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(506) 2223-1327         Published Monday, Nov. 8, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 220            E-mail us
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Rescue workers prepare to take man who survived in river to a local hospital
Man freed after spending 72 hours trapped in river
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sometime Wednesday a surge of water prompted by the heavy rains caught a man in Naranjo de Dota and swept him away. Cruz Roja rescue workers extracted the man alive Sunday from the mud and sediment downstream that had trapped him for at least 72 hours, they said.

The workers identified the man by the last names of Abrego Abrego and said he was 36 years old.

About 15 rescue workers participated in the effort that lasted 10 hours.

Héctor Blanco, a Cruz Roja worker, said the man was half covered by mud and other debris. Workers had to build a rope bridge from one side of the water course to the other to reach the man. The man suffered from hypothermia and various cuts and other injuries in the lower part of his body. He was hospitalized.

Rescue workers Sunday found others who were not as lucky.

More on the disaster
HERE!




Workers found the body of a 68-year-old man about 7:30 a.m. in Los Ángeles de León Cortez where the victim had been trapped by a landslide. He was identified by the last names of Navarro Mora.

In San Lorenzo de Tarrazú other Cruz Roja workers were seeking the body of a man who vanished in a landslide last week.

Then today other workers are returning to the scene of a landslide in San Antonio de Escazú where they think another victim of the Thursday landslide remains buried.

They also will be seeking the body of an 18 year old who is believe to be the victim of a river in Los Anonos.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 220

Costa Rica Expertise
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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.


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4401-6/9/0

Service honoring veterans
planned for next Sunday


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thursday is Veterans Day, but one memorial service will be held Sunday.

Pastor Stacy Steck of the Escazú Christian Fellowship, which meets at the International Baptist Church in Guachipelin, Escazú, reports that his congregation will hold a ceremony at 5 p.m. Sunday in partnership with The American Legion Post 10 and the Costa Rica detachment of the Marine Corp League.

In addition to the U.S. Veterans Day ceremony, the congregation will mark Remembrance Day, which is celebrated in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations.

Ambassadors from the British, Canadian and U. S. embassies will place wreaths and speak at the ceremony. Bugler Philip Barman and bagpiper Kevin Ludic will participate in the ceremony. The ceremony is open to all and everyone is cordially invited to attend, said the Legion.

Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the ceremony. For directions to the International Baptist Church there is a map at the Fellowship's website www.ecfcr.net. Or those interested can call Pastor Steck at 8395-9563.


Our readers' opinions
How can we help those
who suffered from floods?


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

My name is Phillip Steward and I am living here in Costa Rica. There are many reason I love this place so much but the biggest reason is the people. The Costa Rican people are the greatest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. I have traveled all over the world and have chosen to retire here.

I guess what I am saying is that I love it here and there are many Americans feel the same way. I think that now is a good time to show appreciation to the people here.

I do not know how to do this, and I am hoping that one of your staff or maybe a reader would be willing to help me.
What I am suggesting is that every American in Costa Rica donates $50 or more to help the people who are going through this terrible flood.

If we somehow can get this set up and make sure the money goes to the right place, I will be the first to donate.
Someone please help me make this happen, and give something to the country we live in.

Phillip R Steward
Turrialba

EDITOR'S NOTE: Our Friday edition contains bank numbers for the national emergency commission and the Cruz Roja. In addition, there are collection centers where food and other items are accepted, including Cruz Roja centers, and collections are being made all over the country by several organizations.
 
Don't expect First World
when you are living here


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

For these five years I have been reading the "Letters to the Editor," mostly sent from U.S. expats living here. Being one myself have two observations to make:

(1) Most of the letters are accurate in their complaints about the inefficiency of any government operation in Costa Rica. However, it is all preaching to the choir, is it not? Or does A.M. Costa Rica send out those letters to the Costa Rican newspapers or a government office?

(2) My second observation is to those carpers:"What do you expect in this country with one foot in the Third World and the other on the "developing" ladder?

If you want efficiency, organization, good TV, Internet, regulation, police control, traffic regulations that are observed, et al, you should go live in the U.S., England, or Germany. But such societal development is hardly expected in this country. ALSO, are we expats not here because those are the things we wanted to get away from? So why the constant run of complaints?
Alfred Stites
Barrio La Guaracha de Birri
de Santa Barbara de Heredia

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!

From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary






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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 220

Latigo K-9

Southern zone still cut off as are many communities
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Reeling from what President Laura Chinchilla calls the worst natural disaster in 14 years, the country finds itself today with major highways out of service, towns cut off and perhaps as many as 3,000 persons homeless.

Ms. Chinchilla vowed in a television speech that the No. 1 priority would be to save lives. The second priority is to get food and necessities to those who are stranded.

Among those location is the tourist town of Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula, Both routes to it and nearby Ostional cannot be traveled, and residents are keeping track of their water and food.

Even Costa Ricans who are not cut off might have problems with water. Several major lines have been knocked out and some 12 water plants operated by the Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados has damage in one form or another.

