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(506) 2223-1327         Published Friday, Aug. 7, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 155        E-mail us
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Where is Jason Torres
International Surfing Association/Fabián Sanchez
 
Find the Surfer

Jason Torres is almost hidden as he competes in the World Surfing Games in Playa Hermosa Thursday. He and Carlos Muñoz had great days. See our story HERE!



South Pacific residents concerned about power line
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some residents on the Pacific coast south of Quepos plan to meet Saturday to hear about possible health risks from a major electrical transmission line that is part of the Río Savegre hydro project.

The Savegre project is south of Quepos on the river of the same name and includes plans for a 7-km (4.4-mile) tunnel and a 20-km (12.5-mile) transmission line. Residents are concerned because they believe that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad plans to run the high tension line down the Costanera Sur coastal highway
An e-mail announcement about the 2 p.m. Saturday meeting in Matapalo mentioned cancer and leukemia.

Residents have not been successful in blocking high-voltage lines.  In November 2005 the Sala IV constitutional court  ordered the Instituto
Costarricense de Electricidad to provide relevant scientific data to those persons living along the 32.8-kilometer Miravalles-Liberia high tension line.

The long-term effects of electric radiation and magnetism on human health are not fully known, but the court decision required that the institute provide the information that is available.

Some residents who are circulating the e-mail would prefer that the high-voltage line be erected in the less-populated hills east of the coast instead of along the highway from Silencio to Matapalo. Residents expect that a hydro generating station will be constructed at the south end of the tunnel that will carry water from the dam site.

The Savegre project is not due for completion until 2020, according to the latest reports from the electrical institute, but residents said that the project would be finished in two years.


Land invasion convictions rate slaps on the wrists
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Seven persons who invaded land in the Reserva Indígena Cabecar de Chirripó, and held on to it with threats got a slap on the wrist Thursday in Turrialba criminal court. The judicial panel sentenced them to six months in prison but then waived the sentence.

The seven are Juan Andrés Rivera Acuña, Humberto Salas Leandro, Enrique Rojas Chaves, José Manuel Rivera Monge, Luis Alberto Fonseca López, Grace Aguilar Aguilar and Rafael Ángel Rojas Agüero, according to the Poder Judicial.

Instead of prison the individuals will be on a form of probation for four years, according to the judicial ruling.
The situation developed in 1998 and the beginning of 1999 when the seven invaded the property and staked claim to some 7,000 square meters, about 1.7 acres.

Members of the Asociación de la Reserva asked that they leave, but the court was told that these requests were met with threats and intimidation.

The local Cabecar native population is upset by a series of such land thefts that are reducing the size of their holdings.

The case took 10 years to evict the individuals.

The Tribunal de Juicio de Turrialba ordered that the convicted individuals stay away from the property.



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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 155

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

Puriscal Properties
sportsmens update
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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.


Appraiser

BEFORE YOU BUY and OVERPAY
Angela Jiménez
ask Angela Jiménez
Architect/Certified Appraiser
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Insurance brokers

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Residency experts

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Physicians and surgeons

Dr. Marco A. Mora Aguilar, Neurosurgeon
Dr. Mora
Dr. Marco A. Mora
Available for surgery in any of the private hospitals in San José.
                
Stroke, Brain Surgery, Spine Surgery, Scalp and Skull Repair, Craniotomy
 
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E-mail: info@drmarcomora.com
Or use our Contact Form on the site
Emergency tel: 8879-1818, 8395-1818
Accepting VA's Foreign Medical Program
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Psychiatrist

Dr. Luis Carlos Sancho Torres
  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)
Dr. Sancho
• consulting • depression  • schizophrenia 
• psychiatric disability VA Affairs

• evaluations for gun permits 
 
• bipolar disorders  • addictions 

• methadone

• Transmagnetic stimulation
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Available 24-hour a day

office: 2246-3458 or 2246-3459
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5128-7/14/09


