Daily News - Monday, 20 May 2013 (Archived Daily News)
- Medina's Sunday tour offers RD$80 million
- President issues health and safety decrees
- Changing the Dominican fuel matrix
- Gold prices fall; threaten DR income
- Mission from Trinidad visits
- Flacso to meet in Santo Domingo
- Vargas calls for attention for Police reform
- SCJ judge thinks Criminal Process Code needs modifications
- Attorney General says he will fight exploitation of women
- Two Haitians arrested for child exploitation
- Two crimes in Naco make headlines over weekend
- The COE maintains green alerts
- Sunset meditation at Plaza de Espana
Medina's Sunday tour offers RD$80 million
President Danilo Medina visited Pedernales and Neiba in the southwest and Monsenor Nouel in the central area of the country over the weekend of Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May and offered help with financing crops for about RD$80 million.
He met with members of a coffee cooperative in Pedernales. The President promised to consider their request for money to expand organic coffee harvests and to plant mangos.
In Neiba, El Caribe reports that the President agreed to finance some RD$16 million for the construction of an irrigation canal, and offered two million pesos for repairing local rural roads in response to requests from the cattle farmers who are managing the Tres Luces project. Farmers' associations in Baitoa Arriba and Baitoa Abajo, some 200 families, will receive property titles to some 2,500 tareas (one tarea is equal to 629 square meters) of lands that they work.
In the central province of Bonao, President Medina met with oregano and cilantro farmers who outlined their needs for a packing facility. Medina was able to offer RD$30 million in working capital and construction money.
President issues health and safety decrees
President Danilo Medina issued three decrees 119-13, 120-13 and 121-13 over the weekend of Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May. According to Listin Diario, the decrees created three entities: The National Public Safety Council, the Public Safety Observatory's Technical Operational Unit, and the National Roundtable on Safety, Citizenship and Gender. At the same time the President presented a legislative proposal for the Organic Law of the National Police to the National Congress. This legislation will redefine and restructure the national police department.
President Danilo Medina also sent a bill to the Senate aimed at placing hospitals in the Social Security system under the Ministry of Public Health. The government proposes to decentralize hospital administration according to regions. The bill creates the National Health System that seeks to improve the organization of public health services. The system will be coherent with the General Health Law 42-01 and the Dominican Social Security System Law 87-01.
Changing the Dominican fuel matrix
In three years time, 90% of power will come from coal, natural gas or hydroelectric generation. If the government's plans for the electricity sector come to fruition, by 2016 when this administration ends its term, the fuel matrix of electricity generation will have changed from petroleum to a mixture of coal, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. Advances have already been made for the conversion to natural gas.
The goal is for fuel oils, which currently supply 52% of our electricity, to fall to just 4% with a corresponding reduction in electricity production costs of approximately US$600 to US$800 million a year.
The Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) is counting on 1,100 new megawatts of energy from two major projects: one of them includes the two 300 MW coal-fired generators and the other is the installation of a 500 MW generator fired by natural gas.
According to plans announced by CDEEE executive vice-president Ruben Jimenez Bichara, by 2016, the fuel matrix should comprise: 55% natural gas, 25% coal, hydroelectric, 15%, fuel oil #6, 4% and fuel oil #1, 0%. Wind power will provide 2% and solar power will provide 1%.
Gold prices fall; threaten DR income
Gold is a safe haven in times of crisis. Nonetheless, prices have begun to fall on the international markets over the last few days. On Friday, 17 May the price fell for the seventh straight session, its biggest downward streak in four years. It closed at US$1,362.20 per ounce, losing US$23.90, a 1.72% drop from the day before. This data from the commodity market of the New York Stock Exchange and which financial analysts and the Wall Street Journal are echoing, represent a break from the positive outlook held in the Dominican Republic. If this downward trend continues with gold prices, the resources that the government will receive will be less than projected.
The government, after the agreement reached with Barrick Gold, will receive US$2.2 billion over four years. For this year, they had projected receiving US$550 million from gold exports, but in the negotiations, the company made any additional benefits received by the DR conditional on the price of gold staying at US$1,600 per ounce on the international markets.
Over the last decade the price of gold has gone up steeply. The price has multiplied sevenfold, from US$200, and in 2011 it reached it historic high of US$1,920. Over the last 18 months, prices have varied between US$1,600 and US$1,800 per ounce, but since the month of April, the price of gold began to fall down to US$1,400, reaching a minimum of US$1,320 in the middle of last week.
