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Daily News - Tuesday, 11 November 2014

New government housing projects in San Cristobal
On Friday, 7 November 2014, President Danilo Medina inaugurated two new housing projects in Palenque and San Cristobal with 124 apartments for low-income families built at a cost of RD$120 million.

National Housing Institute (INVI) director Alma Fernandez announced that the government planned to build another similar project nearby.

At the ceremony, the community leader who donated the land for the housing project, Jose Mendez said that no other government had ever done as much for Palenque, mentioning a new rice factory, credit facilities for fishermen and farmers, and training programs.

San Cristobal senator Tommy Galan, provincial governor Julio Cesar Diaz and deputies Nelson Guillen, Tulio Jimenez and Rafael Abreu also attended the event.

Following the ceremony, President Medina chatted with San Francisco Giants pitcher Santiago Casilla, who gave him a signed baseball cap.


President Medina helps Duarte province farmers
On Sunday, 9 November 2014, President Danilo Medina approved a loan and technical assistance for coffee, cacao and yam farmers in El Guineal and El Cerrejon in the northeastern province of Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris).

The President met with the Agricultural Cooperative for Integrated and Sustainable Development for Ecological Coffee Growers in La Sabina (COOPDIESA), headed by Victor Perez. Perez said that the loan would enable the coffee farmers to replant 1,700 tareas (264 acres) of coffee that had been affected by the coffee blight and improve the industry that makes coffee-based products, run by women.

In El Cerrejon, the President met with Genaro Abreu, president of the Los Humildes Agricultural Association who told him they needed support for planting the yam crop. Medina also met with Los Naranjos Women's Association president Ramona Martinez, who described the cacao production process and listed their needs for modernizing it.


Happy birthday, Mr. President
Yesterday, Monday 10 November 2014, was President Danilo Medina's 63rd birthday, and according to the latest Gallup poll, he celebrated it as his popularity continues to increase.

Across all social media, messages of congratulations poured in from his friends, family, government workers and sympathizers.

Danilo Medina Sanchez was born on 10 November in 1951 in Arroyo Cano, Bohechio municipality in San Juan province, the oldest of eight children, to Juan Pablo Medina and Amelia Sanchez. He studied at the Francisco del Rosario Sanchez state school and then Pedro Henriquez Urena high school before moving to Santo Domingo to study at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), graduating in chemical engineering. He later took a master's in economics at INTEC University.

He married Candida Montilla in 1987 and they have three daughters, Sibely, Vanessa and Ana Paula.


Navarro outlines foreign policy changes
In an interview in El Dia today, Tuesday 11 November 2014, Foreign Minister Andres Navarro sets out how the government will replace its usual circumstantial or reactive foreign policy towards international organizations with a more proactive and participatory approach. He said that the plan is to maintain a proactive position abroad so the country has the space from where to recover its leadership as a nation. "If there are issues that have to do with you and you show neglect, obviously you are losing leadership and respect," said the new minister. "That absence has led to others taking advantage of opportunities to carry out negative campaigns without us being able to rightfully defend ourselves," he said. Navarro said that in addition to participation, skilled representatives at the highest level are needed to prevent the country from being ridiculed.

He announced plans for visits to the US Department of State and the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C. in December.

He said the DR would form links with legislators in Haiti, as soon as the new Congress is elected. He said that links with the municipal authorities in the neighboring country would also be cultivated, especially in the border provinces. He said the country needed to build new relationships with Haiti.

The minister said that a diagnostic study was in process, aimed at restructuring Dominican foreign policies with the US.

He said that more trade would be encouraged with the Caribbean nations, especially in agricultural products. "In the Caribbean we have great potential that we have ignored, for trade as well as for political matters. The foreign minister said that tourism would be promoted, along with quality services to Dominicans who have immigrated to other Caribbean islands.

Navarro added that the DR has made significant progress when it comes to human rights. "What needs to be done is what the country should have done 10 years ago: provide access to sufficient information on what the DR is doing in human rights," he said.



Transport fares to decrease
The Ground Transport Office (OTTT) director, Hector Mojica has announced that the cost of public transport will be reduced by RD$5 on urban routes and between RD$10 and RD$40 on intercity routes as of Thursday.

Mojica said that a resolution with the instruction would be published tomorrow, Wednesday, 12 November 2014. He said that OTTT had the authority to change the fares.

The decision was made following a meeting at OTTT between operations director Victor Luis Nunez, technical director Maria Paz Conde, deputy administrator Amaurys Velasquez and press officer Melvinson Almanzar.

Mojica said the price of diesel had dropped by RD$25.20 a gallon over the last four months. Must public buses run on diesel.

However, the transporter representatives are already saying that they will not accept the decrease but will consider other reductions.



Dengue and malaria show a decrease
The latest epidemic bulletin just released states that epidemics in the Dominican Republic are under control compared to the last five years. The authorities' main concern at the moment is to prevent the entrance of the Ebola virus.

Dengue fever currently has the highest mortality rate in the country, although it is not considered to be an epidemic, with the last bulletin showing 57 deaths so far this year. There were 88 deaths from dengue over the same time period last year. There have been 4,892 cases of dengue so far this year, compared to last year when 13,131 cases had been registered by the same date.

