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(506) 2223-1327               Published Tuesday, April 7, 2010,  Vol. 10, No. 67        E-mail us
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Turtles and confiscated fish
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photos/Guillermo Solano
Happy policeman displays two live turtles, but the fish were not as lucky
Police enviornmental effort nets suspected poachers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sprawling refuge is called Caño Negro, and it consists of 10,000 hectares, some 24,700 acres along the border with Nicaragua.

The area is rich in game and fish, and that's the problem.

Taking animals or fish is prohibited in the wildlife reserve, but commercial hunters and fishermen pay little heed to borders.

Since late last year, the Fuerza Pública has been working to stem the tide of animal killings and fish sales from the refuge.

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas provided the training because much of the area is rivers and streams, including part of the Río Frio and the Rio Medio Queso. There are extensive lowlands and mangroves. A police launch was dispatched to aid local officers with patrols.

The police report that in the last few days of March and during the first days of this month they have confiscated 1,000 fish, including gars, and fresh water turtles.  They also took down fishing nets. Some 20 persons were detained and now face criminal action, police said.

At least 20 of the turtles were dead. They were being carried in sacks to locations where they would be butchered for their meat and eggs. Two turtles were rescued alive and put back in the water. There
also were more than 50 dead caiman confiscated at the same time, said police.

In a related development police stopped a vehicle Sunday in which a group of Nicaraguans were carrying about 10 kilos of gar for sale in Los Chiles. The meat was confiscated and destroyed.

Police speculate that the fish came from Lake Nicaragua to the north.

There have been a string of fish and animal killings that have been played up in the local Spanish- language press, and the area generally lacked a strong police presence.

Officers said they spent most of their time there covered in mud and surrounded by insects.  There also are snakes and possible tropical diseases as well as the unhappy hunters who are, themselves, being hunted.

The Fuerza Pública officers also are on the watch for the usual smugglers, drunk drivers, human traffickers and arms and drug dealers.

Caño Negro is considered one of the wetlands of world importance. It is formally the Refugio de Vida Silvestre de Caño Negro. It was created as a protected area in 1984 in the cantons of Los Chiles and Guatuso.

Police officials claim that the nearby residents are not to blame for the continuous poaching. They blame undignified outsiders.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 6, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 66

Costa Rica Expertise
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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

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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
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Two children die in fire
after being left alone

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two children died Monday when fire destroyed their small home in Tucurrique while their mother was taking an older sister to kindergarten.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos said that the blaze may have been caused by the children playing with an open flame such as a candle. The call came in at 9:58 a.m., but there was nothing the firemen could do to save the children because the flames were soaring high in the sky when they arrived nearly 20 minutes later. Firemen needed an additional 20 minutes to control the blaze in the mostly wooden dwelling.

The fire was reported by local Fuerza Pública officers.

Dead is Erick Aguilar Brenes, 4, and Kali Aguilar Brenes, 2. One of the youngsters hid under a bed and the other died trying to open the locked front door. The house was leveled.

Firemen think that the blaze started in a room occupied by the children. The father was at work.


Appliance store holdup
leads to six arrests


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Six men held up an appliance store in Pavas Monday and then fled.  Moments later, police picked up the pursuit of a vehicle containing six suspects.

The six, including two minor teens, were finally detained in Villa Esperanza de Pavas where police said they stashed merchandise in the ceiling of a home. All six are being questioned about similar robberies that have taken place in the area recently.

The robbery at the Gallo store resulted in the loss of computers, cell phones and other items valued at millions of colons. The store is in the center of Pavas.

Another report of UFO
makes the television news

By the A.M. Costa Rica  staff

During a slow news day, editors would like nothing better than a visit by, say Bigfoot, or complaints about a haunted house.

Or maybe even a UFO. Canal 7 Telenoticias is reporting the latter after its correspondent taped a white object in the night sky Saturday while covering police actions against rowdy teens in Heredia. The head of the Fuerza Pública in Heredia, Daniel Calderón, was interviewed as a witness.

The object appears to be a white disk perhaps of some kind of fabric. But it was far away. It emitted light, so it could have been a prank.

Still Costa Rica has more than its share of flying saucer reports. A.M. Costa Rica staffer Saray Ramírez Vindas has taken unintentional photos at different times of unexplained objects in the late afternoon sky. In one case another news photographer unknowingly captured the same image. Neither photographer knew about the object until they studied their images in the office.

The best speculation was that the world powers are using Costa Rica as a high-speed aerial pathway because the country does not have an air force with high performance interceptor jets.

Teletica and Telenoticias have posted the corespondent's report on the television stations Web site


Two face smuggling allegations

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two Spanish visitors have been detained at Juan Santamaría airport as suspected cocaine smugglers.