Ciudad Colón and Alajuelita are among the locations having water problems because of supply issues.

Both the Interamericana Sur and the Costanera Sur suffered damage that prevents vehicular travel. Guatemala, Colombia and Panamá are providing aid. A C-130 transport plane from Colombia carried 16,300 liters of water to Liberia Saturday. Other flights went south.

The security ministry's Caribou aircraft brought 700 meals to Nosara and Ostional. A helicopter from Panamá also brought food there. Other food flights went to Pérez Zeledón and Ciudad Cortés.

Acosta in the hills above San José also is cut off and receiving emergency helicopter deliveries. The national emergency commission estimated that 12,000 families remain isolated by bad roads or flooding. Emergency crews were able to reach 19 formerly isolated communities Sunday.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said that 60 crews were at work clearing highways.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said less than 1,000 customers remain without power. Service has been restored to nearly 1,500.

Some 59 public shelters still are in operation with perhaps 3,750 persons staying there.

As expected Ms. Chinchilla issued a decree of national emergency which allows faster use of public money to help storm victims. She put Vice President Luis Liberman in charge of all the rescue and relief efforts.

The former Tropical Storm Tomas that helped provide so much devastation to Costa Rica is now well north of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Maximum sustained winds are 60 mph or 95 kph, and the storm center is expected to turn east and head out to the north Atlantic.


water deivery
Cruz Roja photo
Crus Roja workers were among those collecting and distributing water and other supplies.

The largest single tragedy was at San Antonio de Escazú where residents died in their sleep early Thursday when a mountainside gave way. Rescue workers found three more bodies there over the weekend, bringing the total to 23, and they suspect they will find the last body today.

There were reports of many more missing, but police and rescue workers managed to locate a number of individuals thought buried. One man believed missing really was at work clearing the debris from the tragedy. In another case, a relative came and helped one family move just hours before the mountainside came down. They lost their home, but there were no deaths or injuries in that family. They were found living with relatives.

The interruption of transportation, the flooding of cropland and other storm impacts will have major economic consequences for the country. At least nine bridges are down or in need of emergency repair. A bridge at Londres over the Río Naranjo on the central Pacific coast is still up but restricted to foot traffic. Residents there blame the flooding on a single culvert that has not been maintained properly.

There probably will be much more finger pointing as residents recover from the brunt of the storm.

Clear weather in much of the country Sunday helped the relief effort.


Nosara murder conviction and sentence overturned
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala III high criminal court has thrown out the conviction of a Nosara man accused in a murder there. The court ordered a new trial. The suspect, identified by the last names of Sirias Sequerira, had been detained shortly after the April 18, 2009, murder of a man identified as Michael Eduardo Rojas Murillo, 23, of Matapalo de Abangares.

The murder happened near the Nosara airport because residents said they heard a shot. But the body was dumped about 10 kms (6 miles) away.
The two men are believed to have known each other and had been on friendly terms.

The suspect was jailed for preventative detention shortly after the crime, and the Sala III ordered that his detention continue until the new trial is held.

The victim was believed shot in the head while sitting in a car, and the driver led police on a chase until he dumped the body, they said at the time. The trial court gave Sirias 18 years, but that sentence was overturned on a motion from the defense lawyer.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 220


Casro briefs Insulza
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto photo
Foreign minister René Castro briefs José Miguel Insulaza (far right) and his staff

Insulza will see the disputed land from both sides of river

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

José Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States, spent the weekend being very diplomatic.

He arrived in Costa Rica Friday and met with President Laura Chinchilla and others. Then he was off to Nicaragua where he toured by military aircraft the disputed area at the mouth of the Río San Juan.

Sunday he was back in Costa Rica meeting with René Castro, the Costa Rican foreign minister.

Insulza plans to take a look at the river mouth from the Costa Rican side today. He will fly. The secretary general's visit comes after Costa Rica complained to the hemispheric body about the intrusion of Nicaraguan troops into its soil.

Meanwhile Google Maps has refused to take the blame for any geographical misunderstandings. The company said any inexactitudes in its maps would be the fault of third parties who provided the material and that despite its efforts to achieve accuracy no one should use Google Maps to decide military actions between nations.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his representative at the river mouth, Eden Pastora, have been citing Google Maps as a source for their claim against Costa Rican soil.

Daniel Helft, a Google Maps executive, said the firm was trying to correct the map as quickly as possible. His e-mail message was released by the foreign ministry.

Nevertheless, Nicaraguan officials are coming up with reasons why the disputed Isla Calero is Nicaraguan soil. In fact, they reject the term Isla Calero and cite the treaties that have defined the national border for more than 100 years.

Insulza and Ortega agreed at a brief airport meeting Sunday that more boundary markers should be put in.
However, some along the Costa Rican border have said that Nicaraguan soldiers uprooted boundary markers as they invaded the island.

Insulza said that Tuesday he would deliver his report to the organization's Permanent Council so he should not be asked about his conclusions.

The Nicaraguan newspapers appear to be following the lead of the government.