Friday's fall, the biggest so far, resulted from an increase in the value of the dollar, after comments by an official of the Federal Reserve of the United States that the Fed would soon be able to reduce monetary relief. That day, the price of gold operated with a maximum overnight of US$1,388.60, and a minimum of US$1,359.30. On Thursday 16 May it closed at US$1,386.10 in New York.
The decrease in the price of gold, according to analysts, is linked to the strength of the dollar and with the fall in production in the Chinese economy, which has grown less than predicted, minimizing investors' hopes for the recovery of the world economy. Another factor was that last week, Cyprus announced that it planned to sell some of its gold reserves, which has increased concerns about the situation of the countries in the Euro zone. They cite, in addition, the fact that a "tug-of-war" in the gold market is going on between the strong purchases of physical gold in Asia and the sale of virtual gold, or gold-backed securities.
Mission from Trinidad visits
The president of the Trinidadian export agency, Robert Tang Yuk is leading a 25-person delegation from Trinidad on a visit to the Dominican Republic arriving today, Monday 20 and staying until Saturday 25 May. While the DR is already a major importer of natural gas from Trinidad, the mission seeks to increase trade between the two countries. The mission is focusing on the possibility of joint ventures and strategic alliances for marketing of goods and services in both countries. Yuk said that Trinidad has a large manufacturing sector and can sell products including food, beverages, electrical materials, construction materials, paper and packaging.
Yuk is chairman of the exporTT Limited, the export agency of the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Trinidad. He is also the chairman of a leading Trinidadian solar energy company.
Flacso to meet in Santo Domingo
This week, from Wednesday 22 until Friday 24 May, the Latin American Social Sciences Faculty (Flacso) is holding its XXXVI Board of Governors Meeting as well as the Second Meeting of the Steering Committee, as reported in Hoy. The meetings will take place at the Hotel Santo Domingo and at the Ministry of Foreign Relations building.
Vargas calls for attention for Police reform
The main opposition party, the PRD, is calling on its deputies to study the legislative proposal for reforming the National Police with great care. President Danilo Medina recently submitted the legislation to the National Congress. PRD president and spokesman Miguel Vargas said that given the importance of the police reform, the PRD deputies must make every effort to ensure that the bill establishes the effective basis for a true reform of the body that is supposed to preserve public order and safety. He stated that an effective police reform is part of the initiatives that the state needs to take in order to guarantee public safety. Vargas stressed that crime and violence have become problems that affect all areas of society, especially in terms of citizen security, the protection of assets and properties, so it is expected that the police reform will contribute to the control of this situation.
SCJ judge thinks Criminal Process Code needs modifications
The former District Attorney for the National District and now a judge on the Supreme Court of Justice, Alejandro Moscoso Segarra, is arguing for modifications to the Criminal Process Code that would allow the government and the Justice Department to fight crime and criminals more effectively.
To reduce crime, he also mentioned the need to eliminate social injustice and provide opportunities for the young people.
Moscoso Segarra gave an interview to Listin Diario while taking part in Dominican Week in the United States. He said that the increase in crime could not be attributed to weak judges. He argued for a crime policy that focuses more on prevention and effective resolution of cases.
Attorney General says he will fight exploitation of women
Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito has reiterated his concern over increasing prostitution in the Dominican Republic. In an interview with Diario Libre, he says prostitution is not a joke. "Many people laugh it off, and think it's trivial, but it cannot be discounted as trivial," he told reporters. He said that people smuggling and exploitation networks in the country were strong and well organized. Dominguez Brito pointed out that Dominican nationals are fourth in the world in sex trafficking, and most of this is due to recruiting work by the networks.
He said that is why he upholds the announcement that the government will arrest anyone caught soliciting prostitutes.
He said that women were held in conditions of semi-slavery, and are victims, both women as well as men. Dominguez Brito said he is concerned there are areas of the country where young women cannot go out at night because they fear being harassed and mistaken for a sex worker. He also mentioned the stigma Dominicans who travel abroad need to face. The AG expressed his concern that the country is being sold as a sex tourism destination.
Dominguez Brito says that the government is working to reduce sex trafficking in Sosua, Cabarete, Boca Chica and Las Terrenas.
Two Haitians arrested for child exploitation
Judge Jose Alejandro Vargas of the National District court has sent Haitian national Garib Joseph to preventive custody at the La Victoria jail, after being accused of operating a ring that exploited Haitian children by forcing them to beg on city streets. They are being investigated for people smuggling. His wife Roselette Louis, also from Haiti, was released after posting bond of RD$1 million, on the grounds that she is breastfeeding.
