Fernandez Heads to Colombia For Summit On Drugs, Security
Fernandez heads to Colombia for summit on Regional Summit on the World Problem of Drugs, Security and Cooperation
President Leonel Fernandez flies to Cartagena, Colombia on Friday, to participate in a drugs and security summit, along with five other chief executives and representatives from 18 Caribbean nations.
The Expanded Regional Summit on the World Problem of Drugs, Security and Cooperation will propose solutions in the fight against narcotics trafficking and related crimes in the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.
It was reported that Fernandez’s flight will takeoff at 7 a.m. from San Isidro Airbase, as the Summit begins at 9 a.m. He is scheduled to return tomorrow.
Although the Presidency’s Press Office has yet to disclose the chief executive’s agenda, it was learned that Fernandez will leave early Friday in a private flight.
On Friday the presidents of the participant countries or their representatives will sign the Declaration of Cartagena, previously reviewed by the Foreign ministers.
The presidents of El Salvador, Elias Saca; Guatemala, Alvaro Colom; Panama, Martín Torrijos; Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández, and Mexico, Felipe Calderón, in addition to the host, Alvaro Uribe will be in the conference, the Colombian Foreign Ministry said.
Dominican Republic Live, 01.08.08
US $34M Biofuel Project to Boost Dominican Border Provinces’ Economy
Sweet Sorghum To Produce Ethanol
The Agro-industrial Complex Fénix, an alternative energy project whose expected cost is US $340 million, will improve the economy of the border provinces Montecristi, Dajabón, Santiago Rodriguez and Valverde, said Ramon Castillo, project manager of company RJS Group.
To plant sweet sorghum to produce ethanol, the company leased about 16,000 hectares in the four provinces, Castillo said, and noted that land owners will be paid 10 percent of the property’s value yearly, reviewed annually based on the Central Bank’s inflationary adjustment.
The industrialist stressed that the leased lands weren’t being used for farm production. “These lands are not in use. One of the factors that have caused the world’s food problems consists of producing ethanol on agricultural land. So, as a socially responsible company, we will not produce biofuels at the cost of this difficulty.”
Castillo said the project’s business model is the most convenient for the land owners, because it’s more profitable to lease them with the RJS Group’s conditions, than selling it in the real estate market. He said for the 30-year contracts the company has disbursed US $12 million.
Dominican Republic Live, 04.08.08
Taiwan’s Leader Upbeat On Dominican Visit
Ma Ying JeouAs one of its few friends
TAIWAN.- Taiwan president Ma Ying Jeou, who will visit Dominican Republic for the inaugural of president Leonel Fernandez’s new term, is very excited with his tour of Latin America that includes Paraguay, where the ex bishop Fernando Lugo will take office as president on August 15.
Pedro Yuan, of Taiwan’s Information Ministry, told a group of Dominican and Paraguayan journalists in Taiwan that the chief executive will receive them on Tuesday.
Yuan, who’ll be part of the Taiwan Head of State’s delegation, said the tour is very important as his country consolidates its democracy and that its president is very interested in making contacts with his counterparts in the region.
Dominican Republic is one of a handful of Latin American countries who still recognize Taiwan as an independent nation.
Dominican Republic Live, 05.08.08
Bengoa Says Changes Are Impossible
Vicente Bengoa”It is impossible to modify the complementary budget”
This is the sentence from Minister of the Hacienda, Vicente Bengoa, who verified that the demand from the Dominican Federation of Municipalities that asks for RD $3.0 billion of the new budget, is likewise impossible because thee is no way “to put this in the budget.”
Regarding the request from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), he explained that the complementary budget assigned the university RD $440 million, RD $115 million more than they asked for.
Regarding the RD $500 million supposedly assigned to the doctors, Bengoa clarified this particular budget item. He said that the RD $500 million is not to cover back payments to the Dominican Institute of Social Security (IDSS). He said “there are RD $50 million per month from the supplementary budget for incentives (to the doctors), and the incentives, at last glance, are really a salary increase; there are RD $14 million for new interns, with 100 new interns per month, and there is RD $288 million for the IDSS.”
