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(506) 2223-1327           Published Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008,  in Vol. 8, No. 241           E-mail us
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San Jose is getting vivid reminder of Nazi horrors
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Dutch government is donating a statute of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, the young German girl who hid with her family in a Dutch attic until discovered by Nazis during World War II.

Anne Frank
Embassy of Holland photo
The Jewish girl, just 15 when she was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, died in 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen camp. She is one of the most famous victims of Nazi horrors because she left behind a diary that has become one of the world's best read books.

The bronze statue, a work of Dutch artist Joep Coppens, will be unveiled on Avenida 4, the newer of San Jose's pedestrian boulevards, now called Bulevar Unión Europea.

Attending will be the Dutch ambassador, Matthijs van Bonzel, and San José Mayor Johnny Araya. The date is next Wednesday, which is the 60th anniversary of the International Day of Human Rights.

Miss Frank, her hands bound, looks skyward, and the pedestal bears the phrase from her book  Mi sueño es la libertad, "My dream is liberty."

The Costa Rican group Grupo 50 al Sur will present a dramatic segment from Miss Frank's book.

The Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam to escape the Nazis. They ended up hiding in an attic apartment when the Germans took over the city.

The family spent more than two years there being helped by friends and the father's employees. Then they were betrayed.

Miss Frank's father published the diary after he survived the end of the war in a concentration camp. It received widespread critical acclaim.


U.N. agency told whales and dolphin are being endagered by noise
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Increased noises generated by larger numbers of ships, seismic surveys and use of new military sonars are imperiling creatures such as whales and dolphins, who use sound to communicate and find food, experts said Wednesday at a United Nations Environment Programme gathering in Rome.

An alliance of wildlife groups at the ninth meeting of the Convention on Migratory Species — an intergovernmental treaty concluded under the Programme's aegis that seeks to conserve wildlife
and habitats on a global scale — issued the warning, urging governments and the private sector to use quieter ship engines.

They also called for tightened laws on using seismic surveys to explore for gas and oil, as well as less
intrusive sonar technologies by militaries.

“Underwater, man-made noise is already triggering a kind of acoustic fog and a cacophony of sound in many parts of the world seas and oceans,” said Mark Simmonds, science director of the Whale and Conservation Society, who is attending the conference.

Compounding the problem is the rising acidity levels in the seas and oceans, which could reach a point in the coming decades where noise generated by vessels, surveys and others will travel 70 per cent further than they do currently, the session was told.

The European Community and its Member States have submitted a draft resolution on curbing marine noise to the conference.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 241

Costa Rica Expertise
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The rain nightmare replays
in Carribean, northern zone


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Communities in the northern zone and in the Provincia de Limón are again awash as a new cold front brings heavy  rains. In some places the flooding is up to an adult's chest.

Limón registered 223.4 mm. (8.8 inches) from 7 a.m. Tuesday until 7 a.m. Wednesday.  Some 57.5 mm (2.26 inches) fell between 7 a.m. and midnight Wednesday. Most of it came around 2 p.m., according to the automatic weather station at the airport there.

Accurate downfall records from the northern zone are hard to come by but Turrialba got 40.4 mm (1.6 inches) after 7 a.m. Wednesday and registered 127.1 mm (5 inches) from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Many communities were under water, and the national emergency commission said it had opened up new shelters and declared its highest emergency level for the Provincia de Limón, including Matina, and the Cantón de Sarapiqui in Heredia. A lesser alert was issued for Upala, San Carlos, Los Chiles and Guatuso.

There was no encouraging news from the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. The forecast called for even more rain today along the Caribbean and in the northern zone.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said there were more than 1,500 persons in shelters. It said the new rains caused heavy damage in the cantons of Sarapiquí, Pococí, Guácimo, Siquirres, Matina and Limón centro. Shelters were being maintained in Guácimo.

Other spots where problems were reported include Barra del Colorado, Tortuguero, Cariari, and Valle de la Estrella on the Caribbean. The emergency commission said it had been prepared for the latest onslaught, but the rain emergency has lasted for two weeks.

