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(506) 2223-1327           Published Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 234       Email us
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Pavones fire
A.M. Costa Rica/Dylan Fioriglio
The famous cantina that is an integral part of the history of the surfing hotspot Pavones in
southwest Costa Rica goes up in flames. Our story is  HERE!

John Lennon
A.M. Costa Rica/Andrew Rulseh Kasper

Workmen getting the statue of John Lennon ready for the unveiling today were not really up to speed on the history. One city employee thought the bronze figure was of Paul McCartney, another member of the famous Beatles.

All knew the person immortalized in the statue was dead.

Lennon, who was the most politically active of The Beatles in his opposition to the Vietnam war, died in an assassination Dec. 8, 1980 in New York City.

Municipality adds John Lennon to list of statues
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

John Lennon now sits in the Plaza de los Artes in San José, albeit in bronze statue form.

Municipal workers cleaned the new park bench installment Thursday in preparation for the official inauguration this evening. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and feature live music.

Lennon was immortalized by Cuban sculpture José
Villa Soberón, one of his many life-size works that are scattered around the Western Hemisphere and purchased by the government as a public art exhibit for the plaza, which is near the La Solidad church. That is at the east end of the Avenida 4 pedestrian mall.

Because of Soberón, Ernest Hemingway still stands in a Havana bar, the Mexican actor Tin Tan sits by a fountain in Mexico City and another rendition of Lennon steps across a creek in Colorado.

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Security minister outlines
what he sees as threats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Mario Zamora Cordero, the security minister, outlined Thursday what he perceived as some of the country's greatest security threats, causes behind instances of insecurity and criminal trends.

He made a strong connection between high level narcotics trafficking crimes and the smaller misdemeanors such as theft, assaults and drug possession occurring on the consumer end of the drug trade. He said crack is one of the most dangerous drugs spreading through Costa Rican society.

He also said the government's failure to invest in public security in year's past has left it ill-prepared to handle the recent increase in national crime. Although, he said this year the government has enlisted more police officers, adding 1,500 under President Laura Chinchilla Miranda. He added that about 50 officers leave each month.

The ministry's statistics also show the number of homicides in the first 10 months of this year to be 318,  which is on par with figures from the same window of time in 2008 and 2009 but slightly lower than 2010. The past few years have been some of the most violent in Costa Rican history.

Zamora said inhibiting criminals' access to firearms is one of the keys to lowering the number of homicides. The United States is working with the Costa Rican government to establish a large checkpoint structure near the Panamanian border and to patrol the seas.

Business sector seeks end
of anesthesiologists strike

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The business sector called upon striking anesthesiologists and the Unión Médica Nacional to do the right thing for the welfare of the public.

The Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado issued the call Thursday as discussions between the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social and striking physicians seemed to be at an impasse.

The business chamber was joined by the Consejo Nacional de Cooperativo and the Movimiento Solidarista Costarricense.

The three organizations also said the government should do what it can to bring in foreign professionals from other countries to fill the spots of the striking physicians. The national medical union came out in support of the anesthesiologists Wednesday. A labor court ruled also Wednesday that the strike was illegal.

Nearly 2,000 surgeries at public hospitals have had to be postponed because of the strike, which is nearly two weeks old.

Imprenta strike is illegal,
labor court determines

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A labor court judge has ruled that a strike by government workers at the Imprenta Nacional is illegal. The strike centers on a pay dispute.

The decision came from the Juzgado de Trabajo del II Circuito Judicial de San José. The decision will become official in three days, and executives at the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública will decide what steps to take, they said.

The Imprenta Nacional published the La Gaceta official newspaper. Laws, proposed laws, decrees and a host of other actions must be published there before they come into force. The government is publishing a digital version now.

In other action, the ministry said that the Registro Nacional and the offices of the Imprenta are accepting documents for publication.

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!
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Pavones cantina
A.M. Costa Rica/Dylan Fioriglio
The Bar and Restaurant La Esquina del Mar in Pavones was known as Dan's Cantina
Fire takes legendary cantina at famous Pavones surf beach
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fire demolished the legendary Bar and Restaurant La Esquina del Mar in Pavones Wednesday.

This is the structure that Dan Fowlie rebuilt in 1976 and served for years as the local gathering spot for locals, expats and surf-seeking tourists.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos said fire trucks could not get to the scene because of a bridge that had collapsed. A spokesmen for the fire agency in Golfito said the structure was a total loss. Firefighters reported getting the call about 5 p.m. The spokesman said there were no injuries because the building was empty.

An investigation began Wednesday, the spokesman said, adding that it may be weeks before there is a result.

Locals attributed the blaze to arson.

Fowlie, who is in his late 70s and now lives in the United States, pioneered surfing at Pavones, starting in 1974, when there were just a few locals living in the area. Pavones is south of Golfito and the waves are said to be second to none.

