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(506) 2223-1327               Published Tuesday, March 9, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 47      E-mail us
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Easter
flowers

With Semana Santa just three weeks away, the roble de sabana trees along the Autopista Próspero Fernández began putting out pink blooms.  The roble de sabana tree (Tabebuia rosea) is unusual in that it can produce pink blooms at the height of the dry season when most other vegetation is wilting from lack of rain. Costa Ricans know Semana Santa or Easter Week is near when the roble de sabana trees burst into pink bloom.


Flowering trees along the highway
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Quake resistance here more like Chile than Haiti
By Dennis Rogers
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Media coverage of recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile has Costa Rica residents wondering what it will be like when the big one hits here.

Central America sits atop a subduction zone much like the one that produced the Chile earthquake. Here, the Cocos tectonic plate is going under the Caribbean plate.

The biggest quake in modern Costa Rican history was one of 7.6 magnitude in 1991. It was centered in a remote area of the Talamanca mountains but still caused substantial damage on the Caribbean coast and nearby Panama. About 74 people were killed.

If an earthquake the magnitude of the 1991 event were to occur in the Central Valley, damage would be widespread. About 25 percent of dwellings countrywide are not in compliance with building codes, said Sigifredo Pérez, operations chief for the national emergency commission. Many of these would collapse.

The biggest difference between Haiti and Chile was building standards. The difference in damage between Port-au-Prince and Concepción totally belies the fact that the Chilean earthquake was so much stronger in terms of energy released. Chile has a tradition of seismic activity leading to stronger construction codes and the elimination of old buildings. Haiti had essentially no building codes.

In general, Costa Rica’s building codes are like Chile’s, so long as construction is properly supervised by an engineer and inspected by the local municipality. Damage would be limited. Bridges are not to the same standards, said Pérez.
The amount of death and injury would depend largely on the time of day. “It’s not the same if it happens at 3 a.m. than at 11 in the morning. It’s preferable that it be night or early morning like in Chile” said Pérez. Most dwellings in Costa Rica are a single story, “so they can’t collapse on people the way a seven story building in San José could.”

The six hospitals in the Central Valley are mostly new and well-built, except for Hospital San Juan de Dios in San José, noted Pérez.

The immediate result for infrastructure is that even if the telephone system survives the shaking, it collapses as everyone tries to contact family and friends. In the case of a 7.5 quake, electricity and then the water supply would likely also fail.

Last year’s Cinchona quake caused damage not seen since 1991 due to the location on steep slopes with loose volcanic soils, even though it was only 6.5 magnitude.

Most loss of life was the result of landslides, though poorly constructed buildings and the epicenter’s proximity to the village of Cinchona resulted in maximum damage, said Pérez.

According to researchers at the Universidad Nacional, the area ripe for a major earthquake is along a fault that follows the Nicoya peninsula in Guanacaste. It last moved in 1950, and also produced substantial movement in 1853 and 1900.
The experts expect something 7.7 magnitude or larger, more than the Limón event.

Four Costa Rican engineers will go to Chile Friday to help with damage assessment. They will be studying damage to hospitals, schools, and public infrastructure as Chile looks to begin its recovery from the devastating Feb. 27 earthquake.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 47

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

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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.


Real estate agents and services

MARGARET SOHN
with Great Estates of Costa Rica

20 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce

samargo@racsa.co.cr
info@realtorcostarica.com
www.realtorcostarica.com
(506)  2220-3729 &  (506)
8333-8391 cell
(506)  2232-5016 (phone/fax)
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Collection services

COLLECTIONS COSTA RICA
The collection agency you’ve been searching for
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We are an attorney-based collection agency and specialize in the recovery of delinquent accounts nationwide. We work on a contingency basis or fee structure depending on the type of debt, but always fees that you can understand with no hidden costs. We recover your lost revenue quickly & professionally. Tel: 2253-3705/2283-8712   E-mail: collectionscr@gmail.com
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Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
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*Investments  *Corporations
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Phone/Fax: 2290-8117, 8841-0007
New location on Rohrmoser Blvd.
 Phone: (506) 2232-1014


Burke Fiduciary, S.A.
Registered Escrow and Legal Services
Thomas A. Burke, LL.M, Glenda Burke, LL.M
Gloria Burke, manager
Burke law firm

