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(506) 2223-1327               Published Tuesday, May 4, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 86        E-mail us
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animals onmoney
Here are the creatures that will decorate the new Costa Rican paper money that will be released in July or August. The Banco Central released this composite. Most of the creatures are natives to
this country or its seas, but there is a debate over whether the central bank picked the best representatives. They will share a spot on the new money with famous Costa Ricans.


Time to keep eyes on the side of the highway, too
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Gaping potholes are nothing compared to hundreds of cubic meters of rock, dirt and trees racing down a hillside toward passing vehicles.

That is a danger that the Costa Rican highway network faces as rainy weather moves into the country.

Already Ruta 32, the San José-Guápiles-Limón highway, has been cut for nearly a week in Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo. Highway workers are trying to knock down more of the failing hillside before gravity does.

The Defensoría de los Habitantes has issued a plea to the Consejo Nacional de Concesiones to move quickly to prevent similar mishaps on the San José-Caldera Autopista del Sol. The holder of the concession has tacked up chain link fence material in one part, but the Defensoría said that the area covered was too little. Rocks the size of refrigerators can be seen in the gutters.

Representatives of the Defensoría toured the new road in the company with a geologist from the
national emergency commission.

The Defensoría reported that in one area the geologist went to the top of a hill side and saw cracks in some rocks that indicated the danger of future landslides. The visitors also saw vehicles trying to evade rocks falling from hillsides. In addition to the immediate danger, the maneuvers drivers have to take can cause an accident, the Defensoría said.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said it expects the vital Ruta 32 to remain closed until at least Thursday. One trucker had a rock smash through the passenger side window of his cab as he approached the slide zone.

The spine of the continental divide, called the Cordillera Volcanica Central, runs through Costa Rica, and many major roads pass through mountains where road builders took away just enough hillside to install highway lanes.

Although rain is the principal culprit in slides, motorists died in the Cinchona Jan. 8, 2009, earthquake because the hillside beneath the highway gave out and slid downhill.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 86

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

Quintas del Toro
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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)
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(506)  2232-5016 (phone/fax)
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Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
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Phone/Fax: 2290-8117, 8841-0007
New location on Rohrmoser Blvd.
 Phone: (506) 2232-1014


Burke Fiduciary, S.A.
Registered Escrow and Legal Services
Glenda Burke
Glenda Burke, LL.M
Thomas Burke
Thomas Burke, LL.M

Core services: real estate due diligence, real estate 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.
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Skype: CONJURIDICA
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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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Appraisers

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ask Angela Jiménez
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Residency experts

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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
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Tel: (323) 255-6116
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Accountants

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
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• 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
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• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


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Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!
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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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5950-4/15/10

Mack is back in town
at Teatro de La Aduana


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Compañía Nacional de Teatro inaugurates the new Teatro de La Aduana Thursday with a performance of "The Three Penny Opera" by Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill.

In Spanish the work is called “La opera de tres centavos.” It will run Thursday through Saturday and Sunday to June 20, said the culture ministry.

The La Aduana is the restored former customs house on Calle 23 between avenidas 7 and 9 in eastern San José just south of the Santa Teresita church.

The performances will be directed by Juan Fernando Cerdas. The opera has an anti-capitalistic tone and has as characters the crooks of London involved in a love story. An English translation of a German song in the original opera is known today as "Mack the Knife."

The national theater company said the performance will involve 15 musicians and 18 actors and use a new rhythm based on New Orleans music, said the ministry. The original opera debuted in 1928.

Performances Thursday through Saturday are at 7:30 p.m. Sunday performances are at 5 p.m. General admission is 3,000 colons, about $6.

Our readers' opinions
Humility is the key
for living with Ticos here

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In response to Steve in Coronado de Osa, I find it quite the opposite here.  I live in a Tico community and love my neighbors.  My home is equal to theirs, and we have one car.  My neighbors have been so nice to my husband and me.  They have made us feel like family.  We have counted on them for help, and they have been more than happy to help us.  In return, we help them whenever possible.

I believe that many Ticos may resent Gringos coming to their country and living like kings, while most Ticos can barely afford necessities.  Many Gringos, in my opinion, do come to Costa Rica and flaunt their money living in big houses behind big walls and barbed wire.  They come here without one ounce of humility. They are rude and think everything and everyone here is “stupid.” (I hear Gringos talking about Ticos.) Of course, Ticos are going to resent this. 

