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Daily News - Friday, 07 November 2014

DR1 breaks for the Constitution Day holiday
Monday, 10 November is a holiday in the Dominican Republic, celebrating Constitution Day. As is tradition, DR1 Daily News will not be published on the day.

News will be compiled for the Tuesday, 11 November issue. The DR1 Forums are open to commentary and posting of headline news. See http://www.dr1.com/forums/forum.php

Haiti and DR discuss border trade
Haiti's Minister of Economy Wilson Laleau and the Dominican Industry and Commerce Minister Jose del Castillo Savinon met at the Santo Domingo Hilton from 9 to 5pm yesterday, Thursday 6 November 2014 and issued a joint statement of intent to work closely to step up border trade and stimulate both countries' economies. Dominican and Haitian business representatives also attended the meeting together with government officials from both countries. The meeting was aimed at finding measures for speeding up cross-border trade.

Reading the joint statement, Minister Jose del Castillo Savinon said that Dominicans had discussed poultry and plastic exports and contraband cigarettes from Haiti. Haitian representatives expressed an interest in increasing exports of alcoholic beverages, flour, margarine and soap as well as highlighting ground transport concerns. Haiti's ambassador in the Dominican Republic Fritz Cineas said that Haiti wants to sell Haitian beer and rum in the DR market.

Del Castillo said that they agreed to establish open communications to achieve reciprocal fair trade between the countries over time.

The joint statement also mentions that the European Union agency, Caribbean Export will be conducting a study on the technical obstacles to bi-national trade.

Del Castillo said that Dominican statistics show that the DR exported US$1.43 billion to Haiti in 2013 and had exported US$510 million as of June 2014.

Dominican ambassador in Haiti Jose Silie was also present, as well as representatives of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Dominican businesspeople and representatives of the Haiti Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The meeting was in preparation for the next High Level Bilateral Talks session, for which a date and place has yet to be set, but this is expected to take place later this year. It is a follow up to the Quisqueya Business Summit discussions, a forum where Haitian and Dominican businesspeople meet for developing trade and business in both countries.

Nevertheless, Listin Diario reports that Michel Chancy, Haitian secretary for livestock production said that the ban on poultry imports from the DR continues because Dominican producers have not met the imposed conditions. He said that smuggling also continues at a time when the Haitian government seeks to increase its own poultry production to supply the local market. Chancy said that around a dozen Haitian companies are already producing four million eggs in the country.




New pipe installation works cause Malecon traffic problems
The Santo Domingo Water and Sewers Corporation (CAASD) says that works underway on the Malecon from Banco Agricola to Arzobispo Merino Street in the Colonial City for the installation of new pipes will be temporarily suspended on 10 December and will resume in January after the holiday celebrations.

This is phase one of the Sewerage Master Plan (Plan Maestro del Alcantarillado Sanitario), a 30-year plan to resolve the city's rain and residual waters problems. The plan involves the installation of 218 kilometers of piping, expansion of 3,340 km of secondary and tertiary networks and more than 535,000 home connections in a five-phase project in which the CAASD is installing residual water piping to benefit 30 capital city neighborhoods in a project that will continue through 2020.

Around half a million people living in several neighborhoods will benefit: the Colonial City, Gazcue, Ensanche Independencia, San Carlos, Villa Francisca, La Esperilla, Ensanche Naco, Serralles, Ciudad Universitaria, Centro Olimpico, Villa Juana, Villa Consuelo, Miraflores, Gualey, Centro de los Heroes, La Julia, Mata Hambre, Nuestra Senora de la Paz, Los Guandules, Ensanche Espaillat, 24 de Abril, Ensanche Luperon, Capotillo, Simon Bolivar, La Fe, Ciudad Nueva and Mejoramiento Social.


Anti-Ebola exercise at Las Americas airport
An anti-Ebola simulation exercise coordinated by the Ministry of Public Health will take place at Las Americas International Airport today, Friday 7 November 2014 as part of a series of measures aimed at preventing the lethal disease from entering the country. The exercise seeks to test preparedness for handling people suspected of being infected with Ebola.

The exercise will cover the detection of the suspect to hospitalization at the Ebola isolation unit at the Dr. Ramon de Lara Hospital at the San Isidro Air Base. National Ebola Commission coordinator Dr. Jorge Marte Baez said that 60-70 people from several public health institutions would be involved. The exercise will also include members of the Airport Department, Migration Department, Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET), Emergency Operations Committee, and the Ebola Virus Advisory Commission (EVE). The exercise has been organized with the support of the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, as well as the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Redistributing public hospital staff
The new Ministry of Public Health authorities are resuming work to introduce a system for government health workers at public hospitals to be paid hourly for work reported. The Ministry of Public Health has announced the start of a process of relocating staff depending on the needs and productivity of each public hospital. The Ministry of Public Health says that an audit is being carried out under doctors Ramon Alvarado and Felix Hernandez to establish staff, their work remit and their schedules. The relocations will be carried out gradually with the consensus of the medical and nursing associations.

