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Published Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 182
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Caja unions say 600,000 are on medical waiting lists
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two unions of employees who work in the nation’s public health agency said Tuesday that there are 600,000 patients on various types of waiting lists and that workers face threats in order to keep the situation secret.

The two unions also said that administrators of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social are hiding the real figures.

The unions are the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense and the Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social.

A statement said that representatives would meet with President Luis Guillermo Solís today to present proposals for reducing the lengthy waiting lists.

The statement said that the lists range from those awaiting surgery to those awaiting appointments with specialists to those needing diagnostic work such as mammograms and biopsies.

The unions said there are medical centers where Caja affiliates have been waiting four years to see a specialist. The Caja operates all the public hospitals and the many local clinics. The Caja has had chronic financial problems.

The unions, particularly the Unión Nacional de Empleados, has been vigorous in bringing Caja problems to the public. The union even stages short strikes periodically.

Expats are affected because foreigners with legal residency are required to affiliate with the Caja and pay monthly fees. Many, however, prefer to use private medical services for some of the reasons raised by the unions.

The Caja is a point of pride with Costa Ricans who note the public medical service now is 75 years old. But there is a small movement to privatize the institution.

The unions aired their concerns, in part, because the government has a special, high-level group that discusses health issues at Casa Presidencial.

The unions cited the case last year of Sofía Bogantes, a cardiologist at Hospital México, who was reassigned briefly after she went public and said that 141 Costa Ricans died  because they were among the 800 persons on a wait list to receive a catheter procedure. The hospital handles many of the country’s heart cases. The union said she had been persecuted psychologically and at the workplace.

The unions said they had short- and long-term plans to solve the problem.

The Caja is known for its long lines. Those using the system wake up early and show up before 6 a.m. in order to get a slip that allows them to stand in line to make an appointment. Sometimes those seriously ill are turned away because the appointment times have been exhausted. The institution is making an effort to do much of that electronically now.

Government moves to support the price of onions
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government says it will purchase 90,000 kilos of onions from small producers to support the prices.

Onions have taken a seasonal dive with retail prices at farm markets around 450 colons (about 83 U.S. cents)  a kilo. The price is expected to drop even more.

The government will be paying 750 colons (about $1.38) a kilo under the plan announced Tuesday. Prices earlier this year were about double that.

President Luis Guillermo Solís met with producers and the Corporación Hortícola Nacional in Cartago Tuesday. The Consejo Nacional de Producción will buy the onions. The Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería supports the plan.

The government also said that it would work to establish an onion drying facility north of Cartago Centro.

Producers also are planning to create a special seal or trademark to put on onions to show that they are from Costa Rica. Foreign imports, although costing about 800 colons a kilo here, have been affecting the local market. In fact, the Corporación Hortícola Nacional has come out in opposition to Costa Rica joining the Pacific Alliance trade pact.

Although a lot of the country’s onions are grown in the Cartago area, production does not seem to have been affected much by the eruptions of the Turrialba volcano. Other types of agriculture have.
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
These will cost a bit more now.

The Corporación Hortícola Nacional was created by the legislature 20 years ago and took over the functions of the then-potato promotion organization. The corporation benefits from a tax on cement and a line in the government’s budget, as well as money from producers.

The government also said Tuesday that onion producers will benefit from a promotional campaign set up with money from the Banca para el Desarrollo through the corporation.

Onions are a staple in most Costa Rican homes. Surveys have show that nearly every home has a supply of onions.

Santa Ana is generally considered the national onion capital, and that area has several promotional activities, including fairs, each year.

The Consejo Nacional de Producción will warehouse the onion purchases and try to sell quantities when the price improves.

The government agency also controls the price of white corn, beans and rice and restricts imports to maintain established levels of prices for the products.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 182
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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.


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Judicial Invesigting Organization photo
Agents prepare to break in to conduct a search

17 year old facing charge he made porno

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just where and with whom a 17 year old made pornography has yet to be revealed, but law officers suggest that an arrest Tuesday was the start of the unraveling of a juvenile ring.

