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Old March 1st, 2012, 08:28 PM   #1941
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Manhattan, New York, USA / Born: Santo Domingo, DR
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1. Labor Minister suggests changes
Minister of Labor Francisco Dominguez Brito suggested yesterday Wednesday 29 February that there was a need for a consensus on labor reform, for modifying the Social Security Law and to begin the inception of the Primary Health Care Units on 1 May.

He said that it is time for labor reform aimed at finding a way out of some of the problem areas like the "mafia" of lawyers that does damage to the country. He stated that the Labor Code had to be modified in order to make it more flexible and transparent, and to prevent the abuse of rights and the "mafia of lawyers, the purchase of decisions and the bureaucracy of the system."

Moreover, he said that there was a need to improve conciliation mechanisms and to deal with the issue of union freedom. He also indicated that unemployment insurance should be dealt with, and this will require studies.

In his judgment, there is a need to fight for labor policies that generate investments and especially quality employment and decent work. "Without investment, without ambition by the business community, there can be no quality jobs in the Dominican Republic," said the official.

He said that the best policy for generating and developing jobs is creating and maintaining the conditions needed for the business sector to invest and develop itself. He went on to talk about labor policies, which without education, no matter how much is done and no matter how many incentives are in place, it will not be possible to create quality jobs. He said that the greatest of all human resources is knowledge, which is acquired and transformed and which permits a person to be more productive.

Dominguez Brito went on to suggest, as the invited speaker at the monthly American Chamber of Commerce luncheon, that the Social Security Law should be modified. With this idea, he said that all sectors should get down to work immediately on a discussion aimed at finding a consensus and go on to facilitate the decision making process for the new authorities starting 16 August.

Dominguez Brito added that there was a need to start the Primary Care Units (CAP) on 1 May, and once they are up and running to find consensus solutions to the issues. He said that they should begin in the geographical area chosen for the pilot program that will allow the authorities to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the process and continue forward until the strategy is completed.

2. Watch for nighttime detours on Las Americas
The installation of beams on an elevated portion over the Las Americas Expressway will cause a traffic diversion from the Juan Carlos Bridge to the toll plaza every night from 11pm until 5am starting today Thursday 1 March until Sunday 4 March, according to the Transport Reorganization Office (Opret).

During the time period, traffic will be diverted along the side streets of Las Americas. "A detour will be organized for vehicles traveling from Charles De Gaulle Avenue and Espana Avenue; for vehicles wanting to take the tunnel and for vehicles coming from the toll plaza to enter the Samana Highway and take the side roads," according to Opret deputy director Leonel Carrascao.

The elevated roadway is being built to provide north-south access to the Hipodromo V Centenario Avenue to the Las Americas Expressway in the north-southeast direction. "This is a solution that the Opret has evaluated for traffic coming from Santo Domingo East, which lacks avenues that cross the city in a north-south direction," he said.

3. SIE fines San Felipe RD$12 million
The Superintendent of Electricity (SIE) has fined the San Felipe generation plant in Puerto Plata more than RD$12 million pesos for violating the General Electricity Law and its regulations. According to press reports, the San Felipe generator did not heed the instructions of the Coordinator of the National Interconnected Electricity System and the Energy Control Center, which had asked them to lower their output to the Technical Minimum as defined by the SIE in resolution SIE-132-2011. Apparently the output by the San Felipe generator forced the SIE to reduce output by other, less expensive, generators. The SIE decision mentions "cost overruns worth millions of pesos..."

4. Martelly to visit
Haiti President Michel Martelly will visit the Dominican Republic on Monday, 26 March. The announcement comes on the heels of the news that he has chosen Laurent Lamothe as candidate for prime minister. Lamothe is the current minister of foreign affairs. The Haitian Constitution allows for double posts.

Martelly's visit will kick off the start of work by the Dominican-Haitian Bilateral Mixed Commission that deals with matters of interest to both countries, with a focus on migratory issues.

It was announced that the members of the mixed commission have already agreed to open a new international bridge over Masacre River between Dajabon and Ouanaminthe to make border crossing more efficient.

During the next meeting in Santo Domingo, a protocol will be signed for the use and maintenance of the bridge.

Members of the Haitian government will also look into welfare programs under the Fernandez administration.

5. Dominico-Haitian Commission sets agenda
The foreign ministers of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Carlos Morales Troncoso and Laurent Lamothe, signed a joint declaration in Port-au-Prince yesterday Wednesday February 29, which establishes the priority issues to be dealt with by the Mixed Bilateral Dominico-Haitian Commission. The document brings together issues in the areas of trade, investment and tourism; immigration and frontier issues; security and justice; transportation and communication and the environment.

The working plan includes the establishment of a regulatory agreement covering transport between the two countries, the revision and updating of the Customs Agreement of 1998 in order to facilitate bi-national commerce and the cooperation of the energy and tourism sectors.

The agenda also seeks to define the initiatives to document the immigrants from Haiti, the reconstruction of the frontier markers and priority projects for bi-national delimitation.

6. New offices for BVRD
The Santo Domingo Stock Exchange (BVRD) has new offices in Santo Domingo's Evaristo Morales sector, on Calle Jose Brea Pena, close to several leading banks. Speaking at the inauguration, BVRD director Darys Estrella Mordan said that the new premises use state of the art technology to safeguard its main asset, which is the information provided to its customers and users. The BVRD uses the Bloomberg technology platform.

Maria Antonia Esteva de Bisono, who is the president of the BVRD board of directors, stated that the new location motivates everyone who enters the doors to think big about the potential of the Stock Market in the Dominican Republic.

BVRD director Estrella spoke of the growth in recent years, going from five BVRD placements in 2006 to a present 26 a year. Commercial paper transacted through the BVRD increased from RD$1,674,299.46 in 2006 to RD$70,519,523,926.02 in 2011.

Superintendent of Values Felix Paniagua, Minister of Industry and Commerce Manuel Garcia Arevalo attended the ceremony together with leading businesspeople.

7. Shippers and industrialists oppose route change
The Dominican Republic Shipping Association (ANRD) and the Association of Industrial Enterprises of Haina and the South (AEIHaina) have asked National District Mayor Robert Salcedo and the City Council to reject a resolution aimed at changing freight shipping routes and hours between the Municipalities of Greater Santo Domingo and specifically the Malecon seafront boulevard. Teddy Heinsen and Flavio Rodriguez, the presidents of the associations said that they were not opposed to regulation but that it must not affect the industrialists and their logistics, because this could affect the nation's economy.

8. Bean problems in San Juan de la Maguana
Bean farmers in San Juan de la Maguana are facing a series of problems from three different sources. According to Diario Libre, they have problems with imports, intermediaries and the government. Imports have driven down prices and depressed the market. The intermediaries are both the financiers as well as the buyers of the crop and the government "assistance" is often too little, too late or totally absent.

Farmers of this traditional crop in the San Juan Valley need tractors to till the soil before planting. The government offers tractors, but will not provide fuel for them. Instead of doing all the work on one farm before going to another plot of land, the government tractors, when they come, only provide one plowing and then the farmers have to contract local tractors for the rest.

Money, of course, is a major factor. It can come from any one of two sources: The Agriculture Bank or the intermediaries. The Ag Bank charges 18% interest per year, but requires good credit. The intermediaries charge 5% a month interest (60% a year) but they are not so picky, since they hold the crop as collateral.

Finally, the government, which is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agriculture Bank and the Institute for Price Stabilization (Inespre), also constitutes one of the big issues.

The Ministry's tractors do not fulfill the complete task, the Agriculture Bank has many requirements and Inespre does not pay its bills.

According to the El Campito Cooperative, Inespre owes them money from the harvest three years ago, and as a result the coop cannot finance on soft terms any of the more than a thousand farmers who belong to the coop. The payments check from Inespre, for over RD$700,000, bounced last year due to a lack of funds.

Finally, the intermediaries say that they have millions worth of beans in warehouses, but they cannot sell them because imports from the United States have flooded the market and depressed prices.

9. One-fourth of young are unemployed
Twenty-five percent of young Dominicans of working age are unemployed, which the director of the Institute for Technical and Professional Training (Infotep), Idionis Perez, describes as a very high number. During his address at the opening of the X Forum of Central American and Dominican Republic Employment Directors, he said that the young people of the country showed unemployment rates higher than the national average, as well as under-employment rates. He stressed the fact that within the young population women made up the greater unemployed group, at 40% between the ages of 20 and 24.

The country's young population, according to Perez, currently totals 3.3 million, the second largest population bloc in the country after children. There are 2.6 million between the ages of 15 and 29 alone.

The official, who based his numbers on information from the Ministry of Labor, added that not only is the unemployment rate high, so is the number of young people looking for their first job. This rate has climbed over the past 10 years, from 44.66% to 58.43%. Also causing concern is the fact that 25% neither studies nor works. Some attention must be paid to this group, said Perez, because "they present a risk of entering into illegal activities or are in a process of disintegration from social cohesion, and therefore they should be looked after as prudently as possible."

10. Marcos Diaz to campaign for Danilo
Youth leader Marcos Diaz, known for his marathon open water swims around the world, including the English Channel, has announced he will be campaigning for PLD presidential candidate Danilo Medina.

Marcos Diaz is one of the highest-profile young Dominicans. In recognition, he was named Diario Libre's Man of the Year in 2007.

As reported in Hoy, Marcos Diaz called on Dominican youth to back Medina because he is the guarantee of the continuation of a progressive government. Diaz said that Medina represents the country's best interests and that in the world of aggressive politics, the candidate of the PLD is a champion. Medina returned the compliments calling Diaz "a banquet in political matters" and promised that he would not let down anyone who had put their trust in him.

In 2010, Marcos Diaz made a swim around the world to promote the United Nations Millennium Goals with the support of the Office of the First Lady, Margarita Cedeno, vice presidential candidate on the Medina ticket. In his Swim Across the Continents he linked Europe to the American continent to promote the importance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals in every nation in the world.


11. Hatuey de Camps backs Mejia
Former PRD party leader Hatuey de Camps has announced he will campaign for President Hipolito Mejia in the 2012 presidential election. De Camps left the PRD to form the PRSD in opposition Mejia's subsequently successful efforts to change the Constitution so he could run for the Presidency in 2008. He was able to change the Constitution, but lost to President Leonel Fernandez.

12. Marcos Martinez denies story
El Nuevo Diario reports that Santiago-based journalist and commentator Marcos Martinez has denied any ties to lawyer Jose Miguel Minier, and that he did not tell Minier anything about the PRD or the announcement he made on the alleged overseas accounts in the name of First Lady Margarita Cedeno. Martinez is sticking to his story that Cedeno has been amassing a fortune in a Danish bank, adding that the PLD vice-presidential candidate also had RD$13 million in CDs at the collapsed BanInter in 2003. Martinez added that the public relations director of Danske Bank, Kenni Leth told Danish newspaper Berlingske that European law prohibits the bank from releasing information on whether a person is or is not a client. He disputes the disclaimer released by the Superintendence of Banks on the deposit.



13. Marco Irizarry tells about jail in the DR
Puerto Rican journalist Limarys Suarez Torres, who reported earlier this week on the use of the Dominican Republic by major drug traffickers from Puerto Rico taking advantage of weak judiciary, has interviewed Marco Irizarry, formerly a celebrity in Puerto Rico, who served a long prison term in the Dominican Republic. In his previous life, Irizarry was a socialite, married to a television star, Laura Hernandez. However, there was a darker side, according to Suarez Torres, because Irizarry was a major cocaine trafficker, using luxury yachts to transport drugs.

In 2002 Irizarry and a group of friends and associates were arrested in Santo Domingo with 70 kilos of cocaine on board a yacht, Lady Liz. The group was tried and convicted. Hernandez was released in 2005. Another six people were also convicted and two of them, Edwin Adams Coto and Arod Levi III, died in a horrible prison fire in Higuey in 2005.

Irizarry, who is now out on conditional release, cannot leave the Dominican Republic until he finishes his probation. He works with prisoners, works out in a gym and has become a Christian, according to his statements to the reporter. He said that the worst thing about being in prison was the distance from one's family. "It is not about food or clothing, because there comes a time when you don't want to eat or bathe and depression overcomes you." Irizarry said that the legal system and the jails were "difficult" and that prisoners have to get their own food and medicines.

The reporter accompanied Irizarry to the Najayo Men's Prison and saw it for herself. She reported that rich inmates like major drug traffickers and corrupt bankers lived like kings inside the jail, with private cells and air conditioning, television and cell phones. She saw how the guards served them like butlers. Irizarry commented: "If you have money, life in jail is a little less harsh."



14. Cut the sleeves of top ranking military
Speaking in Santiago yesterday Wednesday February 29, former Police Chief Jaime Marte Martinez that the Police should "cut the sleeves" as a form of dishonorable discharge from the force for leading security assistants to President Leonel Fernandez who have had their US visas revoked, before doing so to lower ranking corporals. Marte Martinez is an open supporter of the PRD presidential candidate, former President Hipolito Mejia.

