JULY 2009

Launching of a new political movement

The First Lady candidate to the Presidency

BREAKING NEWS: SAN CRISTOBAL. – A new political movement called With Her we continue with Him was launched in San Cristobal, movement which seeks the nomination to the Presidency of the Republic of the First Lady Margarita Cedeño de Fernández.

The group was created and propelled by Nelson Morel, who is a type-setter, producer, representative and artistic promoter who, in addition to manage the career of popular artists, was the creator of the slogan The Return of the Progress used at the time of the electoral campaign 2004-2008 for the return of Leonel Fernández to the power.

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He also carried out jingles for leaders of the Party of the Dominican Liberation (PLD), among them Tommy Galán, Melanio Paredes, Manuel Güichardo, Gamalier Montás and Olgo Fernández.

Morel is also member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and was director of the General Society of the Authors, Composers and Editors of Dominican Music (SGACEDOM).

One doesn’t know if the campaign which was launched for the presidential candidature of the First Lady has the approval of the latter.

Dominican Republic Live, 01.07.09

Tourism Ministry starts nationwide beach cleanup

Safe and clean country’s coasts

BREAKING NEWS: The Tourism Ministry began the cleanup of Montecristi province (northwest) beaches and aims to do the same in those of Luper

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ón, Punta Rusia, Azua and Samaná, so Dominicans and tourists can visit the country’s coasts safely.

The cleanup is part of a program Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia started recently, to be expanded to almost all of the country’s beaches.

Ulises Regino, who heads the beach cleanup program, said Tourism wants Dominican and foreign beachgoers to enjoy the same benefits of a clean beach as any guest of a luxury hotel.

Dominican Today, 02.07.09

Dominican Republic takes part in Guyana’s Caribbean Comunity Conference

The country seeks the formation of mixed bilateral commissions

BREAKING NEWS: Dominican Republic participates in Caricom’s 30th Conference of Heads of State and Government which concludes July 5 in Georgetown, Guyana, where the regional bloc’s relations will be analyzed.

In this opportunity, the country reaffirms its commitment to bolster the ties with Caricom, in attention to the region’s new realities and in pursuit to the commitments jointly assumed like Caribbean Forum (Cariforo) Member States, said Trade Negotiations Commission secretary, Cesar Dargam.

He said as part of the process, a delegation recently visited the country to analyse the current relations, on which he Dominican authorities were coherent by stating their desire to reach a more participative and transparent forum to benefit the region.

Within the proposals, Dargam noted that the country seeks the formation of mixed bilateral commissions to work with the priorities generated in several Member States.

Dominican Today, 03.07.09

Natural gas would save a billion dollars

Mass use to start in December, but no regulations as yet

BREAKING NEWS : The market for natural gas, the cheapest fuel in the world, will save the country US $1.0 billion in its balance of payments plus another US $300 million in electricity production, and when the market for this fuel develops the positive impact could even be greater.

Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that contracts with four firms have been signed to develop the natural gas (NG) market in the country, the regulations that will control the development and merchandizing of the fuel that are supposed to be drawn up by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce are not yet ready. The completion of the « cryogenic » gas pla

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nt that is supposed to be done by the end of the year and which will supply the natural gas is still pending.

The cryogenic gas is nothing more than natural gas in liquid form and the terminal that is being built at Punta Caucedo will permit the transport of the gas in this state to industry, hotels, and vehicle filling stations and bring huge savings of US $1.0 billion to the country.

Marco de la Rosa, the president of AES Dominicana, reported that the company signed several contracts with companies like Soluciones en Gas Natural of the Lama Group, GFS Dominicana, Tropigas Dominicana of the Marti Group, Propagas for the Linea Clave Group and a company from the United States that will come to the country.

He said that the object was to extend the benefits of natural gas to other sectors. These companies, according to de la Rosa will be in charge of distributing the cryogenic NG in the country. The gas will be supplied by the plant at Caucedo that is scheduled to be ready by mid-December of this year.

