IDSS clinics abandoned; is the plan to sell them for cheap?

Photo: Listín Diario

A former president of the Dominican Social Security Institute (IDSS), Dr. Carlos Roa expressed concern that the Medina administration has abandoned the 20 hospitals and 29 clinics of the IDSS system so that these lose value and leads him to wonder if the intention is that these structures will eventually be sold to the private sector for the price of “dead cows.” The IDSS hospitals were transferred to the National Health Service (SNS) in a process that began in 2015 and was completed in the beginning of 2019. Roa said that the SNS has practically left the medical establishments in oblivion. The remarks are made following a report in Listin Diario on the deteriorating of the Calle Las Mercedes former IDSS polyclinic in the Colonial City.

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Listin Diario

23 January 2019

El Dia points to under-reporting of tragic deaths during Christmas and New Year holiday

Photo: El Día

The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) announced the death toll over the Christmas and New Year holidays was 23 persons. A COE spokesperson insisted that the relatively low death count was attributed to an effective coordinated effort by government agencies. However, El Dia reports that the count of deaths for traffic accidents and intoxication kept by the National Health Service (SNS) was 34. In addition there were three victims that died due to bullet wounds and two due to knife wounds, for a total of 39. Those 39 deaths compare to the official number of 23 reported by the COE.

Prior to 2016, the COE would issue daily reports. But the press office of the Presidency (Dicom) put a stop to those more detailed reporting, and the COE then began issuing a single report at the end of the holiday. When the change was made, the director of the COE, Juan Manuel Mendez, had justified the change saying that it gave time for the reporting to be more accurate.

El Dia makes the point that the under accounting is even greater taking into account that the SNS statistics only account for persons who actually die in public hospitals, not previously on the road, or in private hospitals or clinics.

El Dia, in an editorial on 23 January 2019, criticizes the Medina administration for abandoning the transparency in its statistical bulletins with which the COE had earned credibility prior to 2016.

In addition to the restraints to the statistical reporting by the COE, the media has also criticized the restrictions now exercised by the National Police in its reporting of crime.

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El Dia
Al Momento
El Dia
El Dia

23 January 2019

Mainly Haitian children registered in the Foreigners’ Book

Photo: Listín Diario

Non-resident mothers in the Dominican Republic, who have given birth in Dominican Hospitals, and who have registered the babies in the Libro de Extranjeria in the Civil Registry offices, come from at least 36 countries, with the majority coming from Haiti.

Records from the Civil Registry show that between 2017 and 2018, there were 34,947 children registered of which 34,188 were Haitian. In 2018 alone, of the 19,227 registered foreign births, some 18,892 were Haitian.

The second highest number both in 2017 and 2018 were from Venezuela with 241 in 2017 and 334 in 2018. This is followed by the United States with 30 in 2017 and 22 in 2018; China, 11 in 2017 and 12 in 2018; Mexico, 6 in 2017 and 12 in 2018 and Spain with 7 in 2017 and 10 in 2018.

In 2018, foreign births from 4 to 9 per country were registered to women from Colombia, Chile, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, France, Holland and India. Between one and three births were registered to non-resident women from Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Canada, South Korea, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Great Britain, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Peru, and others.

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Listin Diario

23 January 2019

Cerro de Maimón mine goes underground

Elizabeth Mena / Listín Diario

The Cerro de Maimón underground mine calls for a US$1.3 billion investment, according to the vice president of the mine company, Corporación Minera Dominicana (Cormidom), Elizabeth Mena. As reported in the Listin Diario, in its initial stage, US$100 million will be invested in the mine. Explorations will be made up to a maximum depth of 1,200 meters. Construction of the underground mine began in July 2018 and it is expected to be operational by the second half of this year. Mena explained that two 6 kilometer tunnels are being dug to reach the ore that is now being explored “in the form of an open pit”. Mena said that the minerals obtained by Cormidom in the open pit are copper, zinc, gold and silver. The minerals are exported to Europe, Asia and the United States. Mena said the main buyer of copper is China. Other major buyers are in Belgium and Switzerland. She said the minerals go to foundries where the metal separation processes take place and the ingots are made.

Mena explained that an underground mine has less environmental impact than an open pit mine, such as the Cerro de Maimon mine currently operates. She explained an open pit mine requires that much more material must be extracted. She explained that underground mining is better from an environmental point of view because less land needs to be removed as the miners go directly to the resource.

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Listin Diario

23 January 2019

JCE turns down Al Pais + Opcion Democratica coalition for primary

In the understanding that the requested coalition is not contemplated in the Political Parties Law 33-18, the Central Electoral Board (JCE) rejected the request of the minority political parties Al Pais and Opción Democrática to jointly celebrate their primary to select their candidates for the 2020 general elections. The primary would have taken place on 6 October 2019 together with those organized by political parties choosing that option of open primaries.

The decision is contained in Resolution Number 01-2019 dated January 22, 2019, and is based on article 25, numeral 12 of Law 33-18 of Parties, Groups and Political Movements 33-18, which establishes an express prohibition for recognized parties to concur as allies in their first electoral process. This would be the first for Opción Democrática.

