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Daily News - Thursday, 02 October 2014

Medina still top dog
President Danilo Medina is still the most popular and admired President in Latin America, according to the Presidential Ranking by the Mitofsky consulting firm. This is the third consecutive year in which the Dominican President has won out over other heads of state, obtaining an 89% approval rating. In September 2013 Medina achieved 88% popularity and in April 2014, 90%.

A note sent by the Presidency Communications Department reports that Medina is above another 18 Latin American presidents and 19 presidents from Asia, Europe and Australia in terms of popularity.

In April 2014, the Dominican head of state obtained a 90% rating, heading the list as the most outstanding.

The consulting firm points out that this is the third time Medina has maintained his position as the President with the highest approval and popularity level from his citizens. Following him in second place is the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Valera with 80%, the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa with 72%, and the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, also with 72% approval. Other presidents including Juan Orlando Fernandez of Honduras obtain 66%, while Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua achieved 60%. Jose Mujica of Uruguay has 52% approval. In last place of the rankings is the President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto with a 47% approval, according to the Mitofsky consulting firm.

The Music Man! The Music Month
The Minister of Education Carlos Amarante Baret announced yesterday, Wednesday 1 October 2014 that the Ministry will fund the formation of 300 student bands in public schools around the country this year, as reported in Listin Diario. Stressing that artistic training is important to students' integrated development, Minister Amarante declared: "The boring school days of the past are no more!"

Amarante Baret was speaking during the launch of the 39th School Song Month at the Ministry of Education headquarters in Santo Domingo. He said that students who graduate from the educational system should also be trained to serve their family and their country, with an awareness of their roles in the society, to which they have to help bring changes, in addition to training in mathematics, chemistry, physics, language, history and music. This year's School Month Is dedicated to Father Cesar Hilario, a major contributor to choral music thoughout the country.

New bills go into circulation
The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic has issued a new series of paper bills, with improved safety features to reduce counterfeiting and provide greater security. The ceremony to launch them into circulation was headed by the Central Bank governor, Hector Valdez Albizu, and Minister of Hacienda, Simon Lizardo, as reported in El Nuevo Diario.

The new Central Bank issue will feature 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 pesos notes with enhanced colors and numerous security features, including a feature for the blind.

One of the interesting changes is the impression of the national flower, the Bayahibe Rose, which was declared the national flower in replacement of the mahogany flower by Law 146n11.

The $20 bills will now go out of circulation and will not be renewed.

The latest issue of Dominican currency will be produced by De la Rue International Ltd. of the United Kingdom, which won an international tender.


Detour on Duarte Highway
The Ministry of Public Works and Communications has announced that they will reroute traffic in both directions at kilometer 24 of the Duarte Highway today, Thursday 2 October 2014. The detour is necessary for the construction company, Compreica-Alba Sanchez to pour concrete for the new bridge that will connect the highway with the Santo Domingo Beltway. The highway detour will be in effect from 6am until 7pm. Announcements of the detour were placed along the highway warning drivers to reduce speed as they approach the detour in itself.

Time to renew your marbete
The Tax Office (DGII) opened the renewal process of the Tax on Motor Vehicle Circulation (marbete) 2014 n 2015 yesterday, Wednesday 1 October 2014, in which they expect to collect RD $1.2 billion.

The deputy director for Collection of the DGII, Manuel Matos, reported that vehicle owners can renewal the "marbete" that will cost the same as last year: RD$1204 cars manufactured before 2009 and RD$2200 for 2010 models and newer. There are 700 offices where the sticker can be obtained, as well as on their webpage of DGII and 395 renewal positions until 31 December 2014.

The DGII official said that the taxpayers that renew the marbete via the Internet could pay with credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard or American Express. The manager of the Motor Vehicle Department of DGII, Virginia Gomez, warned that after the renewal period expires, vehicle owners will have the month of January to obtain the sticker paying a surcharge of RD$600 at DGII offices.

Last year, 932,232 vehicles renewed the sticker and the DGII collected a total of RD$1.14 billion. The vehicle owners who renewed their stickers after the deadline (56,002) contributed RD$103.4 million in late fees.

The vehicular fleet in 2014 is composed of 1,073,161 vehicles, of which 466,969 are automobiles, 51,024 are buses, 289,673 are SUVs, 246,045 are freight vehicles, 10,846 are dump trucks, 3686 are heavy machinery and another 4918 and which are included trailers, ambulances, forklifts and hearses.

