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Daily News - Monday, 27 October 2014

Mourning for Carlos Morales Troncoso
President Danilo Medina has ordered three days of mourning from Monday 27 October to Wednesday, 29 October to honor former Vice President Carlos Morales Troncoso, who died on Saturday, 25 October 2014. Morales Troncoso served as Vice President from 1986-1990 and 1990-1994 under the Balaguer administrations. He died of leukemia in a Houston, Texas hospital at the age of 74. He also served as Minister of Foreign Relations during the past government of President Leonel Fernandez and continued in the role during the Medina administration. He resigned in August 2014 and left the post on 25 September 2014. He was replaced by Andres Navarro in October 2014.

A graduate in sugar chemical engineering from Louisiana State University, he worked at South Puerto Rico Sugar Corporation's Romana sugar factory and went on to become head of the Gulf + Western owned company at the young age of 34.

He ran on the PRSC ticket when President Joaquin Balaguer returned to power in 1986 and served as Vice President from then until 1994. He served as PRSC president for many years after Balaguer's death.

Previously, under a Balaguer administration, he headed the State Sugar Council, served as Dominican ambassador to the United States and was a member of the Monetary Board.

He was married to Luisa Alba de Morales with whom he had four daughters, Ivette Morales de Baittiner, Nicole Morales de Bogaert, Cecile Morales de Vitienes and Michelle Morales.

Medina invited to Ibero-American Summit 8-9 December
The governor of the Mexican state of Veracruz Javier Duarte de Ochoa visited Santo Domingo and met with President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace on Friday, 24 October 2014. He was accompanied by Mexican ambassador Jose Ignacio Pina Rojas. Duarte came to confirm President Medina's attendance at the heads of government and state meeting that will take place in Mexico from 8-9 December 2014 and that he is sending a full delegation to the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Sports Games to take place in Veracruz from 14-30 November. Governor Duarte was also accompanied by his wife, Karime Macias.

Sports Minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal and the president of the Dominican Olympic Committee (COD) Luisin Mejia were also present at the meeting.


Proposal to rename Autopista del Coral to honor Oscar de la Renta
La Altagracia province senator Amable Aristy Castro took up El Nacional newspaper's suggestion in a Thursday, 23 October 2014 editorial to rename the Autopista El Coral after late Dominican fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta. Aristy Castro said that the city government of Higuey (his daughter is the mayor) and the Veron-Bavaro-Punta Cana municipal district were working to issue a joint resolution proposing the name change to Congress.

De la Renta is known for his contributions to the international fashion world, but he always kept close to his country of birth. In the east he is known for his contributions to the decoration at Casa de Campo and Punta Cana Resort & Club (Tortuga Bay and Los Corales) where he had two homes.


Supreme Court orders restitution for employee with AIDS
The Supreme Court of Justice has confirmed a ruling ordering RD$2 million to be paid in compensation and annulled the firing of an employee of the government-owned EdeEste power distribution company who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The employee had been fired and was paid his severance benefits. Labor lawyer Carlos Hernandez Contreras said that the decision would probably be reviewed by the Constitutional Court. He described the decision as unfortunate, saying that it sets a negative precedent. According to Hernandez, this means that no employee found to have AIDS could be fired under any circumstances. He said that the two other cases where employees are protected (pregnancy and labor union membership) have expiration periods.


Early retirement plan goes into effect
The Superintendence of Pensions has published a ruling for the application of early retirement procedures. Superintendent of Pensions Ramon Emilio Contreras says that Resolution No. 362-14 entitles pension plan affiliates who had begun contributing to the system at the age of 45 or more can request the return of the total accumulated over the years or the payment of the retirement plan in any of its modalities at the age of 60 years. The person must also have stopped working at the job for which contributions were being made for at least three months prior to making the request.


AEIH criticizes categorization of corruption as politics
The Association of Herrera and Santo Domingo Province Industries (AEIH) has warned that there will be no development or social inclusion in the country if administrative corruption is not tackled, with a system that drastically penalizes corruption.

