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(506) 2223-1327           Published Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 15     Email us
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A vice consul at the U.S. Embassy stamped the cancelled notation on the face of Óscar Mora's U.S. visa.

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Tico gets his U.S. visa canceled in embassy spat
By Andrew Rulseh Kasper
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rican seeking a passport for his American-born daughter lost his own U.S. visa when a Pavas embassy diplomat stamped it “canceled” as the climax to a disagreement.

The man, a Guanacaste businessman, said that losing the visa will be an economic hardship because he makes frequent visits to the United States to purchase items for resale here.

The man, Óscar Mora Morales, 50, said a vice consul acted arbitrarily in canceling his business visa. He said the argument stemmed from what he described as intrusive questions asked by a Costa Rican interviewer.

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment immediately on the case. At first, a press aide cited the U.S. Privacy Act as an excuse, but a reporter faxed Mora's privacy release form to her. Thursday night an email from the aide promised comments today.

Mora said he visited the U.S. Embassy Jan. 12 to obtain a U.S. passport for his daughter, Melissa Mora Esquivel, 13. The daughter is a U. S. citizen who was born in Florida while the family was legally visiting the country. Oscar Mora said the entire family, including his wife and other son, Jeffrey Mora Esquivel, 15, who is also a U.S. citizen by birth, were planning a trip to Miami in February. The daughter needed the passport to travel.

Until his visit with his daughter to the embassy last week, Mora possessed a 10-year business and tourism visa to visit the United States. His visa was not to expire until 2015.  He claims a vice consul abruptly cancelled the visa by stamping over it in his passport. The reason, he said, was that he became upset with a worker at the embassy who asked a multitude of questions surrounding the status of his daughter's citizenship and his legality. The vice consul said the daughter would get her U.S. passport but that he would not have a visa, he said.

One of the most frustrating questions, he said, was when the embassy worker sought proof that he had paid the hospital bill for the birth of his daughter in Miami 13 years ago. He said the hospital doesn't even exist anymore, but when he couldn't provide documentation he said he thought that his daughter was in danger of not receiving a passport. He became upset and questioned the motives of the worker. At that point the staff member, a Costa Rican woman, went to speak with a vice consul. Vice consuls usually are younger diplomats, although senior embassy officials sometimes fill in when needed.

Mora said he did not know the name of the vice consul but that the woman promptly cancelled his visa and then accused him of staying illegally in the States. But he denies that allegation and said no evidence was provided to him that would prove he had overstayed any visa in the States. He said the vice consul acted in retaliation for him being argumentative.

He said he brought his Costa Rican passport to the embassy only because two forms of identification
family photo
A.M. Costa Rica staff
The Mora family ready to return to Guanacaste.

are required of the parents of a minor seeking a U.S. passport.

Mora visited the embassy again Thursday, and said his daughter received her passport, but his visa remains canceled. Mora is an established Guanacaste businessman.

Mora said he travels to the United States eight times a year, if not more, and has possessed two, 10-year visas in his lifetime. He is the owner of a tour agency in Costa Rica as well as a computer resale company and travels to the United States to buy electronics. He said he had already made the hotel reservations, purchased the airline tickets and $10,000 of electronics, which is now waiting for him to pick up in Miami during for the family's planned trip in February.

He said also the trip was going to have sentimental value because, although his daughter is 13 years old and a United States citizen, she has only been in the United States once in her life: the three months following her birth.

He said it has been her dream to go there.

Robin Haase is the recent arrival as consul general at the U.S. Embassy in Pavas. The former consul general, Paul Birdsall, gained a reputation for community outreach and customer service.

The consular section that issues visas to Costa Ricans and handles passport and other requests from U.S. citizens has had several high-profile public relations disasters. Perhaps the most notable was when workers denied a visa to a Costa Rican mother whose U.S. citizen son had just died as a soldier in Iraq. The woman got the cold shoulder when embassy personnel said they could not find the name of the dead soldier on a data base. They made her come back the following day after paying a $100 appointment fee to attend her son's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. Other embassy workers were so shocked at the treatment that they took up a collection.


