NEWS DECEMBER 2008

End of the 2008 Hurricane Season


End of the 2008 Hurricane seasonThe season officially closed on November 30

BREAKING NEWS: The National Office of Meteorology informed that the 2008 cyclone season officially closed on Friday November 30, season which begun on June 1 and which developed the formation of 16 named phenomena and 1 tropical depression.

Of the 16 named phenomena, eights were tropical storms and eights were hurricanes, of which five were major hurricane on the 1 to 5 Saffir-Simpson scale.

The tropical storms were: Arthur, Cristóbal, Edouard, Fay, Josephine, Laura, Marco and Nana. While the hurricanes were: Bertha, Dolly, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Kyle, Omar and Paloma, more the depression number 16 which did not develop.

This year, the Dominican Republic was indirectly affected by three tropical cyclones, the hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike, while the tropical storm Fay was the only phenomenon which affected in a direct way the national territory.

The hurricane season was above the normal as for the numbers of named phenomena and as for the formation of major hurricanes.

Dominican Republic Live, 01.12.08

Dominican Republic Named « Golf Destination of the Year »


Dominican Republic voted the best by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators

BREAKING NEWS : Marbella, Spain (PRNewswire via COMTEX).- The Dominican Republic (DR) was named the “Golf Destination of the Year for the Caribbean and Latin America” by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

The award was presented to Francisco Javier Garcia, the DR Minister of Tourism, at the 2008 International Golf Travel Market’s (IGTM) annual meeting held Nov. 17-20 in Marbella. “The IAGTO award affirms that the DR has arrived on the international scene as an important new ’It’ destination for golf. The world is taking notice of the DR’s world-class designer golf courses set amid stunning sea sides, beaches and mountains in an accessible and affordable destination, ” DR Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia said.

Each year, the IGTM annual conference brings together golf tour operators and the meetings industry with leading hotels, resorts and golf courses of the world to conduct business and grow the industry. This leading trade show highlights and honors top golf travel suppliers, destinations and services.

“Since the first designer golf course opening in the DR, which was Teeth of the Dog at the world-popular Casa de Campo resort, golf has been a booming facet for the country’s tourism industry,” said Garcia. “The DR, blessed with breathtaking countryside and pristine beaches, is home to some of the world’s most dramatic and spectacular golf courses designed by legends such as Pete Dye, P.B. Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones, Gary Player, Tom Fazio and Nick Faldo.”

In honor of the prestigious award, IAGTO will host an official IAGTO FAM trip that will consist of 50 people, 40 IAGTO members (golf tour operators) and 10 members of the International Golf Travel Writers Association to experience the golf offerings of the DR first hand.

In addition to this award, the DR was recently recognized by Travel & Leisure Golf magazine, a top-tier golf publication with a circulation of more than 650,900, as “The Player’s Paradise,” honoring the Faldo Legacy Course at Roco Ki as one of the top 10 best new golf courses in the world.

Also, soon to be released by Golfweek magazine, a top-tier golf publication with a circulation of more than 192,800, Punta Espada Golf Course will be ranked number one along with the Faldo Legacy Course at Roco Ki to be ranked number 20 in the Top 50 Courses in the Caribbean and Mexico article

Rich in history, the Dominican Republic is a diverse and luxurious destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to more than one million U.S. visitors each year. It also features some of the best golf courses and beaches in the world, the largest marina in the Caribbean and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families.

Dominican Republic Live, 02.12.08

Central American, Caribbean economies Should Unite in Crisis

Over the past 32 years, the Caribbean & Central America Action Conference has brought together important points of view in the business sector

BREAKING NEWS : In the middle of a worldwide energy and financial crisis, the small economies of the Caribbean and Central America should unite to seek solutions, said specialists of the region that are present at the 32nd annual Caribbean & Central America Action (CCAA) conference in Miami that will come to a close this Wednesday.

“One of the problems of the economies of the Caribbean and Central America is that they are fragmented. For example, they don’t have a common Stock Exchange process. These economies have to realize that they aren’t secluded from the rest of the world, and must come together in finding solutions for the common problems they all share.” said Anton E. Edmunds, executive director and general manager of the CCAA.

Over the past 32 years, the Caribbean & Central America Action Conference has brought together important points of view in the business sector as well as important politicians of the region and this year’s conference is expected to bring even more up-to-date ideas on the decisions that need to be made by the governments and private sectors of the Caribbean and Central America.

