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(506) 2223-1327       Published Friday, March 20, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 56      E-mail us
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Saint Joseph
A.M. Costa Rica/José Pablo Ramírez Vindas
The Roman Catholic Church celebrated the feast day of San José, known in English as St. Joseph, Thursday with a procession in the vicinity of the Catedral Metropolitana. Municipal police officers carried the statue of the saint. He is the stepfather of Jesus Christ in Christian tradition.


This will be a weekend full of celebrations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The week has been a rough one.

Your pension plan is not answering the phone. Your investment adviser sent you a postcard from Bangladesh. Your mother-in-law said she is moving to Costa Rica — to your house.

Relax. This is a weekend to enjoy the country. The weather will be great, and from today through Sunday there are festivals and fairs to help you forget your daily worries.

Tonight the high point is the show by the Ballet Folclórico de Tamaulipas, México, at the Festival de Folclor Tierra y Cosecha, which kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Ruinas de Cartago.

The inauguration includes a parade or pasacalle along Avenida Secunda to the east side of Plaza Mayor.

Saturday the fair opens up in the Gimnasio Armando Vázquez on the central campus of the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica. The Ballet Folclórico will perform there at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.

Saturday also will see performances by six cultural groups from all over the country.

Sunday four cultural associations, including the Compañía Folclórica Tierra y Cosecha, will close the event.

A special feature is the presentation of “Hasta la Puebla hay paso,” described as a homage by director and choreographer Marvin Santos to the city of Cartago from its founding to the present.

Also Friday the II Festival Cultural de Villa in Ciudad Colón begins at 4:30 p.m. The event is organized by the Asociación de Desarrollo Específica Pro Rescate Histórico, Arquitectónico y Cultural del Cantón de Mora with support from the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes.

The event is centered around the Mercado Municipal in Ciudad Colón. Agricultural products will be displayed as will regional arts and crafts.

A pasacalle will be part of inauguration ceremonies tonight at 6:30 p.m. Saturday is a full day with folk dancing, macaradas and traditional bands, the cimarronas.

Later on in the evening there is big band and swing, including music by the Ensamble Latino, the Big Band de Pérez Zeledón and the Banda Sinfónica de Pérez Zeledón.

Sunday begins with a 9 a.m. oxcart parade and more of the same folks dancing, music and macaradas and cimarronas.
fire juggler
Asociación de Desarrollo Específica Pro Rescate
Histórico, Arquitectónico y Cultural photo
Ciudad Colón fire handler

folk dancers
Asociación de Desarrollo Específica Pro Rescate
Histórico, Arquitectónico y Cultural photo

Folk dancers from a previous Ciudad Colón fair

There also is a flamenco presentation at 5 p.m.

Saturday the action is in San José. There is the "Art, Music Rave" starting at 3 p.m. on the pedestrian mall at the former Radio Monumental building, better known to expats as the place where Banco Nacional has its kiosk with automatic tellers.

The event features four DJs presenting what is described as urban art, music, videos and choreographies.

For the more practical there is the Feria Vida Sana or health fair in the Plaza de la Cultura also Saturday. The event organizers promise discussions on nutrition and a presentation of yoga, massages and popular dance.

The event is sponsored by nutricion.cr for just one day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event is co-sponsored by Dos Pinos, Frijoles Don Pedro, Pan Koning and Radiográfica Costarricense S.A.

Sunday, of course, the Municipalidad de San José will honor its patron, St. Joseph, with a horse parade and more mascaradas and cimaronnas. The venue is the vicinity of Parque la Sabana and along Paseo Colón.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 56

Costa Rica Expertise
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Puriscal Properties
sportsmens update
Click HERE for great hotel discounts


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.


Residency experts

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Tel: (323) 255-6116
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Physicians and surgeons

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Hearing consultant

English-speaking hearing consultant 
We can professionally evaluate your hearing problem at Clinica Dinamarca off Paseo Colón or at Hospital CIMA. We are affiliated with Widex hearing instruments because of their quality, natural sound and intelligibility over background noise. That means  no more echoing, feedback or interference. Please contact me, Allan, at allan9000@gmail.com or at 8891-8989.
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Accountants

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Real estate agents and services

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with Great Estates of Costa Rica and Ocean Realty - Jacó

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

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7Legal services

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 Tel.  2280-9692 / 2225-9322      
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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• Trademarks & Intellectual
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• Notary public services
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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.
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Jaco: Tel. 2643-3058 - Fax. 2643-0358
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Skype: hernandez.mussio
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• Real Estate Transactions
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*Locate People   *Private Investigations

Ph/Fax: 2221-9462, 8841-0007
old tires
Asociación Terra Nostra 
  These are mosquito condos, wonderful homes for
   breeding the mosquito larva. Water lingers inside
   the tires for months despite the weather.

