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(506) 223-1327       Published Tuesday, April 11, 2006, in Vol. 6, No. 72          E-mail us    
Jo Stuart
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Nature turns on heat and waves for weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Vacationers at the beaches are having an added treat this week. The sun is directly above Costa Rica ready to scorch those foolish enough to neglect protective cream.

The period from Monday through April 19 is when Old Sol is directly above 10 degrees latitude, and the solar energy is concentrated into the smallest possible area.

A similar event happens again this year, according to the Fundación para el Centro Nacional de la Ciencia y la Tecnología, between Aug. 24 and Sept. 1

Of course the sun isn't actually moving. It is the earth that tips predictably bringing winter and summer to the northern and southern hemispheres.

Solar events like the vernal equinox (this year March 20) and the summer solstice (June 21) have less meaning in Costa Rica where the year is divided into the dry season, December to April (called summer) and the winter rainy season (May through November). Public school terms even run from February to December.

For Ticos, the sun always is hanging around the equator someplace, and the beaches are

pleasantly in the 30s C. or high 80s F.

But this week is Semana Santa when perhaps more than 1 million residents are in temporary residence at beach locations on the Pacific or Caribbean. Many are tenting right on the beach.

The position of the sun has added advantages besides just a great tan.  There is a full moon, too, Thursday, and this, as well, yanks on the oceans creating waves loved by surfers.

In the Carribean 4 to 6-foot waves are predicted through Thursday with the size diminishing through Saturday to about 4 or 5 feet.

The Instituto Meteorological Nacional predicts waves up to 9 feet in the south Pacific through Wednesday with slightly smaller waves Thursday.

Waves 5 to 8 feet are expected in the Central Pacific.

The weather bureau predicts little wind this week and higher-than-normal temperatures through all of Semana Santa.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 72

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U.S. Embassy will close
for five-day holiday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If a U.S. citizen loses his or her passport this week, they probably will not be able to get a temporary replacement until at least Tuesday, according to personnel at the U.S. Embassy.

The embassy will be closed Thursday, Friday and again Monday. A spokesperson said that this is the most consecutive days the Embassy has been closed in memory.

Monday, of course, is the celebration of Juan Santamaría Day, moved there from today.

The Consular Section where passport matters are handled is not authorized to open to issue passports when the embassy is closed, said an embassy e-mail.

Typically the embassy staff gets some 20 days off a year because both U.S. and Costa Rican holidays are marked. Many of the employees are Costa Rican. The embassy and the consular section are usually open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and there has never been the use of night hours, particularly for Costa Ricans who have to obtain visas now even to transit by plane through a U.S. airport.

The embassy e-mail advised tourists to avoid getting their passports stolen.

For emergencies involving the death or serious injury of a U.S citizen, persons may call 220-3127, and they will be connected with the duty officer, the embassy message said.

Theater group plans
'Same Time Next Year'

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Little Theatre Group will present "Same Time Next Year" as its May production.

This romantic comedy by Bernard Slade was a Broadway play in the 1970s with Ellen Burstyn and Charles Grodin in lead roles. Later it was a movie with Ms. Burstyn and Alan Alda.

The show will be in the Blanche Brown Theatre in Bello Horizonte, Escazú, on three weekends in May, starting May 12. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon.

Real-life husband and wife team Lisa Di Fuso and Tom Humes have been cast as George and Doris, a pair of strangers who are both individually staying in a country inn in Mendocino, northern California. They have an unplanned liaison there in the mid 1950s and agree to meet again every year at the same time and place. 

Six scenes covering the first meeting and every five years thereafter showing the couple's maturing and often hilarious experiences over 25 years of their lives.  Some experiences temper their lives with hard knocks.

George and Doris are the only on-stage characters.

Early bookings for the show may be made by calling 355-1623 or online at www.littletheatregroup.org.  Curtain times for Friday and Saturdays are 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. 

Father murdered while
wife and kids are in car

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two men assassinated a Colombian father driving his wife and two children home early Monday.

Dead is Rigoberto Paredes Mosquero, 31, who suffered five shots in the attack. Other occupants included a babe in arms and a 6-year-old boy. None was injured.

The two assailants fled from the scene in San Juan de Dios de Desamparados near the Cruz Roja building. The shooting took place about 1:30 a.m.

Planned hits of Colombians which are not robberies usually are attributed to spillover from the civil war raging in that country.

Also shot in Desamparados early Monday was Enrique Campos Calderón, a 70-year-old taxi driver, who was brought into Hospital San Juan de Dios with a wound to the head. The shooting took place in San Rafael Arriba de Desamparados, and investigators are seeking a woman resident of that neighborhood for questioning.

