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(506) 2223-1327        Published Wednesday, May 14, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 95         E-mail us
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It's better
than recess!


After a hard day of high school, there's nothing like settling back with a couple of cold beers and enjoying the company of your classmates. That is until some newspaper photographer comes by and breaks the mood.

The scene was near Parque Bolivar in an area where unsupervised school children have experimented with drugs and alcohol for at least three generations. Those pictured still are wearing their school uniforms in early afternoon.

students drinking
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas



Mother blames neighbor in death of her two children
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The mother of two children whose bodies were found in the Río Virilla has fingered a women neighbor as a suspect in the deaths, said a judicial spokeswoman Tuesday.

The two children, a girl 11 and a boy 9, both with the last names of Aparicio Aguirre, disappeared from their home in La Carpio, La Uruca, Sunday morning, according to investigators.

The mother with the last name Aguirre, had problems with a neighbor woman and has told judicial agents that the woman could have been involved in their deaths, said Osvaldo Hérnandez, a judicial investigator with the Sección de Delitos Varios. Ms. Aguirre said this woman could have killed her children out of revenge, according to reports. No witnesses have come forward in the case, said Hérnandez.

The case has now been passed on to the homicide unit to investigate the allegations, said Hérnandez.

Nearly 20 hours passed before anyone began to investigate the case of the missing brother and sister. There were administrative mistakes made by the chief in charge of the disappearance unit at the Judicial Investigation Organization and the particular Fuerza Pública chief involved in the case, said Hérnandez.

Certain Spanish news programs had indicated that the police waited more than 18 hours before they arrived at the parent's house or even began to investigate the case, due to a supposed law which says investigators must wait 24 hours in cases of disappearance. One commentator, Edgar Silva of Teletica, announced that police deliberately ignored the case because the family was poor.

There is no law stating that investigators must wait 24 hours, said Hérnandez, adding that in the case of minors under 13, officials are supposed to react immediately, he said.

But in this case of the brother and sister, this
reaction seems to have been delayed. Rescue workers found the girl Monday and then located the body of the boy Tuesday.

There are unwritten practices in cases of disappearance, said Hérnandez. In cases of adults, judicial agents and police usually wait 12 hours before beginning the investigation and 24 hours is the absolute maximum, he added. The chief of the judicial Sección de Delitos Varios or the chief working the night shift decides whether the case is “worth the pain” to investigate before 12 hours, or not, said Hérnandez. Many times a disappearance could just be the case of a drunk husband coming home late or forgetting to call his wife, said the investigator.

In cases of teenagers more than 13 years old, the maximum is usually six hours, said Hérnandez. During these times parents or family members should investigate the case on their own by calling hospitals, and friends to try and locate the missing person, said Hérnandez.

Fuerza Pública officers can also work on the case during this time, if they choose, he said.

In cases of children younger than 13, the response should be immediate from both Fuerza Pública and the Judicial Investigation Organization, said the investigator. If the disappearance seems unusual or more serious, Fuerza Pública, which typically investigates these cases first, may call the judicial police immediately, said Hérnandez.

In the disappearance of the two children from La Carpio, Fuerza Pública waited more time than officers should have to call the Judicial Investigation Organization, said Hérnandez, who has investigated disappearances and kidnappings for more than 15 years. It was an error committed by the heads of both organizations, he said.

There were still no preliminary results in the autopsy of the 11-year-old girl on Tuesday morning, said the judicial spokeswoman. Doctors were performing the autopsy at the Morgue Judicial en San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 95

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4207-10/2/08
Two survive air crash
on slope of Irazú volcano


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man identified as a Canadian was one of two persons who survived the crash of a light plane Tuesday in Cot de Cartago on the slope of the Irazú volcano.

The single-engine plane appears to have avoided high tension lines and a tree before it ended up in a farmer's field in Finca El Plantón.

The crash happened shortly before 10:30 a.m., said Daisy Ramírez of the Fuerza Pública in Oreamuno.

