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(506) 2223-1327               Published Thursday, April 1, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 64        E-mail us
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Care is needed when discussing Easter with friends
By Christopher Howard*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Throughout much of the Spanish-speaking world including Costa Rica, there is no more important time of year than Holy Week. The week begins with Palm Sunday (el Domingo de Ramos), includes Good Friday (el Viernes Santo), and ends with Easter (la Pascua de Resurrección).

Known as Semana Santa, the week marks the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem followed by his death and resurrection. 

Unfortunately, Semana Santa has lost part of it’s true significance in Central America.  Many people use this holiday as an excuse to go to the beach to party and consume a lot of liquor. Even though Good Thursday and Friday are dry (la ley seca) people still stock up on their favorite spirits well in advance.

As a result, scores of people die in car crashes, drownings and other alcohol-related incidents during Holy Week.  Instead of Semana Santa, some refer to the time of year as “La Semana de matanza,” or “the week of slaughter” because of the number of people who die tragically.

Here are some Spanish words and phrases to help you discuss the holiday with Costa Rican friends.


Ash Wednesday - el Miércoles de Ceniza  

Chocolate egg - el huevo de chocolate 

Crucify – crucificar

Colored egg - el huevo de color
 
Crucifix - el Crucifijo

Decorated egg - huevo decorado 

Easter - la Pascua

Easter basket – canasta de Pascua

Easter break - vacaciones de Semana Santa  

Easter bunny - el conejito de Pascua

Easter egg - huevo de Pascua

Easter egg hunt – la búsqueda de huevos de
         Pascua 

Easter Mass - la Misa de Pascua

Easter Saturday - Sábado Santo,  Sábado de
          Gloria

Easter Sunday - el Domingo de Pascua,
          Domingo de Resurrección

Good Friday - Viernes Santo    

Happy Easter - Felices Pascuas

Holy Week - Semana Santa

Lent - Cuaresma

Palm Sunday - Domingo de Ramos  

Passion of Christ - la Pasión de Cristo  

Resurrection - la Resurrección

Here are some egg-related expressions and Tiquismos, and some are vulgar:

A puro huevo – with a lot of effort

Ahuevarse - to become discouraged or
              disappointed

Cabeza de huevo – egghead

Lamehuevos – an ass kisser (vulgar)

Hombre de pelo en pecho y huevos por derecho
            
– a real man

Huevón – a lazy, useless person. It can also mean
              stupid.

Huevonada – something stupid
Easter bunny


Huevos – eggs but can be a synonym for “balls”
               or testicles

Huevos pateados – scambled eggs. Huevos
              revueltos or picados are used more
              frequently

Huevos tibios – a coward (vulgar)

Huevo tierno – soft-boiled egg

Manda huevo que + the subjunctive tense means
              impossible, no way. Manda huevo que
              caiga nieve en Costa Rica. It’s impossible
              for snow to fall in Costa Rica (On rare
              occasions a little snow has fallen at the
              top the Cero de la Muerte)

Me cae en los huevos – I don’t like someone
             (vulgar)

Me tiene hasta los huevos – I am fed up with
              someone (very vulgar)

Meterse entre huevo y huevo – to have something
              on the mind or be obsessed with something

No matar la gallina que pone los heuvos de oro
              just like in English. “Don’t kill the hen
              (goose) that lays the golden eggs.”

¡No seas tan huevón!– Don’t be so stupid!

Poner todos los huevos en una canasta – to put
              all of one’s eggs in one basket. You can
              also say “Poner toda la carne en el
              asador.” (put all of the meat on the
              barbecue) or “Apostar todo a un caballo”
             (bet it all on one horse).