The Judicial Investigating Organization made two searches. One was in Escazú at the home of the suspect’s father, and the second was in Cartago at the home of his mother.

Investigators characterized the arrest as one of  pornografía infantil, but there probably were no infants involved. That term is applied when any of the suspects are under 18.

The youngster is accused of uploading more than 500 files containing pornography via his Costa Rican internet connection. He also traveled to Germany where he participated in a gathering of youths in April, said agents. How many of the files contain pornography investigators think were made by the suspect was not disclosed.

The investigation covered two countries. The original tip came from individuals at the U.S. Embassy, said agents without explaining how the U.S. government got involved. Of course, U.S. agencies are collecting and evaluating every document that travels through the internet regardless of origin.

Agents said they confiscated, computers, routers, cell telephones and other electronic devices as part of the investigation.

This is a juvenile case, which will be shrouded in secrecy, so the full details of the crimes may never be known.

Time to register to vote

The U.S. Federal government’s overseas voting agency has issued a reminder that Nov. 8 is the presidential election.

“It is time for Americans living, working or traveling abroad to take steps to vote,” said the agency,” the Federal Overseas Voting Program.

Helping overseas Americans is difficult because each state has its own rule, and expats are supposed to vote in the U.S. state where they last were a resident.

Many overseas voters will receive absentee ballots from their registered county of residency. Others may elect to file a federal absentee ballot just for federal offices.

In addition to the federal program, the Overseas Voting Foundation can assist voters. The Web site gives deadlines for each state, plus other information.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 182
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Costa Ricans will practice their unique independence day custom tonight
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Ricans have a unique custom that takes place every year at 6 p.m. the evening before the Día de la Independencia. That’s tonight.

Regardless of where they are when the church bells begin to toll 6, they stand up and sing the national anthem. Frequently they are joined by whatever radio or television station they happen to have on.

This takes place on city streets, in places of business any where there is a gathering to mark the passage of the Antorcha de la Libertad Centroamericana.

One of the larger gatherings tonight will be at Parque Central in San José. Costa Ricans are not known for their punctuality, but every year exactly at 6 p.m. the torch arrives at the park just as the bells in the Catedral Metropolitana mark 6 p.m.

The tradition dates at least to 1964 when the first trip of the torch took place. The originator was Alfredo Cruz Bolaños, a teacher who held a sports leadership position. He arranged with the governments of the Isthmus to enlist the school children to carry the torch from Guatemala.

The torch arrived in Costa Rica Tuesday morning at Peñas Blancas. It has been making its way in the hands of students since. There was a ceremony in Liberia Tuesday night as a relay team brought the torch there. More than 20,000 schoolchildren are involved in this activity. Not all of them carry the torch, but they make up a team that accompanies the principal runner.

Theoretically the torch is following the path of a courier who carried news of Central American independence from Spain in 1821. Thursday marks the day when citizens in Guatemala acted to cut the ties with the Spanish Empire. Costa Ricans did not really learn about the decision until Oct. 13.

As the news arrived, government leaders in the then-capital Cartago may have gathered under street lanterns to discuss the future. That is where the tradition of the faroles developed. These days a farol is a construction made by school children to mimic what a 19th century street lantern may have looked like. Plenty of parents have invested their time, too.

Some are way beyond the utilitarian phase. One Costa Rican has a farol that is a model of the cathedral. Children will be
Ministerio de  Educación Pública photo
Jorsua López Morales holds the torch high as he and his team begin the first leg from Peñas Blancas Tuesday morning.

carrying these hand-held lanterns tonight in their local parades.

President Luis Guillermo Solís and his cabinet will receive the torch in Cartago at 8 p.m. For an independence day ceremony.

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública will get a jump on the festivity today at 9 a.m. when the nation’s flag is hoisted at the ministry. There is a parade of law enforcement, too, as well as traditional food for the troops.

The minister, Gustavo Mata, is scheduled to push once again for passage of a tax on Costa Rican corporations. The bill is stalled in the legislature. The ministry said that the tax would raise 40 billion colons, about $73.5 million.

