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Costa Rica Tourism Industry in Crisis: Waves of Layoffs and Business Closures

The tourism industry in Costa Rica is facing a crisis due to the drastic fall in the exchange rate. More than half of the National Chamber of Tourism’s members are expected to cut personnel or reduce working hours as the low season starts. The sector has lost around 30% due to the appreciation of the colón against the dollar, affecting 95.8% of the represented tourism companies.

The Chamber blames the Central Bank’s monetary policy for the crisis and has requested the Legislative Assembly to exert political pressure on the Bank to reverse its policy. Urgent action is required to prevent business closures and job losses, and the government needs to work closely with the Chamber and the Central Bank to identify the best course of action to help the country’s economic recovery.

Son of Al-Shabaab Leader Arrested and Deported from Costa Rica

Lutrnan Warsame Farah, the eldest son of a high-ranking senior leader of Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group, was arrested and deported from Costa Rica. Farah had been staying in hotels using false identities and a Swedish passport belonging to someone else. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had warned in February 2023 about the possible presence of an Al-Shabaab member in Costa Rica, and Farah is listed by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center.

Farah’s father is linked to facilitating an Al-Shabaab terrorist attack in Sweden in 2011. Farah will be sent back to Somalia as international regulations require him to be returned to the country where he entered legally. The arrest and deportation of Farah highlights the ongoing threat of terrorism and the need for international cooperation in combating it.

Untreated Wastewater: Costa Rica’s Environmental Crisis

Costa Rica is facing a significant environmental challenge due to untreated wastewater, which is causing a threat to the country’s rivers, aquifers, and other natural resources. Only one-third of registered treatment plants are operating appropriately, and just 14% of the population has a safely managed sanitation service in their homes.

The Institute of Aqueducts and Sewerage (AyA) is launching a campaign to remind users to correctly treat wastewater from their homes. Many rivers and streams in Costa Rica are polluted with heavy metals, nitrites, nitrates, and human waste. The government aims to achieve zero untreated wastewater by 2045, but building water treatment plants is expensive.

On World Water Day, the UN urged the world to take urgent action to address freshwater consumption and the recovery of wastewater discharges. Costa Rica must act to protect its environment for future generations.

Using Public Charge Stations in Costa Rica: FBI Says No Anywhere 

The FBI has issued a warning about the use of public smartphone charging stations as cybercriminals have found ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. This practice, known as “juice jacking,” is a new cyber-theft tactic where criminals can load malware onto public USB charging stations to maliciously access electronic devices while they are being charged.

The Federal Communications Commission has also warned of the practice, stating that the malware can lock a device or export personal data into the hands of the perpetrator. The FBI reminded the public to be aware and carry their own charger and USB cord to use an electrical outlet instead.

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