Tamaño huevón – a big man or boy (vulgar)

Tener a alguien de los huevos  - to bother
              someone a lot (vulgar)

Tener los huevos bien puestos - to be brave
               (vulgar)

Tener los huevos por el cuello – to be scared
               (vulgar)

Tener los huevos rayados – to be brave

Saintly expressions:

Alzarse con el santo y la limosna – to steal
                   everything

Comerse los santos – to be  a religious fanatic

Desnudar un santo para vestir a otro – to rob
                    Peter to pay Paul

No ser santo de mi devoción – to not like someone
                    or one’s cup of tea

Perder el santo y la limosna - to lose everything

Se le va el santo al cielo – to forget something

Tener el santo de cara – to have good luck

Tener el santo de espalads – to have bad luck

Quedarse par vestir santos – to be an old maid


* Christopher Howard, who has a master's degree in linguistics and Spanish, is the author/publisher of the 16th edition of the perennial  bestselling  "The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica," "Guide to Real Estate in Costa Rica" and the one-of-a-kind "Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish." He also is a relocation and retirement expert who conducts custom and group retirement/relocation tours every month.  For information: www.liveincostarica.com. Articles similar to the above may be found at www.costaricaspanish.net


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 1, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 64

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


Spotsmens
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.


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)
5800-7/12/10
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506 2777-1197

Over 25 years experience in Costa Rica

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2643-3356
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COLLECTIONS COSTA RICA
The collection agency you’ve been searching for
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• Comercial Collections     • Portfolio Collections
• Bad Debt Collections     • Condo HOA Collections
• Bad Check Collections     • Recovery solutions
Start early, recover more. Free quotes at
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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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Legal services

KEARNEY-LAWSON & Asoc.
Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
*Investments  *Corporations
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*Name & Product registration
*Business procedures 
*Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
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.
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• Criminal Law
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       Litigation
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
Architect/Certified Appraiser
23 years experience
for Costa Rica Banks

• building inspections
•¨property management
• construction management

www.orbitcostarica.com/
certifieda.htm
5755-6/14/10

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
Costa Rica's evolving immigration law.
Pensionado and rentista. Your first stop for smooth, professional service and a positive experience. Javier Zavaleta jzava@pacbell.net
www.residencyincostarica.com
Tel: (323) 255-6116
5970-9/1/

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
6023-3/30/11

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Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
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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.
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• American hearing consultant from D.C. & Atlanta
• Nine clinics including Hospital CIMA
• 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

No newspaper Friday

A.M. Costa Rica will not be published tomorrow, Good Friday. The day is one of the three weekdays in the year that the newspaper is not published.

The sales office in Barrio Otoya is closed, and employees will be enjoying the legal holiday today and tomorrow.

However, the news staff will be monitoring developments and will update the newspaper and send an e-mail to subscribers to the daily digest in case of major developments.


Weather turns cloudy
with rain in Carribean


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The weather has taken a turn towards clouds and rain.

Some rain fell Wednesday in the Cartago and Turrialba areas as well as along the Caribbean coast. More of the same is predicted today with the additional warning that the rains may get heavier.

Limón Centro reported three-quarters of an inch of afternoon rain Wednesday. Worshipers at a procession in Cot de Cartago faced sprinkles later in the day.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that an increase in pressure in the Caribbean had brought an increase in the stregth of the winds and generated cloudy and rainy conditions. The weather experts said that rain would be heavier this morning  The forecast listed Sarapiquí, Orosi, Cinchona, Tortuguero, Siquirres, Matina, Limón centro, Valle de La Estrella and Sixaola as places likely to get significant rain.

The weather institute warned of rising rivers and slides and urged motorists in the mountains to exercise extra care.

The institute noted that in April the Pacific and the Central Valley are beginning the transition to the rainy season and that the central Pacific may see thunderstorms this afternoon.

Field and woods burning

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Vacationers will be facing forest and field fires in many parts of the country. dozens of small fires are burning, encouraged by the dry weather and the heat. Most are in Guanacaste, although there are several in the northern zone. In some cases, the fires make driving dangerous by covering the highways with thick smoke.


Our reader's opinion
Is Costa Rica a police state?

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In reading the following two articles in Wednesday's issue:
 
Page 1 - Arias idea to dump Uruguayan military formalized
 
Page 3 - Police agencies step up the surveillance of roads and drivers
 
suggests the President would do well to check his own back yard before instructing others on whether or not they should have a military given the article on page 3.  A police state is a police state whether it be a police uniform or a military uniform.
 
J. H. Penner
Tofino, B.C.


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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.

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.

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.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 1, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 64

New hotel will get visit from prosecutors, local source says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial workers from the prosecutor's office in Santa Cruz will be at the new Hotel Riú next week to search for evidence of environmental crimes, said a member of the  Consejo Civil de Carrillo.

