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(506) 2223-1327                       Published Monday, April 9, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 70                            Email us
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burning Judas
2011 file photo
Burning Judas

More fires but less property damage reported

The Easter weekend saw an 81 percent increase in set fires as youngsters and adults participated in the quema de Judas Saturday night. Still the Fuerza Pública said it has reduced the violence by planned programs in Santa Ana and Santa Bárbara de Heredia.  In Libertad 1 in Pavas a 7-year-old girl suffered a gunshot wound fired by vehicle occupants who objected to having the car doused by revelers Friday.

See story
HERE!



drugs confiscated
Confiscated drugs

Yet another trucker suspected of carrying cocaine


The seizure of drugs at the Peñas Blancas border station is becoming routine. Yet another tractor trailer carried packages of cocaine, this time inside the tires, said the Policía de Control de Drogas. The 256 kilos, some 563 pounds, were found Friday in a vehicle registered in El Salvador. That is where the driver was headed, according to the anti-drug police.

See story
HERE!



Mike Wallace
 Mike Wallace

When Mike Wallace stopped a fist fight

Mike Wallace generally came across as somewhat of a pitbull. But Wallace, known for his hard-hitting television interviews, was not one to fly off the handle. His producer did just that one evening in New York when he tried to punch a former employee in the nose.

See story
HERE!



Farrar sat 150 pixels
Jonathan D. Farrar


Political strategy inspires diplomatic swap


There's a new U.S. ambassador designated for Panamá,and the current ambassador there is going to Managua. Eric Jackson of The Panamá news reports that the switch was a fallback position for President Barack Obama because of cables that WikiLeaks made public.

See story
HERE!



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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 70
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Costa Rica Expertise



Sportsmen's Lodge

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

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

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       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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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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Language education

If I Can Learn To Speak Spanish, Anybody Can!

It is very important that as residents of Costa Rica, we at least learn to speak basic Spanish, especially at the bank,supermarket, etc. We at Epifania Spanish School want to help you.  Our teachers are all courteous professionals and will teach you basic Spanish as well as Spanish you 
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Our readers' opinions
Happiness index appears
to be seriously flawed

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Interesting article on Page 3 on Thursday, April 5, 2012, regarding the Gallup organization’s attempt to measure happiness levels in various countries. I am an American retired and living in Costa Rica. I travel to the States periodically to see family, and I communicate with friends and family in the States daily. I read both Costa Rican and American news media daily. I have regular visitors from the States in my home.

As a caveat, I am neither a statistician nor an expert on survey methodology. But you don’t have to be an expert to see that any survey instrument that ranks Costa Rica behind the U.S. in happiness is seriously flawed and not to be believed. All you have to do is observe people in both countries to see that, these days, the U.S. is a very unhappy place — even for the Americans who have much more money to spend than the population here.
Rob Rowntree
Quepos


That stress is in your head,
not in your coffee cup

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Hari Singh Khalsa of Cóbano put down the studies regarding the benefits of coffee.  He still holds on to old studies about stress and says that it is a proven fact that caffeine is a major cause of stress and that stress causes heart disease as well as cancer and other diseases.

He is right about stress causing a number of diseases.   I would like to clarify that research and results continually change.  Scientific study is all about new findings and changes of old ideas.   It is not proven that caffeine is a major cause of stress as Singh stated.  The major cause of stress is just thought.  It is your thoughts that cause stress not caffeine.  Caffeine may be a stimulant, which it is, but it depends on what your thoughts do with that stimulant.  

Most people are not addicted to coffee and don't need to go through caffeine detox because they don't consume that much caffeine daily.   A.M. Costa Rica was just reporting on a very thorough new report about the benefits of coffee.  Other researchers have come up with the same results as well.  Just because it was reported to be bad in the past doesn't mean that would always remain true.  Keep doing your yoga and you won't have to worry about an overload of stress.  I do yoga as well as Tai Chi every morning.  After I finish, I have two delicious cups of coffee while reading A.M. Costa Rica.    I haven't been sick in many years nor seen a doctor in years as well.  Stress is in all in your mind not in the coffee.