The Minister of the Hacienda rejected the idea that the postponement of the recapitalization of the Central Bank could destabilize the currency and cause macro-economic problems. He said that the government had paid nearly half, and had until December to cover the other half. He added that with the difficulties at hand the government has decided to postpone this issue until the beginning of the new budget, and this should not affect the exchange rate. He said that “these are bonds, interest on bonds are not necessarily waiting to be paid by the Central Bank, but rather to reduce the amount of money in circulation.”
The president of the Joint Commission that is studying the new budget request, Dionis Sánchez, said that he was satisfied that, as a suggestion from legislators, the technicians at the Ministry of the Hacienda would look for alternative ways to pay for the recapitalization of the Central Bank.
Sánchez added that the Senate would convene next Wednesday and listen to the report from the Joint Commission.
The senator seconded the minister’s position and told reporters that there is no space and no possibility for any modification of the proposal that came from the Executive Branch. Regarding the claims of the doctors, municipalities and other sectors, he said that they wanted more than RD $6 billion and that sum is almost impossible to comply with.
Regarding the topic of a dollarized economy, Bengoa said that the Dominican economy is already dollarized, because people think in dollars and negotiate in dollars. The minister said that when someone asks about the cost of an apartment they are told “so many dollars” and the contracts are also written based on that currency.
Bengoa referred to the idea set forth in yesterday’s newspapers by a U.S-based, Dominican economist, Víctor Canto, who suggested that dollarizing the Dominican economy would eliminate deficits and create more competitiveness in the industrial and farm sectors.
Dominican Republic Live, 06.08.08
Intense Heatwave in Dominican Republic
Sun Real feel 43ºC
An intense heatwave will be felt today Thursday in Dominican Republic with temperatures going up to 35 degrees, with a thermal feeling of 43ºC.
According to the National Office of Meteorology (ONAMET) forecasts, in Punta Cana, the temperature varies between 26ºC during the night and 33ºC during the day and in Barahona between 26ºC and 34ºC. Whereas the two areas have a partially cloudy sky today.
In Santiago, the maximum values will be of 35ºC and minimal of 23ºC with a cloudy sky too.
33ºC are forecasted for the Province of Santo Domingo.
The ONAMET informs that following the exit of the country atmospheric zone of a tropical wave, the climatic conditions will be dominated by the effects of a diurnal warming, which will cause a day of intense heat for almost the whole country.
These etawave conditions will continue during the day of Friday.
Dominican Republic Live, 07.08.08
The Games Begin in Beijing
Felix Sanchez carries his country’s flag to lead out the delegation during the Opening Ceremony
BEIJING.- The 2008 Olympic Game’s main venue, Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, hosted the traditional fireworks display to mark the start of the competition Friday, and the delegations of athletes paraded around the track to the cheers of the full-capacity crowd.
Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic Olympic track and field team carries his country’s flag to lead out the delegation during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Sanchez, the defending 400-meter hurdles champion of the Olympics in Athens, hasn’t been on the tracks since he won a bronze medal in Osaka, Japan, in last year’s World Championships.
And though speculations as to reported injury which nags him since 2004 abound, upon arriving yesterday said he felt well and would go to the track to defend his gold won convincingly in 2004.
Dominican Republic Live, 08.08.09
Dominican Republic Closes in On Continent’s Web Use Leaders
Jose Rafael Vargas Almost 7 million Dominicans use fixed, cell phones
Dominican Republic is closing in on Venezuela, Mexico and Argentina in the number of Web use per 100 inhabitants, with 6.3 for each account, said Dominican Telecom Institute (Indotel) president Jose Rafael Vargas, citing an International Telecoms Union (UIT) report.
Vargas said Jamaica tops the ITU figures, measured as Internet penetration at 17.6 users per account, while Costa Rica has 11.3 per account.
He said if these parameters were to be considered Dominican Republic would dispute Jamaica for first place in Internet penetration in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The ITU report found that for each 100 inhabitants in Latin America and Caribbean countries, Jamaica topped the list in 2007, followed by Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexic o, Venezuela and Dominican Republic.
