A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language news source
Monday through Friday

Place your free classified ad

Click Here
These stories were published Wednesday, May 1, 2002, in Vol. 2, No. 85
Jo Stuart
About us
Anti-piracy efforts win praise for Costa Rica
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Costa Rica won recognition Tuesday for its efforts to enforce intellectual property rights when U.S. officials downgraded the scrutiny it will maintain over the country.

Costa Rica as well as South Korea and Malaysia were taken off the priority watch list, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. 

Intellectual property are those creative works covered by copyright, including books, computer software, songs, movies, material on the Internet and even innovative new drugs.

Costa Rica joins Canada and 31 other countries on a lesser "watch list," said the U.S. trade representative’s office in a report issued Tuesday that is mandated by the U.S. Trade Act of 1988.

"Costa Rica has taken important steps since late 2001 to develop a concerted government strategy for improving the enforcement of intellectual property rights," said the report.

"In addition to other positive measures, Costa Rica has appointed specialized prosecutors, intensified training activities for officials involved in enforcement, and implemented a decree focused on legitimizing software used by government agencies. 

"The United States is recognizing this progress by moving Costa Rica from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List. Nonetheless, it is essential that the recent initiatives be fully and
expeditiously implemented and that progress continue. 

Photos by Next Media
Need we say more about Nosara's surf?

Looking for Paradise?

The far Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula is about as pristine as you can get. Travel writer Patrica Martin takes us today on the first of a two-part visit to the principal tourist spots
Click HERE!
Fishing is a family affair

The report said that continued improvement would be passage of legislation to correct remaining deficiencies in the criminal procedures laws and the intellectual property laws and more prosecutions of offenders, perhaps facilitated by the establishment of a dedicated intellectual property unit.

The U.S. report also called for vigorous enforcement efforts to reduce continuing high piracy levels, such as closure of retail stores that rent or sell pirated products. In addition, the United States urged Costa Rica to ensure that its new government software legalization decree is implemented on schedule and in a technologically-neutral manner. 

The United States will check up on how the country is doing, the report said.

Costa Rica was embarrassed late last year when a study showed that much of the software being used in the judicial branch of the government was pirated copies

Canada made the watch list, in part, for not providing adequate data protection in the pharmaceutical area. Systematic inadequacies in Canadian administrative and judicial procedures allow early and often infringing entry of generic versions of patented medicines into the marketplace, said the report.

Moreover, the report said, progress has stalled on resolving the outstanding issue of national treatment of U.S. artists in the distribution of proceeds from Canada's private copying levy.

On the global front, intellectual property rights protection in the Ukraine remains inadequate, and the situation in Brazil has worsened over the past year, while both Macau and South Korea have improved their enforcement records, the office said. Also causing concern are China and Paraguay, said the report.

Ukraine's "persistent failure" to stop optical media piracy means U.S. imports from Ukraine remain subject to $75 million worth of sanctions annually, the office said, adding that Ukraine's problems could jeopardize its efforts to join the World Trade Organization and undermine its efforts to attract trade and investment.

In addition to Costa Rica, Canada, South Korea and Malaysia, other U.S. trading partners placed on the watch list for violations are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Bolivia, Chile, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

The report also placed the European Union and 14 other trading partners on its priority watch list, which entails a higher level of scrutiny. The 14 trading partners are: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, EU, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Philippines, Russia, Taiwan and Uruguay.

New to the priority list in 2002 are Brazil and Colombia. The report does not list Mexico as a country of significant concern but says that Mexican enforcement "continues to need improvement." 

The 2002 report also highlights the problem of Internet piracy and the importance of two Internet treaties designed to protect authors' rights in cyberspace. Both treaties — the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty — will be in effect as of May 20.

"These treaties represent the current state of international copyright law and provide a critical foundation needed to enable e-commerce to flourish. They also provide the tools necessary to fight piracy on the Internet," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a news release on the report.

our daily 
Check out
Check out
our back
Send us

news story
Visit our
Visit our 
Visit our
real estate
The Vault is a convenient profit oriented partnership.  It is not a bank, not a loan company, not an investment firm.  However, our partners feel the benefits our firm receives from all three.  They allow us and you not to stand in line.  We report your growth as a convenient information source.  In this way we all work together as successful partners.
"Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success."
- Henry Ford
How to live, invest or find romance in Costa Rica

Click above
Rice says Chavez
bears some blame

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez bears some of the blame for recent threats to his country's democracy by engaging in such autocratic measures as inhibiting freedom of the press.

Taking a question following a Monday speech, Rice reiterated that the Bush Administration spoke out "both publicly and privately" against anti-constitutional attempts earlier in April to overthrow Chavez' government. "We did make it very clear that we believed that democratically elected governments could not be overthrown by extra-constitutional means," Rice said.

The United States, she added, is "very hopeful" about Chavez' statements that he plans to be "self-reflective" while leading Venezuela in the future. Serious reflection may lead Chavez "to recognize the importance of democratic values for real, not just claiming that because you are elected, you are exercising democratic values," Rice said. "We cannot fall into that trap."

She also observed that "when people are elected, they especially have a responsibility to follow democratic values, and we have to call it for what we see" is happening. "But we were very strong in this [regard] and, in fact, joined with countries in the region to talk about the importance of respecting democratic processes," she said.

Grand jury indicts
Colombian rebel group

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. federal grand jury has indicted Colombia's largest rebel group and six of its members on charges of murdering three Americans.

Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the indictment Tuesday here. He said just as the United States fights terrorism in the mountains of South Asia, the indictment is the first step in ridding the western hemisphere of terrorism that threatens lives, freedom, and human dignity.

