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Tico Travel

(506) 2223-1327               Published Monday, Sept. 28, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 191             E-mail us
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For expats working here, it's a very different world
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Being an important expat destination, Costa Rica offers great weather, beaches and plenty of rainforests, and it can be, bureaucracy and all, a good location for expats who want to grow their businesses. However, there is a group of expats who not only do not own businesses but also need to make ends meet. They get to know a very different kind of jungle: Costa Rican workplaces.

Common employment for expats or foreigners looking for a temporary Costa Rican experience include English teaching, sales and customer service at sportsbooks, casinos, other call centers and real estate firms. Jobs in tourism are the fewest, and they usually require applicants to speak fluent Spanish. In addition, some expats or foreigners seek to get hired or, if popular enough, get requested for cultural activities, especially in the music scene.

In many interviews with expates about their employment experiences in Costa Rica, there seems to be some common denominators in Tico workplace environments. Aiming to set the record straight – unlike many sites that sugarcoat everything about this country – the following are some of the most important ones.

Contract discrepancies. Expats who get hired in jobs whre employers do not require work permits should get paid the full amount offered during the interview. Too often companies wait until it is time to pay the first salary to fast-talk foreigners into believing they are required to pay 9 percent of their salary as government withholdings because of immigration scrutiny. This constitutes employer fraud. Employers can only deduct 9 percent of salaries from employees who are registered in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The social security agency  in Costa Rica is commonly referred to as the "Caja." That percentage goes directly to that organization. If employers are deducting the withholdings from unregistered employees, they are keeping the money, plain and simple. They cannot send those percentages to Caja because they would be questioned as to whom that money corresponds, nor will they be exempt from a hefty fine if they are caught employing illegal workers, even when deducting the monthly amount. Expats should ask about this aspect during their interviews, and address their knowledge on the matter.

Other complaints have to do with hours promised vs. hours offered. This is especially true for English teachers. Many report being promised full-time schedules and only being given a fraction of that once they sign six-month to one-year commitments with deceiving schools.

Payment irregularities. This seems to be the aspect drawing the most resentment from expats. Some state they applied for jobs that advertised salaries in dollars to then find out that their first salary was paid in colons. Even if they always had the option to quit, some of them decided to endure their jobs, always worrying about converting their monthly payments to dollars to make sure they reflected accurate exchange rates.

Payment delays are also very frequent, especially in sportbooks or casinos. Expats have reported up to a week's delay in getting their salaries, always being told bogus excuses by their employers about having problems with bank transfers. The ironic thing is that most call center employers are expats themselves, but they have adopted hora tica (Tico timing) when doing business.

Unannounced, gradual salary cutbacks have also been reported. This aspect is frequent in places where salaries are paid under the table. If management decides to start cutting back on commissions or salary amounts that were initially promised, employees have no way to legally protect themselves.

Lying about payment amounts or payment at all also seems to be common in contracts concerning the music scene. Foreign disc jockeys who are hired in local bars complain about how often they have to address problems with the amount they get paid compared to the one offered, which is also true for foreign performers. Some music concerts have been cancelled, even once the audience has arrived to the location, due to payment disagreements between foreign artists and event organizers. Fans have even vandalized facilities once they find out they are not getting their money back either. Expat disc jockeys who aim to get jobs at radio stations say it is good exposure, but forget about getting paid.

Some of them were lied to during job interviews at different stations, being told that once the ratings were received, they would sit down to discuss compensation. Instead, they were given the runarounds by employers once it was time to discuss payment and when some pressed the issue, they were magically taken off the air. Others opted for sucking up to the station and were able to get full-time administrative jobs that would give them monthly salaries ranging from only $300 to $400.

No degree recognition. Costa Rica may be the education diploma paradise for Ticos, but not for expats. Costa Ricans know the more degrees they obtain, the better they will do professionally and financially. That is why there are so many Ticos enrolled in master's degree programs and 
working conditions


short-term trainings that will give them some kind of certificate or diploma. Those open doors. However, expats rarely share this advantage. Expats with bachelor’s degrees do not get better salaries compared to Ticos who have no college education for call center jobs or travel agencies.

The same happens with post-graduate degrees. English teachers who have master’s degrees or Ph.D.s do not get better salaries or positions in language schools unless they have mastered Spanish as well. Ticos do not seem to recognize professional achievement unless it is spoken in their language. Most expats do not even get it until they are residents. Therefore, foreigners with higher education usually end up founding their own language schools in order to put their degrees to good use.

