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Daily News - Monday, 15 September 2014

Farmers make proposals to President Medina
President Danilo Medina was in the beach area of Bayahibe on Friday, 12 September 2014 to attend the 15th Agribusiness and Farmers' Meeting organized by the Agribusiness Board (JAD). The President heard proposals from farming sector representatives, including a request for the Ministry of Foreign Relations to lead a campaign aimed at stimulating Dominican exports and to play a key role their promotion, with ambassadors taking a more active part. The proposal was made despite the fact that the government has an entire department whose role is to promote exports, the Center for Exports and Investment (CEI-RD), and whose director Jean Alain Rodriguez was present at the event.

The JAD meeting participants also proposed to design a simple mechanism for farmers to sell directly to the state, cutting red tape.

The farming sector wants the government to send a bill to Congress that defines weights and measurements as a way of standardizing trade between producers and buyers. Participants called for continued improvements in road connections between identified productive farm areas.

They also requested the construction of provincial and regional produce collection centers to be managed by producer organizations for reception, cleaning, packaging and transport to cities and major consumption areas.

The producers also called for a bill to be drafted giving buyers 30 days to pay for the farm produce. Supermarkets are known to pay for produce in 90 days, while sellers have to pre-pay taxes on the sale to the government.


Big government
In an editorial today, Monday 15 September 2014, Diario Libre points out how big government has become and how dependent Dominicans are on government.

Editor Adriano Miguel Tejada points out that around 600,000 people are either employees or on state pensions, without including the hidden payrolls.

More than a million people receive subsidy payments in several categories through the Solidarity welfare program.

Procurement has more than 30,000 people enrolled as suppliers to the state.

The judicial and legislative branches have more than 10,000 employees.

"This means that one out of every five Dominicans receives a wage or a payment from the state. That is why we pay so much in taxes and why we have the luxury of having to pay the highest cost for services and the most expensive fuel in the world. The money to fund this machinery has to come from somewhere," he writes.


US donates US$10 million for improved security
The United States and the Dominican Republic have signed a Letter of Understanding that includes a US$10 million donation in support of anti-drug trafficking measures and policies. The funds will be spent on improving law officials' skills and professionalism and to reduce demand for drugs. The agreement amends the 11 April 2013 anti-narcotics agreement.

United States Embassy's International Narcotics Affairs Section, headed by Mario Fernandez, will coordinate the distribution of the funds, in support of the work being done as part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the 911 System and its expansion to other regions in the country.

Funds will be used for training and technical assistance will be given to Dominican border control units (CESEP, CESA, CESFRONT) so they can increase their capacity for detecting shipments of illegal narcotics and other drugs.

Also to improve training for the National Police with the help of the Colombian Police. The programs will involve training 600 members a year.

Also planned is support to the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) for training investigators and providing drug control agents with communications equipment. Funds will be allocated to a new program for reducing drugs demand by reaching out to vulnerable young people. The program is also designed to train judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, police and other stakeholders in basic to advanced techniques for judicial processes. There will be courses on organized crime, forensic sciences, criminal interviewing, financial analysis and asset laundering. The funds will also be allocated to training and purchasing drug detection dogs to expand their use at air and maritime ports.

"Our common goal is to develop the institutional capacity of the national security agencies and expand citizen security in all senses," said ambassador Brewster.

The agreement was signed by Acting Foreign Relations Minister Jose Manuel Trullols and US Ambassador James Brewster. The head of the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) Julio Cesar Souffront, Mario Fernandez and Francisco Fernandez of the Anti-Narcotics Section of the US Embassy were also present.

US Ambassador James Brewster said that in 2013, an estimated 60 metric tons of drugs were imported, of which the authorities seized 25% in joint operations with the US government.

