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(506) 2223-1327               Published Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009,  Vol. 9, No. 198           E-mail us
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Guitars take over tonight, and clarinets come later
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The traditional Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Costa Rica begins tonight with an inaugural concert at 8 p.m. in the Teatro Nacional. This is the 25th year.

This is the five-day event that has brought 182 artists from 34 countries to participate.

And later in the month, the Teatro Nacional will be the principal site for the  Festival Internacional de Clarinetistas PROCLARI 2009 that begins Oct. 18.

The guitar festival is a major Latin American musical event with concerts every day and two each on Saturday and Sunday. The programs range from the traditional and classical Spanish guitar, flamenco, jazz, electric and more contemporary manifestations. Concerts are at 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday and Friday. Saturday's concerts are at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday the concerts are at 10:30 a.m. with the guitar orchestra and at 7 p.m. for a final concertoaid the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes.

This year the event is dedicated to the Spanish composer Víctor Monge.  Admission ranges from 10,000 colons ($17.50) to 5,000 colons for most performances. The final concert is 12,000 colons ($20.62) and 8,000 colons. Tickets are on sale at the Teatro Nacional box office.

guitar
clarinet player


The clarinet festival is being sponsored by the Dirección General de Bandas of the  Instituto Nacional de Música, the Universidad de Costa Rica and an independent group called PROCLARI. Each day from Oct. 18 to 23 a small recital is planned by clarinet students. Most events are free except one Oct. 20.

Some big international artists have said they will attend: Aude Camus of France, Jorge Montilla and Carmen Borregales of Venezuela and Hernán Darío Gutiérrez and the Cuarteto de Clarinetes of Colombia. Yamileth Pérez, Vinicio Meza and Rocío Mairena of Costa Rica also will participate.

The paid event is the performance by Montilla in the foyer of the Teatro Nacional. Oct. 22 is a program of Costa Rican clarinet music. A jazz quartet takes over at a private venue Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. with clarinetist and composer Meza participating.

More information is available on the Web.


Beijing's mayor will visit here to meet with Araya
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The mayor of the Chinese capital Beijing will be visiting San José Oct. 17, according to Mayor Johnny Araya, who has been promoting relations with the People's Republic for three years.

The mayor made note of this Tuesday as he and the Chinese Ambassador here, Wang Xiaoyuan, inaugurated a small playgrounddd near the La Soledad church on Calle 9. The area is supposed to
become San José Chinatown, another initiative by Araya. He said Thursday that the street, also known as the Paseo de los Estudiantes will be the central area for Chinatown.

So far there is not much Chinese in the area, but municipal officials hope that Chines merchants and restaurant owners take advantage of the designation to populate the section with Chinese-related businesses.  The municipality will install signs and street lights with a Chinese accent.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 198

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Brazil's president asks
Micheleti to step down

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva said Honduras's interim government is illegitimate and has called for it to step down.

Speaking to reporters in Stockholm, Sweden Tuesday, the Brazilian president said the crisis in Honduras would be solved if the leaders of the June 28 coup simply left office and returned democratically-elected president José Manuel Zelaya to office.

Da Silva was in the Swedish capital for a summit with European Union leaders.

Zelaya has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy since his surprise return to Honduras last month.

Meanwhile, Both the Wall Street Journal and the Anti-Defamation League have expressed concern about anti-Semitic rhetoric in Honduras.

The Anti-Defamation league produced a news release titled: "Jews A Scapegoat In Honduras Political Stalemate."  Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady expressed concern over anti-Jewish remarks made by Radio Globo  news director, David Romero. Romero, who has been  accorded status as a press martyr, said “Sometimes I ask myself if Hitler wasn't right when he wanted to finish with that race, through the famous holocaust, because if there are people that are harmful to this country, they are the Jews, the Israelites.” He apologized Sunday in an interview and said his grandfather was a Jewish refugee to Honduras.

