Bad weather: Thousand flooded residences

At least thousand five residences were flooded in the provinces of San Cristóbal and Monseñor Nouel following the rains of these last 72 hours, informed this Friday the director of the National Commission of Emergency (COE), colonel Juan Manuel García Méndez.

He indicated that because of the rains, the COE emitted Wednesday a green vigilance for Distrito Nacional and provinces of Santo Domingo, Santiago, Samaná, Espaillat, Monte Plata, María Trinidad Sánchez, Duarte. Dajabón, Independencia, San Cristóbal and Monte Cristi.

During the afternoon and the night of Thursday, heavy downpours continued on the Central and Eastern Valley of Cibao, the Bay of Samaná, Bonao, Monte Plata, Nagua, Salcedo, El Valle, Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Macorís, Romana, San Cristóbal and Bani because of a vast cloudy zone which accompanies a trough of low pressure.

This Friday, the National Office of Meteorology (ONAMET) informed that the satellite images and the weather models show that this depression and the cloudy zone started to slowly turn towards the East-West over the island, situation which will enable the bad weather to remain longer by influencing the Dominican territory, producing more downpours and electrical storms.

Al Momento, by Ramón González, 05.10.07

Death of a swimmer who was crossing the Bay of Samaná

SAMANA. – an ex water-polo champion who accompanied the sportsman Marcos Díaz to cross the Bay of Samaná by swimming, is deceased this Sunday morning.

The victim is the lawyer Antonio Alvarez Cross, son of the former president of the Electoral Central Parliament, Froilán Tavárez, who directed the Law Firm Tavarez in the capital.

His death occurred before midday whereas he swam together with Marcos Díaz, from Sabana de la Mar to Samaná, informed the family of the victim.

The spokeswoman of the family explained that the crossing of the Bay of Samaná was an event organized at the time of the celebration of Sabana de la Mar.

She explained that a preliminary report indicates that the death of Alvarez Cross is due to an heart attack.

His body was transferred to the Legal Institute of Pathology for an autopsy.

Al Momento, 08.10.07

The National police force arrested two people dressed like policemen

The National police force informed yesterday that they arrested six people while they were performing robberies and attacks in various points of the country, and among them two delinquents dressed like police officers who attacked a 16-year old minor in Boca Chica.

These two men, in uniform of police officers were attacking the young man. Their gun once confiscated proved to be a toy.

El Día Digital, 08.10.07

25% of the sold drugs are false

25% of the drugs which are marketed in the countries in development like the Dominican Republic, the Latin America and the Caribbean are falsified, by endangering the life of a lot of people who consume them.

According to a report on the falsified medicine of the World Health Organization, 25% of the drugs which are sold in the developing countries are illicit or of quality lower than the standards, and in places like Africa or Asia this percentage rise up to 50%.

The report explains that the illicit business of these substances is a gainful and attractive employment for the criminal networks.

A report published in the United States projects that for 2010 the sales of falsified drugs will reach a sum 75.000 million US $, meaning an increase of 92%.

El Día Digital, by Senabri Silvestre, 08.10.07

Brazil’s Lula coming to Dominican Republic to talk the left

Brazil president Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva will visit the country in late November to participate in the ” Encounter of the International Left and the Progressive Movements in Latin America, ” supported by president Leonel Fernandez, said one of the organizers yesterday.

Temístocles Montás, head of International Topics of the ruling PLD party and minister of Economy, said the event will be held between November 23 and 25 in the Hilton Hotel, in the capital.

Some 100 representatives of nearly 50 political leftist parties and progressive movements from Latin America and the Caribbean will attend the gathering, with Fernandez hosting an inaugural supper on the night of November 23.

Montás said in the invitation, the chief executive says it will be a gathering to interchange experiences, perceptions and expectations regarding the role of leftist and progressive forces in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Dominican Today, 08.10.07

For Doris

If you would like to express your moral support to Doris following the death of her husband Claude, you can come to the office of the Humanitarian Association, in Casa Linda, to sign a small comforting word from Monday to Saturday from 10h to 13h.

The Humanitarian Dominico Europea Association, 06.10.07

Dominican Republic braces for 24-hour strike

The groups that called for a 24 hour strike on Tuesday yesterday reiterated the, received the backing of two of the three opposition party’s presidential candidates, while the third said the demands are just but prefers the way of the dialogue.

The organizers, grouped in the Alternative Social Forum, demand a change in the government’s economic policy, a 30 percent wage increase for government and private sectors workers, as well as the modification of the Hydrocarbon Law, to lower the cost of fuels.

They said they would deactivate the movement only if the government makes a counterproposal to their demands.

The Armed Forces have been place on alert starting today, whereas the Police said it will deploy the needed agents in the streets and test its recently-acquired water cannons.

Dominican Today, 01.10.07

Fight between Leonel Fernández and Miguel Vargas

The Executive power tried to decrease the impact of the speech made by the presidential candidate of the PRD, by the means of a decree announcing the creation of a Fund of Safeguarding and Creation of Employment, by knowing that this subject is the principal argument of the campaign of the opposition.

All indicates that the national policy starts « to be heated » and that Miguel Vargas Maldonado and Leonel Fernández Reyna multiply their confrontations to dominate the electoral scene for the next presidential elections of 2008.

While Vargas Maldonado let know to the people, at the time of his speech, the manner by which he would produce employment while being at the government, the President emitted a decree with an identical aim.

According to Vargas Maldonado, during the three last years, the Dominican families were hardly struck by the plague of the unemployment caused by an inappropriate and inhuman policy. But in spite of the charges of Vargas Maldonado, the President ordered to the Secretariat of Finances to work out, within 15 day, the instructions by which will be implemented the procedures and the conditions that the free zones companies must fill to profit from the compensation, by means of the Fund of Safeguarding and Creation of Employment.

Vargas Maldonado accuses the authorities to carry out to bankruptcy thousands of small trades and to stimulate unemployment with its failed governmental economic policy, which contradicts the decree of Fernández which indicates that one of the principal priorities of the economic policy of the Dominican government is the maintenance and the creation of employment, this is why it decided to support the sector of the free zones to contribute to the re-establishment and the increase in employment in this sector.

Dominicanos Hoy, 09.10.07

The Alternative Social Forum requires the dialogue with the Government

The Alternative Social Forum (FSA), the organization which organized two nation-wide strikes in protest against the official economic policy, proposed this Monday the beginning of a process of dialogue with the Government to seek solutions of their requests.

The FSA said it will maintain its protests by means of watches and of assemblies, while it will leave open the latency for the beginning of the negotiations.

It reiterated that a modification of the Law on Hydrocarbons becomes necessary as well as a rise in wages for the employees of the public sector.

It also asserts an improvement of the electric service and a reduction in the taxes.

Al Momento, 09.10.07

Dominican Government to temporarily lift booze ban for holidays

Interior and Police minister Franklin Almeyda said last night the measure which limits the hours to sell alcohol will be lifted temporarily from December 23 to January 1. He said the Government will make the exception so Dominicans can enjoy the holiday celebrations without limits on businesses which sell spirits.

The official said authorities are aware that Dominicans who every year come to visit their families in provinces and towns and those who live in the country celebrate that period openly without the restrictions. In that period no controls are foreseen for the schedule in the sale of spirits and the citizens are free to celebrate Christmas carols and the night clubs can attend their customers.

Almeyda, interviewed on Cinevisión, said for the Christmas and New Year period there will be more police in the streets to prevent crime.

He said once the New Year celebrations conclude, the limits on alcohol will resume, which is until 12 midnight Sunday to Thursday and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

However, in coordination with representatives of business associations, Interior and Police extend the schedule up to two and three hours, in special cases that include the tourist towns Cabarete and Sosúa, and in Santiago (north).

Weather warning for eleven Dominican provinces

Emergency Operations Center (COE) director, Colonel Juan Méndez, says that the green alert announced earlier in the week for eleven provinces in the country’s northern and eastern regions is being kept in place, because more heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are forecast.

The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) announced that the rains are set to continue across the country over the next 24 or 48 hours.

Residents of low-lying areas and riverbanks in areas like Hato Mayor, Dajabón, Mao, San Francisco de Macorís, San Pedro de Macorís, La Vega, Bonao, Santiago, San Cristóbal, Azua and the National District should be on the alert for flooding and landslides, said the COE.

Dominican Today, 08.10.07

Thousands of people against corruption

By demanding the punishment of the corruption, thousands of people participated yesterday in Santo Domingo to a walk against the corruption and the impunity organized by thirteen organizations of civil societies, of districts and popular organizations.

During this demonstration the participants expressed their concern because during the 25 last years, on 250 files submitted to the Dominican legal system, only 8 led to a final sentence and only 3 people were condemned by the courts.

The demonstrators referred to the economic crisis of 2003 caused by the banking bankruptcy due to fraud, and which affected the Dominican society at the institutional, social, political and economic level and which carried out 1 million and half people to poverty, affecting the government and the legal security of the country.

They reiterated the compromise to continue without respite, following the example of Juan Pablo Duarte, the combat to obtain the eradication of corruption and impunity.

They pled for a nation where transparency, honesty, equity and freedom are shared by all the inhabitants and are respected by its authorities and institutions.

El Nacional, by Teofilo Bonilla, 01.10.07

DR repatriates 300 illegal Haitians

The Dominican authorities repatriated 300 Haitians without papers who were arrested during these last days in tourist places of the northern and north-eastern coast of the country, informed the authorities today.

These operations, carried out in Puerto Plata, Sosúa, Cabarete and Samaná, in the North and the North-East, were directed by inspectors of the Migration, members of the Army and National police force.

As prisoners, the immigrants were transferred to the sub directorate of the Migration in Puerto Plata, where the person in charge, Ermenegildo Crisóstomo Vásquez, ordered their repatriation.

According to authorities, a no specified number of Haitian women were also expelled of the country because they were devoted to the prostitution on the beaches of the area.

The authorities of the Migration announced that these operations will continue, because they received denunciations saying that a lot of Haitian emigrants would be delinquents and others would worry the tourists by asking for money, this giving a bad image of the country, according to the source.

Although there is not a real census, the Dominican authorities quantify to approximately 1 million the number of Haitians living in the country, the majority without papers and working mainly in the sugar sector and the sector of construction.

El Nacional, 01.10.07

Hundreds of people arrested for drug possession and traffic

At the time of an action without precedent, the National Office of Drugs Control (DNCD) dismantled 223 points of drug sale, in which it seized at least six kilos of cocaine, 25 pounds of marijuana and hundreds of crack portions and arrested 241 people during a vast operation carried out in all the country.

The arrests and seizures of drugs were carried out at the time of an operation called Operation 24 Hours, during which teams of the central office of the DNCD seized fire arms, vehicles and money, according to a report communicated by the president of this organization, Major General Rafaël Radhamés Ramirez Ferreira.

A great part of the arrests took place in Puerto Plata, Samaná, Nagua, San Pedro de Macorís, La Romana and Higüey.

He indicated that the personnel of the Central division – which include the Capital and San Cristóbal – arrested 39 people, the team of the North-eastern division, helped by a quota of Santo Domingo, arrested 40 people in San Francisco de Macorís, Nagua, Tenares and Samaná, Sánchez, Las Terrenas and Las Galeras. In the East, 57 individuals were arrested, all involved in the narco traffic and in the Southern zone, 34 individuals were imprisoned, according to the details communicated by Ramirez Ferreira.

El Libelo.com, by Roberto Lebrón, 01.10.07

Many people are excluded from Internet

Dominican Republic has only 90 thousand connections although its population is of ten million inhabitants, what means that many people are excluded from Internet connections, announced Raúl Salvado, president of the telephone company Centennial.

In this way, Raúl Salvado approved the policy of the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel) to install Internet centers in the whole national geography, in order to solve the problem of connection in the country. What Indotel makes is what has to be made, to spend the funds to provide connection to more than 600 centers within a two years deadline, it is a good policy with which I am in agreement, Salvado said.

The manger made these declarations whereas he accompanied the President of Indotel, Doctor Rafaël Vargas, during the inaugural ceremonies of four data-processing centers and numerical rooms in the Communities of Pedro Sánchez, El Seibo, and in Miches, Sabana de la Mar and El Valle de Hato Mayor, in the Eastern area.

