Daily News

Daily News - Friday, 05 February 2016 (Archived Daily News)

Best polo player in the world to play in Casa de Campo
(Image courtesy of casadecampo.com.do)

New early childcare center in Santiago

The National Institute for Early Childhood Care (Inaipi) has announced the opening of a day care center in Los Platanitos, Santiago province. This is the 28th daycare center opened nationwide by the program that is supervised by the First Lady's Office. The daycare center can accommodate 226 children under the age of five from 7am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

The new daycare center benefits children living in the low-income barrios of Ensanche Bolivar, Ensanche Hermanas Mirabal (La Yaguita), Ensanche Caonabo (Los Platanitos), El Ejido and Hoyo de Bartola, in Santiago.


Santo Domingo's largest convention center ready by May

Work is progressing on the construction of what will be the largest convention hall in the Dominican Republic at the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Mirex) Malecon headquarters. The hall will have seating for 4,500 people.

The government is building the convention hall in Santo Domingo to host the Ordinary General Assembly of the Organization of American States that is set for 13-15 June 2016, summits of foreign ministers and heads of government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and around 20 other international events starting June 2016. The inauguration is scheduled to take place before the general elections on 15 May 2016. In the past, most major conventions were held in the large convention facilities in hotels in Punta Cana on the east coast.

As reported in El Dia, the new center is an extension of the existing Ministry of Foreign Relations meetings center. Two new halls are being added as well as underground parking for 450 vehicles. The latest audiovisual technology is being incorporated at the center, which is being equipped to host meetings for between 200 and 4,500 people.

Mirex administrative director Freddy Radhames Rodriguez says that the decision to expand the existing meeting center at the Ministry of Foreign Relations was taken because marketing feasibility studies showed it was "the perfect place for infrastructure of this kind." He highlighted that the location in front of the Caribbean Sea and the existing 1,000 hotel rooms within walking distance on the Malecon itself complements the project. The budget for the convention center is RD$400 million.

According to Rodriguez, the Ministry plans to make the center available for all sorts of events organized by the government and the private sector at a relatively low cost. The center will be available for assemblies, religious events, workshops, and business and scientific conferences.


Private schools to issue birth certificates and IDs to students

The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has announced the signing of an agreement with the Union de Instituciones Educativas Privadas (UDIEP), the organization that represents private schools. The new agreement gives UDIEP members access to Civil Registry data in order to verify the identity of their students and their parents. The aim is to save the parents time and money and guarantee the identity of the mother, father or legal guardian of the students. Parents are required to provide the schools with a valid birth certificate for enrollment.

The JCE also commits to providing IDs to all students duly accredited with a birth certificate. The JCE will be assigning each student a unique identity number (NUI) that will become his or her identity number for life.

As part of the agreement, the JCE will provide the UDIEP with the tools for its affiliated schools to issue birth certificates for the students. The schools are responsible for maintaining confidentiality and only authorized persons will have access to the data of students enrolled in the educational center.

UDIEP president Olga Espaillat praised the JCE for contributing solutions to the educational sector. The UDIEP has more than 4,800 affiliated schools nationwide.

Roberto Rosario said that the pilot program would start with private schools but could be extended to the public school system in the future if it shows an interest.


Private schools want more authority

An incident involving a sexual act between students in a private school in eastern Santo Domingo has led private schools to ask for more control over their students.

The private schools union (Udiep) president, Olga Espaillat said that the ruling that governs both public and private schools does not allow them to penalize students who have made serious transgressions within the schools. She urged the Ministry of Education to review the ruling so that the schools can impose consequences for serious actions. Udiep oversees 4,845 private schools nationwide.

She expressed her concern after a video was widely shared on social media showing a young girl practicing fellatio on a fellow student in the presence of several classmates in a classroom. Espaillat said that the incident occurred last school year but is only circulating now.

