NEWS DECEMBER 2007

Dominican Republic HIV/AIDS Rate Declines  This  Year

Sida

Humberto SalazarOn the occasion of International AIDS Day, the Dominican health authorities announced that the prevalence of HIV infection in the Dominican Republic has declined from 1.2% to 0.8%.

This puts the Dominican Republic among the countries with a low rate of infection at both Latin American and global level. This achievement is attributed to the preventive work being carried out by the organizations that are fighting the disease

This information was published as part of the preliminary results in the Dominican Republic’s latest Demographic Health Survey (Endesa 2007).

Presidential AIDS Council (Copresida) director, Humberto Salazar, said that about 40 million people worldwide were affected by HIV/AIDS and that the disease was becoming feminized. As part of the day’s commemorations, people are wearing the now-traditional red ribbon in a gesture of remembrance and solidarity.

Dominican Republic Live, 01.12.07

Dominican Government, Shell Start  Refinery Sale Negotiations Today

Haina Reffinery

Dominican Petroleum RefineryGovernment officials will meet with executives of the company Shell again today, this time to negotiate the sale of the Anglo-Dutch company’s shares in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery.

Three Shell executives arrived in the country yesterday, who’ll meet with Hacienda minister Vicente Bengoa, said the company’s representative, Rafael Maradiaga.

Three weeks ago President Leonel Fernandez said the Government would purchase Shell’s stake in the refinery, a transaction he said would provide more benefits from the country’s oil deal with Venezuela, Petrocaribe.

Dominican Republic Live, 04.12.07

 

A dolphin is Born in Dolphin Island in Punta CanaDolphin

The Dolphin Island Park reported the birth of a dolphin

The childbirth which took place on last August under the care of specialists who ensure that the male baby dolphin and his mother, Vicky, go well.
The birth took place after 12 months of gestation and 2 hours working.

The mother take care of the little baby since it was born, helping it breathing, drinking and by stimulating it to swim, by guiding it constantly, thus showing to be a very good mother.

The birth of a dolphin under human care is a great event.

DolphinIsland is located in front of the Bavaro beach and it is the first delphinarium of the Caribbean, and probably of the world, located on the open sea, with access by boat.
It received an environmental license of the Secretariat of State of the Environment and Natural resources in 2004.
The « swimming pool » measures 80 meters on 80 meters, so a total of 6.400 square meters of water mirror with an average of 4 meters depth and a capacity of 25 million liters of clean sea water, which transforms it into one of the largest delphinarium in the world.
It is a floating structure which did not require perforations in the coral or the sand funds; ecologically clean, without any residue and with electricity provided by solar panels and wind generation.

Currently the park is one of the most important tourist complementary offers of the East coast. Its technical staff has experience in best delphinarium of the world.

Until now, the mother and the baby show themselves in confidence and are in good health, the baby is playing and communicating more and more every day with the other dolphins, by vocalizing and by striking water with its her fins, every time more hyperactive and player with the alive fish which surround it, all this and her physical aspect indicating that it is doing very well.

Dominican Republic Live, 03.12.07

Miss Republica Dominicana
Marianne Cruz: Miss Dominican Republic Universe 2008

Marianne CruzMarianne Cruz González, representing the province of Hermanas Mirabal, former province of Salcedo, was crowned yesterday Miss Dominican Republic Universe 2008, after having disputed this title with 8 beauties coming from various areas of the country.

Marianne Cruz 22-year-old received the crown worked out in white gold and of a value of 300 thousand pesos, from the hands of Massiel Taveras, Miss Dominican Republic Universe 2007.

Mariel Sabogal representing La Romana, first finalist and Yadira Geara of Distrito Nacional, second finalist were also crowned by obtaining respectively the titles of Miss Hispanoámerica and Miss Continent.

Hoy Digital, by Caroline Guzmán, 04.12.07

Dominican Government Seeks Contractor to Assess Refinery’s Worthshell-refinery
Vicente Bengoa

They reiterated that its value is 183 million dollars

After a meeting with the Shell executives for the purchase of that company’s shares in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery, Hacienda minister Vicente Bengoa said a bidding would be held this week to contract a company that determines that stake’s real value.