The Miami Herald recently confirmed that the US had revoked the visas of General Hector Medina Medina, top military adviser, and Major General Manuel de Jesus Florentino Florentino, border security chief. The controversy was first aired last year upon the publication of WikiLeaks, but is now back in the news after a report on Univision mentioned that the US government had removed visas from former chief of the Police Major General Rafael Guillermo Guzman Fermin and National Investigations Department deputy director Victor Crispin Zorilla. They later traveled to the US to meet with the journalist and deny they were not allowed to enter the US.

Marte Martinez told Hoy that the authorities should reveal why the visas were revoked. "There are many officers in that same situation. What is important is not that the visas were revoked, what is important is why they were revoked," he said.

"We see the chief of the Police cutting the sleeves of low-ranking officers, but what he should do is cut those of high officers, those from whom the US has revoked their visas," said Marte Martinez.

Neither Medina Medina nor Florentino Florentino have confirmed or denied the allegations that their US visas have been revoked.


15. Stars observatory
The Dominican Astronomy Society is inviting budding astronomers to observe the stars on Friday, 2 March at 7pm. The observatory has telescopes installed on the roof of the Museum of Natural History in Santo Domingo's Plaza de la Cultura. The Society says participants will take part in a session at the Planetarium with Carlos Sanlley. Then they will go up to the roof to observe Jupiter as it disappears and Venus. Those attending will also learn about what Mars is up to, will watch the moon and a Orion nebula, early in the evening and more on stars and planets. Tickets are RD$200 for adults and RD$100 for children. The society meets on the first and third Thursday of the month. Those attending should confirm to make sure that weather conditions allow for the stars and planet observation to be held that day.


For more information, call 809 689-0106

For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 07:48 PM   #1942
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Manhattan, New York, USA / Born: Santo Domingo, DR
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1. Ministries to present achievements of past eight years
Yesterday, Thursday March 1, President Leonel Fernandez announced the start of television and radio broadcasts "Rendering Accounts to the Dominican People." The programs will air on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9pm, said the Presidency.

The announcement follows comments by the National Business Council (Conep) that the President had failed to fulfill constitutional requirement to render a report on the previous year in his state of the nation address on 27 February.

Article 114 of the Constitution establishes that the President of the Republic shall render accounts annually to Congress of the budget administration and the financial and administrative affairs of office of the previous year, meeting with Art. 128 of the Constitution. It also establishes that the President needs to present a message to Congress explaining the macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts, the economic, financial and social expectations, and the main priorities that the government intends to implement within the framework of the National Budget for the current year.

Article 128 establishes that the President need to present before Congress, at the opening of the first regular legislative session on 27 February of every year, the reports of the ministries, and to render account of his administration during the previous year.

Conep criticized President Leonel Fernandez for presenting what they considered more of a comparative and cumulative report on the past eight years in government.

Nevertheless, in the announcement, the President said that the forums would serve for the ministries to present achievements over the past eight years of government. Presidency press secretary Rafael Nunez said that the forums would begin on Tuesday, 6 March and would run through the first week of April. The programs will air on Telemicro Digital 15 and a network of stations signing on.

President Leonel Fernandez has been in government for almost 12 years (1996-2000, 2004-2008 and 2008-2012). He promoted a revision of the Constitution that now allows him to run for President again in 2016. First Lady Margarita Cedeno is the running mate to PLD presidential candidate, Danilo Medina.


2. Hatuey and Hipolito team up
Today's press carried photos of former PRD-dissident Hatuey de Camps and PRD presidential candidate Hipolito Mejia in an embrace on the occasion of the announcement that De Camps is the new political director of Mejia's presidential campaign. Cesar Cedeno continues to be the campaign director.

Hatuey de Camps left the party in 2004 when Mejia chose to change the constitution so that he could run for re-election. He formed the Social Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRSD) with fellow re-election opponents.

De Camps said that it is not a merge but an agreement between both parties. He said he would explain the reasons for the decision on Sunday at 8pm on TV broadcast on Channel 9 (Color Vision). "For me it is important to say that in the PRD there was and there is an incommensurable desire for us to be together because that was what Pena Gomez taught us, and that honestly we have never had personal differences. He has his character and I have mine, he eats at his house and I do at mine, but we respect ourselves and even love each other and his children and my children and my nieces and nephews get along well", as reported in Listin Diario.

Meanwhile, the PRD announced that at 10am on Sunday, the party's National Executive Committee (CEN) would meet to fulfill the formalities required by the Electoral Law, as convened by Miguel Vargas, president and general secretary of the PRD. In a written statement sent by the political party, the PRD says that the points to be confirmed by the CEN include the approval of alliances between Mejia and other parties, the Mejia government program and PRD candidacies for overseas deputies. The meeting will take place at the Casa Nacional del PRD.

The PRD announced new alliances with the Authentic Balaguerist Movement, led by Alexis Joaquin Castillo (recognized as son of Joaquin Balaguer), and Mercedes Solis, and with the Independent Democratic Party (PDI) headed by Ismael Reyes.

In a press conference, as reported in Listin Diario, Rafael Subervi Bonilla announced a PRD caravan would start at 2pm at Pedro Livio Cedeno and Av. Duarte in Santo Domingo, passing through Villa Maria, Villa Francisca, San Carlos and Ciudad Nueva, ending with a concert on the Malecon. Vice Presidential candidate Luis Abinader will lead the caravan.

3. Las Americas Highway construction works postponed
The Transport Reorganization Office (Opret) has announced that works for the installation of beams on an elevated portion over the Las Americas Expressway would be postponed until next Thursday, 8 March. Commuters had been alerted that the construction works would cause a traffic diversion from the Juan Carlos Bridge to the toll plaza every night from 11pm until 5am over the weekend. The heavy rains that affected Santo Domingo this week caused delays in preparatory works for the installation of the beams, leading to the postponement of the traffic flow diversions.

The elevated roadway is being built to provide north-south access to the Hipodromo V Centenario Avenue to the Las Americas Expressway in the north-southeast direction.

4. Amet had a busy year
According to figures released by the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) and reported in El Dia, 1,586 people were killed in traffic accidents during 2011.

60.47% of fatalities were on motorbikes, 21.12% on foot, 8.26% in cars, 2.48% in trucks, 2.27% in pick ups, 1.20% in buses, 3.34 in SUVs, 0.44% in minibuses, 0.25% on machinery, and others were 0.25%.

86% of the deaths were men and 14% women. Most deaths occurred on Sundays, with over a quarter, followed by Saturday and then Monday and just over half (50.75%) of those who died were aged between 16 and 35.

Amet stated that they issued 630,608 tickets for contraventions during 2011, and that they confiscated 53,807 motorcycles and 33,750 vehicles.

5. External debt not too high
Banco de Reservas administrator Vicente Bengoa has rejected a claim by economist Miguel Ceara Hatton, who stated that the Dominican external debt was too high, and said that, on the contrary, it was lower as a percentage of Gross National Product (GNP) than when President Leonel Fernandez returned to power in 2004.

Hoy newspaper quotes Bengoa as saying that the opposition, mainly the PRD, continued to claim that the government had plunged the country into debt, but that in actual fact 77% of the interest and capital payments made in 2009 related to loans taken out by Hipolito Mejia's government, and in 2010 this percentage decreased slightly to 68%.

Bengoa said the Mejia government had not paid back one cent of the US$500 million of sovereign bonds taken out in 2001, and that the current government has had to pay all of them. Last year they made the last payment of US$105.4 million in capital and US$7.5 million in interest.




6. Hotel associations back Navy efforts in Saona
The Association of Hotels and Tourism (Asonahores) and the Association of Hotels La Romana-Bayahibe (AHRB) went public with their support of the government initiative to rebuild the Navy vigilance facilities in Saona Island as long as the latter meet environmental norms and serve to facilitate tourism in the area. Both organizations favored the decision of the Navy to secure US funding for the reconstruction of the navy station and dock facilities. In a press report, the organizations highlight that what will be built is not a navy base, but rather a watch tower with a small dock for two speedboats. The improvement of the facilities will help efforts to reduce people, weapon and drug smuggling in the area. The new facilities will also contribute to environmental conservation efforts supervised by the Ministry of Environment.

7. Broadcasters leave "El gobierno de la manana"
Broadcasters Julio Martinez Pozo, Euri Cabral, Jose La Luz, Victor Gomez Casanova and Melton Pineda, announced yesterday, Thursday 1 March, that they have left the hugely popular "El gobierno de la manana" radio program that is transmitted by Z-101, saying that they have been censored when dealing with certain issues. They stated that the decision was irreversible.

They expressed their thanks to the owner of La Z-101, Bienvenido Rodriguez and to the director, Willy Rodriguez.

They said that they were aware that their decision put their labor rights at risk, which could cost them several million pesos, but they stated that it was not in their interest to carry out legal action, and left the decision on whether to pay them or not, in the hands of Bienvenido Rodriguez.

They stated that although they had received offers from several radio station owners who have offered them a new space, they were undergoing a period of reflection and did not harbor any kind of grudge against Z-101.

The station website was mute about the resignations, preferring to issue a statement on the plurality of the station and its commitment to listeners.


8. Campaign to discredit the police
In response to an Amnesty International report containing allegations of torture by police officers in the DR, Interior and Police Minister Jose Ramon Fadul and National Police chief Major General Jose Polanco Gomez have said that there is a campaign to discredit the country, using the pretext of supposed human rights violations by officers of the law.

Although they did not specify who they think is orchestrating the campaign, Fadul stated that it comes from international organizations that make false accusations with the aim of damaging the image of the National Police.

Fadul and Polanco Gomez said, "We know our weaknesses, but we have the political will to keep working with the strengthening the institution and the approval of a new legal framework."

They said that the National Police has embarked on a process of modernization and specialization. A purge of corrupt agents has resulted in the dismissal of more than 10,000 members in the last four years.

Fadul and Polanco Gomez said the Dominican population should not be surprised at this campaign, which was intended to damage the image of the police and the country in general.

9. Bachata singer jailed
A court in the Dominican Republic has sentenced a New York bachata singer of Dominican heritage to six years in prison for drug trafficking, after being caught trying to smuggle more than a kilogram of heroin in his stomach on board a US-bound flight.

Bachata singer Jaime Vargas was arrested in 2010 at Santo Domingo's Las Americas International Airport when a couple of pellets he had swallowed burst. Known by the stage name Jimmy Bauer, he was hospitalized in a serious condition.

He was sentenced on Wednesday February 29 by a panel of three judges.


10. Is the DR the new command center for Mexican drug cartel?
Last December, analysts for the US State Department and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as well as independent analysts, told a US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Drug Trafficking that the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico's largest and most powerful group, is establishing drug routes with the Dominican Republic as the command center.

When law enforcement began to dismantle the Colombian cartels, William Brownfield, Assistant US Secretary of State in charge of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, said that trafficking activity then shifted to Mexico to "age-old smuggling routes along the porous overland border."

Increased violence in Mexico, however, has placed US law enforcement pressure squarely on the cartels, which are consequently developing alternative drug-trafficking routes to more southern Latin American countries and - in anticipation of intervention efforts targeting Central America - to the Caribbean.

Brownfield added, "We see this crisis coming. We even have some sense as to when it will arrive."

Borderland Beat noted that in recent months, Dominican officials have blamed the Mexican group for a handful of murders and stealing a corporate jet from an airport there. The jet, which was later recovered in Venezuela, was going to be used to transport cocaine from South America.

During the hearing, Senator Robert Menendez spoke of escalating drug traffic in the Sinaloa's new command center, the Dominican Republic, and observed that there seems to be a lack of urgency as violence continues to grow in the Caribbean Basin. He stated that, "The problem is becoming so dire in the Dominican Republic that a presidential candidate in that country recently warned that his country is close to becoming "a narco-state. He [the candidate] said that the government is incapable of stopping drug traffickers. I am neither satisfied with the progress being made on the ground nor the news and information I am receiving from the region."

DEA Assistant Administrator Rodney Benson said the presence of the Sinaloa Cartel in the Dominican Republic was confirmed in an operation last year in which the agency helped local officials arrest Luis Fernando Bertolucci Castillo, a member of the Sinaloas who'd been coordinating shipments by air from Venezuela. But the Dominican Republic was unprepared for the ensuing acts of reprisals and violence.

Dr. Eduardo Gamarra, with the Florida International University, an expert on the Caribbean region, observed, "The Dominican Republic is becoming the place where numerous drug trafficking transnational organizations are settling their scores." A survey concluded that 60% of Dominicans don't feel safe in their own neighborhoods.

In addition, there are increased signs of drug abuse on the island, as the Sinaloa Cartel offers drugs instead of cash to local smugglers as payment for services.

The cartel is also seeking logistical support from Dominicans, including reliance on nationals to provide them with small planes.


11. Interpol looking for Dominicans
According to Acento.com.do the International Police (INTERPOL) are looking for 106 Dominicans, including civilians, military and police personnel accused of various crimes including murder, drug trafficking, fraud, as listed on their website.

Curiously the names of some people already in custody are still on the website such as Sobedia Felix Morel, Leavy Nin Batista and Ramon Antonio del Rosario Puente (Tono Lena).

