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(506) 2223-1327               Published Friday, July 2, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 129        E-mail us
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The yellow border is the normal color of the Río Sucio. But now the water is gray with particles in suspension.
Rio Sucio
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica photos

Scientists try to solve puzzle of river's color change
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scientists have a puzzle on their hands. Why did the normally yellow water of the Río Sucio suddenly turn gray?

There is not a firm answer yet, and vulcanologists and geologists are trying to get more information. The river comes from the watershed around the Irazú volcano and flows through the Parque Braulio Carrillo not far from the landslides that blocked national Ruta 32 in the last two months.

The volcano is active and emitting gases that might have some effect on the river water. In addition, scientists note that there is a fine white, clay-like material in suspension that ends up as a gray paste when it precipitates from the river.

The terrain is rough, and scientists are seeking an overfight to study the headwaters of the river. Guards at the national park fear that there may be a
blockage or some kind of natural dam that formed  in the river, creating the possibility of a flash
 flood. The river is well known to those who travel Ruta 32 north from San José to Guápiles because the river flows under the highway and there is a landmark bridge there.

The highway, of course, is having its own problems as officials close it periodically to take measurements in possible landslide areas. The situation was compounded Thursday when a tanker containing natural gas tumbled down a slope on the only available alternate route, that through Turrialba. So access to the Caribbean was cut off for a few hours Thursday.

Sucio, of course, means dirty in Spanish, and the river's normal color is an orange-yellow, perhaps caused by iron oxides. The fine particles in the river now seem to be a type of clay, and they have a sulfur smell, said the scientists at the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica at Universidad Nacional in Heredia.

Scientists are running tests on samples to see exactly what materials are present.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 2, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 129

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Dentistry
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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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Student, 17, chief suspect
in shooting school official

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A youth walked into the office of a school director Thursday afternoon in Heredia and shot the woman in the head, said the Poder Judicial. She is being evaluated by a neurosurgeon.

Fuerza Pública officers quickly located a young suspect, 17, less than a kilometer from the school. The Poder Judicial said he was taken to the Fiscalía Penal Juvenil de Heredia for identification and questioning. The youth is a student at the school.

The director was identified by the last name of Chaverri.   She first went to Hospital San Vicente de Paúl in Heredia and then to Hospital México in San José.

The youth is being questioned as a suspect of attempted murder, said the Poder Judicial.

The shooting took place at the private Colegio Montebello in Mercedes Sur, said the Poder Judicial.


Constitutional court suspends
work on civil union vote

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court agreed Thursday to consider a filing by a man who said that a proposed referendum on legalizing same-sex civil unions violates Costa Rica's obligations to international treaties.

The man, identified as Esteban Quirós Salazar, sought to quash the referendum being planned by the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones. The Sala IV gave the Tribunal three days to respond to the court filing and told it to suspend work on the election.

The Roman Catholic Church and other faith-based organizations obtained signatures for the measure, and the Tribunal, which has not expressed an opinion on the contents of the vote, wants to plan it for the Dec. 5 municipal elections.

Quirós argued that the rights of a minority, homosexuals, should not be decided by the majority, which are heterosexuals.

He also argued that the International declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations have said that discrimination over sexual orientation is a violation of human rights. Unlike in the United States, Costa Rica's Constitution is subordinate to international treaties.

Referendums are new in Costa Rica. The first was called by the executive branch to pass the free trade treaty with the United States and other countries. Homosexuals and supporters doubt that the civil union proposal would pass because of the strong opposition from the church and others.  The religious community already has branded the idea as an opening to gay marriage, and most of those who signed to put the measure on the ballot did so in religious surroundings.

The argument by Quirós has implications far beyond the proposed vote.


School vacations begin
without highway link

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today begins the public school mid-year vacation, but transport officials say they are not able to open the Autopista del Sol for vacationers. Inspections are continuing into the middle of next week.

The section between Atenas and Orotina has been throwing rocks into the highway from the steep slopes, and officials closed the stretch. It was designed as a faster route to the Pacific beaches. The vacation is for two weeks, although many private schools have different schedules.