 
Volunteers will seek out
mosquito breeding sites


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sunday is fight dengue day in Esparza and Santa Cruz where about 300 volunteers are expected to go house to house to alert residents to the disease.

The volunteers will be collecting material in which mosquitoes can breed and also encouraging residents to clean their patios and eliminate breeding spots.

The work will be in barrios Santa Cecilia and Las Tulitas in Santa Cruz and Salines, Villa Nueva and Cambalache in Espareza, said the Asociacion Terra Nostra. The organization works in conjunction with Cervecería Costa Rica, the beer company.

About 1,500 homes will be visited. These are areas where there is a high probability of contracting the disease. About 10,000 persons a year contract dengue in Costa Rica. The number depends a lot on the weather and the quality of educational and spraying programs.

The disease is carried by mosquitoes which require water to lay their eggs.

Cuba agrees to resume
Costa Rican diplomatic ties

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuba has agreed to restore diplomatic relations with Costa Rica, just one day after Costa Rican President Óscar Arias announced his country would re-establish the ties.

In a statement Thursday, Cuba's foreign ministry said the Cuban government's decision is consistent with its mission of integration and unity with the people of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Relations between Cuba and Costa Rica were cut off in 1961, shortly after the Cuban Revolution, which brought Fidel Castro to power and turned the island into a Communist state.

Announcing the renewal of ties 48 years later, President Arias said times have changed and that Costa Rica must change. 

El Salvador's President-elect Mauricio Funes announced he will also re-open ties with Cuba after he takes office June 1.

The announcements come about a week before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visits Costa Rica to consult with Central American leaders ahead of the Summit of the Americas next month. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the gathering, which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Our reader's opinion
Why are the long delays
not solved by magistrates?


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

A few weeks ago a writer offered the information that the Sala IV (Costa Rican Supreme Court) ruled that CR immigration must act promptly on resident visa applications.
In November 2008 I was given an August 2009 date to renew my resident visa.  Since reading your contributor's letter I was expecting to hear from Immigration telling me to come in; my visa's ready.  I guess that's a joke. Anyway, I'm in no hurry to get it, but what is not a joke are two similar experiences with the powers that be, the first of which could be life threatening:

I have been a paying member of the CR social security medical setup since 1975 and never had a problem with the Hospital México in La Uruca, but since moving to Alajuela I had to go to the new hospital here.  So I went and signed up at this beautiful new hospital in October of 2008. After getting enrolled I went to cardiology for an appointment.  I have been a heart patient for many years and am on blood thinner, which needs to be monitored every month.

Much to my chagrin, I was given an appointment date of August, 2010.  (That is not a typo.  I was told that there are only two cardiologists there, hence the long wait.)  So I had to use a private local cardiologist here in Alajuela. He charges 30,000 colons for the monthly office visit.  But he also works in that new social security hospital here in Alajuela.  I should be able to see him for nothing at the hospital but have to pay him about 55 bucks to see him in his office.  (Yeah, think about that one for a moment) So my question for your readers is, How do I get the supreme court to get after these guys?

The second problem, not life threatening, is with the banking system here.  I deposited a check from Bank of America in Miami into my dollar account with Banco Nacional de Costa Rica.  They told me the check would be frozen for about one month.  Four days later I checked online with Bank of America and, lo and behold, the check had cleared my account and the funds debited.  I did a little printout of this and took it to Banco Nacional and showed it to them. Ha, that did no good at all.  As of now I have about another week to go before they get "tired" of using my money.

It seems like this frozen money problem would be another good one for Sala IV to rule on. So to repeat myself,  How do I get the supreme court to get after these guys, without spending a bunch of money on an attorney?
Dick Burgoon
Alajuela, Costa Rica

EDITOR'S NOTE: Anyone can file an amparo with the Sala IV constitutional court, a section of the Corte Suprema de Justicia. For a simple request, a lawyer might charge $100. Weekly we receive a litany of all the cases resolved by the Sala IV, and many of them are medical. Many of the cases seem to be unworthy of a high court hearing, such as a patient's desire for brand name medicine. The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social seems unable or unwilling to solve many of these problems.

As to the banks? Well, for them it is still 1924 going on 1925.

 
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third newspage

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 56

student fight
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez vindas
Students from two schools gather to wage war on those attending another institution
Students gathered for a second day of confrontations in Desamparados. Groups of students, mostly male from Liceo Monseñor Rubén Odio Herrera and Colegio Calle Fallas had plans again Thursday to attack students from the Colegio Vocacional Monseñor Sanabria. In confrontations Wednesday, police made two arrests and
confiscated all manner of weapons, including firearms. Vocation students are being blamed for beating up those enrolled in the other schools. Police worked to keep the groups apart Thursday. Sticks and some other weapons were visible but no guns were seen. Part of the problem stems from overcrowding in the local schools.