Vargas said the country posted impressive growth in the number of Internet accounts in the last nine years, from 52,761 in 2000 to almost 300,000 in May this year.
Dominican Republic Live, 11.08.08
JCE Reaffirms Decision on Civil Registry
JCE, Central Electoral BoardTo follow the legal depositions
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has reaffirmed its decision not to provide birth certificates to children of foreign citizens whose immigration status is in doubt, or to Dominicans show personal documents show errors or were issued in an irregular manner.
The Administrative Chamber of the JCE explained that even though the decision might be questioned by some sectors of society, it is constrained to follow the legal depositions found in laws that came from the National Congress and a resolution (012-2007 issued on 10 December 2007) from the entire electoral board.
In a document given to the Diario Libre, the JCE says, “this (decision) is part of the policy to recover and clean up the Civil Registry, in order to guarantee that each citizen enjoy judicial security regarding the information contained in the personal documents that are under our responsibility and care.”
The Administrative Chamber of the JCE instructed officials of the Civil Registry, inspectors and other personnel that find acts or pages with errors or serious mistakes, or that have been issued in an irregular manner, to begin a process of investigation, and to abstain from issuing or signing copies, certificates or excerpts of the same.
Dominican Republic Live, 12.08.08
Warm Temperatures Up to 38 Degrees Celsius
Gloria Ceballos from the National Office of MeteorologyHeat is intensifying in the province of Santo Domingo and other cities
This week started with extremely high temperatures in the province of Santo Domingo and in other places of the country, by going up in some localities to 38 degrees Celsius, informed the director of the National Office of Meteorology, Gloria Ceballos.
The civil servant explained that last Monday in Las Matas de Santa Cruz de Villa Mella in the Northern Santo Domingo, the temperature reached 36.4 degrees and in Jimaní, it went up to 38 degrees. She informed that the same day in Las Américas the temperature was of 36.2 degrees, in Santiago of 35.4 and of 36 degrees in Mao.
Ceballos explained that historically August is the month when the most extreme temperatures are recorded in the country, and as an example, she stressed that on August 31 of year 1954 the temperature reached 43 degrees Celsius in Mao.
“Every year the temperatures are higher than the previous year,” she commented on.
She explained that from year 2000 until today, the statistics show that during this period the temperatures have a rise tendency. She announced that during this month of August, the temperatures will continue to be very high because of the effects of the winds of the Sahara which contain dust and inhibit the rains.
“The flow of wind contains dust of Sahara and this make that we have few rains and that the days are very hot”, she explained.
Dominican Republic Live, by Adriana Peguero, 13.08.08
Mountain Town Boosts its Ecotourism With Office, Rebuilt Hotel
Mountain ConstanzaTo promote domestic and international tourism in Constanza
Constanza.- Tourism minister Felix Jimenez last weekend inaugurated the tourist information office of Constanza, which aims to promote mountain tourism in the area.
“The first thing a tourist looks for when they arrive somewhere is information,” said Constanza ecotourism cluster director Rafael Collado, in the event that included the launch of the Web site www.constanza.com.do.
“If tourists can access this information easily and get it in a place provided by a reliable institution, there’s a high possibility that they leave satisfied and repeat as a customer” he said.
The Tourism chief said the goal is to establish nine ecotourism clusters in the country, to generate higher profits for small and medium businesses, create jobs and conserve the biodiversity in those areas.
There are clusters in the La Romana-Bayahibe area, Altragracia province, Samana, Puerto Plata, Barahona, Jarabacoa, Santo Domingo and Pedernales, in addition to Constanza, which are sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with the Dominican Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (DSTA) as a local branch to support the initiative, at at a cost of around US $2.5 million.
Jimenez said he wants to promote domestic and international tourism in Constanza, an effort that includes the reopening of the rebuilt hotel Nueva Suiza and a lookout station at the Loma El Gajo.
Dominican Republic Live, 14.08.08
The Tropical Storm Fay is Born Today Over Dominican Republic
The tropical Storm Fay over Dominican RepublicAt 5:00pm…
The tropical depression became at 5.00pm the tropical storm FAY, just over Dominican Republic.
Sustained strong rains and gust winds are intensifying. Be careful if you have to move.