Since that event in 2004, conditions have improved. Costa Ricans no longer have to wait outside in the wind and rain when seeking a visa to the United States. Now there is a roofed area inside the embassy where they can wait. And an appointment system has greatly reduced waiting time.

Embassy officials have bragged that 85 percent of the Costa Rican applicants obtain U.S. visas.

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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Embassy outreach project
reaches San Ramón today


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

American expats in the San Ramón area have a chance today to renew their passport, get documents notarized and even register to vote in U.S. elections. Representatives of the U.S. Embassy will hold a seminar and offer these services, said the local Community Action Alliance.

The workshop will focus on services offered by the U.S. Citizen Services Department in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy, said the Alliance. However, a representative from the federal benefits section will be there to discuss Social Security and Medicare, said the Alliance. 

Recent changes regarding the embassy appointment system, new passport usage and other updates will be covered, the Alliance said, adding that the new American Citizen Services Newsletter will also be introduced. There will be some time for questions, but the focus should be on U.S. Citizen Services, said the Alliance release.

More information is on the organization's Web site. The seminar/workshop is in the José Figueres Cultural Center in San Ramón form 10 to 11 a.m.

The embassy staff also will hold a session from 11 a.m. to noon for Costa Ricans on the procedures for obtaining a U.S. visa. Both sessions are free. However, the embassy staff will collect the normal fees for passport renewals or notarizing signatures.


Jacó resident murdered,
and arrest made quickly


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 62-year-old Jacó man died early Thursday from a knife wound sustained in his small home in the center of the central Pacific community. The man was identified by the last name of López.

Persons nearby heard López call for help about 1 a.m. Thursday and found he had been stabbed. He went to the  Clínica de Jacó and then to Hospital Monseñor Sanabria in Puntarenas where he died, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

About 8:30 a.m. investigators made an arrest of a 25-year-old man in nearby Playa Herradura. A search of the man's home yielded evidence, said agents. He was being held pending an autopsy report.

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!
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Permission being sought to bring in French investigative help
By Shahrazad Encinias Vela
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

French Embassy officials have put in paperwork requesting the Costa Rican foreign ministry to allow French investigators to come to the country in the case of a missing French couple.

Claude Dubois and her husband, Gérard, vanished on March 31 south of Quepos. The retired French couple had arrived in the town the day before and decided to take their rental car down to
Dominical for a day trip. That was the last time they were reported being seen.

Fabrice Delloye, French ambassador to Costa Rica, said the embassy staff has officially asked for a comision rogatoria internacional via the foreign ministry here. The ministry will then pass the request to prosecutors and the Judicial Investigative Organization. This is a common international protocol communicating the judiciary of one country with another.

The Judicial Investigative Organization is handling the case. The agency has been reluctant to accept foreign help in the case of other missing tourists.

There are no suspects in the case so far, said Delloye. Investigators did encounter some persons for questioning, but the allegation was for credit card fraud. The couple's credit cards were used for various purchases after their disappearance. Investigators linked these suspects to
Claude Dubois
Claude Dubois
Gérard Dubois
Gérard Dubois
the illegal credit card use. But agents had no evidence to link the suspects directly to the missing couple, so they were released, said Delloye.  Costa Rican law doesn't allow for suspects to be questioned about a crime other than the one in which they are being questioned, he explained.
Investigators also lost an opportunity to find possible suspects in the disappearance when the Dubois rental car was returned to the rental agency without agents dusting for fingerprints or to look for other evidence.

“By the time we found out about the case, it was too late to get the car, as it had been washed and used by different people,” said Delloye. The vehicle had been found abandoned near the Río Naranjo south of Quepos.

Their rental car was found by chance by police on routine patrol, said the ambassador. He added that the police stopped because the car was parked close to the river. That led them to the hotel where the couple had stayed for one night. According to Delloye, the couple had paid to stay in the room for three days and left their suitcases in the room. Hotel employees expressed concern that the Duboises hadn't returned, but they assumed the couple decided to stay in Dominical, said the ambassador. This is common for tourists to do, he noted.

This is a difficult and confidential investigation, said Delloye.

If there are leads or suspects in the case, it will remain with the investigators unless they decide to publicize it through the Judicial Investigative Organization communications department, said a spokesperson for the organization.