He indicated that in this social role, Centennial tries to help Indotel to find ways of bringing Internet connection until these places where there is absolutely nothing. He added that here in Sabana de la Mar, there is a certain degree of telecommunications, since there is cellular telephony and fixed telephony, but there are many places of Dominican Republic, a lot of villages where absolutely nothing arrives and we believe that all this people should be connected.

The rooms inaugurated by Indotel are equipped with networks of local sector with ten computers, printers, power units, batteries, fans and furniture, as well as software and digital components which include the operational system Windows XP-2000, MS Office 2003, the Encarta Encyclopedia, the book How to study of George Fillmore Swain, as well as links to the virtual library of the Franklin Center of the US embassy, the Wikipedia encyclopedia and English courses on line.

Government accuses PRD to sponsor the strike

Yesterday evening, when the Alternative Social Forum ratified its convocation of strike from 6:00 am this Tuesday, President Leonel Fernández called the PRD and its candidate Miguel Vargas for contribution to the peace of the country.Palacio Santo Domingo

Fernández, who met with managers of transports, criticized the support to the strike giving by the perredeísta candidate.

Moreover, the Secretary of Interior and Police revealed that he was informed that Alfredo Pacheco, Neney Cabrera and Pedro Franco Badía are feeding the strikers, an effort of the PRD to create anarchy and disorder in the country.

Franklin Almeyda ensures that Vargas Maldonado gives his support to anarchistic groups.

On his side, the chief of the Police force, Rafaël Guzmán Fermín, informed that the institution is prepared for any possibility and that they will respect what is established in the Constitution and the laws, to guarantee law and public order.

Diario Libre, 02.10.07

Priority to alternative energy

The Government and the private sector must benefit from the potential of the country for the production of fuels nondependent on oil, with a raw material base which does not affect the environment, produces employment and reduces deforestation.

These approaches come from national and foreign experts gathered together during the seminar Energy renewable and efficiency energy like tools of competitiveness.

They stated that the country can produce ethanol of cane, as well as bio combustible coming from vegetable oils.

The activity was sponsored by the Association of the Industrial Companies of Herrera (AEIH), the National Commission of Energy (CNE) and the National Council of Competitiveness (CNC).

The president of the AEIH, Jesús Moreno, announced that there is no other way except looking for alternatives which make possible the production of clean energy.

Moreover, Arístides Fernández Zucco, director of the CNE, guaranteed that the Government will implement contingency measures in alternative energy.

Diario Libre, 02.10.07

Call to strike maintained

The Alternative Social Forum (FSA), including popular and trade-union organizations, maintains the call to the strike for today, in protest for raise in wages, reduction in the food prices, suspension of the evacuations and modification of the Law on Hydrocarbons.

Víctor Gerónimo, spokesman of the protest organizing committee clarified that they did not receive any formal proposal of the Government to dialogue, as declared by the director of Information, Press and Publicity of the Presidency, Rafaël Núñez.

However, he reiterated that the organizers of the strike are disposed to dialogue with the Government, but if president Leonel Fernández presents a formal proposal as for the requests which were proposed.

The spokesman of the Presidency invited the organizers yesterday to dialogue with the Government and said that President Fernández is worried by the security of people who would work today.

He said that the Government would guarantee the security of the storekeepers and of all the workers and that there will be transport for everyone.

He regretted the use of this resource to protest, because those which will more suffer from it are the poorest, them that precisely are defended by the organizers, because a lot of people are living thanks to the informal economy.

The civil servant ensured that the authorities will not take any measures against the organizers of the strike because it would be to put itself at their place.

El Nacional, by Teofilo Bonilla and Leoncio Bautista, 02.10.07

Some 125,000 Dominicans’ monthly pension: US $10

Dominican Republic yesterday marked Day of the Senior Citizen with as many as 125,000 retired workers getting as little as 10 dollars in monthly pensions.Pension Dominican Republic

The National Retirees Federation demands an increase in pensions to equal the minimum wage and said there are at least 700,000 retirees in the country, who are mostly in poverty.

It said economically the situation is more dramatic for the women, because they don’t figure in the social programs and remain working in their home.

The Retirees said though the country has advanced much the Social Security Law must be more strictly enforced as most adults live is misery because the pensions and assistance provided aren’t enough to cover basic needs including food. They asked the organizations who work with the aged to demand their right to life from the government .

In this International Senior Citizens Day, people and institutions must improve the conditions of these people who after having worked all their lives and supported the development of the mother country deserve an adequate social protection, the Retirees said.

Dominican Today, 02.10.07

Quietness in spite of the beginning of the strike

This morning, the strike convened by organizations gathered under the emblem of the Alternative Social Forum (FSA) in claim so that the Government has to deal with a series of complaints, started without recording neither incidents nor disorders.

During a journey through the city, the journalists of ALMOMENTO. Net could observe that there was a reduction of the automobile traffic and transport public in the streets of the Capital, but that there were no gatherings of passengers due to the fact that the authorities redoubled the number of units of the National Office of Buses Service (OMSA) and also put official trucks at the service of the citizens.

Buses of the National Federation of Transport New Option (FENATRANO), managed by Juan Hubieres, as well as buses of the National Confederation of Transport (CONATRA), of Antonio Marte, were seen in circulation.

The latter met yesterday evening with President Leonel Fernández and expressed their rejection to the strike.

Tens of soldiers maintain vigilance in the commercial arteries. Even the presence of the members of the Navy was notorious.

Since it was still early this morning, an evaluation of the impact of the strike on the trade and industry is not yet possible.

Al Momento, 02.10.07

Eight wounded, several arrests in Dominican Republic strike

The strike called yesterday by the organizations grouped in the Alternative Social Forum had a partial effect, with eight wounded and several arrests in different parts of the country.

The organizers said most of the peoplet accepted their call without any pressure and announced other immediate actions and a national assembly for October 13.

Police spokesman Ramon Rodriguez said 16 people were arrested for disorderly conduct, two of those for burning tires in Villa Consuelo.

In Navarrete, two Haitians were detained for having homemade bombs and in that same municipality, a woman and a youngster were wounded by gunfire. Three people were reported injured in San Francisco and Bonao.

Dominican Today, 03.10.07

PRD-PLD: the fight

As the campaign « is heated » and that the debate is raising one’s voice, polarization between the Party of the Dominican Liberation (PLD) and the adversary Dominican Revolutionary party (PRD) is consolidated.

If this tendency is maintained until the day of the voting, it will be the sixth consecutive time which these two organizations dispute the victory, while leaving relegated behind them the powerful Christian Social Reformist Party (PRSC).

The PLD and the PRD are mutually seen as the objective to defeat as shown in the accusations and non accusations campaigns which are running these last days.

The strong confrontations between the white and the purple ones around subjects as the general strike of yesterday and the contract of Sun Land are only two episodes which show the direction that will take the election campaign during the next months.

The hardening of the electoral battle provoked that the PLD and the PRD are compacting their own forces, because figures who until now were maintained in margin are now integrated into activism.

An example, the meeting of the white party of last Monday, in which took part Fello Suberví who until now was not very devoted to the cause of the candidate as well as Emmanuel Esquea who seamed to take political holidays for a certain time. Hipólito Mejía, Tony Raful and Ivelisse Prats de Pérez were also present.

Within the PLD, Danilo Medina explained to his partisans that he would be inserted in the campaign, as revealed by Alejandro Montás, a deputy of the entourage of the ex secretary of the Presidency. Medina was in margin but the spokesman of the campaign ensures that he will be integrated « in time » .

Diario Libre, by Héctor Marte Pérez, 03.10.07

He wanted to get marijuana over La Victoria prison

Yesterday a man was arrested at the time of an attempt to introduce drug to the penitentiary of La Victoria.

He had dissimulated 8 pounds and half of marijuana in a wheelbarrow filled of avocados which he claimed to deliver to his brother imprisoned for drug traffic.

The two packages of goods were seized by DNCD and Police agents and the « narco-aguacatero » was arrested immediately to be subjected to Justice.

Information was given by the spokesman of the National Drugs Control, Department (DNCD), Robert Lebrón, who explained that « this subject tried to mislead with the authority but that his plan to penetrate in the penitentiary with this marijuana failed ».

He explained that the « narco-aguacatero” arrived at the penitentiary with his wheelbarrow by showing a ” little nervous » attitude, which woke up the mistrust of the DNCD agents who during the search found the goods.

Diario Libre, 03.10.07

The dengue could become a pandemic

The Latin America and the Caribbean are affected by a wave of dengue with 630.356 registered cases.

The statistics contained in a report of the Pan-American Health Organization (OPS) calculate that approximately 200 people died because of the disease.

The majority of the victims are people with scanty resources and who are living in places without hygiene, conditions facilitating the propagation of the mosquito which transmits the disease.

In the case of the Dominican Republic, the cases of dengue registered by the Secretariat of Health exceed 6.000 with 30 dead people.

These figures could increase by the end of the year being given the last recorded rains.

The wave of dengue highlighted in Latin America and in the Caribbean occurs each 22 years, according to data’s provided by the Secretariat of Health. The report explains that in the past in countries like El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Guatemala and Costa Rica, the disease had reached the degree of pandemic.

In spite of the quantity of cases, the authorities draw aside that in the country there is an epidemic, but exhorted the population to maintain the alert and the measures of hygiene against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, transmitter of the disease.

The last week the Secretariats of Health and Education resumed campaign of prevention by eliminating the deposits from the mosquito vector.

The dengue has four variants and according to the OPS, the virus can become mortal in the countries where tourism and migration abound, because they favor their circulation.

Diario Libre, by Robert Reid, 03.10.07

Presentation of the new bank note of RD $200

The Central Bank presented yesterday the new note of RD $200.

The principal figure on the recto face represents the effigies of the sisters Mirabal and on the back side is the monument set up in their honor, a tree and the national flag.

The new note of RD $200 will be put in circulation during the next days, « after the resolution of technical questions” , said Valdez Albizu, who added that » $varit is an instrument which will improve the terms of business and which will inject some dynamism into the internal transactions” .

The bank note of RD $200 will prevent the accelerated wear of the notes of smaller denomination, whose utility tends to disappear with the appearance of the coins of five, ten and twenty-five pesos.

The governor of the Central Bank affirmed that with this new emission, the operational costs will be reduced and that pollution of the environment will be avoided. He ensured that the note is adapted to the royalties of the modern economies and that he supplements the process of substitution of the notes of short life by its enormous popular use.

El Caribe, 03.10.07

U.S. praises security at the 2 newest Dominican airports

Three U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) technicians praised the quality levels in the international airports Cibao, in Santiago, and El Catey, in Samaná, Dominican Republic’s newest.

TSA officials Víctor Guardia, George L. Perez and Anthony Tranumn inspected both airports, and rendered a report to the TSA and to the director of the Airport Security Corp (Cesa), general Juan Bautista Rojas.

The technicians told Rojas that Cesa has shown that in the security training aspect, it’s above the standards required in international aviation.

The technicians evaluated Cibao airport’s security and that of the airlines that fly to the United States for eight days, and issued a detailed report.

” We feel extremely pleased on the high degree of professionalism, the manner in which the Cesa personnel does its work and also as far as the design of the airport.

We are impressed since it meets all the conditions to apply the safety measures in a correct manner, ” said Guardia, the TSA representative for Central America, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Dominican Today, 03.10.07

Why the tourists come

The 2006 Central Bank motivation survey indicates that the beaches (33.5%) and climate (18.1%) were the main draws for visiting the DR in 2006.

Non-resident foreign arrivals were polled upon departure for the survey. This compares to 36.7% and 18.6% that tourists pinpointed beaches and sun were the reasons they came in 2005.

The exit poll showed that repeat visits were up with 17.9% saying they had visited before compared to 14.7% in 2005.

DR1, 03.10.07

Dominican companies to seek international quality guarantee for exports

The Dominican Republic’s Export and Investment Center (CEI-RD), the Industry and Commerce Ministry (SEIC) and the Norms and Quality Systems Agency (Digenor) today announced the start of the Program of Certification Quality Management Systems for Export Companies, which will include 38 companies around the country.

