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The stories on this page were published first Aug. 31, 2001
Jo Stuart's first column is available
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Cause of man's death still 
is not clear

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators are waiting for autopsy results to find out what killed a 61-year-old Texan in his home near Curridabat.

The dead man is Roy W. Karsh, who was found Wednesday by a part-time maid about 1:30 p.m. in his home in Los Faroles de Curridabat. 

The Spanish-language press reported his death as a murder, and the case was reported with a screaming red page one banner in Diario Extra. He died from being suffocated, Diario Extra said. 

La Nación said the man died from multiple stab wounds.

Neither of these reports were correct, according to Francisco Rúiz of the Judicial Investigating Organization (OIJ).  Police still do not know why the man died and need to await the pathology report, he said.

Rúiz did say that the man's home had been ransacked, but this could have happened when someone else discovered the man dead earlier, he said. Karsh was believed to have had a heart condition, and pills were nearby in his bedroom where the body was found, he said.

Investigators said the area was one of upper middle-class homes in the 25 -million-colones range ($75,000),

Although police know the man came here to Costa Rica from Texas, they did not know from which part of the state, Rúiz said. The man had been married to a Costa Rican woman, but the wife was living apart, said the police spokesman. He said the union might have been a marriage of convenience based on residence.

If the autopsy does not quickly establish physical damage to the body, sometime may pass before reports are prepared on what types of chemicals or medication, if any, were found in the body.

The U.S. game
is on at 8 a.m.!

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Who says 8 a.m. is too early for cold beers? That's when the United States National Team kicks off against Honduras Saturday.

The time is a little-more civilized 10 a.m. at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., where the World cup semifinal game will be played to a sell-out crowd.

At 2 p.m. Costa Rica will face Trinidad and Tobago. The Costa Rican National Team already is in Port of Spain for the match, and the streets of San José were alive Friday with vendors selling anything in the national colors.

The big game is Wednesday night when Costa Rica faces the U.S. team at Saprissa Stadium here in San José.

The U.S. is pretty much assured of being one of the three teams from the division to play in the finals in Japan and Korea, as is Costa Rica. Both teams have played six semifinal matches, won four, lost one and tied one.

The Saturday morning match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 8 a.m. San José time, and will be followed by a Major League Soccer contest between D.C. United and the Tampa Bay Mutiny. The game will also be broadcast live on the Futbol de Primera radio network, beginning with their national pre-game show at 7:30 a.m. More than 51,000 seats have been sold for the match at RFK Stadium, the soccer federation reported.

Honduras wants to even the score with the United States team that defeated them 1-0 in Tegucigalpa. Soccer fans figure the game as a tossup, and some worry that the U.S. team has not been in action for several months.

Trinidad and Tobago are at the bottom of the division, and Costa Rica is considered a strong favorite. this match is a 2 p.m., and it will be televised on national television. 

Sharkey's bar on Calle 9 at Avenida 1 is among those having a happy hour for the Costa Rican contest. They will begin at noon. 

Pablo Sequeira of LanTech prints out proof sheets on a 43-inch Canon glossy film printer at CompuExpo Thursday in San José. The booth was dominated by two  large-screen displays and contemporary music.
Computer expo worth a visit
but don't expect Buck Rogers

By Jay Brodell
of the A.m. Costa Rica staff

CompuExpo 2001 was a little subdued Thursday. There were fewer commercial participants than last year, and there was not that single, great technological breakthrough that would knock off your socks.

Instead, computers, printers and internet connections were the order of the day. A few new technologies were of specialized products that probably will not find their way into each home.

InCom of San José had just what the corporate CEO will need to keep track  of his employees on the Internet. A product called MIMEsweeper and another called PORNsweeper keeps employees honest or at least catches them when they are not.

The product from an Irish company, Baltimore, controls outside access from company computers. It keeps track of data transfers (thefts) from corporate computers and protects the company from legal liability if an employee decides to send an e-mail bad-mouthing someone. 

