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(506) 2223-1327           Published Monday, July 18, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 140           Email us
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Buildings at El Buen Pastor women's prison in San Rafael Arriba in Desamparados are close to sliding down to the Río Cañas after a rain-induced slide Friday.

See our story
HERE!
Buen Pastor
Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias photo

Coast guard moves to reduce turtle slaughter at sea
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The  Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas is on patrol off the northern Caribbean coast to protect green turtles that are coming ashore now to lay eggs.

The patrols have been reinforced after coast guard officers found a boat where the crew was harpooning the swimming turtles.

The green turtle is in danger of extinction.

Coast guards officers said they found six harpooned turtles cast back into the water, presumably by the four men in the suspect boat.

Turtles are caught illegally for their shells, their eggs and their meat, which find its way to the local market, frequently being disguised as some other type of meat, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.

Officials called on the residents of the Caribbean
coast to reject purchasing turtle meat or turtle eggs.  They described what is happening at sea as a massacre.

The arrival of the turtles,  chelonia mydas, is a big tourist draw for places like Tortugero where the creatures dig nests in the sand. The green is one of the largest turtle in the word.

The sprawling, unkempt 22-mile beach at Tortuguero is the most important Western Hemisphere site for this activity. 

The female green turtle  is easily 140 kilograms (more than 300 pounds). They resemble small Volkswagens as they pull themselves from the surf, trundle 30 or 40 meters up the dark beach and begin building a nesting pit in the sand.

But at sea they are no match for humans with harpoons and outboard motors. They are air breathers that have to spend time on the surface where they are vulnerable.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 140

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Our readers' opinions
Investor seeks to organize
Savings Unlimited creditors


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

There are up to 2,000 of us (200 registered) and only one Luis Milanes. We have almost as many people motivated to work with us as some governmental organizations. The governmental organizations get whatever they want from the officials, yet we continue being victimized for lack of organization. If we foreigners continue to roll over and play dead each time we are defrauded, the officials have no motivation to change their practice of corruption. Their message survives in the people’s minds that it’s open season on foreigners.

Our message is not to help rich Costa Ricans and foreigners get their money back.

Our message is that Costa Rica is a beautiful country with soil that produces an abundance. The land has natural resources and the people have ingenuity that could bring great wealth to all Costa Ricans, both in jobs and investment. Most people here work for an average of less than $400 a month. This is shameful when compared with government officials who are unofficially making thousands a month.

Those motivated to express these ideas will get there money back, generously, if organized and working together. When this happens, we will prevail. However, if our large group remains disorganized, one man, Milanes will prevail. He and the lawyers on his staff will be victorious, and the victims will get nothing.

If we organize, not with money and lawyers, but with simple efforts like networking, communicating, and broadcasting, then we will get our money back. Now we are hundreds of ineffectual voices in a wilderness of corruption, but we can be one effective voice that will bring out the truth. This campaign against corruption is not only for the benefit of the victims but also for the benefit of all Costa Ricans.

We need to get one list together of all victims to contact by asking others to refer victims known to them.

Once we have a contact list, the victims can meet up to brainstorm a public relations campaign.

Will they volunteer? Hopefully there will be no emphasis on spending more, but an emphasis on voluntary efforts.

With a large group like this there’s got to be someone with a relative or associate who works at La Nación, La Republica, Teletica, or Radio Dos. Someone has got to be willing to share our story about helping the Costa Rican people to a better life by obtaining justice from the government.

If this doesn’t help, we can write articles for tourist publications in our home countries where Instituto Costarricense de Turismo advertises. This would reach top level officials putting the necessary pressure where it’s needed.

Here is my email address

mil001@live.com (mil as in Milanes, and then zero zero one)

Jeremy Strawbson


China building military
not to get customers


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Thanks to Jo for her thoughts on China, the U.S., and Costa Rica, and for the relatively mild (this time) America bashing.

     China..............GOOD
     U.S.A...............Not so good
     Costa Rica......Ideal?