However, Shell’s representative in the country, Rafael Maradiaga, reiterated that its value is 183 million dollars, and said in the meeting it was established the processes and operations to be carried out for the sale of the shares.

Dominican Republic Live, 05.12.07

Popular
Popular is Most Popular
Popular Bank of the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo Best bank in the Dominican Republic

The Popular Bank of the Dominican Republic has been awarded the title of “the best bank in the Dominican Republic for 2007” by a series of banking industry magazines: The Banker, Euromoney and Latin Finance. According to the announcement made by BPD president Manuel Alejandro Grullon, the award can be attributed to the loyalty of its clients as well as the bank’s own efficiency.
The announcement came during the launch of the book “Carnaval popular dominicano” (Dominican popular carnival) by folklorist Dagoberto Tejada with photographs by Mariano Hernandez. The publication was sponsored by Banco Popular.

Dominican Republic Live, 06.12.07

Newly-formed Olga Threatens Dominican Republic With Flooding

Olga The Emergencies Operations Center issued a red alert

The tropical disturbance advancing towards the country’s Atlantic coast yesterday turned into Subtropical Storm Olga at 11 p.m. last night, prompting the National Meteorology Office issued a warning tropical storm from Cabo Engaño in the east to Manzanillo Bay to the west.

The storm was located approximately 320 kilometers east of Cabo Engaño, with maximum sustained winds of 65 KPH.

The Emergencies Operations Center issued a red alert for 16 provinces, and 6 on yellow.

In San Francisco (northeast) the Civil Defense has alerted the families who live in the zone of the Lower Yuna river basin on possible floods.

Dominican Republic Live, 11.12.07

Dominican Government to Get US $100M in Loans, Euro, Dollar inflow

World Bank On December 6 the I.D.B. disbursed US $50.00 million to country for the Social Sectorial Project

Within 7 days the Dominican Government will receive US $100 million from the World Bank (BM) and the Inter-American Development Bank (I.D.B.), along with an influx of dollars and euros as tourists start arriving in the country for the holidays.

In effect, on December 6 the I.D.B. disbursed US $50.00 million to country for the Social Sectorial Project, deposited in the Central Bank, as the first payment of the US $150 million loan, allocated to support the reforms and programs in education, health and social assistance.

In its Web site the I.D.B. says the program aims to make the institutional framework more efficient, “to promote the creation of a social protection network with more efficiency and effectiveness,” and seeks to provide the capacities and opportunities, so the poorest populations can overcome poverty.

The program will support and seeks to reform the budget and public spending systems, to make them more efficient and to promote the decentralization in the benefit of the services, and to bolster the role of the municipalities.

As to the transactions with the World Bank, US $50 million is expected starting Tuesday. The funds are earmarked for the electrical sector and the World Bank said it expects to support the Government’s strategy to recover it.

As usual, the disbursement of these loans implies the accomplishment of several goals, institutional actions and improvements, which show the compliance with the programs’ objectives. The electrical part requires a rise in collections, as an indicator of improved financial management.

Dominican Republic Live, 10.12.07

The Tourist Real Estate Sector is Growing in Dominican Republic

Tourist real estate beachThe Dominican industry of leisure closed the year 2006 with three million 145 thousand foreign visitors

In Dominican Republic, the tourist real estate sector endorses the image of the country as leisure destination, with sales superior to thousand 500 million dollars in year 2007. Specialized sources emphasized that at the present time four thousand villas and apartments already constructed are registered, and that there are other two thousands in diverse stages of execution.

The mentioned facilities are located in important tourist zones of the country, among them Samaná, Punta Cana-Bavaro, La Romana, Juan Dolio-Guayacanes, Puerto Plata, Jarabacoa and Constanza.

The Dominican industry of leisure closed the year 2006 with three million 145 thousand foreign visitors, which represents an increase of 18 percent with respect to year 2002.

The national economy also maintains an ascending growth of 9.9 percent from the year 2006, which constitutes one of the main pillars that the development of the country promotes and diversifies.

Dominican Republic Live, 10.12.07

Dominican President Leads With 47%, Gallup Poll SaysNews December 2007

Leonel Fernandez, Amable Aristy Castro and Miguel Vargas Maldonado New survey

The U.S. based pollster Gallup says president Leonel Fernandez would win the May 16 elections with 47 percent, ahead of the closest rival Miguel Vargas, with 31 percent.

