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(506) 2223-1327       Published Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 13        E-mail us
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Citizens can dress the way they please, court says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court has come down strongly on the side of those who want to be creative in the way they dress. In a decsion released Monday, the court said that individuals cannot be barred from a public place based on how they are dressed.

The case involved a man who said he was barred from entering the Registro Nacional  Oct. 21 because of the way he was dressed. The man said in his appeal to the constitutional court that he was dressed in pants that came down below the knees.

The case may contain some hidden motives because the man said that he went to the Registro in Zapote to file a complaint against an employee. He said that a guard would not let him enter and cited an internal circular that forbade entry to persons dressed inappropriately or immorally.

In his defense, the man said he was preceded by a young woman with a very short skirt who had no trouble entering the building.  The man, identified in court papers as Guido Núñez Román, said he returned home, put on long pants and successfully entered the building on the second attempt.

The court in its decision said that the actions of the guard affected the man's fundamental rights. The case only involves a public place and not a private place of public accommodation, like a hotel lobby or restaurant.
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Tourism operator faces allegation of laundering cash
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man who operated cabins in Bahía Uvita de Osa has been jailed for two months while agents investigate allegations of money laundering.

He was identified by the Poder Judicial by the last names of Vindas Monge. He is 59, they said.

He was ordered jailed by the Juzgado Penal de Osa, said the Poder Judicial.

The allegation on which he was jailed is that he
used his business to launder money that was obtained by credit card fraud targeting foreigners. The victims were British and Nigerian, said the Poder Judicial.

The perpetrators of the fraud would make fake reservations using stolen credit cards and then cancel them in order to receive a refund, minus certain administrative fees that the business kept, the Poder Judicial said. The transactions were done via the Internet.  Agents who searched the location last week said they confiscated 136 million colons or about $247,000.


Masked men hold up casino in San José and steal 15 million colons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three masked men invaded a casino in Barrio Tournon in north San José about midnight Saturday and stole about 15 million colons (about $27,300), according to the Judicial Investigating Organization.
The casino, Lucky's, is within the Hotel Villa Tournon and is part of a chain of Costa Rican gambling spots that include operations of the same name in Guápiles, Pérez Zeldón and San Carlos.
In addition to taking money from the casino, the robbers are believed to have taken money from the customers.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 13

Costa Rica Expertise
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4815-5/24/09
Bus fares cut slightly
as fuel prices go down

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The price regulating agency has ordered a reduction of nearly 6 percent in the fares charged on the nation's 713 bus routes.

The price cut comes as a reduction in the price of fuel and was published and made official in the La Gaceta government newspaper.

The average fare reduction is 33 colons or about six U.S. cents. The fare reductions range from just 5 colons (about one U.S. penny) to 405 colons (about 74 cents).

The Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos was beginning to receive some criticism because fuel prices had dropped but not the fares that the agency had increased specifically to compensate for the higher fuel.

The agency noted that the final fare is based on a number of factors, including salaries which have just been increased 7 percent.


Reopening Poás for tours
will be considered today


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Emergency officials today will study the possibility of reopening the Parque Nacional Volcán Poás with the goal of bringing economic activity back to the area stunned by the Jan. 8 earthquake. The park is a tourist magnet and many small businesses depend on the flow of visitors.

Meanwhile the national emergency commission said it is entering the second phase of the quake response, and some agencies are cutting back their presence in the area.

Although the emergency commission says that the search for seven vanished residents will continue, the Judicial Investigating Organization is pulling out of the area. The agency maintained a temporary morgue that handled the 23 fatal victims of the quake. However, the agency said staff members will be available if more bodies are found.

Bodies whose location were known precisely have been located, so now the rescue crews have a large area covered by hundreds of tons of rocks and dirt. Some of these areas are unstable and dangerous, officials said.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y  Atención de Emergencias said it would focus on three fronts: housing the homeless, distribution of food and supples and the management of donations. The commission lifted a red alert that had covered much of the central valley since the quake. Some 2,000 persons still are in government shelters.

Law enforcement agencies, including the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, are continuing to maintain security in the affected areas and to manage roadblocks.

