Customs Agency starts grace period for Dominicans who come back to the country

Grace period in Dominican RepublicThey will not pay import taxes on articles not exceeding 2,000 dollars

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The Customs Agency on Tuesday reiterated the application a grace period during the holidays starting December 1, when it will not charge import taxes on gifts and articles not exceeding 2,000 dollars brought by Dominican residents abroad.

Customs director Rafael Camilo said the measurement aims to help and facilitate the vacation of the thousands of Dominicans living in the United States, Spain and other nations, who return to their country for the Christmas season.

The official noted that the measure will be in effect until January 7; benefits only citizens whom haven’t visited the country during the last six months and is applied to one member of the family traveling together.

Santo Domingo Live, 01.12.10

Leonel Fernández will participate to the Ibero-American Summit of Government and Heads of State

Ibero-American Summit of Government and Heads of State in Mar de Plata, ArgentinaHe will visit Argentina, Brazil and Miami

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- President Leonel Fernández will fly today Thursday to Mar del Plata, Argentina, to participate in 20th Ibero-American Summit of Government and Heads of State, and includes visits to Manaus, Brazil, and Miami.

Fernandez will be received by Argentine authorities in the Astor Piazzola Airport of Mar del Plata on Thursday evening, and attend the Summit’s inaugural ceremony slated for the Auditorium of the Provincial Center of the Arts on Friday.

Argentina president Cristina Fernández, Ibero-American General secretary Enrique Iglesias and Portugal president Anibal Cavaco will host the Summit.

Leaders of 18 Latin American countries and their counterparts from Spain, Portugal and Andorra will participate in the 20th Ibero-American Summit on Friday and Saturday in the country’s seaside resort of Mar de Plata, the Argentine government said Monday.

The discussions would mainly focus on issues of common interest, including the debt crisis in Europe, particularly in Spain and Portugal, the flow of European investment to Latin America and the Argentine claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands (Falklands), which are also claimed by Britain.

Santo Domingo Live, 02.12.10

Jazz Series with Ania Paz from December 15th

Jazz Series with Ania Paz in Santo DomingoOn third Wednesday of each month in Santo Domingo

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The Ministry of Tourism and the composer and pianist Ania Paz organizes a series of Jazz concerts that will take place on the third Wednesday of each month in Santo Domingo with national and international guests.

This event called Ania Paz Jazz Series, which begins this December 15th in Lucia 203, in the colonial city, aims to provide the jazz lovers a renewed offer of this musical style.

This concert series will present each month a new proposal, which breaks with traditional patterns to provide a jazz without borders, said the artist at a news during a press conference.

For his part, Tati Olmos, Deputy Minister of Cultural Tourism, said that the Tourism Ministry’s proposal is highly significant because it enriches the offer of Santo Domingo city.

The Ministry of Tourism welcomes this concerts of Ania Paz, which complement the tourism offer, turning the city of Santo Domingo in a very important place for this musical style, the deputy minister.

On December 15th, many artists will participate to the concert as Xiomara Fortuna, Yanet Hernandez, Rando Camasta, Alfred Spin, Berthony Jolibois, Albertico Iznaga, Maggie Rodriguez, Julio Figueroa, and Otoniel Nicolás.

Santo Domingo Live, 03.12.10

Spain and Dominican Republic discuss a new aviation agreement

Aviation agreement between Dominican Republic and SpainIn the presence of representatives several airlines

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- In order to get a regulatory framework tailored to the needs of the market, the Dominican and Spanish authorities discussed a new aviation agreement which will replace the one signed in 1970.

The president of the Civil Aviation Board, Luis Paulino Rodriguez Ariza, stressed that this new agreement seeks to allow airlines of both countries to operate without limitation the respective territories.

In 1996 the existing agreement was modified in order to include among the destinations, Puerto Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic he said.

Mr. Rodriguez Ariza, explained that the agreement also contains specific terms concerning non-scheduled charter operations as part of the policy developed by the Dominican Government, through the Civil Aviation Board.