The idea is that they are going to begin to open the service stations that will provide natural gas for vehicles. Meanwhile, while everyone is waiting for the gas terminal to be finished, and the regulations that will accompany the development of this market to be drafted, according to de la Rosa.

It is expected by year’s end, when the service stations begin to function, and already Linea Clave has one on the Las Americas Highway, and other companies have aggressive plans for expansion, that there will be dozens of stations that will change the nation’s vehicles to natural gas.

In 2008, when the prices of oil hit US $80 a barrel, natural gas was at US $8, a 10:1 relation and it was still very competitive. Today the relation is 20:1, with the price at US $3.80/MBTU, he explained.

The Change

Each day natural gas is a more competitive fuel and one on which you can bet in the Dominican Republic.

Marco de la Rosa says that because of the investments that have been made in the country, the benefits of having brought natural gas are very large, but what’s seen in the future is the development of this market. He said that the investment of AES goes beyond the electricity sector. He said that they are going towards a radical change in the basic energy patterns from petroleum based energy to natural gas and coal.

Diario Libre, 06.07.09

Dominican Republic is the world’s 2nd happiest country

Report on happiness and satisfaction with life

BREAKING NEWS: SAN JOSE.- Costa Rica is the world’s happiest country, followed by Dominican Republic, according to a report on happiness and satisfaction with life by a British organization, which evaluated 143 countries that gather 99% of the planet’s population, affirmed the Costa Rican press Saturday.

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In Costa Rica, 85% of those consulted stated their feeling satisfactorily happy in this country Central America’s most prosperous and politically stable, according to newspaper La Nacion, which published the British organization The New Economics Foundation’s happiness index.

Dominican Republic occupies second place, followed by Australia, whereas the United States ranked 114th and Zimbabue in last (143) the newspaper said.

In the previous report in 2006, Costa Rica occupied second place, after Vanuatu, a Pacific archipelago.

The index measured three variables: life expectancy when born, satisfaction level expresses by the inhabitants and the ecological practices of each country.

In Costa Rica, life expectancy when born is 78.5 years; 85% of the Costa Ricans surveyed said they are happy and being satisfied with their life, and the country is close to reaching a balance between what’s consumed and what the natural resources offer said Nic Mars, one of the report’s authors.

Dominican Today, 07.07.09

Wages go up 15% retroactive to 1 June

Minimum wages will now be RD $5,158, RD $5,819 and RD $8,464

BREAKING NEWS : The increase in the minimum wage was approved yesterday for workers in the non-sectored (free zones and such) private sector, and they will mean increases of RD $

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673, RD $759, and RD $1,104 a month.

For a worker whose minimum salary is RD $4,485, which is the lowest allowed, the 15% increase will be RD $673 and raise his pay to RD $5,158. Divided by 30 days a month equals a daily pay rate of RD $172. The increase of 15% equals RD $22 per day.

If the worker earns RD $5,060 and gets the 15% increase, which is equal to RD $759 a month, his salary increases to RD $5,819 or RD $194 per day. The pay raise is equal to RD $25.30 a day. However, when the 15% pay hike is applied to the largest of the minimum wages which isRD $7,360, the workers salary goes to RD $8,464.

The 15% increase to the RD $7,360 represents RD $1,104. The new salary rate is RD $282 per day and the pay increase is RD $37 per day.

Yesterday, the government representatives and the representative of the Confederation of Management (Copardom) in the National Committee on Salaries approved the increase in the non-sectored private sector minimum wages without the vote of the unions and retroactive to 1 June. It is expected that the new wage rates will be seen in the first paychecks of this month.

Immediately the union syndicates, headed by Rafael Abreu, rejected the increase and announced that they would challenge the manner in which the decision was reached before the competent authorities.

But what would workers earning a minimum wage of RD $8,464 or RD $282 a day, or one earning RD $5,819 or RD $194 a day or one earning RD $5,158 or RD $172 a day, buy with this money ?

