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(506) 2223-1327        Published Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 166       E-mail us
Jo Stuart
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Two colorful butterflies are the Morpho amathonte and Morpho Cypris, both from Costa Rica.
A.M. Costa Rica photos/José Pablo Ramírez Vindas

hercules beetle
Hercules beetle
wasp nest
Giant wasp nest
horseshoe crab
Horseshoe crab

This is a great starter course on the local bugs
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some would-be transplants to Costa Rica are a little timid when it comes to bugs. And Costa Rica does have bugs as part of its much praised ecological diversity.

Now a four-inch flying cockroach landing on the head is enough to get the attention of even the hardiest jungle dweller. But for those who want to ease into the insect diversity, there is the Museo de Insectos of the Facultad de Biologia, Universidad de Costa Rica. The location is on the university campus in San Pedro.

These bugs are dead, and they are not about to go flying off.

The museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and there is a small admission charge.

Here will be found beetles, spiders, butterflies, mantis and many others along with complete identification.

Now it may seem strange to find a horseshoe crab, called cangrejo cacerola in Spanish, on display in an insect museum, but the ancient
It takes a keen eye to see the differences between these butterfly specimens.

species is closer to a spider than the ocean crabs
that go down so well when steamed.  The horseshoe crab,  Limulus polyphemus, has been around in the shallow seas longer than most other creatures, perhaps for 445 million years and perhaps even 600 million.

Visitors also will find the giant beetle, called the unicorn or Hercules beetle, on display. This is the largest bug in the country. There also is a very large wasp nest, thankfully sans wasps.

And a multitude of specimens of the country's many butterflies.

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Constitutional court OKs
another free-trade bill

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court ruled Wednesday that it did not find any constitutional flaws in a housekeeping bill related to the free trade treaty with the United States.

The magistrates, also by a majority vote, said they did not find fault with the speedy way the measure was put through the legislative process.

The appeals to the constitutional chamber of the Corte Suprema de Justicia came from legislative opponents to the free trade treaty.

The decision means that there is just one more free trade-related measure pending in the courts to put Costa Rica in full compliance with the pact.

The magistrates got an appeal on the intellectual property legislation, the Poder Judicial reported Tuesday. That is the last measure and it already has received one of two votes in the Asamblea Legislativa.

The housekeeping bill that the court approved Wednesday already has received one positive vote in the assembly. A second and final vote is expected when the lawmakers reconvene Monday. The bill makes a number of changes in existing laws to conform to treaty rules.

The positive vote by the constitutional court was expected. The court has pretty much approved the bulk of the free trade treaty implementation legislation when the measures were presented to it.

The intellectual property measure, who also has received an initial approval in the legislature, probably will receive a constitutional court vote next week.

Dalai Lama's uninvitation
blamed on lack of money

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Óscar Arias Sánchez, under fire for uninviting the Dalai Lama to Costa Rica, said he did so only because the event to which the spiritual leader had been invited was canceled.

Less generous individuals, called malintentioned by the president, said he may have done so to placate his new friends, top-level Chinese politicians.

Arias spoke after the weekly meeting of his cabinet at Casa Presidencial. He called press reports that he caved in to fears that he would offend the Chinese if he brought the Tibetan leader here imprecise.

Arias said that he had planned a second summit this year of Nobel Prize winners and world youth in September but that there was not enough money to put on the event. Among those who had been invited, said Arias, was the Dalai Lama.

He said he suggested to the Dalai Lama that he could visit in 2009, said Arias.

There is a worldwide campaign to force the Chinese to leave Tibet and allow the people there to determine their own political fate. The campaign has been sharpened by the Olympics in China and the belief that the Chinese did not follow through in improving human rights in the country of Tibet, which was an understanding that helped the country win the Olympic bid.

There are continuing protests in Tibet that generally result in harsh countermeasures.

Arias has been trying not to offend his new diplomatic partners in China and also to avoid criticizing Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, whose country supplies most of the petroleum used here.

Venezuela plans satellite

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez says Venezuela will soon have its first satellite in orbit.

