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(506) 2223-1327        Published Thursday, July 17, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 141       E-mail us
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Public agencies support her
High court suspends extradition of Ms.Tomayko

By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff
(posted at 2:10 p.m.)
The Sala IV constitutional court ruled Thursday to suspend the extradition of Chere Lyn Tomayko in order to review a new habeas corpus appeal, said a court spokeswoman.

Ms. Tomayko was due to leave the Hatillo detention center at 4 p.m. and be flown back to the United States from Juan Santamaría airport, according to immigration police. U.S. marshals were here to accompany her. The court now has five days to review the habeas  corpus case filed Wednesday morning by public defenders, said Andrea Marín Medina, the spokeswoman.

Ms. Tomayko was indicted by a federal grand jury in Texas for international parental kidnapping eight years ago. The constitutional court ruling was made at 7:50 a.m. The court document suspending the extradition said that the judges will review the claim that Ms. Tomayko is married and therefore a Costa Rican citizen. The court will also investigate the claim that she has two daughters who are of Costa Rican nationality.

Earliler story below

By Elise Sonray

and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While two U.S. marshals spent the night in the Central Valley in anticipation of extraditing Chere Lynn Tomayko today, those participating Wednesday night in a rally in the lobby of the Corte Supreme de Justica had other ideas.

Ms. Tomayko is the woman who spent 10 years as a fugitive in Costa Rica and who faces a U.S. federal charge of parental child abduction.

The gathering Wednesday night was a publicity event staged mostly for the local television stations. Earlier the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, the Defensor de los Habitantes, Ms. Tomayko's daughters and the Defensa Pública had filed legal papers.

The habeas corpus by the Defensa Pública seeks to block the extradition today with the claim that Ms. Tomayko gained Costa Rican citizenship when she married her long-time companion here, Javier Francisco Montero Umaña, a Heredia veterinarian, April 6. The Costa Rican Constitution forbids extradition of citizens, but it also says foreigners married to Costa Ricans have to wait two years and pass certain tests to be naturalized.

The public defender's brief carries the name of Gabriela Cordero Zamora, the defensora pública, and Marta Iris Muñoz Cascante, director of the office. The brief, directed to the Sala IV constitutional court, also notes that the couple have two children, Anna Sofia, 8, and Arianas Nicole, 5.

That brief was filed about 1 p.m. Wednesday. This is the fourth constitutional court appeal filed on behalf of Ms Tomayko, who has been fighting extradition for 10 months. She has been in prison.

Jeannette Carrillo Madrigal, executive president of the women's institute, and Daniel Soley Gutiérrez, an assistant defensor de los habitantes, directed their appeals, drafted Wednesday, to the Tribunal de Juicio de Heredia. That is the court that issued the final extradition order Tuesday morning. Both Ms. Carrillo and Soley say that the extradition should not be carried out while a request for refugee status by Ms. Tomayko still is pending.

Ms. Tomayko claims that her former boyfriend, Roger Cyprian, abused her physically and emotionally, which is why she fled Texas with their daughter Alexandria, 10 years ago. The act of defying the Texas court was what brought the federal parental kidnapping charge. For a time Ms. Tomayko was on the F.B.I.'s 10-most-wanted list. Curiously, she was living in Costa Rica with the full knowledge of U.S. Embassy officials at least since 2002. Embassy officials seem to have delayed arresting her until Alexandria turned 18 and would no longer be returned to Cyprian. She now is 19.

The appeal by older daughter Chandler and Alexandria Tomayko was to the constitutional court. They claim that their younger sisters were not adequately represented during the extradition process. The appeal, written in the form of a letter, is emotional: "We consider that our little sisters have the right to live and grow with a mother as good as the one that we have had."

Ms. Carrillo raised the issue of the young sisters in a opinion column published in La Nación July 6. She said then that Ms. Tomayko would be at risk to be murdered if she were returned to the United States.

Roger Cyprian, via e-mails, has denied abusing Ms. Tomayko and said she left because a Texas court awarded both of them joint custody of Alexandria. He wrote Wednesday night that his efforts to tell his side of the story have fallen on deaf ears at La Nación. He said he contacted the
sisters in Montero familiy
A.M. Costa Rica/Elise Sonray
Chandler Tomayko and Alexandria Tomayko give a TV interview Wednesday night.

 newspaper three times without a reply. He does not speak Spanish.

He also said he wrote to a La Nación columnist and Ms. Carrillo but never got a reply.