The Cruz Roja said that its rescue workers needed about 20 minutes to free the two men from the battered plane. The victims were airlifted from a local sports stadium to Hospital México.

The pilot was identified as Juan Carlos Murillo Rodríguez, 28. Rescuers said that he was about to go to work for an international airline company. He was wearing the epaulets of an aircraft captain when the crash happened.

The man identified as a Canadian was sitting in the right hand seat of the plane. He may have been a tourist.

The Cruz Roja said the man suffered injuries to the back, trauma to the face and injuries to the extremities. The men were conscious during the ordeal of getting them from the wreckage. Rescuers had to use hydraulic devices.

The plane, a four-seat Piper Cherokee, had left Tobias Bolaños airport in Pavas and was headed for Cartago. Aviación Civil will investigate the crash. Rescuers speculated that the craft was caught in a downdraft and that the pilot could not recover in time.

The plane is believed to be owned by a flying school in Pavas, but it was unclear if one of the men was a student. Murillo was in the left-hand seat of the craft but he was said to have all his certifications.

Blood type, wishes on organs
now sought for driver's license


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those who seek a medical exam to obtain a driver's license are finding that a new form put out by the Colegio de Médicos y Cirujanos asks for blood type and whether the applicant wishes to donate organs upon death.

The Departamento de Licencias del Ministerio of the Obras Públicas y Transportes sought the changes, the ministry said.

However, the physicians conducting the exam will take the word of the applicant regarding blood type, it appears. The ministry said that anyone who did not know his or her blood type should go to a laboratory before seeking the medical exam, which is cursory.

The blood type and desires on donating organs will appear on the final license, said the ministry, adding that this will help rescue personnel and save time if the license holder dies under conditions where organs can be harvested.

Dispute over paternity
must start within a year


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Men now only have a year to contest the paternity of children attributed to them. The Sala IV constitutional court has thrown out a section of the law that said the paternity of a child born outside marriage could be contested until the youngsters became of age.

That section was in conflict with another section of the Código de Familia which governs children born within a marriage. The court found that the longer time period is discriminatory to children born outside a marriage.

The practical effect of the ruling is that men now have a year from the time they become aware of a child's existence to contest paternity. And this applies to children born within and outside marriage.

Heredia mall hit by blaze

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An early afternoon fire broke out in an Heredia mall Tuesday and sent shoppers running for the exits. The blaze eventually worked its way through the roof where heavy smoke and flames could be seen from the parking lot.

The blaze started in a clothing storage room and involved three stores. No injuries were reported. Firemen used a snorkel to pour water on the blaze from above.

The mall was the El Paseo de Las Flores,

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 95


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Boy who vanished from school believed hiding with family
By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators said they have located the boy who disappeared from his elementary school nearly two months ago. 

Last week agents from the Judicial Investigation Organization got a fix on Winston Esteban Vargas, 8, in Upala, Alajuela, said Ronald Montero, the judicial director in San Ramón. Investigators know the boy is living there, said Montero. They just can't seem to find him.

The boy is being passed between family members in Upala, said Montero, who added he'd talked to many of them: “They all say they don't know anything about it.”

Young Vargas is being hidden and obviously is not attending school, said Montero. “We are continuing with the investigations and trying to locate him,” said the judicial director. If things go as planned, the 8-year-old will eventually be brought back to the children's home he lived in, said Montero. Workers at the home, managed by the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, are also trying to locate Vargas, said Montero. The boy was taken away from
his parents due to family problems and put in the home, said a Fuerza Pública officer in Naranjo at the time the boy vanished.

The judicial director said he did not know what condition the boy was in and that the future consequences of involved family members greatly rests on how Vargas is and how he is being treated. “At least we haven't heard any bad news about his condition,” said Montero.

Montero said he could not speculate when authorities would be able to pinpoint the location of Vargas or take him back to Naranjo, but that they continue to work on the case.

