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(506) 2223-1327        Published Friday Nov. 7, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 222       E-mail us
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Arias, others outline plans to keep country solvent
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The economy was at center stage Thursday as President Óscar Arias Sánchez outlined the executive branch's commitment to lessen as much as possible negative impacts on the country.

Meanwhile, his brother, Rodrigo Arias Sánchez said the main goal of the government was to prevent job loss. He also reported that he and two ministers had met with an organization representing employers and deplored what he saw as obstructionism by political opponents.

The latest developments come amid tight credit, lower real estate prices and fears that recession in the United States and elsewhere will reduce the country's exports.

The president spoke in El Coyol, Alajuela, at the inauguration of a second plant for Hologic, the medical manufacturer, and in the evening at the annual awards banquet of the Cámara de Comercio de Costa Rica.

In both appearances Arias said his government would concentrate on the poor. Some 45 percent of next year's budget is allocated for pensions for the poorest, the Avancemos scholarship program designed to keep poorer children in school and other social spending.

Arias told the business chamber that the executive branch would push for approval in the legislature of an $850 million loan from the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo for various infrastructure projects that will give the country a competitive edge.

He also lobbied for plans to complete the process of offering a concession for a contractor to run the ports of Limón and Moín. That plan is strongly opposed by dock workers on the Caribbean.

"Costa Rica cannot engage in commerce with the developed world with ports that are among the worst in the developing world," said Arias.

He said the government was improving the workforce with the plan to have 100 percent of the secondary school graduates in 2017 know English as a second language so they can obtain a quality job.

Arias also praised a proposed citizen security initiative that would contract with private companies to keep watch on the country with cameras and facial recognition software to identify criminals via a data base. This technology will be in the hands of the Fuerza Pública, he said, citing England as an example.

The government wants to invest $18 million in security surveillance, but A. M. Costa Rica reported a year ago that the British experience shows hidden cameras are no cure.

Arias also promised that the government would continue to try to integrate Costa Rica with the world. He noted that a trade treaty has been negotiated and approved with Panamá and that the country is at the point of approving a similar treaty with the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic. And it is trying to do similar with the European Union and China, he said.

At the Hologic site in the Parque Coyol Free Zone Arias said that the difficult times will continue for some months but when they pass the country has to be ready. The country has to surmount this crisis with the smallest amount of loss, he said, and that only would be possible if foreign and Costa Rican companies do not lose confidence in the country's economy and its workers.

When the crisis passes, the Costa Rican economy will be stronger than ever, Arias said. Arias also said that the central government was studying the best way to capitalize the state banks with the goal of meeting the credit demands of the productive sector.

Rodrigo Arias was more specific. The government is about to inject some $50 million each in both the Banco de Costa Rica and Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, according to a summary
recession


of his meeting at Casa Presidencial. He met with the Unión de Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones de Empresa Privada Thursday afternoon.

"This is not the moment for irresponsible ideas and popularism," said the minister of the Presidencia, adding that this is not the time to engage in obstructionism as a form of political opposition.

Rodrigo Arias was referring to the continued opposition to the free trade treaty with the United States, and said that this was a time to think of the country.

Also attending the meeting was Guillermo Zúñiga, the minister of Hacienda, and Roberto Dobles, minister of Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.

Zúñiga told the businessmen that the recession in the United States and in Europe and the deceleration in Asia will affect the country's exports, the flow of investments and the amount of tourists.

The executive branch will use its budget surplus to provide resources to the banks, said Zúñiga, who coordinates the budget.

As Rodrigo Arias was meeting with businessmen,  Francisco de Paula Gutiérrez, the head of the Banco Central de Costa Rica, was meeting with a legislative committee. He was generally positive about the economy.

Production is high with better levels of employment and a positive financial situation, he said. The country does not have complicated financial problems outside the country, losses by the Banco Central are under control and the public debt is favorable, as is the country's international monetary reserves, he added.

He was appearing before the Comisión de Control del Ingreso y Gasto Público.

But de Paula also pointed out weaknesses: inflation that was 16.3 percent in October and the external debt, which is 8 percent of what the country produces each year. The world crisis can hurt Costa Rica by reducing production, tightening internal financing and causing capital to flee, he said.

He said that the numbers for the international economy were less favorable than those for Costa Rica and that a contraction is predicted for the developed countries.

