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Daily News - Thursday, 23 October 2014

National Job Plan goes into action
The National Job Plan is a bid to fulfill President Danilo Medina's pledge to create 400,000 new jobs in the formal sector during his term of office. Minister of Labor Maritza Hernandez said the plan was the result of hard work that included consultations with all of the productive sectors to collect information on public and private investments and the needs of employees in each economic sector.

The minister mentioned that some 103,000 new jobs were created in 2013 and that more than 35,000 of them came from the formalizing of businesses. This means these employees now are receiving social security benefits, as reported in El Caribe.

Medina asks for extension of Naturalization Law
President Danilo Medina sent a bill to the Chamber of Deputies yesterday, Wednesday 22 October 2014, to amend Law 169-14 on Naturalization to extend the naturalization deadline for another 90 days for people born in the Dominican Republic to foreign parents with irregular status. The term expires on 28 October and only 1,500 people have applied.


Human Rights Court condemns DR on immigration
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has called for a halt to the application of the sentences issued by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court that deny jus solis nationality to people born to parents with irregular status in the country. Yesterday, Wednesday 22 October 2014, the IACHR ruled that the decision reached by the Dominican courts was discriminatory and that it deprives people of judicial security and the right to a nationality. The IACHR maintains its stance that an individual's immigration status is not transmitted to their children, as reported in Diario Libre.

Medina administration spokesman Roberto Rodriguez Marchena says that it is studying the 160-page sentence prior to responding tomorrow, Friday 24 October 2014.

The OAS-funded court said that Constitutional Tribunal sentence TC/168-13 that orders the National Foreign Legalization Plan and articles 6, 8 and 11 of Naturalization Law No. 169 -14 that creates exceptions for the nationalization of people who already had been issued Dominican identity papers are in violation of the American Convention (supra paragraph 325).

The court said that the Dominican Republic should adopt within a reasonable time, the necessary measures to rescind all the regulations of any nature, whether it is constitutional, legal, regulatory or administrative, as well as all practice, or decision or interpretation, that establish or have the effect that the illegal status of the foreign parents is a motive for the denial of Dominican nationality to people born in the territory of the Dominican Republic.

The court considered that the State violated the rights of recognition of the judicial personality, the nationality and name, consecrated in Articles 3, 20 and 18 of the American Convention on Human Rights, as well as for the combination of said violations of the right to an identity in relation with the obligation to respect the rights without discrimination established in article 1.1.

The Court's sentence establishes that the individuals injured by these actions are William Medina Ferreras, Lilia Jean Pierre, Luis Ney Medina, Awilda Medina, Carolina Isabel Medina, Jeanty Fils-Aime, Janise Midi, Antonio Fils-Aimei, Diane Fils-Aime, Endry Fils-Aime, Rafaelito Perez Charles, Bersson Gelin, Victor Jean, Marlene Mesidor, Markenson Jean, Victoria Jean, Miguel Jean and Natalie Jean.

The court also established a fine of US$8000 for each one for damages.

The Court also says that the Dominican Republic has violated the prohibition on collective deportations of foreigners recognized in Article 22.9 of the Convention in relation with the non-compliance of the obligation to respect human rights without discrimination, as established in Article 1.1, to the prejudice of the victims of Haitian nationality.

The Court adds that the DR violated the right of residence and movement and the prohibition on expelling nationals, the rights to judicial guarantees and judicial protection, and to protection of the family, recognized in Article 17.1 of the Convention, in relation to the failure to comply with the obligation of respecting the conventional rights without discrimination.

According to the decision, the Dominican State violated the right to protection of honor and dignity, by the violation of the right to not be the object of arbitrary interferences in the private and family life, recognized in article 11.2 of the regulations of international law.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights imposed a payment of US$414,004 in damages both material and immaterial against 23 descendants of undocumented Haitians. This is in addition to other charges to be paid to organizations that supported the human rights demands.


William Medina Ferreras is charged
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has filed charges before the District Attorney of the National District against William Medina Ferreras, who is accused of using his fake identification card (cedula) to vote in the 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections, as reported in Diario Libre. Medina Ferreras benefited from the 22 October 2014 ruling by the Inter-American Human Rights Court of the Organization of American States.

The Haitian immigrant who sued the country before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and that the JCE accused of basing his arguments on false documents in order to support his claim to Dominican nationality, used this fraudulent identity in order to declare the birth of three people and vote in five of the last elections. When he was asked for the names of his relatives in court he mentioned Argentina, Chocolate and Cocoa as his alleged siblings. But the JCE interviewed the brothers and sisters who denied that William Medina had been born to either the same mother or father.


Justice issued in containers is degrading
Santo Domingo province prosecutor Olga Dina Llaverias says that it is totally degrading that justice should be served in shipping containers in a country such as ours, a situation that according to the magistrate questions very strongly the role being carried out by the Justice Department. Speaking yesterday, Wednesday 22 October 2014 she said that the elimination of these places has been the major challenge for the Prosecutor's Office for the province of Santo Domingo. According to El Nuevo Diario, the prosecutor says that using the shipping containers as courtrooms damages the image of Dominican justice. Dina Llaverias said that the very fact that Justice Department personnel are willing to work in places where the walls can be destroyed by a stone is evidence of their responsibility and bravery.

