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Daily News - Thursday, 11 September 2014

94% of adults pass the National Tests
94% of eighth and twelfth grade students have now passed the Standardized Scholastic National Tests over the three sessions. The Ministry of Education says that according to analysis of the year's examinations by the Educational Quality Evaluation Department, 94.21% of high school students (30,860 candidates) passed the examinations taken in June and August.

At the same time a total of 148,562 eighth grade students also passed their tests, or 96.03%.

Other statistics showed a marked improvement in the exam pass rate. El Caribe says that the third and last session for retaking the test will take place in November.

However the number is reasonably small with just 6,145 students at primary level, 1,897 adults, 34,990 at secondary level and 3,885 students at technical professional level awaiting the third opportunity to pass these tests.

The statement by the Minister contradicts recent claims by the president of the Federation of Parents with Children in Private Public Schools (FEDEPADRES) Juan Avila Abreu, the Federation who called for an end to the tests. He regretted that 35% of 8th grade students end their studies because of having failed the National Tests.

RD$800 million spent on start of Legalization Plan
The chairman of the National Council on Immigration, Jose Ramon Fadul says that most of the people seeking status regularization may qualify as immigrants and not nationals. He said this is the case because most of the people who go to normalize their status are unable to prove their Dominican roots. He said that applicants may show a birth certificate, a cedula, or a passport, but many have not been able to prove their economic or employment links to the country.

Interviewed by El Caribe reporters at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Wednesday 10 September 2014, Fadul, who is also the Minister of Interior and Police reported that the National Foreigner Legalization Plan has received RD$800 million so far of the RD$1.2 billion budgeted for preparing the facilities, staff salaries and running costs of the plan that will be in effect through June 2015.

He said that 260 of a total of 59,600 applicants have already been approved.

The official said that by way of Law 1691-14 regarding naturalization, a total of 460 people had been assessed as of Tuesday, 9 September 2014 and that if they meet the conditions they will be sent directly to the Central Electoral Board (JCE) to be registered in the Book of Foreigners, a first step in the process.

The minister also reminded the reporters that the deadline for taking advantage of this fast-track naturalization law is 26 October 2014.

Haitians call for free documents from Haitian government
Sugar Cane Workers Union coordinator Jesus Nunez says that around 40,000 sugar cane cutters have not been able to start the regularization process because they cannot afford the fees that the Haitian government is charging for documentation. The workers are asking the Embassy of Haiti to lobby for providing the workers with their paperwork free of charge, in line with the free services now offered by the Dominican government for the regularization process. He said the cost for some families is RD$8-10,000. The Martelly government in Haiti has not responded to repeated requests on this matter.

The union has announced a march from Independencia Park in Santo Domingo's Colonial City to the Haitian Embassy in protest. They said they would camp out at the embassy for five days.

Green light given to transport by double-cargo freighters
The government ground transport department (DGTT) and the Dominican Republic Industries Association (AIRD) reached agreements for safety and competitiveness for land transit of double-cargo freight trucks in a meeting held on Tuesday, 9 September 2014.

The modality is relatively new and is being used to reduce cargo costs.

It was agreed that the trucks will be allowed to travel on the right-hand lane of the roads and will drive at a maximum speed of 70 kmh. The cargo will be carried in closed trailers, except in cases of goods that require the use of a platform, said AIRD vice president Circe Almanzar. The business representatives committed to permanently training their drivers to guarantee road safety.

What the Industry and Commerce Minister actually said
He was criticized for saying that if people couldn't afford chicken they should eat sardines or chayotes (tayota). Now Minister Jose del Castillo Savinon has published the exact words he said, complaining that his comments on Noticias SIN news program have been taken out of context by the journalists.


Constitutional Tribunal rules in favor of border industries
The Constitutional Tribunal is backing the Supreme Court of Justice ruling that maintains tax incentives for companies that set up operations in the border provinces with Haiti. Law 28-01 establishes that companies that install their factories in the provinces of Pedernales, Independencia, Elias Pina, Dajabon, Montecristi, Santiago Rodriguez, and Bahoruco can apply for tax exemptions of 100% of internal taxes customs duties on raw material equipment and machinery or any other type of tax during a period of 20 years, along with other benefits.

Through sentence 184/14 the Constitutional Tribunal rejected an unconstitutionality suit against the law, filed by the Carbonated Beverages Industries Association, Everlast Door Industries, S. A. and the Dominican Republic Industrial Association (AIRD).

The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that it did not admit this lawsuit because the Supreme Court of Justice had already declared, in a sentence, that this law conformed to the Constitution. The high court argued that Article 277 of the Constitution prohibits the Constitutional Tribunal from examining sentences of the Supreme Court issued before the enactment of the 2010 Constitution.


Bishop of La Vega heads Loma Miranda demonstration
The Green Day celebrations by campaigners for the preservation of Loma Miranda yesterday, Wednesday 10 September 2014, brought together more than 2,000 people, mostly students, in La Vega's Duarte Park, in front of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

During the rally, headed by the Bishop of the diocese of the province, Monsignor Antonio Camilo, and amidst a major police presence, speakers criticized President Danilo Medina and his arguments for vetoing the law that declared Loma Miranda a National Park. The Monsignor reminded the President that "being respectful does not mean humbling oneself," in reference to the concession contract that the Falconbridge Dominicana mining company has with the state, that Medina mentions in his letter of observations to the Congress regarding the national park designation of Loma Miranda.

The prelate insisted that the mining companies come to exploit and to harm the natural resources, and that the country, since it is an island, cannot live without water. "They have a lot of land in Canada, they can go there," stated the cleric, after recalling that Loma Miranda is a legacy of God to the Dominican people and they have to protect it.