The bright side is that a worldwide contraction would reduce the prices Costa Ricans have to pay for imported goods, including petroleum, wheat, copper, steel, among others, he said. The country imported 19 million barrels of petroleum this year, he said.

Elsewhere reports on the economy are mixed. Some real estate is selling. Apartment owners are worried about tourism and possible expat renters, particularly in light of a tighter draft immigration bill being pushed by the administration.

Employers point out that the semi-annual increase in the minimum wage takes effect Jan. 1 and that employees must be paid their aguinaldo or Christmas bonus in the first two weeks of December. An aguinaldo for someone who worked all year is one-twelfth of the annual salary.

Some employers have said they will be able to pay the aguinaldo this year, but the real doubt is their ability to do so in December 2009. Most are looking to trim their workforce, despite what Rodrigo Arias said Thursday about protecting jobs.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 222

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Veterans Day service
here is this Sunday


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tuesday is Veteran's Day in the United States and Remembrance Day for British, Canadian, Australian and other allies. For all it is the day to honor the war dead and those who served.

The day will be celebrated in Costa Rica Sunday at 5 p.m. in the International Baptist Church in Guachipelin. This is the 90th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, the day on which the remembrance originally was based

The United States has 23.4 million living veterans. The principal ceremony there will be Monday at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m. The U.S. Embassy will be closed Tuesday, said a press release.

Dutch volunteers to show
their students' achievements

By Elyssa Pachico
of the A.M. Costa Rica Staff

According to physical education teacher Lucy Overbeke when kids arrive in the classroom after devoting 90 minutes to soccer, stretching and running, teachers are the first to notice the difference.

“Teachers have told me when the kids come in after P.E., which is from 7 to 8:20 in the morning, it's the best day of the week,” said Ms. Overbeke, originally from Holland. “When they do sports outside, they pay more attention inside.”

Ms. Overbeke is one of the four Dutch volunteers who work for ISOP, a non-profit that places Dutch physical education teachers in low-income schools in Costa Rica. Working at Juan Enrique Pestalozzi primary school in Purral, Goicoechea, Ms. Overbeke and her fellow volunteers keep busy teaching obesity workshops, leading swim classes and organizing soccer tournaments after school.

Promoting sports among at-risk students keeps them off the streets, where they may face drug addiction and petty crime on an almost daily basis, explained Guisella Villegas, who works at the foundation.
 
ISOP has been running its volunteer program in Purral for six years, and also has branches in Turrialba and southern Nicaragua.

The Dutch volunteers, who are either studying physical education or are licensed teachers, arrive every six months and stay with a host family in Purral. Their responsibilities have been steadily increasing over the years, said Ms. Villegas. For example, Ms. Overbeke, 27, competes in triathlons in addition to holding a doctorate in health and medical sciences. She teaches a nutrition class to primary school kids and runs a six-week workshop for high schoolers, teaching them how to coach sports.

The volunteers have also been playing a role in lobbying for a new sports center for Purral, which currently lacks decent facilities, said Ms. Villegas.  “Right now we just use a football field,” she said.

To showcase students, the volunteers have also helped organize ISOP's annual Gran Día de Deportes, to be held Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The event will be held at the Ana Frank field, 200 meters north from the Iglesia Católica de Purral.

Hurricane Paloma heads
away from Costa Rica


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports.

The newest hurricane, Paloma, is moving northeast and should cut across Cuba by Sunday night, according to the U.S. Hurricane Center. About 11 p.m. Thursday the storm was about 200 kms or 125 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman and about 425 kms or 265 miles west-southwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The storm brushed along the Nicaraguan and Honduran coast before heading northeast, and the Instituto Meteorológical Nacional said that the weather over Costa Rica would be stable this morning with isolated showers over the Central Valley and the Pacific coast during the afternoon.  Higher elevations on the Caribbean coast and the northern zone should expect some showers, too, it said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 222

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Cruz Roja telephone tax moves a step closer to final OK
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cruz Roja is a step closer to getting its designated tax.

The Asamblea Legislativa Thursday approved the measure on the first reading. One more vote is required, but it seems likely that the measure would be approved in a final vote

The proposed law calls for an 80-colon tax every month on both mobil and land-line telephones. The proceeds will go
to the Cruz Roja, which runs the country's quasi-public ambulances and also participates in searches, rescues and a host of other activities designed to safeguard citizens.

Lawmakers said there are more than 2 million telephones in the country, and the tax, which is worth today about 14.5
cents, will generate nearly 2 billion colons each year. That is a little more than $3.6 million.