The software also tells if an employee spends too much time surfing the Web instead of working.

Digital cameras were much in evidence at the expo, and Epson has a new printer that will print a continuous roll of snapshots using inkjet technology. The roll of special photo material mounts on a roller toilet-paper-style behind the printer. 

The flashcard storage device from a digital camera is inserted in a port. And the printer churns out the snapshots much like the much more expensive chemical processors at the photo stores. The device costs about $360 or 120,000 colones.

LanTech was showing off a gigantic Canon printer that uses a glossy film to produce poster-size photographs. The device has a maximum width of 43 inches. The device attracted a lot of attention at the hip LanTech booth.

Alexis Castro of INPAI of San José had a free-standing weather station that collects all the usual readings. The Israeli-built station needs no electricity because it has photocells built in. The idea is to hook the device up to a nearby computer to obtain vital microclimate readings for weather prediction and agriculture.

Another device prints business cards and identity cards on a polyvinylchoride material. The resulting cards are tamper-proof and can contain digital photographs, logos and many colors. The $5,000 machine is unique to Costa Rica, and Gerado Solórzano Bákit said he was showing it off mostly to get business producing cards. 

RACSA, the government Internet monopoly,  has a big display connected to the Internet by a satellite dish on a truck in the parking lot. The main push appeared to be selling hookups via the local cable companies.

Absent from the show was any examples of wireless network technology,  although there were several companies providing such packages last year. No examples of Macintosh Airport technology were evident. 

Nearly absent was Macintosh, although a few of the company's G-4 computers were being shown. The iMac that is a strong seller for the company in the United States and elsewhere was nowhere to be seen. The expo was almost exclusively PC.

In fact, the only thing close to an iMac was a half-size child's toy with the distinctive Macintosh shape and color.  It was being sold by a software company. 

However, a number of hardware vendors displayed printers and scanners that are Macintosh compatible.

The bottom line is that the expo is worth visiting to find some good deals on computers and computer-related products or specific business needs. But the industry here seems to be consolidating based on well-established technology. Don't expect any dazzling new products.

Admission is 800 colones for adults. The expo is in FERCORI, Feria International de Costa Rica, on Calle 25 at Avenida 3 in Barrio California in the east of San José through Monday. There is parking to the north of the sprawling building off Calle 25.

31 soldiers reported killed in clashes in Colombia
By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Colombian military says at least 31 leftist rebels and soldiers are dead in renewed clashes that come as visiting U.S. diplomats review U.S. policy. 

Colombian officials say combat raged in several areas Thursday, and mainly involved rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The military has been searching for hundreds of insurgents believed wounded in recent clashes. 

The fighting coincides with a visit to Bogota by Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman and other U.S. diplomats. The Colombian government Thursday said the U.S. delegation expressed support for Bogota's efforts to negotiate peace with the rebels that have so far produced little result. 

Washington is providing $1.3 billion to fund Colombian efforts to eliminate narcotics trafficking, 
 

which the rebels support. The FARC has been staging attacks from its southern stronghold. 

President Andres Pastrana set up the rebel safe
zone in 1998 as part of his plan to negotiate peace. In recent months he has come under sharp pressure to retake the zone. 

Critics, including the United States, say the FARC uses the enclave to imprison kidnap victims and run drug smuggling operations. Security forces are not allowed into the rebel-controlled zone. 

Washington supports a program known as "Plan Colombia," which aims to eradicate illicit coca and heroin poppy farming in Colombia. The guerrillas earn money from drug traffickers by charging them to protect the farms. 

Colombia is in the midst of a 37-year civil war that pits leftist rebels against the army and right-wing paramilitary groups. 

U.S. Customs Service nabs two in encryption exporting case
The U.S. Customs Service has arrested two men suspected of trying to smuggle military encryption technology to China. 