Chávez, speaking during his Sunday broadcast to the nation, said the communications satellite will be launched in China. According to the president, it will be used by Venezuela's state television.

Chávez said Venezuela would like to launch a second satellite in coming years for observation and mapping purposes.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 166

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All those big projects seem to have trouble being started
By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The city was supposed to get better. There were lists of projects. There were announcements.

Some citizens still wait, but many have forgotten that list.

Just a few of the projects announced by the municipality of San José, months if not years ago, include a Chinatown, new municipal police buildings, a new art market across from the Caja de Seguro Social, and an initiative to repopulate and renew the downtown area.

Three months ago magistrates at the Sala IV constitutional court ordered that the municipality fix up the small metal huts where police officers must sit and guard the parks. The municipal officers in these casetas don't have bathrooms, or a place to store food. The municipality had six months to complete the project, according to the court order in mid May.

“I don't believe they're really going to do it. I haven't heard a word about it from anyone,” said policewoman Adita Chávez Corrales. Ms. Cháves, who has served six of her 25 years as a municipal officer in Parque Nacional, said her fellow officers were still working their 12-hour shifts out of the metal contraptions.

The municipality would actually prefer that cops don't have casetas at all, said an aide in the mayor's office in a phone interview Wednesday. The aide, Rafael Arias, said the municipality's stance is that the majority of officers should be actively walking around watching the area.

The municipality provides raincoats for the officers and the cops who have patrol cars can bring beverages to the other officers in the mornings, said Arias. The municipality also negotiates with nearby businesses so the officers can use their bathroom facilities, said Arias. The facilities Arias refers to are most likely the municipal parking lots where the caseta officers say they are permitted to use the services.

But, said Arias, for the few areas that do need casetas, the municipality is on schedule. He said that the new constructions will be mobile units about 8 meters square and be equipped with bathrooms and a place to heat coffee. He could not give more details over the phone, he said. The municipality will begin to install the new buildings this month, according to Arias.

The Policía Municipal has casetas in Parque Nacional, Parque Central, Parque El Salvador and Parque Okayama, among others, according to municipal officers.

The municipality announced last year that they would create a new art market just south of the Plaza de las Garantías Sociales in the Fuerza Pública building called El Frontón. What happened to that plan?

Arias said that within three months major results will be seen. The plan is to move the art market from Plaza de la Democracía to the Frontón building, according to reports in January 2007. Arias said the police officers will be relocated to Pavás and to Parque Central under the kiosk. 

The art market along with the plan to repopulate San José are part of the San José posible, an initiative announced in 2006 to refresh the downtown area. As for repopulating the downtown, Arias said the municipality approved four medium height apartment buildings and nine higher buildings for the center. The taller buildings will be on the Paseo Colon nearer to Sabana, said Arias. And the pedestrian walkway is currently being lengthened to go all the way to Paseo Colon, added Arias.

As for the Chinatown, negotiations still are under way
walkway construction
A.M. Costa Rica photos/Elise Sonray
The site is a bit messy, but this is where work crews have been lengthening the pedestrian walkway along Avenida Central in the downtown.

police booth
Adita Chávez Corrales is still watching over visitors in Parque Nacional from the tiny metal police booth.

with the Chinese government, who will be investing in the project, said Arias. The municipality will also contribute to the project, said Arias. After the money details are straightened out, work can begin. Arias gave an estimate of two months more for negotiations and said construction will begin next year.

And there are some projects that seem to have gone well. Many of the electrical wires have been installed underground and the pedestrian walkway has grown in recent years.  This was part of the San José posible plan.

Express Internet cable connection will be done via Panamá
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Citizens of Costa Rica should be getting better Internet service soon, according to the phone company and an underwater cable operation.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad plans to connect with the express cable that runs under the ocean from northern Miami, Florida, to Cartagena, Colombia. Costa Rica will connect to the CFX-1 cable via a fiber optic cable off Panama's shore in the Caribbean.

The new connection will strengthen the Internet signal and speed in both Panama and Costa Rica, said Claudio
Bermúdez, sub-director of the phone company.

