A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily English-language news source
Monday through Friday

Classified ads 
at the speed of LIGHT!
Click Here
These stories were published Thursday, June 19, 2003, in Vol. 3, No. 120
Jo Stuart
About us
New twists show up to bedevil Internet users
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some new scams have hit the Internet, and they are tricky.

One promises love and might steal your private e-mail addresses.

Another claims to monitor what people are saying about you on Internet discussion groups. They want money. Maybe.

Another seeks to verify a credit card purchase and uses a Web site very similar to a reputable electronics story. But it is a trap for your credit card details.

The love interest comes from so-called "crush" messages. Someone had a crush on you, the e-mail message says, a crush being a liking but short of full-blown love. The message invites you to a Web site where you are told to type in e-mail addresses of friends to see if they can match the one of the person with a crush.

Of course, the whole idea is that the Internet site just got 10 new e-mail addresses to use in mass marketing junk e-mail campaigns. However, it should be noted that some crush sites are legitimate and much valued among North American teens. Others offer more complex services that may result in the surrender of credit card information.

Word-of-Mouth.org sends out another type of e-mail. It says that it has been monitoring e-mail discussions and some people have made comments about you. You are invited to a Web site where you can look up what the people said. The site also seems to permit people to say things about others anonymously.  Premium services range to about $30.

The most sinister of these e-mail messages hit Costa Rica in the last few days. An e-mail message says it is from the Best Buy fraud department. It seeks information about a purchase of $775 in car audio equipment. Says the message:

"In our effort to deter fraudulent transactions, we need your help in providing us with the correct information. Your prompt response is needed to avoid any unauthorized charges to your credit card." The message claims that the credit card purchase generated an unverified shipment address. The one in the message is in Staten Island, N.Y.

This Web site
wants to keep
track of 
what is said about you 
on the Internet.


A Web page link takes the message recipient to a Web page that is a twin of the real BestBuy.com domain. The firm is a well-known U.S. electronics vendor. The page is nearly identical to the real Bestbuy.com page, except for the page address. Although the e-mail message says the link is to 
BestBuy.com/fraud_department.html, the real link is to YOUR-INSTANT-CREDIT-
REPORTER.ORG, a domain that was created Wednesday.

At the very least, the page infringes on Best Buy’s logos and trademarks. But the real purpose probably is to get credit card numbers and other personal data.

Also created Wednesday was the Web page of work-of-mouth.org. Both are located in Canada, and both domain registrations contain false information that prevents the real owners from being traced.

There is a high probability that word-of-mouth.org has a real purpose of simply getting credit card numbers and identifications. 

It also requires users to permit it to place cookies or electronic markers in the users computers.

Computer fraud experts are continually warning Internet users from giving out personal information unless they are certain of the identity of the recipient. 

Credit card purchases should be through a secure Web site, identified by the prefix https: instead of just http:

A big problem with Internet frauds is that the people who make their living that way move quickly. But so can internet providers. By 10:30 Wednesday night, the bogus Best Buy domain was canceled.

our daily
our site
Check out
Send us
news story
Visit our
Visit our
Visit our
real estate
of Villalobos
Display ad info


Get the info you need!
• incorporating • real estate purchases • residency

If you have corporate, residency or real estate legal issues, if you are expanding your business or if your are retiring part- or full-time in 
Costa Rica, you need to attend our seminar. Please e-mail us for more information. Small groups, personalized attention and confidentiality.

Lang & Asociados
(506) 204-7871
  Fax (506) 204-7872
We know Customs!
American-Tico-owned firm 
Commercial and Personal 
Import and Export 
Perry Edwards {Amer} Zinnia Stewart {CR}
Port Limon Agency 
(bonded & licensed)
(506) 758-2062/2022
Free delivery 2 to 8 hours or flowers free in San José area.

Help us brighten up Costa Rica's 
rainy days with our exuberant bouquet!
This delightful bouquet makes a special gift to brighten up that special  person. . .

US $ 17.95 free delivery/free vase
Order by noon, June 20th and receive 10% off!
Telephone: (506) 231-4548    Fax:    (506) 232-5528 
E-mail: floresexpress@amnet.co.cr

Order Now! www.floralexpresscr.com
Your apartment’s on the fourth floor!
Condominios del Golf in Escazú

For the discriminating with a view of 
Costa Rica Country Club and MOUNTAINS!

Available July 1 !!!

3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms + maids room 
& bathroom. High security and covered parking

Furnished: $2,200    Unfurnished: $2,000
(and kitchen and assessories to match)
Please call 367-6946   jmwakey@racsa.co.cr

How to live, 
invest or find
romance in
 Costa Rica

Order Now HERE!

Need to rent a car here?

Click HERE!