AEIH president Victor Castro said that society should press for an end to corruption and not tolerate interest groups that use loopholes and technicalities to redeem those who plunder the treasury. He said it is sad to observe how in different circumstances when a person is accused of corruption, the same person is absolved because the prosecution is deemed to be "political."


World Bank Forum focuses on transparency and growth
The Second Accountability Workshop of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) Chapter for the Dominican Republic organized by the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPYD), with support from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Compete Caribbean, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Union has concluded that the Dominican Republic is on track for concrete achievements in growth reforms, in line with the country's 2030 National Development Strategy.

Representatives of the Dominican government, private sector, civil society and donor entities met on Friday, 24 October 2014 to discuss growth strategies and present specific advances in improving investment climate, ease of doing business, procurement systems and strengthening small and medium enterprises for the creation of more and better jobs.

The Dominican government reported concrete advances up to date in the Caribbean Growth Forum's three main areas: Investment Climate, Logistics and Connectivity, and Skills and Productivity.

The achievements regarding the business climate reported during the Forum include the reduction in the time it takes to register a company from 45 to 7 days and the faster property title registration process. Other areas highlighted included the programs implemented by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT) to provide non-reimbursable seed money to boost young entrepreneurs. MIC also launched a training pilot to strengthen business management practices and quality enhancement to more than 5,000 SMEs.

Regarding the public sector, the Citizen Observatory for Public Procurement recently launched more than 25 Oversight Committees that are monitoring public contracts in several ministries was highlighted. These committees seek to increase private sector confidence, promote SMEs participation in public contracting and promote greater transparency.



Poll shows most young Dominicans use tablets
A 2013 EnHogar poll reveals that 44% of those polled in the Dominican Republic use desktop computers, 21% use laptops and 5% use tablets. 57% of those using tablets are 12 to 24 years of age.

The poll showed that 49% of the Dominican population use computers. In some rural areas the percentage is 30%, while in more developed areas it reaches up to 60%.

The poll showed that one of every two Dominicans over the ages of 12 has used a computer at some time in their life, either at home or at work or other places. Use of computers in urban areas is 54.9% compared to 31.6% in rural areas. The poll showed that women use computers more frequently, with 50.5% compared to 47.2 for men. 82.6% of young people between the ages of 15 and 19 used computers.


Sewage alert in modern Santo Domingo
A report in El Nacional alerts the authorities to the environmental threat posed by the lack of collective sewage treatment and facilities in the Poligono Central area of Santo Domingo. The city government of Santo Domingo has authorized mass construction of high-rise buildings in the area. The Poligono Central is the main financial, commercial and residential sector of Santo Domingo. Until the 1980s, the center was a residential area mainly consisting of single-family homes. It covers an area of five square kilometers from JF Kennedy to the north, 27 de Febrero Avenue to the south, Winston Churchill to the west and Ortega y Gasset Avenue to the east.


Preventive custody ordered for prosecutor
The San Jose de Ocoa judge has ordered three months of preventive custody to former prosecutor Jose Miguel Cuevas Paulino, who is accused of planting a gun during a raid on the home of a suspected drug dealer. The action was filmed on a cell phone video. He was temporarily held in jail in Sabana Larga before being transferred to the Bani jail. He is accused of trespassing, abuse of authority and illegal possession of firearms.


Money mule arrested for smuggling cash
A woman trying to smuggle cash stashed inside her stomach has been arrested by the National Drug Control Agency agents (DNCD) at the Punta Cana International Airport. The cash is believed to be linked to drug trafficking. The woman, who was being followed from Brussels, arrived on a JetAirfly flight late last week.

She was taken to a hospital where an X-ray revealed that she was carrying 16 bundles of cash with a value of EUR 55,000. She also was found to have another EUR 54,602 in her luggage that she had not reported.

The 40-year-old Dominican woman also holds a Spanish passport.

DNCD spokesman Dario Medrano says this is the first time they have arrested someone for smuggling cash in their stomach.


