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These stories were published Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004, in Vol. 4, No. 183
Jo Stuart
About us
Independence marches all over the country!!
A.M. Costa Rica photo
The torch ignites a blaze at Parque Central, San José.
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Desire and Fabiola Fallas Céspedes protect their faroles from the light rain in Desamparados.
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The torch is en route to Cartago under police protection via Avenida 2 in San José shortly after 6 p.m.
A.M. Costa Rica photo
Most faroles, like this one, are homemade school projects. Frequently they are miniature houses or models of other traditional objects.
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Children, parents and teachers of the Escuela México make their march early in Barrio Aranjuez, San José.

All over Costa Rica Tuesday night school children marched and the torch of liberty finished its trip from Guatemala at Cartago where President Abel Pacheco received it.

The Independence Eve ceremonies feature faroles, models of 19th century street lanterns. Parades will be all over today, and Cartago will host a governmental ceremony.

Juan Pablo Durán Vazquez of the Escuela Joaquin Garcia Monge
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Delta Air Lines warns
of possible bankruptcy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Delta Air Lines says it wants to cut between 6,000 to 7,000 jobs in the next 18 months and reduce administrative costs 15 percent.

The company warned that if an early retirement plan for pilots is not successful, the firm might have to go to bankruptcy court for restructuring.

Delta has called for approximately $1 billion in annual savings from its pilots, and the company and the pilots’ union continue to meet, the company said in an announcement.

Delta, based in Atlanta, is a major carrier for tourists to Costa Rica. It has flights to Juan Santamaría Airport near San José and also to Daniel Oduber International Airport near Liberia, which serves the Pacific coast.

The company’s top executive, in a press release, outlined key elements of the firm’s transformation plan intended to launch "the right airline for the new era" by improving its customers’ traveling experience while simultaneously targeting more than $5 billion in annual cash savings by 2006.  The company is on track to deliver by the end of this year through previously announced actions approximately $2.3 billion of the total savings target, the firm said.

The chief executive, Gerald Grinstein, in remarks to employees, described the top-to-bottom overhaul as a "comprehensive, 360-degree plan that reinvents Delta."

The plan calls for over 51 percent of the company’s network to be restructured by Jan. 31, 2005, resulting in "the largest single-day schedule transformation in Delta’s history," along with improvements to its product and services, network and fleet, and operational efficiencies and productivity immediately and over the next 36 months, Grinstein said.

In announcing that a simpler, more efficient airline would mean fewer jobs and reductions in pay and benefits throughout the company, Grinstein also reaffirmed his commitment to providing meaningful opportunities for employees to share in the company’s future success.

The company said it plans to add 31 new nonstop flights to 19 additional destinations from key focus cities and to reduce the types of airplanes it flies. The firm plans to redesign the Atlanta hub to add more flights and to stop using Dallas-Fort Worth Airport as a secondary hub. More flights would go to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

The company has said that as a result of the rapid deterioration of its financial condition due to low yields, high fuel prices, its uncompetitive labor costs, and its high debt burden, coupled with a possible operational disruption from anticipated pilot early retirements, bankruptcy is a real possibility. 

"We’re working hard and fast to avoid it," Grinstein said, "but if the pilot early retirement issue is not resolved before the end of the month, or if all of the pieces don’t come together in the near term, we will have to restructure through the courts."

The company cut some 16,000 jobs in 2001 and 2002.

Latin American summit
will be here in November

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Delegates from 21 Latin American nationals and Spain and Portugal will converge on San José in mid-November for the XIV Cumbre Iberoamericana.

The theme of the two-day summit is "educate to progress," according to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.

The ministry said the king and queen of Spain were expected to attend the session, which begins Nov. 19. A major topic is the naming of a permanent Iberoamericano secretary general as a permanent staff member for the organization of nations. This individual will be based in Madrid.