Speaking to journalists during the signing of an agreement between Udiep and the JCE for the issuing of birth certificates, Espaillat stated that the prevalent permissive social norms are what cause inappropriate behavior to develop, as in this particular case that has been reported in social media.



Pathologist warns government is covering up violent deaths

Pathologist Sergio Sarita Valdez has reiterated his claim that the courts are sending fewer cases of violent deaths to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (Inacif) where he is head pathologist.

He said they are now seeing 70% fewer violent death cases at the Marcelino Velez Hospital morgue in Herrera, Santo Domingo West.

He said that more than 60% of the cases they are seeing are natural deaths with very few autopsies for violent deaths.

He said the decision to not send cases of violent deaths for autopsy to the Inacif was political, taken by the legal authorities. He said the Attorney General office has the right to decide whether or not to send a body for autopsy.

He said that the Inacif has resisted pressure from the authorities and is telling the truth. He said he knows of official death certificates issued by other entities in cases of natural death when the victim had actually been beaten to death. He said Inacif is a scientific organization and stated that a forensic pathologist could not be political to prevent having to accommodate results to convenience.

Sarita Valdez says that if the trend continues, the Inacif will cease to exist.





Greater Santo Domingo public hospital strike

Medical staff at most Greater Santo Domingo public hospitals went on strike yesterday, Thursday, 4 February 2016 as announced by their union, the Dominican Medical Association (CMD). Medical staff only treated emergency cases.

The strikers are demanding better working conditions and the completion of more than 50 hospitals under construction, while calling on the government to assign 5% of the GDP to public health.

The CMD has been organizing a series of strikes by region. Last week healthcare workers in the northern and southern regions went on strike, on Wednesday in the East and on Thursday, walkouts were scheduled for the National District and Santo Domingo province that make up Greater Santo Domingo.

Customs head to lead mayor's re-election bid

Santo Domingo mayor Roberto Salcedo who is seeking re-election to add four more years to his 14 years in office has chosen Customs Agency director Fernando Fernandez as his campaign director. Polls show the former TV host as the candidate to beat in what will be Salcedo's fourth bid for the post.


Alfonso, Cabrera poll gives 52.9% to Danilo Medina

A poll carried out 8-10 January 2016 by Alfonso, Cabrera y Asociados reveals that 52.9% of Dominican voters will vote for President Danilo Medina, 40.7% for Luis Abinader, and 4.7% for Guillermo Moreno. The remaining 1.7% of the vote was shared between the minority candidates. A total of 1,626 surveys were completed in the poll, which has a 2.43% plus or minus margin of error.

The company says that polls since March 2013 show President Medina consistently losing popularity. From March 2013 to January 2016, Medina lost 37.5 percentage points, while Luis Abinader gained 36.5 percentage points over the same period.

The comparison between Medina and Abinader over the years is:

March 2013: Medina 90.4%, Abinader 4.2%

October 2013: Medina 88.3%, Abinader 6.1%

January 2014: Medina 75.4%, Abinader 9.4%

October 2014: Medina 71.2%, Abinader 12.1%

January 2015: Medina 68.1%, Abinader 15.7%

July 2015: Medina 66.3%, Abinader 20.8%

October 2015: Medina 56.5%, Abinader 34.8%

November 2015: Medina 53.5%, Abinader 39.9%

December 2015: Medina 53.1%, Abinader 40.4%

January 2015: Medina 52.9%, Abinader 40.7%

Corruption major concern for Dominicans

Most Dominican voters perceive that corruption is on the rise. 55.8% said that corruption has increased in the Dominican Republic, compared to 20% who say it has declined. The January Gallup-Hoy poll also revealed that Dominican voters perceive there is more corruption in the government than before, 45.7% according to the January Gallup-Hoy poll, compared to 34.4% that say it has remained the same, and 19.2% that feel there is less.

When those surveyed were asked whether the government seemed interested in fighting corruption, 49.4% said the government was interested, while 44.4% said the government was not interested.