« This program seeks to promote the adoption of quality management practices in Dominican exporting companies based on international standards and forms part of the strategic Dominican government plan to focus on strengthening the competitive capacity of the companies and to promote foreign trade,  » $varsaid CEI-RD director Eddy Martinez.

He said smaller companies will be able to participate since the CEI-RD will work with the Office of European Development Funds (ONFED) and other cooperatives to underline some of the costs of implementing the program.

Digenor director Julio Santana said the initiative includes technical assistance to implement and develop a quality management system based on international norm ISO 9001-2000. Participating companies will also receive international recognition of their commitment to quality and best production and hygiene practices, which will improve their viability in the global marketplace.

Executives of the participating companies and of the Spanish Normalization and Certification Association (AENOR), and of the Spanish consulting company SERVIGUIDE were present at the inauguration, as well as representatives of the Dominican business sector.

AENOR and SERVIGUIDE will provide technical assistance for the companies in the program.

Dominican Today, 03.10.07

American Airlines magazine highlights Dominican Republic

An article in the American Airlines October-November 2007 edition of its onboard magazine Nexos features Dominican Republic’s tourist attractions.

Titled ‘Voyage to Paradise’, Ana Cristina Reymundo and Guillermo de la Corte describe the paradisiacal characteristics of three Caribbean islands: St Lucia, Providence and Hispaniola. They stress each one’s beauty and unique geographic aspects.

The article describes characteristics which make Dominican Republic a destination without equal and the tendencies in the Dominican tourism offer. « Dominican Republic is growing, but towards a more sophisticated tourism,  » $varthe magazine says.

Dominican Today, 04.10.07

Venezuela crude for Dominican Republic to reach 50,900 barrels daily

Property minister Vicente Bengoa yesterday said the Venezuelan government extended the facilities so the country can import 50,900 barrels of oil daily through the Petrocaribe Agreement, which sets a preferential price and in soft, long term financing.

Bengoa, who returned from Caracas where he met with that nation’s petroleum authorities, said the Petrocaribe Agreement, which had expired, had been renewed. He said from now on fuel-oil and diesel imports will be included, which weren’t part of the original Petrocaribe pact’s benefits.

He said the Venezuelan government restored Dominican Republic’s import quota of 50,900 barrels daily as initially agreed, though the country was only importing some 30,000 barrels daily.

Bengoa said in the event the price of oil reaches 100 dollars, Venezuela will finance 50 percent to the country, which means that from the point of view of disbursements it’s as if petroleum would cost 50 dollars.

« As we never reached the goal of 50,900 barrels daily, which oscillated around 30,000 then the supply contract had been reduced to that amount, now when I traveled to Venezuela I told them that we were going to increase the imports for reasons of petroleum’s high prices,  » $varhe said.

Bengoa, after meeting with president Leonel Fernandez in the National Palace last night, said the Dominican government will begin to pay the Petrocaribe oil bill next year.

Petrocaribe establishes a financing of 25 years, with a two-year grace period without payment of capital or interests.

Dominican Today, 04.10.07

Bush veto saves the Dominican tobacco industry

Tobacco farmers of the country’s north region (Cibao) yesterday heard with joy the news that U.S. president George Bush’s vetoed a bill passed by Congress, which threatened to decimate the Dominican and Central American tobacco industries.

The president of the Cibao Tobacco Harvesters Federation, Jorge Mercado, said the U.S. president’s decision would reactivate the north zone’s tobacco industry, mainly in Santiago province. « The veto of the law represents hope and relief for more than 300 harvesters in this region who have lived off the production of tobacco for centuries. » $var

Agriculture minister Salvador Jiménez, quoted by the newspaper Diario Libre, said if the bill had been signed into law the country would’ve lost some 50,900 jobs.

The legislation also threatened to shutter 60 cigarette factories in the municipalities Tamboril, Villa González and Navarrete, and cause more than US $100 million annually in lost income for the country.

The U.S. tax on each cigar is currently 9 cents though the proposed law was going to raise it between one and three dollars, according to experts.

Dominican Today, 04.10.07

Rains in the North and North-East areas killed four people

At least four people were killed and another was wounded because of the strong downpours which struck the North and the North-East areas of Dominican Republic, informed this Wednesday the authorities.

An office of the Efe agency indicates that two victims died struck down by a flash whereas they sheltered rains in the province of La Vega, in the north of the country.

Another victim died pulled along by water of the channel El Pescadero in Nagua (north-eastern) which overflowed because of the downpours recorded in the zone.

In addition, a man drowned whereas he tried to cross the river San Marcos in the Costabar section, in Puerto Plata, on the northern coast.

Last Monday when the rains started, a man was seriously burned after being hit by a flash fallen on a tree, where he had sheltered rain, in Santiago.

Al Momento, 04.10.07

The National Commission of Emergency emits a green alert for 12 provinces

The National Office of Meteorology informed that the downpours will continue during next the 24 hours on a great part of the country because of a depression located on the Northern part of the Dominican territory.

Because of this situation, the National Commission of Emergency emitted a green alert for 12 provinces: Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Santiago, Samaná, Espaillat, Monte Plata, María Trinidad Sánchez and Duarte.

The same conditions are present in Dajabón, Independencia, San Cristóbal and Monte Cristi.

The organization recommends to the residents of zones close to rivers, gutters and small valleys of the aforesaid provinces to take the necessary precautions against possible floods and landslides.

He indicated that the precipitations accompanied by electric storms will continue mainly over the North-western, South-western, North-eastern and on the Central Cordillera areas, where the rains, with possible wind gusts, could become more frequent and more intense.

Listin Diario, 04.10.07

Claude RUHL left us

Claude RUHL left us yesterday morning following a long disease.

Her friends join me to address sincere condolences to her wife Doris whom he leaves in mourning.

Sylvain MAUFRAIS, 05.10.07

Government studies wages increase

The President of the Finance Committee of the Senate, Tommy Galán, said yesterday that the government will increase the wages in the public administration thanks to the Budget Receipts and to the Law of the Public Expenses of 2008.

In the same way, Galán (PLD-San Crisotbal) supported the revision of the Law on Hydrocarbons, in order to reduce the prices of fuels. « I believe that the government must study the possibility of being able to apply a rise in wages in the Budget of the year 2008, according to a series of complaints, according to giving a little recovery to the purchasing power » $var, he said.

The wage increase will especially benefit the employees from the State who receive minimal wages. « I think that the government works on the idea to be able, for the next year, to have in the Budget a general wage increase » $var, expressed Galán.

Senator Galán said that the government was receptive to a modification of the Law on Hydrocarbons, with an aim of readjusting the tax margins received by the State for the marketing of fuels. He expressed that he approves any initiative aiming at relieving the fiscal burden, not only through fuels, but also through other receipts.

Hoy Digital, by Pedro Germosen, 05.10.07

Fish died for bad fishing practices

The Secretariat of Environment and Natural resources allotted to bad fishing practices the massive deaths of fish which took place one month ago in Sánchez.

During a press conference, the civil servants of the Environment said that an inadequate and illegal use of fishing practices known under the name of « licuadoras” , « pasola” and of » $varchinchorrit os » $var caused the massive death of fish in Las Garitas, commune of Sánchez, in the province of Samaná.

They explained that by using nets with very fine meshes, large fish are collected at the same time as the small ones, which are rejected for their lack of profitability.

They said that to determine the causes of the deaths, the under-secretary of Environmental Management and of the Coastal and Marine Resources carried out chemical, physical and biological analyses on the specimens found along the beach and in water and said that the analyses did not show a presence of pollutants.

They stressed that in the zone indicated there are no industrial facilities which could bring specific pollutants.

They also indicated that institutions like the Pan-American Organization of Health (OPS) indicate that poisonings by chemical puddle of substances occur in the sector close to the place of the accident.

They specified that the dead specimens were in majority sardines and that lacerations which they present correspond to the use of the bad fishing practices mentioned.

Hoy Digital, by Juan M. Ramírez, 05.10.07

Government invests 1 billion in education

The Secretariat of Education informed that it invests more than one billion pesos in the execution of programs to strengthen basic initial educatio

It indicated that it gave the priority to this level not only because the early age constitutes the stage during which concretize the bases of the development of the personality and of cognitive dimensions, but also because forming part of the achievement of the Objectives of Development of the Millennium.

It supported that in the case of the educational sector, it consists to guarantee that for the year 2015 all children and 15-year old young people concluded basic education.

« We adopted measures to achieve the Goals of Development of the Millennium by obtaining that during the school year 2007-2008 more than 180.000 5-year-old children old are recorded in the education system » $var, said the secretary of Education, Alejandrina Germán.

She affirmed that no management of Education had lent such an amount of attention at the initial level as what is currently made with the program begun on August 16 of the year 2004. She considers that it acts of a significant policy because it will make possible to accelerate the process of reduction of illiteracy, the exceeded age and the school abandonment in Dominican Republic.

Al Momento, 05.10.07

Dominican Republic resumes reforestation

With the Dominican Catholic Church’s blessing, the Environment Ministry will relaunch on Saturday, in Monte Plata (east), the reforestation program Quisqueya Verde, an initiative begun during president Leonel Fernandez’s first administration (1996-2000), and considered a success by environmentalists.

The relaunching is part of the reforestation month’s activities, said Environment minister Omar Ramirez. He said in the next three months 1.5 million trees in more than 2,200 hectares will be planted. ” We are going to attack the deforestation problem at the high river basins.

He said the program will be centered in the Central Mountain Range and the border region, which he said are the most vulnerable zones.

The official said the reforestation process will initially cost RD $20 million and includes the reconstruction of houses, the cementing of floors, improvements to community churches and the construction of some aqueducts.

Dominican Today, 05.10.07

Dominican Republic will incorporate 8 thousand hotel rooms

This year, the Dominican Republic will incorporate 3 thousand hotel rooms and 5 thousand others in 2008, informed this Tuesday the Secretary of Tourism, Felix-Felucho-Jiménez.

The civil servant said that the construction of these rooms generates an investment of 1,250 million USS, investment mainly foreign, obtained thanks to confidence that the government of Leonel Fernández inspires in the international sectors.

Interviewed at the time of the program Hoy Mismo of Color Visón, he declared that during the management of President Fernández, 23 thousand hotel rooms were incorporated, which represents the 40% of the totality of the country.

In the same way, Jiménez said that Dominican Republic occupies the first place among the Caribbean countries regarding the tourist arrivals and the 42nd place on a world level.

Al Momento, by Ramón González, 09.10.07

They dismantle a band of counterfeiters

The Police force informed this Tuesday that a band devoted to falsify money was dismantled in Santo Domingo Este.

This band was directed by the couple Rafaël Lantigua Andujar and Anyeris Jiménez Ceballos. A great quantity of counterfeited notes of various values as well as the equipment used for their manufacture and impression were confiscated.

The Police force explained that Lantigua Andújar is currently considered as the principal counterfeiter of the country, and that after his arrest, a search was practiced in his residence where a clandestine laboratory used for manufacture and falsification of money was dismantled.

It revealed that the band directed by Lantigua Andujar and his spouse Jiménez Ceballos was devoted to manufacture and falsify notes of various values, mainly of RD $2,000.00, RD $1,000.00 and RD $500.00, which were put in circulation in commercial establishments in the whole country.

It informed that at the time of the search 44 sheets of paper with each one three notes of thousand pesos printed for a total value of 132 thousand pesos, 35 sheets of paper with each one two notes of two thousand pesos printed for a total of 140 thousand pesos; 26 counterfeited notes of thousand pesos and 36 counterfeited notes of two thousand pesos were confiscated.

Dominicanos Hoy, 10.10.07

Dominican Customs seizes bootleg drugs from Venezuela

Customs officials and intelligence officers at Las Americas International Airport seized a large amount of costly medicines brought illegally into the Dominican Republic from Venezuela yesterday, the newspaper El Nacional said.