Yasir Perez Fernandez also appears on the list for fraud. He is one of the people some sectors of the government consider as key in the email hacking case that targeted a number of prominent individuals including the First Lady, Margarita Cedeno.

Interpol's list also includes William Amador Rene Alvarez, 71, accused of forgery, Bienvenido Rosso Ramirez, 34, accused of organized international crime, Raydi Medina Nunez, 25, for crimes against the life and health of people, Robinson Diaz, 38, for weapons offences, Cenia Siris Teresita Cedeno Castillo 43, for kidnapping and other offences against minors, and Lavier Perez Castro, 44, who although Cuban is being sought in the Dominican Republic for crimes of illegal human trafficking.

12. Oxfam calls for change
Presenting Oxfam's strategic plan for 2012-2016, the international development agency's director in the Dominican Republic, Rosa Canete, said that it is imperative to change the political culture, the culture of the politicians, and the people in general to be able to have real democracy in the country.

The four areas prioritized by Oxfam in the Dominican Republic are: citizenship and government, women's rights, rural development and livelihoods and disaster prevention and response.

Canete said that there were crumbs of hope regarding governability but that there was a long way to go until there was a better dialogue between the citizens and the parties.

As far as women's rights were concerned she said that poverty amongst women was 1.25 times higher than amongst men but she complimented the state on the legal changes aimed at eradicating the discrimination and inequality against women.

Canete said that the authorities were still very weak in terms of disaster preparation and response, and said they wanted to continue to work with communities, municipalities and the State to improve the capacity to respond.

She concluded by saying that people in rural areas had been forgotten by public policies over the last decades, and that they too had rights, which at the moment appeared to be less than those enjoyed by the people in the capital.

13. 600 expats will not be allowed to leave the country
Sources have revealed to El Nacional that 1,714 active and retired military personnel and 79,000 civilians cannot leave the country as they have pending legal issues. Exit bans have been imposed in cases involving drug trafficking, people trafficking, money laundering, fraud, murder, motor accidents and nonpayment of child support.

The Public Prosecutor's office, by means of judges and prosecutors' petitions, issues exit bans, which are then sent to the General Migration Office. Three or four new ones are issued every day.

Many of those who cannot leave the country are already in jail.

In addition, more than 600 foreigners living in the Dominican Republic have been issued exit restrictions for various reasons.

Many people do not find out they have exit bans until they arrive at the airport to leave the country, when immigration officers inform them that they are not allowed to travel.

14. Samana marathon
Now in its third year, the Samana Las Terrenas 5k-10K marathon will be run on Sunday, 4 March, with runners starting at 8am from Punta Popy and the Las Terrenas-El Limon road. The circuit is certified by the International Associations of Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and has the backing of the Dominican Federation of Athletics Associations, Las Terrenas and national businesses. The marathon seeks to position Las Terrenas as a sport-tourism destination of choice, says Alma Arellano, project manager for race organizers LT Expert. Registrations opened on 1 February through the event's web page www.lasterrenasmarathon.com and at the registration centers on 6 February. In Las Terrenas, runners can register at the Century 21 Juan Perdomo office at Plaza Taina, in Santo Domingo at the offices of the Dominican Federation of Athletics Associations and at the Runner's Shop, and in Santiago on our website. "We believe this event is very important for the progress of Las Terrenas and its community, and we hope Las Terrenas 5K-10K will continue on and contribute to the path of developing a cycle of such activities in the area," says Melissa Prieto, managing director of El Portillo Beach Club and Spa in Las Terrenas, one of the event sponsors. "Last year, in the second edition of Las Terrenas 10K, 291 runners and 212 little ones took part in the children races. This has meant an exponential growth compared to the first edition, and the hope for 2012 is to have even a greater participation thanks to the invaluable support of community groups like the Liga Deportiva Los Terreneros, and local and national companies including El Portillo Beach Club and Spa, Induveca, Fairways Residence, VIP Realty Managers and Century 21 Juan Perdomo. Las Terrenas 5K-10K would not be possible without the important contribution of volunteers and the community", say the organizers. To join, please send an email to [email protected], or call 829 645 7278. All volunteers will be served a free breakfast before the race and receive the shirt "Volunteer, Las Terrenas 5K-10K."

15. Santo Domingo's big carnival parade
The Ministry of Culture announces that the Malecon will be closed off from 8am to 12 midnight on Saturday, 3 March for the installation of seating and decorations for the Sunday, 4 March carnival parade. Carnival groups from all around the country are coming for the parade. On Sunday, the Malecon will be closed off from 6am to 12 midnight. The parade begins at 3pm from one extreme to the other. There will be floats, dancing troupes and carnival groups from all around the country. The parade is organized by the Ministry of Culture with the sponsorship of Presidente beer. This year's event will honor the late folklore promoter, Nereyda Rodriguez.

The carnival is dedicated to La Vega and guest groups from Aruba, Bulgaria, Curacao, Colombia, Taiwan, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Honduras will be parading.

For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:03 PM   #1943
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Sinaloa Drug Cartel's New Caribbean Routes Centered in Dominican Republic | Print |

MONDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2012 16:33

Borderland Beat reports that Mexico's drug cartels are using Caribbean countries as trans-shipment points for drugs bound for either the United States or Europe. VOXXI (Voice of the Hispanic 21st Century) — a multimedia site for topics relevant to Hispanic Americans — noted that on December 15 analysts with the State Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as independent analysts, told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on drug trafficking that the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico's largest and most powerful group, is establishing drug routes with the Dominican Republic as the command center.

An earlier VOXXI report on January 3 gave this excerpt from remarks to the committee:

As international pressure continues to ramp up against Mexican drug cartels, the response by U.S. officials will almost certainly be to evaluate and reprise Caribbean drug trafficking routes that were popular in the 1980s.

Those drug routes were shut down when law enforcement began to dismantle the Colombian cartels. William Brownfield, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State in charge of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, said that trafficking activity then shifted to Mexico to “age-old smuggling routes along the porous overland border.”

Increased violence in Mexico, however, has placed U.S. law enforcement pressure squarely on the cartels, which are consequently developing alternate drug-trafficking routes to more southern Latin American countries and — in anticipation of intervention efforts targeting Central America — to the Caribbean.

Brownfield added, “We see this crisis coming. We even have some sense as to when it will arrive.”

The analysts also warned the Senate subcommittee that the Sinaloa Cartel is receiving some state-supported help from countries antagonistic to the United States, such as socialist strongman Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

Borderland Beat noted:

[I]n recent months, Dominican officials have blamed the Mexican group for a handful of murders and stealing a corporate jet under the cloak of early-morning darkness from an airport here. The jet, which was later recovered in Venezuela, was going to be used to transport cocaine from South America.

During the Dec. 15 hearing, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) spoke of escalating drug traffic in the Sinaloa's new command center, the Dominican Republic, and observed that there seems to be a lack of urgency as violence continues to grow in the Caribbean Basin:

The problem is becoming so dire in the Dominican Republic that a presidential candidate in that country recently warned that his country is close to becoming "a narco-state."

He [the candidate] said that the government is incapable of stopping drug traffickers. I am neither satisfied with the progress being made on the ground nor the news and information I am receiving from the region.

DEA Assistant Administrator Rodney Benson said the presence of the Sinaloa Cartel in the Dominican Republic was confirmed in an operation last year in which the agency helped local officials arrest Luis Fernando Bertolucci Castillo, a member of the Sinaloas who’d been coordinating shipments by air from Venezuela. According to VOXXI, during his interrogation Castillo admitted to having a direct line to reputed Sinaloa boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Castillo was extradited to the United States late last year to face drug charges.

But the Dominican Republic was unprepared for the ensuing acts of reprisals and violence. Dr. Eduardo Gamarra, with the Florida International University, an expert on the Caribbean region, observed, “The Dominican Republic is becoming the place where numerous drug trafficking transnational organizations are settling their scores.” A survey concluded that 60 percent of Dominicans don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods.

In addition, there are increased signs of drug abuse on the island, as the Sinaloa Cartel offers drugs instead of cash to native smugglers as payment for services.

The cartel is also seeking logistical support from Dominicans, including reliance on nationals to provide them with small planes.

Borderland Beat concluded, “Some 10 percent of the cocaine bound for the U.S. passes through the islands, with the vast majority still traveling through Central America and Mexico, according to estimates.”

For drug transport, traffickers generally use so-called "cigarette" boats — long, narrow, high-speed craft, each capable of carrying more than 4,000 pounds of cocaine.

A 2011 United Nations report on homicides worldwide reveals that the homicide rate in the Caribbean has increased every year since 2006, and the area is now experiencing some of the highest levels of lethal violence in the world.

Senator Menendez noted that in the Bahamas, 104 murders last year set a new homicide record, breaking the previous record from the year before. “But that pales in comparison to Jamaica, which has become the murder capital of the Caribbean,” he reported, with more than 1,400 people murdered there last year. Even U.S.-controlled Puerto Rico is reeling from internal violence.

Critics have bemoaned the fact that U.S. involvement in the Caribbean is inadequate, and that funds earmarked for the region have been decreased. But many have noted that the worldwide "War on Drugs" has been an utter failure. As reported by Michael Tennant in The New American last November, there is absolutely no constitutional authority for the expenditure of U.S. resources in foreign countries in this no-win conflict.

It's clear that more government intervention is not the answer.

Photo: Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 06:59 PM   #1944
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El Ministerio de Obras Públicas avanza en la construcción de los elevados Manoguayabo y Monumental en la autopista Duarte como parte de las obras del Proyecto Corredor Duarte, conformado por nueve soluciones viales en la capital y la provincia Santo Domingo.

El elevado de la avenida Monumental en la intersección autopista Duarte avanza en un 90 por ciento de construcción, y se trabaja en el relleno y el asfaltado de las rampas que dan acceso al viaducto. También se colocan barandas de protección, y se construyen los poliedros del elevado.

La obra tiene una longitud de 530 metros y contará con 6 carriles de circulación, tres en cada sentido y una altura de 5.40 metros.

Mientras en el elevado Manoguayabo se trabaja en la conformación de la losa en el vano central del viaducto y en la colocación de material de base para el relleno de las rampas que dan acceso al elevado.

El avance porcentual del elevado en la intersección de la carretera Manoguayabo con autopista Duarte es de 80 por ciento de su ejecución total, según informa el Ministerio de Obras Públicas, entidad que dirige el ingeniero Víctor Díaz Rúa.

En las marginales del elevado de Manoguayabo la compañía Odebrecht, a cargo del proyecto, avanza en la construcción de aceras, en la instalación de postes de iluminación y la terminación del sistema de drenaje.

La intersección autopista Duarte con carretera Manoguayabo contará con un elevado de 530 metros de longitud y seis carriles de circulación cada uno con 3.65 metros y una altura total de 5.40 metros. Ambos elevados tienen las mismas características.


El Corredor Duarte está conformado por los elevados de las avenidas José Núñez de Cáceres con John F. Kennedy, Fernando Defilló con Kennedy frente a Teleantillas, José Ortega y Gasset con 27 de Febrero, Avenida Charles de Gaulle con Autopista de San Isidro, Monumental con Autopista Duarte, Manoguayabo con Autopista Duarte y los pasos a desnivel de las intersecciones 27 de Febrero con Carmen Mendoza de Cornielle, Núñez de Cáceres y doctor Fernando Defilló, y el túnel hacia la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD).

Los recursos para su ejecución provienen de un préstamo al Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimiento Económico y Social (BNDES) de Brasil.

Dirección de Información, Prensa y Publicidad de la Presidencia
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 07:02 PM   #1945
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Obras Públicas avanza construcción elevados autopista Duarte que se inaugurarán el primer semestre de este año

Elevado avenida Monumental avanza en 90 por ciento de ejecución; mientras el de Manoguayabo está construido en un 80 por ciento.

El ministerio de Obras Públicas avanza en la construcción de los elevados Manoguayabo y Monumental en la autopista Duarte como parte de las obras del Proyecto Corredor Duarte que conforman nueve soluciones viales en la capital y la provincia de Santo Domingo.

El elevado de la avenida Monumental en la intersección autopista Duarte avanza en un 90 por ciento de construcción y se trabaja en el relleno y el asfaltado de las rampas que dan acceso al viaducto. También se colocan barandas de protección, y se construyen los poliedros del elevado.

La obra tiene una longitud de 530 metros de longitud y cantará con 6 carriles de circulación, tres en cada sentido y una altura de de 5.40 metros.

Mientras en el elevado Manoguayabo se trabaja en la conformación de la losa en el vano central del viaducto y en la colocación de material de base para el relleno de las rampas que dan acceso al elevado.

El avance porcentual del elevado en la intersección de la carretera Manoguayabo con autopista Duarte es de 80 por ciento de su ejecución total.

En las marginales del elevado de Manoguayabo, la compañía Odebrecht a cargo del proyecto avanza en la construcción de aceras y en la instalación de postes de iluminación y la terminación del sistema de drenaje.

La intersección autopista Duarte con carretera Manoguayabo contará con un elevado de 530 metros de longitud y seis carriles de circulación cada uno con 3.65 metros y una altura total de 5.40 metros.

