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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 183                          Email us
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Jo Stuart

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This is Caribbean chicken getting an oil bath in the first stages of preparation.

Caribbean chicken
A.M. Costa Rica/ Kayla Pearson

Independence parades canceled on Nicoya peninsula
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casualties of the Sept. 5 earthquake are the independence day parades in towns in the Nicoya peninsula.

The Municipalidad de Nicoya, and the Ministerio de Educación Pública said Wednesday that the parades by school children have been canceled. There also will not be parades in Nandayure or Hojancha, said the Ministerio de Salud.

The Nicoya peninsula in which Nicoya is one of the major towns still is being rocked by aftershocks. Many structures, including schools, suffered extensive damage because the epicenter of the 7.6 quake was just 20 kilometers away off the coast of Sámara.

A team of psychologists from the Colegio de Psicólogos is in the area providing counseling for residents.

Instead of the parade, school children will mark the day in their classrooms Friday, the education ministry said.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said Wednesday that orders of demolition have been issued for some health service structures on the peninsula. There also are plans to make major repairs.

The Caja said that its branch in Nicoya was a total loss.

The Área de Salud de Nandayure suffered 60 
percent damage and the Área de Salud de Hojancha suffered 30 percent damage, according to an evaluation made by experts this week,said the Caja. There also are structural problems in the Área de Salud de 27 de Abril and in the Hospital La Anexión in Nicoya Centro where some columns and walls will be destroyed and rebuilt to strengthen the building. Most of the damage at the hospital is in the area where files are kept, said the Caja.

Further up the peninsula the Caja said that there was damage at the clinics in Sardinal and Filadelfia.

There will be an independence celebration in Washington, D.C., and there will be a silent auction that will benefit quake victims, said Costa Rican Embassy workers there. The event will be Saturday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the garden of the embassy at 2112 S. Street N.W.

A Día de Independencia ceremony will be at 5:20 p.m. There will be a parade of faroles, those traditional 19th century street lanterns usually made by children, at 6:15 p.m. The raffle will follow, and dancing is planned for 7:30 p.m.

Among other auction items are lunches with Muni Figueres, the Costa Rican ambassador, and Edgar Ugalde, the ambassador to the Organization of American States. There also are watercolors donated by the Asociacion Costarricense de Acuarelistas and works donated by Costa Rican artist Marité Vidales, said the embassy. The event is sponsored by The Asociación Costa Rica, Inc. The organization said that the top raffle prize is a ticket to Costa Rica on Avianca TACA.

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After killings in Libya,
Costa Rica rejects terror

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Costa Rica has condemned the Muslim attack against U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya. Four U.S. citizens, including Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, a foreign service information management officer, died.

Initial reports said that the four were killed when a mob, angered by an amateur film in the United States that mocks Islam's Prophet Muhammad, stormed the U.S. consulate. Later reports suggest that the attack was planned because the consulate first came under small arms fire.

The Costa Rican Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores said that this country rejects absolutely terrorism in all its forms and particularly actions against diplomats.

The ministry also said it was urging respect for international agreements particularly those addressing obligations of a country to protect diplomats.

The White House said Obama spoke with the families of Ambassador Stevens and Smith.

The ambassador, who had served in other positions in Libya, died while trying to evacuate embassy workers from the consulate that was under fire. It eventually was torched.

In the White House Rose Garden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by his side, Obama said Wednesday that he ordered steps to enhance security for U.S. diplomats and personnel around the world. 

The United States, he said, will not rest until those responsible for the killings are brought to justice.

Our reader's opinion

Form for Internet deliveries
is called very intrusive

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Occasionally I order items from the U.S. using the Internet. These items are not cheap. I cannot buy them here. Sometimes instead the item being delivered I receive notification that I must travel to Puntarenas and pick it up. That takes up most of the day. When the cost of gasoline is included, it sometimes doubles the cost of the item. The duty collected is just a few colons.

The cost of the items I import never approaches the allowed $500. I am not in any business. I am not going to resell the items. It appears that the person sorting the packages just arbitrarily sets aside packages, perhaps because they are a little larger or weigh a little more. They set aside a package apparently by whim.