Young Vargas disappeared March 14 from Escuela República de Colombia in downtown Naranjo. The boy's teacher noticed he wasn't in class after the morning recess, said Eladio Torres Mesén, director of the Fuerza Pública in Naranjo.

Investigators located Vargas after continued interviews and investigations of family members, said Montero. The judicial director said that the parents continue to deny involvement. In a previous interview Montero confirmed that the parents of young Vargas live together in Alajuela.


Jacó will be the setting for nine days of fiesta and cultural activities
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A week-long festival of audio-visual art will make its debut on May 24, significantly contributing to the cultural scene in Jacó.

The Primer Festival de Artes Audiovisuales de Garabito intends to draw the nation's interest with a nine-day-long program involving all kinds of art from sculpture to circus.

Local artists and tourism workers have come together with the Municipalidad de Garabito to put on the show.

The grand opening will consist of a parade of 15 folkloric groups through the Avenida Pastor Díaz, starting at the Best Western Hotel and ending at the municipality building. It will be complete with mascaradas, carnival dancers and cimarronas, and will kick off at 10 a.m.

Once arrived at the municipality there will be a food buffet. During the afternoon there will be circus performances at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and live music by local bands Ze-Cule at 7 p.m. and Native Culture at 8 p.m.
Sunday's program gives everyone a chance to recover, beginning with more circus performances by Circo Variete at 4 p.m. and Circo Manos Arriba at 6 p.m. A musical evening includes concerts by Afro Latina at 7 p.m. and live music at 8 p.m.

Activities will take place in the lot adjoining the Cruz Roja building, where there will be ongoing shows of handicraft, paintings, photography and sculpture in the area. Frances Hierve Vieule will also be giving a live sculpture demonstration each day.

There will be carnival dancers in the main street every weekday at 5 p.m. with the exception of Wednesday May 28, when there will be a circus show at 6 p.m. instead.  A dance show will start at 6 p.m. Monday May 26, while the 27, 28 and 30 have live music. Cinema and animations will be shown at 7 p.m. on May 29 and 30.

The second Saturday, May 31, will be full of activities from 3 p.m. until after 9 p.m., with more music, circus and fireworks. Sunday, June 1, sees the closure of the concert, with a carnival show at 12 p.m. in the Avenida Pastor Díaz.


Central American youth orchestra will debut tonight after week of coaching
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A recently-formed orchestra of Central American youngsters will play a concert tonight in the Teatro Nacional in which they will show off the benefits of five days of intensive coaching by four musicians from Berlin's Philharmonic Orchestra.

Aspiring musicians from Honduras, Guatemala, Panamá and Costa Rica were chosen in a set of auditions in April to make up the new Orquesta Juvenil Centroamericana. The idea for the group, whose ages range from 15 to 25 years old, was conceived by Simone Bunse, a German violin player, who has been playing for more than 25 years in Costa Rica and teaches at the Instituto Centroamericano de Administracion de Empresas business school.

Her goal is to get young Central Americans to work as a team, confront challenges, work towards peace through cooperation, and seek to achieve excellence in their music. Through their music, she hopes, they will be able to transmit these values to the public.

A total of 95 musicians were chosen to take part in the
youth orchestra, which has its base in the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Costa Rica, a group that has the  opportunity to enter the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional. With the impulse of Ms. Bunse's idea, the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes decided to open the opportunity of working towards becoming a member of Central America's leading orchestra to all of the region's youngsters.

Berlin's Philharmonic Orchestra is considered one of the top orchestras in the world. The musicians who have been lending their wisdom to the new generation of musicians since Saturday are violinst Andreas Neufeld, Viola player Wilfried Strehle, flautist Wolfgang Duenschede and cellist Christoph Igelbrink.