The bill contains an adjustment for the devaluation of the colon and inflation. The bill also said that administrative costs and the costs of collection cannot be more than 2 percent.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad would do the collecting via the monthly phone bill for individuals and buisnesses.

The Cruz Roja, which has complained about shortages and other logistic problems, strongly favored the measure and painted some ambualnces with graphics calling for passage of the bill.


Electrical rates will be going up 9.4 percent next week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The price regulating agency handed a setback to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad Thursday and only allowed a 9.4 percent increase in electric rates. The increase, which will last until December 2009,  is expected to take effect when the decision is published in the La Gaceta official newspaper a week from today.

The institute, which is known by its initials ICE, sought an increase of 15.27 percent and blamed the need for an increase on the higher costs of generating electricity in the first nine months of 2008 with diesel-fired devices. The bulk of the generation is from water power at the company's many hydro sites, but with lower water levels in the dry months from December to March, the company uses some diesel.

The company said that the high price of petroleum was a budget buster.
The world price of petroleum has gone down, and the diesel-fired generators might be used less than in 2007, thanks to a substantial increase in rainfall.

So the Autoridad Reguladora de Precios Públicos said that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad can get back its diesel generating expenses with the new rate increase over the remainder of the year.  Future hikes are likely, the agency warned.

For a home using 250 kilowatts a month, the increase will mean 1,450 colons more or about $2.60 from January to May.

The rate is slightly lower during the other months when the reservoirs are full.

The 9.4 percent increase was across the board and covers even commercial users who operate on a different rate schedule.


Barack Obama has been speaking to the best in all of us
Now I understand the title of Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope.”  Those of us who held on to our hope but were also holding our breath, can breathe again.  As is my custom I looked up a word that I use, thinking I know its meaning.  The first definition of hope: “a feeling that what is wanted will happen.” Hope is not just a starry-eyed optimist’s refuge.

The morning after my election night party with some of my favorite friends, Sandy, who is visiting from Tilaran, and I were talking about the events of the evening before.  She put into words one of the reasons for our own euphoria.  We rejoice that the achievement of Barack Obama in being elected to become our 44th president has broken through the long-time, unfair ceiling oppressing people of color – particularly African-American descendants of slaves. It is not just that he is African-American, he, too, was without a father and essentially raised by his grandmother.

As a result I have heard many African-Americans – especially men – say:  “Now we have no more excuses.”  It is not just their final freedom, it is the beginning of a responsibility to be their best.

Barack Obama has also been speaking to the best in all of us.  And I think millions, no matter the party or the country or the color, are responding. We want to be our best, see ourselves differently, and not divided, in terms of friends or enemies.  It became immediately evident that Sen. McCain reflected this in his gracious and generous concession speech.
 
One could find in practically every sentence in Obama’s acceptance speech on Tuesday night evidence of the new attitude and approach he brings to Washington and the country.  He paid his respects to the Republican Party that was founded upon “the values of self-reliance, individual liberty and national unity.” 

Early in his address he said “We rise or fall as one nation, one people.”  He did not use the words friend or enemy once speaking to the world beyond our shores. He did say that we would support those who seek "peace and security"
Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

and he sent the message to those who "would tear the world down" that we (not I) will defeat you.  The only time he used the word "fight" was when he quoted Abraham Lincoln. 

And finally he acknowledged the truth that the rest of the
world has known all along. "The strength of our nation does not come from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth but from the enduring power of our ideals of democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”  That is speaking to the best that is within us.

More than once during his speech he quietly punctuated a sentence with ‘Yes, we can.”  (Not yes, I can.) And his audience, including myself, responded, believing that we can climb that steep road to the realization of what the United States of America can be – if we see ourselves as one people and do our part. 

To all of the people who responded to my column in support of Barack Obama, thank you.  Most of you felt the same as I, so this is a happy time for us.  For those who did not (and having re-read my column after the election on Nov. 4, 2004,
I understand how you feel now), I hope that the changes we expect to see — and to do our part to help take place — will put you in a happier mood soon.

And finally, voting is a privilege of a democracy.

Privilege: “A right, advantage, favor.   A right held by a certain individual group or class, and withheld from certain others, or all others.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary).  And this is what took place in the United States of America.  Its citizens voted — all of its citizens —which hasn’t always been so. So we continue to hope.