The basic family food basket is said to be around RD $21,000, according to economists from the Central Bank. If the now largest minimum salary is subtracted from that figure, there is still a deficit of RD $12,536, and if the same operation is done with the next smallest of minimum wages, RD $5,819, there is RD $15,181 missing and if it is done with the smallest minimum wage, RD $5,158, the difference would be RD $15,842.

The majority of employees, some 62% in the first quarter of this year according to the Social Security Treasury, equal to 740,277 workers, earn less than RD $10,000, and buy in colmados where prices are higher.

The average family is composed of five persons. If they consume a pound and a half of rice, they will pay RD $37.50, a half a pound of beans will cost RD $20, a liter of milk RD $50, a pound of spaghetti RD $20, 10 pieces of bread are RD $50, and if eggs, oil and chocolate are added, there goes the RD $373 daily wage with nothing left over for transportation and no money for services.

Reality

Marisol Vicens, the president of Copardom, said that she considered the 15% wage increase the best and most sensible solution possible, and it represents an additional RD $72 billion flowing into the economy.

She said that the business sector was not capable of making retroactive payments to 1 April as the labor sector had demanded. The director of the National Committee on Salaries, Gloria Henriquez, said that in spite of the absence of the labor representative and the challenges that might result from this decision, the pay increase is a reality.

Diario Libre, 08.07.09

Spain increases its investments and its co-operation in Dominican Republic

Optimism

BREAKING NEWS: The world economic crisis which also had a significant impact on Spain is not affecting the co-operation and the investments carried out by this country in Dominic

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an Republic, which even present an ascending line.

This was ensured by Ambassador of Spain, Diego Bermejo, who declared that the visit of president Leonel Fernández in Madrid had as result that Dominican Republic is re-elected as priority country for the Spanish co-operation.

During the four last years, the contribution was around 23 million Euros.

It will continue in the same manner like during the previous years. To guarantee that the co-operation will follow, during the visit of president Fernández, we signed the seventh Joint Committee of Co-operation between Dominican Republic and Spain expressed Bermejo.

The Spanish diplomat is very optimistic as for the projects that Spanish investors concluded in the country, which until now are of approximately 4 billion dollars, money especially invested in tourist companies.

He indicated that they strengthened the investments in tourism and he posed the possibility of more influencing the sector of the banks, the insurances, the telecommunications and the business in general. Moreover, the Spanish investment is exploring other sectors out of the tourist one, like housing construction and renewable energies, in particular wind energy and bio fuels.

The Spanish government considers as adequate the way in which the country is managing the funds it receives from this community, and the similarities of priorities that the two governments have support that the Dominican Republic can benefit of the Spanish economic support, affirmed Bermejo.

The diplomat states that the Dominican government gives the priority to the democratic government, rural development, decentralization, the fight against violence and the environment, which is in agreement with the requirements of Spain to grant financings, which during this year will present a light increase compared to 2008.

In times of crisis, it is necessary to show solidarity and although Spain is also undergoing problems, Dominican Republic deserves our confidence because till now, it managed adequately aids which was given to it. It is fighting for the eradication of the poverty which is our main goal, expressed the ambassador.

Dominican Republic Live, 09.07.09

Dominican President off to the Middle East

To participate in the 15th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries

BREAKING NEWS: President Leonel Fernandez will head to the Middle East Friday, in an official visit to Israel and to participate in the 15th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries (NOAL), to be held this year in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt.

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The chief executive will depart Friday morning to New York, where he’ll board a commercial flight to France, to sign a cooperation agreement with UNESCO, and from there to Israel on Sunday, for the start of the official visit to last until Tuesday.

On Monday Fernandez will be received by Israel prime minister Shimon Peres in Tel Aviv, where he’ll visit the Holocaust Museum to lay a wreath, among other ceremonies, and visit the Knesset in the afternoon.