The seven-story hotel with 701 rooms at Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste, has been accused of destroying mangroves, filling in drainage ditches, cutting down trees and damaging the reef in the nearby Pacific.

The work of the investigation comes from Edgar Cantón Pizarro, vice president of the consejo, in an e-mail message.

The hotel has become a magnet of environmental complaints. When the giant hotel opened, the Partido Acción Ciudadana asked that environmental officials
investigate. A local environmental group has filed a Sala IV case against the hotel operation.

The Spanish Ruí firm is a worldwide hotel chain that characterized the Guanacaste property as a five-star facility.

The facility in Guanacaste got mixed reviews on the Web from visitors, and locals were unhappy that the contractor for the hotel imported most of the labor and operators of the hotel facilities. The hotel employes about 500 persons.

Many locals reject the idea of a Cancun-type hotel opening up in Costa Rica. They complain that the hotel dominates the landscape.

In part it is this lack of local public relations that is driving the campaign against the hotel, although locals report that construction did some significant environmental damage.


Three suspects caught after Coronado man is knifed at home
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers detained three home invading suspects early Wednesday after a homeowner suffered a stab wound from a burglar.

The Fuerza Pública said that three men forced their way into a home in the Urbanización Calabria in San Isidro de Coronado about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday. The homeowner, a man identified by the last name of Rojas, found the men inside his home when he arrived a short time later. The men hit him and then stabbed him, then fled, police said.

Fuerza Pública officers were able to locate a motorcycle that matched the description given by the homeowner. They detained a Nicaraguan with the last names of Esquivel Nuñez and two Costa Ricans with the last names of Happer Tinoco and Jiménez Cabezas.

Police said that they confiscated items that can be used as evidence against the men.

Max Apú, the chief of the Fuerza Pública in Coronado,
said that one of the men who was detained appeared to be under the effects of some substance. He said this was the man accused of stabbing the homeowner. All three men were taken to the Segundo Circuito Judicial in Goicoechea.

The condition of Rojas, the occupant of the home, could not be determined.

Police and investigators are taking steps to see if the suspects are linked to a gang of criminals who have been breaking into homes and robbing residents in the area.

Late Monday a Santa Ana resident was surprised by three intruders in his home. He struggled and one of the crooks accidentally killed his accomplice while spraying bullets around the home.

Two men fled, but police said that such home invasions are not unusual and that they average about one case a day.

A 16 year old in San Pedro killed a home invader over the weekend while the man was struggling with the youth's father.


Arts festival had a noisy start and end in La Sabana
The Festival Internacional de las Artes was over Sunday night.  A week-long celebration in the parks, theaters and streets of San Jose and other towns around the country was closing.  For one reason or another I missed everything except the fireworks.
 
In fact, I only heard the fireworks on opening night. I was sound asleep and suddenly awakened at 11 p.m. by huge explosions.  I jumped out of bed and for the first time since I moved to Costa Rica thought, “We are being bombed!”  I have seen and heard fireworks and explosions before. Ticos are very fond of them especially for weddings, birthdays and Christmas. But not like those.  After running from window to window and not seeing fires, I returned to bed.

The last day of the festival (this past Sunday), I went with some friends to Grecia and Atenas on the new highway.  Compared to the old roads, the drive was rather boring, but nicely boring.  Eventually we had to take some mountain roads that included two prize-winning hairpin curves.  For the passengers, sometimes boring is good.

Because of a day of too much heat and sunshine, I didn’t have the energy to go to the final night of the festival. However, I was still awake when the fireworks began.  The explosions were just as big, but this time I was prepared and managed to watch the results as they burst above the new high-rise.  They were truly spectacular.  Thousands of stars in clusters, even circles.  These were more creative than the ones I’ve seen in the past. They must be another gift from the Chinese, I thought. They are using fireworks instead of firepower (both of which they invented) to conquer the world. Smart people, those Chinese.
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@racsa.co.cr


It made we wonder if there will be another great show when the stadium they are building for Costa Rica is finished. I can see an arc of the stadium from my office window.  It looks like a part of a roller coaster and is quite graceful.  When it was the natural rust color of the original building material and framed by the mountains behind it and the trees in front, I found it lovely.  Unfortunately, they are now painting it with aluminum, and the white arc glares at the mountains and the skies – and my window.  