The anti-Defamation league cited these examples in its press release: 

        * False allegations by President Zelaya that "Israeli mercenaries" are trying to assassinate him;

        * False claims by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and other Zelaya supporters that Israel was the only country in the world to recognize Micheletti's de facto government;

        * Other remarks by Romero of Radio Globo, claiming that "officers of the Jewish army" are working in conspiracy with the Armed Forces in Honduras.

Chávez also appears to have said in one of his Sunday speeches that Israelis were on rooftops in Tegucigalpa using some kind of device to disrupt thoughts.

Ms. O'Grady noted the close connection between Chávez and some of the more extreme Middle Eastern regimes, including Iran.

Monday, interim Honduran President Roberto Micheletti lifted a week-old emergency decree that had restricted civil liberties. The revocation order was expected to take effect when published in the government's official gazette. The order shut down pro-Zelaya outlets like Radio Globo, but Romero continued to transmit from his home.
 
Micheletti has been under international pressure to restore the civil liberties and negotiate an end to the political crisis stemming from Zelaya's ouster in the June coup.

A mission from the Organization of American States arrives in Honduras Wednesday for meetings on the political crisis.

The United States and other nations have condemned Zelaya's overthrow. Washington also has revoked the visas of Honduran officials and cut aid to the Central American country. Many conservative U.S. lawmakers have criticized President Barack Obama's support of Zelaya.

The de facto government says Zelaya was ousted because he was trying to illegally change the constitution to extend his term in office.

"From President Zelaya himself down to media pundits and political activists, there has been a troubling undercurrent of anti-Semitism in the situation in Honduras," said Abraham H. Foxman, Anti-Defamation League national director.  "We know from history that at times of turmoil and unrest, Jews are a convenient scapegoat, and that is happening now in Honduras, a country that has only a small Jewish minority."

Out of the country's eight million inhabitants, there are less than 100 Jewish families living in Honduras, the league said.
 

Suspected bandit, dealer
die in separate shootings

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 23-year-old suspected bandit died Monday night when he suffered a bullet wound in the chest.  He was identifiedd by the last name of Solano.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said he was one of three persons who stuck up operators of a small store in San Isidro de Heredia. When the men fled, shootings took place and Solano suffered the wound, agents said.

In Urbanización El Progresso in Puntarenas an 18-year-old died in his own home early Tuesday when someone shot him.

Agents said the man who had the last name of Zúñiga was found by his mother about 3 a.m. dead of the floor of his home. She lives next door. He suffered a bullet wound to the back of the head, agents said.

Agents said they found 50,000 colons (about $86), 15 doses of cocaine and 70 crack rocks at the scene, so they discarded robbery as a motive.

In Quepos, Fuerza Pública officers detained a man identified by the last names of  Fonseca Jiménez early Tuesday for investigation of the shooting of his son moments before. The son, a 17-year-old suffered two bullet wounds, police said.

The shooting happened in the center of Quepos. The youngerFonseca identified his father as the person who shot him but said he did not know the reason, police reported.


Five new ambassadors give
their credentials to Arias

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Five new ambassadors presented their credentials to President Óscar Arias Sánchez Tuesday. They represent Belgium, the Czech Republic, Paraguay, El Salvador and Panamá.

The ambassador from Belgium is Gregorie Vardakis, who has been in his country's foreign service since 1981, said Casa Presidencial.

Pavel Procházka represents the Czech Republic. He has held a number of diplomatic posts.

Sebastián Vaquerano of El Salvador has been director of Editorial Universitaria Centroamericana. pubications coordinator of the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales and since 1999 the owner of Editorial Legado in Costa Rica, Casa Presidencial said.

José Javier Mulion from Panamá was director of Correos de Panamá and national director for refugees with the HIgh Commissioner of the United Nations.

Paraguay's Oscar Buenaventura Llanes Torres also is a career diplomat having entered his country's service in 1999, said Casa Presidencial.


Collapse of excavation
leads to death of worker


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A construction worker digging a ditch in Playa Matapalo died Monday evening when the walls of the excavation collapsed, the Judicial Investigating Organization said.