Características de los elevados.

Ambos elevados tienen las mismas características. Sus carriles medirán 3.65 metros de ancho y el paseo 0.50 metro. El ancho total se ha estimado en 25.50 metros, mientras que la altura medirá 5.40 metros.

1. Intersección Carretera Duarte – Av. Monumental

Características Generales del Elevado

Longitud: 530 mts

Numero de Carriles: seis (6)

Ancho de Carriles: 3.65 mts

Ancho de Paseo: 0.50 mts

Mediana: 1.20 mts

Ancho total de la Vía: 25.50 mts

Galibo o altura: 5.40 mts

Pendiente Longitudinal Máxima: 4.50%

2. Intersección Carretera Duarte – Cruce de Manoguayabo

Características Generales del Elevado

Longitud: 530 mts

Numero de Carriles: seis (6)

Ancho de Carriles: 3.65 mts

Ancho de Paseo: 0.50 mts

Mediana: 1.20 mts

Ancho total de la Vía: 25.50 mts

Galibo o altura: 5.40 mts

Pendiente Longitudinal Máxima: 4.50%

El proyecto Corredor Duarte.

El Corredor Duarte está conformado por los elevados de las Avenidas José Núñez de Cáceres con John F. Kennedy, Fernando Defilló con Kennedy frente a Teleantillas, José Ortega y Gasset con 27 de Febrero, Avenida Charles de Gaulle con Autopista de San Isidro, Monumental con Autopista Duarte, Manoguayabo con Autopista Duarte y los pasos a desnivel de las intersecciones 27 de Febrero con Carmen Mendoza de Cornielle, Núñez de Cáceres y doctor Fernando Defilló y el túnel hacia la UASD.

Los recursos para su ejecución provienen de un préstamo al Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimiento Económico y Social (BNDES) de Brasil.

El proyecto reviste gran importancia para el desarrollo vial del Distrito Nacional y la provincia de Santo Domingo, porque representa ahorro de tiempo y dinero a quienes se desplazan por las vías señaladas.

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Old March 5th, 2012, 03:42 PM   #1946
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Inversión privada ha marcado el desarrollo

Santo Domingo
En los puertos de República Dominicana se registra un flujo de aproximadamente 3,500 buques mercantes cada año, que se concentra en un 90% en los muelles Haina y Caucedo.

Según señala el historiador Miguel Reyes Sánchez en su libro “Océanos de tinta y papel: historia de la navegación y del desarrollo marítimo dominicano”, la inversión privada ha sido un factor determinante en la evolución positiva que ha tenido el sistema portuario nacional en los últimos 20 años, y ha permitido elevar los niveles de seguridad y eficiencia en las terminales.

La publicación, realizada con el financiamiento de la agencia B&R a propósito de su 90 aniversario, parte del desarrollo de la navegación universal por las grandes civilizaciones antiguas, abarca el período colonial, los principales acuerdos comerciales firmados en el mundo desde 1844 hasta 2010, y finalmente enfoca el desarrollo de la actividad naviera en el país citando la importancia de cada uno de los puertos nacionales.

Reyes Sánchez destaca que hasta el año 2003 las dos terceras partes del volumen de carga en República Dominicana se movilizaba a través del puerto de Haina Oriental y Occidental, de acuerdo con un informe del Banco Mundial. Pero desde el 2004 una parte considerable de los cargamentos pasó a operar desde el puerto Multimodal Caucedo y actualmente ambas terminales manejan la mayor proporción de la carga del país, en contenedores.

El puerto de Haina es el de mayor movimiento en todo tipo de tráfico, excepto en operaciones de buques de pasajeros.

El historiador refiere que pese a sus dimensiones, Haina no ha generado un desarrollo urbano similar al de otros puertos, debido a que no se trata de una terminal con una dinámica exportadora de la riqueza que se produce en su derredor, sino que surgió y se desarrolló en un contexto de concentración de riquezas en la ciudad capital, es decir, que las demandas de la ciudad industrial hicieron que el puerto creciera.

La terminal recibe aproximadamente 140 buques al mes en sus casi tres mil metros lineales de muelle y cuenta con estacionamientos para más de 2,000 unidades de automóviles de importación.

Multimodal Caucedo
Caucedo es el puerto de construcción más reciente, el más moderno del país y uno de los más modernos del Caribe y Centroamérica. Sus operaciones se especializan en el manejo de carga en contenedores y es un punto de redistribución internacional o trasbordo con influencia en toda la región. El puerto tiene localización estratégica en las rutas marítimas Norte-Sur que conectan a Norteamérica con la costa este de Suramérica, y las rutas Este-Oeste que unen el Lejano Oriente y Europa.

La obra, operada por la empresa Dubai Ports World (DP World) que también es accionista del puerto, fue desarrollada con una inversión superior a los 300 millones de dólares y reunió capitales de todo el mundo: Scotiabank, Coface Internacional, del Banco Mundial y de la agencia de crédito holandés Gerlin NCM. Es el único puerto en el país desarrollado con capital exclusivamente privado.

Reyes Sánchez resalta que en 2009 Caucedo fue el puerto de mayor crecimiento de Latinoamérica, con un incremento de operaciones de 1,700 TEU (contenedores de 20 pies) con relación al año anterior y llegó a manejar 906,279 TEU. En el 2010 la terminal recibió más de 1,300 buques de carga y alcanzó la cifra de 1,004,901 TEU.

Puerto Plata
El historiador refiere que Puerto Plata es el tercer puerto en importancia y uno de los más antiguos del país. Sus operaciones están basadas en el manejo de contenedores, carga general, cargas a granel y combustibles.

El muelle nuevo es usado como puerto comercial con capacidad para recibir simultáneamente buques de contenedores y carga general. Mientras que los buques petroleros o de combustible utilizan boyas fondeadas que se encuentran dentro de la bahía provistas de tuberías, que están conectadas a terminales en tierra y permiten a los buques amarrar y descargar el petróleo sin necesidad de ingresar al puerto.

Santo Domingo
El puerto de Santo Domingo tiene 12 atracaderos y una profundidad máxima de 10 metros. Actualmente cuenta con las terminales Santo Domingo, la del ferry, Molinos del Ozama, la del puerto deportivo Plaza Marina Bartolomé Colón y las turísticas Don Diego y Sans Soucí.

En estas instalaciones operan buques turísticos tipo cruceros y ferries, graneleros y carreros (que traen vehículos nuevos), así como una barcaza de generación eléctrica.

Boca Chica
Es una terminal marginal, de mar abierto con un tanque de almacenamiento de gas natural licuado (LNG) que en el momento de ser construido (1954-1955) era uno de los tanques más grandes de su tipo en el hemisferio Oeste, según cita Reyes Sánchez en su libro.

La Romana
Los datos publicados por el investigador refieren que el actual puerto de La Romana, propiedad de Central Romana Corporation, fue construido en 1954 por el sector privado (South Puerto Rico Sugar Company) para la exportación de azúcar y melaza y para las importaciones de maquinarias y accesorios, así como cargas de particulares (dedicado a las operaciones de carga general en contenedores, sueltas y graneles).

La terminal turística fue construida por Central Romana y Costa Cruise Line en los años 2002-2003. El muelle comercial se dedica a la exportación de azúcar y furfural e importación de carga general, transporte de combustibles y ocasionalmente carga en contenedores.

El puerto de Manzanillo, en Montecristi, es el de mayor calado natural del país.

Reyes Sánchez destaca que en 1959 esa terminal implantó un récord de exportación con más de ocho millones de racimos de guineos exportados a Europa y Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, el desarrollo agrícola no prosperó en la medida esperada y la producción no fue suficiente para mantener con regularidad embarques de consideración.

Muelle de MC, mayor caladoo
Montecristi tiene uno de los mejores muelles dominicanos, ya que es el de mayor calado. Actualmente las operaciones están basadas en descargas de clinker (materia prima para la fabricación del cemento), y productos de exportación como guineo, melón, limón, plátano, mango y coco seco, principalmente a Europa e Inglaterra y en menor cantidad hacia España, Noruega, Dinamarca, Japón, Canadá y Francia. Además exporta arena y grava a Providenciales, las Islas Turcos y Caicos, Saint Thomas y Martinica.
El escritor señala que por ser Manzanillo el puerto de mayor calado natural del país puede tener un futuro promisorio y contribuir a bajar los costos de exportación de los productores frutales, por su ubicación en la región noroeste y su proximidad con las fincas de cultivo agrícola.

San Pedro
En las instalaciones del puerto de San Pedro operan la compañía eléctrica Sultana del Este, Cementos Mexicanos (Cemex) y Ferquido, además del ingenio azucarero Colón, que tiene acceso al puerto.

El puerto tiene dos terminales de recepción de combustibles tipo CBM (Conventional Buoy Mooring). Uno para importación de combustibles y gas propano (GLP) para la empresa Coastal Petroleum y la otra para importación de combustible para la planta eléctrica Cogentrix.

El puerto de Barahona es de propiedad pública, administrado por la Autoridad Portuaria Dominicana; cuenta con dos concesiones: una a la empresa Cemex Dominicana que explota una mina de yeso y la otra al Consorcio Azucarero Central de Barahona con su producción de azúcar; ambas empresas son de capital extranjero.

Ese puerto no recibe contenedores ni maneja carga suelta sino a granel como sal, yeso, carbón mineral, clinker y combustible para las plantas eléctricas. En general, el arribo de buques en ese muelle sureño no es muy activo, refirió el autor.

Esta terminal no recibe carga de contenedores, y sus operaciones han disminuido significativamente en los últimos años, según explicó Reyes Sánchez. La terminal cuenta con algunos servicios concesionados al sector privado, que incluyen dos terminales arrendadas: una a la Compañía Eléctrica Monte Río y la otra a la empresa Mundo Gas (importadora de GLP).

Cabo Rojo
La terminal de Cabo Rojo, en Pedernales, fue construida en 1957 por la compañía Aluminium Corporation of America (Alcoa), para la exportación de bauxita y piedra caliza. Su estructura consta de dos instalaciones para exportaciones a granel mediante correas con un único muelle.

Al terminar el contrato con Alcoa, la Autoridad Portuaria Dominicana otorgó la concesión del puerto a la empresa Ideal Dominicana, dedicada a la exportación de piedra caliza y a la importación de clinker (materia base para producir cemento). Actualmente es operado por la empresa Cementos Andinos, de capital colombiano, y en el mismo se realizan operaciones de clinker, piedra caliza, bauxita y cemento.

Arroyo Barril, Samaná
El autor de ‘Océanos de tinta y papel’ cita que el puerto de Samaná fue construido por “Conde &Asociados” entre julio de 1973 y febrero de 1976, como puerto libre para el acopio, depósito y comercialización de mercancías de todo tipo y libre de impuestos, e inaugurado en 1977. Durante los años 80 y 90 se utilizó para las exportaciones de piña de la Dole Fruit Company.

Bahia Cruise Services opera en un fondeadero para barcos turísticos contiguo a Cayo Levantado, bajo supervisión del Administrador del Puerto de Samaná. En la temporada alta de cruceros 2010/2011 recibió más de 100 barcos y más de 200,000 turistas, según el historiador.

[B]La Flota Mercante

RD tenía la flota mercante más importante de la región con 70 embarcaiones. Esa flota desapareció en su totalidad y los barcos de bandera nacional se circunscriben al área de remolcadores.

Burros de RD a Grecia
Nota curiosa
Por el viejo muelle de Barahona se realizó, en 1946, la única exportación de burros de la historia dominicana, cuando terminada la Segunda Guerra Mundial, República Dominicana exportó a Grecia cinco mil burros.

Factores decisivos
Falta de incentivos
La flota mercante de RD desapareció casi en su totalidad a mediados del primer gobierno de Joaquín Balaguer por la falta de incentivos fiscales y laborales y la competencia que ofrecía mejores condiciones. Investigación
El libro “Océanos de tinta y papel” en principio fue un proyecto orientado a la navegación en RD, pero en la investigación el autor advirtió que era importante contar la historia de la navegación universal porque no existía un texto que la abarcara.


El puerto de Azua fue establecido en 1959 por la Standard Fruit Company para la exportación de guineos, pero fue inaugurado oficialmente en 1959 por el dictador Rafael L. Trujullo con el objetivo de exportar el sisal que se producía en la región. Con el fin de la dictadura el puerto cayó en el abandono.


El puerto de La Romana fue originalmente un muelle maderero, entre 1890 y 1915. El muelle actual, propiedad de Central Romana Corporation, fue construido en 1964 por South Puerto Rico Sugar Company para la exportación de azúcar y melaza, y para la importación de maquinarias y accesorios.

San Pedro es uno de los puertos comerciales que se fundaron para dar servicio a los ingenios azucareros que se establecieron a finales del siglo XIX, y tuvo gran actividad en los dos primeros decenios del siglo XX. La terminal actual fue construida por Félix Benítez Rexach en 1946.


Caucedo es uno de los puertos de trasbordo mejor situado en la región, en cuanto al manejo de contenedores, lo que lo convierte en el “hub” del Caribe. Tiene capacidad para operaciones de barcos Post-Panamax y para manejar 1,000,000 TEU.