We offer real estate law, due diligence and escrow services,residency status, business corporations, estate planning. English, Spanish, German and French spoken.
More about us at www.burkecr.com
Ph. 011 506 2267-6645
info@burkecr.com

The registration of Burke Fiduciary S.A., corporate ID 3-101-501917 with the
General Superintendence of Financial Entities (SUGEF) is not an authorization to operate. The supervision of SUGEF refers to compliance with the capital legitimization requirements of Law No. 8204. SUGEF does not supervise the
business carried out by this company, nor its security, stability or solvency.
Persons contracting its services do so for their own account and at their own risk.
5937-9/4/10

CONSULTORIA JURIDICA EMPRESARIAL CA, S.A
Attorneys & Notaries
 Tel.  2280-9692 / 2225-9322
Skype: CONJURIDICA
e-mail: info@conjuridica.com 
Web:  www.conjuridica.com
       We offer the highest professional standards with very competitive rates. All our official documentation and Notary deeds are always translated in English for better comprehension, client satisfaction and safety.
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• Immigration Law.
• Real Estate Law.
• Corporations, Foundations
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• Notary public services
• Criminal Law
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Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.
5290-12/2/09

Appraisers

BEFORE YOU BUY and OVERPAY
Angela Jiménez
ask Angela Jiménez
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for Costa Rica Banks

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www.orbitcostarica.com/
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Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
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Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
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www.residencyincostarica.com
Tel: (323) 255-6116
5495-2/17/09

Acupuncture physician

Acupuncture (disposable needles),
& Auriculotherapy (without needles) 

Immediate results guaranteed
for sport and all injuries; Back, neck, shoulder, elbow, carpal tunnel, knees, sciatica, 
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Eugene Mc Donald A.P.
migraine, T.M.J., kidney stones, intercostal neuralgia, and all painfull conditions  without drugs. Excellent results for stress, tension, anxiety, depression; and many other medical conditions and health maintenance.  Acupuncture works even if other therapies had little or no results. Free consultation, U.S. license, 19 years experience, Eugene Mc Donald, A.P (acupuncture physician) Escazú, 8352-0661. acutherapy0@hotmail.com
http://acupuncturecr.blogspot.com/
5563-3/21/10

Accountants

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

• US Tax return preparation  for
individuals and businesses
• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
• Assist with back reporting and other filing issues
• Take advantage of the Foreign
Income Tax Exclusion (up to $
91,400 in 2009)
• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr
5097-3/30/10

U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)
C.R. 2288-2201   U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2289-8235
E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com
Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!
5916-5/15/10


Hearing consultant

English-speaking hearing consultant
We can professionally evaluate your hearing problem at Clinica Dinamarca off Paseo Colón or at Hospital CIMA.
• Natural sound
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• No more background noise, feedback or echoing
• American hearing consultant from D.C. & Atlanta
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• Authorized provider  to the U.S. veterans
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We service the U.S. veterans/Foreign Medical Program. Please contact me, Allan, at allan9000@gmail.com or at 8891-8989.
5950-4/15/10

Body found floating in sea
may be North American


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators think they have found the body of a U.S. citizen who had been reported missing in Golfito.

The body bore the signs of an effort to conceal it by tying it to chunks of concrete.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that agents believe they have located the body of a 38-year-old man with the name of Rover. He was reported missing by a friend Saturday, they said.

A resident noticed the body floating in the sea Monday. At first the man thought the white shape was some kind of package or clothing. Closer inspection showed that the body had been draped in a white sheet. The body was floating upright with the shrouded head above water, perhaps due to the weight of the concrete tied to the legs.

Agents said they are awaiting a report from the judicial morgue as to the cause of death. They stressed that they are not completely sure the body is that of Rover although it does match his physical description.

Missing girl, 3, found
dead not far from home


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Neighbors found the body Monday of a 3 year old who had been missing since her mother was attacked Saturday morning on the public roadway. The dead girl was not far from her home in Tesalia de Ciudad Quesada.

Agents already had in custody the suspect in the crime. He was identified by the last names of Rodríguez Piedra.

The man was being held on the strength of the case involving the woman, who is hospitalized. The dead girl was identified as Yudith Ariel Blandón Orozco.

The attack happened Saturday when the women with the last name of Orozco suffered a beating with fists, a stabbing and then was run down by a car.

