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(506) 2223-1327               Published Friday, July 12, 2010,  Vol. 10, No. 135                 E-mail us
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Truth is in the eye of the Internet or politicians
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Well, the truth is out.

An Irish mystic announced that 7,000 U.S. troops are being sent to Costa Rica because the gulf oil spill is lubricating a Caribbean earthquake zone
with potential devastating results.

One the other hand, there are reports that the ghost of William Walker, channeled through actress Shirley
fortune teller
MacLaine, is infiltrating the top brass of the U.S. Southern Command and wants to finish the invasion he started in 1857.

And these are among the most credible explanations flashing through the Internet after the legislature last week approved shore leave here for U.S. military personnel on anti-drug duty in the Pacific.

The mystic is Sister Maria Theresa, who says she is the 73rd Sorcha Faal of the Sorcha Faal Order, which has its origins in pre-Christian Ireland. Although detractors suggest that Faal is a U.S. computer programmer and poster boy for mental health week, the latest missive is authoritative. It's from the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service. Or so the Internet report says.

The U.S. troops are here as a rescue force when the big earthquake strikes. Now scientists have been trying for years to predict quakes, but it appears that the North American Treaty Organization has the ability. Oh, that's the agency, headed by an Italian admiral, that has taken over from Barak Obama in trying to stem the gulf oil spill. At least according to the Sorcha Faal. Ireland, by the way, is the home of a famous black beer and several wonderful variations on grains.

William Walker represents a separate theory. He made himself boss of Nicaragua in the middle of the 19th century. Military reverses at the hands of a
Costa Rican army sent him fleeing. But now, says the theory, he is back, at least in spirit. By psychically manipulating the minds of U.S. military leaders, he can invade the little country without an army and complete his plans to bring it into the American Union as a slave state.
Whooops! That little plan was derailed in 1865.

Meanwhile, back on earth, opposition legislative deputies have filed a court appeal claiming the approval of shore leave for U.S. personnel on anti-drug patrol is unconstitutional.

That's what Costa Rica politicians do when they have lost an Asamblea Legislativa vote. One of the
principal proponents of the appeal is Luis Fishman, who ran an unsuccessful presidential race this year.The politicians probably know better, but that's politics.

Wednesday an official of the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados went on television in Panamá to report that U.S. troops were going to take over the lands and the
mountains of Costa Rica. He forgot to mention the bars, the beaches and the tourist hotels.

From Heredia Freddy Pacheco León, a biologist at Universidad Nacional, sent a letter to lawmakers in which he continues to deplore the creation of a U.S. military base in Costa Rica. That is his take on shore leave.

The problem is that lawmakers just left on a mid-year vacation, so they will not see his letter anytime soon.

By that time, the devastation from a petroleum-induced earthquake or maybe the appearance of the ghost of William Walker will have Costa Ricans thinking about other things

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 134

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 Agents say these packages of marijuana were confiscated
  in Los Guidos Thursday when they arrested men they
  suspected to be on a delivery route.

Dike bursts and floods
highway and community

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Rains Thursday augmented the flow of the Río Claro in Golfito and caused a dike to collapse. The community of La Esperanza and national Ruta 2 were flooded. In addition two landslides were reported near Puerto Jiménez on the Osa peninsula and the community of Balsa and its 26 families were cut off, said the national emergency commission.

These were the most serious results to the heavy rains that hit the southern zone. The emergency commission declared an alert for the cantons of Buenos Aires, Osa, Golfito, Corredores and Coto Brus. Also under alert is Pérez Zeledón. But bymid-day Friday the alert was lifted becausse the danger had passed.

Emergency crews still were trying to mend the 50-meter break in the Rio Claro dike in conjunction with the Municipalidad de Golfito.

The Central Valley, including Alajuela, San José, Heredia and Cartago and Guanacaste were under a preventative alert in anticipation of a weekend filled with rain. There was heavy rainin some sectors, but in others theground remained dry.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that a tropical wave, No. 24 this season, and a system of low pressure conbined to bring the precipitation.  The weather institute said that higher temperatures this morning set the stage for more rain in the afternoon.

Quepos mayor is sought
to answer conversion count

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents entered and searched the Municipalidad de Quepos Thursday and later said an arrest order would be issued for the mayor, Óscar Monge.

Prosecutors from the Fiscalía de Aguirre y Parrita and agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization were involved in the search. They said they were investigating a case of conversion.

Later the Poder Judicial said that the mayor was suspected in the sale of six cameras that are the property of the municipality. The mayor is suspected of keeping the money from the sale of at least one digital camera, the Poder Judicial said.