Es de propiedad pública. En principio contaba con un solo atracadero para el embarque de azúcar del ingenio Boca Chica y actualmente realiza operaciones de importación y exportación, cargas en contenedores, subproductos de papel y carga general.

Los puertos sobre las costas permiten lograr mayor capacidad longitudinal para acomodar buques de mayor eslora y futuras expansiones, así como aguas con buena profundidad que no necesitan dragados de mantenimiento periódicos.

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Old March 5th, 2012, 03:43 PM   #1947
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La Seaboard invierte US$130 MM en planta


Tecnología. La planta es más eficiente, emite menos contaminación y hace menos ruido.

Santo Domingo
La empresa Transcontinental Capital Corporation, subsidiaria de Seaboard, puso en funcionamiento una nueva planta de generación de electricidad a gas natural con capacidad de 106 megavatios. La nueva unidad se enmarca en el proceso de diversificación de la matriz energética que impulsan las autoridades de la Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE) y el sector privado.

El gerente general de Seaboard, Armando Rodríguez, ofreció la primicia y aseguró que esa empresa confía en el futuro energético dominicano y las oportunidades de inversión del mercado local. La empresa, que vendió sus antiguas plantas Estrella del Mar y Estrella del Norte a Barrick, lleva 22 años de operación en el país.

El ejecutivo explicó que recientemente la empresa vendió sus plantas que funcionan con fuel oil y de inmediato se inició el proceso de sustitución por otra unidad más moderna que opera con gas natural y cuya vida útil está pautada para que dure más de 20 años.

La nueva planta llegó a principios de enero y para su operación fue conectada a un gasoducto que se construyó en noviembre de 2011 desde la avenida Venezuela, que es donde termina la tubería de transporte de gas natural de AES Andrés para alimentar las unidades de Los Mina y próximamente San Lorenzo.

Explicó que el gasoducto construido por Seaboard lleva a la planta directamente en un nivel subterráneo mediante la tecnología de perforación dirigida, dirigida al río Ozama y desde ahí hasta la nueva unidad de generación. Es una ruta de tres kilómetros que se adicionaron al conducto de gas natural de la empresa AES Dominicana.

Rodríguez destacó las ventajas que tiene la utilización del gas natural para proteger el medioambiente y una eventual disminución de los costos de operación de la planta, lo cual redundará en beneficio del país en sentido general.

El gerente general de Seaboard aclaró que a corto plazo no habrá un ahorro significativo salvo si se mide por el lado del medioambiente, pues es una planta de mínima emisión de contaminación. “Lo que esperamos es que a mediano plazo los precios del gas natural sean sustancialmente más bajos que ahora y permitan un ahorro importante para el país y para los consumidores”, explicó Rodríguez, quien refirió que en estos momentos el combustible cuesta prácticamente igual que el fuel oil.

Sin embargo, dijo que si República Dominicana accediera al gas natural que se vende, por ejemplo en Estados Unidos, el país pagará una fracción (25%) de lo que es el costo del combustible fuera del mercado estadounidense.

Rodríguez informó que aún la planta está en etapa de prueba y que en los próximos días espera que esté completamente aportando la energía al sistema.

Según dijo, la nueva planta venderá a la CDEEE en el mercado spot y espera completar conversaciones con algunos usuarios no regulados.

Resaltó que estas unidades prometen una eficiencia superior en 10% con relación a la planta que operaron.

El ejecutivo reveló que la empresa, además de ofrecer energía de calidad al sistema, genera alrededor de 170 empleos directos, de los cuales un 80% es dominicano, al tiempo de esperar que los empleos indirectos también sean similares.

La planta fue hecha por Wartsila, empresa finlandesa, que las fabrica en Tailandia. Son seis motores de 16 megavatios con un ciclo combinado de 8 megas.

La Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE) informó que las empresas del sector privado pertenecientes al programa los Padrinos del Sector Eléctrico han invertido RD$1,402.5 millones en la rehabilitación de redes de distribución, subestaciones y reparación del alumbrado público.

El programa permite la inversión de recursos económicos para el desarrollo del sistema eléctrico, a través de alianzas estratégicas con empresarios privados.

El aporte es reembolsable mediante descuentos en la factura eléctrica. “La recuperación de la confianza en el sector eléctrico dominicano, gracias a la estabilidad en el servicio y las estrategias de largo plazo en generación, distribución y transmisión, ha hecho que los empresarios financien el desarrollo del servicio energético en las provincias en que operan”, afirmó el vicepresidente ejecutivo de la CDEEE, Celso Marranzini.

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Old March 5th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #1949
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Old March 5th, 2012, 04:31 PM   #1950
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Old March 5th, 2012, 04:46 PM   #1951
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Viene Johnny Rockets

gamal hache

Una nueva estructura de fast food se ha levantado en la Bolivar esquina Abrahan Lincoln, que según los carteles exteriores corresponde al local de de Johnny Rockets, una cadena de restaurantes de hamburgersas de características muy peculiares.
El local está practicamente terminado, y según los informes, es propiedad del joven empresario Gamal Haché, dueño del exclusivo restaurant Sophia.
Cuando hablamos de características muy peculiares se debe al hecho de que los establecimientos de ese tipo que hemos conocido en Estados Unidos y en México están inspirados en los años 50.
Se basan en un concepto retro, pues hace más de 25 años su creador, un siquiatra cansado de su profesión, decidió abrir un local en la famosa Meirose Plaza emulando una fuente de soda de los años 50.
Son locales donde se ofrece un menú de platos "All American Favorites", donde se incluyen jugosas hamburguesas, shakes, malteadas, american fries, bebidas con shots de sabores y sandwiches clásicos.
Todo eso se está anunciando en los carteles que hay delante del local.
Habría que ver si en el de aquí siguen el concepto de los que hay en Estados Unidos, con una memorabilia de retratos del pasado, como por ejemplo de la película Ruta 66, las sillas forradas de color conchevino, con las clásicas mesas de los viejos restaurantes de los 50. Pura vida norteamericana.
Ah!, muy importante. La música norteamericana de los años 50.
Y los bailes que el personal hace cada media hora, que aunque ya los han copiado mucho en otros establecimientos, forman parte del encanto del Johnny Rockets
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Old March 8th, 2012, 05:25 PM   #1952
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1. Honoring Rafael Corporan de los Santos
President Leonel Fernandez has decreed a day of mourning today Tuesday, 6 March in memory of the great television personality and sometimes politician, Rafael Corporan de los Santos. Corporan passed away yesterday morning just a day or so after being honored by Color Vision and a network of other television stations for his incredible career, both in television and in his charitable efforts. The presidential decree is Number 97-12, and it cites his "tireless work on radio and television... helping thousands of poor Dominican families." His favorite charity, the Children's City, was left unfinished.

While the Dominican intelligentsia might have made fun of some of his sayings on television, his message surely reached the people. Today's caricature by Harold Priego in Diario Libre pays homage to his presence in our lives. "Sprite, the soda that tastes most like 7 Up but is not 7Up!" was one of his more famous lines.


2. EU will provide EUR73,000,000
The European Union is providing EUR73,000,000 towards projects and programs for the development of the Dominican Republic. The main target area for these programs is the area along the frontier with Haiti. According to Listin Diario, EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs met with President Leonel Fernandez and Domingo Jimenez, the European Union funds coordinator, before announcing the donation. Piebalgs mentioned another cooperation agreement for EUR47.5 million, which will go towards projects on both sides of the border. These programs will allow for the repair of country roads, personnel training for customs workers and other programs aimed at improving living conditions for people on both sides of the border.

3. Huge difference in political spending
"Money talks and the rest walk" is an old political adage that seems to be evident in the current Dominican political arena. Citizen Participation, a civil society watchdog group, has given a glimpse at spending in today's Hoy newspaper. Total political spending shows that the ruling PLD is spending 3.5 times what the opposition PRD is spending, with 70% being spent by the PLD and just 20% by the PRD. Total expenditures in January were over RD$58 million according to the group of observers. The PLD spent RD$41 million and the PRD spent RD$11.9 million. Dominicans for Change were in third place with expenditures that made up only 5% of the total. Citizen Participation said that they regretted the fact that the country was going into yet another election without a law that controls the election campaign process. The document is stagnated in the PLD-majority Congress.

4. Hipolito counters Leonel's 27 February speech
Last night the PRD presidential candidate and former President, Hipolito Mejia, accused the Leonel Fernandez government using the National Budget to "install a one-party dictatorship" in the country, controlling major agencies of the state apparatus. Diario Libre quoted the former President as saying: "The Dominican people know that with the backing of the National Budget, the PLD has taken control of the Executive Branch, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, the National Council of Magistrates, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Tribunal, the Central Electoral Board, the Higher Electoral Tribunal, most municipal governments and the Chamber of Accounts," in his address last night.

Mejia addressed the nation over radio and television in a message responding to Leonel Fernandez's 27 February speech presented as his rendering of accounts to the National Assembly. Using data from international agencies, the PRD presidential candidate gave his counter argument to the achievements listed by President Fernandez during whose administration he said that the public debt has gone "from US$9.705 billion in August 2004 to US$23.915 billion at the end of 2011, with projections that indicate it will reach US$25 billion when he hands over the government within six months."

"We also heard that poverty has gone down to 32% of the total population, when ECLAC recently said that it is 41%. And even more, the World Bank and the International Labor Organization say that the population living below the poverty line reaches 50%," he said.

5. PLD answers Hipolito
The PLD Political Committee did not lose any time and immediately issued a document in response to Hipolito Mejia's speech. The Committee warned that the country "cannot return to the backwardness, with a man who embodies chaos, incompetence and disorder."

On the points listed by Mejia about the installation of "a one-party dictatorship" in the country due to the supposed domination of most institutions, the PLD defined itself as an "institutional party that will continue to give evidence of openness and of a broad consensus." The Committee used the reform of the Constitution of the Republic, the special laws and the National Development Strategy (END) as an example of its institutional obedience and democratic vocation, "where all the opinions were taken into consideration in order to make a decision."

They assured voters that the PLD has had a spirit of compromise, "which has known to listen to all of the national sectors in taking decisions." They said that, on the other hand, "Hipolito Mejia headed a government that disrespected all sectors, going so far as to mock business leaders and the press." In their document, the PLD Political Committee judges the Mejia speech in harsh terms, especially the accusation that many PLD officials have villas. The PLD said that neither Leonel nor Danilo have villas, and that on the other hand, he (Hipolito) left power with one in Jarabacoa and another one in San Cristobal. They also recalled that in his declaration of assets in 2000, he had RD$19,000,000 and three years later he told a Univision reporter that he had assets of between US$2 and US$3 million.

6. Vargas says he will not campaign for Mejia
PRD president Miguel Vargas Maldonado said today Tuesday March 6 that he would not be campaigning for his party's presidential candidate Hipolito Mejia, as reported in Hoy. Vargas said he would continue in his institutional role as president of the party. He said that whatever happens from now on is the presidential candidate's own responsibility. Hipolito Mejia recently announced an alliance with former PRD dissident Hatuey de Camps.

Vargas made his announcement while laying a floral wreath at the tomb of the late former PRD leader Jose Francisco Pena Gomez on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Pena Gomez, who would have been 75 today.

7. Last minute registrations of allies
The PLD is planning to register its alliances for the 20 May elections at the Central Electoral Board (JCE) this afternoon. Meanwhile the PRD expects to conclude the process during the day, before the midnight deadline tonight. According to Diario Libre, as of yesterday, Monday March 5, the PRD delegate to the JCE, Salvador Ramos, said that they were ironing out details in the documents in order to complete the registration process. The PRD is also waiting for the Independent Revolutionary Party (PRI) to hold their assembly in order to proclaim Hipolito Mejia as their candidate.

In the country, 26 parties are recognized by the JCE. So far, the PLD has alliances with 13 and the PRD with six. The PRD is allied with the Social Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRSD), National Civilians and Veterans Party (PNVC), Dominican Humanist Party (PHD), Dominican Social Alliance (ASD) and the Alternative Democratic Movement (MODA).

The PLD has made alliances with the PRSC, The Quisqueyan Christian Democrat Party (PQDC), National Progressive Force (FNP), Social Democrat Institutional Block (BIS), Dominican Workers Party (PTD), Liberal "La Estructura" (PLRD), Civil Renewal Party (PCR) and the Liberal Action Party (PAL). The Popular Democrat Party (PDP), Green Socialist Party (PASOVE), Christian Popular Party (PPC), National Unity Party (PUN) and the Christian Democratic Union (UDC) have decided to support Danilo Medina and Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez.

8. Margarita goes on the offensive
A group of First Lady Margarita Cedeno's lawyers, headed by Luis Miguel Pereyra, will file a lawsuit before the District Attorney of Santiago today, Tuesday March 6 against television commentator Marcos Martinez is only for supposedly having forged documents from a Denmark Bank, and not for defamation. She seeks to be indemnified for RD$10 million, and the money will go to a Santiago hospital. Lawyer Pereyra said the other charges that were expected for defamation and libel are secondary.

