IN THE NEWS
IN THE NEWS
Costa Rica’s Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) pledged $33 million for 29 bridges needing repair along the country’s northern portion of theInter-American Highway
; most were built between 1944 and 1952. The promise came after a damaged bridge over the Río Seco allowed the river to swallow a portion of the Inter-American, forcing a several-day closure on Central America’s main artery. Repairs to the Río Seco bridge cost an estimated ¢50 million ($97,000), MOPT officials said.
4Home Gardens Stem Poverty
The Agriculture Ministry is working to strengthen home gardening and family farming as a means to contribute to human development, food and nutritional security, and to reduce poverty, preserve cultural values, and generate employment and income. At a recent workshop, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization representative to Costa Rica, Allan Bojanic, said this type of agriculture is the salvation for the food insecurity facing Latin America, by using family labor and focusing on the local market. “Like Agriculture Minister Gloria Abraham has said, we are trying to increase the knowledge and skills of producers, and to allow them to achieve greater incomes in a participatory way,” stated Bojanic at the workshop.
4C.R. Beefs Up Police Beat
Some 770 men and women graduated Thursday from Costa Rica’s NationalPoliceSchool, the Public Security Ministry said. The graduates are entering a force criticized for being outnumbered, outgunned and often ineffective in battling the Costa Rica’s criminal underbelly. Last week, Central America’s chief prosecutors met in San José to address drug trafficking and organized crime – which analysts blame for Costa Rica’s crime surge.
4Price at Pump Will Fall
Costa Rica’s Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) approved a new reduction in gasoline prices – its third price cut in a row. Super will drop from ¢604 to ¢587 ($1.18 to $1.15) per liter and diesel will go down ¢496 to ¢484 (97 to just under 95 cents) per liter. The cost of liquefied petroleum gas also will fall from ¢354 to ¢321 (69 to 63 cents). In a statement Thursday, ARESEP said the reduction is the result of a June 24-July 8 assessment of international prices and exchange rate depreciation.
4U.S. Spanks Guatemala on Labor,Honduras on Human Rights
The U.S. government filed a case this week against Guatemala for the country’s failure to enforce labor rights, citing the need to improve labor protection and address labor-related violence. The Guatemalan government replied that its Constitution protects labor rights and unions. Separately, U.S. State Department Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero on a visit to Honduras, said the country must work to guarantee human rights, including investigating violations and prosecuting those responsible. Otero offered United States’ help in the matter. The remarks came despite Honduras receiving high marks in a recent Organization of American States report (see story page 5)
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