Lawyer faces allegation
of taking client's money

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Prosecutors in Puntarenas asked the local court to jail a lawyer with the last names of Prendas Matarrita while a fraud charge is investigated.  A criminal judge agreed and placed the lawyer in four months of pretrial detention.

The lawyer is a suspect in the misappropriation of some 18 million colons of a client's money. That amount is about $34,300.

Armed robbery suspects
held in Pérez Zeledón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators said they fear that criminals are looking for greener pastures in other parts of the country.

Agents made two raids Thursday in the center of Pérez Zeledón to detain three men with the last names of Quesada Philips, Valverde Vega and Golding Dennis. The men are suspects in supermarket stickups and home invasions in the area.

Agents said they confiscated three firearms and a quantity of money.

The men came to the area from the Provincia de Limón, agents said.

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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.

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.

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.

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, July 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 134

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Pachuco: The second language of Costa Rica is not English
By Christopher Howard*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Most people think English is Costa Rica’s second language, but surprisingly that is not the case. In Costa Rica, the word pachuco refers to a person who has manners that are socially unacceptable and often uses shocking language when speaking.  Pachuco is also a pejorative name given to certain colloquial words and expressions.

Some consider pachuco and its pachuquísmos to be Costa Rica’s second language. There is a place on YouTube where you can listen to a Tico doing a humorous monologue by using an exaggerated form of pachuco titled Nuestro segundo idioma el pachuco (“Our second language pachuco”).  Below are the English translations of some of the words and expressions from this link.

Alzar un culo – to pick up a girl.

Avisparse – to get smart or be alert.

Baldazo – a rain storm.

Carne de tavo – a person who is in jail.

Cascabel – a rattlesnake or mean woman.

Chante – a house. Choza and cuna are synonyms in pachucho.

Compinches –friends or buddies.

Comprarse una bronca – look for or get into trouble.

Coronar la misión – to have sex.

Creerse la última chupadita del mango – to think one is hot stuff. Other ways to say the same thing are: Creerse gran cosa, creerse la última Coca Cola en el desierto, creerse la gran caca (think you are big shit) or creerse muy sabroso.

Cuatro Plumas – Cacique the national liquor of Costa Rica. It is called cuatro plumas in tico slang (four feathers) because the Indian on the label has four feathers on his head.

Dar color  - to embarrass.

Darle pelón –  to flirt with someone. It is more common to use dar pelota.

Dejar buey – to make someone feel stupid.

Dejar como un domingo en la Sabana..solo pelotas – to get beaten up physically. To leave someone like the Sabana Park on a Sunday full of soccer balls (bumps). A lot of ticos go to the Sabana on Sunday to play soccer.

Dejarle a uno más cruzado que el saco de Gardel -  to get very high on drugs.

Detrás de lopa -  behind the eight ball. The real expression is Detrás del palo but pachucos often reverse the syllables of words, thus lopa instead of palo.

Echar el ruco – to pick up girl. Ruco is slang for horse. Echar el caballo or echar los perros is also used here.

En menos que canta un gallo – fast or in a jiffy. I have also heard, En menos que el presidente hace mil promesas. In less time than it takes the president to make 1,000 promises.

Enjacharle a alguien – make a face at someone. Jacha is slang for face in Costa Rica. Hacerle una cara a alguien is the correct way to say it.

Enroscarse – to sleep. Rulearse is also used in Costa Rica to mean the same thing.

Espomosita – beer (foamy). Una friá or un águlia are also used here.

Estaca – a tight-fisted person.

Estar como agua para chocolate -  to be boiling mad.

Estar como Bagaces de Liberia – to be lazy.

Friquear – to freak out.

Gallada – bunch of guys.

Gargantillas – a bunch of women.

Guatazo – a quick bath.
Hacerle daño – to have sex.

Hacerse el Soviético -  a variation of Hacerse el Ruso or to play dumb. Hacerse el maje or hacerse el tonto are more common.

Harinón -  a lot of money. Harina is more common for money. Un hueval de plata is also used.

Jema – means maje  but backwards. Remember pachuchos like to reverse syllables.

La clase Burger King – word play on Burgesia (middle class or bourgeoisie).

La manteca – wife.

La pulpepulpería or small corner grocery store.

Lance – the opportunity to seduce a woman. Lancear means to seduce.

Lolo - stupid.

Manda güevo que – I don’t believe it or it is incredible. For example: Manda huevo güevo que Bill Smith no hable inglés. "It is impossible that Bill doesn’t speak English."

