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(506) 2223-1327       Published Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 171       E-mail us
Jo Stuart
Real Estate
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OIJ Chief Rojas says tourist's death could be murder
By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators think the death of a U.S. tourist may be a murder and not a suicide as they originally thought, said the director of the Judicial Investigation Organization Wednesday.

The tourist who investigators believed was named Jeremy Hall had only been in the country 15 days, said Rojas.

Hall was found in Guápiles Aug 14 with his body hanging from a tree, said Rojas. Although a spokeswoman from the Judicial Investigation said the identification has not been confirmed yet, Rojas said the victim was 24 years old.

The man still had $2,000 in his bag when he was found, which makes the case appear to be a suicide,
 but another recent hanging in the same area has investigators looking deeper, said Rojas. According to reports, Hall's hands were tied behind his back.

The second victim was a Costa Rican man about 50 years old, said Rojas. The man was blindfolded when his body was recovered in Guácimo, according to reports. An anonymous caller notified the man's family and told them where to find the body, according to Rojas.

The judicial spokeswoman said the U.S. man's body was found near a restaurant called Los Lagos in downtown Guapiles. A spokeswoman from the judicial press office said she hadn't payed much attention to the case because it was filed as a suicide.

Rojas said that neither victim had signs of fractures or other injuries.

Beached dolphin had infectious bacteria, study says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The bodies of six striped dolphin stranded along the Pacific coast had a marine strain of the highly infectious disease brucellosis, according to a report from the Universidad Nacional in Heredia.

The work, headed by veterinarian Gabriela Hernández Mora was printed in the September issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brucellosis is one reason milk is pasteurized because raw milk can lead to the long-term bacterial disease undulant fever in humans. The disease appears to be so contagious that just contact with an infected animal can transmit the bacteria.

In the case of the stranded dolphin, coastal dwellers had contact as they tried to push the creatures into deeper water, said the academic report. Sometimes the meat of such animals ends up on local tables, the report noted.

In all, researchers examined the bodies of 10 dolphin that had become stranded and later died between August 2004 and April 2007. One animal was pregnant. Autopsies were done at the veterinary school of the Universidad Nacional.

Researchers said they found evidence for  Brucella ceti, a relatively new species of the bacteria that infects sea mammals. It can be transmitted to humans.

Researchers did not say the brucellosis killed the animals, but they did say the dolphin all showed  neurologic disorders and could not maintain buoyancy. The autopsy showed that the coverings of the spinal cords had been infected, they said.
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
This is how visitors want to see dolphin, in this case a bottlenose. They don't realize some could be ill.

In cows and cow-like creatures, brucellosis is a debilitating illness that causes abortions. Most domestic cattle are inoculated against the disease. Canada declared itself brucellosis free in 1999.

The researchers suggested that certain dolphin could be becoming more susceptible to brucellosis infection.

Some tourism vendors offer visitors the chance to swim among wild dolphin, but other research points out that brucellosis is a bacteria that can move through undamaged human skin.

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Escazú Christian Fellowship
fraud arrest
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
Pedro Julio Rodríguez is taken into custody at an Escazú intersection Tuesday. A witness said there were from 15 to 20 agents who made the arrest. They are in masks.

Miami man wanted on fraud
caught by agents in Escazú

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police agents arrested a man in Escazú Tuesday wanted by U.S. authorities to face an allegation of running a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud, according to the International Police Agency.

The man, a Cuban-American, who previously lived in Miami was wanted along with 13 other people for organizing a mortgage scheme from 2005 to 2007, according to the police agency. The man arrested, Pedro Julio Rodríguez Sossa, 33, is wanted by a Miami-Dade County court on a number of charges including organized fraud and theft.

According to the police agency the fraud group recruited “buyers” to apply for loans based on false information. The purpose of the scam was to obtain loans for higher amounts than the actual value of the property. The group organizers would then share the excess money. According to the international police Rodríguez is also wanted for creating a false real estate company. The mortgage fraud exceeds $11.5 million, according to the police agency.

Police here monitored the whereabouts of Rodríguez for about three months, according to the agency release.

Rodríguez moved between various houses one of which was in Real Santamaría in Barreal de Heredia, said the agency. Investigators also believe Rodríguez was involved in several companies in Costa Rica one of which sold luxury cars in Escazú. Rodríguez drove various luxury cars, according to the police agency.

Rodríguez is officially married to a Cuban-American woman but in December 2006 both Rodríguez and his wife married Costa Ricans, according to the agency. The Rodríguez couple married a brother and a sister with the last names Hidalgo Núñez, according to the police release.

The immigration agency has a request for nationality from Rodríguez, but the request was currently inactive, according to the police agency. The request had the correct phone number and address listed for Rodríguez, according to the release.

Teacher coming from States

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. agents will deport today a former school teacher sought by Costa Rican authorities for the sexual abuse of two children, a boy and a girl, according to police.

