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(506) 2223-1327         Published Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 58          E-mail us
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Belén rail line readied for stadium inauguration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Train service between Belén and San José will have a jump start Saturday when the new line carries spectators for the inaugural of the $100 million Estadio Nacional.

Saturday there are speeches by former president Óscar Aria Sánchez as well as President Laura Chinchilla, a Chinese representative and fireworks. That is all before the soccer game between the Costa Rican national team and a Chinese team.

The train also will be running to take spectators back home at 10 p.m. The service from Belén will be in advance of the inauguration of that line April 4. Regular passenger service will begin April 4, said the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles Tuesday.

The train service will be a supplement to an army of buses that have been enlisted to carry spectators because the 35,000-seat stadium only has room to park 400 cars. Traffic police and public officials are expecting chaos, and residents of the area are either going to be unhappy because of all the cars or will make a few colons by renting parking space. The entire Sabana Norte neighborhoods are expected to be jammed with vehicles.

Officials said they would block off access to Parque la Sabana to keep motorists from parking on the grass.

Arias will not have to drive or take the train. He lives just a few blocks away.

The Estadio Nacional inauguration will run for days.

Ms. Chinchilla will take a ceremonial ride on the Belén train April 1.  Miguel Carabaguíaz, president of the rail agency, said that Belén train services would be available for other activities at the stadium. 

He also said that regular service would provide a train every 15 minutes during peak hours.

The Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos has approved a 350-colon fee for a one-way trip. That's about 71 U.S. cents.  Rail officials expect the trip between Belén and San José to take about 35 minutes.

The rail agency has spent about $200,000 repairing the trackage to Belén. In some cases heavy machinery had to be called in to demolish structures that had invaded the right-of-way. Some rails had been stolen, and many crossties had to be repaired or replaced. In addition, the rail institute purchased six more cars from the Spanish Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha. These have arrived and will also be used to provide additional service on the San José-Heredia line, said Carabaguíaz.
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The Belén line joins the valley route to Curridabat and Universidad Latina and the San José-Heredia spur.

After the Friday inaugural, the next big stadium event is Sunday where there is foot racing, and the finish line of the Costa Rica marathon. Races start at 8 a.m., and the marathon begins at noon.

Tuesday is the 8 p.m. soccer game between the Costa Rican national team and Argentina. Gates open at 4 p.m.

Wednesday the symphonies take over. The Orquestra Sinfónica begins at 7 p.m. The Banda Sinfónica Juvenil plays at 7:30 p.m. The Orquestra Sinfónica Juvenil plays at 8 p.m. The 75-piece Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional and the 90-voice Coro Sinfónica Nacional are scheduled for 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 31, Hanna Gabriel leads a card of boxing. The Tica world champion faces Melisenda Perez of the United States in the final of seven matches.

Friday, April 1 is a night of music with Lubin Barahona and the Caballeros de Ritmo along with groups like Marfil and Son de Tikizia.

Saturday, April 2, is the Festival de Música Nacional with the likes of Editus, Evolución and other groups from 1 to 11 p.m.

Sunday, April 10, is the 7 p.m. concert with the Colombian singer Shakira preceded by Costa Rican artists.

The stadium was a gift from the People's Republic of China and imported Chinese works with a lot of imported Chinese materials were used in the construction. Communist China made the gift because Arias and his administration stopped diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

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Our readers' opinions
U.S. republic is in jeopardy
from sleepy acceptance

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Kudos to Axel Marquardt of San José for an excellent article on HAARP. I wonder how many people take the time to read and research important matters? Judging by the sleepy acceptance of what the world conspirators led by Obama for his handlers, I would say that “Dancing with the Stars,” Jerry and Maury and the titillation of mostly poor and illiterate black and white women bringing their dirty linen to the public forum, along with children that cannot spell ( TXT) or do simple math that the elite planners of the conspiracy to rule the globe has almost come full circle.

If those of you in South America believe that Obama is your new Santa Claus, think again, as I think he is worse than Bush. This U.S.A. is no longer a free standing Republic. And for those who wish to continue to be Imprisoned, they may continue to drink the water laced with lithium and other planned depressants.

The U.S.A. will soon morph into a consortium along with Canada and Mexico, which is almost finished as a free standing nation (already a fascist police state fighting for it’s life) and cannot even  keep it’s police or military from being corrupted (over 40,000 dead from drug wars).

