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(506) 2223-1327           Publish Wednesday, June 1, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 107             E-mail us
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Missing baby case has a happy ending for parents
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The case of the stolen baby has had a happy ending. The tot has been reunited with parents and has been pronounced unharmed by physicians.

Held for investigation is the 21-year-old woman the parents said took the child, Angel Gabriel, 4 months.

Investigators do not always believe parents when they report a child missing. Sometimes the baby turns up dead, the victim of parental aggression.

But in this case, the parents, Keilyn Morera and Alexander Carranza, had a highly probably story about how the baby was taken. They identified a family friend, Anielka del Carmen Bermúdez Bustos, as someone to whom they entrusted the child's care for a brief period and then she vanished Friday in Quepos.

The story became more probable when a bus driver reported that the woman traveled to San José with a baby. There was extensive publicity and posters issued by the child's family and investigators. The parents spent an agonizing weekend.

The search moved to the Central Valley where there were reports that Ms. Bermúdez had been sighted. Still the parents received a text message saying that the child had been taken to Panamá. That further confused the situation.

It was not police, but a taxi driver that convinced the women to surrender the child. The Judicial Investigating Organization reported Tuesday that shortly before noon a man contacted agents and
Anielka
del Carmen
Bermúdez
Bustos
Abduction suspect
Judicial Investigating Organization photo

said he had the much-sought child.

Later agents went to a home in Guachipelín, Escazú, where they detained Ms. Bermúdez and prepared to take her back to Quepos for questioning.

Although the Spanish newspapers were full of theories about the disappearance, neighbors of the detained woman said that she presented the child as her own to a man with whom she wanted to strengthen a relationship. She told him he was the father. That was in Guachipelín. He was not held.

When agents searched the living quarters they found what could be expected in the home of a new baby. There were toddler's clothes, a bib and indications that the child had been cared for well.

The child got an exam at the Hospital Nacional de Niños


Juvenile gang members get 15 years each for killing
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two gang members, 16 and 17, got 15 years each in confinement Tuesday after being found responsible for the death of a 9 year old in a crossfire last Aug. 31.

Gunfire also wounded a woman passerby during the gang confrontation in La Caprio, a low-income region of the metro area.

The two were sentenced to 21 years each, but the
term was reduced to the maximum for a juvenile offender.

Dead is Stward Rodney Alfaro Barrantes, who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time playing with friends when gunfire broke out on the public right-of-way. The confrontation was between the Las Gradas and La Primera Parada gangs. The child suffered a bullet in the face.

The court session was closed, and the outcome was reported by the Poder Judicial.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 107

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Our readers' opinion
Our sense of entitlement
is twisted and ironic


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I am not sure whether you intended to be ironic with your May 26 editorial note that suggests that Americans living in Costa Rica should be provided with Medicare, but not have to pay taxes. It is too similar to the Tea Party protesting health care reform with their signs “keep the government’s hands off my Medicare.”

This type of twisted sense of entitlement perfectly encapsulates the views of too many that wants government to provide a broad array of services, but doesn't want to pay for any of them.
Steve Young
San Isidro de Heredia

EDITOR'S NOTE: The note was at the foot of the daily digest and not in the newspages.


Reader says call directly
and do not count on 911


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Advice That May Save Your Life in Costa Rica

Recently a Costa Rican friend of my daughter had a fire in their home.  They made the fatal error of calling 911 and were told help is on the way.  After 35 minutes and no response, fortunately a neighbor called the closest fire station directly, who did respond rapidly.  Unfortunately, due to the 911 delay, the firemen did not arrive at the house until 40 minutes after the fire started.  Of course everything in the house was destroyed.  This was a horrific tragedy. They lost everything and calling 911 first actually made things much worse after being given a fatal false sense of security.

If you have an emergency in Costa Rica, do not rely on only calling 911.  Find out where the closest police station is to your house, visit them in person and ask for their direct phone number.  Find out where the closest fire station is to your house, visit them in person and ask for their direct phone number.  Call the Red Cross and get the best phone number for their ambulance service, which is the best in the country.

