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(506) 2223-1327         Published Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 183              E-mail us
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Chidren on parade
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Line of baton twirlers from Saint Michael's in Desamparados put on a show on Paseo Colón.

Rival soccer groups mar independence day parades
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica celebrated its independence Wednesday with parades all over the country. But another local obsession surfaced as rival young soccer fans staged confrontations in San José, Alajuela and Heredia.

Police said the confrontations were fueled by alcohol, mainly beer. In Heredia a 16 year old took a bullet in the stomach in one of the disputes during the parade.

An Alajuelita man quickly was detained by Fuerza Pública officers, who said they confiscated a 9-mm. Smith & Wesson pistol.

More parade photos: HERE!

At Parque Nacional in San José President Laura Chinchilla repeated her warning of the night before that criminal elements were making inroads into the country.

A comparison of the texts of the two speeches shows that she used many of the same words to stress her point. Curiously, Casa Presidencial public relation writers ignored most of the negative elements of the president's speech and put emasculated versions on the president's Web site.

Ms. Chinchilla again spoke of the threat Costa Rica faced from U.S. filibusterers in 1856 and said again: "Today it's another threat, but this time the calamity that approaches us is more insidious and its means are practically unlimited. We live in a situation more grave than in 1856 because, as opposed to then, today we don't see the invaders and its powers extend through the whole country penetrating through the 
confrontation
A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas
Liceo de Costa Rica students protest along the San José parade route.

consumption of drugs and by the effects of  criminality in our own homes and without respect for age or social condition."

The president is pushing for new taxes to pay for more police and undefined security measures.

Also along the parade route students from the Liceo de Costa Rica demonstrated and said they wanted to show police that they could behave well. Students from the school were engaged in a disturbance at the parade last year.

In Heredia Fuerza Pública officers said they detained 15 persons, mostly as a preventative measure.

At a similar parade in San Pedro, Montes de Oca, there were no problems. Municipal officials reached an informal agreement with eight stores that sold alcohol along the parade route. The store operators agreed to not sell alcohol until noon or 2 p.m.

Police anticipated trouble at the parades and had many officers at all locations.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 183

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Ms. Chinchilla at park
Casa Presidencial photo
Ms. Chinchilla delivers her independence day speech Wednesday before the Monumental Nacional that shows five women representing the Central American states driving out filibusterer William Walker.

President is off to México
to mark 200th anniversary

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Laura Chinchilla left Costa Rica Wednesday afternoon to be present at the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence.

She was to be an observer at the midnight El Grito de Dolores at the Zócalo, the main place in Mexico City. There President Felipe Calderón was to reenact the event that triggered the Mexican revolution in 1810. A Catholic priest named Hidalgo rang a church bell and called on his parishoners to join together to fight the Spanish. Calderón invited Ms. Chinchilla.

Although the revolution had initial success, Hidalgo was later captured and executed. It took México until 1821 to negotiate a treaty with representatives of the Spanish crown that made what had been New Spain an independent state.

This is why Mexicans are celebrating 200 years of independence this year and Costa Rica is celebrating 189 years. Mexicans date their independence from the actions of Hidalgo. Costa Rica was notified it was free of Spain 11 years later.
Ms Chinchilla was due to return to Costa Rica today.

paintings of women
Two examples of the artist's work

Sardinal artist has premier
Saturday at Liberia gallery

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A self-taught artist from Sardinal is having his first show starting Saturday. The artist is Óscar Lios, who now has a studio near the Sardinal park. The show runs until Oct. 1 at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery in Liberia.

"Óscar's talent is innate, no formal education in art, but with great instincts inherited from a family with a passion for the arts," said Carlos Hiller, the gallery's resident artist. "He is without doubt one of the promises of the region in the visual arts."

The exhibit features more than 15 paintings, all done this year. Most are oil on canvas, and some are charcoal on paper, the gallery said. The exhibit is titled in English "Among all Women" and features artistic figurative nudes.

The gallery is 5 kilometers west of Daniel Oduber airport.

Banco Nacional offering
online purchase system


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Banco Nacional said it has entered into an agreement with SafetyPay, an online payment clearing house. The agreement allows bank customers to make payments from their local currency account to foreign vendors. SafetyPay converts the money to appropriate currency.

