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These stories were published Monday, March 3, 2003, in Vol. 3, No. 43
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Dogs have their day
in San Pedro 

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Every dog has its day, and Sunday was the day for a number of pets whose owners dropped by the VI Festival de Canes in San Pedro.

Although the idea was to honor mutts, all types of dogs showed up. Some, like the basset Kookie (above) met a new friend. But the day was hot and cloudless, so the lucky dog had an owner who cast a decent shadow (right).

The event was put on by the Asociación Nacional Protectora de Animales, and funds raised went for a shelter in Dulce Nombre de Coronado and a program to spay animals.

A.M. Costa Rica photo
Arrest made in case of murdered U.S. citizen
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Homicide investigators shot then arrested a 24-year-old man who is the principal suspect in the murder of U.S. citizen David Kane.

The arrest came Friday afternoon at a home in La Milpa de Guararí in Heredia where police were waiting for the suspect Harold Steven Hernández Quirós. He was wounded in the leg and arm.

Kane died in his home Jan. 4 from a bullet to the head. He lived in La Granja, San Pedro. 

The suspect was easily identified by police because Kane was speaking to a friend on the telephone a few minutes before his death and mentioned the name of the man who was present in the house. 

The Judicial Investigation Organization released the suspect’s name and photo Feb. 4. The suspect sometimes stayed at Kane’s house, according to friends.

Kane was a five-year resident here. There is no clear motive for the killing although investigators said they found items from 
Kane’s house in the home of the suspect. Kane’s sports utility vehicle was stolen as was a quantity of appliances. The vehicle was burned in an Alajuela dirt road. 
 
Harold
Steven
Hernández
Quirós
Fishing boat mishap kills U.S. tourist here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. tourist fell into the Pacific and died Saturday morning off the Osa Peninsula. An investigation will determine the cause of death.

The dead man was identified as Gordon Norman Meyerson, 56. He was with others in the sportfishing boat Golfito Sailfish N° 5 of some 25 feet in length, according to a spokesman for the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.

The ministry’s coast guard boat Juan Rafael Mora of Golfito participated in the rescue attempt.

The captain of the boat was identified as 

Enrique Cerdas Quirós, a Costa Rican, said the ministry.

Also aboard were a Costa Rican Marcos López Nieto and a U.S. couple, Wigley and Betzi Buloart, the spokesman said.

The mishap took place in the La Chancha sector, near Punta Salsipuedes on the Osa Peninsula.

Witnesses said that the boat was hit by a particularly strong wave that dumped Meyerson into the ocean. When his body was found, the right leg had been cut off, officials said.

Judicial authorities will conduct an autopsy.

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Daniel Wilmot (yellow trousers) bowls a tough one for Steve Longrigg (batting forefront)


A.M. Costa Rica/Bryan Kay
Englishmen seek to rejuvenate Caribbean cricket
By Bryan Kay
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Cricket may shine again on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, thanks to the combined efforts of two young Englishmen and Límón players of yesteryear.

Originally brought to Costa Rica in the late 1800s by Jamaican immigrants who came to construct the railroads, cricket has gradually lost its interest to the descendants of the game’s pioneers here.

The hardened old locals who still champion the game have had little luck keeping it alive. There are few players left on the Caribbean, the traditional home of cricket in Costa Rica.

But with the burning desire of Englishman Andrew Redfern and help from his friend, Adrian Hall, that could be about to change. They have spent the last six weeks or so visiting towns from Límón to Playa Manzanillo on the Caribbean in an attempt to ignite interest in cricket among the youth.

The fruit of their labors was the sight Sunday at the Polideportivo stadium in Límon, where the largely ex-pat team from San José traveled to face a team of locals.

The sun was scorching by the time San José assembled to take on a Límón team struggling to even muster an even number of players. But the game proceeded, with Redfern and Hall competing for the locals, colorfully interspersed between Caribbean old-timers — those few older Afro-Caribbean men still carrying the torch for the game on the coast — and a couple of younger players recently introduced to cricket in the course of the Englishmen’s efforts.

An interesting game commenced with a good display from newcomer Tony Dixon from Manzanillo — a product of Redfern and Hall’s campaign. Dixon is a former professional soccer player and only three weeks ago knew next to nothing about cricket, Redfern said.

