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Daily News - Friday, 17 October 2014

President Hernandez of Honduras visits
The Dominican Republic is sharing its experiences of the 911 Emergency System and presidential surprise visits with Honduras. President Danilo Medina met with the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez and his team of security experts at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Thursday 16 October 2014 to share details of these initiatives. The Honduras delegation was visiting to learn more about Dominican government social and security programs.

President Medina accompanied the Honduran President on his visit to the 911 Emergency System headquarters on Av. Abraham Lincoln in Santo Domingo. Hernandez also inquired about security plans being implemented by the Dominican government. The visit came in response to an invitation made by President Danilo Medina during the Central American Integration System (SICA) Summit that took place in Punta Cana in June 2014.

"In this case the 911 system is fundamental so that the people feel the protection of the state," said President Hernandez. "I was elected with a very clear mandate: to restore the levels of peace of our country and this tool is very important for us in terms of improving what we have in Honduras," he said. He congratulated President Medina for his commitment to service as expressed by the surprise visits program to support small business nationwide.

President Hernandez traveled to the DR with a team of high-ranking officers, including the head of the armed forces, police, federal investigations and intelligence.



President Medina inaugurates Montana paint factory
President Medina inaugurated the Puras Pinturas Dominicanas paint manufacturing plant in Pedro Brand on the Duarte Highway yesterday, Thursday 16 October 2014. The factory will manufacture the Montana brand of paints. This is a US$20 million Dominican Republic-Venezuelan investment. Some 200 direct and indirect jobs were created, said the chairman of the board of the investing company, Grupo Corimon, Carlos Gil. Gil said that the location is strategic for exports to Central America and the Caribbean. The plant has the capacity to manufacture 400,000 gallons of paint a year.

Spotlight on San Pedro de Macoris as a tourism destination
The Ministry of Tourism and the Central University of the East (UCE), the largest university in the southeast, have signed a five-year institutional agreement to promote tourism in San Pedro de Macoris, where the university is based, as reported in Acento. The agreement seeks to promote the cultural aspects of the city of San Pedro de Macoris, which is a 10-minute drive from the Juan Dolio and Guayacanes beach and hotel areas.

The agreement was signed by Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia and UCE rector Jose A. Hazim Torres.

Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia said the agreement includes strategic planning to define the focus of the tourism model for the city of San Pedro de Macoris and to identify the infrastructural support that would be needed for an increase in visitors.

"We will implement projects that are defined as strategic for positioning the province as a tourist destination," said Garcia. A San Pedro de Macoris Tourist Destination Action Plan will be prepared with a calendar of events and cultural celebrations, he said.

The agreement seeks to promote the city's architectural heritage, the traditions of the immigrants from the English-speaking Caribbean islands (Cocolos) who came to work in the sugar industry, the sugar industry itself, and baseball traditions as complements to beach and sun tourism.

As part of the agreement, the UCE will draft a report on the architectural and social heritage of the city of San Pedro de Macoris.

Garcia said that San Pedro was striving to attract a greater share of travelers to the Dominican Republic. He said that in September 2014 the country registered hotel occupancy levels that were more in line with high season, a 13.2% increase over September 2013.


Migration authorities step up Ebola prevention measures
The Dominican Migration authorities have ordered the automatic application of Ebola sanitary protocol controls at air and maritime ports in compliance with World Health Organization guidelines. The immigration computer system has been programmed to detect passengers who have recently traveled to high-risk countries. Any potential suspect will be subject to assessment.

The action coincides with the detection of an African couple from Sierra Leone who vacationed at a north coast hotel for three days. As reported in Diario Libre, an immigration clerk notified the authorities about the African couple's visit. Consequently, epidemiologist Eliza Polanco visited the tourists and tested them to ensure that they were in good health. The tourists, who traveled from Miami, were staying at a hotel in Costa Dorada.

In response to the situation, Puerto Plata International Airport (AIGGL) delegate Lic. Guarionex Vasquez Polanco circulated a memorandum dated 14 October 2014 informing of the start of prevention measures. As reported, they were already in the pipeline for implementation.



Proposals for improving nutrition in the DR
Dr. Mery Hernandez, president of the National District chapter of the Dominican Medical Association (CMD), is calling attention to the high levels of undernourishment in the Dominican Republic compared to other countries in the region. Dr. Hernandez said that in the region, the DR is only above Bolivia, Haiti and Guatemala. On the occasion of the celebration of the World Food Day, sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Dr. Hernandez said that there was chronic undernourishment of 9.8% in children under the age of five. She said low breastfeeding rates and lack of prevention programs are two of the main reasons for the low nutrition levels found in children.

She commented that undernourishment increases the risk of diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, allergies, overweight and personality disorders.

She said it was unfortunate that nutrition is not taught in the country and called on the new Public Health Minister to create inter-institutional alliances to reduce undernourishment.

Also speaking on the topic, Dr. Jimmy Barranco, coordinator of the Clinical Nutrition specialty at the Santo Domingo Technological Institute (INTEC) called for regulating the sale of food products around schools and restricting the advertising hours for certain foods and beverages.

He called for regular sports programs to be included in the extended school day schedule. Dr. Barranco added that the school breakfast programs should be designed to educate children on better eating habits instead of being based on their current habits.

"Globalization has affected our eating patterns with the entry of fast food chains and imported eating habits, at a time when lifestyles have become more sedentary," he said, calling for swift attention to nutrition.


