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Old June 14th, 2011, 06:55 PM   #1001
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Avianca adds Bogota-Punta Cana
Avianca has announced the start of its twice a week Bogota-Punta Cana-Bogota flight on 20 July linking the Colombian capital to the beach resorts of the east coast. The flights will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The airline will fly Airbus A319s with capacity for 120 passengers, including 12 in business class. Avianca already flies between Bogota and Santo Domingo four times a week, landing at the Las Americas International Airport.
Upon making the announcement, Avianca president Fabio Villegas Ramirez said the plan was to motivate more people to travel from South America to the Punta Cana area, world famous for its leisure and pleasure attractions.
He said the new schedules would also allow more efficient connections from Bogota to Caracas, Quito, Panama, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires, as well as to the principal cities in Colombia.

Miami Dolphins cheerleaders film 2012 swimsuit calendar here
22 Miami Dolphins cheerleaders were in Puerto Plata for a photo shoot from 16-24 May. The Ministry of Tourism says that the Miami Dolphins chose the eco-rich area for the filming and photography for their sexy Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar. Several features for the Dolphin Digest publication and television specials were also prepared, focusing on the beaches, historic attractions and water sports of the north coast. Scenes were filmed in Puerto Plata, Cofresi, Cabarete and Sosua.
"The Puerto Plata region's amazing sun, sea and sand will make a memorable setting for the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders swimsuit calendar," said Magaly Toribio, Deputy Minister of International Promotion for the DR Ministry of Tourism. "Puerto Plata offers visitors so many authentic Dominican experiences to discover and savor including vibrant history, breathtaking scenery, contemporary and de-luxe resorts, and unlimited eco-adventures making it the perfect film location," she stressed.
The cheerleaders and filming crew were housed at the Iberostar Costa Dorada hosted the cheerleaders providing a distinct flavor of Dominican culture, elegance.
The Ministry announced that a first television special would air in September on
Miami's CBS 4 featuring behind-the-scene images of the cheerleaders and their travels throughout the Puerto Plata area.
The swimsuit calendar will debut at Barnes & Noble and Calendar Club this September, while online calendar sales will commence in August. In the meantime, you can read the cheerleaders' diaries and view exclusive clips of their experiences in Puerto Plata at: www.miamidolphinscheerleaders.net

Salamander Hospitality in the Dominican Republic
The Punta Cana area is expected to generate even more attention these days. Sheila C. Johnson of the WNBA Washington Mystics is betting on the area. Salamander Hospitality has chosen to open the Fishing Lodge Cap Cana. The property will be managed as a Salamander Resort Marina. The new hotel will include 302 villas with marina views. Of these, 220 will be available to resort guests. A second property, Ocean Club Cap Cana will open in 2012 as a 92-room boutique style hotel, located where the marina meets the Caribbean Sea. Guests and owners at the property will enjoy children's activities, boat rentals, sport fishing and nautical provisioning. The Fishing Lodge seeks to cater to all guest types and stays - from family reunions to executive group retreats. Guests will have access to the Punta Espada Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and club. They will also be close to the P.B. Dye and Tom Fazio courses at the nearby Punta Cana Resort & Club.
The Fishing Lodge Cap Cana is scheduled to open October 1, 2011
"This is a different type of Dominican resort destination, one that offers numerous experiences within a Mediterranean seaside setting, an energetic centralized location and freedom from traditional boundaries," said Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Virginia-based Salamander Hotels & Resorts. Upon making the announcement she said that the resort owner, Corporacion Hotelera Del Mar (CHM) has created an iconic destination. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a long-lasting relationship with the Dominican people. Our company philosophy will be to hire from within the country - from senior management to hourly employees," she has said.
"The Dominican Republic is a fantastic choice for groups and meetings," said Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, who has personally developed and managed four independent Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond properties.
Special introductory guest rates of US$129-599 per night at Fishing Lodge Cap Cana are available from October 1-December 31, 2011, ranging across all styles and sizes of accommodation options. Usual rates range from US$275-725 per night.
The official opening date is 1 October 2011, but bookings will begin to be taken in July at [email protected]

Puerto Ricans win fishing tournament
Anglers from Puerto Rico bested Dominican crews and walked off with all the trophies at the 46th International White Marlin Fishing Tournament, the leading event organized by the Santo Domingo Yacht Club at their Cabeza de Toro facility. The visiting fishermen were impressed by the large number of fish that were captured and released, as per tournament rules. The Puerto Rico Light Tackle Team (PRLT I) caught 13 fish, for a leading 1,300 points. Fishermen Carlos Garcia, Bruno Rodriguez and Eugenio Belabel won the main tournaments of the event held last weekend. In second place, Los Frescos, also from Puerto Rico, won second place with 1,100 with Puerto Rican fishermen Luis Dordova, Jorge Muro and Richard Matos Senior. Third place went to the San Juan Shopping Center team, made up by Eduardo Read, Jesus Montero and Ignacio Cruz.
In the individual events, Puerto Rican Angel Muntaner won the first place with 800 points, followed by Dominican Domingo Viyella with 700 points.
Summer is the best time of year for fishing in the southern and eastern Caribbean.

Electronic music in Juan Dolio
Hotel Coral Costa Caribe is hosting two electronic music evenings on the beach. From 22-23 June, the Caribbean Music Festival (CMF) will bring six international DJs for two days of practically non-stop music. Coming for the event are Hardwell, James Zabiela, 16 Bits Lolitas, Steve Bugs and Desyn Massielo. Local DJs include Karlanton, Lui, Hyper, Namnum, Dimitri Mi Jailov, Manuel Alliata, Miguel Duarte and Gabriel Peralya.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 08:36 PM   #1002
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1. President to inaugurate historians gathering
President Leonel Fernandez and Sergio Guerra Vilaboy, president of the Association of Latin American and Caribbean Historians (ADHILAC) will give the welcoming words at the opening of the 10th International Meeting of ADHILAC that will take place in Santo Domingo 14-17 June at the venues of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, UASD Pedro Mir Library and Funglode, with post. The event, that gathers around 100 historians from the region, will focus on the revolutions in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean in the 20th Century. The opening is set for the Palacio de Bellas Artes at 7pm.

Franklin Wright, of the University of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) will give the opening speech on the great American revolutions of the 20th century (Mexico, Bolivia and Cuba).

Work sessions will be held at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (Funglode). On Saturday, 18 June, participants in the meeting will travel to San Juan de la Maguana, and on Sunday, 19 June they will visit Santiago and other Cibao cities.


2. Fernandez has not submitted reform of PN
Some three months have passed since President Leonel Fernandez announced that he would send Congress a legislative proposal for the reform of the National Police (PN), and the much-awaited Fundamental Law of the National Police has yet to see the light of day. Added to this, according to El Caribe, are issues inside the police force that are stalling any changes.

In his speech to Congress on 27 February, the President announced that he was going to send legislative proposals for the Police, the Armed Forces and for the nation's Intelligence Services to the Congress. Of these three ideas, only the legislative proposal relating to the Armed Forces has reached Congress and once there, it was sent to a commission for study.

3. What has resulted from Leonel's trips?
President Leonel Fernandez has not yet officially announced the trip scheduled for this Thursday, but sources say he will be going abroad again, this time for a 10-day trip to the Middle East with a stopover in France. The trips have been criticized for their high cost, taking the President away from crucial issues at home, and for their low yield.

On Monday, investigative journalist Alicia Ortega followed up on the difference between the announcements of achievements of the trips and reality.

Journalistic analysis of 25 of the 30 projects announced by President Leonel Fernandez as the result of his frequent trips abroad found that only four have actually been firmed up in little more than seven years. This was the essence of last night's program El Informe by Alicia Ortega, according to Hoy newspaper.

The journalist reported that the President has travelled numerous times, mostly to invite people to invest in the Dominican Republic, but the results "are not very visible." The report says that the President averages about ten trips a year and the costs associated with his entourage, hotels, airplane fares and per diems are in the millions of dollars.

The projects that have been announced range from cement factories and pre-stressed concrete to the production of ethanol, bio-diesel, solar energy and the installation of a new oil refinery. There was also talk about investing in buses that run on ethanol, the construction of the second Metro line, and a railroad, as well as the opening of flights to Libya and Sao Paulo, as well as the production of 'telenovelas" and films for export and the installation of factories to provide natural gas for other countries.

According to Ortega, the supposed investment in a cement factory that was to be made by the Martin Ozinga Bros. Company, has not taken place. She cited the Dominican Association of Cement Producers who told her that they had never heard of the Ozinga Brothers' company. [The cement factory would have been located in La Isabela, Puerto Plata, and was protested by environmentalists.]

Long story short, most of what was promised never came to fruition and cost the nation millions of dollars. Only the PetroCaribe Agreement, a donation of RD$50 million from Taiwan for the Cybernetic Park, the establishment of flights to and from the United Kingdom and the startup of the modernization of the local television have actually happened.


4. S&P improve bond ratings
Standard & Poor have raised the credit rating of the Dominican Republic in local currency and foreign currencies, going from B to B+ and stressing the improvements achieved in the debt structure and its economic growth.

According to Listin Diario, S&P said that "prospects were stable" as they also improved the evaluation of transfers and convertibility to BB from BB-. S&P said that continued growth will be helped by the reopening of a key nickel mine this year and the planned 2012 production start at Barrick Gold's Pueblo Viejo gold project, the Dominican Republic's largest foreign investment project. Nonetheless the risk assessment agency warns that "Despite buoyant economic growth, fiscal challenges persist as revenue collection lags behind the economic expansion". S&P expects growth to be 5.5% this year.

In turn, Moody's Investors Service rates the Dominican Republic at B1, the same level as S&P's new rating. Both have a stable outlook while Fitch Ratings has put the country one notch lower at B with a positive outlook.

The Fernandez administration is about to make a new US$500 million sovereign bond placement.

5. Congress to modify tax reform
As a joint commission holds hearings with all of the sectors that will be directly hit by the proposed tax legislation, it seems certain that some changes will be made to the original bill sent by President Fernandez to the Senate.

Diario Libre says the legislative proposal on the tax reform submitted by the Executive Branch to the National Congress, with the aim of collecting RD$9.5 billion, will be modified in several aspects by the joint commission that is studying it. According to the commission, a proposal by the Executive that seeks to eliminate the 0.15 percent tax on checks will be rejected, keeping the tax as it is. Regarding the one percent tax on bank assets, as was agreed at the Presidential Palace, the government will apply the tax for just two years, and will not tax the legal reserve funds, the cash on hand or the investments in government bonds.

The commissioners are considering a two or two and a half percent tax on gross sales by free zone companies that sell on the local market. These companies can put 20% of their production on the local markets. They are also thinking about eliminating the new tax on luxurious housing and the empty lots that was also part of the proposed tax reform. With relation to the possibility that an additional tax could be placed on cable television, none of the members of the commission, which is made up of senators and deputies, is in agreement with that idea.

6. Many agree on judge selection process
The government and jurists agreed yesterday with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Justice, Jorge Subero Isa that the election of the judges to the high courts should use the methodology that was used in 1997 in order to guarantee their legitimacy. The administration gave guarantees that the selection of the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) as well as the other courts, will be carried out with the greater legitimacy and transparency than was used in 1997 when the current magistrates were appointed.

In the meantime, jurists Servio Tulio Castanos Guzman, the executive vice-president of the Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (Finjus), and constitutional lawyer Cristobal Rodriguez, said that the mechanism for the election of the magistrates is what contributes to their legitimacy. In response to a proposal by Subero Isa, the Chief Justice of the SCJ, in Dialogo Libre, the Minister of the President, Cesar Pina Toribio reminded the reporters that the Council of Magistrates of that year (1997) was chaired by Leonel Fernandez and the same thing will happen now.