Crazy work ethics. Although this aspect can be true of any office around the world, at least it is true that in Costa Rica it is the one thing you can always count on in the workplace: From increasing daily tasks with no corresponding raise to blatant favoritism reflected in treatment and unjustified raises from management to certain employees, Expats describe Tico office environments as an indoor Wild Wild West. Even though labor code violations are penalized, and the court usually rules in favor of the victim, work ethics that cannot be evidenced in paper are hard to prove in court. There are many cases of sexual harassment, sexism and verbal abuse that go unreported as well.

Concerning the Costa Rican music scene, anarchy seems to be the rule. Many expat and visiting musicians claim that event organizers, bar owners and promoters leave everything for the last minute, provoking embarrassing interruptions or performance delays due to their negligence concerning sound or equipment quality.

No professionalism. Costa Ricans holding an authority position anywhere seem to think that supervising or managing equals patronizing. Tico employees appear used to being disrespected by their employers or supervisors, but foreigners are not. However, Ticos who are not internationally educated treat foreign employees the same way they treat their own. They could have older expats under them, and they still scold them as if they were children. What they also ignore is that most foreigners will hold their own and put them in their place, which sometimes has resulted in unfair firings, since disrespectful Tico supervisors are usually backed up by companies due to their opportunistic skills. Some expat supervisors are not exempt from being jerks, but they usually patronize Ticos, not fellow expats.

Physical contact and no personal space. Costa Ricans have a very physical way of relating to others. Expats often complain about having to kiss Tico co-workers of the opposite sex on the cheek every morning, even the ones they do not like, as Ticos do among themselves. Many expats also feel Ticos have no sense of personal space, since they usually get too close to walk by or talk to them.

No political correctness. Ticos do not know what the term politically correct means. There is no equivalent for that phrase in Spanish either. Costa Ricans feel free to make ignorant racist, sexist, homophobic and ageist jokes in the workplace, disregarding the feelings of those around them. They also feel free to openly discriminate against others based on race, ethnicity or class. Many expats still cannot get over that aspect, especially because it is legally and culturally allowed.

Moving to any foreign country will always need some kind of adjustment, but most relevant information about what to really expect in Costa Rica is unavailable, and most Ticos do not want to have certain aspects of their culture revealed abroad. They need to keep Costa Rica’s reputation intact, and so far it has been working. Until now.

Garland M. Baker is a 37-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at info@crexpertise.com.  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at http://crexpertise.info, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2009. Use without permission prohibited.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 191

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

Puriscal Properties
sportsmens update
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Legal services

Burke Fiduciary, S.A.
Registered Escrow and Legal Services
Thomas A. Burke, LL.M, Glenda Burke, LL.M
Gloria Burke, manager
Burke law firm

We offer real estate law, due diligence and escrow services,residency status, business corporations, estate planning. English, Spanish, German and French spoken.
More about us at www.burkecr.com
Ph. 011 506 2267-6645
info@burkecr.com

The registration of Burke Fiduciary S.A., corporate ID 3-101-501917 with the
General Superintendence of Financial Entities (SUGEF) is not an authorization to operate. The supervision of SUGEF refers to compliance with the capital legitimization requirements of Law No. 8204. SUGEF does not supervise the
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Persons contracting its services do so for their own account and at their own risk.
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CRTitle.com
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Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.
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Phone/Fax: 2290-8117, 8841-0007
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 Phone: (506) 2232-1014

Appraiser

BEFORE YOU BUY and OVERPAY
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ask Angela Jiménez
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A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

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Tel: (323) 255-6116
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Psychiatrist

Dr. Luis Carlos Sancho Torres
  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)
Dr. Sancho
• consulting • depression  • schizophrenia 
• psychiatric disability VA Affairs

• evaluations for gun permits 
 
• bipolar disorders  • addictions 

• methadone

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Available 24-hour a day

office: 2246-3458 or 2246-3459
soon: www.psiquiatriacostarica.com
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5128-7/14/09


Physicians and surgeons

Dr. Marco A. Mora Aguilar, Neurosurgeon
Dr. Mora
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Available for surgery in any of the private hospitals in San José.
                