Some of the seized drugs are psychotropic, while others are used in abortions. The Public Health Secretariat and the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) strictly control the import and sale of both, and both are very expensive, although the exact value of the illegal shipment is not yet known. The drugs were found hidden among the belongings of Noribel Castillo, who is currently being investigated by customs officials.

Intelligence officials said they have been tracking Castillo for some time. An airport official has also been suspended under suspicion that he knew about the drugs when he admitted Castillo into the country.

Customs Director Miguel Cocco Guerrero said the investigation will probe all levels of airport administration to find out exactly how Castillo managed to enter the country with the drugs hidden in his suitcase under his clothes and a bottle of shampoo.

Dominican Today, 10.10.07

In four years, all the police officers will be graduates

The National Police force is modernizing and its human resources must maintain this rhythm of modernity.

This is why, from now on the candidates at this institution will have to be graduates, will have to be computer literates and to have the driving license, according to a resolution approved unanimously by the Higher Council of the Police force.

This authority granted a four years deadline so that the current agents of the order meet these conditions. The Council laid out that the academic sector of the Police force manages the facilities so that the current policemen can carry out the corresponding studies.

The Council is formed by the Secretary of the Interior and the Police force, Frankin Almeyda, the Attorney General Radhamés Jiménez and Major General Rafaël Guzmán Fermín, chief of the PN, among others.

Diario Libre, 10.10.07

Swindle with hotel tariffs special offers in DR

The Dominican Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies (ADAVIT) revealed irregularities concerning hotels tariffs and plane tickets offers.

According to the organization, there are unauthorized agents who are offering supposed tariffs at low prices, which transforms into swindle the sale of tourist packages.

The directors of ADAVIT indicated that the supposed specialists offered for hotels in Bavaro tariffs of thousand 500 pesos for the night, when in practice the price is about three thousand 500.

For this reason, they alerted the people in service for the hotel establishments and the travel agencies in order to avoid employing unauthorized people for the sale of the latter.

With these actions, they benefit from the existing request and hypothetical low attractive prices to make illicit acts, to the detriment of the credibility of the sector.

Al Momento, 10.10.07

Questions ?

What made the Senator Dr. Prim Pujals for his province of Samaná ?

We don’t know.

How did he spend the funds for the social assistance in the province ?

We don’t know.

Which tangible aspirations has the Senator for his province, with almost 6 annual million (24 during 4 years) which he does receive for the social assistance ?

We don’t know.

Who or what in during his first year of management benefited from and what he made with the 6 million received for the social assistance ?

We don’t know.

Where is the provincial office of the Senator Prim Pujals and which are the functions which he carried out the last year and/or thinks he will carrying out during this year ?

We don’t know.

Which good works, which cultural, social, decisional, health and/or education activities performed the Senator Pujals in the province during the last year ?

We don’t know.

Did Dr. Pujals submit his annual report for the year 2006-2007 ?

We don’t know.

What do we know about the Senator of Samaná, Dr. Prim Pujals ?

He lives in Santo Domingo, he receives almost 12 annual million pesos for his management, he represents one of the poorest provinces of the country and we did not find anybody who was able to mention « the Senator did this or helped with that. »

Ah, and we also know that here in Las Terrenas, we did not see him since… sorry, we don’t remember, but it should be during the election period… watch out !

For more information http://terraccion.blogspot.com/

Jose R. Bourget Tactuk

Dominican Government to bolster security, confront threats from abroad

Military and government agencies headed by the State Reform Council (CONARE) signed an agreement on Wednesday to create a national defense strategy, aimed at bolstering the country’s security and to confront the increase in threats from abroad.

The ceremony took place in the Santo Domingo State University UASD, with the presence of Armed Forces minister Ramon Aquino, Lower Chamber president Julio Cesar Valentin, UASD provost Roberto Reyna, Interior and Police minister Franklin Almeyda, and senior police and military officers. The agreement aims to motivate Dominican society to collaborate in the design of that national strategy.

The event also stressed the need for the Dominican military to redefine its role in the protection of the citizen. Another objective is to organize seminars and workshops to discuss proposals to combat organized crime.

Dominican Today, 11.10.07

Tree planting campaign kicks off

With the planting of 7,000 saplings in Batey Triple Ozama, the second edition of Plan Quisqueya Verde has got under way. The government reforestation program aims to plant 1.5 million new trees before the end of the year.

Environment Minister Omar Ramírez led hundreds of ministry employees in this first phase. He said that Plan Quisqueya Verde, which was originally launched during the first Fernández administration (1996-2000), had become government policy, and promised that from 2008 onwards it would have a bigger budget in order to deal with some of the rural population’s needs.

The planting took place on land belonging to Mr. Bruno García. According to Ramírez, this is part of a new partnership that will provide plants to whoever wants them for forestry production. He said that this was due to the fact that outside protected areas not much land is state owned.

Ramírez added that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals included the aim of increasing tree coverage by between 33 and 35%, and said he was sure that this was attainable. He said that 5,000 tareas of land per year are reforested in the Dominican Republic.

He also said that the country imports US $170 million worth of wood annually, which represents 88% of the wood used in the country. He said that the reforestation plan also sought to supply wood locally.

He said that both state-owned and private land would be reforested, especially in river basins, and called on the public to join in what he called a “patriotic campaign”.

During the ceremony, Ramírez introduced agronomist Manuel Serrano, who will head the new plan. Serrano also worked in the first edition of the program. Banco Agrícola director Paíno Abreu Collado and Dominican Agrarian Institute director Quilvio Cabrera also took part.

Dominican Today, 11.10.07

Many people live in vulnerable sectors

The president of the National Commission of Emergency (CNE) and director of Civil Defense, Luís Luna Paulino, declared yesterday that a third of the inhabitants of Distrito Nacional and province of Santo Domingo live in vulnerable sectors.

Major Luna Paulino considers that the country has progressed in the prevention of catastrophes, but will have to face a map of poverty and extreme vulnerability.

Yesterday, at the time of the commemoration of the International Day for the Reduction of the Natural Disasters, the achievements of the first year of execution of the program « Prevention and Catastrophes » $var, sponsored by the European Union were presented.

The program will be carried out over three years at a cost of 6.5 million Euros.

Luna Paulino said that a lot of people live under conditions of extreme vulnerability, as in the Central Cordillera, where people do not use any type of prevention measures and where the « from day to day » $varis a risk.

« It is hard to see the framework in which the Communities of an extreme poverty live » $var, Luna Paulino said.

He recalled that Dominican Republic committed itself assuming the Objectives of Development of the Millennium, and that the strong part in this is the prevention, « because without prevention there is no possibility of guarantee neither the life, neither the quality of life, nor the development » $var.

He underlined the contributions of the international organizations in the plans of prevention, especially for the CNE and the Operation Center of Emergency (COE).

The Program of the United Nations for Development (UNDP) carries out the coordination of the project at the national level, focused in the most vulnerable zones of the North-eastern area, which are the provinces of Salcedo, Duarte, María Trinidad Sánchez, Samaná and of Sánchez Ramirez.

The efforts of the first year of work, with an investment of more than one million Euros, were presented by the means of a video projected at the House of the United Nations.

The ambassador of the European Delegation, Dino Sinigallia; the coordinator of the United Nations system and representative of the UNDP, Niky Fabiancic, and the national coordinator of the European Funds (ONFED), Onofre Rojas attended the meeting.

Fabiancic said that 18 years ago, when UNO had designated the second Wednesday of October like International Day for the Reduction of Catastrophes, we seek to have the attention of the world population to the need for reducing the vulnerability and to envisage the effects of a natural disaster.

Hoy Digital, by Llennis Jiménez, 11.10.07

6th Operativo of the Dominico Europea Humanitarian Association

For the 6th time since the beginning of the year, the 06/10/2007, our Association intervened in an underprivileged sector of the Province of Samaná and had a very great success.

17 people went to the dispensary Batey Hormiga of whom: Doctor Polanco, Doctor Frias for the general medicine, Doctor Crooke for gynecology, Doctor Piriou, assisted by Dominique and Denis for the sight.

Anne, Josy, Agnès distributed the drugs to more than 160 patients who passed in consultation; on 37 sight controls, 27 pairs of glasses were prescribed (they will be delivered free from France in a few weeks).

A Spanish O.R.L surgeon came to join to us for consultations of throat, nose and ears.

Patricia and Michele distributed clothing after the consultations.

The significant number of Pathologies met in each operativo will require that our team returns in regular intervals in these same places for a follow-up.

Next Operativo will take place in another underprivileged sector of the town of Samaná.

The DEHA, 11.10.07

Exceptional participation of HAI (Hospital International Assistance) for Las Terrenas

Exceptional participation of HAI (Hospital International Assistance) in the activities of the Dominico Europea Humanitarian Association.

The organization « HOSPITAL INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE » , French ONG, chaired by Mr CLAVERIE, provided us for the first time very specific health material for our actions on the province of Samaná.

Via its Rhone-Alps regional delegate, Doctor Paul SERVETTAZ, our association could charge very powerful material for Las Terrenas; we know that HAI, specialized in the recovery of all the French medical material for the countries in development, acts in the whole world. We hope that the collaboration of HAI and of its President towards the Dominican Republic is reinforced a little more at every operation.

The DEHA, 11.10.07

The « Wasabi” becomes ” El Toro sobre el Techo »

Yesterday evening Xavier took over form Jérôme for the reopening and the inauguration, in this new place, of the Tapas Bar « El Toro sobre el Techo » .

Resumption of the festivities for Xavier who preserved the style of the Wasabi by perfectly adapting the deco of the old « Toro » .

A successful mixing, like this first party which yesterday evening counted with hundred of friends, everybody very happy of this baptism on the Pueblo de los Pescadores beach.

The Wasabi died, long live El Toro and nice holidays Jérôme !

Sylvain MAUFRAIS, 12.10.07

Dominican opposition candidate aims to reach office handing out cash, hens

Amid the handout of money, hens and other items, opposition PRSC party presidential candidate Amable Aristy headed his second “pot-clang” in one of the capital’s most impoverished barrios, La Cienega.

Aristy started the caravan underneath the Duarte bridge, from where chaos and disorder marked the route plied by his Hummer SUV, from which the candidate handed out money. The cash prompted the people to risk their lives and those of their children, which they used to get his attention.

The PRSC candidate, whose aides distributed thousands of baskets and hens in the zone, said he would lead a social revolution from the government, to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

He said the government has enough funds to improve the standard of living and said this year the Leonel Fernandez administration is managing 300 billion pesos.

For the many whom today said Aristy has been and will be their savior, the pushing, shoving and the narrow streets became a nightmare as pickpockets lifted their wallets and even ripped off the photographers’ equipment.

Dominican Today, 12.10.07

Thousands of people attend the Santo Domingo Festival

Thousands of people danced and sang yesterday on the various rhythms of the 77 bands who took part to the musical Festival of Santo Domingo, organized by Luis Medrano and sponsored by the Town hall of the Distrito National.

Young people and adults mixed with tourists walked along the 7 scenes placed all along the George Washington avenue (El Malecón), to dance merengue, salsa, bachata, reguetón, ballades and son interpreted by the principal bands who played on the various scenes from 04:00 p.m.

Los Potros del Caballo, Kinito Méndez, Eddy Herrera, Rubby Pérez, Pochy Familia and Luis Vargas were the most applauded by the public.

For Chiqqi Hadad, general producer of the Festival of Santo Domingo, it was a success thanks to the support of the public. He said to hope to continue to organize this event every year, because this last makes it possible to boost the tourism of the Dominican capital.

El Día Digital, by Hillman Pimentel, 15.10.07

JetBlue adds another Dominican Republic destination

JetBlue Airways, famed for its low-cost but full-service flights, announced it is adding another Dominican Republic destination, with new New York-Puerto Plata flights commencing on Jan. 10, 2008.

JetBlue already flies to Santiago and Santo Domingo. Fares on the Puerto Plata flights will start at $109 one-way; the flights will provide more access to the Dominican Republic’s north coast resorts.

The airline also announced that it will begin flying to the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten beginning on Jan. 17, 2008.

The daily flights from New York to Princess Juliana Airport also will provide new access to the French side of the island, St. Martin. Fares will start at $159 each way.