4 killed and 14 injured in Najayo escape attempt
Four people were killed and 14 were injured in a suspect attempted breakout from Najayo jail on Friday, 24 October 2014. According to official reports, a conflict between the three rival drug cartels operating in the Dominican Republic is behind the incident. The authorities say that Winston Rizik Rodriguez (in jail) and fugitives Jesus Pascual Cabrera Ruiz and Pascual Cordero Martinez are behind the attack on the jail by men in two vehicles parked outside the jail. As reported the men were armed with M16 rifles.

The authorities say there were no escapes. The deceased include the deputy director of the Najayo Jail 32-year old Stalin de Jesus Polanco Amarante who leaves two children aged 11 and 4. The injured included a 12-year old boy who was visiting his father in the jail.

The deaths and injuries occurred when the assailants took two jail guards hostage and four armed men fired from outside the jail. The authorities say that two deputy security directors of the jail were seriously injured.

The dead at Najayo were identified as Angel Marinez Alcantara, said to be head of the gang, Jesus Felix Narciso, also thought to be a gang member, and Jose Languis Polanco Diaz and Alvaro Luis Capellan.

The injured inmates are: Rafael Medina, Tomas de la Cruz, Franco Heredia, Jeremi Gutierrez, Juan Fernandez and Henry Antonio Polanco.

According to reports, guards opened fire on the inmates after the prison was attacked by armed men outside the jail. The men were said to have made a getaway in a SUV. The jail houses around 2,000 inmates, including many foreigners held for drug trafficking. It is part of the model system of jails.

The Attorney General Office is investigating the discovery of three firearms, including a Magnum 357, in the Najayo jail after the incident. One of them is believed to have been used by Andy Martinez Valdez, who was in jail for being a contract killer. The jail authorities also seized ten cellphone SIM cards.

Gustavo Alcantara Valdez and Abraham Suero Garcia turned themselves into the authorities after being identified as two of five men who allegedly fired at the Najayo jail in the attempted escape. The authorities are on the trail of Elvis Felix Alcantara (Sadan) and Hairo Brito Bello (El Hairo) and a fifth unnamed person. Suero Garcia said he was sought because he is a brother of Andy Marinez Alcantara, a member of the gang that attempted the escape. Both Alcantara and Suero handed themselves in to the Noticias SIN media group.

Police chief Manuel Castro Castillo had called for their presence warning that they were aware they were heavily armed and dangerous.

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said that those involved in the incidents are highly dangerous criminals.



Murder at La Victoria jail
Concurrently with the attempted breakout from Najayo jail that left four men dead and 14 injured, on the same day, Friday, 24 October 2014 there was a killing at La Victoria jail, where the most dangerous criminals in the country are sent.

As reported in Listin Diario, revenge was the motive behind the killing of Jose Alberto Batista Mena (Gatillo Alegre). His confessed murderer Luis Alberto de Aza Nunez said that Batista had killed his brother and four others in 2004. Other versions say it was a settlement of accounts between drug traffickers, as reported in the newspaper.

Luis Alberto de Aza was stabbed by other inmates after killing Batista. He was taken to the Dr. Ney Arias Lora Trauma Hospital and is said to be in a serious condition.

Attorney General Office spokesperson Tessie Sanchez said that an investigation is ongoing as two how the weapons came to be in the hands of the inmates.


Cardinals leading prospect killed in car crash
Promising Cardinals prospect, 22-year old Oscar Taveras was killed in a crash yesterday, Sunday 26 October 2014 on the Sosua-Cabarete highway on the north coast. He lost control in his new Chevrolet Camaro and crashed into a tree. Diario Libre reports that he had recently purchased the car and it had only arrived in Puerto Plata earlier this month.

He was driving with his girlfriend, 18-year old Edilenia Alvarez, who was also killed. He did not have ID on him at the time of his death, but was later identified by his relatives.

As reported in Diario Libre, the accident occurred around 7:30pm on the Sosua-Cabarete highway as they were returning from an outing in Jamao, Espaillat province.

As reported, the two were dead on arrival at the Centro Medico Cabarete.

A wake is being held at the Blas Blass funeral home in Puerto Plata today, Monday, 27 October 2014.

Taveras would have played for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the professional baseball league.

Taveras played with St. Louis this season and ended with a batting average of .239 with three home runs and 22 runs batted in.