Solís is scheduled to deliver an address in Parque Nacional Thursday morning. Then there will be parades of schoolchildren on Avenida Segunda and Paseo Colón. Other communities will have their own local parades.

In Alajuela, the Museo Juan Santamaría will celebrate the country’s 195th anniversary with folk dances and marimba performances.

At 2 p.m. there is a reading of a text related to independence followed by a performance by the Grupo Folclórico Tiquicia. That will be in the museum auditorium.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 182
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Selective internet use blamed for keeping young Americans dumb
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It seems simple enough: Find out what young Americans know about the world and their place in it.

So, earlier this year, the Council on Foreign Relations and National Geographic commissioned a survey to gauge what young people educated in American colleges and universities know about geography, the environment, demographics, U.S. foreign policy, recent international events and economics.

Well, evidently, it wasn't that simple, because most of the students who took the survey failed miserably.

The survey was given to more than 1,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 26 who had attended a college or university. It asked a broad series of questions on issues that the surveyors believe should be general knowledge for all U.S. college students.

And putting aside who's to blame, the students didn't know most of the answers.

Quoting from the foreword of the study, "Only 28 percent of respondents knew that the United States is bound by treaty to protect Japan if it is attacked. Meanwhile, only 30 percent knew that the constitutional authority to declare war rests in the legislative branch of the U.S. government."

And only 29 percent were able to pinpoint Indonesia as being a Muslim-majority country when offered the choice alongside South Africa, Armenia and India.

Part of the problem, according to the surveyors, is that it's becoming harder to get good, solid, authoritative information about what is going on in the world, thanks to the internet.

"People don't know what to believe anymore, so right now, when you go online, you never have to encounter anything that is different from your worldview because it is coming into your news feed," said Susan Goldberg of the National Geographic Society. "You're not going through a newspaper, going through looking at headlines, saying, ‘Isn't that interesting? I don't agree with that.’ "

Another problem, according to Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations, is that this kind of material isn't being pushed on students in the classroom. "The problem is schools do not require that students take these courses in order to graduate," he said. "There is a fundamental difference between offering a course and requiring it."

If such information isn’t required in the curriculum, the surveyor says, the country will end up with more leaders like Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who had no idea where, or even what, the city of Aleppo, Syria, was when asked about it during an interview.

"We as a society need to challenge a candidate who doesn't know what Aleppo is," Haass said, "or who does not know
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Lack of knowledge blamed on internet

basic issues, whether it is about immigration or trade or American obligations around the world."

It's not all bad news.

The students surveyed had an improving grasp of geography and some of the most important issues facing the planet, such as global warming and renewable energy. And they acknowledged the importance of the material they were being asked about, even though they didn't know much about it.

To Haass, that suggests the solution is finding ways to get them good information, both in school and online. To help, the Council on Foreign Relations is creating a new initiative called CFR Campus, designed "to build the essential knowledge, skills and perspective that form the backbone of global literacy."

The National Geographic Society has long pushed international literacy with its annual Geography Bee and funding for exploration.

But for Haass, it's about the U.S. being able to continue what he says is the proactive leadership role the nation plays around the world.

"There's no alternative to a successful, orderly world where the United States plays a large role," he said. "But then we have to have the young men and women prepared to play those significant roles, and this study suggests that we are not producing them in significant numbers or proportions to fill those needs."

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 182
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News organizations demand
better access to government

By The Inter American Press Association
news staff

A press advocacy organization has called on the government of President Barack Obama to provide greater access to public information and more transparency, and at the same time it urged the United States justice system to stop using journalists as witnesses in criminal trials.

At the initiative of the Society of Professional Journalists, a letter was sent Monday to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in which 40 organizations, including the The Inter American Press Association, declared that the federal government's level of transparency had worsened.

The note responded to an op-ed article by Earnest published in The New York Times which highlights supposed advances in the matter of transparency and says the media should recognize these efforts.

