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(506) 2223-1327             Published Friday, June 25, 2010,  Vol. 10, No. 124        E-mail us
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Orchestra's  performance beamed outside tonight
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The concert Friday by the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional will be available to those outside the Teatro Nacional via a large screen projection in the Plaza de la Cultura.

The Friday concert begins an effort by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud to reach out to persons who might not normally attend a concert. The ministry said that the Friday concert every time the orchestra performs will be broadcast live on the plaza.

As always, the orchestra will also give a repeat performance Sunday at 10:30 a.m. without the large screen. The Friday performance is at 8 p.m.

That's about the time that teens, many of them adorned with garments and piercings of the punk
culture, congregate outside the fast food restaurants on the pedestrian mall on the north of the plaza.

Pianist William Gómez of El Salvador is the invited performer for the concerts.

The 25-year-old performer has played at  Carnegie Hall in New York and has studied with Swiss and Russian instructors.

Chosei Komatsu, the orchestra director, will conduct.

The program includes Benjamin Britten's well-known 1946 work "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra." Sergei Prokofiev's "Concerto No. 3 in C Major" and "Symphony No. 40 in G Minor" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.



Defensoría files appeal against civil union voting
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Defensoría de los Habitantes filed a constitutional appeal Thursday to derail a proposed referendum on civil unions between persons of the same sex.

The referendum process was not designed to abrogate the rights of minorities or groups that historically have been discriminated against and excluded from Costa Rican society, said the Defensoría in its filing to the Sala IV. The filing said that lawmakers should have excluded this type of ballot question.

The constitutional issue arises because the Defensoría said the proposed referendum is contrary to human dignity and violates Articulo 33 of the Costa Rican Constitution.

The article says "All persons are equal before the law and there shall be no discrimination against human dignity."

Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is verifying
petition signatures now and is very close to announcing that there are sufficient names to schedule the public vote. Tribunal officials have said the country could save money by putting the question on the Dec. 5 ballot along with elections for local officeholders.

The referendum is not designed to promote civil unions. The vote is being sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church and several organizations that say they defend the family. Many of the signatures were collected at or near religious activities.

Gay rights activists are pretty sure that opponents to civil unions will get out the vote if the question comes to a referendum. Some already have complained that some religious leaders are claiming the vote is to prevent gay marriages.

The Poder Judicial confirmed that the Defensoría appeal had been filed Thursday afternoon.

The filing is probably just the first of many challenges that will be made to the referendum and its outcome, if it is held.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 25, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 124

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

Pure LIfe Development
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Page One is HERE!      Go to Page 3 HERE!      Go to Page 4 HERE!    
Go to Page 5 HERE! 
  Go to Page 6 HERE!  Sports is HERE!
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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.


Dentistry
Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants $500, Crowns $250

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The registration of Burke Fiduciary S.A., corporate ID 3-101-501917 with the  General Superintendence of Financial Entities (SUGEF) is not an authorization  to operate. The supervision of SUGEF refers to compliance with the capital legitimization requirements of Law No. 8204. SUGEF does not supervise the
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Real estate agents and services

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Judicial official stresses
a policy of prevention

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A top judicial official said Thursday that violence in all of its forms has increased 250 percent in the last few years. She called for a policy of prevention because the court cannot do it all, she said.

The official is Zarella Villanueva Monge, acting president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia. She spoke at a seminar on citizen security.

She said all the court can do is apply the law but that no one can return the life of a son to his mother or a husband to a family.

She said that solutions should be sought that reestablish the social equilibrium and guarantee security to the population. Despite not having the economic resources that each government would like to have, there still is the possibility of putting in place strategic security policies, she said.

She said that inequality and exclusion feed in many cases the levels of criminality.

The seminar was put on by Ecoanálisis, economic and financial consultants.

Under the Costa Rican system, the courts have broad powers. The supreme court hires and sometimes fires the chief prosecutor, who heads the Ministerio Público where prosecutors work. The court also oversees the work of judges and the Judicial Investigating Organization, which develops cases against suspects.


Our readers' opinions
Free Internet cafe
could help in León XIII


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In regards to the article about providing internet service in the area of León XIII.