Environmental inspectors issue order for Musmanni plant
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's environmental police have cracked down on a baking plant linked to the well-known retail outlet Panadería Musmanni.

The agency, the Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo, was acting on the complaint of a neighbor who said that sewer water from the plant was running onto her property and even up to her patio. The plant, Premezclas Industriales para Panadería S.A., is in La Uruca.

The tribunal said that an inspection showed that the plant
was polluting the Río Virilla as well as the neighbor's property. The company was ordered to construct an adequate sewage treatment plant within 30 days. The plant employs 360 workers.

The Tribunal said that the problem was one of long-standing. The most recent complaint from the neighbor came in October but others go back to 2003. Inspectors found that the company was constructing an unapproved holding area to absorb waste water, it said. The system lacked technical studies and approval from the Ministerio de Salud, it said. The Tribunal said that the investigation was to continue.


How can one be frugal when the sweater is cashmere?
My dental saga is not quite over. Last Saturday morning I was still in pain and unable to eat anything solid. I have been living on fruit drinks and chicken broth with a swirled egg – I believe it is called “egg drop soup.”  The chicken broth was homemade from the bones of a supermarket roast chicken my neighbor was saving for me and produce from the feria, so it was not only delicious, it was full of the essence of many vegetables.
 
On Monday I called my regular dentist, Dr. Andres Furchtgott, to tell him that once again I was in desperate straits – the tooth next to the one that was worked on was loose and painful.  (This is not the first time he has had to come to my rescue.)

I went in on Tuesday and learned that the tooth had cracked and had to be removed.  It was a vital tooth, so I was in despair (but all teeth after a certain age are “vital.”).

Dr. Furchtgott said he thought he could save it even though the tooth under the crown had to be removed.  I left his office pain free for the first time in a week.

It usually takes me three bus rides to get to his office in Guadeloupe, which is one reason I tried a different dentist closer to home.  Now I find the whole trip a joy ride. I actually look forward to seeing this dentist.
 
Besides, I became aware yesterday as I got on the first bus that there are two moments of little nearly free pleasures that I experience.  One is when I first sit down in a bus and gaze out the window or open my book, and the other is when I first arrive at the feria on Saturday morning and see the sea of people and the colorful stands with produce and flowers in the long street that is the Pavas market.

Maybe small pleasures will be coming back in style.  A crowd is gathering of people who either have books out or Web sites or are interviewed on the news who have ways to cut costs and save money.  Many of them, I find, seem to be telling us how to continue doing what we have been doing but do it cheaper.  A few are pointing out that we
Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

really have to change – think about what we need and what we want, and concentrate on the essentials.

One fellow suggested that we get rid of our cell phones.  I have not had mine very long, but I have a love-hate relationship with it.  It weighs down my purse when I remember to take it with me and the ring always seems to have gone silent, so I miss all of those calls that were wrong numbers anyway.

I had my cell phone with me on my bus trip, wondering if I had ever used it other than to make a test call to see if it was working.  The bus passed the Sabana Park.  I heard that there are some 600 Chinese men working on the stadium and expect to finish it in 23 months.  I strained to see the workmen but there is a tall solid fence completely blocking any view from the street.  I call it the Little Wall of China.

Downtown I took the wrong bus at the Caja Building and only realized it when it turned right onto the Paseo de los Estudiantes (which I heard is eventually to become San Jose’s Chinatown).  I got off at the next stop — some five blocks later. And lo! in front of me was a brand new Ropa Americana store.  Since I was early for my appointment, I went in — and came out with a cashmere turtleneck sweater for 2,200 colons (about $4)

But as I walked to the next bus stop I wondered if I was any different from anyone else.  I don’t really need a warm sweater right now, but gee, cashmere.  I definitely will give up my cell phone. I no longer will be contributing to noise pollution and the savings will help me pay for this additional dental work.



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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 56


Protectionism called the wrong thing to do for economy
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warns that protectionism will worsen the global financial crisis.  The report analyzes six emerging countries and shows how their economies boomed after they opened their markets to world trade. The organization counsels wealthy countries to learn from this experience.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said trade protectionism is not the way to tackle the current economic crisis. The report says resisting protectionist measures may not be the politically correct thing to do, but it is the economically correct thing to do to get the world out of its financial doldrums.

Ken Ash, Director of trade and agriculture for the organization, said countries that have liberalized various sectors the most have performed the best in economic terms.