"I suppose that there will be a first call for a meeting as soon as President Leonel Fernandez returns from his trip, but this is my opinion, which I can say for sure, because I do not know," he said. Pina Toribio recalled that in spite of the fact that in 1997 the rules were not very clear, Fernandez conducted the process of selecting the magistrates without any type of friction in the Dominican society and that, on the contrary, a great show of support for the judges appeared, and the judges have conducted the process of judicial reform with marked success for 10 years. "So there is no reason why now, when they have all this experience, the selection mechanism and its transparency should not be equally or of greater effectiveness," he concluded.

7. CDEEE to pay generators US$110 million
The vice-president of the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE), Celso Marranzini, announced on Monday that the private generators would be receiving an arrears payment totaling some US$110 million this week. Marranzini added that the US$600 million that is owed to the generators is not in arrears, and of that amount only US$110 million is in arrears, which will be paid. He also explained that the frozen debt, which was US$414 million, is now down to US$135 million and that by the end of the year he expects it will be paid off in order to avoid interest payments.

According to El Nuevo Diario, Marranzini was speaking to a round table of commentators on "the Government of the Morning" radio program, one of the country's most listened to morning shows. He explained the role of increasing oil prices and the reason for the 8% increase in the electricity rates. Celso Marranzini also said that during his tenure at the head of the CDEEE, the agency had provided more electricity than ever before while reducing the cost by US$100 million through negotiations. The CDEEE administrator said also that more money could not be spent on education or on health or housing because of the "enormous subsidy on electricity." He said that we were all to blame for the electricity problem.

Finally, Hoy newspaper reported that Marranzini asked the nation's electricity consumers to check their bills and report any supected irregularities to Protecom, the agency responsible for protecting electricity consumers. He said that the resolution raising the electricity rates was very clear in stating that they were to be increased beginning in June and anything else would be an abuse on the part of the distributor. He also pointed out that electricity rates in parts of Central America were higher than in the Dominican Republic, at least for the smaller consumers. Nevertheless, at the level of more than 700kw/h per month, the rates in Central America are significantly lower than in the DR.

8. Venezuela to review PetroCaribe to favor DR
The Venezuelan authorities will review the PetroCaribe Agreement with the Dominican Republic next month. Venezuelan deputy Julio Chavez said that Venezuela expected that the PetroCaribe Agreement with the Dominican Republic would provide stability in terms of price and supply of petroleum-based fuels, a benefit that in general, the Dominican population has not received.

According to El Nuevo Diario, the Venezuelan legislator said that the main purpose of the PetroCaribe Agreements was to improve social conditions. The Dominican Republic signed the PetroCaribe Agreement in 2005 in a deal that provided 500,000 barrels of oil under very favorable conditions. Local politicians, like Eduardo Estrella from the Dominicans for a Change (DxC) party, have suggested the need for legislation to control the use of the funds from the PetroCaribe Agreement. Estrella said that this is the only agreement that does not specify the use of the funds that the government receives.

9. As many as 20% of Dominicans live overseas
The National Council for the Overseas Dominican Communities (Condex) says that "nearly two million Dominicans, which is to say 20% of the population, live overseas." This article in today's El Caribe reports that 1,334,000 Dominicans were living in the United States in July 2008. They stress that in the 2010 resume presented by President Fernandez to the National Congress last February, in New York City, Dominicans represented the second largest Latino population and in Puerto Rico they are the largest group of foreigners.

The article says that while in 2006 there were 69,864 Dominicans in Puerto Rico, most observers calculated the number to be closer to 300,000. Moreover, the European Union statistical office, Eurostat, says that 6% of the Latin American population in Europe is from the Dominican Republic, with the largest concentrations in Spain and Italy.

The presence of so many Dominicans in the Major Leagues in the United States, 86 and still growing, as well as the literary presence of Oscar Wao and Julia Alvarez, the silver screen graced by Zoe Saldana, and the music of Johnny Pacheco also identify the Dominican presence in North America.

10. AIRD complains of more illegal embargoes
In a similar situation to that affecting hotels in the east recently, many industrialists in Greater Santo Domingo are now under siege from a wave of highly questionable embargoes, according to a complaint voiced by Ligia Bonetti de Valiente, the president of the Dominican Republic Industrial Association (AIRD). Ligia Bonetti said that there appears to be a "mafia of labor lawyers" filing illegal embargoes against companies. The business executive told El Nuevo Diario reporters: "They are mafia, practically criminal associates, who have irregularly obtained judicial orders, accompanied by bailiffs and generally supported by police that appear at companies and try to impose embargoes of alleged sentences."

She said that the association is asking the authorities to look at this situation with the seriousness that it merits, and called for "a serious cleanup within the judicial apparatus..." She emphasized that the resulting loss of production and time and resources wasted fighting these irregular embargoes will end up costing many jobs, both direct and indirectly. "A stop must be put to this," she stated, as she pointed out that the president of the Dominican College of Notaries also was complaining that unscrupulous individuals were usurping the functions of notaries and facilitating the creation of illegal notarized acts.

11. Police nab US$307,000 in cash
Police agents and Justice Department members have arrested a man implicated in the so-called "Cibao Cartel" at the Cibao International Airport, and seized the sum of US$307,000 in cash. Cristian Robison Garcia was arrested while trying to leave the airport in a pickup truck inside of which the money was found in a black package. Robison Garcia will be taken shortly from Santiago to the city of Samana where he will be subject to an interrogation. His arrest was confirmed by the District Attorney of Samana, Juan Medina, who said that he was possibly involved in the shipment of 157 kilograms of cocaine that were confiscated in a boat in Samana some months ago.

Diario Libre said that the magistrate reported that the investigations into the seizure of the drugs are quite advanced and they would disclose some details of the case in the next few hours. In the meantime, it was revealed that the Appeals Court of San Francisco de Macoris changed the restraining measures in favor of a lawyer, Fausto Ramirez Collado, implicated in the case of the drug shipment. The defendant was released on a RD$3.0 million bail bond, with a requirement to report periodically to the judicial authorities and is subject to strict travel restrictions. Other defendants in the case include businessman Ivan Miguel Tineo Paulino, Luis Alvarez, Nadin Peguero Bezi who are in preventive custody for at least a year. According to the arraignment, the role of the lawyer, Ramirez Collado, was to supply and obtain the money to finance the international drug trafficking operations. The prosecutors also say that the lawyer was responsible for bringing the money from the United States with "mules" and later delivering it to dealers and money exchange houses.

Recently, National Drug Control Department head Major General Rolando Rosado Mateo said that the agency's intelligence service was after the assets of the members of the "Cibao Cartel", and he said that as soon as they were located they would be seized and revealed to the public.

12. Lack of water causes unrest in Santiago
Five people were wounded yesterday, including police agents, during violent protests in the streets of La Herradura and Barrio Lindo in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros in demand for drinking water, electricity and other issues. The injured include civilians Julian Jimenez and Jose Peralta, who were taken to hospital in the Bella Vista barrio in the south of Santiago. National Police Captain Felix A. Villanueva Rodriguez was wounded by a rock, and Corporal Mario Antonio Sime Paez was shot in the face. During the disturbances, five people were arrested, one with a homemade shotgun and several cartridges in his possession. In the midst of the protest, unknown persons set fire to several shops that sold fried meat in the area and destroyed the windshields of some vehicles whose drivers refused to pay a "toll".

According to Diario Libre, some of the demonstrators, who also called for the repair of the streets, blocked the main roads of La Herradura with burning tires, rocks and tree trunks. Representatives of the local neighborhood association are planning to visit the Santiago Water and Sewer Corporation (Coraasan) to find a solution to the water shortages in the area.

13. No respite from heat
The southeast winds push up the temperatures while adding humidity to the air, according to reports in Hoy and El Caribe. The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) is forecasting at least two weeks of high temperatures and is advising people to wear light clothing and to drink plenty of fluids. The forecast is also for brief showers in the northeast and southeast as well as in the central mountains and along the frontier. The suffocating heat, reaching 35°C and 36°C or 95°F and close to 97°F, in some location around the country, and the El Caribe say that this is due to proximity of the summer, which officially starts on 21 June. @solucionesparaestecalor on Twitter is offering solutions from the sublime to the ridiculous, and the Public Health Ministry is recommending the consumption of fruits and vegetables with a high water content, as well as rich in vitamins and fiber. Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez agrees with Onamet's recommendations of using light colored clothing due to the combination of heat, perspiration and humidity that combine to sap the body's fluids.

14. Urban music in Punta Salinas
The Mega Beach Fest will be two days of hip hop, reggaetton and dembow at what is being described as the Dominican Woodstock, this weekend from noon to 7pm at Punta Salinas, Bani.

On Saturday, 25 June: Don Miguelo, El Poeta Callejero, El Lapiz, La Materialista, Mozart La Para, Mr Manyao, Chombo Pana Black, El Alfa, Villano Sam, Mely Mel, Jay & eE Musicologo and El Batallon.

On Sunday, 26 June: Vakero, Milka la Mas Dura, Black Point, MC Joa, Pablo Piddy, Paramba, John Distrito, Nippo, Confucio y Bopero, Doble D y Yomil, Joshua In The House and Shelow Shaq.

Tickets: Ticket Express, [email protected], Tel 809 227-0103. Punta Salinas is located east of Bani in the province of Peravia, about an hour drive west of Santo Domingo.

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old June 15th, 2011, 11:42 PM   #1003
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1. Deputies approve Metro loan
After intense, often heated debates, the Chamber of Deputies authorized taking on loans for a total of EUR251.5 million, approximately RD$13.6 billion. El Nuevo Diario reports that the funds will be used to complete the first phase of the second line of the Santo Domingo Metro. The loans will finance the purchase of rolling stock, electro-mechanical installations and other expenses for the first phase of the second line.

Deputies from the ruling PLD and some of the allied Reformist (PRSC) party deputies voted in favor. Deputies from the PRD and a few allies from minority parties voted against the loans.

PRD spokesman Nelson Arroyo said that it was a shame that deputies were deciding to increase the foreign debt on such an historic date, the 14 of June, which commemorates national sovereignty. Deputy Juan Hubieres, himself a transport union leader, told the chamber that each day some 700,000 people move about Santo Domingo in cars, motorcycles, public cars and buses, while the Metro is transporting under 25,000 people a day and is costing US$100,000 per day in electricity, a cost that will increase when the second line is built.

The deputies approved the loans from the BNP Paribas Fortis Bank, Citibank Europe PLC, KFW and Deutsche Bank, S.A.E., all European commercial banks. The loans are for EUR109.2 million, EUR71.1 million, EUR44.9 million and EUR26.3 million, approximately RD$13.6 billion.

2. First call for National Tests
With an agenda that begins on 20 June, the Minister of Education issued a call to more than 300,000 students to take the Standardized National Tests at the elementary and secondary levels. The call is to 145,000 students finishing primary school (8th Grade), some 31,000 Adult Education students, 118,000 high school seniors and 18,000 technical school graduates.

The Ministry says that the tests are a tool for assessing the students' level of learning. There are exams in Spanish, Mathematics, Social Studies and Natural Sciences. The grades obtained in the National Tests make up 30% of each student's final grades, and the remaining 70% comes from the grades achieved during the school year.

Students get two chances to pass the tests at elementary level and three at secondary level.

Ancell Scheker, director general of testing at the Ministry of Education, told El Nuevo Diario reporters that there were not many changes in the format this year, while stressing that there was improved security and quality control of the processes.

The first group to be tested will be the eighth graders, starting on 20 June in the morning. The Adult Education students will be tested the same week, but in the afternoons. Finally, the high school seniors will be tested starting on 27 June, and their exams will be administered in the afternoon.

3. DR has large-scale urban unemployment
The Dominican Republic has exceeded the median unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was high to start with, as reported in the The Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean report released today by ECLAC and ILO, two United Nations agencies. Hoy newspaper, the average urban unemployment rate for the region as calculated by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) was 10.3 percent and the Dominican average was set at 13.9 percent back in 2000, but in 2010 the Dominican average was 14.3% and the regional average was down to 7.3%. Vigorous economic recovery in the region will lead to the creation of more jobs and a reduction in the urban unemployment numbers, according to the international economic analysts.


