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These stories were published Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2002, in Vol. 2, No. 210
Jo Stuart
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Canadian citizen, 25, gunned down in Heredia
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff 

A Canadian Spanish-language student died early Monday in Heredia when four men tried to rob him and shot him in the chest, said investigators.

The Judicial Investigating Organization identified the man as Braddey Michael Whipple, 25. A spokesman said he worked for Universidad Interamericana de Costa Rica in Heredia but had been in the country only three months with the main goal of learning Spanish.

Whipple was walking with a friend at 

approximately 1 a.m. in the vicinity of the Santa Catalina pharmacy in Heredia when the violence occurred, said authorities.

According to the authorities, rescue workers took the man to a hospital in the Heredia area, where he died. An investigation has begun into the incident.

The spelling of the name and place of residence in Canada of the dead man is uncertain because a spokesman for the Canadian Embassy declined to give any information. However, the embassy spokesman maintained that officials there had been alerted to the case.

German professor missing on Caribbean coast
Saray Ramírez Vindas
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A German professor has vanished on the Caribbean coast, and officials are looking for her.

They identified the woman as Sonja Klauke, 29. She is a professor of geology at the Geological and Paleontological Institute at the University of Kiel in northern Germany.

When last seen Oct. 11 she might have been on her way to the center of Limón to participate in the carnival, said officials.

According to Adel Sassen of the German Embassy here in San José, officials also have been seeking her on the beaches of Cauhita and elsewhere on the Caribbean coast. Her family triggered the search when they realized she had not arrived at the university to continue her work Oct. 14. 

Ms. Klauke came to Costa Rica on the research vessel "Meteoro," which had been traveling in the Pacific along the Costa Rican and the Nicaraguan coast for three weeks. She arrived in Limón during the beginning of the month for a few days of vacation, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Other members of the crew took different 
routes, and Ms. Klauke found lodging in Cahuita by herself, agents said. 

Sonja Klauke from police flyer

Sassen said the bulk of her personal items remained in the rented room when she left. Others at the facility did not know exactly where she was going, but they assumed that her destination was the carnival, which was in full swing.

Two officials of the German consulate are working with investigators to try and find the woman.

Police have these numbers available to receive information: 295-3940, 798-3936, 799-1437 and 799-1331 in Limón.

A.M. Costa Rica’s first Halloween story contest

Since Halloween is not really celebrated in Costa Rica, we thought we would help to get everybody into the spirit.
We are looking for your original horror stories of 1,000 words or less.

Sure, you can scare the bejeezus out of a group of boy scouts around a campfire, but can you frighten our readers?

The stories will be judged by the A.M. editor and staff on the basis of their originality and spook-factor. Extra points will be awarded to stories related to Costa Rica.

The scariest will be published in our Oct. 31 edition, and the winner will receive $25. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Oct. 29. Send your spooky stories to editor@amcostarica.com

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Canadian Embassy not included in Villalobos loop
By Bryan Kay
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho investment situation continues to puzzle many people here, and the Canadian Embassy has pitched in with their take on the matter.

Louise Léger, Canada’s ambassador to Costa Rica, Tuesday outlined what she advises any Canadian investors to do.

She pointed out that investors’ options are "very, very few," and that people seeking advice from the embassy would be helped in whatever way possible.

Ms. Léger said: "We are there to provide services if Canadians come to us and they say, ‘my money’s tied up, I’ve lost everything. I want to be repatriated.’"

"We could assist with that," she said, "We normally put them in touch with families. Somebody would pay for the ticket for them to go back. Those kinds of services we would provide in any event."

Ms. Léger said, though, that in terms of getting their investment returned, there is nothing much the embassy can do. She said that the Canadian 

portion of the investigation is being handled by authorities in Canada. 

She said that the embassy here does not have much to do with the investigation. Officials here are usually informed after the fact she said. It is like a triangular investigation between the Costa Rican, Canadian and American authorities, she added.

"A few people," who are "confused" about what is happening with their money and the investigation, said Ms. Léger, so far, have approached the embassy. She couldn’t give any more information. Until people seek advice, she said, only then can the embassy play a role.

Investigators froze the accounts of the Villalobos firm July 4, and he closed up his business Oct. 14. He was paying his largely North American investment clients up to 3 percent per month on their money. 

When he declined to pay September interest to his clients, some faced serious financial strains.

The initial raids July 4 on the Villalobos operation were triggered when Canadian authorities sought help here in tracking some $380,000 in suspected drug money.

Officials accused of
aiding the enemy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Authorities here have arrested at least 22 current and former government officials accused of giving key information about drug investigations to drug traffickers. 

Among those arrested were current employees of the country’s drug crime prosecution agency, the federal police, the attorney general's office and the defense ministry. 

Rafael Macedo de la Concha, Mexico’s attorney general, says the accused handed information to the Juarez Cartel and to accused drug kingpins Ismael "Mayo" Zambada and Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. 

Corruption within the police, army and criminal investigation agencies here has long impeded Mexico's fight against powerful drug cartels that ship illegal drugs to the United States and South America.

Officers join call for Chavez rebellion

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

CARACUS, Venezuela — Declaring themselves in, what they say is "legitimate disobedience," high-ranking military officers here are calling for a rebellion against President Hugo Chavez. 

