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These stories were published Friday, Sept. 6, 2002, in Vol. 2, No. 177
Jo Stuart
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Costa Rican stamp features pre-attack towers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican commemorative stamp that will be released Sept. 11 shows the twin World Trade Towers in Manhattan in all their pre-attack glory on a dazzling sunny morning.  The 110-colon stamp bears the statement in Spanish "In memory of the victims."

The outline of the photo is a pentagon, a reference to the terrorist attack on the military complex in Arlington, Va., near Washington.

The stamp will be unveiled officially Sept. 11 at a ceremony with U.S. officials, but postal authorities are releasing a bulletin for stamp collectors who may wish to buy first-day covers and other forms of the stamp.
A New York fireman will tour three Latin American countries to tell of the Sept. 11 aftermath.


The "covers" are envelopes that bear the cancellation date that is the same as the first day the stamp was issued. The U.S. currency value of the stamp is 30 cents. The price, 110 colons, is just enough to mail a letter to North America, according to an employee at the Oficina Filatélica of Correo de Costa Rica.

The cover will bear the same statement, "En memoria de las victimas," on the stamp and displays a memorial ribbon within a circle of words, including the date, Sept. 11, 2002. Postal officials sell the envelope and the stamp for 460 colons, or about $1.26.

Postal officials have ordered 1,500 of the specially imprinted envelopes, but a U.S. dealer already has ordered 400. After some deductions for displays and other administrative uses, about 900 first-day covers remain to be sold to the public, the employee said.

Stamp to be released Sept. 11

Courtesy Museo Calderón Guardia
This is one of the photos that will be in an exposition at the Museo Caldarón Guardia starting Sept. 11. More photos and a story Below!

In all, 500,000 of the stamps were printed by Casa Gráfica S.A. The stamp itself is 40 millimeters by 40 millimeters (1.6 inches square). The photo comes from Alan Schein of City Merchandise, Inc., in  New York, and the graphic designer is Eric Javier Hidalgo Valverde.

Stamps also are sold in sheets of 100 with consecutive numbers. The stamp was authorized just a month after the terrorist attacks leveled the twin towers in New York City. Correos de Costa Rica maintains a Web site, but the site does not appear to be fully operational.

A brochure distributed by postal authorities contains a three-paragraph essay by John J. Danilovich, U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica. 

"The Twin Towers depicted in this evocative stamp no longer stand, but their shining image commemorates that day of horror, the bravery of those who died, and the resolve of the world to confront and conquer the savagery of terrorism wherever it is found," said Danilovich in English and Spanish.

Sept. 11 named 
‘Patriot Day’

President Bush has proclaimed Sept. 11 Patriot Day to remember and honor those who perished in the terrorist attacks on the nation a year ago, and those who responded to the attacks with "heroism and selflessness." In the proclamation, Bush called upon the people of the United States to observe Sept. 11 with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services and candlelight vigils. 

Small wonders and other speculations
I have no television. I've been staying in this tiny apartment while my own is being beautified, and the television stopped working. All I get is snow. This would not bother a lot of people (some people hate television, and with good reason), but I am a political junkie and I love C-Span and Sunday mornings I watch all of the talking heads and pundits and interviews. 

Like the rooster who thinks he brings up the sun, I am sure the political world can't get along without my watching and worrying. 

Obviously I have not been doing a very good job. And now, out of contact, I can only wonder and ask some questions, most of which don't have any answers. I wonder if the U.S.'s repeated accusation that Saddam used chemical weapons against "his own people" should be included as part of the rationale for getting the guy. We did not stop supporting him when he used chemical weapons against Iran. He was our ally then. 

Which makes me wonder if this makes any of our current allies a little nervous. Panama and Noriega were allies once. So were Bin Laden and the Taliban. Maybe the policy that the enemy of my enemy is my friend is not such a good idea. The United States has a habit of giving weapons to its allies and then finding them being used against it. Bush seems to have gotten himself between Iraq and a hard place. 

Hardly anyone else thinks attacking Iraq is a good idea (except for a few gung ho "Bushies" (which someone else called them) who have never experienced war and a few politicians from both parties who think they are being patriotic. I wonder if the real reason Bush wants to attack is simply because he is so frustrated with being unable to find a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Jews in Israel. 