The first, a man with the last names of Talavera Aguiar, was detained with what the Policía de Drogas said was 3.7 kilos of cocaine in his luggage. That was Wednesday.

Friday a Spanish woman with the last names of Diaz Fort, was detained at the same airport with what police said was 2.9 kilos of cocaine. Both persons were headed back to Spain.

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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.

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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.

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
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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.

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, Tuesday, April 6, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 66


Rebuilt Plaza de la Democracia provides easy access to the south side of the Museo Nacional. And there is a length ramp for those who need it.
Museum's new face
A.M. Costa Rica file photo

Latest museum project includes a new butterfly garden
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The butterflies are coming back to the Museo Nacional.

The museum took much of the former butterfly garden when it constructed a new access ramp at the same time that the adjacent Plaza de la Democracia was remodeled two years ago.

Now the museum officials are redoing the vestibule and installing a butterfly section as well as an area of permanent and temporary exhibitions. The new face of the museum is deliberately designed to restore the military sense of the former Bella Vista fortress.

Architect Ronald Quesada said that by identifying the former military use of the structure people will appreciate more the abolition of the army in 1948.

The museum officials chose to make the west side the new entrance when it constructed the ramp. Since the structure became a museum, entry had been from the east side.

Dominating the new look will be an eight-foot diameter steel and glass sphere as well as a pre-Columbian sphere.

The design also calls for three cubes that will represent
museum construction
Museo Nacional photo
Workmen install the base of the new museum entry

the natural, archaeological and cultural heritage the museum seeks to preserve.

Museum officials anticipate 30 species of butterflies mostly of the type found in Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, the dry forests of Ciudad Colón and Puriscal and the Escazú hills. There will be about 60 species of plants on which the insects will feed, said Germán Vega, a biologist in the Departamento de Historia Natural of the museum.


Holiday violent deaths now placed at 31 persons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The official list of violent holiday deaths from the Judicial Investigating Organization said that 31 persons died. That is 10 more than the Cruz Roja reported Sunday.

The higher total was augmented by the seven persons who died Sunday. That included three persons who died in traffic accidents.

These deaths brought the holiday traffic total since March 28 to 10.

The Policía de Tránsito reported that 103 drivers were snagged as suspects of violating the alcohol laws. Some 71 of these will face criminal action, and 32 will pay a fine of
381,420 colons ($733.50), said police. All had their vehicles confiscated.

The difference in the handling was that those who test higher than .75 grams of alcohol in a liter of blood go to prosecutors. Those who test between .5 grams and .75 grams get a ticket.

Traffic police handed out more than 4,000 tickets for other violations, including talking on a cell phone while driving. They were enforcing the new traffic code which may or may not be changed by the current legislature before it leaves office May 1.

Traffic police said four of the vehicle fatalities were of motorcycle drivers.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 6, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 66

William Peraza, president of the  Asociación de Pequeños Productores de México de Upala, shows off some of the black beans he and other producers have being dried.
black beans
KANI Mil Novecientos Uno S.A. photo


Local bean producers get a boost with major purchases

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A local bean marketer says it has purchased 10,000 quintals of the product from Costa Rican producers. A quintal is 100 kilos or 220 pounds.

The company is KANI Mil Novecientos Uno S.A., which markets the Frijoles Don Pedro and Labrador and Frijoles 1901 brands.

The company said it made the purchases since January as part of its social responsibility program. The firm said it is paying prices above the international market to keep local producers in business. Some bean farmers, mainly in the northern zone, have suffered from flooding. Others have suffered from drought.

Costa Rica only produces about a fifth of what it consumes in beans, said the firm. KANI is on the lookout for
locations in other countries where quality beans can be produced.

But it also is trying to promote local production, said its general manger, Álvaro Vargas.

Among the recent purchases was that of 3,000 quintals from the 300 members of the Asociación de Pequeños Productores de México de Upala. The association has 20,000 quintals in storage there and has received just one other offer to purchase, said William Peraza, the president.

He also said that the government should help with certified seeds and that the climate has hurt production. He said he was happy that KANI is trying to help small producers.

KANI also noted it had cut the shelf price of its Frijoles Don Pedro black beans in 2009 and that it cut the price of red beans last November.



Fireworks follies at soccer match gets official attention

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Health officials and others will be investigating the situation Sunday at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, when fans exploded fireworks and shot rockets into the air. There also was a fire.

Most sportswriters downplayed the incident, but officials began to ask questions Monday after seeing the replay of the incident and after receiving requests from the Cruz Roja, which threatened to pull its emergency personnel from the stadium.

