IN THE NEWS
4Officers to Keep Eye on Fun
Festival enthusiasts, and especially drivers of vehicles, had better behave and have their ducks in a row when they attend the popular Palmares Festival that cranks up Wednesday, Jan. 13, and winds up Monday, Jan. 25. The Transit Police said this week that officers will be out in force and will focus on drunk drivers, overloaded vehicles, speeding, cars without registration, and passengers without seat belts. Organizers of the festival in Palmares, a coffee town northwest of San José, expect some 600,000 visitors to attend the event. The tope (horse parade) will be Thursday, Jan. 14, and the carnival will be Friday, Jan. 22, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
4SIECA + 1, a Possibility?
Panama will try to convince the European Union (EU) countries that its participation in negotiations for a Central American Association Agreement would benefit all involved, according to Roberto Henríquez, Panamanian minister of commerce and industry. In a news conference this week, Henríquez said he will travel to Brussels late this month to tell EU countries that Panama’s proposal to form the “SIECA (Secretariat of Central American Economic Integration) + 1” would not cause a delay in negotiations. Talks between the EU and SIECA, a Central American economic integration organization that does not include Panama, began in October 2007 but were interrupted this year by the political crisis in Honduras.
The family of Michael Dixon, the 33-year-old British journalist who disappeared in Costa Rica on Oct. 19, 2009, is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who finds him. Dixon was last seen at Villas Macondo in Playa Tamarindo, in the northern province of Guanacaste. Anyone with information about Dixon’s whereabouts is urged to call the UK Missing Abroad hotline at +44 800-098-8485 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=165326214690.
4Talk Is Not Cheap
The price of talk is going up, at least talk via the new third generation (3G) Internet cell phones offered by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). According to an ICE announcement this week, the cost of the service will increase from $6 to $24 by the end of this month or in February at the latest. That’s when ICE plans to double the velocity of the connection. At present, the service has a maximum broadband connection of 720 kilobytes per second (kbps), but ICE plans to increase that to 1.5 mbps.
4Luxury Home Tax Reminder
The last day to pay the new tax on homes worth more than $172,000 is Jan. 15. Those who miss the deadline will face fines of more than $5,375, according to the Costa Rican Finance Ministry. The tax applies to the last three months of 2009 and for 2010. For more information on this tax and how to pay it, see the Dec. 18 article by searching “Luxury Tax” in our online Back Issues search at www.ticotimes.net.
–Tico Times and Other News Sources
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