IN THE NEWS
4Government Business Takes Break
Try to get all of your work requiring government offices out of the way before 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18. That’s when the wheels of government grind to a halt for the Christmas and New Year’s vacation for public employees. The offices will reopen for business on Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.
4Under-20 Team to Lead Parade
Costa Rica’s under-20 soccer team, that recently won fourth place in the Under-20 World Soccer Championship games in Egypt, will help kick off the Christmas season by serving in the grand marshal slot for the 2009 Parade of Lights on Dec. 12 in downtown San José. The team will ride on a float designed Especially for them by Wal-Mart. The route of the parade – with eight floats, 10 bands and 12 cheerleading groups – will include Paseo Colón and Avenida 2. It will begin at 6 p.m.
4Cell Phones in Stockings?
The relatively few people in Costa Rica who don’t have cell phones may find phones in their Christmas stockings this year. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced this week that lines for third generation (3G) cellular phones offering basic service will go on sale Dec. 14. ICE will have 950,000 3G connections for sale, thanks to a contract with Huawei Technologies of China.
4Happy New Year from ICE
The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) says ‘Happy New Year’ with a request for a hefty increase in electricity rates for homeowners and apartment dwellers. ICE asked the Public Services Regulatory Authority for a 24.24 percent increase last week, saying the raise would help “cover the operating costs of the system and generate funds for more development.”
4Tourism Signage to Improve
The Public Works and Transport Ministry plans to improve signage along Costa Rica’s principal tourist routes in the next few months. The ministry announced this week that 1,200 informative signs will be placed in strategic locations, thanks to a donation of materials from the Costa Rican Tourism Board. The project, which began this month, is expected to be complete by September or October of 2010.
4More Boston Scientific in C.R.
Boston Scientific Corp. will close its production plant in Doral, Florida, in the United States, in 2012 and relocate to Costa Rica “because the labor costs are so much less” in the Central American country. The company, which makes medical devices and employees 1,400 people in Florida, recently built a plant in the zona franca Propark free trade zone in El Coyol, Alajuela, northwest of San José.
4Turkey Day of Another Sort
Foreign-trade-hungry Costa Rica is eyeing yet another free-trade agreement (FTA), this time with Turkey. That would add to the list of FTA talks in progress, which includes China, Singapore and the European Union (EU); not to mention its six other trade treaties already in effect. The news came as President Oscar Arias wrapped up a visit early this week with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who said Turkey is interested in Costa Rican trade particularly as Central America nears an Association Agreement with the EU, a club of nations that Turkey aspires to join. Arias’ tour also included a visit with the Palestinian Authority and a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, where heads of state are convening for the 19th Ibero-American Summit.
–Tico Times and Other News Sources
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