On Tuesday Fernandez will visit the community Hadera to observe an electrical complex and the kibbutz Shefayim, to learn of the Israelite community’s farming experience. He’ll return to Tel Aviv In the afternoon, to meet with Israeli industrialists interested in investing in the country, including its advantages and businesses opportunities.

After the official visit the chief executive will fly Wednesday to Egypt for the Summit of Government and Heads of State, from July 15 to 17.

Egypt president Hosni Mubarak will receive him on Thursday, for the start of the Summit’s work sessions until.

Fernandez will then fly to Cairo, where he was invited by The American University for a gathering of academicians and students and will also visit the Political and Strategic Training Center El Ahram, where he’ll meet with Egyptian intellectuals, politicians, researchers and sociologists interested in cultural bonds with the Caribbean nation.

Fernandez will fly aboard a commercial flight to London on Saturday, July 18 and return to New York for the return flight that will bring from return to the country Sunday, July 19.

His delegation includes the first lady Margarita Cedeño, Chief of staff Cesar Pina Toribio, Administrative minister Luis Manuel Bonetti, the Press director Rafael Núñez, among others.

Dominican Republic Live, 10.07.09

In Israel Dominican President hails the importance of peace, tolerance

Signature of several agreements

BREAKING NEWS: JERUSALEM.- Dominican Republic president Leonel Fernandez on Monday stressed the importance of developing a culture of peace and tolerance midway through his official visit of Israel, which he said looks to consolidate relations between both countries.

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Fernandez, who today began in Jerusalem the official agenda of his three day visit, met early Monday morning with his Israeli par Shimon Peres, and thanked him for his dedication to the cause of freedom by everybody. The objective of my visit is to consolidate our relations with Israel, to know more about each other.

Dominican delegation sources told the news agency Efe that the two parts mull the signature of several agreements in areas such as energy, justice and agriculture, and that tomorrow, in an economic gathering, will look into joint business opportunities.

Fernandez, the second Dominican President to visit Israel after Hipólito Mejía in 2003, visited the Holocaust Museum, where he was moved by the immense suffering of the Jewish people during World War II. This memorial is a faithful testimony of that tenebrous moment in contemporary history.

Monday evening Fernandez will also visit the Knesset, with officials and with opposition leaders.

After the official visit the Dominican president will fly to Egypt, where he’ll be the spokesman for the ousted Honduras president Manuel Zelaya, in the Summit of Non-Aligned Nations, from Wednesday to Friday.

Dominican Republic Live/Dominican Today,13.07.09

Leonel Fernandez winds up Israeli visit

Bilateral cooperation

BREAKING NEWS: : With pledges to assist the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if the Dominican Republic obtains a seat on the UN Security Council, President Leonel Fernandez brought the official part of his trip to Israel to a close.

Fernandez made these comments during a meeting with speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin.

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Fernandez suggested that Israel should step up its efforts to establish closer relations with Latin America so the region may be more aware of the realities of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

During their meeting, President Shimon Peres showed President Fernandez electric cars manufactured in Israel.

Peres said that he believed they could be a way of reducing the DR’s dependency on oil imports. Peres pointed out that Israel is a leading innovator in this technology and that they were willing to share this with the Dominican Republic.

The Jerusalem Post reported that President Shimon Peres and President Leonel Fernandez had reached an agreement for in-depth bilateral cooperation on solar energy, technology, agriculture and water conservation.

During his working visit to Israel part of a 10-day visit to the Middle East, Fernandez was given an official reception by Peres on Monday. The Jerusalem Post made the point that Fernandez was accompanied by a large delegation that included the ministers for export and investment, national infrastructure and the office of the presidency as well as leading business figures in the fields of energy, industry, real estate and tourism.

Today the President travels to Hadera to look at a coal-fired electricity complex and meet with sector representatives. Then he will visit a kibbutz in order to understand the Israeli farming experience.

In the afternoon, he will meet with businesspeople to discuss opportunities and advantages of doing business in the Dominican Republic.