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Saray Ramírez Vindas.... associate editor

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More drug front companies named by U.S. agency
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Treasury Department attacked the financial network of the Colombian Cali drug cartel Tuesday by designating 23 Colombian businesses and 118 individuals as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers. These individuals and entities are acting as fronts for the Cali cartel, according to a press release issued by the Treasury Department.

"Today's action assails the financial infrastructure of the notorious Cali drug cartel," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "We are committed to dismantling the operations of drug kingpins and their cartels by exposing, isolating and incapacitating their agents and sham companies and by denying them access to the U.S. financial system."

The Treasury Department's actions are part of an effort of the Treasury, Justice, State and Homeland Security Departments to carry out an October 1995 executive order 12978, which applies economic sanctions against Colombia's narcotics traffickers. 

The assets of a total of 1,094 Colombian businesses and individuals are now blocked, the Treasury Department said. These entities were acting as fronts for the cartel headed by Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela.

The announcement said that these front companies and individuals form a vital part of the Rodriguez Orejuela organization's financial network in Colombia, which is centered on the drugstore chain Drogas La Rebaja and Copservir, the pharmaceutical laboratory Farmacoop and the cosmetics manufacturer Cosmepop. The action freezes any assets found in the United States and prohibits all 

financial and commercial transactions with U.S. entities.

"We continue to pursue the financial network of Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela and their use of pharmaceutical companies and financial cooperatives in Colombia to launder drug money and infiltrate the legitimate economy," said Rick Newcomb. He is director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. 

The Treasury Department said that included among the 23 businesses designated today are numerous financial front companies, including Coopifarma, Farmavision, Megapharma, Litopharma, Coomulcosta, Activar, Soluciones Cooperativas, Comudrogas, Villaro, Segecol, Trimark, Su Servicio Sociedad, Arca Distribuciones, Giamx, and JyG Asesores. 

These entities are all affiliated with Drogas La Rebaja and Copservir, which were named to the trafficker list in 1995 and 1997. Arias Espinosa Aries S.A., a key importer of raw materials for the  laboratory Farmacoop, is also named.

Tuesday’s designation is a follow-up to previous actions taken by the Treasury against the worldwide financial network of the Rodríguez Orejuela organization in February, March and October 2003.

The 23 front companies join 379 other Colombian drug cartel businesses on the trafficker list. The list also includes the Credirebaja charge card, the America de Cali professional soccer team, the Obursatiles stock brokerage, the Internacional de Divisas money exchange house, as well as agricultural, consulting, construction, distribution, financial, investment, manufacturing, mining, real estate and service firms.

Construction of new service station prompts Nosara meeting
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nosara residents will be meeting Thursday to discuss the construction of a new gasoline station in the Pacific beach community.

Residents fear that the station will contaminate nearby waterways. The meeting is at 4:30 p.m. in the Restaurante Rio Tico.

An announcement said that the meeting was backed by the Asociación de Desarrollo Integral, the local environmental council and the Asociación Cívica.

The meeting has been called by the Secretaria Tecnica Nacional Ambiental of the Ministrio de Ambiente y Energia, said the announcement.

Residents said they fear pollution of a nearby ditch and of the Río Nosara, mangroves of the river and of the Río Montaña and of the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Ostional-Nosara.

The announcement said that residents were even more upset because work on the project was not halted even when the Sala IV constitutional court order a stoppage.

United States plans to rejoin International Coffee Organization
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States plans to rejoin the International Coffee Organization.

E. Anthony Wayne, assistant secretary of State for economic and business affairs, is expected to make that announcement later today here.

The United States pulled out of the London-based coffee organization in 1993. 

The coffee organization said that U.S. officials at the time did not wish to support mechanisms which could have a price-regulatory effect. The U.S. government and representatives of the private sector regularly send observers to the organization’s council sessions.

During a May 2003 coffee organization meeting in San José, the United States was again urged to rejoin. Australia and Canada also are former members.

Jo Stuart
About us
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