Daily News

Daily News - Thursday, 27 August 2015 (Archived Daily News)

Foreign Minister of Malaysia visits

Indotel says 2.1 million mobile phones disabled

Telecom companies have yet to issue formal replies to the complaint made by the Presidency Minister, Gustavo Montalvo, who accused telecom companies of continuing to activate mobile phones without due confirmation of the owners' identity. As reported, stolen cell phones are still being activated. Montalvo oversees the implementation of the 911 Emergency System.

Meanwhile the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) reported that as a result of Resolution 39-13 that ordered telecom companies to confirm mobile ownership, some 2.1 million mobile phone lines, or 28%, were disconnected, while 72% phone lines were confirmed. Indotel said that mobile stores that persist in activating mobiles without verifying the identity of the owners could lose their licenses.

The Presidency Minister said that the telecommunications companies are not doing their bit. During a meeting of the 911 Emergency System Board, Montalvo stated that "we are waiting for the country's telecommunications companies to comply with Indotel Resolution 39-13 that orders them to require, register and confirm the information of all people who contract their services."

Good news! Fuel prices to go down

In an announcement made yesterday, Wednesday, 26 August 2015, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose Del Castillo Savinon promised a significant reduction in fuel prices this weekend. The Hydrocarbons Law orders local prices to fluctuate according to the WTI crude oil price. The WTI crude oil price was at a low US$38.60 on Wednesday.

The measure of the fluctuations, nevertheless, has been at the discretion of the government that often fails to comply with the law.

The minister appeared to be responding to the PRM's recent criticisms the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for overpricing fuels in the application of the formula through which the weekly prices are set.

Speaking on Antena Latina, Del Castillo Savinon said that everyone is entitled to their opinion, especially under circumstances where fuel prices tend to be used to influence public opinion. He said that the regulations for the application of the Hydrocarbon Law allowed the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to not pass on entire upward or downward changes in the price of oil on the international markets to local consumers. He explained that in the case of high consumption fuels like diesel and gasoline, on occasions in which the price increases have been significant, the government has passed on partial increases and subsidized the difference.

Haiti reinforces its border with new police agents

An extensive Haitian police contingent was posted at the border near Ouanaminthe yesterday, Wednesday, 26 August 2015, leading to surprise and confusion among both Haitians and Dominicans and creating tensions. Meanwhile, unionized groups from Haiti warned that they would once again close their side of border gates on Friday, 27 August 2015 in protest at the detention of two containers laden with merchandise, one of which is in the customs area and the other in the possession of the Fenatrado truckers' union.

The Haitian police are maintaining their positions of vigilance and prevention. It is not known exactly what motivated the Haitian authorities to order these reinforcements. In the light of this situation and following the threats from the unions, Dominican traders planning to attend Friday's binnational market said that they would begin to take preventive measures. The containers are laden with sugar, cooking oil, cement, flour, clothing and other products. Their owners said that that the clothing had been imported from Panama, and that the sugar and other merchandise had been brought from Suriname and other countries in the area, using the Dominican Republic as a bridge. However, the fact that they have been detained is now causing major losses.

Meanwhile, Haiti's Communications Minister Francois Rothschild said via Twitter that his country would guarantee the safety of people crossing the border. Fenatrado has maintained a stoppage of freight traffic to Haiti since 3 August 2015 demanding that the government of Haiti ensure the safety of transporters and the goods. Rothschild said that Haitian police would arrest anyone who engages in vandalism with the purpose of preventing free circulation through the border. Fenatrado is demanding that the Haiti government assign a Minustah officer to each transporter for protection.


INDRHI director says water levels still critical

National Hydraulic Resources Institute (INDRHI) director Olgo Fernandez has expressed hope that this week's rains, caused by the remnants of former hurricane Danny, would help the watersheds and reservoirs that feed the country's irrigation systems. He said that the drought situation remains critical as water levels are still going down and that the hope is that the arrival of rains as of today, Thursday 27 August 2015 will ease the situation. He reiterated that water rationing would continue, with the priority on human consumption. Fernandez recalled that the drinking water shortage caused by the drought has been affecting the country for approximately two years, causing a reduction in the water supply. The INDRHI director said that there has been an 80% decrease in the water that they provide for irrigation this year.

In a related news item, the Santiago Water and Sewer Corporation (Coraasan) has announced water-rationing measures for the city because of a water supply deficit of 25,000,000 gallons per day. According to Listin Diario, demand is for 130,000,000 gallons per day while supply is only 106,000,000 gallons per day. As a partial solution to the problem, Coraasan director Silvio Duran ordered a fleet of tank trucks, 17 in total, to take water to the areas they have not been able to supply.

As has been widely broadcast, water levels at the Tavera Dam have increased slightly over the last few days, but not enough to increase the amount of water supply to consumers. According to Coraasan public relations director Dario Fernandez, the reservoir level was 312.65, when the desired level is 320.50.


