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(506) 2223-1327        Published Tuesday, July 22, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 144       E-mail us
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and luck

This surfcaster is taking advantage of the Jacó beach to invite a fish to dinner. Although the scene appears tranquil, a good surf fisherman has to expend time and muscle to present the appropriate bait to a willing fish. This one appears to be more interested in the great scenery. Under the correct circumstances there can be plenty of action.


Jaco fisherman
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas



Some school kids getting a double holiday this week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Friday and Monday may be the days for Guanacaste, but even in San José school children will be celebrating the 184th commemoration of citizens in that territory deciding to join Costa Rica.

The event in 1824 transformed Costa Rica because Guanacaste has its own culture, traditions, music, songs, dances and foods. These have been incorporated into the national culture.

President Óscar Arias Sánchez will lead his ministers to a traditional government cabinet meeting at 11 a.m. Friday at an as-yet-unspecified location in Guanacaste.

But in San José some 350 school children will be guests of the Museo Nacional for the celebration of the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya. These are youngsters from the nearby schools: España, República de Chile, México, Unificada and Buenaventura Corrales

The event starts at 10 a.m. and will include dances, music from the traditional marimba and a visit by the adult folk dance group Caña Brava.

The guest of honor will be  Edgar Cerdas, a Universidad de Costa Rica folklore and dance
professor who won the nation's top cultural award, the  Premio Nacional de Cultura Popular Tradicional, in 2007. Cerdas has done academic research on culture and folklore for 35 years, according to the museum.

Although July 25 is the official day of the celebration, the public holiday is Monday this year. This is the result of a law that seeks to create three-day holidays. The controversial law is up for change by those who want to celebrate a holiday on its calendar date. But there has been no final action yet.

So the youngsters will have their holiday Friday and be off Monday. Similar events will take place Friday at schools all over the country, although most will not be within walking distance of a museum or other public celebration.  These civic events are part of the school calendar.

The residents of Nicoya had a choice in 1824 between unification with Nicaragua or Costa Rica. Costa Rican historians say that this country was chosen because of its less turbulent politics. The 1858  Cañas-Jerez Treaty formalized the decision.

Ironically what was a sleepy province and home to the Costa Rican cowboys for 180 years is now the center of massive development along the beaches.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 22, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 144

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4257-11/21/08
Utility regulator to hold
meetings on telecom rules


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The utility regulating agency has published a series of proposals to control the telecommunications market, and it has scheduled a series of sessions to explain the rule.

The regulations are needed because the telecommunications market is being opened up to private companies as part of the legal changes required by the free trade treaty with the United States.

The agency, the Authoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, said the regulations are based on three goals: universal access, the benefit to the consumer of competition among providers and the sharing of current and future infrastructure.

The agency will be holding video conferences Aug. 25, 26 and 27 with sites all over the country to outline the regulations and to listen to public comments. At the very least, conferences will be in courtrooms in Limón, Heredia, Ciudad Quesada, Liberia, Puntarenas, Pérez Zeledón and Cartago. The conferences all will be at 5:15 p.m.

The regulations are ample. Just the first section on universal access contains 40 articles.

Carrillo told to restore
Playas del Coco restaurant


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In an unusual decision the Sala IV constitutional court has ordered the Municipalidad de Carrillo to repair a restaurant in  Playas del Coco and nullified a municipal decision to demolish the place. The restaurant is the  Bar y Restaurante  El Coco, which is located in the maritime zone in the Pacific resort town.

The court said in a decision that the municipality disregarded a judicial decision that said that the owner had acquired rights to the property and tried to knock down the structure.

The high court decision released Monday said that the municipality has flagrantly violated the fundamental rights of the owner. And the court ordered the municipality to put the place back in its original condition.

The maritime zone is the first 200 meters above mean high tide. The first 50  meters belong to the public and cannot have construction, except in the case of water-related infrastructure like docks. The 150 meters remaining are subject to municipal concessions, although the owners of some older structures have acquired rights before the maritime law was passed.

Mythical creatures unite
in bilingual children's book


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pity the poor Chupacabra, the bane of goats and the terror of dark nights. Now the vicious creation that stalks Latin lands is a main character in a bilingual children's book

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

But that's not all. Just add to the mix a fairy prince and mysterious lights that have West Texas aglow.

The new bilingual children's book is written by a West Texas couple and called “The Fairy and the Chupacabra and Those Marfa Lights.”

Folk artist and author James Mangum and his wife, Sidney Spires, presents the tale of Javier, a fairy prince, who falls in with a dangerous but misunderstood Chupacabra, and the quest of Javier's sister, Princess Marisol, is to save him, according to the book publisher's release.

