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Daily News - Tuesday, 21 October 2014

World pays tribute to Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta, who put the Dominican Republic on the international fashion map, died yesterday, Monday 20 October 2014 in his rural estate in Kent, Connecticut. He was 82 years old.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Annette de la Renta. He had been suffering from cancer for around ten years.

His last very photographed design was for lawyer Amal Alamuddin's marriage to actor George Clooney in September. He was also able to present one last spring-summer 2015 collection in New York City.

De la Renta will always be remembered for his masterful creations of elegant, joyful, and very feminine clothes marked by color, flowers, lace and flowing materials that despite changes in fashion always remained classics.

De la Renta was born to Spanish parents in Santo Domingo in July 1932. He was the youngest of seven children and the only boy, and after finishing high school he went to Madrid to study art. There he discovered his talent for designing and joined Cristobal Balenciaga as an apprentice. He then moved to Paris to work with Antonio de Castillo and then Elizabeth Arden in New York.

He since became the favorite designer of several of the First Ladies of the United States such as Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Although he spent most of his time in the United States, he had two homes in the Dominican Republic, one in Casa de Campo and the other in Punta Cana.

In addition to his wife, Annette, Oscar de la Renta is survived by his adopted son Moises, three sisters, three stepchildren and nine step-grandchildren.

News reports say that he will be replaced by Peter Copping who recently joined the Oscar de la Renta brand from Nina Ricci.

The Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo is holding an exhibition through 15 November of his influence and impact on fashion and design over the past 50 years.




Successful meetings in Puerto Rico
A large Dominican government delegation was in Puerto Rico since Wednesday, 15 October 2014 for meetings with the Puerto Rican government to coordinate cooperation programs.

Then yesterday, Monday 20 October 2014, the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla met with the delegation to discuss ways of collaboration.

The day began with a breakfast meeting, and as well as the governor, Eduardo Bhatia Gautier and Jaime Perello Borras, the presidents of the Senate and Chamber of Representatives of Puerto Rico were present, as well as Secretary of State David Bernier Rivera.

Puerto Rico was also represented at the meeting by Senate majority spokesperson Anibal J. Torres, Chamber majority spokesman Carlos Hernandez, Under Secretary of State Javier Gonzalez, Secretary for the Military Jorge Colberg Toro, Victor Suarez, secretary to the Governor, Superintendent of Police Jose Caldero and Emiliano Trigo, advisor to the Governor.

The Dominican delegation was headed by Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo, included Foreign Minister Andres Navarro, Industry Minister Jose del Castillo Savinon, Agriculture Minister Angel Estevez, and Higher Education Minister Ligia Amada Melo.

Deputy Foreign Minister Cesar Dargam, director of the Investment and Export Center (CEI-RD) Jean Alain Rodriguez were also present. Major General Julio Cesar Souffront, head of the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) and National Police chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo also attended. Ambassador Virgilio Alvarez, Dominican consul in Puerto Rico Franklin Grullon, and Juan Ariel Jimenez, advisor to the Minister of the Presidency were also part of the large delegation.

Following a full day's work, a joint press conference was held where the delegates shared the results of the meetings.

The Puerto Rican authorities expressed their support for the Dominican government in citizen security matters and offered training courses for Dominican police officers in the Puerto Rican Police Academy.

As far as higher education was concerned they discussed the creation of a US$500,000 fund with each country contributing half to train officials in strategic areas of government. In addition the Puerto Rican government expressed interest in helping to teach English to Dominicans.

Other areas discussed during the meetings included cooperation in agriculture, commerce and the fight against drug trafficking.




Mistake in the 2015 budget
The bi-chamber congressional committee that is studying the 2015 national budget will reallocate RD$200 million to the Constitutional Court that had been assigned to another government department by mistake.

The committee took the decision after hearing from the president of the Constitutional Court, Milton Ray Guevara.

Committee chairman Senator Tommy Galan said that the RD$200 million chapter was now clear and that the funds had been allocated to the Superior Administrative Court by error.


Where the government money is going
Following on from its report yesterday on the overall increase in the government payroll, today's Diario Libre, Tuesday 21 October 2014 focuses on the areas where the main increases are taking place.

In the last two years, the Ministry of Education (MINERD) has taken on 31,317 new employees, an increase of 20.5%, and the monthly payroll was increased by 69.6% to RD$3,159.8 million.

In the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance there has been an increase of 9.2% in the number of staff from 59,298 in August 2012 to 65,457 in August this year. The monthly payroll has increased by nearly 20% and is now at RD$1,535.3 million.

In contrast, the Ministry of Foreign Relations has decreased the number of personnel by 25.5% or 922 fewer employees over the last two years, and is now employing 2,695 people. However the monthly payroll has only been reduced by 3.3% and currently stands at RD$137.9 million.

The Ministry of Agriculture has also reduced staff over the past two years, by 6.8% but the monthly payroll has increased over the same time period by 16.4%.

All other ministries have increased both in the number of employees as well as monthly salaries. In the case of Tourism, there has been a 52.5% increase in staff over the last two years, from 731 to 1,115 and an increase in monthly payroll of 73.6% over the same time period.