Dentists and dental surgery

Dental Cosmetics Costa Rica
Our office offers a wide variety of cosmetic and restorative treatments at very affordable prices. Fillings,
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Hearing consultant

English-speaking hearing consultant
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Acupuncture physician

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Accountants

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

• US Tax return preparation  for
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• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
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• Take advantage of the Foreign
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• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


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Real estate agents and services

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7Legal services

CONSULTORIA JURIDICA EMPRESARIAL CA, S.A.
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Brooke Scalise celebration
Scalise family photo
Friends and relatives of Brooke Scalise release balloons as part of the girl's 13th birthday celebration in St. Charles, Missouri.

Family and friends remember
Missouri girl killed here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The mother of a Missouri girl killed July 13 near Flamingo in a quadracycle accident said that a concrete cross has been  erected bearing her name at the accident site. She credited a U.S. expat, his pastor and his church with taking the initiative to do that.

The girl, Brooke Lauren Scalise, and her quadracycle tumbled down a steep cliff, and the mother said in a news essay that guides took a line of the four-wheeled vehicles into dangerous territory at high speed.

She identified the Flamingo expat as Don Hopkins and said that the congregation placed flowers at the accident site and read one of the dead girl's favorite Bible passages.

Meanwhile in Missouri the family celebrated Miss Scalise's 13th birthday Tuesday with a cookout involving about 50 persons.

"The kids swam, we barbequed, everyone wrote a personal note to Brooke on a balloon, and together we released them to her and watched them disappear into small dots," said the mother, Jennifer Scalise. "We sang Happy Birthday, watched a special birthday video, listened to her favorite songs, and then held a candlelit vigil around the pool as we prayed."

"Although we shed a lot of tears, we closed the day at peace feeling we had celebrated the day as she would have wanted," the mother said in an e-mail.


dog at school
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
Police dog Cherry checks out a student backpack

Police shake down schools
in Heredia and find pot

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fuerza Pública returned to two Heredia educational institutions this week with their drug-sniffing dog Cherry and managed to turn up some marijuana and a crack pipe.

The surprise visits were at the Conservatorío Castella and the Colegio San Isidro.  For the Conservatoría the search was the fourth in two months. The visit to the colegio was the fifth in the same time period.

The dog found the marijuana hidden in an orange marker, said police. The pipe was found in a similar although transparent tube. That was at the colegio where there are 1,200 students.

Julio Cordero, director of the colegio, said he was ready to cry at seeing the police in the school because that means that drugs have infiltrated the study body. He was the person who called in police two months ago.

Police said that some students were anxious to turn in their classmates who deal in drugs and to discuss problems caused by these activities.

The student found with the marijuana and pipe was turned over to his parents, police said.


Zelaya said coup leaders
planned to have him killed

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire services

Ousted president José Manuel Zelaya told supporters in México that he narrowly avoided assassination early June 28 when the military came to take him out of his country of Honduras. This is the first time he has mentioned the threat to his life.

Zelaya was in México to meet with President Felipe Calderón, who will be visiting with U.S. President Barack Obama this weekend. Zelaya wants the United States to step up the pressure on the interim Honduran government.

Zelaya said that civilian coup leaders planned to have him assassinated after he was deposed but that the military refused to go along with the plan, according to news reports.

In Honduras, police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse dozens of students who massed in the capital, Tegucigalpa, to protest the ouster of  Zelaya.

The clashes happened Wednesday as the students blocked roads around the national autonomous university, then hurled rocks at the officers. The university's director, Julieta Castellanos, said she was beaten when she tried to calm the violence between the students and security forces.

As the clashes took place, foreign ministers from the Organization of American States met in Washington for talks on sending a high-ranking diplomatic mission to Honduras to resolve the political crisis.

The organization's deputy secretary general, Albert Ramdin, said the delegation will press the interim Honduran government to accept a proposal aimed at reinstating Zelaya. The military took Zelaya to Costa Rica June 28.

