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Daily News - Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The people want Danilo
According to a recent poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Diario Libre, a large majority of Dominican voters, 65%, says they would vote to re-elect President Danilo Medina if given the chance. The 2010 Constitution bans re-election. 62% told the pollsters that they are in favor of changing the Constitution again to approve consecutive re-election, while 36% are opposed to any change.

Medina's popularity appears to cross party lines, with 51% of people who voted for Hipolito Mejia in the 2012 presidential elections saying that they would now vote for Medina.

The poll reported that 91% of Dominicans approve of the work being done by the Medina administration. This is most likely the highest rating for a Dominican President ever. The poll was carried out from 12-16 October 2014 with 846 Dominicans of voting age polled. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4%.

The poll was conducted by the Washington D.C.-based international firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, which made the most accurate forecast of President Danilo Medina's 2012 win.


Former Vice President Morales Troncoso burial today
The remains of former Vice President Carlos Morales Troncoso will be honored at the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo at 10am today, Tuesday 28 October 2014. There will be a mass in his memory at the Cathedral at noon and then he will be laid to rest at the Puerta del Cielo cemetery in northern Santo Domingo. His body arrived last night, Monday 27 October 2014, from Houston, Texas after his death on Saturday 25 October. He had been suffering from leukemia.


Haiti and Dominican Republic to sort out signal problems
The Dominican Telecommunications Institute (INDOTEL) and the Haitian National Telecommunications Board (CONATEL) have begun the process of trying to find a solution to the radio interference problem and other illegalities in the border area.

The delegations are led by Indotel president Gedeon Santos and the director general of CONATEL, Jean Marie Guillaume, and the meeting is being held at the Indotel headquarters in Santo Domingo.

The agenda for the meeting includes the problems of telephone fraud, interference on mobile phone networks and the technical issues surrounding the transfer from analogue to digital television networks.

The Dominican delegation is made up of technical manager Nelson Rodriguez, Francisco Vegazo Fanith from the Telecommunications Development Fund (FDT), Luis Scheker from Regulation and Defense against Competition and legal consultant Luz Marte.

Haiti is represented by CONATEL's Jean Marie Guillaume, assistant director of Radio Difurad Maignan Jean Dalex, Juan Dipre Manzanet of Digitel and Pierre Andre Cesar, head of IT.


E-Chicas and Supermaticas STEM Clubs win ITU Award
The Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF) of the Dominican Republic was one of three winners recognized at a ceremony in the South Korean city of Busan earlier today, Tuesday 28 October 2014, by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for promoting women's presence in information, communication and technology (ICT) industries. These are the first awards of their kind. South Korea is currently hosting the 19th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in the port city of Busan until November 7. Amparo Arango, representing CIPAF at the event, accepted the prize from the UIT Secretary General.

The Research Center for Feminist Action "improved the quality of life of girls by building their self-esteem, teaching them about collaborative work, leadership, and promoting gender awareness," the ITU said.

CIPAF was recognized for its programs E-Chicas and Supermaticas STEM clubs for girls and young women to ensure that they are not excluded from areas of knowledge because of their sex, while helping fill the gap in professionals in studying math, science, engineering and technology, which affects the Dominican Republic's competitiveness in the world economy. The clubs are committed to improving the quality of life of girls by building their self-esteem, teaching them about collaborative work, leadership, and promoting gender awareness. The girls receive special training including an introduction to robotics, electronics, coding, and tutoring support in math and science. The STEM clubs also aim to address girls' retention in school and the problems of early pregnancy by teaching them about their sexual and reproductive rights, thus strengthening their self-awareness.

The other winners of the Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) Tech Award were UNESCO, iMerit Technology Services from India, Britain-based BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, Telecentre.org Foundation from the Philippines, South Africa's Association for Progressive Communications and the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology of Nigeria. They were chosen from 37 finalists from around 360 candidates recommended by 74 countries for the awards given in seven categories.

The Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) Tech Award seeks to create a platform for advancing women's meaningful engagement with ICTs and their role as decision-makers and producers within this sector, according to the ITU.