If someone moves to a foreign country, they should really try to fit in and live like the locals.   Be one of them.  Many Gringos come here and live in expensive gated communities (with other Gringos).   They separate themselves.  This is possibly the reason Gringos are perceived by Ticos as “snobby.”   I try to support local businesses and I have changed the way I live to fit in. I try to understand the culture and realize it is different than what I am used to.   I think my Tico friends appreciate that I try.  I ask questions about their culture, ask how to make certain foods; attend events that are special to them, etc. 

And, just to add this in: LEARN SPANISH! (This statement is not necessarily directed to Steve) I have many Gringos friends who have lived here for years (more than 5) and can barely speak a word of Spanish.  They don’t even try.  They rely on the Ticos who can speak English.  They can’t even pronounce the town they live in correctly.  There is no excuse for this. 

I have no problem with the Ticos, and I see most of them as hard working people with good hearts. I do not feel that my Tico friends talk about me in their living rooms.  I’m sure they have better things to talk about.   My advice, just BE HUMBLE.
Pam Cohen
Grecia

He's heard some comments

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I love A.M. Costa Rica, and I agree with Mr. Nemo on his opinion about hatred in Costa Rica. I am from a Latin background and have witnessed Ticos talking bad about American. I am American Gringo as well and do not like that. Whatever mistakes our government made in the past, I have nothing to do with it.

I am just a simple auto mechanic trying to enjoy my retirement, and I had planed to do it in Costa Rica. But i am going to reconsider. My wife is from Puerto Rico, and I have been there several times and do not see that attitude with the natives.

Mauricio Corleto
Houston, Texas 

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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.

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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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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 86


The entrance of the wrecked Central American Court of Justice, also known as Andrew Carnegie's Peace Palace. The Statue of Justice is on the ground.

Wrecked peace palace
Photo by Amando Céspedes Marín

Pressing question is: Could Cartago quake happen again?
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A major principal of geology is that what has happened in the past will happen in the present, according to Víctor González, an earthquake expert with the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica of Universidad Nacional.

He was talking about the 1910 Cartago earthquake that killed from 600 to 1,200 persons 100 years ago tonight. González was quoted in a summary put out by the observatory to mark the anniversary of the tragedy.

González responded to the most pressing question: When will such a quake happen again? His reply is that nature does not run on 50-year cycles, although some experts think that 75 years between earthquakes is typical.

'If an earthquake does hit, he said, the results would be tragic. Many more people live in the area than the 12,000 who were there in 1910, and other situations can cause great damage. He sited the Los Diques de Cartago area where a dam of filled earth was put in place in 1963 to channel the Río Reventado.

That area is heavily populated and vulnerable to serious flooding if the river breaks through.

The people who lived in Cartago in 1910 were hardly innocents. The observatory said that there was a major quake in 1841. Then the chief of state at the time, Braulio Carrillo, set up a form of a building code, the first one in the country.
"In a country surrounded by volcanoes where earthquakes repeat with frequency, it is necessary to put the greatest effort in the construction of buildings so as not to find families suddenly buried in the ruins," said the code, according to the observatory.

Cartago was rattled by a quake April 13, 1910, which struck in the vicinity of Tablazo. There was damage in that city, San José and also Heredia, the observatory said. This put Cartago residents on notice.

Residents there had a tradition of spending a lot of time in a part of the home specially constructed of light materials like straw. The observatory said that these were called las tembloreras.

Unfortunately the residents also had a tradition of leaving their lightweight structures and entering their main home to have dinner between 6 and 7 p.m. That is when the earthquake struck.

The building structures seemed to make little difference. A new palace of peace being built with money from millionaire Andrew Carnegie collapsed even though it was supposed to be earthquake-proof.

The observatory is not the only agency commemorating the 1910 earthquake. The Museo Municipal de Cartago is opening an exposition on the earthquake Wednesday.

A.M. Costa Rica already has published an illustrated story on the quake HERE!


Top-level public employees have to list their holdings
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 10,000 administrators, other top-level public employees and those who handle public money will have their financial lives studied closely.

Once again they are being asked to submit a declaration of what they owe. According to the law against corruption and illicit enrichment they have to do so each year.

The Contraloría de la República said Monday that it was
accepting these sworn statements through May 21. The statements can be handed in at the Contraloría, but there also are efforts to set up reception desks at various hospitals in the seven provinces where the statements can be accepted.

Those who fail to hand in a sworn statement are subject to administrative penalties, the Contraloría noted.

Workers at the Contraloría will double check the sworn statements against government records of ownership and other sources, they said.



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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 86

The death of Bolívar as visualized by the 19th century Venezuelan painter Antonio Herrera Toro.
the death of bolivar


Death of Bolívar attributed to chronic arsenic poisoning

By the University of Maryland news service

Could one of South America’s greatest military figures have died from a deadly poison, rather than the tuberculosis assumed at the time of his death in 1830?