Dominican Republic Live, by Sylvain MAUFRAIS 15.08.08 at 5:40pm
Fay Slams Dominican Republic kills 3, Sends 2,230 to Shelters
Tropical Storm Fay Civil Defense reports
The country’s Civil Defense reports that so far around 2,200 people are in shelters and 446 homes have been affected by Tropical Storm Fay’s lashing winds and downpours across the island.
In Higuey (east), the bodies of Esther Jiménez Almonte (Cuca), 34, her niece Alexandra and her nephew Alexis Mieses Abreu, 12 and 6 respectively, were recovered by Civil Defense crews from the creek El Cajero.
Residents in the country’s northeastern, eastern, and Santo Domingo provinces have suffered damages as the tropical wave quickly turned into a tropical storm, with winds extending 140 kilometers north and east of its center, located near latitude 18.6 North latitude and 70.5 West longitude.
Newspaper Diario Libre said a bridge collapsed in the town Sabana Larga, San Jose de Ocoa province (south), but no reports of injuries.
Dominican Republic Live, 16.08.08
School Year Begins for Around 2.7M Dominican Children
Back to classroom !
The 2008-09 school year begins for around 2.7 million students today, and 663,000 of the total are enrolled in the country’s private schools.
President Leonel Fernandez and the newly appointed Education minister Melanio Paredes will be present in the ceremony to begin classes, slated for the Francisco del Rosario Sanchez education center, in Boca Chica.
Dominican Republic Live, 18.08.08
High Costs Force Dominican Nickel Mine to Suspend Operations
Falconbridge DominicanaThe shutdown could last four months
BONAO. – Low world nickel prices and high operational costs have forced the mining company Falconbridge Dominicana (Falcondo) to temporarily suspended operations.
In a statement to the Web site Clave Digital Falcondo said its mine, which can process 29,000 tons of nickel from ferronickel annually, suspended its operations temporarily because of the combination of high oil prices and low nickel prices.
It said the shutdown could last four months, during which crucial maintenance repairs and will be carried out. “The suspension will also allow the acceleration of the feasibility studies for the energy conversion project, to change the power plant from petroleum to coal, and develop the Loma de Miranda project,” which will provide an area to extend the life of the mining company’s operations in the area.
The measures would saved around US $20 million and alleviate Falcondo’s negative financial impact, according to Ian Pearce, president of Xstrata Nickel.
It adds that it won’t lay off any of its employees.
Dominican Republic Live, 19.08.08
Dominican Republic Wins Unprecedented Two Olympic Medals
Silver for Gabriel Mercedes
Beijing. – Gabriel Mercedes’ silver medal in taekwondo is historic for Dominican Republic, because it’s the first time the country wins two Olympic medals.
After dispatching four tough rivals to reach the grand finale in the Peking Games, M
ercedes had to settle for second place on the judges’ decision which favored his opponent, the Mexican Guillermo Perez, although the Dominican finished tied in points in the finals.
This is the country’s first medal in Peking’s Olympic Games, though the boxer Felix Diaz will win at least a bronze.
Dominican Republic Live, 20.08.08
President Sets Up His Projects
President Leonel Fernández Infrastructure projects and planning
President Leonel Fernández spent more than two hours last evening with his Minister of the Hacienda, Vicente Bengoa and members of his construction advisors, and analyzed the infrastructure projects and the planning needed to carry them out. These are the projects that were announced in his third inaugural speech last Saturday, and include the second Metro line, elevated roadways and highways in Santo Domingo and other parts of the country.
Besides Bengoa, the Minister of Public Works, Víctor Díaz Rúa, the director of the Office of Supervising Engineers of State Projects, Félix Bautista and the director of the National Housing Institute (NNVI) were among the officials advising the President.
Coming out of the meeting, Bengoa explained to reporters that each one of the participants made a presentation on the projects that would be constructed by the government over the next four years, although he added that some of the projects would be offered as concessions by the government.
Bengoa said that he would meet next Monday at the Ministry of the Hacienda with officials concerned with the construction of government projects in order “to see how we will program the investments during the 2008-2012 period of government. The projects that the President announced are not going to be done in one or two years, and this has to be programmed.”