Cyprian said he had hired a lawyer here in an attempt to tell his side.

Ms. Carrillo was assisted Wednesday night by an individual who identified herself as a press person. She provided copies of the appeals.

Ms. Carrillo, an appointee of President Óscar  Arias Sánchez, said Wednesday night that she hadno reason to talk to Cyprian. "There is no reason at all to talk to him," she said.

"In these types of cases one must take the defense of the victim.  I know the case plainly. I've spoken with the family and Ms. Tomayko. The aggressor always lies in situations like these. It's the cycle of violence."

Cyprian's older daughter by another woman, Brenda J. Cyprian, 28, of Fort Worth, Texas, said last week that she was an eyewitness to the three-year period when her father, Roger Cyprian, was supposed to be physically abusing Ms. Tomayko. Instead, she said, the two had almost no contact because they were not living together.

When asked why Ms. Tomayko did not seek police protection if Cyprian was abusing here, Ms. Carillo said: "It's very normal.  It was out of fear. We have to remember this was 10 years ago. Women didn't have the same resources then as we have today.   There's so much fear in cases like these. I've known cases in which the victim files a complaint, and he kills her.  It's not easy to file a complaint without support from someone."

The women's minister was convinced that the extradition would not take place:

"She will not be extradited. We are sure she won't be. I believe in my government and the legal system of my country. I trust in the law. She is not going to be extradited."

The family and the minister have embarked on a public relations campaign after legal appeals failed. Extradition is covered by international treaties and parental abduction is a hot-button topic. The family has been interviewed by nearly all daily newspapers and have appeared on television several times. None of the news outlets has contacted Cyprian or the Texas judge involved. Most have not mentioned why she was a fugitive.

The family did not contact A.M. Costa Rica, which has been covering the story for six years. Montero, Ms. Tomayko's husband, was heard to say in English into a cell telephone Wednesday night at the supreme court building: “A.M. Costa Rica is here. They are trash.”

The newspaper has said repeatedly that the proper place for the case to be heard is in a Texas courtroom where there already is extensive documentation from psychological and family relations experts and the parties to the dispute themselves.

The newspaper also has said that Ms. Tomayko appears to have had significant help from embassy employees and others here and that such contacts should be investigated to see if U.S. laws have been broken.

Cyprian said Wednesday that a judge terminated all of Ms. Tomayko's parental rights in 1999 and awarded him a judgment of $350,000 plus interest. Ms. Tomayko also was supposed to pay him $500 a month in child support for Alexandria until she reached 18. That was when Ms. Tomayko already was a fugitive in Costa Rica.

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Unstable weather raises
concern among officials

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A low-pressure system has emergency workers on alert along the Pacific coast and the southern zone today.

The  Comisión Nacional de Emergencia issued an alert Wednesday night based on information from the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. Rain was expected on the Pacific slope and the Central Valley, the commission said. The weather institute said that the atmospheric instability would be producing heavy rain from the first hours of today.

The emergency commission warned operators of small boats and also motorists to restrict activities in the heavy rain. The commission also said that those in danger of being flooded should take action to find a nearby shelter early and not wait until the last minute.

The northern Pacific got 51.6 mm (2.03 inches) of rain between 7 p.m. and midnight Wednesday, according to the automatic weather station in Santa Rosa. The station at Liberia registered 33 mm (1.3 inches) during the same period. Juan Santamaría airport reported 47.1 mm (1.85 inches), but less rain fell in other parts of the Central Valley.

New undersea cable gets
its inauguration Friday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials are holding a ceremony Friday in  Esterillos Este to mark the successful hookup of the nation's Internet system to another underwater cable. The  Cable Submarino del Pacífico comes ashore there, and the  Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad is arranging the festivities.
The cable is managed by Global Crossing. The country now is connected to the world with two undersea cables, the Maya 1 and the Arcos, and both are in the Caribbean. From Esterillos the cable is connected to the nation's data distribution system that carries other signals, as well as international Internet.

The telecommunications monopoly said it was investing $30 million in the project. When the company announced the project in May 2006, it said the cable would be hooked up by late 2007.

$12 million allocated
for Sixaola development

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Óscar Arias Sánchez signed a law Wednesday that generates $12 million for the Río Sixaola basin in southeast Costa Rica. Arias said that the measure will help to raise the area from its cruel underdevelopment. The government will come up with $2.8 million, and the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo will provide $9.2 million, according to the plan.

The agreement comes at a time when the Arias administration is under fire for converting money for projects for the poor into stipends for so-called advisers who are political supporters.