US Ambassador visits Puerto Plata
US Ambassador James Brewster met with the Puerto Plata Tourism and Cultural Cluster on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 to discuss initiatives to promote sustainable tourism in the north of the country. This was the US Ambassador's first visit to Puerto Plata. He also met with US expats living in the area.

Cluster president Maximo Iglesias, executive director Jakaira Cid and other members of the Puerto Plata Cluster received Ambassador Brewster.

The ambassador was visiting as part of the US Embassy's bid to promote trade, and boost local competitiveness and foreign investment. The Embassy highlighted the support for establishing strategic business alliances that may result in job creation and economic dynamism in the northern region.

In a press release, the US Embassy assessed US investments in the province as positive, mentioning Ocean World and the current construction of the Maimon port for Carnival Cruises.

"It is a priority of the government of the United States and our embassy to contribute to our efforts of the Dominican government and the private sector to promote policies that enhance the competitiveness of Dominican enterprises, promote environmental conservation as a driver of sustainable tourism, to increase citizen security, reduce poverty and, above all, ensure social inclusion", said Ambassador Brewster at the end of the meeting.

Ambassador Brewster also visited the Renacer Evangelical Church Community Center in the Padre Granero neighborhood to watch vocational training by Alerta Joven/Grupo Clara program that is backed by a USAID donation.



Major crash on road to Higuey, eight dead
Eight people were killed and 34 were injured in a crash between a Hyundai bus and a dump truck on the old road between Veron and Higuey yesterday evening, Thursday 16 October 2014. Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) spokesman Diego Pesqueira said the bus was transporting employees of the Dreams resort in Cabeza de Toro who were returning to the city of Higuey.

Douglas Borrel, spokesman for the Military and Police Commission of the Ministry of Public Works in charge of highway patrols said that the accident happened because the truck was badly parked and the minibus slammed into it. The accident also caused a major bottleneck on the eastern road.


Blue Mall surveillance videos seized
The courts have ordered the confiscation of surveillance cameras at the Louis Vuitton store in Santo Domingo's Blue Mall, an upscale shopping center. Investigators from the High-Tech Crime Specialized Prosecutors Office (Procuraduria Especializada Contra Crimenes de Alta Tecnologia) had requested access to recent videos as part of a credit card fraud investigation.


Eduardo Leon Jimenes awards announced in Santiago
The Centro Leon in Santiago has announced the winners of the 25th Eduardo Leon Jimenes Contest and the opening of an exhibition of the works of art.

Centro Leon president Maria Amalia Leon and Minister of Culture Jose Antonio Rodriguez made the announcements yesterday, Thursday 16 October 2014.

This year's winners are: Marie Jimenez (Sin Titulo), Joiri Alphonsina Minaya (Siboney) and Luis Fermin Ceballos Maldonado (Accion para Buonarroti) who each received cash prizes of RD$500,000.

David Perez received a special mention. Participants Patricia Encarnacion Contreras and Andres Farias received invitations to travel to Venezuela and Spain sponsored by the Patricia Phels de Cisneros Foundation and the City Government of Cadiz, Spain. Both institutions have formed partnerships with the Centro Leon.

This year's jury was made up of Andrea Giunta, professor of art at the University of Texas in Austin, Sofia Hernandez Choing Cuy, curator of the Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in New York, and Dominican visual artist Jorge Pineda.


Applications open for Berklee on the Road in Santo Domingo
The Ministry of Culture and Berklee College of Music of Boston, USA has announced the opening of the application process for Dominican Republic residents for the 2015 Berklee on the Road program that will take place at the National Music Conservatory in Santo Domingo from 6-11 January 2015. The program also has the support of Dominican musician and Berklee alumnus Juan Luis Guerra.

The workshop is for all musicians n instrumentalists and vocalists alike, from classical to pop and rock to jazz and all who are interested in developing the skills to be well-rounded contemporary musicians. Professors from Berklee and guest musicians will give lectures and master classes in instrumental technique, improvisation and harmony. Professors include Ken Cervenka (brass), Yoron Israel (percussion), Jim Kelly (guitar), Vadim Neselovskyi (piano), Jim Odgren (woodwinds), Bob Pilkington (jazz composition), Bruno Raberg (ensembles), Darcel Wilson (ear training) and Norm Zocher (guitar).

The students then have the opportunity to apply these skills in ensembles. Applications are for residents in the Dominican Republic only. They must be 15+ and have been playing an instrument for a minimum of six months to attend the program. The program is free to all admitted students. Applications are open through 14 November 2014.


Best voices for hunger concert
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization agency (FAO) is sponsoring a concert at 6pm this evening, Friday, 17 October 2014 at the UASD Aula Magna in Santo Domingo to send a message to fight global hunger. Victor Victor, Milly Quezada, Pavel Nunez, El Prodigio, Xiomara Fortuna, Bobby Delgado, Janio Lora and Minister of Culture Jose Antonio Rodriguez will be performing. The event commemorates World Food Day (celebrated worldwide on 16 October) and for admission those attending are asked to bring canned food, cartons of milk, packets of pasta and other food items that do not require refrigeration.

The MCs for the concert will be Mariasela Alvarez and Freddy Ginebra.

Streetcar Named Desire at Palacio de Bellas Artes
Maria del Mar Perez and Felix German play the starring roles in the Tennessee Williams 1948 Pulitzer-winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire, from 17-19 October 2014 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo. 8:30pm. 6:30pm on Sunday, 19 October. This is a Fidel Lopez production.

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

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