Petrocaribe debt grew by 2467% since 2005
The Petrocaribe Accord represented US$8.22 billion in petroleum imports to the Dominican Republic from 2005 until 30 June 2014, according to the Office of the Coordinator of the Petrocaribe Negotiations, part of Venezuela's Ministry of Hacienda, as reported in Diario Libre.

In August 2014, the debt from the Petrocaribe Accord closed at US $4.095 billion, which represented 26% of the country's total overseas obligations.

Of the total PetroCaribe import billed, US$4.261 billion, or 51.8% has been financed at an interest rate of 1% per year, payable over 23 years with a two-year grace period, said Petrocaribe Office deputy director Pablo de Jesus Tejeda King. "This debt has been paid punctually, and we have never been in arrears."

Since 2010, this debt began to be "compensated" partially, with exports of food goods produced in the Dominican Republic that comply with a 70% rule of Dominican origin along with other requirements, adds Petrocaribe Office general coordinator Jose Ramon Suriel. Of the total, the DR has paid US$136.9 million in export products, as reported in Diario Libre.

During 2014, up until October, the Dominican Republic exported to Venezuela, in payment of the Petrocaribe debts, goods for a value of US $40.3 million. These products are pasta, flour, liquid sugar, mono-calcium phosphate and de-fluoridated phosphate.

Dropping petroleum prices will reduce the privileges of PetroCaribe for the Dominican government. In this context, Stratford Global Intelligence estimates that if oil prices remain low for a long period, which seems likely, Venezuela "might be obliged to reconsider its agreements with Cuba or programs such as Petrocaribe."

According to the geopolitical intelligence firm, "Venezuela's high social spending and the depressed world oil prices mean that the government has reduced its cash flow." If this is confirmed, the Nicolas Maduro government will face difficulties in order to maintain internally its broad-based social work program that sustains his political support and oversees the financial cost of the very costly Petrocaribe Accord.


Audits find poor hospital administration
The latest Chamber of Accounts audits on the administration of the country's leading hospitals reveal not only an "administrative disaster" but also a series of anomalies with criminal consequences that range from the incoherent handling of RD$1.3 billion to the theft of another RD $246.9 million.

The audits were carried out at the Vinicio Calventi, Jose Maria Cabral y Baez (in Santiago), Juan Bosch, Marcelino Velez, Luis Eduardo Aybar and La Altagracia Maternity hospitals.

Although it was not included in these audits, some observers say that these same administrative failures are behind the recent case at the Robert Reid Cabral Children's Hospital where 11 babies and young children died over one weekend, allegedly due to negligence and lack of oxygen equipment.

Just in the case of the Vinicio Calventi Hospital the Chamber of Accounts found incoherence in the handling of RD$216 million in 2010. During the inspection they detected the appropriation of more than RD$143.6 million in income that was not deposited in the account of the National Treasury as stipulated by the law.

AG asks Supreme Court to try Felix Bautista
The Attorney General has sent a letter of accusation and request for the opening of a trial against Senator Felix Bautista to the Supreme Court of Justice, as reported in Diario Libre.

The Attorney General's office requested the appointment of a Special Instruction Judge in order to consider in a preliminary hearing a request for preventive custody and the accusation for alleged serious incidents "of corruption and money laundering against citizens Felix Ramon Bautista Rosario, Soraida Antonia Abreu Martinez, Jose Elias Hernandez Garcia, Bolivar Antonio Ventura Rodriguez, Carlos Manuel Ozoria Martinez, Gricel Aracelis Soler Pimentel and Bienvenido Apolinar Breton Medina," according to a press release.

The details of the written accusation include:

a) Regarding citizen Felix Ramon Bautista Rosario for violation of articles 114, 145, 146, 147, 148, 150, 151, 166, 167, 171, 172 and 175 of the Dominican Penal Code, which establishes and punishes the infractions of attempts against the Constitution, falsifying public documents, falsifying private documents, the use of false documents, the perversion of justice, fraud and issues that are incompatible with the position of a public official.

b) With regard to citizens Bolivar Antonio Ventura Rodriguez, Carlos Manuel Ozoria Martinez, Soraida Antonia Abreu Martinez, Jose Elias Hernandez Garcia, Gricel Aracelis Soler Pimentel and Bienvenido Apolinar Breton Medina, for violation of articles 59, 60, 145, 146, 147, 148, 167, 171, 172 and 175 of the Dominican Penal Code, which establishes and punishes complicity in the falsification of public documents, the falsification of private documents, the use of false documents, the perversion of justice, fraud, and issues incompatible with the position of a public official; articles 3 letter A) and B), for, 8B), 18, 21 letters a), B) and C) and 26 of the Law Number 72 n 02, Laundering of Assets Arising from Illegal Trafficking of Drugs and Controlled Substances and other serious infractions.