The company Columbus Networks, owner of the ARCOS cable in the Caribbean will administer the project. When asked about safety, Eduardo Gandarilla, vice president of Columbus Networks, explained that the cable unlike others will be deeper down under the ocean and stronger, avoiding risks from illegal fishing and shrimp boats who can damage cables. The cables that carry Costa Rica's Internet signals to the world have been cut several times by fishing boat anchors.

Both Bermúdez and Gandarilla said the project would help boost foreign investment in Costa Rica.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 166

Photo by Ariana Lindquist, U.S.A.
A Shanghai girl waits backstage during a cosplay competition. Cosplay, a contraction of the English words ‘costume' and ‘play', began as a Japanese subculture in which people dressed as characters from manga     comics, anime (animated films) or video games. Television shows, action films and pop music bands are also sometimes sources of inspiration. The pastime has become a worldwide phenomenon, with a growing following in mainland China.

Top press photos of 2007
will be exhibited here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some of the best press photos of the year make up an exhibit that will be coming to San José at the end of the month. This is the first time in a decade that World Press Photo had an exhibit here, according to the Embassy of Holland.

The exhibit of some 185 photos will be in the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo from Aug. 29 to Sept. 18, said an embassy release. A preview can be seen by going to the organization's Web page.

The World Press Photo Foundation was created in Holland in 1955 and has been running an annual photo contest of shots ranging from spot news to sports and to daily life. Various editions of the exhibit are visiting other cities, and the total number of venues of the 2007 press photo winners will be 100, the embassy release said.
Fang Qianhua, China, Nangfang Dushi Daily/
Southern Metropolis Daily.
The leaf of a rare variety of nanmu tree, just one of the plants considered endangered by rising waters caused by the Three Gorges Dam project in China. The world's largest dam and hydroelectric facility has had an enormous environmental impact, such as problems with algae and water pollution. Plant life is also threatened. Garden sanctuaries have been set up to harbor species transplanted from inundated areas.

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This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages

Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each week day.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.


The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.


A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.


Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

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Contacting us

Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

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More roadblocks set up
to challenge Morales

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Demonstrators opposed to Bolivian President Evo Morales' reform plans have set up roadblocks in parts of the country's energy-rich east on the second day of an anti-government strike.

Morales condemned the protest Wednesday and threatened to take measures to restore order.

Tuesday, the conservative governors of five low-lying eastern states began the strike to demand greater autonomy for their energy-rich region.

Morales' critics oppose his plans to redistribute natural gas revenues to the poor, saying they want to keep more of that income from their states.

Morales recently won an overwhelming victory in a national recall referendum and says the outcome reaffirms his mandate and validates his plans.

Four opposition governors were reaffirmed in the referendum as well.

The president's critics are also concerned about the president's proposals to write a new constitution. They say Morales leans too far to the political left and is allied too closely with Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo Chávez.

Brazil is in mourning
over Dorival Caymmi

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro has declared three days of mourning to honor music legend Dorival Caymmi, who died Saturday at the age of 94.

The mourning period is just one of the many tributes expected for the deep-voiced grandfather of bossa nova. The singer had kidney cancer and multiple organ failure when he died at his home in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana district.

Caymmi rose to fame in the 1930s after writing a song that helped launch the Hollywood career of entertainer Carmen Miranda. The composer poured the African heritage and rhythms of his home state Bahia into the song, What is it about Bahian women? (O Que e Que a Baiana Tem?), making it a popular hit.

Caymmi wrote more than 100 songs and recorded nearly 20 albums, inspiring generations of musicians. Caymmi is survived by his wife, singer Stella Maris, and three children.

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Costa Rica manages to get a win over El Salvador, 1-0
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican national soccer team defeated the team from El Salvador 1-0 Wednesday night.

This was a major step toward the World Cup competition for Costa Rica.

There seemed to be no violence after the game. A number of visiting fans from Salvador walked after the game from
the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in Tibás to the center of the city where they had housing.

Fuerza Pública officers selectively questions some.

Officialshave been worried about the preesence of gang members among the fans.

In other Group C soccer action, Haiti tied with Suriname 2-2.

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Jo Stuart
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