Press group outraged
at murder of photog

Special to A.M. Costa Rica
MIAMI, Florida — The Inter American Press Association has expressed outrage at the murder in Venezuela of news photographer Jorge Aguirre and called on officials in that South American country to investigate the crime  speedily so as to identify the guilty and bring them to justice.

“We regret Aguirre’s tragic death, yet another outrage inflicted upon journalists and news media in Venezuela,” declared Gonzalo Marroquín, chairman of the organization’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information. “We hope that the authorities will get to the bottom of the matter so as to determine who is responsible for the crime.”

Aguirre, 60, was shot and mortally injured April 5 by a man on a motorcycle. A photojournalist for the Capriles Group, he was a passenger in an automobile driving on the campus of the Universidad Central de Venezuela, where a student demonstration was under way in protest at violence in the country in recent days, heightened by the murder of three young brothers. Aguirre was covering another event on campus when the demonstration broke out.

The motorcyclist ordered Aguirre’s driver to stop and after a brief argument the driver decided to continue driving, as the man who stopped him was not wearing a  uniform or showing any identification. The man then opened fire, hitting Aguirre in the armpit. He was rushed to hospital, where he died shortly afterwards. 
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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.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 72


Revenge called motive in poisoning of Catholic priest
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators think that someone tried to kill a Roman Catholic priest because of his long-time opposition to the drug trade. Someone did kill his dog.

The priest was identified as José Infante of Pueblo Nuevo, Parrita. He was a patient at Hospital Monseñor Sanabria Monday suffering the effects of a chemical he may have inhaled Friday.

Investigators said that the priest saw that his dog was
ill Friday night. Then he found the animal dead Saturday. The priest then continued his schedule of providing confession to the people in nearby towns but he became violently ill.

Investigators said they suspect some kind of agricultural chemical killed the dog and sickened the priest.

They said that the priest was well enough known for his opposition to the drug trade that they suspected revenge as a motive.

Where to sit depends on type of players you expect
While this may seem rather silly to some, there is actually merit to the question, "Where is the best place to sit at a poker table?"

No, I'm not talking about closest to the bathroom or to the fridge. I'm talking about where the best place is for you to sit at the poker table in relation to certain types of players.

If you've played poker at all, you know that people approach the game in different ways — some by the seat of their pants, others very carefully.  You have experienced players and novices, aggressive types and conservative competitors.  Eventually you’ll meet them all at the poker table, and knowing which seat offers you the best chance for winning against whoever you might face can only improve your game.

There is a general rule when picking your seat that you should always abide by.  You want the most difficult players on your right.  With that understood, here’s where you should try to be for each type of player.

1.) Conservative or tight players.  These rocks are no real threat to you, so, abiding by the general rule, you shouldn’t really care all that much where they sit.  Ideally, though, you'd want these players to your left so that you can pick on their blinds.  If they happen to play with you when you've entered the pot, you can be sure they have a strong hand.  Act accordingly.  That wouldn't always be true with the next group of players.

2.) Aggressive players.  These are the players that you need to worry about.  An aggressive player on your left means you’re somewhat handcuffed.  You have to play a little more conservatively now because having that monster behind you means you don't know what he'll do until after you've acted.
You’ll always prefer the aggressive players on your right so that you can keep an eye on them and then spank them when they get out of line!  Basically, you'll be able to use your position to exploit the aggressive player.

If you have a seating choice, when facing both an aggressive and a conservative player, sit right between them with the tighter player on your left. 

Things get a bit trickier when you’re figuring out where to sit when playing either a novice or an experienced player, since you'll want both of them on your right to some degree.

3.)  Novice players.  If you are playing with a rookie, chances are he's going to make a lot of mistakes, and you want to be in there when he does.  So by sitting on his left you'll have the opportunity to see

whether or not he enters the pot.  Since you'll have position on him you can manipulate the novice much easier and force him into even more mistakes.

According to the general rule, you’ll want players you worry about on your right, but in this case you aren't worried about the novice since you can control or exploit him better if you sit on his left.

4.)  Experienced players.  Well this obviously depends on how good the experienced players are, but generally these competitors surprise you less often than a novice player.  They will most likely play fundamentally sound, which, while more predictable, doesn't necessarily make it easier for you.  You’ll want a tough, aggressive experienced player sitting on your right.  But against a more conservative experienced player, you'd prefer him on your left rather than the easily exploitable novice.

You're not always going to be able to pick your seat — especially in a tournament — so it's important to know how to play against novice and aggressive opponents when they are seated to your left.

When the novice is on your left, all that really means is you'll have less opportunities to exploit him, but you don't need to make any major strategy adjustments.