Henry Kantrowitz
Punta Leona


Postage stamps sought

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Can you help? I need used postage stamps for philately promotion to kids (stamp collecting offers a world of interest). From Costa Rica I need all kinds, in duplicates, on paper, but other countries are welcome. This is a permanent appeal, so stamps can be sent at any time of the year. Perhaps you are able to support my project, so please ask my gift-offer or visit my Web site. Thank you.
Roberto Bortolotto
casella postale aperta,
35043 Monselice (pd),
Italia

 
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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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 70
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Burning Judas night sees more fires but less property damage
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Easter weekend saw an 81 percent increase in set fires as youngsters and adults participated in the quema de Judas Saturday night. Still the Fuerza Pública said it has reduced the violence by planned programs in Santa Ana and Santa Bárbara de Heredia.

Typically youngsters and some adults blockade roads and eventually burn an effigy of the apostle blamed with turning in Jesus Christ with a kiss. But the violence started Friday.

That was when neighbors in Libertad 1 in Pavas were participating in throwing water on passing cars. This appears to be a local annual celebration. A vehicle containing four men shopped short after being doused with water. Two men got out the rear doors and fired four times on the assembled crowd.  A 7-year-old girl took a bullet in the back, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. The child was hospitalized.

Fuerza Pública officers had to fire smoke grenades at a crowd of youths in San Rafael de Heredia Saturday night after they began throwing rocks at police. There were arrests reported Saturday night, but probably not as many as last year when there were 86.
The Cuerpo de Bomberos said that there were 29 blazes that required intervention by fire fighters Saturday night and early Sunday.

The fuel for the set fires was mostly garbage, said the fire agency, although one firemen was reported injured by a thrown rock in San Rafael.

The greatest number of fires was in Heredia with 14. There were five fires in Belén, the fire agency said. In 2011 there were just 16 blazes that required the attention of fire fighters.

There were no structure fires. In 2009 Judas participants burned down a furniture store in San Rafael. Two years earlier youths there torched a vehicle.

Each year the Fuerza Pública sets up programs to reduce the violence. In Lindora de Santa Ana again this year there were sports competitions and bicycle races. There also was a downpour Saturday night that cooled Judas night participation.

In Piedades de Santa Ana there was a celebration with masked figures. The goal was to occupy the youngsters and distract them from the fires and road blockades.






Juan José Andrade Morales, director general of the Fuerza Pública, and Mario Zamora Cordero, security minister, inspect yet another load of drugs flown into Juan Santamaría airport after being confiscated at the Peñas Blancas border crossing where the packages were found hidden in a tractor trailer.

confiscated drugs
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública

Yet another trucker is believed to be smuggling cocaine north
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The seizure of drugs at the Peñas Blancas border station is becoming routine.

Yet another tractor trailer carried packages of cocaine, this time inside the tires, said the Policía de Control de Drogas.

The 256 kilos, some 563 pounds, were found Friday in a vehicle registered in El Salvador. That is where the driver was headed, according to the anti-drug police. He was identified only by the last name of Parada. Police said he was 31.

The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública said that a bit more than four tons of cocaine have been confiscated at the same border crossing so far this year.
Costa Rica is generally recognized as a transit country for cocaine from the south. Although smugglers use water routes as well as submersible vessels, hemisphere drug experts estimated that 80 percent of the cocaine moved at least part of the way on land.

The ministry's Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea moved the drug packages from Liberia by air. This is routine procedure now after robbers and insiders took about 320 kilos of drugs from the prosecutor's office in Golfito early March 26, 2009. The packages found Friday were embossed into the cocaine with an impression of an eagle.

Mario Zamora Cordero, the security minister, and Mauricio Borachi, the nation's anti-drug commissioner, gave a press conference at the airport Sunday after the drugs arrived.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 70
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Amid ethics scandal, Mike Wallace managed to prevent fist fight
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica
and wire service reports

Mike Wallace generally came across as somewhat of a pitbull. But Wallace, known for his hard-hitting television interviews, was not one to fly off the handle. His producer did just that one
Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace
evening in New York when he tried to punch a former employee in the nose.