More Haitians cross now seeking free Dominican residency
Border agents are being overwhelmed by Haitians crossing the border illegally. Haiti Libre reports that on Thursday, 23 October 2014, the Dominican army captured 78 Haitians who had crossed. The media says that the flow of immigrants continues day and night, forcing the Dominican military authorities to strengthen monitoring and multiply the returns. As reported, on Thursday in San Juan de la Maguana, two groups of Haitian origin, totaling 78 people, including 72 men, five women and a young girl were arrested by army agents when traveling on a Daihatsu truck.

Two Dominican men, named as Camilo Garabito Lebron and Mayrobi Suero Ramirez, believed to be responsible for this illegal transit, were arrested and are under investigation.

Haiti Libre reports that another group of 19 illegal immigrants from Haiti was arrested during the same day.

As reported, the detainees were handed over to immigration authorities in Dajabon to be sent back to Haiti immediately. Brigadier General Felipe Henriquez Molina, Commander of the 3rd Brigade based in San Juan de la Maguana, said that military forces in the region were working tirelessly to prevent the illegal entry of immigrants.

Haiti Libre reports that since last September, surveillance operations at the border have increased dramatically in response to the constant flow of Haitians, who believing false rumors are convinced they will acquire Dominican residency upon their arrival at the Foreigner Regularization Centers as part of the National Foreigner Legalization Plan.


Family blame Haitians for kidnapping son
Relatives of 32-year old Robin Garcia have accused a group of Haitians of kidnapping him. The family says the kidnappers are asking for a ransom payment of RD$800,000. Originally from Bonao, Garcia's mother Ramona Caba runs a business in Veron, in the Punta Cana area. She said her son was taken to Haiti by the kidnappers and that she is receiving calls threatening that they will kill her son on the weekend if they have not received the money. She described her son as honest and hardworking. The kidnapping occurred in the community of Caracol Banana and has provoked anger among the locals, leading to fears of revenge attacks against Haitian residents in the area if Garcia is murdered.


II National Choral event
Enjoy the singing by selection of some of the country's best choirs this Tuesday and Wednesday, 28-29 October 2014 at the Maximo Aviles Blonda hall of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo at 6:30pm.

The event includes the choirs from the Banco Popular, Melodias de Victoria and Angel Valera de los Santos (San Pedro de Macoris), Higuey Basilica, Colegio de la Salle (Av. Bolivar), Universidad Catolica de Santo Domingo, Julio Alberto Hernandez, Mision Agape, Adventista Metropolitano, Sociedad Coral a Voces, Camara INTEC, Koribe, Teatro Orquestal Dominicano, and the National Choir.

Free admission. Tel 809 687-0504, 809 682-1325

Rafelito Mirabal at Lulu Tasting Bar
Enjoy an evening of classic pop and rock music by Rafelito Mirabal & Sistema Temperado in trio at the Lulu Tasting Bar in the Colonial City. This is the longest playing band in the Dominican Republic, known for playing the music of greats such as the Pat Metheny Group, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and Special EFX, with their own tropical arrangements. Listen to their blend of jazz with the rhythms of Pri-Pri, Gaga, Guloya, Pambiche, classic and grassroots merengue and others. 9pm. Monday, 27 October 2014. Arzobispo Merino corner Padre Billini in the Colonial City, Santo Domingo. Free admission. 809 687-8360 ext. 301

Gigantes lead as of Monday, 27 October in baseball
In the first two weeks of the Dominican Baseball Winter League tournament, the Gigantes are leading after having won five of their first six games.

The tournament is played at the Santo Domingo (Quisqueya), La Romana (Francisco Micheli), San Pedro de Macoris (Tetelo Vargas), San Francisco de Macoris (Julian Javier) and Santiago (Cibao) ballparks.

See the tournament schedule at http://www.lidom.com/home/index.php/calendario

GIGANTES 5 - 1 .833 --
AGUILAS 5 - 2 .714 0.5
TOROS 5 - 3 .625 1.0
ESTRELLAS 4 - 3 .571 1.5
ESCOGIDO 2 - 6 .250 4.0
LICEY 1 - 7 .125 5.0

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

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