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Daily News - Thursday, 13 November 2014

President opens new police stations; 911 to expand
The 911 Integrated Emergency and Safety System will be extended to San Cristobal, Santiago and Puerto Plata by the end of this month at the latest, National Police chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo said yesterday, Wednesday 12 November 2014.

He said that they are in the process of applying the new model of police management according to guidelines set out by President Danilo Medina and have seen good results.

"The era of mediocre police work that produced few results is coming to an end. We have begun to see positive results in the fight against organized crime and street crime, which has allowed us to see a reduction in criminality to the lowest levels in the last 12 years."

He said that the application of the 911 system should put an end to the poor image that police work has had in the past. Castro Castillo pointed out that 86% of 911 system users in Greater Santo Domingo have expressed positive appreciation for the work that the police is doing.

The chief of police made these statements during an inaugural event where President Danilo Medina cut a symbolic ribbon marking the opening of 70 new police stations around the country.

Progress made in Colonial City facelift
As work continues on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) financed renewal program for the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, El Caribe reports that commercial activity in the historic center is slowly returning to normal.

The sidewalks now have benches and native trees have been planted to encourage pedestrian traffic. According to the newspaper, there is enthusiasm among traders in the area. Maria Antonia Jacobo, who owns an art gallery on Arzobispo Merino Street told reporters that she expects an increase in both Dominican as well as tourist traffic this Christmas season. Around Santo Domingo Cathedral, the first in the New World, which also underwent improvements, dozens of workers can still be seen placing bricks on the sidewalks as part of the finishing touches.

Maribel Villalona, project director for the Ministry of Tourism, said that six of eight streets that have undergone renovations, are now open again to vehicular circulation.


More loans for electricity sector
The Senate approved contracts for loans totaling US$138 million yesterday, Wednesday 12 November 2014, to be used to increase security in the electricity supply and to support the Distribution Network Modernization Programs. Senate Hacienda commission chairman Dionis Sanchez presented a report in support of the loans, stating that the modernization program is aimed at strengthening monthly collections, reducing losses and improving the living conditions of electricity consumers in selected areas. The first loan, which will be managed by the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE), was signed between the Dominican state and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The second loan contract for US$60 million will be used in the Loss Reduction and Electricity Distribution Refurbishment Program. This is timely in light of the recent reports of vandalism targeted at transmission towers. Most of the work will take place in the Santiago, San Cristobal of and Santo Domingo areas as well as in several cities in the eastern region.

Supreme Court rejects 12,000-page case file on Felix Bautista
The Attorney General Office is asking the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) for an extension period in order to deliver the evidence that they plan to use in support of the processing and seizure of Senator Felix Bautista's assets. This came about because the secretary general of the Court is refusing to accept the 12,000-page case file setting out the Justice Department's case against the senator.

According to El Nuevo Diario, when the deadline for delivering the evidence was about to expire late yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 12 November 2014, the director of the Specialized Prosecutor for the Persecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA), Laura Guerrero Pelletier, appeared at the SCJ secretary's office and tried to deliver the rather large document, but it was refused on the grounds that it should be submitted in digital format and with nine copies, leading to a stalemate that has still not been resolved.

Faced with this situation, Guerrero said that formatting the document would be very expensive and tedious for the office, and this has forced her to request an extension of the deadline in order to make the photocopies at the Attorney General's office. Guerrero said, "the refusal to receive the case file on paper is just one example, it is no more than an irrefutable demonstration of the weaknesses of our judicial system because this is a way of wasting time and complicating things even further."

Government gave RD$38 billion to small businesses
The deputy minister of Industry and Commerce in charge of small-scale businesses, Ignacio Mendez, says that the Medina administration has channeled more than RD$38 billion into micro, small and medium enterprises in the Dominican Republic. This financing was done through the Special Fund for Farming Development, the Agricultural Bank, the Banco de Reservas, the Solidarity Bank and the Banreservas Foundation.

Mendez was speaking during a meeting with the media yesterday, Wednesday 12 November 2014, coordinated by the Presidential Palace press department. The deputy minister said that the small business sector generates nearly 2.2 million jobs and contributes 38% of the GDP.