The 14 military officers said Tuesday they do not recognize the current government and have called on the armed forces to support their campaign. At least four of them are under investigation for their roles in April's failed coup that briefly ousted Chavez. 

Jose Vicente Rangel, vice president, says the military rejects the dissident calls for a rebellion against the government. He also threatened the dissident soldiers with legal action. The dissident request comes one day after thousands of citizens observed a 12-hour general strike to demand that the president hold immediate early elections or step down. 

Chavez's political adversaries say his policies are hurting the economy and that he is trying to model Venezuela on communist-run Cuba. 

The leader has said his political opponents must wait until next August, when he is halfway through his term, to call early elections. 

Chavez was elected in 1998 and again in 2000, promising to reduce poverty and corruption. 

The president has seen his popularity decline amid a shrinking economy, high unemployment, rising inflation and massive capital flight out of the country.

U.S. and Peru form 
agricultural committee 

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Department of Agriculture Under, J.B. Penn, secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, signed a memorandum of understanding with Peru's Ministry of Agriculture Monday, thereby establishing a bilateral Consultative Committee on Agriculture, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The newly created U.S.-Peru committee "reaffirms our joint commitment to market-oriented policies and fair trade in food and agricultural products," Penn said. 

"The CCA provides a high-level forum to strengthen our bilateral relationship in agriculture, resolve trade issues and increase cooperation in a number of areas, including trade, biotechnology, food safety, research and technical assistance," he added.

Color altering eye lenses
pulled from U.S. market

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned U.S. imports of decorative contact lenses because of the serious risks of permanent eye injury they present.

The administration said Monday that it will also seize decorative contact lenses on the U.S. market. They are often sold at flea markets and convenience stores. Lester M. Crawford, the administration’s deputy commissioner, said that the administration wants to stop their circulation.

"FDA will aggressively use the full range of its statutory authorities to prevent the distribution of these potentially dangerous products directly to consumers," said Crawford.

U.S. set to help people of Cuba, not regime

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If the regime of Fidel Castro continues its repression of the Cuban people, the United States must accelerate its efforts to communicate directly with sectors of Cuba's civil society, said Adolfo Franco, assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In remarks Thursday, Franco said the international community must increase its pressure on Castro to allow for a transition to democracy, with full respect for the human rights of the Cuban people.

Franco said that once a Cuban transition government paves the way for democracy, the United States is prepared to offer that government "comprehensive and coordinated technical assistance and training programs to facilitate the transition to democracy."

Among other things, said Franco, a Cuban transition government must legalize all political activity, release all political prisoners, and make public commitments to organize free and fair elections for a new government. A Cuban transition government would not include either Fidel Castro or his brother, Raul Castro, said Franco in his speech to a University of Miami Cuba transition seminar, held at the U.S. Capitol.

Franco said his agency is sponsoring the University of Miami's Cuba Transition Project, which he called "a vital part of U.S. efforts to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba and to prepare for assistance to a future transition government in that country."

Quoting President George W. Bush, Franco said that full normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba will only be possible when Cuba has a new government that is "fully democratic, when the rule of law is respected, and when the human rights of all Cubans are fully protected."

"Make no mistake about it," said Franco, Bush's "commitment to a free Cuba is unequivocal."

Has anybody seen
a walleyed pike?

By Garett Sloane
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Wisconsin man is set to battle nature here, but does he have the right equipment and is anyone willing to follow his passionate crusade?

Phillip Rawson "just wants to fish." He is accustomed to the inland water and great lake fishing of Ontario, Canada. His equipment is made for rivers, and it has yet to touch the streams of Costa Rica. 

His fishing line and hook might melt if they touch polluted Central Valley waterways.

That is OK because Rawson is ready to reinvent himself as a bi-coastal deep-sea fisherman. He is ready to forget walleyed pike, smallmouth bass and brown trout to conquer bigger fish.

Rawson, 59, of Montes de Oca has been fishing since he was 6, but he admits that he is just a novice who knows nothing about fishing here. That is why he loves fishing, because every puddle you cast a line in requires a new fishing style, he said.

Look out, fish, because Rawson said he is done getting residency and has completed other time-stealing business. He is ready to do what he planned all along for his life, and that is fish. 

There is one more thing Rawson needs before he goes: a few good men willing to share the cost and excitement. To join Rawson’s team call him at 234-8057.

Researchers to scroll
genome to cure diseases

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

BETHESDA, Md. —The Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health has announced six new collaborative research projects into human genetic sciences. U.S. teams will partner with colleagues in other nations to conduct genetic research with direct bearing on developing world public health problems, according to Fogarty.

Teams from five different U.S. universities will conduct independent projects with fellow researchers in Costa Rica, Thailand, Venezuela, China and India. The research projects will focus on the genetic aspects of a variety of health problems including psychiatric disorders, drug dependence, hereditary disorders and birth defects.

"Through the program's partnerships, we will advance human genetics research while enhancing the limited but growing technical capacity in genetic science in developing regions of the world," said Dr. Gerald T. Keusch, Fogarty director.

The research grants will total approximately $11.5 million over the next five years.
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