Even bearded revolutionary heroes can get a little ticked off
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the second time this year, a Miami radio station has made a crank call to a head of state, in this case, claiming it reached Cuban leader Fidel Castro. 

It was meant as a joke, but Fidel Castro was in no laughing mood when informed he had been duped. The Cuban leader launched into an expletive-laden tirade that was broadcast live on a Miami Spanish-language radio station to the delight of anti-Castro Cuban exiles.

The call lasted about 20 minutes. First, a presenter posing as an aide to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a self-proclaimed admirer of Castro, was passed from switchboard to switchboard until the Cuban leader came on the line. Then, using a collection of recorded phrases actually spoken by the Venezuelan president, the radio station led Castro to believe he was actually speaking with his Venezuelan counterpart.

At first, Castro complains that he is having difficulty hearing the supposed Hugo Chavez. Then, Fidel Castro is asked if he will help find a suitcase full of sensitive documents that supposedly disappeared during a recent trip both leaders made to Argentina. Castro agrees to help.

What follows next is a furious exchange. Using highly vulgar terms, the presenter asks if the Cuban leader also agrees with everything that is occurring on the island, and tells him that he fell for a prank. Castro asks "what prank?" and is informed that he is on the air in Miami.

Fidel Castro calls the presenter vulgar names and insults his mother.

This is the second time the presenter, nicknamed the "Morning Joker," has successfully impersonated one head of state to reach another. Earlier this year, the presenter posed as Fidel Castro in order to reach Hugo Chavez, prompting a similarly angry response.

Canadians celebrate
with Calgary cakes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Canadians have their day July 1, but this year the Canadian community here is celebrating Sunday, June 29.

The celebration of Canada Day will be at Pedregal in San Antonio de Belén starting at 10:30 a.m.

Canada Day marks the time in 1867 when Canada peacefully became a self-governing nation instead of a British colony.

Non-Canadians are welcome to attend and celebrate, too, said Lyn Statten and Fred Boden, who are members of the Asociación Canadiense de Costa Rica.

They said there will be a Calgary Stampede Pancake breakfast, French Canadian cuisine, Ukranian perogies, Labatt’s beer, a children's program, pony rides, music and  dancing. Tickets can be reserved and bought at the door for 2,000 colons for adults.  Children under 12 are free. Call 282-1146 for reservations.

‘Explore Costa Rica’
update on Internet

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Harry S. Pariser said Wednesday that an update to his "Explore Costa Rica" book is available on the internet.

Pariser’s book, published by Manatee Press in San Francisco, is a popular travel guide to Costa Rica, and he updates his readers with periodic Web postings. The update is in PDF format so it can be saved and printed easily.

For the summer update he addresses some of the big news issues of the day and also talks about changes and new tourist spots in various regions of the country.

Uribe visits today
for joint discussions

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, will be in San José today for a one-day official visit, and security will be tight.

Colombia is sagging under 30-plus years of civil war, and one topic of discussion with Chancellor Roberto Tovar Faja here will be possible Costa Rican efforts towards peace with guerilla groups in that country.

Tovar said in a statement that he hopes the warring factions in the country enter into a ceasefire and begin a dialogue.

Uribe will be meeting with President Abel Pacheco, and one topic there will be creating the base for an agreement between the countries to protect foreign investors, according to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.

Costa Rica gets petroleum from Colombia, and Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo will be signing an agreement with Empresa Colombiana de Petróleo over the supply of crude and also security and environmental protection.

For workers and visitors in the capital, some traffic delays might be caused by the Colombian president’s motorcade.

Rape fugitive caught
in Puerto Vallarta

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

PUERTO VALLARTA, México —  Authorities say the fugitive heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune has been arrested, five months after he disappeared during his rape trial in California. 

Officials say Andrew Luster was arrested in this resort town early Wednesday as he tried to escape a bounty hunter who had trailed him. The bounty hunter, Duane "Dog" Chapman, and four others also were taken into custody following a pre-dawn street fight. 

Luster is the great-grandson of Hollywood makeup legend Max Factor. He disappeared in January during his rape trial in Ventura County, Calif. He was accused of drugging and then date-raping three women in his luxury home in the area. 

Several weeks later, Luster was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 124 years in prison.  Lawyers for the 39-year-old cosmetics heir have said he is innocent and that the sex, some of which was videotaped, was consensual. 

U.N. expert pushes
rights for Indians

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A United Nations expert says Mexico needs to expand the rights of its indigenous people if it wants to bring peace to the nation's Chiapas region. 

U.N. indigenous rights expert Rodolfo Stavenhagen briefed reporters Tuesday in Mexico City on his recent trip to the southern Chiapas region. He said without reforms designed to give the indigenous people more rights, conflicts will remain. 