The mysterious illness and death of Simon Bolivar, known as “El Libertador,” is the medical mystery in question at this year’s Historical Clinicopathological Conference in Baltimore. This conference is devoted to the modern medical diagnosis of disorders that affected prominent historical figures.

Simon Bolivar, born in 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela, is one of the most influential generals in the history of South America. Bolivar, who died of a mysterious illness at age 47, led the long struggle that freed South America from three centuries of Spanish rule. Bolivar established the nation of Bolivia, previously part of Peru, in 1825, and the new country was named in his honor. Now, French Guyana is the only South American nation that remains a colony.

“Bolivar ended 300 years of colonization in South America,” says John Dove, a Bolívar scholar and orthopedic surgeon from Scotland.  “He was a liberator and a brilliant hands-on commander. The figures speak for themselves. Bolivar covered more than 80,000 miles and spread the idea of freedom over an area greater than one and a half times the diameter of the earth.”

Paul G. Auwaerter, associate professor and clinical director in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has taken on the challenge of unraveling the mystery of Bolivar’s death.

When Bolivar died on Dec. 17, 1830, it was believed he was succumbed to consumption or tuberculosis, a common condition of the day. He had suffered a long illness with a variety of symptoms: frequent bouts of loss of consciousness, skin darkening, extreme weight loss, coughing, exhaustion and persistent headaches.

Auwaerter, in his careful review of Bolivar’s case, has concluded the general’s killer was likely not tuberculosis. Rather, Auwaerter sees evidence of a more sinister cause of death: chronic arsenic poisoning that led to a serious respiratory illness. Considering the many attempts on Bolivar’s life throughout his career as a revolutionary, Auwaerter says he has considered the possibility that the death was an assassination. But most of the signs and symptoms point to slow, chronic poisoning, the kind that might result from drinking contaminated water. Such environmental contact with arsenic would have been entirely possible, Auwaerter says.

“Bolivar spent a lot of time in Peru, and there have been Colombian mummies found there that have tested positive for high levels of arsenic,” he explained. “That indicates the possibility that the water in Peru may have had unusually high levels of the naturally occurring poison.”
But that’s not all, he adds: “Bolivar was known to ingest arsenic as a remedy for some of his ongoing illnesses, recurring headaches, wasting, hemorrhoids and his chronic episodes of unconsciousness. Arsenic was actually a common medical remedy of the time. In fact, it has recently been discovered that a contemporary leader of Bolivar’s, George III, had super-high levels of arsenic in his body tissue and hair. It seems he had been treating himself with it.”

While the possibility of an assassination certainly adds intrigue to Bolivar’s story, “It’s unlikely this was acute poisoning,”  Auwaerter explained. “What I’m finding is more consistent with chronic poisoning because of symptoms such as his skin darkening, his headaches, his extreme weight loss. His whole body is really falling apart at the end. He lived for quite some time like this. I believe it’s likely he would have succumbed to tuberculosis much earlier than he did. The idea of gradual arsenic poisoning is a good explanation to link all these symptoms together.”

Auwaerter began his search by considering the nature of the illness that ultimately led to Bolivar’s demise. For the last two weeks of his life, he was emaciated and weak and coughed constantly, producing large amounts of green sputum. The autopsy found signs of green fluid in the lungs and in the heart. Bolivar’s doctors concluded he died of tuberculosis because of the respiratory aspect of this final illness.

“This was an era where there was really no ability to confirm that someone had died of tuberculosis,” Auwaerter said. “That green fluid in the lungs and heart is very suggestive of a bacterial infection called bronchiecstasis, which was very common at the time. The green pericardial fluid is very unlikely to represent tuberculosis.”

Bolivar also appeared to have had a tumor in his lungs that caused him to be severely hoarse, with a voice so quiet he could hardly be heard for the last six months of his life.

Lung cancer could be another complication of chronic poisoning, Auwaerter added.

“It’s very hard to be definitive here,” he explained. “I have to say that tuberculosis is not an unreasonable explanation for his death. But, at the end of the day, there are a lot of features of this illness that argue against tuberculosis. If the body were ever to be exhumed, there would be a lot of things to look at. Arsenic testing on Bolivar’s tissue and hair could answer some of our questions.”

Auwaerter says he enjoyed the challenge of taking on the Bolivar mystery. “I’ve done a lot of background research to put these ideas together,” he says. “I’m not a historian, so this is not usually my thing. But this is just the sort of puzzle I like thinking about.”