AmeriKa needs to awaken so we can spell its once proud name correctly.
Milt Farrow
Titusville. U.S.A.

Country needs referendum
on its future direction

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

"The issue is that Costa Rica will never reach first world status in large part is due to its failure to put the rule of law first."

The above statement by P. H. Anders hits the nail squarely on the head. He correctly points out how the past system "worked" for the powerful few in a small country in a bygone era. However, that system is totally inadequate today and is the root cause of the crime problems Costa Rica, and other countries still using the system, now have.

That's the problem. What's the solution? Replace the old legal system with a new one.

Costa Rica needs to have a national referendum that:

1. Clearly identifies the history of the old system.

2. Clearly identifies the problems with it.

3. Adequately explains how a FAIR AND HONEST "rule of law" system will help.

4. Enables citizens to vote for maintaining the status quo or replacing it.

Will this happen in OUR lifetime? No. But if Costa Rica really wants to escape Third World status it has to happen eventually.

Duggo Hix
Tampa. Florida

The planet is in chaos
with quake and nuclear peril

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I enjoyed the letter by Mr. Axel Marquardt referring to the HAARP program and the comparison to Al Gore's fantasy about global warming. If anyone who knew Al Gore's lifestyle really believed that he cares about global warming, they would also believe the conspiracy theory about HAARP. Mr. Gore lives in a palace of a home that is anything but energy efficient, as well as driving around in a fleet of vehicles that would embarrass a Saudi sheik.

As far as HAARP goes, there is NO evidence one way or the other to prove whether or not it is harmful to the weather or people in general. But I was amazed that Mr. Marquardt and I agree that it is an arrogant fallacy to believe that humans can reshape the future of the climate of the planet in a noticeable way in 10,000 years, but that HAARP can do so now.

The planet is currently in chaos, due to an earthquake and a man made nuclear plant that is in peril, and we have wars and rumors of wars all over the planet, just like the Christian Bible has predicted, So it would seem we have more to worry about than climate change and HAARP. We should focus our energy, on saving the survivors of the Japanese disaster, and the survivors of the revolutions now taking place around the globe. But I guess we all have our own priorities !

Fred Cole
Nuevo Arenal

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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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 58  
Latigo K-9

An A.M. Costa Rica guest editorial
A plea for investigators to solve woman's murder in Osa

By Debora Edholm*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

I am writing today in regards to the lack of investigation of a murder in Osa.  I realize you have been kind enough to publish articles on Kimberly Blackwell, and I appreciate it.

However, here is the problem.  No one really knows who killed her nor do they, being friends and family, know any details of this murder of a single lady. 

There have been many murders in this part of the country that have gone unsolved.  I dislike how people including the expat community say well nothing ever happens here as far as solving crimes.  That is a crock of crap.

How do we know that there is not a serial killer on the loose?  And this is a country of peace not violence.  Any and all murders need to be investigated properly.  The fact that many presumed that she was killed by poachers is jumping to conclusions.  Why?  They could have killed her years ago.  I believe it is someone else, and they saw their chance because she had encounters with the hunters.

I know people that hunt here in my area and, believe me, they would not kill a person.  NEVER.  It does not fit.  I am sorry that her family is suffering so much, and also I am sorry that many people now do not want to come to Costa Rica.  Reason being Costa Rica is being called a country of lawlessness.  This is not true.  Most of the
people here have a very good regard for the law.

I must defend Costa Rica and say that crime is much less here than other countries and the people want justice here just like anywhere in the world.

Do we need to take to the streets for justice?  No I think not.  We need the investigators to get off their asses and work.  When we get a paycheck, we work for it just as they should.

Do you realize besides the first initial visit to her farm there has only been one other visit? 

We have a lady who was employing the people of her pueblo and helping save endangered animals, and she dies without any investigation what so ever.  Someone needs to work for their pay, and this lady deserves justice.

We must find this killer.  It could be anyone.  How do we truly know until we have the facts.

By the way, my Canadian friends cancelled their trip because his wife was frightened, and I have not seen them in nine years.  I really tried to convince them to come but they will not.  His wife saw the news in Canada and said that in Toronto people have been canceling trips to our beautiful country.

*Ms. Edholm lives in Uvita.

The seasonal change is ushered in with a minor cold spell
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There's a chill in the Central Valley air, but the big news is that the country is on the verge of a seasonal change.