Redfern himself provided a few early glimpses of his batting ability, scoring an impressive six-pointer around 20 minutes into the game. That means he batted the ball out of the park. The first half ended with Límon scoring 119 runs for 9, which left San José needing 120 runs in the second half to win.

The game continued in much the same fashion during the second period and proved nail biting to the finish. It was a close game in the end, San José ultimately triumphing (120 runs for 7). The second period had its highlights, too, arguably the best of which was a stunning catch by Morgan Power, 15, playing for Limón, from a high-looping bat by Richard Illingworth, president of the Costa Rican Cricket Association, putting him out of the game.

But the game was about youth and raising awareness and interest in the game again on the 

Caribbean, where cricket began in Costa Rica. 

Redfern, a recent graduate of Edinburgh University in Scotland, talks optimistically about what he hopes to achieve with his project. He said when he arrived there was next to nothing in awareness among the youth. Many of the kids he was encouraging to take up cricket didn’t even know it existed, he said.

"Who would have thought these kids would have got on a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride to come here?" said Redfern, pointing to a group of kids playing with plastic cricket stumps and bat, just to the side of the men’s game.

He said the old-timers still playing cricket, perhaps disillusioned by years of flailing interest and with little resources to buck the trend, doubted from the outset that he would be able to get youngsters showing any sort of interest in the game again.

Some completely dismissed the notion, said Redfern. He said he was cautious to say to the men that cricket was theirs, part of their Afro-Caribbean culture, conscious that it could be turned full circle on him. Cricket is an English colonial sport, originally left behind by the British Empire in the West Indies.

However, one of the old-timers, William Ewin, 66, remembers the old days all too well. He is passionate about the sport, eagerly anticipating its return as a serious sport on the Caribbean. 

Ewin, described by some as the self-appointed guardian of cricket on the Caribbean, calls the potential return of cricket "gold" — at a level where the sport is respected again. "I won’t stop until I find it . . . I will find it, I will find it," he said.

Redfern pointed to the group of children from Manzanillo again who came to watch the game: "The old guys came and seen this . . . We’ve proved them wrong." This was part of Redfern’s plan, the culmination of six weeks of canvassing, he said. 

He will now leave the country content he has achieved the first part of his plan. He has planted a seed, he says, and he hopes it will grow. With the help of people like Dixon, the 27-year-old new recruit, he hopes that youths will pick up the game through continued canvassing. 

Redfern hopes to return to Costa Rica — in around 6 months, he estimates — with significant funding so that proper roots for the game can be planted. One idea is a stadium with facilities that could attract tourists, hence regular cash flow.

Redfern, with his own and a few others’ money, has left behind equipment and training manuals. But as he said to a couple of old-timers straddling the spectator’s bench during the game: "You guys need to train people like him [pointing to Dixon] to teach the kids."

String of burglaries of tourists' cars prompts arrest
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. tourist helped police grab a man they said was a car burglar who preyed on tourists and their rental cars in Liberia for the last three months.

The tourist, whose name was not given, called police when his vehicle fell victim to a burglar about noon Thursday in the center of Liberia. Police already suspected a man later identified as Douglas Viales, 43, as the author of a string of such break-ins of rental vehicles.

Investigators said that over the last three months vehicles that had been rented by Swiss, Italians, Spanish, French and North Americans were rifled. Someone forced the locks and took, among other things, photographic and video cameras, money, travelers checks, documents and credit cards.

Working on the strength of the latest report, police conducted a raid of the suspect’s rented living quarters in the outskirts of the city in Barrio Capulín. There they said they found evidence of the crimes, including suitcases, passports, credit cards and clothing that matched the 15 complaints police already had received.

In a patio investigators said they found a fireplace where various articles has been burned partially. The suspect was not home during the 6 p.m. raid, but investigators staked out the property until about 1 a.m. Friday when the man arrived.

Investigators said they found on the man documents belonging to the U.S. citizen who filed the latest complaint as well as money and tools for forcing the locks of cars. A judge put the man in jail for a three month predetention. 


 
 
Man blasted, speared
in Santa Ana burglary

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A burglary suspect tried to scale the bars around a mechanic’s shop in Santa Ana Friday morning but a neighbor blasted him with a shotgun as he was atop the fence.