Embassy says it will be closed

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Embassy says it will be closed Monday, the day set for celebrating the 234th birthday of the United States.


Police get 302 recruits

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fuerza Pública welcomed two classes of recruits Thursday. The first class has 15 women and 112 men. The second had 27 women and 148 men. The total is 302.

The recruits now will undergo six months of training, including time at the police school, called the Centro de Formación de Murciélago. It is in northwest Guanacaste. The recruits were welcomed at a ceremony in the chapel of the Fuerza Pública in the security ministry. Afterwards they took a drug test.


Love of sea inspired exposition

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

"Color in Motion" will open Saturday at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport where Elizabeth Watson, is exhibiting her newest works.

"Her use of color captures the essence of what is in the subject and in the artist, and her latest series is inspired by her love of the sea," said the gallery.  "Elizabeth seeks to engage the viewer into her perspective of light and the contrast of colors and movement." The artist will be at the gallery Saturday.

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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.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July2, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 129

Rapid Respose
Rock n roll

Cops stationed at airport will warn tourists about crime
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Bilingual tourist police are being stationed at Juan Santamaría airport to welcome tourists and give them some security tips.

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, the security ministry and the airport operator, AERIS Costa Rica, have set up two booths at the airport that officials say are placed strategically to provide handouts and information.

Among the information is the fact that the 911 emergency number has at least one bilingual operator on duty at any time.

The booths went into operation Thursday.

The airport location is appropriate because tourist frequently become victims of robbers not far from that location. Crooks use the punctured tire routine to get tourists, usually in rental vehicles, to pull over and expose themselves to highway robbers.
In addition to providing information about crime prevention, the police officers can provide general information about the country, the tourism institute said.

The Sistema de Emergencia 911 reported that in the first six months of the year it handled 345 calls that required the services of a bilingual operator. Not all of the calls were in English, and the service has a system to connect a caller with an embassy worker or someone else who speaks the required language. The service said that the calls amounted to about two a day or 60 per month.

José María Tijerino, the minister of Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, said that by contacting tourists early there were more opportunities to provide information for a safe visit.

The agencies appear to be responding to the many negative experiences that have given Costa Rica a bad name in other countries. For example, the U.S. Embassy reported that in 2009 more than 1,200 U.S. passports were reported missing or stolen there.


Husband, three others convicted of acid attack on woman
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A criminal court in Alajuela heard a woman tell of the excruciating aftermath of an attack when three persons threw acid in her face.

The attack took place in Turrúcares de Alajuela May 15, 2009. The woman, identified as Deylen Patricia Morales Gamboa left her home to go to work and three persons approached her and threw the acid. She was hospitalized, underwent therapy and told the court all she wanted was justice.

The woman, 27, appeared in court with a scarf covering much of her head and face.
The judges at the Tribunal de Juicio de Alajuela agreed with investigators and determined that the attack was orchestrated by the woman's husband, identified as Reinel Páez Pila.

He was not present at the attack but was considered the intellectual author. Thursday he got 13 years in prison for three counts of menacing and one count of inflicting injury.

The three persons convicted of actually throwing the acid got 20 years each.  They were identified as Luis Ángel Sánchez Zumbado and two women identified as Melisa  Molina Ramírez and Yendri Campos Monge.  In a companion civil action the woman was awarded 40 million colons by the court. That is about $75,000.


Ms. Stuart goes to Washington and beyond by bus and train
We arrived at the Amtrak station in Albuquerque, Lesley was there to say goodbye, and I expecting to repeat the traveling experience of some eight years ago.  Instead, we were told that the tracks were washed out in Colorado so they were bringing in buses for the Chicago passengers.  Two bus loads had already left.  After considerable confusion, we were leaving for La Junta, Colorado, in a half filled bus stocked with bottled water and dry snacks. So much for my elegant lunch in a moving dining car.  We did drive through some spectacular scenery and then ran into a hail storm as we climbed a mountain.

Some five hours later we arrived at the train station in La Junta, Colorado, where at least 200 travelers with luggage were waiting. Eventually we all were entrained and en route.  I had a roomette, perhaps 5 feet by 8 feet.  It was crowded with me and my poorly packed luggage.

