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(506) 2223-1327                      Published Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 107                           Email us
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bomb suspect
From 'Last Chapter: Goodbye, Nicaragua'
Bombing suspect is highlighted en route to La Penca in this frame from the Torbiörnsson movie.
La Penca bombing made today a day for newspeople
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is the Día Nacional del Periodista in Costa Rica, and it is no coincidence that the date is May 30. That's the day in 1984 when three newspeople died and many other persons suffered serious injuries when a bomb exploded at a press conference in a Contra rebel camp.

The case still is open, and recent revelations put the crime at the doorstep of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The presumed target of the bombing was rebel leader Eden Pastora, a former Sandinista who turned against the leftist government of Daniel Ortega and became the leader of the so-called Southern Contras.

Pastora is the same person who is now involved with Ortega in the dredging of the Río San Juan and the border dispute with Costa Rica. He is known as Comandante Cero.

Reporters were invited to Pastora's jungle camp cross the border in Nicaragua in 1984. They traveled in what seems tight security partly in  small boats.

One of those who died was Linda Frazier, a reporter for The Tico Times and wife to the Costa Rican bureau chief for The Associated Press. Two Costa Rican Canal 7 camera operators and a rebel also died. The Tico Times still carries Ms. Frazier's name on its masthead.

This was during the time that the United States was attempting to oust the Ortega regime in Nicaragua on the claim that he was a puppet of Moscow. The Cold War continued to rage. Some accused the United States for wanting to silence Pastora. U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica also were accused of complicity. Many years passed until what seems to be the truth came out.

The Colegio de Periodistas, the journalists' professional group, is marking the 28th anniversary of the La Penca bombing with afternoon and evening conferences. Among those attending are Wendy Cruz of Univision and Glena Umaña of CNN.

At 2 p.m. the movie “Last Chapter: Goodbye, Nicaragua” will be discussed. This is the documentary by Peter Torbiörnsson, a Sandinista sympathizer and La Penca survivor who came forward in 2009 to accuse the Ortega regime of engineering the bombing. He said he spent time
Pastora and Torbiörnsson
From 'Last Chapter: Goodbye, Nicaragua'
 Peter Torbiörnsson, left, enjoys a friendly visit
 with Eden Pastora.


accompanying the suspected bomber, who claimed to be a Danish reporter.  Torbiörnsson said the man was working for the Sandinistas.

In 1993 a Miami Herald reporter managed to identify the bomber as Vital Roberto Gaguine, an Argentine leftist with ties to the Sandinistas. Pastora also attributed the bombing to Ortega's regime but notes that the time was one of war and he was trying to kill Ortega then, too.

Among other events tonight, the colegio will bestow a medal of honor on La Penca survivor Nelson Murillo Murillo. He has worked for a number of Costa Rican print outlets.

Each year news associations raise the issue of the La Penca bombing because many of the survivors of the attack feel that the investigation is incomplete. 

Some have spent years trying to learn the truth. Costa Rican prosecutors have declined to follow the Sandinista allegations. The bombing attack has had a big impact on Costa Rican journalism.

The attack that involved newspeople was a shock in 1984, unlike today when newspeople are killed regularly in México and Honduras as well as elsewhere in the world.

A trailer of the  Torbiörnsson film is HERE!


Conditions again ripe for afternoon thunderstorms
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Figure more of the same for today. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that humidity from the Pacific coupled with high temperatures will prepare the way for a new round of afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

Once again, the rains will be variable with some areas getting more rain than others. The Central Valley, the Pacific coast and the mountains of the Caribbean and northern zone are likely to be the regions where the heaviest activity takes place today.

Both Monday and Tuesday saw rains and  thunderstorms. The western mountains of the Valley
 Central were frequent targets of lightning strikes Monday.  Tuesday there was probably not more than 10 to 11 millimeters of rain at any place in the country. That's less than half an inch. But Monday there was three times that amount in some locations.