The producer, Don Hewitt, has just finished a talk to journalists in which he lambasted the 1999 movie “The Insider.” Hewitt said that the movie took liberties in describing the way his show “60 Minutes” covered the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. scandal.

The movie showed Hewitt bowing to CBS corporate interests in not airing a segment about a tobacco
company whistle blower.

Although the segment eventually aired, one of its reporters,  Lowell Bergman, quit over the delay and was involved in making the movie.

Then at the Waldorf Astoria 12 years ago Bergman confronted Hewitt from the audience at the end of his talk. The discussion flamed anew in the corridor as Hewitt rushed at Bergman, a man many years his junior. The men would have begun a brawl if Wallace did not intervene and grab the diminutive Hewitt in a bear hug.

But angry words continued to fly. Wallace also had been critical of the movie. He was really protecting the 77-year-old Hewitt. Wallace was 82 himself at the time, Bergman was just 54. The incident made the newswires.

The key point of the television news segment and of the movie was that tobacco company researcher Jeffrey Wigand had evidence that executives knew for years that nicotine was addictive even though they had denied that to Congress.

Bergman was played by Al Pacino in the movie. Subsequent commentators agree that the movie gave the CBS reporter a stronger role in disclosing the truth than had really happened.

The major ethical issue was if Hewitt stalled airing the tobacco segment for fear of a major lawsuit or if he did so because CBS
was about to be merged with Westinghouse and a lawsuit would kill the deal. Published reports after the 1995 incident disclosed that the family of Lawrence Tisch, then chairman of CBS, was buying six cigarette brands from Brown & Williamson. So clearly Tisch had a reason to sit on the segment that portrayed the tobacco industry in a negative light.

The tobacco controversy was one of many that involved Wallace during his nearly 40 years at “60 minutes.” He was 93 when he died Saturday.

Wallace was an entertainer in the early days of television and then rose to become one of America's best known broadcast journalists.

In a statement Sunday, the CBS network said Wallace died Saturday at an extended care facility in Connecticut after a long illness.

Wallace spent nearly 40 years on the ground-breaking CBS news magazine “60 Minutes.” There, he interviewed hundreds of the world's most prominent public figures, from U.S. presidents, generals, artists and athletes to international dignitaries, writers, playwrights and Hollywood stars. He also interviewed scores of lesser-known figures, including suspected cheats, fraudsters, and many others alleged to have used dubious means to achieve wealth and fame.

CBS on Sunday cited Wallace's “extraordinary contribution as a broadcaster,” calling him “a force within the television industry throughout its existence.”

Wallace's relentless style drew millions of viewers and fans to Sunday night television, where “60 Minutes” has been a mainstay since its first broadcast segment in 1968. But that style also drew criticism and a highly publicized lawsuit stemming from the Vietnam War.

That suit, brought by army Gen. William C. Westmoreland — the commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam — sought $120 million in damages for a Wallace-anchored “60 Minutes” report alleging the general deceived the American public by under-counting the enemy in Vietnam. The case went to trial in 1984, and months later Westmoreland withdrew the suit.

Wallace later revealed in an interview with colleague Morley Safer that he had attempted suicide during the lawsuit crisis. He later spoke repeatedly about his recovery from depression and said the years after the attempt were some of the most productive of his long life.

Hewitt died in 1999.  Bergman is now with The New York Times and also the Public Broadcasting series “Frontline.” He also is a journalism professor in California.


Diplomatic shuffle, political strategy put new man in Panamá
By Eric Jackson
editor, The Panamá News

In the benighted world of Washington's foreign policy toward the Americas, astute observations made in private can get sewn onto a diplomat as the red letter for apostasy if ever they get published. WikiLeaks published a number of cables that Jonathan D. Farrar sent back to Foggy Bottom as chief of the
Farrar
Jonathan D. Farrar
U.S. Interests Section in Havana, and one of them observed that "We see very little evidence that the mainline dissident organizations have much resonance among Cubans."