Stroke, Brain Surgery, Spine Surgery, Scalp and Skull Repair, Craniotomy
 
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E-mail: info@drmarcomora.com
Or use our Contact Form on the site
Emergency tel: 8879-1818, 8395-1818
Accepting VA's Foreign Medical Program
5517-11/8/09

Dentists and dental surgery

Dental Cosmetics Costa Rica
Our office offers a wide variety of cosmetic and restorative treatments at very affordable prices. Fillings,
Dental Cosmetics
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Acupuncture physician

Acupuncture (disposable needles),
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5563-3/21/10

Accountants

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
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• US Tax return preparation  for
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• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
• Assist with back reporting and other filing issues
• Take advantage of the Foreign
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• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr
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U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
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E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com
Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!
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Real estate agents and services

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Real estate, development, Investments.

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506 2777-1197

Over 25 years experience in Costa Rica

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5349-11/25/09


MARGARET SOHN
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info@realtorcostarica.com
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4401-6/9/09v


cleanup downtown
Asociación Terra Nostra photo
The national cleanup continued over the weekend. The  Asociación Terra Nostra is coordinating the event that will last until the first week of next month. Friday more than 100 volunteers like these volunteers were on Avenida Central,  Paseo Cólon and La Sabana.


Coors comes to Costa Rica
in bottles showing chill

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Molson Coors Brewing Co. in Colorado and Agencias Feduro in Costa Rica have partnered to introduce Coors Light to the beer market here. As Molson Coors focuses on international growth, Coors Light, which the company calls the world's most refreshing beer, is now available at supermarkets, convenience stores, as well as bars and casual dining restaurants throughout Costa Rica, the company said in a release.

Cost Rica is the second largest beer market in Central America together with Panamá, where Coors Light was introduced in 2007. The presence of imported premium beer brands continues to grow in Costa Rica, as is consumer's interest in quality American brands like Coors Light, said Molson Coors. The light beer category within Costa Rica is also growing and is estimated to make up 30 percent of the country's beer market, the company said.

Beginning this month retailers in Costa Rica will carry Coors Light bottles and cans. All packages will feature mountains on the label with thermochromatic ink that turns blue when Coors Light has been chilled to the perfect temperature for ice cold refreshment, said the company.  According to Coors Light research, consumers want to know when their beer is cold enough to drink. To meet that need, Coors Light introduced the cold activated bottle in the United States in 2007.

Coors Light is available in more than 25 countries, including Mexico, Panama, Ireland, and China.

The introduction of Coors Light to the Costa Rican market is part of a larger Molson Coors global expansion strategy.  Sales are up more than 150 percent in Panama where this year it will surpass 90,000 cases after its introduction two years ago, said the company. Other markets where Coors Light is being launched this year include Trinidad & Tobago and Curacao Bonaire, it said..

Increase in crime gives
Jacó agents promotion


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judicial Investigating Organization office in Jacó is being promoted to handle the increasing crime.

The office, previously called an oficina regional is becoming a subdelegación. The Poder Judicial said this is more than just a name change and it means that more resources will be available for the office that covers all of the Municipalidad de Garabito.

The Jacó office received 1,456 cases in 2008, the Poder Judicial said. That is far above the average of other oficinas Regionales, which was 574. Right now the office has 19 investigators and a chief as well as a support staff.

The area around Jacó is growing, and there are an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 permanent and temporary residents there.

Two murders put away men
for 50 years each in prison


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two men have been sentenced to 50 years in prison each for two unrelated execution-style murders.

The men have the last names of   Paguada Navarro and Membreño Betancourt. They also are believed to have engaged in gunplay in the Limoncito and Envaco barrios of Limón

Tribunal de Juicio de Limón convicted them of the murder of  Daniel Cordero Agüero May 7, 2008. The man was gunned down as he rode his bicycle home in Barrio Limoncito, said the Poder Judicial.

Another man died Aug. 14 of the same year when two men chased the taxi in which he was riding. The gunmen had a motorcycle. The taxi driver and theman's girlfriend manage to survive by hiding in a nearby business, said the Poder Judicial. The victim was identified as  Evelio Delgado Solano. He suffered five bullet wounds.

Suspect in car shot in head

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man, suspected of causing a disturbance and damaging the interior of a business at the Centro Comericial el Pueblo, suffered a gunshot wound to the head as he was fleeing, said the Fuerza Pública.

The man, identified by the last names of Monge Zúñiga was not fatally shot. He suffered the wound while in his vehicle early Sunday , and officers said the shot probably came from the 9-mm. weapons carried by a guard. 

