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(506) 2223-1327           Published  Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in  Vol. 11, No. 121           E-mail us
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mil colones
125 x 67 mm
with image of Braulio Carrillo Colina
dos mil colones
132 x 67 mm
with image of Mauro Fernández Acuña
Back of un mil
Reverse is a white-tailed deer in a dry forest
back of dos mil
Reverse is a bull shark and other sea creatures

Two new banknotes are beginning to hit the streets
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pretty soon Costa Ricans will be saying una plastica when they mean a 1,000-colon bill.

The new emission that is coming out this week is just one of two, but it is the only bill that is being made of a plastic material that is supposed to wear three times as long as the current cotton fiber paper.

The 1,000-colon bill is seven millimeters narrower than the 2,000-colon bills. That's about a quarter of an inch, and enough so that someone can determine the denomination by touch. The 1,000-colon bill is 4.92 inches wide or 125 millimeters. The 2,000 colon bill is 5.2 inches or 132 millimeters.

Soon to be released is the 5,000-colon bill that will be 139 millimeters wide or nearly 5.5 inches. The 20,000-colon bill that was released Sept. 22 is a bit wider than 6 inches at 153 millimeters.

The key point for expats is that they must spend the old versions of the paper money by Sept. 1 or they will have to take the bills to the bank for conversion into the new, colorful currency. Banks will continue to accept the old bills until Nov. 1. After that only the Banco Central will make the exchanges, the bank said.

A statement from the Banco Central said that many of the bills now in circulation are at the end of their useful life.

The bank plans to issue a new 10,000-colon bill and a much sought 50,000-colon bill that will have a value similar to the U.S. $100 bill. The largest bill in circulation now is the 20,000-colon bill that seems to have failed to win favor with
cinco mil
139 x 67 mm
with image of Alfredo González Flores

cinco mil back
Reverse is a white-face monkey and a crab

the public. Many retail stores will not accept them.

The man pictured on the 1,000-colon bill is Braulio Carrillo Colina, a former president who was ousted in a coup led by Francisco Morazan in 1842. Carrillo fled to El Salvador where he was assassinated three years later.

Academic Mauro Fernández Acuña is on the 2,000-colon bill. He was a politician and educator who helped found the Liceo de Costa Rica, the Instituto de Alajuela, and the Colegio Superior de Señoritas,

Another coup victim, Alfredo González Flores, will be on the 5,000-colon bill. He was ousted in 1917 by his war minister, Federico Tinoco, after being distinguished for a number of monetary reforms.
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Medical emergency Spanish
seminar set for expats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Community Action Alliance in San Ramón plans a short course in emergency medical Spanish for expats so they can communicate with emergency workers in a crisis.

The two-hour seminar will be Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at the local fire station.  Green Mountain Academy is sponsoring the course. The location is two blocks east of the PeriMercado directly adjacent to the main Cruz Roja facility, organizers said.

During this seminar participants will learn all the basic Spanish required ensuring that they can receive the best care possible during emergency situations, the Community Action Alliance said.

Vehicle hijack suspects
jailed for investigation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two men have been jailed for investigation because agents think they have been involved in some 21 vehicle hijackings. In some cases, the bandits carried an AK-47.

The men were detained last week in Ipís de Goicoechea, and a judge in the Juzgado Penal de Goicoechea remanded them to jail for three months each, the Poder Judicial said Monday.

The crimes are alleged to have happened over 11 months. The crooks used a flashing blue light atop their vehicle to confuse motorists and to impersonate police.

The crooks also used bulletproof vests, face masks and other police-type gear, officials said.

The suspects were identified by the last names of Flores Chavarría and González Madrigal.

Internet data hookup
suffered an outage

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that its GSM system suffered an outage `Monday morning and some users were not able to access the Internet via cell telephone hookups.

The failure was in equipment that is used for interconnections of data in the Red Móvil GSM, the company said. Affected were users of Roaming, Blackberry and other services by persons who tried to connect to the Internet.

Pioneer policewoman
honored by Fuerza Pública

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officials held a gathering Monday morning to honor María Lourdes Mora Chavarría, who is the second women to have joined the police force. She is retiring in August.

Ms. Mora joined the force in 1979 and has spent most of her career in the San José vicinity. She was given a plaque of recognition.

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!

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 121

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`They want justice
Photos by a Sámara resident
Says the banner: 'The people have the power. We say no to violence and injustice'
Mushrooming criminality is background to Sámara march
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The long-simmering discontent with revolving door justice and police inaction appears to be the background for the march Sámara residents staged Sunday.

At least 100 residents took part. Some carried signs that called upon President Laura Chinchilla to take action. Others said:  "Costa Rica change. Please, more security." "Laws in favor of citizens." "Murderers and crooks in jail."

The residents of the Nicoya peninsula beach town got support, too, from Nosara residents who carried signs showing their backing. Nosara is further north on the Pacific coast.

The trigger for the march was the cold-blooded killing of an Argentina tourist last Thursday as she sat with her computer in a local open-air restaurant. The woman was  29-year-old Carolina Silva Pacheco. The Judicial Investigating Organization said she was the apparent robbery victim when two men tried to take her portable computer. She resisted and one man shot her in the head.