Alvarado said: "We will establish whether there is a specialist in a hospital who can only work there for an hour, then he will be hired for that hour, or if in a hospital there are eight ob-gyn specialists on staff but the number of actual births is low, they will be relocated to other hospitals where there is high demand. He added that the government was seeking methods for decongesting the large hospitals.


Central Electoral Board (JCE) gets its funds
The General Controller's Office says that it has disbursed RD$117,086,957 for the Central Electoral Board, which includes RD$67 million allocated to 26 political parties. The ruling PLD, and the opposition PRD and PRSC parties will each receive RD$17.8 million.

The government had been in arrears with the JCE, leading to problems.


Conep urges bringing order to transport in DR
The National Business Council (CONEP) is repeating its call for the government to stop postponing its decision to establish true order in the transport system, based on free enterprise. Conep says that the competent authorities need to take decisions to resolve the difficult situation that affects cargo transporting in the country. In a press release from the executive committee, Conep said that the repeated postponements are affecting competitiveness and considerably increasing the cost of products for domestic and export markets. There is no free market or free access to cargo in the local market. Transport businesses managers uphold unionized status to avoid state regulation, receive government subsidies and evade taxes without providing efficient service, stated the Conep.


Barahona opposes calcium carbonate mining
The executive director of the Barahona Strategic Development Plan, Rafael Matos Feliz has expressed his opposition to calcium carbonate extraction in La Cienaga. He says the quarrying will affect water and food production in the area. Matos Feliz criticized Kapangin SDR Enterprise for mining the resource in an area where there are more than 651 small-scale food producers who will be affected. He said the water sources of the rivers La Cienaga, Baoruco, Paimingo and El Infierno would be affected, as well as the Miguel Domingo Fuerte natural monument, where the second highest biodiversity in the country can be found.


Attorney General appeals to Supreme Court of Justice president to act
The Attorney General Office has asked the president of the Supreme Court of Justice Mariano German Mejia to issue measures to freeze assets and impose a ban on the sale of property, a Gulfstream jet, 14 radio stations and frequencies, as well as 11 companies that belong to senator Felix Bautista and his business network, as reported in Hoy newspaper.

The Attorney General has requested preventive custody and the appointment of a special judge to prepare the preliminary hearing.

On Wednesday, 5 November 2014, Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said that Bautista and six of his associates were accused of laundering assets and illicit enrichment during his term as director of the Office of Supervisory Works of the Presidency (OISOE) and this makes it urgent and pressing for the request to be heard by the Supreme Court so that the funds and assets can continue to be restrained and placed under the management of the courts as the judicial process is heard.

Dominguez Brito expressed his concern that the presidency of the Supreme Court of Justice has not issued an opinion despite the severity of the accusations against senator Felix Bautista.

The request for action was made on 27 October 2014, says Dominguez Brito. On 22 October 2014 a formal accusation was made against Bautista and his associates, named as 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.

The Attorney General Office has documented that Bautista is a major stakeholder in the holdings of the companies Constructora Rofi, S.R.L, Inmobiliaria Rofi S.R.L, Fesory Decoraciones, Construcciones y Disenos, R.M.N., Disenos y Presupuestos de Edificaciones y Carreteras con Alta Tecnologia, Constructora Imperial, Ozoria & Asociados, Comunicaciones Colorin and Hormigones del Caribe. The Attorney General Office case has documented that these companies opened, purchased or maintain bank accounts and deposits using funds illicitly obtained to the detriment of the Dominican state.

In the 412-page case, Bautista is accused of violating articles 114, 145, 146, 147, 148, 150, 151, 166, 167, 171, 172 and 175 of the Dominican Penal Code on forgery of private documents, embezzlement and of acts that are incompatible with his past role as a government official.

He is also accused of violating Law 82-79 on declaration of assets, Law 41-08 on government posts, Law 72-02 on asset laundering from illicit trafficking in drugs.

He is also accused of violating the Constitution, and of violating Arts. 18, 19, and 20 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

The individuals identified as his associates are accused of violating articles 59, 60, 145, 146, 147, 148, 167, 171, 172 and 175 of the Dominican Penal Code for complicity and articles 3, 4, 18, 21 and 26 of Law 72-02 on Assets Laundering of funds from illicit trafficking in drugs.

Dominican law requires cases against legislators to be heard by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Bautista is regarded as one of the closest associates of former President Leonel Fernandez. A major campaign has already begun to promote Fernandez as the PLD candidate for the 2016 presidential election.


