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Daily News - Friday, 12 September 2014

DR and Puerto Rico declare joint war on drugs
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla is visiting the country on an official visit Thursday, 11 September to Friday 12 September 2014. Speaking at the Presidential Palace after a meeting with President Medina, he announced that a bilateral commission is drawing up a plan encompassing Puerto Rico's experiences on crime, which will be ready in 60 days. The commission will be chaired by Secretary of State David Bernier and Police Superintendent Jose Caldera Lopez for Puerto Rico, and by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo for the Dominican Republic.

As reported, a recent anti-crime plan in Puerto Rico has been successful in reducing crime by 30% in the past 20 months. Police were better equipped, motivated and recognized for their work in Puerto Rico.

Garcia Padilla announced they would be stepping up joint measures to fight drug trafficking and fight the cartels that use the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as bridges to reach the US and Europe.

"We have to put obstacles in the road so that they find another route. The drugs that enter our countries are causing most of the crime that we suffer," he said.

A recent Gallup Poll found that crime and safety were the main concern of Dominicans.

Garcia Padilla gave a press conference after meeting with President Danilo Medina for more than an hour at the Presidential Palace.

They also discussed the need to increase trade between both countries. Garcia Padilla said there had been a US$500 million increase in trade in the past 20 months. He said that trade was at US$700 million when he took office as governor of Puerto Rico. He says he wants it to return to when it was US$2 billion in the 1980s.

Also on the agenda was to resume the scholarship program. The governor said this would benefit students from both nations with undergraduate and graduate programs. He highlighted that schools and hospitals do not discriminate against illegal immigrants, adding that all immigrants, regardless of status were now allowed to get their driver's licenses.

He said he told President Medina about the policies in force in Puerto Rico to benefit Dominican immigrants there.

Garcia Padilla said his official visit ends today, but he had come with his family and they would vacation here until Sunday, 14 September.

During the meeting with President Medina, Garcia Padilla was accompanied by the US Ambassador James (Wally) Brewster, Puerto Rican deputy secretary of state Javier Gonzalez and Puerto Rican Police Superintendent Jose Caldero Lopez.

Medina was accompanied by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations Jose Manuel Trullols and Dominican ambassador at the Puerto Rico-Dominican Mixed Commission, Virgilio Alvarez Bonilla.



Small airplane goes missing, suspected to have landed in Venezuela
A 1976 Hawker Siddeley H25B (registration N600AE) went missing on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 after taking off from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo and registering a flight plan to land in Punta Cana International Airport. Intelligence sources told Listin Diario that the executive jet is believed to have continued to Venezuela, and on to Honduras. The Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) says it does not know the whereabouts of the airplane.

The control tower lost contact with the jet shortly after takeoff. The pilots and sole known occupants of the plane were identified as Venezuelans Fabio Urbina and Hector Rios.

As reported, the 12-passenger airplane was registered to a company based in Dover, Delaware.

As reported in Listin Diario, the pilots had paid US$2,000 for fuel, sufficient for a three- and a half-hour flight. The plane had arrived from Honduras on 11 July 2014.

The airplane is registered in the US Federal Aviation Administration by Aircraft Holding Solutions. (CESAC) told El Caribe that after takeoff, the airplane kept contact with the control tower for 10 nautical miles. Contact was lost after the 70 nautical miles point.

As reported in El Dia, five nautical miles after takeoff from Las Americas, the airplane turned taking a southern route until it disappeared from the local radar. Radar in Florida confirmed the airplane had arrived in Venezuela and traveled on to Honduras.

As reported in El Caribe, the head of security at Las Americas International airport was replaced by Air Force Pilot Rodriguez Goris. Investigations by the CESAC, National Drug Control Agency (NCD), National Police, A-2 and J-2 of the Ministry of Defense are underway, said Aracenis Castillo of the Specialized Corps of Airport and Civil Aviation Security.

El Dia speculates that the airplane could have loaded drugs in Venezuela to transport them to Honduras to be taken to Mexico and then to the US by Mexican drug cartels.

In 2011, an airplane belonging to a Puntacana Group affiliate was stolen from the La Isabela International Airport in Santo Domingo by persons unknown. The plane was subsequently located in Venezuela, and has yet to be returned to its owners.