It has been said time and again that Saddam's main interest is staying in power. Trying to unseat him insures that he will use whatever weapons he has to stay alive,

Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart

and he will use them on Israel. We know he has anthrax because the U.S. gave it to him. And Israel has the bomb, and Sharon will use it on Iraq. And pretty soon there won't be any Middle East, and then Mr. Bush won't have to deal with a peace process.

Recently I heard one of the generals involved in the Gulf War say that Saddam Hussein was deterred then from using weapons of mass destruction because we told him that we had bigger and better weapons of mass destruction than he and if he used even one, we would clobber him. Why, I wonder, don't we continue to use that strategy? It worked for Reagan with Russia. And we knew they had the bomb. Is it because some people think the only way to peace is through war? 

Would so many Americans be in favor of war with Iraq if the draft were back and their sons and daughters, not just a 'professional army' would be fighting? And if the draft were reinstated, how many would be deferred because they're overweight? I wonder when The University for Peace here in Costa Rica will be up and running and able to bring in and educate some war hawks on how to find peace through peace. 

I am harping on this subject because I think war is never an answer. Call me a dreamer. It is easy to be one when you live in a country that hasn't had an army or a war (or enemies) since 1948.

Of course, I haven't watched the news all week so maybe the problem has been solved without my even being there. Well, cockadoodledo. 

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Elayne Whyte, vice minister, presides over the security meeting.


A.M. Costa Rica photo
High-level meeting considers problems of security 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Representatives from seven Central American nations discussed the security of tourists as well as the vast number of light weapons that can be found in each of the countries.

The occasion was a session on security at Casa Amarilla, the foreign ministry, here. At the meeting were high-ranking officials from each of the countries.

Measures against terrorism as well as a security treaty among the countries were the major topics.

The delegates also expressed pleasure that much of Central America is now free of anti-personnel mines. These devises were planted during wars, mainly in the 1980s. Costa Rica is only a few days 
from clearing the whole frontier with Nicaragua, 

where war raged during that period.

Delegates also discussed advances in community policing and the status of light arms in Central America. 

Last December a similar group spent three days studying the problems with the possession of light arms by non-official persons in the area. A bound booklet containing a report from that meeting was available at the session Thursday. Basically, the security officials would like to eliminate the culture of the gun throughout Central America. The wars of the 1980s brought a lot of guns to Central America. These weapons are now in the hands of individuals.

In addition, immigration from current war-torn lands, such as Colombia increase the number of weapons that may be used in an illegal manner.

Canadian firm gives a jolt to UCR power program
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

What would happen if you could put the whole Costa Rican electrical power grid in a box, play with it and predict how internal and external problems would affect the consumer?

Well, such a simulation exists, and students at the University of Costa Rica are getting an identical computer-driven toy.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the university and Hydro-Québec, the big Canadian power company, announced an agreement Thursday that would benefit electrical engineering students.

Hydro-Québec will supply the technology and much of the hardware for the project, according to Lilliane Jaques of the Canadian company. She said the company’s gift was more than a symbolic act. It was an investment in the future of the company.

The Instituto de Electricidad already has such a simulation. It is used to predict what will happen if unexpected events affect the supply of power. But now students will have the same equipment, according to Emilio Alpizar, head of the power 

A.M. Costa Rica photo
Ronald Jiménez, an engineer involved in simulations, explains the operations of the computer program that mimics the power grid.

systems department at the university.

The simulation lab at the institute is nothing eye-catching. But the computers and the terminals allow engineers to solve technical problems.

Pablo Cobb, executive president of the company and Gabriel Macaya, rector of the university, also were at the session Thursday to thank the Canadian power company.

There might be a little problem with that puma
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Watch out with those 10,000-colon banknotes. Agents arrested four men in the Canton of Turrialba who were passing bogus bills, they said.

Investigators warned that the scam might not be localized. The men arrested Wednesday are suspected of passing bills in Juan Viñas, Cervantes, El Recreo and places nearby.