Agents are investigating the case under the missing persons protocol. Foul play hasn't been ruled out. The French ambassador said their was no reason for the couple to go missing. He said they were a happy family with a daughter and a grandchild, and there was no reason for them to disappear like that. The couple was very cautious, Delloye said.

The wife always wore a fanny pack underneath her clothes with money and documents, he said.

The couple was from the city of Meaux, France, in the department of Seine-et-Marne. Celine Roussel, the daughter, Alain Roussel, brother of Claude, and Nathalie Valade, a lawyer for the family, will come to Costa Rica in March in an effort to advance the investigation with international support. March will mark one year since the disappearance of the Dubois couple. 


Illegal fishing led to threats and gunplay in the gulf of Nicoya
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security minister is supporting the actions of several members of the Guardacostas who fired into the water when they were surrounded by hostile fisherman last December. The announcement came Thursday following an internal investigation into the incident. The minister is Mario Zamora Cordero.

The fisherman were reportedly startled Dec. 20 by a coast guard boat in the Gulf of Nicoya. The officers on the boat  caught them using nets with holes smaller than is legally permitted among other illegal fishing practices. Smaller nets snag undersized fish and increase damage to the ecosystem but can mean more profit for fisherman because they haul a bigger load.

The official report states that during the incident the three Coast Guard members were outnumbered by 40 or 50 fisherman who surrounded them brandishing knives and other menacing weapons and that a fisherman threw a knife at the Coast Guard boat. That was when the coast guard officer, María de los Ángeles Morales Flores, discharged a gun into the water.
Officials state it is a common fishing practice in the Gulf of Nicoya to use illegal nets. When authorities approach, the fisherman cut the nets and flee at full speed to avoid facing fines or jail. Martin Arias, director of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas said at a press conference that his agency has confiscated a total of seven kilometers of those illegal jettisoned nets in the last year and estimate roughly 400 dredges are conducting illegal operations in the gulf. The legal size of net holes is three inches.

Arias said illegal techniques threaten the ecosystem of the gulf by decimating everything in their paths such as sharks, undersized fish and protected species. He said the ratio of waste to consumable marine life nabbed by illegal nets can be as large as 100 to one by weight. He said the Nicoya ecosystem is a sanctuary and destroying it for marginal profits is not justified.

The fisherman involved in the December incident are being charged in Puntarenas with attempted aggression against authorities and having illegal fishing equipment.

The Guardacostas is an agency of the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.


Book sale a good place to expand circle of possible friends
If you came to Costa Rica and have chosen to live in a city, like San José, chances are most of your friends and intimates are people who are like you and think like you.  If you moved to a small town, you probably have become acquainted and even friends with people who are quite different from you.

Writer Jonah Lehrer recently wrote an article about the research done by three psychologists on the subject of choosing friends and people to associate with.   The research basically confirms what we subconsciously knew but didn´t know we knew it.  Opposites don´t attract, except perhaps when batteries or electricity are involved.  If we have a choice, we tend to be attracted to others who are similar to us, both in behavior and thinking, politically or culturally.

Psychologists Angela Bahms, Kate Pickett and Christian Crandall did their study comparing friendships at a large university and a small college, polling likes and dislikes and recording friend choices.  They found that, given a large pool to choose from, students tended to find others similar to themselves.  The students in the small college accepted as friends a wider variety of people.

I learned this at the International House where I worked.  Students coming from another country to the United States first made friends with their own compatriots, then with other foreign students who were also strangers in a strange country  and finally with local students.  Because there were only 77 students in residence, they eventually branched out to include others.  I remember well when a student from Israel and a Palestinian became fast friends after a wary month or two.  They told me they had learned so much about the other´s culture and politics that it had changed their own attitudes.  And therein lies the value of stretching beyond your comfort level.  But that´s not easy.

Perhaps you have noticed how babies will take to other babies rather quickly, but will be afraid or even cry when a strange looking person picks them up.  It is probably true that we have to learn to hate, but we also have to learn to accept others who are different.  Hermits are the exception.

No matter who our friends are, or where we live, we all like to be alone occasionally, sometimes just to relax, often to engage in something best done alone, like reading.

