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(506) 2223-1327               Published Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009,  Vol. 9, No. 177              E-mail us
Jo Stuart
Real Estate
About us

Bill introduced to delay effective date of traffic law
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers got a look Monday at a new bill that would postpone the effective date of the bulk of the provisions in the new traffic law until March 1.

The proposal came from Carlos Pérez of the Partido Liberación Nacional and from Alberto Salom of Accion Ciudadana.. The only action Monday was to refer the measure to a special committee that was created to handle this subject.

The bulk of the new law is supposed to go into effect Sept. 23. But lawmakers have found flaws as well as a political concern. The flaws involved misnumbered paragraphs that would void some penalties. Lawmakers also consider some of the fines disproportionate, they said.

The March 1 date would have the law going into effect after the Feb. 7 presidential and legislative elections. One aspect of the law is the obligatory vehicle insurance that would have a heavy financial
impact on Costa Ricans when they sought to pay their road tax before the first of the year. Many lawmakers want to change this section.

The penalties against driving drunk and reckless driving already are in effect, and these would not be affected by the proposed delay.

The new traffic law was passed in December, and the drunk driving penalties went into effect for New Year's Eve.

Delaying the effective date of the traffic law seems to have wide support in the legislature. The real question is can lawmakers produce an approved bill before the Sept. 23 date.

They already have approved putting a companion measure on a fast track that would reduce debate. However, passing a law, getting it signed by President Óscar Arias Sánchez and published in the La Gaceta official newspaper in two weeks would be some kind of legislative record.

The avocado tree that thwarted the mighty RACSA
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Who would have thought that an avocado tree moving gently in a breeze would confound the technicians of Radiográfica Costarricense S.A.

That's the government Internet provider and offspring of the mighty Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

With Amnet, the cable company, threatening each day to pull down its wires in the center of San José, the company known as RACSA appeared to be a good alternative.

RACSA had served well for nine years, first on telephone dialup and then as the recipient and provider of a signal sent through Amnet.

Now RACSA has a service called evolutiona, a wireless connection that would sidestep the troubled Amnet. The service is available in San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago, according to the company. What company literature does not say is that the signal cannot go through or around trees or buildings. Amazingly, the service requires a clear and unobstructed line of sight to the RACSA antenna on the company building on Avenida 5 or the  appropriate antenna elsewhere.

Two techs came to the newspaper's new offices last week and quickly installed the service. They had a little white, plastic box from China, an enclosed antenna. They set it near a window of the newspaper's third-floor offices. There was a signal. A customer just plugs the wire into a computer and connects to the world.

Except in this case, the two techs were unable to connect more than one Macintoshh to the high-speed, dynamic Wimax system. But that little problem was nothing that $200 could not cure. The service required a new router and some other adjustments. The techs were quick to say as they left that configuration is the cusstomer's problem.

When the need arose to connect the home office to RACSA, Wimax seemed to be a good solution. Monday two different techs arrived at the home office. There was no little white box. They decided that the location in north San José required an antenna the size of a frisbee atop a
trees and computers
You can't see the Internet for the trees!

3-meter steel post. The home office is just 100 meters from the new offices, but the techs were willing to install the antenna and mask on the roof and knew what they were doing.

Although the house sits on a hill with a clear view of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros and the Holiday Inn, there is this avocado tree off to the south in the neighbor's yard. The etches were unable to latch on to a clear signal from Mother RACSA. They hooked a laptop up to the antenna and ran a program that showed the signal. The day was bright and nearly clear. They blamed branches from the tree. Or maybe a tree in the nearby Parque Bolivar.

They suggested cutting down the tree. The neighbor probably would not like that. They moved the mast and antenna around on the roof. Still no good signal. They packed the device away in their small truck after filling out a form that said RACSA should not sent a bill for the service.

How about the RACSA antenna on the hills above Escazú? Nah, too many buildings, the lead tech said.

What's the problem with the signal. This is Costa Rica, the lead tech said.

How many Wimax customers have problems with their signal. Again the lead tech: 100 percent.

How many times do you leave a job site because you cannot acquire a good signal. Lead tech: Many, many times.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 177

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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.

Legal services

Burke Fiduciary, S.A.
Registered Escrow and Legal Services
Thomas A. Burke, LL.M, Glenda Burke, LL.M
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We offer real estate law, due diligence and escrow services,residency status, business corporations, estate planning. English, Spanish, German and French spoken.
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Cell phone unification
planned for Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The telephone company will be putting all its GSM cell users on the Ericcson system as Friday turns into Saturday.