The ITU is an information and communications arm of the United Nations that sets technological standards, allocates radio frequencies and satellite orbits, and works to improve the quality of communications services.


Government buys RD$27 billion from small business
The Medina administration Procurement Department says that so far this year the government has made purchases worth RD$9.18 billion from small business. It has contracted the purchases with 1,665 Micro and Small Enterprises (SMEs) that have been certified to sell to the government.

The government has also purchased RD$18.07 billion from 2,703 non-certified SMEs.

Total government purchases for the January-September 2014 period was RD$36.16 billion in 45,441 contracts signed.

The information was provided by department director Yokasta Guzman.


SMEs generate 76% of jobs
Marina Ortiz, one of the authors of the book "Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Dominican Republic 2013" says that research has shown that there are almost 800,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the Dominican Republic. These small businesses account for more than 2.2 million jobs, the main source of employment in the country. The SMEs contribute 38.6% of the Gross Domestic Product. 83% of them are located in urban areas, compared to 16% in rural areas. 46% are stores, 38% services and 14% manufacturing.

The book was launched yesterday, Monday 27 October 2014 at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The research was funded by FondoMicro.


Falling fuel prices mean less tax for government
The Medina administration will need to find new sources of taxation now that the price of fuel is constantly dropping and this means reduced income from hydrocarbon taxation. Industry and Commerce Minister Jose del Castillo Savinon says that if the current downward trend in fuel prices continues, the government could receive RD$800 million less in hydrocarbon taxes.

The government has yet to consider cutting its own wasteful spending. Instead, Castillo commented that to compensate for the difference, "there will have to be a tax adjustment."


Minou has no regrets for leaving PLD
Deputy Minou Tavarez Mirabal has said that she has no regrets about leaving the PLD, saying that the ruling party has become an embarrassment to the country due to the conflicts that have become apparent over the last few days.

Minou Mirabal pointed to the Super Tucano scandal and the ongoing legal case for money laundering and corruption against Senator Felix Bautista.

Interviewed by Salvador Holguin on the "Hilando fino" program she said that her decision embodied the feelings of many PLD members including some leading party figures who would like to leave the party but were afraid of losing their jobs. She went on to say that she had had a lot of support across the country from people both inside and outside the party.

Minou Tavarez said that the internal party problems were the result of the political crisis affecting the nation as reflected by the divisions within the PRD. She said that the same would have happened to the PLD had they not been in power.


Police seek Metro arsonist
The National Police is on the trail of the lead suspect in the arson incident on the Metro Line 2 yesterday morning, 27 October 2014.

The Transport Reorganization Office (OPRET) has now confirmed that the man named in news reports as a suspect, Francis Alberto Gonzalez Gil, was not responsible for the incident yesterday that left more than 20 people injured, some seriously.

Relatives of 30-year old Francis Alberto Gonzalez Gil immediately denied that he was responsible for starting a fire on Line 2 of the Santo Domingo Metro, as claimed in the initial reports on the incident.

His mother Isidora Silvestre Gil and his aunt Dolores, as well as his wife Karen Pozo, say that he has been a victim of the real perpetrator.

They said that he was on his way to work as usual in La Sirena in the Churchill Megacentro. After finishing work, at 6pm he would have gone to the University (UASD) where he is studying graphic arts and advertising.

Gonzalez Gil, 30, lives with his pregnant wife in Ensanche Espaillat, in the northern part of Santo Domingo.

His wife said that the security cameras will show what happened, but said that according to him, some of the survivors hugged him, causing his burns.

Gonzalez Gil is currently in the Burn Unit at Luis Eduardo Aybar hospital in a stable but serious condition with 45 to 50% burns.

OPRET released a photograph showing the lead suspect in the fire as a young light-skinned man who was not wearing a shirt.

According to OPRET spokesman Leonel Carrasco, the suspect boarded the train at Ramon Caceres station and when the train doors closed and it started to move, he took a box of matches and set fire to his backpack, which contained some sort of inflammable material. At that time the train was 75% full with between 450 and 500 passengers on board.