However, the organizations signing the note replied that transparency has in fact deteriorated. They give details, for example, of the fact that being blocked are requests by journalists to talk to White House staff, that there are excessive delays in responding to requests for interviews and that the federal agencies exclude critical reporters, among other points.

Pierre Manigault recalled that his organization has been denouncing in its twice yearly reports on press freedom in the country the government's control and little transparency in speedily providing the press and members of the public with information of general interest. He is president of the The Inter American Press Association of which A.M. Costa Rica also is a member.

Manigault, president of the Charleston, South Carolina, newspaper The Post and Courier, declared that access to public information is "an inescapable duty of any democratic government and a fundamental principle of press freedom," as enshrined in the Declaration of Chapultepec.

In addition, some weeks ago at the initiative of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 58 press organizations and news media urged a New York court, through an amicus brief to reverse an order requiring New York Times journalist Frances Robles to testify in a criminal case and hand over her unedited journalistic notes.

In October 2013 she had interviewed in prison a person accused of raping and murdering a 4-year-old girl in 1991 and who confessed to the crime to the police, although he told Robles that he had been coerced.

The amicus curiae brief stresses that journalists should not be required to present evidence or reveal information, including unpublished material, in court, on the grounds that this would have a dissuasive effect on sources and journalists would abstain from reporting on controversial matters or not keep records of their interviews.

According to the International Press Institute early this year an Army prosecutor threatened to subpoena journalist Mark Boal and have him hand over the recordings of his telephone conversations with a soldier accused of desertion. In July a Bronx cable television news channel was ordered to hand over non-televised segments of an interview with a person charged with murder.

Mrs. Clinton's tech experts
take the Fifth in Congress

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Three technology experts who helped manage the controversial private email accounts of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton asserted their constitutional rights against self-incrimination Tuesday and balked at answering questions from a congressional investigative panel.

In a politically charged hearing in the midst of the former secretary of State's campaign for the White House, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee attempted to undercut the conclusion reached by U.S. investigators that Mrs. Clinton was extremely careless in her handling of classified national security information on her unsecured email server, but that no criminal charges were warranted.

Mrs. Clinton's Republican challenger, real estate billionaire Donald Trump, has often attacked her handling of the classified material, and political surveys show many voters question her honesty in answering questions about the emails.

One of the witnesses called by the panel, Bryan Pagliano, a former State Department computer specialist, skipped the hearing even though he had been subpoenaed. He had previously spoken to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under a grant of immunity to talk about how Mrs. Clinton used a private, unsecured email server based in her New York home while she was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 rather than a more secure government server.

Pagliano drew the ire of the committee chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who said Pagliano was thumbing his nose at Congress for not showing up and vowed there would be consequences for his absence. "We're not letting go of this," he said.

Two other technology officials, Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta, of the Platte River Networks company that managed Mrs. Clinton's email server after she left office, sat at a witness table but then refused to answer several Chaffetz questions, invoking their constitutional right against self-incrimination. When Chaffetz realized he was not going to get any answers, he excused them from the hearing.

Chaffetz called Mrs. Clinton's use of the private email server, her destruction of more than 30,000 emails she considered to be private and her handling of classified, national security material in the emails "an absolute of the biggest breaches of security in the history of the State Department."

But the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Elijah Cummings, attacked Republicans for even holding the hearing.

"I believe this committee is abusing taxpayer dollars and the authority of Congress in an astonishing onslaught of political attacks to damage secretary Clinton's campaign for president," Cummings said.

Cummings noted that FBI Director James Comey concluded that it was not a cliffhanger in deciding not to charge Clinton with a criminal offense.

One witness, Justin Cooper, a one-time technology aide to Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, answered the committee's questions.

Cooper said that as Hillary Clinton switched from one email device to another, all of the emails and information contained on her old computer were copied onto the new one, rejecting Republican claims that Mrs. Clinton set out to hide material.

On two occasions, after information from old mobile devices was transferred, Cooper said he helped smash them with a hammer. He said he considered that to be a good practice, even as some Republican lawmakers expressed their skepticism.