According to Arias, this project will improve the infrastructure and permit Sixaola to construct dikes to protect the inhabitants from flooding. The town was wiped out by such flooding Jan. 9 and 10, 2005. Arias also said that the area could take advantage of sustainable tourism and modernize its system of agriculture to become an exporter rather than a subsistence economy.

The area is populated by a substantial percentage of Bribri Indians particularly in the higher elevations of the Talmanca mountains.

President Abel Pacheco promised that the town of Sixaola would be relocated after it was hit by massive flooding in 2005. The water from the nearby river filled the town up to the rooftops. However, residents have since complaints that not much has happened.

Two men in Cóbano held
in drug sales to tourists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization captured two men suspected of selling drugs to tourists in Santa Fe de Cóbano, Puntarenas, Wednesday.  Various suspected drugs were seized by officials, including a kilo and a half of marijuana, 100 grams of cocaine and 50 grams of crack according to an organization release.

The suspects, who were not identified by name, are the latest in a string of drug-related arrests made by the organization and the Fuerza Pública.

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Effort against Escazú home invasions shows some progress
By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Armed bands have had their way in the high class neighborhoods of Escazú. From fake flower deliveries to the use of rental cars that match the vehicle of the actual homeowner, the groups are more organized and advanced than ever, said officials Wednesday.

“The area draws a lot of attention because of the types of houses here,” said Ronny Sánchez Villegas, the director of the Fuerza Pública in Escazú. House robberies and thefts are the top crime in the area, said Sánchez. The majority of those houses belong to Americans and other foreigners, said the police director.

In a typical home invasion, a gang of armed robbers break through the gates and hold occupants at gunpoint or pounce when a homeowner opens a garage door or gate to park a vehicle. Some invasions have been violent, and one nearby at the home of a former presidential candidate in March 2007 led to the death of two innocent persons.

With 10 officers per shift to cover a zone of  35 square kilometers (13.5 square   miles), his staff is not enough to keep up, said Sánchez.

Just two months ago the Fuerza Pública and the Judicial Investigation Organization paired up to fight the robberies in Trejos Montealegre. Since then, crime has gone down some, said Sánchez, but the bands are still on the loose, he said.  A number of diplomats live there.

Tuesday night a man in Escazú reported that he heard a knock at the door and, when he open it, he was attacked by at least six gunmen wearing ski masks. Among the things stolen was a .38 caliber revolver,  said Sánchez. The victim, Raúl Balio, lives in a large house in La Carmén de Bebedero, Escazú, said Sánchez.

The criminal analysis unit of the Judicial Investigation Organization conducted a study last year categorizing house robberies and thefts by area, mode of operation, time of day, and day of the week, said the judicial director of the Sección de Asaltos. The most prominent areas of house burglaries and robberies included Trejos Montealegre, Santa Ana, Rohrmoser, and Curridabat, said the director, Manuel Brenes Carillo.   

The organization has since been working with the local Fuerza Pública to bring down the number of cases in each area, said Brenes. For the last month, officers have been patrolling the Trejos Montealegre area three times a day, said Sánchez. Other entities, including the U.S. Embassy, also maintain private patrols.

In one case, police found two scanning radios in an abandoned vehicle which they believe  robbers used to listen in on to police communications, said Sánchez. “They can't use the radios to communicate. But they know what we're doing,” said Sánchez. One band uses bulletproof vests, said Sánchez.

Sánchez said there are at least two prominent bands who
Escazu pollice director
A.M. Costa Rica/Jeremy Arias
Escazú director Ronny Sánchez Villegas

come into Escazú solely with the purpose of busting into houses. Police believe that one group is from Alajuela and that one is from Pavas.

Many times they travel in two or three cars, said Sánchez.

At least one of the bands rents cars similar to the car owned by the homeowner so the subdivision security guard does not suspect anything, said Sánchez. “They rent luxury vehicles so they don't stand out in the neighborhoods. They can disappear,” said Brenes.

Police also believe there are at least two groups of Colombians, one of which invaded the house in Bebedero Tuesday.

And there is yet another group of eight to 12 men that have pilfered three large construction sites in Escazú this year alone, said Sánchez. The men are believed to be the same ones who were stealing at sites in Curridabat last year, said Sánchez. The thieves, who leave with ten of thousands of dollars worth in tools, are believed to be from Desamparados, said Sánchez.