What is different this poll is that 49.4% of those surveyed described corruption as a serious problem, 41.4% as a very serious problem, and only 7% said it was not serious. In the past, Dominicans had a more relaxed attitude towards corruption.


Home arrest for judges Awilda Reyes and Arias Valera

Appeals court judge Antonio Sanchez Mejia has ordered house arrest for suspended judge Awilda Reyes Beltre and resigning judge Francisco Arias Valera, formerly of the Judicial Branch Council. They had originally been sent to pretrial custody in Najayo jail. Their lawyers presented proof that they had sufficient cause to prevent them from missing court appearances. The judge also removed the charges of asset laundering and violation of Law 72-02 on asset laundering from the case. The prosecution service has accused them of belonging to a criminal network. Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito, who presented the charges of the judges being part of a criminal network, now says he will appeal.

In another development in the judges criminal network case, lawyers for the relatives of the Pedro Brand city councilor's victims are saying that judge Francisco Arias Valera, now under house arrest for investigation after he was accused of belonging to a criminal network in the judiciary, had hidden RD$10 million in cash at his house. The judge is accused of allowing the release of the politician who was accused of contract killing of transporters in defense of another transport union's operations, as reported in Acento.

Lawyer Manuel Soto Lara, speaking for the relatives of the victims, says that the authorities have not wanted to go public with the information of the arrest of the security policeman who is accused of stealing RD$10 million from Arias Valera's house.

Soto Lara said that the Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito reported the arrest of the Police agent, but nevertheless removed the charges of asset laundering that had been placed against Arias Valera.

"How can Arias Valera justify having RD$10 million in cash in his house?" asked Soto Lara when stating there is a conspiracy to hide the crimes that not only Arias Valera and Reyes Beltre committed.

The lawyer says that the judge cannot justify having RD$10 million in cash or how he can afford the wealth he displays.

"How can anyone say there is no complicity when this event is being kept secret. This is conspiracy because this is a case when justice is judging itself," said lawyer Soto Lara.

Soto Lara represents several victims allegedly murdered on the orders of Pedro Brand city councilor Ericson de los Santos Solis. He reiterated that some evidence was being withheld by the judiciary.

The Attorney General accused Reyes Beltre of receiving RD$350,000 in return for issuing a habeas corpus to favor Ericson de los Santos on the direct orders of Arias Valera who was reportedly following orders from former Attorney General Radhames Jimenez Pena. The judiciary removed Jimenez Pena from the case.



El Caribe reporter seriously injured in UASD violence

El Caribe news group photographer Danny Polanco, who was covering violence at the UASD where professors and staff are on strike for higher wages while students are demanding the resumption of classes, suffered serious eye injuries yesterday, Thursday 4 February 2016. He was taken to the Centro Cardio-Neuro-Oftalmologico y Transplante (Cecanot) for emergency surgery and removal of two foreign objects from his right eye. Polanco says that the police agents sent in to control the student protest had fired the shots that injured him.

UASD professors are demanding a 40% wage increase, despite being by far the best paid of all university professors in the country.

El Caribe director Osvaldo Santana accused the police of brutality. "That is, the aggression was intentional, within the aggressive parameters of the police that is trained to kill," said Santana. He called on the police to identify the aggressor.



City prosecutors ask for RD$300,000 fine for streaker

National District prosecutors have requested pretrial detention and RD$300,000 bail for Carlos Montesquieu, who streaked across the field of the Quisqueya Stadium during the Caribbean Series on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 during the game between the DR and Venezuela. The use of the flag is considered a violation of the law on the use of national symbols.

Montesquieu, who ran across the field wearing only underwear and a Dominican flag as a cape, explained on social media he did so in response to a wager.