The weather institute issued its usual warning about possible flooding and slippery road conditions and possible fog. It also issued a reminder about staying indoors during lightning storms and the need to keep metal objects out of the weather.

Each year there are lightning deaths in Costa Rica, frequently of golfers who fail to heed weather warnings. Sometimes dozens of cows are killed because they sought refuge from the rain under a tree.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 107
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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turtle eggs
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía 
y Seguridad Pública photo 
 Eggs were located under other items in the bed of this pickup
 truck.


Trio apprehended in Matina
with suspected turtle eggs

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Coast Guard officers detained three persons Tuesday and said they were carrying 672 leatherback turtle eggs.

The arrests came in the community of Larga Distancia de Catorce Millas, Matina. The men were traveling along a railroad track, apparently in an effort to avoid police, said the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas. The suspects were identified by the last names of Goul Mejía, Platera Calúa and Lépiz Mejía.

The eggs were turned over to a nearby turtle nursery. The effort was directed by the Guardacostas environmental unit.

The Caribbean beaches are a nesting site for several species of turtles at different times of the year. The leatherbacks are endangered.

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 107
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Perhaps it seemed like a really good idea at the time
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are plenty of open cases of identity theft, but the quickest way to get the attention of law enforcement is to steal the identity of a sitting magistrate of the Corte Suprema de Justicia. But even then the investigation may take some time.

The case climaxed Tuesday with three raids in Los Cuadros de Goicoechea, in San José and in Agua Caliente de Cartago. Detained were two women.

The magistrate involved is Zarella Villanueva Monge, The Poder Judicial said that she filed a complaint in December when she found out that two women were trying to sell real estate that she owned. Months earlier the same persons managed to open a line of credit in her name at a local store.

Tuesday a judge authorized the raids, and agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization executed them. One suspect was detained in Los Cuadros. Another women was detained elsewhere, said judicial agents.

Agents said that persons using the name of the magistrate purchased three top-of-the-line cell telephones for 2 million colons, about $4,000. The women suspects are 45 and 47.

Despite using a fake identity cédula in the name of the judicial official, crooks were able to obtain credit at just one store, said investigators. That was where the cell telephones were purchased. The women face allegations of fraud and of using fake documents.
identity fraud
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
One women is taken into custody in Los Cuadros


New finance minister promises to restore public's optimism
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The new finance minister was before lawmakers Tuesday explaining proposed budget increases and promising more transparency in his ministry.

The minister is Edgar Ayales, who said he promised to give his best effort so that Costa Ricans can regain their optimism over government. Ayales got the job after the former finance minister and the head of the ministry's tax collecting agency were revealed as having tax problems themselves.

Ayales also said that covering expenses with debt was not wise even though the government must do so now. He said that debt is one of the three pillars of the administration. The others are an improvement in tax collection and reduced spending.

He urged lawmakers to pass four bills, including one to
 improve tax collection. Others promote fiscal transparency and more efficient management of public finances.

The budget amendment would provide funds for road work in the country's cantons. There also is a measure to prevent violence by encouraging social inclusion and by increasing the efficiency of the Fuerza Pública. A third measure would improve infrastructure in protected forest areas for the benefit of tourists who visit them.

Ayales also disputed the claims of Jorge Rojas, director for the Judicial Investigating Organization. Rojas said Ayales Ministerio de Hacienda had cut the investigative agency's budget. Ayales said the budget had been increased but that it was the responsibility of the Poder Judicial to distribute the money among its agencies.

He testified before the Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 107
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volcano montage
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico photos
        Lake in the Poás crater                                Rincón de la Vieja                             Turriable spouting steam
Emergency officials put blanket alert on three volcanoes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national emergency commission declared a low-level alert Tuesday for three of the country's restless volcanoes.

They are Rincón de la Vieja, Poás and Turrialba. All three have shown increased activity lately, but the agency characterized the alert as preventative. There have been local alerts for months, but the one announced Tuesday covers all three volcanoes.