Police are encouraging the creation and use of neighborhood watch programs, said Sánchez. Three streets in Trejos Montealegre are participating so far, although some areas have not been cooperative, said the police director.

Brenes advised people to call 800-8000-OIJ (800-8000-645) the confidential investigation  number with any tips or suspicions. “If there is someone lurking outside your house or a suspicious delivery take appropriate actions. Don't approach any suspicious vehicles. And install metal doors and an electronic security system if possible,” said Brenes.

Another telecom bill gets a green light from the constitutional court
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court decided Wednesday that a bill designed to strengthen and modernize the telecommunications industry did not contain fatal flaws.

The bill, No.  16.397, is one of a package generated by the free trade treaty with the United States. The vote was 5-2 with the dissenting magistrates outlining what they saw to be serious constitutional flaws.

The magistrates who say constitutional problems were Fernando Cruz Castro and Gilbert Armijo Sancho.

They said that said that the measure should have been
submitted to autonomous institutions, the municipalities and the Banco Central. However, a summary of the bill on the Asamblea Legislative Web site shows that many public entities had reviewed the measure and gave comments. Among those were the Banco Central.

This is not the measure that opens up the telecommunications market to non-public entities. A companion measure does that. But this bill defines the role of the state and addresses regulation and the role of the existing Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad as a telecommunications supplier.

The measure had been referred to the court for an opinion by the legislature, which already passed it once.

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Initiative launched to fight neglected tropical diseases
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Earlier this year, President George Bush said the United States would spend $350 million over five years to fight seven of the world's most common parasitic and bacterial diseases affecting hundreds of millions of people in tropical regions of the world. A Washington-based global health network is urging Congress to fully fund the initiative, and encouraging other developed nations to join the effort.

Battles against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis regularly grab international headlines and are the focus of multi-billion dollar global health initiatives. But many other diseases are equally widespread and cause massive suffering in scores of countries, yet rarely seem to capture the world's attention. Called "neglected tropical diseases," they include river blindness, elephantiasis, snail fever, and hookworm, roundworm and whipworm.

A U.S.-based group is fighting to change what it perceives as an imbalance in the world's focus on health matters. The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases has a new high-profile advocate: former Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson, who will be serving as the organization's global ambassador.

"Neglected tropical diseases — they are really from biblical times," he said. "But they affect one billion people in the
world. One out of six people that are currently alive, and it is the billion that are the poorest. The billion that really  have no chance to improve unless we, as a society, get involved."

Thompson was speaking at a news conference in Washington.

Neglected tropical diseases generally do not cause death, but often lead to disfigurement, extreme pain, and incapacity. Health officials say, in India alone, billions of dollars in economic activity are lost every year to the diseases. The maladies can also make people more susceptible to other, more deadly afflictions, such as HIV.

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is targeting 14 diseases worldwide, all of which are readily treatable at a minimal cost.

"Fifty cents per person per year is all we need in order to defeat these neglected tropical diseases. That is not heavy lifting," said Thompson.

Thompson says major pharmaceutical companies have already agreed to provide drugs targeting the diseases free of charge. As a result, the primary costs of waging a global initiative would be in transporting and administering the medicines.

World Court orders U.S. to halt execution of death row five
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations' highest court has ordered the United States to halt the planned executions of five Mexicans on death row in Texas while their cases are being reviewed.
The International Court of Justice Wednesday said U.S. authorities should "take all measures necessary" to ensure the five are not put to death, pending the court's final judgment.

In June, Mexico filed a request with the court to stop the executions of the five Mexican nationals, who were denied consular assistance after their arrests. Mexico charges that the United States is in breach of its international duties. 
One of the Mexicans, José Medellin, is scheduled to be executed on Aug. 5 for the rape and murder of two teenage girls.

The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, ruled in 2004 that the United States violated the rights of 51 Mexicans on death row. Under the 1963 Vienna Convention, foreign nationals have the right to talk to their country's consulate after their arrests.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court said U.S. President George Bush overstepped his authority by ordering Texas to comply with the 2004 World Court ruling and reopen its case against Medellin.

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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 week day.

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.

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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.

Russian DNA tests identify
children of Czar Nicholas II

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

DNA tests have positively identified the remains of two children of the last Russian czar, settling a mystery that had long surrounded their fate.

The Russian General Prosecutor's office says remains found last year in the city of Yekaterinburg have been identified through DNA testing as those of Grand Duchess Maria and Prince Alexei — two of Czar Nicholas II's five children. 

Investigator Vladimir Solovyov explains three laboratories helped identify Maria and Alexei.