He maintained that many of the projects announced by the President will be financed by the government, either through its own resources or from external financing.
Dominican Republic Live, 21.08.08
Going For Gold
Dominican boxer Felix DiazTrue to his word, Dominican boxer Felix Diaz is going for gold
Diaz promised that he would try his best for a gold medal and barring a total collapse he could bring the country its second gold medal.
Previous to his Friday night fight in Beijing, Diaz was assured a bronze medal.
This would have been enough for any other athlete, but not Diaz.
The pugilist came out blazing against Frenchman Alexis Vastine. Diaz won the fight 12-10 and a visibly shaken Vastine could not believe the results.
Vastine was constantly penalized for grabbing Diaz, losing four total points, but experts feel Vastine was grabbing because he couldn’t contain Diaz’s speed.
Diaz has now guaranteed himself a silver medal in these year’s games and will go for gold Saturday, 7:35pm Beijing time.
Dominican Republic Live, 22.08.08
Material Shortage for The Secretariat of Public Works
Asphalt on roadWaiting for a cargo of AC-30 to take again the asphalting plan
The Town council of Distrito Nacional explained that they are waiting for better weather conditions to be able to fill the holes in the streets and the avenues of the city of Santo Domingo, just like the Secretariat of Public works and Communications, which explained that they are waiting for a ship cargo of AC-30, material used for streets’ asphalting.
However, the residents of the various affected sectors as well as the drivers consider that it is extremely urgent to fill these holes which are a daily danger to thousands of drivers who cross these ways.
Consulted on these problems, the director of the Public Relations of the Town council of Distrito Nacional, José Miguel Carrión, said that they don’t want to invest money and human resources as long as the rains will not stop because the grounds are saturated.
He indicated that it was necessary to wait until saturation is reduced to its minimum level to be able to continue work.
Material from Venezuela
While on his side, the Secretariat of Public Works and Communications indicated that the work is pending waiting for a ship with a cargo of AC-30 coming from Venezuela.
The information was provided by an official statement sent to Listín Diario by Public Works, in which it is explained that the lack of material is due to a delay of the suppliers. The official statement clarifies that the problem is almost solved, since during the next days this institution will take again the National Plan of Asphalting.
The delivery of this material is part of Petrocaribe agreement.
Víctor Díaz Rúa, secretary of Public Works said that they will continue with the asphalting in the various provinces of the country, mainly of the avenues, roads and ways which were affected by water of the tropical storm Fay.
He explained that at the beginning of the month, the portfolio worked on a programme of maintenance of the streets and avenues of the Capital and other provinces of the country, this belonging to the mentioned plan but that it has been stopped beacuse of lack of material.
Dominican Republic Live, by Yudelki Guerrero, 25.08.08
Gustav, Now a Hurricane, Stalls Along Dominican South Coast
Streets of Santo DomingoGustav has led the NHC to post hurricane warnings for several Caribbean islands
MIAMI.- The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a hurricane warning for the southern coast of Hispaniola, from Barahona in the Dominican Republic westward to Haiti, as Gustav’s speed slows to 9 miles per hour.
The Dominican Civil Defense said it’s prepared for the emergency as widespred flooding is expected from the downpours.
Gustav has led the NHC to post hurricane warnings for several Caribbean islands and maritime interests. “Preparations to protect life and property should be nearing completion.”
At 8 a.m. EDT Gustav’s center was located near latitude 17.5 north, and longitude 72.0 west, or about 75 miles (125 KM) south-southeast of Port-au-Prince and about 350 kilometers southwest of Santo Domingo.
The NHC said a hurricane watch remains in effect from southern Haiti to the northern border with the Dominican Republic, and now includes several Cuban provinces and Jamaica. “A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch areas, generally within 35 hours.”
In Santo Domingo, Gustav’s intermittent downpours flooded streets and snarled Tuesday morning commuter traffic.
Dominican Republic Live, 26.08.08, 09: 30 A.M. local time
GUSTAV : Evacuations in the South
Two Air Force helicopters were placed at the service of the COE
Dozens of people that live in vulnerable areas were evacuated yesterday by Civil Defense workers and other units of assistance due to the approach of Hurricane Gustav.