I wonder if I will hear the cheers coming from there once the stadium is open.  Now all I have to wake me up at night are the Yigüirros.  They are the national bird and think it is their job to signal the changes of the seasons.  To do this, hundreds of them gather in some tree nearby where I cannot spot them and join in a cacophony reminding us that soon it’s going to rain.  They start at 3:30 in the morning and continue until almost sunrise and wake me even when I wear earplugs.  Finally when they shut up, I get up.  This has been going on for weeks, and I am sleep deprived and cranky. 

In spite of the pageants and parades available in San José, I am now at a point in life when I prefer a cup of coffee, a drink or a meal and conversation with a friend out of the tropical sun.  I feel like Andy Rooney in more ways than one.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 1, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 64

Escazú Christian Fellowship
xx
Guoadalupe Missionary Baptist Church


Scientists chart movements of earth's tectonic plates

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and the University of Wisconsin-Madison news service

Scientists have created a model that offers a precise description of the relative movements of 25 interlocking tectonic plates that account for 97 percent of the earth's surface.

The model offers hope that major earthquakes may be predicted. Costa Rica experiences many earthquakes from the interplay of three such tectonic plates.

The model allows scientists to calculate exactly how fast and in what direction the plates are moving. Interaction between and among plates are responsible for mountain building and sculpturing the earth's surface.

The model, 20 years in the making, describes a dynamic three-dimensional puzzle of planetary proportions. The scientists have identified every plate on the earth's surface.

University of Wisconsin-Madison geophysicist Chuck DeMets and longtime collaborators Richard Gordon of Rice University and Donald Argus of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, created the model.

"This model can be used to predict the movement of one plate relative to any other plate on the earth's surface," explained DeMets. "Plate tectonics describes almost everything about how the earth's surface moves and deforms, but it's remarkably simple in a mathematical way."

Tectonic plates are in constant motion, sliding past one another as they float atop the planet's molten interior. The collisions and shifts can cause earthquakes like the ones that struck Haiti and Chile this year. Costa Rica rides on the Caribbean and Cocos plates which interact with the Nazca plate to the south.

"We live on a dynamic planet, and it's important to understand how the surface of the planet changes," Gordon says. "The frequency and magnitude of earthquakes depend upon how the tectonic plates move. Understanding how plates move can help us understand surface processes like mountain-building and subsurface processes like mantle convection."

The new model, dubbed MORVEL for "mid-ocean ridge velocities," is described in an extensive article available online and slated for the April issue of Geophysical Journal International. The work builds on the collaborators' 1990 paper on tectonic plate velocities that has been cited more than 2,000 times by other scientists. During the past 20 years, the researchers have incorporated more and higher-quality data to improve the model's resolution and precision.

About three-quarters of MORVEL's data come from Earth's mid-ocean ridges, the undersea boundaries between tectonic plates. At these ridges, new crust forms constantly as magma wells up from beneath the planet's surface and forces the plates apart.
tectonic plates

The Cocos (CO) and the Caribbean (CA) plates are responsbile for much of Costa Rica's earthquake activity.


To judge how fast the plates are spreading, the team analyzed nearly 2,000 magnetic profiles of the crust formed at mid-ocean ridges in all the major ocean basins. The earth's magnetic field changes polarity at irregular intervals — most recently about 780,000 years ago — and each time leaves a magnetic mark in the crust akin to a tree ring.

Measuring the distances between the marks tells researchers how quickly new crust is being formed. Most plate boundaries are currently moving at rates of 15 to 200 millimeters per year, DeMets said. That's about six-tenths of an inch to nearly eight inches.

MORVEL also allows scientists to predict future plate movements and identify places where movements have changed over time, areas that are useful for studying the underlying forces that control plate movements, the researchers said.

"Along the boundaries where plates meet there are lots of active faults. It's useful to know how quickly the plates are slipping across those faults because it gives you some feeling about how often large earthquakes might occur," DeMets said. "The direction of movement across the faults gives some indication of whether plates are moving toward one another, which gives rise to one kind of faulting and seismic hazard, or slightly away from each other, which gives rise to another kind of faulting and a different type of seismic hazard."