The DGII reported that motor vehicle owners could renew the sticker (marbete) at branches of the country's savings and loan associations: La Nacional, Popular, Cibao, La Vega Real, Duarte, Mocana, Maguana, Romana and Peravia. They can also use savings and credit banks such as Las Americas, Adopem, Vimenca, Ademi, Bellbank, BDA, Cofisa and in the cooperatives like Vega Real, Global de Loma de Cabrera and Aspire, as well as at all branches of the Banreservas and DGII offices.

World Bank proposes to reduce weak links between growth and equity
The Board of Directors of the World Bank presented a new support strategy for the Dominican Republic yesterday, Wednesday 1 October 2014. It offers a new program of loans for US$550 million and advisory services for the next four years (2015 n 2018), in order to expand economic and social opportunities for Dominicans.

"The objective of this loan is to offer the country's poorest people not only direct access, financial support, but also access to public services, to housing, training, etc., so that they have an array of public services that is complete. It is a stronger effort in comparison with what we did before," said Sophie Sirtaine, a director of the World Bank for the Caribbean, during a videoconference.

In the former strategy, which was budgeted for an amount similar to the new loan, in practice they disbursed US$600 million, according to World Bank resident representative, McDonald Benjamin, during the presentation of the new financing program.

During the unveiling of the new strategy they also commented on the country's economic progress, saying that while the Dominican Republic had grown by an annual average of 6.7% over the last decade, representing one of the best performances in the Latin American and Caribbean region, poverty and unemployment have remained high.

The World Bank report says that 46% of Dominicans in rural areas live in poverty and that around 30% of young men and women are unemployed.

Nevertheless it also says that the Dominican Republic has great potential for creating more and better jobs for the poorest 40% of the population, as well as increasing their access to financial resources, electricity and more reliable telecommunications and better education, health, water and social protection services. The five priorities identified by the World Bank and the Dominican government are: improved access to public services, including education helps water and social protection, increased access to electricity, telecommunications and other infrastructure, promote the ability to recover from external shocks, improve the quality of the business climate and promote the efficient handling of public resources.


Felix Bautista says he is a victim of political persecution
The controversial senator from San Juan, Felix Bautista resorted to complaining about what he described as "political persecution" by the Attorney General of the Republic, Francisco Dominguez Brito, who the day before yesterday, Tuesday 30 September 2014 placed an embargo on 100 assets allegedly belonging to the senator and to third-party purchasers, according to Diario Libre. In statements to the newspaper, before his comments in the Senate session yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 1 October 2014, the PLD legislator and ruling party Organizational Secretary said that Dominguez Brito's action was illegal because it violated the Constitution and the Property Registration Law.

Bautista said that he does not have nor has he ever built villas in Casa de Campo, nor does he have asphalt plants or plants of any other type. He said that the Inmobiliaria Rofi, of which he is a shareholder, was founded in 2002, and since then has constructed three buildings and began a housing project in Santiago, of which nine of 40 units have been built. "What has happened against me is persecution. He sees me as an obstacle to his (political) aspirations."

Bautista said that Dominguez Brito had asked him for financial support for his candidacy in the past.


Pelegrin Castillo to speak in Canada
The Canadian Council for the Americas has announced that Minister of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic, lawyer and economist Pelegrin Castillo is scheduled to speak at Fasken Martineau offices at 11:50am n 1:30pm on 9 October 2014.

CCA is known as Canada's premier forum for discussion of the political and economic issues in the hemisphere that are critical to Canada, and particularly Canadian trade and investment.

Pelegrin Castillo was appointed Minister of Energy and Mines after a successful 20-year career in congress. During his tenure in the Chamber of Deputies he has chaired several committees including Industry and Commerce, Energy and Mines and Maritime Affairs. As Minister he has promoted both land and offshore exploration policies for oil and gas.


Gonzalo Vargas Llosa departs
Declared a persona non-grata for his campaigns exhalting stateless status of immigrants from Haiti in the Dominican Republic, the UNHCR has announced the imminent departure of office head Gonzalo Vargas Llosa. Vargas Llosa arrived in 2010 after the Fernandez administration authorized the opening of the UNHCR office. In the past, Dominican governments had rejected the office, but the Fernandez administration gave the go ahead after the earthquake in Haiti. The argument was that there are only economic refugees in the DR.

Vargas Llosa had been in the post since January 2010 and said he leaves upon the termination of his contract. Following the announcement of the Constitutional Court ruling 168-13, his father, Nobel Literature Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa also wrote an article blasting the Dominican Republic in defense of human rights of the impoverished immigrants.