The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) order the evacuation of families that live in the communities of Jaquimeyes, in Barahona, El Rosario in Ázua, and residents living near the Nizao River in Baní. Meanwhile in Santo Domingo the barrio of La Barquita was being closely watched since it is located on the banks of the Ozama River.
Two Air Force helicopters were placed at the service of the COE in case they were needed to reach persons that were cut off by flooding.
The COE also order the draining of the Sabana Yegua and Valdesia dams.
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) issued a statement calling for persons that live on hillsides, near creeks and arroyos to take preventive measures because the rains will continue for the next 24 hours. A hurricane warning is in effect from Barahona to the Haitian border.
Presidential Decree 371-08, issued last night, by President Fernández, frees the Presidential Social Plan, the Civil Defense, and the National Institute for Potable Water (INAPA) from fulfilling the normal procurement procedures established in Law 340-06, for obtaining goods and services needed to help people during this storm.
Dominican Republic Live, 26.08.08, 02:30 P.M. local time
Gustav : More Than 5000 Evacuated, Homes Flooded
Evacuated peopleThe National Hurricane Center in Miami indicates that the rains will continue today
A reported 5,425 have been evacuated from their homes due to the rains left by hurricane Gustav. Most of those displaced were from Pedernales province due to the fact that the hurricane passed by the coast line very closely.
As of yesterday, there were 2,460 persons in government shelters and 2,965 in houses of friends and family, according to the Center for Emergency Operations (COE). The COE also reported that 1,085 homes had been affected by the storm.
In spite of the fact that Gustav stayed away from the Dominican coasts, the authorities are maintaining a RED ALERT for the provinces of Pedernales, Barahona, Independencia, Elías Piña, Bahoruco, Dajabón, Peravia, Ázua, San Cristóbal, Santo Domingo, the National District, San José de Ocoa, San Juan de la Maguana, San Pedro de Macorís, Duarte (particularly the Lower Yuna Basin), Monte Plata, Sánchez Ramírez, Monsignor Nouel and La Vega. At the same time, there is a prohibition to use the beaches and swimming areas in the country as well as water sports or other aquatic activities, such as fishing.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami indicates that the rains will continue today throughout the country, and because of this the alerts for flooding and landslides are still in effect. In Haiti, Gustav left a toll of one dead and threatened crops, amidst protests over the high cost of foods.
Dominican Republic Live, 27.08.08, 09:11 A.M. local time
Gustav Leaves 8 Dominicans Dead, Thousands Displaced
The barrio Guachupita after GustavCivil Defense said the mudslide in the barrio Guachupita toppled more than 4 homes
Eight people died when their homes was buried under a landslide in Santo Domingo province and more than 5,000 people had been evacuated yesterday as Hurricane Gustav’s downpours from them from their dwellings, most of them from Pedernales province (southwest), where the category one storm raked past the coast.
The deceased were identified as Marcia Félix, 32, and her sons Esteban Félix, 2, Bienvenida, 15, Jefrey, 12, Manuel, 6, Roberto, 7 months, Francisco, 12, and Carlita Martínez, 38, Marcia’s friend.
Civil Defense director Luis Luna Paulino said the mudslide in the barrio Guachupita toppled more than 4 homes.
Barahona province also has a large number of evacuees, with 376; Azua 243, and 291 in the National District.
Yesterday 2,460 people remained in public shelters and 2,965 were in homes of relatives and friends, said the Emergency Operations Center (COE), which also reports that the flooding had affected 1,085 houses in the communities El Rosario, Azua; Lucas Diaz, San Cristóbal, and Santo Domingo province.
COE also conducted mandatory evacuations in San Pedro, La Vega and Baní, and reported overflowing of the Isabela river, near Santo Domingo.
Although Gustav has moved away from the Dominican coasts, the authorities maintain red alert for the southwest provinces.