The indictment names the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, and six of its members. Colombian authorities have already convicted in absentia one of those indicted Tuesday. But it is not clear whether any of those facing charges will be found and extradited to the United States.

They are accused of kidnapping and killing three U.S. citizens in 1999 who went to Colombia to help indigenous peoples in the northeastern part of the country. The charges also include conspiracy to murder and using a firearm in a violent crime. The indictment says FARC and its members considered U.S. citizens as military advisors and legitimate military targets.

Ashcroft said the three Americans went to Colombia to do good, but were greeted with evil. This is the second U.S. indictment of FARC in the last two months. In March, Ashcroft said three FARC members were charged with conspiring to fly planeloads of cocaine to the United States from 1994 to 2001.

FARC and another major rebel group, the National Liberation Army, have been fighting a guerrilla war against the Colombian government and right-wing paramilitaries for nearly 40 years. The conflict has left at least 40,000 people dead in the past decade alone.

The United States has branded FARC and the ELN as terrorist groups. It believes FARC is responsible for killing 13 U.S. citizens and kidnapping more than 100 others since 1980.

Police say woman
made daughter a mule

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

BOGOTA, Colombia — Authorities have arrested a woman suspected of trying to use her 5-year-old daughter to smuggle narcotics into the United States. 

Officials Tuesday announced that Myriam Conde was taken into custody following the recent incident involving her daughter. 

Investigators allege Ms. Conde packed more than one kilogram of drugs into her daughter's baggage and headed to the airport in Cali, where the child was entrusted to a flight attendant for a trip to New York. Reports say the narcotics were discovered after drug-sniffing dogs detected the contraband in her luggage. 

The child has been placed in temporary foster care in the United States until Colombian authorities decide her future. 

Quake hits offshore

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 4.3 magnitude earthquake took place about 120 kms. (75 miles) off the coast of Nicaragua about 1 p.m. Sunday, according to the U.S. National earthquake Information Center. 

French are bracing
for Le Pen clashes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

PARIS, France — Thousands of French police are bracing for massive May Day protests and possible clashes between supporters and opponents of far right presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen. 

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of Paris Wednesday in five demonstrations, four of them against Mr. Le Pen. 

The gatherings are seen as the culmination of 10 days of demonstrations following the surprise success of National Front party leader Le Pen in the first round of presidential elections. 

As many as 100,000 people are expected to attend a rally led by Le Pen. Anti-Le Pen protesters plan to march away from Le Pen's demonstration in an effort to prevent violence. 

French officials say 3,500 police will be deployed in hopes of keeping the potentially explosive situation under control. French President Jacques Chirac called on demonstrators to remain calm, saying nothing would be worse than violence and confrontation. 

On Tuesday, Chirac called on left-wing voters to back him in Sunday's runoff election against Le Pen. Major May Day demonstrations are also expected in several European and Asian cities. 

Labor day parade at 9 a.m.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is labor Day in Costa Rica, a legal holiday, and the U.S. Embassy said it would be closed and reopen to the public Thursday.

Workers and union members plan a colorful parade on Avenida 2 beginning at 9 a.m.

Peru and Colombia
will call the shots

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of State Colin Powell says that when U.S.-sponsored drug interdiction flights resume over Colombia and Peru, those countries will ultimately decide whether to shoot down suspected drug-smuggling planes.

Secretary Powell made the comment Tuesday during a Senate committee hearing in Washington. Powell told lawmakers that any decision to use lethal force must come from the two Andean nations, not the United States. 

Powell made his remarks one day after the State Department announced that the United States had approved a plan aimed at resuming the interdiction flights within six months. A State Department official told reporters procedures would be changed to avoid fatal mistakes. 

The operation was suspended in April of last year after a CIA surveillance plane mistook an American missionary aircraft for a drug flight. A Peruvian military jet fired on the missionary plane, killing an American woman and her infant daughter. 

Under the changes, the program will be an open project run by the State Department instead of the CIA. Another change calls for U.S. pilots and crews to be fluent in Spanish to avoid communication problems and errors similar to the ones that caused last year's shoot down. 

Most of the flights will be flown by Peru and Colombia with refurbished planes provided by the United States. The program would resume once the United States concludes agreements with the two Andean nations and President Bush signs an executive order.

Haitian judge says
he was coerced

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MIAMI, Fla. — A Haitian judge requesting political asylum in the United States said Monday he was forced to sign an arrest warrant for former military dictator Prosper Avril.

Speaking to local media here, Henri Noel said he was called to Port-au-Prince earlier this month to sign a pre-printed arrest warrant. He said representatives of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide pressured him to sign it. Noel, a judge for the west coast St. Marc municipality, arrived in Florida within the past three days.

 Avril ruled Haiti from 1988 to 1990.

Man stabbed fatally
walking through park

by the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man died in San Juan de Dios Hospital early Tuesday from a stab wound inflicted by an assailant who confronted him while he was walking through Parque Central, according to investigators.

The park is just west of the Cathedral and south of the Teatro Melico Salazar on Avenida 2 in the downtown. The Judicial Investigating Organization identified the man as Jaime Garcia Urbina, 28. He died while undergoing an operation for the wound in his right side about 1 a.m.

Sportsbook owners: 

If you have a sportsbook,
you can add an online Flash casino
so easily with our proprietary software. 
The Casino Factory
Serving the needs of the industry
Creating casino software in Costa Rica for four years.

(506) 388-0076

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001 and 2002 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.