The alert status gives the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias more flexibility in installing monitoring equipment and keeping neighbors of the volcanoes informed of the situation.

The agency said it was being assisted by the Red Sismológica Nacional of the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico of Universidad Nacional. Scientists from both academic institutions have been keeping a 
close eye on the smoking mountains.

Poás has shown a decrease in the level of its crater lake, which is an indication that gases might be released. Rincón de la Vieja has generated seismic waves that suggests that magma is moving underneath its cone. Turriabla has created a new outlet for gas and continues to emit gas and steam.

The emergency commission has restricted access to the volcanoes. All are in national parks.

Neighbors of the mountains have been given instructions to keep a radio nearby in case of eruption and to have plastic and tape available to seal windows and other openings to keep ash from entering homes. There also is an evacuation plan at Turriabla, which has the nearest group of neighbors on its flank.

Turrialba already has caused extensive damage to the nearby vegetation and farmlands.


California man admits role commercial bribery scheme
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The former head of worldwide sales at a Rancho Santa Margarita-based valve company pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

This is the law that prohibits U.S. citizens from giving bribes to foreign officials anywhere.

The man who pleaded guilty is Paul Cosgrove, 65, of Laguna Niguel. He was an executive vice president at Control Components. Inc. He entered his plea before U.S. District Judge James V. Selna to a one-count superseding information charging him with making a corrupt payment to a foreign government official in China in violation of the federal law.

Judge Selna is scheduled to sentence Cosgrove Aug. 27. He faces 15 months in federal prison.

According to court documents, the firm designed and manufactured service control valves for use in the nuclear, oil
and gas, and power generation industries worldwide.

On Apr. 8, 2009, Cosgrove and five other former executives of the firm were charged in a 16-count indictment for their roles in the foreign bribery scheme.  In related cases, two defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe officers and employees of foreign state-owned companies on behalf of Control Components, Inc.  
 
On July 31, 2009, the firm itself pleaded guilty to a three-count criminal information charging the company with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Control Components was ordered to pay an $18.2 million criminal fine, placed on organizational probation for three years, and ordered to create and implement a compliance program and retain an independent compliance monitor for three years.  The firm admitted that from 2003 through 2007, it made corrupt payments in more than 30 countries, which resulted in net profits to the company of approximately $46.5 million from sales related to those corrupt payments.

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Facebook shares continue
their downward direction


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Shares in the social networking site Facebook fell to less than $30 Tuesday. The price of Facebook dropped $3.07, almost 10 percent, to close at $28.84.

Facebook shares are 24 percent lower since their highly publicized IPO on May 18 of $38.

Financial experts say Facebook stock has been hurt by an oversupply of shares, NASDAQ problems that postponed trading on the first day, and investor lawsuits.

Facebook's main underwriter, Morgan Stanley, has been accused of cutting its forecast of Facebook's future earnings just before the shares went on sale. The bank allegedly told large investors while withholding that information from average investors.

The bank has said it did nothing wrong.

Despite Facebook's slide, some analysts say they still have confidence in the company and predict the share price will rise by the end of the year.

Facebook is the world's most popular Internet social network, with nearly one-billion users worldwide. People use Facebook to post photographs and write details about their lives, often reconnecting with long-lost friends and family members. But technology experts say Facebook  has yet to devise a strategy to attract advertising on mobile devices like smartphones or tablet computers, causing some analysts to question its ability to make money.


13 persons are honored
with U.S. Medal of Freedom


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has awarded the country's highest civilian honor to a music legend, a pioneer astronaut, and the first female U.S. secretary of state.

They were among 13 recipients Tuesday of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

At a White House ceremony, Obama said the winners had an incredible impact on so many people. He said their actions inspired people, enriched their lives, and changed their lives for the better.

The recipients included musician Bob Dylan, who Obama called a giant in American music history; John Glenn, the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth and who Obama says is a hero in every sense of the word; and former secretary of State Madeleine Albright. President Obama said her consummate diplomacy and democratic ideals advanced peace around the world.