4. CONEP makes counter-offer
A selective consumer tax of 1.5 per thousand on cash withdrawals from bank counters, excluding ATMs, was one of the options presented by the National Business Council (CONEP) in its appearance before the joint commission that is studying the fiscal proposals that the President has submitted to the National Congress. This tax would be gradually reduced until 2013, until it reached zero. The government would collect approximately RD$1.825 billion, which according to Conep would have a positive effect on the economy. According to Diario Libre, business leaders believe that this would discourage cash transactions, and would increase transparency and formality among the users of the financial system, leading to a significant reduction in the costs involved in handling cash for the banks.

They also proposed an increase in income tax for legal entities, from 25% to 26%, with a gradual removal also until 2013, alleging that with this increase, the state would garner an additional RD$856 million.

The business representatives also proposed an increase from 12% to 14% on the savings projected by the government in its expenditures in 2011, which would represent additional savings of RD$2.85 billion. Moreover they suggest that the government should implement a greater austerity on total public spending in order to obtain sufficient resources to cover the fiscal deficit. Conep suggested that the government negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for an increase in the debt limit for 2011, in exchange for ending the agreement in December 2011, instead of in February 2012. The business leaders believe that this would ensure that macro-economic stability is maintained, along with continuity in state projects and the rationalization of expenditure. Conep believe that the 10% tax on dividends, with which they project to collect RD$2.825 billion, needs to be replaced, since according to their explanations, it does not permit compensation through the retention of income taxes from the shareholders on the income tax of the companies: it reduces business competitiveness and in some cases seriously compromises the viability or feasibility of a company as it taxes one source of money with two taxes.

5. Clinic owners approve 14%
Last night the National Association of Private Clinics and Hospitals (Andeclip) officially approved the 14% minimum increase in the cost of all services provided by private health centers, which will be applied beginning today at 8am. Andeclip decided on the increase during a meeting attended by representatives of the 120 nationwide member institutions.

Andeclip president Rafael Mena told Diario Libre reporters that the increase would be charged directly to patients until an agreement with the Health Risk Administrators (ARS) could be reached. Mena said that the minimum increase approved by the clinic owners might vary from one clinic to another, since each clinic is free to increase the adjustment depending on its operating costs. The increase will be applied to all outpatient and hospitalization services, as well as for laboratory services. It does not include doctors' fees.

6. Ivan Ogando is new Cariforum director general
Dominican trade and development specialist Ivan Ogando took office on 10 June in Barbados as the first director general and coordinator for Cariforum, the grouping of Caribbean Common Market (Caricom) states, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. His start of office coincided with the First Meeting of the Trade and Development Committee under the Cariforum-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which took place 9-10 June 2011 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Introducing Ogando, Alexis Rosado, CEO n Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, said: "He takes on this task at a time when CARIFORUM States are seeking to strengthen and breathe new life into role and responsibilities of CARIFORUM".

The post was created after authorities in the DR expressed their concern over the role of the Caricom Secretary General and the reporting procedures. Cariforum members agreed that a national of the Dominican Republic should be appointed to this role up to 16 September 2012.

The meeting in Barbados focused on legal issues, the ratification of the Agreement, institutional matters, trade in goods and services and other trade-related issues, development cooperation, and monitoring the implementation of the EPA.

In 2008, CARICOM and the Dominican Republic signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the 27-nation European Union (EU), but implementation has been lagging and efforts are underway to push the agreement forward among the Caribbean member states.

The member states of Cariforum are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Cuba became a member in October 2001. The UK and Dutch overseas territories have observer status while active co-operation is pursued with the French overseas departments and territories.


7. Gender crimes down so far this year
Deputy Attorney General for Women's Affairs Roxanna Reyes told El Dia that fewer women had been murdered so far this year compared to the same period last year. While 40 women were killed between January and June 2010, this year the number is 34. The prosecutor stressed that in order to fight the problem, the first thing is to educate and empower women so they may identify when they are being abused. "And they need to know where to file a complaint and where to go," said the lawyer. She added that "there are currently 14 units that tackle gender crimes of violence across the country."

8. Mexican cartels move to north coast
Northern Mexican drug cartels have turned the Atlantic coast of the Dominican Republic into an air operations center for the Colombian and Peruvian drug cartels, after abandoning the so-called Central American Corridor, as reported in El Caribe.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) estimates that between February and May this year the Mexican and South American cartels moved large shipments through the Dominican Republic towards the continental United States. According to the El Caribe report, the DEA is saying that members of the Sinaloa, Mexicali and Nuevo Leon cartels contacted Italian capos in Puerto Plata and created the operational and logistical "Cibao Cartel." The members of this new cartel operated mostly in San Francisco de Macoris, Samana, Sosua, Cabarete and Santiago, from where the group has withdrawn because of the actions of the drug agencies.

The news report reads like a spy or detective story, capped by the arrest of Cristian Robinson Nunez Almonte at Santiago International Airport with US$307,000 in cash in his possession. This arrest triggered searches along the north coast for the rest of the drug trafficking ring, and several people were detained as suspects in Sosua and Cabarete yesterday. When he was interrogated, Robinson Nunez said that the money that he had was to be used to pay for the logistics of moving drugs dropped off in Dominican territory to Mexico by fast boats and yachts.

The operational "routes" used by the South Americans include drug drops on the high seas between Samana and Puerto Plata that are then picked up for delivery by boats to Mexico.

Recently the DNCD seized 195 kilos of cocaine in Jarabacoa that was part of a drug drop that took place in Cabarete on 7 March.

Later on, at Los Cocos Beach in Samana, the authorities seized 115 kilos, and just recently, 300 kilos of drugs were seized in Samana Bay. The main suspect in that most recent case, Fausto Ramirez, was freed on bail just this week.

According to the drug agencies, this new route is the result of two factors: the successful use of the Super Tucano airplanes recently purchased from Brazil and the tightening of controls along the Central American Corridor.

9. Finjus wants PN law to be sent to Congress
The Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (Finjus) says that President Fernandez should send the legislation on the National Police (PN) reform to Congress. Finjus spokesmen Rafael del Toro and Servio Tulio Castanos Guzman say that the Police are currently in a process of reforming the institution, which will entail some major changes. Speaking at yesterday's Multimedios del Caribe luncheon meeting, Castanos told reporters that "the Police themselves put this issue on the table, creating a proposal for reforming the police, which they sent to the President, and which was then worked on by jurists, who sort of cleaned it up a little."

On 27 February, the President said that he was going to send this legislation to Congress, but three months and two weeks later it still has not arrived.

Castanos was also critical of some of the "inconsistencies" in the legislation, such as the article that authorized the National Police to be the President's advisors in matters of citizen safety. The Finjus leaders also pointed out that the proposal addresses the makeup of a Higher Police Council made up of 17 police officers and two civilians but without distinguishing between criminal and preventive policies. They said that "the proposals practically guarantee the presence of more than 30 generals. The idea of a civilian police department is lost."

Finjus also said that they were launching a series of events centered on the debate on Police reform, with participation of other departments from Colombia and New York. They stressed the new, constitutional, status of the National Police as described in the Constitution passed last year. Previously, their status was based on a law passed in 1936, during the Trujillo dictatorship.

10. PRSC in turmoil over Amable threat
Despite attempts by the PRSC leadership to try and smooth things over after clashes during the Executive Commission meeting, the situation has turned to "bright red" inside the organization, as reported in Diario Libre.

Yesterday, presidential pre-candidate Amable Aristy Castro announced that he was examining the possibility of convening 33% of the Executive Commission membership with the aim of annulling the results of last Sunday's meeting, where it was decided to choose the party's presidential candidate in an Assembly of Delegates instead of a party convention.

"It is not about what is convenient for a group of 100 or so employees of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. There were 353 (employees), they removed 129 during the voting, but they did not want to submit themselves to a close examination as we suggested, so that the notary lawyers could confirm the real members of the Executive Commission, but they were afraid, too," stressed Aristy Castro as he explained why he had left the meeting. He insisted that the majority of the people who were registered as members of the Political Commission are employees of the Ministry of Foreign Relations and of the National Housing Bank (BNV).

Meanwhile, acting president Joaquin Ricardo said he was confident of a quick solution to the situation, while at the same time assuring that there was no possibility of holding primaries in the PRSC. "They haven't even selected the people who would staff the voting stations and other organisms, and there is no time for that," said Ricardo.

11. World Racquetball in DR
The International Racquetball Federation and the Dominican Racquetball Federation are issuing a public invitation to the IRF XXIV World Junior Racquetball Championship being held in Santo Domingo from 24-30 July 2011. The venues will be the Racquetball Pavilion at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. Athletes between the ages of 18 and 14 will compete in women and men's categories for the World Cup and the Esprit Cup.


12. French Film Festival at Novocentro
The First French Film Festival is under way at the Novocentro Fine Arts Cinema until 15 June. Zumaya Cordero, director of operations of Caribbean Cinemas that operates the movie center, said the films included Mademoiselle Chambon, Rapt, Pour Elle, Secret Defense, Bellamy, Le Refuge, Les Regrets, Le Herisson and La Chambre des Morts. The films will be shown from 2:30pm to 9:40pm at the two halls of the theater.

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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1. Fernandez to Middle East
President Leonel Fernandez departs today on a 10-day trip to Europe and the Middle East. His first stop will be Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish business leaders and university representatives, and will be interviewed by the country's leading newspaper El Pais. The trip had not been officially announced until the Presidency confirmed it yesterday.

As reported in Diario Libre, President Fernandez will meet with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman on Saturday. He will also be meeting with the directors of the University of Jordan Center of Strategic Studies, followed by a Monday meeting with Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit. Reports are he will be present at the signing of an agreement between the DR Center for Exports & Investments and the Jordanian Chamber of Commerce where he will give a speech. He will then meet with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah on Sunday.

In Israel, President Fernandez is scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres. In Jerusalem, he will participate in a seminar on "High Technology and Investment in the DR" on Tuesday, 21 June at the King David Hotel to promote the DR's high-tech and business sector. This event is being organized by the Dominican Embassy in Israel.

In Israel his agenda includes meetings with officials from the Mofet Institute, the Technion Center, the Asper Center for Entrepreneurship and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Fernandez will be participating in Israeli President Shimon Peres' "Conference on Tomorrow" for the first time.


2. Ellis Perez to direct film industry
President Leonel Fernandez has appointed Eliseo Antonio Perez Garcia (Ellis Perez) as the new director general of Cinematography in the DR.

Decree 375-11 appoints Marlon Soto, deputy minister of Culture in charge of cinematographic affairs. An advisory board was created, made up of Felix Garcia, Manuel Corripio, Felipe Vicini, Isabel Turul, Ricardo Hazoury, Adriano Miguel Tejada, Freddy Ginebra, Jose Miguel Bonetti, Juan Ramon Gomez Diaz, Joan Giacinti, Antonio Espaillat, Armando Almanzar and Omar de la Cruz.

The DR has a new ruling that is aimed at encouraging filming of movies in the DR, including film production by Dominicans. The law creates the General Department for Cinematography (DGCINE), under the Ministry of Culture, that will be directed by Perez.

During a workshop on the new Cinematography Law held yesterday, it was said the movie industry could generate US$375 million in five years and create 24,000 quality jobs in different sectors. During the forum: "Cinematography Law:" Prospects for Investment," Anthony Smith, corporate finance vice president for Indomina (Vicini Group), a local film industry company, came up with the sum if at least 10 films were produced a year, with an average investment of US$7.5 million per production.

Businessman Manuel Corripio forecast there would be more towns with new movie halls. He said the first phase would be to train locals in the jobs needed for the production of films here. Alfonso Rodriguez said there were only enough qualified people in the country to produce three films at the same time.

3. Police Fundamental Bill to Congress
President Leonel Fernandez has sent the bills for the Fundamental Law of the National Police, public administration and general bill for public sector wages to the Senate. As reported in Diario Libre, the Police bill regulates the organization, structure, operation, police career and disciplinary regime, and reduces the number of generals in the Police from 34 to 20.