Leonel Fernandez says he will return
Speaking in San Francisco de Macoris on Sunday, 14 September 2014, former President Leonel Fernandez reiterated that the winds were blowing so strongly in the northeast as well as the rest of the country that they would return him to power in 2016. He was taking part in an event organized by the Acciona and Sociedad Rural de Leonel (Sorudel) political movements, which are campaigning for his return to the Presidency.

Event organizer Andres Acosta asked the former President to go on the record in San Francisco announcing his aspirations to the PLD candidacy. Fernandez stated that the PLD would remain in power due to its high level of public acceptance that has given rise to so many repeated wins and places the party in an advantageous position for the future election.

"With the always enthusiastic support of the inhabitants of Duarte province, I can proclaim here that the winds are blowing so strongly that they will take me to climb the steps to the National Palace again in 2016," he stated. He stressed the PLD governments have contributed to the social transformation and modernization of the Dominican nation.

He said the PLD has won the respect and admiration of the Dominican people due to the way it has governed. "We won in 1996, we were back in 2006 and 2006, again in 2008 and 2012 and we are ready, because the sixth beating is coming in 2016," he said.

Fernandez is president of the PLD and one of the stronger contenders to be voted the presidential candidate in 2016.

The latest Gallup-Hoy poll held in September revealed that when asked who should be the candidate for the ruling PLD party in the upcoming May 2016 presidential election, voters were divided between Danilo Medina being the candidate (48.5%), followed by Leonel Fernandez (16.8%), Vice President Margarita Cedeno (5.3%), senator Reinaldo Pared Perez (4.7%), and Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia (4.6%). 14.1% said they did not know. The 2010 Constitution bans Medina from running for President.

A more recent Penn, Schoen & Berland poll contracted by Grupo de Noticias SIN revealed that Fernandez is the politician most likely to be named the PLD presidential candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

Fernandez was President from 1996-2000, 2004-2008, and 2008-2012.





Leonel Fernandez to visit France, Austria and the US
Former President Leonel Fernandez is travelling to Europe and the United States over the next two weeks.

In Paris, he will attend meetings at the political sciences institute, Sciences Po and the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (FMSH).

In Austria, he will meet with President of Austria Heinz Fischer. He is booked to give a lecture at the 11th International Meeting of the Association of Latin American and Caribbean Historians (Adhilac) that will commemorate the Bicentenary of the Congress of Vienna from 18-22 September 2014 at the University of Vienna. The Congress of Vienna was the conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815 to discuss the reorganization of the chaos in Europe in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The Congress defined the future boundaries of Europe, which still impact the continent today. The Congress was held just days before the Battle of Waterloo.

In Vienna, Fernandez will sign a cooperation agreement between his Global Foundation for Development (Funglode) and the University of Vienna law school. He will also hold working meetings at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

He will travel on to New York to take part in a higher education forum and will be guest of honor at the ceremony of the Clinton Global Citizen Awards (21-24 September) that honors outstanding individuals for their extraordinary commitments and work to strengthen communities around the world. He will also visit Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Miguel Vargas to be candidate for PRD in 2016 election
The PRD has chosen Miguel Vargas Maldonado as its presidential candidate for the 2016 election. He was proclaimed during the extraordinary convention that took place on Sunday, 14 September 2014.

In the September 2014 Gallup-Hoy, Vargas received 4.3% when voters were asked who they would like to be the next President. Others were:

Danilo Medina (54.2%), Leonel Fernandez (10.3%), Luis Abinader (8.7%), ?Hipolito Mejia (5.2%), Margarita Cedeno (3.6%) and Guillermo Moreno (1.8%).

In the poll, preferences for the PRD fell to 15%, the lowest in the party's history, as a result of dissident factions within the party failing to reach an agreement to present a unified front. Luis Abinader and former President Hipolito Mejia recently formed the PRM (Partido Revolucionario Moderno). This compares to 54% for the PLD and 3% for the PRSC. Before the party split into the PRD and PRM, the PRD obtained 20-21% in previous Gallup-Hoy polls.