In order to realize this meeting, a Dominican delegation, headed by engineer Luis Paulino Rodriguez Ariza, travelled to Madrid, Spain.

Medina Raúl Caballero, Assistant Director General of Air Transport, Mr. José A. Pantaleon Taveras, a member of the JAC on behalf of the Executive Counsel, and Mr. Arturo Villanueva, member of the Civil Aviation Board, representing the private tourism sector, between others, were also part of this delegation.

As this agreement is also important for Spanish airlines, representatives of IBERIA, IBERWORLD AIRLINES and PULLMANTUR AIR, as well as members of the Spanish Association of Air Transport Companies, were present during the negotiations.

Santo Domingo Live, 06.12.10

Yellow Monday received a great support in Santo Domingo

4% for education Yellow MondayDifferent sectors demand 4% for education

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The so-called Yellow Monday, organized by a network of entities of the civil society took place yesterday, in order to underline the demand for assigning 4% of the GDP for education. In fact, it has gone from being something done in the capital that is now overflowing into an outreach program of national impact that has grown spontaneously among all sectors of the population.

The pressure on the government to obey the law and grant 4% of the GDP (the Dominican GDP is estimated at US $50 billion) to education has produced a new way to protest. In the new protest, the demonstrators are no longer the traditional syndicate, union leaders, or politicians, workers, or persons from the marginal barrios. Now, the protesters are professionals, religious, and representatives of the middle class and even the high society.

Without burning a single tire or knocking down a single tree, without throwing refuse in the streets, or breaking windows or spiking tires the empowerment of the population and their demand for 4% in favor of education and backing Yellow Monday has grown to levels so overflowing that in homes and in public places the people talk about what they are going to wear today.

The issue dominated the weekend debates on the social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. And, on radio and television programs broadcast all over the country, the call went out for all family members to wear something yellow today.

Moreover, between last Thursday and Friday, many parents that have their children in private schools received a note that asked them to send their children to school today with some yellow article of clothing.

The movement calling for 4% has spread like wildfire, as a clear indication of the empowerment of Dominican society. It started with a small group of citizens demonstrating in the area around the Presidential Palace, the National Congress, in the La Lira Park on Abraham Lincoln, and in other middle class areas by carrying yellow umbrellas and yellow clothing, and now it covers the whole country.

The compliance on Article 197 of Law 66-97 has been forgotten by three administrations of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) and one of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, and the groups are calling for compliance with the Law.

In spite of the demands, which have been going on for months, President Leonel Fernández has skipped over the compliance with the law and insists that it does not have to do with resources, while other members of his party such as Jose Tomas Perez, propose a gradual increase until the 4% plateau is achieved.

Santo Domingo Live, 07.12.10

JetBlue will offer more flights to Puerto Rico

JetBlue airline in Dominican RepublicWe aim to continue growing in Dominican Republic

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The expansion of tourism and other economic activities in Caribbean and Latin American countries has become the key for carriers such as JetBlue’s notable growth.

The stability shown by nations such as Dominican Republic despite the recent global financial crisis and a rising consumption capacity of the people in the region forms part of the favorable indicators which the multinational company has taken into account to increase its number of flights here.

Right now we have an average of 20 daily flights during spring here and more than 25 daily flights during the summer’s arrival, said Robin Hayes, vice president of JetBlue, which has operations in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata and La Romana.

He said JetBlue plans to increase the number of flights between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, in spite of the high taxes to fly between such close destinations.

The executive revealed that for the following spring the carrier will increase its flights from two to three daily, in response to the demand, although the San Juan-Santo Domingo fare is undoubtedly the Caribbean’s most expensive.

The Caribbean market is very competitive and the governments often see this as an opportunity to generate more income. But they must learn to see the flow of passengers as an opportunity to let an economy entire grow and not only tax collections.