She told investigators at the hospital that her daughter was missing, and a major search was launched. The body was found Monday afternoon.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that mother and daughter were walking toward a bus stop when a man offered them a ride in his vehicle. After both got in, the man turned on the mother and threw her from the vehicle, said agents. Originally Ms. Orozco was thought to be a traffic victim until the knife wound was discovered.


Post service to deliver
medications for Caja


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's health agency is asking the postal authorities to provide messenger service.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social has been running a trial program in the Esparza area in which Correo de Costa Rica would deliver medicine and paperwork.

Now Caja officials are expanding the program to the entire country.

Esmeralda Bonilla, the physician in charge of the Área de Salud de Esparza, said that postal workers have delivered some 60,000 orders of medicine to outlying areas. The postal service also has been used to deliver urgent laboratory samples to Hospital Monseñor Sanabria in Puntarenas, she said.

A new notifications law gives postal workers the power to serve legal papers, such as notices to employers that they are behind in their payments to the Caja. So postal workers will be doing that, officials said.


Old tires weigh 237 tons

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de San José reports that it collected 23,600 old tires during 2009. The tires weigh about 237 tons, the municipality said.

The municipality maintains 15 collection points in the city. The idea is to reduce the possible breeding places for the dengue-carrying mosquito.


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A.M. Costa Rica 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 weekday.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Contacting us

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

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


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 47

Trio of dwelling fires prompt warning from firemen
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although many Costa Rican homes are made of concrete or cinderblock, there is enough flammable material to feed fires.

Three fires in as many days have destroyed or heavily damaged six homes, prompting firemen to issue a general warning against typical causes of fire.

In a blaze Monday morning in Desamparados the cause was an electrical frying pan that had damaged wires. The blaze demolished one home and did major damage to three adjacent dwellings. There were no injuries.

A Saturday afternoon blaze, also in Desamparados, did heavy damage to the first and second floors of a home. Firemen said that the cause was a child playing with a cigarette lighter.

Sunday the fire was in Los Anonos, Escazú, where the cause was reported to be candles in a candelabra over a rattan table. The Escazú home was mostly concrete but fire
still burned through more than two-thirds of the structure before firemen extinguished it.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos noted that there are some unique concerns having to do with Costa Rica homes. In many the security systems involve doors, window bars, locked gates and other devices to keep a crook from breaking in. These same security setups prevent people from leaving during a fire. So the fire officials urge homeowners to keep keys in a place where they can be found and used.

Costa Rica also has a minimum of electrical inspections and many homes have older electrical systems. Other homes, particularly some in the low-income areas have do-it-yourself electrical systems that are inadequate, lack grounding and frequently wires are not in conduits. The fire department recommends having a qualified electrician inspect the home electrical system once a year.

The liquid petroleum gas used widely for cooking in Costa Rica is another concern of firemen. They urged residents to be careful when changing an empty cylinder for a full one and to make sure the connections are secure.


Ex-bank teller detained in investigation of missing money
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A former teller at the Santa Cruz branch of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica is being accused of taking some $180,000, said the Poder Judicial.

The man, identified by the last names of Flores Arias, worked at the bank branch from 2007 to 2009, said the Poder Judicial.
Agents detained the man in San José Monday at the same time his home was searched in Santa Cruz, the Poder Judicial said.
        
The judicial report was not specific on what actions were alleged by the man to take so much money for himself.
The Poder Judicial simply said that he is facing an allegation that he manipulated the funds in a way to benefit himself.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 47


Traffic law changes are again hung up in procedural move

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Changes in the new traffic law are back in limbo today after the leadership of the Asamblea Legislativa said that the executive branch was withdrawing the package for further consultations with interested parties.

This is the legislation that would reduce fines of those caught under the strict new law. Lawmakers generally are trying to reduce the fines that they, themselves, set to about a third.

During this period of the year, the executive branch has jurisdiction over the legislative calendar, which is why the bill could be withdrawn.

Earlier in the day, lawmakers eliminated mandatory jail for first-time drunk drivers. There were other changes in the penalties of the law.

Still unknown is how the withdrawal of the bill will affect those measures already determined.

Lawmakers and the executive branch have been under intense pressure over the penalties in the bill. Much of the pressure comes from the business community, which anticipates problems with the driving records of their
employees. Already lawmakers have thrown out a points system, mostly at the request of the business community.

During the afternoon, lawmakers approved changes in what is considered reckless driving. That is now defined as driving a vehicle at 150 kilometers an hour or more, some 93 mph, participating in drag races or driving under the effects of drugs.