There should be an Internet café installed by the government of Costa Rica. It could even be located next to one of the police substations for security. This would be a free Internet café that would work to promote education to the poor and give them access to the world to help better themselves.

An antenna could be installed in the same location as to transmit to others, in the challenged area, who can afford access but do not want to let everyone know they have a computer. Not everyone who lives in an area like this is a criminal.

One way to fight crime besides with a nightstick and a jail cell, is education.

People should not call difficult areas slums, as to put a label to people who are poor and live there but rather challenged communities in need of thinkers and shakers ideas to move the community out of poverty. A small investment in education like this would go a long way.
Gregory Bianchi
Louisiana


Government still bears guilt
in Villalobos investor tragedy


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Regarding your article on the arbitration ruling in the Villalobos brothers case:

The logic behind the panel's ruling seems sound on its face, but ignores the culpability of the Costa Rican government in enabling the Brothers. My heart breaks as I recall a dear friend's case. Prior to investing her life savings with The Brothers, she spent months contacting Costa Rican officials in various agencies, all of whom assured her that the business was legitimate and operating within Costa Rican law.

Yes, it still seemed too good to be true (and I urged her not to invest), but armed with government assurances to the contrary and stories from happy investors, she thought she was safe. She lost everything. While investors are certainly responsible for researching potential investments, what recourse do they have when the government misleads them, and then refuses to admit its role in their decision?

As for my friend, she gave up seeking justice long, long ago. She knows it will never come, and now wants only to forget this painful chapter in her life.
Heidi Allen
Austin, Texas

Tax oldest profession

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The oldest profession in the world needs to be regulated, with oversight by the local medical authorities, and then taxed like any other business or profession, in all parts of the world. Governments may find that they can balance their budgets by doing so, and also, stop wasting needless time and resources of local police departments, who have much more serious crimes to deal with.

John Bisceglio
Ciudad Colón

Have you seen these stories?




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A.M. Costa Rica 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 weekday.

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.

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.


For your international reading pleasure:


News of Nicaragua
News of Central America
News of Cuba
News of Venezuela
News of Colombia
News of El Salvador

News of Honduras
News of the Dominican Republic
News of Panamá

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 25, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 124

Rapid Respose
Rock and Roll

Five traffic policemen accused of roughing up student
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Five traffic policemen face allegations that they beat up a university student motorist in March. But criminal court judges declined to suspend the men from their jobs.

Prosecutors unsuccessfully asked the Juzgado Penal de Hacienda to suspend the two men and to order them not to approach the victim or witnesses. Prosecutors said they would appeal the decision.

Three men were detained last week. Two more were detained Thursday, in part based on identifications from lineups.

The Poder Judicial said the pair detained Thursday have the last names of Cordero Quesada and Bolaños Guzmán and face allegations of abuse of authority and of inflicting injuries.

The men detained last week have the last names of  Rodríguez Vargas, Castillo Portugués and Arce Alvarez. They, too, were set free by a judge, but the prosecutor already has appealed.
The incident involved in the case took place last March 22. A student at a private university in San Pedro was driving his car from the school parking lot at 8:30 p.m. when he was halted by one of the officers, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The allegation is that the officer threatened to confiscate the car, and when the student objected and showed paperwork that said all was legal, the officer accused him of aggression.

That is when the officer called in the other traffic policemen who knocked the student to the ground and beat him, according to the allegations.

The student was hospitalized, investigators said.

Judges have broad options in imposing what are called medidas cautelares, which are usually less than pretrial imprisonment. Judges can order a public official removed from his or her job in certain cases. They also can impose restrictions on leaving the country and require suspects to keep in contact with prosecutors and maintain a fixed residence.


Immigration warns of foreigners with fake work permits
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A number of foreigners, probably innocent victims, have obtained fake work permits that they show to prospective employers.

The Dirección General de Migración noted Thursday that since Feb. 1 the agency has been issuing work permits that are pasted into the foreigner's passport. They appear very similar to visas in that they contain a photo and personal data but also the name of the employer.

Only those legally holding a work permit that was issued before the new process went into effect have a slip with an immigration stamp.
The fake permits resemble the pervious document, said the immigration director, Kathya Rodríguez Araica. The older form will vanish as those holding work permits make an annual renewal.