The Pacific beach communities are seeing more and more violence as city gangs find the pickings are easier in these areas. Sámara residents also say there is an influx of hardened Latin American foreigners who seem to be involved deeply in the drug business.

Police stations in beach towns are notoriously understaffed and under equipped. In some communities police officers
marchers for justice
Marchers parade through town

fear venturing out onto the streets because they are outgunned by the local crooks who happen to be part of an extended criminal family. There is a Fuerza Pública station in Sámara but major cases are handled by the Judicial Investigating Organization either from Liberia or Nicoya, the regional center. For Nosara residents, the situation is more difficult because the community is some 40 kilometers off the hard-surface road that connects Nicoya with Sámara. In wet weather the trip is nearly impossible.

Marie recovered
 Crooks stripped the instruments from the María and painted the hull black
Limón marine businessman and staff find company's boat
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

International diving operator Perry Edwards said his associates have been able to locate their stolen boat. The major problem was that crooks stripped the boat of all of its gauges, radio and its two outboard motors.

This was the La María, which was taken while supposedly being watched by Limón port guards. Thieves took the $30,000 boat that was owned by Industrial Maintenance Divers in early May. The story appeared HERE!

Company employees were threatened when they tried to locate the boat in an inlet near Limón Centro. When they returned with law officers, they were fired on by automatic weapons, Edwards said. Apparently there never was a report made of the incident by police or coast guard officers.

"We found the Maria in the same area that we were fired
upon," Edwards said from his Colombian headquarters. "It took awhile by our own means, but we found it. It was painted black and stripped of all gauges plus the motors.
We did call the police, but they were no help. The people who had the hull said that they found it sinking and with no motors. The police accepted that and left."

Edwards said that his firm offered an $8,000 reward for the boat, and that brought in tips. He still is in search of the outboard motors and said that he had a good idea where they may be. Late Monday he said police in Limón agreed and said they would take action.

Police warned him and his associates against taking matters into their own hands, he said. Edwards has said repeatedly that he is concerned by the lack of law enforcement on the Caribbean coast and said he is concerned that there is extensive drug smuggling there and has not come to the attention of authorities.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 121

CR Home

Climate change linked to ocean currents in new study

By the University of Washington news service

There have been instances in Earth history when average temperatures have changed rapidly, as much as 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) over a few decades, and some have speculated the same could happen again as the atmosphere becomes loaded with carbon dioxide.

New research lends support to evidence from numerous recent studies that suggest abrupt climate change appears to be the result of alterations in ocean circulation uniquely associated with ice ages.

“There might be other mechanisms by which greenhouse gases may cause an abrupt climate change, but we know of no such mechanism from the geological record,” said David Battisti, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor.

Battisti was part of a team that used a numerical climate model coupled with an oxygen-isotope model to determine what caused climate shifts in a computer-generated episode that mimicked Heinrich events during the last ice age, from 110,000 to 10,000 years ago. Heinrich events produced huge numbers of North Atlantic Ocean icebergs that had broken off from glaciers.

The simulations showed the sudden increase in North Atlantic sea ice cooled the Northern Hemisphere, including
the surface of the Indian Ocean, which reduced rainfall over India and weakened the Indian monsoon.

Battisti noted that while carbon dioxide-induced climate change is unlikely to be abrupt, the impacts of changing climate could be.

“When you lose a keystone species, ecosystems can change very rapidly,” he said. “Smoothly retreating sea ice will cause fast warming if you live within a thousand kilometers of the ice. If warming slowly dries already semi-arid places, fires are going to be more likely.”

Previous studies of carbonate deposits from caves in China and India are believed to show the intensity of monsoon precipitation through the ratio of specific oxygen isotopes. The modeling the scientists’ used in the current study reproduced those isotope ratios, and they determined that the Heinrich events were associated with changes in the intensity of monsoon rainfall in India rather than East Asia.

The research is published online by Nature Geoscience.

Meanwhile, a report from the National Science Foundation said that the rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic  has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level. The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Regional leaders headed to Guatemala to discuss security

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Regional leaders are gathering in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday for a conference in support of a Central American security strategy.

Attending will be President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica. She will make a quick trip Wednesday morning to arrive by 10 a.m. at the Hotel Westin Camino Real. She returns to Costa Rica Thursday morning, said Casa Presidencial.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead the U.S. delegation, said the U.S. State Department. The event is being staged by the Sistema de Integración  Centroamericana.

The International Conference seeks to highlight the grave security challenges that Central America is facing, to urge a
more robust joint response from Central American governments, civil society and the private sector, and to galvanize international support for their efforts to reduce the high levels of crime and insecurity in the region, said the State Department.
The visiting heads of state are likely to have lengthy shopping lists and the expectation of more money from Washington. President Barack Obama announced the regional security partnership during his visit in March.

The Central American Integration System leadership and the seven Central American states, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panamá, will present a new Central America security strategy to the international community at the conference in an effort to attract greater international attention to the security challenges, and seek enhanced levels of political engagement and support from their regional and international partners, the State Department said.