In the case of drag races or driving at high speed, the motorist faces prison from one to three years and from one to five years of a suspended license.

Those found driving under the influence of drugs can be sentenced of up to six years in prison and lose the license for 10 years. A repeat offender faces three years in prison if caught within five years.

Under Costa Rican law, those sentenced for up to three years can be given alternative methods, like public service, besides actually going to jail to work off their penalty.

Lawmakers also fixed a period of no more than 20 years for a vehicle to be used as a taxi.

The period now is 16 years. Lawmakers also reduced the fine for not having a child in a seatbelt.



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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 47

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Anti-whaling activists
say effort was successful


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Anti-whaling activists in Australia say their recent campaign in the Southern Ocean against Japanese whaling ships was the most successful ever. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says it stopped the Japanese fleet from hunting for about a third of the season.
 
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's boats have tailed Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean for the past six annual hunts.
 
They aim to stop what they consider the illegal slaughter of humpback and minke whales in the icy waters of Antarctica.
 
This whaling season three Sea Shepherd vessels harassed the fleet, including a super-fast speed boat, the Ady Gil, which sank after a collision with a Japanese ship.
 
Despite the loss, conservationists say they had their most successful campaign ever, and claim to have cut the whalers' activities by a third, costing them an estimated $70 million in lost revenue.

Paul Wilson, the organization's founder and president, is captain of one of the Sea Shepherd boats. He says his organization's tactics are increasingly troubling to the whalers.
 
"The Japanese are becoming clearly more frustrated and aggressive because they are losing a lot of money and this year they took that frustration out by deliberately turning in and ramming the Ady Gil and taking out a $2 million dollar ship," he said. 

Watson is known in Costa Rica where he was haled into court on a bogus claim after harassing Costa Rican shark finners in foreign waters.
 
It is not known how many whales the Japanese caught during the southern hemisphere summer, although in the past Tokyo has set a quota of around 1,000 animals.
 
Two Sea Shepherd boats are docked in Tasmania after several weeks tracking the whalers. The Australian Federal Police searched both vessels at the request of Japanese authorities, who accuse the group of piracy and violence. So far, the group's members have not been charged with any offense.
 
Japan says the fleet takes whales for scientific research, although the meat is later sold. Critics, including the Australian and New Zealand governments, think the annual hunt is an attempt to circumvent international laws that bar commercial whaling.


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Genealogical tourism seen
as growing, major trend


By the University of Illinois news service

For the work-weary, the word “vacation” may conjure images of leisurely, carefree days at the beach sipping umbrella drinks. But according to published research by a University of Illinois expert in tourism and recreation, genealogical tourism is one of the fastest growing markets in vacation travel because it represents a conscious shift away from relaxation and into the realm of personal enrichment and fulfillment.

The increase in popularity of genealogical tourism reflects contemporary tourists’ preference for authentic, lived experiences over the bubble-like environment of an all-inclusive resort or a pleasure cruise, said Carla Santos, a University of Illinois sport and tourism professor.

“Genealogical tourism provides an irreplaceable dimension of material reality that’s missing from our postmodern society,” Ms. Santos said.

Traveling to the old church where one’s great grandparents used to worship in rural Ireland or buying a loaf of bread from a tiny grocery store in the village where one’s grandmother was from in Greece create a critical space to imagine and feel life as a form of continuation, says co-author Grace Yan, a graduate student.

The study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Travel Research, also asserts that the popularity of genealogical tourism is due to living in a world where mediated, inauthentic experiences have become such an ingrained part of everyday life that we’re almost unaware of it.

“Genealogical tourism capitalizes on this by allowing individuals to experience the sensuous charms of antiquity and provides a way of experiencing something eternal and authentic that transcends the present,” Ms. Santos said.

In academic analyses of the 1980s and early 1990s, tourism was seen through the lens of an escape from the reality of the workaday world. Today, scholars approach travel and tourism in a much more complex and nuanced fashion, the authors said.

“We believe that movement is due partly to the increasing sociological awareness of the post-industrial society that we currently live in,” Ms. Santos said. “With tourism studies developing a more sophisticated interpretative paradigm, more meanings of tourism have been discussed in academia, including the hunt for exoticism and experiencing nostalgia.”

The movement away from escapism toward personal enrichment in the last 15 years is also a baby boomer- influenced trend.





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