The Attorney General is also asking for coercive measures consisting of preventive custody for the citizens named in the letter of accusation and request for the opening of a trial.

The case has a strong political slant because Felix Bautista is a very close aide of former President Leonel Fernandez who is president of the PLD and has indicated he would like to be the presidential candidate for the PLD in the 2016 presidential election. Bautista himself is the organizational secretary of the ruling party.


2.5 million lbs of food wasted each week
A study by the United Nations for the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) revealed that every week the Dominican Republic loses 2.5 million pounds of food along different stages of the food chain. The wasted food could be redistributed to reduce hunger. According to El Nuevo Diario, the report released at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 highlighted that in the Constanza area alone 1,100 tons of food were lost each week, and restaurants lose a further 20 tons each week. Vice President Margarita Cedeno said that 20 tons of food could feed 10,000 people a day. The Vice President is working to expand the Food Bank that delivers food to poor people and institutions. According to a press release from the Presidential Palace, the FAO study will help the government by identifying the areas with the greatest food losses. According to the study supermarkets, colmados, food processors and food importers, which work with "sell by" dates are the source of 37% of the losses. Nearly half of the losses (43%) are caused by bruising and physical imperfections. In the case of hotels and restaurants the preparation of food that is not consumed results in a loss of 37% of the food they handle.


Caterpillar worms affect crops in Santiago, Moca and La Vega
The return of the Erinnyis ello, commonly known as the cassava (yuca) caterpillar worm, has ravaged major crops throughout the provinces of Santiago, Moca, and La Vega. The vast size of the outbreak has even brought the worms into rural yards and houses, as reported in El Caribe.

The main complaint from both farmers and housewives is that despite their complaints the Ministry of Agriculture has not come to their aid.

In communities along the border between Moca and La Vega, including Cayetano Germosen, La Lima, Bacui and Barranca, farmers estimate that some 15,000 "tareas" (about 1000 ha) have been affected.

According to El Caribe, one farmer, Juan Antonio Vargas, said that he had to contract personnel just to deal with the infestation because the Ministry of Agriculture had not come to his aid. Housewife Maria Guzman said that she is spending all of her time sweeping the caterpillars out of her house and yard.


Winter League Baseball
With the startup last Thursday, 16 October 2014 of this year's Dominican Winter League Baseball Championship, baseball once again takes center stage along with the World Series for a majority of Dominicans.

In Santiago yesterday evening, Wednesday 22 October 2014, the Aguilas Cibaenas defeated the Leones Del Escogido 2-1 in the Estadio Cibao. This was the third victory in a row for the Aguilas, who scored two runs in the fourth inning and then let their pitchers take care of the Leones. Former major leaguer Manny Ramirez brought home the winning run with a single to right field.

In the venerable Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, the Estrellas Orientales beat up on the Tigres Del Licey 11-1. Radhames Liz was the winning pitcher. The Estrellas scored four runs in the fifth inning and the game was never in doubt.

In La Romana, the Gigantes Del Cibao defeated the Toros Del Este by a score of 4 to 1.

AGUILAS 3 - 1 .750 --
TOROS 3 - 1 .750 --
ESTRELLAS 3 - 2 .600 0.5
GIGANTES 1 - 1 .500 1.0
ESCOGIDO 1 - 3 .250 2.0
LICEY 1 - 4 .200 2.5

Santo Domingo Colonial Fest in November
The annual Santo Domingo Colonial Fest will take place in the Colonial City on 21, 22 and 23 November 2014. This is a time to enjoy free music, theater and cultural heritage visits, and to buy arts and crafts at fairs as well as enjoying special deals at many participating Colonial City restaurants.

US cinema under the stars
The US Embassy, DG Cine and the Cinemateca Dominicana sponsor classic US films at the Cinemateca outdoor cinema on the last Saturday of every month. Showing this month, on 25 October 2014, is the comedy, "Despicable Me" (2010), directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. 7pm, Plaza de la Cultura, Santo Domingo. Free admission.

Mo'Mojo Band at Louisiana Fest
The US Embassy is sponsoring the Louisiana Fest with a concert by the Mo'Mojo band, which is on tour in the Dominican Republic from 30 October through 2 November 2014. This is their first time visit.

Mo"Mojo music is a mix of Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, Reggae, Rock R&B, African and Latin beats.

The group will play four free concerts: Santo Domingo (Friday, 31 October, La Galeria in Piantini at 9pm and on Sunday, 2 November at the Centro Cultural Mauricio Baez, Villa Juana, 7pm), Bani (Thursday, 30 October, Centro Perello, 7pm), Santiago (Saturday, 1 November, Centro Cultural Dominico Americano, 7pm). The group musicians will also hold a master class at the National Music Conservatory.

Read more about the group and listen to their music at: http://www.momojomusic.com

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

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