Tonight's program will consist of works by Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Shostakovich. Dünschede and Neufeld will both be giving solo performances during the show.  Costa Rican Marvin Araya will share the conducting duties with Dünschede.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. in Teatro Nacional, and tickets are priced at 2,500 colons. Contact 2221-5341 or log on to www.teatronacional.go.cr for tickets and further details.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 95


From trash
to treasure


Nearly a hundred Tamarindo residents, supported by local buisnesses, managed to collect 1.14 metric tons of material to recycle from trash brought to a central point Saturday. The initiative Tamarindo Recycles plans to schedule more such collections, including one June 14. Information is available at 8370-5340 or e-mail  tamarindorecycles@gmail.com

.
tamarindo recycles
Servicios Periodísticos Globales S. A. photo


Colombia sends 14 paramilitary leaders to U.S. for trial
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombia's interior ministry says the government has extradited 14 top paramilitary leaders to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

The ministry says the 14 were extradited because they failed to comply with a peace deal in which they were to stop criminal activities and declare assets to be used to compensate victims.

The peace deal offers former combatants who demobilize reduced prison sentences and other incentives, including an
 agreement for them not to be extradited.

Last week, Colombia extradited right-wing paramilitary leader Carlos Mario Jiménez to the United States to face charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and financing terrorist groups.

An estimated 30,000 paramilitary fighters have demobilized under Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's government.
Paramilitary groups were first formed to protect landowners from leftist rebel groups. They rely on the drug trade to finance their activities and have been linked to civilian massacres.


French lawmakers reject measure that would allow gentically modified crops
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The French parliament has thrown out a bill that would have allowed farmers to grow genetically modified crops.

Lawmakers narrowly rejected the bill Tuesday 136 to 135.

Protesters against the bill, some wearing hats shaped like corn cobs, cheered when the results were announced.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon says he plans to
submit a new bill to parliament. Genetically modified crops have had their DNA engineered to make them resistant to disease and pests.

Surveys show many French oppose such foods, saying their safety is still not assured.

In February, France imposed a temporary ban on genetically modified corn approved for sale by the European Union. The corn is produced by the U.S. company Monsanto.


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A.M. Costa Rica

users 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 week day.

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.


Searching

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.


Newspages

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

A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.


Statistics

A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 


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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Nissan says it will market
all-electric car by 2010


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Record high oil prices and sluggish sales are forcing the world's biggest automakers to turn to electricity to power their vehicles.

Nissan Motor Co. is the latest automaker to move in that direction, officially announcing Tuesday it plans to introduce an all-electric vehicle for sale in the United States and Japan by 2010.

Nissan's chief executive officer says the company will mass-market electric cars globally by 2012.

Nissan also forecast its profits will decline by 30 percent this year to $3.4 billion compared to $4.6 billion last year.

Nissan, Japan's NO. 3 automaker, joins Toyota and Honda in predicting smaller profits, as car buyers shun fuel-thirsty vehicles.

The senior editor of the Web site GreenCarAdvisor.com, John O'Dell, said many auto industry executives will be watching Nissan to see if its electric car venture succeeds.  He says Nissan is trying to become the market leader by being the first major automaker to promise — and deliver — an all-electric vehicle for sale in a large market by a certain date.

The associate editor of the Web site WardsAuto.com, Mike Sutton, said the announcement is "fairly significant," but Nissan's move is mostly about market positioning.

Sutton said that other major automakers are also planning to introduce electric-powered vehicles in 2010.

American car company Chevrolet plans to introduce the Volt, a plug-in hybrid, in 2010.  And Toyota says it will unveil the next generation of Prius hybrid vehicles the same year.

Hybrids use less fuel than conventional vehicles because they combine a gasoline engine with high-tech batteries and electric motors.

Chrysler, Mitsubishi and Subaru are also working on electric cars.

Fuel-efficient vehicles have recently been the lone bright spot for the auto industry. Toyota says sales of its hybrid cars have jumped 42 percent in the past year.  Some dealerships in the United States say they have waiting lists for would-be buyers.

Arias will be sidelined
for several weeks


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Óscar Arias Sánchez has irritated vocal cords and cannot speak well, said a release from Casa Presidencial. And a spokesman sent along a doctor's note as evidence.

