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Daily News - Monday, 22 December 2014

DR1 breaks for the Christmas holidays
DR1 Daily News will not be regularly updated or mailed over most of the next days of the Christmas holidays. While the digest will not be published on Tuesday, 23 December, Wednesday, 24 December, Thursday, 25 December and Friday, 26 December, the news will be compiled for the Monday, 30 December issue so that our readers can stay informed. Likewise, breaking news will be published on the DR1 Forums that are updated 24/7, see http://dr1.com/forums/forum.php

Readers can also make the most of the many Christmas and New Year events by following them on http://www.dr1.com/calendar

Happy holidays!

Penal Code signed by President Medina
President Danilo Medina has signed the Penal Code bill as approved in the Chamber of Deputies without the revision being sent to the Senate as legal experts say would have been required.

To complete the process, the bill needs to be published in the Official Gazette to become Law 550-14.

Earlier, President Danilo Medina had vetoed the bill approved in Congress on the grounds that it should allow a provision for abortion if the mother's life is in danger, and in cases of rape, incest or fetal malformation. The Chamber of Deputies only allowed for abortion when science and technology proves that the mother's life is at risk.


Truck traffic restrictions for the holidays
The Ministry of Public Works has announced a ban on circulation of heavy trucks without written permits on 24, 25, 31 and 1 January on all streets, avenues and highways nationwide.

The measure goes into effect on Wednesday, 24 December at noon through Thursday, 2 December at 10pm, and again on Wednesday 31 at noon to Thursday, 1 January 2015.

Trucks transporting perishables and fuel are exempt from the restrictions, according to the MOPC.

The measure is taken every year to prevent accidents during the peak days of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Fernandez: party unity is biggest challenge
The president of the ruling PLD political party, former President Leonel Fernandez says that the greatest challenge facing the organization is maintaining unity in the ranks. The three-term former President was speaking at a meeting held in Bani on Sunday 21 December 2014 with representatives of 10 provinces of the southern region. Fernandez highlighted that the PLD was the most successful political organization in the country's history and that by 2016 it will have been in power for 16 years. During the event, participants called for Fernandez to seek the PLD presidential nomination. Fernandez responded by saying that he preferred to wait before officially proclaiming his aspirations.


DGII announces company profit tax down 1%
The Tax Agency (DGII) has announced that in order to comply with Tax Law 253-12 the income tax on profits for 2015 will be reduced from 28% to 27%.

Likewise, the ITBIS tax on several items for 2015 is being increased. Articles that will now pay 13% tax are dairy products, coffee, edible oils (soya, coconut, corn and others), margarine, sugar and chocolate.

How to do business in Cuba
The law firm Sinerlex Dominicana is seeking to capitalize on the announced opening up of Cuba and is promoting what it calls is the First Legal Business Guide to Cuba. The guide seeks to help Dominican companies understand how to do business in Cuba. Managing partner Cesar Emilio Jimenez says that the guide is a digest of the latest rulings approved in Cuba in 2013 and 2014, including the decree that creates the Mariel Special Zone, the foreign investment law, labor code and rulings on real estate and taxation in Cuba, as reported in Diario Libre.

For more information write to [email protected]

Cuba challenge for DR tourism
In Diario Libre today, Monday 22 December 2014, Tourism analyst Juan Llado writes about the challenges and the opportunities that Cuba represents for the Dominican tourism industry. Cuba received 2.8 million tourists in 2013 compared to the DR's 4.7 million. Due to the restrictions on US citizen travel, an estimated 170,000 US citizens visited Cuba, compared to 1,342,00 (40% of the total) who visited the DR.

Llado says that recent statistics show Cuba has around 200 hotels and 38,000 hotel rooms, compared to 540 hotels with 68,000 hotel rooms. Cuba had revenue of US$1.8 billion for the industry, while the DR reports revenue of US$5 billion.

He speculates the opening could bring a shift in foreign investment from the DR to Cuba. Llado points out that up to now foreign companies only have management companies in Cuba, where the state is the owner of most of the hotels. The state company, Gaviota is building 18,000 hotel rooms for 2018. He calls Cuba a formidable player for the Caribbean tourism industry, but not one that should cause panic.