Hospital ship carries out 204 ops

The visit by the United States Navy hospital ship Comfort provided hundreds of people with free medical treatment during its weeklong stay in Santo Domingo. A total of 204 surgical procedures and over 10,000 medical treatments were carried out under the organization of the Ministry of Defense, the US Southern Command and the United States Embassy, and in coordination with other Dominican government ministries and institutions. This is the third time that the ship has visited the Dominican Republic.

According to the final report, 112 of the procedures were in the areas of general surgery, orthopedics, trauma, ophthalmology, gynecology, ENT, plastic surgery, pediatric surgery and kidney surgery, and 93 surgical procedures to correct cleft palates and harelips. Patients were examined by a total of 956 doctors and nurses from the USS Comfort at the Handball Pavilion in the Parque Del Este and other places in the National District.

CP-15 mission operations began over the weekend of 14 August 2015, where NGO volunteers and military doctors from the Dominican Republic Ministry of Health worked alongside Comfort doctors to provide free medical and dental services.

Foreign Minister of Malaysia visits

The Commonwealth Roundtable in the Dominican Republic recently hosted Foreign Minister Anifah Aman of Malaysia during his visit to the Dominican Republic during a luncheon with members at the Santo Domingo Country Club. The president of the Commonwealth Round Table, Fernando Gonzalez Nicolas stated that the visit marked a new stage in Dominican Republic relations with Malaysia. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman is on a tour of the Western Hemisphere. Gonzalez said the trip was an opportunity to showcase the country's attractions and investment opportunities in the farming, industry and service sectors.

Aman expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome during his short visit and invited Dominican businesspeople to visit Malaysia.

Dominican Republic Industries Association (AIRD) president Campos de Moya, National Hotel & Tourism Association president Simon Suarez, Mining and Petroleum Chamber president Jose Sena, Dominican Electricity Industry Association executive vice president Milton Morrison and the president of the Vehicle Importers Association, Fernando Villanueva also attended the event.

Food poisoning among schoolchildren in Puerto Plata province

At least 105 students at four schools in the town of Luperon are reported to have suffered food poisoning yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 26 August 2015 after eating the school lunch, according to official sources. As reported in Listin Diario, some of those affected were treated at the Villa Isabela hospital and others were taken to the public hospitals in Los Hidalgos and Luperon.

Many were promptly released and sent home. Symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea, according the directors of the medical centers where dozens of parents assembled after hearing the news.

The affected students are from the Juan Benz school in the Ama de Belloso project, the Francisco Emilio Ortega school in the municipal district of Belloso, the Edilio Polanco school in Los Arquies and the Julio Enoi Colon school in El Higo, Luperon.

The school principals reported that the children began to experience problems after eating the lunch of white rice, codfish and pigeon peas.

The Ministry of Education's regional deputy director Marisol Martinez stated that the ministry would be investigating the causes.

DR Army seizes 432 bags of contraband garlic

Members of the Dominican Army seized 32 bags of contraband garlic coming from Haiti yesterday, Wednesday 26 August 2015 and arrested the truck driver carrying the cargo. The commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Battalion in Dajabon, Colonel Roberto Sosa, told reporters that the seizure had taken place at a military checkpoint in the sector of El Laurel. Sosa said that the driver, whose name has not been disclosed, was detained after presenting a Customs authorities certification that turned out to be forged.

Sobeida free to travel

Sobeida Felix Morel, who made headlines as the lover of Puerto Rican drug capo Jose David Figueroa Agosto, is now cleared to travel, following a decision by Judge Willys de Jesus Nunez. Felix was sentenced to five years in jail for her complicity with the drug baron. She served three years before being granted early release.


Expert says Medina administration failure in security issues

Security expert Daniel Pou says that the Medina administration has failed to improve security in the country because of a lack of emphasis on prevention. Pou criticized President Medina for his call for an exemplary sentence for the murders of a 19-year old student at the hands of three policemen and a former army officer in a case of attempted car robbery. He said the government was reacting instead of acting. He said the President should be calling for more preventive measures. He called on the government to consult advisors for prevention proposals that go beyond patrols.

He called for a purge of government security bodies whose members repeatedly commit crimes. He said it is not a judicial problem, but that many of the cases are not well prepared.

Pou said the time has come to create an external commission made up of people who are qualified in security to investigate the situation within the Police ranks.

Pou said that the only innovation introduced by this government has been the 911 system but that it is also a reactive system, while the new Citizen Security Observatory compiles statistics on crime for creating public policies for crime prevention.

He said the mixed patrols of military and police agents sent out on the streets by the government is but a way of reacting every time crime peaks.


Luguelin Santos sets NR in 400 race, is 4th overall

Luguelin Santos, winner of the silver medal in the event at the 2012 London Olympics, placed fourth in the fastest 400-meter race at the IAAF Championships in Beijing yesterday Wednesday 26 August 2015, clocking in at 44.1, a national record and personal best. Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa won the gold medal with a time of 43.48, LaShawn Merritt of the USA won silver with 43.65, a personal best, and 2012 London Olympics gold medalist Kirani James won the bronze with 43.78, also a personal best.