Public Works Ministry announces plans for 2016
The ministers of Public Works and Economy, Planning and Development, Gonzalo Castillo and Temistocles Montas met at the Presidency yesterday, Thursday 11 September 2014 to define the public works that may be started in 2015.

Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo said that they expect to build the headquarters for the 911 emergency center in Santiago at a cost of US$7 million. Construction is scheduled to start in late December 2014 or in January 2015.

He said that the plans for Santiago also include the construction of the Cienfuegos overpass, the extension of the Circunvalacion Norte highway that takes traffic out of the city, the Central Park and the Botanical Gardens and the construction of the Prolongacion Hatuey.

The Ministry of Public Works announced plans for the Bani-Azua, Azua-Barahona, Barahona-Enriquillo and Padre las Casas roadways, as well as the road linking San Juan-Sabaneta and Sabana Larga-Rancho Arriba in Ocoa.

The drawing board for the east includes the construction of the Uvero Alto-Miches highway, Miches-Sabana de la Mar, Hato Mayor-San Pedro, Hato Mayor-El Puerto, Sabana de la Mar-Hato Mayor and Miches-El Seibo.

The Ministry said there was also an ambitious rural road program.


Public hospitals to work with health providers
The country's largest maternity hospital, Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia has become the first public hospital authorized by the government to accept private health providers (ARS) insurance coverage. Some 20,000 births per year take place at the hospital located north of Plaza de la Cultura in Santo Domingo.

Doctors at the hospital were seeing a monthly average of 200-300 patients with insurance, who were given free services like all other patients as the hospital could not bill them because the systems were not in place.

Minister of Public Health Freddy Hidalgo and hospital director Victor Calderon said that talks have started with four private health providers and a letter of intent has already been signed with ARS Futuro, the health provider for the Armed Forces and Police.

Hidalgo described the measure as pivotal. The decision will ease public hospital finances. Hidalgo said that other hospitals would follow, including the Francisco Moscoso Puello, Padre Billini, Roberto Reid Cabral in Santo Domingo and the Jaime Mota in San Cristobal.


Women with complications book illegal birth trips to DR
"Birth tourism" from Haiti continues to increase. Authorities at Santiago's largest public hospital, the Jose Maria Cabral y Baez, are warning about the growing number of Haitians with HIV/AIDS who arrive to give birth at that hospital. They described the numbers as alarming, saying that on 30 August of 11 Haitians who arrived, eight were HIV+, which poses a risk for the mothers, their children and the doctors who treat them.

Hospital spokesman Johnny Lama said that the women arrive without any previous medical records, which makes it more difficult to treat them. He said that most of the women come only to give birth at the hospital, which creates a critical situation. He said that 40% of the hospital's resources go on treatment for Haitian immigrants.

Between 5-9 August, 31 Haitians gave birth at the hospital, 11 on a single day. He said that many of the Haitians come with complications, requiring more space and resources.

"Most come with previous problems, such as severe pre-eclampsia, infections, or HELLP syndrome," he said.

Making matters worse, most women who come from Haiti to give birth here do not speak Spanish. He mentioned the case of a mother who gave birth to triplets, and did not speak Spanish.

Lama says they suspect that groups are organized to offer illegal birthing trips to the Dominican Republic.


Haitian government keeps fee for Haitian documents
Haitian ambassador in the Dominican Republic Fritz Cineas says that the Haitian government is unlikely to exempt Haitians from the RD$1,000 charge for Haitian documentation. Immigrants are required to present Haitian documentation in order to regularize their status in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican government is offering the process for free through June 2015, but applicants need to obtain documentation from their country of origin.

Cineas made the statement in response to the protest by a group of Haitian immigrants who are requesting the Haitian government to provide them with free documentation just as the Dominican government is doing.

But instead, Cineas called on the Dominican government to relax its criteria to make it easier for Haitians who have been living in the country illegally for more than ten years to legalize their status. He said the Haitian government has already reduced the cost of the documentation from US$120 to RD$1,000 or about US$23, about 15% of what it cost before. He said the RD$1,000 included a package of three documents: passport, birth certificate and ID. "This was a great effort for my government because we have many expenses," said the Haitian ambassador.

Cineas said that the next meeting of the Haitian-Dominican bilateral commission would take place in Petionville.