Users are being asked to turn off their cell phones for a moment Saturday in order to be migrated to the new system. The company, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, said that users can do that any time of the day. If there is no signal, the cell user is being instructed to call 115 or 193 or to visit a company branch.

In addition, the company will be putting into effect what it says is a telephone identification system.  The company, known as ICE, said that this system would help turn off stolen cell telephones.  However, the system also would be able to check what telephone devices are being used.

This has made some users uneasy because they are not using approved telephones, perhaps using cells brought in from the U.S. or Canada.

The migration of cell phone will be away form the Alcatel system.  This is the French system that figured into bribe charges against former president Miguel Ángel Rodríguez. A former Alcatel executive pleaded guilty in the United States to bribery.  The former executive, Christian Sapsizian, a French citizen, said he paid more than $2.5 million in bribes to senior Costa Rican government officials in order to obtain the mobile telephone contract with ICE. Rodríguez awaits trial here.

Alcatel won the contract in 2001, and the system has been criticized for weak signals.

Claudio Bermúdez, assistantt manager of telecommunications for ICE, said that when the services are joined Saturday there will be 459 radiobases or towers in operation. In 2010 a total of 529 will be in service, he said.

ICE said the cost of this project was $17.5 million. The company said that with the merge of the systems some other services would be offered.

Costa Rica ended up with cell services by two different companies because Ericcson won a subsequent contract for more cell lines.

There are 1.6 million GSM cell users who will be involved in the changeover Saturday, although most will not realize the fact. The earlier TDMA phones are not affected.

Man on Vespa is victim
of trucker who flees scene

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man riding a Vespa motorcycle either lost control or was knocked out of control at the Río Virilla bridge on the Autopista General Cañas  about 11 a.m. He was run over by a truck whose driver left the scene.

The man was identified by the last name of Alfaro. The Judicial Investigating Organization said he was 42. Traffic police had to shut down lanes of the major highway during the investigation of the death.

The mishap happened in the San José-Alajuela lanes of the highway. This is the major highway from the capital to Juan Santamaría airport and beyond.

Vespas are two-wheeled, small vehicles well suited for city driving.  The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes estimated that the highway was reopened about 1 p.m.

Sweep of Limón school
nets knives, marijuana

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers reported Monday that they swept the Colegio Nocturno in Limón Centro Friday evening and confiscated marijuana and two knives.

The police came with their K-9 dog and the Grupo de Apoyo Operacional, the tactical squad.  The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública said that it had received complains from teachers and administrative workers at the school and also from the families of students.

Police found the marijuana, six packages, in the backpacks of students. In all, five students, including two women and a minor, were detained and transfered to prosecutors, police said. Police said there had been stickups in some areas of the school, and some students were carrying weapons for defense.

Police confiscate 1,095 kilos
of cocaine in Guanacaste

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug police searched a cargo vehicle in Guanacaste and said they found 1,095 kilos of cocaine. The inspection and arrests were made on a highway in the canton of La Cruz near the Nicaraguan border, they said.

The arrests of two persons and the confiscation follows on the heels of the arrest of four persons in a truck near the Moín docks Sunday. Police said they found 110 kilos of cocaine in a refrigerated container loaded on the truck.

Recital has ambitious program

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pianist José Pablo Quesadawill present and entire program tonight at 8 o'clock at the Teatro Nacional. The former Texas Christian University master's student will begin with three works by Domenico Scarlatti a Ludwig Beethoven work in three movements, Pyotr Ilyich  Tchaikovsky's "Dumka" and closing with Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" Tickets are 2,500 colons general admission, some $4.30.

Have you seen these stories?

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A.M. Costa Rica
users guide

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 weekday.

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.

Advertising information

A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.


A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

Contacting us

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

Visiting us

Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.

Did you try
to call us?

We're not trying to avoid you. We just are victims of another ICE problem.

The workmen came and disconnected the phones in our old office before they found out that they did not have sufficient space to install the lines in the new office.

You can reach us at 8832-5564.

But Internet is best.

-A.M. Costa Rica 

For your international reading pleasure:

News of Nicaragua
News of Central America
News of Cuba
News of Venezuela
News of Colombia
News of El Salvador

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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

Costa Rica
third newspage

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 177

Brenes law firm
Your Costa Rica

  Page One is HERE!     Page 2 is HERE!  Page 4 is HERE!  
   Page 5 is  HERE!     Page Six is HERE!  Sports is HERE!