Consumer Agency fines baseball league for Homerun Derby

Pro Consumidor, the government consumer protection agency, has fined the Dominican Professional Baseball League (Lidom) and the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation (CBPC) for violating Law 358-05 in the promotion of the Homerun Derby event that took place on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at the Quisqueya Stadium. In the promotion, the event organizers promoted the participation of David Ortiz, Robinson Cano and Miguel Cabrera. A day before the event, the Lidom announced that the insurance requirements did not allow the players to take part. Several fans complained that the advertising had been misleading, and that they had purchased the tickets to see the legendary sluggers at play.

ProConsumidor fined Lidom with 60 minimum wages and said that Lidom would have to return the ticket price to any of the fans who did not attend the stadium due to their disappointment after the announcement that Ortiz, Cano and Cabrera would not be playing.

Former MLB player and possible candidate to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, Vladimir Guerrero did participate in the Caribbean Series Homerun Derby.



Last chance for DR to make Caribbean Series semi-finals

The Leones del Escogido, the team representing the Dominican Republic at the Caribbean Series taking place at its home park, the Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo, has lost all its games. Yesterday evening, Thursday 4 February 2016, in a game that went to 14 innings, Neftali Soto of the Cangrejeros de Santurce of Puerto Rico decided the game with a homerun. Fortunately for the Dominicans, Venezuela had defeated Cuba leaving the DR and Cuba tied with three losses, so the fourth place player in the semi-finals is yet to be decided.

The teams making it to the semifinals are Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

The crucial game between the DR and Cuba takes place at 7:50pm this evening, Friday 5 February 2016.

16th Century music concert at the Alcazar de Colon

Listen to 16th Century music by the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble at 11am tomorrow, Saturday, 6 February 2016 at the Alcazar de Colon stage in Santo Domingo's Colonial City. Free.


Oviedo exhibition at Indotel Telecom Cultural Center

Works by late artist Ramon Oviedo will be on show at the Centro Cultural de las Telecomunicaciones Indotel in Santo Domingo, starting with an inauguration on 9 February 2016 at 7:30pm. The exhibition includes 30 drawings by Oviedo on loan from collectors Fernando Baez Guerrero, Oriolis Olivero, Mario Martinez, Antonio Ocana and Omar Molina Oviedo. Ramon Oviedo was born in Barahona on 7 February 1924 and died on 12 July 2015. He is regarded as one of the leading Dominican painters of all times.

Ecos del Siglo 18 at Iglesia Regina Angelorum

Paul Silverthorne on viola, Janet Sung on violin and the Orquesta Camerata Colonial directed by John Thomas Dodson will be playing music by Handel, Mozart and Haydn at the Regina Angelorum church in Santo Domingo's Colonial City next Friday, 12 February 2016 at 8:30pm.

Tickets RD$2,000. Tickets for sale at Fundacion Sinfonia, Tel 809 532-6600.


Best polo player in the world to play in Casa de Campo

Adolfo Cambiaso, ranked the best polo player in the world, Juan Martin Nero, ranked third best player in the world, and David Stirling Jr. will be playing at the Casa de Campo polo field at 3:30pm tomorrow, Saturday, 6 February 2016. The game is a benefit as part of the Polo Challenge Dominican Republic 2016 being played at Casa de Campo in La Romana and Los Establos equestrian city in Cap Cana. The funds will go to charitable programs by the Patronato Benefico Oriental and the Fundacion Mir in La Romana.

Four consecutive tournaments will be held from January through April 2016. The event puts the Dominican Republic on the polo world map for the first time.

The event sponsors are Casa de Campo, Los Establos at Cap Cana and the Lechuza Club from Venezuela.

The schedule for the rest of the event, which started in January is:

Silver Cup: 28 January-13 February 2016

Gold Cup: 26 February-19 March 2016

For tickets, write to [email protected] or call 829 259-7172.

Read more about upcoming events at http://www.dr1.com/calendar

To read more news, see the DR1 News Archives at: http://dr1.com/premium/news/2015/index.shtml