"Protectionism is absolutely the wrong thing to do. So, our advice to OECD countries is do not go there," Ash said. "Do not fall back…It does not make sense to close your markets. When governments do that…they impose costs on households, they impose costs on businesses, they choke off markets and they get the exact opposite effect of what they want. What they want they will get, if they open markets further."

The report says the wealthy industrialized countries would be wise to follow the lead of six emerging markets that have done well since opening up to world trade.
The report shows Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa have significantly reduced their border protection and have been expanding their exports much faster than the leading developed countries.

Douglas Lippoldt of the organization's development division said openness has served the global economy well and all countries should keep their markets open to improve their economic prospects.

"Protectionism inhibits, it prevents us from realizing our economic potential. It is a distortion and it leads to inefficiencies and we all are losers when it is employed...Efforts to revive stalled trade reforms would help the major emerging economies to build on the progress already achieved over the past two decades," Lippoldt said. "And, importantly to emerge from the current economic crisis with stronger trade positions and more robust performance than otherwise would have been possible. That is, if we tackle the distortions now, we have a better chance of being in better shape as we exit from this economic downturn."

The report urges the six emerging economies to enact, what it calls, a second generation of reforms. It says they will emerge stronger from the crisis if they reduce remaining import tariff barriers, reform domestic regulations that impede trade and further open up their services sectors.

The organization's economists say reviving stalled trade reforms would help the major emerging economies build on the progress they have achieved over the past two decades. It would strengthen the economies of other countries as well.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 56


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.

Language use is cultural
and not genetic, study says


By the Cornell University news staff

Language is a hallmark of humans, a species unique in the animal kingdom for its linguistic complexity and flexibility and unbounded capacity for expression.

But Morten H. Christiansen, a Cornell University psychology professor, challenges the idea that human language stems from a genetic blueprint. This idea has dominated language sciences theory for more than 40 years. Instead, he said, the neural machinery used for language likely predates the emergence of language itself.

"We're arguing that language has changed over time to fit the human brain, not the reverse," said Christiansen, co-director of Cornell's Cognitive Science Program and external professor at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. He is the senior author of a study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research presents new evolutionary evidence that undermines the theory of "universal grammar," championed most famously by linguist Noam Chomsky. More recently, this theory has been popularized by Steven Pinker, author of "The Language Instinct," who argued that all world languages tend to have similar structures and uses because humans have evolved through natural selection to become "hard-wired" with genes uniquely adapted for language.

Christiansen and his colleagues used computer simulations to show that genes specific for language could evolve only if language does not change.

"There's a general consensus that language would have had to start out as a product of culture," said Christiansen. "However, because cultural evolution is orders of magnitude faster than biological evolution, language would have been subject to rapid change similar to other cultural products. So the fast-changing language is a moving target with which the slow-changing genes can never catch up."

The authors conclude that a language-specific, genetically encoded universal grammar can be ruled out on evolutionary grounds. The paper is co-authored by Nick Chater at University College London and Florencia Reali at the University of California-Berkeley.

In a second paper published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Christiansen and Chater argue that language is a culturally evolved system, not a product of biological adaption.

This is consistent with the other recent proposals that language arose from humans' unique capacity for social intelligence.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 56


Latin American news digest
Fitch sees three factors
affecting Latin economies


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fitch Ratings said Thursday that Latin America's macroeconomic performance will be adversely affected by three simultaneous shocks: the global recession, lower commodity prices and a reduction in private capital inflows.

Fitch said it believes that countries' vulnerability and capacity to absorb these shocks will vary, largely depending on their policy discipline and flexibility. Moreover, the extent of financial and economic dislocation in Latin American countries will be a function of their level of trade openness, commodity dependence and financial integration with the rest of the world.

In a separate special report also published Thursday Fitch discusses the economic prospects and challenges facing Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela in greater detail.

Fitch said it expects Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela to contract in 2009 as well as suffer considerable deterioration in their fiscal and external balances due to their excessive commodity dependence and inadequate policy responses to the global financial crisis.

Moreover, these countries' inconsistent macroeconomic policy frameworks and the heavy influence of political calculations on policy decisions limit available options to soften the impact of the external shock, the New York-based Fitch said.

Drug lord's son captured

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican authorities say they have arrested the son of one of the country's top drug lords. Officials say Vicente Zambada, known as "El Vicentillo," was arrested Wednesday in an exclusive neighborhood in Mexico City.

His father is Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, a top leader in the Sinaloa cartel. considered one of Mexico's most powerful and dangerous drug gangs.

The younger Zambada was allegedly in charge of operations and security for the group. Last October, Ismael Zambada's brother, Jesus, was detained in Mexico City. He was allegedly in control of the Sinaloa cartel's operations in central Mexico


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