A.M. Costa Rica

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(506) 223-1327       Published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006, in Vol. 6, No. 152       E-mail us    
Jo Stuart
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Phone book white pages finally appearing after lapse of a year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Yes, Virgina, there is a telephone book.

After a year of not having updated white
pages, the telecommunications companies are
beginning distribution or a new volume by means of the Cruz Roja.

The white pages were compiled by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad under the

of Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. The institute, known as ICE, has most of the telephone lines in Costa Rica, and the company known as  
RACSA is a subsidiary with most of its business in Internet services. The white pages are based on phones that were active in June, RACSA said.

RACSA also announced that the 2007 yellow
pages contract was awarded to a Colombian consortium. That wll be in March.

Costa Rica was left without white or yellow pages when a Verizon subsidiary decided to create regional editions. Some members of the public objected and said they wanted a phone book that covered subscribers in the entire country. The dispute was prolonged and no phone book appeared.

White pages here are not very reliable. Many persons have telephones in their homes that were originally contracted to a previous owner. Changing the name on a telephone is much more complex than simply paying the bill each month.

Cartago pilgrimage entering its final phase
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The march to Cartago entered its final phase Tuesday, and the flood of the faithful increased dramatically.

The principal ceremony is a Mass today at 9:30 a.m. which President Óscar Arias Sánchez, his ministers and other politicians, all the bishops in the country and an estimated million persons will attend.

Today is the feast day of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, the patroness of Costa Rica and this nation's manifestation of Mexico's Virgin of Guadalupe.

By noon, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims will be attempting to return to their homes. Not many will be walking, and bus companies mount a major effort each year to carry the crowd. Many stayed up one or two nights so they could be in the plaza of the Basilica de los Ángeles for today's ceremonies.
Not all was peaceful. The press office of the Poder Judicial said that a judge in Goicoechea jailed a man with the last name of  Montenegro for two months for investigation. He was the suspected driver of a hit-and-run car that killed a 27-year-old pilgrim, Cristian Rodríguez Alvarez, in Curridabat Sunday morning. The man is facing a charge of causing death and injuries while driving drunk.

Earlier Tuesday four men mugged a pilgrim,  Salomón  Paniagua  Elizondo, also in Curridabat, which is east of San José. The man lost a cell telephone, and the four men fled in a taxi. Fuerza Pública officers caught up with four suspects in Tirrases, detained them, confiscated a .38-caliber pistol and recovered a cell phone.

Today is a public holiday, and there will be extensive television coverage of the activities at the Cartago church. 

The U.S. Embassy will be closed.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 152

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Executive branch opposes
public sessions of consejo

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Don't expect to see a session of the Consejo de Gobierno on television anytime soon.

The minister for the Presidencia has rejected the idea incorporated in a proposed law that meetings of the consejo be public. The minister, Rodrigo Arias Sánchez, the president's brother, characterized the consejo as a deliberative body.

Nowhere in the world is a session of such a body public, he said, adding that as a deliberative body the consejo has a right to meet in private and to tell the public later what happened in the form of written minutes and decisions.

The consejo includes the president and the cabinet ministers and anyone else the members might invite for information or questioning. It is a formal creation of the Costa Rican Constitution.

Óscar López, an independent legislator elected under the banner of the Partido Accesibilidad sin Exclusión, has proposed the legal changes to require that the consejo be an open meeting and that the Sala IV constitutional court meet openly, too.

Making an argument that is frequently heard from politicians all over the world, Rodrigo Arias said that the executive branch has the right to discuss in private its projects and also the ideas and actions of the government.

Costa Rica's consejo is different than, for example, the cabinet of George Bush in the United States. The consejo here is a formal creation that is given specific powers under the Costa Rican Constitution. With the president presiding, the consejo can grant pardons and name and remove diplomatic representatives. It also has the power to appoint directors of autonomous institutions when that job falls to the executive branch, according to  Article 147 (2-4) of the Constitution.

The consejo also is charged with taking care of any other matters submitted by the President of the Republic who, if the gravity of "any matter so requires, may invite other persons to participate in the deliberations of the Council in a consultative position, according to Paragraph 5.

Similar bodies in the United States are covered by a multitude of state laws. In some states the meetings must be open, and there are certain exemptions for legal and delicate personnel matters. Other states allow secret meetings of government bodies. But the general rule is that final decisions and votes must be public.

Despite the powers contained in the Constitution here, the consejo has evolved into an advisory body of the president in the style of the United States. Meetings are usually held on Wednesday in the Óscar Arias administration.

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users 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 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 three other newspages. Sometimes there will be four additional 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.


A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

The statistics page also shows where A.M. Costa Rica ranks in visitors among all the Web pages in the world.

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.

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

Legal services

(506) 257-8068 / 233-0293
Paseo Colon Av, 30th Street
1 block west from Pizza Hut, San Jose C.R.