The doctor, Mauricio Buitrago Poveda, said that Arias should rest his vocal cords for the next several weeks, according to the note. Arias was reported ailing Monday, and Vice President Laura Chinchilla was dispatched to a meeting of heads of state in Perú in his place.

Casa Presidencial said that Arias will keep on top of political developments via e-mails. He received some unspecified medial treatment, said the report.

Dobles seeks 7 million trees

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The environment minister has pledged that the country will plant seven million trees this year, up two million from the amount planted last year under the “A que sembrás un árbol” program designed to make the country carbon neutral by 2021. The minister, Roberto Dobles, said that the program is designed to counter changes in the climate.

A Casa Presidencial summary said that global warming would cause famine, drought, and a vulnerability to diseases. It predicted a temperature increase of 6.4 degrees  C (about 12 degrees F), based on United Nation's research and the elimination of 20 to 30 percent of the species on the planet.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 14, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 95


American choir takes time out from the beach for concert in San José
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Between soaking up the sun on the beach and wandering through Monteverde's cloud forest, a choir from Santa Barbara, California, is giving a concert in San José tonight.

The Westmont College choir, made up of 50 students, will be singing works including Si Celebri Alfini by Verdi, I Love my Love by Gustav Holst, spiritual hymns and Latin American music such as Caballo Viejo by Simon Diaz and Mata del ánima sola by Antonio Estevez.

Students are mainly in the sophomore through senior years, and usually perform at major college events as well as giving one performance a year with an orchestra. Previous tours have been to western States like Colorado and to Hawaii.  On this tour, the group has already sung in Ciudad Quesada and Monoteverde.

Directed by Michael Shasberger, the group will share the stage  with Costa Rican choral group Voces de la Vieja Metrópoli, directed by Patricia Valverde.
Westmont
choir

The Costa Rican group is based in Cartago and has been an indpendent choir since 2005.

Proceeds of the event go to a charity chosen by the American students, the Asociación de Desarrollo Específico Pro Derecho de la Juventud de Rincón Grande y Pavas.

The concert will take place tonight at 7.30 p.m. in the Teatro Eugene O'Neill, Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano in San Pedro. Entrance is by donation of 3,000 colons ($6), and reservations can be made by ringing 2207-7571.

The old squeeze play and how to crush the squeezer
The squeeze play has been around poker for a long time, but I’ve seen many more players using it in recent years.  What is the squeeze play?  Well, it goes something like this.

Player A raises before the flop and player B calls.  Then, usually from late position or from one of the blinds, Player C reraises — with anything. 

The theory behind this play is that the initial raiser, Player A, has to be worried about at least two other players -— in this case, Players B and C -— although he’s less concerned with Player B because he doesn’t figure to have a monster hand.   Why?  He didn’t reraise before the flop and that’s a sure sign of weakness.

You see, squeezers will attack whenever they sense weakness.  And when they do, they’ll turn to the squeeze play because it works.  It’s even more successful when there are multiple callers after the initial pre-flop raise.

Here’s an example.

With blinds at 100 to 200, a player makes it 600 to go and three others call.  At that point the pot’s worth 2,700.  Now for the squeeze play.

A squeezer in late position reraises pre-flop to 3,000 whether he has a strong hand or not.  Unless the initial raiser has a powerful hand himself, he’ll probably fold, as will all the other players.  The squeeze play works, and the squeezer picks up a nice pot without even having to see the flop.

Now, if any other player happens to reraise the squeezer, well, the squeezer can fold, unless, of course, he actually does have the goods.  On the other hand, if other players just call the reraise, the squeezer can usually win the pot with a bet after the flop since he has position.

Fortunately, there is an effective counterplay specifically designed to trap a squeezer.  This tactic can be a bit risky but when it works out like planned, it generally results in a hefty payday. 

Here’s how it goes.