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JCE
Listin Diario
Hoy

23 January 2019

New system for buying dollars

The treasurer of the Central Bank, Yamileth García has announced that in March 2019, the Central Bank will begin the testing of a new automated platform for the sale of foreign currency. The automated system is being implemented to avoid duplicate requests for dollars along with other situations that create distortions in the currency exchange market, and which have obliged commercial banks to restrict the amount of currency available from their bank cashiers. García expects the platform to be operational by mid-year.

On the same topic, the deputy manager of the Central Bank, Frank Montaño shared that the Central Bank is looking for ways to improve the sale of dollars as some clients have expressed concerns some financial institutions limit the sale of dollars to a maximum of US$1,000 to US$2,000 per day per client from the bank tellers. He reiterated that there was no scarcity of dollars. Montaño explained that the Central Bank had around US$1.6 billion available in cash for sale, but that the problem was that certain agencies and foreigners would send different people, even their employees to buy US$10,000 per person. The ploy is to avoid having to pay the premium charged by banks for amounts larger than US$2,000 per day per client.

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Diario Libre

23 January 2019

Estrellas vs Toros: Will the Estrellas break the 50 year curse?

The Estrellas are leading in the winter baseball playoffs. The Estrellas pulled off an important third win in the 9-5 playoff series against the Toros del Este over the Altagracia Day long weekend.

The Estrellas now have three victories to one loss. The Toros have only won one game as the teams that represent the southeast of the Dominican Republic battle it out for the 2018-2019 Dominican Professional Baseball Championship.

With probably only the exception of Toros fans, for the most part, the Estrellas have the goodwill of Dominican baseball fans that want to see that team break the 50 year curse of winning the regular season and even the semi-finals many times, and then failing to clinch a championship. The Estrellas only lost on Saturday, 19 January 2019, when Toros’ star pitcher Raul Valdes saved face for the Toros, winning the third game 13-2 on Saturday, 19 January.

The playoffs continue through 27 January and then the winning team will travel to Barquisimeto, Venezuela to play in the Caribbean Series from 2-8 February 2019.

Follow the tournament at: Lidom

22 January 2019

Million-dollar insurance policy keeps Robinson Cano from playing here

Robinson Canó / Wikimedia Commons

The New York Mets demanded an insurance policy that would cover the US$118 million remaining on the contract of the All Star infielder of the Mets. According to Jose Mallen Calac, the general manager of the Estrellas Orientales, the league leaders in both the regular and round-robin series of this year’s professional baseball tournament, Mets owner Fred Wilpon said that Cano could play for the Estrellas but the club would have to take out an insurance policy to cover the millions of dollars the Major League club would lose if he got hurt.

Mallen told reporters that Cano had done everything he could to get permission to play but the Big League club was not too happy with this and required the insurance policy.

Years ago, 2014-2015, Robinson Cano played for the Estrellas in the finals series against the Gigantes del Cibao. The sad part is that by signing with the Mets, Cano could not deliver on a promise he made last summer to join his Estrellas team and help it win their first title in over 50 years.

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Diario Libre

22 January 2019

Milagros German to host Soberano Awards

Milagros Germán / Diario Libre

Dominican TV’s star Milagros German (La Diva) was named to be the host of the 2019 Soberano Awards, the leading awards ceremony in the Dominican entertainment industry. The awards are scheduled for Tuesday, 19 March 2019 at the National Theater in Santo Domingo. German had hosted the show 15 years ago in 2004.

In accepting the responsibility she expressed her gratitude to the Asociación de Cronistas de Arte (Acroarte), the local show business chroniclers association, and to the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana (CND), the Presidente beer brewery, and ceremony producer Alberto Zayas for the appointment.

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El Dia

22 January 2019

Harper snowstorm grounds hundreds of travelers

Photo: Listín Diario

Hundreds of travelers have been affected by cancellations of flights on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (18-20 January 2019) to northeastern United States. Airlines serving the area are issuing change-fee waivers for the travelers, including JetBlue. JetBlue is the carrier serving the Dominican Republic. Reports are that travelers that needed to get back have rebooked their flights to arrive to Miami and then connect to the northeastern destination.

The cancellations, nevertheless, have also affected most northern geographical areas in the US and traveler connections. Travelers are recommended to check with the airline, prior to leaving for the airport to see if they will need to rebook. The area is affected by the passing of snowstorm Harper that as of Saturday, 19 January 2019 caused at least five deaths, thousands of flights cancelled and hundreds of vehicle crashes.

Reports are that the storm’s biggest impact on air travel were over the weekend with a mix of snow, ice, rain and wind moving across the airports serving New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington and Baltimore.

The airlines serving the area explain that flight cancellations seem likely to push into thousands if the current weather forecasts hold. Flights affected are operated by United, JetBlue, Air Canada, American, Delta, and many other airlines. As reported in the US press, airlines have cancelled more than 2,000 flights from the Midwest to New England.

US travelers are also beginning to be affected by the US government shutdown that has TSA, FAA and customs and Border Protection officers working without pay at many airports.

Flights to Europe, South America and the Caribbean are not affected by bad weather and operated normally, reports Las Americas International Airports.

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US Today
CNBC
Weather
Listin Diario

22 January 2019