The man, wounded in the legs and groin, fell onto the pointed verticle bars and later died at Hospital San Juan de Dios.

Investigators indentified him as Yunen Agüero Castro, 33. A spokesman for the Judicial Investigating Organization said that the man was surprised about 1:46 a.m. and died about 4 a.m.

Two fires destroy
stores and houses

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fires Saturday broke out in Escazú and in San Felipe de Alajuelita.

The midday blaze in the center of Escazú heavily damaged the supermarket La Violeta and destroyed the meat store La Centra, said investigators.

The blaze in Alajuelita, near the Escuela de Tajercillos, happened about 4 p.m. and destroyed four homes occupied by the families of María del Carmen Cortés, Marco Antonio Fernández Marín, Xiomara Iraeta Rivas and María Largaespada, according to police.

Peasants assume control
of U.S.-owned ranch

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — A group of peasants has taken over an American-owned ranch in the southern state of Chiapas.

Dozens of Zapatista rebel supporters peacefully seized the Rancho Esmeralda hotel and ranch on Friday as a protest against foreign land ownership in the region. The peasants had blockaded the roads leading to the ranch since December, prompting the American owners to move to a nearby town and leave two caretakers in charge.

News reports said the police had been called, but they declined to confront the invaders.

Four weeks ago, the U.S. State Department urged U.S. citizens to avoid Chiapas state because of threats against foreigners.

Zapatista rebels in the south took up arms against the government in 1994.

Castro adds Japan
to Asian itinerary

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

TOKYO, Japan — Cuban President Fidel Castro is in the country — his second official visit here. 

The Cuban leader's plane touched down at Haneda Airport Saturday. He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi as well as other officials during his three-day visit. 

On Monday, he plans to travel to Hiroshima to visit the atomic bomb memorial before heading home. 

Japan is the last stop on an 11-day Asian tour that also took Castro to Vietnam, Malaysia and China. 

Jamaica criticized for
police killings

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

KINGSTON, Jamaica — A U.N. investigator says the government here is not doing enough to combat extra-judicial killings or punish police officers involved in them. 

U.N. lawyer Asma Jahangir made the charge after conducting a 10-day fact-finding mission to the island. Ms. Jahangir is to present her findings to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. 

Human rights group Amnesty International reports that the police here killed 133 people in the country last year.

Make hay, not war . . . 
protesters march naked

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

SANTIAGO, Chile — About 300 demonstrators have stripped naked here to promote peace, not war, in Iraq.

The protesters, both men and women, held a rally at a downtown park and then marched to the presidential palace demanding peace.

The organizer, Francisco Elgueta, said the group is calling on society to protest the idea of war with Iraq by stripping off uniforms, ideologies and other dividers between people. Police used water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Chile is one of the rotating members of the U.N. Security Council that will vote on a draft resolution backed by the United States and Britain authorizing military action against Iraq.

Yougsters die in water mishaps

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 20-month-old child, Nicolle Vásquez Castro, fell into a swimming pool in Urbanización Monte Real in Barrio Fátima in Atenas Saturday about 4 p.m. and was pronounced dead 20 minutes later at the Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela, said a spokesman for the Fuerza Pública.

On Friday, an 18-month old, Frander Reyes Aragón, died when he fell into the Río Venado in Guatuso about 1:30 p.m.

Three held in cemetery thefts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police detained three men early Saturday when they encountered the trio walking on the public road carrying a religious image and a cross. Fuerza Pública officers said that the objects came from a local cemetery in Moravia where the arrests took place. The men were identified by their last names and ages of Chacón Baltotano, 21, Murillo Ortiz, 21, and Salazar Zumbado, 18.

Smashing arrest made

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man with a hammer went to work on windows in the commercial center Collados about 4 a.m. Saturday in Lourdes de Montes de Oca. Smashed were windows in Vídeo Extra, a dental clinic and an architect’s office there. Police arrrested a suspect, identified by the last names Cordero Ramírez, while he was walking nearby and carrying two video cassets and a video recorder.
 