The survey, published by the newspaper Hoy, says opposition PRSC party candidate Amable Aristy has 10 percent of the voter preference, 7 points less than the Penn & Schoen poll published two weeks ago.

In that poll, Fernandez candidate of the ruling PLD party, obtained 50 percent, whereas Vargas, of the opposition PRD, had 35 percent.

Dominican Republic Live, 10.12.07

Olga Spares Major Dominican Tourism RegionsNews December 2007

Hurricane Olga Punta Cana, Samaná and Puerto Plata airports continue operating normally

The Dominican Republic’s major tourism regions were spared from damages from Subtropical Storm Olga, as hotel resorts continue normal operations and no tourists were injured, said the Tourism Ministry (Sectur) and the National Hotels and Restaurants Association (Asonahores).

Asonahores president Luis Lopez said the tourism industry laments the loss of lives and economic damages from the storm in some of the country’s provinces. He said the Punta Cana, Samaná and Puerto Plata airports continue operating normally, receiving flights from around the world.

In a statement the Tourism Ministry said although the storm penetrated Dominican territory through the eastern zone and its displacement it included the northern, northeastern and northwestern coastal zones, damages to neither infrastructure nor to accesses roads have been reported.

Dominican Republic Live, 13.12.07

Tropical Storm Olga: 22 Killed PeopleNews December 2007

 

The number of people died following the storm Olga storm increased to 22 this on Thursday and 137 localities are isolated, informed the Emergencies Operation Center (COE).

Colonel Manual Juan Méndez, spokesman of this organization, said that 17 deaths occurred in Santiago, three in Mao, one in Espaillat and another one in Constanza.

Méndez informed that until now they do not report missing people.

The COE informed that 6.215 people are accommodated in official refuges and 28.265 were moved to family or friend’s houses.

The residences damaged are 7 thousand 595 as well as four bridges and roads.

Colonel Méndez informed that they maintain the drainage of the Hatillo and Tavera dams and that they are carrying out evacuations in the zone of Mao and Monte Cristi and in Bajo Yuna.

Dominican Republic Live, 13.12 07

The Agricultural Produces Are Missing and The Prices Are Rising upNews December 2007

Plantain and bananas Increase by 5% to 15%

The agricultural produces started to miss and the prices to be risen following the tropical storms Noel and Olga, informed this Friday the press reports.

Products like manioc (yuca), yautia, yam, plantain, bananas, sweet potato, garlic and onion increased by 5% to 15%.

Dominican Republic Live, 14.12.07

Leonel Fernandez Announces That Government Will Build Houses for Arenoso VictimsNews December 2007

The housing unities will be ready in three months

ARENOSO – Provincia Duarte – President Leonel Fernandez announced this Sunday that the government will construct 150 prefabricated houses for those affected by the Noel and Olga storms in this municipality. The housing unities will be ready in three months.

As well, he ordered to the National Housing Institute (INVI) to accelerate the reconstruction process of the houses for the families that were affected by the tropical storm Olga.

The leader indicated that the land where technicians and workers of the Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda will initiate the houses edification in next January has been localized.

Fernandez talked while he visited the shelter localized in the Nacional Institute of Hydraulics Resources (INDRHI) and the Junta de Regante Aglipo II Project, where he could observe the services offered by the medical unity of the Public Health Department and Social Assistance which works in the shelter.

The State Chief said that the resources for the houses constructions that will be constructed by the INVI will be taken on the 2008 National Budget and General Law on Revenue and Expenses.

President Fernández visited the Shelter that is localized in the Salomé Ureña school, also in Arenoso, were remain 166 families and a total of 412 victims.

On the other hand, he also visited the « Ranchito » community in the La Vega province, where he greeted and talked with the El Baden residents, one of the most affected sectors by the storm Olga.

President Leonel Fernandez made the promise to the victims that the Government will repair their homes and that measures will be taken to displace them.

Fernandez declared that the Government will keep giving protection to refugees until they could come back to normality and go home.