The company said that it offers bank customers maximum security, eradicates payment fraud and creates an efficient payment process for financial institutions and merchants. The company said customers are never required to disclose any financial information to the merchants or to SafetyPay and that all payment transactions are done from within the bank’s online environment.

The company said that it can make payments to 2,000 retail outlets worldwide and that it already has agreements with banks in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in Latin America.  The company is based in Miami Beach, Florida.

Intellectual property rights
filings begin to recover


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Innovative activity and demand for intellectual property rights declined at the height of the global economic crisis, but began to recover this year, the United Nations agency charged with protecting inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright said in a report released Wednesday.

The report by the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization also documents how the uncertainty associated with the crisis led companies to readjust their innovation strategies. As the world economy started to slow sharply in 2008, an estimated 1.91 million patents, 3.3 million trademarks, and 660,000 industrial design applications were filed across the world, according to the report.

Compared to 2007, these figures represent a slowdown in the growth of patent and industrial design applications and an actual decline in the number of trademark applications, the report added.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 183

voting campaign


marchers  with flags
Flag carriers were from the Saint Michael school in Desamparados, which did not have a parade this year


School kids enjoy Dia de Independencia in San José
   
musician
Young musician is part of the Banda de Escuela de San José.
onlookers
Youngsters from the Escuela Barrio México were dressed
in period costumes as they covered the parade route
in a truck.                                      

Photos by
Saray Ramírez Vindas,
associate editor





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Dancers are from the Escuela Mauro Fernández Acuña

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 183

Escazú Christian Fellowship
xx
Guoadalupe Missionary Baptist Church


Readers give their opinions on Costa Rican experiences

Embassy visit was long,
expensive and confusing


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I visited the U S Embassy here in Costa Rica on Aug. 26.

I agree with everything Jayne said in the A. M. Costa Rica newspaper about the embassy but my experience was somewhat different.

As Jayne said, no one spoke English, and I expected it, so I brought with me my girlfriend who is a local.

First we were told to enter the first line which we did and waited over 45 minutes as lawyers kept cutting in front of us. We finally made it to the counter and were told we were in the wrong place. The guy gave us a number from a machine and told us to go inside.

We did as we were told, and we waited in this line for over an hour, I was not sure we were again in the right line after watching people go to the counter and talk with someone who spoke English.

I went to an employee and ask if he spoke English, and he said he did. I showed him a document that was given to me from my lawyer. It was written in Spanish and explained what I needed. I asked if I was in the correct line. He glanced at the document and said yes. I returned to my place in line and waited.

We waited another half hour and finally made it to the window. The guy did speak English. I told him that I needed proof of registration for my Costa Rica residence application. He said I was in the wrong line. I needed to go to the cashier. I told him all the problems that I had and he said there was nothing he could do about it. I was in the wrong place.

I go to the cashier’s window, there was only one person in front of me, but there was no cashier there. We waited about 20 minutes and finally told the guy at the window who sent me there. He said she was probably getting change. Finally she showed up. She told the person that was in front of me that she was in the wrong place.

I got to the window and told her what I needed. She said it will be $50 and gave me a short form to fill out. I completed the form and gave her 60,000 colons. With my passport. She gave me my change and cheated me on the exchange rate. Then she said have a seat and that I will be called.

I waited another 30 minutes and was called to the window. He asked me to raise my hand and swear to something he said. I do not even know what he said, I was so mad. He gave me the document and I then left.

My driver was waiting for me, which cost another $60. I would have sent him away, but I figured I would have to wait in the line outside the building again to get back in.

I have traveled all over the world and have never been anywhere more screwed up in my life. It is hard enough being in a foreign country, and you would think you could get help and support from your embassy. I guess this is not the case here in Costa Rica.

Something needs to be done about the way this place operates.

Thanks for listening to just another American trying to make it. I have spent a lot of time myself looking on the internet for a place I could complain to and found nothing.

Phillip R. Steward
Turrialba, Costa Rica

Police shouldn't become
insensitive brutes like in U.S.


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This concluding extract from your article on crime,  "U.S. investigators said that waterboarding also is an effective approach,"  is as alarming as they come.