Telephone service spotty

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Telephone service will be spotty in San Marcos de Terrazú this morning from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. while equipment is changed in the local central telephone, according to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, which also is the phone company.  Officials warned of some cuts in service during that time.

Former El Salvador premier dies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Former president, Fidel Sanchez Hernandez, has died of a heart attack. He was 85.

Hernandez was taken to San Salvador's military hospital for treatment on Friday but he died overnight.  He served as the country’s president from 1967 to1972, and was most famous for overseeing a 1969 territorial dispute with Honduras known as the 100-hour war.
 

Mexican job losses
blamed on cheap labor

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — There is growing concern here over job losses in manufacturing, blamed in part on plants moving to China and other cheap labor markets. Spokesmen for the so-called Maquiladora sector are crying out for help.

For more than 30 years, the country's maquiladoras served as the primary engine for growth in manufacturing. These plants operate under special rules by which parts are imported temporarily from the United States, assembled into products here and then shipped back over the border with preferential treatment.

The expansion of maquiladoras fed the growth of border cities like Tijuana and Juarez. In the past few decades Juarez, which is just over the border from El Paso, Texas, grew its population from a few 100,000 to well over a million people. But now, the main engine of growth has stalled.

Mario Mora, director of the Juarez Maquiladora Association, says jobs are disappearing. He says that in the past two years Juarez has lost 90,000 maquiladora jobs. He says this is a huge loss, especially when you take into consideration that each job in an assembly plant generates two or three jobs outside. He says even some small restaurants and shops have had to close because of the reduction in maquiladora employment.

Mora says his organization and the National Maquiladora Association are asking for help from all levels of government. He says the government needs to develop stimulus measures for the industry because of the strong competition from China, Honduras and other low wage countries. He says even the poor states of the southern region are competing with Juarez for maquiladora jobs.

Economists say Mexico cannot compete for low-end factories where labor costs are the principle consideration. However, many economists agree that Mexico needs to rethink its strategy.

They say streamlined regulations, reduced taxes and labor reform measures would help the country retain some of the more advanced, high wage maquiladora plants and thus provide a better future for manufacturing in general.
 

Casino theft discovered

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some millions of colons are missing from the Casino Adriático of the Hotel Beach Resort Yadran on the Paseo de los Turistas in Puntarenas. The money was missing when employees opened up the operation Sunday, but it was unclear if the safe was cracked or the money simply vanished. The  Judicial Investigating Organization is in charge of the probe.
 
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An invitation to enter our photo contest
The first A.M. Costa Rica photo contest welcomes your submissions and will award a prize of $100 in each of five categories.

The deadline for submission is April 15. The contest was announced in November.

Five categories have been established:

1. DEADLINE NEWS: A news photo that shows a breaking news event, such as, but not only, crime, accidents, fires, arrests.

2. SCENIC: Landscape scenes which may or may not include people as a secondary emphasis.

3. WILDLIFE: Photos that have as their principal subject one or more animals, plants or insects. 

4. SPORTS: A photo related to one of the major or minor sports, team or individual.

5. PEOPLE:  A photo that has as its principal emphasis one or more persons, including individual portraits. 


Deadline is April 15

BASIC RULES: The photo must be taken by the person who submits it, and he or she, as a condition of submission, agrees to give A.M. Costa Rica the right to publish the photo in A.M. Costa Rica. Upon publication, the photo will be covered by A.M. Costa Rica’s copyright, which the newspaper will happily assign back to the contestant upon request. As a condition of submission, the contestant affirms that he or she owns full rights to the photo and that it has never before been published in any professional medium.

The photo must have been taken within the borders or territorial waters of Costa Rica between Nov. 15 and the contest deadline. 

Only one entry per photographer is allowed in each category. Judges reserve the right to place the photo in another category during the selection process.
 
Employees, shareholders or interns with A.M. Costa Rica may not enter the contest. 

This is an open competition. No distinction will be made between professional and amateur photographers.

A.M. Costa Rica, at its option, will publish photos and information including the name of the photographer, as submissions are made.

The management of A.M. Costa Rica and judges are the final authority on contest rules and submissions.

TECHNICALITIES: The photos must be sent digitally via e-mail to 

editor@amcostarica.com, and the subject line must specify "photo contest." Within the body of the e-mail, the contestant must specify into which category the photo is submitted. The photo should be between 4 and 8 inches in width and contain no less than 72 pixels per inch of density. Each photo should not be larger than 200 k.