The IAAF website commented that it was the first time that the first three men clocked in under 44 seconds in the race.

The IAAF observed when reporting on Santos:

"Olympic silver medalist Luguelin Santos, fourth in a Dominican Republic record of 44.11, has the unwanted distinction of becoming the fastest non-medal winner in history at any championships."



DR loses to Japan, defeats Cuba in FIVB World Cup

The Dominican Republic women's volleyball team lost to Japan in a FIVB World Cup highly contested three-hour match that ended 2-3 games in Tokyo, Japan. The DR is now ranked in sixth place of 12 teams, behind Russia, USA, Japan, China and Serbia. The DR is next scheduled to play Serbia.

Previously, the DR defeated Cuba in the FIVB Women's World Cup taking place in Tokyo. The DR won 3-1 (22-25, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25) in the first round of the championship. The win was especially important because Cuba is the main regional rival in the quest for a slot in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Earlier, the DR defeated Kenya, Argentina and lost to Russia.

Read the FIVB detailed reports on the games.



Onamet is watching Erika

The Emergency Operations Center (COE) issued green alerts yesterday, Wednesday 26 August 2015, for the provinces of La Altagracia (Higuey), La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris, Greater Santo Domingo, Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris), Maria Trinidad Sanchez (Nagua) and La Vega due to flood risks in both urban and rural areas. The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) says that remnants of the system associated with former hurricane Danny could bring scattered showers today, Thursday, 27 August 2015 in those provinces as well as in El Seibo, Samana, Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo), Monte Plata, Sanchez Ramirez (Cotui), Monsenor Nouel (Bonao), San Cristobal, Peravia (Bani), Santiago Rodriguez, Dajabon and Montecristi.

Onamet is also closely monitoring tropical storm Erika, which is expected to reach Dominican shores early tomorrow, Friday 28 August 2015, bringing high surf and strong wind gusts, especially to the northeast. On Thursday morning, 27 August 2015 the storm was located 70km north of Guadeloupe and 20 km southeast of Antigua in the Lesser Antilles, with sustained winds of 85kph and moving west at 26 kph.

There are hopes that TS Erika, while a very disorganized storm that is expected to weaken further as it moves west, will bring beneficial rains to the Caribbean region, which is experiencing severe drought.

For today, Thursday, Onamet is forecasting scattered showers but high temperatures and humidity will prevail.


Climbing the highest peaks in the world

Dominican mountaineer Ivan Gomez presents an exhibition of photographs chronicling his climbs of the highest peaks in five continents in the central hall of the Sambil shopping mall on Av. John F. Kennedy in Santo Domingo. The climbs include his ascent to the top of Mount Everest in 2011.


Sergio Vargas: 180 Minutes concert

Leading merengue and bolero singer Sergio Vargas is booked for Thursday, 27 August 2015 at the Hard Rock Cafe Santo Domingo at Blue Mall. The 180 minutes of Sergio Vargas greatest hits start at 9pm.

Weekend in Bahia at Sala Ravelo

A romantic comedy, Weekend in Bahia, is being staged at the Sala Ravelo of the National Theater in Santo Domingo with Honey Estrella and Raeldo Lopez in the starring roles. The play, by Cuban playwright Alberto Pedro Torriente, tells the story of two lovers, Mayra and Esteban, who meet again after 20 years.

Thursday to Saturday, 27-29 August 2015 at 8:30pm and Sunday, 30 August at 6:30pm. Tickets are RD$700 at the National Theater box office.

Two more shows for Ricardo Arjona

Ricardo Arjona will be playing two additional shows at the Palacio de Deportes in Santo Domingo on Friday and Saturday, 28-29 August 2015 at 8pm. He is appearing as part of his "Viaje Tour", which has been a success in the 20 countries where it has been performed. The total of four shows represent a record at the Palacio de los Deportes.

The show is notable for its impressive scenery as a backdrop to Arjona singing all his greatest hits. It is part of the "Verano Presidente" season sponsored by the beer company. Tickets are RD$1,500, RD$2,500 and RD$4,500 and are for sale online at ticketexpress.com.do or through Uepa Tickets.

Festival del Merengue on the Malecon

The annual Festival del Merengue y Ritmos Caribenos will take place at the Plaza Juan Baron on the Malecon in Santo Domingo on Friday and Saturday, 28-29 August 2015.

Friday's free concerts will feature performances by the Merengue Big Band directed by Maestro Dioni Fernandez, Sergio Vargas, Joseito Mateo, Aramis Camilo, July Mateo (Rasputin), Benny Sadel, Diomedes, Feny Ortiz, Gavy Tito, Los Kenton and urban artists Milka and Don Miguelo. The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Brugal Rum.

Saturday's free concert lineup is Salsa Big Band by Maestro Victor Waill, with Sexappeal, Chiquito Team Band, Michel, David Kada and Edwin, Fernando Villalona and Los Teke Teke.

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