With the blinds at 100 to 200, a player raises to 600.  You look down at your hand and see pocket aces.  Normally, you’d reraise to protect this monster hand.  However, with potential




squeezers still remaining, you set the trap by smooth calling instead of reraising.

A squeezer will see this as a sign of weakness and might decide to try and steal the pot right there with a big reraise.  In fact, the more players that call the reraise, the more enticing the squeeze play will be to the potential squeezer sitting to your left. Okay, let’s continue with the example.

Three other players call the 600 raise as the squeezer lays waiting in the big blind with 7,000 chips.  The 3,300 in the pot would increase his stack size by almost 50% if he were to move all-in and get everyone to fold.  He thinks that if his big reraise could force the first player to fold, the other players would probably fold too.  He (mistakenly) assumes that if any other player had a strong hand they would have reraised before the flop.

That’s why a squeezer might even move all-in with a hand like Ks-5d, trying to pick up an uncontested pot.  Were that to happen, though, you’d obviously move all your chips in with A-A and likely win a big pot, eliminating a cagey player at the same time. 

There’s another added benefit to this counter strategy.  Once squeezers catch on to the fact that you don’t always reraise before the flop with a strong hand, they’ll be less likely to attack you when you call with marginal hands like middle suited connectors.

Visit www.cardsharkmedia.com/book.html for information about Daniel Negreanu’s new book, "Hold’em Wisdom for All Players."
© 2008 Card Shark Media.  All rights reserved.


Art Galleries ...

Surreal circus art leaves circle of life question open to onlookers


introvocoWandering around the Museo Calderon Guardia, looking at austere historical artifacts about the socialist former president complete with wax-work statue, the last thing a visitor expects to come across is a circus tent.

Until May 22, that is precisely what museum-goers can expect when they enter the small temporary exhibition space.

A colorful toy snake curls around the bottom of a notice board announcing “Introvoco” with two clown shoes fastened to it.

The floor is covered in a carpet of hay, giving the room a barn-yard smell, and most of it is obscured by a blue tarpaulin.

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Art Biennial breaks down national stereotypes

ticosynicasA work of art that involves only a metal key is among the most acclaimed piece in the Museo de Arte Costarricense's latest exhibition.

Also on display are old Caterpillar boots, a patchwork quilt and a foosball table, all aimed at breaking down the stereotypes that exist between Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans.

As Nicaraguan migration into Costa Rica continues, so do tensions between the two national groups.

The U.S. Department of State's most recent estimate was that up to 15 percent of the population of Costa Rica is made up of Nicaraguans who have migrated here mainly in search of work.

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Dramatic Arts ...

Weekend of belly dance will present the traditional side of the art

belly dancerBelly dance and other oriental forms will be celebrated in three nights of dance and plenty of workshops during the first Festival Nacional de Danza Oriental.

Dance group Zuhair Danza Oriental decided to put on a weekend of oriental dancing due to the growing success of belly dance in Costa Rica.

The festival aims to show the dance, called baile de vientre in Spanish, in its traditional form, with emphasis on its rythmic characteristics and the key part that exotic clothing plays in the dance.

Belly dancing originates from the Middle East, and it is often claimed to be the earliest social dance in history, due to depictions in ancient Egyption artwork.

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Salsa and big band collide in a night of dinner and dancing


Music students of Pérez Zeledón and salsa-dancing fans of the group Son de Tikizia are preparing for a night of dinner and dancing to be held in the capital of the province.

The big band of the town that calls itself Pérez Zeledón, but whose actual name is San Isidro del General, will join dancers from the Universidad Nacional to present Cena Bailable May 23.

A concert by the 25 members of the big band will start off the evening, which will continue with a buffet-style dinner and end up with dancing.

The big band musicians are all students of the Escuela de Música Sinfónica de Pérez Zeledón, Universidad Nacional, and will be interpreting everything from jazz to popular under the  direction of  Leonel Rodríguez Cambronero.

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Food...