The public sector wage bill seeks to ensure that no public official can be paid more than the President of the Republic, the president of the Senate and Supreme Court of Justice, and cannot hold more than one government post, with the exception of an academic job. The bills also establish guidelines for incompatibilities and conflict of interests affecting government posts.

The bills are presented to comply with the 2010 Constitution.

4. Loans are not in the budget
Deputy Guadalupe Valdez, of the PLD-allied Alianza por la Democracia (APD) party, says that the loans approved by the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday are not contemplated in the 2011 National Budget.

She said she voted "no" because these five loans were not in the budget. She said the budget established the contracting of loans for EUR205 million when the Chamber of Deputies approved five loans for EUR353.4 million, which was EUR148 million more than established in the budget. Valdez said this translates to an additional RD$8 billion.

5. First red light areas in the DR?
Certain areas of cities and tourism destinations could be earmarked as vice-friendly zones in the future. Under the plan, sex for sale would be restricted to these areas. A bill sent to the Chamber of Deputies seeks to create "tolerance zones" to restrict the presence of prostitutes near cultural and historic areas, as reported in Diario Libre. Prostitutes would be required to carry a health clearance card from the Ministry of Public Health.

The bill was drafted by PRD deputy Esther Mirelys Minyeti.

Her bill establishes that the government should build lodgings for these women and guarantee their personal and health security. The penalty for working outside of the tolerance areas would be a maximum of two minimum wages.

This is the first time tolerance zones are being considered. Decades ago prostitutes used to operate from brothels, but sex workers now offer their services openly on city streets.

6. Human Development Report office to be closed
The team that produced the eye-opening United Nations Human Development Reports in the DR is out of a job. Team coordinator Miguel Ceara-Hatton says that the UN representative in the DR, Valerie Julliand has taken measures aimed at dismantling the report-producing operation at the UNDP. The team had been working on provincial human development reports.

Ceara-Hatton complained that the decision to kill the work was taken despite having the funding for producing the reports. The information compiled was intended for use in formulating government policies aimed at improving the quality of life of residents in the Dominican Republic. The team had worked on producing the reports for the United Nations Human Development Program Office in the Dominican Republic for eight years. Ceara-Hatton said they operated as an independent and academic space for a team of researchers.

Ceara-Hatton said that on the occasion of the launch of the 2010 Human Development Report, UNDP administrator Helen Clark said: "The messages they convey are not always embraced in all quarters".

The report coordinator said that if the reports did not broach controversial issues or provoke vigorous debate on matters of concern to all, they would not stimulate people to think about the real issues of development and society empowerment, which he says has been his mission and mandate.

As reported in Listin Diario, he reiterated his commitment to rigorous and independent research, which he said he would continue in other spaces to seek an improvement of the quality of life of the people and for human development to be a matter of human rights and not a privilege for people in power as it is at present.

Diario Libre editorialist Adriano Miguel Tejada said that Ceara-Hatton had to leave because his work had become "politically incorrect."

"We are obliged to dance to the tune played by the politicians, because they have the monopoly on the repertoire," he wrote. "We Dominicans need to review the space we have given to the politicians, or we will not survive as a society," he concludes.


7. Costs are similar in public and private school
The cost per student in a state school is only US$140 lower than the cost of a student in a private school, according to Action for Education (Educa), a non-governmental organization that campaigns for improving the quality of education in the Dominican Republic.

A study by Flacso/RD economist Jeffrey Lizardo analyzed the costs and their relation to student performance. The study found that the cost per student in public schools is US$311 compared to US$451 for private schools. He said that if the cost of school breakfasts and textbooks are added in, elementary school costs would be US$436 per student, compared to US$563 in private school, as reported in Diario Libre.

Lizardo says that private schools spend more on upkeep and equipping schools and supplies. Nevertheless, he said that wages for public school teachers are on average higher than those in private schools that cater to children of all incomes.

Lizardo says there is a wide gap between public and private schools, and that while teachers are not poorly paid they lack the skills to provide quality instruction. He added that supplies do not reach the public schools, and the premises are deteriorating for lack of maintenance, they do not have labs or computer halls and their libraries are mere stockrooms for books leading to poor student performance at the public schools on average.

Radhames Mejia of the PUCMM University said that academic performance at private schools is not good either by international standards.

Educa president George Santoni said that to achieve a true change in the educational system, everyone needs to be involved, and that parent participation is key.

8. Remittances up
Expatriate Dominicans sent more money back to the DR during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year. Remittance figures show a 5% increase for the first three months of the year, compared to the first three months in 2010.

In January, Dominicans sent back US$238.2 million, in February US$250.2 million and in March US$275.5 million, according to Central Bank statistics.

From 2008 to 2010, remittances had been sliding down. For example, in 2008 Dominicans sent back US$3.22 billion, in 2009 US$3.04 billion and in 2010 US$2.99 billion.

The bank is optimistic the trend could be reversed this year.

Nevertheless, official statistics show that in March 2011 compared to March 2010 there was a 17% decline in remittances, or US$47.1 million less.

9. Enadis left out of Mary Pelaez case
In the money laundering case against Mary Pelaez, defense lawyer Jose Rafael Ariza told prosecutor Wendy Lora that if she included evidence about the company Enadis, she could lose her job, as reported in Hoy. The newspaper reports that the evidence was removed. As reported, Enadis was the company that Pelaez purchased in order to receive contracts from the Supervisory Office of Public Works (OISOE) in 2008 under the administration of the current Senator for San Juan de la Maguana, Felix Bautista, a close aide of President Leonel Fernandez. As reported, the company was a beneficiary of the contract for the remodeling of a house in the Santo Domingo neighborhood of La Castellana. This property is on the list of properties in Pelaez's name that were seized by the prosecutors. Pelaez is accused of acting as a front for Puerto Rican drug capo Jose David Figueroa Agosto.


10. Jorge Torres sentenced in Vermont
A court in Vermont has sentenced Jorge Torres to 37 months in prison, accused of people smuggling in the DR and the United States. The Burlington Free Press Report says that he has already served time in Canada, the DR and the US, so he could be released in eight months.

Torres was arrested after his involvement in the high profile case of missionaries arrested in Haiti for smuggling children into the Dominican Republic after the 2010 earthquake. Once the missionaries were arrested, he was contracted to assist them in their release. The Burlington Press says that while in the DR, he got an Idaho church to send him US$41,000 to secure the release of the missionaries. Reportedly, almost US$30,000 of the money disappeared, according to court records.

It emerged that Torres was already being sought by the US and Canadian authorities for trying to smuggle 27 Central American and Haitian immigrants into Vermont. He had been arrested in Montreal in 2002 and indicted in Vermont in 2003, and had been on the run since 2004 when Canadian courts freed him on bail.

As reported, Torres also faced charges in El Salvador for trying to recruit young girls as prostitutes.

11. Airport security chief under arrest
The head of security at the Las Americas International Airport, Air Force Colonel Miguel Jimenez Ventura is under arrest for 20 days at the Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA). A commission investigated the irregular clearance of luggage belonging to passenger Antonio Peter de la Rosa (Omega) through the airport. A vehicle was allowed to meet Omega, who was granted privileged access and allowed to depart with his suitcases without clearing customs or security. As reported in Listin Diario, retired general Encarnacion de la Rosa, who provides security for Omega, said he had cleared the arrival with the CESA authorities, which assured him there was no problem. As reported in the newspaper, Antonio Peter de la Rosa and his luggage were allowed to leave the airport from the runway itself where the JetBlue flight had arrived in violation to international civil aviation laws that prohibit the access of unauthorized vehicles to restricted areas.

12. Court will hear case for DR Fashion Week
The Fifth Court of Instruction of the National District has ordered court hearings for the case of fashion designer Jorge Diep against fashion promoter Tita Hasbun (Carmen Amada Marina Pichardo Escoto de Hasbun), her husband Omar, and Virgilio Hasbun Saladin (Billy) for allegedly using a document signed under private signature for the company Republica Dominicana Fashion Week. In previous years, the designer had worked with the Hasbuns to present the event.

Judge Ileana Perez ordered the case be heard in court after establishing that the accused had violated Art. 148 of the Penal Code. Diep complained that the accused had forged and altered his signature to remove him from the company he created. Diep founded the Dominican Republic Fashion Week, a weeklong event that has served to bring leading international designers to the Dominican market for runway shows, as well as launching emerging Dominican fashion designers. Diep says that Hasbun created her company Caribbean Fashion Week Republica Dominicana on the base of the name he had created: Republica Dominicana Fashion Week for the organization of the event.

13. More rains forecast
Heavy rains fell nationwide last night, and local weather forecasters say the rains will continue because a tropical wave is passing through, mainly affecting the central and western parts of the country. Minimum temperatures for Santo Domingo are 25C with a maximum of 32C around noon.

14. Santo Domingo Theater Festival
Santo Domingo's International Theater Festival, now in its seventh year, opens today at a range of venues in Santo Domingo and Santiago. Outstanding productions will be staged for the incredible price of RD$50 in the festival that is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and foreign embassies in the Dominican Republic.

The festival continues through 26 June. Spain is the guest of honor this year.

The venues include Palacio de Bellas Artes, Biblioteca Infantil Republica Dominicana, Casa de Teatro, Teatro Nacional, Centro Cultural Narcizo Gonzalez, Plaza del Conservatorio (Edificio de las Escuelas de Arte), Teatro Guloya and Gran Teatro del Cibao.

Coming for this year's performances are Teatro Factoria, Teatre de L'Homme Dibuixat and Kulunka Teatro (Spain), Tibia Teatro (Argentina), Oco Teatro (Brazil), Teatro Inmigrante (Chile), Corporacion Arca de Noe (Colombia), Grupo Artistico Yoruba (Costa Rica), Teatro Papalote (Cuba), Fundacion Cultura La Trinchera (Ecuador), Cia Yossi Berg & Oded Graf (Israel), Rajatablas and Akeke Circo Teatro (Venezuela).

The DR will be represented in performances by Teatro Guloya, Teatro Rodante and Compania Nacional de Teatro.

A review in the Listin Diario points out "Obra para Dormir al Publico" (Venezuela), Adrian y Dorine (Spain) and Mechanical Trio in a Hot Country (Israel) as three of the most outstanding performances not to be missed.

This is the first year, nevertheless, when there will be more performances by local theater companies than guest companies from abroad, with 19 international productions and 23 Dominican performances.

The festival began in 1997, when Natacha Sanchez was the director of the National Theater.

For the schedule, see www.fitesantodomingo.com

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old June 17th, 2011, 12:52 AM   #1007
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Film industry: Investments of US$375M in 5 years, 24,000 new jobs

Santo Domingo.- Research paid by the Indomina Group found that the Dominican cinema industry would spur investments of US$375 million in five years and create 24,000 high quality jobs in different sectors.

Indomina vice president Anthony Smith said the economic flow would be from the production of at least 10 films per year, with an average investment of US$7.5 million on each.

“Evidently the national reserves will increase extremely with this impact and the country would have a high import of capitals,” the executive said, noting that the figures a based on a hypothetical framework designed with Great Britain and New Mexico, and the United States as a reference.

Speaking in the forum “Cinema Law Investment Perspective,” Smith affirmed that the incentives created in the legislation have already begun to spur important foreign investors, for which if the norm is applied as it has been planned thus far, still needs to be seen.

The expert based in Los Angeles said he’s confident that opportunities will be derived from an early development of that business in Dominican Republic.

Smith was accompanied by Juan Vicini, of Indomina Group; Manuel Corripio, of the Corripio Communications Group; Ricardo Hazoury, of the resort grop Cap Cana, and noted film producer Alfonso Rodriguez.

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Old June 17th, 2011, 12:58 AM   #1008
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Old June 18th, 2011, 07:59 PM   #1009
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RD y Belice firman acuerdo bilateral de cooperación técnica
SANTO DOMINGO, RD.- Con el objetivo de fortalecer la cooperación técnica y económica, intercambiar experiencias, ejecutar proyectos eco-turísticos, y adoptar un turismo sostenible, fue firmado este jueves un acuerdo bilateral entre los Ministerios de Turismo de la República Dominicana y de Belice.