The emergency caused the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes to send out crews to handle slides that had blocked major roads. Mudslides were reported on Ruta 32 from San José to Limón, but the highway was not blocked completely. Near Toro Amarillo on the highway the crews were removing some 1,000 cubic meters of mud, about 1,308 cubic yards.

A road was closed by slides in San Miguel de Sarapiquí and a collapsed water line in Siquirres caused so much damage to the road that officials feared vehicles would suffer damage just passing over the broken area.

Among those nations lining up to provide help for flood victims was France. The French government gave Costa Rica 50,000 euros, some 33.6 million colons, to help with the emergency.

Used car worker discovers
live grenade in Escazú

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An employee of a used car dealership in San Rafael de Escazú found a live fragmentation grenade on the company premises Wednesday, and Fuerza Pública officers responded to a 911 call. The explosives team of the Judicial Investigating Organization also came to handle the situation. The emergency was at the Auto Car lot opposite the Mas x Menos supermarket in the community.

Police said the explosive experts took the grenade, which is not available for purchase in this country, to a lot and blew it up. The device was live, they said. No one at the business would talk to reporters.

Many credit cards available
for consumers, survey finds

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The consumer credit market in Costa Rica still offers 369 types of plastic cards, the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio found in a routine survey. The number of issuers declined to 26 with the merge of Banco Uno and Banco Cuscatlan with Citi Group.

Credomatic issues the most, 85 different types of credit cards, said the ministry. Bancrédito issues 46, and Banco Nacional 40. The ministry is charged by law to report on the credit card industry and the rates charged consumers there.

The survey found that the highest revolving credit in colons was 50.4 percent on a card issued by Tarjetas BCT S.A. A number of other companies offered rates of from 49.42 and 49.92 percent, said the study. The lowest rate was 23 percent, the ministry said.

Authorities told to keep
close eye on earth moving

 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court ordered the local authorities in the Cantón de Aguirre, the Ministerio de Salud and the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones to maintain better supervision of earth moving in Barrio Bella Vista.

Residents there complained about the work of Transportes Pila S.A., which they said was removing fill from an adjacent hillside and using the place for a dump.  The residents said that a slide in 2005 destroyed nearby houses and they blamed the earth moving for weakening the hillside and encouraging the slide.

U.S. citizen found dead

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Organization of Judicial Investigations in Liberia is investigating the death of an American, discovered in a hotel room Tuesday.

The man, Daniel Bayer Miller, 57, was discovered dead in the Marino Lodge Condiminio at 8 a.m., said the Fuerza Pública in Liberia. There were no signs of violence on his body, said police. Officials are awaiting autopsy results. 
Bayer was originally from Florida, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 241


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Arias administration promotes rewriting nation's constitution
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Arias administration is pushing constitutional reform as a way to change what officials see as the ungovernability of the country.

Rodrigo Arias Sánchez, the president's brother and minister of the Presidencia, initiated a statement from Casa Presidencial Wednesday in which he said the Poder Ejecutivo, the presidency, was open to a national dialog on the subject. This follows several trial balloons floated in Spanish language newspapers and an opinion piece favoring the idea Wednesday by Alberto Cañas, a long-time Partido Liberación Nacional politician and journalist.

A rewrite of the Costa Rican charter would require a constitutional assembly, although individual changes can be made legislatively.

Rodrigo Arias said that the relationships between the various branches of government, decentralization and a reform of the Poder Judicial are among the issues he wished to consider.

The idea comes up at a time when President Óscar Arias Sánchez and one of his ministers is under judicial investigation for approving the cutting of trees at an open pit mine site. The Sala IV constitutional court had forbidden the cutting of certain trees. So there is a definite
clash of power between the two branches.

The discussion also comes at a time when the administration spent more than two and a half years engineering approval of the free trade treaty with the United States and other countries even though it had a two-thirds majority in the single-chamber legislature.

Rodrigo Arias noted that others have said the problem with government in Costa Rica stems from the slowness and difficulty in making decisions and resolving problems, because of administrative and legal aspects. He traces those problems to the current Constitution, in effect in large part since 1949. 