The suspect, Edgar Ramírez Rodríguez, 43, was a teacher in Tilarán when the incidents occurred, according to the International Police Agency. Police expect Ramírez to arrive at noon today at the Juan Santamaría airport.

Agents arrested Ramírez July 17 in Inglewood, California, on his way to work as a maintenance employee at Glendale Memorial Hospital.

Officials said Ramírez, if convicted, could face up to eight years in prison. Costa Rican agents put out an international arrest warrant for Ramírez in 2003.

Our reader's opinion

He's for road gangs here

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I would like to comment of Dave Lena's excellent suggestion to use non-violent prisoners for labor countrywide to clean up garbage/road maintenance, etc. I live in Florida, and visit Costa Rica frequently.

In Florida, it has been traditional to utilize inmates, something I think is greatly appreciated by the inmates, as well as by our citizens. The ability to be outdoors, instead of a jail cell must certainly have a beneficial effect on the rehabilitation of the prisoner.

A bigger issue needs to be addressed also, which is the lack of ability for the Costa Rican judicial system to hold responsible those who commit crimes in the first place, most blatantly with circumstances in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. I have been to Puerto Viejo numerous times, and have found it to be a wonderful experience. Great people, beaches, food and music. This area is truly a Costa Rican jewel.

The many wonderful people there are being held hostage to the actions of a few, already identified individuals. One, a previously convicted serial rapist accused of seven rapes, is not in custody. I do not understand how the Costa Rican government can remain inactive in these circumstances, which are being described nationally and internationally. Is this how the government wants the view of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica to be presented?
Chet Ohrt
Vero Beach Florida
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Business group says it fears electrical crisis and blackouts
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A group representing private business is expressing concern about the level of water at a main electrical generating dam and said it fears more blackouts are likely.

The group is the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, and it said in a release that the level of the water at the Cachi reservoir is much lower than it should be at this time of year.

In April and May 2007 the country faced unexpected and then planned blackouts because the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, known as ICE, could not keep up with the demand. Very low water levels at key generating reservoirs was given as the reason.

The chamber said that the current level of the water behind the Cachi dam was 972 meters (3,189 feet) above sea level, only 12 meters (about 40 feet) above the minimum level of the reservoir, said the chamber. The recommended level is 990 meters (3,248), the chamber said.
"It is troubling that at the time it is raining intensely, the level at the dam is at minimum while possible increases have been announced to consumers on their bills so that ICE can buy fuel to produce energy," said Manuel H. Rodríguez, president of the chamber.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad uses petroleum-fired generators as backups. Rodríguez has noted that the cost of generating a kilowatt of power with water is about 7 U.S. cents while the cost at a combustion plant is about 49 cents.

Although not coming out and saying it, the chamber is suggesting that the government monopoly is engineering a crisis. Officials already have said that they lack enough high-priced petroleum to fully fill the power needs.

The chamber also wants the government to incorporate into the national power grid any system, private or public, that is capable of generating electricity. There are a few private generating stations, but their outputs are restricted by law because of the government power monopoly.

Judicial police arrest nine in Puntarenas drug investigation
By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents busted a drug trafficking ring and arrested nine suspects from Heredia, Liberia and Puntarenas Wednesday, said the director of the Judicial Investigation Organization.

Agents had been investigating the case for three months and seized 110 kilograms (243 pounds) of cocaine in a luxury condominium in Heredia, said the judicial director Jorge Rojas.

Drug dealers transported cocaine from the southern border to Liberia and distributed the drugs to venders at strategic points along the way, said Rojas.

Agents arrested a 10th suspect at the beginning of the month when they seized a shipment of cocaine that was carved out into tiny pieces and meant to reassemble beans, said the director. Dealers in the operation dropped off the drugs to vendors in strategic points including Esparza,
Cuidad Neily and Libería, said Rojas. Dealers sold the cocaine in quantities of at least 100 grams, said Rojas.

The agents raided 13 buildings including a liquor store in Liberia, a bar in Esparza, a home in downtown Heredía, and houses in Río Claro, and other parts of Puntarenas, according to Rojas. They also seized nine vehicles including two microbuses, 4x4s, luxury cars, firearms, and at least $5,000 in cash said Rojas.

The two main leaders of the operation are believed to have lived in Heredia and the southern part of the country, said Rojas. The leader in Heredia was known as “Charlie.” Agents arrested a suspect by the name of Carlos Solano Ruiz who they believe is Charlie. Solano lived in a luxury condominium in Heredia, and that is where agents said they seized 110 kilos of cocaine, said Rojas.

The other leader was called “Rey Mundo,” said the director. Judicial agents arrested a César Castro Vindas who they believe is “Mundo.”

San Marcos de Tarrazú plans a culture fair this weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A culture fair will take place in San Marcos de Tarrazú this weekend.

The first event of the fair will begin Friday morning when about 80 school children participate in two workshops for the construction of faroles, the traditional lanterns that will be used in the independence day celebration Sept. 14 and 15.