El convenio, que permitirá a Belice aprovechar el caudal de experiencias del principal destino turístico en el área del Caribe, como lo es la República Dominicana, fue suscrito por los ministros Francisco Javier García Fernández, y Lindsay Garbet, del Ministerio de Turismo, Aviación Civil y Cultura de Belice, respectivamente.

Javier García destacó que la República Dominicana es la nación hegemónica del turismo en la región del Caribe con más de cuatro millones de visitantes durante el año 2010, cifra que camina a ser superada en el presente año turístico.

Afirmó que el acuerdo es de suma importancia para ambas partes, al valorar la experiencia de Belice en materia de cruceros y la posición de líder que ocupa la República Dominicana en la región del Caribe.

Destacó que “este acuerdo de colaboración nos permitirá recibir experiencias importantes de ese país y nosotros podremos a disposición toda la experiencia que ha acumulado la República Dominicana, que lo han llevado a convertir en el destino número uno de la región del Caribe”.

De su parte, el Ministro de Turismo de de Belice, Lindsay Garbet, agradeció el gesto dominicano de unir fuerzas con la firma del acuerdo del cual esperan no solo beneficie a los países actuantes, sino también a los demás de la región.

Para implementar los programas y proyectos, se tomará en cuenta las prioridades de ambas partes, dando participación a los sectores público, privado y social, apoyándose en las universidades e instituciones de investigación técnica y económica.

Los firmantes se comprometieron a elaborar un plan de trabajo que incluye asistencia técnica con el intercambio de expertos y pasantes, al igual que el suministro de información estadística y recolección de datos en el sector.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:03 PM   #1010
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FMI: Panamá y RD con mayor crecimiento económico en la región; advierte riesgos
Washington, (EFE).- Latinoamérica consolida su crecimiento económico por encima del 4% para 2011 y 2012, pero debe comenzar a tomar medidas para controlar los signos de "sobrecalentamiento" que comienza a observar en la región.

Así lo recogió el FMI en sus últimas actualizaciones económicas publicadas hoy, al subrayar que la expansión en la región ha estado estimulada por "una fuerte demanda doméstica en Latinoamérica, fruto de los elevados precios de las materias primas y las fáciles condiciones de financiación exterior".

Latinoamérica crecerá a un ritmo del 4,6% en 2011 y del 4,1% en 2012, una décima menos que lo calculado hace dos meses, según el informe del Fondo.

El organismo multilateral reiteró sus recomendaciones de su reunión de abril en Washington, con el sobrecalentamiento como la gran sombra que acecha a la economía latinoamericana.

Para ello indicó como recetas "el fortalecimiento de las medidas 'macroprudenciales' e incluso el uso de controles de capital" para asegurar la resistencia ante los crecientes flujos de capital que se dirigen a la zona atraídos por los diferenciales de interés.

Como indicios de estos problemas futuros, el FMI cita "el incremento de la inflación, la ampliación de los déficit de cuenta corriente y el crecimiento del crédito y el valor de los activos financieros". Pese a ello, el organismo multilateral mantuvo las previsiones de crecimiento para 2011 sin grandes variaciones para la mayoría de los países de la región.

Solo Brasil ve reducidos sus pronósticos de crecimiento hasta el 4,1% en 2011, cuatro décimas menos que lo vaticinado en abril, y el 3,6% en 2012, cinco décimas por debajo de las últimas previsiones.

En Sudamérica, los mejores pronósticos son para Perú, con un 6,6% este año y un 5,9% para el próximo; Chile, con un 6,2% para 2011 y un 5% para 2012; y Colombia, con un 4,6% para este ejercicio, y un 4,5% para el próximo. Para Venezuela, el Fondo espera un crecimiento económico del 3,3% para este año y del 3,9% para el próximo.

Centroamérica y el Caribe mejoran sus perspectivas. Panamá, con crecimientos estimados del 7,4% en 2011 y del 7,2% para 2012, y República Dominicana, con el 5,5% en ambos años, se sitúan al frente de la región.

Para Guatemala, el Fondo calcula el 3% para este año y el 3,2% para el próximo, y para Costa Rica el 4,3 y el 4,4%, respectivamente.

Haití también registrará un importante repunte en 2011 y 2012, del 8,6 y del 8,8%, respectivamente, como consecuencia de las labores de reconstrucción tras el terremoto de 2010.

No obstante, el FMI explicó que la economía centroamericana y caribeña aún "sigue constreñida por sus fuertes lazos con economías de lento crecimiento, como Estados Unidos".

México mantiene, asimismo, un buen comportamiento con crecimiento estimado para 2011 de 4,7% y de 4% para 2012, casi idéntico al análisis de abril. Desde el punto de vista fiscal, Latinoamérica debe fortalecer sus cuentas y por ello el organismo multilateral recomienda aumentar "el ritmo de reducción de los déficit para crear espacio fiscal".

El FMI destacó, en este sentido, la retirada de las políticas de estímulo en Brasil y la consolidación fiscal que se encuentra en marcha en México.

"Pese a haber capeado el temporal de la crisis financiera global la posición fiscal en Latinoamérica no es particularmente fuerte desde un punto de vista histórico", indicó el informe.

Por ello, recomienda a los gobiernos latinoamericanos controlar su gasto público para proteger sus economías frente "un súbito revés en los vientos de cola" y el cambio de ciclo económico.

El FMI señaló que conviene realizar ajustes en la política macroeconómica, que serán fundamentales para afrontar los desafíos de un contexto internacional que sigue desequilibrado entre las economías en desarrollo y las avanzadas. EFE
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:04 PM   #1011
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Presidente Fernández se reúne con empresarios españoles interesados en invertir en RD
MADRID, España.- El presidente Leonel Fernández, se reunió con directivos de la Asociación de Empresas del sector de Telecomunicaciones e Información (AMETIC), quienes propusieron que la República Dominicana se convierta en el centro de mercado para distribuir bienes y servicios para América Latina y Estados Unidos.

El director general de la entidad, José Pérez, manifestó que en España hay un creciente interés de empresas locales por establecerse en territorio dominicano a los fines de aprovechar los tratados de libre comercio con Centroamérica, Estados Unidos y Europa.

“Estas empresas tienen la información de que República Dominicana puede convertirse en un centro para acoger empresas españolas, en términos logísticos, para distribuir bienes y servicios a los mercados de América Latina y Estados Unidos”, dijo Pérez, director general de AMETIC, una asociación que reúne a las principales empresas de tecnologías de la información, las comunicaciones y la electrónica en este país.

Pérez, quien estuvo acompañado de Antonio Fernández, director de Contenidos Digitales, propuso al mandatario dominicano desarrollar proyectos de inversión en las áreas de tecnología de la información y la comunicación.

Manifestó que de entrada unas 20 empresas española están motivadas en establecerse en República Dominicana para explorar los mercados de Centroamérica, Suramérica y Estados Unidos.

AMETIC representa más de cinco mil empresas a nivel de España y los intereses empresariales de 350 mil empleados e incorpora el 7 por ciento del Producto Interno Bruto de España.

La asociación empresarial cuenta, además, con una fundación sin fines de lucro, dedicada a la formación y transmisión de conocimientos en sus áreas de actuación.

Pérez explicó que, además de la generación de empleados, la asociación tiene como finalidad formar capital intelectual, capaz de crear a su vez nuevos conocimientos.

“Esta asociación es la de mayor experiencia y la mejor relacionada a nivel político ministerial, pues trabaja con el Ministerio de la Industria de España”, dijo de su lado Antonio Fernández.

AMETIC trabaja en las aéreas de asociación, reúne empresa del sector electrónico, comercial de receptores de televisión, equipos de audio y videos, soporta y dispositivos de almacenamientos, imágenes digitales y libros electrónicos entre otros compones.

El presidente Fernández y su comitiva arribaron hoy al Aeropuerto de Barajas, Madrid, a las 8 de la mañana hora local, (2 de la madrugada hora dominicana), y fue recibido por el embajador dominicano César Medina y el cónsul Marcos Cross.

El mandatario tiene previsto en la mañana del viernes un encuentro con el grupo Prisa y directivos de la Fundación Ortega y Gasset. En su periplo en España, el gobernante también visitará la ciudad de Barcelona, donde cumplirá una apretada agenda de trabajo.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:06 PM   #1012
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Primera ministra de Trinidad y Tobago felicita a la RD por su participación en la Semana de Inversión del Caribe
PUERTO ESPANA.- La Primera Ministra de la República de Trinidad y Tobago, Su Excelencia Kamla Persad-Bissessar, felicito hoy al Gobierno de la República Dominicana, por su destacada participación en la Semana de Inversión del Caribe, que se celebra del 15 al 18 de junio en ese país y que tiene por finalidad la apertura de nuevos negocios y mercados en la Región del Caribe.

La jefa de gobierno trinitario reconoció públicamente la asistencia de mas de 40 empresas y empresarios dominicanos, a la Semana de la Inversión del Caribe, donde además participan naciones de naciones de todo el mundo, entre estas China, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Estados Unidos y otras, lo que viene a contribuir fuertemente al fortalecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas y comerciales entre República Dominicana y Trinidad y Tobago.

La Señora Kamla Persad-Bissessar visito por más de 30 minutos los distintos y diversos stand que tiene el país en el evento de negocios más importante que se haya celebrado hasta el mundo en la zona del Caribe, interesándose por la producción nacional, sus principales rubros de importación y exportación de cara a la ampliación futura de los intercambios comerciales entre las dos naciones caribeñas.

La funcionaria estuvo acompañada por el Ministro de Industria y Comercio de ese país, Stephen Cádiz y el Embajador dominicano en Trinidad y Tobago, Doctor José Serulle Ramia y por miembros de la delegación dominicana que se da cita en el encuentro negocios.

Entre las empresas dominicanas que participan de la feria de negocios en la nación del Caribe Oriental están Halka Industrial, la Aerolíneas MAS, Colchonería y Mueblería La Nacional, Abordage, Copel S. A., Alambres Dominicanos (ALDOCA), Plastifar, Industrias Nigua (INDUSNIG) y la firma de abogados Romero & Bello, Abogados.

También, las empresas, Editora Padilla, GTC. Proyectos Especiales, Traks, entre otros sectores de negocios dominicanos que buscan expandirse por el ejemplo a los mercados de las islas del Caribe ingles, donde se ubica Trinidad y Tobago.

En el marco de la Semana de Inversión del Caribe, el Ministro de Industria y Comercio, Manuel García Arévalo, acompañado de una importante delegación de destacados empresarios y de altos funcionarios del gobierno dominicano, participaron del Fórum de Inversión del Caribe, organizado por el Gobierno de Trinidad y Tobago, conjuntamente con el Commonwealth Business Council.

La “Semana de Inversión del Caribe”, evento que ha venido desarrollándose con gran éxito desde el lunes 13 de junio y que habrá de terminar este sábado 18 con grandes perspectivas de negocios y mayores nexos de intercambios entre todos los países y empresas participantes, es definida por su Excelencia Serulle Ramia como un gran éxito. “Hemos tenido, como República Dominicana, un gran éxito en esta semana de Inversión del Caribe. Reconocido públicamente por la Primer Ministra, el ministro de Comercio e Industria de Trinidad y Tobago, y por el Presidente de la TIC 2011”.

Señaló el diplomático que cuando se unen y coordinan esfuerzos y voluntades, el triunfo se garantiza. El tercer forum Negocios Cara a Cara, República Dominicana - Trinidad y Tobago, organizado por nuestra Embajada, llenó todas las expectativas”.

Expreso que en todo esto han salido ganando los pueblos y naciones del Caribe y, en particular, la República Dominicana y la República de Trinidad y Tobago. “Debemos continuar en esta vía. Toda la semana ha sido exitosa, por su organización, su contenido y su proyección. En tal virtud, debemos felicitar con profunda solidaridad al Gobierno, Empresariado y pueblo de Trinidad y Tobago”.