The modus of operation was for a scamster to use a 10,000-colon bill (valued about $27.30) to 
purchase food products, such as rice and beans. The bulk of the money would be returned as 
change for the transaction, said investigators.

The bill is colloquially called a puma due to the big cat pictured on the back.

Some merchants quickly realized that they had been swindled, and called police. Investigators caught up with a car containing the four men and searched it. In addition to rice, beans, coffee, oranges and baked chicken, investigators found a stack of 72 false bills under the driver’s seat, they said. 

The false bills have the serial numbers of A 10559232, A 12551997 and A 10009058. Agents for the Judicial Investigating Organization warned that the same sort of phony bills might be making appearances all over the country. 

Hemorrhagic dengue takes a teenager in Heredia 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A youth in Heredia has died of hemorrhagic dengue, and health officials are gearing up for the worst. There is no letup in the rains.

The youth was the most serious victim of a epidemic that threatens to reach serious proportions as the virus-carrying mosquitoes proliferate due to recent wet weather and continue to move into the heavily populated Central Valley.

The dead boy was Daniel Poros, 16. There was no immediate indication why he died at San Vincente de Paul Hospital. More than 5,600 persons have come down with the disease. For most the illness is simlar to a heavy flu. But some develop the more serious hemorrhagic form.

Meanwhile, the Instituto Meteorológico Costarricense says that even more rain is coming. The rain will continue to provide breeding places for the mosquitoes.

The weather experts said that September is usually one of the most rainy of the year. So they expect that the unstable weather conditions will continue to bring heavy downpours along the Pacific coast and in the Central Valley.

The official forecast predicted more of the same for this afternoon. Thursday the skies clouded up and began dumping rain on San José at 2:30 p.m. A bit more than an inch of rain (25.8 millimeters) fell in a couple of hours, much more than the .37 of an inch registered Wednesday. However, the mornings and early afternoons were clear.

U.S. pensionado faces pot-cultivation, sale charge
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 65-year-old U.S. citizen living in Puerto Jiménez had a marijuana farm in his enclosed patio, investigator’s said Thursday.

They arrested the man they identified as Martin Lane Mayfield, 65, a long-time resident of Costa Rica who has pensionado status.

Agents from the Judicial Investigating Organization alleged that Mayfield was growing the narcotic plant "on a grand scale" for sale.

Investigators said they found 148 marijuana 

plants when they made the arrest. In addition, they said they found 450 grams, about 16 ounces, of chopped marijuana, as well as cigarette paper, a scale and a tray for cultivating marijuana seedlings.

In another case, Investigators detained three men in Barrio Christo Rey in San Isidro on suspicion of selling crack cocaine. They identified them by the last names of Hildalgo, 50, Carranza, 40, and Fernández, 60. 

The men were in a taxi when arrested, and agents said they found 400 crack rocks and about 80 grams (about 3 ounces) of cocaine base.

Cafe changes hands
with the help of Hans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About 60 people showed up Thursday night to celebrate the change of ownership of Café de Artistas in Escazú. 

The new owner, William Hill, hosted German artist Hans Doller, who is a former resident of Costa Rica. Doller is known for his surrealistic paintings.

The cafe on a side street in San Rafael de Escazú has been known for fostering the arts. Doller displayed about 20 of his paintings, and at least three were sold by evening’s end. 

Saray Ramírez Vindas/A.M. Costa Rica
New owner Hill and Hans Doller

U.S. announces Sept. 11 flight restrictions

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Transportation Department has announced temporary flight restrictions for Sept. 11 in connection with public events held on the first anniversary of terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The department detailed limits on flying in areas around the event sites and special procedures for airline planes departing from and arriving to all airports in these areas, in a news release Thursday.

It said that domestic and foreign airlines also will be affected by special air traffic management procedures. 

New alliance targets
coral reef preservation

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Better conservation of the Meso-American coral reef is the objective of a newly announced partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.N. Foundation and Central American countries.

USAID and the U.N. Foundation will each contribute $1.5 million to the effort to help protect the largest coral reef in the Atlantic Ocean, according to a USAID statement released at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

The alliance will assist Central American governments in implementing a regional agreement to protect the reef, home to 65 species of stony coral and more than 500 species of fish. More than 2 million people depend on the reef for ecosystem goods and services, such as fishing and tourism.