Carrasco added that the man then took off his baseball hat and shirt as they were on fire and ran off at the same station where he boarded. A Metro security guard stopped him as he was going up the escalator and asked him why he was not wearing a shirt and he replied that the train was on fire and ran off. All of this has been captured on security cameras.

The Metro distributed a photo to the press of the lead suspect who had carried the incendiary device inside a metro car, endangering the lives of 500 passengers traveling in the metro at the time. News reports point out that the incident proves that the Metro security systems are in place. As soon as the incident happened, the driver stopped the train and opened all the doors so the passengers could get off. Services were fully restored by 9:22 am, after the damaged car was removed.

In a radio interview yesterday, Opret director Diandino Pena said that the security controls at the Metro are now under review. He said that there are no detectors for weapons, metal or inflammable substances.

According to reports, 35 people were injured and 19 were taken to the Luis Eduardo Aybar (Morgan) Hospital burn center. Four persons were hospitalized and two have since been released.

At least 11 fire-fighting trucks, 15 ambulances from the 911 system and more than 100 rescue workers responded in what is described as the "greatest rescue" ever in the country.






Attempted kidnap foiled
An armed gang of 20 men tried to kidnap a Venezuelan businessman, Luis Rios Virla from the Holiday Inn hotel in Santo Domingo.

Rios Virla arrived in the Dominican Republic on Monday, 25 October 2014, reportedly to collect more than US$2 million from a banking institution.

Lawyer Amadeo Peralta, representing the businessman, said that the armed gang arrived at the Holiday Inn at 6am, supposedly to take his client to jail, without a warrant or a public prosecutor.

Eight Police units then arrived and handcuffed all of the men. The gang leader did not want to reveal his name, and said he had merely come to look for Rios Virla and that he had a warrant to take him to jail. He did not produce the warrant.


Call for Dominican Republic to improve road safety
Following the death of baseball player Oscar Taveras on Sunday, 26 October 2014 when driving his Camaro on a Puerto Plata road, The Economist magazine once again highlights the high rate of traffic accidents in the Dominican Republic.

It mentions the 2013 World Health Organization (WHO) report that states the country has the second most dangerous roads in the world, with 41.7 people for every 100,000 residents being killed in traffic accidents each year. Only the tiny Pacific island of Niue, which saw one driving-related death among its population of 1,465, posted a higher rate.

The Economist raises the concern that there are now 151 Dominicans playing in MLB, representing one eighth of the entire league. It says that assuming that this group spends half its time in the DR that means that every year there is a 3% chance that at least one Dominican MLB player will be killed in a crash.

The article states that if any good is to come out of the accident, it would be that the loss of a professional athlete might at last focus the nation's attention on the scourge of vehicular fatalities. What is critical is to draw the right conclusions about why Dominican roads are so perilous, says The Economist.

The Economist comments that plugging a few potholes is unlikely to solve the problem. It mentions that in the World Economic Forum's most recent Global Competitiveness Report, Dominican road quality is ranked well above average, ahead of countries like Italy and Norway. The writer makes the point that the highways connecting its big cities to major tourist areas like Punta Cana are widely viewed as modern and in good condition.

Instead, The Economist says that thorny political, economic and cultural factors have conspired against driving in the DR. It lists several other more important reasons:

"The government's nominal motorcycle-helmet and seat-belt laws apply only to drivers, not passengers, and enforcement of speed limits and drunk-driving rules is lax. The WHO report scored its efforts in those areas just a three and a two out of ten. Less than 10% of tickets issued for vehicular infractions ever get paid, and drive-through liquor stores and alcohol sales at petrol stations expose drivers to constant temptation."

The Economist calls for a stepping up of regulation and enforcement that would go a long way towards reducing the number of Dominicans who will suffer Oscar Taveras' fate.

It mentions that a firm government crackdown on dangerous driving can only go so far and calls for a public-education campaign to combat the hallowed roles of drinking and speeding in Dominican culture.

