Inflation goal not likely
Central Bank chairman Francisco Gutierrez admitted that the 8 percent inflation goal that had been set for this year is not likely to be attained. Rather, he added, it will be closer to 9 percent. However, Mr. Gutierrez pointed out that reducing and controlling inflation remains the major goal of the monetary policy. The hike in oil prices and in the euro rate of exchange are the leading factors influencing inflation in Costa Rica, according to analysts. They added the increases in the prices of food, wheat (bread), corn, and eggs among other important factors that influence inflation. In spite of everything, according to Gutierrez, the economy is doing well, with solid improvement, among other factors.
Joint effort for Costa Rica
An important group of firms proposed joining hands with state institutions in order to meet the leading challenges that Costa Rica faces. The project is aimed at improving the access to employment and the productivity of Costa Rican labor, promoting public health and the proper use of water, and the development of communities. In a first stage, the Water Institution, the Bank of Costa Rica and the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery will play a major role in the project. The private sector representatives include Intel, Bridgestone Firestone, Chiquita Brands, and several other large corporations. “We are not making any breakthroughs, but we want companies to have a positive impact in the community,” project chairman Jorge Nowalski said.
C. America-Europe agreement
Delegates from the European Union and from the Central American nations met in San Jose in the first round of talks leading to an eventual free trade agreement between the two regions. Both parties “bared their teeth” –analysts said– when discussing issues such as cooperation, access to markets, and Central American integration. However, the sources pointed out, the goals for the first round were attained, basically regarding the definition of the method for the talks, the goals of the parties, and other general guidelines.
$150-million worth of shrimp
Costa Rican shrimping firm Talmana will sell $150 million worth of shrimp to China, in the major deal achieved by the Costa Rican businessmen who accompanied President Oscar Arias in his recent visit to Beijing. Talmana will partake in the exporting and marketing of farm shrimp, a product that enjoys a very large demand in the Chinese market.
Attorney General re-elected
The Supreme Court of Justice re-elected Francisco Dall’Anese as Attorney General for another four years. Twenty-two justices partook in the election, via secret ballot; 17 of them supported Dall’Anese, who is one of the most popular officials in Costa Rica. He has led the procedures to fight corruption, including the arrest of two former presidents of the nation. In a press conference after the re-election, Dall’Anese pledged to make the Attorney General’s Office more efficient, by lowering the length of the investigations. He did not hide his fears for the expansion of organized crime here.
$600 million in remittances
This year alone, some 300,000 Costa Ricans received some $600 million in remittances from relatives who work abroad, according to data from the Inter American Development Bank. The figures agree with those collected by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. In the last three years, the remittances have almost doubled the amount aliens who work in Costa Rica have sent back to their homeland. For Costa Rica, remittances are a major source of dollars, even though its percentage of the overall figures for Central America is barely 5 percent. A majority of the Ticos working abroad live in the United States, but there are large numbers of them in Europe and in Latin America, too.
Pollution and criminal record
The Egytpian who, according to the Environmental Police pollutes the aqueduct of two towns northeast of San Jose with manure from his farm, omitted his criminal record in the United States when applying for a resident’s visa in Costa Rica. Mohamed Ibrahim Elghanam, 45, submitted to the Immigration Service a certificate from Egypt which states that he does not have a criminal record in his homeland, but omitted that he has one in the United States, which includes grand theft, several felonies, and bankruptcy, among other things. The Costa Rican Immigration Service chief Mario Zamora said that it is likely that the resident status that Elghanam enjoys here will be cancelled.
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