In this sense, Rick Murrrel, president and general manager of the Tropical load Shipping Inc., said that “there are three important points for the economy and the future of the Caribbean: First, better communication and teamwork between the private and public sector; Second, more leadership and commitment from the private sector within the community; And third: to attack the deficiencies of the Caribbean so that it becomes a globally competitive region”

What’s important to emphasize here is the magnitude of the impact that a crisis in neighboring countries of Central America and the Caribbean would cause. The poverty in the region would not only mean more immigration, but also cause border control problems and population dissemination, all at a time when various countries within the region have important elections in the coming year.

“It is important that these economies maintain stability and not seek other sources of income, such as prohibited drug trafficking, simply because of their strategic location” , emphasized Edmunds.

The agreement being signed today by Scotiabank and the Inter-American Investment Corporation, member of the Inter-American Bank of Development, to help to identify and support small and medium industries in the Caribbean that have great potential of development.

“For more than 120 years, Scotiabank has been an ally and supporter for small and medium businesses in the Caribbean” , emphasized Pat Minicucci, leader of Scotiabank in the Caribbean. “This association with ICC allows us to deepen our relations with small and medium businesses throughout the Caribbean, by working jointly with the ICC in helping to grow and to succeed” .

In turn, Jorge Roldán, leader of the Division of technical Support and Strategic Associations of the ICC, commented: “We believe in the Caribbean region, in the fortress of its sector of the small businesses, and in the spirit of its businessmen.”

Dominican Republic Live, 03.12.08

Fernandez to Speak on the Global Crisis on Monday

At 9 p.m

BREAKING NEWS : President Leonel Fernandez will address the country next Monday, to speak about the world’s financial and economic crisis and about the measures the Government is taking to ease the impacts it’s expected to have in the Dominican Republic.

The Presidency’s Press director Rafael Núñez said the Head of State’s televised speech will be at 9 p.m., with the State-owned CERTV as the source.

Núñez didn’t specify what topics the chief executive will talk about. “President Fernandez will speak to the country next Monday night at 9 to address the global economic and financial crisis.”

Dominican Republic Live, 04.12.08

IMF Chief to Meet with Dominican President Monday

The IMF officials will hold a press conference

BREAKING NEWS : International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will visit president Leonel Fernandez and his economic team on Monday, accompanied by Western Hemisphere department director Nicholas Eyzaguirre, and executive director Paolo Nogueira.

The meeting will take place just hours before the chief executive delivers a speech to the country, on the global crisis and its impact on the country, according to the Presidency’s Press director, Rafael Núñez.

After the meeting, the IMF officials will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. together with Central banker Héctor Valdez Albizu, in the Central Bank.

Dominican Republic Live, 05.12.08

Dominican President, IMF Chief Met Noon Today

To maintain the fiscal discipline and austerity in budgetary expenses

BREAKING NEWS : President Leonel Fernandez will meet noon today in the National Palace with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation headed by its managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to review the country’s economic situation and where a « monitoring or vigilance » agreement would be signed.

In the meeting will also participate the members of the economic team, headed by the ministers of Hacienda, Vicente Bengoa and of the Economy Juan Temístocles Montas, who are at odds on whether to accept IMF loans to deal with the economic crisis.

Strauss-Kahn arrived last week in his first visit to the country, accompanied by other senior IMF executives, and takes place weeks after a visit by a delegation of the entity, which suggested a new tax reform to the Government.

The « monitoring » agreement that the Government and the IMF are expected to sign will take effect January 1, as authorities have announced, whereas business leaders and other sectors which have said they favor a new pact with the IMF, to maintain the fiscal discipline and austerity in budgetary expenses.

Dominican Republic Live, 08.12.08


President Announces Meeting With Sectors

A decree to strengthen the electricity sector

BREAKING NEWS : President Leonel Fernandez announced last night that he would be meeting with industry, commerce and banking sectors in January. He said that they would work together and define and decide the road to follow in the face of the “adversities, misfortunes and uncertainties” that Dominicans are facing.

Furthermore, he said that he will be forming a mixed public-private sector commission, by decree to strengthen the electricity sector. The commission will work on the application of an integral plan that will permit the resolution of the structural problems in the system from now until 2012.

He revealed that a mission from the United Arab Emirates will visit the country from 18 December in order to look at the proposal for assistance that the government recently sent “as part of what was promised during my visit to the region, in reference to the national electric sector.”

Fernandez, in a speech to the nation from the Orlando Martinez Room at the Presidential Palace, warned that there would be “zero tolerance” for criminal activity, drug trafficking or crime in the country, and in order to do this he announced the strengthening of the National Security Council, the National Police and the National Drug Control Department.