As reported by Juan Bolivar Diaz, in four hypothetical scenarios, the also poll revealed that if Vargas ran against Leonel Fernandez (PLD) and Luis Abinader (PRM) he would receive only 10% of the vote, against Leonel Fernandez and Hipolito Mejia 9% of the vote, against Danilo Medina and Abinader 6%, and against Medina and Mejia 6%.


30+ will be majority for 2016 national election
An analysis of the voter universe for the 2016 national elections has found that the 30+ age group will decide the 2016 national election. Diario Libre reports that there are 3,525,286 voters over the age of 40, or 50.52% of possible voters, and 1,502,487 (21.53%) are between the ages of 30 and 39, for a total of 5,027,773 (72%) of the universe of voters of 6,978,538.

Diario Libre observes that this situation could lead politicians to present more compelling proposals to try to arouse the interest of middle-aged voters, who make up the majority. In the 2016 election, Dominicans will elect the senators and deputies and city government authorities as well as the president and vice president.


Dominicans: Medina will leave a better country
Dominicans believe that President Danilo Medina will leave a better country than he inherited from his predecessor former President Leonel Fernandez, as revealed by the September Gallup-Hoy poll. 70% expressed optimism, 18% believe that things will stay the same and 8.5% expect the country to be worse off. 76.8% are optimistic that things will improve in the next two years of the Medina administration.

Interestingly, as the 2010 Constitution bans President Danilo Medina from running for consecutive re-election, he is likely to pass the baton to his predecessor, former President Leonel Fernandez who has expressed his interest in the ruling PLD party presidential nomination.


Armando Casciati accused of promoting sex tourism
Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito is reported to have instructed the deportation of all foreigners who are known promoters of the Dominican Republic as a sex tourism destination. A long time Sosua resident, Italian businessman and artist Armando Casciati was the next in line. As reported in Acento, he reached an agreement with Immigration Department officials and left the country on a voluntary basis on Sunday, 14 September 2014 with the commitment of never returning.

Legal system officials and Immigration inspectors detained him on Friday morning, 12 September 2014, after he was questioned by the Puerto Plata prosecutor Alba Nunez Pichardo.

As reported in Diario Libre, the Special Procurement against Illicit Trafficking in Persons and Migrants, under Judge Jonathan Baro Gutierez ordered the cancellation of Casciati's residency, followed by his deportation.

Casciati had lived in Sosua for over 20 years where he operated several businesses including the Sosua Bay, Sosua Bay Convention Center, a television station, and several bars allegedly dedicated to prostitution, including the Merengue Bar, D'Clasico and Club 59.




Cristo Rey to compete for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar
According to critics, this year's Dominican entry has a better chance of being on the shortlist for the coveted Best Foreign Language film category in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscars competition. Leticia Tonos' "Cristo Rey" film, described as a Romeo & Juliet-style drama about two half-brothers chasing the same girl, was submitted by the Dominican Republic for the 2015 Oscars competition for best foreign film. The film has competed in several top film festivals after debuting at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival. The DR has been sending films, mostly comedies, to the Oscar competition since 1983, but none have ever been nominated.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts is scheduled to announce the list of eligible submissions in October 2014. Nine finalists selected from several dozen entries will then be shortlisted in mid-January 2015. Of these, the final five nominations will be announced in January 2015 for the Academy Awards presentation that will be aired on ABC on Sunday, 22 February 2015. The award is presented annually by the Academy to the feature-length motion picture that is produced outside the United States that contains mainly non-English dialogue. A Foreign Language Film Award Committee overseas the process and reviews all the submitted films. The nine shortlisted contenders are revealed a week before the announcement of the Oscar nominations. The submitted motion picture must have been first released theatrically in its home country between 1 October and 30 September 2014. The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2014.