The conference was sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 86

Medical vacations in Costa Rica


United, Continental plan
merge to become biggest

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Top executives at Chicago-based United and Houston-based Continental announced Monday that their two airlines planned to merge, creating the world's  biggest airline.  The announcement comes less than a year after Delta Airlines and Northwest became one airline.  Domestic and international fares could increase amid less competition.

The merger between United and Continental Airlines will be worth some $3 billion.

The combined company will have nearly 700 planes, 80,000 employees, and fly to 370 destinations in 59 countries.

Airline industry expert Joseph Schwieterman of DePaul University in Chicago says the announcement is a positive sign for an industry that has struggled since the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

"The U.S. airline industry is starting to think strategically again and knowing that they are in a position to have really global powerhouse roles," said Schwieterman.

The new company will be called United Airlines and will be slightly bigger than Delta Northwest, and the partnership between British Airways and Spain's Iberia.

A major concern for air travelers is that fares will increase because of less competition in the marketplace.

"The less competition, the higher average ticket prices," said Bijan Vasigh. He is an economist and aviation consultant at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida:

"You are not competing any more with other airlines, therefore you can have more ability to increase the ticket price, without losing a significant amount of passengers," he said. "Therefore, despite the fact that airlines may hesitate to say that, 'OK, this doesn't have any [bearing] on the ticket price,' they are, I guess, wrong.  They can increase ticket prices, and for sure we should see higher ticket prices after the merger than before the merger."

Many airlines already charge additional fees for services such as in-flight meals to baggage handling.  Some apply additional charges to compensate for higher fuel costs.

Analyst Schwieterman says those fees, along with competition from low cost carriers and the public's ability to shop the Internet for low fares, will help keep ticket prices from rising after the United-Continental merger.

"Less choice certainly isn't going to lead to more fare wars, that's for sure," he said. "But you have to look at this trend in fares, how they come down when you adjust for inflation and fuel costs.  They just seem to keep getting lower and lower.  It's pretty evident that one merger isn't going to change that trend."

The merger will allow United to gain important hubs from Continental in Newark, New Jersey and Houston, Texas, allowing the new airline to better compete in Europe and Central and South America.  United already has a strong presence in the Pacific region from its Los Angeles hub.

Schwieterman says the United-Continental merger is a major step in a global expansion that could mean similar moves between U.S. and foreign carriers are ahead.

Although the boards of United and Continental have approved the merger, unions that represent workers at both companies as well as U.S. anti-trust regulators need to approve the deal before it can move forward. 
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 86


Latin American news
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Hospital CIMA announces
big Guanacaste project


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Hospital CIMA kicked off the construction of a $125 million project in Carrillo, Guanacaste, that will include a Hospital CIMA there.

The project is called Pacific Plaza, seen as an integrated medical services and residential center. The project will be built out in seven steps, said the hospital. The first is scheduled to be ready in 2011. This will be the new hospital with a heliport, a three-story tower with 42 medical offices, six commercial spaces, a pharmacy and a food court.

The second and third steps are condos, followed by adult housing including facilities for Alzheimer patients, said the hospital. The sixth and seventh steps are a hotel and community recreational center, said the hospital.

The location is near Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia. The present hospital is in Escazú.
 
Physician-researcher next
Speaker's Forum visitor


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A physician who has spent 12 years in Costa Rica studying natural therapies will be the speaker May 18th at 5:30 p.m. for the Speaker's Forum.

He is James A. Howenstine, a board certified specialist in internal medicine who was on the clinical faculty of the University of  California School of Medicine in San Francisco for 26 years, said a forum announcement.

His research convinced him that natural therapies had significant advantages over drugs because they were more effective, safer and less expensive than drugs, said the forum announcement. His 831-page book "A Physician’s Guide To Natural Health Products That Work" was an outgrowth of this research.  Howenstine lives in Heredia with his wife, Lourdes.

The Speaker's Forum now meets in a private condo in Bello Horizonte. Seating is limited, the forum organizers, Sam and Karen Butler said. They can be reached at 2289-6333 or 8821-4708 for more information. The e-mail address is  samjcr@pobox.com.


Victim taken for a ride
ending at automatic teller

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three persons pulled a gun on a man Monday afternoon, forced him into a car and made the rounds of automatic teller machines in San José.

Wilson Jiménez, head of the Fuerza Pública in San Sebastián, said that the victim was able to take out 85,000 colons from a machine in Barrio la Carit, and the gunmen let him go. That's about $169.

The victim contacted police who were able to detain three suspects, including a 16 year old. The adults were identified by the last names of Rodríguez and Fuentes.





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