News feed stories now easier
to read from a Web page


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Readers have a new feature today. The news feed below contained a year's worth of top stories, but some readers said that news feed was causing their page loading to be slower.

This certainly could be true with those readers who still are on dial-up Internet.

So a year's worth of top news stories has been converted to a Web page, that will be a continuing feature of the newspaper.

The page is HERE! Keywords and names still can be searched HERE!

Like the news feed, each story is linked to the original in the archived newspaper copy of the day it was published.

Editors try to pick from one to three news stories each that are on continuing interest. These are put in the feed, which is available for personal used or on Costa Rica Web pages.

Those who would like to have the feed on their news reader or to place it on their blog or Web page can start with this LINK.

Have you seen these stories?



Top story feeds are disabled on archived pages.












For your international reading pleasure:


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

News of Panamá

Newspaper masthead
Did you try
to call us?

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

It is hard to believe that our company telephones have been out of service  for at four weeks.

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

Calls to ICE are met with yawns.

You can reach us at 8832-5564.

But Internet is best.

-A.M. Costa Rica

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Costa Rica
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 191

Security minister chops up central police district into four
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security minister has broken the central Fuerza Pública district into four parts in the wake of allegations of massive corruption by officers.

The segmentation follows the lines of the political districts of the central area: Merced, Hospital, El Carmen and Catedral.

The minister, Janina del Vecchio, said that the new arrangement would result in better supervision and control.

At least 16 Fuerza Pública officers in the central district, including the chief, have been detained for crimes ranging from shaking down citizens to conspiring with criminals in their illegal activities. More than 50 officers are said to be under internal investigation.

Each of the new districts will have from 80 to 95 policemen. There also will be police service from the Policía Municipal.

The El Carmen district will include the barrios of Amón, Aranjuez, California, Empalme, Escalante and Otoya. It is about 1.5 square kilometers (about 371 acres). According to the last census the district has about 3,360 residents and includes Hospital Calderón Guardia, the towering Instituto Nacional de Seguros and Parque Morazán, Parque España and Parque Zoológico Simón Bolívar. It is on the north side of the central business district.

Merced is bigger, some 2.29 square kilometers (566 acres) with 13,676 residents at the 2000 census. It includes the barrios La Unión, Claret, Coca Cola, Iglesia Flores, Las Luisas, Mántica, México, Paso de la Vaca, Pitahaya and  Rincón de Cubillos.  It includes part of the central business district, including the main Correos office, Banco de Costa
Rica and the Museo de los Niños. The bulk of the district is north and west of the central business area.

Hospital is 3.38 square kilometers (856 acres) and includes the barrios of Almendrares, Angeles, Cuba, Bolívar, Carit, Corazón de Jesús, Cristo Rey, Dolorosa, Merced, Pacífico, Pinos, Salubridad, San Bosco, San Francisco, Santa Lucia and Silos. The district includes  Hospital San Juan de Dios, the Hospital Nacional de Niños, the Municipalidad de San José, Parque Central and the Cementerio Metropolitano.  It had 24,393 residents during the last census.

The Catedral district also includes some of the central business area and the barrios of Bella Vista, California, Carlos Manuel Fernández, Catedral, Dolorosa, Dos Pinos, Francisco Peralta, González Lahman, Guell, La Cruz, Laberinto, Lomas Ocloro, Lujan, Mil Flor, Naciones Unidas, Pacífico Parte, San Cayetano, Soledad, Tabacalera and Vasconia. It is 2.31 square kilometers (about 571 acres)  and had 15,628 residents reported in the 2000 census. In addition to the Catedral Metropolitana, the district includes the Teatro Nacional, Ministerio de Hacienda, Banco Popular y de Desarrollo Comunal, Caja Costarricense de Seguros, Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, Tribunales de Justicia, the Corte Suprema de Justicia, the Colegio Superior de Señoritas, the Liceo de Costa Rica and the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. It straddles Avenida 2 to the east from the central business area.

Each district will have a handful of motorcycles and vehicles.

The minister said that the new setup would be reviewed in December to see if any changes need to be made. The minister did not say where the district units would be headquartered. The former headquarters was n Barrio México.


Despite surveillance camera, anti-drug agents make arrests
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The anti-drug police said that a Desamparados suspect used a surveillance camera outside her home to keep track of who was on the street. They said that the camera was set up to warn of a coming police raid.