The history of the restaurant or cantina is as contorted as that of Fowlie, who was called the king of Pavones. He was an avid surfer, so when he found Pavones in 1974, he and his family moved there.
Fowlie helped the locals develop the area, but he was snagged on a U.S. drug charge involving property he owned in California. He did 18 years, and returned to Costa Rica in 2005 to regain the properties squatters and others had occupied. These presumably included the cantina.

That June Marco Badilla, then director general de Migración y Extranjería, issued a statement that said Fowlie would be turned away the next time he tried to enter Costa Rica. Badilla’s statement came after La Nación, the Spanish daily, reported that Fowlie had made a visit to Pavones and that some residents there were frightened of him, according to A.M. Costa Rica news files.

Fowlie, in a telephone conversation then from California with a reporter, disputed much of what was contained in the La Nación article. He said that he plans to recover his property by peaceful means using the court system. Fowlie was a paternalistic resident in Pavones for years. He said he purchased the land along the Pacific coast mainly to save the trees from the slash-and-burn culture that was eroding the forest there.

He made a lot of donations to village infrastructure and schools before he was arrested in México in 1987 and extradited to the United States.

Nearly everyone who visited Pavones also visited the cantina. “What epic memories this place provided for so many,” said a resident Thursday.

Personality of place provides a point to ponder this week
It has been a good week, one that made me happy to be here now.  The other day I boarded the crosstown bus in front of Yamuni department store, one of many people in a long line.  By the time I got on the bus, there was standing room only, but a kind young woman gave me a seat in the front row, next to a boy in his teens who looked as if he were trying to be oblivious.

I settled myself and opened my current bus book, a book of poems. After reading the introduction, I started reading the poems, and soon I was oblivious to my surroundings.  I began reading one line over and over, pondering the truth of it, when the teenager next to me asked, “What is the name of the author?”  I was startled but showed him the front cover. “'Women in the Garden,' by Mary Lou Sanelli,” I said.

“I must buy that book,” he said.  Then he smiled and confessed he had been reading over my shoulder, that he had forgotten to bring a book, which he usually did.  I told him that I was dwelling on one phrase and began to recite, “’personality of place molds us more deeply than will. . . .”

“. . . or any part of our past’” he finished it for me.

Then in a rush of words, told me that he loved Agatha Christie and had read all of Arthur Conan Doyle and thought the movie portrayal of Darcy in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” was wrong: Darcy was not an ass, he was more an ironic type.  He had even become charmed with romances after finding a copy of “Message in a Bottle” on the beach.  He preferred reading English to Spanish and had even read “Don Quixote” in English.  As I recall, he said that his favorite novel was “The Count of Monte Cristo,” and he is currently learning Japanese (he is Japanese Tico).  We left the bus, going our separate ways, but with similar smiles.

Then on Sunday I went to the afternoon performance of “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” a comedy set in 1953 in New York City. It is also the less than comic time of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The set is a writers’ room of a TV comic variety show.  All but one of the writers is supposed to be Jewish so New York-style jokes fly.
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

After the first scene, when most of the actors come on stage and introduce themselves and their shticks, one might say, the play gains speed and laughter.  All of the actors were good, but it was the entrance of Ira, who staggered and lurched and sailed onto the stage clutching every part of his body as if in terminal pain, throwing himself on the sofa claiming to be suffering every ailment known to mankind, that got me terminally giggling. From then on I began to giggle as soon as Ira entered. 

His run ins with the other writers brought out the best of each of them.  If Jim Trollinger, who is Ira, was not totally type cast, he is a natural born actor. (The play continues its run weekends through Dec. 4 at the Laurence Olivier Theatre.)

Each time I remember Ira, his lines or his antics, I begin to laugh and when I think of young Patrick and his love of books (he has a Kindle but he likes the “feel of a book”), I smile and say, “Thanks for the memories.”

I also have been dwelling on the phrase “personality of place molds us more deeply than will or any part of our past.” In her poem, Ms. Sanelli was referring to a friend’s house on the beach with an endless view of water.  I have lived in many places, and I remember them all, probably even more vividly than I do the people I have met in those places.  But is she right or is the way we have been molded that influences where we choose to live, instead of vice versa?  It is something to think about. 

My friend Steve’s comment that it is difficult to celebrate an American Thanksgiving in Costa Rica, has added to the thinking.

It is an especially good week when I am also left with something to ponder.

Starting at 9 a.m. From Parque la Amistad, 200 meters west and 75 meters north.
House #1040, Rohrmoser. Desks, suitcases, microwave and lots more. Through Saturday.

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Warning advisory issued over rain generated by high pressure
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Rainy weather caused the national emergency commission to emit a warning alert Thursday for the Caribbean and the northern zone where strong winds are accompanied by downpours.