Here's a chance to be a published haiku author in Spanish
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Get your paper out
and learn  to count up to seven
you could be famous

That's because the Japanese Embassy is sponsoring the first national haiku contest as part of Japanese week that runs until Sept. 20.

Haikus are those practical, mystical (or in the case of the one above) terrible little sayings that total 17 syllables: five on the first line, seven on the second and five on the third.

They are one aspect of Japanese culture that is known around the world. The idea is to put as much detail possible in the smallest number of words, the embassy said.

That is sort of like English metaphysical poems with their metaphors and similes, but in a more constricted way.

The rules are pretty simple. Authors have until 4 p.m. Sept. 18 to  deliver the haikus to the Organization International Nueva Acrópolis or by mail to Box 1677-2050 San Pedro by Sept. 11. The organization can be reached at 2225-2110.

There are some other rules: contestants much be Costa Rican or foreign residents who write in Spanish. Each person must submit at least eight and no more than 16 haikus. The haikus must be unpublished.

Contestants must not have been the recipient of a national or international literary award.

Many Japanese haikus are about nature, but the subject matter for the contest is open.

The haikus should be submitted under a pseudonym with the real name in a sealed envelope.

Although famous Japanese poets frequently wrote with ink and brush, the embassy wants 12-point arial on letter-sized paper.  Other rules are posted on the Acrópolis Web site.

Winners and some participants will receive certificates, and the works will be published in an anthology, the embassy said. The winners will be listed on the embassy Web site.
haiku author

The embassy provided some famous haikus in Spanish for study:
Hoy el rocío
borrará la divisa
de mi sombrero
Matsuo Basho

Callan las cuerdas.
La música sabía
lo que yo siento.

La golondrina
de vuelta a su pasado
no encuentra el nido
Mario Benedetti

For those haiku artists who may be stuck, here is a suggestion:
When haiku's the goal
and words just do not pour out
get Imperial

Caja union threatens a general strike over work conditions
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The unions of employees who work for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said Monday night that they would announce plans for a nationwide strike this morning.

The unions claim that the Caja, the organization that runs all the public hospitals and clinics, broke off negotiations two months ago.

The unions claim that the Caja is affected by major problems that reduce service to the public and cause problems for the workers.
The announcement Monday night came from the Unión de Empleados de la Caja. The union has filed complaints against the government with the International Labour Organization and is known as being very protective of its members rights.

The union has orchestrated a number of local strikes, includingg one at the Caja pharmacies and at other key facilities.

A full walkout by the union would close the hospitals and clinics at a time when the country is facing a swine flu epidemic.

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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica
fourth news page

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 177

A visitor checks out the stacked hydroponic system being used by Country Day School. The  operation now is covered with a fabric roof.

Country Day School photo

Country Day-Guanacaste pioneers hydroponic food system

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Country Day School Guanacaste will inaugurate a cutting edge, vertical-stacking hydroponic greenhouse system developed in Costa Rica by Four Quarters, S.A.  Sept. 11.
The school plans to both supply its own cafeteria with fresh, organic, pesticide-free vegetables and use the growing system and the concepts behind it to enrich its curriculum at all grade levels., the scho0ol said.
Jeff Haun, director of Country Day School, explained: “Guanacaste depends entirely too much on other parts of the country for fresh vegetables, and by the time they get here, they are usually far from fresh.  We wanted to be able to grow our own food, we wanted to do it without pesticides, and we wanted to do it in a way that would be fun, interesting and educational for our students.  This technology accomplishes all those things.”
The system is based upon vertical stacking hydroponics developed in Florida for the production of strawberries.  The technology was brought to Costa Rica by Glenn Ekblom of Four Quarters, S.A., and modified to the Costa  Rican climate.  The major modifications include a 
special cooling system run on misters, and the application of a beneficial fungus originally developed by the University of Costa Rica.
“The beneficial fungus is our pesticide substitute.  It’s already used in traditional farming in Costa Rica and elsewhere, but in a greenhouse, it is much easier to apply and control,” said Ekblom.
Ekblom’s company, Four Quarters, developed the first such greenhouse in the country in a partnership with Michael and Joanna Bresnan of Vista del Valle, in Rosario de Naranjo. 
The Bresnans donated the property, Ekblom had the technical knowledge and the Costa Rica Foundation for Relief & Development) donated the money for the greenhouse and hydroponics growing system, saidthe school.  Together they built and developed the pre-cursor to what is at Country Day School today:  A system to grow vegetables organically with no pesticides. 
More information on this growing system is available from Ekblom at (506) 8372-1437,  e-mail: or from Kenneth Marder (506) 8812-3265, e-mail