Dominican Republic Live, 16.12.07

How Much Are The Actions of Shell Worth ?News December 2007

Shell Petroleum in the Dominican Oil ReffineyHow to calculate value ?

Following the decision of the government to acquire the totality of the actions which possesses the company Shell Petroleum in the Dominican Oil Refinery, which would miss would be to establish how much must pay the State for those.

To face the divergent opinions on this subject, experts on the matter suggest that the relation of price-benefit is used to calculate the actual value of the actions.

Dominican Republic Live, 16.12.07

Pirate Treasure Ship Found off The Dominican Coast

Captain Kidd

Divers have discovered the wreckage of a ship once captained by one of the most legendary pirates in history near the Dominican Republic.

The wreckage of the Quedagh Merchant, which was captured by notorious pirate William Kidd in 1698 carrying treasure from East India, was found just 10 feet from the surface off Catalina Island, off the south eastern coast of the Dominican Republic.

A team of scuba-diving archaeologists from the United States that have been working on the wreckage have discovered cannons, which might have been used as ballast, and bits of anchors under the cannons.

Charles Beeker, an archaeologist and a lecturer at Indiana University, said “We believe this is a living museum,” adding that “the treasure in this case is the wreck itself.”

“Through rigorous archaeological investigations, we will conclusively prove that this is the Capt. Kidd shipwreck,” anthropologist Geoffrey Conrad said.

Captain Kidd, as he was also known, abandoned the ship in 1699 and after capture was hanged in London for piracy in 1701. His body was gruesomely dipped in tar and for two years it hung over the River Thames to put off would-be pirates.

Dominican Republic Live, 17.12.07

Audit Confirms Shell’s Violations in Dominican RefineryNews December 2007

Dominican Petroleum RefineryAt least 12 violations of Dominican laws were detected

The Company Shell, partner of the State in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery (Refidomsa), altered invoices in the millions jeopardizing consumers, and in the last three years it bought around one fourth of the processed fuels in the spot market to an affiliated company and without signing a contract, according to the newspaper Listin Diario.

At least 12 violations of Dominican laws were detected, said the Accounts Chamber in the report of its audit on Refidomsa’s operations, conducted between January 1, 2004, and May 31 this year.

In an example of payments to suppliers of US $372.6 million in the period under analysis, 18.7 percent of the balances paid by Refidomsa went to Shell Western Supply & Trading, an affiliate of the Anglo-Dutch company.

Refidomsa’s three main suppliers in this sample are Shell Western Supply & Trading, PDVSA Petroleum, S.A., to which it paid 18.5 percent of the disbursements, and PMI Comercio Internacional (18.6%). “The negotiations with the two latter are guaranteed under contract, the negotiations with first is not, for that reason this represents a significant percentage (18.7%), given the situation of a non-contractual supplier and affiliated company,” says the report published on the Accounts Chamber Web site.

Added to that are the non-contract purchases in the spot market to an affiliated company without the previous approval of Refidomsa’s Administration Council, in addition to that there was not evidence that the traditional suppliers under contract couldn’t provide the product, said the Listin Diario.

Also standing out is the fact that those purchases took place without prior bidding, a point which the Accounts Chamber cites as an example that of the 7 percent of the fuel imports Refidomsa made in the market spot determines that 23 percent of those orders came from the affiliated company Shell Western.

The example of the purchases in the spot market show imports pf US $645.2 million, of which US $151.8 million are from Shell’s affiliated company.
Parity prices

The Listin Diario says an audit makes reference to the import of a shipment from the spot market of 69,823 barrels of fuel oil number 6, received on May 15, 2004, which was overvalued at US $76,107.62 in the report given to the Industry and Commerce Ministry, which revealed a gain for Refidomsa and a loss for consumers of RD $13.3 million, among other irregularities.

Dominican Republic Live, 20.12.07

Dominican President off to Cuba; Seeks More Out of  Venezuela Oil Deal
Leonel Fernandez and Hugo ChávezNews December 2007

Petrocaribe Summit

President Leonel Fernandez will travel today to Cuba to attend the Sixth Petrocaribe Summit, to be held in the city Cienfuegos, with the participation of Heads of State of the agreement’s member countries.

