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(506) 2223-1327       Published Tuesday, May 19, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 97     E-mail us
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Woman gets prison for false claims about judge
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A woman who filed criminal complaints later determined to be false against a judge has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Convicted was Engie Marín Pandolfi, a government employee. She leveled allegations of  forcible rape, sexual abuse and coercion against a sitting judge who happened to be involved in the high-profile Parmenio Medina Pérez murder trial. The judge is David Hernández Suárez. That was in November and December 2004.

Hernández denied the allegations.

The sex crimes prosecutor investigated but was unable to find any proof to the allegations, said the
Poder Judicial. Instead, prosecutors noted contradictions in the woman's accounts and
concluded that there was no sexual abuse or harassment against the woman, said the Poder Judicial.

That was when Hernández filed his criminal case saying that the woman acted with malice and without considering what impact her allegations would have on the Medina murder trial.

The Tribunal Penal del Primer Circuito Judicial de San José agreed with the judge after a trial and Monday issued a verdict in the criminal case and also awarded the judge 54 million colons for damages and lawyer fees. That's about $99,000. The judicial panel was three women judges.

The Poder Judicial also said that the judge felt the woman was acting in an effort to affect the Medina case and get the allegations printed in the various newspapers.


Associates of missing Florida student maintain hope
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Friends and family of a missing Florida university
missing student
Missing student
student believe the man still is alive and may be injured and stranded on a beach or mangrove.

They are urging residents of the central Pacific coast to look along the shoreline and even inland. "He is still believed to be alive on the shoreline somewhere in the area.  Time is of the
essence," they said Monday night.

The man, Aly Zain Lakdawala, 21, was one of four persons trapped by a rip tide Saturday about 3 p.m. at Playa Matapalo. The other three, believed also to be students at University of South Florida, managed to get to shore.

The security ministry's  Servicio de Vigilancia
Aérea said it has made two over flights of the area around Dominical and Uvita as well as Savegre in the Cantón de Aguirre. The first flight was Sunday.  The second was Monday and resulted in an emergency landing by the aircraft.

Oldemar Madrigal, a vice minister of security and director of the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea, said the aircraft, a Cessna Centurion 210, lost power and the pilot had to make an emergency landing in a pineapple field about 12:15 p.m. southeast of Quepos.

He said the search would continue today.

The missing man does not have a large frame. His associates said he was just 5-foot, 5-inches and 145 pounds. The ministry said that he came to the United States from Pakistan. He and his university companions were in Costa Rica doing volunteer work as part of the school's spring break program.  Friends and family are maintaining this telephone number for information on his whereabouts: 8897-6553


Instability will generate afternoon downpours again
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is expected to be a repetition of Sunday and Monday: Clear skies in the morning followed by clouds with sudden downpours in the afternoon.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the higher temperature and the humidity creates perfect conditions for afternoon showers.

The weather institute sent out a bulletin Monday
morning warning about the chance of downpours. They were mainly on the Pacific coast and the Central Valley. The northern zone and much of the Caribbean coast saw little rain. The bulk of the unstable air is on the Pacific side.

Despite the bulletin, only 5.1 milliliters (just two-tenths of an inch) fell in San José Monday.

That is far less than the 27 millimeters (a bit more than an inch) that fell Sunday afternoon.



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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 97

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

Puriscal Properties
sportsmens update
Click HERE for great hotel discounts


Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Residency experts

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Psychiatrists
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  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)
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• psychiatric disability VA Affairs

• evaluations for gun permits 
 
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• methadone

• Transmagnetic stimulation
for depression and stroke

Available 24-hour a day

office: 2246-3458 or 2246-3459
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Physicians and surgeons

Aesthetic Surgery Costa Rica Awarded The Best Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Center in Costa Rica 2005-2006. Dr. Gabriel Alberto Peralta in Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with the most renowned plastic surgeons worldwide.
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Dental Clinics
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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.