If you love to read and like turning pages of a book that you
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

Jo Stuart


don´t have to plug into an electrical outlet periodically, if you sometimes like to munch on something delicious while you are reading (not recommended by this management) or even if you just enjoy having interesting books in that piece of furniture called a bookcase to show off or decorate your walls, I know the place for you on Saturday, Jan. 28, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Women´s Club of Costa Rica is having its annual Book and Bake Sale at the Pan American School, which is just 300 meters south of El Rodeo Hotel and Restaurant in San Antonio de Belen.  The books are gently used and the baked goods are good, probably delicious.  You can contact kathigarrison@sbcglobal.net for more information.

If you think this is a blatant plug for the Women´s Club (which does donate money it makes for scholarships to poor children), you would be wrong.

It is a shameless plug for recycling books and finding foster homes for some wonderful literature written before 1990 or even 1890.

And maybe while you are wandering from table after table perusing books on subjects you love, you may meet someone who has the same reading tastes as you and make a new friend with someone you have much in common who may live near you.  Or you may even dare to break away from the romances or mysteries or histories and venture to a new table covered with science fiction or vampire heroes and find out why the person clutching that book likes it and find yourself able to relate to someone quite different from you.   

And contrary to the general advice not to write in books, people who enjoy pre-read books often enjoy written comments by someone who was there first, even if they don`t agree with the comment.  Familiarity is comforting, but it is always good to have new food for thought.

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Researchers find physical evidence of tobacco in Mayan flask
By the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute news staff

A scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an anthropologist from the University at Albany teamed up to use ultra-modern chemical analysis technology to analyze ancient Mayan pottery for proof of tobacco use in the ancient culture.

Dmitri Zagorevski of Rensselaer in Troy, New York, and Jennifer Loughmiller-Newman, a doctoral candidate at the University at Albany, have discovered the first physical evidence of tobacco in a Mayan container. Their discovery represents new evidence on the ancient use of tobacco and a new method to understand the ancient roots of tobacco use in the Americas.

Their research will appear in the journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, in an article titled “The detection of nicotine in a Late Mayan period flask by GCMS and LCMS methods.”

In recent years, archaeologists have begun to use chemical analysis of residues from ancient pottery, tools, and even mummies in an attempt to piece together minute clues about ancient civilizations. Among the potential problems with isolating a residue for analysis is preservation and contamination. Many vessels serve multiple purposes during their lives, resulting in muddled chemical data. Once the vessels are discarded, natural processes such as bacteria and water can destroy the surface of materials, erasing important evidence. Additionally, researchers must be attentive to archaeological field handling and laboratory treatment of the artifacts that might lead to cross contamination by modern sources.

To make their discovery, the researchers had a unique research opportunity: a more than 1,300-year-old vessel decorated with hieroglyphics that seemingly indicated the intended contents. Additionally, the interior of the vessel had not been cleaned, leaving the interior unmodified and the residue protected from contamination.

The approximately two-and-a-half-inch wide and high clay vessel bears Mayan hieroglyphics, reading “the home of his/her tobacco.” The vessel, part of the large Kislak Collection housed at the Library of Congress, was made around 700 A.D. in the region of the Mirador Basin, in Southern Campeche, Mexico, during the Classic Mayan period. Tobacco use has long been associated with the Mayans, thanks to previously deciphered hieroglyphics and illustrations showing smoking gods and people, but physical evidence of the activity is exceptionally limited, according to the researchers.

Zagorevski used the technology within Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer, usually reserved to study modern diseases and proteins, to
Mayan jar
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute photo
This is the Mayan flask form the Library of Congress

 analyze the contents of the vessel for the chemical fingerprint of tobacco.  The technology included gas chromatography mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.  Both are analytical chemistry techniques that combine the physical separation capabilities of gas or liquid chromatography with the analysis capabilities of mass spectrometry.  The latter is used to determine molecular weights of compounds, their elemental composition, and structural characteristics. Zagorevski is director of the department that houses these high-tech devices

Zagorevski and Ms. Loughmiller-Newman’s analysis of the vessel found nicotine, an important component of tobacco in residues scraped from the container. Both techniques confirmed the presence of nicotine. In addition, three oxidation products of nicotine were also discovered. Nicotine oxidation occurs naturally as the nicotine in tobacco is exposed to air and bacteria. None of the nicotine byproducts associated with the smoking of tobacco was found in the vessel, indicating that the vessel housed unsmoked tobacco leaves (possibly powered tobacco) and was not used as an ash tray. No other evidence of nicotine has been found, at this time, in any of the other vessels in the collection.