Other JetBlue destinations in the Caribbean include Aruba; Bermuda; Cancun; Nassau, Bahamas; and Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Dominican Today, 14.10.07

Dominican Republic has freedom of the press, SIP says

The Inter-American Press Society (SIP) said there’s freedom of the press in Dominican Republic.

In a report presented by the Dominican delegate before the SIP, Manual A. Quiroz, says the media freely exert the prerogative without restrictions.

“However, as we have said in other reports, there is a persistent, concerning tendency toward intolerance on the critical function of the press on the part of some representatives of some actors of the national life, who want an anodyne or complacent journalism, which resigns from its sacred mission of dealing with all issues of general interest, even if they affect particular interests of the susceptibility of some personalities, ” said the delegate in the report for the SIP.

Dominican Today, 15.10.07

Haiti: Around fifty people died in floods

Port au Prince – Although still incomplete, the statistics of killed people in floods in Haiti caused by the intense rains of the last week is terrible: 47 killed people and enormous property damages.

This extreme weather had a strong impact on the mountainous area of Cabaret, at 19 kilometers in the north of the capital, where the population buries today its victims in improvised coffins.

Sorrow is palpable in the sector where one counted more than three tens of corpses found in mud, in addition to the flooded cultures and to the residences destroyed by the strength of precipitations.

A zone of low pressure which stationed over the Caribbean last week and which brought the rains also caused serious damage in Jamaica and in Cuba, the largest island of the Antilles, where no victim were reported but where a great number of people were evacuated and were material losses were important.

In Haiti, deforestation, which started with the Spanish conquest in XVth century and which continued because of the poverty of the inhabitants who use wood to cook, increased the destructive force of water.

At least 20 thousand people are without housing and it is still too early to quantify the harvests and domestic animals lost in the natural disaster, which also occurred because of the climatic change, according to specialists.

The estimate of the damage will have to await the descent of water because several zones are still insulated.

Other sectors of this small insular country were also destroyed by the rains. However, the nightmare did not finish with the return of the sun since water carried the precarious protection walls in the mountainous zones, which leaves the inhabitants at the mercy of new similar phenomena in an immediate future.

Al Momento, 15.10.07

Dominican Republic could join the Security Council today

Dominican Republic and Costa Rica today make their final push in the UN General Assembly, to occupy the seat Peru vacated in the Security Council.

The General Assembly’s 192 countries will vote to choose the occupants of the five nonpermanent seats for the 2008-2009 period in that executive body of the United Nations, among them one of two assigned to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Every year the General Assembly renews five of the Security Council’s 10 nonpermanent seats, divided by geographic regions between Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dominican Republic is the only one which never has been part of the Security Council, despite being a founding member of the United Nations, whereas Costa Rica has held it in the 1974-1975 and 1997-1998 periods.

This fact has become the center of the Dominican government’s campaign headed by president Leonel Fernandez, who in his recent 62 General Assembly address requested support for his country to be « a voice for the weak, the unprotected, the condemned. » $var

Dominican delegation spokesman Sully Saneaux said that it’s the third time his country presents a candidacy. « The Security Council must have a space for the smallest, for that reason we are confident that this time we will be lucky. » $var

Dominican Today, 16.10.07

They will renew 2000 tourist taxis in the whole country

The renewal of 2000 tourist taxis in all the country, as well as a series of additional activities, are part of the promotion campaign in the country organized by the Dominican authorities to increase the number of visitors for this destination.

Felix Jiménez, Secretary of Tourism, considers the renewal of the vehicles fleet as a necessary activity since « to be competitive, we not only need the adequate hotels, but also a suitable transport system » $var.

In the same way, as from next November, a promotion campaign carried out by the media and the buses will start in countries like Canada, the United States, England, Spain, France and Germany, to promote the attractions of the Dominican Republic at the international level.

The forecasts announce that for the remainder of the year 2007 and that for 2008, the hotel offer will increase with 8000 new rooms. An investment higher than 1 million dollars which places this destination at the top compared to the Riviera Maya and to Cuba.

The Dominican Republic received, from January to July 2007, more than 2 million tourists, the Riviera Maya a little more than 1.5 million visitors and Cuba, in third place, more than 1 million tourists.

Al Momento, 16.10.07

Indotel makes gift of modern equipment to Meteorology

The president of the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel), Rafaël Vargas, delivered yesterday several technological equipments to the National Office of Meteorology to modernize the Forecast Center of this institution.

The new equipment is composed of four computers with flash monitors and 10 inches screen, a powerful server with 24/24 working capacity, as well as a 40 inches monitor.

Moreover, an UPS power station of 20 kilos will guarantee the permanent operation of the network.

According to Vargas, with this equipment the Meteorology Institute could be connected with the Emergency Operations Center and with the Dominican Association of Catastrophes Mitigation, with the aim to immediately provide weather phenomena follow-up information and to allow the adoption of relevant measures to forecast any catastrophe.

This possibility, according to Gloria Ceballos, director of Onamet, constitutes the base of the sustainable development.

Diario Libre, by Annet Cárdenas, 16.10.07

Dominican Republic bid for UN Security Council seat fails again

UNITED NATIONS – Dominican Republic pulled its bid for a seat in the United Nations Security Council, paving the way for Costa Rica to occupy the post. It’s the second time Dominican Republic loses its bid for the post in as many years.

“We inform the Assembly that the Dominican Republic withdraws from this election to leave the way free to our colleagues from Costa Rica, ” said Enriquillo del Rosario, of the Dominican delegation in the UN.

Costa Rica obtained 116 votes to Dominican Republic’s 72 in the first round, though needed votes are 126 — two thirds of the General Assembly of the UN — to take the rotating seat in the powerful organism.

Dominican Today, 17.10.07

Dominican government braces as price of oil skyrockets

On Friday President Leonel Fernandez will study the measures to save energy in the Power Contingency Plan, to counter the effects of the rise in the price of oil.

Industry and Commerce minister Melanio Paredes said the country is in an emergency situation with what he said was an alarming rise in the barrel of West Texas intermediate oil, which closed yesterday at US $87.61 in New York’s mercantile exchange.

« We are faced with a national emergency situation, for that reason president Leonel Fernandez, together with the National Energy Commission and the Industry and Commerce Ministry will study on Friday the measures that will have to be made under consensus with the different sectors as the answers to the problem must have the support and commitment of the majority of the population,  » $varhe said.

Paredes said if the tendency in the rise of oil prices continues, the country’s economy as well as the budget of Dominican families will be strongly impacted.

The Government weighs the negative effects of the rise in oil and on Friday the Power Contingency Plan, drafted by government agencies under the CNE’s coordination, will be analyzed in detail.

Dominican Today, 17.10.07

The parties reject the JCE regulations

The three principal political parties of the country categorically rejected the draft Regulation of the presidential campaign of 2008, and accused the Central Electoral Assembly (JCE) to exceed its lawful faculty by designing an instrument which in their opinion forces the Constitution and the Electoral Law.

The PRD and the PLD announced to the electoral court that the greatest part of the contents of the discussed regulations is matter of adjectival law and they specified that the JCE has only a complementary lawful faculty on the Electoral Law.

On its side, the PRSC drew the attention to the constitutional aspects which in its opinion are violated by the draft Regulation worked out by the Administrative Room of the JCE, specifically with regard to the beginning and the conclusion of the campaign, the right of correction and the schedules and the public events.

Diario Libre, 17.10.07

IMF: Dominican economy to grow more than expected to 8% in 2007

WASHINGTON. – Dominican Republic’s economy will grow 8 percent this year, two percentage points more than it forecast in April, said the International Monetary Fund today. It said its growth forecast for 2008 remains at 4.5 percent.

Despite the turbulence in stock-exchanges from July to September, Dominican Republic will surpass this year’s forecasts, though not the 10.7 percent growth in 2006, it said.

In its “Economic World Perspective” report disclosed today, the IMF also said the rate of the Dominican Republic Consumer Prices Index (CPI) will not exceed 5.8 percent this year, compared with 7.6 percent in 2006. it said 2008 the index will be 4.2 percent.

It said its foreign sector will continue in deficit and equal 3.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year and 2.3 percent for 2008. In 2005 the deficit was 1.4 percent of the GDP, and 3.2 percent in 2006.

Dominican Today, 18.10.07

President Fernández meets with wheat industrialists

President Leonel Fernández met with wheat managers of Dominican Republic, with whom he analyzed the international situation regarding the production of this food.

The Head of Government received the wheat flour producers in his office of the National Palace to seek to face the reduction in the production of the cereal in several nations of the world, those having devoted their cultures to the production of bio combustibles.

During the meeting, mechanisms to be implemented in the immediate future to face the fluctuation of the international wheat rate were discussed.

As much the United States that other nations decided to sow corn instead of wheat to use it in the production of ethanol, which increased the international prices of cereal.

Vinicio Mella and Enrique Rodriguez, president and secretary-general of the Ozama Mills; Rubén Reynoso, president of the Mills del Valle; Luís Perozo, general manager of César Iglesias; Eduardo Antún, president of the Mills del Higuamo; and Rafaël Sánchez, Francisco Rosales and Héctor Delgado, executives of the Manoguayabo Mills attended the meeting.

The Administrative secretary of the Presidency, Luís Manuel Bonetti, and the Secretary pf Commerce and Industry, Melanio Paredes were also present.

Diario Digital, 18.10.07

Tourism launches an official Internet Site

A common work between the Data-processing Management of the Secretariat of Tourism and the Presidential Office of Technology, Information and Communication (Optic), made possible that today the Dominicans, the national and foreign tourists, can reach information in connection with Dominican tourism through an institutional portal www.sectur.gob.do.

With this website, the Net navigators will find a varied range of information on the actions carried out by Sectur, as the conditions to obtain the licenses which make possible to work in the tourist sector, a section of transparency, in which appear the budget, the wages, the extra-budgetary receipt, the purchases and suppliers of Sectur, recent news, tourist work in infrastructures, the international fairs and promotions, a photo gallery etc….

Magaly Toribio, under-secretary of Tourism, who directed the launching of the Institutional Web site, in the name of the Secretary of Tourism, Felix Jiménez, declared that the visitors of the Sectur page will be able to find links with other public and private institutions, in connection with the tourist sector, information on the tourist poles of Dominican Republic, photos, videos and daily news of the institution.

The institutional portal of Sectur fulfills the requirements of modernization of the public institutions required by the government of Leonel Fernández, and meets the conditions of access to public information for the citizens.

For the international promotion of the Dominican Republic, Sectur has the Web site www.godominicanrepublic.com, through which one offers information on the country, its tourist areas, eco-tourism, family adventures, tourism operators, museums, historical and cultural centers, sports, golf courses, beaches, gastronomy, among other options which make the Dominican nation an attractive destination for the international visitor.

The reports indicate that from January to October of this year, the international Site of Sectur received 390 thousand visits of Net surfers, coming from the United States, Canada, Spain, Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil, France and Germany among others.

It specifies that the greatest quantity of visitors of the tourism country page come from the United States, with 45%; from Canada, with 9%; from Spain, with 7%, and from Dominican Republic, with 7%.

Diario Digital, 18.10.07

Barrel of oil price reaches almost 90 dollars

NEW YORK. – The oil prices reached new records this Thursday while arriving close to 90 dollars per barrel, after the weakness of the dollar was attracting new investors and foreign speculators.

« The principal factor today… it is the record fall of the dollar in front of the euro » $var, said James Cordier, president of Liberty Trading Group in Tampa, Florida.

Although the oil prices increased considerably these last days, the weakness of the green note makes that from outside, the contracts are regarded as businesses.

Recent data of last weeks show that the speculative purchases of crude contracts are increasing. However, a lot of analysts consider that the subjacent mechanisms which regulate offer and demand do not approve the prices of 90 dollars per barrel.

The Department of Energy informed Wednesday that the crude and gasoline reserves increased more than what was expected last week, contradicting the assumptions saying that they were low.

It is the fifth consecutive day where the contracts of the crude reach records.