The other day A.M. Costa Rica had an article claiming that customs and Correos de Costa Rica were going to change the procedure and make it easier. All I had to do was fill out a form. There was a link to the form. It asked for my name and address. It also asked for my passport number, my Social Security number, my birthplace and birth date. Why do they need all of that information? I am very reluctant to send that amount of personal information over the Internet. I did not fill out the form.

John McClure
Nuevo Arenal

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

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Third News Page
Radio Pacific Sur
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 183
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This is the Caribbean chicken after being marinated in a tomato, chili pepper and coconut milk sauce.

Caribbean chicken finished
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
This is the other kind of traditional Costa Rica food
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica has a unique flavor that blends Bob Marley and Calypso music with an English dialect that sways through the air of the beaches.
Accompanying all this are rich Jamaican-inspired dishes that stick to the palate to create an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

“When people think of a typical Costa Rican dish they think of picadillo or tamales but forget Caribbean food.  It's also a typical food because it is a part of us,” said Vanessa Martín Fernández, sister to the owner of Whapin Restaurant, Rodrigro Martín Fernández.

The Martín siblings spent their childhood in Limón, walking the streets and enjoying the kindness of the people in a time Ms. Martin described as less dangerous.

Rodrigo always enjoyed cooking and started a restaurant in the town.  Twelve years ago he opened the Caribbean restaurant in San José cooking from his own personal recipes, said his sister.

It is the classic flavors of uniquely spiced coconut milk-based dishes such as rice and beans and rondon soup that Martín tries to recreate in hopes of sharing his love for the coast on which he grew up, she said.

Rice and beans is a widely renowned Caribbean dish.  It should not be confused with gallo pinto, a mixed rice and beans dish usually served for breakfast in Costa Rica.  Although the two have the same main ingredients, the process of cooking is different. 

The Caribbean rice and beans dish is cooked together in coconut milk with Panamanian peppers and thyme, while gallo pinto takes leftover rice and previously cooked beans and reheats them together with cilantro, onions, oil and peppers.

The Caribbean dish is usually served with a black chicken.  Black chicken is first browned in a skillet with oil then marinated in a sauce of chili peppers, tomato, coconut milk and curry over heat to give its dark color.  The chef may also place the sauce atop the rice.

Once tasted, the difference between Tico frijoles y arroz and Limón rice and beans is immediately noticed by a flavor explosion in the mouth.  It's one that Vanesa Mártin Fernández refers to as exotic.  That is because the spices used are foreign to normal Costa Rican food, she said.

As the spices take over the mouth, its a good idea to have a smooth drink to cool it down.  Hiel or agua de sapo, translated as "frog water," is a popular choice in Caribbean restaurants.  Fortunately, the beverage is a misnomer and does not contain frogs or water surrounding a lily pad.  It is, instead, a lemonade sweetened with unrefined sugar and flavored with ginger.  The name likely comes from the way the drink resembles dirty pond water, said Carmen Lewis Garbey, chef at The Grandma.

Although ginger is not popular in other Costa Rican providences, the spice has a rich history in the Caribbean and is used in Jamaica to make different teas, beers and cakes.  The result of adding ginger to this lemonade is a refreshing thirst quencher that slightly kicks you in the back of the throat as the ginger spice seeps through the liquid.

Ms. Mártin admitted that her favorite Caribbean dish is rondon, a seafood soup made from literally whatever can be found in the sea mixed with roots such as yucca and potatoes plus plantain.  The name is a creole take on the phrase "run down," because to be successful in making this soup, the chef would need to first find or run down the ingredients.

Rondon broth is made from the cumulation of coconut milk, fish heads, and spice.  The final product has a slight fishy taste with a delicate balance of sweet and salty. Because of the hearty ingredients, a bowl of this soup is enough to fill one up, said Ms. Mártin.