He said he wanted a modern constitution, adapted to the new world realities where, for example, the concept of the state is redefined in a way the country wants for the future. But he said that no one wants to change the current social guarantees contained in the current document.

Although Arias said that an assembly would see the Costa Rican citizens decide on the future constitution, typically these processes are dominated by political organizations.

The idea of reform and change also comes at a time when the country continues to be divided over the free trade treaty, and a new political party is in formation with the goal of voiding the agreement.


Despite feud and threat, Amnet is going underground in city
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Despite claiming just two weeks ago that it would be dropping services altogether, cable television company Amnet will indeed be installing its cable lines underground in San José.

The Municipalidad de San José intends to install all cable lines in the city underground by the end of 2009. This two-year ongoing project is intended to make the city

amnet contractors
A.M. Costa Rica/Elyssa Pachico
Solo Cable workers were chopping narrow trenches.
look more aesthetically pleasing, said Minor Chinchilla Flores, a spokesperson for Solo Cable, a company contracted by Amnet for construction services.

However, clashes between the state-owned electric company, Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, and Amnet, a privately owned company, has caused multiple delays in the project.

In November, Amnet mailed letters to San José  subscribers, stating that the firm would be canceling services due to technical reasons related to installing the cable lines underground. Although the letter was signed by Amnet financial manager Manuel Méndez Sánchez, it gave no details as to what the technical difficulties may have been. 

Amnet did not return repeated requests for comment over the last two weeks.  The firm also provides cable Internet.

To complicate matters more, Wednesday saw groups of construction workers across Barrio Otoya, busily working away at tearing up the cement sidewalks, in order to install the protective tubing necessary for later putting the cable lines underground.

According to Chinchilla, the letter was due to bitter negotiations between Amnet and Fuerza y Luz.

“They mailed the letter because Fuerza y Luz didn't want to give them permission to this project,” he said. “Since this is a national project, they need to have agreements between the state-owned and private organizations. I imagine it was these negotiations that caused the delay.'

Fuerza y Luz has already installed its electrical lines underground, a project that was completed in the first half of 2005.

Cable Tica, another private cable company, is also in the process of putting its lines underground, a project which began five months ago, said Chinchilla.


State of tourism industry this year is topic of session Friday in la Fortuna
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism operators in the San Carlos area and the northern zone have a chance to discuss their industry Friday when a local university holds a conference in la Fortuna.

The university is the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, which has a branch in San Carlos. The event is at 1 p.m. in
the Hotel Montaña de Fuego. The session is being called
 “Encuentro Local de Turismo Sostenible, Turismo y Ambiente.”

Main topics of discussion include the aspect of the environment in the tourism industry and the state of the industry this year in La Fortuna, Sarapiquí and Monteverde.

Those who wish to attend should make a reservation at  2401-3091 during morning hours, the university said.


You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 241


Readers have their say on cars, Jacó, mildew and Milanes
Import car law varies
depending on location


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In reply to the letter from Ken Beedle in Cartago.  It appears this "new law" is only enforced in Paso Canoas.  When asked, the Jefe could not produce a written copy of the law for us to present to our attorney.  Once the car was in aduanas in San José, all the "old laws" seemed to apply. The key being IF the person and or car were in Costa Rica 90 days or more before the exit.  On the shopping exoneration you must be be out of the country 72 hours, and I recommend it on the vehicle too.  I am not an attorney, but I have yet to find one who has seen the "new law" in writing. Welcome to Paradise.
Ed Adams
Quepos



Jacó is considered den
of thieves and prostitutes

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Being a new businessman in Jacó, I was hesitant to criticize too soon until I witnessed things that had to be addressed.  Friends in San Jose told me to go to Tamarindo or Quepos to open my store, but after visiting Jacó I decided this was the place for me because of the number of tourists here.

It was soon evident that all the rumors about the crime and lawlessness in Jacó were true. I witnessed prostitution, drug sales, thefts and general disregard for the law on a daily basis just one block from the police station. One does not dare to leave anything of value in a car and just simply having a meal anywhere in town means having to keep your purse or possessions in your lap.