Al Momento, 19.10.07

The Government will not increase the tariffs of electricity

The electric tariff will not be increased in spite of the rises of oil on the international markets, informed this Thursday the administrator of the Dominican Corporation of the Official Electric Companies, Radhamés Segura, who said that the Government will subsidize these increases.

Segura affirmed that they must seek an alternative to these rises without entering the policy, since it is a matter of a national problem.

« The rises in the oil price will oblige us to seek more dollars to buy the same quantity of fuels and will increase the prices of its derivatives, but for the moment, the electric power will not be increased » $var, he explained.

He indicated that the electric companies profit from the rise in the price of oil and that the principal problem is with the contracts of the Agreement of Madrid signed by the preceding Government, contracts which were renegotiated in a partial way.

Al Momento, 19.10.07

Sentence of the Baninter case on Sunday

This Sunday the First Court of Distrito Nacional will let know its judgment as for the supposed fraud made by Ramón Báez Figueroa, Marcos Báez Cocco, Vivian Lubrano, María Troncoso Ferrúa and Luis Álvarez Renta, against the Intercontinental Bank now disappeared (Baninter).

The sentence will be read as from nine o´clock in the morning in the audience room of the court, located in the Law Courts of Ciudad Nueva, according to the information of the magistrate Antonio Sánchez Mejía, President of the court, which will integrate in addition Gisell Méndez and Pilier Rufino.

The debates around the case finished on last September 22nd.

During the trial which began on April 4th, 2006, the Public Ministry asked for a sentence of 20 years of prison for Báez Figueroa and Báez Cocco, and six years of reclusion for Lubrano de Castillo and Troncoso Ferrúa.

A fine of 2 million 500 thousand pesos was required against the ex president of Baninter and his adviser Álvarez Renta for dissimulation, falsification, breach of trust and credits laundering, through Baninter, causing the bankruptcy of this banking organization.

However, the Monetary Authority and the Plaintiff required a compensation higher than the 69 million 931 thousand pesos distributed between all the people involved, and sentences of reclusion similar to those requested by the Public Ministry.

While the defendants Báez Figueroa, Báez Cocco, Lubrano de Castillo, Troncoso Ferrúa and Álvarez Renta, asked the court to declare them not culprits and to clear them of the charged facts.

During the trial, 22 people were questioned during 94 examinations.

The population is waiting for the sentence of the judgment which, without any doubt, is the most important of the century XXI in Dominican Republic.

El Día Digital, by Dominga Ramírez, 19.10.07

Record world oil price sends Dominican fuel prices soaring

Local fears that fuel prices would go through the ceiling as a result of the record international market price of US $90 per barrel came true last night when the Ministry of Industry and Commerce raised the price of premium gas by RD $8.60 per gallon and RD $7.90 per gallon in the case of regular gasoline. Diesel is up by RD $7.30 and LPG (propane) by 56 cents.

As of today a gallon of premium gasoline sells for RD $162.80, regular RD $222,60 and diesel RD $127.80 (regular) RD $131.50 for premium. Subsidized LPG for domestic and transport use costs RD $59.84 while non-subsidized now costs RD $81.60 a gallon.

Meanwhile, the Industry and Commerce Ministry and the National Energy Commission announced that the meeting to discuss fuel saving measures has been postponed until Monday.

Dominican Today, 20.10.07

Ex head of Baninter gets 10 years in largest Dominican bank fraud case

Santo Domingo.- The National District First Collegiate Tribunal of the Court of First Instance issued its long-awaited verdicts and sentences in the Baninter banking fraud case early on Sunday afteroon. The accused were former bank president Ramón Báez Figueroa, former vice presidents Vivian Lubrano and Marcos Báez Cocco, former secretary of the bank’s board of directors Jesús María Troncoso Ferrúa and external consultant and business associate Luis Álvarez Renta.

Charges of money laundering or abuse of confidence were dismissed against Ramon Baez Figueroa and Marcos Báez Cocco but they were found guilty of violating Dominican monetary law and irregular banking practices. Baez Figueroa was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and ordered to pay RD $63 billion in compensation. Báez Cocco’s sentencing will take place on November 16th.

Luis Alvarez Renta was found guilty of the money laundering charges and sentenced to 10 years in jail, and to pay damages RD $265,000 in damages.

Vivian Lubrano de Castillo and Jesús María Troncoso Ferrúa were acquitted of all charges due to insufficient evidence. All coercion measures against Troncoso Ferrúa and Lubrano de Castillo have been lifted.

The court also ruled that the state should not have impounded all the bank’s assets, and that there had been insufficient supervision of banking practices on the part of the authorities.

In advance of the reading, Judge Antonio Sánchez Mejía said the decision was based on the Baninter case only, and that they hadn’t been swayed by all the public commentary on the subject. He said, “It is worth pointing out that this will be a sentence cemented by the force of law, and not the law of force”.

This brings to a conclusion the one-and-a-half-year court case that had been suspended on several occasions.

Ramon Baez Figueroa, as president of Baninter was accused of committing offenses against the bank and the Dominican state for personal gain.

Marcos Báez Cocco, as executive vice president of operations at Baninter was accused of using Baninter funds for personal use.

Luis Alvarez Renta, as external advisor accused of active involvement in illegal use of bank funds, investing these in other businesses – i.e. money laundering.

Vivian Lubrano de Castillo, as member of board of directors, executive VP and assistant to the bank president, was accused of illegal use of bank funds and had a personal account that was managed irregularly, using the funds for personal ends.

Jesús María Troncoso Ferrúa, as secretary of the bank’s board of directors, was accused of being a principal link in the chain of illegal processes.

Their defense attorneys argued that their clients were being victimized as part of a politically inspired conspiracy, and that the practices they are accused of were standard in Dominican banking circles.

Judges Antonio Sánchez Mejía, Pilar Rufino and Yisselle Méndez held a meeting with journalists covering the event in preparation for the verdict. Security measures around the Palace of Justice in the capital’s Ciudad Nueva district were stepped up, under the command of Colonel Máximo Gil of the National Police.

The summary of the case and the long-awaited verdict, which took just under five hours to read out, was broadcast live and without commercial breaks by a number of TV stations, including Antena Latina, CDN – Canal 37 and Telesistema.

The defendants, who denied all the charges were charged in May 2003 when then Central Bank governor José Lois Malkún made a speech in which he informed the country about the discovery of the RD $55 billion peso fraud.

The state prosecutors were seeking 20-year sentences for Báez Figueroa and Álvarez Renta, and six years for Lubrano and Troncoso Ferrúa.

Prosecutors were seeking a guilty verdict for Marcos Báez Cocco, but asked to delay the decision on any sentence until the verdicts and other sentences were confirmed.

The Central Bank took over Baninter in April 2003. The “Financial Hole” (hoyo financiero) created by the bank’s collapse totaled 11% of the country’s GDP and plunged the Dominican economy into a serious crisis.

After announcing the fraud, the government guaranteed Baninter client’s savings, leading to the Central Bank’s so-called quasi-fiscal deficit, which according to official figures exceeds RD $100 billion (close to US $3 billion).

The defense team was composed of Marino Vinicio Castillo, Juárez Castillo Semán, Vinicio Castillo Semán, José Antonio Columna, Juan Antonio Delgado, Joan Manuel Alcántara, Eric Raful Santiago Rodríguez, Salvador Catrain, Joaquín Zapata, Reynaldo Ramos, Luis Mora Guzmán, Rafael Cáceres and Rolando de la Cruz Bello. They have 20 days to appeal against the sentences on behalf of their clients.

Dominican Today, 21.10.07

UN to probe allegations of Dominican racism against Haitians

SANTO DOMINGO.- Two United Nations envoys will come to the country to get first hand accounts of alleged racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance against the almost one million largely undocumented Haitians.

Doudou Diéne, envoy for the fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance, and the head of the issues on minorities, Gay McDougall, will visit Dominican Republic from October 23 to 29, invited by the Caribbean country authorities, said the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights today in Geneva. Both experts will visit the cities Dajabón (northwest), Santiago (north) and San Pedro (east).

They are also scheduled to meet with representatives of Government, international agencies in the country, as well as with delegations from non-government organizations and from different communities.

Last March Amnesty International (AI) denounced the existence of a « deeply-rooted racial discrimination » $va rin the Dominican Republic against the immigrants of Haiti and urged the authorities to stop the massive repatriations.

Almost one million mostly undocumented Haitians live in the Dominican Republic and according to AI, from 20,000 to 30,000 are expelled annually from the country.

At the end of their visit the envoys will individually render a report to the Commission on Human Rights, which will meet in Geneva next December.

Dominican Today, 22.10.07

Sunday Times warns of Caribbean-wide dengue epidemic

Leading UK newspaper the Sunday Times has published a report that says that Latin America and the Caribbean are facing one of the worst outbreaks of dengue fever in decades.

Dominican Public health minister Bautista Rojas Gómez, rejected the data quoted in the Sunday Times report with reference to the DR, saying that the country had one of the most stable rates in Central America and the Caribbean, with just 15 or 20 cases per day, as opposed to the Sunday Times’ claimed 60. Rojas said that so far this year 17 deaths had been registered out of 7,200 dengue cases. However, he did concede that the rate had been higher than usual in the last couple of years and that the country was experiencing a problem.

In 2007, said the minister, more cases had been registered, but fewer deaths.

The report in the Sunday Times criticized some UK tour operators for seeming unaware of the increased danger their clients are facing.

It went on to say that the Pan American Health Organisation has warned that cases of the mosquito-borne illness, nicknamed “breakbone fever” for its agonising symptoms, could reach epidemic proportions this winter. The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have issued a dengue-outbreak notice for destinations including Mexico, Brazil, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

In the Dominican Republic, according to the Sunday Times, 5,400 people have been hospitalised and up to 60 new cases are being reported every day. Health authorities in Puerto Rico and Jamaica have issued alerts, and the government of St Lucia warns that, although there has been no reported case of dengue on the island, advisers believe that current conditions can sustain a dengue epidemic.

So far this year, 630,356 cases of the disease have been reported across Latin America and the Caribbean, 11% more than in the whole of 2006. The flu-like symptoms include severe pain in joints and behind the eyes. Most victims recover after a few days, but 12,147 have developed haemorrhagic fever, internal and external bleeding and 183 have died. The Pan American Health Organisation warns that warm, wet conditions this winter, caused by the climatic aberration known as La Niña, could push total cases over 1m.

Yet some tour operators seemed not to be aware of the seriousness of the situation. When questioned by The Sunday Times, Thomas Cook admitted it had not heard about the epidemic, and had thus issued no warnings or advice to travellers. “We advise customers to consult the Foreign Office website, ” it said.

Thomson told the newspaper that it was a matter for health and safety, which had been outsourced to a separate firm: at the time of going to press, it was unable to tell us what action had been taken. Kuoni said: “We constantly monitor the situation with regard to dengue fever, and should it become necessary to take further precautions, we would certainly do this.”

“There is no vaccine and no cure for dengue fever, ” says Dr Ron Behrens, of London’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases. “About 5% of those infected go on to develop either haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome ? both are extremely serious and require hospitalisation.

“Travellers should take precautions against being bitten, using insect repellent day and night, and check that hotels provide mosquito nets.”

Dominican Today, 22.10.07

President looks at energy plan today

President Leonel Fernandez is holding a meeting with his energy team this morning to analyze the proposed Energy Contingency Plan drawn up by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The plan includes fuel saving suggestions, changes in working hours, better traffic light coordination and a possible modification of the Hydrocarbon Law. The latter is one of the key issues that sparked national protests in July and early this month. The President is expected to announce just which measures will be put into place. In 2005 there were similar calls of fuel savings and many steps were announced, but few, if any, were ever fully enforced. With petroleum prices at an all-time high, the government is in a position where it is forced to ensure that these new measures are really put into practice.

DR1, 22.10.07

The Caribbean must be prepared for the effects of the climatic change

The tourist industry of the Caribbean, which represent the support of many economies of the area, must be prepared for more intense hurricanes, more frequent droughts and the increase of the sea level, resulting from the global warming, announced experts.

The Caribbean, where more half of the population lives at approximately one mille from the coast, face some of the greatest risks due to the climatic change, according to experts’ of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, which meet in San Juan.

