NEWS JUNE 2008

Dominican President Heads to Rome for UN Food Summit


Leonel Fernandez, Dominican PresidentWorld Summit on Food, Global Warming and Biofuels

President Leonel Fernandez arrives today in Rome to represent the country in the World Summit on Food, Global Warming and Biofuels, slated to begin tomorrow in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters.

Italy president Giorgio Napolitano, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other dignitaries will head the official opening at 9 a.m.

Fernandez, who left on Saturday from San Isidro airbase and made stops in Miami and Spain, is slated to return to the country next Monday, after speaking in the summit.

He is also scheduled to meet with industrialists from Barcelona.

The chief executive went accompanied by his wife Margarita Cedeño, a delegation of the ministers of Agriculture, Environment and Finance and several industrialists.

Dominican Republic Live, 02.06.08

Dominican President Chosen VP of Rome’s Food Conference


World Conference on Food SecurityA proposal by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries

ROME. – Dominican president Leonel Fernandez was unanimously elected vice president of the World Conference on Food Security, Challenges of Climatic Change and Bio-energy, accepting a proposal by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC).

The GRULAC-Rome president, Jorge Chen, representing Mexico before the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented the initiative before the 33 member States, as part of the Latin American regional organism’s preparatory meeting held Sunday.

The United Nations organism will session starting Tuesday in Rome, to analyze and take decisions before the world food crisis.

GRULAC’s representatives praised Fernandez, who arrived Monday, for his diplomatic success in the XX Rio Group Summit held from March 5 to 7 in Santo Domingo, where he’s credited with defusing the crisis between Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

More than 60 presidents, heads of State and ministers from around the world have confirmed their participation in the event on the food crisis and bio-energy, aimed at discussing how to confront high cost of food, derived from the rises in oil prices.

Dominican Republic Live, 03.05.08

Dominican Leader to Head Food Crisis Talks in Rome


President Leonel FernandezFood security and bioenergy

ROME.- President Leonel Fernandez will speak at 10:45 a.m Wednesday and head the debates as vice president of the Summit’s Plenary, in the U.N. Conference on the world’s food crisis, said Presidency Press director Rafael Núñez.

During his speech he’s expected to reiterate his position that the United Nations and regional organisms firmly confront with the talks on the topics of food security and bioenergy.

As Summit vice president, the Dominican leader represents the 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries and occupies the dais which will hear the positions of the member nations on second day, through their heads of State, as well the the delegation chiefs.

Within the Summit’s framework, the heads of the delegations and the heads of State will analyze how the recent spate of rises in the main staples’ prices have come about, the highest in the last 50 years.

Experts forecast continued high food prices for the next few years, and developing countries expect to be jeopardized the most.

Dominican Republic Live, 04.06.08

Dominican President Rails International Community’s Arrogance With Poor Nations


President Leonel Fernandez at the UN conference on Food SecurityCreation of a Global Solidarity Fund

ROME.- President Leonel Fernandez proposed yesterday, in the UN conference on Food Security, to apply an emergency plan so the most vulnerable countries can have enough resources to confront the cost of oil and to adopt sustainable farm production programs, and railed the international community’s « arrogance » before the problems of others.

The Head of State said to revert the present global crisis, whose tendency could lead to problems of governance, the United Nations must create a Global Solidarity Fund.

He criticized that “in the international community’s practice and speech the concepts of cooperation and solidarity are absent, because what has reigned is the profit, speculation, greed, avarice, arrogance and the lack of sensitivity before the problems of others.”

In the conference: The Challenges of Climatic Change and Bioenergy, Fernandez also thanked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for noting that Dominican Republic has the conditions to become, in short or medium term, the Caribbean’s granary.

He said the funds initially contemplated by international organisms are insufficient to confront the needs derived from a situation which he said exhibits the characteristics of a world catastrophe. “Only ten million dollars have been assigned to our sister Republic of Haiti, which as a result of this crisis had to contemplate the presence of angry throngs in the streets, who asked to eat, while observing, impotently and frightfully, the dissolution of the Government cabinet.”

Fernandez insisted on implementing a Global Solidarity Fund as part of the Copenhagen Social Summit 1995’s commitment, to allocate 0.7 percent of the GDP to the Official Cooperation for Development.

“In the same manner there are financial windfalls generated by the oil boom in the countries which produce and export hydrocarbons, which could serve to provide loans in terms of concession, as took place during the 1970s.”

