IN THE NEWS
4Name of Game Is Energy
Nicaragua this week inaugurated the $30 million “Taiwan” energy plant in the municipality of Quezalguaque. The plant will generate 27.2 megawatts of energy and supply 5.5 percent of the country’s needs. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega thanked Taiwan for helping to increase the country’s power generation capacity to more than 1,000 megawatts for the first time. Meanwhile, Panama will study for the next six months ways to build a wind power farm in Lídice de Capira to serve nearby communities. The project, being developed by the Energy and Environment Partnership with the Americas, includes installation of wind generation turbines at different altitudes.
4Tico Called Nanotech Genius
A Costa Rican chemist is being applauded and called a “genius” for his work that could play a hand in curing diseases such as Parkinson’s and in creating collagen (prime material of cartilage) for worn knees. Samuel Stupp, who earned a doctorate in material and engineering sciences from NorthwesternUniversity, in the U.S. state of Illinois, and his team at Northwestern recently published an article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealing their latest discovery in using nanotechnology to create collagen type II.
4Panama Makes The Grade
Panama this week became the first country in Central America to make investment-grade rating, when Fitch Ratings upgraded its credit rating for the country to BBB- on March 23. Fitch Ratings, the first of the big three rating agencies to give Panama its much-coveted investment-grade rating, cited a “sustained improvement in public finances, underpinned by recent tax reforms and the economy’s resilience to the global financial crisis.” Many in Panama’s investment and financial service industries expect the investment-grade credit rating to give the country a substantial boost toward developed-nation status.
Nicaraguan gold miners won’t cry for the United States as it continues to weather economic woes and as the U.S. dollar struggles. The Nicaraguan mining industry expects to double gold exports, mainly to the U.S. and Canada, this year. According to the Central Bank of Nicaragua, the country sold 88,000 troy ounces of gold and netted profits of $81 million in 2009. “As long as the U.S. economy and the dollar remain problematic, gold prices are not going down,” said Sergio Ríos, president of the Chamber of Mining Companies of Nicaragua. “(Gold prices) will start falling when the U.S. dollar and economy show signs of recovery.”
4OAS Re-elects Insulza
José Miguel Insulza was re-elected this week to a new five-year term as secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS). The 66-year/old Chilean was elected on Wednesday by acclamation of 33 of the 35 active member states (Honduras and Cuba have no representation).