The Chief Executive spent the greater portion of his speech to offer a report on the international financial crisis and the impact that it will have on the Dominican economy, and he indicated that he will send to Congress a proposal drawn up by a technical commission, that will allow access to pension funds that have, at the present time, about RD $68,000,000,000.

The President explained that currently the electrical sector faces temporary difficulties, generated by the increase in the price of oil during the first half of the year, which, in order to keep this from directly affecting consumers, was assumed by the government and this, now, has created a debt with the generators for some US $300 million.

The government leader added that “it is this debt, added to the subsidy that was planned for, that has been completely covered by the government that is the fundamental cause of the blackouts that the country has been experiencing, particularly over the last month.”

He pointed out that with the mission from the United Arab Emirates, as with several other alternatives, “we will try and focus on how to increase electricity generation during the next four years by an additional 500 megawatts; how to modify the type of fuel that is actually being used for generation, that is currently Fuel Oil #2 and #6 above all, for a fuel that is cheaper and less contaminating, such as, for example, natural gas. ”

Fernandez said that in accordance with this last idea, “we will propose the construction of a natural gas terminal on the NorthCoast of the country, that can serve internal consumption as well as for export to the United States. ”

He added, “We will stimulate the installation of renewable energy projects, especially aeolic or wind powered, solar energy and biomass. We will establish the need for an annual investment, in the area of electricity distribution, of US $120 million in order to install new meters, and new technology that will allow us to reduce the losses and in crease the collections for the use of electric energy.”

President Fernandez, during his analysis of the global recession, that translates into a reduction of the demand, and in some cases, a reduction in the prices of exports, dais that some companies have been temporarily affected and have had to let workers go.

He cited the case of Falconbridge, that recently fired 900 workers, and he promised that during the coming week he would visit Bonao with some of his officials, in order to have a meeting with the workers that were let go by the mining company and think of ways to reduce the impact created by the fall in the price of nickel on the international markets.

Dominican Republic Live, 09.12.08


President Inaugurates Projects in Moca

The Duarte Plaza

BREAKING NEWS: MOCA.- President Leonel Fernandez inaugurated several project in the city of Moca yesterday in a series of special ceremonies. He inaugurated the Duarte Plaza, the bridge over the Jababa River and some roads. All told the projects cost RD $268 million.

The Chief Executive arrived at 5:00 p.m. and inaugurated the highway between Canca la Reina and Santa Rosa, and built by the Ministry of Public Works.

The reconstruction of the roadway included the removal of the old fill and the complete renewal of the basis and asphalt.

Then the President inaugurated the highway to La Rosa, Hincha-Cayetano Germosen that will benefit the people of both Espaillat and La Vega provinces.

Later on, the President went to the center of town where last night he cut the ribbon on the remodeled Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. This project cost the government RD $18 million. The refurbishing of the church was under the direction of the Ministry of Culture.

During this ceremony, Minister of Culture Jose Rafael Lantigua recounted the historical origins of the church and later took part in a Te Deum Mass celebrated by Archbishop Ramon Benito de la Rosa y Carpio of the Santiago archdioceses.

Still later, Fernandez inaugurated the Don Bosco Theater and the reconstructed Duarte Plaza, the latter arried out by the municipal council of Moca with the support of the Office of Supervising Engineers for State Projects.

The remodeled plaza now has lights and fountains, benches and recreational spaces, and even a small amphitheater for entertainment presentations.

A huge statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, executed by Moca sculptor Felix Tejada also stands in the park.

Dominican Republic Live, 10.12.08

The Government will Save 2 Billion 800 Million

On the 2009 oil bill

BREAKING NEWS:The Dominican government forecasted a saving of two billion 800 million dollars during the next year regarding the oil bill, thanks to the fall down of the international prices of the crude.

Interviewed during the program Hoy Mismo, of Color Visión, the Minister of Finance Vicente Bengoa said in macro-economic terms, the fall of the oil prices is beneficial for the country.

Bengoa said that in spite of the economic recession in the United States and in Europe, the money sending in Dominican Republic increased to 151 million dollars in 2008 in comparison with the previous year.

The fall of the quantity of funds sent from outside is one of the principal fear which frighten the fragile economies of the majority of the countries of the Caribbean because they constitute one of the fundamental contributions in strong currencies.

Dominican Republic Live, 11.12.08

 

Prices of the Air Tickets Down

Oil prices drop

BREAKING NEWS : The international fall of the oil prices is also reflected on the tariffs of the air tickets which are significantly reduced.

The flight for Miami which in the month of April cost approximately 22 thousand pesos is now sold for 4 thousand less.

However, this tariff can be even lower if the ticket is reserved in time, explained José Mella, president of the Dominican Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism (ADAVIT).