Durante esta “Semana de Inversión en el Caribe”, se realiza también, del 15 al 18 de junio, la 12va. Convención de Comercio e Inversión (Trade and Investment Convention –TIC-), la cual es organizada por la Asociación de Manufacturas de Trinidad y Tobago (TTMM, por sus siglas en inglés) y el Gobierno de Trinidad y Tobago.

La Embajada de la República Dominicana en la República de Trinidad y Tobago conjuntamente con la Cámara de Comercio de Trinidad y Tobago, que preside el Lic. Federico Reyes, han desarrollado una intensa labor de coordinación para garantizar que más de quince empresas dominicanas y entidades del sector público dominicano participen en una actividad que tiende, según el Embajador dominicano, Serulle Ramia, a crear reales puentes de comercio y de inversión tanto a nivel de la región del Caribe como en el plano mundial. En este esfuerzo participan también la Asociación de Exportadores de la República Dominicana (ADOEXPO), la Mesa Redonda del Commonwealth en República Dominicana y Caribbean Export.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 08:59 PM   #1013
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Commonwealth of Nations to showcase Dominican Republic
Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.- The 54 countries of the Commonwealth signed an agreement to promote investments and business in the Dominican Republic, during the Caribbean Investment Forum held in the Trinidadian capital.

The president of the Commonwealth Business Council in London, Alan Fields, Round Table of Commonwealth Countries in Dominican Republic president Fernando González Nicolas and its treasurer Roberto Herrera signed the agreement, witnessed by the Industry and Commerce ministers of Dominican Republic, Manuel Garcia, and of Trinidad, Stephen Cadiz, among other officials from both nations.

The British led Commonwealth’s 54 countries are home to two billion people and control 25% of the world’s trade, with activities such as petroleum and mining, and form a leading financial and industrial power.

The Commonwealth Business Council groups the most important global companies established in its 54 countries, while the Commonwealth Round Table is an initiative in Santo Domingo that promotes bilateral relations between those nations and Dominican Republic.

The presidents of the bi-national Chambers of Commerce of Great Britain, Canada, Trinidad, India and South Africa are also members, as well as their respective diplomats accredited in Santo Domingo.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #1014
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Fernández firma acuerdos para impulsar comercio con Oriente Medio
El presidente de República Dominicana, Leonel Fernández, se reunió hoy en Ammán con el primer ministro jordano, Maruf Bajit, y firmó dos acuerdos de cooperación bilateral para impulsar el comercio dominicano con Oriente Medio.

El secretario de prensa de la Presidencia dominicana, Rafael Núñez, declaró a Efe en una conversación telefónica que el encuentro permitirá "abrir una puerta en Oriente Medio para proyectar la República Dominicana en otros países de la región".

Núñez explicó que la reunión fue "esencialmente de trabajo" y ambos mandatarios abordaron estrategias para la promoción del turismo, el comercio y las nuevas tecnologías en los dos países.

Los acuerdos establecen las bases que permitirán "crear comisiones para la provisión de productos dominicanos en Jordania", subrayó Núñez.

Estos convenios han sido firmados por la Cámara de Comercio de Ammán y el Centro de Exportaciones e Inversiones de República Dominicana.

El portavoz dominicano agregó que el turismo y las nuevas tecnologías de la información y la comunicación también fueron un punto central en la discusión.

Por su parte, un comunicado de la oficina del primer ministro jordano aseguró que durante el encuentro los dos mandatarios hablaron de las formas para fomentar la cooperación bilateral en los ámbitos del comercio, el turismo y las inversiones.

En la reunión, Bajit invitó también a República Dominicana a participar en el Congreso Internacional de Turismo que tendrá lugar en Jordania el próximo mes de septiembre.

Según el comunicado, Fernández y Bajit hicieron un llamamiento durante la reunión al fin del conflicto entre Israel y Palestina y a la formación de un Estado Palestino "independiente".

Esta es la segunda visita del jefe de Estado dominicano a la región tras la que efectuó en julio de 2009 en Israel y Egipto y en esta ocasión Fernández espera impulsar el proceso de paz en Oriente Medio y establecer vínculos con los países de la región.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 09:07 PM   #1015
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El cambio climático incide en estrategia de desarrollo de RD
Santo Domingo
Los aspectos vinculados a un manejo sostenible del medio ambiente, a una eficaz gestión de riesgo y a una adecuada adaptación al cambio climático conforman el cuarto eje de la Estrategia Nacional de Desarrollo 2010 ñ2030 propuesta por el Ministerio de Economía, Planificación y Desarrollo (MEPD) y el Consejo Nacional para la Reforma del Estado (CONARE).

El documento, que reposa en el Congreso Nacional, esboza con detalles los alcances que se propone, como son proteger y aprovechar de manera sostenible los recursos naturales y mejorar la calidad del medio ambiente, así como gestionar el recurso agua de manera eficiente y sostenible.

También, desarrollar un sistema nacional de gestión integral de riesgos, con activa participación de las comunidades, y avanzar en la adaptación a los efectos y la mitigación de las causas del cambio climático (CC).

En el tema del CC, expone como líneas de acción desarrollar estudios sobre sus impactos en la isla y sus consecuencias ambientales, económicas, sociales y políticas, para fundamentar la adopción de políticas públicas y concienciar a la población.

Además, fortalecer el sistema de prevención, reducción y control de los impactos entrópicos que incrementan la vulnerabilidad de los ecosistemas a los efectos del CC, en coordinación con los gobiernos locales, y fomentar el desarrollo y la transferencia de tecnología que contribuyan a la adaptación de especies forestales y agrícolas.

Otra línea de acción propuesta es la des-carbonización de la economía nacional a través del uso de fuentes renovables de energía, del desarrollo del mercado de biocombustible, de una mejora del ahorro y eficiencia energética y de un transporte eficiente y limpio.

En adición, se plantea desarrollar las capacidades para las negociaciones interinstitucionales en materia de CC y prevenir, mitigar y revertir los efectos de la elevación de las temperaturas sobre la salud, en coordinación con las autoridades locales.

Reducción de CO2
Uno de los indicadores del cuarto eje son las emisiones de dióxido de carbono (CO2), que son aquellas “derivados de la combustión de combustibles fósiles y de la fabricación de cemento. Estos incluyen emisiones producidas durante el consumo de combustibles sólidos, líquidos y de gas. Las emisiones de dióxido de carbono son la fuente primaria de gases invernadero, que contribuyen al calentamiento global, amenazando los hábitats humanos y naturales”.

En ese tenor, el documento refiere que el país emitió en 2005 dos toneladas métricas per cápita de dióxido de carbono, según indicadores de desarrollo del Banco Mundial, cifra que lo colocó en el noveno lugar con mayor emisión per cápita en una lista de 22 países de América Latina.

Otro dato relevante reseñado en la propuesta de estrategia es que el país ha aumentado sus niveles de emisión per cápita de dióxido de carbono con base en 1990 (año de referencia en el Protocolo de Kyoto), cuando la emisión per cápita era de 1.23 toneladas métricas. Entonces, RD estaba ubicada entre los países con menores emisiones. De un total de 142 países, otros 76 aumentaron sus niveles per cápita de emisión entre 1990 y 2007.

En torno al CC, se propone como metas cualitativas que en un plazo no mayor de cinco años hayan sido redefinidas y puestas en vigencia normas de construcción que permitan la adaptación al cambio climático, y que se haya aprobado y puesto en vigencia una ley de ahorro y eficiencia energética, como forma de contribuir a la mitigación de las causas que originan las elevaciones de las temperaturas.

Otros ámbitos
Los indicadores de desarrollo del Banco Mundial también son utilizados en la propuesta para el indicador de áreas protegidas nacionales, consideradas éstas como “áreas parcial o totalmente protegidas de al menos mil hectáreas que son designadas como reservas científicas con el acceso público limitado, parques nacionales, monumentos naturales, reservas naturales o santuarios de fauna, paisajes protegidos y áreas manejadas principalmente para el empleo sostenible”.

En la propuesta de Estrategia Nacional de Desarrollo se recoge que en el periodo de 2002 a 2006, el país redujo sus áreas protegidas a 24% de su territorio, y que otros 64 países, de un total de 163, también disminuyeron sus áreas protegidas. “RD estuvo entre los primeros 35 que mayor reducción experimentaron”, indica el documento.

Expone que lo deseable es que se detenga la reducción del porcentaje de su territorio dedicado a áreas protegidas y que éste se mantenga en 24.4% como mínimo, a partir de 2010.

A pesar de esa reducción, de un total de 143 naciones, el país se ubica entre el 8% con mayor porcentaje de su territorio dedicado a áreas protegidas, y en el cuarto lugar de un total de 22 países de América Latina con mayor porcentaje de territorio dedicado a áreas protegidas.

El tercer indicador es la deforestación, que consiste en la conversión permanente del área natural forestal a otros empleos, incluyendo la agricultura, la cría, asentamientos humanos y la infraestructura. Las áreas deforestadas no incluyen áreas registradas, pero destinadas para la regeneración o áreas degradadas por uso de madera como combustible, la lluvia ácida, o fuegos forestales”.

El documento destaca que en el periodo de 1990 a 2005, la deforestación anual promedio fue cero: “Lo deseado para 2030 es que RD reforeste su territorio a una tasa de 0 1% anual, similar a lo que hizo Costa Rica en el periodo 1990-2005”.


En referencia al cambio climático, en el documento base de la propuesta de Estrategia Nacional de Desarrollo (END) se prevé: ·Que aumentará el nivel y la temperatura del mar, lo que provocaría la erosión e inundación del litoral, fenómenos que se exacerban bajo la ocurrencia de tormentas que alteran el clima de las olas y que conducen a la pérdida de arena.

Que impacte en un aumento de la temperatura media de la costa. En ausencia de modificaciones en otras areas ambientales, se estima que los manglares lograrían adaptarse a los aumentos de temperatura y del nivel del mar que han sido pronosticados para la costa dominicana, pero los arrecifes coralinos podrían verse afectados por el aumento de la temperatura.

Los impactos socioeconómicos del cambio climático sobre las costas (sobre todo si se incrementa la frecuencia de tormentas), se concentrarían en los embates a las viviendas y a la infraestructura de comunicaciones, drenaje y alcantarillado y de reservorio de agua.

Asimismo, vale destacar la potencial amenaza sobre la industria turística de sol y playa, debido principalmente a la erosión de las playas.

No se esperan cambios importantes sobre la pesca, al menos que la erosión eleve la turbidez de las aguas.

Los estudios realizados apuntan a que el cambio climático podría conducir a una reducción de los rendimientos potenciales de la producción agrícola y de los bosques.

El cambio climático también podría repercutir en una proliferación de la malaria y el dengue, entre otras enfermedades.

http://www.economia.gob.do/eWeb/Archivos/ Libros/Documento_base_ propuesta_END_2010_ 2030.pdf
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Old June 20th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #1016
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Sources: photobucket/supercasas/bufeo
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Old June 20th, 2011, 10:11 PM   #1017
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1. Fernandez in Jordan
On Sunday, 19 June King Abdullah of Jordan and Queen Rania welcomed President Leonel Fernandez and First Lady Margarita Cedeno at the Royal Palace in Al-Hommar. Fernandez is on a Middle Eastern tour that includes Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

The President's three-day visit included talks between King Abdullah that Jordanian news reports say focused on enhancing bilateral ties, especially in the fields of economics and investment, according to press reports from Jordan. In Jordan, the President and his delegation met with trade and economic sector representatives and business leaders to explore investment opportunities in both countries.

During the visit, a memorandum of understanding was signed to boost academic and research cooperation between Jordan and the Dominican Republic.

As reported in the Jordan press, the two leaders held talks on the Middle East and relations between Jordan and the DR, stressing their keenness to forge closer bilateral cooperation ties, mainly in the political, economic, business and tourism sectors.

A statement from the Jordanian government said that Fernandez and his wife were met by Senate President Taher Masri, followed by sessions with Minister of Environment Taher Shakhshir, senior officials and high-ranking officers.