Write down all three numbers and leave them next to the phone as well as carrying them with you at all times.  When you have an emergency, always call them directly first.  If you wish go ahead and also call 911 afterwards, but do not rely on just making one call to 911.

Edward Bridges
20 Years In Desamparados


Headline adjective unsupported
because report is not hidden

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I searched the story you published about the Haiti statistics and found not one reference to the report being "hidden" nor otherwise inappropriately kept from publication.  Apparently the report is in a preliminary stage and is being finalized.  Was it editorial pique which promoted the headline writer to insert an unsupported adjective in the headline?  Or just inner anger at the Obama-Clinton administration?  If either, when does your publication cross the line from being news to instead being an instrument of political persuasion?

Greg Russi
Rifle, Colorado

 
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
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary






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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 107
Latigo K-9

Prosecutors interrogate archbishop and Rodrigo Arias
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two leading figures in Costa Rican society showed up at prosecutor's offices Tuesday to submit to formal questioning.

One was Rodrigo Arias, the brother of the former president and a presidential candidate himself.

The other was Archbishop Hugo Barrantes, the highest Roman Catholic churchman in the country.

Arias was there to answer questions about how the Óscar Arias administration handled some $2 million that came from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. Rodrigo Arias was minister of the Presidencia, basically chief of staff for his brother.

The Arias brothers have said they did not consider the funds from the Banco Centroamericano to be public money. They distributed the money as purported consultancy payments that appear to have been designed to grease the skids for the
Central American Free Trade Treaty with the United States.

Barrantes is 75 and has just tendered his resignation to the Vatican. He retains his position until someone else is appointed. His problem is a fund that was managed by the  Conferencia Episcopal de Costa Rica, the conference of bishops, from 2004 through 2006.

The fund, Servicios Pastorales, made loans and has been accused by government financial officials of illegal banking.

Both the situation with Rodrigo Arias and that of the Catholic Church were exposed by the La Nación daily newspaper in unreleased news articles.

Arias is facing an allegation of mismanaging public funds.

His interview by prosecutors Tuesday was confirmed by the Poder Judicial. He told reporters afterwards that his statements were about the same as those he delivered to a commission of lawmakers last month.


Parrita dike
Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias photo
This is the dike that protects 4,500 homes from the Río Parrita at left.
As rains arrive, emergency officials focus on Parrita dike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Parrita is the central Pacific community perhaps best known for being covered by flooding from the river of the same name.

Every year and sometimes twice in the same year heavy rains hit the central Pacific coast and Parrita Centro and nearby communities are submerged.

In November 2010 nearly three feet of water fell in a few days. In October 2008 Parrita Centro was evacuated when a dike burst flooding 1,500 homes.

Each round of flooding generates more work by emergency officials. Now the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said that the river channel needs to be dredged and that more work needs to be done on the dike.

About 4,500 persons in the communities of La Julieta, El INVU, Pueblo Nuevo and Parrita Centro count on the dike to keep the river at bay.

Emergency officials said that one problem is that the canton lacks a plan regulador or master plan, and people have put up dwellings in flood plains.

Emergency officials said they have put up a series of
monitoring stations to keep watch on the river. Another project that is at the bidding stage is a topographical study that will pinpoint places where dredging is needed, said the commission. In the meantime, the commission will try to clean the channel from Ruta 34 to the river mouth.

Also planned is the addition of some 70,000 cubic meters to the existing dike to raise it. There also is a plan to strengthen the dike at places where breeches appeared during Tropical Storm Tomas in November 2010.

The commission said it already had completed three separate projects on the dike.

The nation is entering the rainy season now, and the first taste of problems appeared Monday night and Tuesday in the northern zone where the commission declared a low-level alert. The ríos Cuatro Bocas, Niño, La Muerte and Frío ran out of their banks and flooded some communities. Some 50 homes were flooded in the Canton of Upala, and residents were placed in a public shelter. There were 100 more flood refugees in Cartago Norte and 125 more in Cuatros Bocas. Some 32 persons were being housed in the Escuela Moravia Verde in Guatuso.