US Ambassador visits prosecutor to offer support
US Ambassador James Brewster visited Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito yesterday, Thursday 6 November 2014, in what is being described as a new development in the corruption case against PLD senator Felix Bautista. In his courtesy visit, the ambassador said he backs the attorney general's fight against corruption and organized crime. Brewster stated that the US government position on corruption anywhere around the world was zero tolerance.

"The Attorney General has developed an extraordinary relationship with the United States for which we are very fortunate to work with Dominguez Brito and his team to put many criminals behind bars," stated Brewster. Nevertheless, he specified that the US does not have a position in the case against senator Bautista because it is a Dominican domestic issue.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General thanked the ambassador for his visit and for the US government's cooperation, saying that it has contributed to strengthening the fight against crime and the judiciary that is being jointly developed by both countries.

As reported, Brewster told Dominguez Brito that he was visiting to express appreciation for the work, a complex and difficult task on pending matters. He also thanked the attorney general for his support for US government agencies in actions against crime, including the work on updating the extradition treaty between the US and the DR that dates back to 1910.

Sociologist Melvin Manon speculates that US government officials had contributed to preparing the extensive 412-page documented case the Attorney General Office has presented as evidence of corruption against senator Felix Bautista.







Rains expected to continue
After a very hot October, the beginning of November has brought lower temperatures and heavy rains. The forecast is for the weather conditions to prevail this weekend, Friday 8 and Saturday 9 November 2014 and the National Weather Office (Onamet) has placed 12 provinces on alert for possible flooding and landslides. Onamet says the hot temperatures will be back next Friday. Rains are forecast for Santo Domingo and eastern provinces.


Hotel Burlesque back at Blue Mall
The Blue Room at the Blue Mall shopping mall on Gustavo Mejia Ricart and Winston Churchill avenues in Santo Domingo presents "Hotel Burlesque" from 22 November through 13 December 2014. This is a Marcos Malespin-Estevez production.

Culinary Week at Barcelo Bavaro
The first Barcelo Bavaro Culinary Week Dominican Flavors will take place at the Punta Cana hotel from 17-22 November 2014. There will be Dominican food breakfasts, lunches and dinner specials, dinners with cooking displays and tastings. Chefs Ana Lebron, Rosa Maria Gomez and Pedro Mota Cabral are in charge of presenting the local flavors.

15th Triple 100 Cycling Classic
More than 200 cyclists are registered to compete in the 15th Master Championship of Triple 100 Cycling from 14-16 November. The cyclists from 15 countries will cover 300 km, said engineer Rafael Tejada from the organizing committee. Participants will compete in 30-39, 40-49 and 50+ age categories.

The competition is divided into three 100km stretches. The first is from the Columbus Lighthouse to Juan Dolio Boulevard, the Autovia del Este and then back to the Columbus Lighthouse. The next day competitors will go west on the 6 de Noviembre highway to Bani and back. The third trek is a 10-time circuit around the Mirador del Sur Park in Santo Domingo.

Competitors from the US, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Spain have registered for the event.


John McEnroe - Jim Courier exhibition games at Casa de Campo
Tennis greats John McEnroe and Jim Courier will play a special exhibition match on Friday, 7 November 2014 at the Casa de Campo Resort in La Romana. The players will showcase the resort's 16 tennis court facility, La Terraza Tennis Center.

La Terraza has been called "Wimbledon of the Caribbean" by Travel + Leisure and "best tennis facility" by the United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR). The facility has 16 fast-dry, Har-True courts, 10 of which are lit up for night play.

McEnroe won seven major singles titles during his career, including four at the US Open (1979-1981, 1984) in his hometown of New York, in addition to winning 10 other major titles in doubles and mixed doubles. He won Wimbledon three times (1981, 1983 and 1984), and played in what was perhaps the greatest Wimbledon final of all time, losing to Bjorn Borg in 1980, featuring the famous 18-16 fourth-set tie-breaker. McEnroe helped the United States win the Davis Cup five times and he captured 77 career singles titles and 78 career doubles titles, his last being in San Jose, California in 2006 at the age of 47.

Courier is regarded as one of the most tenacious tennis players of all time - and with one of the biggest forehands - that led him to a pair of French Open titles in 1991 and 1992 and two Australian Open titles in 1992 and 1993. In 1992, he became the first US player to reach the No. 1 ranking on the ATP World Tour since McEnroe in 1985. In 1993, Courier was the youngest player to reach all four major singles finals in a career when he reached the Wimbledon final in 1993 at the age of 22. He also guided the US to Davis Cup titles in 1992, where he was teammates with McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi on the US "Dream Team," and again in 1995. He currently serves as the captain of the US Davis Cup team.

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

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