That's a heresy for which one can be at least figuratively burned at the stake in Miami. Forget that other Farrar cables from Cuba show a diplomat faithfully carrying out long-standing and futile U.S. policies toward the island, and a skepticism toward both the diplomacy of acting like a belligerent drunk and the obsequious words and behavior of
some U.S. allies' delegations to Cuba. Making sense about Cuba, even just a little bit, is just not done in public in Washington.

And so it was that Farrar's next appointment, as U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, met with loud opposition from the Miami Cuban exile leadership, and as a consequence that move was blocked in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It wouldn't do to have somebody who's "soft on communism" dealing with Danny Ortega.

But it also won't do for Republicans to destroy the career of a respected Mexican-American diplomat over Cuban-American dogma and still expect to carry much of the Hispanic vote in several southwestern states where's it's an important and growing factor. And while polls indicate that Florida's Cuban  voters will by and large remain in the GOP column — with
some slippage among the younger ones — the Republicans have trouble with the state's non-Cuban Hispanic voters, who substantially outnumber the Cuban-Americans and by most learned estimates Florida remains in play for the November election. There is talk about Mitt Romney nominating Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio as his runningmate both to incorporate some of his party's farther-right and to avoid a Democratic blowout among "the Hispanic vote." It might be erroneous math based on faulty assumptions, but calculations of this sort probably do affect what Republican senators do these days.

President Obama reacted to the Republican block on Farrar's nomination to serve in Managua by appointing the U.S. ambassador in Panamá, Phyllis Powers, to go to Nicaragua instead, and appointing Farrar to take her place in Panamá. There was a delay, but when Farrar testified before the committee the two Cuban-Americans on the panel, Rubio and Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey, spoke in his favor. Rubio did put in a jab or two about Cuba, but echoed the fears of many libertarian Republicans that Ricardo Martinelli is making a petty tyrant of himself and expressed confidence that Farrar would stay on top of that situation.

For his part, Farrar mostly talked about topics that are considered "safe" in the Senate — pursuing the "War on Drugs," helping U.S. corporations benefit from "free trade" with Panamá and such.

After another delay, the entire Senate approved both Farrar's and Powers's appointments without objection on March 29. Farrar should be here shortly. The policies that he upholds should not be any surprise, but his personality and relationships with the press and the American community here remain to be seen.

Farrar, a Los Angeles native, is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, Claremont Graduate School and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He has served in Cuba, Uruguay, Mexico, Belize, and Paraguay. He has served with the State Department's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau and its Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.  In Washington he was deputy director of the Office of Andean Affairs, among his other assignments there.

Copyright 2012 The Panamá News. Used with permission.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 70
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Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Brazil's President Rousseff
plans to see Obama today

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff at the White House today, several days before both leaders go to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.  The White House meeting will be between the leaders of the world’s largest economy and one of the fastest growing economies.

Brazil has the world’s sixth-largest economy, a large and growing middle class and an expanding leadership role in world affairs.

Analysts say a likely goal for President Rousseff, on her first official visit to Washington, is to make the most of her country’s international standing.

Another likely priority is to further strengthen Brazil’s relationship with the United States, which Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, says is already strong, healthy and diverse.

“I think what you are going to see on April 9 with President Obama and President Rousseff is going to be two leaders of the two largest democratic countries in the Western Hemisphere embracing, perhaps literally, but certainly figuratively, and looking for ways to continue to build out a common agenda," he said.

That agenda is expected to include economic issues, such as trade.  A free trade agreement between the two countries has stalled, with some analysts in Washington accusing Brazil of protectionism.

President Obama’s visit to Brazil last year produced new economic and commercial agreements, which might lead to more cooperation on international issues.

Brazil is seeking U.S. support in its bid for a seat on the U. N. Security Council.  Washington has backed India’s quest for a seat, but has not done so with Brazil.