This discovery “provides rare and unequivocal evidence for agreement between a vessel’s actual content and a specific ichnographic or hieroglyphic representation of that content,” Ms. Loughmiller-Newman states in the paper. She is in the anthropology department at the University at Albany, studying ritual food stuff consumed by the Mayans.

Both Ms. Loughmiller-Newman and Zagorevski would like to see this technique used to analyze a greater variety of vessel types.


Costa Rica expresses support for Argentina's rights in Malvinas
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica reiterated its firm support of Argentina's legitimate rights in the dispute over the Malvines Island, said the country's foreign minister during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

The minister, Enrique Castillo was commenting after a meeting with Argentina's foreign minister who is visiting the country. The legitimate rights were not defined further.

A statement by Castillo's Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto also said there was a regional interest in having both Argentina and the British government renew negotiations to find in the shortest time possible a solution to the dispute over sovereignty.

The Malvinas are known to the British as the Falkland Island, a self-governing overseas territory. Argentina invaded the islands in 1982 under the leadership of the ruling military junta. The British government, headed then by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, sent a task force to engage the Argentine military. Britain has controlled the islands since 1833, and the dispute with Argentina is long-running.

The war cost Argentine 649 dead and contributed to the
ousting of the military government.  The British lost 255 soldiers, and that country considers the matter settled by Argentina's surrender in the war.

The ministry statement said that Castillo would stand by the resolutions and pronouncements by the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The islands in question also include the South Georgias and the South Sandwich islands.

Costa Rica, of course, is involved in a territorial dispute of its own with the northern neighbor, Nicaragua. That country invaded a northern portion of Costa Rica more than a year ago, and Costa Rica is engaged in a protracted case at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

The Malvinas dispute was just one of many points discussed during their meeting that ran more than two hours. Héctor Timerman is the Argentine foreign minister. He said Castillo will visit Argentina in June to continue the dialogue.

Timerman's father, Jacobo, was a newspaper editor who was arrested and subjected to extended torture by the military regime. He later wrote “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number,” which was made into a movie.

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File-sharing site execs
nabbed in anti-piracy bust


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Federal authorities in the United States have shut down one of the world's largest file-sharing sites, and its founder and six others have been charged with violating piracy laws.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand Thursday along with three other top executives at the request of U.S. authorities. Three others facing charges remain at large.

A statement by the U.S. Justice Department and FBI said the action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States. If found guilty, the suspects face up to 20 years in prison. Authorities say Megaupload cost copyright holders more than $500 million.

Megaupload allowed users to upload and transfer very large files. Federal officials say the Web site used this ability to make copyrighted material, like Hollywood movies, available for free, often before the film was even released in theaters.

But the company, and many celebrity supporters, say the site was mainly used for legitimate file transfers.

The arrests follow Wednesday's widespread online protest of anti-piracy legislation under consideration in the U.S. Congress. News of the Megaupload bust prompted a protest, from the hacker group known as Anonymous, which took down several Web sites, including that of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The online blackout Wednesday whittled away support for The Stop Online Piracy Act currently before the House of Representatives, and the Protect IP Act under consideration in the Senate.

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia blacked out its English language Web site for 24 hours, as did the popular blog, Boing Boing. Social news Web site Reddit also went dark for part of the day. Popular search engine Google joined other Web sites that, instead of going dark, posted editorial comments. Google replaced its normally colorful and interactive logo with a black censor bar and directed users to a petition against the legislation.

For now, the bills are pitting the entertainment industry, which sees online pirates increasingly eating away at profits, against technology companies that see the bills as a burden and threat to future growth.

The blackout caused some U.S. lawmakers to withdraw support for the bills and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner admitted Wednesday that there was now a lack of consensus on the measures.