Martinez claimed that the First Lady maintained a bank account in Danske Bank of Denmark with EUR43 million. This was later refuted by the Superintendence of Banks of the Dominican Republic that presented a letter of the Danish bank.


9. ADOCCO looks at OMSA bus rental deal
On Monday, the Dominican Anti-Corruption Alliance (ADOCCO) asked the General Department for Public Purchases and Contracts of the Ministry of Hacienda to begin an investigation into alleged irregularities in the tender process by the Metropolitan Office of Bus Service (OMSA) for the lease of more than 300 buses for seven years.

ADOCCO General Coordinator Julio Cesar de la Rosa told El Nuevo Diario that he wanted to know why OMSA director Ignacio Ditren chose to lease 370 buses for transporting passengers between the end of April and next May, instead of purchasing these units, since Omsa will have to pay RD$13 per passenger. This means an outlay of funds each month, which added to their payroll will become unmanageable. The anti corruption agency asked for the tender to be investigated since it had come about as the result of a selection of companies that are unknown in the area of mass transportation such as Exced Creditt, which will provide 150 buses, Matola Comercial, which will provide 150 buses and Ventosa Group, which will provide 70 buses.

10. Suing doctors no longer rare
While in the past this was mainly limited to plastic surgery cases, legal action against physicians is on the rise here. Hoy reports today Tuesday, 6 March that lawsuits for malpractice and negligence are up, and more than 100 suits have been filed at the Physicians Civil and Penal Insurance (Seguro Civil y Penal de los Medicos) in recent months. Hoy was not able to obtain a statement from the department director, but the reporter confirmed that dozens of cases have been filed, most in cases of surgery or invasive treatment.

Dr. Angel Veras of the legal advisory department of the Colegio Medico Dominicano (CMD), the leading medical association in the Dominican Republic, says that the doctor-patient relationship has acquired a new dimension. The fraternal relationship is a thing of the past, said Veras. He said that the areas where there are most lawsuits are gynecology-obstetrics, general surgery, plastic surgery and anesthesiology. He said that patients are becoming more aware of their rights and called for doctors to ensure that they document their patients' clinical history and follow the procedures.

11. Another drug case dismissed
The Collegiate Court of the Penal Chamber in San Pedro de Macoris has dismissed charges against four Venezuelans who had been accused of bringing 58 packages of cocaine, weighing 59 kilograms, into the country in a small aircraft registered in Venezuela on 15 December 2009. The court ordered their immediate release and the return of the aircraft and US$14,681 and 10,197 bolivares that were seized during the initial arrests.

While the court said that the four defendants were not guilty because the prosecutors had not presented sufficient evidence, the Forensic Institute said that the substance seized was cocaine. The prosecutors had asked for 30-year sentences and the seizure of all assets. It is not known whether the Attorney General will appeal the sentence.

National Drug Control Department (DNCD) chief Major General Rolando Rosado Mateo has frequently spoken out to say that the weak link in the fight against drugs is the judiciary.

12. Nearly half of women are killed with guns
The murder rate of women in the Dominican Republic is a cause for national shame, and the National Statistics Office (ONE) reports that nearly half (46%) are murdered with handguns. In a report in El Caribe, ONE also seems to suggest that large numbers of people are armed, either legally or illegally, despite all the controls in the country. The statistics cover a five-year period - 2005-2010 - and record accidental and violent deaths. The numbers show 923 murders of women over the period, 46.2% of which were committed with firearms and 30% with knives. Psychiatrist Cesar Mella commented that "the use and abuse of firearms has been present in a considerable number of violent deaths, suicides and homicides..." The Ministry of the Interior and Police has over 156,000 pistols, 23,000 revolvers and 23,000 shotguns on its register.

13. Orange hosts media directors
The confidence in the judicial security in the country that is being expressed by the Orange Dominicana telecommunications company executives has led them to invest US$150 million this year in order to implement a broad program of expansion, infrastructure and improvements in the network in the Dominican Republic, according to France-Telecom-Orange CEO Stephane Richard.

Richard is in the country on a working visit to plan the technological developments in favor of the company's clients who now total more than 3 million people, corporations and small and medium businesses. Richard was speaking during a meeting of media executives, with whom he discussed the goal of continuing to push innovations and investments.

On the question of innovations, the top Orange executive said that the branch in the country is one of the company's key units, with extraordinary growth results that allow the telecommunications company to maintain good positioning. He reported that they are including a chapter for democratizing mobile Internet services for education and national development within this year's planned investments, taking into account that this type of communication allows users to fulfill their main daily operations. Current investment by Orange in the country is around US$1 billion dollars, and they have duplicated their network since 2009.

14. Spanish ceramics exhibition
Talavera de la Reina pottery from Toledo, Spain is on display at the Fortaleza Ozama museum in Santo Domingo's Colonial City. The famous blue and yellow tiles and ceramics are on view from 24 February through 24 April. A wide range of tableware and tiles are shown in the exhibit, "Talavera Ceramics: sensibility and aesthetics". The exhibition includes valuable pieces of the Alcazar and Museo de las Casas Reales collections. The event, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, takes place at both the Fortaleza de Santo Domingo (Fortaleza Ozama) and at the Museo Alcazar de Colon. Calle Las Damas, Colonial City.

15. The Artist at Novocentro
Novocentro Fine Arts cinemas presents Oscar-winning movie The Artist. The romantic comedy won five Oscars, including the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Original Music Score. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the drama is a black-and-white silent film starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. It takes place in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932 and focuses on the relationship between an older silent film star and a rising young actress. Novocentro, Av. Lope de Vega, Santo Domingo. Screening times: 5:15pm, 7:30pm and 9:45pm. Cost: RD$250.

For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old March 8th, 2012, 05:29 PM   #1953
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DR and Portugal sign airways agreement

The governments of Portugal and the Dominican Republic have renewed their previous agreement signed in 1995, allowing free access to both countries' airports. The Air Services Agreement replaces the Agreement of 14 February 1995 and will allow for a more flexible approach to the needs of today's market. The new agreement frees up access to Dominican airports and will allow unlimited use of any destination in the Dominican Republic, either directly from Portugal or through third countries. According to Listin Diario, once the paperwork is finished the agreement goes into effect it will cover charter as well as regular airline services. Both TAP as well as White Airways said that they were anxious to start regular services to the Dominican Republic.

All about the famous Capt. Kidd

Professor Charles Beeker, director of the Academic Diving and Underwater Science at Indiana University Bloomington and Dr. Jeffrey Patchen, president & CEO of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, will present the amazing story of Captain Kidd's shipwreck and the archaeological research that has been taking place off the southeast coast of the DR as part of National Geographic's Treasures of the Earth Expeditions. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 8 March at the Regional Museum of Archaeology, Altos de Chavon, La Romana, at 6pm.
The wreckage of the Quedagh Merchant, left behind by the 17th century pirate as he rushed to defend his reputation in New York, was found by a Casa de Campo resident only 10 feet below our warm waters and 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island. The archaeological research has been conducted in cooperation with the Oficina Nacional De Patrimonio Cultural Subacuatico - the National Underwater Cultural Heritage Office.
Professor Beeker is a member of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee - NOAA. He has directed numerous shipwreck projects in the United States and the Caribbean and is a pioneer in preserving wreck sites as underwater museums. He will also discuss research on other sites throughout the Dominican Republic, including the Lost Fleet of Columbus, Henry Morgan's Flagship HMS Oxford, the Spanish Merchant Nuestra Senora de Begona, the slave ship Le Marquis de Galliffet, and on prehistoric life and the population of the Caribbean.
This lecture is hosted by Muffi and Jimmy James and Casa de Campo.
For more information contact Arlene Alvarez, Director, Altos de Chavon Regional Museum of Archaeology, at [email protected] or 809 523-8554.

Puerto Plata on the rise

According to the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Magaly Toribio, a series of measures taken by Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia aimed at saving Puerto Plata as a tourist destination, appear to be bearing fruit.
Hoy reports that hotels have reported an increase in tourists, mainly from the Canadian market, which Toribio says is thanks to the measures taken by Garcia, including a trip by 300 Transat agents to Puerto Plata, and a publicity campaign in Canada.
According to Toribio the hotels in Puerto Plata say there has been a 21% increase in the number of Canadian tourists and a 100% occupation rate over the last couple of months.
They also hope that the recovery will continue with the construction of the cruise terminal in Maimon, announced last year.

Group Metro owns 85% of real estate in Juan Dolio

Group Metro recently announced an increase in sales of over 300% in 2011. It also announced that Las Olas, one of its beachfront developments in Juan Dolio had now sold 97% of its units and had reached the final stage of construction, now focusing on the finishing details of the common areas including the swimming pool, lobby, parking area and additional amenities. Las Olas is one of Group Metro's four properties within the real estate portfolio in Juan Dolio.
In additional to Las Olas being nearly sold out, Group Metro anticipates another active year with its other developments Marbella and Costa Blanca. Most recently the company re-launched the second phase of Marbella, announced additional lots for sale at Costa Blanca, and will soon be celebrating the opening of the golf course and Clubhouse.

Delta adds new frequencies

As of March, Delta Air Lines has added new frequencies between New York (JFK) and Santo Domingo (SDQ) and Santiago de los Caballeros (STI). Delta said that it is doubling its daily flights from Santo Domingo and Santiago to JFK in New York due to the increase in demand. Delta Air Lines is including meals on board in economy (a sandwich and cookie, accompanied by choice of soft drinks or juice and coffee or tea). Soon to be introduced is Spanish language in-flight entertainment in March and a surprise drink that promises to be especially popular with Latin American customers.
Nicolas Ferri, vice president for Latin America said, "Delta is taking firm steps to become the best US airline serving Latin America and the Caribbean." He is banking on support from passengers commuting between the DR and the US.

Last edited by juancito; March 8th, 2012 at 05:42 PM.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 05:31 PM   #1954
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1. Political alliances for 2012 presidential election
Political parties complied with the deadline for the formalizing of political alliances. The leading parties deposited their alliances with minority parties yesterday at the Central Electoral Board.

Hoy reports that the PRD says its allies will be the following political parties:

Dominican Humanist (PHD), Revolutionary Social Democratic (PRSD), Independent Democratic (PDI), Alternative Democratic Movement (Moda), National Veterans and Civilians (PNVC), Independent Revolutionary (PRI), Popular Democratic (PDP) and Dominican Social Alliance (ASD).

The PLD announced its alliances are with:

Social Christian Reformist (PRSC), Institutional Bloc (BIS), Democratic Quisqueyan (PQD), National Progressive Force (FNP), Dominican Workers (PRD), Dominican Republic Liberal (PLRD), Christian Democrat Union (UDC), Popular Democrat (PDP), National Unity (PUN), Christian Popular (PPC), Liberal Action (PAL), Civic Renewal (PCR), Green Socialist (Pasove) and Independent Revolutionary (PRI).

For the presidential candidacy and the overseas deputies, the PLD announced its allies are PTD, FNP, PLRD, BIS, PDP, PcR, PAL and PPC. With the PRSC, PUN, UDC, Pasove and PQDC it allied only at the presidential level.


2. Reasons for Fernandez's declining popularity
In an analytical piece in today's Hoy newspaper, economist and historian Bernardo Vega concludes that rising violence, crime and drugs are the main reason behind the declining popularity of President Leonel Fernandez at the end of his second consecutive term. Vega lists the reasons why President Leonel Fernandez, who left his first 2000-2004 term of office with an 80% popularity rating, is now listed as among the least popular Latin American presidents. He makes the point that the cases of Lula da Silva in Brazil, Michelle Bachelet in Chile, Alvaro Uribe in Colombia and Oscar Arias in Costa Rica contradict claims that popularity declines with time in government.

The next reason is growing corruption in government, he writes. He says that while in 2007, 48% of the population perceived that there was more corruption in the Fernandez government compared to under Hipolito Mejia, by 2012 this had increased to 57% of the population.

The third reason for the declining popularity he calls the "self-encapsulating" nature of President Fernandez. He said that with exception of his speeches on 27 February, very few times he has addressed the nation. He recalls the sad defense Fernandez made on TV of the signing of the IOUs for Sunland before these works were begun. He says that Fernandez does not receive local press, despite a very eloquent verbosity.

"This strong decline in his unpopularity could explain why he has been asked to go on campaign alone, without PLD presidential candidate Danilo Medina.

Fernandez is expected to run for President in 2016, as the 2010 Constitution passed by the PLD-majority Congress allows this. Vega speculates that violence, corruption and self-encapsulation are negative factors that may work against him.


3. Debt quadruples
Over the last 11 years, the Dominican Republic's external and internal debt has increased at almost the same rate as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), both increasing more than four times.

Economists Bernardo Fuente and Miguel Ceara Hatton think that the debt level is too high, although the former Hacienda (Finance) Minister Vincente Bengoa rejects the claim and the current Hacienda minister Daniel Toribio refused an interview with El Dia, stating that he only gives television interviews.