Meanwhile, Obama might ask Ms. Rousseff to support tougher sanctions against Iran and Syria.

Nonetheless, Eric Farnsworth says the two countries are in agreement on most issues.

“The areas of disagreement, for example, Iran’s nuclear program or some trade disputes or what have you, are always going to capture people’s attention and news reports, et cetera.  But the reality is the fabric of cooperation the United States has with Brazil is very deep.  It is very strong.  And I do not anticipate that this meeting is going to do anything except strengthen that," he said.

Energy is one of the main areas of expected cooperation between the two countries.  Brazil has some of the world’s largest oil reserves, and it has made wide use of biofuels and other alternative forms of energy, an area of interest to President Obama.

Other possible agenda items include education, Brazil’s work with other Andean nations to fight the illegal drug trade and cooperation on rebuilding Haiti.

Brazil is also in the process of deciding whether to buy $30 billion worth of jet fighters from France or the United States.


Rebels in Colombia kill
six government soldiers


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombia's military says rebels from the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — FARC — have ambushed a military unit and killed six soldiers.

A military spokesman says three rebels were killed in the return fire Saturday about 400 kilometers northwest of the capital, Bogota. That is about 250 miles.

Last month, the Colombian government says it killed more than 30 rebels in a bombing raid.

The rebels has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s. Their numbers have dwindled over the years, but some analysts estimate the group has as many as 9,000 fighters.

The rebels have been designated as a terrorist organization by Colombia, the United States and the European Union.


Chávez asks God to help
him remain president


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez became emotional during a Mass held in his home state of Barinas Thursday.

Flanked by family members, Chávez asked God: "Please don't take me yet."  In a breaking voice, he said he still has "things to do for my people and my country."

Little is known about the 57-year-old socialist leader’s condition, including what type of cancer he has. Chávez has undergone three operations in less than a year, and received two sessions of radiation treatment.

He says the latest surgery was successful, and that he will be fit to win a new six-year term in October. 

Chávez underwent an operation in February in Cuba to remove a tumor from his pelvic region.  A tumor was extracted from the same area last year.  He has also undergone two rounds of radiation therapy.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 9, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 70
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Latin America news
Fewer fatalities reported
for Semana Santa  this year


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although all the numbers are not yet in, Semana Santa appears to have cost fewer lives this year than last.

The Cruz Roja said that only 21 violent deaths were reported by Sunday night, 19 less than the 40 for the same period in 2011.

The principal cause of death was water accidents, the rescue agency said. It attributed eight deaths to drowning. Only two persons died from knife or gun wounds this weekend, compared to seven last year.

And the number of persons killed in vehicle crashes was just two compared to the seven the year before.

Of course the Cruz Roja only lists injuries and deaths when it is called upon to respond. Not all cases require the agency. For example, the Judicial Investigating Organization found the body of a man buried in the yard where he lived. He was identified by the last name of Fernández. He had been dead more than two weeks, so the Cruz Roja was not called. The man's 37-year-old housemate was detained.  Fernández was 58 and appears to have died from a stab wound, the judicial agency said. The home is near Golfito.

There were more injuries this year. The Cruz Roja said it transported 71 persons to hospitals That compares to 57 last year.

Not included in the total is anyone who died at the hospital because the Cruz Roja just reports fatalities at the scene.

Among those who did not make the list is Óscar López, the politician and former legislative deputy. He was rescued after he was caught in the surf at Playa Espadillas in Manuel Antonio.


Central Pacific gets
three quakes Saturday


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Saturday was a big day for quakes on the Pacific coast.

A 3.3 magnitude quake took place at 9:43 a.m. 10.7 kilometers (6.6 miles) east of Quepos, according to the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

That was followed at 12:05 with a 2.9 shaker in the mountains 16.5 kilometers (10 miles) northeast of Dominical. Then at 8:03 a third quake, this one of 3.4 magnitude, took place 24 kilometers (15 miles) west of Dominical in the Pacific Ocean.







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Sports
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Jo Stuart
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details