Orchids are big business
Local demand for orchids is around 45,000 plants a month, or around 540,000 units a year, with peak sales for Christmas, St. Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Orchids Dominicana president Roger Espaillat told Acento that the company supplies 40% of the demand. He said it places 85% of its production on the local market, and the rest is exported to Chile, the US, Puerto Rico, Canada and the Lesser Antilles.

He said the company was founded to export to the US but the strong local demand has changed their marketing focus.

He said they produce orchids in vitro and at an industrial level. Speaking on the TV program Cuidando el Huerto on Channel 4, Espaillat says they offer eight varieties of orchids and produce around 13,000 to 18,000 plants a month, employing a staff of 80.

Dominican plant and landscape specialist Adolfo Gottchalk says that an orchid can last for as long as six months if it is well cared for, which means no overwatering and keeping it away from drafts and direct sunlight.

Speaking on the same program, Botanical Gardens director Ricardo Garcia said that of the 350 species of orchids in the country, many of which are endemic, several are at risk of extinction. He said the Botanical Garden has a special pavilion for both local and foreign orchids.


Haiti appoints interim Prime Minister
Haiti has appointed Public Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume to the post of interim prime minister. She replaces Laurent Lamothe who resigned on 14 December after several weeks of popular protests.

The Haitian Constitution allows 30 days for the interim appointment. During that time, President Michel Martelly needs to present the nominations for selecting a new Prime Minister to the Parliament.

Tragic accident on Barahona highway
The husband and daughter of Bernarda Castillo, who is the director of the Institute of Innovation in Biotechnology and Industry (IIBI), were killed yesterday when their vehicle slid off a cliff on the Barahona highway and was totaled. Castillo herself and the boyfriend of her daughter, Rafael Eduardo Leadanet, who was also traveling with them, were seriously injured. The accident occurred at 6pm on Sunday, 21 December. The group was traveling to Santo Domingo in a Toyota Hilux. The injured were taken to the Azua public hospital for first medical care.


Five friends die in crash on way to Boca Chica
Preliminary reports from AMET say that a group of friends died of severe burns when their vehicle crashed into a coconut palm at Km. 17 Las Americas Highway and caught fire in the early hours of Sunday, 21 December 2014. The driver was identified as Victor Manuel Mercedes who was among the dead. The vehicle belonged to his cousin. The other fatalities were named in the press as Esterlin Garcia Ramirez, Juan Abel Suero Paulino, 22-year old Juan Albert Pereira Paulino, 21-year old Samantha Jimenez and Carmen Leticia Pineda. One young man, 21-year old Jonas Alejandro Paulino Frias, survived the accident and is at the burn unit of the Luis E. Aybar Hospital. As reported, the group had been drinking prior before setting off to Boca Chica at 4am in a small Daihatsu Hijet minivan that reportedly skidded and then crashed into a tree and caught fire.



Cocaine and heroin seized at sea
The National Drug Control Department has reported the confiscation of 499 packages of cocaine or heroin, an AK-47 rifle, and ammunition at sea. They were being transported by a Colombian and Dominican ring that allegedly imported the drugs to the coasts of Cumayasa, in La Romana. In the operation on Saturday, 20 December 2014, 11 Dominicans and one Colombian were arrested, four on board the fishing boat Miriam 2, which according to reports, was captained by a known La Romana drug trafficker Gregorio Vilorio Perez (Dario Gasolina) who the authorities said had been repatriated by the US judiciary. The arrests took place three nautical miles out to sea.

After the seizure of the 499 packages, the DNCD searched Perez's residence and arrested a Police agent at his service who was in possession of RD$400,000, believed to belong to the arrested drug trafficker.

Two Super Tucano jets and an Air Force helicopter were used in the operation.

The DNCD says that a speedboat from Colombia delivered the drugs to the Miriam 2 with three Dominicans and one Colombian on board who were arrested when they headed toward the shore after being intercepted by the law enforcement authorities.


Poland says DR authorities not cooperating in Wesolowski case
Poland's public prosecutor announced on Friday, 19 December 2014 that it has suspended the pedophilia investigation against former papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic Josef Wesolowski due to lack of cooperation from law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic, where the alleged incidents of sexual abuse of minors took place.