On Saturday, Fernandez and his wife visited the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. Center director Nawaf Wasfi Tall presented a briefing about the center and the research it conducts in the fields of regional security, political reforms and local and Arab surveys. This was followed by a discussion about issues related to democracy and reform as well as the latest regional developments.

As reported in the Jordanian press, the talks also dealt with the situation in the Arab countries in the region and the Middle East peace process in general. King Abdullah urged the international community to help the Palestinians and the Israelis to return to the negotiating table and address all final status issues towards establishing an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. The King thanked the Dominican Republic and Latin American nations for their stances in support of the Palestinian right to statehood.

Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso said the DR had a great interest in the Palestinian issue as well as supporting the need to reach a just and permanent peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.




2. Palestinian issue key on visit agenda
The Dominican vote at the United Nations in recognition of a Palestinian state seemed to be the key issue on the agenda of President Leonel Fernandez's host, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

President Leonel Fernandez, on an official visit to Jordan, said that his government supports the Palestinian people to declare an independent and sovereign state, as reported by China's Xinhua news agency.

Fernandez, on his first official visit to the Palestinian Authority, also stressed Israel's "right to exist in a peaceful territory," according to reports covered by the agency.

As reported, President Mahmoud Abbas thanked Fernandez for the DR's interest in getting involved in the international efforts to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.

"Our will is that Palestine will be a free nation, and that its people can live in peace," said Abbas during a joint press conference with Fernandez.

Fernandez said his government supported the Palestinian people's right to "create an independent state that can co-exist in peace with Israel."

The news agency recalled that late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat announced the creation of Palestinian statehood in 1988, living alongside Israel with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on pre-1967 borders, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority complains of what it calls "Israel's continued occupation."

In late May, the Palestinian leadership reaffirmed it would apply to the United Nations to gain recognition for an independent Palestinian state despite opposition from the United States.

President Fernandez visited the Palestinian Authority on Sunday, arriving from Jordan, as part of a Middle East tour with visits to Spain and France.


3. Plaza de la Salud + Johns Hopkins
The General Hospital Plaza de la Salud has announced an affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI) of Baltimore, Maryland, USA to follow up on Dominican patients. Johns Hopkins experts provide educational and consulting support to the affiliate's clinical and administrative staff to keep them on the cutting-edge of medical research, clinical techniques and equipment, hospital management and health system operations.

4. Senate approves bill for more taxes
On Friday, the PLD-majority Senate passed a bill aimed at providing the Fernandez administration with the funds to cover its increasing fiscal deficit, a requirement for continuing the IMF Stand-by arrangement. The increased taxation is expected to collect an estimated RD$9.6 billion. The senators approved increasing income tax on companies from 25 to 27%, effective as of 2011. Also a 1.5 per thousand tax on cash withdrawals from banks, excluding cash withdrawals up to RD$20,000. Withdrawals from ATMs, consumption using credit cards and social security payments are exempt from this new tax, as well as transactions and payments for pension plans. There is also a new tax on the operation of casinos of RD$32,500 per table in the casino of those with a volume of up to 15 tables, RD$37,500 of those from 16-35 tables, and RD$50,000 for those with 36+ tables. Lotteries will pay RD$35,000 up from RD$31,000 and an additional 1% on sales or gross operations and RD$200,000 for initial registry. Betting stores will pay RD$225,000 annual operation tax in National District, Santo Domingo, San Cristobal, Santiago, Duarte, Puerto Plata and La Vega. Those located in other provinces will pay RD$150,000 a year. There will be a RD$500,000 registration fee and 1% tax on gross sales. Slot machines will pay 5% on gross sales, regardless of location. The government will not authorize new operation of lotteries or betting stores for 10 years. The government also ordered a 10% operation tax on telephone games, and 10% on Internet gaming for those authorized by the Ministry of Hacienda, regardless of location.

The senators also approved a tax of 2.5% on free zones sales in the local market. These taxes will be indexed to the consumer price index published by the Central Bank.

The bill now needs to be passed in the Chamber of Deputies, where the ruling PLD party also holds the majority.

5. CDEEE just needs 20 staff
An editorial in acento.com.do comments that the Public Electricity Corporation could be managed with just 20 employees and one advisor. The editorial recalls that when current CDEEE vice president Celso Marranzini was in the private sector in 2009, and the CDEEE under engineer Radhames Segura had 1,400 employees, he consistently said it could be managed with 400 people. Once he got to the post, the staff was reduced to half, 796 employees. It observes that Marranzini could not go further due to political pressures.

The editorial quotes comments by electrical expert Bernardo Castellanos who observes that with its present responsibilities, the CDEEE would be more efficient with just 20 employees.

It observes that the CDEEE has a board of directors chaired by Armando Castillo Pena who is on a salary of RD$207,000 a month and that the council has 14 staff members. The vice president's office has a 143-person payroll and Marranzini himself is on a wage of RD$300,000, slightly less than what he earned in the private sector.

In the financial services department employs 62 people, with a salary of RD$300,000 for its leading executive, Eric Eduardo Jerez Mejia. In the legal department, with a staff of 56, the department coordinator earns RD$260,000.

In the area of public relations, which previously employed 59 people, there are now 35 employees.

In observations by Castellanos, the only role the CDEEE has is to manage two contracts that are in deficit (Smith & Enron and Cogentrix), administer four loans with bilateral organizations and oversee electrification in rural and suburban areas, work that is carried out by contractors.


6. Santiago's Concert for $ for education
Thousands of young people gathered around the Monumento in Santiago for a concert to protest against the lack of government funding for education. The "Voces Amarillas" (Yellow Voices) concert featured performances by more than 30 musicians who defied the intense heat to call on the government to meet Law 66-97 that allocates 4% of GDP to education. Speaking at the event, Educacion Digna campaign spokesman Mario Berges said that 300,000 children do not have classrooms because the government has not made the funds available to build 10,000 new classrooms and repair a further 12,000. He also said that 58,000 new teachers needed to be hired and trained in order to provide quality education. Children's entertainer Kanqui opened the show on Sunday at 4pm that continued with Prodigio, Fernando Echavarria, Victor Victor, Futuros Divorciados, Mananaaladie, Toque Profundo, Vicente Garcia, Janio Lora, Senor KR, Jochy Sanchez, Gnomico and Poeta Callejero, among others

7. Fostering business with the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth Business Council in London and the Roundtable of the Commonwealth in the Dominican Republic signed an agreement on 18 June during the Caribbean Investment Forum held in Trinidad & Tobago for promoting investments and business between the Dominican Republic and the 54 Commonwealth countries around the world.

Commonwealth Business Council chairman Sir Allan Fields and Dominican Republic Roundtable president Fernando Gonzalez Nicolas and treasurer Roberto Herrera signed the agreement. Ministers of Industry & Commerce of the Dominican Republic and Trinidad, Manuel Garcia Arevalo and Stephen Cadiz, respectively were also in attendance, along with the Dominican ambassador in Trinidad, Jose Serulle and John Pemberton-Pigott of the Commonwealth Business Council.

8. DR basketball team update
University of Kentucky center, Eloy Vargas, a native of Moca, will join the Dominican national team when it plays in Lexington later this summer. UK coach John Calipari, after all, is the Dominican coach. Vargas has spent some of his college off-season playing for Sports Reach, a collection of college players that finished 6-2-1 during its recent tour of China.

As a condition for taking the job with the Dominicans, Calipari requested the team train in Lexington. Calipari has said several NBA players, with ties to the Dominican Republic, have been contacted. After that, the coach will have to fill out the roster with college players or players who are playing in other pro leagues, including Al Horford, Charlie Villanueva and Francisco Garcia.

The Dominican Republic national team is scheduled to play a couple of exhibition games before heading to Foz do Iguacu, Brazil for the Continental Cup (24-26 August). From there, Calipari and the team will travel to Mar del Plata, Argentina for the FIBA Americas Championship (30 Aug - 30 Sept. 11). This is the Olympic qualifying tournament.

9. Living Green
National Geographic Live presents the works of world famous National Geographic photographer Mattias Klum from Sweden at the lobby of the Claro corporate building on Santo Domingo's J. F. Kennedy Avenue from 15-23 June. The exhibition continues over the weekend, 24-25 June, at the Acropolis Mall on Winston Churchill Avenue.

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 06:14 PM   #1018
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1. Jordanian and Palestinian leaders to visit the DR
King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority told President Leonel Fernandez that they hoped to visit the Dominican Republic in the near future as part of the Dominican President's push to strengthen commercial, cultural and diplomatic ties with the region.

Listin Diario says that the visits will take place in September and October this year. Fernandez, himself, described his visit to the area as "historic", and said that he was pleased with the results. The Jordan Times reported that Fernandez highlighted the common factors shared by the DR and Jordan, especially with regard to the democratic drive and economic openness.

On Monday, Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit discussed ways of bolstering bilateral relations as well as the latest regional developments with Fernandez. Bakhit stressed the importance of the visit to Jordan as a means of boosting bilateral ties. He mentioned the need to increase cooperation in the fields of trade, tourism and investment between the two countries, emphasizing the importance of Jordan's location as a gateway to other regional markets, as reported in Jordan Times. Fernandez was on a three-day visit to Jordan.

Bakhit invited the Dominican Republic to participate in the International Tourism Conference that Jordan is hosting in September. Currently, the tourism sector's contribution to the Kingdom's gross domestic product stands at around 21%.

The Prime Minister and President Fernandez attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries' ministries of foreign affairs to develop political coordination between both sides.

During a session at the Amman Chamber of Commerce, Fernandez gave a long talk on the advantages of investing in the Dominican Republic in the areas of agriculture, alternative energy, tourism, infrastructure, electronics, manufacturing and technological development.

In a bid to boost trade, on Monday the Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dominican Republic's Centre for Export and Investment to enhance commercial cooperation.

ACC president Riyadh Saifi invited Dominican businesspeople to visit Jordan and become acquainted with investment opportunities and learn about Jordanian products so as to increase the joint volume of commercial exchange.

During the visit, Fernandez and the First Lady visited the site of the baptism of Jesus Christ and other historical and archaeological attractions in the area.

The Jordan Times also reported that they reviewed the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, stressing the need to reach a just and viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

After their visits to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, the Dominican President arrived in Israel with his wife, Margarita, and his entourage.


2. IMF awaits new taxes
The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will look at the fifth and sixth reviews of the Stand-by Arrangement with the Dominican Republic, signed in October 2009, and take a vote. To maintain the agreement, the IMF accepted the government's proposed tax package aimed at raising an additional RD$9.6 billion in revenues to compensate for the fiscal deficit. The government argues the deficit is caused by the rising fuel prices.

A source close to the IMF told El Nuevo Diario that the financial agency is only waiting for Congress to approve the tax package to in turn approve the pending fifth and sixth reviews. The "big package", as the proposals were called by the people, has led to bitter criticism from several sectors which are calling on the government to cut back its own spending. At the same time the administration is waiting for the approval by the IMF in order to receive hundreds of millions of dollars that are scheduled for disbursement this year and that are included in the budget.

3. Deputies pass tax package
The ruling PLD majority Chamber of Deputies did not waste too much time and approved in the first reading, the legislative proposal to increase the tax income with two modifications. In one of them the Income Tax on businesses was increased from 25% to 29% (the proposal was to increase to 27%), and in the other, they eliminated the 0.15% tax on cash withdrawals from banks and other financial institutions.

The governments hopes that this legislation will enable it to collect RD$9.6 billion to cover the fiscal deficit and it projects collections to reach RD$4 billion with the increased income tax.

The measures will be in effect for two years. 97 deputies voted in favor, 77 voted against. At the time of voting, 174 of the 183 deputies were present.