With the aggressive player on your left, however, you need to make significant strategy adjustments.  You really need to respect the fact that position is power, and since this competitor has it, you must concede your relative weakness a little bit and play accordingly.

From time to time, look to set traps for the aggressive player by slow playing strong hands.  This should help keep him from breathing down your neck on a regular basis.  Other than that, just tighten up a little bit and wait for a better situation to arise — like maybe, switching seats!

Visit www.fullcontactpoker.com/news to submit your questions and comments to poker champion Daniel Negreanu.

© 2005 Card Shark Media.  All rights reserved.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 72

Fallout from attack on U.S. envoy continues to grow
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States warned Venezuela Monday that it will retaliate diplomatically, if there is a repeat of what U.S. officials say was a government-organized mob attack on the American ambassador last Friday in Caracas. The State Department says the incident was an act of "thuggery."

The State Department has served notice on the Venezuelan government that it can expect severe restrictions on the movements of its ambassador in Washington, if there is any further incident like last Friday's attack on U.S. envoy William Brownfield.

The American ambassador's car was pelted with eggs and tomatoes, and pounded and chased by pro-government demonstrators after an event in an impoverished Caracas neighborhood at which the envoy had presented baseball equipment to a youth group.

Ambassador Brownfield has been a frequent target of criticism from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, with whom the United States has had a strained relationship for several years.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Venezuelan officials knew in advance of the ambassador's Friday plans and had provided sandwiches and drinks to members of the crowd, who later took part in the attack.

McCormack called it a "thuggish attempt to intimidate" the U.S. envoy, and that the United States will not sit idly by, if it happens again. "This was simply outrageous. This is the third time this has happened in the past several weeks, and the fourth time overall. And, frankly, the Venezuelan
government must live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention to help provide protection for our diplomats. We do that here. And if we see an incident like this again, I think there are going to be serious diplomatic consequences between our two countries, and I think that the Venezuelan ambassador might find his ability to move around the United States severely restricted," he said.

Under questioning, McCormack said the restrictions contemplated for Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez would be more severe than those that currently apply to the head of Cuba's diplomatic interests section in Washington.

The Cuban envoy is barred from traveling beyond the Washington Beltway, the highway that circles the U.S. capital.

In the wake of Friday's incident, Venezuelan President Chávez has criticized the attack, saying his government rejects "any kind of aggression."

But Chávez also warned that the U.S. ambassador, whom he has accused of trying to foment opposition to his government, would be expelled if he continued what he described as provocative activity.

The Venezuelan president also leveled a number of personal insults at President George Bush, remarks spokesman McCormack said he would not dignify with a response.

McCormack reiterated U.S. concerns about actions the Chávez government has taken that he said "undermine the health" of Venezuelan democracy.
But he said the Bush administration remains ready to have a good relationship with Venezuela, a major U.S. oil supplier and trading partner.

Battle in Perú is for second place and second round
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

LIMA, Perú — Vote counting is continuing in Perú's hotly contested presidential election, with only a few percentage points separating the top three contenders.

Suspense and anticipation reign in Perú as ballot tabulations continue to trickle in from Sunday's presidential and legislative elections. With more than 75 percent of the vote counted late Monday, ultranationalist Ollanta Humala maintained a narrow lead with some 30 percent of the vote. Center-right former congresswoman Lourdes Flores and former President Alan Garcia are virtually tied for second place at about 25 percent each, with a fraction of a percentage point separating the two. The remainder of the vote is split among more than a dozen others.

Candidates have maintained a low profile since addressing supporters after polling stations closed Sunday. Most have urged their supporters to be patient until final results are known. Asked if he believed he would edge out Lourdes Flores for the No. 2 position, Alan Garcia declined to comment.

He said, "I do not like to jump to conclusions. The results are in God's hands."

Because no candidate will secure an absolute majority,
the top-two vote-getters will square off in a second round of balloting next month.

Meanwhile, the Organization of American States, which dispatched more than 100 observers to Perú, has expressed satisfaction with the country's democratic exercise. The head of the observer mission, Lloyd Axworthy, spoke with reporters earlier Monday.

"We can attest that the general election Sunday was conducted effectively and with integrity," said Axworthy. "The election process itself can be validated as providing a fair opportunity for the voters of Perú to have their choices properly represented. The positive aspects of the campaign: the enthusiasm and commitment of the voters. The incidents that took place in the country — and there are always incidents — did not in any way disrupt the election process. I think the people of Perú should feel very good about this election."

Axworthy did note, however, that a Perúvian law placing a moratorium on the domestic reporting of poll numbers in the days leading up to an election results in an inequality. Those with access to the Internet and international news sources are able to learn about poll numbers, while the rest of the country cannot.

Jo Stuart
About us

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