He was identified as a 31-year-old man with the last name of Chan. The mishap took place about 8 p.m. on the grounds of a hotel there, agents said.  The man and four others were doing the work in a ditch that was about five meters (about 16.5 feet).


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Now you can call us
 
Technicians from the telephone company finally managed to locate the correct switches, and the new A.M. Costa Rica offices have telephone service since about 6 p.m. Saturday.

The main number remains
the same:

  
2223-1327
 
The offices have been without
phone service for a month.
And we appreciate the understanding of those who have tried to contact us and failed.


-A.M. Costa Rica
 

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 198

San José to renew its efforts against illegal street vendors
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de San José is stepping up its efforts against illegal street vendors. Municipal officials are enlisting the help of the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería, the Ministerio de Salud and the Fuerza Pública.

Municipal officials., including Mayor Johnny Araya, will announced their detailed plans to clear the municipal streets Thursday.

Officials have been waging a long campaign against street vendors, but sometimes municipal policemen run into trouble when they try to enforce the law. The municipality opposes street vendors because they pay no taxes, frequently clog roadways, are sources of street crime and frequently are vendors of illegal drugs.

Officials noted that municipal policemen have been seriously injured when trying to remove vendors.
Avenida 8 used to be an open vegetable market. Municipal officials cleared that out five years ago and provided part of a Fuerza Pública structure as a substitute market. But vendors continue to move back into areas of high pedestrian traffic.

The new pedestrian malls along Calle Central between Avenida 2 and 8 and much of Avenida 4 host vendors during the day. Most sell vegetables.

Avenida Central, the main downtown pedestrian walkway, is filled with vendors, and they play a cat and mouse game with municipal policemen.  Small articles of clothing, CDs and various toys are the usually wares here.

Many vendors are from Perú and other Central American countries as made clear by their native dress. Many are illegal residents. There is a high percentage of Costa Ricans, too. Many deal is pirated CDs and some offer marijuana and other drugs on the side.


art panel
Photos from the Escuela Casa del Artista
Ana Elena Monge: 'La Pastora de Turrialba' in oil.               Esli González: 'Templo de la Música' in acrílic
Art students depict those great, unique structures in valley
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Escuela Casa del Artista has another exposition of works created by the students there. This time the topic is significant buildings in the Central Valley.

The exposition at the Archivo Nacional in Zapote is not to be confused with the one in the Central Nacional de la Cultura of historic buildings. That was the product of a contest run by the Ministerio de Cultural, Juventud y Deportes that attracted professional artist. The topic there was heritage structures which may not be the same as what the students painted.

Both are open to the public, The 20 works by the students debuts today at the Galería León Fernández Bonilla at the Archivo.

The public Casa del Artista has been doing assignments on
the same subject for two years. The first year, the topic was pre-Columbian gold in the Museo Nacional where the paintings were exhibited. There also has been the theme of pulperias, the small neighborhood groceries. Next year the theme will be lottery tickets in honor of the Junta de Protección Social which issues them. It will be celebrating its 160th year.

The latest expositionnnn is called "Un encuentro con el pasado arquitectónico de Costa Rica." The students are of all ages, including seniors, noted the ministry in an explanatory press release. Ricardo Jiménez Salazar has been the professor in charge for 25 years. He once was a student at the school. The school director is José Edwin Araya.

The current works include, among others, the the Basilica de la Virgen de los Ángeles in Cartago, the Escuela Metálica, the Templo de la Música and the main buildingg of Correos de Costa Rica.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 198

Beachcombers

More than 5,000 volunteers, backed by Florida Bebidas, Coca Cola and other enterprises, have finished a national cleanup.

Here volunteers are at work on Playa Tivives. the cleanup was promoted by Asociación Terra Nostra, a non-profit that is seeking to reduce the incidents of dengue fever. Mosquitos breed in watery locations  created by trash.