« The area in general is really vulnerable, its sand, its sun and its beaches » $var, said Ulric Trotz, scientific adviser of the Caribbean Community Center on the Climatic Change in Belize. Trotz said that the governments must limit construction in coastal zones which are eroded, must protect the natural resources, including the coral reefs and the mangroves, and must make other steps before the global warming is accelerated in the next decades, as forecasted by some experts.

Currently, the ascending temperature of the sea causes already the death of the coral which represents a significant part of the support of the marine life, and it also causes strong storms.

This year was the first during which two category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic — Felix and Dean — simultaneously made landfall.

Although the human influence in the global warming is still a subject of polemic, the participants said that the tendency influences the decisions of the investors, on where to build hotels.

« Even if we don’t believe in the climatic change, this one is part of decisions in industry » $var, said Daniel Scott, specialist in the Waterloo University, in Canada.

Many undertook campaigns which stress sustainable tourism.

Barbados, which already suffers from drinking water shortage, ordered that the new golf build water treatment plant to desalinate water, for their irrigation.

Al Momento, le 23.10.07

The Public Works will use resin to asphalt the roads

The Secretariat of Public Works informed that as an alternative to decrease the consumption of oil derived products, it will use an emulsion or a resin of vegetable origin to asphalt the roads.

The Under-Secretary of Public Works, Engineer Mayobanex Escoto, explained that it acts of a vegetable emulsion which is used in Europe and in the United States.

This new material was presented within the framework of the XXIII World Congress of the Roads World Association, held in Paris at the time of its centenary, with the participation of 63 countries.

Engineer Escoto, who is moreover Vice-President of the Council of Road Directors of Iberia and Ibero America, said that the innovation was presented by the Colles Company, which developed the material of vegetable origin.

He affirmed that with this innovation the future of the roads will be in concrete or vegetable resin construction.

« SEOPC already studies and analyzes the application of the oil substitute in the files devoted to the roads » $var, declared the civil servant.

He explained that the oil barrel increased of 69% during the 7 last years, which caused the increase of the asphalt cubic meter.

He said that to face this upward trend which maintains the oil price, Dominican Republic will have to build with hydraulic concrete or concrete.

He stressed that for the first time, Dominican Republic participated with voice and vote to the XXIII World Roads Congress.

El Viajero Digital, 22.10.07

Rebuilt ports, Dominican ad campaign to attract more tourists

The Tourism Ministry announced the start of the 2007-2008 cruise season, with about 70,000 visitors expected to visit the country.

In a press conference in the tourist terminal at Sans Soucí, assistant director Magali Toribio said 24 million dollars were spent this year in advertisement abroad, to attract tourists to the country. She said 10 million of that 24 million dollars are spent in the United States.

The official said once concluded, the Santo Domingo Port will contribute to the spur tourism and the economy, along with the government’s aggressive ad campaign to attract tourists, which this year just one tour operator received one million U.S. visitors.

For his part, Sans Soucí company president Luis Molina said the works in Santo Domingo Port would conclude by December, though the terminal will be ready for the cruise season which begins October 3.

He said the Sans Soucí Terminal sets a standard as one of the most modern and attractive in the Caribbean and Central American region. He said the port’s infrastructure works and dredging were concluded.

He said both the Don Diego and Santo Domingo ports will be operating for the new season, as the latter will be inaugurated with the visit of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, slated for December 16.

Dominican Today, 24.10.07

The Dominican Republic launches ONEMAX, first company of the WiMAX World

The Dominican Republic will be the first country of the world in launching a new bandwidth wireless company of telephone and Internet, Mobile WiMAX.

Information was revealed by a note of Dominican Institute of Telecommunications, (INDOTEL), which lets know that the company will be inaugurated today October 24 in Santo Domingo, in the presence of international guests of various world companies of communications.

In its first stage, ONEMAX will include the town of Santo Domingo and it will be then extended to other areas of the country. In its informative note, INDOTEL is the spokesman of international information emitted in Paris, by Alcatel-Lucent, company of world reputation which provided the equipment to the Dominican company ONEMAX.

Alcatel-Lucent, informs that ONEMAX is the first supplier of services in Dominican Republic to offer to its subscribers a high speed wireless bandwidth Internet connection, multi-media and a voice service on IP, with a flexibility allowing people to have an access of high quality everywhere and by providing a really universal wireless access, fix or mobile.

There are 70 pilot projects of development through the entire planet and 15 commercial contracts were signed at the beginning of 2007, which makes of Alcatel – Lucent the supplier number 1 on the world market of WiMAX.

For its part the President of ONEMAX, Raoul Fontanez, said by signing the contract that « the launching of ONEMAX in Dominican Republic generated a lot of enthusiasm, it is an ideal market for WiMAX technology, being given its growing economy, its large and young population of more than 9 million people, with a fast growth requiring a bandwidth service. We will open the door of the new concept of Internet, telephony, and new services of communication provider, with these new concepts of technology, information and entertainment, which are completely integrated into the daily experiment of our customers » $var.

Atanay.com, 24.10.07

Company Directors praise the application of the plan ” Seguridad Democrática y Barrio Seguro

Several company directors met with the Secretary of Interior and Police to know details on the programs which form part of the Democratic Plan of Safety and Safe District project, while they praise the work carried out by this Ministry.

The president of the Employers’ Council for the Prevention of Crime (CONEPRE), Celso Marranzini, shares his concern for democratic safety and ratified his support at the institution in order that the fight against the delinquency continues.

The manager took the opportunity to congratulate the activities carried out during the current mandate, « Few times ago, we believed that the Ministry of Interior and Police was only responsible for granting authorizations for the firearms, but during the management of Almeyda the things entirely changed » $var.

He said that if there is no safety for the citizens, the economic investment does not develop, since there is neither confidence, nor reliability.

Franklin Almeyda announced that during the last months he multiplied the meetings with influential sectors of the Dominican society.

In addition, he requested a main effort and a greater transparency on behalf of the National policemen to fight criminality.

The civil servant pointed out as 101 districts and three million people currently benefit from the various Democratic Safety programs.

Noticias Sin, by Rosa F. Encarnación, 24.10.07

Major first for the Dominico Europea Humanitarian Association

Delivery of the first glasses in El Limón.

Within the framework of its numerous activities, our association gave free glasses to 56 people, adapted to their sight; after a detailed examination of the vision in July, our team ordered to Médico-Lions, health extension of the Lions Club of France, by the intermediary of the Lions Club ’Brive deux sources’, 78 pairs of glasses which were delivered on Saturday 19/10 in the public garden of El Limón; all the persons handicapped by a bad sight were very happy when testing their glasses.

This first operation vision will be followed by many others and particularly in all the schools of the province of Samaná; we will carry out, with two teams, the control of the vision, by initially examining the children of the most underprivileged schools of the Province to allow the pupils to see well for learning well.

Serge Rousset, our president, Dominique and Henri Jouan, Anne Garnier, Niña, Marie – Claude, Dr. Hélène Piriou, responsible for the sight tests and Bernard Piriou took part in this demonstration.

Were also present Mr. and Mrs. Caillon, initiators of a gift of 250 tables and chairs for the school of El Limón, thanks to their intervention near the Association ’Talents et Partages’ of the General Company in France (we will talk about this gift on Thursday 25/10 at the time of the official delivery of this furniture).

Finally Capucine Maes and Martin Lepoutre also participated, sent on special mission by the French ONG ’Maison de Sagesse’ to help us during one year in our school for delayed children ’El Sol’ (a special article ’Maison de Sagesse’ will be published in a few days).

More and more, needy Dominicans come towards us within the framework of our activities, which encourages many residents to join us to take part in this surge of solidarity in our host country.

The DEHA, 24.10.07

Tourism increased of 1.6%

The arrival of the tourists by air increased approximately of 1.6% during the first nine months of this year, informed the Secretary of Tourism, Felix Jiménez.

He explained that this growth is relatively weak, but encouraging compared to the rest of the Caribbean sector where tourism decreased of approximately 3%.

Jiménez announced that the situation of tourism in the area will be analyzed from November 2nd to 4th by the Ministers of Tourism of Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Dominican Republic, during a meeting which will take place in the country.

The civil servant spoke yesterday during a press conference where he signed an agreement with the Secretariat of the Culture to diversify the tourist and cultural offer of the country.

Diario Libre, 25.10.07

The Senator denounces a type of fishing which damages the littoral of Samaná

Senator Prim Pujals Nolasco denounced nocturnal underwater fishing on the littoral of Samaná, methods which seriously harm fish, their habitat and the corals.

The legislator requested from the Marine commander, Captain Daniel Comprés Rivas, to not grant authorizations for nocturnal underwater fishing on the littoral anymore.

Pujals Nolasco met with Comprés Rivas, following a call of the Fishermen of Samaná Association which gathers some 600 fishermen from Punta Balandra to La Pascuala.

The fishing organization denounced the presence of fishermen of Matanzas, who come by truck to fish with trawling nets, « licuadoras », compressors and chemicals which put a term to the fish species and damage the coral reefs.

The legislator explained to the Navy commander that this type of fishing is prohibited by Law and that there is a decree of the Executive power as well as resolutions of the Secretariat of the Environment which prohibit this type of activity.

The chief of the Navy ensured the senator Pujals Nolasco that these authorizations would not continue to be granted and that he did not know the prohibition of it.

José Baret, president of the Association of Fishermen of Samaná and Inspector of the Municipal Environmental Unit, who made the denunciation to Senator Pujals, said that the Navy commander must apply the decree of the Executive power which prohibits nocturnal underwater fishing with compressors, « licuadoras », trawling nets and chemicals. He indicated that neither environmental authorities, neither under-secretary of Tourism, nor director of Codopesca, Ricardo Columbus, who were informed of what occurs, did absolutely anything to stop this type of fishing.

Listín Diario, 25.10.07

Direct flights Curaçao – Santo Domingo

The DAE, state airline of Curaçao started direct flights between this island and Dominican Republic, the starting of the operations took place at Las Américas International airport.

Two weekly flights are scheluded in low season and four during the tourist season.

These DAE flights will be peformed a board of a Fokker 100 with a capacity of 200 weekly seats.

El Día Digital, 25.10.07

Historical, the oil barrel reaches 92.22 US $

Caracas – The oil prices reached today historical prices at the opening of the energy markets, undergoing the pressure of the United States on Iran.

The Iranian authorities indicated that their atomic program, against which Washington is, has peaceful goals, specific to electric power generation.

The threats of the White House constitute an element of tension on the energy markets, because the Persian country has one of the greatest gas and crude reserves on a world level. Because of theses conditions, the rate of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) increased by 1.76 US $ (two percent) to reach the record of 92.22 US $ the barrel in the agreements for delivery in December.

Compared to the same period of last year, the rates show an increase of about fifty one percent.

Diario Digital, 26.10.07

Racism probe in Dominican Republic not an international plot, the UN says

SANTO DOMINGO. – The United Nations (UN) commissioners yesterday denied the National Congress’ accusation that they are part of an international conspiracy, for their investigation on the denunciation of xenophobia or racism against the Haitians in the country.

Doudou Dienee and Gay Mcdougal, after being handed the resolution approved by the Senate which questions the UN’s designated of two commissioners to evaluate the existence of racial discrimination, said that from here they’ll go to the United States to study the manner in which Dominicans themselves are subjected to discrimination in that nation.

They said that before arriving here they have visited more than 15 countries in similar missions.

« We don’t ignore the sensitivity level that we are finding in the people of the elites of this country,  » $varsaid Mcdougal, and praised Foreign Minister Carlos Morales’ “very open attitude, ” and who she said congratulated them on their visit.

She said the Dominican official, with firmness and aplomb, “didn’t link in any manner our presence with an alleged international conspiracy.”

« Our mission here consists of conducting a routine investigation within the framework of a United Nations Commission Human rights mandate which has been entrusted to us,  » $varMcdougal said, and stressed that they are here on invitation of the Dominican Government.