The technology is used to encode classified government communications. U.S. Customs Service agent Allan Doody said that if the encryption technology fell into the wrong hands, there would, in his words, be a great danger that U.S. secret communications would be compromised. 

U.S. officials say the technology is so tightly controlled that any sale of it must be approved by the National Security Agency. 

The two arrested suspects were identified as Eugene Hsu of Blue Springs, Missouri, and David Yang of Temple City, California. They have been 
charged with trying to buy two KIV-7-HS  encryption units to ship them through intermediaries to China. 

It is not clear where the men were arrested. The New York Times said Hsu is a U.S. citizen, and Yang was born in Taiwan but immigrated to the United States. 

The maximum sentence for smuggling sensitive technology is 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each violation. 

The Customs Service says the units are made by Mykotronx Incorporated, a technology company in Maryland. 

The customs affidavit says one of the alleged smugglers contacted the maker of the equipment in May to ask about its cost. A security officer at the company then alerted customs to his interest, which assigned an undercover agent to pose as an intermediary for the deal.

by A.M. Costa Rica wire services
Elian may go back to U.S.

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez may return to the United States, this time as a delegate for a U.N. special session on children. 

Time Magazine reports the 7-year-old is among the young people the Cuban Foreign Ministry is considering sending to the United Nations'   September session in New York. 

The United Nations says the three-day meeting will bring world leaders, child advocates and young people from around the globe to discuss the future of the world's younger generation. 

Elian Gonzalez came to the world's attention in November 1999 when he survived a shipwreck that killed his mother and other illegal aliens trying to reach the United States. 

The young boy became the center of a well-publicized, intense seven-month custody battle between his Miami relatives and his father in Cuba. The standoff led to widespread protests on both sides of the Florida straits. 

The fight ended with U.S. federal agents seizing the boy by force from his relatives and reuniting the youngster with his father. 

Since his return to Cuba, Elian has been the guest of President Fidel Castro on several occasions, including the inauguration of a museum   documenting the young boy's saga. 

Nicaraguans protest at capital

Several hundred Nicaraguan farmers hit hard by drought and low coffee prices have arrived in the capital, Managua, to end their month-long protest march. 

They say they need food, seed and medicine from the government to help families suffering from a long period without rain. The striking farmers come from the north of Nicaragua, along the Honduran border. Lack of rain has only added to a situation already critical due to low world prices for coffee, a major Nicaraguan export. 

Police nab Ukranian suspect
in multiple murder case

California police captured fugitive Ukrainian murder suspect Nikolay Sotlys Thursday in California. The capture ended a nationwide manhunt for the immigrant who faces charges in the deaths of six relatives, including his wife and son. 

Officers found Soltys hiding under a desk in the backyard of his mother's house in Sacramento. Police say the family spotted Soltys and fled from the house. His brother placed the emergency telephone call. 

Officers said Soltys jumped up and tried to run but was blocked by an old refrigerator also in the yard. He did not resist arrest. 

A police spokesman says Mr. Soltys was dirty and shabbily dressed as if he had been camping. He had a knapsack containing a knife that the  spokesman says is consistent with the murder weapon. 

Soltys is expected to be be charged with killing his pregnant wife, elderly aunt and uncle, and two young cousins in their Sacramento homes Aug. 20. He fled with his 3-year-old son, whose bloody body was found in a cardboard box in a nearby field the next day. 

Colombian daily to go weekly

One of Colombia's oldest and most respected newspapers, "El Espectador," is ending publication as a daily and will become a weekly publication. 

The newspaper's director, Carlos Lleras de la Fuente, said the problem was economics, not violence. 

The 115-year-old "El Espectador" has been one of Colombia's crusading newspapers during the country's long decades of violence. Its publisher, Guillermo Cano, was gunned down by the Medellin drug cartel outside the newspaper's offices in 1986 because of the paper's continuing campaign against the illegal drug traders. Three years later, the cartel set off a bomb outside the "El Espectador" building, injuring many employees. 

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