According to statistics from the General Office of Public Credit at the Ministry of Hacienda, loans to the country have risen from just over US$4.1 billion in 2000 to over US$16.5 billion in 2011, excluding the Central Bank deficit.

In the same period, according to the Central Bank, the GDP increased from US$338,301 million to US$2,156,148 million, up 555%.

The analysts say that the government's public debt has grown constantly, with the greater increases in the 2008 presidential electoral year, when it went from US$7.5 billion in 2007 to US$11.2 billion in 2008.

Of the US$16.59 billion the state owes, US$11.62 billion is owed overseas with the governments of the US, Spain, Japan, Venezuela (US$2.4 billion) and Brazil accounting for 51%. Multilateral organizations like the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund account for a further 35%.

4. 21 deputy ministers in Public Works
There are 21 deputy ministers in the Ministry of Public Works, of whom 20 are assigned to the office of Minister Victor Diaz Rua. Only one of the deputy ministers has a specific title n Porfirio Antonio Brito Jorge, who is in charge of the northern region. Hoy reports today that the deputy ministers assigned to the Ministry are Carlos Bartolome Lalane, Carmen Leyda Mora, Claudia Franchesca de los Santos, Fabio Aquiles Hernandez, Francisco Jose Feliz Perez, Juan Carlos Montas, Luis Jose Placeres Pena, Luis Osvaldo Adriano Estrella, Manuel Antonio Rivas, Mario Antonio Holguin, Mayobanex Escoto, Miguel Angel Hernandez, Nadia Sebastiana Munoz, Nelson Eladio Marmolejos Acosta, Osiris Juan Miguel Duquela, Rafael Arturo Socias, Rafael Octavio Ramirez, Rigoberto Santos Hilario, Sergio Manuel Hernandez Divanne and Vernice Paez Rodriguez. The deputy ministers receive monthly wages of RD$60,080 plus perks.

Hoy reports that the same that has happened in other government departments. The information on the payroll of the Ministry of Public Works does not coincide with that made public by the Controller General of the Republic.

Hoy reports that it is not clear how many deputy ministers have been appointed in the Fernandez administration. The newspaper established that the Ministry of Education has 25, Environment 19, Tourism 21 and the Ministry of Agriculture 38.

Hoy reports that the Ministry of Public Works says it has 6,846 employees and pays RD$70.9 million in wages every month. The Controller General office has registered 6,459 employees and wages of RD$67.6 million.

The Ministry of Public Administration (MAP) had ordered on 20 February that each ministry of the government keep to the legal maximum of six deputy ministers. MAP nevertheless did authorize an increase in deputy ministers on a case-by-case basis.

5. Calls for investigation into Felix Bautista
According to Acento.com.do, the PRD Judicial Commission is urging the government and Congress to order an investigation into Senator Felix Bautista and other high-ranking Dominican government officials, in connection with complaints about alleged irregularities in the allocation of building contracts for reconstruction in Haiti.

According to the PRD, the State should take public responsibility in relation to the scandal that led to the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Gary Conille. Conille stated he had to resign as he was being put under pressure to suspend investigations into the engineering contracts for the reconstruction of Haiti. Senator Felix Bautista was among the beneficiaries by means of two companies: Constructora Hadom, which is registered in Haiti and Constructora Roffy S.A (or Roffi), registered in the Dominican Republic.

They stated that as a senator from the Dominican Republic had been mentioned in connection with the international scandal, it was imperative that the Dominican authorities order an investigation to establish the truth of the matter.

Bautista has confirmed that he does own the two companies but denies any wrongdoing.


6. Strike in San Francisco de Macoris
According to the organizers, a 48-hour strike called by The People's Popular Front (FALPO) and other organizations in San Francisco de Macoris for yesterday, Tueday March 6, was 95% successful. The protesters were demanding that the Government complete the construction of schools and communities that they promised to build two years ago and lower the high cost of the basic family basket of food, amongst other claims.

Raul Monegro, Falpo coordinator in San Francisco de Macoris, stated that the strike had been a success, as the main education, trade and transport activities all came to a halt.

Public and private schools were closed, as were government offices. In the morning of Tuesday March 6 there were no buses and very few cars on the road and the main shops in the town centre were also closed.

Monegro said that the public response in San Francisco de Macoris should provide the PLD and Leonel Fernandez with some food.

7. Women still at a disadvantage
Tomorrow is International Women's Day and according to the Center for Gender Studies at INTEC University, Dominican women are at a socio-economic disadvantage.

More women are unemployed, 21.5% as opposed to 10.1% of men, especially amongst the youngest age groups where almost 40% are lacking work.

According to the report, based on data from the Central Bank and the Ministry of Labor, of those who do work, 51% work in the informal sector, leading to a higher level of vulnerability, and more labor insecurity as they have lower levels of social and labor protection.

Dominican women receive 79% compared to men for the same work, according to the Social Indicators of the Dominican Republic (SISDOM), and have to study on average two years more to be able to enter the labor market.

According to the Intec study, the high percentage (62%) of women in universities has not translated into positions in business, or government posts, or traditionally male jobs like science and engineering.

In addition women receive little support, with the Ministry of Women only receiving 1.17% of the national budget in 2011. In congress there are only four women senators out of 32 and 38 deputies out of 183, far from the 33% which is laid down by the law, and only one out of every five senior government posts is occupied by a woman, including three female ministers, all in traditional female areas.

On the other hand, 60% of university students are women, and 66% of honor university students are women.

8. Another pardoned man dies
According to the Director of Prisons, Mario Acosta, one of the six inmates pardoned on 27 February by President Leonel Fernandez died on Saturday, reports Hoy. Salvador Plasencia Hernandez, aged 49, who had been diagnosed with HIV and throat cancer and was in the Sanchez Ramirez prison in Cotui for forgery and fraud.

Plasencia Hernandez had been recommended for a pardon due to his illness and the fact that he had completed two years and five months of his sentence.

Plasencia Hernandez is the second inmate to die after being proposed for a pardon. The first died one day before the final list was presented.

9. Jails overcrowded
The old-style jails in the Dominican Republic are vastly overcrowded, according to data from the National Prisons Board, which states that out of a total number of inmates of 22,271, some 17,750 are held in the old jails which should have a capacity of 6,133 n some 289.4% over capacity. There are three new-style prisons with a capacity for 4,922 inmates and they currently hold 4,521 prisoners. Of these prisoners only 580 are women, representing 2.6% of the total prison population, According to lawyers and prosecutors consulted by El Caribe, crime is still a man's world with few women involved. Lawyer Carlos Moreno, when questioned, stated that this was a traditional country and crimes like murder and drugs are committed mainly by men. Women are more likely to be used as drug mules, and the few murders they do commit tend to be crimes of passion.

Of the 1,493 foreigners in jail, some 82% are Haitian. Four percent n a total of 68 - are US nationals and the remaining 14% are other nationalities.

10. Deaths of police officers
The police reported that 104 police and military agents have been killed in the last 14 months at the hands of supposed criminals and in fights, and a further 285 were injured by gunshots, knife wounds or contusions. 55 of those who died were actually on duty at the time, and 170 of those injured,

Over the same time period, 223 civilians died at the hands of the police, as reported in Diario Libre.

11. Marc Anthony helps orphans in La Romana
Maestro Cares Foundation Co-Founders, global pop icon Marc Anthony and entrepreneur Henry Cardenas, announced today, Wednesday March 7 that the Foundation has received a land donation by the Dominican-based company Central Romana Corporation. The land will serve to house 43 boys currently living in the Orfanato Ninos de Cristo, an orphanage located in La Romana.

The Dominican orphanage will be the first to directly benefit from the Maestro Cares Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation established in November 2011 to support the housing and educational needs of orphaned and underprivileged children in developing Latin American countries

"The donation of this land is invaluable," said Anthony. "It will change the lives of these children and bring a great, positive energy to their environment. We would like to thank Central Romana Corporation for their enormous support and contribution."

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), between 1990 and 2010, the poverty rate in Latin America dropped by 17 percentage points (from 48.4% to 31.4%). In 2007, 49.3% of children in the Dominican Republic lived in poverty, while 7.7% lived in extreme poverty.

In its flagship report, The State of the World's Children 2012, the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that denials of children's rights to survival, health, nutrition, education and protection are widespread in urban environments, and although cities generally offer better options for schooling and recreation, disadvantaged children in urban settings - including children living in slums or working on the streets - are unlikely to enjoy those benefits.


12. Two earthquakes in last two days
According to the Seismological Institute there have been two earthquakes in the last couple of days, one near Monte Cristi and the other in La Romana.

The tremor in La Romana occurred at 6:52pm in the evening, with a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale some 7 kilometers from La Romana and was felt in various parts of the region. However there were no reports of any damage or injury.

The quake in Monte Cristi was at 5:31am of Tuesday, 6 March and registered 3.6 on the Richter scale with its epicenter in the Atlantic Ocean.

13. Caribbean Series to include Cuba?
Cuban magazine Jit reports that Juan Francisco Puello, president of the Caribbean Baseball Confederation, is in Cuba to make preparations for the 2013 Caribbean Baseball Series. The confederation groups the winter baseball leagues of Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic that play the Caribbean Series in February every year. The championship has the backing of Major League Baseball. Next year the event is confirmed for Hermosillo, Mexico. Extraordinarily, South Korea has been invited to participate.

Cuba was a founder of the Caribbean Baseball Series in 1949. Jit Magazine recalls that while Cuba competed until 1960, winning seven of the 12 editions, it did not rejoin when the event was restarted in 1970 after an interruption from 1961-1969. The interruption coincided with the end of political dictatorships in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. In 1970 the event was resumed with three teams (DR, Puerto Rico and Venezuela), and Mexico joined in 1971. Since 1970, the DR is the country with the most wins (19), followed by Puerto Rico (10), Venezuela (7) and Mexico (6). The Dominican Republic (Escogido) won the 2012 Caribbean Series that was held in Santo Domingo.

14. Play ball in the DR and do good
The Red Sox are offering the chance to make every child's baseball dreams come true.

The Red Sox and JetBlue have come together once again this year to offer the opportunity of a lifetime to 10 deserving teenagers through the Lindos Suenos program.

Lindos Suenos, Spanish for "Beautiful Dreams", offers a special program to high school students between the ages of 15 and 18, which incorporates baseball with the philanthropic dedication to community service.

Founded in 2004, with a generous donation from a baseball-loving mother and philanthropist, Lindos Suenos has taken US teens to the Dominican Republic each year to not only play baseball alongside 10 Dominican teammates, but also to immerse themselves in a very new and unique culture.

Students selected for the program will spend each morning serving an in-need community alongside 10 teens from the Dominican Republic, and then spend each afternoon playing baseball at the Red Sox Dominican Academy.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements and download an application for the Lindos Suenos program, see http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/com...dos_suenos.jsp

15. Jose Rincon Mora art exhibition
The Museum of Modern Art presents works by Dominican Jose Rincon Mora as of 7 March. The exhibit features over 100 works produced by the leading Dominican contemporary artist in Santo Domingo and in Germany. Rincon is known for his work as a painter and architect, and for his drawings, sculptures and stained glass art. The stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo are his creations. The exhibition is sponsored by the German Embassy and local companies. On Friday, 23 March at 7pm, a panel will discuss his work at the auditorium of the Museum of Modern Art. Panelists include art critics Amable Lopez Melendez and Laura Gil.


16. Dominican Cacao exhibition
The Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Dominican Man and the Munne & Co SRL chocolate producers present an exhibition, "Dominican Cacao" as of Wednesday, 7 March through 7 April 2012 at the Museum of Dominican Man. The exhibition is open from 9am to 5pm at the Sala de Exposiciones of the Museum of Dominican Man. Plaza de la Cultura. Av. Pedro Henriquez Urena in Santo Domingo.

For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old March 8th, 2012, 06:16 PM   #1955
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Old March 8th, 2012, 06:22 PM   #1956
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RD lidera ventas de Audi en la región y crece 203%

Cándida Acosta
[email protected]
A pesar del comportamiento de algunas economías europeas y de Estados Unidos la industria automotriz de lujo registra números positivos.

Específicamente la marca Audi alcanzó un gran crecimiento en sus ventas de 2011, destacándose entre estas las de República Dominicana, con un aumento de más de 200% y el primer lugar de toda la región latinoamericana.

Audi es representada en República Dominicana por la empresa Avelino Abreu. Durante 2010, según los números de la matriz alemana, la casa representante vendió 63 unidades y en 2011 se habían disparado a 191, marcando un récord porcentual en el comportamiento regional.

Las cifras fueron dadas a conocer en Ingolstadt, Alemania, durante la celebración de la Conferencia Anual de Prensa de Audi, donde fue presentado el resultado del informe anual de ventas, con un incremento de 1.092 millones de autos en 2010 a 1.302 millones vendidos en 2011, equivalentes a un aumento global de 19.2% con respecto a 2010.

Alta tecnología
Los clientes de Audi son de alto poder adquisitivo, pero cada vez en la región de América Latina se consolida una clase media alta que emocionalmente y racionalmente se inclina por la compra de un Audi, vehículos de alta tecnología pensada en el mañana. La Conferencia Anual de Prensa de Audi liderada por Rupert Stadler, presidente de la compañía, contó con la asistencia de más de 250 periodistas extranjeros de todo el mundo y se ofreció simultánea en ocho idiomas, en Ingolstadt.