According to Diario Libre, several politicians spoke out against the veto of the Loma Miranda legislation, but the newspaper noted that most people in the park were students from local Catholic schools.

He warned that this struggle would not stop and he called on all the parishes of his diocese to carry out actions peacefully. "Some people believed that there would be violence, well there was none. As a pastor I cannot allow the wolves to harm the sheep," said Camilo, who repeated several times: "we are not salaried pastors working for money; we serve God and the church."

UNHCR criticized in the Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies has approved a resolution rejecting and condemning the international campaign by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) that accuses the Dominican state of promoting statelessness as a "disconcerted action and a serious incident to the detriment of the national image."

The deputies approved the revolution yesterday, Wednesday 10 September 2014 with modifications, by 100 votes in favor, 15 against and 10 deputies present abstained from voting.

The president of the chamber of Deputies, Abel Martinez, asked the Foreign Relations Commission to provide the follow-up that this case deserves.

The proposal for the resolution was introduced by Vinicio Castillo Seman, Victor Gomez Casanova, Elias Serulle, Luisin Jimenez, Marino Collante and Graciela Fermin. Deputies Nelson Arroyo and Jorge Frias expressed their opposition to the proposal being approved.

More extraditions to the United States
Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito has announced that starting today, Thursday 11 September 2014, he will begin the process of repatriating 15 Dominicans on charges of bank fraud and other federal crimes to the United States.

Yesterday, Wednesday 10 September 2014, the head of the Justice Department said that the authorities are waiting for other Dominicans to accept voluntary extradition to the claimant country, in order to send them all together and keep costs to a minimum.

Jeremy Garcia Lopez (alias El Gordo or JJ) is one of the men being held at the Isleta Correctional Penitentiary in Moca. JJ, who is wanted for trial on at least 10 criminal charges, was arrested in a luxurious mansion he owns in the Los Reyes sector of Moca.

Many of the others face charges in the Southern District Court of New York for alleged conspiracy to extort US citizens.

The necessary decrees were issued by President Danilo Medina and sent to the Attorney General and the Ministry of Foreign Relations for their implementation.

Baby turtles born in Sosua
Since Sunday, 7 September 2014, Ministry of Environment officials have counted 145 Carey (Hawksbill turtle, Caretta caretta) sea turtles born at Sosua Beach in Puerto Plata. The turtle is protected by law in the Dominican Republic, but people are known to kill them and steal their eggs.

The Ministry says that as soon as the nests were located, they worked to ensure they became baby turtles. The species is in danger of extinction.

Ministry of Environment coastal environmental resource expert Manuel Rodriguez Redondo said that the baby turtles were able to break their eggshells and head to the Atlantic Ocean to begin their lives with no problems.

The environmental protection effort was carried out in coordination with the provincial director for the Ministry of Environment in Puerto Plata, Carlos Finke Herrera.



Judge orders a trial in VP slander case
The presiding judge of the Third Chamber of Instruction of the judicial district of Santiago, Ingrid Liberato has ordered the opening of a trial in the libel case brought by Vice President Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez against lawyer and journalist Marcos Martinez.

According to the decision, the parties involved in the process should appear before the Penal Court of Santiago within five working days to provide general information and addresses in order to be properly summoned to hearings.

Judge Liberato also exonerated the defendant, Marcos Rafael Martinez, from the coercive measure obliging him to present himself periodically before the District Attorney crimes and forgery department, while maintaining his travel restrictions.

Marcos Martinez declared that he is a victim of the judicial power influenced by former President Leonel Fernandez and the current Vice President, Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez.

Get your umbrella out; Onamet forecasts rain
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) reports that in addition to pulling in humidity from the east-southeast, the low-pressure trough to the northeast of the country will continue causing rain showers and thunderstorms this afternoon, Thursday, 11 September 2014. Rains are forecast for the provinces of La Vega, Monte Plata, San Juan de la Maguana, Monsenor Nouel (Bonao), San Jose de Ocoa, Sanchez Ramirez (Cotui), Elias Pina, Dajabon, Santiago Rodriguez, Hato Mayor and El Seibo.

Temperatures will continue to be warm due to the incidence of the warm wind and humidity from the east-southeast.

Drama at the National Theater
The play "Las penas saben nadar" is being staged at the Sala Ravelo of the National Theater in Santo Domingo, 4-14 September 2014, Thursday to Saturday at 8:30pm and Sundays at 6:30pm. Tickets: Tel. 809 687-3191.

Beauty fair at Sambil
Vest International 2014 brings wellness and beauty products and services under one roof. The exhibition and show will take place tomorrow, Friday 12, Saturday 13, and Sunday 14 September 2014 in Santo Domingo's Sambil Mall events hall. There will be fashion shows by the Fashion Institute (InModaRD) and the Jewelry and Accessory Designers Association (ADDABIC), as well as workshops and talks.

Play on women and machismo at Teatro Guloya
"Nosotras lo hacemos mejor" is being staged at Teatro Guloya, the small theater in Santo Domingo's Colonial City. This is a monologue that describes situations in which women have one up on men. Thursday, 11 September through Sunday 14 September. Thursday-Saturday at 8:30pm, Sunday at 6:30pm. Starring Niurka Mota who is celebrating 34 years in theater. Teatro Guloya is at Calle Arzobispo Portes 205, Colonial City.

Willie Colon at Sambil Santo Domingo
Legendary salsa star Willie Colon is booked for a concert on Friday, 26 September 2014 at the Sambil Santo Domingo mall's events hall. 9pm. The hall is open from 7pm for getting the best seats.

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

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