Dengue cases are down this year, in part because of cleanup campaigns.
beach cleanup
Photo by Asociación Terra Nostra

   
Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat is to create the perfect blend of Adventure, Discovery and Tranquility.
Enjoy Incredible Beach Sunsets and  Sunrises. With the Pacific Ocean on the awesome mountain behind.
Near the airport in the picturesque mountainous outskirts of San José with 34 modern, spacious rooms.
  



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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 198

Casa Alfi Hotel

Press report on oil sales
causes dollar to weaken

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Officials in several Middle Eastern capitals are denying a published report that petroleum producing countries and other nations are plotting to replace the U.S. dollar as the dominant currency in global oil pricing. The denials have not prevented the dollar from weakening against other major currencies, while oil prices rose and gold reached an all-time high.

Already battered by a weak U.S. economy and a rising tide of American indebtedness, the U.S. dollar suffered a blow at the hands of a British newspaper. The Independent reported Tuesday that several Arab states, along with China, Russia and a number of other countries, were holding secret meetings on a plan to end the worldwide pricing of oil in dollars and replace it with a basket of currencies.

Finance and energy officials in several oil-rich Middle Eastern nations flatly denied the article. A spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as saying the report is not serious.

But the damage might already have been done. The dollar fell against other major currencies, including the Euro and the Japanese Yen. The newly-weakened dollar helped push up commodity prices. Oil rose above $71 a barrel, while gold reached a new record-high, selling at more than $1,040 an ounce.

In Costa Rica the colon strenghtened slightly to 580 to sell dollars and 589.5 to buy, an exchange rate that had been fairly constant at 582 and 592 for several weeks.

This is not the first time that the future of the dollar as the world's preeminent currency has been questioned, not only in oil pricing, but also as the world's reserve currency.

But former U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman says speculation about replacing the dollar is premature.

"The dollar is going to remain the primary reserve currency around the world for the foreseeable future," Altman said. "I really do not think there is any doubt about that. And the reason is that there is no alternative to the dollar."

The former deputy treasury secretary added, however, that real challenges do exist to the health and strength of America's currency. 

"The issues around the dollar are not so much what OPEC  will do, but rather the more fundamental questions, which have to do with the economic outlook in the United States and, of course, the fiscal picture in the United States, which is a very threatening one," Altman said using the initials for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Tuesday, Australia became the first industrialized nation to raise interest rates since last year's financial crisis, causing the Australian dollar to rally.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he does not foresee raising U.S. interest rates from record lows in the near future.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 198


Latin American news
Obama officials change
immigration detainee rule

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration is to announce Tuesday a new plan for the detention of illegal immigrants awaiting deportation.

Under the new guidelines, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will devise a system to determine which immigrants should be imprisoned and which should be housed in less restrictive facilities.

Under the current system, violent and non-violent illegal immigrants are being held in a makeshift network of local, state and federal jails. Nearly 400,000 people are held in this system each year, at a cost of about $2 billion.

The new proposals would house non-violent immigrants such as women and children in former hotels, nursing homes and other sites. The Obama administration is also considering building two new detention centers.

Immigrant advocacy groups say many detainees have been denied access to basic medical care and other services under the current system.

Endangers monuments list
draws attention to decline


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Monuments Fund has released a list of 93 cultural heritage sites in 47 countries that it says are threatened by human neglect, vandalism or natural disasters.

There were no sites listed for Costa Rica or Nicaragua. Four are in Panamá, and two are cemeteries.

The list released Tuesday by the New York-based non-profit includes the ancient city of Machu Picchu, Peru; the Phajoding monastery in Bhutan; desert castles of ancient Khorezm, Uzbekistan; traditional townhouses in Kyoto, Japan; gingerbread houses in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and the Merritt Parkway, a scenic highway in the eastern U.S. state of Connecticut. 

The World Monuments Fund is an independent organization established in 1965 and dedicated to saving architectural and cultural heritage sites. It created the Watch List in 1996, releasing it every two years.

The full list can be found HERE!.




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