Maybe all China wants now is customers, but they do have intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear bombs on them aimed at the U.S., and they are increasing their navy and all phases of military at an alarming pace. Is this to get more customers? What happens when China's military exceeds that of the current world policeman??  Will they still want only customers? Their course will probably be determined by the ruling Communist committee, and the average citizen might welcome some Chinese Imperialism.

Here in San Antonio there could be 20 or 30  cultural events this weekend, and they are in locations that have addresses that can be found and reached quickly. I once tried to find the theater mentioned in Jo's column, but with just a general area and only directions such as "turn left at Alka-Seltzer and then right at Castrol"  I missed the performance I wanted to see. I called the venue but - no answer.

Thanks again Jo for the  thought provoking column.

Daryl Hardman
Escazú and San Antonio, Texas

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!

From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary



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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 140

Prisma Dental

outstanding athletes
Correos of Costa Rica graphic
New set of postage stamps honors nation's top athletes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The postal service, Correos de Costa Rica, has come out with a four-stamp set honoring outstanding athletes. The first day of issue was Thursday, but postal officials did not hold a ceremony until Friday.

The stamps are generating a lot of sales, said workers in charge of that department, in part because Hanna Gabriels Valle, the world champion women's boxer, is one of the featured athletes. She appeared at the main postal offices Friday. She has become an idol for young women in Costa Rica.

Also being honored are

• Nery Antonio Brenes Cárdenas, a Limón native who is
considered to be among the 10 fastest in the world in the 400-meter race.

• Bryan Ruiz González, an Alajuelita native who is an outstanding soccer player and now is under contract in Europe after playing here for the Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.

• Andrey Amador Bikkazakova, a San José resident, who is now competing in the Tour de France bicycle race.

Two of the stamps are 200 colons, about 40 U.S. cents, and two are 330 colons, about 66 cents. The layout was designed by Cristian Ramírez Vargas, who does many of the commemorative issues.

Stamps and first-day covers are available through the Correos Web page.


New worm discovered here is getting international attention
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An official at the  Universidad Estatal a Distancia and two colleagues have discovered a new predatory worm that throws a net over its prey, and their find is getting international attention.

The researchers are Julián Monge Nájera, vice rector of research at the university, Bernal Morera Brenes of the Museo de Zoología of the Universidad de Costa Rica and  Alejandro Solórzano López, a biologist and specialist at  INBio Parque.

The worms are commonly known as onychophorans, or velvet worms. The new specimen, one of at least 25 at the
location in the Caribbean  at Río Blanco de Liverpool, is 22 centimeters long. That's about 8.6 inches. The initial report of the discovery was published in English last December in the Revista de Biología Tropical of the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Based on the article, an international organization, the International Institute for Species Exploration at the University of Arizona, has listed the find as one of the 10 new species in the world, the Universidad Estatal a Distancia said.

The new species is designated Peripatus solorzanoi, sp.nov. The worm seeks out prey with its antenna and then casts a sticky stream of filaments to capture its meal.


As vacation ends, vehicle restrictions are resumed downtown
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public school youngsters are to be back at classes today after the end of the two-week midyear vacation. That means more traffic on the streets and highways, and the resumption of downtown vehicle restrictions.

Today vehicles with license plate numbers ending in 1 or 2 are prohibited from traveling in the area generally north and west of the Circunvalación between San Pedro and La Uruca. Traffic police are enforcing this regulation aggressively, and sometimes a traffic officer can be found on every corner on Avenida 2 in the downtown.

One unlucky motorist received a ticket Friday, July 1, just 
15 minutes before the restriction expired for two weeks due to vacations. He was caught at Avenida Central and Calle 11. The restrictions are in effect from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The fine is 41,098 colons or about $82.

Suspending the restrictions was based on the fact that many parents also have time off and use the period for vacations out of town. Many returned Sunday.  A number of government offices were working on skeleton staffs over the vacation, if at all.