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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 222


Our readers respond to election of Obama and coverage
He sees no accuracy
in 'baseless accusations'


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

It sounds to me as if the "conservatives" referenced in "Not all are pleased with outcome of U.S. voting" by Elyssa Pachico have bought into all the baseless accusations against the president-elect.

He is not a Muslim.  His so-called associations with "radical people" is patently overblown.  Don't any of them know about our current president's associations? There are a lot of Muslims in the mix, including (allegedly) members of the bin Laden family.  As for being a "socialist," the charge comes largely because he wants to increase taxes on the wealthiest 5 percent of the population and ease taxes on the other 95 percent.  His proposals for the high-end tax bracket would probably not exceed 39 percent.  That's still somewhat lower than it was during the Eisenhower administration (91 percent).

And the person who is concerned about "large government and the loss of personal freedom" hasn't been paying much attention to what's been happening in this country during the past seven years. And didn't anybody know that property can be confiscated through a bastardization of "eminent domain" to take away a family's home so a corporation can use the site for their own purposes?

Will Obama be the perfect president?  Of course not.  Will he make mistakes?  Of course he will.  But he has a very easy act to follow.  Anything would have to be better than Bush/Cheney have been.  Even McCain — the real McCain, not the campaign version — would have been better.  I'm not sure about Palin.

Joseph Sexton
Amherst, New York

Don't protect ex-president,
this Grecia reader urges


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:


Regarding your article "Not all are pleased with outcome of U.S. voting."

Now that the American people have spoken, I hope someone makes it clear to George Bush that Barack Obama's victory is not only an injection of hope that Americans can once again work together towards the common good but also a rejection of his vicious, mean-spirited thuggery.

Bush urinated on the Constitution, raided the treasury, wrecked the economy, depleted the military and destroyed the international reputation of America. It will take a generation to restore balance to what this very small man has done. He is not more of or a better person than anyone else, not that that should matter in America. And neither are his snake handling, superstitious, hasten the apocalypse, willfully ignorant supporters.

I propose that Congress, immediately upon this despot's departure on Jan. 20, 2009, begin work to pass legislation to remove any Secret Service protection for his entire post-presidential life. There's no sane justification that any taxpayer money should be provided to protect this criminal. To do so would amount to the protection and harboring of a criminal. Everywhere else that's done it amounts to violating the law.

If he feels he needs protection, let him pay his own Blackwater thugs for the gig.
Lon Warneke
San Isidro de Grecia

He says Obama's win
should be acknowledged


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
Being an avid reader of news source I was rather surprised by lack of the editor acknowledging the historic meaning of the United States electing an Africa-American as it's president. Having read A.M. Costa Rica's endorsement of Sen. John McCain for the Office of President and expressing the rationale of that endorsement you provided your readers your beliefs. I would think that in spite of Sen. McCain's loss the editor would have at least given your readers your thoughts/views of the otherwise historical significance of Sen. Obama's election. On the other hand, perhaps the lack of acknowledging that was significance enough.
 
Sen. McCain's gracious concession speech and his declared statement of serving "his president" did soften considerably in my opinion of what I considered of his and his VP choice, Sarah Palin's, shameful innuendos of their opponent. Especially considering the senator's past associations of dubious groups and characters, i.e., E. Gordon Liddy, for one, along with Todd and Gov. Palin involvement and membership of the controversial AIP, secessionist group in Alaska that wasn't brought by Sen. Obama's campaign.  I do understand campaigning but even in campaigning there are some unspoken limits. Bordering on  "inciting" people to utter violence against opponents, demeaning ethnic slurs, et cetera without any attempt to silence them is very troubling.
Charles Bryson
Grecia

She wept with emotion
when Obama was elected


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

It was one thing to be dismayed that you endorsed John McCain and Sarah Palin, but now I am shocked and outraged that you would choose to print criticisms of Obama that include the allegation that he is a Muslim.  He is NOT a Muslim, has never been a Muslim, and the constant yammering that he is a Muslim is just more propaganda from the right, just as the use of the "S" word is. 

What's next for A.M. Costa Rica?  Saying he was born in Kenya or is the Manchurian candidate?   It's one thing to express displeasure that the extreme right wing did not get elected, but for God's sake, stop publishing vicious rumors.  Have you no journalistic integrity or decorum at all?  If I want to be subjected to lies, rumors, and innuendo, I will simply turn on Faux News. 