The government said Fernandez will depart from San Isidro Airbase in the afternoon and upon his arrival, will participate in various activities in Havana.

Tomorrow, the chief executive is slated to go to Cienfuegos, for Petrocaribe’s inaugural at 10 a.m., with representatives from 18 nations present.

Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez and a the Cuban government representative are expected to deliver speeches, with a work session to review the power integration agreement expected after that.

Fernandez’s delegation includes Foreign minister Carlos Morales, Administrative minister Luis Manuel Bonetti, Hacienda minister Vicente Bengoa, among other officials.

Yesterday in La Vega (central), Fernandez touted Petrocaribe’s benefits: “If the price of the barrel of petroleum reaches 100 dollars, we would pay 50 percent within the Petrocaribe agreement, and the other 50 percent in 25 years.” He said that the Government is looking for internal mechanisms to take even more advantage of this agreement.

Dominican Republic Live, 20.12.07

Leonel Fernandez Arrives in Cuba for Oil SummitNews December 2007

Petrocaribe will begin on Friday with the confirmed presence of 12 heads of State

HAVANA.- President Leonel Fernandez arrived in Havana today to attend the Petrocaribe Summit, to begin on Friday in the central city Cienfuegos. Fernandez arrived around the 11:40 local time (16:40 GMT) in the Jose Martí International Airport, according to the State agency Prensa Latina.

The Dominican president arrived after Petrocaribe’s sponsor Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who traveled to the island on dawn Wednesday.

Petrocaribe will begin on Friday with the confirmed presence of 12 heads of State of the organism’s 16 member countries.

The summit’s « strategic power security scheme » in the region foresees a new approval of a « noncommercial » mechanism through which Venezuela provides oil to the Caribbean countries at preferential prices and financing.

Petrocaribe began on June, 29, 2005, during the first energy gathering of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean held in Venezuela’s Puerto La Cruz, as an initiative of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), promoted by Chávez.

Dominican Republic Live, 20.12.07

Dominican Republic Shakes a Little

Intensity quakeYesterday’s tremor is the fifth registered in the island in 11 days

Another medium intensity quake rattled the eastern part of the Dominican Republic yesterday dawn, the fourth in the last five days, and one of 11 registered in different parts of the world, said the United States Geodetic Survey.

Yesterday’s tremor is the fifth registered in the island in 11 days and on which the Dominican authorities have yet to issue information. It occurred at 3:21 a.m. at 19.1 North Latitude and 68.2 West Longitude, with its epicenter 129 kilometers beneath the surface, in the East region, 74 kilometers from Higüey and 89 from El Seibo.

On Tuesday another quake, 3.5 degrees on the Richter scale, was felt at 3:31 a.m., 187 North Latitude and 68.3 West Longitude, whose epicenter was 119 kilometers deep, 45 kilometers from Higuey and 77 from El Seibo, close to the one yesterday. Residents in Higüey, El Seibo, La Romana, San Pedro, Bayaguana and Santo Domingo felt both tremors.

Another one took place at 4:10 a.m. on Sunday, 18.8 North Latitude and 69.5 degrees West Longitude, 28 kilometers from Monte Plata, 29 from Hato Mayor and 39 from Ingenio Consuelo, San Pedro.

On Friday last week an earth quake was also registered in Dominican Republic, 4.6 degrees on the Richter scale, 8 kilometers from the northern town Tamboril, 14 kilometers deep. Four days before another tremor was felt at 18.8 North Latitude and 69.5 West Longitude, 160 kilometers in depth, 28 kilometers from Monte Plata.

Dominican Republic Live, 21.12.07

Petro Caribe Saved the Dominican Republic US $575 MillionNews December 2007

Leonel Fernández and his wife Margarita Cedeño de FernandezThe most beneficial aid and cooperation program for the countries in the region

Dominican president Leonel Fernández has said that the Petrocaribe program has saved the country US $575 million in the last two years, and that these resources have been used to subsidize the electricity sector.

Addressing the PetroCaribe summit being held in the Cuban city of Cienfuegos yesterday, Fernández highlighted the importance of the program in the context of skyrocketing international oil prices.

He described the Petrocaribe agreement, which is promoted by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, as the most beneficial aid and cooperation program for the countries in the region.