The strategy includes an action plan and portfolio of regional programs aimed at addressing key security concerns in Central America, including narcotics and arms trafficking, transnational criminal gangs, border security, reintegration and prevention, and law enforcement training, the State Department added. The United States has invested vast sums in the Central American states mostly to reduce drug trafficking.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 121

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Noriega is going home
to face more charges

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

France says it will begin proceedings to extradite former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to his home country.

Noriega served 20 years in prison in the United States for drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering before being extradited to France in 2010. He had been sentenced in absentia in 1999 to seven years in jail on charges of money laundering.

Panamá has requested Noriega's extradition for his role in the killing of the leader of an attempted military coup in 1989. He also faces charges of murdering political opponents.

France agreed Monday to return the ex-general to Panama after the United States gave its approval for him to be extradited. Washington's consent was required under existing treaties since he has not yet served his full term in France.

Noriega came to power in Panamá in 1983 and maintained a firm grip on the Central American country until he was ousted by U.S. forces in 1989. 

Arizona wildfires force
evacuation of thousands

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. authorities say high winds have pushed a dangerous wildfire toward a city in the southwestern state of Arizona, forcing more people to evacuate their homes.

Some 1,000 emergency personnel are battling the fire, which jumped over a highway late Sunday, propelled by winds gusting up to nearly 100 kilometers an hour. The highway had served as a containment line protecting the nearby city of Sierra Vista.

Authorities ordered additional evacuations, raising the number of people displaced in recent days to almost 10,000. At least 44 homes have been destroyed. No serious injuries have been reported.

Forecasters had predicted winds would moderate on Monday. By Sunday night, authorities said the blaze was 27 percent contained.

Elsewhere, more than 3,000 firefighters were trying to stop a larger wildfire that has burned in eastern Arizona since May 29. Authorities said that blaze was nearly half contained.

The Arizona wildfires are among several burning in spots across the southwestern United States. The U.S. National Interagency Fire Center says fires nationwide have burned almost as much land in the first half of this year (1.25 million hectares) as in the entire 2010 fire season (1.29 million hectares).

Oceans shockingly worse,
international report claims

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new report warns that the state of the world's oceans is far worse than suspected, with marine species at an unprecedented risk of extinction.

The International Program on the State of the Ocean says in its report issued Monday that oceans are degenerating faster than anyone has predicted.

The report says the combination of stress factors affecting oceans is creating conditions linked to every previous major extinction of species in Earth's history. Because of the unprecedented speed of change, panelists say, the rate of deterioration is hard to assess. But they say the first steps to globally significant extinction may have begun with the rising threat to marine species such as reef-forming corals.

Marine scientists from around the world have gathered at Oxford University in Britain to review recent research by ocean experts. They say they have found firm evidence that the effects of climate change and other human impacts, such as over-fishing and pollution by run-off from farming fertilizers, have caused a dramatic decline in ocean health.

Program scientific director Alex Rogers described the findings as shocking. He said the situation demands unequivocal action at every level to prevent consequences for humankind for generations to come.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 121

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Downtown theater begins
showings of documentaries

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cine Varidades, the vintage movie house on Avenida 5 in downtown San José, plans to dedicate Tuesdays to documentary films.

The project is in conjunction with the Asociación de Documentalistas de Costa Rica. The screenings will be Costa Rican. The first film tonight is "Las 50 Vueltas." The film is by Costa Rican Juan Manuel Fernández and was filmed in Cuba during that country's 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution, said an announcement.

"¿Quién dijo miedo?" is planned for June 28. It is a Honduran film about the coup that ousted Manuel Zelaya as head of state. "Taxi to the Dark Side" is planned for July 5. It is a film about U.S. soldiers killing an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base.

Salary increases fixed
for second half of year

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Consejo de Salarios Monday decreed a 2.55 percent raise for most categories of minimum wage, but also said that certain lower paid workers should get 3.55 percent.

This was the salary fixing for the last six months of the year. Many Costa Ricans work at the minimum wage for their job category.

Some union members were not happy with the decision and staged a protest outside the Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social.

The ministry will publish a list online that specifies the new salary for each job category. There are many.

Police confiscate windfall
of all types of alcohol

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police again stopped a vehicle that was bringing what appears to have been untaxed alcohol into Costa Rica. The incident was at kilometer 53 of the Interamericana in Paso Canoas.

Police said the driver tried to avoid a checkpoint and a chase ensued.

Police said they confiscated 10 cases of tequila, five cases of Baileys Irish Cream, 35 cases of scotch, five cases of vodka, and assorted other brands and types, including 10 cases of Old Milwaukee. The driver was unable to show that taxes had been paid on the merchandise.

Young robbery suspect held

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 16 year old stands accused of robbing women in Zapote-San Francisco.

Fuerza Pública officers on motorcycles detained the youth a short time after a women said she had been robbed of her purse and a cell telephone. Police said the youth carried two other cell telephones and 20,000 colons (about $40).

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