A large piece of fireworks exploded with such force that soccer players nearby covered their ears and displayed faces denoting pain.
Health officials also will be investigating who locked an exit gate at the stadium of the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The locked gate delayed rescue workers who were carrying a man who had suffered a heart attack. He died.

Fans of both professional soccer teams, Saprissa and the  Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, are rowdy and have caused trouble in the past. But Sunday Alajuela fans managed to set a bonfire between the grandstands and a fence protecting the soccer field. Play was stopped several times, and game officials had to extend the second period by 15 minutes.

Some of the fireworks were of professional size and quality and shot multiple bursts into the air.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 6, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 66

Medical vacations in Costa Rica


Pressure on Cuba increases
after death of dissident


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States and some European nations are increasing pressure on Cuba following the death of a prominent dissident during a hunger strike. Cuban President Raúl Castro first expressed regret at the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. But now he is firing back, accusing adversaries of taking advantage of the situation.

Cuban leaders have long defended the nation's human rights record from critics in the U.S. and Europe. President Castro, however, said the latest round of criticism is akin to blackmail.

"We will never yield to blackmail from any country or group of nations, no matter how powerful they are," said Raúl Castro.

The death of jailed dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo sparked criticism of Cuba by U.S. and European leaders. Zapata Tamayo fasted for more than 80 days to press for better jail conditions.

At a Communist Youth congress, Castro said foreign critics are using the death to launch a new media campaign against Cuba.

"They are cynically manipulating the death of a person jailed for common crimes," he said.

President Barack Obama has said Zapata Tamayo's death was tragic, and he called for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba.

Other dissidents have launched hunger strikes including Cuban journalist Guillermo Farinas. He says he will refuse food until the Cuban government releases 26 political prisoners said to be in poor health.

U.S. officials also are concerned about a group called the Ladies in White, made up of wives and relatives of jailed dissidents.

Gordon Duguid is acting deputy spokesman at the State Department:

"We're concerned about the welfare of the Damas de Blanco and dismayed that a peaceful march was disrupted by the Cuban government authorities who interfered with the right of Cuban citizens to peacefully assemble and express their support for their family members who are prisoners of conscience," said Gordon Duguid.

Last month, Cuban-Americans and other Miami residents held a march in support of the Ladies in White. At the same time, in Havana, the Ladies in White tried to march but police intervened.

Pro-democracy groups say anti-government sentiment is spreading, partly because of the death of Zapata Tamayo. Recent protests have been reported in areas outside Havana. 

Marcibel Loo monitors human rights in Cuba for the Cuban Democratic Directorate, a pro democracy group in Miami. 

"We are seeing every day that people are not willing to cooperate with the regime," said Ms. Loo. "So they have had to conduct beatings and arrests and sacrifice their  image to try to control them."

Ms. Loo says the crackdown is not a result of pressure from the White House, rather it's is in response to domestic problems.

"With the marches that are going on not just in Miami, but Los Angeles, and New York, Spain and Brazil, it is tying the Cuban exile community to people on the island," she said. "And that is something new."

Pro-democracy activists like Ms. Loo hope pressure inside and outside the island will yield change in Havana. 

But for the moment, it's unclear how things will play out.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 6, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 66


Latin American news
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U.S. wonders why Chávez
needs so many weapons


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department is questioning Venezuela's need to buy billions of dollars in weapons from Russia, voicing concern the arms may end up elsewhere in Latin America.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley Monday said that while Russia and Venezuela have the right to pursue relations, the United States is hard-pressed to see what legitimate defense needs Venezuela has for the equipment.  He said if Venezuela is going to increase its military hardware, the U.S. does not want to see the weapons migrate into other parts of the hemisphere.

The United States has previously cautioned Venezuela against its arms buildup, warning its actions could endanger regional stability.

Earlier Monday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said his country could sell as much as $5 billion worth of weapons to Venezuela.  Putin visited Venezuela last week to sign military and financial agreements with President Hugo Chávez.

The two countries also formalized a deal to establish a joint venture for oil and gas exploration in eastern Venezuela.

Venezuela has forged close ties with Russia in recent years and spent more than $4 billion on Russian-made weapons.  Venezuela relies on China and Russia as its main military suppliers.

Russia also agreed last week to help Venezuela draw up plans to build a nuclear power plant.  President Chavez said the goal of the plant is to develop nuclear energy for "peaceful purposes" and not to develop a bomb.

Separately, the Kremlin announced Monday that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will travel to Argentina next week on an official visit, and then head to Brazil to take part in a summit of the world's emerging powers.

President Medvedev was set to travel to South America from Washington, where he was scheduled to take part in a summit on nuclear security.


For your international reading pleasure:


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