The commission said that some damage was reported in the Central Valley in San José, Heredia and Desamparados mostly from blocked storm sewers that flooded. The heaviest rains there were Friday and Sunday.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 107


Keeping languages separate is easy, Kansas professor says

By the University of Kansas news service

How do people who speak more than one language keep from mixing them up? How do they find the right word in the right language when being fluent in just one language means knowing about 30,000 words?

That’s what science has wondered about for decades, offering complicated theories on how the brain processes more than one language and sometimes theorizing that bilingualism degrades cognitive performance.

But University of Kansas psycholinguist Mike Vitevitch thinks that complicated explanations of how the brain processes two or more languages overlook a straightforward and simple explanation.

“The inherent characteristics of the words — how they sound — provide enough information to distinguish which language a word belongs to,” he said. “You don't need to do anything else.”

And in an analysis of English and Spanish, published in the April 7 online edition of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Vitevitch found few words that sounded similar in the two languages.

Most theories of how bilingual speakers find a word in memory assume that each word is labeled with information about which language it belongs to, Vitevitch said.

But he disagrees. “Given how different the words in one language sound to the words in the other language, it seems like a lot of extra and unnecessary mental work to add a label to each word to identify it as being from one language or the other. “

Here's an analogy. Imagine you have a bunch of apples and oranges in your fridge. The apples represent one
bilingual

language you know, the oranges represent another language you know and the fridge is that part of memory known as the lexicon, which contains your knowledge about language.  To find an apple you just look for the round red thing in the fridge and to find an orange you just look for the round orange thing in the fridge. Once in a while you might grab an unripe, greenish orange mistaking it for a granny smith apple.  Such instances of language mixing do happen on occasion, but they are pretty rare and are easily corrected, said Vitevitch.

“This process of looking for a specific piece of fruit is pretty efficient as it is — labeling each apple as an apple and each orange as an orange with a magic marker seems redundant and unnecessary.”

Given how words in one language tend to sound different from words in another language, parents who speak different languages should not worry that their children will be confused or somehow harmed by learning two languages, said Vitevitch.

“Most people in most countries in the world speak more than one language,” said Vitevitch. “If the U.S. wants to successfully compete in a global economy we need people who can communicate with potential investors and consumers in more than one language.”

Vitevitch is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.



Lawmakers give final OK to free trade treaty with China

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Asamblea Legislative approved on final vote Tuesday a free trade treaty with the People's Republic of China. Only 13 of the 45 lawmakers present voted against the treaty.

The agreement, which may go into effect as soon as July 1, permits 99.6 percent of Costa Rican exports to enter the giant Asian economy free of import duties, said the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior.

The vote was a victory for the Laura Chinchilla administration. Her Partido Liberación Nacional made up the bulk of the favorable votes.

Francisco Chacón González, a lawmaker of that party, said there are many reasons to support the free trade treaty and that many products, such as frozen orange juice, fresh flowers, plants, yucca and palm hearts are among the imports desired by China.

Luis Fishman of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana said he voted against the measure because China still has to 
complete the minimum with regard to respect for human rights. He said China was pushing for the treaty, not Costa Rica. Other opposition lawmakers said most residents would not benefit.

The commerce ministry negotiated the treaty over two years, starting in 2008 shortly after the country dumped Taiwan for the People's Republic as diplomatic partners.

The products, like coffee, live fish, milk products and some fresh fruits that are not free of duty now will be within 10 or 15 years, said the commerce ministry.

It also said that the treaty will encourage Chinese investments here.

Trade with China was $91.1 million in 2000 and $1.3 billion in 2010, the ministry said.

The legislative path of the treaty had none of the protests and confrontations that typified the Central American Free Trade Treaty with the United States. In that case, the country even had to vote if it wanted to adopt the treaty. Passage took nearly seven years.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 107

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

U.N. expresses concern
about killings of prosecutors


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The United Nations human rights office Tuesday sounded the alarm on the recent killings of public prosecutors in Guatemala and Honduras, as well as the increasing vulnerability of human rights defenders in the two Central American countries.