The alert was prompted by information from the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional that confirmed that the high pressure in the Caribbean that was bringing rains to the north and eastern parts of the country.

The weather institute said that 70 millimeters (about 2.75 inches) had fallen in some places during the previous 12 hours and that rivers were rising along the Caribbean coast. The Río Reventazón was reported to be running out of its banks already.

The institute said it expected the rains to continue until Saturday.

The weather system was bringing light rain to the Central Valley and the mountains of Guanacaste, said the institute.
Some downpours were predicted for the Pacific coast.

Wednesday marks the end of the traditional 2011 hurricane season in both oceans. The only current storm is Kenneth in the eastern Pacific, which is moving west and well away from any landfall.

The high pressure in the Caribbean is one reason that the U.S. Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, says there is little chance of any storms forming there for the next two days.

So far there have been 11 tropical storms and seven hurricanes in the Atlantic. Of the latter, there were two category 4 hurricanes, Katia and Ophelia, and one category 3 hurricane, Irene.

In the Pacific there were 10 hurricanes, one tropical storm and two tropical depressions. Five of the hurricanes were category 4.

México bore the brunt of the storms that made landfall, although some had an effect on Costa Rican weather.

Vampires, humans and werewolf debut on the screen today
By Shahrazad Encinias Vela
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One” officially comes into theaters today in Costa Rica. This is the fourth installment of the Twilight series.

Although Costa Rica has a large Twilight following, the only hint of the movie hitting theaters are the massive posters all over San José. There was no craziness in the air about the movie. Unlike the crazed tween fans in the United States, there were no lines of people at the movie theaters waiting for the film.

Die-hard fans, also known as Twi-Hards, in the United States bought tickets to the midnight showing for Nov. 18, some even camped outside. There was Breaking Dawn craze even in Facebook. The statuses of people awaiting the film read “Wishing midnight November 18th was here already,” and “Excited for breaking dawn tonight!!!!”

The love story between a human and a vampire opened up last Friday in the United States and has made more than $148 million this past week. This was the third biggest opening weekend in the country with a generated $139.5 million.

The movie has also broken records internationally. According to Entertainment One, an international entertainment business, the film had the biggest opening for an American movie in the United Kingdom, it grossed 13.9 million euros.

The Twilight movie saga are based on the novels for young adults by American author Stephenie Meyer. The books depict a love story between Bella Swan (human) and Edward Cullen (vampire). The final installment part one of the movie shows the couple taking their relationship to the next level with a wedding, their honeymoon and her rapid pregnancy of a mutant baby.

All the while Jacob Black (werewolf) is in love with Bella until the vampire-human love child is born, he then imprints the baby and falls in love with her.
breaking dawn poster
Poster for the movie

This is what people enjoy, some romanticized vampire/werewolf love story with some violence and pedophilia.

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U.N. heritage list gets
eight more traditions

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Eight traditional items, from boat building skills in Iran to Malian rites of wisdom to circular breathing techniques in Mongolia, were placed Thursday on the United Nations List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

The intergovernmental committee managing the list, meeting this week in Bali, Indonesia, said all eight items were in danger of dying out or fading away. The new additions to the list join hezhen yimakan storytelling from China, which was inscribed Wednesday.

The additions, announced by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in a press release, include two from Iran: Naqqali dramatic storytelling and the skills of building and sailing Iranian lenj boats.

Naqqali dramatic performance has a long history in Iranian society, from the courts to the villages, the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said, with the performers often improvising as they recount stories in verse or prose accompanied by gestures and movements, and sometimes also by music and painted scrolls.

Lenj vessels, known as lenjes, are usually hand-built from wood and used by inhabitants of the northern coast of the Persian Gulf for sea journeys, trading, fishing and pearl diving, the U.N. agency reported. But they are increasingly replaced by cheaper fiberglass substitutes and the philosophy, culture and traditional knowledge of the lenjes is fading, it said.

Also inscribed on the endangered list is yaokwa, the ritual of the Enawene Nawe people, who live in the southern Amazon rainforest of Brazil, for the maintenance of social and cosmic order. Different clans assume responsibility for different parts of the ritual, which is performed each day during the protracted dry season to honor the spirits.

Indonesia''s saman dance was also recognized on the list. Performed by boys and young men among the Gayo people of the country''s Aceh province, saman is a dance used to celebrate important holidays and cement relationships between villages. Performers sit on their heels or kneel in tight rows and then clap their hands, slap their chests, thighs and the ground, click their fingers and sway and twist in time to the music.

In Mongolia, there is cause for concern about the performance techniques of limbe practitioners, which has also been added to the list. The limbe is a side-blown flute made of hardwood or bamboo and used to perform Mongolian folk long songs. Performers use circular breathing techniques so they can produce the continuous, wide-ranging melodies that are typical of the long songs, but now there are only 14 practitioners remaining.