Ramdin says the organization believes the proposal is a "realistic" way to solve the political stalemate and return constitutional democracy to Honduras.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez prepared the proposal. He has led a U.S.-backed mediation effort between the ousted and interim governments. The caretaker government of President Roberto Micheletti has refused any proposal that would allow Zelaya to return.

Interim leaders say Zelaya was ousted because he was trying to change the constitution illegally to extend his term in office. No government has formally recognized the Micheletti government.

Ramdin said it is unacceptable that a president who has been democratically elected is taken by force and transported out of the country. The Organization of American States suspended Honduras several weeks ago for failing to restore Zelaya.

This was the first time the Organization of American States had suspended a member since Cuba was excluded from the group in 1962.

Officials told to do study
of pineapple production site

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court ordered the environmental officials to determine if there is contamination in the community of Tujankir II in Buena Vista de Guatuso de Alajuela a result of pineapple production.

The court ordered the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones and the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental to take the lead to immediately conduct a study.

Residents of the area complained because a large-scale pineapple growing facility has been developed nearby. They are concerned about erosion of the soil and the possible contamination of the groundwater, said the Poder Judicial in a summary of the decision.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 155

Escazú Christian Fellowship
Your Costa Rica

Heredia train starts running Saturday with some festivities
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials are pretty sure that they will inaugurate the San José-Heredia train Saturday and that regular service will start Monday.

This is the third or fourth announcement of a possible start of service. The first said service would begin in December.

President Óscar Arias Sánchez will do the honors at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Estación al Atlantico north of Parque Nacional. Then he will ride to Heredia with some 25 orphans in the care of the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the child welfare agency.

The last time Arias was on the train he was headed to Heredia to mark the anniversary of that province. The train derailed and the start of service was delayed while workmen replaced wooden cross ties with concrete ones.

Once that job was done and some repairs were made to a key bridge at the Río Torres, officials at the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles quietly started passenger service. That was until a judge stopped the train because a man who has land neighboring the track complained of possible damage. After weeks of wrangling and hearings and engineering studies, the judge finally gave the go ahead.

So now officials have their fingers crossed.  Casa Presidencial came out with an optimistic release Thursday. "The train to Heredia is a reality," it said.

Arias and his associates will embark on a hero's journey. The train will stop in Tibás, Santo Domingo de Heredia 
and San Pablo de Heredia where bands, mascaradas and other amusements will welcome it. Those on the train are supposed to hand out pieces of potato and hard-boiled eggs as a reminder of food that was available on trains years ago.

In Heredia centro the trip back into time continues when four saxophone players present the song "Vox Populi," which is said to be the song that was played when the train first arrived there early in the 20th century.

The train service is designed to take pressure off the vehicle commute from Heredia to San José. The passenger service will run from 6 a.m. every half hour and end at 8:30 p.m. About 230 persons can be accommodated on each train. Officials estimate that the train will carry 100,000 persons a month. The rail cars have been imported from Spain. The trip is estimated to take about 30 minutes. The fare is 350 colons no matter where the passenger boards. That's about 60 U.S. cents.  Ticket sales will be at both ends of the line and those boarding in the middle of the run can purchase tickets from rail workers in the cars.

Vehicle drivers in Barrio Otoya, Tibás and several other places along the way will find the train a challenge. At one point the train cuts across a main highway. There are no crossing gates. The valley train from Pavas to San Pedro has been involved in three fatal accidents in the last three years. It, too, competes for highway space with cars and buses.

Miguel Carabaguíaz, president of the rail institute, urged motorists to stop, look and listen and wait 30 seconds before crossing active rail lines. The trains, both passenger and work varieties, meanwhile, have been blowing their horns repeatedly at every crossing.