At Casa Presidencial President Óscar Arias Sánchez created a committee of business people to work in conjunction with the new reconstruction committee. Arias addressed the business community and asked for help to house the school children who have lost their room. Some 27 classrooms at four schools are destroyed. He asked for shipping containers that may be used for schools.

The committee also is expected to launch a fund drive among companies to assist with the recovery.


Our reader's opinion
Costanera Sur different
than what ministry said


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

My wife, Karen, and I live in Matapalo, which is approximately half way between Quepos and Dominical.  We travel to Quepos on the Costanera Sur almost weekly with the last time being this past Saturday and to Dominical probably monthly.
 
Concerning Monday's article on paving.  I'm sure for the article you used info supplied to you by the transport ministry.  Well, they fed you a heap of totally false information, particularly the contents of the last paragraph.
 
Last week we crossed the Río Savegre three times.  There is NO work in progress to widen the existing Bailey bridge that spans the river.  That last paragraph also states that work to replace the bridges spanning the rios Hatillo Viejo and Hatillo Nuevo was started last May.  No work what so ever has been started on these bridges.
 
Grating and widening of the road surface is not complete.  This has been accomplished from Quepos to Hatillo but not from Hatillo on down to Dominical.  That portion of the road remains an extremely rough, very narrow dirt road with speeds restricted to below 20 kph for cars with trucks and buses restricted to 5 kph.  You get stuck behind one because the road is too narrow to pass. You could stop your car and get out and walk faster than the truck or bus.
 
The Costernera Sur is currently and always has been used extensively 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by tractor/trailor rigs traveling both north and south that do not require cargo delivery or pick-up in the Central Valley.  To avoid the Cierra de la Muerte, the Central Valley and mountain range climbing out of the northern part of the Central Valley trucks traveling north pick up the Costernera Sur at Palma Norte and follow it all the way to Roble where they pick-up the Interamericana (Cl 1) and vice versa.  
 
You have a fine, very informative newspaper which we read daily. However, when you state such and such government agency supplied the information, skepticism arises.  The above is a very good indication of why.
Frank Walker
Matapalo, Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 13



Newspaper camera captures third set of flying objects
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two unexpected images showed up in a Jan. 8 photograph of traffic on the Próspero Fernández highway.

The images reinforce the belief that something is traveling through the skies above Costa Rica.

This is the third time that A.M. Costa Rica photographers have captured by accident what seems to be some sort of aircraft in the late afternoon skies. In all cases, the images were not discovered until the photographs were being evaluated for publication.

The latest photo shows two elongated images close together in the sky west of the intersection with the Circunvalación. The photo assignment was of construction along the highway.

This is the second time such images showed up in skies above Escazú. The newspaper published photos April 11, 2007, that were taken from Guachipelin, Escazú, while the sun was fading from the sky.

The first photos were published April 3, 2006, and were taken from the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones in San José. A photographer from a Spanish-language newspaper later showed that he had inadvertently taken photos of the same images. Both he and the A.M. Costa Rica photographer, Saray Ramírez Vindas, were trying to photograph the late afternoon sky.

The three series of photos obtained by A.M. Costa Rica were taken with different cameras and there was no manipulation of the images.
objects in sky
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Arrow points to area of the objects.

The original series of images were analyzed by local followers of unidentified objects. They determined that the photos were not contrived and that the objects appeared to have depth and mass, as do the most recent images.

The objects are unlikely to be commercial aircraft because airline pilots try not to approach each other too closely.


Architect who is a painter honored with Premio Magón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An 80-year-old professional architect who also is a major figure in the art world has been awarded the Premio Magón 2008. He is Rafael Angel "Felo" García Picado.

The annual award is the highest tribute in the culture field in Costa Rica. As is the tradition, the recipient was announced Monday but the presentation will be later.

Garcia, a native of Paraíso de Cartago studied architecture in England when there were few such professionals in Costa Rica. He is credited with designing a number of public
works projects and for founding the  Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos in 1971 and the architecture school at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

In the art world he is better known as being a member of the Grupo de los Ocho, artists who in the early 1960s renewed the painting tradition in Costa Rica.

He also was the first director of the institution that evolved into the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes.

