come out into the open.

In an unusual press conference held after his arrest last week, Rizik attributed his arrest to differences with a rival cockfighting owner, Pascual Cabrera Ruiz, also known for his drug trafficking activities.

During the press conference Rizik said that while they used to be friends, a dispute in the cockfighting arenas led to their differences and his arrest. He called on the authorities to arrest Cabrera too.

As reported in El Dia, Rizik says that Cabrera should leave him alone in the cockfighting arenas of Santo Domingo and Monte Plata and he would leave him Santiago and the eastern region.

As reported in El Dia, the clashes between Rizik and Cabrera have resulted in around 30 deaths, including heads of several drug rings operating mainly in the provinces of La Romana and La Altagracia (Higuey).

Rizik told the press that he made his living through a sports-betting agency, cockfighting and cattle ranching. He described his arrest as "extortion," adding that no drug dealer is so foolish as to keep drugs in his house.





Slovenia beats DR 71-61 in FIBA quarterfinal game
The Dominican Republic has played its first game ever in a FIBA World Championship Round of 16, and placed 13 in the list of 24 participating teams. In the national men's basketball team's last game on Saturday, 6 September 2014, the DR pushed Slovenia to the limits but ended up losing 71-61. The DR controlled the tempo of a better part of the first half, but then fell to the superiority of brothers Goran and Zoran Dragic.

Dominican Republic head coach Orlando Antigua said that "the small details made all the difference." He attributed the defeat to best player Francisco Garcia having picked up two early fouls that meant he was not able to play as long as they would have been wanted. He scored eight points. James Feldeine was the top scorer with 18 points.

The Dominican performance was described as a historic best. "I'm proud of my team for what they achieved here. For us (Dominican Republic), coming to the (FIBA Basketball) World Cup was an achievement in itself. Then we made it out of what I believe was one of the tougher groups. And then now, we played really well against a top class team. I can't ask for more," he told FIBA reporters at the conclusion of the DR participation in the championship."

Slovenia is now scheduled to play USA in the quarterfinals, and Lithuania will play Turkey on Tuesday, 9 September. Then France will play Spain, and Serbia will play Brazil on Wednesday, 10 September to decide the teams that will play in the semi finals on 11 and 12 September and then the finals on Saturday, 13 September and Sunday, 14 September.





New theater for Santo Domingo
XTheater at Roberto Pastoriza No. 111 (between Ortega y Gasset and Tiradentes avenues, opposite Don Nacho) is Santo Domingo's newest theater hall. It has a capacity for 110 spectators and is equipped with the latest technology. The Giovanny Cruz Hall is named in honor of the veteran Dominican theater producer.

The theater opens with the production of "La caja de fosforos", (The Matchbox) by 21-year old Dominican Isen Ravelo, starring Madeline Abreu, Isen Ravelo, Anthony Espinal and Javier Ortiz. Produced by XSM Studios. Performances start on Saturday, 13 September 2014 at 8:30pm, repeated on Sunday at 6:30pm throughout September and October. Tickets are RD$300. Tel. 849 885-8838, 809 475-9682

Joel Rosario Quartet at Lulu Tasting Bar
Enjoy Dominican jazz at Lulu Tasting Bar in the Colonial City.

The group is booked for Monday, 8 September 2014, at 9pm.

Calle Padre Billini, Plazoleta Padre Billini, Tel 809687-8360.

Listen to their music at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGdrYc2EilA

Pamel Mancebo at Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe at Blue Mall presents guitarist Pamel Mancebo this evening, Monday, 8 September 2014. 9pm. Av. Gustavo Mejia Ricart corner Av. Winston Churchill, Santo Domingo. Tel. 809-686-7771

Listen to his music at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny5Ke1tB9kw&list=UUR0hc09XuPDlvEJYyDZtSTQ

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

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