We are affiliated with Widex hearing instruments because of their quality, natural sound and intelligibility over background noise. That means  no more echoing, feedback or interference.
We service the U.S. veterans/ Foreign Medical Program.
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• Take advantage of the Foreign
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• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


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Over 15 years in Costa Rica
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FAX: 2289-8235
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Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!
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Real estate agents and services

MARGARET SOHN
with Great Estates of Costa Rica and Ocean Realty - Jacó

15 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce

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7Legal services

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Attorneys & Notaries
 Tel.  2280-9692 / 2225-9322      
e-mail: info@conjuridica.com  Web:  www.conjuridica.com
       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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• Immigration Law.
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• Notary public services
• Criminal Law
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       Litigation
Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.
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• Real Estate Transactions
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Relocation services, Wedding Planning
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Ph/Fax: 2221-9462, 8841-0007
Anti-pineapple activist cites
threats and office theft


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Partido Acción Ciudadana is taking up the cause of a union activist who said that he has been threatened with death. The man has filed complaints on the threats and other actions in San José, but the courts here had referred the case to Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, which referred the case to Pérez Zeledón, said party representatives.

They are asking for an investigation.

The man is Aquiles Rivera, who has been active in ferreting out pollution and other environmental problems in the southern part of the country. He also said that documents about the use of chemicals in the area have been taken from his office in the Central Social Juanito Mora in Buenos Aires de Puntarenas by unknown persons.

Rivera is working to halt the expansion of pineapple growing in the area. The complaints were filed in San José as long ago as early October, party members said.

Murder suspect identified

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The suspect in the murder of a German woman in Sabana Larga de Atenas Friday has been identified by the last names of Salaz Arroyo, according to the Poder Judicial. A judge has ordered him to be held for four months of preventative detention.

The victim is Renate Lippi, who was born in Switzerland and held German nationality at the time of her death. She was stabbed. The two lived together and had a fight, said police.


Our readers' opinions
Smoker defends his right
and cites alcohol smell


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

It's always people who have stopped smoking who writes or thinks the way of John French.

As a smoker since I was 12 now 63, it's my individual right to smoke, and being a taxpayer since the age of 15, health care needs to take care of me. I was born around smokers.

My father is now 87 still smoking, and my grandfather died when he was 97 as a smoker. Now it's called second hand smoke. People pay taxes on tobacco and alcohol.
What kills more people using tobacco vs alcohol ?
 
Prohibition didn't work in the U.S.A. and it won't work with any anti-tobacco bills because people do what they enjoy doing.

Being a recovering alcoholic for many years I get second-hand smell from alcohol in restaurants but I need to smoke outside.  I've been asked to smoke outside in two restaurants in Costa Rica while people were drinking alcohol.
 
Unhealthy foods are from poisons sprayed on plants and giving animals steroids that comes back to us as unhealthy food.
 
People who can't fit in one seat on a plane making the passenger next uncomfortable should pay for two seats.   They charge a baby Right?
 
Ed Fulmer.
Cape Coral, Florida.


Smokes does do harm,
both directly and indirectly


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In response to your article titled "Most smokers die sooner, so state may break even" by Mr. John French, I like to comment as follows:

"But should the individual have the right to engage in behavior that does not harm others, even if it harms the person?" It has been proven time and again a long time ago that second-hand smoke is just as harmful to the people around the smoker, hence the saying "If you must smoke, do not exhale".

"And the kicker to this debate is that although smokers cost the health care system more, they also die much sooner." There has been no study that I know of that correlates the number of years of "earlier death" of smokers verses the additional medical costs to smoker attributer to his smoking habit during his lifespan.  Maybe Mr. French has some basis for his "evening out" theory.

"In the long haul, smokers are less burden on family and society, they argue." Perhaps Mr. French has not met anybody who had to visit their loved ones in hospital suffering from ailments related to smoking and ask them about their "burden," financial, emotional and psychological.

I can only conclude that the kicker to this debate is that it DOES harm as well as burden others both directly and indirectly.

Dennis Jay
Alajuela

 
New tax on cigarettes
will cause more crime


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
I hope the Costa Rican government can manage to get its priorities straight, at least as to the "New, tough anti-tobacco bill (that) will be introduced" (A.M. Costa Rica, May 15, 2009).  Adding 2,000 colons to the price of a pack of cigarettes hardly seems wise or prudent, given the country's extraordinarily high crime rate.
 