Sixty percent of the remaining coral reefs around the world are under stress and considered severely threatened. USAID is helping 30 countries with coral reefs in order to promote protection and better management of these fragile ecosystems.

Argentina gets extension
on debt payment

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Monetary Fund has delayed for one year a $2.7 billion debt payment owed by Argentina. 

The announcement of the extension was made by Roberto Lavagna, Argentine economy minister

The payment was due next week. 

Argentina has already been seeking billions of dollars in IMF loans to help deal with its worsening economic crisis. 

The IMF has conditioned future aid on Argentina's development of a viable economic recovery plan. Argentines regularly rally in the streets to protest the country's dire economic conditions, which have left many people without work.

Greenpeace protests
Summit results in Rio

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

RIO DE JANIERO, Brazil — Police here have detained five Greenpeace activists after they hung a banner on the well-known Christ Statue that overlooks the city. The banner was hung on the religious monument to protest what the activist environmental group says are the paltry results from the Johannesburg summit. 

The Greenpeace activists climbed the huge stone statue that sits on a peak overlooking the city and hung their banner across the outstretched arms of the Christ figure. The banner in yellow letters said: "Rio plus 10 a second chance?" 

It was a reference to the just-concluded Johannesburg summit on sustainable development, which was held 10 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Greenpeace says the Johannesburg conference was a disaster because delegates did not make progress on climate change and energy use. The environmental group says it is especially disappointed over the defeat of an initiative by Brazil and the European Union to establish goals for increasing the use of renewable energy.

The United States and members of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are reported to have blocked the initiative. 

Frank Guggenheim, the head of Greenpeace in Brazil, told reporters that increasing renewable energy use by 10 percent in 10 years is achievable.

"We want 10 percent of renewable energy use in 10 years," he said. "This is the time frame for implementation, and without it all you have is a lot of talk and no action."

The Greenpeace protest was not approved by the Archdiocese of Rio, which owns the giant statue known as Christ the Redeemer. The activists who were detained Thursday could be charged with trespassing.

A statement by Greenpeace late Thursday said the protest was not aimed at harming the image of the Catholic Church or belittling a religious monument.

Senator introduces bill
to save marine turtle 

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. James Jeffords introduced a bill Tuesday aimed at helping preserve the nesting habitats of marine turtles in foreign countries.

The Vermont senator submitted the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2002 and the bill was referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Jeffords, who left the Republican Party to become the only Independent in the Senate, is the chairman of that committee.

The Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2002, Jeffords told fellow senators, "will assist in the recovery and protection of marine turtles by supporting and providing financial resources for projects to conserve nesting habitats of marine turtles in foreign countries and marine turtles while they are found in such habitats."

In addition, he said, the bill would seek to prevent "illegal trade in marine turtle parts and projects, and to address other threats to the survival of marine turtles."

The proposed bill would authorize $5 million annually to fund projects to conserve marine turtles and their habitats.

INS releases 2001
US immigration stats

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has announced that a total of 1,064,318 persons legally immigrated to the United States in fiscal year 2001.

Five countries accounted for 40 percent of the legal immigrants: Mexico, India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam, according to a statement released Aug. 30.

Approximately 65 percent of legal immigrants settled in the following six states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois.
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Fireman to tour Latin America on 9/11 attacks
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Two events will always remain in the memory of New York firefighter Dan Daly about the events that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center: one tragic, the other inspirational.

The tragic event occurred when Daly and scores of other volunteers were working the "pile" to rescue the living and recover the dead at the site of the collapse of the Trade Center's two skyscrapers — the six-hectare (17-acre) area now called "Ground Zero" where the attack took place in the New York City borough of Manhattan. While digging, Daly saw what he took to be a woman's hand sticking out from the rubble.

"The hand wasn't attached to much else," Daly recounted in an interview before he was to embark on a U.S. State Department-sponsored speaking tour of three Latin American countries on the terrorist attacks in New York. "The lady had a wedding ring on her hand which just stopped me cold. I said, My God, this woman had a husband, probably had children, she had a wedding, she had a life. This isn't just a piece of flesh."