The e-mail message must clearly state the name and the circumstances surrounding the taking of the photo and the date the photo was taken. 

The photo should be in jpeg format and sent as an attachment with the file name as the number of the category in which it is being submitted followed by the name of the photographer.

For example, the file name of a photo in the sports category taken by Mr. Jones would be 4jones.jpeg or 4jones.jpg

PRIZES:  A first place winner will be named in each category, and the prize will be $100 paid via Pay Pal, the electronic fund-transfer system.


 
Intellectual property protection gets a champion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The issue of intellectual property, frequently overlooked in Costa Rica, is getting a champion.

The Registro Nacional said it will open an office today dedicated to helping authors and others understand and defend their rights.

Intellectual property is usually abstract and includes written material, images of photos, paintings, computer software and even trademarks.

The office at the registry is designed to help lawyers, authors, interpreters, and others in getting answers to their problems. The office, the Dirección Nacional de Drechos de Autor, is located at the Registro Nacional in Zapote.

The opening of the office is in recognition that intellectual property rights generally are ignored in Costa Rica. Software is copied and used. A study two years ago found many pirated versions of popular software in use at the Poder Judicial, the courts.

The subject also is one that is treated extensively in international treaties, including the proposed Central American-U.S. free trade pact. Countries generally have to bring their laws into accord with international standards. These standards recognize existing copyrights and trademarks.

Police agencies here have been cracking down on counterfeit trademarks. A series of raids two weeks ago targeted clothing carrying phony trademarks of popular brands. Counterfeit musical CDs also have been the target of raids.

The Internet also provides easy access to 
copyrighted material that some uninformed or 

unconcerned individuals use for their own ends.

A number of articles, including photos, from A.M. Costa Rica have been used in other publications. Those who use them generally claim confusion about the rights to use the material. Several publications have apologized to A.M. Costa Rica, which retains the copyright to all the material it publishes. Typically, A.M. Costa Rica will grant one-time publication rights without charge to promote Costa Rican tourism.

Generally it is illegal to copy material from the Internet when the material is copyrighted. Those who without permission send entire news stories to friends violate the law. The legal method is to briefly summarize the content of the news article and provide an Internet link to the appropriate material. Individuals can copy entire articles for their own files.

Confusion exists even among lawyers and judges. For that reason, the Escuela Judicial of the Poder Judicial has planned a four-session seminar on intellectual property. The first session is Friday.

The free sessions are open to lawyers, judicial employees and anyone else interested in the topic. The session Friday will host Gloria Navas of the Business Software Alliance.

Presenting March 14 will be Alfonso Jiménez Meza of the Cámera Textil Costarricense, who will discuss the economic and social impact of intellectual property. He also will present a discussion of possible reforms in the law March 21. Ms. Navas will return April 4 to discuss pirate practices in Costa Rica and their historical implications.

All sessions, which are in Spanish, are at 2 p.m. in the auditorium in the Plaza de Justicia, which is in the center of the three judicial buildings.


 
Our reward offer is still $500

Louis Milanes

Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This newspaper seeks the prompt return of two men who ran high-interest investment operations that have gone out of business.

Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho, 62, was associated with Ofinter S.A., a money exchange house, and with his own private investment business that had about $1 billion in other people’s money on the books.

Villalobos closed his business Oct. 14 and vanished.

Louis Milanes operated Savings Unlimited and several casinos in San José. He left the country with other members of his firm the weekend of Nov. 23. He may have as much as $260 million in his possession. Both operations catered to North Americans.

Villalobos had about 6,300 customers. Milanes had about 2,400.

Villalobos and Milanes are the subjects of international arrest warrants.  Associates of both men have been jailed.

A.M. Costa Rica has posted a $500 reward for information leading to the detention of either man with the hopes that others will make similar pledges. The newspaper believes that investors only will see some of their money when the two men are in custody.

Milanes has few supporters in San José. On the other hand, as the letters frequently on this page show, Villalobos still has supporters who believe that he will reappear and settle his debts. They believe he is in hiding because of a predatory Costa Rican government.

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