A folk night is Friday with groups from Perú and ballet Asociación Mexicana de Cultura joining local performers from the Grupo Folclórico Atarazú.  This will take place in the Liceo de Tarrazú with an admission of about $2

Saturday morning the Comité de Deportes has planned a
family walk dedicated to older adults.  The whole community is encouraged to participate and t-shirts will be given to the older adults who take part in the walk.  In the afternoon, different competitions will take place in the municipal gym. 

At 7 p.m. in the same location, various musical groups from the area will perform as well as a musical guest.  The night will conclude with a choreographed native swing group.

The fair ends Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Tarrazú park with a concert by San Jose's Banda Nacional.

San Marcos, the administrative center of the Cantón de  Tarrazú is in the southern part of the Provincia de San José. It is known for its fine coffee.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 171

Talamanca students will get a musical CD today in Bribri
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Universidad Estatal a Distancia has created a CD with Bribri song recordings to teach the language.

Students in about 60 elementary and high schools in Talamanca and Alto Telire will receive the disc, "le´s ye senak," today, It has 20 songs in Bribri sponsored by the university. Almost all the students are native Costa Ricans.

Le´s ye senak in English means “This is how I want to live.”

The songs were recorded by language and culture teachers in Shiroles, a Talamanca community. Six Bribri are performers, and they sing the translated Costa Rican national anthem and "The Lord's Prayer." Maydi Cordero, producer of the Bribri CD, said that the more interesting fact is that all the lyrics and the music were created 100 percent by native Costa Ricans.
According to a press release, the idea is to give equipment and tools to make it easier for the youngsters to study and learn their mother language.

The administrator of the university in Talamanca, Marbelly Vargas, said the rescue of native language is very important because the new generation does not know it.

The plan began in 2007 with workers at the Programa de Cultura Indígena of the Ministerio de Educación Pública.

Julio Morales, a student of the university and a culture's teacher, said the government should worry more about the culture.  "We are Costa Rican citizens and all the time they forget us and never do anything to help us." He said he was grateful to the university for their effort.

In a short time, the university wants to create a new CD in the Cabécar language to help save the culture, said Vargas.

Hemisphere press group concerned by firing of television newsman in Nicaragua
Special to A.M. Costa Rica
The Miami, Fla.,-based Inter American Press Association has expressed concern at a Nicaraguan television journalist's claim that he is being persecuted by President Daniel Ortega for criticizing the government.

The television journalist, Jaime Arellano, told the local news media that last week's cancellation of his opinion program “El 2 en la Nación,” aired on Televicentro Canal 2, was due to pressures put on the channel's owners whose broadcast license renewal is currently under review. He said he has also received death threats and plans to take the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The chairman of the Inter American Press Association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gonzalo Marroquín, said that while his organization respects the right of media to change their programming
according to their editorial criteria “we cannot fail to express our concern because it is also true that the Nicaraguan government has consistently adopted coercive measures that work against the free practice of journalism.”

Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, added that the association has drawn attention to a countless number of acts against freedom of the press in Nicaragua, “not for the purpose of defending media companies but so that every Nicaraguan’s human right to information is guaranteed.”

Arellano’s complaint opened the debate once again over the process of granting broadcast licenses. A number of opposition legislators jointly drew attention to a delay by the National Assembly in passing a law that would extend broadcast licenses to 10 years, declaring that such a step would prevent the government from using renewal of these licenses as a weapon of intimidation.

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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.


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.


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Biggest immigration raid
takes place in Mississippi

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. immigration agents have arrested nearly 600 people at a plant in the southern state of Mississippi in the single largest workplace enforcement raid in the nation's history.

Officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say agents arrested illegal immigrants, including suspects from Perú, México, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panamá, Honduras, Brazil and Germany.
The raid took place Monday at a Howard Industries plant, a facility that manufactures electronic transformers in Laurel.

Some 475 were transferred to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Jena, in neighboring Louisiana. At least 100 others, including caregivers and juveniles, were released for what authorities described as humanitarian reasons.

Immigration officials say the raid is part of an ongoing nationwide effort to shut down places of employment that hire illegal immigrants.

An estimated 12 million people are living in the United States illegally.

Immigration has been a divisive issue in the U.S. presidential campaign. Both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are actively courting Latino voters, who are expected to play a pivotal role in the November election.

Several battleground states have significant Latino populations, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. 

Tropical Storm Gustav heads
for western Cuba and Jamaica

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tropical Storm Gustav is moving toward the Caribbean island nations of Cuba and Jamaica, after killing at least 22 people across Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

U.S. forecasters say the storm has winds of 95 kph (59 mph) and could regain hurricane strength by the time it passes between Jamaica and Cuba later today.

At last report, Gustav was located south-southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba. Forecasters say the storm may produce more than 20 inches of rain in some areas.

The storm drenched Haiti and the Dominican Republic after making landfall as a hurricane Tuesday. Gustav dumped torrential rains on the region, causing flooding and deadly landslides.

In the Dominican Republic, mudslides killed eight members of one family.

Jo Stuart
Real Estate
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