I'm not optimistic that the powers that be will recognize or heed this and other warnings of the potential dangers that will most certainly present themselves if such a tax is made law.  The only thing I am confident in is that A.M. Costa Rica will soon be reporting cigarette-related armed robberies and murders.
 
I will continue to pray that neither me, my Tica wife, nor my children become victims as we continue our visits to family in Costa Rica.  Only one thing is certain about this proposal: Should it become law, my sense of personal security while in Costa Rica will be even closer to non-existent.

Tim Sullivan
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
(Formerly Desamparados)
 

Why tourists wore masks

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In the recent article about the cautious tourists from Japan wearing the surgical masks as a preventative measure against the H1N1 virus, I would point out that currently, there are at least 125 cases of H1N1 virus in Japan. Perhaps those tourists are wearing the masks to protect us from them? Just a thought.
Steven Mudd
Alajuela

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 97

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Foes of Crucitas expect Sala IV to give project the go-ahead
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents to gold mining in northern Costa Rica say they have word that the Sala IV constitutional court will approve the operation with limitations. But they said the court has not yet released the text of the decision.

The Crucitas mine is being operated by the Empresa Industrias Infinito S.A., a subsidiary of Infinito Gold Ltd. in Calgary, Canada.  The open pit mine has the approval of the administration, but environmentalists say the mine might cause mercury to get into the nearby Río San Juan.
Mercury is used the leach the gold from the crushed rock.
The Sala IV constitutional court shut down tree cutting at the mine site in October while magistrates studied the case.  An executive decree permits cutting of trees on about 260 hectares (about 650 acres). This is where the company is expected to extract an estimated 700,000 ounces of gold.

The case has been in and out of local court and in the Sala IV at least one other time.

Opponents of the mine urged an e-mail campaign of the Sala IV magistrates and issued their own e-mail with the electronic addresses of the magistrates. They said proponents of the operation have sent 600 messages.


Tuna farm opponents seek new strategy to stop project
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents of a tuna farm in the Golfo Dulce said the time has come to go to court to stop the project.

The Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas, which had opposed the project, said that the minister of environment had approved the plan of Granjas Atuneras de Golfito S.A. That ends the administrative battle over the project, and the organization said it would look to other ways to stop the tuna farm.

The group objects to the housing and raising of yellow fin tuna in cages in the gulf. They say the project would create pollution. They also are concerned with the impact on sea turtles.

The group has been to the courts before, but the courts have sent the case back to the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.
The overwhelming majority of residents are fearful of the tuna farm’s potential impacts on the Golfo Dulce, said the organization. In the event that the tuna waste is carried into the gulf, levels of organic contamination would increase causing damage to the areas two largest sources of employment: sustainable fishing and ecological tourism, it added in a press release.

“This disappointing news comes as no surprise, as the political decision to allow the development of the project despite its environmental concerns was taken since 2004”, said Randall Arauz, president of Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas.  “It’s clear that community members, among them artisanal and sports fishermen, and ecotourism operators, fear that the tuna farm project will adversely affect their way of life,” he added.

He cited what he called inconsistencies in the administrative process. He noted that residents around the Golfo Dulce have organized an event May 23 and 24 in Pavones.


Canadian motorist gets jail or community service for reckless driving in Arenal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A judge in Cañas has sentenced a Canadian motorist to a year in jail for reckless driving under the new traffic law. He may be the first to have been convicted under the law.

The man is Jonathan Samuel Erwin Tercotte, according to the Poder Judicial.  He was accused of driving at a high rate of speed March 16 in Nuevo Arenal de Tilarán, Guanacaste.
The judge in the case, Kathy Abarca Serrano, stipulated in the sentence that instead of going to prison the man could perform what amounts to community service.

However, if he fails to do so, the prison term would be the alternative, she said.

The case was decided Friday but the decision was not available until Monday.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 97


Leatherbacks have biggest gathering in Gabon, study says
By the Exeter University news service

Costa Rica may have its share of turtle nesting sites but an international team of scientists has identified a nesting population of leatherback sea turtles in Gabon, West Africa, as the world's largest.