Hayes, interviewed by along with the executives Scott M. Laurence and Chad Meyersonn in the airline’s local offices, noted that the country’s airports charge increasingly higher fees, which Laurence affirmed that when combined with the taxes, are key to the airline’s decisions to add or eliminate flights in JetBlue destinations.

We’re very happy with the services we have in the country. We thank the entire population for using our services. We aim to continue growing in this nation.

Santo Domingo Live, 08.12.10

Second line of the Metro will be shortened

Second line of the Santo Domingo subwayIt will span only from the Luperón Avenue to the Bridge La 17

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The Transport Reform Office (Opret) announced Thursday that a lack of funds will shorten the second line of the Metro (subway), and would span only from the Luperón Avenue to the west side of the city to the Bridge La 17, to the east.

Opret director Diandino Peña also announced that Spanish, Belgian, French and German companies won the bidding for the construction of the mass transit system, and will be in charge of the electrical and electromechanical works.

He reiterated that the cost of the second line will be US $750 million, US $ $350 million of which have been allocated in next year’s budget.

We’re working but it’s no secret that the government has been through an extremely difficulty ambience, resulting from the crisis that envelops the world, the official said, noting that the work is expected to conclude in February 2012, as president Leonel Fernandez promised.

Santo Domingo Live, 09.12.10

Dominicans are coming back to their country trough the Las Americas International Airport

Las Americas International AirportThey will spend the holidays with their families

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- Christmas is approaching and many Dominican passengers started to arrive trough the Las Americas International Airport (AILA) from different parts of the world and in order to spend the holidays with their families.

As in every holiday season, hundreds of Dominicans in AILA are checking on the arrival boards, looking for the flight information and waiting for their relatives.

At this occasion, the authorities will strengthen monitoring throughout the month of December.

A significant increase of the National Police members is observed in all areas, reinforced by members of the Tourism Police (Politur) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (AMET), commanded by a colonel and two lieutenant colonels.

Santo Domingo Live, 13.12.10

The first steps for the bi-national joint Dominican Republic - Haiti program began

European Development Funds coordinator Domingo JiménezWith a cost of 47 million euros

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The first steps for the bi-national joint Dominican Republic - Haiti program began today at a cost of 47 million euros, the European Development Funds coordinator Domingo Jiménez said Monday.

The official said the European Union’s primary target is to develop the towns between Cape Haitien, in Haiti’s northeast and Dajabón, on the Dominican side.

He said in the environmental aspect the program of the European Development Funds seeks to boost cooperation between both countries in territorial border management.

Jimenez spoke in an activity with the participation of European delegations, to prepare the cross-border program and present and identify the findings, and analyze the main the lines of actions to be taken.

Santo Domingo Live, 14.12.10

Dignified Education Coalition rejects the government proposal

Dignified Education CoalitionLeonel Fernández accepted to add RD $5.4 billion for the education sector next year

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The groups in the Dignified Education Coalition, which demand 4% of the GDP for the education, yesterday rejected president Leonel Fernandez’s proposal to add RD $5.4 billion for the sector next year, in addition to the RD $4.14 billion consigned in the pending Budget bill.

This increase would be 25% more than the sector’s RD $37.4 billion in 2010.

Coalition spokesman and priest Mario Serrano said no agreement was reached in yesterday’s meeting with Fernández, and in which he affirmed they proved the technical viability of allocating 4% of the GDP to education.

He said the chief executive’s offer to gradually increase the allocation for education towards 2018 would be to ignore previous, repeatedly unfulfilled » proposals. “The only credible and acceptable pact is the Budget law with a 4%. The President’s proposal violates and illegitimatizes.

Serrano added that the Coalition will be present in the doors of Congress today, while the Chamber of Deputies debates the bill for the Budget Law.

He urged the deputies who in the previous session voted for the 4%, as Law 66-97 stipulates, to remain firm in their position.

Santo Domingo Live, 16.12.10

Luperón Avenue, an excellent place to go shopping

Luperón Avenue in Santo DomingoIt’s a strategic commercial zone in Santo Domingo

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- Consumers from around Luperon Avenue, located in the National District and that borders the municipality of West Santo Domingo, now have several alternatives for where to do their shopping. There are commercial establishments for all ages and tastes.