One earnestly hopes the government of Costa Rica will not permit their police to become the insensitive brutes that American police have become through fear and exaggeration. 
 
Unfortunately, those attitudes, united with extremist policies in U.S. policing have led to a gradual, insidious slide toward tyranny and the inevitable 'police state' North Americans must now endure.
H. Franz
Santa Ana and Las Vegas, Nevada
If you give respect,
you will get it in return


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Sometimes I think people from North America love nothing more than to complain.

Last year myself and a friend went to the U.S. Embassy to renew our passports.  We saw the line went to the front and were admitted on the spot because we had U.S citizenship.  No problem in the lobby, they spoke English, had to check my cell phone and away we went. 

Now we are sitting in the waiting area, a couple of minutes pass and a nice young lady comes up to us asked us if we need help in English and now we are up at the office where the windows are and in we go, no problem.  We sit down with our number. We are called to a window within 5 minutes.  About 20 minutes later we are walking out ready to come back in 15 days to get our new passports.  Total time less than an hour.

Just maybe because we did not present ourselves as the ugly American to the Ticos who work there or the Brazilian-born U.S. citizen who worked behind the window, we were treated with respect.  Everything went just as smoothly when we went back to pick up our new passports.

The lesson here, if you want to be treated with respect, treat others with respect.

Douglas Peter Sehr
Quepos



Social Security application
was made online quickly


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

To add as to why I agreed so much with Jayne Dell, I went to the Costa Rican U.S. Embassy twice to apply for my U.S. Social Security back in 2009. They lost all my papers.

After all this frustration, I just applied online, and it took all of 15 minutes, and someone called me from a Social Security office in the U.S. to verify all the information.

Now, I have my monthly check sent to my U.S. mailing address. Not sure this was a requirement that allowed me to apply online, and also, another reason this worked out to my benefit, direct deposit to my local Scotia account would of cost $ 20 per month. So, my assistant in my
home state just sends the check down with my U.S .mail and I deposit it in the same Scotia account at no charge. I hope this may help some others out there.
John Bisceglio
Ciudad Colón



Praise for Laura Chinchilla

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Accolades to President Chinchilla for recognizing the problem Costa Rica faces with the crime element; for addressing that subject in her speech for Independence Day; for encouraging the Asamblea Legislativa and the courts to work with her and for urging all who live here to be diligent in helping to stamp out the ever-growing crime wave.  BRAVO, President Chinchilla!
Ann Boyd
Canoas, Alajuela



Why no ability in Spanish?

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This is in regards to Jack Ettinger letter: Jack, If you have been in Costa Rica for 6 years and you haven't learned some VERY basic Spanish to be able to ask if you are in the right line, then shame on you! I bet you know how to say "Dame una cerveza."

D.E. Arnold
Londres de Quepos


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 183

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Tropical Storm Karl moved
over Yucatan peninsula


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tropical Storm Karl is weakening over the Yucatan Peninsula, but forecasters say it could reach hurricane strength once it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

Karl made landfall Wednesday about 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) northeast of Chetumal, Mexico.  The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Karl is expected to dump up to 13 centimeters of rain over the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize and northern Guatemala and could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Karl should be moving over the Bay of Campeche soon and then across the southern Gulf of Mexico nearing the coast of the state of Veracruz by Friday, the center said Wednesday night.

Forecasters are also monitoring Hurricanes Igor and Julia as they swirl in the Atlantic.  At last report, Igor was a category four storm on the five-point scale of hurricane intensity, with 215 kilometer-per-hour winds, about 133 miles per hour.  Julia was further east in the Atlantic.

Neither hurricane poses any immediate threat to land, although the forecast track shows Igor approaching Bermuda by Sunday.

Hurricane Julia briefly intensified into a Category Four storm before weakening to a category three hurricane Wednesday with winds of 205 kilometers per hour, about 127 miles per hour.  The storm is more than 1,000 kilometers west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.


Trapped miner is now
father of new daughter


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One of the 33 Chilean miners trapped for 40 days has become a new father, but he will have to wait weeks before he can hold his daughter.

Ariel Ticona's wife gave birth to their daughter, Esperanza – Spanish for Hope —  Tuesday at a hospital in Copiapo, near the mine.