Dominican Republic Live, 05.06.08

It Will Be Raining Cats And Dogs During the Weekend !


WaterThe COE maintains alarm weather for 28 provinces

The Emergencies Operations Center (COE) informed that showers will continue this weekend over the whole national territory; this is why it maintains the alarm in 28 provinces before possible floods and mudslides.

The provinces under green alarm are Hato Mayor, Monte Plata, Barahona, Azua, Peravia, Pedernales, San Cristóbal, Santo Domingo, Maria Trinidad Sánchez, San Pedro de Macorís, Altagracia, La Romana, Samaná and El Seibo.

While yellow alarm is issued for the provinces of Independencia, Elías Piña, La Vega, Monseñor Nouel, Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo), Espaillat, Santiago, Puerto Plata , Santiago Rodríguez, Montecristi, Dajabon, Valverde, San Juan de la Maguana and Duarte (especially for residents living in Bajo Yuna).

The forecasts of the National office of Meteorology (ONAMET) indicate that the rains will continue for the next 48 hours due to the humidity, the persistent instability of the weather conditions and a surface trough located over the national territory.
Report of the damages

In its report, the COE informed that the section of Talao-Chirino road, in the province of Monte Plata, was blocked because of the overflow of the Boya, Yabacao and Ozama rivers.

Dominican Republic Live, 06.06.08, 01:00 p.m

Dominican President Announces Investments


Leonel Fernandez3.7B euros in tourism and train

BARCELONA.- President Leonel Fernandez yesterday said a group of businesspersons from the Balearic Islands -who already have tourism complexes in Dominican Republic- want to invest 3,750 million euros in the industry in the next four years.

The chief executive, in a meeting with members of the Dominican community in Catalonia, also said he aims to build a high speed train similar to the one in Spain, to link Santo Domingo and Santiago, the Caribbean nation’s two largest cities.

“We are going to make a very small HVT from Santiago to Santo Domingo,” Fernandez said according to the agency EFE. He also spoke of a second subway line Santo Domingo.

The Head of State is expected to return 4 P.M. Monday on an Iberia flight in the Las Americas International Airport, after spending more than one week in Europe.

Dominican Republic Live, 09.06.08

Indotel Will Inaugurate 421 New Technological Centers


New technological centersInternet Connection in the mountain’s areas

The president of the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel), José Rafael Vargas, informed that during the two next months of transition of this government, they will inaugurate 421 new data processing centers and that consequently, the period will be completed with 921 technological centers installed in the 32 provinces of the country.

He said that these inaugurations will include 77 centers called « typical centers » among which nine are ready in the province of Espaillat.
High speed in the mountains’ areas

He also announced the project « High Speed Rural Connection » which will provide telephone and high speed Internet access to the houses of the mountain communities in the province of Espaillat.

He stressed that very soon, the inhabitants of these communities will have the privilege to be able to have access to high speed Internet, which will enable them to have the telephone and the Internet access at home.

Vargas referred specifically to the implementation of the project « High Speed Rural Connection » though which, with a strategic alliance with CODETEL, they will install high speed in some 500 remote communities of 16 provinces of the country

He explained that many people thought that the realization of these projects was linked to the elections, but he announced that Indotel did not work by circumstances but held its promises within the framework of the strategy of universal connection, which will benefit all communities, and this not only for electoral reasons.

Dominican Republic Live, 11.06.08

Official Presentation of Air Dominicana


Air DominicanaThe first international airline

Air Dominicana, the first airline of the country which will flight in the international sky inaugurated this Wednesday its authorizations, during a ceremony in the Las América International Airport (AILA).

The presentation was made by the secretary of Tourism, Felix Jiménez, and by the president of this new airline company, Juan José Hidalgo, in the presence of tourism personalities and of the press.

The launching takes place one month before the arrival of the first plane of the Air Dominicana fleet, a comfortable Boeing 737-300 being able to accommodate 148 passengers, which will accomplish its first commercial flight on June 16, from Caracas, Venezuela.

Hidalgo expressed that with Air Dominicana, the confidence in the economy of the country is reaffirmed, by continuing to work with tourism like prime-mover of currencies source.

He announced that for this summer, the Globalia Group will increase its tourist offer by 40% in the country and that it will set up soon another « big project » which could generate from 20 to 25 thousand jobs.