The next holiday is a week from today. It is the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya, marking the day in 1825 when leading citizens of Guanacaste voted to align their land with Costa Rica and not Nicaragua.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 140


CR Home


power plant

The Las Pailas geothermal generating plant is expected to be connected to the national electrical network at the end of the month, according to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. The plant is designed to generate 34 ,megawatts of electricity using heat from the
Volcán Rincón de la Vieja, one of Costa Rica's many volcanoes. The $221.8 million plant received funding from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. The power is enough to supply electricity to 92,00 families, the institute said.


Much of nation takes a beating from weekend rains
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Mother Nature had the upper hand over the weekend as a continual rain caused a variety of problems.

Residents of the northern Pacific endured heavy rains and lightning Thursday night and Friday morning.

The national emergency commission said that some coastal towns were cut off and some bridges were damaged.

Two national highways suffered damage there. One links Flamingo with Potrero and the other connects  Villa Real with Hernández, the emergency commission said. Damage also was reported to the Policía Turistica offices in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz  got  26.7 millimeters of rain, about an inche,  from 7 a.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Sunday, but only 4.3 millimeters since then. That's about the same rainfall as in San José.

The rainfall in the Pacific was the result of a strong low-pressure area that early Monday was  off the coast of Nicaragua.

Weather officials estimated that some 100 millimeters or about four inches, would fall Friday in about six hours in the Pacific region.

The rains continues Sunday but with variable intensities, Turrialba received 85 millimeters, about 3.3 inches, since 7
a.m. Sunday, but most automatic weather stations reported far less rain.

The Instituto Meteorológico National predicted that the nation's weather would return to its normal rainy season conditions by midday today. Until them more rain was expected in the mountains. The María Aguilar, Niño, Sarapiquí, Telire and Sixaola rivers were rising, the weather institute said.

Over the weekend  87 families were flooded out in the northern zone in Upala and Guatuzo. The Río Guacalito, that has its origins in the central volcanic mountains  did some damage downstream, said the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias.

Some 40 persons were displaced in the Heredia community of Guarari Friday, and 45 homes were flooded in Golfito, Osa, Aguirre, Garabito and Bagaces, the commission said.

The rain-swollen Río Cañas in Desamparados undermined  section of the El Buen Pastor women's prison in San Rafael Arriba. Prison officials at first moved some 40 inmates to other sections of the facility. Then Saturday they transported 132 inmates to a section of the La Reforma complex in Alajuela.

Prison officials plan some $2.8 million in repair to the Desamparados facility, in part with emergency commission funds. But the job is not expected to be completed until October, they said.


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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
For your international reading pleasure:

News of Nicaragua
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News of Cuba      News of Venezuela
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News of Bolivia     News of Ecuador
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 140

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Chávez returns to Cuba
for treatment of cancer


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez arrived in Cuba late Saturday to begin chemotherapy, after undergoing surgery last month to remove a cancerous tumor.

Before boarding his plane in Caracas, Chávez said he was going away for a few days, but the length of his stay in Cuba is not known.

Earlier in the day, President Chávez delegated some of his powers to Vice President Elias Jaua and Finance Minister Jorge Giordani, after the national assembly approved his trip. He resisted calls from the opposition to temporarily hand over the presidency to the vice president during his absence.

Chávez had surgery in Cuba July 4 to remove the tumor, one day before Venezuela celebrated the 200th anniversary of its independence from Spain. 

The Venezuelan leader did not indicate the type of cancer he had, and questions remain about how sick he is. Prior to that surgery, Chávez underwent an operation in Cuba for what officials said was an abscess in his pelvic area.

The 56-year-old president, who has ruled the South American nation since 1999, told Venezuelans that he intends to remain in control of the country.


Miners who were trapped
are seeking compensation


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thirty-one of the 33 miners trapped underground in a Chilean mine last year have sued the government for negligence.

The claim, filed Friday, is asking for compensation of half a million dollars for each miner.