“We are extremely concerned about an apparent new trend of targeting public prosecutors in Central America, apparently by organized crime groups,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He spoke at a news briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Over the past week, public prosecutors have been murdered in both Guatemala and Honduras in the course of their duties, amid growing insecurity and violence in both countries,” he said.

May 24 in Guatemala, Allan Stwolinsky, the local auxiliary prosecutor in Coban in the Department of Alta Verapaz, was found decapitated in a plastic bag in front of the governor’s house, he said.

Both the attorney general and the interior minister blamed the murder on the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas and linked it to the seizure of 453 kilograms of cocaine, which had been coordinated by the auxiliary prosecutor.

Colville noted that this killing took place in the aftermath of the brutal massacre of 27 land workers in Peten, allegedly also by Los Zetas.

In Honduras, Raul Reyes Carbajal, a public prosecutor in the city of San Pedro Sula, was gunned down Sunday by several armed men who shot at him from another vehicle as he was driving home from work.

According to eyewitness reports, after Reyes was hit in his car, he lost control and crashed into a bus. His attackers then got out of their vehicle and shot him again to ensure he was dead.

Reyes had been coordinator of the public prosecutor’s office in Puerto Cortes for one month and had previously coordinated a special unit against organized crime. The killing comes at a time when the public prosecutor’s office in San Pedro Sula had decided to investigate the killings of seven youths, reportedly linked to gangs, during a police operation a few days earlier.


Television station in Chile
says Allende was murdered


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chilean state television has reported that newly disclosed military documents support the theory that president Salvador Allende may have been assassinated during the 1973 coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power.

Monday's report was broadcast days after Chilean authorities exhumed the late president's remains to determine the circumstances surrounding his death.  Allende's family requested an investigation to determine whether the elected president committed suicide or was killed during the coup on Sept. 11, 1973. 

Allende's daughter, Isabel, now a Chilean senator, has called the investigation tremendously important because she says it could dispel any doubts or speculation about how the president died.  The exhumation is part of a widespread inquiry into 726 alleged abuses during the rule of Pinochet.

President Allende was found dead in the presidential palace as soldiers supporting the coup closed in and warplanes bombed the building.  Official reports said he had killed himself.

His family was not allowed to see the body and there was no official investigation at the time of his death.

Questions arose shortly after the coup about how Allende died.  A physician who was a member of Allende's medical team, Patricio Guijon, says he witnessed the president commit suicide with an AK-47 given to him by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.  Guijon has said that by the time Allende committed suicide, the presidential palace had been rocked by hours of bombings and machine gun fire.

Pinochet died in 2006 while under investigation for alleged corruption, torture and murder.  His government is blamed for at least 3,000 killings of political opponents, including murders of those who disappeared.
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 107

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Latin American news
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Labor court OKs claim
of dead man's ex-wife


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A divorced woman has won the right to receive money due to the work-related death of her ex-husband because she was receiving what amounts to alimony and was economically dependent on the man.

The case was decided by the Sala II high labor court. Although two lower courts rejected the woman's claim, the Sala II said she had a right to receive an annual payment because it was vital to her maintenance.

The money has to be paid by the man's employer, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, according to a summary of the decision released by the Poder Judicial. Had the pair remained married, there would have been no question as to her right to receive the money.


$20 million high rise
going up in Rohrmoser

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Colombian firm is investing $20 million to build an 18-floor high rise in Rohrmoser not far from the home of former president Óscar Arias Sánchez.

The project is on the west side of Parque Perú and is being developed by Grupo Leumi. Contractors have started moving dirt, and the plan calls for 124 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The location also is within walking distance of the new national stadium n Parque la Sabana.

The anticipated price range is between $148,000 and $290,000. The project is called Vistas de Nunciatura because it is within sight of the location occupied by the diplomatic representative of the Vatican.


Traveler faces drug count

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 48-year-old Italian traveler has been detained because anti-drug police said they found 190 small packages of cocaine in his luggage Monday.  He was identified by the last name of Biacchi. He was traveling to Madrid and then to Italy, officers said.


Power cut today in Escazú

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz said it will be cutting power today from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a small section of Escazú in the vicinity of Servicios Técnicos Itskatzú, the appliance repair firm, for maintenance.






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