Mrs. Clinton is resuming
her campaign on Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hillary Clinton plans to return to the campaign trail Thursday after being sidelined for the last several days with pneumonia.

A spokesman for the Democratic presidential candidate said Tuesday that details of her schedule would be announced later.

While Mrs. Clinton continued to recuperate, she got a rousing endorsement from the country's number one Democrat and her former boss, President Barack Obama.

"I am really into electing Hillary Clinton," Obama told cheering supporters at a sun-drenched rally in Philadelphia, a Democratic bastion where Mrs. Clinton needs a robust voter turnout in the Nov. 8 election against Republican Donald Trump.

"I have seen how smart and savvy and tough she is. I had a front-row seat for four years," Obama said of his onetime political foe who was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013.

Obama mocked Trump, saying he "is not in any way, shape or form fit to represent this county abroad and be our commander in chief."

He belittled Trump's praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin as "a strong leader, because he invades smaller countries, jails his opponents, controls the press and drives his economy into a long recession."

The president added, "I have to do business with Putin. I have to do business with Russia. That's part of foreign policy, but I don't go around saying that's my role model."

Trump campaigned in the Midwestern state of Iowa, promising to bring back jobs from other countries, where American corporations moved them in search of cheaper labor and bigger profits.

"It's time to embrace a new and prosperous, and I do mean prosperous, America," Trump said.

He later appeared outside Philadelphia, where he unveiled details of his plans for making child care more affordable for American families and working mothers.

He vowed to be the president of everyone, continuing to attack Mrs. Clinton for her remark last week that half of Trump's supporters were made up of a basket of deplorables because of what she said were their racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic views.

A day later, Mrs. Clinton said she regretted saying that half of his voters had such views, but otherwise stood by her remark.

The two candidates will square off in the first of three planned presidential debates on Sept. 26, six weeks ahead of the election.

The latest U.S. political surveys showed Trump edging closer to Clinton, with RealClearPolitics' average of polls giving Clinton a 2.4 percentage-point advantage, down from about 8 points a month ago.

U.S. census data painting
a rosy economic picture

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New U.S. census data shows incomes for American families rose more than 5 percent in 2015, signaling what analysts are hailing as a turning point in the recovery from the global recession that began in 2007.

The data, released Tuesday, shows the 5.2 percent gain reaching all geographical regions of the country and all age groups, ending eight years of stagnant incomes. It further shows that national poverty levels fell by 1.2 percent, shrinking by 3.5 million to about 8 percent, the steepest one-year decline in nearly half a century.

Forty-three million Americans were identified as living in poverty in 2015, 3.5 million fewer than in 2014. Additionally, the number of Americans without health insurance continued a years-long decline, falling by 1.3 percent to just over 9 percent.

Despite the dramatic gains, the data show median incomes still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, the year when U.S. unemployment began a sharp climb and the housing market plummeted. The crisis spawned the Great Recession of 2008, upending European and Asian markets and triggering massive job losses as well as sharp cuts in government services in the United States and abroad.

The report also shows real median income in Hispanic households increasing by 6.1 percent between 2014 and 2015. Non-Hispanic white and black households saw increases of 4.4 percent and 4.1 percent respectively. Asian households had the highest median income of all ethnic groups in 2015, however their income did not significantly change from 2014.

The largest gains in household income occurred in the American West, a jump of 6.4 percent. Southern states recorded the smallest improvement at just under 3 percent.

Analysts expect the new data to become a central issue in the ongoing U.S. presidential campaign, with median household income higher now than in 2009, when President Barack Obama took office.

Russia being blamed again
for anti-doping agency hack

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed Tuesday that a Russian cyber espionage group gained access to confidential athlete information relating to the Rio Olympic Games.

“WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia,” the organization’s director general, Olivier Niggli, said in a statement. “These criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia.”

The group, identified as Tsar Team, also known as Fancy Bear, broke into the agency’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System database and published confidential athlete records online, while threatening to release more.