"The Dominican side has failed to respond to the requests from the Polish prosecutors for legal help and we have no information when they will be met," a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office told Polish Radio.

The former archbishop is under arrest in the Vatican that has promised to try him next year.

From the start, Dominican prosecutor Francisco Dominguez Brito has said that the case needed to be tried by the Vatican. Dominguez Brito visited the Polish law enforcement authorities on 1 December 2014 supposedly to bring evidence collected in the Dominican Republic in the cases of Polish priest sexual abuse. To tell from the decision of the Polish prosecutors, apparently only evidence in the case of father Wojciech Gil was delivered.






Capital city teams out of baseball tournament
Neither of the two capital city professional baseball teams, the Leones del Escogido and the Tigres del Licey, have made it to the next baseball round robin that will decide the two teams to play in the playoffs in mid-January. There is speculation this could be a Macoris round robin between the cities of San Pedro de Macoris (Estrellas Orientales) and San Francisco de Macoris (Gigantes del Cibao), or a Cibao round robin between the Gigantes of San Francisco de Macoris and the Aguilas Cibaenas (Santiago). The tournament takes a break for the Christmas holidays, with games to be resumed on Saturday, 27 December 2014.

Baseball standings as of Monday, 22 December 2014
ESTRELLAS 32 - 18 .640 --
AGUILAS 30 - 20 .600 2.0
GIGANTES 28 - 20 .560 4.0
TOROS 24 - 26 .480 8.0
LICEY 19 - 31 .380 13.0
ESCOGIDO 17 - 33 .340 15.0

To follow the games and for more details, see http://www.lidom.com

Merengue with Hector Acosta at JetSet
Dance to Hector Acosta's (El Torito) greatest hits at Santo Domingo's JetSet Club this evening, Monday, 22 December 2014. Show time is 9pm.

Eric Litman Quartet at Lulu Tasting Bar
The Eric Litman Quartet is at the Lulu Tasting Bar this Monday, 22 December 2014. 9pm. Calle Billini corner Arzobispo Merino, Santo Domingo. Tel. 809 687-8360

Adolfi's Christmas Celebration
Enjoy Christmas music live at Las Terrazas del Meson on Tuesday, 23 December 2014. 8:30pm. Av. Mirador del Sur 1, Santo Domingo Tel 809 930-1840.

Johnny Ventura at Barcelo Santo Domingo
Johnny Ventura & Anthony Rios are booked for the Barcelo Santo Domingo on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 at 9pm. Av. Maximo Gomez, Tel 809 682-3009.

Milly Unplugged Navidad
Hard Rock Cafe at Blue Mall presents an evening of merengue on Tuesday, 23 December 2014, with Milly Quezada promising to sing all her famous Christmas season songs, including "Llego Juanita."

10pm. Av. Winston Churchill corner Gustavo Mejia Ricart, Santo Domingo. Tel 809 686-7771.

Nutcracker Ballet
The Nutcracker Ballet is being performed every evening at 7pm at the amphitheater of the Parque de las Luces at Av. Bolivar in Santo Domingo. Free admission.

Christmas carols at the Santo Domingo Cathedral
If you are in Santo Domingo for the holidays don't miss the 25 December Christmas concert by the Cathedral Choir at the Santo Domingo Cathedral. It is important to queue up early, no later than 6:30pm for a good seat inside the Cathedral. The concert begins at 8pm sharp.

Anthony Santos in Santiago, SFM and Mao
King of bachata music, Anthony Santos is booked for a performance on Thursday, 25 December at the Club El Mayorista in San Francisco de Macoris. On Saturday, 27 December, he will be at the Monte Bar Las Colinas in Santiago. And on Sunday, 28 December he will perform at Mambo Ranch in Mao, the town of his birth.

Listen to his music at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTjzUVmIzMM

New Year party at the Sheraton
Bonny Cepeda and Divas will join Sergio Vargas, Fernando Villalona, Kiko el Presidente, Chiquito Team Band, Conjunto Quisqueya, Ruby Perez, Steffany Constanza and Silvio Mora for a night of non-stop dancing at the Santo Domingo Sheraton. The price is RD$3,500 in advance. The show will be televised on Telesistema and TeleAntillas.

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

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