One Costa Rican resident commented that any trip to Limón is not complete without a pati.  Street vendors walk yelling "Pati," as they offer the empanada-filled ground beef dish.  The meat has a spicy flavor that starts

Caribbean dishes
Rice and beans with rondon and a pati
and a plantain empanada

Agua de sapo

Agua de Sapo (Hiel) recipe

1 liter of water
5 lemons
1 piece of ginger root (about an inch)
1 tapa de dulce (sugar)

1.) Chop ginger and boil in liter of water with

2.) Keep on fire until sugar has dissolved

3.) Cool the liquid, then strain into a pitcher
4.) Squeeze the juice from the five lemons
5.) Serve on ice

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson  
 Cenia Chavarria Salgado, chef at Whappin restaurant,
cooks the black chicken

off slowly and builds until it fills the whole mouth.

A slight change to these dishes are plantain empanadas that have a fruity, red tinted center and also black fruitcake called pan bon. 

There are several restaurants in San José that serve Caribbean dishes including The Grandma downtown and Whapin in Barrio Escalante.  The latter restaurant is creole and named for a phrase that means "what's happening."

However, to truly experience food at its best, locals and tourists both agree there is no better place than the Limón province.

More wind predicted for today rain on the Pacific coast
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Central Valley enjoyed a bright, sunny day Wednesday that brought visions of the dry season, but wind took its toll around the country.

More wind is predicted for today. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional reported in an afternoon bulletin that a system of low pressure in Panamá had intensified generating downpours along the southern border of Costa Rica. The system moved to the west in the late afternoon, and there was heavy rain in the Caribbean coast, the northern zone and in the south Pacific coast.
Rains Wednesday night appeared to be targeting the central Pacific coast.
More wind is predicted for today. The weather institute said that there is a possibility of heavy rain in the south and central Pacific. In the Central Valley there is a chance of rain in the evening in the higher elevations, the institute said.

Strong winds are created with air rushes to fill a low-pressure area. Typically the winds do damage to Costa Rican housing and utility cables. The winds generally drive away the moisture that causes rain, hence the mostly clear, unseasonable skies in the Central Valley.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 183
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Two opposing views on tax bill

This is an important and unnoticed law that affects everyone
By George Montero*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

In recent days has been reporting, rather exclusively, on an important piece of legislation (tax reform) that has just passed the first, all important step, of legislative approval.  It is very probable that this initiative will be signed into law by the president as soon as possible, since it is clear the executive branch is quite interested in having this law on the books. 

This law is a part of the failed tax project that was defeated back in March.  The provisions covered in this particular law essentially affect areas of tax, customs, business and property law.  The first part deals with fundamental points of the tax code of Costa Rica.  It redefines key legal concepts and procedures.  This part covers the general area of the tax code. 

The second part deals with important changes to customs law.  The third part is especially sensitive since it covers specific and essential aspects of corporate law.  The final area deals with an important change to the tax rules that regulate the sale and transfer of property that is being held by corporations.  This law even affects trusts.

The law was processed under the legislative file number 18.041 which was the number assigned to the defeated tax project back in March.  The law that was just approved was specifically numbered 9069 which will be the number under which this legislation will be identified.  It was given its final draft form on Aug. 8.  The law modifies 50 different artículos or “sections” of the tax code of Costa Rica. It modifies 21 different sections of the general customs law, and it adds seven new sections to this law. It modifies four different sections of the commercial code, and it alters six sections of the law that regulates the tax on the transfer of real estate property.

As far as the general modifications to the tax code are concerned, some of the more interesting are the following:

a.) Anyone acquiring property, goods or rights from another is responsible for any fiscal liabilities upon those items up to the value of the item acquired, and shareholders of liquidated corporations will also be liable for any taxes owed by the corporation;

b.) The concept of “address,” meaning the place where a person or corporation is deemed to be for tax or notification purposes, is greatly clarified and amplified;

c.) There are a number of important changes to the process of requesting credits or reimbursements from the treasury ministry;

d.) One very important point is that established by section 51 which increases the term for the statute of limitations the tax authorities have to determine fiscal obligations upon taxpayers from three years to four years.