Café culture uncovered in San José

ruisenor
Moving to a foreign country is always going to leave people craving at least something of what they have left behind. For a European, this is often the laid-back café culture — having a croissant in the sunshine on a French plaza, or hiding from the British rain with a hot mocacchino, cuddled up on a sofa.

In San José there are plenty of places to catch a coffee. A soda will give you a coffee on the run, but it won't have a nice selection of frapucchinos, and the most European lunch on offer will be the ubiquitous ham and processed cheese sandwich.

The plastic atmosphere of the proliferation of coffee shops found in city malls doesn't cut it in comparison with the artsy, individualistic establishments in which musicians, revolutionaries, poets and artists got together next to the river Seine. After one casado too many, there are, however, a few places to go for a brief retreat towards the European ideal.

Claudio's Delicafé

claudios

Arguably one of San José's most attractive buildings, this café is attached to an art school and is not afraid of letting the creativity filter through into the café itself. Previously known as Café Arte, the French owner of San Pedro restaurant Le Chandelier recently took over the café and has restyled the entire thing, very much to its benefit.

One corner of the café is a tower-like extension, its cylindrical shape and many windows giving an airy atmosphere. Wicker-backed chairs, wooden sofas and arty photography give the interior an understated style.

Click here for more café reviews


Mini-mall comes to the rescue of the not-rich-but-hungry

food courtFor those in the know, there is a clean, affordable, relatively quiet gastronomic surprise off the pedestrian mall in downtown San Jose.  Between Arenas clothing store and the Patio Restaurant, behind a perfume counter and a Pops Ice Cream sits a food court without a McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway or Church's Chicken in sight. 

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Festive season proves troublesome even for established restaurant

vealBeing a chef in a busy kitchen must be a pretty stressful job, but around Christmas stress is something any successful restaurant should factor in as inevitable.

On a second visit to well-reputed French restaurant Le Chandelier, it soon became obvious that the staff were poorly equipped for the onslaught of Christmas party diners on a Tuesday night, leaving the usually decent food to deteriorate into a procession of almost inedible starters and bland entrees.

Click here to read the full review

A great meal is not all in the presentation

musslesandfondue120407With a vaulted glass ceiling, palm trees lining the pathway and posh lighting, one would not expect Saga restaurant to be settled behind a dull parking lot in Escazú.

Although this restaurant may look out of place, it doesn't deviate much from the norm in Escazú, an area many would classify as suburban sprawl.


Click here to read the full review

Books ...

Heredia author mixes teen romance with leatherback turtles

book coverA 15-year-old girl who is infatuated with buff surfers and Gucci shoes is setting out to convince other teenagers her age that caring for leatherback turtles and saving the environment is just as cool as going to the mall.

Penelope, as she is called, is the creation of Heredia resident Marina Kuperman, a New York native who has recently finished the “eco-adventure” novel “Turtle Feet, Surfers Beat.”

Written to target girls aged 9-14, the 86-page novel is printed entirely on eco-friendly paper and follows the story of Penelope and her family as they relocate to Tamarindo for a month.

Forced to work as a volunteer at the Leatherback Biological Centre, Penelope, who has been recently dumped by her quarterback boyfriend, falls in love almost simultaneously with leatherback turtles and a blonde surfer called Kendall Brown.

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Land use in Costa Rica documented by Fulbright scholar

Forty years of living in the jungle, moving between secluded forestry stations and research labs, has led Louisiana resident and NASA veteran Armond Joyce to write a book about the changing uses of land in Costa Rica.

After winning a presitgious Fulbright scholarship in 1998, he came back to Costa Rica to revisit forest sites that he worked on over three decades earlier as a graduate student.

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New book dwells on the social aspects of food

Food is not just a selfish pleasure or a way to stifle hunger, but is central to the evolution of art, according to a new book published by Museos del Banco Central.

Artworks by Costa Rican painters are the main content of the hardback book, “Imagenes para Comer,” which follows the representation of food in art since still life painting became popular in the Renaissance.

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