According to the most recent UNIMER survey for the daily La Nación, 36 percent of the respondents believe that their family’s economy will improve in 2009, while 26 percent believe that it will worsen. The number of the positive thinkers increased 7 percent as compared to a similar poll done last August. On the other hand, the outlook for the nation is gloomier, since 51 percent of those surveyed think that Costa Rica will be worse off next year. Those thinking the same way in the preceding poll were 52 percent. In addition, 20 percent of Costa Ricans expect that the country will improve, 4 percent more than in August 2007. Regarding basic needs, half of the population said they satisfy them, compared to 33 percent before. The one sector which did not vary was that of those who claim that they are little or not satisfied regarding the meeting of their basic needs, 28 percent.
The International Monetary Fund slightly reduced the estimate for the Costa Rican Gross Domestic Product in 2008 to 4.1 percent. In 2009, economy is expected to grow 4 percent. Regarding consumer prices, the Fund estimates that inflation will reach 9.5 percent this year, but will drop to 7 percent in 2009. Meanwhile, in is monetary program, the Central Bank of Costa Rica set the growth of economy at 3.8 percent and inflation at 8 percent, with a 1 percent error margin, either up or down. The Bank’s projected inflation for next year is 6 percent.
The Government ruled that casinos will operate only eight hours a day from now on and that players not be served free drinks. These are part of the restrictions to the 48 casinos operating in Costa Rica. Vice President Laura Chinchilla had no qualms in asserting that this is an activity which the state does not want to encourage, but rather restrict. The measures are aimed in part at fighting the addition to gambling, Ms Chinchilla added. The Minister of Tourism Carlos Benavides explained that, according to the new approach regarding casinos, they are considered as a supplemental activity for hotels and not business in themselves.
Bill Gates here
Microsoft cofounder and one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates, 53, came with his family for vacation in Costa Rica. He stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Guanacaste, a company in which he owns $1.9 billion in shares (5 percent). When Gates bought the shares, his friend and partner Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal purchased $7.6 billion (22 percent of the hotel chain). Gates arrived aboard a private jet. According to the Immigration Service, Gates had last come to Costa Rica in 2006. This time, with his wife and children, Gates stayed in Guanacaste –in the Costa Rican northwestern Pacific for a week.
The amount of ozone in the atmosphere above Costa Rica is less than was earlier thought, scientist Jessica Valverde from Universidad Nacional (the state National University) reported. According to the researcher, in the troposphere –from the surface of the planet 17 kilometers, or slightly over 10 miles, up–, the most turbulent part of the atmosphere and where weather phenomena take place, different probes have confirmed 50 parts per million, while in developed countries it reaches 250 parts per million. The scientist said that, according to their data, ozone pollution is not a source of worry in Costa Rica. Se further explained that there are two types of ozone, the one close to the surface, which is harmful to plants and people, and the one above the troposphere, the good ozone, that forms the layer responsible for filtering out solar radiation.
German auto firm
Continental AG, a German company, plans to make its first export of auto parts early next year. In a plant located in El Coyol, Alajuela, west of Juan Santamaria International Airport, the firm plans to manufacture high-tech parts, 80 percent of which it sells in the United States, while the balance goes to Europe. The company’s leading customers include Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, BMW, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Renault, and Porsche.
Matapalo Demm Marina Development was awarded the bid to rebuild Flamingo Marina in Papagayo Gulf, in the Costa Rican northwestern Pacific. The company made a commitment to invest $91 million in the first part of the project. Flamingo Marina had stopped operating on June 11, 2004, when the courts found that it did not meet regulations and that it was polluting. The new marina is expected to be fully operational in two years.
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