E-mail: info@immigrationexperts.co.cr

Lilliana Torres, attorney at law

We handle immigration services and residency procedures as required by the government for foreigners who wish to live in Costa Rica. For the last 16 years, we’ve provided competitive, dependable, professional services. With our integrity, loyalty, and honesty, thousands of satisfied foreign clients have obtained their Costa Rican residency.



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Visit our Office in Jacó Beach
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Business and financial consulting

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 152

A.M. Costa Rica/René Peters
Step gently
with eyes open

The famous Quepos span, christened the Oh My God bridge by locals, was closed Thursday because repairs were being made.

Workmen parked their pickup in the middle of the bridge while they were on the job.

Traffic was backed up for miles, residents said. This is a typical event when the bridge is shut down.

Locals continued to cross the bridge on foot, but not on the pedestrian walkway which lacks a significant number of wooden cross members.

This would not be a good place to walk in the evening after having consumed several cans of beer.

Planted trees are taking pressure off Latin forest, U.S. agency says
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

About 60 percent of the wood supply in Latin America and the Caribbean will come from planted forests by 2020, leaving more of the region's natural forests untouched, reports the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization.

The Food and Agricultural Organization said the more wood that comes from planted forests, the more that natural forests in Latin America and the Caribbean will be conserved, which the U.N. organization called a positive trend.

Natural forests usually are described as forests that have evolved without being significantly altered by human activity.  Well-managed natural forests are said to assure a high-quality water supply for the local population.

A planted forest is one that human activity has established through planting or seeding.  Planted forests are said to conserve natural forests and reduce deforestation by providing an alternative source of wood. They also help improve degraded land and capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which helps in combating climate change.

The Food and Agricultural Organization said annual potential wood supply from planted forests in Latin America and the Caribbean would increase from 303 million cubic meters to 480 million cubic meters from 2003 to 2020.  In that same period, potential wood supply from natural forests will shrink from 320 million cubic meters to 293 million cubic meters
In a new report, "Forestry Sector Outlook Study for Latin America and the Caribbean," the Food and Agricultural Organization says the shift from natural to planted forests for wood supplies in the region is being driven by "increasingly restricted access to natural forests and greater regulation in the management and use of natural resources."

However, despite the fact that the majority of wood supply will come from planted forests, natural forests in Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to shrink in the next 15 years.

The Food and Agricultural Organization study cites the expansion of agriculture and cattle raising as main causes for deforestation in the region.  The organization has said the Latin America and the Caribbean region has registered the world's highest rate of forest loss over the past 15 years.  From 1990-2005, the region's forest area declined from 51 percent to 47 percent of total land area, primarily due to conversion of forestland to agriculture, said the Food and Agricultural Organization.

The new report says expected population growth in Latin America and the Caribbean, from 520 million people in 2004 to 620 million people in 2020, and economic expansion are other factors likely to lead to a corresponding increase in the demand for forest products, including fuel wood and charcoal for domestic and industrial uses.

But on the positive side, the FAO added that greater environmental awareness in the region is expected to boost the expansion of protected areas.

Costa Rica expresses a desire for an immediate cease-fire in Middle East
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica deplores the grave impact on the innocent civilian population by the widening war in the Middle East and insists on an immediate cease-fire, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

A statement from the ministry included the populations of Israel, Lebanon and Palestine as those who have been gravely affected.

The ministry said it was joining the call for peace issued by the President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Óscar Arias Sánchez.

"The open wounds in this sad conflagration represent a setback in the search for a badly wanted peace for this region and a worrisome climate for international peace and security," said Bruno Stagno, foreign minister.

The country condemned the destructive terrorism
caused by Hezbollah and the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and called for their immediate release. But it also repudiated the indiscriminate armed actions that
have reached the civilian population and more recently the United Nations personnel there. Four U.N. observers were killed by Israeli weaponry over the weekend.

The soldiers were abducted in a raid July 12.

The death of innocent victims in the town of Qana showed the necessity of a cease-fire, said the statement. Some 56 persons, mostly women and children, died in a single explosion over the weekend there.

Arias himself, calling on his experiences in negotiating a peace pact for Central America 19 years ago, said that dialog was absolutely necessary.

Casa Presidencial released an opinion article by Arias in Spanish at midday.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 152

U.S. says it is closely monitoring situation in Cuba
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. officials are closely monitoring developments in Cuba where an ailing President Fidel Castro has temporarily ceded power to his brother Raúl, the country's defense minister. The State Department says the U.S. hope, eventually, is for a transition to democracy on the communist-run island.

Fidel Castro has been a major political irritant to the United States for decades. But the Bush administration is, at least publicly, taking a low-key approach to the Cuban leader's latest health crisis.

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters the turn of events in Havana is being closely followed by the U.S. officials who normally monitor Cuba.

But he said there has been no task force set up within the State Department, or any special contacts with other governments about the situation.

He also said it is premature to discuss what the United States might do in the event that Raúl Castro, who has long been considered his brother's heir-apparent, assumes permanent control of the national government.