The election of Barack Obama was a victory for the United States of America!  After eight years of the Bush Administration, what did we get?  A massive war debt from a war we should never have started, (which is now little more than an occupation to the tune of $10B a month), a massive worldwide meltdown of the financial markets, and some bogus war on terror that has stripped us of our rights. 

Millions of people took to the streets on election night. Never in my life have I seen such resounding pleasure over the election of a candidate.  People were crying, screaming, rejoicing like nothing anyone has ever seen in every major city in America. 

This was the first time I ever shed tears over the election of a candidate.  Maybe we have some hope now of taking back our country from the thugs who destroyed it.  After eight years of the Bush doctrine, anything would be a welcome relief! 

I swore I was going to stop reading your online rag after your endorsement of McCain-Palin, and now I realize that I should've stuck to that decision instead of being subjected to your racial and religious slurs.  The only thing worse I have read in your paper was that article on acupuncture where the writer mentions more than once her monthly period in graphic detail!  I think I will just stick to The Tico Times.

Patricia Spinelli

EDITOR'S NOTE: We are glad you did not stop reading us. We quoted a reader and quickly stated that Obama is a Christian.
Most Ticos wanted Obama
and shouted their support


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Although I know there are individuals in Costa Rica who are unhappy with the U.S. election, I had little experience of the same while here. Both Gringos and Ticos that I talked with were overwhelmingly for Obama and the Democratic ticket.  In fact, my Tico neighbors were out on their patios hooting, honking their horns and actually hugging each other just seconds after the Obama victory announcement!  And even in their limited news coverage, Costa Ricans were aware that Obama is not now and never was a Muslim!         

There is much irony in the following "concern" about an Obama presidency: "“What concerns me most is the question of large government and the loss of personal freedom,” said David Ellis, the president of Costa Rica's chapter of Republicans Abroad."  Mr, Ellis, almost 100 percent of Americans would agree that the current Republican administration has given us BOTH of these burdens, with the addition of an staggering debt, and in MASSIVE amounts of all three!!!!      

And to address, "Another conservative reader despaired of the downfall of capitalism that a President Obama would supposedly bring."  I sit in disbelief. why would this reader move to Costa Rica, a country with far more socialized education, medicine and other government controls on wages and pricing of commodities, than the United States?    

Finally, Obama proposes to return to the higher taxation codes of the wealthy used by the Clinton presidency. If it was not socialistic then, so why believe it is socialistic now?  I only wish I was so wealthy and had to worry about higher taxes and I could probably find many loopholes to avoid much of that taxation.
    
The people of the U.S. have voted overwhelmingly for change. Not everyone has the luxury of moving to Costa Rica to pursue the change they seek.  Meanwhile, I hope we Americans in Costa Rica can find the peace and tranquility that our Tico friends enjoy! 
Joyce Schertz


He wants Bush, Cheney
to go to World Court


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This letter is my response to the comments from my fellow conservative Republicans in Wednesday's article. I voted for Mr. Obama because on his best day Sen. McCain has the gravitas of a grapefruit, and Gov. Palin is the type of Christian the world needs to fear!

In my opinion McCain is no hero. He was a fighter pilot dropping bombs and napalm on people without planes and, when caught, was broken an did it on TV. His Naval Academy grades put him at the bottom of his class and without his dad and grandpa wouldn't have graduated.

He slammed Mr. Obama about who he paled around with and he was on TV everyday with his adulterous, drug addict wife. He didn't even know how many houses he owned. During the two years campaigning he boasted of  three or four things he accomplished and touted the McCain-Feingold Bill.  In a 30-year career, that isn't much, and we see what a joke the McCain-Feingold Bill is. A bad joke! 

In Arizona he increased his popularity by blocking the MLK holiday for years and finally accepted it to get a huge highway earmark. The absolute last state to accept Mr. King's accomplishments.
    
I am shocked by the comments concerning Sen. Obama by my fellow Republicans and I think they were moronic. Sen. Obama will govern from the middle, and maybe (just maybe) he will allow the Senate to hold hearings about the lies Bush and his crew gave the Congress to go to war with Iraq. Can you imagine how much goodwill we would have with Muslims worldwide if President Obama reversed the executive order Mr. Bush signed to protect him and his crew from prosecution in the World Court. Bush and Cheney should be judged just like all other leaders who sent their armies to kill so many innocent people.
    