The prices of the air tickets had reached their highest costs in the half of the year 2008 because of the increase in the petrol barrel.

The leader of ADAVIT said that compared to last year on the same date, the flights underwent reductions going down to 6 thousand pesos.

For New York, a round trip ticket reserved in time, will cost 18 thousand 800 pesos, compared to some months ago when it cost between 20 and 22 thousand pesos.

Dominican Republic Live, 12.12.08

 

Dominican President Heads for Summits in Brazil

In Salvador de Bahia

BREAKING NEWS : President Leonel Fernandez will fly today to Brazil, to participate in summits of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Latin America and the Caribbean Integration for Development (CALC).

The chief executive will depart on a private flight from San Isidro Airbase at 11 a.m, and land in the Luis Eduardo Magalhaes International Airport, in Salvador de Bahia, where the conclaves will take place.

Fernandez will participate in the 16th Extraordinary Summit of the Union of South American Nations Tuesday afternoon, to deal with aspects of the global financial situation.

The CALC summit continues Tuesday, and will conclude with a press conference.

The Head of State will return to the country Wednesday evening.

Dominican Republic Live, 15.12.08


Fernandez Proposes Latin American Integration

Latin American and Caribbean Summit (CALC)

BREAKING NEWS : When Dominican President Leonel Fernandez arrived at the Brazilian seaside resort of Costa do Sauipe, he proposed that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean strengthern the integration process in the face of the world crisis.

He said, “The Dominican Republic comes here with the idea of promoting solidarity and integration among our countries, above all in the face of the magnitude of the global financial crisis; we have to find an answer form the Latin American viewpoint.”

The Dominican leader will take part today and tomorrow in the Latin American and Caribbean Summit (CALC).

Referring to the crisis, Fernandez said, “We have to understand the root causes of the problem, that have much to do with the deregulation and speculation that has occurred, together with a lack of transparency and a lack of ethical values.” Fernandez blamed a “lack of rules” that he called “catastrophic” for the crisis.

Dominican Republic Live, 16.12.08

 

The Truth About the Depth of the Actual Crisis

Fernandez asked for an answer

BREAKING NEWS : Fernandez proposed yesterday that the Latin American and Caribbean countries, meeting in Salvador de Bahia, should demand that international financial institutions and the United States Federal Reserve tell the truth about the depth of the actual crisis, in order for the smaller economies to adopt policies to reduce the impact of the damage.

The Dominican leader said that he felt that not everything has been said about the reality of the mortgage and financial crisis that occurred in the United States, which if it happens to be as many are saying, will take 10 or 15 years to get over.

Speaking to the Latin American and Caribbean Summit of Integrations and Development, Fernandez revealed that new financial instruments will be affected, “a reality that is being hidden from humanity.”

He said that “bartering of unpaid credits, equivalent to US $60 trillion dollars might be affected, which represents the GDP of all the countries on the earth.”

After proposing a joint answer from Latin America and the Caribbean to be taken to the United Nations, the leader said that “there is no way to contain the crisis, if new financial instruments are affected by speculation.”

The regional leaders talked about from different viewpoints, the world economic crisis and in the case of the presidents from Cuba and Chile, Raul Castro and Michelle Bachelet, they supported the proposal made in other scenarios by Fernandez that the G-192 (the United Nations) would be the entity to discuss the analysis and the adoption of measures.

 

Dominican Republic Live, 17.12.08

Dominican Leaders Says Crisis Not a Threat to Venezuela’s Oil Pact

Petrocaribe is an energy cooperation treaty

BREAKING NEWS : COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil. – The fall in oil prices below 50 dollars per barrel doesn’t threaten Venezuela’s crude supply to the Caribbean countries through Petrocaribe, said the Dominican president today.

Leonel Fernandez, who met with Venezuela president Hugo Chavez today, affirmed that, despite the concern with the fall of crude prices his Venezuelan colleague, at no time placed Petrocaribe’s continuity in doubt.

“Chavez indicated concern, by all means, for the steep fall in oil prices, but he didn’t indicate any concern with us not being able to continue collaborating. In fact the Petrocaribe program admits different price levels and foresees different ways to cooperate with oil at 15 dollars per barrel or more than 100 dollars barrel,” Fernandez said.

Petrocaribe is an energy cooperation treaty whose 16 members in the Caribbean basin obtain Venezuelan oil with low interest, long term credit.

The pact states that the beneficiary countries must pay a part of the crude’s value in cash and the other part financed up to 25 years, at 1 percent annual interest rate.

The Dominican Head of State clarified that, although the program foresees different scenarios in terms and prices, only Chávez can guarantee its continuity.