The Industry and Commerce Ministry has increased staff by 189.9% to 1,096 and payroll by 70.8%.


Cost of relocations due to the Metro
According to the Transport Reorganization Office (OPRET) the process of moving residents and businesses to make way for the extension of the second line of the Santo Domingo Metro has cost RD$713 million so far.

This includes moving 477 homes at a cost of RD$357.3 million in the neighborhoods of Los Mina and Gualey to build a bridge over the Ozama River.

Opret has also reached an agreement with the owners of a commercial center at the planned site of Station 24 where Av. San Vicente de Paul meets Carretera Mella for RD$34.9 million and the owners of the Hotel Excelsior and tenants in a four-floor building for RD$119 million.

Opret paid RD$132 million for a warehouse belonging to Molinos Modernos and RD$50 million to business owners on the future site of Station 22, on Av. San Vicente de Paul at the corner with Fernandez de Navarrete. At the planned site for Station 21, on Av. Venezuela they paid RD$20 million to buy part of a LPG gas station. On the planned site for Station 23, on Trina de Moya Street, they still have not reached an agreement with the property owners.

Deputy director Leonel Carrasco said that Opret had to pay to move the property owners and that they had a high commercial value as they were building the line in the heart of Santo Domingo East.


Half a million young people cannot find work
According to a study carried out by Business Action for Education (EDUCA), around 507,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 29, three quarters of whom are women, have no qualifications and no job prospects.

The report went on to say that in April this year, around 580,000 young people under the age of 18 were working in the informal sector.

In response to this situation, Educa and Banco Popular have announced the 18th International Congress of Learning through Education 2014 that seeks to come up with concrete solutions to help young people integrate to a productive life.

The seminar will take place from Friday 7 November through Sunday 9 November 2014 and is entitled "Young People DR: Education, Employment, Hope".

The details were revealed during a luncheon meeting with media representatives and opinion formers headed by Educa vice president Franklin Baez Brugal and Jose Marmol, executive vice president of Public Relations and Communications from Popular Group.


Murder rate down
According to the Dominicans in Statistics 2014 report issued by the National Statistics Office (ONE), between 2009 and 2013 some 43% of the violent deaths in the country were due to homicide, 35% traffic accidents and 11% due to suicide.

ONE director Pablo Tactuk presented the results yesterday, Monday 20 October 2014 and highlighted that homicides declined by 17% over the four-year period. The main reasons for them were fights at 31%, robbery 16% and police or military action at 11%.

Deaths between 2008 and 2013 have increased by 3.5% with 65% being men and 37% women.


Mayor accused of corruption
The Mayor of San Cristobal Raul Mondesi was interrogated yesterday morning, Monday 20 October 2014 by the Specialized Prosecution Service for the Prevention of Corruption, following a report from the Audit Chamber that noted irregularities amounting to more than RD$76 million in the town hall in the province.

The former baseball player and Mayor was summoned by assistant prosecutor and department director Laura Guerrero Pelletier to answer a series of questions, including the case of the sale of used vehicles for more than eight million pesos, where the money does not appear to have actually been received by the town hall.

Last week, hundreds of people marched through the streets of San Cristobal demanding the resignation of Mayor Mondesi, who they accused of corruption.

Guerrero Pelletier has also interviewed Councilors Mercedes Paulino, Alex Sanchez and the head of the Popular Front (Falpo), Pedro Estevez, who had his vehicle burned by persons unknown. She also interviewed Daniel Maldonado, the president of the neighborhood watch in Los Nova.

Following the interview, Raul Mondesi dismissed the investigation as a "political sideshow" and said that Senator Tommy Galan was persecuting him as he had heard that Mondesi wanted to run for senator against him in 2016. Mondesi said that he would be the next senator for San Cristobal province and he knew the current attacks on him were politically motivated.



Less rains forecasts
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) says that the recent rains that drenched parts of the country will now diminish and that temperatures will stay high in the east and south east.

Forecasters are warning of two low-pressure systems, one of which is in the Atlantic Ocean several hundreds of kilometers to the south east of the Azores, with a low probability of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next couple of days.

The second system is to the extreme south west of Campeche Bay to the south east of Veracruz, Mexico, with a 50% probability of becoming a tropical cyclone between today, Tuesday 21 October 2014 and tomorrow. On the current forecast track it will not affect the Dominican Republic, says Onamet.


Recycling art at Altos de Chavon School of Design
Zoo is happening at Altos de Chavon on Gustavo Mejia Ricart 50, Naco in Santo Domingo. See works created by Luis Rivas inspired by environmental conservation. The artist recycles materials to create a zoo of pieces to highlight the need for protecting vulnerable species. The exhibition opened on Thursday, 9 October 2014 at 7pm at the Santo Domingo headquarters of the Altos de Chavon School of Design.

De la Cocina al Ojo
Museo Bellapart has two special exhibitions on display: "De la Cocina al Ojo" and "La Revolucion Mexicana". The private art museum has an extraordinary collection of Dominican art. Agencia Bella, Av. J. F. Kennedy corner Dr. Lembert Peguero, Santo Domingo. Tel 809 541-7721 Ext. 296. Open through Friday, 31 October 2014.

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

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