"That's getting down the road. It's not a situation that we're dealing with right now," he said.  "We have made clear: our policy with respect to Cuba stands. We fully support a democratic, free, prosperous Cuba in which the Cuban people have the opportunity through the ballot box to choose who will lead them, and not have their leaders imposed upon them."
The spokesman said it is clear Cubans want democracy to follow the Communist era, and that the United States and the American people would do everything possible to stand with them.

Castro reported Tuesday that his health is stable and that he is in good spirits following surgery. Castro made the comments in a statement read on Cuban television. The Cuban leader also said he feels perfectly fine.

Three weeks ago, President Bush approved an $80 million program to bolster non-governmental groups in Cuba with the aim of hastening the end of the 47-year-old Castro dictatorship.

The program, recommended by a study commission headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutiérrez, provides for among other things the dissemination of uncensored information to Cubans via broadcasting and the Internet.

The commission promised extensive U.S. financial and logistical help to a transitional government on the island if it committed to democracy and asked for American help.

The panel also criticized the growing relationship between the Castro government and Venezuela's populist President Hugo Chávez, who has been providing Cuba with financial aid and cut-rate oil.

Spokesman McCormack said he was unaware of any U.S. diplomatic contacts with Venezuela since the news emerged Monday of Fidel Castro's illness.

Substances in curry and onions shown to reduce precancerous polyps
By the Johns Hopkins news service

A small but informative clinical trial by Johns Hopkins investigators shows that a pill combining chemicals found in turmeric, a spice used in curries, and onions reduces both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract.

In the study, published in the August issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, five patients with an inherited form of precancerous polyps in the lower bowel known as familial adenomatous polyposis were treated with regular doses of curcumin (the chemical found in turmeric) and quercetin, an antioxidant in onions, over an average of six months. The average number of polyps dropped 60.4 percent, and the average size dropped by 50.9 percent, according to a team led by Francis M. Giardiello at the Division of Gastroenterology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Marcia Cruz-Correa at Johns Hopkins and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.

“We believe this is the first proof of principle that these substances have significant effects in patients with FAP,” says Giardiello.

Familial adenomatous polyposis is a disorder that runs in families and is characterized by the development of hundreds of colorectal polyps and eventual colon cancer. Recently, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been used to treat some patients with this condition, but these compounds often produce significant side effects, including gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding, according to Giardiello.

Previous observational studies in populations that consume large amounts of curry, as well as laboratory research on rodents have strongly suggested that curcumin — a relatively innocuous yellow pigment extracted from turmeric, the powdered root of the herb curcuma longa and one of the main ingredients in Asian curries — might be effective in preventing and/or treating cancer in the lower intestine,
 according to Dr. Cruz-Correa. She said curcumin has been given to cancer patients, and previous studies have demonstrated that it is well tolerated at high doses.

Similarly, quercetin — a member of a group of plant-derived polyphenolic anti-oxidant substances known as flavanoids (found in a variety of foods including onions, green tea and red wine) — has been shown to inhibit growth of colon cancer cell lines in humans and abnormal colorectal cells in rodents.

Although these substances were administered together, due to relative dose levels it is Giardiello’s belief that curcumin is the key agent.

“The amount of quercetin we administered was similar to what many people consume daily. However, the amount of curcumin is many times what a person might ingest in a typical diet, since turmeric only contains on average 3 percent to 5 percent curcumin by weight,” says Giardiello. Because of this, he cautions that simply consuming curry and onions may not have the same effect as was produced in this study.

In the trial, each patient received 480 milligrams of curcumin and 20 milligrams of quercetin orally three times a day for six months and was told not to use anti-inflammatory drugs for the duration of the study. Three patients followed treatment as prescribed. One patient did not follow the scheduled treatment doses between months three and six and was continued on therapy until the ninth month. A second patient dropped out of the study after the third month.

A decrease in polyp number was observed in four of the five patients at three months and four of the four patients at six months.

Side effects were minimal. One patient reported slight nausea and sour taste within a couple of hours of taking the pill, which went away within three days, and a second patient had mild diarrhea for five days.

Guard on bender gives police and neighbors a scare with a shotgun
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A security guard spent part of Monday night riding around on a motorcycles and threatening people with a shotgun and a handgun, officials said.

The guard, was employed by Protección  Total and was supposed to be watching the subdivision Lomas de Curridabat, said the Fuerza Pública.

Alcohol was blamed for the guard's unusual behavior. Police identified him by the last name of Zamorano. A police motorized unit spotted him in Curridabat 
about 7 p.m. They took him into custody but not before he threatened a patrolman with his shotgun, they said. The man had difficulty standing, they said.

There were no shells for the shotgun, police discovered, and of the three cartridges the man had for the handgun, two had been discharged, they said.

Police said the operator of the security firm, identified as Henry Gonzáles Solís, showed up several hours later and said the guard had abandoned his employment several days earlier and took weapons and the motorcycle with him, police reported.

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