(Some paragraphs left out here)
    
All the people of the world, not just the Muslims, need to see that war criminals are brought to justice. Should Bush & Cheney; Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove and even Secretary Powell who sat in the U.N. and showed phony pictures to the entire world need to be prosecuted. This would show the world including the radical Muslims that justice isn't blind. President Obama could help heal the world if only a few lunatic Christians were judged by the World Court. These people are 100 times more dangerous than the Muslim radicals who don't have cluster bombs; jets, missiles, drones, tanks, humvees, etc.
    
The sad fact in Iraq is that we lost the war. Whether we leave in 16 months or 100 years the Shites have won and the Sunis will be silenced. The Kurds are already in their own quasi country, and the irony for Mr Bush as the latest headlines from Mosul show is that the Christians there are running for their lives. Yes, despite the propaganda, Iran won this war, and when Saddam was there they couldn't. Note: The Iraqi Government announced they would never let the U.S. attack Iran from their country just as Turkey didn't allow us to go into Iraq from theirs.
    
This is the reason I live in CR and Panama, as many said if Mr. Bush won again they would leave. I did and my life is so much better and as it turned out it was the absolute top in the Hawaiian real estate market. I don't regret a minute and now have a wonderful Tica wife. So there is a God.                      
Bob Shakerdge
Golfito

He blames Republicans
for expanding government


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

With the long drawn out campaign and election over, and the Democrats left to clean up the deepening muck that the inept, divisive, and squandering G. W. Bush junta has left,  it is fascinating seeing the expat Repubs chapter head here  lament:  “What concerns me most is the question of large government and the loss of personal freedom,”

It reminds me that some people can look at a glass of milk all day long an still declare its color to be black.

Ever since Reagan and certainly through Bush, it's been the Repubs that have more drastically expanded government,  left massive budget deficits, and laid waste to constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

As for the local Repubs, they may call themselves conservatives although what remains now for them to try and conserve is what's left of a sorry out-of-touch band of fools.
Hari S. Khalsa
Cóbano

Miss Pachico responds

In my article published Thursday, “Not all are pleased with outcome of U.S. voting,” an editorial change was made without my knowledge.  After quoting a reader who falsely asserted in an e-mail that president-elect Obama is a Muslim, I wrote: “Throughout the presidential campaign, Obama was falsely identified as a Muslim in various smear e-mails and Internet ads. He is a Christian.” My editor added the following phrase to the second sentence: “. . . although he had some schooling in Indonesia.”

I strongly disagree with this editorial decision and was not aware it had been made until the following morning. Readers have said that this implies that there is some truth to the false rumors that Obama is not a Christian.

I asked that this sentence be changed back to its original form, because the fact that Obama attended school in Indonesia for several years is not something that modifies his Christianity. I believe it was irresponsible to imply some association between the two.

Elyssa Pachico
of the A.M. Costas Rica staff


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 222



A.M. Costa Rica
users guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.


Old pages
Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each week day.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.


Searching
The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.


Newspages
A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.

Classifieds
Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information
A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.

Statistics
A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

Contacting us
Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us
Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.


Argentine pension takeover
being debated in congress


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Argentina's lower house of congress is debating a government plan to nationalize $25 billion in private pension funds.

The lawmakers meeting Thursday were expected to approve the plan, which would then go to the senate for consideration. The measure calls for the assets to be transferred to the state-run social security agency.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's government announced the plan last month, describing it as a way to protect retirees. But Argentine business leaders fear the takeover plan will dry up liquidity on local markets. Protests in favor of and against the takeover plan have occurred in Buenos Aires.

Recently, Argentine markets fell on concern that the country is headed for a default and that the measure is an effort to increase cash flow.

The bill would hand more than $4 billion in annual contributions to the Fernandez government.


Second flight recorder
found at México crash site


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican authorities say they have found the second flight data recorder from the airplane crash that killed Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino.

Transportation Minister Luis Tellez said Thursday that investigators found the black box containing voice recordings of the crew. The data recorder with navigation information was recovered on Wednesday.

Tellez says both boxes will be examined in the United States.

The small government plane crashed Tuesday during evening rush hour near Mexico City's main avenue, Paseo de la Reforma. Among those killed was the former prosecutor for drug crimes, José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, and at least a dozen other people in the aircraft and on the ground.

Interior Minister Mourino had led a government campaign against mounting violence by drug cartels. The violence has killed about 4,000 people this year, including several top officials.

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