IN THE NEWS
United States President Barack Obama spoke with area leaders – including Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón and Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe – on Friday to thank them for their calls regarding his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama also reaffirmed his “commitment to efforts to work in partnership to promote greater economic and social inclusion, dismantle illicit drug trafficking organizations and confront other key challenges facing the people of the Americas today.”
4Legislator Faces Complaints
The vice president of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly, Maureen Ballestero, is under scrutiny after using a Public Security airplane to fly on personal business from San José to Liberia, in the northern province of Guanacaste. PLN presidential candidate Laura Chinchilla has directed her staff to file a complaint with the Legislative Assembly’s Ethics Committee. Ballestero said she “recognizes that her behavior was not correct, but it was not motivated by bad intentions.”
4Limón’s Troubles in Focus
The Costa Rican port city of Limón, grappling with crime and unemployment, is getting more attention. A governmental plan is being prepared to attack the crime problem, according to Minister of the Presidency Rodrigo Arias, who this week announced a meeting of security heavyweights set for Oct. 22 in Limón. Meanwhile, the municipality is struggling without leadership. Mayor Eduardo Barboza, under investigation by judicial authorities for alleged corruption, was suspended on Oct. 8 for six months. The next two possible substitutes also were suspended for the same period of time. And the next in line also is suspended and under investigation for other supposed irregularities.
4Lighter, Happier Limón News
The famous – and sometimes infamous – streets of Costa Rica’s Caribbean port city of Limón are expected to come alive this weekend with dancers, costumes, parades, floats and music. The annual carnival, which has been an on-again, off-again event because of sanitation concerns, will stage its grand parade Saturday, beginning at noon. It will snake through the center of the city and wind up at the Gimnasio Eddy Bermúdez. Some 5,000 people are expected to attend. A noon concert at Parque Vargas on Sunday will wrap up this year’s event.
4Interest Rates Show Sharp Decline
In the past two weeks, Costa Rica has experienced a major reduction in the tasa básica (prime interest rate). Last week the rate went from 11.5 percent to 10.75 percent. As of Thursday, the rate was 9.75 percent. These numbers reflect a decrease of 1.75 percentage points. The tasa básica is the average of interest rates applied by financial institutions, the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry.
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