This avenue has become, over the last few months, one of the major commercial arteries in the National District. Among the stores that are located in the area are Almacenes El Canal, Sema, Ferreteria La Innovacion, La Sirena, Ferreteria Americana, Jumbo and now, Anthony’s, which opened its doors last Wednesday.

The inauguration of this latter commercial venture, which has a striking appearance, was headed by President Leonel Fernández who did the ribbon cutting for the opening and walked through he installations.

The marketing director for the Anthony’s chain of stores, Rosavi Chahin Babun, explained that the idea was to locate a commercial establishment in a strategic area in order to place the most exclusive merchandise of well known international brands at the disposition of their clients.

Yesterday, whether it was because of the novelty or for the prices or for the diversity of the products, the store was full of people. The employees from the surrounding areas, neighbors, persons alone or accompanied by their families took advantage of the opportunity to make their Christmas purchases.

The Anthony’s store on Luperon has more than 4,000 m2 of space. The opening created some 250 new jobs and will contribute to the creation of more indirect jobs. Anthony’s Luperon provides the public with a variety of brands, such as Lucky Brand, Meck Denim, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein Jeans, Ben Sherman and the Muse collection by Sully Bonnelly. This latest collection was launched within the framework of Dominican Fashion Week 2010.

The first Anthony’s was inaugurated 32 years ago. At the present time there are two branch stores, one in Plaza Central and another on Tiradentes Avenue. There Anthony’s Outlet stores in Herrera, Megacentro and in Santiago.

Chahin Babun explained that during the holiday festivities the Anthony’s stores are offering a variety of specials on shoes, perfumes and promotions for hotel stays and gift certificates.

Last May, the Sirena on Luperon opened its doors after an investment of US $30 million and created 390 new direct jobs. Also last year, the Jumbo Luperon opened up and brought another 900 jobs.

Besides the attractive offer of commercial centers all along Luperon Avenue, there are other stores and warehouses, such as, for example: Cactus Outlet which offers factory prices, the Ferreteria Agroindustrial, Ferquido, Benigno & Zapatero, Alvares & Sanchez, Constructora Bisono and others.

Santo Domingo Live, 17.12.10

The International Monetary Fund approves a disbursement of 168.1 million dollars

Dominique Strauss KahnIt’s the fourth revision of the credit agreement

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Monday announced a disbursement of 168.1 million dollars, after the fourth revision in a credit agreement totalling 1.7 billion dollars with Dominican Republic.

It said yesterday’s payment takes the total to 840.4 million dollars, approved after a new revision of the Dominican economy by the Executive Council.

The economic recovery remains robust and the fiscal consolidation and the structural reforms are advancing, said in a statement Murilo Portugal, Assistant managing director and temporary president of the IMF Executive Council.

The authorities have taken measures to increase revenue and reduce expenses to reach the fiscal goals of 2010. And they have sent the budget 2011 to Congress within the proposed lines of fiscal consolidation added Portugal.

The Dominican authorities expect a consolidated fiscal deficit of 3% of the GDP in the 2011 budget.

The IMF also notes the commitment of the Dominican Republic Central Bank to raise the interest rates, now that the production gap is narrowing and inflation is near the goals of the Central Bank.

The multilateral organization cautioned however, that significant challenges regarding the increase of fiscal income and the reduction of electrical subsidies exist, for which the risk overheating the economy must be considered.

The electrical sector is one of the Dominican Republic’s main challenges, according to the IMF, which urged the authorities to continue the reform in the system of fees towards a more flexible regime.

Santo Domingo Live, 21.12.10

Pedestrian El Conde is alive as a commercial plaza

El Conde street in Santo DomingoIn spite of the malls competition

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- In spite of the malls that are open in all four points of Greater Santo Domingo taking a lot of the public, the Pedestrian El Conde, is alive and well as a commercial plaza and is still attractive for investors.