The research, published in the May issue of Biological Conservation, involved country-wide land and aerial surveys that estimated a population of between 15,730 and 41,373 female turtles using the nesting beaches.

Leatherbacks are of profound conservation concern around the world after populations in the Indo-Pacific crashed by more than 90 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists leatherback turtles as critically endangered globally, but detailed population assessments in much of the Atlantic, especially Africa, are lacking.

The research was led by the English University of Exeter working in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

During three nesting seasons between 2002 and 2007, the team’s members carried out the most comprehensive survey of marine turtles ever conducted in Gabon. This involved aerial surveys along Gabon’s 600-km (372-mile) coast, using video to capture footage for evaluation, and detailed ground-based monitoring, said the university. By covering the entire coastline, they were not only able to
leatherback turtle
Matthew Witt, University of Exeter    
Leatherback in Gabon

estimate the number of nests and nesting females, but also to identify the key sites for leatherback nesting, data which are crucial to developing conservation management plans for the species.  Leatherbacks were first described nesting in Gabon in 1984.

The study also revealed that around 79 percent of the nesting occurs within National Parks and other protected areas.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 97


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.


Hacienda Matapalo obtains
initial permit for entrance


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Hacienda Matapalo announced Monday it has received a construction and an operating permit from the Osa municipal government to begin the landmark entrance to the project. Hacienda Matapalo is located between Quepos and Dominical and occupies 665 acres

The site work and construction activities have begun, and the excavation for footings and foundations are in progress, said the company. The infrastructure is scheduled for completion by the end of April 2010, and residential construction to begin in 2010.

"Designing an environmentally friendly development that meets all the environmental concerns has been a major accomplishment for our engineering and permitting staff," said Brian Albury, vice president of planning for Hacienda Matapalo.

"We are pleased to confirm that our project will meet all or exceed all environmental standards," added Albury.

Hacienda Matapalo has already exceeded $50 million in sales, making it the most successful pre-construction real estate property in Costa Rica, the company said. The anticipated sellout of the project is expected to be in the $300 million dollar range from houses, villas, and condos. The project will also contain the first regional shopping center on Costanera highway, which is being paved.

Hacienda Matapalo has completed the largest hurdles of the permitting process including that of the approval by Secretaria Tecnica National Ambiental, said the company. That is an agency within the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.

The submission of the project to the fast track program saved the firm over a year in the application process, said Costa Rica-based partner Edwin Acosta, who added that the permitting process is long and complex.

The next permits pending final approval will be those for the infrastructure including electric, water, and sewer systems, the company said.

The water permit is further complicated by the donation of water from the springs of Hacienda Matapalo to the neighboring town of Hatillo and the infrastructure necessary for the delivery of the natural spring water to the residents of the town, the company added.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 97


Latin American news digest
Tips remain outside salary
of food service workers


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers decided not to include tips in the salaries of waiters and bartenders when they approved a technical bill about salaries Monday.

There had been a push to do so, and that would have meant that employers would have had to pay social charges, alguinaldo and severance pay on a salary that included tips.

Some lawmakers said they did not want to put an additional burden on the operators of small- and medium-size restaurants.

The law obligates a restaurant to add an amount equal to 10 percent of the price of the meal for service. This is the obligatory tip. Additional tip money is at the discretion of the diner.

For now at least, the tip money and any supplementary tips will be off the books as far as calculating the monthly charges employers must pay.

Eduardo Sánchez Sibaja of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana called the legislative decision a great injustice. He wanted tips to be included.

Fuerza Pública takes bite
out of security firms


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law enforcement officials have been cracking down on private security guards and firms. Some 70 weapons have been confiscated because the bearer did not have the correct paperwork or had no paperwork.

Among the weapons were toy guns that guards were using at a San José university.

The inspections were made by the Fuerza Pública's Grupo de Apoyo Operacional.

Of the 53 firms contacted, some 27 were not registered with the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, said officials.

Three of the guards were wanted to answer criminal allegations, and five were illegal residents, said officials.

Air Force medical team here

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The 30th Medical Group form Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is in Costa Rica on a medical mission with the goal of treating 4,000 persons who do not have quick access to care. They are working with Costa Rican professionals.


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