DR1, 14.07.09

Leonel Fernandez finishes his visit to Israel

Establishes relations with Palestine

BREAKING NEWS: Jerusalem.- President Leonel Fernandez wound up his official three-day visit to Israel; but before leaving for Egypt he had important meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu and a group of Israeli businessmen, who he tried to convince to invest in the Dominican Republic and establish economic ties.

Fernandez also visited the Israeli Electric Corporation and the milk production plant for Afimilk.

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During a private meeting in the offices of the Prime Minister in the Israeli Parliament, Fernandez and Nethanyahu agreed to hold a working meeting during next September’s opening sessions of the United Nations in New York.

They also reviewed the bilateral issues of interest to both countries.

The Israeli official showed he was willing to collaborate with the Dominican Republic in areas of education, technology transfers, the installation of greenhouses all over the country, and commercial exchanges, all of which would contribute to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

Likewise, President Fernandez expressed the intention of the Dominican government to take advantage of the Israeli cooperation in areas of technology, university exchange programs and the search for markets for those products in which the two countries can work together.

From Isreael, President Fernandez went on to Egypt to participate in the XV Summit of Non-Aligned Nations (NOAL). There, at Sharm El Sheik, he signed, together with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the documents that formally establish formal relations with Palestine.

The government leader and other chiefs of state and heads of governments that participated in the NOAL Summit will be welcomed today by Egyptian President Mohame Hosni Mubarak, after which the working sessions will begin. The summit is scheduled to close tomorrow.

Fernandez will head to Cairo after the summits ends its sessions, and attend a speaking invitation by the American University in the Egyptian capital establishes relations with Palestine

Diario Libre, 15.07.09

Dominican Republic invited to African Union Summit

Guest of honor

BREAKING NEWS: Sharm el Sehik.- Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi announced that Dominican Republic has been invited as an observer to next January’s African Union Summit, during a meeting with his Dominican par Leonel Fernandez during the Non-Aligned Nations Summit taking place in this Egyptian city.

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The Libyan chief executive, who received Fernandez in a villa in the resort Gran Rotana said the Caribbean nation’s leader will be the guest of honor in the summit which gathers all African states.

Gaddafi stated his desire to appoint a permanent ambassador in the Dominican Republic, which had established diplomatic relations since 2006, whereas Fernandez pledged to designate a Dominican ambassador in Tripoli.

The two leaders stated their interest in bolstering bilateral relations.

Dominican Today, 16.07.09

Leonel Fernandez works hard in Cairo; NOAL Summit closes

The Dominican leader was chosen as the reader by a unanimous vote

BREAKING NEWS: CAIRO.- During the continuation of his official trip through the Middle East, President Leonel Fernandez arrived yesterday in the Egyptian capital, where today, Friday, he will have an intense agenda of activities after being cloistered in the city of Sharm el Sheik for the XV Non-Aligned Summit (NOAL), an event in which he was unanimously elected to be the reader of the summit conclusions.

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The Dominican leader will visit, a 9:00 in the morning, the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies, where he will meet with Egyptian intellectuals, politicians, researchers and sociologists interested in closer cultural ties with the Dominican Republic.

Later on, at 11:00 a.m., he will be received at the American University in Cairo (AIUC), by the vice-rector Ali Hadi. While there, he will visit the university’s facilities, and talk with students, where he will meet with Carmen Feliz, a Dominican who is part of the Harvard exchange program for Advanced Arab Studies, among other activities.

NOAL Summit concludes

With the approval of the Declaration and the Document, in which they insist on their position of a multilateral world, the NOAL Summit came to a close yesterday.

The NOAL is determined to revitalize and reinforce the role and influence of our movement as the main political platform for representing the developing world in multilateral forums, in particular, the United Nations, says the Declaration, approved yesterday by the vote of 118 nations that form the movement.

At the same time, the document makes a special reference to the international economic and financial crisis. The non-aligned countries underlined the fact that, in spite of the crisis that was caused by the developed world, the developing countries were the most affected.