Dominican Republic Live, 18.12.08

Mild Tremor Shakes Dominican Republic

BREAKING NEWS : A tremor magnitude 5.3 on the Richter Scale was felt in the Dominican capital at 1:20 p.m. Thursday, prompting the evacuation of the country’s tallest building in operation, Torre Acropolis.

The tremor’s epicenter was located in the eastern part of the country at a depth of 103 kilometers, said the U.S. Geodetic Survey, in zone 16 kilometers north-northeast of Consuelo township, San Pedro province, and 16 kilometers south of the city Hato Mayor.

As of 1:40 p.m. the authorities hadn’t reported any damages from the shaking that lasted around 15 seconds, with a fist wave followed by stronger shimmying.

More information as it becomes available.

The U.S. Geodetic Service’s complete data on the tremor:

Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 01:13:48 PM at epicenter
Location 18.626°N, 69.370°W
Depth 106.3 km (66.1 miles) set by location program
Region DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Distances 10 km (6 miles) NW (315°) from Consuelo, San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
20 km (12 miles) NNW (341°) from San Pedro de Macorís, San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
20 km (12 miles) SW (216°) from Hato Mayor, Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic
63 km (39 miles) ENE (77°) from SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 4.2 km (2.6 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST=181, Nph=181, Dmin=206 km, Rmss=0.78 sec, Gp= 40°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID us2008atbb

Dominican Republic Live, 18.12.08, 01:30 p.m local time

 

Earthquake Shakes DR

A possible rupture in the El Seibo Fault could be the cause

BREAKING NEWS : A earthquake registering 5.3 on the Richter scale was felt in the DR at around 1:13 pm on Thursday.

 

The United States Geological Survey website reported that its epicenter was off the eastern coast of the country.

It was located 26 km (16 miles) NNW (343 degrees) from San Pedro de Macoris, 41.8 kms to the north-northeast of La Romana, 43.6 kms to the south of Samana, and 63 kms (39 miles) ENE (71 degrees) from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

No damages to the population were reported.

Dominican Republic Live, 19.12.08

The Dominican Republic Continues to be the Safest Country of the Caribbean The Director of Politur is working to still improve safety of the tourist poles

BREAKING NEWS: The managing director of the Tourist Police (Politur), the Brigadier general Henry de Jesús Gómez Bueno, said that this institution is working on the rise of the security levels and the implementation of new precautionary measures in all the tourist poles of the country.

He said that every year, the number of visitors increased in the country thanks to a better security. The civil servant indicated that the Dominican Republic is still the safest country of the area of the Caribbean and of most region of Latin America, in spite of some disadvantages which can occurred in any country of the world where tourists are traveling for holiday.

The civil servant indicated that they will continue to concentrate the efforts to maintain and guarantee quietness and already existing peace in the tourist areas of the country with the result that the Dominican Republic should become the preferred destination of all the Caribbean area for the foreigners who come here for rest and entertainment.

He supported that the foreign investment was growing in mega projects and infrastructures in Bávaro, Punta Cana, Samaná, La Romana, Bayahibe, Juan Dolio, Puerto Plata and other poles, which obliged to be prepared to face this big challenge that in spite of the crisis which agitates the world, is the notable increase in the number of visitors.

 

He explained that he recently traveled to Cancún, in Mexico, to meet with the leaders of the tourist municipal police, with an aim to exchange experiences between the two institutions and to introduce a strategy of prevention and security to slow down the infringements and eradicate minor facts of delinquency, the isolated cases which could still occur in the area.

Dominican Republic Live, 22.12.08

Aid Posts for Holidays

Operation to protect people during the busy Christmas season

BREAKING NEWS: The Civil Defense organization will set up between 840 and 850 aid stations all over the country during the Christmas holiday, including mobile hospitals, flagmen and the presence of volunteers.

The director of the Civil Defense, General Luis Antonio Luna Paulino, explained that the locations of the stations have already been selected, concentrating efforts in areas where statistics indicate the greatest danger of traffic accidents.

The general said that the operation would include units from the Armed Forces, the National Police, the Red Cross, the Ministry of Public Works, Fire Departments and AMET.
He added that patrols have been reinforced, “not only for maintaining public order and fighting crime, but also to help people. ”

Luna Paulino said that this is an operation to protect people during the busy Christmas season, and he called on the public to prevent accidents and excesses, since Christmas will pass and only sorrow will remain.

The general said that the operation is being coordinated by the Emergency Operations Center (COE) with headquarters at the National Emergency Commission (CNE).

Dominican Republic Live, 23.12.08

 

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