The inspirational moment came several weeks later when rescue workers were feeling discouraged "and our spirit was starting to break about the utter hopelessness of the situation," Daly recalled. "I remember looking from my position on top of the pile and seeing, as if for the first time, the hundreds and hundreds of workers that had come from all over the country to help out. I said, 'yes, this is a terrible tragedy, but look at all the people who are with us digging on their hands and knees'" during the horrible time that followed the collapse of the Trade Center towers.

Daly said people from all walks of life had joined in the rescue and recovery effort where the attacks left a huge hole in lower Manhattan. The trade center buildings had once been a spectacular feature of the city skyline. But as one observer put it, the terrorist attacks not only changed New York's skyline, they changed the political and emotional landscape of the United States.

Daly was one of the lucky ones: 343 New York firefighters lost their lives trying to rescue those trapped in the wreckage of the Trade Center.

He recalled with gratitude the college students who brought cold drinks to dehydrated workers, chiropractors massaging sore muscles of those who worked 12 hours straight day after day searching for any signs of life, restaurateurs who brought food for those who were so caught up in their grueling and dangerous digging through twisted steel and burned metal that they hadn't stopped to eat.

Daly said seeing the woman's hand symbolized the horror of the momentous events of Sept. 11, in which more than 3,000 people died. But in the wake of evil, there was also good — in the form of people coming together to save lives, Daly said.

The 24-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, who is now retiring from the force,
calls terrorism a threat unlike any other the 

Photo courtesy of Museo Caldarón Guardia
A promisory message on a banner looms above the smoldering rubble.
Photo courtesy of Museo Caldarón Guardia
A flapping flag hangs from an adjacent building at Ground Zero. This photo, too, will be on display in Costa Rica  starting Sept. 11.

United States has faced. He says bumper stickers on cars calling on Americans to never forget Sept. 11 are well intentioned, but much more is needed to prevent another such tragedy.

Although he calls himself a "blue-collar worker" and not a philosopher, Daly said the lesson from Sept. 11 is that individuals must take a hard look at themselves and "see how we can shift our lives to better relate to other people," especially those from other cultures.

Daly said that during his trip to Latin America he hopes to convey the message that terrorism has no borders, that it can happen anywhere unless governments and average citizens remain vigilant.

The firefighter's trip to Latin America immediately follows a Monday ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, where Daly plans to offer a personal testimonial on the events of September 2001. That event will showcase a State Department-sponsored photography exhibit called "After September 11: Images from Ground Zero."

The exhibit features 27 photos by Joel Meyerowitz, the only photographer allowed unimpeded access to the attack site. The exhibit, jointly developed by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Museum of New York, has previously been shown in many other cities around the world, including Panama City, Panama; Rome, Italy; Abuja, Nigeria and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Daly's Latin American trip will take him to Brazil, Paraguay, and Nicaragua. The State Department asked Daly to make presentations about Sept. 11 after learning of his work as a gifted volunteer public speaker on behalf of the New York City fire department.

Daly said he was moved to appear on behalf of the U.S. government because of the deep loss he felt on account of the many firefighters who died trying to save lives at Ground Zero. Daly said his visit to Latin America will include meetings with fellow firefighters, who he said have forged a "strong brotherhood" with their North American colleagues.

Latin American audiences should expect to be emotionally swept up by Daly's words about Sept. 11. "All of us changed a little that day," he pointed out. "We vowed to be more caring, more understanding, to take more time out for our family and friends." His message of hope, Daly said, seeks to fill the huge hole left in Manhattan after terrorists hijacked two jets and crashed them into the twin towers, causing their collapse.

He anticipates that he and his colleagues in Latin America will have much to discuss. One important topic, Daly said, is the structural changes to high-rise buildings in Latin America that might keep them safe from terrorist attack, in view of the attacks that felled the World Trade Center towers.

His speeches in Latin America will focus on the need for all nations "to stand strong against terrorism," Daly said. "All nations must realize that if terrorism exists anywhere, it is a threat to us all. In just a few days I will be retiring from the fire service and continuing my presentations [for the State Department] overseas. I believe all of us must do all that we can to fight the evil of terrorism. It is a battle we must not lose."

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