Masticar – speak  a language. It literally means to chew or masticate.

Muy kilometrado -  a person who is over the hill.  To have a lot of millage but in this case kilometers.

Nido – slang for house. It literally means nest. Choza and chante are synonyms.

Oler a quemado – sounds boring.

Palmar – to kill.

Parecer una bolsa de leche – A woman who has no waist. She looks like a bag of milk. I have also heard cuerpo de gallina "body of a hen” used to express the same idea.

Pelliscado – alert or smart. Vivo is a synonym.

Pichel – a person’s face.  Cara or rostro are the correct words for face.

Ponerse de jetas – to say stupid remarks.

Ponerse en Venus – get high on drugs or literally go to the planet Venus.

Raspar las ollas – to eat (literally to scrape the bowl).

Robar pasto – steal a girl from another guy.

Ruedas – car (literally wheels).

Se le mete la guata -  a version of se le mete el agua which means to go crazy. Guata is pachuco for water instead of agua.

Ser como el cuchillo de Tarzán – to be as sharp as Tarzan’s knife or to be hungry

Ser todo orejas –  to be all ears

Sobre – bed. Cama or lecho are the correct words for bed. Lecho is used this way. El hombre está en el lecho de la muerte. The guy is on his death bed.

Solo good –  a version of sólo bueno which means “Things are only good or only good things are happening.”

Soltar el violín – to inspire pity.

Tirar al baúl de los recuerdos – to get rid of a girlfriend in this case.

Tirar la toalla – to give up or “throw in the towel.”

Tucos – legs.

Volverse camote – to go crazy.

Yodito – slang for coffee in Costa Rica,

* Christopher Howard, who has a master's degree in linguistics and Spanish, is the author/publisher of the 16th edition of the perennial  bestselling  "The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica," "Guide to Real Estate in Costa Rica" and the one-of-a-kind "Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish." He also is a relocation and retirement expert who conducts custom and group retirement/relocation tours every month.  For information: Articles similar to the above may be found at

A little mantra keeps one on the right multitasking track
I think we all can use a bit of help when it comes to forgetting or losing things.  We are such multitaskers that juggling too many balls results in one being dropped or forgotten.  Out of the blue I suddenly came up with a two-word mantra that I whisper or think to myself when I start doing something:  “Follow through.” 

Just saying “follow though” helps me later to remember what I had been doing in the first place or to finish what I am doing.

It seems more difficult to adjust to being home again than it does to being on vacation or a trip.  Perhaps because there so many more options when you are in an environment of your own making.  It is daunting trying to catch up with where you left off in your routine -- beginning with trying to remember just what that routine was and do you want to change anything, which leads to multitasking.

Taking a trip or a vacation can change the way you live your life.   For me, the big change is that I am listening to more music and watching less news on TV.  I now realize that most of the news from the rest of the world seems uniformly depressing with repeated reports about different groups or people who are at odds with one another, each in their own entrenched position from which they refuse to budge.

Or if newscasters can’t heat up the dissent, they ask questions, and pester their guests to predict the future.   It’s similar to 2008 when the big question was — as late as September —  “Are we in a recession yet?” Even I knew enough by March and wrote that yes, we were and it was going global. And I am certainly not an economist.  Now they are asking “Are we recovering from the recession or going into a double dip?"  Meanwhile, the wars go on and innocents die. Which makes one wonder how it could be that we humans have evolved only this far.

So it is more than just nice to be back in Costa Rica where so many of these problems seem moderate, like the weather. After air conditioning set at 65 degrees on the train sandwiched between 90 degree heat and unrelenting sun at my destinations, it was a joy to be greeted in San José with the thermometer in the 70’s — even though later in the afternoon it rained.  It is, after all, the Green Season.  And that sort of reflects the moderate effect the
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

global recession has had in Costa Rica — so far. 

However, we just may be behind in our own real estate debacle.  And we still have our volcanoes and earthquakes.  And crime.  Crime in Costa Rica seemed to be the biggest concern of people I met in the U.S.  I understand. They are worried about crime against tourists of which they might be one, whereas they feel immune to the mass and serial murderers in their own state because they don’t consider themselves a possible victim.

But in fact, I have been back only a few days and the pleasure of catching up with my friends and trying to catch up with my routine and remembering where I should put things after I unpack, not to mention trying to write a column, has kept me occupied (and multitasking like crazy).