Last week, the White House acknowledged online piracy by foreign Web sites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response. But a statement said, “We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”


U.S. senator visits Cuba
seeking release of Gross


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A high ranking member of the U.S. Senate is in Cuba trying to gain the release of an American accused of spying. He is Dick Durbin of Illinois, who arrived on the island Wednesday for high level talks with Cuban officials.

He is urging Cuba to release Alan Gross, a USAID contractor, who is serving a 15-year sentence. Gross has been jailed since 2009 after he was found guilty of spying.

The U.S. says Gross is not a spy and that he was arranging Internet service for a small Jewish community on the island. Before leaving Cuba, Durbin will also hold talks on Cuba's plans for an off shore drilling project in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. concern has been elevated by last year's British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the southwestern United States coast.

An explosion on a oil rig caused the subsequent spill, creating one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

Following his meetings in Cuba, Durbin will travel to Haiti for discussions with government leaders on the recovery efforts following last year's devastating earthquake that left at least 300,000 dead.

Haitian officials say an estimated 550,000 people are still without homes, down from 1.5 million after the earthquake struck.


World Bank cuts estimate
of 2012 economic growth


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Bank has scaled back its growth forecast for the global economy in 2012, as a result of Europe's ongoing debt problems. Although the world lending institution says the eurozone crisis appears to be under control, it is warning developing countries to brace for an economic slowdown and the possibility of a deepening economic crisis.

The world's economy is expected to grow more slowly this year.

Hans Timmer, head of development projects at the World Bank, projects overall growth in 2012 at around 2.5 percent, more than a full percentage point below the bank's initial estimate.

"This will be a very slow recovery and it will take many, many years before the damage done by the great recession and the damage done by the imbalances created in a boom period before the recession are undone," said Timmer.

Developing countries will continue to outpace growth in richer, more developed economies but emerging countries face significant risks.  World Bank economist Lin Yifu says that includes reduced capital flows and trade if the European crisis worsens.

"The sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone has appeared to be contained, however the risks of global freezing up of capital markets as well as a global crisis, similar to what happened in 2008 are real," said Yifu.

Although the World Bank says high-income countries are primarily responsible for preventing a larger crisis, it says developing countries also have an obligation. Timmer says a crucial element is the role of Asian investment.




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Latin America news
Lawmakers create week
devoted to the family


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican legislature has approved a week dedicated to family.

All 47 lawmakers present voted to approve the Semana Nacional de la Familia. This was the second and final vote on the bill. The time designated is the second week in May.

The discussion turned into a rally advocating the importance of passing the bill on family. Every lawmaker who was allotted time to talk described what family is to them. Most concurred that a family is inclusive, tolerant and teaches respect. And that a family is what molds an individual for society.

One said that a family isn't just a mother and father with children, but also those couples who can't have children, same-sex couples, single parents, and adopted families.

Víctor Hernández Cerdas from Partido Acción Ciudadana said that the social problems in this country stem from family problems. Family is a pillar in this society he said.

Mireya Zamora Alvarado from Movimiento Libertario also agreed, but she insisted that along with this law the state should create a system where low-income families who live along the border areas can receive an education, potable water, health care and a decent place to live. She said that these are areas that politicians visit the most around election time and promise the world to these people, so it is time that as a state they make things happen for these families.


Limón porno and rape case
involves 11-year-old girl


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents have detained two women and a man in connection with rape, production and distribution of pornography and corruption of a minor.

The arrests took place in Dondonia and Limón 2000 on the Caribbean coast Wednesday night. Those arrested include an aunt of an 11-year-old victim and a woman and her husband, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Agents said that the mother of the 11 year old sent her to live in the home of her aunt, the mother's sister. It is there where the sexual encounters leading to a rape charge took place, said the agency. The rape suspect is the man.


Expocasa next week

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A major home and construction show begins Wednesday evening at the Centro de Eventos Pedregal, in La Asunción de Belén. The event is Expocasa 2012. The show runs through Jan. 29.

As an example of the attendance, Banco Nacional said Thursday that it expected to negotiate 500 loans for new construction, remodeling and additions. That is about 10 percent of the bank's goal for the year.








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