The Instituto Meteorological Nacional said Tuesday that the cooler temperatures would be warming up slightly today. The institute also predicted morning rain today in the northern zone and along the Caribbean coast. Afternoon rains were predicted for the central and south Pacific as well as in most of the mountains.

Weather Underground, which provides forecasts for A.M. Costa Rica, was a bit more pessimistic. It predicts rain for the next four days with a 50 percent chance of rain today in the San José areas. Tuesday, although chilly, was clear over most of the country.

Typically the rainy season transition begins around Easter Week, but easter is late this year, April 22.

The chill Tuesday was in the Central Valley. On both coasts
the weather was toasty. Limón had a low of 18.1 C (64.6 F) and a high of 32.2 C (90 F). At Hacienda Pinilla in Santa Cruz on the Pacific the low was 24.4 (76 F) and the high was 33.1 C. (91.6 F), according to the automatic weather stations there.

That contrasted with Cartago, which had a low of 12.5 C (54.5 F) and a high of 20.7 C (69.7 F). At La Lucha higher up in Desamparados the low was 10.7 C (51.3 F) and the high was 22.3 C (72.1 F). The weather station on the summit of Volcán Turrialba registered a low of 4.6 C. (40.3 F) and a high of 11.5 C (52.7 F).

Along with the rainy season comes concerns about hurricanes. The tropical weather project at Colorado State University in Fort Collins said that it expects to see approximately 17 named storms, nine hurricanes and five  major hurricanes during the 2011 hurricane season. These
numbers are based on the average of its statistical model, its analog model and qualitative adjustments and insights," the forecasters said.

They are Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, who have been fairly accurate in hurricane predictions. They characterized the season as quite active and well above the activity of the averages of the years between 1995 to 2010. Their forecast, made Dec. 8, is based on an extended-range early December statistical prediction scheme that utilizes 58 years of past data, they said.

Gray is highly respected for his hurricane predictions, but he angers fellow scientists because he doubts that humans have much effect on the world's weather. He said much of the global warming scare comes from scientists trying to get money to fund their research.

Although Gray and Klotzbach say the chance of hurricane landfalls in the Caribbean is greater than average for 2011, hurricanes almost never touch Costa Rica. However, the indirect effects can be very damaging. The next forecast will be released April 8. The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1.

Meanwhile, the U.S. National Hurricane Information Center reported that the names of two hurricanes have been retired because of the damage they did in 2010. Igor caused $200 million in damages and killed three persons in Newfoundland Sept. 21. Tomas caused extensive damage in Costa Rica and also in Caribbean islands, including Haiti where it killed 35 persons in November.

Tomas was the storm that caused a slide that killed 25 persons in San Antonio de Escazú, put up to 3,000 persons in shelters or otherwise homeless and caused a cascade of mud and debris that ripped through Acosta.

Had they not been retired, the names would have been in the rotation in 2016, the center said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 58  

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Suspected arson at major hospital prompts investigation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A small fire on the third floor of Hospital San Juan de Dios appears to have been set, and the Ministerio Público confirmed Tuesday that the blaze was under investigation.

The fire was a reminder of the July 12, 2005, tragedy at Hospital Calderón Guardia, also in San José, where 19 persons died. That fire started in a small storage room.

Firemen moved aggressively and damage was confined to some papers in the office of the chief of surgery at the hospital. Firemen quickly had 11 trucks and 32 persons at  the scene. The call came in about 7:12 p.m. Someone saw
 smoke coming from the office window, which is why firemen were able to arrive so quickly.

The first crew arrived in just three minutes.

A report from the Cuerpo de Bomberos said there was no way the blaze could have started accidentally. So the case was turned over to the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Agents later said that about 20 hospital employees had easy access to the site of the blaze, and these individuals would be questioned. The hospital's surgery wing has been in the news. Last week the Ministerio de Salud closed 15 operating rooms because of dilapidated conditions.

Police said bus carried illegal immigrants and billiard tables

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers stopped a Nicaraguan-licensed bus Sunday near Sixaola in southeastern Costa Rica and found what they said were 27 illegal immigrants.

Authorities said that the individuals, all Nicaraguans, appear to have entered Costa Rica on foot and then boarded the bus. The driver and his wife were detained for investigation of trafficking in persons.

In addition police said they found five disassembled billiard tables in the bus, so they added on an allegation of avoiding customs and smuggling merchandise.

The passengers told police that they were traveling by bus and had to get off, presumably to cross the border on foot. Then they boarded the bus again, they said, according to police.

