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Daily News - Wednesday, 17 December 2014

President celebrates reaching 10,000-classroom mark
President Danilo Medina inaugurated Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes School in Los Alcarrizos yesterday, Tuesday 16 December 2014 and announced that the target of 10,000 new classrooms for this year offering the extended school day program had been met. As reported, new 10,017 classrooms have been added to the public school system for afternoon educational activities.

He said that he was delighted that he had kept his word and that 2014 had been a glorious year for Dominican education. He went on to say that he would continue to transform the Dominican Republic into the modern, prosperous and free country that it is destined to be.

He said that they would continue to build schools and that in 2015 another 10,000 classrooms would be added. He said that today, Wednesday 17 December 2014, the bidding process would begin for the next 5,000 classrooms to be located in 312 schools nationwide as well as the construction of 18 workshops for polytechnics and 150 child care centers.


President Medina travels to Belize
President Danilo Medina left from San Isidro Air Force base at 8am this morning, Wednesday 17 December 2014, on his way to Belize to attend the 44th Summit for Heads of State and Government of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

He was accompanied by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo, Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ramon Peralta, the head of the Presidential Security Detail, Major General Adan Caceres and his personal assistant, Carlos Pared Perez. He is due to return tomorrow, Thursday 18 December 2014.

The members of SICA are Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic.


Taiwan to fund SICA projects for US$23 million
Taiwan has agreed to allocate US$23 million for the implementation of regional cooperation projects in the countries of Central American isthmus and the Dominican Republic, for the period 2015 to 2016. The amount was defined during the 16th Meeting of the Joint Commission on Cooperation between the Countries of the Central American Isthmus and the Republic of China (Taiwan) that took place yesterday, Tuesday 16 December 2014 in Placencia, Belize as a preliminary for the summit of heads of government and state of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

With the new support, projects focused on social inclusion and human rights will be implemented in countries of the Central American Isthmus and the Dominican Republic: strengthening partnerships in the field of fisheries and aquaculture, the development of health topics in the framework of the Post Agenda 2015, to improve indicators in this area as part of the Regional Health Policy of SICA, the promotion of food and nutrition in rural households, and the promotion of entrepreneurship, as well as the modernization and strengthening of foreign ministries of the countries of the Central American Isthmus and the Dominican Republic, to name a few.

The 16th Meeting of the Joint Commission was attended by a delegation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) led by its Foreign Minister David YL Lin and high-level officials from the ministries of foreign affairs of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, and the secretary general of SICA, Dr. Victoria Marina Velasquez de Aviles.

Taiwan participates in SICA with the status of extra regional observer since 2000.

To read more about the projects that will be undertaken, see http://www.sica.int/consulta/Noticia.aspx?idn=92835&idm=2

Legislators vote to keep criminalization of abortion
In its session yesterday, Tuesday 16 December 2014, the Chamber of Deputies bent to pressure from religious groups and voted to maintain the ban on abortion in most cases, including rape, incest and fetal malformation. The legislators did modify the Penal Code article to authorize doctors to decide in favor of the life of the mother if all scientific and technical means have been applied to save both lives.

The proposed new Penal Code Art. 110 is proposed to read: "The termination of pregnancy carried out by specialized medical personnel in health establishments, public or private is not punishable if according to all of the scientific and technical means available all has been done to save two lives".

Earlier this month, President Danilo Medina sent a modification to Congress requesting the decriminalization of abortion in the cases of rape, incest or fetal malformation.

The Penal Code establishes two to three years in prison for women and anyone who assists them in terminating a pregnancy. Medical staff assisting in an abortion are subject to four to ten years in jail, and 10 to 20 years if the woman dies.

93 deputies voted for the text presented by Chamber of Deputies president Abel Martinez, including 75 from the ruling PLD.

The bill now passes to the Senate for approval.

The legislators proposed drafting a separate bill that would cover the interruption of pregnancy for rape, incest or fetal malformations.


ID cards expiry date confirmed
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has decided that the deadline for the expiration of the old identity card or cedula should be 10 January 2015. From that date on the new cedula will be required. The issuing of the new cedula began in April 2014.

JCE communications director Felix Reyna said that the same offices that issue the new cedula will continue to provide the service once the deadline has expired.

Reyna reported that 4,694,330 people have asked to change to the new card, 64% of cardholders. So far 4,471,194 new cedulas have been issued. This leaves 2,554,215 people who still have to request the new identity card.