Dominican Today, 26.10.07

Weather: the rains will continue

The National Office of Meteorology (ONAMET) forecasts that today precipitations will continue, with occasional wind gusts and storms over a great part of the territory, following a zone of low pressure which influences the country.

During the last 24 hours, important downpours occurred on a great part of the national geography and a sudden increase of the tides level was recorded on the entire littoral; these events are due to the low pressure system.

For the next 36 to 48 hours, an increase in the downpours, storms and wind gusts is forecasted.

The rains will be mainly over the North, the North-East, South and South-East areas, because of a storm which could affect the country in the next days.

According to ONAMET, the phenomenon is associated with a system of low pressure which is over Puerto Rico, moving towards the west north-west, accompanied by a vast cloudy zone. Consequently: ONAMET emits an ALERT for residents of zones close to the rivers, and small valleys of the provinces of: Santiago Puerto Plata, Espaillat, Salcedo, Duarte, Maria Trinidad Sánchez, Vega, Puerto Plata and Monseñor Nouel to take the necessary measures against sudden floods and landslides.

2vouzamoi, 26.10.07, 13h00, local time

The General Company equips the school of El Limón

The Association ’Talents et Partages’, French charitable association of the General Company offered 250 seats and tables for the pupils of the School of El Limón. In close cooperation with the Humanitarian Dominico-Europea Association (HDEA), the representative of ’Talents et Partages’, Louis Caillon, inaugurated this very important gift on Thursday 25/10 which allows the pupils to sit down to follow their courses and to write on a desk; so far furniture was missing.

An event with the director, the 400 pupils and their professors took place in the schoolyard where a choral society and a guitarist accompanied the participants.

Members of Humanitarian Association and its President, Serge Rousset, were thanked for the result of this action which will allow all the pupils to follow the courses under excellent conditions.

Moreover, within the framework of the HDEA program ’Vision for the schools of the Province of Samaná’, the schools of El Limón will be the first to benefit from it.

The HDEA, 28.10.07

80 children of RD will be operated in the United States

SANTO DOMINGO – Defying the rains, hundreds of parents went yesterday with their children to the the Dominican Association of Rehabilitation, where 250 minors suffering from deformations due to orthopedic problems will be evaluated and where approximately 80 children will be sent to the Shriners hospitals for children in Springfield, Massachussets, USA, to undergo surgeries.

Other children who were previously operated through this program of free surgery were also present for a follow-up visit. This operation is organized by the Shrine Club Dominicano, Masones Dominicanos and the hospital mentioned.

This Orthopedic operation for the children up to 10 years began on last Saturday with the evaluation of 60 children. More than 20 specialists of the Shriners hospitals are in the country for making the evaluations.

They are approximately 238 children in waiting list for the surgeries of this program.

All the children suffering for orthopedic deformations or for burns can be registered by their parents in the program.

The surgeries are completely free for the families of the children and the costs are covered by Masones of the United States, and the Dominican counterpart is brought by Masones of Dominican Republic.

The operations take place five times per year, to look after children with orthopedic problems, burns and lesions of the spinal column.

Dominican opposition candidate blames rivals for poverty

The presidential candidate for the country’s second largest opposition party, the PRSC, has blamed both rival parties, the ruling PLD and their predecessors in government, the PRD, for increasing poverty by 60% due to their economic policies.

Amable Aristy Castro said that most families in the south of the country are living in extreme poverty because of the neglect and a lack of effective social policies by the two previous governments.

“People here live without the basic services, while president Leonel Fernández’s government spends millions of pesos on the Santo Domingo Metro”, he told supporters during a tour of several poor neighborhoods in the south western city of Barahona.

He stressed that unemployment in the region is at an alarming level, resulting in thousands of families having to live below the poverty line, “without the means to eat and to buy medicine”.

The candidate visited the neighborhoods of Casandra, Pueblo Nuevo, Los Cabaretes, Los Barracones, Palmarito, Savica and Baitolita, and handed out chickens, plantains, mosquito nets, wheelchairs, mattresses, propane gas vouchers, computers and cash to poor families.

Dominican Today, 28.10.07

Tropical storm Noel: Six killed people and invaluable damages

At least six killed people, not quantified losses in agriculture and many zones without energy form part of the tragic assessment of this Monday of the tropical storm Noel, which for this Sunday affected a great part of the Dominican Republic.

Yesterday evening, the office of meteorology located the storm at approximately 230 kilometers in the south-south-west of Port-au-Prince, with sustained winds to near 85 kilometers per hour.

Some 600 people were moved because of the rains, but nobody was sheltered.

A total of 148 residences are affected and two completely destroyed.

In San Cristóbal, the old bridge of Rio Yubaso collpased, which created problems to thousands of people resident in the districts Madre Vieja Sur, Los Javillones and 5 de Abril, Nuevo. As well as floods in the Moscu district.

On the Duarte highway in the surroundings of Villa Altagracia, the traffic was stopped because of trees fallen in the middle of the road and in Barahona, an antenna of CODETEL was demolished by the winds and left all the zone without telephone service.

This Monday, the rains will continue on a great part of Dominican Republic accompanied by electric storms and wind gusts, because of the presence of the atmospheric phenomenon Noel, which strenghened into tropical storm.

The National Office of Meteorology announced a flood alert for the residents of the zones close to the rivers, the currents and the small valleys in 21 provinces : Azua, San Cristóbal, Peravia, Independencia, Barahona, Pedernales, Espaillat, Salcedo, Duarte, Maria Trinidad Sánchez, Dajabón, Montecristi, Santiago Rodríguez, La Vega, Monte Plata, El Seibo, Hato Mayor, Monseñor Nouel, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo and the Distrito Nacional.

The boats must remain in the port.

The courses were suspended in the majority of the schools and of the colleges as prevention measures, informed the under-secretary of Education, Luis García.

For more details on the weather conditions click on: http://www.onamet.gov.do/

Al Momento, 29.10.07, by Saul Pimentel

Santo Domingo paralyzed

The strong rains caused by the tropical storm Noel paralyzed Santo Domingo where the strong winds demolished trees, telephone posts and electric cables, affecting businesses and transports and causing the suspension of the courses in the schools. The situation is very difficult because a great part of the capital is without electricity since yesterday evening and the gravity of the damage to the system is still not evaluated.

Many streets and avenues were impassable because of the floods and the trees, cables and antennas demolished by the winds, as checked by journalists of El Nacional.

Among the most affected ways there are the avenues Luperón, George Washington, Independencia, Expreso Quinto Centenario and Las Américas, where tens of vehicles were damaged in the middle of water.

Many districts and residential sectors were isolated because of the trees and the electric posts demolished by the strong winds.

Moreover, the activities were suspended in all the schools and public colleges of the capital, as well as at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD).

The secretary of Education, Alejandrina Germán, informed through the program « Hoy Mismo » $varthat the courses were suspended in all the State to avoid accidents and because the schools are used as shelters.

El Nacional, by Ruddy Germán Perez, 29.10.07

Tropical storm Noel Christmas damages the plantations

Considerable damage is recorded in the plantations of rice, banana, yucca, guineo, onions and other cultures in all the country, following the strong downpours and winds caused by the storm.

The secretary of Agriculture, Salvador (Chío) Jiménez, explained that the floods have also affected the cultures of yautía, of batata, yam and other smaller fruits in various areas.

The zones most affected by the rains and the winds are Azua, San Juan, Barahona, Monseñor Nouel, Sánchez Ramirez, La Vega and San José de Ocoa, where there is also damaged roads and ways.

He indicated that in Azua, Vicente Noble and Barahona the strong winds pulled up a great part of bananas and guineos. He recalled that in San Juan de la Maguana, it is the time of the great rice harvest, whose plantations are under water.

He indicated that in the zone of Bonao the rice plantations are also drowned under water.

In Constanza, Jarabacoa and San José de Ocoa there is many damage in the cultures of vegetables and there are problems of transport, due to the fact that the access roads to the farms were damaged by the downpours.

Rice is one of the cultures which most suffered from the severe weather caused by the storm.

Hoy Digital, by Evaristo Rubens and Modesto Rodríguez, 30.10.07

Help for the victims

President Leonel Fernández set up yesterday a series of measures to help the victims of the floods caused by the tropical storm Noel and declared the Comité Nacional de Emergencia in emergency state.

The agent ordered the quartering of the members of the Armed Forces and of the National police force, the displacement of equipment and drugs in prevention of epidemics, as consequences of the floods and to also face possible pollution of the aqueducts.

Feed rations were delivered to the people who were moved.

The President of the Republic directed yesterday a Council with the civil servants responsible for the organizations of the National Committee of Emergency from whom he received the preliminary reports of the damage caused by the storm.

The Armed Forces set up their operational emergency plan to guarantee law and order and internal security.

Thanks to the measures implementation by the COE all the provincial, municipal and regional emergency committees were activated.

On his side the director of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI), Héctor Rodriguez Pimentel announced that this institution carries out a permanent control of the dams and that until now there was no abnormal situation.

He said that the critical sites where floods occur normally were under control.

Hoy Digital, by Fior Gil, 30.10.07

Dominican Government says the UN report on racism, a “prefabricated stage”

The Foreign Relations minister called the activities and the subsequent report on racism and the rights of minorities, by the United Nations’ special envoys that visited Dominican Republic “a prefabricated stage, ” and said it’s no more than a reiteration of the efforts by some sectors which seek to affect the country’s image of democracy and sustained economic growth.

Carlos Morales said “it’s no surprise” the report by the envoys Doudou Diéne and Gay McDougall, as well as their statement that in Dominican Republic there is racism and discrimination against Dominican-Haitians and agaisnt people of African origin.

« It’s no surprise to us that without knowing our reality thoroughly these envoys could raise this diagnosis in just a few days because we know what’s behind it. It’s been a long time since there are bad Dominicans involved in lucrative institutions which have been pitching game for countries or external sectors who compete with the Dominican Republic in areas such as tourism, commerce and investment in diverse branches of the economy,  » $varhe said.

He also said the report lacks strong evidence and appear to have been drafted by the voices of those « turncoats” who only stand to gain from the situation, and warned that the country isn’t going to tolerate that ” anybody can come who wants to judge our laws and our constitution. » $var

« Our border with Haiti has its problems, is our reality and must be understood. It’s important not to confuse national sovereignty with indifference, and not to confuse security with xenophobia,  » $varMorales said Dominican Republic’s tradition is to fight for human rights and is proud to compare with any country its record in the issue.

Dominican Today, 30.10.07

President Leonel Fernández deplored the deaths and the destruction caused by the risings of the Nigua River in the section Madre Vieja in San Cristóbal, and said that he felt deeply affected by the tragedy that hundreds of families in all the country is living. ” I feel very affected by the drama of so many poor families who lost their material properties and the life of some of their members” , said Fernández after having observed the panorama of desolation under the bridge of the Nigua River, between the town of San Cristóbal and the sector Madre Vieja Sur.

At the school Las Américas de Manoguayabo, Fernández conversed yesterday with some 400 refugee people and he promised them the assistance of the government.

He said that he was personally devoted to the task of assistance and help to all the Dominicans affected by the floods and the rains of the storm.

Fernández ordered the search for a house to place several mothers with their new-born, some of them being sick.

In Madre Vieja, Fernández said to the journalists that the government devotes all its efforts to the rebuilding of the damage caused by the storm and to the

President Leonel Fernández deplored the deaths and the destruction caused by the risings of the Nigua River in the section Madre Vieja in San Cristóbal, and said that he felt deeply affected by the tragedy that hundreds of families in all the country is living. ” I feel very affected by the drama of so many poor families who lost their material properties and the life of some of their members” , said Fernández after having observed the panorama of desolation under the bridge of the Nigua River, between the town of San Cristóbal and the sector Madre Vieja Sur.

At the school Las Américas de Manoguayabo, Fernández conversed yesterday with some 400 refugee people and he promised them the assistance of the government.

He said that he was personally devoted to the task of assistance and help to all the Dominicans affected by the floods and the rains of the storm.

Fernández ordered the search for a house to place several mothers with their new-born, some of them being sick.

In Madre Vieja, Fernández said to the journalists that the government devotes all its efforts to the rebuilding of the damage caused by the storm and to the

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