A sample of this is that over the last few months many stores on this most traditional of streets have made large investments in modernizing their appearance, and brands that are well-known, like Blue Country, have installed stores for the first time.

Carmelsy Confesor, the deputy manager of Blue Country, explained that when they decided to open here and not in a mall in the more central area of town, they were betting on the renewed El Conde. The bet-he assured reporters-has resulted better than expected and he added that since then other investors have imitated their move.

Alberto Alonso, the president of the El Conde and Colonial Zone Merchant’s Association (Asoconde), says that in spite of the opening of huge commercial centers in the city, El Conde still has its charm. He mentions among its attractions, the variety, the history, the safety and the fact that it’s the only open air plazas in the city.

Alonso recognizes that many of the emblematic stores have closed and lost their traditional clientele. But he says they have also seen the birth of new stores. El Conde is a lifelong thing, and, as I see it, it will not fail. This is something that will always keep renewing itself….and according to the market and the public we will keep changing, he stressed.

Teresa Rodriguez, the owner of Margaret Innovation, expresses similar optimism. It is a modern store, open since last May. We have faith in El Conde. El Conde will never fail. El Conde has ups and downs…, says Rodriguez.

But perhaps the person who best describes the feeling of the merchants along the pedestrian street is Spaniard Emilio Torres from the Togar store, which opened in 1958, when, as he says, El Conde is like a cow that always gives milk.

During a walk along the street, you can also see empty locales that have signs for the sale or lease of the property. To this the Asoconde president says that the plazas always have vacant locales.

Santo Domingo Live, 22.12.10

Three days of national morning in memory of Salvador Jorge Blanco

Salvador Jorge BlancoFuneral services for ex president

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- Funeral services for ex president Salvador Jorge Blanco will start Tuesday morning with an honor guard in the main offices of the opposition PRD party, where the rank and file can pay their respect and from there to Congress, and later to the National Palace.

Jorge Blanco, President from 1982 to 1986, passed away in his house at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, where he was returned after several weeks in a comma in a medical center, taken there to treat a trauma caused by a fall in his residence.

The Presidency had decreed three days of national morning in memory of the lated Head of State, starting yesterday.

Santo Domingo Live, 27.12.10

The Executive promulgated the Budget for 2011

Leonel Fernández budget 2011For an amount of more than RD $ 390.5 billion

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- The Budget for 2011 was promulgated by the Executive today, through the resolution 297-10.

President Leonel Fernandez signed Friday the 2011 Budget of more than RD $390.5 billion (US $1.05 billion) into Law, one week after heated debates in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

RD $293.2 billion from the RD $390.4 total Budget come from revenue and donations and RD $97.2 billion from financial sources.

Santo Domingo Live, 27.12.10

President Fernández awarded Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa and Leonel FernándezDuring a ceremony held in the National Palace

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- President Leonel Fernández affirmed Tuesday that he’s proud of the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Literature prize 2010, and bestowed with the Heraldic Order Cristóbal Columbus by decree, in a ceremony held in the National Palace.

Diplomatic, cultural, political and social personalities, as well as officials of various government agencies were present in the activity.

Fernández said Vargas Llosa’s Nobel prize is a recognition for Latin America, and an act of justice.

Santo Domingo Live, 29.12.10

Rafael Molina Morillo receives the National Journalism Prize

Rafael Molina Morillo, National Journalism PrizeThe award includes RD $ 650,900

BREAKING NEWS: Santo Domingo.- President Leonel Fernandez yesterday bestowed the National Journalism Prize 2010 on Rafael Molina Morillo, in recognition for his more than 50 years defending freedom of expression and Dominican Republic’s democracy.

The ceremony to award the editor in chief of the newspaper El Dia was held in the Ambassadors salon in the National Palace.

Molina’s award includes RD $650,900 contributed by the Higher Education Ministry.

Santo Domingo Live, 30.12.10