DR wins Miss United Continents pageant
27-year old Geisha Montes de Oca from Santo Domingo was crowned Miss United Continent 2014 on Saturday, 13 September 2014 in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil. The Miss United Continents pageant is in its second year. She competed against 30 other candidates and won US$10,000 in cash, a crown worth US$20,000, among other gifts, including a trip to the Galapagos Islands together with the first and second runners-up, Wi Mai Nava from Venezuela and Gail Da Silva from India.


DR can bid for 2016 Rio Olympics in basketball
The Dominican Republic men's basketball team has a chance of playing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016. With the US win of the FIBA World Championship on Sunday, 14 September 2014, Team USA advanced directly to the Olympics. Given that another leading team from the Americas, Brazil, has qualified for the Olympics because it is hosting the event, two slots are available for other teams. The DR now needs to compete with Argentina, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and Uruguay for one of the two available slots.

In the recently ended FIBA World Championship, the Dominican Republic national basketball team finished in 13th position of 24 teams.

Pamel Mancebo at Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe at Blue Mall presents guitarist Pamel Mancebo this evening, Monday, 15 September 2014. 9pm. Av. Gustavo Mejia Ricart corner Av. Winston Churchill, Santo Domingo. Tel. 809-686-7771

Listen to the music of Pamel Mancebo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny5Ke1tB9kw&list=UUR0hc09XuPDlvEJYyDZtSTQ

RD Blues Band at Lulu Tasting Bar
Enjoy Dominican-style blues at Lulu Tasting Bar in Santo Domingo's Colonial City. The RD Blues Band is booked for this evening, Monday, 15 September 2014, at 9pm. Calle Padre Billini, Plazoleta Padre Billini, Tel. 809 687-8360.

Listen to the music of RD Blues Band at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_LJN6QpZUE

National Symphony Orchestra concert
The National Theater has announced its third fall season concert by the National Symphony Orchestra for Wednesday, 25 September 2014 at 8:30pm at the main hall of the theater.

Caonex Peguero Camilo will be the conductor, and there will be a special performance by cellist Nicole Pena Comas.

The works to be played are:

Antonin Dvorak: Carnival Overture Op. 92
Listen to the music at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0UCAtk9Yr4

Dario Estrella: Dominican works
Listen to his music at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xlQyOjrPCo

Dimitri Kabalevsky: Cello Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op 49 for cello and orchestra

Emmanuel Chabrier: Espana Rhapsody for Orchestra
Listen to the music at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvlD7XYbI_U

Maurice Ravel: La Valse
Listen to the music at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMSgWhIENSk

The National Symphony Orchestra's fall season continues with more concerts in October and November 2014.

Tickets are for sale at the National Theater box office (Tel 809 687-0504) or can be purchased by calling the National Symphony Orchestra Foundation at Tel 809 532-6600 or writing to [email protected]

Ticket prices range from RD$1,000 to RD$200. Tel: 809-687-0504 ext. 2213-2215

Dominican Cosmetics Fair 2014 at Galeria 360
Dominican Cosmetics Fair 2014 at Galeria 360 shopping mall in Santo Domingo on 23-24 September 2014. The event is organized by the Dominican Cosmetics and Beauty Products Association (Apymefac). Local products and imports from Brazil, Germany, Colombia and the US will be showcased. There will be a series of events, including talks and workshops.

Long night of museums
Ministry of Culture is sponsoring the Long Night of Museums on Saturday, 27 September 2014. This is an opportunity to stay out late at night and enjoy a cultural immersion for free. Participating museums are organizing special programs for the enjoyment of their visitors, open from 9am to 12 midnight.

Comedy at Galeria 360
Comedians Irving Alberti, Luis Jose German, Kenny Grullon and Cuquin Victoria are back together for a night of comedy, "Lo mayor de los temores." The show is set for 17 and 18 October at the Escenario 360 of Galeria 360 Mall in Santo Domingo. Tickets are for sale at Uepa Tickets for RD$1,100 general admission and RD$1,400 VIP.

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

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