Costa Rica joins the world campaign against being too fat
When I first visited Costa Rica in the late 1980s, one of the pleasures I experienced was just looking at the Costa Rican people.  So many of the women were beautiful, small boned and long-waisted — and slender.  The men were good looking, too.  Everyone (it seemed to me) had wonderful posture as they walked in the streets of San José or along the highways or in small towns.  And I did not see a single fat person.

Not so today.  The obese person I pass on the sidewalk or sit next to on the bus is no longer certainly a tourist. He or she is often a Tico. 

The debate in the United States today seems to be about whether it is going to offer universal medical insurance or universal health care to its citizens.  What looms large to threaten either is the cost of the lifestyles of so many people that undermines their health and life expectancy. The problem of obesity is front and center.  Type 2 Diabetes is one of the main thieves of good health, a long life and the money to support them.

Once obesity was mainly prevalent among the poor, the people who did not have access to inexpensive healthy food, and lived on fats and sugars, two main ingredients in cheaper snacks and fast foods.  Remember the saying, “You can’t be too rich or too thin.”  That no longer holds.  The middle and upper classes are getting fat, too.  Even aging movie stars are overweight.

The problem of obesity now exists in many industrialized nations and even in developing ones like Costa Rica and India.  Both of these countries have healthy diets and good food available to its people, but they, along with the world, have changed.

The main causes seem to be the side effects from what is called Progress.  Progress is considered a good thing by most people, and certainly by most countries.  Progress is often described as improvement, “an advance toward perfection.”  I prefer to think of it by the first definition I read in an old dictionary of mine:  “A royal journey marked by pomp and pageantry.” 

In my mind I see the King and Queen with their entourage taking a ride with jugglers and musicians dancing around their carriage as they circle the royal park and return to the castle.  But I digress.
Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

 
The trappings of Progress include plastics and food preservatives (to wrap and keep snacks filled with salt and sugar), They also include wonderful inventions like cars and telephones and computers and remote controls and video games, all things suited to a sedentary indoor life.

With Progress has come stress and long hours, not at hard physical labor, but behind desks (and computers) and other stationary objects, which means that time has become a luxury.  There is no time to cook, to dine, and to relax in the sun, to take a walk.  There is only time to eat fast foods on the run, or more likely, in the car.

And to add to all of this is the problem of addiction.  Just about anything that plucks at the pleasure areas of the brain can become addictive if allowed to go unbridled. Basic needs are prime candidates.  Food is dangerously so, especially if it contains fat and sugar.

Just as Costa Rica responded almost as quickly as the United States to the alarming bad news about smoking, so too, has it already begun its campaign against the dangers of obesity.  The newspapers, the billboards and the posting in hospitals are out. 

That alone won’t do it. Just as so many smokers had to go through the pain filled months of withdrawal, so, too will those who have made themselves sick because they have overeaten, will have to bite the bullet (but not swallow it).

I am not speaking from the superior position of one who never had a weight problem.  I have always had extra pounds trying to sneak up on me.  But one of the little mantras I have lived by is that when I go out in public I try not to be an "eyesore."  That was the word I thought of it when I was a kid. I think I learned the idea from my mother, although it was never said, only demonstrated.  I just don’t look good fat.



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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 155

Gilbert Brown on board
International Surfing Association/Watts     
Gilbert Brown shows his stuff, but it was not enough Thursday. He is out of the open competition.
Costa Rican surfers hold down two of last 10 spots
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Two Costa Rican surfers had great days Thursday even though the country took a big drop in team rankings.

Carlos Muños and Jason Torres are still alive as the 128 competitor field has been narrowed to just 10. Muñoz will participate in the repercharge today and Torres will be in an open men's heat.

The sixth day featured a growing swell and water temperatures resembling that of a jacuzzi. Heavy afternoon rains delayed the competition for more than 150 minutes.

Team USA, who has been trying since 1996 to regain the gold medal in the overall team standings, made a huge step Thursday by keeping all of their remaining surfers alive. Australia fell to third place and Hawaii moved up to second. South Africa took over fourth place that Costa Rica held Wednesday, and France moved into fifth.