Sandy Lockward is new director of Onapi
Journalist Sandy Lockward is the new director of the National Office of Intellectual Property (ONAPI). She was sworn in by the chairman of the ONAPI board, Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo Savinon. She was recently appointed and replaces Juan Jose Baez.


Dominican volleyball on a roll in FIVB World Championship
Playing in the world's leading volleyball championship, the Dominican Republic has won its sixth straight match, this time against Belgium in the second round.

Dominican Republic held off a strong late surge from Belgium to claim a full set victory (25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 15-6) at Palaflorio in the first match of second round Pool E at the 2014 FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship.


Caribbean design at Dominicana Moda 2014
Six designers from English-speaking Caribbean will be taking part in this year's Dominicana Moda 2014 (DM2014) at the Hotel Embajador from 20-26 October 2014 in Santo Domingo.

The event is the leading fashion week in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. Caribbean Export is backing the participation of Kimya Glasgow of St. Vincent and the Grenadies who specializes in eco-luxury resort wear, Heather Jones International of Trinidad & Tobago, which produces hand-painted silk chiffon garments, Christian Boucaud Designs, also of Trinidad & Tobago, which creates custom resort wear garments, Jean Yves Marchand of Haiti, who specializes in ready-to-wear clothing and Reve Jewelry and Accessories of Jamaica, which creates luxury, hand-made jewelry.

The Caribbean Export backing is to help the designers penetrate new markets and gain greater exposure. In addition to participating in the runway shows and the exhibition hall, the designers will visit manufacturing units in Haiti this year. It is hoped that creating these business linkages between regional designers and manufacturing units will promote vertical integration of the Cariforum economies, according to Caribbean Export.

Caribbean Export says that the joint initiative with Dominicana Moda is aimed at providing a great opportunity for emerging and established fashion designers in the Caribbean to expose their vision at a regional and international stage, thus positioning the Caribbean as an international go-to location for fashion design.

Learning how cacao becomes chocolate
The annual Cacao Festival is set for San Francisco de Macoris, capital of the country's main cacao-producing area, from today, Wednesday 2 to Saturday 5 October 2014.

The event has the sponsorship of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Environment and leading cacao businesses and is being organized by Producciones Mayo PG.

This year several of the fair events for trade and general public will be held at the city's Duarte Park, following the style of the popular Bani mango festival that takes place every June. With the addition of activities for children, the whole family is now being invited to attend.

The program includes tastings and food-making competitions with chocolate as the main ingredient, stalls selling recycled arts and crafts, and artistic and cultural shows every evening. In essence, visitors to the fair will be able to follow the process of turning cacao into chocolate.

For more information, call 829 898-0201, 829 579-7233 or 829 632-0508

Puerto Plata's travel fair on from 1-3 October 2014
Puerto Plata is hosting its Third Annual Tourism Fair started yesterday Wednesday, 1 October and continues through Friday, 3 October 2014 at the Iberostar Costa Dorada. The event is being organized by the Puerto Plata Tourism Cluster. It is an opportunity to catch up with what is new in Puerto Plata, meet the suppliers of tours and hotel accommodations in person, and take familiarization trips to see the new attractions.

Drama 'In the President's Office' at the Sala Ravelo
Giovanni Cruz presents "In the President's Office" (En el despacho presidencial) on Thursday, 2 and 9 October, Friday, 3 and 10 October, Saturday, 4 and 11 October at 8:30pm. Sundays 5 and 12 October at 7pm. Tickets RD$500. Sala Ravelo of the National Theater, Santo Domingo.

Lulu Live Sessions with Peter Novelli Band
Listen to Blues from New Orleans at the Lulu Tasting Bar in the Colonial City. Peter Novelli plays with Guy Frometa on drums, Rigo Zapata on bass, and Jonathan Pina Duluc on tenor sax. 9pm. Monday, 6 October 2014. Free admission. Arzobispo Merino corner Padre Billini in the Colonial City, Santo Domingo. 809 687-8360 ext. 301

Fall National Symphony Orchestra concert
Jose Antonio Molina conducts the National Symphony Orchestra in its fourth fall concert on Wednesday, 8 October 2014. Guest soloist is violinist Luis August Martinez.

On the program:

Samuel Barber: Adagio for strings, Op 11


Bela Bartok: Violin Concert No. 1, Sz 36


Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op 73


The concerts are part of the National Symphony Orchestra's fall season with six concerts in September, 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

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

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