So if you think that the preceding paragraphs do not make sense in your logic system, try reading George Will’s Thursday, July 8, column, “Another round of Prohibition.” in the Washington Post. In it he points out the unintended consequences of the prohibition against alcohol which abolished  “a widely exercised private right,” and compares that law with the upcoming restrictions on the use of salt and light bulbs of our choice.  (I frankly didn’t know that was happening).  There’s not a mention of like, marijuana, which might bring some people more pleasure than lots of salt or even old fashioned light bulbs and, like alcohol, was also once legal.

I frankly wish that there would be a groundswell of voters who would consider more seriously, some sort of restrictive laws on multitasking.  I am sure it is more harmful than too much salt.

But then, columnists, like regular people, have their own points of view.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 134

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Arizona law was designed to tweak feds, expert says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration's decision this week to try and block a controversial new law in Arizona targeting illegal immigrants sets the stage for an important legal and constitutional clash between the federal government and one of the 50 U.S. states. 

At issue is a new state law in Arizona that goes into effect later this month requiring police to check a person's immigration status if the officer has reason to believe the individual is in the country illegally.

An Analysis on the news

The law was passed after years of frustration in Arizona in dealing with an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants and amid complaints that the federal government was not doing enough to protect the border with Mexico.

The Justice Department decision to try and block the Arizona law in court sets up a classic constitutional confrontation between the power of the central government in Washington and the rights of individual states to act on their own behalf.

Richard Friedman is an expert on constitutional law at the University of Michigan Law School.

"I mean I do think that this conflict is characteristically American that is of the United States and of our constitutional structure," said Richard Friedman. "We have state governments, which have general authority to regulate the affairs of the people within their states.  And then superimposed on top of them is the federal government, which is supreme but only with respect to matters that are entrusted to it."

Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government in the form of the Congress and the president are empowered to provide for the national defense, conduct foreign policy and raise money to fund government spending.  But the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution says that any powers not delegated to the central government are reserved to the states, and that has led to some legal clashes throughout history.

Expert Friedman says most constitutional scholars believe that the power to regulate immigration rests with the federal government, not the states.

"The federal government is supreme within its proper jurisdiction," he said. "In other words, if a particular subject is one on which Congress can regulate, then federal law is the supreme law of the land and any state law that interferes with that is invalid.  And immigration has long been understood to be a matter for federal law.  So the
question really is whether the state law obstructs with or conflicts with or interferes with federal law."

Several civil rights groups are also challenging the Arizona law in federal court, arguing that the statute could lead to racial profiling by police on the lookout for suspected illegal immigrants.  Arizona officials counter that the law includes language that forbids racial profiling and argue that the law will not have a discriminatory impact.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer dismissed the Justice Department's lawsuit as a massive waste of taxpayer money and said her state was forced to act because the federal government has failed to protect the country's borders.

American University legal expert Steve Vladeck says supporters of the Arizona law welcome the legal and constitutional showdown about to play out in the federal courts.

"From the moment that the Arizona legislature passed this law, part of the goal was to provoke this exact response-the federal government suing to stop the law," said Vladeck. "I think the whole issue here is whether the states have the power to take these kinds of measures against undocumented immigrants, and so I think the entire plan was to force the federal government to take a position one way or the other."

Several other states are also considering laws targeting illegal immigrants and a recent Pew Research Center national poll found that more than 60 percent of Americans approve of the Arizona law.  Political experts believe immigration could be a potent issue in this year's midterm congressional elections.

Conservative legal analyst Colby May of the American Center for Law and Justice says many states are closely watching the legal battle over the Arizona immigration law.

"And until, in fact, the federal government shoulders its responsibility and does what the American people have been urging it to do for quite some time, which is control the border, you are still going to find lots and lots of folks coming in illegally into the United States and states are going to feel pressure in their social services and in education and in so many other ways that they are probably going to feel a need to react and do something," said May.

The court battle over the Arizona law will likely play out over the next several months at least, and many legal experts predict that the issue will eventually find its way to the Supreme Court, which has the final word on interpreting the U.S. Constitution and settling legal conflicts between the states and the central government in Washington.

Sharp late morning shock rated at 5.0 by scientists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Reprinted from later edition

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 5.0 took place at 10:31 a.m. local time Thursday, said the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica. The epicenter was given as 10 kilometers southwest of Orotina, not far from the central Pacific coast.
The observatory, part of Universidad Nacional, said the quake was caused by the Coco tectonic plate pushing under the Caribe plate.  This is a typical cause of earthquakes in Costa Rica. The process is called subduction.