He specified that during the next month, an aircraft will incorporate the fleet of Air Dominicana. The first plane of Air Dominicana is named « Punta Cana »; the second will be baptized « Puerto Plata »; and the third « Samaná ».

On his side, José Tomás Pérez, director of the Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation (IDAC) underlined the reliability as well of the aircraft as of the technical crew of the personnel of Air Dominicana, whose quality standards were duly certified by this organization.

By making the central speech of the ceremony, the Tourism secretary Felix Jiménez, underlined the importance which this airline company will have for the Dominican Republic, particularly in the current economic situation of crisis within the American aircraft industry, especially when 99% of the tourists join the country by air.

Air Dominicana will undoubtedly be a vital alternative especially for the Dominicans and the foreigners who reside here and who could encounter difficulties to travel to the United States and to Puerto Rico because of the reduction of the flights on the traditional airlines, announced Jiménez.

Air Dominicana chose Punta Cana as operational base, considering its strategic situation and its annual traffic of international tourists.

The airline company is projected like a vital value added to the tourism industry and to the local aviation in general, while becoming “a direct way between “Punta Cana, La Romana, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo” and “Samaná”, to Central America, South America, North America and the Caribbean”.

Dominican Republic Live, 12.06.08


Dominican Banks Raise the Interest Rate 2 And 3 Percent

Dominican bankTo control the money circulation

The banks and savings loans and associations raised interest rate as much as 3 percent on personal, vehicles and home loans, a measure aimed at controlling the money circulating in the economy.

For several days bank and S & L customers have bee receiving calls notifying them of the increase.

Yesterday Housing Promoters and Builders Association adviser Jose Rodriguez Cáceres confirmed the increase, and said it’s to control the amount of money circulating, through the interest rate.

In mid May Banks Superintendent Rafael Camilo said there was no possibility of raising the interest rate because the exchange rate was stable and the Central Bank didn’t have plans to adjust the certificates of deposit.

Dominican Republic Live, 13.06.08

Heavy Rains Cause Floods and Killed Two People in the East Region


RainfallA missing person and 210 evacuated people

Two people who lost the life, a missing person, 210 others who were evacuated and 42 flooded residences, here is the sad toll left by the strong downpours which fell down this weekend over the country following the passage of an active tropical wave which interacted with a surface trough located on the Canal de los Vientos, reported the Emergency Operations Center (COE).

The director of the COE, colonel Manual Juan Méndez García, informed that in the East area of the country it was necessary to shelter 47 people in official refuges and that 163 others were moved to their family or to friends’ houses.

The civil servant explained that floods have affected the Communities of Paso Al Medio and Ramón Santana which are insulated and where it was necessary to evacuate 58 people.

In the same way, he detailed that in the provinces of Hato Mayor and Altagracia, the rains affected the Communities of Higüey and Villa Ortega, where one reported a victim

He informed that in La Romana, specifically in the district Villa Hermosa, the little river Los Nulos caused serious floods and that it was necessary to evacuate nine families, while in the commune of Boca Chica, the rains caused damage to residences of 12 other families.

Dominican Republic Live, by Adriano Peguero, 16.06.08

Minister Defends School Drink


Dominican school girl”Accusations against the food program were politically motivated”

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Education Minister Alejandrina German defended the « quality and safety » of the drink purchased from local suppliers for the public school breakfast program nationwide.

TV journalist Nuria Piera showed two laboratory results of tests carried out on school milk from Ladom, principal supplier to the Ministry of Education, with the quality of the milk well below Ministry parameters and closer to water with sugar, than the milk preparation the Ministry is paying for.

One milk expert speculated that the preparation was whey-based with sugar and flavoring, and explained that imported whey costs 20% of what imported powdered milk costs. Ladom is the nation’s largest importer of whey.

Piera also showed results of lab tests on milk from another supplier that came closer to the required level. The investigative journalist also reported that one of the minister’s daughters works in Ladom’s management department.

The Minister said that the Ministry uses the governmental Institute of Innovation in Biotechnology and Industry (IIBI) to monitor the quality of the drink, but refused to show past test results from the IIBI as proof of her statements.

German argued that school milk has nutritional value and said that the accusations against the food program were politically motivated. She took the claims as a public insult saying that they were an attempt to defame her character.

After the lab tests were revealed by Piera, the Dominican Pediatrics Society (SDP) called on the Ministry of Education to discontinue the purchase of the Ladom breakfast drink that fails to meet its own established minimum standards of nutrition.