The morning rounds of competition bore witness to a low tide and a growing swell that produced some very contestable conditions as Hawaii’s Joel Centeio opened the day with a blistering performance, earning himself a win in his open men round 4 heat against New Zealander Jay Quinn, Aussie Dayyan Neve and Brazil’s Gabriel Medina. Centeio, a seasoned competitor from the island of Oahu, has edged Team Hawaii closer to a solid standing. Going into day six, both Australia and the USA were tied for first while Hawaii held fast in third.

As the remainder of the Open Men’s round progressed, American Ben Bourgeois put up the highest combined score of 15 points as the North Carolina native tore apart the peak at Playa Hermosa with surgical precision.

Other standout performances in the open men’s morning rounds went to Florida native Cory Lopez and Costa Rica's Torres.

At the completion of round 4 of the open men division, the longboarders took to the lineup. Although the right and left-hand peaks at Playa Hermosa can be daunting for the 9-foot planks, the talent of the surfers in the water was testament to how diverse the current crop of international longboarders has become by mixing in an array of high-speed nose walks and speed floaters on the inside dump.
Among those who stood out in their early morning heats was Great Britain´s Eliot Dudley who looked serenely confident in his opening surf Thursday. At 24 years old, Dudley hails from Wales and although he’ll be the first to tell you that his home break may not be world class, he’s still managed to hone his craft and hold his best against the rest of the world.

“We don’t get a lot of surf where I’m from in the UK, but when we get some waves, it gets pretty good. Sort of like the East Coast of the U.S.,” said Dudley, “but I also get to travel a lot so that’s good. I’ve actually been to Costa Rica six times.”

Also representing the longboarding contingency for Great Britain was surfer Ben Skinner, who may have one of the most interesting stories in the meet. His father, owner of Skinner Ale, a popular British beer, helped fund the British team to make it to the games.
 
In his heat Thursday, Skinner advanced with some of the fastest cross-stepping in the business, coupled with some high speed, high-risk floaters across the inside dump section. Skinner will take on good pal and fellow Great Britain´s longboarder Eliot Dudley in the next round.

In what proved to be a shocker for Bonga Perkins, the 2008 World Longboard Champion from Hawaii, fell victim to some sharp competition in his round 3 heat, forcing him into the repercharge rounds where he competed against fellow Hawaiian Kekoa Uemura, Australian Dane Piolo, and Francisco Hernandez from Venezuela and won.

As the afternoon heat bore down on the competition, an armada of ominous, dark clouds plowed toward the contest site at Playa Hermosa south of Jacó. The ensuing wind and rain forced a two and a half hour hold to the contest as the event lost all power. Fortunately, the contest was able to start again and the following heats bore witness to some of the best surfing of the event.

Jeremy Flores had the score of the day, a 9.17, when he dismantled a right-hander in the closing minutes of his heat to take the win. He helped his French team to advance.

“If you’re not lucky and you don’t get the good ones out there, then that makes it tough,” said Flores. “I can’t wait for the swell to come up and we can get some better surf for the rest of the contest.”


Weekend events include a construction fair in Heredia
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two events this weekend are open to visitors. The first is the Expocasa 2009 construction fair in Heredia that ends Sunday.

Expocasa comes at a difficult time for the construction industry. This is the seventh edition. It is at the Centro Ferial Pima-Cenada in Heredia.

At Plaza Víquez Saturday and Sunday will be the Feria de Promoción de la Microempresa Femenina sponsored by the Municipalidad de San José.

The fair for female small business owners will feature
cultural and recreational activities and information over the prevention of breast cancer.

There will be stands with crafts for sale and other products from the poorer residents of the central district of San José.

The event is dedicated to Fundación Esperanza that works with women survivors of family violence. The event is a runup to the Día de la Madre, which is Aug. 15.