Venezuelan energy minister Rafael Ramírez said that across the region as a whole, beneficiary countries had saved US $1.2 billion as a result of the agreement.

Fernández said that next year’s fuel bill would be in the realm of US $4 billion, an increase of US $700 million on last year.

He mentioned that while the country was benefiting from the PetroCaribe agreement, it was also working on finding alternatives, mentioning the coal-fired generating plants and the installation of energy saving light bulbs.

The president thanked Chávez, saying that, “PetroCaribe is a contribution that we feel, appreciate and value at a time when the power sector is making a transition in order to respond to the needs of the Dominican people”.

Dominican Republic Live, 23.12.07

2008 Budget to Congress TodayNews December 2007

Palacio of Santo Domingo The Chamber of Deputies will hear the proposed RD $3 billion 2008 Budget at 3:00pm this afternoon

Congress leader Julio César Valentín has asked deputies to be punctual.

Ruling PLD spokesman Alejandro Montás said that the budget would be approved without amendments, adding that president Leonel Fernández’s explanations for the allocation cuts were « good and valid ». Fernández said that several institutions like the Central Electoral Board would have to accept cuts in their allocations because the country was “intervened” by the International Monetary Fund.

Opposition PRD representatives, headed by their spokesman Cristian Paredes will be proposing changes, but these are unlikely to materialize because of the ruling party majority in the lower Chamber and the third opposition (PRSC) party’s stated intention to vote for the budget.

Dominican Republic Live, 26.12.07

Dominican Deputies Approve 2008 BudgetNews December 2007

Julio César ValentínThe proposal was approved with 89 votes in favor, 10 against and 22 abstentions

The Chamber of Deputies has approved the proposed budget for 2008 in two readings. The RD $389 billion budget was submitted to Congress by vice president Rafael Alburquerque on behalf of the executive branch.

The proposal was approved with 89 votes in favor, 10 against and 22 abstentions, and no time was allowed for hearing complaints from institutions that were demanding larger budget allocations in Congress, except for the UASD university: a delegation of professors headed by Franklin García Fermín asked Congress president Julio César Valentín for more resources.

The opposition PRSC criticized some aspects of the proposal but nonetheless asked for it to be approved with urgency and voted in favor. PRSC deputy Ángel Acosta criticized the fact that the projects planned for areas affected by Tropical Storms Noel and Olga were not detailed in the budget.

Dominican Republic Live, 26.12.07

Boeing 747 will fly from Moscow to Bavaro

Russian airlines company TransaeroTransaero will accomplish two weekly flights towards the Dominican Republic

The Russian airlines company Transaero announced the acquisition of its first Boeing 747-400 plane, one of largest in the world, which will accomplish two weekly flights from Moscow to Punta Cana.

The purpose of the acquisition of this plane, the first of this type in this country, is to bring the Russian tourist closer to the markets of Asia and of the Caribbean, since the first flights of this enormous aircraft will land in Dominican Republic and in Singapore.

This information was communicated by the director of the Tourist Office Promotion of Dominican Republic in Russia, Galina Lyssenko, who informed that “the direction of the company projects that the first flights will land in Punta Cana, in theory, in January or at the latest in February”, he ensured.

In the same way, the representative of the Tourist Promotion affirmed that this model of plane will accomplish non-stop flights, being able to traverse distances up to 15 thousand kilometers, this is why “it will be able to perfectly fly in our country without tedious waiting”, indicated Lyssenko.

Lyssenko greeted the investment carried out by Transaero, by specifying that with comfort that the plane offers “we will increase the arrival of Russian tourists in Dominican Republic, with the 400 seats which comprises the plane and the convenient 18 hours non-stop flight”.

Dominican Republic Live, 28.12.07

The President Wishes a Greater Wellbeing for the Dominican Republic in 2008News December 2007

President Leonel Fernández expressed his hope than there is a greater wellbeing and prosperity for the Dominican people in 2008

“I hope that the economy is still stable, that we can continue growing and that this can contribute to create jobs and to improve the living conditions of the Dominicans so that they can always look towards the future with hope and optimism”, expressed the President in a message to the Dominican people on the occasion of the end of the year.

Dominican Republic Live, 30.12.07

 

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