Dominican Republic Live, 27.08.08. 01:11 P.M., local time
22 Dead As Gustav Lashes Haiti and Dominican Republic
Gustav lashes Dominican RepublicGustav could regain hurricane strength on Thursday
PORT-AU-PRINCE.- Tropical Storm Gustav stalled over Haiti on Wednesday, lashing the impoverished country with heavy rain after striking it with hurricane force and killing 14 people.
The US National Hurricane Centre warned that Gustav could regain hurricane strength on Thursday as it passes between Jamaica and the southeastern coast of Cuba, and oil prices rose on fears that the storm could strike installations in the Gulf of Mexico.
The US southern coastal state of Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal activated a storm crisis team and vowed to lead advance preparation efforts, after the city of New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“As long as there is a chance that we’ll be in this storm, I’ll be here in Louisiana,” said Jindal, warning he may miss next week’s Republican National Convention to nominate John McCain as the party’s candidate for the White House.
“I’m going to make sure I’m here personally to lead the preparation efforts and if necessary, any recovery efforts necessary after the fact,” he told CNN.
The storm was blowing winds of 95 kilometres per hour as it stalled over Haiti about 150 kilometres west of Port-au-Prince, the centre said in its latest report.
Gustav made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday as a Category One hurricane – the lowest on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.
At least 14 people died and seven were injured in southeast Haiti as roofs flew off houses and electricity pylons were ripped away by violent winds, authorities said.
In the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, eight people were killed in a mudslide caused by the storm.
All the victims were members of the same family, and had just returned to their home after evacuating two weeks ago, believing it safe after Tropical Storm Fay earlier this month, officials said.
Fay pummelled the Caribbean and left at least 47 people dead or missing, most of them in Haiti. The storm killed 11 more people in Florida.
Gustav was expected to drop six to 12 inches of rain over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the NHC said, warning that the rains were likely to “produce life threatening flash floods and mud slides.”
World oil prices rallied as Gustav remained a threat to US energy installations in the Gulf of Mexico despite being downgraded from hurricane status, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, gained 91 cents to 117.18 dollars per barrel in electronic deals.
London’s Brent North Sea crude for October won 68 cents to 115.31.
“Oil markets are keeping a nervous eye on… Gustav, with forecasts showing it may move into the Gulf of Mexico,” said David Moore, a Sydney-based commodity analyst with Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Looking ahead to the possibility of a hurricane striking the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, Shell said in a statement that it had begun “evacuating personnel not essential to producing and drilling operations in the Gulf.”
Around 300 people were to be brought ashore Wednesday, with no impact on production, it said.
Dominican Republic Live, 28.08.08, 02:44 A.M, local time
Dominican Economy To Grow 5.5% This Year, The U.N. Says
The Cepal report projects a 4 percent growth for next year
SANTIAGO, Chile. – “Latin America continues growing despite the deterioration of the international economic context,” said Cepal, the United Nation’s regional economic organization today, which also expects 5.5 percent growth for the Dominican Republic.
Latin America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will expand 4.7 this year, the entity said in its “Economic study of Latin America and the Caribbean 2007-2008.”
Although the organization’s figure is one point less than the region’s 5.7 percent growth in 2007, Cepal executive secretary Alicia Bárcena, upon presenting the report, said in 2008 Latin America and the Caribbean will have reached five years of sustained GDP increase per inhabitant in a rate of more than 3 percent, a similar economic period found only as far back as 40 years ago.
The Cepal report projects a 4 percent growth for next year, mainly to the prolonged phenomena which have affected the region this year, such as the accelerated inflation, which has spurred interest rate jumps that also impact the GDP.
Peru will lead this year’s growth at 8.3 percent, Cepal said on its Web site, followed by Panama (8.0), Uruguay (7.5), Argentina (7.0), Cuba (7.0) and Venezuela (6.0).
Dominican Republic follows with 5.5 percent, Colombia (5.3), Paraguay (5.0), Brazil (4.8). Bolivia (4.7), Honduras (4.5), Costa Rica and Guatemala (4.3), Chile (4.2), El Salvador (3.7), Ecuador (3.0), Haiti and Nicaragua (3.0), with Mexico trailing a 2.5 percent.
Dominican Republic Live, 29.08.08