They arrested the suspect never the less. She is a 47-year-old woman with the last names of Sánchez Solís. She lives in Santa Marta de Desamparados.

The Policía de Control de Drogas said they had been watching the location for two months after complaints came in on the 176 telephone tipster line. Also detained was a 57-year-old man with the last names of Solano Morera. Agents said they confiscated more than 100 doses of crack cocaine.

The principal camera was party hidden near a pot with artificial flowers. Many people have surveillance cameras, but agents said that  the woman had a network of monitors inside.

After the arrests, a judge ordered that both be held for three months investigation.
camera at suspect's home
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Secuirdad Pública photo
Flowers do a nice job of diverting casual glances,


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 191


Sea Maverick
U.S. Southern Command photo
Sea Maverick during testing off Key West

Unmanned sub being tested to keep an eye on oceans here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Navy is testing an unmanned submarine that can maintain surveillance of key stretches of water. It may be coming soon to an ocean near you. The device, called "Sea Maverick," was designed by the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University. The prototype is being tested this month off Key West.

The U.S. Southern Command did not say a lot about the construction of the sub or what are likely targets, but it did say the device is designed to be environmentally friendly, detect and monitor highly mobile objects and relay that information to multiple recipients in a timely manner.

The tests are being done by  Joint Interagency Task Force South, an interagency task force which works in the
detection and monitoring of suspected air and maritime
counter illicit activity, said the Southern Command. The unit has responsibility for the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific.

The tubular Sea Maverick appears to be about 30 feet long with twin conning towers. During the most recent tests, the device was on a tether from a support ship. Keysnews.com. an online source in Key West, said that the Sea Maverick is nearly silent and runs on batteries. A lot of the equipment is classified. The boat is designed to operate on its own like the unmanned drones being used by the military in the Middle East. Sea Maverick, however, is not supposed to be armed.

A conventional Navy ship could deploy several of these devices and pretty well detect any northbound drug boats for far less than the cost of multiple vessels.



Recall of childhood language shows up in new study

By the  Association for Psychological Science
news service

Many persons learn a foreign language when they are young, but in some cases, exposure to that language is brief, and individuals never get to hear or practice it subsequently. A subjective impression is often that the neglected language completely fades away from the memory. But does “use it or lose it” apply to foreign languages? Although it may seem that adults have absolutely no memory of the neglected language, new research suggests this forgotten language may be more deeply engraved into the mind than once thought.

Psychologists Jeffrey Bowers, Sven L. Mattys and Suzanne Gage from the University of Bristol recruited volunteers who were native English speakers but who had learned either Hindi or Zulu as children when living abroad. The researchers focused on Hindi and Zulu because these languages contain certain phonemes that are difficult for native English speakers to recognize. A phoneme is the smallest sound in a language.
The scientists asked the volunteers to complete a background vocabulary test to see if they remembered any words from the neglected language. They then trained the participants to distinguish between pairs of phonemes that started Hindi or Zulu words.

As it turned out, even though the volunteers showed no memory of the second language in the vocabulary test, they were able to quickly relearn and correctly identify phonemes that were spoken in the neglected language.

These findings, which appeared in a recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that exposing young children to foreign languages, even if they do not continue to speak them, can have a lasting impact on speech perception.

The authors conclude, “Even if the language is forgotten (or feels this way) after many years of disuse, leftover traces of the early exposure can manifest themselves as an improved ability to relearn the language.”

   
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 191

Casa Alfi Hotel

Zelaya says foes use
gas, radiation, hit squad


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Just when it seemed the Honduran situation could not get any stranger, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales said from his refuge in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa that his foes were using toxic gas, radiation and an Israeli assassination squad.

Zelaya has made bizarre claims before, but there seemed to be some substance to the toxic gas allegation. Red Cross visitors reported that some inside the embassy were ill and that some had nosebleeds. They  did not rule out gas, but their also suggested a food-born malady.

Others suggested that a generator in the embassy was not property ventilated.

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Friday on the situation in the embassy. The council condemned acts of intimidation and called on the de facto Honduran authorities to stop harassing the embassy.

Security Council president for the month of September, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, read a statement from the council, in which it stressed the importance of respecting international law by preserving the inviolability of the embassy and the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

"They condemned acts of intimidation against the Brazilian Embassy and called upon the de facto government of Honduras to cease harassing the Brazilian embassy, and to provide all necessary utilities and services, including water, electricity, food, and continuity of communications," she said.