Visitors to Costa Rica are disconcerted by walls and heavy fences that encase many properties in Costa Rica.  Having grown accustomed to them, I was disconcerted by the lack of them in the Midwest.  In Illinois the houses appeared almost naked and as if they had been sprinkled from the sky with no square walls delineating them, especially where the streets were curved.  The expanses of lawns connecting them look well barbered and manicured, while in comparison there is something unruly looking about some Costa Rican neighborhoods.  As we continued east, there did appear some fences, or at least hedges.

The ride from La Junta to Washington via Chicago gave new meaning to the phrase shake, rattle and roll, not an ambience conducive to a good night’s sleep. My good humor returned in Washington when my friend Fitz met me right outside the Metro Lounge (a very nice feature for first class passengers where we can check luggage, rest, use their Internet and enjoy snacks and drinks, all at no charge). 
 
Fitz guided me through the station to the parking garage.  Then we drove down Constitution Avenue and alongside the Mall while Fitz pointed out every museum and
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

Jo Stuart

government building along the way.  We also drove past the hospital where he had spent a few days.  He mentioned
that he and former VP Dick Cheney had the same cardiologist.  Now there were news people cameras and swarms of people in front. “Maybe Cheney’s back.”  Fitz said.  It turns out he was.  I hear all is okay now.

Then we had lunch at Ris in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, a comfortable  restaurant that appeared to me to succeed in being all things to all people: we were having eggs benedict in the dining area (in the middle of the afternoon) while a wedding party was celebrating behind a partition and a cheering group of fans was at the bar watching the World Cup. All of this with good food and simple but elegant ambience.  Washington was filled with tourists, many of whom were school age.  I envied them their longer stay. Washington is a beautiful, as well as historic city.  I see why Fitz loves it.

He dropped me at the station and in a couple of hours I was on the tracks again.  My final reward was in Ft. Lauderdale. My niece Cathy and her charmingly helpful friend Andrew met me at the station, and we drove to the home of Stan and Annetta (Cathy’s mother and my sister).  

Besides the joy of seeing my family again, that first night I had a great American style dinner that included the sweetest corn on the cob I can remember and the camaraderie and reminiscing that only families can have, especially two sisters who have been close all our lives (except when she was mean to me).  The next day, for the first time in 35 years I was swimming in a pool again.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 2, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 129

Escazú Christian Fellowship
xx
Guoadalupe Missionary Baptist Church


Private insurance firm says it got final OK to operate

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Pan-American Life Insurance Group, a leading provider of insurance and financial services, has announced that its subsidiary, Pan-American Life Insurance de Costa Rica, S.A. has received final approval from the Superintendencia General de Seguros, the country's insurance regulator, to operate.  The firm said it will be working closely with the regulator for portfolio and product-specific approvals.

Upon receipt of final product authorization, Pan-America Life will offer a portfolio of individual health insurance, as well as group life, accident and health insurance products. Among the offering is a new major medical insurance product that will offer both local benefits, with access to in-country providers, as well as access to global medical networks and providers, including in the United States.

“We are pleased that SUGESE approved Pan-American Life to operate in Costa Rica. This much anticipated moment marks a continued expansion in the execution of our regional strategic plan,” said José S. Suquet, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Pan-American Life.  The new competitive landscape in Costa Rica favors Pan-American Life, considering the company’s 99-year history and the group’s deep-rooted experience throughout Latin America.”
“Our leading position in the region’s insurance industry commands high expectations for Pan-American Life in Costa Rica. We are committed to the opportunity to support the fulfillment of the health and life insurance needs of Costa Ricans,” said Eugenio Magdalena, executive vice president of international markets. The parent firm is located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

With executive offices in San José, Pan-American Life Insurance de Costa Rica, S.A. will mark its authorization with a series of launch events in Costa Rica, including media, broker and institutional briefings scheduled for late July 2010, the parent firm said.