The short shock was felt in the Central Valley and probably in the entire country, said the observatory.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 134

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High court decision on guns
generates mixed responses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New local gun laws follow a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Americans' Constitutional right to gun ownership applies nationwide.

Legal challenges and debate continue a week after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that Americans have a right to own a gun for self defense anywhere they live. The court said the Constitutional right to gun ownership applies nationwide, in response to a challenge of a gun ban in the Midwestern U.S. state of Illinois.

But the court also said the ruling limits but does not eliminate the ability of states to devise solutions to social problems that, in the decision's words, "suit local needs and values."

So gun rights supporters and those who favor more restrictions on firearms are vowing to fight on.

While U.S. gun control laws are changing, the debate over whether fewer restrictions will make crime-plagued communities safer remains much the same.

Just days after the Supreme Court said Chicago's 28-year-old ban on handgun ownership was unconstitutional, the city's lawmakers, reeling from weeks of gun violence, passed a tough new set of laws to control the use, sale and transport of firearms.

Annette Holt's son was murdered on a city bus. She fears more guns on the streets will make things worse.

"This is a slap in the face to all of us who have lost children to gun violence," said Ms. Holt.

The high court ruling says the right to have a handgun for self defense is a fundamental right under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and applies to state and local jurisdictions. But Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is countering the court's decision by pushing for new restrictions on guns which would still comply with Second Amendment rights.

"We are a country of laws and we should never be a country of guns," said Daley.

The Supreme Court ruling was welcome news for some gun owners in Virginia. They gathered at this sports bar outside Washington, D.C., to celebrate another victory.  Ending a 15-year ban, a new state law allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns into restaurants that serve alcohol, as long as they do not drink.

"There are almost a quarter of a million concealed handgun permit holders in Virginia alone and this will allow them again to have a choice when they go out to eat," said Phillip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights group.  "They can still open carry.  If they wish however, they can conceal carry now if they wish as well."

Van Cleave says his group will continue its fight to repeal other gun laws, such as a measure that prevents Virginians from buying more than one handgun every 30 days.  He says the repeal of total gun bans in places like Chicago and Washington, D.C., will lead to fewer restrictions on gun owners in other places.

If cities or states decide they are going to regulate the carry of guns his group will fight to ensure they are forced to have an equitable system where any law-abiding citizen who is not a criminal can get that permission to carry a concealed gun easily, added VanCleave.

Gun control advocates acknowledge there will be more legal challenges by gun rights groups, but they remain optimistic most gun laws in the U.S. will be upheld.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 9, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 134

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Monetary Fund says world
is recovering quicker

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Monetary Fund says the world is recovering more quickly than expected from the global financial crisis.

The global economy is on track to expand by 4.6 percent this year, instead of the 4.1 percent the International Monetary Fund predicted in April.

Much of the increase comes from strong expansions in Asia and rising U.S. demand.

But, the International Monetary Fund's quarterly report, released Thursday in Hong Kong, warns of risks, primarily coming from Europe. The Fund says eurozone countries need to take action to stabilize their financial systems and reduce their sovereign debt. The Fund argues that doubts over government finances especially in Greece and other heavily in debt European countries could spread and threaten growth elsewhere.

Some economists, however, see an additional risk in China, because of concerns its high-flying property market could crash. That could be devastating to the country's banking system and hit investor confidence around the world.

Tim Condon in Singapore is the chief Asia economist for the investment bank ING. He says the IMF overlooks the risk from China's rapidly rising property prices.

"I think it is more China than the eurozone. Investors did not have high hopes for eurozone growth before the Greece crisis emerged," he said. "China is a bigger story. China grew by nearly 12 percent in the first quarter of the year and the prospect of a sharp slow down before the end of the year is quiet unnerving for stock markets."

The International Monetary Fund raised its 2010 growth forecast for China to 10.5 percent from 10 percent, for Japan to 2.4 percent from 1.9 percent and for India to 9.4 percent from 8.8 percent.

It expects the United States economy to expand by 3.3 percent, up from 3.1 percent. The forecast for the eurozone countries remains flat at 1 percent.

Sub-Saharan Africa should see growth of about 5 percent, and Brazil could see growth top 7 percent this year.

The five key Southeast Asian economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam were expected to grow by an average 6.4 per cent this year and 5.5 per cent next year.

For 2011, however, the Fund expects the world will see slightly slower growth, in part because stimulus packages created in 2008 to reduce the damage from the financial crisis will start to end. As a result, it is maintaining its April forecast for global growth at 4.3 percent.

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