The hackers revealed records relating to athletes which detailed instances of adverse analytical findings or their use of therapeutic use exemptions, which allow athletes to use substances that are banned if there is a verified medical reason.

The latest breach of agency's database came after it confirmed last month that the file of whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova had been accessed by hackers.

Ms. Stepanova, who has been living in hiding in the United States since she exposed a Russian state-backed doping program, later said she feared for her life following the hack.

The International Olympic Committee banned the entire Russian track and field team, with the exception of one athlete based in the United States, from the Rio Games in August after the World Anti-Doping Agency published a report on doping in Russian sports.

Facebook admits deleting
iconic photo was an error

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Facebook has issued an apology for deleting an iconic photograph posted by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Sheryl Sandberg, the social media giant’s chief operating officer, made the apology saying, “We don’t always get it right.”

The 1972 photo taken by The Associated Press, shows a naked, screaming Vietnamese girl who was running away from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War.

The photo, commonly referred to as “Terror of War,” was deleted, ostensibly for violating Facebook’s no nudity rules.

“Sometimes, though, the global and historical importance of a photo like ‘Terror of War’ outweighs the importance of keeping nudity off Facebook,” Ms. Sandberg said in a letter to Ms. Solberg dated Saturday. “After hearing from you and other members of our community, we have decided to restore the photo.”

The deletion of the photo set off a protest of sorts with several other members of Norway’s government posting the photos to their Facebook pages.

“We don’t always get it right. Even with clear standards, screening millions of posts on a case-by-case basis every week is challenging,” Ms. Sandberg said.“Nonetheless, we intend to do better . . . Thank you for helping us get this right.”

This was not the only headache Facebook has faced regarding nudity.

A judge in Belfast, Northern Ireland denied the company’s request to stop legal action over the publication of a naked photograph of a 14-year-old Northern Ireland girl.

Attorneys for the girl say the photo, which was posted as some sort of revenge, was used to blackmail the girl. She is seeking damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act.

The photo appeared on Facebook numerous times between November of 2014 and January of 2016. Facebook said it removed the photo as soon as it was notified.
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 182
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Highway officials say that crews are working long shifts until 10 p.m. to get a bridge finished in Santo Domingo de Heredia. This is the Paracito bridge at the border with Trinidad de Moravia. The highway agency said that the bridge is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Heavy rains, high seas flooded homes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national emergency commission said that 135 homes were flooded in heavy rains Monday afternoon.

The cause was a low pressure system, according to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. Into Tuesday morning there were 100 incidents of rivers running out of their banks and clogging of storm sewer systems around the country.

Most of the flooding took place in Corredores, Osa, Golfito and Pérez Zeledón. Hard hit was Pavones in Golfito where some 90 homes were flooded by the rains and the high tides, said the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias.

In the canton of Mora, the predicted slide at the Altos de San Juan took place, but the commission already had relocated the 19 families despite their protests, it said.

The commission said that 107 millimeters of rain, some 4.2 inches, fell in Cartago Monday, and 109 millimeters, some 4.3 inches, fell at Playa Coyote. About half the amount fell in other areas of the Central Valley.

While emergency workers were involved in mitigating flood damages, the Turrialba volcano erupted. That was at 2:10 a.m. Eruptions continued through the morning. Ash fell in Cartago, San Cayetano and San Gerardo de Irazú, the commission said.

More rain fell Tuesday afternoon, but the quantity was much less.

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From Page 7:

Banco National to dump paper ATM receipts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

All those little rectangular pieces of paper spewed out by automatic tellers are becoming a thing of the past at Banco Nacional.

The state bank said Tuesday that it would eliminate the bits of paper in favor of a text message showing the completed transaction. The paper receipts are called comprobantes.

Manrique Chacón, director of technology for the bank, said in a statement that the decision was made to reduce the use of paper, to improve security for customers and to keep the areas around the automatic tellers clean.

Customers who do not have a cell telephone number on file with the bank will be able to provide it at the time of the transaction, the statement said.