Dominican Republic Live, 17.06.08

Dominican President’s Chilling Warning on Oil Crisis : Ingovernance


Juan Temístocles Montas”There are economic and political forces behind the speculative wave with the international oil prices”

Dominican Republic’s fuel business has fallen in a sort of generalized disorder, that affects the entire marketing chain and could create such distortions, shortages and even corruption, that the country wouldn’t be able to deal with the situation the possible jump in the price of a barrel of oil at 200 dollars would bring about.

The warning came from president Leonel Fernandez last night, and denounced that there are economic and political forces behind the speculative wave with the international oil prices, that in his view is taking to Humanity to an abyss.

He said that, according to a report in Newsweek, the price of the barrel of oil would reach US $200 and that countries such as Dominican Republic aren’t capable of facing a situation of that nature, because until now we’ve been relying on Petrocaribe.

Fernandez, speaking in the placing into publication of the book « Hacia donde vamos ? » (towards where do we go), by Economy minister Juan Temístocles Montas, in the hotel El Embajador, said the situation is worrisome for the world, but mostly for poor countries. “If we were to liberalize petroleum’s cost for transport and electrical generation towards the Dominican consumer, the situation in the Dominican Republic would be uncontrollable.”

In that regard, Industry and Commerce minister Melanio Paredes himself has admitted that locally the situation is agravated and out of control by the large amount of subsidized fuel that has entered the market, mostly given to government contractors and suppliers, and the authorities have no way of preventing it from entering the ordinary fuels market.

Another distortion has been a 30 percent reduction in gasoline and diesel consumption in the last few years, as public and private vehicles convert to subsidized liquefied petroleum gas.

Dominican Republic Live, 18.06.08

Dominican Republic to Get Foreign investments This YearJune 2008

Eddy MartinezMore than US $2B

Dominican Republic will receive more than $2 billion in foreign investments this year, a figure the country’s Export and Investment Center (CEI-RD) director Eddy Martinez calls a record.

He said all the investments are for private sector projects that don’t need approval by Congress.

One of the proposed projects, Martinez said, is by Spanish investors who seek to build a high speed train between the capital Santo Domingo and Santiago, which is in the study phase, and doesn’t require government spending.

President Leonel Fernandez first announced the high-speed train project in his recent tour of Europe, where he also met with Spanish investors interested in his country’s thriving tourism industry.

The CEI-RD director, in a statement posted on the official Web site cig.gov.do, said many of the projects and their locations have already been approved, while in others the lands have been bought and the architectonic designs concluded.

He added that in some of cases investors await only the financing, for approval by the Tourism and Environment ministries.

Dominican Republic Live, 19.06.08

The Country is Warmer Every YearJune 2008

Map of Central AmericaThe aid authorities invite the population to forecast the dangers of the hurricanes and advise to adopt the emergency measures in the event of seism

Climate change, this constant variation which occurs in the climate in a global scale, is not a theory anymore but a reality: In Dominican Republic one records temperatures with a constant increase, at such a point that the thermometers recently measured an average of 33 degrees Celsius in Santo Domingo and 35 in Puerto Plata.

The director of the National office of Meteorology (ONAMET), Gloria Ceballos, affirms that to face this reality two positive aspects are now combined: the first point is that this organization has a modern technology and a well trained personnel to face these changes and the second is that the population pays more attention to the weather reports, which has as a result to decrease the effects of any phenomenon.

The statistics show that every ten years, there is an increase of 0.6 centigrade degrees of the temperature, which according to Ceballos is much and is studied by the World Meteorological Organization (OMM).

The past week, ONAMET issued an alarm for a heat wave in the country, which technically is given when during three consecutive days or more the temperatures indicate an average exceeding 32 degrees Celsius.

Meteorology is the authorized organization to give the alarm in the event of weather hydro phenomenon in the country and has the technological tools and the human personnel to do its work 24 hours a day.

When it discovers a phenomenon, ONAMET sends a bulletin to the COE and this one emits an alarm to inform all the organizations of civil protection.

From June 1, to November 30, the possibilities of storms and hurricanes are higher over all the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea territory.