Mangum and Spires use English and Spanish to tell the story, which includes many mythical creatures and legends like the Chupacabra, an unconfirmed creature blamed for mysterious livestock deaths, and the Marfa lights, unexplained spheres of light observed around Marfa, in West Texas.

The book is a 32-page hardback and will be available on Amazon.com and BN.com according to the release.

Pool accident fatal for child

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A child nearly 3 years old died Sunday in the Hospital de Liberia after he was found floating in a hotel swimming pool in Playa Flamingo, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. The child was believed to be from Belgium and with a family touring here.  He was identified by the family name of Misot.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 22, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 144


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Protesters take their case against magistrate to high court
By Jeremy Arias
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About 40 people demonstrated on the steps of the Corte Suprema de Justicia building Monday to protest what they call the unconstitutional situation of a supreme court substitute magistrate, Federico Sosto López.

Sosto is one of 82 individuals who are being investigated by the Comisión de Ingreso y Gasto Público for receiving consulting salaries from the Arias administration from a secret slush fund that was exposed by La Nación June 30.

Rodrigo Arias Sánchez, the president's brother and minister of the Presidencia, sent Sosto a supportive letter condemning the unrest over the magistrate's position Friday. He called the criticism “unjust” and “excessive” and lamented that, due to the uproar, incentive to work in the government would lessen.

The protesters argued that because Sosto is a magistrate under the judicial branch of the government, for him to receive a salary from the executive branch violates Article 9 of the Costa Rican Constitution, the article ensuring three distinct and separate branches of government.

Protester Sol Fernandez explained the group's position:

“Magistrate Sosto has obligations only to work here,” she said, pointing to the nearby supreme court building. “Not for the president.”

“This is a committee of the citizens of Costa Rica,” said Xinia Picado, another protester, “The real problem is one person, Sosto, is corrupt because he is mixing the two powers, the judicial and the executive.”

Protesters banged pots, hung a banner from the court building and displayed another banner opposite the court entrance. Many of the participants expressed opposition to the free trade treaty with the United States, and a vehicle bore a "NO TLC" sticker using the Spanish initials for the treaty. The car also bore a "Cambio" sticker. This is a developing slogan for those opposing the government party and the precusor for a presidential campaign.
supreme court protest
A.M. Costa Rica/Jeremy Arias
Banners are draped at the court entrance

second court protest photo
Banner denounces what it calls corruption


 The money for paying all the advisers to the government came from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. Alfredo Ortuño, a bank director representing Costa Rica, was explaining the situation to the commission Monday afternoon. The money doled out by the bank was not part of the nation's budget and few persons knew about the extra payments for advisers until the La Nación story.


Lawyer files extradition court brief in defense of fathers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rican lawyer who has represented men in extradition hearings has filed a supreme court brief in the case of a U.S. mother who kidnapped her daughter and lived as a fugitive for 10 years in Costa Rica.

The lawyer is Arcelio Hernández of Bufete Hernández Mussio y Asociados. He said he did so "because I feel that women are treated differently than men in cases involving the abduction of children."

This is the case of Chere Lyn Tomayko, 46, a U.S. citizen who took her 7-year-old daughter Alexandria out of Texas after a court there awarded joint custody to her and her former boyfriend. Ms. Tomayko has been the object of a public relations campaign seeking to prevent her extradition on the U.S. federal child stealing charge.

The Sala IV constitutional court is examining briefs this week to determine if there are constitutional grounds to prevent the extradition.

Hernández filed what could be considered a friend of the court brief supporting the Procuraduría General de la República, which is seeking the extradition at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lined up against the extradition is the  Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, the Defensoría Pública and some members of the news media. The Defensoría brief seeks to break new legal ground because it claims that a woman gains Costa Rican nationality simply by marrying a Costa Rican man.

Hernández, in his brief, correctly points out that the Costa Rican Constitution only permits this when the woman loses her own nationality by reason of the union. He notes that this is not the case with U.S. citizenship.

The Defensoría is relying on a section of the Constitution 
that prohibits the extradition of Costa Rican nationals. The
Constitutional also says that when a woman marries a Costa Rican and does not lose her citizenship there is a two-year waiting before she has the right to apply for citizenship here. The Defensoría brief does not mention this.

Hernández said in his brief that he represented one man who fled to Costa Rica and said that his two daughters were victims of aggression by the mother. Nevertheless, the man was extradited, said Hernández.