Dario Contreras hospital closed for remodelling
The Dario Contreras trauma hospital in Santo Domingo East has temporarily closed its emergency services during the reconstruction process that is due to finish in February 2015. Other services at the hospital have been closed for the renovations.

Hospital director Roberto Lafontaine said that most patients would be sent to the Ney Arias Lora public hospital in Santo Domingo North, Vinicio Calventi Hospital in Los Alcarrizos, and Rodolfo de la Cruz Lora Hospital on the Duarte Highway.

Lafontaine assured that the work would be carried out around the clock to ensure it was completed on schedule.

At the Luis Eduardo Aybar hospital, which closed last week, only the administrative staff remain in the building and the process of transferring patients has now been completed.


Dominican exports growth above average
According to a report from the Inter-American Development Bank, the 7% increase in exports from the Dominican Republic in 2014 is above the average for Latin America. The study showed the DR posted the third fastest growth in exports of 18 countries analyzed by the IDB. Gold exports, which were up 35% this year, made the difference. As reported, overall exports of Central America and the Caribbean on average were up 3% in 2014 for US$43.6 billion. Exports were up 4% to the region's main source market, the United States. The report states that Nicaragua posted the highest export growth rate with 10%, followed by Guatemala and Dominican Republic 7%, Honduras 5%, Costa Rica 1%, El Salvador (-5%) and Panama (-1%).


Murderers of girl remanded in jail
Santo Domingo provincial judge Bernardo Coplin has jailed on remand a police officer and a civilian accused of murdering a 15-year old girl on Saturday, 13 December 2014 in the Villa Espana motel on the Las Americas highway, in Santo Domingo East.

Francisco Tavarez Portorreal and Geudys Gady Trinidad have been sent to La Victoria jail on remand for three months in connection with the murder of Jessica Elaine Sabab Perez, as requested by prosecutor Olga Dina Llaverias.

The investigations have revealed that Tavarez Portorreal is thought to have carried out the murder after she refused to have sexual relations with him, so he went to his friend's room in the same motel, took his firearm and shot the young girl in the neck.

A photo of the victim was circulated on Facebook and other social media, causing distress to the family.


Lapiz out on bail
A Santo Domingo court headed by Judge Josefina Hubiera has released Avelino Junior Figueroa Rodriguez, the rapper better known as "Lapiz Conciente" on bail. He is accused of physical and psychological aggression against minors, after he uploaded onto the Internet a photograph of another singer known as "Guariboa" posing with two boys drinking alcohol. Bail was set at RD$5 million.


Daddy Yankee hosts lunch
Puerto Rican singer Daddy Yankee hosted a lunch for more than 200 children from low-income families at an event sponsored by his foundation in Santo Domingo province yesterday, Tuesday 16 December 2014.

The reggaeton artist traveled to El Tamarindo, a residential neighborhood located in Santo Domingo East, where several years ago he established an eatery that provides food to disadvantaged kids.

"The boss," as the 36-year-old singer of "La gasolina," "Que tengo que hacer" and "Lo que paso, paso," and many other hits is known, was seen serving food to children of all ages.

The kids also enjoyed special surprises such as clowns and gifts.

Daddy Yankee, whose real name is Ramon Luis Ayala Rodriguez, opened the "Daddy's House" eating establishment in 2009, which has been administered since then by the Corazon Guerrero (Warrior Heart) foundation, which he founded, among other things, to help convicted criminals reintegrate into society after serving their sentences.


Cool weather to continue
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) says that a front off the Caribbean coast and the north west wind will bring rain to the provinces of Sanchez Ramirez (Cotui), Monsenor Nouel (Bonao), La Vega, San Cristobal, Espaillat (Moca), Maria Trinidad Sanchez (Nagua), Samana, Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris), Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo), Monte Plata, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, La Altagracia (Higuey), San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, Dajabon, Barahona, Pedernales, Azua and San Jose de Ocoa.

In the rest of the country rain is not expected.

Much of the country will continue to be overcast due to the north westerly wind which could lead to isolated showers in the north east, south east and central mountain areas. It will also keep temperatures on the cool side, especially at dawn and during the night and in the mountainous areas.


Jazz Nights on the steps of El Conde
Yet another reason to visit the Colonial City. The Thursday jazz concerts at the steps leading from Calle El Conde to the Port of Santo Domingo. On Thursday, 18 December 2014, Oscar Micheli Trio (Oscar Micheli, Roberto Reynoso and Guy Frometa) is booked for an evening of jazzed up Christmas music. 8:15pm. Free admission.

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

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