The council also called on all parties to remain calm and to avoid escalating the situation or to place individuals at risk of harm.

Friday's emergency session was requested by Brazil. That country's minister of external affairs, Celso Amorim, told the council that the embassy has been under virtual siege by the de facto Honduran authorities.

In addition to cutting utilities and preventing supplies from going into the embassy, he said they have curtailed the movements of Brazilian diplomats.

He expressed concern that the perpetrators of the coup that ousted Zelaya might try to storm the embassy and arrest him.

"The Brazilian government is gravely concerned that the same people who perpetrated the coup d'etat might threaten the inviolability of the embassy to forcibly arrest President Zelaya," he said. "This is not a mere suspicion or speculation, some concrete indications of this possibly have been received."

Amorim said a bailiff was sent with a search warrant to the Brazilian Embassy, but was not let in. He said the de facto authorities also made reference in a letter to his government about the embassy as a "facility" run by the Brazilians, implying that it does not enjoy diplomatic status.

The council meeting was limited in scope to the situation in the Brazilian embassy in Honduras, not the wider political crisis.

After President Zelaya was forced from office June 28 in an army-backed coup he came to the U.N. General Assembly to plead his case. In a non-binding resolution, the General Assembly demanded that he be returned to office, saying he is the legitimate constitutional leader of Honduras.

Zelaya took refuge at the embassy Sept. 21, after secretly returning to Honduras where the caretaker government has threatened to arrest him.  His supporters marched Saturday. He is urging actions against the de facto government from his location in the Brazilian Embassy.

The international community has refused to recognize the interim government and has called for Zelaya to be reinstated with limited power until a presidential election is held.

Zelaya told journalists he met late Thursday with representatives from the government of acting President Roberto Micheletti. He described the talks as a positive step. Zelaya and dozens of his supporters have spent nearly a week at the embassy.

Spain's prime minister, Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, told the U. N. General Assembly Thursday that democracy must be restored to Honduras and the coup cannot be accepted. And the International Monetary Fund says it has consulted its member nations and will continue to recognize Zelaya as the head of the Honduran government.
 
The decision means the Micheletti administration will not be allowed to draw on the $163 million allocated by the fund to Honduras to supplement the country's foreign reserves.

Micheletti has said he is willing to talk with the deposed leader, but only if  Zelaya recognizes the presidential election scheduled for November. Micheletti also says he will not discuss dropping any of the charges against the ousted president
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 191


Latin American news
New York City celebrates
400 years this month

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Four hundred years ago this month, Henry Hudson, looking for a sea route to Asia, sailed into what is now New York Harbor. His arrival is celebrated as the beginning of Dutch settlement in North America. A few years later, Dutch traders established New Amsterdam to trade animal furs with local Indians. Today that settlement is known as New York City.

New York City has such a distinctive look it's hard to imagine it was once a small Dutch settlement.
 
But at New York's South Street Seaport Museum, a centuries-old document proves the Dutch did indeed pay for this land.
"It's the testimony of the creation of a Dutch settlement called New Amsterdam which now became the big city of New York," explained Berendse. A map of the area is also on display, showing houses and roads at the new settlement.

Another shows just how small Manhattan was. That changed after the British took over.

Architectural historian Barry Lewis says the British filled in part of what's known as the East River with garbage because they needed the real estate. Waves of immigrants, mostly from Europe, kept on coming.

"We had only about 100,000 people at the beginning of the 19th century," he said. "By 1875 the population of Manhattan is over one million. By 1910, over 2 million people are living in Manhattan Island."

Manhattan real estate became expensive. In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was built so people could buy land, further out, on Long Island where it was cheaper. "You could go across by carriage, freight or passengers. You could walk across," added Lewis.

Then came the subway.

"The brilliance of the New York subway system is that for one nickel it took you miles and miles away from the central business district and opened up cheap real estate in the outlying parts of the metropolitan area. So the average person could at least afford a house, an apartment a nice place," Lewis explained.

But businesses needed to be in Manhattan. So developers started building up, and the skyscraper was born. The Woolworth Building, the Chrysler Building. The Empire State Building. Each one outdoing the other.

That small sliver of land that began 400 years ago as a trading post is today still about money.

The area the Dutch settled to trade furs with the Indians is now Wall Street, the world's financial center.




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