Three of the medal winners were honored posthumously. Jan Karski, was part of the Polish underground resistance movement during World War II. He reported to Allied nations some of the first eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust. He died in 2000.

Japanese-American Gordon Hirabayashi, who died earlier this year, was a college activist against the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

And Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts. She died in 1927.

Another honoree, Israeli President Shimon Peres will receive his medal when he joins Obama for dinner at the White House next month.

Other winners who attended Tuesday's ceremony were novelist Toni Morrison, civil rights advocate John Doar, former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, women's college basketball coach Pat Summitt, smallpox physician William Foege, and labor rights advocate Dolores Huerta.


Romney officially gets
enough GOP delegates


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican presidential nomination.

U.S. news agencies project Romney will score a big win in the Texas primary, with more than 150 delegates at stake. This will give him more than the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Republicans will hold their convention in Tampa, Florida, in August to officially pledge their delegates to Romney and his eventual choice of a vice-presidential running mate.

After losing the Republican race four years ago to John McCain, Romney overcame tough challenges from a raft of challengers, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain. All of them had at one time led Republican voter opinion polls during the campaign.

They also questioned Romney's credentials as a conservative, saying he is too moderate to be a true alternative to President Barack Obama, the Democrat incumbent.

Recent polls show him in a virtual tie with Obama, who faced no challengers for his party's nomination

Romney was not in Texas Tuesday night to savor his victory. He was at a Las Vegas fundraiser hosted by celebrity real estate tycoon Donald Trump.   Some Democrats are criticizing Romney for not condemning Trump's assertion that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Romney, who has said he believes Obama was born a U.S. citizen, told reporters Monday he does not agree with all those who support him. But said he needs to win in November and appreciates the help of a lot of good people.


Iran says its technicians
have beaten Flame virus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Iranian government said Tuesday it has produced an antivirus program capable of fighting what computer experts are calling "the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed."

The data-stealing virus has been infecting computers in Iran and other parts of the Middle East.

Iran's Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center said Tuesday the antivirus tool can identify and remove the sophisticated spyware, identified a day earlier by a Russian Internet security company. The Iranian ministry did not say if the virus had done any damage.



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U.N. continues to prepare
for Rio climate conference


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Countries have begun the last round of negotiations on an outcome document before they meet at the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) in Brazil next month, which seeks to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection, the U.N. said.

"Time is running out," Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told participants at the Rio+20 informal consultations on the outcome document. "You still have much work to do -- perhaps too much work -- but you must persevere. The stakes are very, very high -- for people and for the planet… for peace and prosperity."

The latest round of negotiations consists of five days and was added earlier this month to provide countries with an opportunity to move talks forward and finalize the draft outcome document ahead of the conference in Rio de Janeiro from June 20 to 22, which will bring together more than 130 heads of state, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, U.N. officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders.

According to a news release, the negotiations will be based on a text that has been shortened and streamlined by the co-chairmen of the deliberating process, Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda and Ambassador Kim Sook of the Republic of Korea.

"When we meet in Rio, heads of state and government must have before them a concise outcome document that meets their expectations," Ban said. He encouraged delegates to be bold and work constructively with the streamlined document over the next few days.

A key issue in the negotiations has been the development of so-called sustainable development goals -- a set of benchmarks to guide countries in achieving targeted outcomes within a specific time period, such as on universal access to sustainable energy and clean water for all, and building on the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals after their 2015 deadline.

"A process to define sustainable development goals may be one of the most important deliverables of Rio+20," Ban said. "They can provide concrete milestones on the path to realizing our vision, and they can help ensure that we integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development: the social, the economic and the environmental."

After the last round of negotiations on the outcome document ends on Saturday, talks will resume during the Third Preparatory Committee meeting of the conference, from 13 to 15 June in Rio de Janeiro.













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