Stadler se hizo acompañar de Toni Melfi, Frank Dreves, Thomas Sigi, Axel Strotbek, Peter Schwarzenbauer, Michael Dick y Ulf Berkenhagen, altos ejecutivos de Audi.

Como parte del encuentro de Audi, realizado del 27 de febrero al 2 de este mes, la compañía llevó a cabo una interesante agenda en la cual los asistentes pudieron probar los últimos modelos de Audi (A-6, A-7, A-8 y el Audi A-1 de cuatro puertas, el cual se prevee llegará a República Dominicana entre septiembre y octubre próximo, reveló Diego Ramos, VP de Audi para América Latina.

La visita incluyó un recorrido por la planta de fabricación de Ingolstadt, la planta de Neckarsulm, abarcando las plantas de producción de los Audi A-6, A-8 y R-8.

Además, del museo, el cual exhibe 60 autos y 30 motocicletas que marcan la historia de la industria, y los principales centros turísticos de Múnich. En 2011, el resultado operativo del Grupo Audi superó 5,300 millones de euros (US$7.121 millones) y el retorno operativo sobre ventas pasó de 9,4% a 12,1%.

Como marca premium, Audi proyecta una meta de 1.5 millones de autos vendidos y un récord en servicios para el 2015. Y, no es para menos, sólo en China Audi vendió 313,036 unidades en 2011, pasado a ser el principal mercado para la marca a nivel mundial. Las ventas crecieron 35% en Asia, 42% en Suramérica y en dos dígitos en las demás regiones.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 06:28 PM   #1958
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1. President to decorate 11 outstanding women
As part of the International Women's Day celebrations today, Thursday March 8, President Leonel Fernandez will award the Medal of Merit to several women in recognition of their achievements in diverse areas of politics, society and the economy. He will also award the Order of Merit Duarte, Sanchez and Mella, Grand Silver Cross, to Gladys Gutierrez, the first Secretary of State for Women. The women to be awarded these distinctions are Santa Maria Perez Carrasco, Isabel Mercedes Tezanos D'Acosta Gomez, Tomasina Altagracia Moreaux de Nouel, Ivonne Altagracia Arias Cornielle, Batiz Letania Lora Pena, Norma Violeta Martinez Ruiz, Cristina Laura Aguiar Quezada, Fior Miladys Calcano, Carmen Dignorah Coronado and Damaris Aleiny Encarnacion Navarro.

2. Attorney General: Zero tolerance for gender violence
On the occasion of International Women's Day, the Attorney General has reiterated the country's zero-tolerance policy towards gender violence. Radhames Jimenez Pena called on women to contribute to the Justice System by filing complaints when they are on the receiving end of abuse, even if they need to go as far as to take them to his office. El Nuevo Diario said that the AG issued instructions to all District Attorneys to be "drastic" in these cases and to not halt the process of putting these abusers on trial.

3. Nuria Piera receives plaque from US
Leading television investigative journalist Nuria Piera has received the "Women of Courage" plaque for her work in the Dominican Republic. She is also in the running for the international award, according to the United States embassy. The feisty commentator said she was honored by the recognition as well as the nominations, which were delivered by Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre in the company of other officials. According to El Caribe, Piera recalled that the "Women of Courage" is awarded as part of International Women's Day celebrations in the US. She said that women still have a long way to go, pointing out that many women still don't have rights and "cannot study and are forced into arranged marriages."

4. DR delegates meet Canadian mining execs
The Canadian Minister for Overseas Commerce, Edward Fast and the Director General of Mining of the Dominican Republic met during the International Convention of Prospectors and Developers of Canada, which ended in Toronto yesterday.

According to Listin Diario, Canadian ambassador in the DR Todd Kuiack said that the officials discussed the potential for future mining in the Dominican Republic, and the role that Canada has played in the development of the sector in the country. "The Dominican Republic is a very important country within the mining operations of Canada world-wide," said the ambassador. He said that Canada was one of the pioneers of large-scale mining when it began the Falconbridge operation in Bonao in 1971. Today with both Falconbridge and Barrick Gold Pueblo Viejo, the Canadian companies represent the bulk of the mining investments in the country. The ambassador stressed the good relationship between the two nations as well as the successful labor relations. He also noted that the Canadian Minister of Foreign Relations for the Americas, Diane Alblonczy, recently made the first bilateral visit to the country.

5. Cardinal wants judges to be firm or leave the bench
Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez is warning the Judicial Branch Council (CPJ) that its members need to take "painful" decisions, including the suspension or dismissal of judges who are "complacent," after he criticized the way in which some interim judges have issued "foolish sentences" in the last few years. Meanwhile, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice and the CPJ, Mariano German Mejia, said that any judge who makes a mistake, who is shown to be corrupt, and who is not willing to take on a commitment, "should get out of the Judicial Branch because otherwise we are going to fire him."

Lopez Rodriguez said that the CPJ must continue sending unequivocal signals against complacency in the face of unjustified actions. "I ask: Why is the titular judge not on the bench? What is an interim judge doing here?" He immediately answered by saying that every time there are cases that are very dangerous and "sticky," in which there is a suspicion that the titular judge might not want to act and a substitute is placed to "do whatever is needed, silly or irresponsible as it may be."

He called on the Council to tell the magistrates that anyone who does not have the valor to act should "leave, resign, because what is needed here are men and women who have integrity, and who are capable and responsible." The prelate said that he wished the interim judges would act little and even less in difficult situations. "And that the titular judges should act with full responsibility, no matter who it is," he concluded.

The Cardinal urged the magistrates to study the elements that appear during a trial profoundly and ponder with all their consciousness, so that they form their own opinion, with the aim of handing down a responsible sentence, based only and exclusively on the authentic evidence.

6. Strong Criticism of DR efforts
The United States has criticized the persistence of corruption linked to illegal drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic, despite the increase in the number of seizures in 2011, according to the annual report on worldwide drug trafficking. According to the State Department report, the weight of the Dominican Republic in the flow of illegal drugs between South American and the markets in the United States and Europe is tightly bound to a supposed "endemic corruption."

"The application of the law in the country, the military and government officials are often accused of a series of corrupt acts, including drug trafficking, money laundering, extra-judicial executions, and other crimes," laments the State Department. Despite the greater number of seizures, the increase in drug related violence has been startling, as well as the expansion to rural areas and the use of maritime routes as the principal method of smuggling drugs inside as well as outside the country. The State Department argues for "the fight against endemic corruption, the restoration of public confidence in the agencies that apply the law and the judicial system." According to the report, 75.6% of the public believes that the judicial system has the highest levels of corruption.

7. Hatuey meets with deputies and some issues
The differences in the PRD came into relief yesterday in the National Congress (CN) during a visit by the political director of the campaign of the party's presidential candidate Hipolito Mejia. Hatuey De Camps headed a political meeting with the PRD bloc of deputies "to deal with integration and the small problems that exist in some places," with the legislators in the PRD presidential candidate's campaign. Just 55 of the 74 PRD deputies attended the meeting.

The meeting, which the spokesman for the PRD bloc, Ruddy Gonzalez, and another 19 deputies did not attend, was bitterly criticized by Rafael Vasquez (Fiquito) and Aquiles Ledesma, who felt that the PRD's institutional channels were somehow violated. "This is the parliamentary faction of the PRD, this is not part of the campaign team. In order for anyone who is not in the PRD, because Hatuey is not in the PRD, to convene the bloc, the procedure was highly incorrect," said Vasquez. Nonetheless, deputies Alberto Atallah and Nelson Arroyo said that the meeting in no way sought to create difficulties with the faction that is controlled by Miguel Vargas Maldonado, the party president, but to consolidate work so that Mejia wins the elections next 20 May.

De Camps, who described the meeting as exciting, said that the deputies were all integrated into the campaign and that he guarantees that a quota of the power that they have to have will be the result of the work that they produce. "These adjustments are directed towards a greater participation and the fact is that the deputy is being given the dignity and the recognition that he deserves, not only in the campaign command team but also in all the sections of leadership in this campaign," concluded De Camps.

8. More than 300 companies in Farm Fair 2012
More than 300 entities will take part in the XXV National Farmers' Fair. The 2012 event will feature renewable energy as a way for farmers to earn money. Mexico and Panama have been invited to the event organized by the National Board of Cattle Ranchers, with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Directorate General of Livestock, the Agriculture Bank, and Farmers' federations, cooperatives and associations. President Leonel Fernandez will inaugurate the event on Saturday 17 March at 6pm.

The Fair will have several pavilions dedicated to energy conservation and a milking competition featuring the Gyr cows which were introduced from Mexico. The pavilion for farming institutions will display technological advances in the sector and feature some of the government's activities in the area. There will even be a rodeo at the arena at the Ciudad Ganadera. As is traditional, there will also be livestock judging for cattle, goats, rabbits, pigs and sheep. Students are especially welcome at this year's Fair.

9. Dean warns of collapsing building
The Council of the Humanities Faculty at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo has warned that the building that houses the faculty is in an advanced state of disrepair and in danger of collapsing. An article in Hoy newspaper says that the situation is causing concern for students, teachers and their families, and that thousands of persons are potential victims. Rafael Morla, the faculty dean, told reporters that he had asked President Leonel Fernandez to come to the assistance of the building. He said that the faculty has been asking for repairs for more than five years, and showed a video to reporters portraying the obvious structural deterioration. Morla said that his petition was backed by university rector Mateo Aquino Febrillet.

10. Hijacking in Haiti closes frontier
The border crossing at Jimani/Malpas in the southwest was closed after a truck loaded with cement from the Dominican Republic was seized. According to El Nuevo Diario, confusion reigned in the area while officials were trying to sort things out. Early on Wednesday morning, March 7, several people on the Dominican side of the frontier trying to get into Haiti were denied access, and dozens of vehicles loaded with merchandise were stuck on both sides of the narrow highway into and out of Haiti. Drivers from several transport unions and associations blocked off the highway as part of their action to resolve the issue as fast as possible.

Last Friday March 2 a cement truck was held up and the driver suffered a gunshot wound in Cite Soleil, a Port-au-Prince slum. The driver was left by the roadside, the truck stolen, and passers-by had to take the 23-year old driver, Luis Duran, to a clinic run by Doctors without Frontiers. The authorities managed to recover the trailer, but the cab is still in the hands of the thieves. Cesfront officers confirmed the closure of the border crossing.

11. Cops catch fatal trip organizer
Victor Hernandez Rosario (Berto) has finally been caught after a long search that made him one of the country's most wanted men in recent years. Hernandez Rosario is accused of being the organizer of the illegal trip in a small boat that capsized in Samana Bay on 4 February with the loss of 56 of the 70 people who were on board and who were trying to reach Puerto Rico illegally in search of a better life.

The alleged trip organizer was arrested by police agents attached to the Central Criminal Intelligence Directorate (Dintel), the Naval Intelligence Division (M-2), authorities from the Attorney General's office, and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Diario Libre says that the Police reported yesterday, Wednesday March 7, that Berto was caught in the city of La Vega. The Dominican Navy has detained another of the organizers of the illegal trip, identified as Cirilo Genao (El Chino) in connection with the case. He was arrested in the town of Pimentel in Duarte province.

A press release says that Berto had his center of operations in the Cibao region, especially in Nagua and San Francisco, where he hid to evade pursuit by the authorities. According to reports, Berto and several others survived by swimming to shore and going into the woods. The occupants of the fragile boat on the ill-fated trip paid between RD$20,000 and RD$30,000 to be taken to Puerto Rico.

12. Futuros Divorciados and their great shows at Casa de Teatro
Futuros Divorciados, the local pop-rock group that was nominated for Best Rock Group in the Casandra 2012 awards, announces it will be at the Casa de Teatro bar for a series of shows on Thursday 15, 22 and 29 March and on Wednesday 4 April. They announce there will be guest performers, too. The performances are free, courtesy of sponsorship by Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana (Presidente Beer). See Mario Alejandro (vocals), Jonathan Casado (guitar) and Loan Oviedo (drums) in a crossover of pop and ballads with acoustics. They are best known for their "Sera" song that was released last year. A variety in the music will be played n one day will be dedicated to the music of Spanish and Argentinean performers that influenced the band, from Serrat to Cerati, and another will be devoted to Latin American and Dominican rock. One night will be dedicated to British and American rock, and another to classics of merengue and bachata, said Jose Bordas, show producer. The guest performers joining the band include: Tony Almont (Toque Profundo), Pavel Nunez, Frank Ceara, Mariano Lantigua (Aljadaqui), Frank Grullon (Huellas Invisibles) and C Cordero (Colectivo De Comedia La Guagua).

Other future shows by the group will take place on Friday, 30 March at Dubai Club in Santiago and 28 April at the auditorium of the Colegio Babeque in Santo Domingo.

For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old March 8th, 2012, 06:28 PM   #1959
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Old March 9th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #1960
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