As a solution they proposed a fundamental reform in the international financial and economic systems, as well as the structure, in order to reinforce the voice and participation of the developing countries in the decision process. They also called for the reform of the United Nations and especially the Security Council.

The situation in the Middle East, the conflicts in Africa, the recent coup in Honduras and the economic and commercial blockade of Cuba were also mentioned in the document.

Diario Libre, 17.07.09

Dominican Republic leads region

In expediting exports

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BREAKING NEWS: Dominican Republic competes with Panama as the region’s leading nations in the most expeditious export process, and is ranked among the world’s 20 best in this area, affirmed National Competitiveness Council (CNC) president Andres Van der Horst Alvarez.

The official said the ranking was issued to the country by Global Enabling Report, in its latest publication of 2009, which places Dominican Republic and Panama in 18th place among the world’s nations with the fastest export process, and ahead of all Latin American nations.

Dominican Today, 20.07.09

Government agrees to pay generators

This month it will disburse US $30 million

BREAKING NEWS: President Leonel Fernandez decided yesterday to search for immediate alternatives in order to get a hold on the energy crisis. He convened a meeting in his office in the Presidential Palace with the representatives of the electricity generators with whom he agreed to make a payment this week of US $15 million and guaranteed the payment of the deficit of US $700 million estimated for 2009.

With regards to the rest of the month, the Government has planned to pay another amount similar to the US $15 million for a total of US $30 million.

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The meeting with the chief of state and the private generators took place less than 24 hours after the President returned to the country at the end of his 10 day trip to the Middle East.

During his absence there was a near total collapse of the electric system, including last Thursday, when there was a total blackout of the entire country.

The meeting included representatives of EGE-Haina, the Transmission Company, and the AES Dominicana Group, and Radhames Segura, the vice president of the Dominican Corporation of State-owned Electricity Enterprises (CDEEE) also took part.

After the encounter, Segura offered a press conference in the Orlando Martinez Room of the Presidential Palace. He explained that the latest wave of blackouts is due to the increased demand for electricity as a result of the heat wave that is affecting the Dominican Republic.

We have arrived at an agreement with the AES Group that operates the greatest number of generating plants in the country, which will provide US $15 million to bring a shipload of additional gas that could put the AES Andres on line together with the turbine of Dominican Power Partners (DPP), simultaneously, for an additional 390 megawatts. The two units will be able to operate continuously until 31 August, according to Segura.

Diario Libre, 21.07.09

Leonel Fernandez will meet media directors

At the Presidential Palace

BREAKING NEWS: President Leonel Fernandez called for a new meeting this Thursday with the directors of the media at the Presidential Palace. The meeting will deal with the complaints of alleged acts of corruption in state institutions, which, over the last weeks have sullied the image of the government and caused diver

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se sectors to demand action against the wrongful use of the state’s resources.

The dialogue will occur during a luncheon, programmed for noontime, in the dining hall of the seat of government, to which the directors of radio, television and print media have been invited.

Meeting with the principle shapers of public opinion to deal with issues that have gotten the public’s attention and with which the government has been put in a crossfire has become a new way of doing things for the leader and his communication team.

The most recent meeting using this tactic was last 24 June in which President Fernandez defended the sale of 49% of the shares of the Dominican National Refinery (Refidomsa) to the government of Venezuela, a sale that had been heavily criticized by the private sector.

Besides that, on 3 June, in the face of the questioning it received, the chief of state was forced to explain, during a similar dialogue, the details of the transaction that led to the acquisition of the Ede-Este electricity distributor.

Diario Libre, 22.07.09

Rains continue after wave passes

Public Health issues an epidemiological alert to avoid outbreaks

BREAKING NEWS: The tropical wave that is affecting the country is moving away from the national territory.

However, according to the National Meteorological Office (ONAMET), the clod cover associated with the tropical wave will continue to produce rains over parts of the Dominican Republic.

As a result, the organizations that provide help and assistance are still on Red and Yellow alerts in 17 provinces and an epidemiological alert was issued to avoid outbreaks of sickness caused by the rains.