The model is accessible online HERE, a site that can be used to show present-day plate movements by choosing any location in the world.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 1, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 64

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Obama's offshore oil plan
draws expected responses


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Environmental groups have expressed disappointment over the White House policy change on offshore drilling, while oil industry executives say they are cautiously welcoming the plan.

Environmental groups in Florida have been among the most vocal in opposing new offshore oil drilling operations in the United States.  A peninsula with more than 1,000 beaches, Florida is a major tourist destination and stands to lose a great deal from an offshore oil accident.

Environmentalists warn of long-term consequences that Florida's coastal cities will suffer if ocean levels rise because of climate change driven by the burning of oil and other fossil fuels.

To Enid Sisskin of Gulf Coast Environmental Defense in Florida, President Barack Obama's decision to permit new drilling in the Atlantic Ocean off the southern United States and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as well as Alaska is disappointing.

"We should be out there coming up with alternatives that we can be proud to be using," said Enid Sisskin. "And not digging a hole in the ground and trying to extract dirty petroleum products."

In announcing the plan, Obama stressed the measures he has taken to boost energy efficiency and stimulate clean energy technologies.  He said new automobile mileage standards, for example, will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil.  But the president said that offshore drilling is a necessary step before new technologies can come online.

"In the short term, as we transition to cleaner energy sources, we've still got to make some tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development in ways that protect communities and protect coastlines," said President Obama. "This is not a decision that I've made lightly."

Supporters of offshore drilling welcome the move, which reverses a decades-old U.S. ban on new off-shore drilling for oil and natural gas.

Dave Mica, a lobbyist with the Florida Petroleum Council, says it is a positive step in drafting a new energy policy.

"The administration now has laid at least some of its cards on the table," said Mica.

Mica says it is unclear which of the newly opened regions would be most attractive for oil companies because many are deep water sites that are costly to develop.

He says the petroleum industry is disappointed that more promising areas with proven offshore reserves remain off-limits.

"Included in this region is the Destin dome region in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, which has considerable amounts of natural gas and has already been explored," he said.

Supporters of the president's plan say that no matter where oil companies decide to drill, the risks to the environment are low thanks to advances in technology and industry practices.  In Florida, the law requires new oil rigs to be at least 200 kilometers from land, limiting the dangers to coastal cities.

But environmental groups say distance does not guarantee safety. Sisskin of Gulf Coast Environmental Defense says offshore rigs report hundreds of oil spills every year.

U.S. officials say the first new leases for offshore drilling could be granted within two years.  
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 1, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 64


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Nations pledge $5.3 billion
to rebuild and improve Haiti

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

More than 50 countries and institutions pledged $5.3 billion Wednesday to help Haiti jumpstart its reconstruction from January's earthquake over the next one and a half years. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who co-hosted the donors' conference along with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Haitian President René Préval, said their actions far exceeded expectations.

The conference set out to raise about $4 billion for Haiti's immediate reconstruction needs, but as the U.N. secretary general pointed out, they did even better. "We can report very good news.  Member states of the United Nations, and international partners, have pledged $5.3 billion for the next two years and $9.9 billion, in total, for the next three years and beyond," he said.

A large part of that came from the United States, which pledged $1.15 billion and the European Union, which promised $1.6 billion.

Ban said the pledges are the down payment Haiti needs for wholesale national renewal. But he urged donors' to implement their promises. "We must make sure Haiti gets the money it needs when it needs it.  And we must guarantee that it is well-coordinated and well-spent," he said.

The money will go to rebuild Haiti's devastated infrastructure, to create new jobs, and to put the country on the path to sustainable development. To finish that massive task, it is expected to take 10 years and more than $11.5 billion.

Mrs. Clinton, said donors signaled a new level of global commitment, coordination and cooperation, as did Haiti's government. "We heard from Prime Minister Bellerive a road map for building a new Haiti; A Haiti with a vibrant private sector, accountable and effective government institutions, and international partners that would be working with Haiti -- not separate and apart from Haiti," she said. 

Haitian President Préval expressed his thanks and said the Haitian people and government would do their part to make Haiti's reconstruction a success.



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