Foreigners have been victims of residency scams, too. Several cases are now under study by prosecutors and the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The immigration office said that the status of foreigners can be checked easily with a new system put online in conjunction with Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. After signing up and for a fee, employers can check the legal status of the 16,000 foreigners who have legal permission to work in various capacities, the agency said.


A quick flight from Central Valley green to desert sand
 I don’t like to fly, so the best part of my trip was riding the wheelchairs in the San José, Houston and Albuquerque airports.  A bad ankle and a heavy computer make it the only way to go the distances and get through customs.  Lionel, my first attendant, true to Tico form, was especially kind and helpful telling me to remain tranquila while he took of care of everything right up to the gate.

In Houston, Mr. D. was equally kind and more chatty.  After he quoted Marco Polo (“You can conquer a country from the back of a horse, but you can’t rule it from there”), and as his last name ended in “i” I asked him if his family was Italian.  No, he said, he was Pakistani, and then I heard his life story.  As a young man he had decided not to study law because the justice system was so corrupt. Later he got a degree in engineering and eventually moved to Saudi Arabia and then to the United States where he did what he loved — work for the airlines in every capacity (He showed me a picture of him as a pilot) and now, at age 70, he was giving this passenger — as it would turn out — the most pleasant leg of her journey (so to speak).

Both children, tall Justin and petite Lesley met me near the baggage section in Albuquerque.  We tend to get giddy and wisecracking when we are together after a long absence.  We were very funny, we thought, but my latest chair attendant never cracked a smile or changed his dour expression.  However, he was not typical of other New Mexicans.

The vistas from my daughter’s windows couldn’t be more different from what I see from mine.  We both have mountain ranges in view but while mine are covered with trees and houses half way up, her mountain looks as if it were carved out of ancient rock.  Instead of houses of various colors and flowering trees and an occasional tall building, which I see at home, she looks out on sagebrush (which seems to multiply like the rabbits that appear in her small garden), the flat desert and a few nearby one story rounded adobe houses, all the same color that my son calls "real estate beige" and my daughter says is actually "desert sand." Even the buildings in Albuquerque are of the same design and color.  Although there is a monotony 
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

Jo Stuart


to it, it is restful and makes the point that the land and sky are the stars and the focus should not be what is manmade.

I also had the opportunity to briefly visit Santa Fe, just an hour’s pleasant ride by train.  Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico and the gathering place for artists of all kinds and appreciators of art of every type. It is, I also learned, the oldest city in the United States and very expensive to live there.  We had dinner at La Boca, which logically served bocas.  We ordered a number of the elegantly presented dishes while we discussed whether boca meant mouth or bite.  I opted for bite although I was on shaky ground, especially when two of the group dallied with the question of whether Boca Raton meant rat’s mouth or rat’s bite. 

New Mexico has been unbearably hot during the day with unrelenting sun shine. Unlike San José there is no cooling breeze. In the evening it cools down to a comfortable low 70s. Air conditioning is a must; something that I am not very happy about because I tend to be allergic to it.

There are a number of Indian-owned casinos, and we went to one one evening.  It was part of a hotel — a huge structure with the biggest lobby I have ever been in.  The major part of the casino areas are filled with slot machines — and cigarette smokers.

But the people there were, like the rest of the people I have met, even casually, as open and friendly as any I have observed anywhere. New Mexico is known as “The land of enchantment,”  but my daughter calls it “The land of Contentment.”  That is something it has in common with Costa Rica.


You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 25, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 124

Escazú Christian Fellowship
xx
Guoadalupe Missionary Baptist Church


Study shows some coral can survive higher temperatures

Special to A.M. Costa Roca

Recent discoveries about tropical coral reefs are expected to be invaluable in efforts to restore the corals, which are succumbing to bleaching and other diseases at an unprecedented rate as ocean temperatures rise worldwide. The research gives new insights into how the scientists can help to preserve or restore the coral reefs that protect coastlines, foster tourism and nurture many species of fish.

Published Wednesday in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One, the research was accomplished by an international team whose leaders include Iliana Baums, assistant professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University.