Admittedly it is not a great increase but it is an increase in the end. Then in the next paragraph it does make a significant change because it doubles, from five years to 10 years, the statute of limitations in favor of the government to pursue unpaid taxes for unregistered taxpayers, taxpayers who have filed returns considered as fraudulent or taxpayers who have not filed returns;

e.) In section 82 an interesting concept is introduced which is that of “resistance to activities of administrative control,” which essentially means a series of forbidden behaviors that tend to create obstacles to the functions of tax investigations and, of course, these actions will be punished with important fines;

f.) One very important point is that, those corporations which do not correctly keep a specific legal book, called the registry of shareholders, will be fined.  Of course that obligation has existed up to now, but this law gives it a specific fine. 

There are a number of other very specific and legally technical changes implemented by this law which would be too long and complex to present here.  Suffice it to say that this may be one of the most important tax reforms passed in the last few years.  This also applies to the changes made in the  customs law.  These tend to be more specific and more
two bills
Click graphic to see story

technical and apply more to importers directly but it is likely that this will mean an increase in the cost of doing business for importers which can carry over to consumers. 

The important changes which affect corporations specifically and, therefore, a greater number of people are the following:

a.) This law establishes that the financial and accounting documentation no longer needs to be legalized with the treasury ministry and eliminates the use of what has up to now been known as the three accounting books;

b.) The books that have so far been known as the three legal books for a corporation (sociedad anonima) will now be legalized by the Registro Nacional and not by the treasury or the Ministerio de Hacienda's Dirección General de Tributación.  These books are the book for the minutes of shareholder’s meetings, the book of registry of shareholders and the book which keeps the minutes for the meetings of the board of directors. 

The question that arises is that since the books will now be legalized by the Registro Nacional and the law gives this government entity a sweeping power to “guarantee the trustworthiness of the records,” will the Registro now become a de facto registry of the shareholders of corporations and, consequently, compromise the anonymity which these corporations have so far enjoyed. 

A very important innovation established in this law is the broadening of the legal concept for a taxable transfer of property.  Before this law the transfer of shares of a corporation that held a piece of real estate property did not generate a transfer tax or the corresponding tax stamps.  This law now includes these types of transactions as taxable transfers.  The question is how the government will monitor these types of transactions. 

The totality of this law intends to give the government the powers and the tools to precisely implement new rules that will allow it to keep a greater control as to the inner dealings of corporations.  Not only large companies could be affected but essentially any personal or small corporation. 

The implications, for example, of transferring a $500,000 condominium by the simple sale of shares could put the buyer in a delicate position.  If the buyer fails to report the sale, the fine is the amount of taxes which was not paid.
Finally, the tax exemptions for registered properties in trust that are part of a formal guarantee related to a financial or credit operation in institutions that are registered in the Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras (a government department that regulates certain financial institutions) will be maintained.  All others, when the property is transferred to a third party, will not. 

It seems investors and developers will have to revisit their corporate strategies in light of this new legislation in order to safeguard the security of their personal information and that of their partners.  They will also need to determine how this new legislation will affect their fiscal strategy as pertains to their developments.  No element is more important to a business person than clarity in the rules by which his or her investments are governed, and it seems we will all have to adapt to a bit of change.

*Mr. Montero is a Costa Rican lawyer. He may be reached at

News article's interpretation of pending law is called incorrect
By Mario Valverde Brenes*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A client of mine gave me a call very alarmed after reading your note on this law published on last Monday’s issue under the title “Anonymous corporation may be thing of the past.” No wonder he was panicked, as, according to your note after this bill all sociedades anónimas will have to report their shareholder’s list to the Registro Nacional which could have disastrous implications for the privacy of businesses in Costa Rica. 

According to your note this new bill “requires corporations to disclose the names of their shareholders to the Registro Nacional. This is the same bill that authorizes officials to assess a tax when the shares of corporations are transferred. Until now such a transfer was tax-free. The bill would assess a sales tax on what is being called an indirect transfer. There are a few exceptions for certain types of transfers.” 