Drilling to free Ticona and the 32 other men has been temporarily halted due to a broken drill head, but authorities say it will not significantly delay the rescue effort.

Emergency workers made contact with them on Aug. 22. Authorities say a rescue could take until the end of the year.

The miners have been receiving food, medicine, letters, cigarettes and other items through a chute to the chamber where they are located.

The miners have been underground since Aug. 5, when they were trapped by a cave-in.

Children in Paraguay
report on mistreatment


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Six out of 10 Paraguayan children and adolescents suffer physical violence and other maltreatment within their homes, including beatings, kicks, burns and semi-asphyxiation, according to a new United Nations study.

The U.N. Children’s Fund study, released Tuesday, found that corporal punishment and verbal humiliation are considered culturally acceptable forms of education and it called on the government to introduce policies that promote the denunciation and punishment of such activities.

More than 800 children between the ages of 10 and 18 in at least 50 public and private schools throughout the country were included in the study. Of these, 35 per cent reported suffering severe physical punishments, 13 per cent experienced light violence and 13 per cent endured psychological violence, according to the fund's child protection official Andrea Sid.

“The serious maltreatment consisted of blows with objects, kicks, burns and some type of asphyxiation,” she said.  
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 183


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U.N. agency urges continued
use of stimulus measures


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Premature withdrawal of macroeconomic stimulus measures in developed countries in the face of budget deficits may trigger a deflationary spiral in the global economy, with attendant slumps in growth and employment, a major United Nations trade agency warned Wednesday.

“Ending stimulus measures too soon in an effort to restore the confidence of financial markets could be counterproductive,” the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development said in its 2010 report, noting that spreading fiscal austerity in Europe and lack of consensus in the G-20 group of developed and major developing economies risked a double-dip recession.

It also called on developing countries with export-oriented economies to expand domestic demand growth through increasing mass purchasing power to combat unemployment in the face of declining export demand.

With the end of the debt-financed consumption boom in the United States, which the report expects will no longer serve as an engine of growth for the global economy.  Neither China, the Euro area nor Japan are likely to assume this role in the foreseeable future, it said. Policies for sustainable economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction should be based on establishing a balanced mix of domestic and overseas demand, it stressed.

Overall, the Trade and Development Report 2010 concluded that global real gross domestic product is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2010, following a contraction of almost 2 per cent last year. But economic recovery remains fragile and its pace varies across countries, with emerging-market economies, mainly in Asia and Latin America, leading the revival.

These economies had avoided large external deficits and accumulated significant international reserves before the crisis. They contained rises in unemployment during the crisis and achieved a relatively rapid recovery of domestic demand.

In transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe, recovery has been weak. Many of these economies ran huge current-account deficits and depended heavily on net capital inflows. Direct adverse effects from the crisis were exacerbated by restrictive macroeconomic policy responses to the crisis, often under programs led by the International Monetary Fund, according to the report.

Recovery is also weak in developed countries and resembles the pre-crisis build-up of global trade and current-account imbalances. In the U.S., domestic demand has accelerated faster than in the leading current-account surplus countries, Japan and Germany, where recovery relies heavily on exports. Moreover, home-grown debt problems have made Europe evolve into the center of the crisis and a laggard in the recovery.

African countries were less directly affected by the crisis because they are much less integrated into international financial markets, it said.

“The rebound from recession will not endure if it continues to be based on temporary factors, such as inventory cycles and exceptional fiscal stimulus programmes, and if the shortcomings that caused the crisis, such as unregulated financial systems, income inequality and global imbalances, persist,” said Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of the U.S. agency in the overview to the report.

A premature exit from demand-stimulating macroeconomic policies in an effort to reduce budget deficits and regain market confidence means that these countries have to rely on exports for recovery, shifting the burden of sponsoring demand stimuli on to others and exporting unemployment to the rest of the world, the report said.

“Governments should withdraw stimulus only after achieving a full recovery of private domestic demand in their country,” the report warned.

The report stressed the need to make job creation a priority in economic policy since unemployment is the most pressing social and economic problem, not least because, especially in developing countries, it is closely related to poverty. The fallout from the global crisis has exacerbated what were already sluggish labor markets in most countries even before the crisis erupted, it said.





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