Three other items were added to the list. They include the secret society of the Koredugaw, a rite of wisdom among the Bambara, Malinke, Senufo and Samogo peoples of Mali that is performed at festivals and other important occasions. The society aims to educate, train and prepare children to cope with life and deal with social problems, and initiates to the society are encouraged to provoke laughter with behavior marked by gluttony, caustic humor and wit.

In neighboring Mauritania, the Moorish epic known as T''heydinn, which comprises dozens of poems in the Hassaniya language about the feats of Moorish emirs and sultans, was also added. The poems, passed down from fathers to sons, are accompanied by stringed instruments such as the lute, harp and kettledrum.

The other item inscribed today is xoan singing, which is practiced in Phu Tho province of Vietnam during the first two months of the lunar year. Guilds of xoan singers have traditionally performed in sacred spaces such as temples, shrines and communal houses for the spring festivals.

The 24-member committee, created under a convention that was adopted by agency in 2003, continues its work until next Tuesday. The Costa Rican oxcart tradition is among those already on the heritage list.

Another climate meeting
opens Monday in Durban

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Climate negotiators are meeting in Durban, South Africa, beginning Monday to discuss the planet's changing climate.

And the vast majority of scientists attribute the changes to greenhouse gases, both natural from water vapor and man-made from burning fossil fuels, that trap heat in the lower atmosphere. 

"Since roughly the 1850s or so, we've seen an increase globally of about eight-tenths of a degree Celsius, so that's roughly 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit," said Todd Sanford, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington. 

A one-degree difference is not noticeable in daily temperatures,  but a one-degree change in global average temperature is significant.

"One way to put that in perspective is that in the last Ice Age when there was, you know, a mile of ice above much of North America, the temperature difference between then and now was only roughly five or six degrees Celsius," Sanford said.

Alden Meyer, the director of climate strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says global warming affects weather and water cycles.

"You have increased flooding and extreme downpours combined with droughts and desertification in some regions of the world.  So there's tremendous variability here, and we're seeing that with extreme weather events on the increase, not only here in the U.S. but around the world," Meyer said.

A U.N. report shows that climate change hits poorer countries hardest. 

And global efforts to curb emissions and slow change have not helped yet.   

NASA satellite evidence shows solar fluctuations have only a slight impact on global temperatures.

And while the vast majority of climate scientists agree that human activities play a role in climate change, they are not certain how that affects the planet.

Fred Singer is a well known climate change skeptic. He says there is not enough evidence to link human activities, climate change and environmental impacts. 

"Supposing the other side is wrong?  They are forcing us to make tremendous economic sacrifices which will induce poverty in the world," Singer said.

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Private sector will give
$1 billion to its workers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The private sector is expected to pay employees 527.3 trillion colons in Christmas bonuses.

That is the estimate from the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, which said that about 1.6 million workers would get payments, which are called aguinaldos.
The estimated amount is a bit more than $1 billion. Based on the chamber estimate, each worker would receive about $660.

The so-called 13th month's pay is mandated by law. The law also says that the amount must be paid by Dec. 20.

Each year there are multiple complaints at the Ministerio de Trabajo because workers claim they did not receive the aguinaldo or that the amount was incorrect.

About 86 percent of the nation's workforce are in the private sector. The central government is expected to disburse 133 billon colons to its estimated 186,000 workers and pensioners next week. That amount is $266 million. The amount averages to nearly $1,500 per person, although some receive much more than others.

Passport hours extended
for traveling Costa Ricans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The immigration's passport division will operate on extended hours from Monday through Dec. 16 to handle requests from Costa Ricans who may be making holiday trips outside the country.

Those seeking a passport must first obtain an appointment at a special window in the La Uruca offices of the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjeria weekdays from 7 a.m to 4 p.m.  The appointments will be made for a weekday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m, the agency said.

Seniors can obtain a passport by calling  800-2272482 and making an appointment at an office of Banco de Costa Rica, the agency added.

Lawmakers continue
debate on 2112 budget

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national budget still is up in the air even though Casa Presidencial announced Thursday that it had made a deal with opposition lawmakers. The lawmakers rejected the agreement a short time later.

The deal that was rejected was to cut 31 billion colons from the budget, mostly from accounts of the central government. That is about $62 million. The reason the opposing parties opposed the cuts was because the bulk of the money came from highway projects, they said.

The legislature is not scheduled to meet today.

Money collectors plan
fair Saturday at museum

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Museos del Banco Central again will host an exchange of collectable bills and coins from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The event in the museums under the Plaza de la Cultura is free to visitors. In addition, the museum is hosting a discussion at 10 a.m. on the medals of Costa Rica. Hobbyists buy and sell other types of collectables, too, such as coffee tokens.

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