Bautista Rojas Gomez, the head of the Ministry of Public Health, reported that all of the personnel of the Emergency and Disaster Departments are working in the provinces that are under Red Alert, with the idea of avoiding outbreaks of sicknesses like dengue, malaria or leptospirosis.

Until yesterday afternoon, the Center for Emergency Operations (COE) had reported the death of one person due to lightening as well as some 200 houses flooded in San Cristobal, as a result of the Nigua and Yubazo rivers overflowing their banks.

It was also reported that 75 persons had been forced to leave their homes.

According to Onamet, the rains will continue and they will be accompanied by thunder and lightening and occasional strong winds, with greater intensity in the South, Northeast, and the Central Mountains where there are flood and landslide possibilities.

Diario Libre, 23.07.09

Leonel Fernandez affirms a will to fight corruption

President explains Government efforts to prevent it

BREAKING NEWS: Saying I have no protégés and whoever does not obey the law will go home , President Leonel Fernandez set the tone for his conversation with the media directors yesterday.

During the luncheon, he reviewed the efforts that the Government has undertaken to prevent and combat administrative corruption.

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The President was accompanied by the Presidential Minister, Cesar Pina Toribio, his Administrative Minister, Luis Manuel Bonetti, the Minister of Public Administration, Ramon Ventura Camejo, his press director Rafael Nuñez, the Controller General of the Republic, Simon Lizardo, Eric Hazim, the director of Government Purchasing, Otoniel Bonilla the director of the Department for Persecution of Administrative Corruption and Maria Felicia Gutierrez the Vice Minister of the Hacienda.

He explained the process of legislative reform that is to bring about transparency in public management and strengthen the internal controls of Public Administration that has been going on since 2005, pointing out tangible results in the application of these measures.

Fernandez indicated that in the central administration, in the State ministries, the changes are notable, but there are still weaknesses in the decentralized areas.

He said that what has been talked about are the irregular practices in the organisms and not fraud. He said that the hyper-corruption has diminished thanks to the new controls.

Reports from sectors

Lawyer Pina Toribio opened the presentations of the sectors, explaining the role of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, and following that, Maria Felicia Gutierrez explained the integrated system of governmental financial administration.

At this point, the President injected a comment to point out that this was the the most profound reform of the administrative procedures in the history of the country, even though it implied a weakening of the Executive Power.

Following this, the Controller General of the Republic, Simon Lizardo Amezquita presented the advances of his unit, pointing out that 67 auditing units have been placed in the Central Government and 147 more are being prepared for the decentralized institutions.

He indicated that in the different audits they have found 7,400 who were collecting checks from two different government institutions.

During his intervention, Eric Hazim, the director of Government Purchases, gave a review of the advances in his department that has identified 10,564 providers of goods and services for the state.

The reports ended with the presentations of Otoniel Bonilla from DPCA and Ventura Camejo from the Ministry of Public Administration.

Summing up, the President pointed out that we have organized a system to prevent and fight corruption, We are not satisfied because it has not been applied in all of the State’s dependencies, but there has been and there is the will to fight this scourge.

Diario Libre, 24.07.09

Channeling might allow aggregates to be taken

Presidential Decree

BREAKING NEWS: Although they are in favor of the Presidential Decree that declares the emergency nature of the need to channel the principle rivers of the country, experts expressed their worry that the same work needed in the rivers would give rise to a new wave of sand and gravel extraction.

Both Luis Carvajal, a member of the Environmental Commission of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, and Petra Moreta, a former manager of civil engineering at the

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Hydroelectric Dams, said that they understand that the measure is important due to the serious state of the nation’s rivers and dams. Nevertheless, both experts warn about the risk of the process of channeling giving way to renewed extraction of sand and gravel.

The Executive Power emitted last week Decree 530-09 that declares the emergency need to channel, prepare and remove sediments from the Upper North Yaque, the Lower Yuna Basin, the Ozama, the Nizao, the Camu, the South Yaque, Lake Enriquillo, and the Azua and San Juan de la Maguana valleys.