4. Not all clinics have raised their prices by 14%
The Directorate of Information and Defense of Affiliates (DIDA) has released a statement revealing that most private clinics that belong to the Association of Private Clinics and Hospitals (Andeclip) have not introduced the 14% increase in their charges for medical services that was agreed on during Andeclip's assembly last weekend. According to a DIDA press release as reported in El Nuevo Diario, only Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Abel Gonzalez Clinic were charging the 14% increase in the National District. DIDA says that the 14% increase is illegal and its supervisors are visiting all the clinics affiliated with the system to check on this issue.

According to El Nuevo Diario, many of the larger clinics, such as the clinic operated by the Universidad Central del Este (UCE), are studying the situation. In the meantime, DIDA inspectors and supervisors are visiting the clinics to ensure compliance with Law 87-01. DIDA director Nelsida Marmolejos called on the affiliates of the nation's Family Health Insurance plans to reject the increase, and advised them to take their complaints to the DIDA for settlement if they are obliged to pay more than what is established by Law.

5. No tuition increase of more than 10%
Private schools in the Dominican Republic will not be permitted to increase their tuition fees by more than 10%, according to mandates from the Ministry of Education. Education Minister Josefina Pimentel warned that before applying any increase, permission in writing from the Ministry should have been received. Pimentel said that she had also suspended all obligatory expenses in the schools, a common ploy for getting around the limit on increasing tuition fees. In a note to regional, district and private school directors, the minister warned about applying tuition increases without authorization from the Ministry of Education. She also warned about the need to stop schools from making obligatory charges such as the construction of new facilities, purchase of supplies and equipment, examination fees and others.

6. Be careful on the Kennedy overpass
Drivers should be extra careful when using the Kennedy Overpass, because a long stretch of the guardrail is missing following an accident. The incident, according to El Caribe, involved a motorcyclist who was killed after falling to the pavement below. The intersection of John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill avenues is one of the busiest in Santo Domingo, and the railing has been missing for several months.

7. A long-awaited "boom "
The long-awaited mining "boom" in the south Cibao region is beginning to be felt with the arrival of new banks, the construction of new small hotels and apartments and the search for building lots for the supermarket chains. In less than a month, according to Diario Libre, branches of Business Incubator, Banco Leon and the Curacao Trading Company have opened up in Cotui as well as a new restaurant. At the same time some 56 apartments in eight buildings have been completed, there are two construction projects, one with 16 apartments and the other with 20 and a 32-room hotel was recently inaugurated in Maimon. Moreover, Bancotui will form an alliance with the Duarte Savings and Loan Association in order to enter the real estate business with 20 mortgages.

Bancotui general manager Julio Tejeda, Business Incubator general coordinator Ramon Antonio Diaz, Pueblo Viejo Dominicana consultant Enrique de Leon and Guillermo van der Linden, an advisor to the entity reported on these developments, adding that the mining sector has switched from a -5.5% contraction in the first quarter of 2010 to a 42.5% expansion in the first quarter of 2011, headed by the ferrous-nickel production in Bonao and silver and copper from Maimon. There has also been growth in the areas of marble, limestone, sand and gravel extraction.

8. Small business wants to sell more desks
The Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Business (Codopyme) denounced that the Ministry of Education imported RD$700 million in desks for public schools that could have been manufactured in the Dominican Republic at a lower cost. Francisco Capellan, president of the association, said that with the imports, the Ministry violates laws 340-06 and 488-08 that establish the government departments need to purchase at least 20% of their procurement from small and medium sized Dominican companies. Capellan said that in the present administration of the Ministry by Josefina Pimentel efforts are being made to comply with the law, as reported in Hoy.

9. The Jarabacoa vacation rentals
Talk of the town is the government distribution of the Vacacional Ercilia Pepin cabanas, originally built by the Balaguer government as a vacation center for public employees.

A report by the TV program, El Despertador with Marino Zapete and Edith Febles revealed that the current director of Corpohotel, the government division in charge of tourism hotels, Bienvenido Perez decided to "transfer the property, without a tender, to legislators, military officials, government officers and journalists."

Zapete says that on 1 June 2009 he announced that the center would be repaired for conversion into an eco-tourism center. Two weeks later, an editorial in Listin Diario praised the director for the restoration of the center for government employees. The facilities had been closed and abandoned for 20 years. The report on El Despertador highlighted the way that Corpohotels conceived a plan to rescue them by renting to private individuals.

Zapete revealed that the list of people who benefitted from the rental of the properties restored by the government included the executive editor of Listin Diario, Miguel Franjul and his assistants Fabio Cabral and Viviano de Leon. Zapete also revealed that Willy Rodriguez, the director of the Z101 FM radio station, famous for its talk shows, was also on the list, along with radio station colleagues Julio Martinez Pozo, Daniel Garcia Archibald and Pedro Jimenez. The Senator for the province of La Altagracia, Amable Aristy Castro, is also reported to be a beneficiary.

On El Despertador, Zapete also revealed that the cabanas were actually up for sale with a 20-year rental scheme. The cabanas are valued at RD$5 million, according to an architect who was interviewed for the program.

The Que Se Dice column in Hoy newspaper comments: "That we, the journalists, should have become part of the problem - the sacking of goods of the state, when we should be the first to denounce, censure and criticize? Definitely, my dear readers, this is screwed up."

Former president of the Public School Teachers Association Maria Teresa Cabrera said that her association was told that the cabanas would be restored and then they would be assigned to the teachers, but this never happened.

To view two videos with details on the Jarabacoa government vacation properties, see:


10. Homicides are up in first third
The homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants increased from 24.40 to 25.41, while 833 violent deaths were reported during the first quarter of the year, in comparison to 804 during the same period in 2010. According to a report from the Attorney General's office Statistics Department, these violent incidents resulted in 760 male and 73 female victims. The Attorney General told Diario Libre that 527 people had been killed by firearms, equal to 63%, while 211 lives were lost in incidents involving knives, equal to 25%, and 95 from other causes, equal to 12%.

According to the age of the victims, 44 minors between the ages of 8 and 12 died violent deaths, 468 adults between the ages of 18 and 34, a total of 189 people between the ages of 35 and 51 years of age were killed, 57 between the ages of 52 and 68, and ten people over the age of 68. In 65 cases the authorities could not determine the victims' age. The report takes into account a universe of 10,010,590 inhabitants. The period from January to April shows 83 alleged exchanges of gunfire, with the involvement of the police, the DNCD and military personnel, averaging 2.49 for each 100,000 inhabitants.

11. Murder, not so serious
The civic movement, Movimiento Vida sin Violencia is calling for the dismissal of Judge Gabriel Marchena Adames for releasing Pedro Luis Baez Sanchez on bail. Baez Sanchez is accused of murdering his wife, Gleiry Maria Munoz Baez, mother of three of his children, in a cabana in Santiago, as reported in Hoy. The prosecutors were requesting a year's preventive custody for the accused, but the judge ruled that the case was not serious enough, as reported in Hoy. Santiago prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso said she would not comply with the judge's decision. "I am the prosecutor and I direct prosecutors. I do not have power over the judges, but certainly this is not the first time that there have been issues of this kind with this judge, where he thinks that this is a crime that does not merit preventive custody." Reynoso said that although this case involves a murder, the accused was released 48 hours after his arrest "in a hapless and irresponsible way."

A page 2 editorial in El Caribe congratulated Reynoso. "Reynoso's decision has been backed by many organizations, including Movimiento Vida sin Violencia, to stop what is a denial of justice and an incentive to those who engage in abuse and violence against defenseless women. This sets a precedent against impunity."

12. Rains expected today and tomorrow
The tropical wave located to the southeast of the country and a low-pressure trough over the Windward Canal will be affecting weather conditions in the DR today and tomorrow. As a result, there will be rain showers with some isolated thunder and lightning and some strong wind gusts. The National Meteorological Office (ONAMET) also reported that temperatures would continue to be high all over the country due to the effects of the prevailing winds from the east. They reiterated their advice to use light clothing and drink a lot of liquids.

The rains are expected in the northeast, southeast, southwest and in the central mountains. Today is the first day of summer and the sun's rays will be more perpendicular to the earth in our region for the next month, and the days will be longer than the nights across the Northern Hemisphere.

13. 5th Gala of World Dance Stars
World famous dancers will be in Santo Domingo for the 5th Gala of World Dance Stars at the National Theater on 8 and 9 July. Guest dancers are Roberta Marquez and Steven McRae, principal dancers of the London Royal Ballet. They will dance Manon and Something Different.

Others are Sadaise Arencibia and Alejandro Virella of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. They will dance Grand Pas de Deux Classique and Giselle.

The Gala will also feature Iana Salenko, first ballerina of the Berlin Opera, Rolando Sarabia, winner of the Benois de la Danse award who will dance Don Quixote and Pas de Deux of the White Swan, as well as Bridget Breiner, first ballerina of the Stuttgart Ballet, dancing Tue and Behind this Shadow by choreographer Marco Goecke.

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 07:57 PM   #1019
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Apple Vacations adds Michigan flights
Apple Vacations has added weekly nonstop flights to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, from Lansing Capital Regional International Airport in Michigan starting 23 December 2011. The seasonal flight will end 6 April 2012. The Friday morning flights are on Sun Country Airlines.
Punta Cana's appeal to mid-western travelers is in its beaches, modern and luxurious resorts, its golf courses and water sports, and the charms of Dominican culture.
Apple Vacations is the world's largest vacation company serving the Dominican Republic, operating 850 exclusive vacation flights annually from US cities throughout the East, Midwest and Texas, in addition to nationwide scheduled airline service.

Belize & DR tourism agreement
The tourism ministers of the Dominican Republic and Belize have signed an agreement to exchange experiences in tourism, strengthen bilateral agreements, technical and economic cooperation, joint implementation of eco-touristic projects and sustainable tourism. The agreement was signed by Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia Fernandez for the Dominican Republic and Tourism, Aviation and Culture Minister Lindsay Garbet for Belize. Garcia said that the agreement was of importance to both countries. He said that Belize has valuable experience in the handling of cruise ship traffic as the DR has in resort tourism.

Wellness at Viva Dominicus
The new EcoWellness Program at Viva Wyndham Dominicus in La Romana is getting good reviews. A report in a New York newspaper praises that an all-inclusive resort offer directed exercise inside and outside of the pool and a separate healthy food station at a low additional cost. "You can have your vacation, and eat well and exercise, too," says writer Charlene Peters of the GateHouse News Service.
The review concludes that "you'll leave your vacation with less carry-on baggage in your tummy. No fried plantains here, nor bread or dessert, but lots of fresh vegetables, steamed vegetables and proteins that are rationed out by use of a specially-designed plate that illustrates where and how much of the plate is designated for raw, cooked vegetables and protein. You'll be satiated, for sure, but on sauteed white fish, calamari, broccoli, carrots and salad - all deliciously prepared."
At the start of the program, participants are given a fat percentage and weight evaluation program, and then Boot Camp begins. There are exercise programs in the morning and afternoon. The second one is held in the pool.

Gol to increase flights
Gol, the largest low-fare and low-cost airline in Latin America, is adding two more frequencies to its three-times a week flight using the Varig brand from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil via Caracas, Venezuela to Punta Cana for the summer. The Punta Cana resort market is becoming increasingly popular with Brazilians. So far, 22,435 Brazilians visited in the first four months of the year, up 125% compared to 2010. Passenger demand both from Brazil as from Venezuela has kept strong for this route leading to the increase in service.

Santo Domingo rated tops on MasterCard Index
Santo Domingo is the second top 10 Destination City by International Visitors (2011) on the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities released June 2011. Mexico City is first. The others are San Jose, Caracas, Bogota, Quito, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires. SD is also second to Mexico City in visitor spending.
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Global Destination Cities ranks destination cities by visitor arrivals and by visitors' cross-border expenditures by taking the sum of the total of visitor arrivals from rest of the world and their total cross-border expenditures for each of the destination cities.
The Index is compiled using international flight and flight capacity information purchased from OAG Global, a provider of international aviation data.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 05:49 PM   #1020
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Originally Posted by juancito View Post

Sources: photobucket/supercasas/bufeo
Are there many beautiful women in the Dominican Republic?
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