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Finnair Announces Direct Flights Between Helsinki and Puerto Plata

The Finnish airline announced that the Friday flights will run through March 2018, on board a modern Airbus A350-900.

Finnair runs its direct flight between Helsinki and Puerto Plata, on the country’s north coast, during the winter season until the month of March.

The first flight of the season was received by officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Puerto Plata’s international airport.

Source: Access DR

Jan 20, 2018

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Public Works planned for 2018

Public Works Minister, Gonzalo Castillo, has listed the priorities of the Ministry of Public Works in roads for 2018. He said the government is focusing primarily on the eastern region because that region generates 80% of the tourism revenues and mentioned the continuing works to complete the Santo Domingo bypass that will reduce number of heavy truck traffic on the Las Americas Expressway. Other roads are being built in San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, La Altagracia, El Seibo and Hato Mayor provinces in the east.

Castillo also announced the government would build underpasses and a bus terminal at the Av. 27 de Febrero with Av. Isabel Aguiar in Santo Domingo. Likewise, 22 returns will be built for the 6 de Noviembre highway (from Santo Domingo to San Cristóbal) on to Baní, Peravia to reduce the number of accidents on that road. He said the government expects to resume the construction of the Baní Bypass. He also said that progress has been made on the Azua Bypass, the Azua-Barahona and Barahona-Enriquillo roads. These projects are expected to be finished this year.

In the north of the country, work continues on the extension of the North Bypass from Santiago to decongestion the western entrance to the city. Other works that will be finished this year are the central park, the botanical gardens in Santiago and the Navarrete-Puerto Plata road expansion from two to four lanes.

Source: DR1

Jan 20, 2018

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Haiti continues ban on DomRep products

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CMC) — Chaos reigned at the Dominican Republic-Haiti border on Monday as over 20 Dominican products were barred from entering the French speaking Caribbean nation.

Products prevented from entering Haiti included cement, rice, flour, vegetables, drinking water, beer and soft drinks.

According to the head of the Dajabón Retailers Association, Abigail Bueno, the measures implemented by Haitian customs officials amounts to abuse as it hurts the small merchants from Haiti and not the  wholesalers.

“This situation is one of the factors that is taking us to bankruptcy Haitian and Dominican merchants, who to sell in the market take out loans in banks, cooperatives and other commercial establishments,” said Bueno.

“In fact this mockery of preventing the entry of Dominican products on a whim is causing us all to go bankrupt,” Bueno added.

He said that there is urgent need for dialogue.

However, according to Haitian officials, the ban on 23 products from the Dominican Republic is nothing new and they are only banned from entering by road.

Haiti’s Finance Ministry says the measures are adopted  with the aim of a “better quality control and to better ensure the safety of the population” and to enable the country to recover millions lost due to smuggling.

The ministry has also  warned  stakeholders that “the General Administration of Customs is instructed to make the immediate seizure of any product on the list that would be imported by a port other than those authorised by a border office.”


Jan 20, 2018

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Cap Cana announces debt restructuring to relaunch development

Following Ministry of Tourism authorization for the construction of up to 22-floor high rises in Cap Cana, the luxury resort developer announced last week completing the restructuring of its international debt for US$364 million.

On 28 September 2017, the law firm Mayer Brown that represented Cap Cana had highlighted the innovativeness of the successful exchange of two series of senior secured notes for a single series of notes issued by a newly created Cayman special-purpose vehicle for US$350 million.

In September, Mayer Brown explained that Cap Cana transferred a number of undeveloped properties to the new issuer, that plans to market and sell the properties to support its payment obligations under the newly issued notes. Cap Cana worked with a steering committee of existing note holders to foreclose on its valuable collateral properties under the existing notes and regain control of those properties (free of liens) at the conclusion of the tender process.

The Mayer Brown team was led by New York-based Banking & Finance partner George Miller and included: Corporate & Securities partner Michael Hermsen and associate Catherine Henderson (both Chicago); and Banking & Finance associates Sean Kulkarni (New York) and Christine Taverner (Charlotte).

Also participating in the deal were Pellerano & Herrera and the international counsel of Greenberg Traurig. With this deal, the company completed the restructuring of its 10% Senior Secured Notes and 10% Senior Secured Recovery Notes, both due 2016. The debt restructuring is part of the wider reorganization and re-launch of Cap Cana.

In follow up actions, Cap Cana reported on Monday, 15 January 2018, that further restructuring efforts were completed to allow for the relaunching of new developments at the project. Greylock Capital served as co-chair of the steering committee for the restructuring of Cap Cana S.A. in the Dominican Republic. Others that participated in the restructuring were AJ Mediratta, iam Localio for Greylock Capital and Fred Sykes, for NWI Management.

Cap Cana executives Fernando Hazoury and Jorge Subero lead the negotiations.

Source: DR1, Elcaribe

Jan 20, 2018

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Government strives to rescind Samana tolls highway contract

The Medina administration is studying the legal ramifications of revoking the contract for toll collection on two Samaná highways in the northeast. The contract contains a clause that establishes that if a pre-set minimum number of vehicles do not use the Samana or the Bulevar Turístico del Atlántico roads and pay the corresponding tolls, the government is obliged to pay a “shadow toll.”

The high tolls that have to be paid to transit on the road that cuts by half the travel distance from Santo Domingo to Samana have discouraged travelers. As a result, the government has paid more than RD$12 billion in shadow tolls over the years.

Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo said that talks are ongoing with Argos, the Colombian company that purchased the contract from the original Colombian construction firm. Castillo said the contract as is not in the best interest of the country. Castillo made the observations when interviewed during the Grupo Corripio media luncheon.