Unclear was why the bus and its passengers ended up in Sixaola or what was the destination of the billiard tables the bus carried.
bus stopMinisterio de Gobernación,
Policía y Seguridad Pública
Passengers unload their gear from the Nicaraguan bus after police stopped the vehicle Sunday.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 58 

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Obama in El Salvador says
he'll push immigration plan

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama is nearing the end of a five-day tour of three Latin American nations to underscore the advance of democracy, and strong economic growth in the region. The president held talks with El Salvador's president Tuesday and made a highly-symbolic visit to the grave of the assassinated archbishop who became a symbol of the country's troubled political past.

President Obama met with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, a former journalist elected two years ago with support of the political wing of the former Farabundo Marti guerrilla movement that battled U.S.-backed governments in the 1980s.

A key topic was U.S. assistance against the growing threat to El Salvador and other Central American nations from organized crime and drug gangs.

Earlier this year, the U.S. pledged $200 million to what is called the Central American Regional Security Intiative  aimed at bolstering governments abilities to police their borders and expand community anti-gang programs.

Criminal organizations have moved into Central American countries because of pressure on them in Mexico and Colombia, and governments feel they haven't received enough help. 

President Funes said he welcomed the U.S. commitment to the program.

"Citizen security is not an issue that is only a problem for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua isolatedly, not even Colombia or Mexico alone, it is a problem that attacks us as a region," said President Funes.

The two leaders also discussed the sensitive issue here, as in other Central American nations, of U.S. immigration policy.

Two million Salvadorans live in the U.S., more than 200,000 under the U.S. government's Temporary Protective Status program, allowing them to remain so they can continue to send money to their families in El Salvador.

President Obama welcomed what he called President Funes' commitment to creating more opportunity at home so Salvadorans don't leave for the United States.  He also restated his determination, despite what he called opposition from Senate Republicans, to achieve comprehensive U.S. immigration reform.

"It is the right thing to do, this is the time to do it and I will continue to push hard to make it happen," said  Obama. "It won't be easy.  The politics of this are difficult.  But I am confident that ultimately, we are going to get it done."

In keeping with one of the major themes of this trip,  President Obama praised El Salvador as being among examples in the Americas of successful transition to democracy.

El Salvador, he said, represents both opportunities and challenges facing the Americas, and he praised President Funes for overcoming old divisions while pursuing social progress that includes all segments of society.

The White House announced that President Obama is shortening his stay here by a few hours, departing earlier than planned today for Washington.

But on Tuesday evening, the president followed through with a commitment to make a highly-symbolic gesture in this nation where some 75,000 people were killed during a 12-year civil war.

Accompanied by President Funes, Obama visited the grave of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the revered Catholic figure who was assassinated in 1980 by a member of a right-wing death squad.  Obama lit a candle before walking away from the tomb located in the national cathedral in San Salvador.

In his public statements during this trip, the president has recognized the success nations have had in moving to democracy and away from right wing dictatorships that, as in El Salvador and Chile, were supported at one time by the United States.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 58 

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Pot bust
Ministerio de Gobernación,
Policía y Seguirdad Pública
Plants are lined up outside the daytime greenhouse.

Cartago pot farmer used
science for crop, police report

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug agents said Tuesday that an agricultural engineer in Barrio el Molino in Cartago applied science to raise marijuana.

The Policía de Control de Drogas and Fuerza Pública officers confiscated the crop of 24 plants Friday. They said the plants were raised in special conditions with the goal that all would be female and that they would grow rapidly.

Polcie said the man kept track of miniscule details, including hours of sunlight and the nutrients that were provided each plant.

The man had two greenhouses on the property with artificial illumination so that the plants would be exposed to light 24 hours a day. The daytime greenhouse was covered with transparent plastic but the night one was wrapped in black plastic, police said.

The 28-year-old man waas identified by the last names of  Navarro Corrales.

Sunday event raised most
of Cruz Roja Japan fund

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A benefit for Japan Sunday raised a bit more than 19 million colons, the Cruz Roja said Tuesday. That is about $41,000.

The event Sunday overwhelmed organizers and there were lines 200 yards long of persons waiting to enter the Centro Nacional de la Cultura, where the event was held.

The Cruz Roja said Tuesday that as of 8 a.m. Monday it had collected  28,959,874.89 colons for Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims. That is about $58,564.

The emergency agency said that Walmart was a contributor.

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