The group's lawyer says the agency in charge of supervising security standards inside the San José mine in Copiapo failed to insure a safe work environment.

Fourteen of the 33 miners said earlier this month they wanted to retire because they have not been able to overcome the physical and psychological effects of their 69-day entrapment underground.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera is considering the retirement requests and will decide next month whether to grant a $428 monthly pension to each of the 14 miners.

The 33 miners were trapped 700 meters below ground from Aug. 5 to Oct. 13, 2010.

Their spectacular rescue was televised around the world.


Obama meets  Dalai Lama,
and China files a protest


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China lodged a formal protest Sunday with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing over a meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader seen by Beijing as seeking independence for his homeland.

In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry characterized Saturday's meeting in Washington as an act "that has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs" and "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people." It also demanded that Washington stop supporting anti-China separatist forces seeking Tibetan independence. China's ambassador to Washington also protested the meeting.

A U.S. statement Saturday after the closed-door White House meeting said the president spoke of the need for direct talks between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government to resolve differences over the status of Tibet. Obama also underscored U.S. policy that Tibet is a part of China.

China routinely accuses the Dalai Lama of advocating for Tibetan secession. Former president Óscar Arias Sánchez, when he was in office, called off a meeting with the  Dalai Lama so as not to aggravate Chinese relations.

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel laureate like Arias, has repeatedly said he is seeking dialogue with Chinese officials aimed at establishing Tibetan autonomy.

The White House announced the meeting on Friday, as the Dalai Lama wrapped up a visit to Washington for an 11-day spiritual retreat known as the Kalachakra ritual. He also met with State Department officials and political leaders during his stay, despite formally retiring from politics earlier this year.

Ahead of the president's decision to hold the meeting, the Dalai Lama said he would be pleased with the opportunity for such a meeting.  But he said his main reason for being in the United States was to facilitate Buddhist teachings.
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 18, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 140

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Latin American news
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U.S. student dies in crash
after 30-meter plunge


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Binghamton, New York, University officials have confirmed the death of a student in a vehicle accident near Dominical Thursday afternoon.

The dead student was identified by Zoe Damon, 20, according to the Press and Sun-Bulletin in that community. Ms. Damon, originally from Kingston, New York, was a junior majoring in biology, according to the university, the newspaper said. Other students were hurt

The students were here on a university program to study the environment. They were led by  Richard Andrus, a Binghamton University professor who has a research interest in tropical forestry.

The crash happened when the microbus containing the students slid off the road and plunged down a 30-meter (98-foot) embankment into the Río Guabo.


Central government hopes
to head off hospital strike


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials just have today to head off an announced strike by workers in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social's hospitals.

The workers are scheduled to go out on strike at 6 a.m. Tuesday. They have promised to maintain care for emergencies and for patients already in the hospitals. The strike, if it takes place, is expected to disrupt work at local clinics and cancel appointments Caja subscribers might have had for x-rays, lab work, pharmacies or visits with specialists.

The dispute centers on overtime pay and the condition of some of the facilities.


Country promises to help
in Facundo Cabral probe


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country has promised to work closely with judicial authorities in Guatemala who are seeking to solve the murder of Facundo Cabral. The Argentine singer was gunned down July 2 in Guatemala City while on the way to the airport after a concert. He was one of Latin America's most popular performers.

The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto made the promise after it became known that the intellectual author of the crime might be a Costa Rican resident.

The leading theory is that Cabral died in an ambush that was meant to kill his concern promoter, Henry Fariñas, a  Nicaraguan who has many business interests n Latin America. Fariñas survived but is in critical condition and has not yet been interviewed by police.

Two suspects have been caught. They were persons identified from video cameras near the scene of the shooting.

The Costa Rican being sought was identified by the first name of  Alejandro, who might have the last name of Jiménez.

A report over the weekend said that the man was in custody in Nicaragua, but that could not be verified.

The ministry made its promise after news reports said the principal suspect was Costa Rican.




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