In his talk during the celebration of Entrepreneur's Day, Mendez said that these smaller businesses employ 54.4% of the working population. He mentioned that nearly 800,000 businesses fall into this category, making up 98% of Dominican businesses.


Dominicans declare taxes online
According to the Tax Agency (DGII), 92% of Dominicans regularly file their taxes online. Agency director Guarocuya Felix said that 87% of all payments are also received electronically. He said that the DGII rarely handles cash, and that 100% of all taxes are deposited in a single account managed by National Treasury.


Exports to Haiti at US$560.3 million as of July
In the first seven months of the year, Dominican exports to Haiti reached US$560.3 million, according to statistics compiled by the Center for Exports and Investment (CEI-RD). Of this total, US$275.6 million was exported from free trade zones while US$284.7 million came from regular exports.


Government workers' payday could change
The general administrator of the governmental Banco de Reservas, Enrique Ramirez Paniagua is advocating for a change in the government payday to prevent congestion at the bank. The government pays most employees on the 25th day of each month. In an interview on Hoy Mismo TV show yesterday, Wednesday 12 November 2014, Ramirez Paniagua said he would like to stagger the payments on different days for retired government employees, military personnel, Ministry of Education and Public Health employees, and other public employees.

Ramirez said that the BanReservas is undergoing major renovations, especially in the area of customer service. He said the technological update would take another 16 months.

The general administrator also announced that 170 sub-branches were being established at points around the country that previously did not have banking services because these locations were not profitable for any commercial bank.

He also spoke of restarting a project to increase banking links with Haiti that has been on hold since the 2010 earthquake. Ramirez Paniagua said that an agreement was recently signed with the four largest remittance companies to strengthen their presence in the Haitian market using the BanReservas platform. He said it is important for the main financial intermediaries in these operations to be Dominican.


Taxi drivers make more than public hospital doctors
A report in Diario Libre today, Thursday 13 November 2014, reveals that drivers of the multi-fare taxis known as "conchos" or "carros publicos" can make up to RD$35,000 a month, tax-free. Of the total, they have to pay RD$100 per day worked to the business associations (so-called transport unions) that have de-facto control of the routes on which they work. Other costs include vehicle maintenance, if it belongs to the driver, and gasoline and other vehicle-related expenses.

As reported, most taxis in this scheme work on alternate days. That is, the drivers will work on average 15 days a month, having time off for other income-generating activities on the other days. The drivers of these often-ramshackle vehicles therefore earn more than many professionals in the Dominican Republic, including public hospital doctors (RD$36,706 a month), nurses (RD$14,777) and teachers (RD$13,016). The drivers charge fares of RD$25 for their short routes. The drivers will fit two passengers in the front seat and four to five in the back seat.


See a related discussion on the dr1 forums at: http://dr1.com/forums/santo-domingo/146977-not-another-ugly-american.html

Winter League baseball results
The Aguilas return to first place, defeating the Toros Del Este in a close battle, 4-3 in the Francisco Micheli Stadium in La Romana yesterday evening, Wednesday 12 November 2014. A three-run homerun by Ricardo Nanita in the first inning put the Aguilas Cibaenas on the road to victory.

The Estrellas Orientales defeated the Leones del Escogido by a score of 4-1, in a game where Junior Lake went 2-2 and stole three bases in the game held at the Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo. The victory keeps the Green Team in fourth position in the standings.

The Tigres del Licey defeated the Gigantes in San Francisco de Macoris by a score of 7-5, in a game where Juan Francisco hit his 50th homerun, tying him with Winston "Chilote" Llenas on the all-time list. The game took place in the Julian Javier Stadium.