The team focused on one of the most abundant reef-building species in the Caribbean, Montastraea faveolata, known as the mountainous star coral. Though widespread, this species is listed as endangered on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature because its numbers have declined significantly. In recent years, up to 90 percent of the population has been lost in some areas.

Discovering how corals respond to ocean warming is complicated because corals serve as hosts to algae. The algae live in the coral and feed on its nitrogen wastes. Through photosynthesis, the algae then produce the carbohydrates that feed the coral. When this complex and delicate symbiosis is upset by a rise in ocean temperature, the coral may expel the algae in a phenomenon known as coral bleaching, which may cause the death of both algae and coral. The challenge is to figure out why some corals cope with the heat stress better than others.

"We decided to focus on coral larvae because the successful dispersal and settlement of larvae is key to the survival of reefs," said Baums. "Also, since free-swimming larvae do not yet have symbiotic algae, we can record the expression of different genes in our samples and know that we are looking at the molecular response of the coral itself to heat stress."

Star coral broadcasts eggs and sperm into the water in mass spawning events, which occur in the Caribbean a few days after the full moon in August. Fertilization occurs quickly when the larvae reach the surface, and then they drift for as much as two weeks before settling on the hard surfaces where they will spend the rest of their lives. Free-swimming larvae are especially vulnerable to ecological changes because they have limited energetic reserves. Scientifically, studying coral larvae has distinct advantages over documenting the response of adult coral to thermal stress.

Logistically, however, studying larvae scientifically is not so easy. "We have to find suitable reefs with known, and therefore roughly predictable, spawning habits," Ms. Baums said. "These reefs have to be close enough to shore that we can get into the water and out to the corals within the first hour of spawning, which always happens at night. When we see that the corals are about to spawn, we set up nets over coral colonies to catch the fragile gametes before they can reach the surface, then we rush back to shore to set up controlled matings and get the young corals back into aquarium tanks before they die." Once spawning started, the scientists worked nearly around the clock for a few days. If they failed to capture enough larvae, or if the larvae died in captivity, the experiment could not be repeated until the following year.

The team successfully collected spawn from two populations of mountainous star coral, one off Key Largo, Fla., and one off Puerto Morales, Mexico. Keeping spawn from the two sites separate, the scientists allowed fertilization to occur in captivity, then they raised the embryos at different temperatures. They recorded the developmental stage and gene expression in the embryos between 12 and 48-to-50.5 hours after
coral
Photo by Iliana Baums laboratory, Pennsylvania State University
Researchers set fine nets over coral just before mass spawning events in order to collect the eggs and sperm as they were broadcast into the water.


fertilization, comparing those embryos raised at normal   temperatures with those raised at temperatures that were 1-to-2 degrees C higher.

The embryos from Florida and Mexico developed similarly in the first 50 hours, with the high-temperature embryos maturing only slightly faster than the embryos raised at normal temperatures. Strikingly, larvae raised at higher temperatures showed many more irregular, misshapen embryos than those raised at normal temperatures. For example, after 46 hours, fully 50 percent of the high-temperature embryos from Florida were deformed as compared to the normal-temperature embryos, none of which were malformed. The Mexican samples showed the same pattern but those embryos were less strongly affected by the elevated temperature. Although both populations represent the same species, they responded differently to heat stress, showing genetic variability within the species.

"Our study shows that the response of larvae to changing conditions depends upon where the parent colonies lived," said Ms. Baums. "Clearly the coral larvae from Mexico and Florida respond differently to heat stress, even though they belong to the same species, showing adaptations to local conditions. The two populations have different adaptive potential."

Ms. Baums said she is excited by the clear evidence of local adaptations in populations that this study documented. Previous work with her colleagues has included experiments in restoring damaged coral reefs by creating larvae from controlled genetic crosses, growing them in captivity until they settle onto ceramic tiles, and then transplanting them into selected areas to replenish damaged reefs. Some crosses survive in higher-temperature water better than others, some survive in captivity better than others, and some settle more reliably onto the prepared tiles that are used to form or restore colonies. The new information from the current study will be invaluable in restoration work, she said.