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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

Costa Rica
fifth news page

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 177

Casa Alfi Hotel

Arctic temperatures highest
over the last 2,000 years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Arctic temperatures are now higher than at any time in the last 2,000 years, research reveals. Changes to the Earth's orbit drove centuries of cooling, but temperatures rose fast in the last 100 years as human greenhouse gas emissions rose.

The study in the journal Science documents 2,000 years of geological history using tree rings, glacier ice and lake sediment to reconstruct the Arctic summer temperature record.

Lead author Darrell Kaufman, professor of environmental science and environmental sustainability at Northern Arizona University, says the warming trend over the last 50 years interrupted what was a natural cooling cycle.

"We noted that the timing of the rapid increase in temperature coincides with the timing of the buildup of greenhouse gases, and there is no other mechanism or forcing that we can come up with that would explain the rapid reversal of that natural cooling," he said.

The earth's cool-down period started about 7,000 years ago. Arctic temperatures bottomed out during the so-called "Little Ice Age" that lasted from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries.

The root cause of the slow cooling was the orbital wobble that slowly varies over thousands of years.

Some skeptics have argued that the fact that the Earth wobbles in its axis of rotation has helped determine recent warming, rather than human activity. But the new study shows that this wobble — which affects how much sunlight Earth receives in the middle of the summer — actually accounts for a long-term cooling trend in the Arctic, which has been reversed only in the past half-century.

Studies show the earth had been cooling at the rate of .2 degrees Celsius per millennium. The last decade, however, was the warmest of the last 2,000 years, averaging 1.4 degrees Celsius higher than would have been expected if the cooling trend had continued.

Kaufman says his research adds to the evidence that human-produced greenhouse emissions contribute to global warming. 

"I think that the important point there is that the very slow orbital cycles would take thousands of years before the earth could enter an ice age, before ice sheets miles thick would build up on the continent," he said. "The rapid warming that we are experiencing presently far out competes any kind of cooling trend that the natural cycle would dictate."

Kaufman says another important finding came from collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which simulated orbital variations over a 2,000 years.

"And the output from that computer model showed the same amount of temperature change for the arctic that we documented based on the geologic evidence," he said. "So it is this match of the output of the computer models and the natural data that gives us confidence in the ability of the model to simulate the effects of factors that we know causes climate to change."

Kaufman says the evidence is conclusive that recent Arctic warming is unusual, that greenhouse gases play a role, and that it's time to take decisive action to reduce carbon emissions. The study was conducted by an international team of scientists and primarily funded by the National Science Foundation.

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A.M. Costa Rica
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 177

Latin American news
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Chávez gets big welcome
at Venice film festival

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez received a movie star welcome in Venice Monday as he arrived to attend the 66th Venice Film Festival.  Chavez was accompanied by U.S. film director Oliver Stone for the premiere of Stone's documentary titled "South of the Border." 

Hundreds of fans clapped and chanted as Chávez walked the red carpet at the film festival.  Some fans held up a banner that read "Bienvenido Presidente."

Security was tight, and a large group of bodyguards escorted the Venezuelan president, who said, "I have Italy in my heart."
Mr. Chavez said he loves Italian cinema and that he remembers actresses like Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale.  He said he has been in love with all of them since he was a young boy.

Alongside Chávez was Stone.  The Venezuelan president called the director "a great worker, a great teller of true stories."

Addressing the media, Stone called the Venezuelan president "a big phenomenon" and said his 75-minute documentary shows very clearly the level of stupidity in the broad statements that are made about Chávez.  Stone said his film is meant to show the changes that are taking place in South America.

For his movie, Stone also interviewed the leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba and Paraguay, whom he said "are on the same page" as Chávez.

Stone's documentary "South of the Border" is showing out of competition at the Venice Film Festival.  Twenty-four films from 32 countries are competing for the Golden Lion Award, which will be announced Saturday, the final day of the film festival.  

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Real estate
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details