Bauxite firm reneges on environmental remediation
A Dominican-Venezuelan mining firm, Dovemco, which has the concession to mine bauxite in Cabo Rojo in the southwestern province of Pedernales could be closed down for violation of environmental remediation requirements. The Ministry of Environment said that if corrective actions are not taken the government could order a cease of operations. A commission made up of deputy ministers Daneris Santana and Manuel Serrano of the Protected Areas and Diversity, and Forestry Resources departments, as well as environmental quality director Silmer Gonzalez, visited the area and found that there have been delays in remediation of the mined areas.

The Ministry of Environment said that while the contract establishes it is the General Department of Mining's responsibility to follow up on the remediation, they have become involved because it is a non-transferable responsibility of the leading environmental entity in the country.

According to the officials, several months ago they notified the company of the situation and given them time to fulfill the remediation requirements that expired in August.

Hoy-Gallup poll on political candidates for 2016
The latest Gallup-Hoy poll reveals that when asked who should be the candidate for the ruling PLD party in the upcoming May 2016 presidential election, voters are divided between Danilo Medina being the candidate (48.5%), followed by Leonel Fernandez (16.8%), Margarita Cedeno (5.3%), Reinaldo Pared Perez (4.7%), and Francisco Javier Garcia (4.6%). 14.1% said they did not know.

Margarita Cedeno is the wife of President Leonel Fernandez, Reinaldo Pared Perez is senator for the National District and a former president of the Senate, and Francisco Javier Garcia is a long time Minister of Tourism.

For the PRD, the voters mentioned Miguel Vargas Maldonado (31%), Guido Gomez Mazara (5.1%) and former UASD rector Franklin Garcia Fermin (3.3%). 42.3% said they do not know who should be the candidate.

For the PRD dissidents, now in the Partido Revolucionario Mayoritario (now Moderno), voters believe the candidate should be Luis Abinader (35.8%) or former President Hipolito Mejia (13.4%). 41.3% of those polled had no answer.

For the PRSC, the voters mentioned the senator for the province of La Altagracia Amable Aristy (23.5%), followed by Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso (7.5%), deputy Ito Bisono (7%) and party president Quique Antun (3.6%). 55.5% didn't have an answer or did not know.

Among the minority parties, Guillermo Moreno (Alianza Pais) received a mention of 25.1%, followed by Eduardo Estrella (Partido Dominicanos por el Cambio) with 9.3%.

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

The next presidential election is scheduled for May 2016. President Danilo Medina is banned from re-election. In 2004, then-President Hipolito Mejia changed the Constitution to allow one-time consecutive re-election, US-style. In 2008, PRD president Miguel Vargas accepted a change to the Constitution to allow non-consecutive re-election in the 2010 Constitution. Thus, the tradition has been to change the constitution according to the convenience of the serving President. This could explain why Gallup is including Danilo Medina in the list of candidates.



Who will be the next President?
To the Gallup-Hoy question to those polled of who will win the May 2016 presidential elections, voters responded:

Danilo Medina (41.3%)
Leonel Fernandez (25.8%)
Luis Abinader (5.5%)
Miguel Vargas Maldonado (2.9%
Hipolito Mejia (2.3%).
Margarita Cedeno (1.8%

To the Gallup-Hoy question to those polled of who would they like to be the next President, the responses were:

Danilo Medina (54.2%)
Leonel Fernandez (10.3%)
Luis Abinader (8.7%
Hipolito Mejia (5.2%)
Miguel Vargas (4.3%)
Margarita Cedeno (3.6%
Guillremo Moreno (1.8%)

The poll also revealed that the politicians with the highest rejection rate are Hipolito Mejia (37.2%), Miguel Vargas (22.3%) and Leonel Fernandez (22.2%). Luis Abinader (0.7%) and Danilo Medina (0.5%) have the lowest rejection rates.

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

In 2004, then-President Hipolito Mejia changed the Constitution to allow one-time consecutive re-election, US-style. In 2008, PRD president Miguel Vargas accepted a change to the Constitution to allow non-consecutive re-election in the 2010 Constitution. Thus, the tradition has been to change the constitution according to the convenience of the serving President. This could explain why Gallup is including Danilo Medina in the poll list.