A third event if for the musically inclined, The Known Associates Jam Sessions will be held on Sunday starting at 4 p.m. in the LDX MC Clubhouse, behind Motor Psychos Bar in Santa Ana until 7 p.m. All musicians are welcome, a motorcycle club spokesman said.




Another great month



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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 155

Casa Alfi Hotel

turtles located
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
Coast guardsmen pull live turtle to the sea

One green turtle is saved
but raid too late for another

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law officers may have been too late for one green turtle, but they managed to save the life of another in northeastern Costa Rica.

Officials of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas said they saw a man who had trapped a turtle on the beach at Barra Pacuare.  The officers on patrol managed to sneak up on the man and then place him under arrest. It appeared the man was trying to get the giant turtle off the beach perhaps to kill it for meat. The officers said the man, later identified by the last names of Álvarez Martínez, tried to flee, but they caught him.

But then what to do with the large turtle? Officers rigged a harness and pulled the creature on its back toward the sea. Finally they righted the turtle who plodded off to the Caribbean without further assistance.

The story was not so pleasant in Barrio Cristóbal Colón in Cieneguita where law officers found containers filled with turtle meat. They confiscated 37 kilos or about 82 pounds. The meat appeared to be from a green turtle which finds the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica to be its ideal nesting place.

Coast guard officers were accompanied for the arrest by the Judicial Investigating Organization agents from Limón. Officers said they also confiscated a shotgun that may have been used to kill turtles.

There is a long tradition of killing and eating turtles on both coasts of Costa Rica as well as robbing eggs from turtle nests for food, too.  Killing turtles is illegal now, although in some areas there are quotas on collection of turtle eggs.

Two police officers face
allegation of taking bribe


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The operator of a bar in Goicoechea told security ministry officials that police tried to extort money, two officers were detained by the Inspectoría of the Fuerza Pública, officials said.

The bar operator said that the two officers took 100,000 colons, about $172 from the owner of the bar as a payment so they would not file a complaint against him with the Municipalidad de Guadalupe.  The police had encountered underage drinkers in the bar.

The bar operator called the local police station while the police officers were negotiating with the owner, according to the police report. The officers, identified by the last names of Obando Hernández and Bonilla González, were detained but two other officers waiting outside in a patrol car were not, officials said.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 155

Latin American news digest
Vendors appear to have lost
their fight to keep stalls


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The vendors who sell souvenirs at a market near Plaza de la Democracía got bad news Thursday. Informal reports from Casa Presidencial say that Óscar Arias Sánchez has vetoed a measure that would have assured them of continued use of Calle 13 bis. An official announcement is expected today.

The vendors, family and friends have been protesting at Casa Presidencial since Monday because they heard that Arias would veto the measure. The bill was strongly favored by lawmakers.

The vendors say that Arias rejected the bill because his foundation, the Fundación Arias para la Paz, seeks to use the space for a parking lot when it constructs a proposed museum of peace. Presumably Arias will figure prominently in the museum exhibits.

Protesters say the street was given them for 99 years in 1995. The sales are made from small stands covered by a tin roof. Goods are mostly tourist quality. The vendors ended up there after they were ushered from Plaza de la Cultura.

There have been plans to move the vendors to a building between Avenida 4 and 6, but that seems out of the way for tourist customers.

The vendors themselves have plans to build a modern structure where they are to house their businesses.

Officials have elaborate plans to remodel the area, including the current work on the Plaza de la Democracia and the Museo Nacional.

Weekend promises rain

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A low pressure system in the Pacific likes Costa Rica so much that it has not moved much. This is the system that has brought heavy rains to part of the country and soaked the World Surfing Games in Playa Hermosa. The instability is likely to remain for the weekend.

All sectors of the country except the Caribbean coast can expect afternoon and evening downpours today.  For the Caribbean, the rain will be lighter and at night.  Thursday the Caribbean coast got only a fraction of the rain that it has received Wednesday. In some places that was as much as 5 inches.



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