Ms. Tomayko is claiming that she was a victim of abuse by her former boyfriend, Roger Cyprian, even though the couple lived together only for a short time and Cyprian said that he hardly saw her in the three years leading up to her flight.

Hernández said that although there are obvious physical and emotional differences between men and women "one cannot say that a father does not feel pain or he is not a victim that deserves the protection of the state before a mother who illegally takes and transports  as son or daughter to a distant land, leaving in this way a terrible situation of emotional pain and feelings of impotence and fear."

Yet, Hernández said in a covering e-mail, "I have never seen such efforts by so many public institutions to avoid an extradition of a requested fugitive who happens to be a man."

The lawyer urged the court to reject the briefs in favor of Ms Tomayko to preserve the respect for the rule of law and to avoid making Costa Rica a place where parental abductors can hide in the future.

Ms. Tomayko married her Costa Rican companion in April after the extradition process was well under way but before a formal order was issued by a court in Heredia. She also has two children here by the man.  She has been in prison for 10 months fighting the extradition.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 22, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 143


Risks from Internet drug purchases said to be on upswing
By the University of Maryland
communications staff

Consumers are facing a growing risk of getting counterfeit drugs because of rising Internet sales of medical drugs, projected to reach upwards of $75 billion by 2010. That was the key finding of a report from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

The report calls for stronger enforcement legislation than current proposals in Congress.

Counterfeit drugs get into the U.S. through different sources, but those through illegitimate Internet sites are of special concern, says report author Francis Palumbo, executive director of the School's Center on Drugs and Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

"When consumers buy from those, it is definitely buyer beware. They are often not licensed anywhere we are aware of," said Palumbo. He says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "has been pulling its hair out over the years trying to deal with rogue Internet sites, the terminology they use."

Costa Rica continues to host some Internet drug operations and call centers. Some fake drugs have been found being manufactured here.

The report, "Policy Implications of Drug Importation," published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics, tracks the growing challenge to U.S. drug regulators and pharmaceutical companies from the growth of imported drugs. The report also addresses the national debate over drug importation policies.

Personal drug importing used to be just a way for patients to continue therapy with medications that were not available in the U.S. and when all other options were exhausted, the report says. But the practice has changed because of pressure of high costs of branded drugs in this country and the desire of patients to find cheaper alternatives.

During the past 10 years, many people have been importing prescription drugs that were available for purchase in the U.S. and justifying the foreign purchases on the FDA's policy of personal use exemption. "The policy was never intended to allow this practice to be institutionalized," the report says. And it concludes that both FDA and U.S. Customs officials can't handle the volume entering the country.

Blatantly ignoring historical policies on personal importing of drugs not sold in this country leaves the FDA "in a quandary," the report states. The FDA, though, recognizes that there are many reputable Internet pharmacies, in the U.S. and licensed by states, that offer convenience, wide selections, and privacy, according to the agency's Web site. Those pharmacies also provide easy access to medications for disabled patients "for whom a trip to the pharmacy can be difficult."

The FDA also cooperates with other countries to try to 
Internet drugs
Internet drug firms also are a major spam source

stem the tide of illegal Internet sites that ship drugs to the
U.S. Ilisa Bernstein, FDA's director of pharmacy affairs, says, "When we do hear about an incident,we follow up. But to stop it entirely would be difficult."

Another concern, says Palumbo, is that unlicensed and unregulated drugs may find their way into pharmacies. "We are trying to keep the wolf away from the door and yet there are ways counterfeiters can inject their products into the drug distribution system in the U.S. and may end up in some pharmacies. These are often introduced through the conduit of some secondary wholesalers."

More than 50 percent of Internet drug outlets, which conceal an actual address, have counterfeit drugs, according to the World Health Organization. Counterfeit drug sales are increasing at nearly twice the rate of legitimate drug sales and may expand to a $75 billion industry globally by 2010, according to the nonprofit Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

Meanwhile some states have taken steps including legislation to "tighten up distribution," Palumbo said. "There is still a long way to go with this wholesaler issue," he continues. And because there are some 6,000 pharmaceutical wholesalers operating in the U.S., "there are places where there is vulnerability, where counterfeit products might move beyond the stream of commerce."

Within the U.S., counterfeiting of drugs is likely "quite low," he says. Internet sales are generally from foreign pharmacies that may not primarily serve the citizens of their country — enabling them to avoid the standards their government requires for drug manufacturing and safety, concluded a 2004 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Also, some pharmacy chains have decided to work only through primary wholesalers and required them to have accreditation from organizations such as the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and other qualifications to show that they have not purchased from questionable sources. Palumbo says, "This is a major step forward."