Solovyov says each group worked independently and there was even an element of competition among them. He says they compared genetic material of the czarist family found in 1991 with the genetic samples of the children found last year to make a positive identification.

The announcement comes just one day ahead the 90th anniversary of the czarist executions carried out by Bolshevik agents early on July 17, 1918. 

A written account left by one of the killers, Yakov Yurovsky, indicated the royal bodies had been soaked in acid and thrown down a mineshaft. He said two of the victims were burned and buried nearby. Those are the ones identified Tuesday. The remains of Czar Nicholas, his wife and three daughters were buried in 1998 in Saint Petersburg. 

Nicholas II is leading an Internet poll conducted by the Rossiya television network and the Russian Academy of Sciences to name the greatest Russian.  Some see that as an indication of renewed interest in the country's royal past.  The Orthodox Church, which canonized the czar, is holding memorial services Wednesday and Thursday to commemorate him and his family. 

But Nikolai Lukyanov, the director of the Russian Royal Family Museum in Moscow, said it is not enough to merely pray for the Czar. 

At a minimum, said Lukyanov, monuments to Communists who toppled the czar should be removed and street names should be changed. He says there are streets in Yekaterinburg within blocks of the place where the czarist family was killed that still bear the names of their executioners.

Lukyanov notes, however, that Russian Communists continue to oppose the removal of monuments to their former leaders.

In an indication of continued reverence for Russia's Soviet past, Communist dictator Joseph Stalin holds second place in the Internet poll behind the Czar Nicholas among 50 of the country's leading historical figures.

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assortmetn of pastries
A.M. Costa Rica/Jeremy Arias                      
A few dollars brings a colorful investment. A cone-like cacho rests on loaf of sweet-milk bread 
This is where you really can exercise that sweet tooth
By Jeremy Arias
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The noise of traffic passing along the busy street outside is partially drowned by the low hum of refrigerators housing cold drinks and the occasional ring of the cash register that marks the sale of another pastry to a soon-to-be satisfied customer.

A mother enters the shop, her young son holding her hand and bouncing excitedly up and down by the counter. The boy immediately begins the chaotic, ritualistic children's dance: a youthful, energetic plea for sweets.

This is Lerners Panadería, a cozy, friendly bread and pastry shop just west of the Banco Nacional building in central San José where the mutual desire for something tasty transcends nationalities.

The air is ripe with the gentle, warm scent of baked breads stacked in rows under the register. Long loaves of melcochan and sweet-milk bread line the shelves behind the counter and the tantalizing cake and pie display seems to tempt passersby as it rotates slowly near the street entrance.

All in all, these tiny shops, which can be found throughout the central city, appear to have mastered the art of culinary seduction, and with their universally low prices, they are almost impossible to resist.

Cone-shaped cachos are a delight with their delicate, flaky bread surrounding a rich, smooth cream made of butter and vanilla. A casual window shopper may enter prepared to pay considerably
more than the 450 colons they cost.

With the Tuesday rate of 540 colons to the U.S. dollar, even a heavenly looking slice of lemon pie won't run a purchaser more than 93 cents. The surrounding shops are no different.

At the Panadería y Reposteria Richypan on the busier Avenida Central, a delicious rectangle of chocolate cake goes for 400 colons. At still another store on Calle 6, a bag of sugar cookies, a chocolate-filled doughnut and two heart-shaped cookies spread with jelly cost a total of 1,000 colons.

In the fast-paced capital of San José, with Burger King and McDonald's competing for business from opposite sides of the Plaza de la Cultura, it's nice to know that places like Lerners Panadería are still alive and well, offering Costa Ricans and foreigners alike a place to rest and sample the simpler side of life.

Back at Lerners, an older gentleman sips coffee as he chats with a cashier, his legs crossed and his back eased casually against the wall as the mother, her son satisfied with a newly-purchased cacho pastry, jets off into the hustle-bustle of Calle 8.

Temporary visitors to this oasis provided by the panadería are quickly lost in the faceless crowd. Another pair enters shortly afterwards, a man and woman, also holding hands. The man smiles happily as his companion orders two coffees, his eyes scan the shelves hungrily.

Another satisfied customer.

After 110 years 'Faust' finally returns to the historic Teatro Nacional
By Jeremy Arias
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Mephistopheles shall return to the Teatro Nacional this month with a performance of the Charles Gounod opera “Faust” to be put on by the Compañía Lírica Nacional.