It adds that “A.M. Costa Rica may be the only English-language news source to report this information. The bill gained final legislative approval Aug. 27, and this newspaper reported that fact in the edition the next day. Some readers have expressed surprise at the scope of the measure and the fact that there has been no obvious objection to it by the business community.”

Well, it is maybe because there is no reason at all to object it. In the first place, the bill does not, in any way, say what your note states it does. The matter in point is related to the amendment of article two of the property transfer tax, by including the notion of indirect transfer, which would occur when the controlling power over a real estate owning corporation is transferred to a third party via stock transmission or sale. Through this mechanism the government expects to be able to collect the property transfer tax on those instances when it is the shares, not the property itself what is being sold or transferred by any other means. 

The other relevant amendment this bill makes is to article 252 of the commerce code regarding the faculty it gives to the Registro Nacional to “legalize” the shareholders registry books. This faculty presently belongs to the Dirección General de Tributación, and it only consists in stamping the first page of the book to make it official.

What will happen should this bill finally is signed, is that for all new corporations, the Registro will have the obligation to
Click graphic to see story

furnish it together with those of shareholders assembly
minutes, and from then on, the situation remains the same as always: corporations have the obligation to write on it who owns the capital for the only purpose to credit who has the right to participate in its shareholders meetings, remaining, as it has always been, a PRIVATE RECORD.

Nothing is said in the bill under study, about corporations having the obligation to disclose its shareholders to the Registro as your note erroneously points out, neither about the Registro having the faculty to require the book contents to be shown. This can only be done through a court order.

As to the alleged “sales tax” to be assessed on share transfers, this is another error. Again, nothing is said in the bill about this. The only tax it mentions in relation with the subject is the property transfer tax already referred to, which has always existed. There is nothing about “officials being authorized” to assess a tax on shareholders transfers. The fact is that corporation shares buy-sell operations are, and will continue to be, a sales-tax free transaction and the anonymous corporations will continue to be such.

I would advise you to carefully revise what you publish before creating unnecessary alarms like you did in this case.

* Mr. Valverde Brenes is a lawyer and notary with offices in Guachipelín, Escazú. He may be reached at

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 183
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Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Seasonal West Nile virus:
Worst may be over in U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has just had its worst year ever for West Nile virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  As of Sept. 11, more than 2,500 cases have been reported and 118 people have died from the ailment.
West Nile virus is now endemic to the United States.  The seasonal epidemic flares up around June and continues until about October.
Lyle Peterson of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been more than 2,500 cases of the mosquito-born disease so far this year.  "The number of people who have become ill with West Nile virus disease continues to go up and we expect the virus to continue until October," he said.
The virus has been reported in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.  But Peterson, who heads the center’s division of vector-born infectious diseases, says most of the cases have occurred in just a handful of states. "Two-thirds of all cases have been reported from six states: Texas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, Michigan and Oklahoma.  And 40 percent have been reported from Texas," he said.
The center reports that most people who contract the virus will have no symptoms, but some will go on to develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease.  In these cases, patients can have seizures, muscle weakness and paralysis.  The disease can be fatal.
Peterson said the number of neuroinvasive cases is the highest to date since the virus was first detected in the United States 13 years ago. “Of the 2,636 cases, 1,405 or 53 percent were classified as neuroinvasive disease such as meningitis or encephalitis." 

"We consider the number of neuroinvasive disease to be the best indicator of the scope of the epidemic since these cases are most consistently reported," he said.
Although the number of cases is up 35 percent from last week, Peterson suggests the worst is over. "We've turned the corner on the epidemic.  West Nile virus outbreaks in the United States tend to peak in mid to late August," he said.
That's when days get shorter and mosquitos become less active.
While the West Nile virus will soon go dormant, scientists will be analyzing data to find out why it was so virulent in Texas. They will look at factors that include the number of mosquitos in an area, how fast the virus replicates in the mosquitos, and they'll also look at climate.
"There's a very complicated relationship of temperature and rainfall and all of these factors in West Nile virus transmission," said Peterson.
So far, scientists have not been able to figure out how those relationships help the virus spread.  Peterson says it may take several more years before they uncover the clues. 
In the meantime, there is no vaccine to protect people from this sometimes deadly illness.