La Prensa Sunday quotes Roberto Canjina, said to be a security expert, who claims that Costa Rica has expansionist tendencies.

The newspaper also published a lengthy article on José María Tijerino, Costa Rica's security minister, and his childhood in Chinandega, Nicaragua. His father was Nicaraguan and his mother a Tica.

Another article repeats the government's geographic claims without attribution.

Ms. Chinchilla said over the weekend that the country reserves the right to take the matter to the United Nations if there is no just settlement.

Pastora, the former guerrilla commander who had his civil war headquarters in nearby Barra del Colorado, was overhead on the marine radio admitting that the land involved was Costa Rican. He is in charge of a dredging operation there. But rather than a simply removal of sediment, the plan appears to be to punch a new mouth to the Caribbean through land Costa Rican claims.

The plan appears to be to create better access to the river to benefit tourism projects. The land involved has been basically unused by Costa Rica.

The owner is the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones, and it is leased to a cattle rancher.


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News of Nicaragua
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 220

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Obama salutes Calderón
after cartel shootout


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed his support to Mexican President Felipe Calderón for Mexico's efforts to control drug cartels.

In a Saturday telephone conversation, Obama also expressed his condolences for the deaths of two Mexican security officials and a journalist killed Friday in a gunbattle that also resulted in the death of Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, a leader of the country's powerful Gulf drug cartel.

The battle took place in the border city of Matamoros, across from the U.S. city of Brownsville, Texas.

Cardenas was one of Mexico's most wanted drug gang leaders.

Mexican authorities had offered a $2 million reward for information leading to his arrest and capture, while the U.S. had a $5 million bounty on Cardenas.

He was considered a key smuggler of marijuana and cocaine into the U.S.

Cardenas took over the leadership role in the Gulf cartel after the 2003 capture of his brother Osiel Cardenas Guillen, a former leader of the drug gang, who was later extradited to the United States. 

Mexican military forces have been engaged in a brutal struggle against the country's violent drug cartels.  Nearly 30,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war since Calderón took office in late 2006 and began cracking down on the cartels.


Cholera fears mounting
in rain-drenched Haiti

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Health officials are concerned that Hurricane Tomas could cause the cholera outbreak in Haiti to get even worse. The waterborne disease is already blamed for the deaths of more than 400 people there.

Before Tomas dumped a massive amount of rain on Haiti, doctors treated cholera patients in hospital tents. Flooding from the storm could cause cholera to spread as sewage and other refuse seeps into tents where many people have been living since January's devastating earthquake.

Cholera is a terrible new disease for Haiti, but conditions for its spread have been ripe for years. Haiti's public health infrastructure is weak, many people do not have access to basic sanitation, and especially in rural areas, people do not have clean drinking water.

Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. It can kill in a matter of hours. Peter Hotez, chairman of the Department of Microbiology at George Washington University, says epidemoliogists were expecting cholera to breakout in Haiti. And once there, it is difficult to eradicate. "If you look where cholera epidemics have occurred over the last few decades, we know, for instance, that the disease is highly endemic, meaning it's there all of the time, in places such as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.  So we know when there's flooding in Pakistan, we can expect cholera," he said.

Cholera is also prevalent in parts of Africa and Latin America, where seasonal outbreaks often occur. About 15 years ago, researchers at Harvard University Medical School discovered that cholera bacteria get infected with viruses.

Researchers now know that these viruses interact to make the cholera bacteria deadly. "It's the toxin that's causing all of the pathology associated with cholera infection and it's the toxin that we have to neutralize," he said.

This goal becomes more important as some strains of cholera become resistant to the antibiotics normally used to treat the worst cases. Researchers say these findings will help them predict when new types of cholera-causing bacteria will appear and start infecting people.
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 220


Latin American news
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Parrita bottleneck bridge
headed for scrap heap

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Workmen using a crane will begin to dismantle the former railroad bridge that has been used for motor vehicles in Parrita. The one-lane bridge has been replaced by a modern structure, and now transport officials are closing the road several hours at a time while a crane takes away parts of the bridge.

The work was to start at 4:30 a.m. today and continue until 6 a.m. The crane is working from the parallel new bridge. Workmen were to open the new span to traffic from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and then close it again for two hours so the crane could do more work on the metal bridge. The bridge was supposed to be open to traffic from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Workmen leave the job at 4:30 p.m.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said that pedestrians, individuals on bikes and those on motorcycles can use the bike path on the new bridge while work is going on.

The ministry said workmen are taking their time to avoid any damage to the new bridge. The route is part of the Costanera Sur.


New numbers authorized
for telecom providers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With new telecom providers entering the market, the telecom regulator has expanded the various service numbers from three digits to four. In most cases the number 0 has been placed within the existing three numbers.

Not being changed is 911 the emergency number and 112 which also is used to report emergencies, said the agency, the Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos..

However, numbers like 126 to report electrical outages to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad now becomes 1026 and the telephone outage number is now 1119 instead of 118.

The new numbers go into service Jan. 11, and the existing telecom provider will be making public service announcements of the new numbers.




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