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Daily News - Wednesday, 10 September 2014

President Danilo Medina inaugurates classrooms in Valverde
President Danilo Medina was in the northwestern province of Valverde (Mao) for the inauguration of 59 new classrooms yesterday, Tuesday 9 September 2014. The Presidency says that 2,065 children will benefit from the new classrooms in four schools that are now teaching from 8 to 4pm, with lunch included, as part of the new extended school day model.

The schools are the Juan Pablo Duarte primary school in Villa Olimpica in Mao, Profesora Teodora Acosta Sosa School in Los Cayucos in Esperanza and Maria Luis Abreu and Hermanas Mirabal schools.


Medina inaugurates AccuMed hi-tech plant
President Danilo Medina was at the Itabo Industrial Park (PIISA) in San Cristobal yesterday, Tuesday 9 September 2014 for the inauguration of a new medical device plant by AccuMed Innovative Technologies. Some 400 jobs have been created at the new factory based in the export free zone, bringing the number of jobs at AccuMed operations in the Dominican Republic to 1,100.

15 new medical devices will be produced at the plant for export to North America, Europe and Asia.

AccuMed chief executive officer Mark Sater and vice president for strategic alliances Ramon Olivares spoke for the company at the inauguration. Manuel E. Tavares, president of the board of directors for PIISA also spoke at the event.

AccuMED uses advanced engineering design, materials and manufacturing techniques to develop and manufacture customized Class I & Class II Medical Devices for securing medical products to the body for the treatment of acute and chronic conditions.


Inflation at 0.39% in August
The Central Bank reports that accumulated inflation so far this year is 2.33%, less than the 3.07% for the same time last year. The Consumer Price Index increased 0.39% in August 2014 compared to July 2014.

Annualized inflation, from August 2013 to August 2014 was 3.13%, which is two points lower than inflation in August 2013, when the rate was 5.30%.

The Central Bank says that the results are favorable indicators for the fulfillment of the 4.5% 1% forecast for year's end.


Wage increase could be imminent
The new director of the National Salaries Committee, Felix Hidalgo Polanco says that he will be holding his first meeting with other members of the government-employers-labor representatives this week to evaluate requests for a salary increase. The labor representatives are asking for a 30% across-the-board increase in wages, both for the public and private sector.


Government requests parental documentation for naturalization
Applicants for status regularization under the National Foreigner Legalization Plan must submit legal documentation from at least one parent to benefit from the expedited legalization plan. El Dia writes that the requirement is included because otherwise the applicant could claim being stateless.



Minister calls for civil protesting over Loma Miranda
The Minister of Interior and Police, Jose Ramon Fadul and the commander of the Dominican Army, Major General Jose Eugenio Matos de la Cruz, held a meeting yesterday, Tuesday 9 September 2014, to analyze the security in the country as protests are being held by political and social groups calling for Loma Miranda to be made a National Park.

According to a press release they agreed to coordinate measures aimed at preserving public order. Fadul appealed to the protesters to tone down their actions saying that although the country was democratic and they had the right to protest, citizens had the right to live in peace and harmony and he warned that he would not allow protests that disrupted public order.


Chikungunya cases down
Around 10,245 suspected chikungunya cases have been treated at the Luis Eduardo Aybar hospital from the end of April to date, but numbers are reported to have tailed off considerably over the last few days.

According to hospital statistics 2,262 people were suspected of contracting the virus in May. June was the highest month with 5,367, and then numbers reduced again in July to 2,282. In August there were only 334 cases.

Most of the patients came from the low-income barrios of Maria Auxiliadora, 27 February, La Cienaga, 24 of Abril, Los Guandules, Gualey, Capotillo, and Simon Bolivar.

Epidemiologist Mercedes Castro said that people should still take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.


Supreme Court of Justice orders demolition of Torre de Plata
The Supreme Court of Justice has ordered the builders of the Torre de Plata located next door to the Dominican Fiesta hotel in Santo Domingo to demolish the building. The decision puts an end to a six-year long legal battle between the promoters and the neighborhood association.

The Los Cacicazgos neighborhood association set a precedent for winning a case for violation of neighborhood rules. The high-rise building was found to be in violation with municipal construction rules. Lawyer Miriam Paulino, representing the residents' association said that the developer was given 30 days to demolish the building.

The builders were in the process of constructing a 31-story building with 248 apartments. The board challenged their plans, on the grounds that planning regulations for the area only allowed six floors.

Deputy Minou Tavarez Mirabal, who was present at the press conference to announce the decision yesterday, Tuesday 9 September 2014, said that the ruling was an important legal decision in favor of citizen rights.


New political party approved
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has approved a request to change the name of the Dominican Social Alliance Party (ASD) to the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) as well as its use of the slogan "Democracy, Development and Equality".

The JCE also approved the party symbol: two purple circles with the name inside a blue circle and a purple 'thumbs up' sign.


Arguments over seeds
A group representing farmers is proposing to introduce the concepts of "ancestral" or "peasant" seeds and vegetable matter so they can preserve what they consider to be their traditional patrimony.