 

Meteorology does not make already a forecast of the number of hurricanes which can be formed in the Atlantic. The office prefers to announce that, as for the 2008 forecasts, the formation of 13 to 15 tropical disturbances is forecasted and that “the hurricane season will be more active than normal”, because sometimes the predictions can be false and the office does not want to affect their credibility

Dominican Republic Live, 23.06.08

An American Tourist Promoter Visits The CountryJune 2008

Iris Pérez, James Parker and Franklin PolancoTo intensify promotion on the US market

The Dominican government invited James Parker, the most famous promoter of the private general aviation of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Parker was received by a commission composed by Franklin Polanco and Aníbal Feliz, representatives of Andres Vanderhorst, executive director of the Airport Department, Iris Pérez, under-secretary of Tourism and by representatives of the Dominican institute of the Civil aviation.

He will stay for a three days visit in the country that he will spend to coordinate and know the tourist poles and the golf courses, this because the country will attend for the first time the bigger US aviation event, which will take place in next July in Hoscos, Wisconsin.

He indicated that his interest is to open the doors of the Dominican airports to the private aviation of the United States and to ensure that most of the 70 thousand private aircrafts which fly to the Caribbean and which did not visit the country yet come to Dominican Republic, thus transporting a greater number of American tourists.

He explained that he took pictures of the international airports of El Cibao and El Catey as well as of the national airports of Constanza, Portillo, Cabo Rojo and la Cueva de las Maravillas of San Pedro de Macorís.

Parker will meet with authorities of the Airport Department, aeronautical tourism and hotel sector.

He said that his tourist conferences for the promotion of tourism in the Caribbean caused a lot of interest for the Dominican Republic, and more again when the country will have made the promotion of its airports and its hotels to the Aviation Convention of Lakeland, in Florida, to which participate some 6 thousand private aircrafts.

He announced that they are also organizing Fly-in of planes groups which will visit this year the tourist poles of Dominican Republic.

 

Dominican Republic Live, 24.06.08

Dominican Aviation Board Approves More Incoming, Outgoing FlightsJune 2008

Sky283 passenger charter and cargo flights

The Civil Aviation Board approved several requests by different airlines to operate flights from and to Dominican Republic, said its director Luis Rodriguez Ariza.

The official said in the last meetings the requests have been approved for the carrier WestJet to operate two weekly passengers and cargo flights between Toronto and Puerto Plata (north) and Toronto and Punta Cana (east). “This adds to the announced increase in frequencies of Jet Blue and Air Europa airlines.”

Also approved in the last session were the announced 283 passenger charter and cargo flights from various cities in Europe, United States and Latin America, as part of the Dominican Government’s thrust to attract aviation, recently announced by president Leonel Fernandez.

Dominican Republic Live, 27.06.08

Renewable EnergiesJune 2008

Renewable energiesProjects exceeding one billion dollars

During the two last weeks, since the approval of the law on renewable energies, the National Commission of Energy (CNE) received proposal for concrete plans for more than 1 billion dollars, including four wind projects.

The projects of wind energy would add up a production of 1.300 mega Watts, informed the president of the CNE, Arístides Fernández Zucco.

He explained that the national and foreign investors are waiting for the implementation of Law 57-07 of Emulation of Renewable Energies Development.

Fernández Zucco criticized the fact that the Dominican Republic is a poor country which wants to live like a rich country through high levels of consumption.

“Industries cannot continue any more to use diesel and GLP (Liquid Oil Gas), it is necessary to think about cheaper and more convivial fuels for the environment as it is the case of natural gas”.

For this year, we are waiting for the installation of the first photo voltaic generator (electrical energy obtained through panels receiving solar radiation) in the Cybernetic Park of Santo Domingo, with a generation of four mega Watts, which would provide energy to the Multimodal Caucedo Port.

Currently 32 projects of mini hydroelectric stations using existing water falls in the country are in development. In this manner, it would be possible to provide energy to the isolated Communities where the cost to bring the electric networks is very expensive.

US investors also proposed the installation of glass panels on windows of residences for the production of solar energy.

Two proposals to produce electricity thanks to the solid urban residues were made. In this manner, one would eliminate pollution and infections. With the refuse which is produced in the country, one could generate between 60 and 100 mega Watts.

Another energy source being analyzed is that which is obtained by the sea with the tides and the waves, as well as by the difference in temperature according to the depth.

This could lead to a great economy in the tourist centers of the country by producing a cool water system coming from the sea for the air-conditioners. 45% of the energy invoice of these hotels corresponds to the air conditioning consumption, according to the civil servant.

Dominican Republic Live, 30.06.08

 

 

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