Pinpointing where the root of the problem is, The Economist relates: "In 1976 the merengue singer Johnny Ventura lamented that "mi mujer y el radar no me dejan vacilar" (my woman and the radar won't let me have fun). It is high time that today's celebrities - and above all baseball players - started to convey the opposite message."


Oscar Taveras to be buried today
The body of the St. Louis Cardinals and Aguilas baseball player, 22-year old Oscar Taveras who was killed in a car crash on Sunday night, 26 October 2014, was taken to the National Institute of Forensic Science (Inacif) in Santiago yesterday, Monday 27 October 2014 for the official cause of death to be certified.

His body was in a funeral parlor in Sosua but was taken to Inacif at the request of his family and his baseball team.

The accident happened on the Cabarete n Sosua road in Puerto Plata province when his new Chevrolet Camaro hit a tree, and his girlfriend, 18-year old Edilia Arvelo was also killed. Her body was also taken to Inacif and then to Moca where she was buried yesterday, Monday 27 October 2014.

According to initial reports, the accident was caused by heavy rain that led to poor visibility and slippery roads.

Family members have said that the body will be returned to Sosua today for burial at the Municipal Cemetery there today, Tuesday 28 October 2014.


Santiago Bishop's move
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of Monsignor Roque Adames Rodriguez, the second bishop of the Santiago diocese, his remains will be removed from the Church of the Annunciation at the PUCMM University to the Santiago Cathedral.

Adames died on 31 October 2009 after several years in a wheelchair. He was originally laid to rest in a tomb at the university church, as he had been the third rector of higher studies there and the cathedral was closed at the time due to renovations.

His remains will be exhumed on Friday, 31 October 2014 and taken to the Blandino funeral parlor and then on to the cathedral on November 1. There will be a mass in his honor followed by his burial there.

Monsignor Adames was the bishop of the diocese from 1966 to 1992.


Corripio awards
Yesterday evening, Monday 27 October 2014, the Corripio Foundation presented awards to the winners in the 8th Corripio Foundation ceremony held at the National Theater in Santo Domingo.

Jorge Aguayo won the award in the Finance in Sustainable Industry category, Ada Balcacer for painting in the Arts Category, Rosario Espinal in Communication and cardiologist Hector Emilio Mateo Martinez won the award in the Natural Science and Health category.

The ceremony was led by Jose Luis Corripio Estrada, who was accompanied by his wife, Ana Maria Alonso de Corripio, their children and other family members.

The welcome speech was made by the Foundation's executive director Jacinto Gimbernard Pellerano.


Cadiz art exhibition at Quinta Dominica
Quinta Dominica is inviting art lovers to TransARTlantica, a collective exhibition organized by the City Government of Cadiz, Spain being held in the Colonial City at Calle Padre Billini 202, Santo Domingo. This traveling exhibition features works by Inmaculada Naranjo, Cecilio Chaves, Fatima Conesa, Julian Delgado, Yeyo Arguez and Pablo Munoz de Arenillas. The exhibition, which opens on Thursday, 30 October 2014 at 8pm, is sponsored by the city government of Cadiz, the Embassy of Spain in the Dominican Republic and the Centro Leon in Santiago.

Conjunto Quisqueya at Lucia 203
Conjunto Quisqueya will be performing at Lucia 203 in Santo Domingo's Colonial City this Saturday, 1 November 2014 at 9pm. It will be an evening of romantic songs and boleros. Show producer Amable Valenzuela announced that the Puerto Rico-based group also known for their merengue songs is scheduling concerts nationwide for December. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary.

Fantastic by Jazzmania Band at the Barcelo Santo Domingo
Javier Vargas and the Jazzmania Band will take the stage of the Barcelo Santo Domingo Hotel on Thursday, 30 October 2014 in an evening of danceable jazz music, and lots of humor. Show producer Ivan Mieses says that Guarionex Aquino, Wellington Valenzuela and Gerson Enriquez will be playing with the band. The Fiestas hall of the hotel will be open from 8pm.

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

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