Since Thursday 16 May, the governments of the United States and Haiti, the Organization for International Migration, together with the Dominican authorities, have been taking part in an operation that rescued 58 Haitian children and teenagers, described as victims of people smuggling. The minors lived in Los Alcarrizos, in western Santo Domingo.
As reported in Listin Diario, prosecutor General Francisco Dominguez Brito said that the government would not allow children of any nationality to beg on city streets, and described them as victims of lucrative networks. "Not only are these mafias with criminal structures that force the minors to beg on city streets, but there are also parents who do the same, and we will be calling for their arrest in each case," said Dominguez Brito.
Prosecutor Moises Cordones accused Joseph and Louis of bringing six minors from Haiti to beg. The couple was arrested at Calle Juan Isidro Jimenez in Los Alcarrizos.
To put an end to the business, prosecutors are urging city dwellers never to give money to the beggars to stop the lucrative element of the exploitation. Prosecutor general Dominguez Brito emphasized that most of what is collected by the beggars goes directly to the pockets of their exploiters.
Two crimes in Naco make headlines over weekend
There has been a notable increase in police patrols in Santo Domingo's affluent Poligono Central. Nevertheless, two robberies made headlines over the weekend of Saturday 18 and Sunday 19.
A retired policeman was killed and another two men were injured in a shootout in Naco yesterday, Sunday 19 May. The Police reported that a 42-year old security guard, retired second lieutenant Faustino Medina Mendez was killed by several bullet wounds. He was on duty when the incident occurred. His co-worker Jose Julio Adames Nina was injured by a bullet in his left leg. The shooting occurred at 9am by Torre Cristal on Av. Tiradentes at the corner with Calle Carlos Sanchez, opposite the Claro telecom office at Torre Cristal.
The retired lieutenant and his assistant had arrived from Puerto Plata transporting three backpacks with an undisclosed amount of money. The guards, employees of Guardianes Lince, were on their way to deposit money at the Banco Providencial in Galerias de Naco when they were intercepted outside Torre Cristal, as reported in Hoy.
One of the assailants, Jairo Valenzuela Quirino, who shot at the two guards, was also injured. He was accompanied by two other criminals who escaped on a motorcycle. Valenzuela Quirino is being treated at the Francisco Moscoso Puello public hospital.
On Friday 17 May, the news covered the mugging of one of the grande dames of local TV and celebrity cook Socorro Castellanos in the same area. She is also the minister counselor of the Dominican Embassy in Cuba. She needed two stitches in the back of her head and was taken to the Corazones Unidos clinic for observation.
"It was horrible, traumatic and painful. I don't understand why if he took my chain, he beat me up and dragged me on the sidewalk. And that it should happen to me when I am so careful after my stroke," Castellanos told Hoy in a telephone interview. She was mugged at 8:30am on Calle Fantino Falco after attending mass at the San Judas Tadeo church for the third anniversary of her daughter Johana's death.
She said that before the mugging she noticed that the man was well dressed, did not look like a criminal, and was driving his motorcycle on the sidewalk. In retrospect, she says that she realizes he was planning the crime.
The COE maintains green alerts
With the National Meteorological Office (Onamet) forecasting some continued rains, the Emergency Operations Center (COE) is keeping its green alerts for four provinces: Monsignor Nouel (Bonao), San Pedro de Macoris, Hato Mayor and El Seibo. The COE is advising citizens to be on the watch for flooding from rivers and streams as well as landslides. Onamet says that the low-pressure trough that brought the rains is moving away from the island but there will be continued showers in the northeast, southeast and southwest, the Central Mountains and along the border. Another low-pressure system is approaching and is expected to reach the island on Wednesday 22 May and will bring rains as it interacts with a tropical low in the area.
Sunset meditation at Plaza de Espana
Art of Living in Santo Domingo is holding an afternoon of guided meditation open to the general public at the Plaza de Espana. The event also has the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism. It will take place on Sunday, 26 May, Mother's Day in the Dominican Republic, as of 5pm at the Plaza de Espana, facing the Columbus Alcazar.
The Plaza de Espana meditation event is part of the First Encounter for World Unity, a conference organized by the Arte de Vivir Dominican Republic chapter at the National Library in Plaza de la Cultura from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 May.
For more information, 809 338-4404 and firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://dr1.com/calendar