The contractors used international bond investment money and also the contract was guaranteed by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank Group. Castillo explained the Juan Pablo II highway cost around US$500 million, but the contract has clauses that have made the government double in payments what it agreed to pay to cover the investment. Every year the shadow toll has been increased.

Castillo explained that the government pays more than RD$2 billion a year for the subsidy. The company claims that it is collecting around RD$900 million a year in tolls.

The vehicle charges to use the Samana highways are the most expensive in the country. The cost is RD$910 to reach Samana, but the fare increases to RD$1,066 if motorists take the Bulevar Turistico to the northern part of the peninsula, or Las Terrenas. This compares with tolls for RD$300 to get from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana, a comparable distance.

Source: DR1, Hoy

Jan 20, 2018

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Hookahs leading to deaths

During the past year, the National Institute of Forensic Pathology (Inacif) has carried out 26 autopsies on young people who died due to cardiac, respiratory, and brain-related issues, as well as viruses such as HIV and hepatitis, whose clinical history that could be attributed to the use of a water pipes or hookahs.

Although the institution does not have the data to prove scientifically that the cases of deaths was the substances inhaled via the hookah, they can confirm that the use of hookahs was a contributing factor to their deaths as it speeds up and changes the rhythm of organs making them more vulnerable.

According to the Inacif director, Doctor Santo Jiménez Páez, their lab, which carries out autopsies on non-violent deaths, identified 26 cases that involved the use of hookahs – most of the victims were male and either died at home, at work or in the hospital.

The director of the National Pathology Institute, Dr. Sergio Sarita Valdez, also said that more and more young people are seeking emergency medical assistance due to brain and heart problems, many associated with hookah usage. He added that statistically the substances used in hookahs contribute to cardiac deaths, those deaths due to respiratory problems and strokes.

Source: DR1,  Listindiario

Jan 20, 2018

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Farmers alert against African snail

The president of the National Association of Agropecuarian Professionals (ANPA), Danilo Severino called for President Danilo Medina to declare the eastern region in red alert for the presence of the giant African snail (Lissachatina fulica). The large land snail is regarded as one of the most dangerous invasive species that causes severe damage to agricultural crops and native plants and spreads human disease. It picks up diseases from rats and transmits these to dogs and cats.

Severino said the pest was first detected in a hotel in the east, and latter in the Doña Cuba and Puerta del Sol residential area in Bávaro. Severino called for Medina to instruct the ministries of agriculture, environment and public health to take action to eliminate the mollusk and avoid its reproduction. The snail is the size of a human hand.

Source: DR1, Eldia

Jan 20, 2018

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Venezuelans ask for migration privileges

The Venezuelan diaspora in the Dominican Republic has again asked the Dominican government to extend to them the privileges for status regularization included in the National Foreigner Regularization Plan. The Venezuelans, who are being affected by delays in securing their documentation to regularize their status, are asking the Dominican government to provide special immigration processing relief that would permit Venezuelans to become legal residents in the Dominican Republic without having to return to Venezuela to petition for residency. In short, many Venezuelans are asking for a humanitarian visa exception for their cases, which would be awarded via a one stop shop, as other countries have done.

Supporters of the special immigration treatment for Venezuelans referred to the World Bank statistics that state that there are around 19,800 Venezuelans in the country who lack wellbeing and security and are in a vulnerable situation as they are not in the country legally.

The coordinators of the Venezuelan group have a 14-page proposal that they handed over to the Presidency, the Migration Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Relations with the proposal.

Source: DR1, Listindiario

Jan 20, 2018

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Intrant starts to contract vehicle inspections workshops

The National Institute of Transit and Terrestrial Transport (Intrant) is calling for interested parties to register their repair workshops on their website, so that they can be awarded the licensing contracts for vehicle inspections.

According to Law 63-17, Article 166, motor vehicles have to be inspected each year by Intrant to receive the new Technical Vehicle Inspection Sticker. Vehicles of less than three years would be exempt from the inspection.

Intrant director, Franchesca de los Santos, said in November 2017 that the inspection program would be introduced in 2018.

In addition, according to Article 41 of the law, those vehicles that carry members of the public will not only have to have the technical vehicle inspection but cannot be older than the following:
Light vehicles for up to four passengers; 15 years old.
Micro buses for five to 20 passengers, 17 years old.
Minibuses for 21 to 36 passengers, 20 years old.
Autobuses for 37 passengers and above, 25 years old.
Heavy cargo vehicles, 30 years old.
Single passenger motorcycles, 10 years old.
Vehicles older than this will not be able to obtain a technical vehicle inspection sticker, nor will they be able to transport passengers.

Those vehicles that do not have the inspection sticker will be fined one minimum salary and the appropriate points on their license.

Source: DR1, DiarioLibre

Jan 20, 2018

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Victor Estrella plays Rafael Nadal in Australia Open

The world sports press focused on the Australia Open match between Spaniard Rafael Nadal (ranked No. 1) and Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos (ranked 79th), known in his own right for being the oldest tennis player to make the top rounds. Nadal is recovering from a knee injury. The conclusion: Nadal is “anything but rusty.” As expected, Nadal overwhelmed Estrella, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, in an hour and 34 minutes.

But the press equally focused on the significance of the top tennis player embracing Estrella known for reaching the ranking of 51st in the world in 2015 for the first time when he was 35, an age when most tennis players are retiring. “The 37-year-old from the Dominican Republic earned a rousing reception when, after a long game, he broke the Nadal serve to avoid losing the second set at love,” reported The Telegraph of London. The Reuters photo of Nadal congratulating Estrella made the rounds of the press on Monday, 15 January 2018. Nadal is shooting for his 17th Grand Slam title.

Source: DR1, telegraph

Jan 20, 2018

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Last updated January 21, 2018 at 12:31 AM
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