The latest bulletin does not contain any figures on the chikungunya virus, on the grounds that it is no longer a concern due to the low numbers now being reported.

The illnesses that are still affecting the country are dengue, malaria, leptospirosis, cholera and rabies. Malaria has also shown a sharp drop, of 44% over the same period last year.


AMET stops illegal motorbike racing
A joint operation between the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) and the national police over the last two months has dismantled more than ten groups that organized illegal motorbike races on the highways.

AMET director, Brigadier General Pablo Arturo Pujols, warned that these races not only put the lives of the participants at risk but also other drivers on the road and pedestrians.

Pujols made the announcement during a meeting to discuss plans for "Road Safety Week," to be held between 17 and 23 November in order to improve road safety and accident prevention.

He used the example of the motorcycle races to highlight a lack of education, as these illegal races were causing unnecessary fatalities. He went on to say that they also took place on roads leading to the capital and recently they had stopped one from taking place on the Samana highway where more than 15 people had been arrested and their motorcycles confiscated.


Flooding in Barahona
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) reports that around 200 homes in Las Salinas in the southwestern province of Barahona were flooded after the Saladillo River broke its banks, as a result of the heavy rains affecting the area over the past few days.

According to the Civil Defense, the Las Flores and La Esperanza neighborhoods were worst affected and the perimeter wall of the Hato Nuevo School collapsed, but no one was hurt.

The COE said that it is keeping the green alert in place as more rain is expected due to a weather front located over the eastern part of Cuba, which is affecting the Dominican Republic. The COE warned of flood risks in the southeastern provinces of Hato Mayor, El Seibo, San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana and La Altagracia (Higuey), as well as Barahona.


Ex Archbishop dies
Former archbishop of Santiago, Monsignor Juan Antonio Flores Santana died on Sunday 9 November 2014, aged 87. From 8am on Monday, dozens of pilgrims and religious leaders attended his wake at the Blandino Funeral home.

According to his doctors, Flores Santana died from multiple organ failure in the Intensive Care Unit of the Santiago Metropolitan Hospital (HOMS).

A mass was celebrated at the La Vega Cathedral, where he was bishop for many years.

Today, Tuesday 11 November, his remains will be in the Santiago Cathedral,

Apostol El Mayor as of 10am, and there will be another mass at 3pm celebrated by Monsignor Ramon Benito De La Rosa y Carpio, Archbishop of Santiago.

Juan Antonio Flores Santana was born in Bocas de Licey, Tamboril, on July 3, 1927. He was ordained in July 1953 and became the third Bishop of Santiago in 1992 and Archbishop in 1994 until 2003.

As reported, his last words before he died were "Jesus is calling me, and the Virgin is coming with me".


Haitians rescued from deserted island
Around 70 Haitians were rescued on Sunday, 9 November 2014 from the Mona Island, a small, uninhabited island belonging to Puerto Rico that is a nature reserve, 70 kilometers off the west coast of Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rican police said that they had all traveled in an illegal boat trip from the Dominican Republic and had been left on the island on Saturday night. They will now be taken from the island to the port of Mayaguez where they will be handed over to the immigration authorities.


German arrested with drugs
National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) agents have confiscated five packets of a white substance, presumably cocaine or heroin, from a German national who was trying to smuggle it to Belgium. He was scheduled to board a Jetair flight to Brussels departing from the Punta Cana International Airport.

DNCD spokesman Dario Medrano said they received a tip that the man could be carrying drugs. When he was searched around eight kilograms of the substance was found in his luggage.

The man, whose name was not released, has been detained in custody awaiting a court appearance and the substance has been sent to the Forensic Laboratory for testing.


Oliver Stone to talk about movies at the Central Bank
The Bou Group is presenting a talk by Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter Oliver Stone at the Central Bank auditorium in Santo Domingo at 7pm on 28 November 2014. Throughout his career, Oliver Stone has received three Academy Awards and five Golden Globe awards for his work. They include best adapted screenplay for Midnight Express (1978), Best Director for Platoon (1986), Born on the 4th of July (1989) and JFK: Cold Case (1992). His productions are characterized by their portrayal of the hard facts of life -perhaps because of his past as a Vietnam veteran- becoming known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary filmmaker. But reviewers have been less favorable to him for his sympathetic documentaries on Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro.

The presentation in the Dominican Republic is aimed at boosting the country's emerging film industry, say its promoters, the Bou Group.

Their press release states: "We are proud to introduce a filmmaker with such an extensive and proven career, who will transmit to viewers his experiences and knowledge about film, the wonders and setbacks of working in the film industry and being part of a film production.

Tickets can be bought at CCN's Supermercado Nacional and Jumbo.


Hispaniola Half Marathon on 23 November
The 19th Hispaniola Half Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, 23 November 2014.

Described as one of the most important races on the runners' calendar in the Dominican Republic, the event is preceded by the Expo Maraton Hispaniola 2014 at the Santo Domingo Sheraton Hotel. Saturday, 22 November 2014 from 11am to 7pm.


Funglode International Film Festival
The Funglode International Film Festival starts today, Tuesday 11 November and continues through Wednesday 19 November 2014. There will be screenings in Barahona, Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Cap Cana, Nagua and in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

See http://www.festivaldecineglobal.org


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

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