The Pan-American Life Insurance Group said it is a provider of insurance and financial services serving nearly half a million customers throughout the Americas. Pan-American Life Insurance Co., the Group's flagship, has been delivering financial services since 1911, employing more than 700 worldwide, providing life and health insurance, worksite benefits and financial services in 47 states, the District of Columbia  and Puerto Rico. The group’s member companies offer individual and/or group life and health insurance throughout Latin America. The group also has branches and affiliates in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panamá, Puerto Rico, and the Cayman Islands.



85-year-old man survives days in the open countryside

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An 85-year-old man survived five days in the countryside before he was located by Cruz Roja searchers.

The man was identified as Miguel Quirós Cordero. He was found near the Río Cañas in Santa Marta de Buenos Aires.

The man's family told police Wednesday that Quirós
disappeared Saturday. That was when searchers were called in.

A Cruz Roja spokesperson said that the man seemed alert but appeared to be suffering from dehydration and some minor injuries. He was found in a mountainous region with heavy vegetation.

He went to a local clinic for an evaluation.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 2, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 129

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Dutch and Brazil face off
in first Cup game today


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In today's first World Cup quarterfinal match, Brazil will play the Netherlands at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Some are calling this game worthy of a World Cup final.  Both teams seem to be in top form before the game.

The Dutch have won all four World Cup matches, and Brazil's coach Dunga describes them as a very difficult opponent.  He said they are a solid team with technical quality and their style of soccer is very similar to South American football.

Brazil is one of four South American teams to reach the final eight. 

The five-time World Cup champions will be without midfielder Elano, who scored in each of Brazil's first two matches.  He has been ruled out of the game against the Netherlands after bruising a bone in his right ankle during a victory over Ivory Coast.  But, the Brazilians have so much talent and depth that Elano's absence is not expected to have much impact.  They have won three matches and drew with Portugal, and are coming off a convincing three-zero victory over South American rival Chile.

The winner of the Brazil-Netherlands match will face either Ghana or Uruguay in the semifinals.  Those teams meet in Friday's second quarterfinal at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. 

Uruguay, which lifted the World Cup trophy in 1950 and at the inaugural tournament in 1930, is aiming for its first World Cup semifinal appearance in 40 years.  "The Black Stars" of Ghana, meanwhile, are bidding to make history for Africa.  No African team has ever reached the World Cup semifinals. 

Ghana's Serbian coach, Milovan Rajevac, says the prospect of becoming the first African team to reach the final four will motivate his squad.  And Asamoah Gyan, who has a team-leading three World Cup goals for Ghana in South Africa, says "The Black Stars" are delighted to be representing Africa at this stage.

Uruguay features top strikers Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, who was born into a family of footballers.  His father, Pablo, played for Uruguay at both the 1966 World Cup in England and the 1974 World Cup in Germany.  Ghana coach Rajevac describes Forlan as a fine player and his team will need to beware of Uruguay's attacking threat.



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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 2, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 129


Latin American news
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Obama calls for action
on U.S. immigration reform

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama is calling for action to reform U.S. immigration policy.  

Obama says the U.S. immigration system is broken and dangerous, and the country's borders are too vast for the problem to be solved only by building more fences.

"In sum, the system is broken, and everybody knows it," he said.  "Unfortunately, reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling, and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics," Obama added.

Speaking at American University's School of International Service, the president made his first major appeal for a comprehensive reform of the nation's immigration policies.

He did not announce any new initiatives on the issue, but called overhauling the U.S. immigration system a moral imperative.

White House officials say the president's decision to speak about the issue was influenced by several factors, including the state of Arizona's recent passage of a tough law against illegal immigrants.

Obama said inaction at the federal level has led to what he considers a bad law. 

The new law has been met with protests around the country, although polls show that a majority of Americans questioned support it.

In his campaign for president, Obama promised to reform the U.S. immigration system, and some critics are demanding that he speed the process.

The president said a comprehensive solution is needed for America's immigration problem. 

He sought to reassure those who want to get tough on illegal migrants that he does not support giving amnesty to people who are in the United States against the law.

"Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship," he said.  "And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable."

Obama also reassured pro-immigrant groups he has no intention of trying to round up and deport those who are in the country illegally.

Despite the president's appeal, members of Congress, many of whom are seeking re-election in November, are not likely to take up the controversial issue of immigration reform this year.







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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details