AGUILAS 12 - 8 .600 --
TOROS 12 - 9 .571 0.5
GIGANTES 11 - 9 .550 1.0
ESTRELLAS 10 - 9 .526 1.5
LICEY 9 - 11 .450 3.0
ESCOGIDO 6 - 14 .300 6.0

Tonight's games, Thursday 13 November 2014:

* Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo, at 7:30 pm - Gigantes del Cibao (Scott Diamond) vs. Tigres del Licey (Asher Wojciechoswski)

* Tetelo Vargas Stadium in San Pedro de Macoris at 7:30 pm - Leones del Escogido (Andre Rienzo) vs. Estrellas Orientales (Radhames Liz)

To follow the baseball season, see http://www.lidom.com

Ministry of Culture to commemorate "7 Dias con el Pueblo"
Nine of the artists who performed in the memorable "7 Dias con el Pueblo" organized in Santo Domingo in 1974 have confirmed they will be returning for the 40th anniversary commemorative events organized by the Ministry of Culture.

The singers who have confirmed their attendance are Pi de la Serra and Victor Manuel from Spain, Danny Rivera, Rosana, Silverio and Antonio Caban Vale (El Topo) from Puerto Rico, and theater director Romulo Rivas and Los Guaraguaos from Venezuela. They will be playing a concert together with emerging artists on Saturday, 29 November 2014 at 8pm at the Fortaleza Ozama in the Colonial City. Dominican emerging artists include Covi Quintana, Cristal Marie, Marel Alemany, Bobby Delgado, Henya Tejeda, Victor del Villar, Giorgio Siladi, Janio Lora, Carolina Solis, Lenny Abreu, Gnomigo, Nathalie Hazim, Pamel Mancebo and the group Aura.

Minister of Culture Jose Antonio Rodriguez described the original event as the most important cultural concert ever held in Latin America. Other artists who appeared in the song festival that was held from 25 November to 1 December 1974 were Mercedes Sosa and Bernardo Palombo from Argentina, Lucecita Benitez and Estrella Artau from Puerto Rico, Silvio Rodriguez and Noel Nicola from Cuba, Ana Belen from Spain, Mexican Guadalupe Trigo and Roberto Darwin from Uruguay. The Dominican Republic was represented by the Combo Show de Johnny Ventura, Los Virtuosos de Cuco Valoy, Expresion Joven, Nueva Forma and Convite. The event was organized by the Central General de los Trabajadores (CGT) labor union.

The 40th anniversary commemorations begin with the opening of a photography exhibition at the National Theater on Tuesday, 25 November 2014. A group of speakers will give talks about the event at the Centro Leon in Santiago on Thursday, 27 November, at the Universidad Central de Este (UCE) in San Pedro de Macoris on Monday, 1 December, and at Casa de Teatro in Santo Domingo on 2 December.

The speakers will be Otto Fernandez, Dagoberto Tejeda, Victor Victor, Nelsida Marmolejos, Enrique de Leon and Tommy Garcia.

Admission is free, but tickets need to be secured through the Uepa Tickets system (at Movie Max off Abraham Lincoln Avenue).


Electric Paradise by Ron Barcelo at Hard Rock Punta Cana
A night with DJs Tiesto, Martin Garrix, DZeko and Torres, Steve Aoki, Blasterjaxx, Otto Knows and Moti, along with other electronic dance musicians is booked for Friday, 26 December 2014 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana. The event is organized by PAV Events. Tickets are RD$1,600 general admission, RD$2,800 VIP and RD$3,800 Special Guest.

Braulio from Spain to the Barcelo Santo Domingo
Spanish singer-songwriter Braulio will take the stage of the Salon La Mancha at the Barcelo Santo Domingo at 9pm on Saturday, 13 December 2014 for the concert "Para cortarse las venas," a night of ballads and greatest hits. He will perform with Dominican singer Jackeline Estevez.

Braulio is known for his greatest hits: "Noche de bodas", "Que tentacion", "Pequena amante", "Cronica de un viejo amor", "Amor de sal", "Lo bello y lo prohibido", "Cuando se acaba la magia", "Una mujer como tu", "El vicio de tu boca", "Duarte con Paris" and "Secreto de amor"


Nicole Santiago at Billini Hotel
Nicole Santiago, a live session with jazz, pop and bossa on the rooftop of the Billini Hotel in the Colonial City on Friday, 14 November 2014 at 6pm. Calle Padre Billini 256-258, Colonial City. 2 x 1 drinks. Tapas all night for RD$575.

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

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