Fed experts considering
more stimulus policies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Policy makers at the U.S. central bank are weighing whether to adopt new policies to try to boost the country's sluggish economy.

Officials at the Federal Reserve started a two-day meeting Wednesday and plan to announce any actions they take at mid-day today.  The U.S. economy is the world's largest.  But it has struggled to recover from the country's deep recession in 2008 and 2009 that has stymied job growth and left the jobless rate above an unusually high 8 percent level for 43 straight months.

U.S. financial analysts say they expect the Fed to start a third round of bond purchases to pump more money into the American economy after buying more than $2 trillion of securities over the last four years.  In addition, some experts say they think the policy makers will extend their pledge to keep the central bank's benchmark interest rate near zero into 2015, beyond the late 2014 date it already has set.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said last month that the anemic growth in the number of new jobs in the country is particularly worrisome.  The government reported last week that the U.S. labor market added 96,000 jobs in August, well below the pace of earlier in the year.

Apple unveils its iPhone 5
that is thinner and lighter

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. technology giant Apple has unveiled the latest version of its popular smartphone, the new iPhone 5 model, that the company calls thinner and lighter and outfitted with a bigger screen than the last model, which was released nearly a year ago.
Apple, which unveiled the new smartphone at a company news conference Wednesday in San Francisco, is seeking to regain the lead in smartphone sales it lost earlier this year to South Korean-based Samsung. Other smartphone manufacturers have also announced new products in recent days as they try to capitalize on worldwide consumer demand for the most technologically advanced smartphones.
Apple said its new phone is made entirely of aluminum and glass, is 7.6 millimeters thick and weighs 122 grams. Diagonally, it measures 10.2 centimeters.
The company said the phone has a faster processing speed and three microphones instead of the two on older models. The iPhone 5 will go on sale next week and cost the same as older models initially did, $199 for customers who agree to a two-year service contract with a wireless carrier.

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Jehovah's Witness planning
convention in English

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Members of the Jehovah's Witness congregation will present a three-day convention to the English speaking community in hopes of clarifying the Bible and bringing people to God's Kingdom, they said.

“The objective is to help people spiritually and, of course, to help them understand the Bible,” said Galo Malavasi Umaña.

Jehovah's Witness is an international religious organization of around 7 million people. It holds conventions around the world.  In Costa Rica followers of the faith teach all over the country in different languages.

"In Costa Rica we preach in English, Spanish, sign language and other languages, but these are the biggest," said Malavasi.  "We are doing a kind of missionary job, trying to teach people about the Bible."

The 2012 district convention is themed “Safeguard Your Heart,” and will be the only one of the year in complete English.  The theme comes from Bible passages, and the conference will consist of talks surrounding the meaning of this phrase.

Malavasi said they are expecting between 500 and 700 people to attend.

The public is invited, whether individuals belong to the faith or not, the organization said.  It will be Sept. 21 to 23 at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in San Antonio de Belén at 9:20 a.m. daily. 

Admission is free and no collections will be taken, Malavasi said.

Two knifings, one fatal,
take place downtown

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The center of the downtown saw a murder and a knifing Tuesday evening.

The murder took place about 8 p.m. while a robbery victim suffered knife wounds 25 minutes earlier. Both incidents happened alongside the Plaza de la Cultura.

Three persons have been detained in the murder. The victim, identified by the last name of Betancourt, was 29. He suffered a fatal knife wound on the northeast corner of the plaza during a dispute with three persons. A woman and two men were detained.
The apparent robbery victim was near the Museos del Banco Central, which is under the plaza and opens to the east side. The Judicial Investigating Organization identified him by the last name of Zamora.

Agents said that the man was walking through the area when a robber confronted him. The victim resisted and received four knife wounds. He was in Hospital San Juan de Dios in stable condition, agents said.

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