Gounod's interpretation of the classic was the first performance put on by the theater for its inauguration Oct. 21, 1897. The opera company released the following synopsis of the opera:

Faust, played by José Luis Sola, is an aging scholar who offers his soul in the afterlife to the demon Mephistopheles (Vesselin Stoykov) in exchange for youth and good looks.  Smitten by the enchanting Marguerite (Birgit Beer), a rejuvenated Faust vies for her love with the noble protector Siebel (Joaquín Yglesias) and eventually seduces and impregnates her, only to abandon her to the torments of the devious Mephistopheles in her hour of desperation.

In an exciting climax, Faust does battle with Marguerite's brother, a returning soldier named Valentin (Fitzgerald 
Ramos). The tale concludes with a dramatic reunion between Faust and Marguerite, wherein she faces her final temptation, and Faust must contemplate the price of his bargain with Mephistopheles.

Scene design, costumes and lights will be arraigned by Stefano Poda while Ramiro A. Ramírez is music director, according to the opera company release.

The songs will be performed in French. The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and the Coro Sinfónica Nacional also will participate.

The opera will open July 27 at 5 p.m. Repeat performances will be July 30 at 7:30 p.m. and again Aug. 1, 3, 5 and 7. The performances Aug. 1, 5 and 7 will be at 7:30 p.m., and Aug. 3 at 5 p.m., according to the release.

Prices vary depending upon the seating, but the range is between about $40 for premium seats to as little as $2 for side gallery options, according to a theater ticket guide. Tickets are available in the theater ticket office or at the theater Web site.

Those high hole cards can be a bit tricky to playt
A common mistake made by amateurs is the way they play overcards after the flop when the flop misses completely.  Overcards are hole cards that are of higher rank than any card on the board.

In deep stack no limit hold’em tournaments, players start with a lot of chips.  In these tournaments, the most important decisions are the ones made after the flop.  That’s not the case in tournaments where the average stack is shallow.  In these tourneys, pre-flop decisions are essentially all you have.  It’s an easier form of poker to play.  With fewer decisions to make, it’s essentially a two-card game where you’re hoping for the best.

So let’s look at a sample hand in a deep stack tournament where you call a raise with K-Q and the flop comes 9-7-3.

If your opponent bets on the flop, fold your hand right there.  Don’t try to be a hero. You have nothing!

But you decide to call anyway.  Even if you do manage to improve your hand by catching a king or a queen, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll win the hand.  Your opponent could have pocket nines, or even A-A or K-K.  He’d have you dominated, and you’d be destined to lose a decent-sized pot. 

Besides that, you’d only have a 14 percent chance of catching a king or queen on the turn.  When you combine that slim possibility with the fact that even if you did get lucky, you still might lose, well, folding your hand should be the obvious decision.

And there’s another reason to dump this hand.  Say you did catch a king or queen.  The fact is that one pair hands are rarely good enough to win big pots in no-limit hold’em.  Trust me. Even if you were to pair up your king, the best play is still to proceed with caution.

The only situations where you might want to play after the flop with overcards are if you’re taking a stab at stealing the pot on a bluff or when you have additional outs to go along with your overcards.
For example, say you decide to raise before the flop with K-J.  The big blind calls and the flop comes 2-2-7.  Your opponent checks.

There’s no way for your opponent to know that you missed the flop completely.  So, make one more bet on the flop hoping to get him to fold his hand on your bluff.  Now, if he calls, or worse, raises, put on the brakes; there’s no need to lose any more chips than necessary.

You can also safely play your overcards when you flop a straight or flush draw.

In this example, you call a raise with Qd-Jd and the flop comes 8s-9h-4d.  You’re obviously hoping to catch a ten to complete a straight, or even a jack or queen to give you a possible winning hand. 

If a ten comes on the turn or river, you’d play your hand aggressively in a big pot.  But if a jack or queen hits, again, play your hand cautiously.

If instead of a straight draw you flop a flush draw, you’ve got the green light to play your two overcards.  This situation yields a very powerful drawing hand.  In some cases, it will even be a favorite over a pair on the flop.

Say you’re dealt the As-Ks and your opponent holds Jh-Jd.  The flop comes 9s-6s-2d.  While the pocket jacks might appear to be the best hand, your suited A-K will actually win the pot over 50% of the time.  Go ahead and play this hand with a big bet.

Visit for information about Daniel Negreanu’s new book, "Hold’em Wisdom for All Players."
© 2008 Card Shark Media.  All rights reserved.

Jo Stuart
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