Bernstein says recent FDA studies show that 50 percent of people buying online get generic drugs. "Which tells us people are perhaps bypassing their doctors. That is very dangerous."


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 22, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 144


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Men had packages of soap
made up to look like drugs


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers arrested three Colombians in Chacarita, Puntarenas, early Sunday with a suspected stolen car and several packs of soap made to look like cocaine, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública .

The Colombians, identified by the last names Gallego Bedoya, Rodríguez Góngora and Palacios Mondragón, were in possession of a Nissan Sentra that had been reported stolen Saturday in Puerto Caldera, as well as 10 bags of soap, said the ministry. One suspect escaped, according to a ministry release.

The officers, responding to a suspicious activity call, encountered four men in two cars, the Nissan and a Hyundai Elantra, in Fray Casiano, Chacarita, at about 4 a.m. After seeing the police, one suspect fired a pistol at them and fled, according to the release.

The officers, who were unharmed, apprehended the three remaining men, according to the security ministry.

“They stayed with the Colombians,” Hidalgo said, “If they had chased the other man, the Colombians would have escaped.”

Fuerza Pública officials and agents of the Polícia de Control de Drogas believe the Colombians were preparing to sell the soap as cocaine, according to Hidalgo.

A.M. Costa Rica
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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.


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.


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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.


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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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Our reader's opinion

Maine reader is seeking
wholesome sex clinics


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Sex clinics should be licensed by the government so they can be regulated by the government and taxed realistically. This way signs and other things could be controlled so that the sleazy factor can be controlled and heath and safety issues can be checked.

All sex workers should be card-carrying workers that have been tested for disease and also drug tested this will help curb the growing drug problems in our society.

 Sex workers could be sent a monthly newsletter urging them to use these short earning years to get a foothold in life using this money to get a better education, to put a down payment on a house, or to start a small business of their own.

Sex workers could be trained to take a customer's blood pressure, and condoms could be prominently displayed and made certain that they will be used. This would help promote good heath. Signs should be displayed in both Spanish and English that condom use is the law.

I don't like to see a lot of sleazy sex signs like XXX with a naked girl on a neon sign. For some reason the sex industry has to show its self in a negative way. Maybe some universals sign that is not offensive that a sex clinic is in this building but not a red light. Maybe a flag of some kind? Wholesome is the key word, clean safe streets, nice parks, beautiful architecture, pretty women in summer dresses.

Sex clinic owners should be checked for criminal backgrounds and maybe only owned by former sex workers.

Sex clinic owners would be required to split the fee 50-50 with the worker and another 10 percent with all the workers for that day so everyone goes home with some money. The remaining 40 percent would be keep by the owner for overhead and profit.

Strong laws could be made for child exploitation or any type of sex slavery where a person is held against their will. Harsh sentences could be handed down from the courts.

If possible the government could send out roving mental heath workers counseling sex workers and helping them with their  states of mind. The government could elevate sex workers as mental heath workers themselves. What they are doing is to help calm our society and making it a more peaceful and less aggressive place to live.

Sex clinics should not only be for men. They can be for woman, gays, or transsexuals or whatever the market will support. Of course they should pass all the laws of wherever.

Sex work should be outlawed from the streets. It's harder to regulate. It gives a seedy, sleazy image, and the possibility of serial killers in our society. The streets especially at night are cold, scary places.

Alcohol, drugs and firearms should be strictly forbidden in sex clinics.

 I feel that I have the right to have a financial arrangement between two consenting adults as long as the laws of wherever are followed to the maximum. I just don't see what harm is being done to anyone. Lets use a hypothetical situation. I have a mental heath business and I placed an ad :

Needed medical heath people to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety. Pay is between 10-40 dollars an hour. Working conditions: Nudity with massaging and counter massaging, a fleshy appendage with a latex glove being probed inside you.

Let me ask you, when you see a doctor he or she places their latex-covered finger somewhere inside your body and how many people do they do that too in a year?

Can we ever accept the fact that sex feels good and if it didn't, none of us would be here, with our advanced knowledge and technology we can trick the system so it can be one of life's most natural highs? No people are killed on the highway or bludgeoned in the home. Every man or woman has had some sort of sexual experience in their lives, and it makes you feel good, it replenishes your soul.

The City of Wherever could set a new standard for the world for tolerance, innovation, health, safety, providing good paying jobs, and a chance for a men and women to break the poverty cycle. Remember, this money is going directly to the people.
John Nutter
Portland, Maine


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 22, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 144



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