Garcia also has the distinction of being the first Costa Rican to play professional soccer in England.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 13


Weekend produced a string of eight violent deaths
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Eight persons died violent deaths from Saturday night until Monday morning, investigators reported.

A family of three was run down south of Jacó as they were returning from church services.

In Desamparados two young men found themselves in the middle of a gang shootout and one died.

Two Nicaraguan coffee pickers got into a fatal fight at a Desamparados bar.

And in Alajuelita a women locking her security door was gunned down by someone in a nearby parked car.

The family who died were struck by a pickup truck which left the scene. Investigators found the abandoned vehicle a short time later and arrested Luis Diego Cruz Sevilla, 34, Monday morning. The hood of the vehicle was heavily damaged as was the windshield where the pedestrians hit it.

Dead were Lucia Miranda Miranda, her husband, Francisco Navarrete Villanueva, both 37, and their daughter, Guadalupe Navarrete Miranda, 14. A second child survived. The family, Salvadorians living here for three years, were hit at Quebrada Seca.

Investigators identified the young man killed in Desamparados as Jorge Andres Jiménez Méndez, 18. A companion, Cristopher Monge Víquez, 20, was wounded 
in the afternoon shooting at La Villa Olímpica in Desamparados. The young men went there to use the swimming pool. The shootout was between rival gangs, and agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization say the two young men did not have gang connections.

Alcides Ramírez Durán, 23, and Antonio Ramírez Reyes  died Sunday night during a fight near the El Escondite bar in Frailes de Desamparados. They were identified as coffee pickers, and investigators said they had a good idea who stabbed the two cousins.

Another fight in Cartago claimed the life of Douglas Sanabria, 33, who died early Sunday at the local Hospital Max Peralta after being shot.

In Barranca, Puntarenas, someone called Luis Jason Chinchilla García, 20, from his home Sunday night and then shot him fatally.

Nearly the same situation claimed the life of Maryorue Portilla Flores, 37. She died early Monday after being shot about 1 a.m. in La Urbanización Chorotega en Alajuelita when she went to close the security portón and someone in a parked car fired on her and her daughter, Sonia Jazmín Acuña Portilla, 8, who was wounded.

In Barrio Cristo Rey Monday three men were injured in a shootout, and police captured two suspects in a vehicle a short distance away after a chase. Held was a man with the last names of Oconitrillo Loría and a second man who refused to give his name, Fuerza Pública officers said.


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A.M. Costa Rica
users guide


This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages

Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each week day.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.

Searching

The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.

Newspages

A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.

Classifieds

Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information

A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.

Statistics

A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

Contacting us

Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us

Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.



World Court says U.S. failed
to review access in rape case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations' highest court has ruled that the United States violated the court's order last year when authorities in Texas executed a Mexican national convicted of rape and murder.

The International Court of Justice said in a unanimous ruling Monday that U.S. authorities should have reviewed the case of José Ernesto Medellín Rojas, who was not granted consular access during his trial for the 1993 rape and murder of two girls.

A legal adviser for the U.S. Department of State, John Bellinger told reporters Monday that Medellin's case had been reviewed numerous times by state and federal courts.  He said he was satisfied with the judgment apart from the criticism of Medellin's execution.

Texas authorities said Medellin's arrest, trial and sentencing complied with state, national and international laws, and there was no reason to stop the execution.

The World Court also said the United States is obligated to abide by the court's 2004 order to review the cases of nearly 50 other Mexican nationals sentenced to death and determine whether the lack of access to Mexican diplomats affected their cases.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President George Bush overstepped his authority by ordering Texas to comply with the 2004 international court ruling and re-open its case against Medellin.

Under the 1963 Vienna Convention, foreign nationals have the right to speak with their country's consulate after their arrests.

The rights group, Human Rights Watch, has called on the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to comply with the World Court judgment, as a show of respect for international law.


China reports fourth bird flu case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chinese authorities say a teenager has become the country's fourth person to be diagnosed this year with bird flu, just days after a second fatality in less than a month.

A statement posted on the Ministry of Health Web site says the 16-year-old boy from the southwestern province of Guizhou fell ill Jan. 8.

Friday he was transferred to a city in neighboring Hunan province.  His condition has since worsened and is now critical.

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