A new Bill on Seeds is being debated in the Chamber of Deputies and the National Farmers' Movement submitted proposals on Monday, 8 September in order to make it fairer to the farmers.

The proposals, supported by the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) Environment Commission as well as the Association of Agronomist Engineers and other institutions, proposed to improve and expand the legal framework of the law, introducing, for instance, the concepts of "ancestral" or "peasant" seed, and vegetable matter.

The proposals are aimed at expanding the legal framework to prevent farmers from being criminalized in connection with their traditional and cultural use of the seeds.

In its current version, according to movement president Juana Ferrer, the bill violates the rights and liberties of the farmers. Among other aspects, the bill involves the creation of a new institution in charge of regulating the registration and approval of seeds at a national level, which was what the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources already did.

The consequences would be to deny the traditional right of the farmers to use exchange and sell their ancestral seeds that would not receive approval from the new institution, while privatizing them to the benefit of agro-industrial companies.

The legislative bill was initiated by Senator Amilcar Romero, a businessman from the agro-chemical industry and vice-president of Dominican Chemical Fertilizers (Ferquido).


Disputing the myth of the Parsley Massacre
In his editorial today, Wednesday 10 September 2014, the executive editor of Diario Libre Adriano Miguel Tejada describes the so-called Parsley Massacre as "a myth". When blasting Dominicans for their treatment of Haitian immigrants many publications and media refer to the El Corte (the cutting), the government-sponsored genocide of October 1937 during the Trujillo regime. According to historical accounts, then Dominican president Rafael Trujillo ordered the execution of the Haitian population living along the Dominican border with Haiti. The number of 35,000 dead Haitians frequently appears in the media when this massacre is mentioned to rally support for the Haitian immigrants.

Tejada comments that no mass graves have been found. He says that it was in Trujillo's interest to inflate the number of victims to instill fear among Haitians so that they respect the border. He adds that the Haitian elite accepted the high numbers because they could collect more in compensation for the supposed dead.

He makes the comments now that in Europe witnesses have pointed to where civil war victims have been buried and the graves have been opened. This has yet to happen in the Dominican Republic. "Where are the bodies of the thousands of deaths during the Cut?" He asks.

Meanwhile, according to the Wikipedia entry on the event, the estimated number of deaths varies considerably, from as low as 547 to as high as 25,000. But it makes the same point as Tejada: "The lack of the discovery of a single mass grave since 1937 does not tend to support the higher estimates."

From Wikipedia:

"On the Dominican side, there are no known formally documented first-hand witness accounts by military personnel carrying out the executions nor from civilians. Historian and former Dominican ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Vega, has cited that not many weeks after the end of the alleged massacre, Haitians were once again lining up for work at Dominican sugar cane plantations, something he considers as strange as 'lambs willingly walking into the slaughterhouse'."



US citizen murdered in Boca Chica
A US citizen was murdered in his apartment in Boca Chica in the early hours of Tuesday 9 September 2014. The police said that the murder took place at around 3am and that two people have been arrested, including a Haitian prostitute who police say was with the victim before he died.

The deceased was named as 49-year old Ricky Daniel Jensel who, according to the certifying doctor, Magdalena Perez, had been stabbed.

The body was taken to the National Institute of Forensic Science for autopsy.

The regional director of the National Police, Brigadier General Hector Garcia Cuevas, is leading the investigation, and according to reports, the Haitian woman had bloodstains on her clothes.

Local people said that Jensel would often walk the streets in the morning with more than 20 dogs and that he would often take prostitutes to his apartment. They also said that he often argued with the woman who was arrested.

Police are also looking for her supposed husband.


"Most dangerous" capo jailed on remand
Judge Dolores Galan from Monte Plata has sent cattle rancher Winston Rizik Rodriguez to three months on remand in jail. Accused of drug dealing and money laundering, Rizik was described as "the country's most dangerous drug dealer" by Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito.

The judge said that Rizik should be taken to Najayo jail, after hearing a plea on his behalf from family members who said he was hypertensive, diabetic and had other health issues.

The Public Prosecution Service money-laundering department, represented by German Miranda Villalona, had asked for jail on remand to give them time to complete their investigations.

The lawyers for the accused, Pedro Duarte Canaan and Freddy Castillo stated that they did not agree with the court's decision and said that their client had sufficient family, work and social ties in the country to justify release on bail and periodic appearances.

The judge said that she would review her decision on 3 December.


Museo Mundo del Ambar exhibition
A display of 100 rare amber pieces with insects and parts of plants trapped in the resin millions of years ago is on show in Santo Domingo. The exhibition is being held at the Amber Museum on Calle Isabel la Catolica 452 corner Calle Restauracion in the Colonial City. The exhibition opens this evening, Wednesday, 10 September 2014 at 7pm.

Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival
The DR Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) sponsored by Funglode will take place starting this evening Wednesday 10 September 2014 and continuing until Sunday 14 September in 10 cities across the country: 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 at the Palacio de Cine in Santo Domingo's Agora Mall at 5pm this evening, Wednesday 10 September.

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.

For movie titles, locations and the showing times, see http://www.muestracinemedioambientaldominicana.org/

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

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