Signs posted in hotel rooms advise you to not carry purses, wallets, passports or anything of value with you when you leave your room.  Just trying to cross the street can be life threatening with cars and taxi cabs alike traveling at speeds of 80 kilometers or more. Don't get me started on the noise and dangers of dirt bikes and A.T.V.s.

What a shame that one of the most beautiful countries in the world will one day drowned in it's own apathy. The word is spreading quickly that there are more desirable places to visit and more specifically to live.  Many people around the world are contemplating retiring to Central or South America and it may already be too late to save the reputation of Costa Rica.

When someone is finally arrested for a crime they are usually back on the street the next morning with little or no consequences for their actions and in some cases ready to harass the victims again for filing the charges.

Costa Rica and Jacó in particular are quickly becoming known as the land of pimps, whores, thieves, and pickpockets with police departments which are complacent at best.
Pat Farley
Jacó

 
He just wants his money
from Savings Unlimited


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I have just finished reading your article on Louis Milanes, a man . . .  who is now living in luxury in the penthouse of the Europa Hotel and visiting his favorite haunts (the gaming tables) while supposed being under arrest for fraud. How is this possible?

I understand that his lawyers are trying to negotiate a settlement with his victims before his trial, but if he is allowed to squander their money by a lavish lifestyle and gambling, what will be left to distribute?

Osvaldo Villalobos was put in preventative custody for months and then remained under house arrest until his trial and conviction for basically the same crime.  How and why does Milanes curry such immunity?

If Enrique Villalobos realized that it would be this easy to be a criminal in Costa Rica, he might have returned to face the music.

Your justice system and its leniency toward racketeers etc., needs revision. Obviously, I am one of the many greedy investors in both "The Brothers" and "Savings Unlimited."
I do not agree with the 16-year sentence for Osvaldo Villalobos and do not wish the same for Milanes, who is diabetic. All I want is my life savings returned .
Jim Irwin
Former resident of Costa Rica
Toronto, Canada.


What can be done to rid
home from white mildew?

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
Let me say in the short time period we've been here, we enjoy reading the A.M. paper. We moved here a little over a year ago, in which we had build a supposed quality, new 600M home in San Isidro de Heredia. We moved into the house in February. The house was completed in December, 2007. Supposedly best engineer from the University of Costa Rica and top quality materials used.

Within three months of moving in, everything from the new kitchen cabs to just about ever room of the house started having powdery white mildew and mildew smells. We are just about every three to four weeks having to run a dehumidifier machine and cleaning with bleach the floors and walls to no avail.
 
Can you PLEASE help us with a solution as no one here (the Ticos) seem to mine the mildew and are happy living with it. We came from humid Florida and NEVER had NOTHING with mildew, not even the garage or attic items. Please help or if you can direct us to where one can find help as the build and every Tico I ask has no clue and just live with it, it seems here.
Nelson Alonso
Florida and San Isidro de Heredia

EDITOR'S NOTE; We would welcome reader responses.


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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.



Russian warship to visit
navy base in Panamá


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Russian navy says one of its warships will visit a naval base in Panamá, following the completion of its joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy.

A navy spokesman, Igor Dygalo, Wednesday said the destroyer, called Admiral Chabanenko, arrives Friday for a six-day visit at the Rodman naval base in the port of Balboa at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, formerly a U.S. naval hub.

The spokesman says it will be the first time since World War II that a Russian ship has crossed the canal.

On Tuesday, Russia wrapped up training exercises with the Venezuelan navy in Moscow's first such Caribbean deployment since the Cold War.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev finished a four-nation tour of Latin America last week in a bid to bolster ties in the region.

Russian officials have denied that the tour and naval maneuvers were meant to provoke the U.S. in its sphere of influence.

The United States built the Panama Canal almost a century ago. The waterway reverted to Panamanian control in 1999 under a treaty signed in 1977 by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panama's military leader, General Omar Torrijos, the late father of the current Panamanian president.



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