Earthquake felt in La Romana, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo
A 4.7 quake with its epicenter near Guaymate in the southeastern province of La Romana was felt equally in Punta Cana to the east and Santo Domingo to the west. The shake occurred at 10:12 pm on Thursday evening, 11 September 2014, as confirmed by the seismology institute at the state university. No damage or victims have been reported.

DR present for the good of Samana whales
The Ministry of Environment is taking part in discussions at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Portoroz, Slovenia from 11-18 September 2014. The Ministry recently paid the RD$1.8 million in arrears to reinstate its voting privileges. The DR joined the commission in 2009. Greenpeace representatives have accused Greenland and Denmark of killing 10-14 humpback whales, the same species that comes to breed and mate in the Bay of Samana.

"We share the efforts that Greenpeace and other national and international organizations have been carrying out, including the Dominican media, to put a stop to the killing of the whales," said Minister of Environment Bautista Rojas Gomez in a press release. The IWC is meeting in Slovenia to discuss whale killing.

Barahona sugar mill to produce white sugar
The Consorcio Azucarero Central (CAC) that operates the Barahona sugar mill has announced it is installing machinery to produce white sugar for the local market. The sugar will be available by the end of the year. Marcos Cadet for CAC said that the new product will satisfy local market demand and represents a step forward for the southwestern sugar mill.


FestiCafe in Polo
Danny Rivera, David Kada, Ramon Orlando, Xiomara Fortuna and Milka La Mas Dura are on the program of this year's Festival del Cafe Organico (Festicafe) in Polo, Barahona. Local groups MCD La Etiketa Negra, Tadeu de Marco and Enerolisa and their Grupo de Salves will also be playing.

There will be workshops and sale of locally made products. Organic coffee lovers can purchase it directly from the producers at the farming and cultural promotional event.

The event starts at 7pm this evening, Friday 12 September 2014. On Saturday 13 and Sunday 14, the program begins at 9am and will continue through midnight.

Argentinean drama at Teatro las Mascaras
The Argentinean theater group is presenting "Hay piedras en el cielo y son para el trueno," a performance described as "a spiritual experience" directed by Adolfo Nicolas Somavilla at the Teatro Las Mascaras this evening, Friday, 12 September and tomorrow, Saturday, 13 September 2014 at 8:30pm. Sunday 14 September at 6:30pm. Tickets are RD$400. This is a small theater so you need to arrive early to purchase their tickets. Calle Arzobispo Portes 56, Colonial City, Santo Domingo. Tel 809 687-9788.

PhotoImagen at Centro Leon
Centro Leon is inviting photography lovers to an exhibition "Human Botanics" by Alfonso Khouri, Citlally Miranda, Carlos Nunez (Wachao), Erika Santelices, Pedro Genaro Rodriguez, Guadalupe Casasnovas, Carlos Acero and Yael Duval. The event opens this evening, Friday, 12 September 2014. A film will be screened at 5pm, and the exhibition will be formally inaugurated at 8pm.

Pengbian Sang and Retro Jazz at Bellas Artes
Pengbian Sang and Retro Jazz is booked for a Fall Concert at Santo Domingo's Palacio de Bellas Artes. 8:30pm. They will be playing jazz versions of many famous Dominican songs and more, this evening, Friday, 12 September 2014 at 8:30pm. Tickets are RD$600-RD$800.

Tribute to Serrat, Fito and Sabina at Casa de Teatro
If you enjoy the music of singer-songwriters Joan Manuel Serrat and Joaquin Sabina from Spain, and Fito Paez from Argentina, don't miss this Casa de Teatro tribute starting at 8:30pm this evening, Friday, 12 September at the theater in Santo Domingo's Colonial City. Tel 809 689-3430.




Diego Mena & Janio Lora at Plaza Espana
Go for dinner at one of Plaza de Espana's restaurants and enjoy a free concert of contemporary rock music by Diego Mena and Janio Lora. Colonial City, Santo Domingo, tomorrow evening, Saturday, 13 September 2014 at 9pm.

Listen to their music at:



Israeli dance at Bellas Artes
The Nadine Animato dance company of Israel is taking part in the X Festival Edanco 2014 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo. They will be performing at 8:30pm on 16 September 2014.

Tickets should be purchased in advance. The Israeli company opens the Edanco weeklong festival that is not to be missed at Bellas Artes. Tickets are RD$100 at the Bellas Artes box office.



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

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