"Variation among populations in gene expression offers the species as a whole a better chance of survival under changing conditions," Ms. Baums said.  "We might be able to screen adult populations for their ability to produce heat-resistant larvae and focus our conservation efforts on those reefs."


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 25, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 124

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

World leaders will meet
amid security concerns


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As leaders gather in Canada for the G-8 and G-20 summits, officials have arrested at least three people in connection with possible threats of violence over the past several days. The latest arrest came Thursday a short distance from where the G-20 summit will take place and just hours before leaders began arriving at Toronto's airport.

Authorities in Toronto say they arrested a 53-year old man after officers saw him at the wheel of a car that had a large metal box on top that made it appear to be unsafe to drive.

Police spokeswoman Nena Snyder says what they saw inside the car alarmed them. "There was an array of weapons found in the car, and containers that are normally used to hold gasoline, but we don't have any indication yet of what was actually in those containers," he said.

Worried police closed off the street to traffic and had the car examined by officers wearing special clothing intended to protect them from dangerous chemicals or germs.  The incident is still under investigation.

This latest arrest comes one day after a different man was charged with possession of explosives as part of an alleged plot to attack the summit. Byrone Sonne, was arrested in a raid on a home in a wealthy Toronto neighborhood. He was charged with possession of dangerous weapons, intimidation against the justice system, and mischief.

Officials say his girlfriend has also been taken into custody. "As a result of an ongoing investigation, Kirstin Peterson of Toronto was arrested and charged with possession of an explosive device, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose," the spokeswoman said.

Authorities say the vigilance, investigations and arrests are all part of an effort to assure the safety of world leaders gathered for the G-8 summit that begins Friday and the G-20 that convenes the next day. To cope with expected demonstrations, some businesses and schools have been closed during the meetings and parts of the city blocked off by tall fences. 

President Barack Obama arrives in Canada today. Discussions at the G-8 will focus on development, economic, peace and security issues, and the G-20 summit will assess steps member nations are taking along the path of financial recovery.

After a working lunch of the G-8 on economic issues, the president participates in an outreach session with seven African leaders, discussing development and maternal and child health issues.

Leaders from Haiti, Jamaica and Colombia will join the discussions, focusing on the drug trade between Latin America and Africa.  Later, a G-8 leaders-only dinner covers political and governance issues. 

G-8 leaders convene again Saturday morning at Muskoka, outside Toronto, to discuss peace and security issues, with a focus on Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East peace process, before a concluding news conference.

Senior administration officials say President Obama and other G-8 and G-20 leaders will work on ongoing steps to ensure a durable global economic recovery, and discuss financial regulatory reform, along with trade, climate change, energy security and energy subsidies.

At a White House news conference Thursday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who will also be in Toronto, President Obama explained decisions he sees G-20 countries facing in order to sustain economic growth and re-balance the global financial situation.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 25, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 124


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School vacation coming

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism operators are getting ready for the mid-year public school vacation that starts July 5 and runs to Monday, July 18.

Many families schedule their vacations at a time when the children are out of school, and that means more tourists at the national level.

Some businesses already are advertising special deals in the hopes of creating a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy tourism year.


Miramar has a fiesta

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A tourism fair starts today in Miramar de Montes de Oro. The event runs through Sunday.

This is the fifth year for the event, which is sponsored by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. In addition to a spectacular view of the Gulf of Nicoya, the fair is offering many local food treats, dances, theatrical works, typical music and the traditional mascaradas and cimarronas, the institute said.


Dance company sets audition

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Compañía Nacional de Danza has scheduled auditions for Tuesday to find male and female performers for productions that are coming up.

The company said it seeks professionals who can do classical ballet, contemporary dance and improvise. The company is the top of the profession in Costa Rica.  Dance administrators are receiving resumes until Tuesday. More information is available at  2256-4838 and 2257-7105.


New Hatillo recycling center

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de San José inaugurated a recycling center in Hatillo Thursday.

The municipality hopes to collect 10 percent of the recyclable material in the area of the center. There are 25 locations that accept plastic, glass, paper and cartons and other materials every Saturday for the center.

The center represents a $341,000 investment with part of the money coming from the government of Japan.





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