In 1994, Zapatista rebels from the Chiapas region staged a brief revolt to fight for the rights of indigenous people. That led to the passage of an Indian Rights Bill in 2001. Indigenous groups denounced the final version of the bill because they felt it did not grant them the autonomy they desired. 

Stavenhagen also met with President Vincente Fox and congressional leaders to discuss the reforms.
Tulip Time

Time for a perking up

A special  from our fields.

for 20 tulips delivered
in San Jose 
metro area


Much-delayed bridge
scheduled to open

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Los Anonos Bridge is supposed to open today after extensive reconstruction. The opening is nearly six months late.

The bridge connects Bello Horizonte and Sabana Oeste and is a principal route from Escazú to points east.

The one-lane bridge has been expanded to two lanes, but unexpected deterioration of the aging span and contractual problems slowed the completion.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transporte promised to have the bridge back in service by Christmas. After awhile, residents and taxi drivers were asking "Which Christmas?"

The opening comes as good news to residents of Los Anonos Abajo the community below the bridge on the banks of the Río Tiribi.  Their community has been crowded with cars and trucks whose drivers did not want to take recommended detours through better highways.

Tropical front hits
with heavy rain

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Heavy rains spawned by a tropical front hit most sections of Costa Rica Wednesday. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional reported that 2.3 inches of rain fell at the monitoring station in Barrio Aranjuez in San José.

All of it was during the afternoon and early evening. Flooding and some landslides were reported at various places around Costa Rica. Residents of Cartago had flooding and some roads blocked.

That rain came on the heels of nearly an inch of rain Tuesday, also in the afternoon and evening.
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.


Lang & Asociados



English, French, Italian Spoken

Telephone (506) 204-7871
FAX (506) 204-7872

Adolfo Rojas Breedy
Breedy Abogados S.A.

Since 1957. Best experience in:

• Real Estate Transfer of Title and Title Search
• Business • Investments
• Commercial & Civil Litigation
• Corporate Law & finance
• Capital markets Law • International Taxation

(506) 233-7203/221-0230         breedy@racsa.co.cr
Web page:  www.breedy.com


Learn how to best protect your interests in the Villalobos case. Explore your options at

Also, we invite you to join one of the most active discussion groups on the case.  Find out what people who care are saying. Join at irccr-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


      Lic. Gregory Kearney Lawson, 
attorney at law
Villalobos and Savings Unlimited Collections
*Investments  *Corporations 
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica *Tax Shelters 
*Immigration *Intellectual Property
    *Business procedures *Family and Labor Law
    *Locate People *Private Investigations
       Ph/Fax: 221-9462, 841-0007

Real estate agents

15 years Costa Rican real estate experience
Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000 
Member, Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
(506) 232-5016 home   (506) 233-8057 office  (506) 382-7399 cell 


Empresa de Investigadores Internacionales S.A.
Telephone (506) 280-5217 
FAX (506) 280-5120
P.O. Box 297-2100 Costa Rica
Cédula Juridica #3-101-097681-32

Web Design

Personalized Web Design
•Hosting •Promotion •Logo Design
Prices so reasonable they will astound you
Call for a quote:  220-4602
We have over 12 years international experience

Y chromosome turns out to be a hearty fellow
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Theories that human males will eventually become extinct can now be dismissed. U.S. scientists have discovered that the genetic material that defines men biologically is more durable and adaptable than thought. The researchers have finished decoding the Y chromosome, which is handed down only by fathers to sons, and they suggest that it will not disappear any time soon. 

The male Y chromosome has been widely misunderstood, even belittled. It is one of 46 chromosomes in the human body, the long microscopic strands of DNA that contain genes and are tightly coiled to fit within the tiny nucleus of each cell.

In the view of some scientists, the Y chromosome had a bleak future. After all, it had shrunk from about 1,500 genes 300 million years ago to what was believed to be one or at most a few genes. Furthermore, researchers considered it a wasteland because they thought its genes did not contribute anything important to male biology. 

To make matters worse, the Y chromosome is the only one not to have a twin from which it can draw genetic matter to repair mutations or replace lost material. All the others are paired, one from each parent. Even women have two female X chromosomes because both men and women carry them and pass them down. Many scientists thought this apparent inability to repair itself might be why the Y chromosome had shrunk over the ages. They feared it might die out in a several million more years, taking the human species with it.

"How could such things be said about this wonderful chromosome," asks David Page of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass. He is optimistic about the Y chromosome's future. He led a team of researchers from several institutions who have deciphered its physical structure and discovered biological secrets that are likely to earn it some badly needed respect. He said:

"We're here really to defend the honor of the Y chromosome in the face of a century of insults." 