The decree also creates a commission to promote the channelization of the rivers and to correct the problems of sedimentation in their watersheds and reservoirs in a sustainable manner, with the goal of reducing the risk of disasters that the rivers could cause to the population.

The commission, made up of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI), and the ministries of the Environment and Public Works among other entities, will meet beginning at 3:00 this afternoon. Among the functions of the new organization is that of approving, with it is felt to be convenient, the use of the material extracted, removed or excavated from the rivers or reservoirs…

INDRHI has already identified 80 critical points along rivers all across the nation that should be taken care of, according to a report from this entity.

What gets our attention is the fact that the channelization can be concentrated in such a way to avoid the restrictions that exist regarding the extraction of sand and gravel from the rivers and now there begin to appear genies that locate those rivers in order to initiate a new wave of extraction, warns Carvajal. He said he felt that the measure by the President lacks technical good sense, and political vision, but rather it goes into a law on territorial organization.

He coincided with Moreta in that the functions of the new commission are the same as those attributed by law to the institutions that make up the commission, and therefore they are producing double functions. What I hope is that this will be a coordinating commission, because otherwise there is a duplication that I don’t see making any sense, commented Moreta.

Diario Libre, 27.07.09

Natural gas and wind projects

Huge investments

BREAKING NEWS: National Energy Commission director Aristides Fernandez Zucco says the construction of a natural gas plant that would produce 600 MW of energy and a wind power project that could produce as much as 600MW more energy will begin this month after the necessary agreements are signed.

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Zucco announced that a delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is in the country putting together the final details of the agreement.

He added that Juan Ormazabal from the Spanish Renewable Energy Council is heading the commission of UAE representatives, and is also representing an investment fund in the UAE.

Fernandez says that the UAE will invest a total of EUR500 million in the DR’s energy sector through the gas and wind power projects. The wind farms will be located in Puerto Plata, Monte Cristi and Azua.

There are also talks about a second UAE agreement that would pave the way for a natural gas plant that will inject 600MW of energy, involving an investment of EUR700 million.

DR1, 28.07.09

Fernandez inaugurates works

In southern region

BREAKING NEWS: Azua.- President Leonel Fernandez had a busy agenda in the country’s south region yesterday, cutting the ribbon on two apartment complexes and a hydroelec

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tric in this province.

The apartments, located in Sabana Yegua, were assigned to 64 victims of the storms Olga and Noel, and to 72 families in the village El Carrizal.

National Housing Institute (Invi) director Alma Fernandez said the 136 apartments were built at a cost RD $124.1 million.

In his tour of the southern region, the chief executive also turned on the machine bought by the government to dig the 13 kilometer tunnel for the Palomino hydroelectric dam near San Juan de la Maguana.

Fernandez also cut the ribbon for the start of operation of the hydroelectric at Magueyal, Azua, which will generate 3.2 megawatts.

Dominican Today, 29.07.09

NASA, Puerto Rico experts to analyze what climate change means for Dominican Republic

Effects in the region

BREAKING NEWS: NASA experts and Puerto Rican scientists will debate the Dominican Republic’s challenges on climatic change in a seminar by the National Council on Climatic

Environment v011

Change and Mechanism for Clean Development (CNCCMDL), the Global Foundation Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE), the Environment Ministry and the Dominican Telecom Institute (Indotel).

The atmospheric science activity will be held August 3 and 4 in FUNGLODE, said Indotel president Jose Rafael Vargas, who invites scientists, professionals and those interested to that attend the seminar.

He said experts from NASA, the U.S. Geologic Survey, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Puerto Rico Seismology Center will talk about the effects of climatic changes in the region.

Puerto Rico University’s doctor Wilson Ramirez will be a featured lecturer, whose research is funded by the U.S. Geologic Survey and the Defense Department.

Dominican Today, 30.07.09

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