Based on an analysis of Y chromosomes in human men and several types of male apes, Page's team discovered that this genetic material is much more

interesting than thought. The scientist who has overseen the global project to determine the structure of all human genes, Francis Collins of the U.S. government's National Institute's of Health, says the new findings counter the idea of a rotting chromosome.

"This sequence reveals some fascinating and unexpected twists in human biology and genetics, explaining how the solitary Y manages to avoid the evolutionary dustbin that many had predicted it would ultimately land in," he said.

For one thing, the Y chromosome has more genes than believed, 78 of them. As Dr. Page's team reports in the journal Nature, 60 of them are involved in production of sperm. He says many are arranged in pairs along its length and might exchange material for repair purposes the same way the paired chromosomes do.

"This will in many cases correct the mutation and thereby repair the gene," he said. "So we found many sperm production genes on the Y chromosome and almost all of them live as sort of married couples. This, we propose, keeps the chromosome well stocked with healthy, intact genes that are vital to human reproduction."

Rather than think of the Y chromosome as a dying stretch of DNA, Page offers the notion of an adaptable chromosome once paired with the X chromosome hundreds of millions of years ago. He says it separated, shed itself of unnecessary genes, and adopted only those it needed to carry out its sperm production and other male functions.

As important as the work is for understanding male fertility, it is also expected to shed light on male infertility. But scientists do not yet know what the the rest of the Y chromosome's genes do. How do they contribute to maleness?

Francis Collins at the National Institutes of Health says the question is not trivial. "The comedienne Elayne Boosler wrote, 'When women get depressed, they eat chocolate or go shopping. When men get depressed, they invade countries!' There's a difference here. Now obviously that's a bit of an overstatement of the power of the sequence, but it does reflect some of the myths and the lore that surround this particular part of biology," he said.

The new research will undoubtedly set off a series of new studies to find the answers.

Blair taking heat from skeptics of Iraq's weapons
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

LONDON, England — British Prime Minister Tony Blair has again rejected allegations that intelligence information on weapons of mass destruction was doctored to justify Britain's entry into the war in Iraq. 

Blair has insisted once again that his government did not manipulate intelligence to persuade a skeptical public and Parliament that Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

His latest comments, at prime minister's question time in Parliament on Wednesday, came a day after the opening of a foreign affairs committee inquiry into the matter.

The prime minister made Iraq's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs central to his argument that there was a case for war. The issue has now become perhaps the biggest controversy Blair has faced in his six years in office.

Tuesday, two former senior cabinet ministers, Robin Cook and Clare Short, told that committee that British foreign intelligence sources had told them just days before the outbreak of the war in March that Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction did not pose an immediate threat.

Also under scrutiny is the position that was taken by Blair, that Saddam's biological and chemical 

weapons could be unleashed on as little as 45 minutes' notice.

In the House of Commons Wednesday, the British leader said he stood by all the information contained in a special governmental report on Saddam's weapons. 

"The intelligence that we put out in the dossier last September described absolutely accurately the position of the government. And that position is that, indeed, Saddam Hussein was a threat to his region and to the wider world," he said. "I always made it clear that issue was not whether he was about to launch an immediate strike on Britain. The issue was whether he posed a threat to his region and to the wider world."

The British leader also rejected calls that he and a senior adviser appear before that inquiry committee to face questions. "It has never been the case that officials have given evidence to select committees. Neither is it the case that the prime minister does so, except in very limited circumstances which we have set out," Blair said. 

A second parliamentary body, the Intelligence and Security Committee, will hold its own inquiry into the issue. It will be held in private, but the prime minister has promised that its findings will be published. Lawmakers in the United States and Australia are considering holding similar probes to examine whether the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was exaggerated for the sake of initiating the conflict in Iraq. 

U.S. procedures on jumped visas still criticized
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The U.S. General Accounting Office said Wednesday that the U.S. government doesn't have good procedures in place to find a suspected terrorist who is already in the United States on a revoked visa.

In an earlier report conducted in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the General Accounting Office had discovered that more than 100 foreign nationals suspected of terrorist involvement had received visas through some lapse in the process of conducting background checks. The House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging 
Threats and International Relations asked the GAO, often considered a watchdog of government 

performance, to investigate further.

The General Accounting Office reported that "The U.S. government has no specific written policy on the use of visa revocations as an antiterrorism tool and no written procedures to guide State in notifying the relevant agencies of visa revocations on terrorism grounds." The lack of such policies, the General Accounting Office says, may "increase the probability of a suspected terrorist entering or remaining in the United States."

The General Accounting Office is recommending that the attorney general and the secretaries of Homeland Security and the State Department develop better procedures to inform each other and react in a situation when a visa is revoked because of terrorism concerns.

What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002 and 2003 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted. CheckHERE for more details