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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 247                        Email us
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Coffee exports call for action on container pilfering
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican coffee exporters have called on the Judicial Investigating Organization to take more aggressive action in finding those responsible for stealing large amounts of coffee on its way out of the country.

Leaders of the Cámara Nacional de Exportadores de Café said that coffee exporters have lost about 1.5 billion colons worth of coffee beans in these thefts over the course of a year. That is about $3 million in stolen coffee.

“For you to do something, what do we need to wait for? Deaths? Illegal goods? Toxic substances? Or what else?” chamber President Eric Thormaehlen rhetorically asked of investigators according to a summary of a press conference Tuesday.

According to a press release from the chamber, the thieves target coffee when it is in large shipping containers on the way to the docks. Thormaehlen said that these thefts are so sophisticated that the containers come to their foreign destinations full of miscellaneous debris with dock workers and exporters none the wiser.

He said this implies that there is a full-fledged criminal organization behind the thefts.
"This way of stealing our containers is not beginners, requires an entire organization with logistics, personnel, infrastructure, forklifts, weapons, communications systems and even people who facilitate the movement of trucks," said Thormaehlen.

A press release said that 18 such containers have been plundered over a period a little longer than a year, which collectively contained 1.5 billion colons worth of coffee. At least one of these containers was pilfered 500 meters from where it was packed, and others have been robbed in transit to the docks.

Chamber employees were not able to confirm how much coffee each container holds.

The release also said that one attempted theft was recently stopped because neighbors noticed it happening and called the police.

Chamber leaders said that the thefts raise the costs of the businesses, but the situation is made worse by the stolen coffee being laundered and resold outside of the tax and legal systems.

A spokesperson from the Judicial Investigating Organization received a request for how the organization plans to respond to the chamber's renewed requests for an investigation. That spokesperson was not in the office Tuesday and could not pursue the request.

                        band, Sons of Virilla
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
 Grupo Son del Virilla performed Tuesday as part of the downtown cultural series.
Downtown San José has a full card of performances
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de San José is inviting the communities to Las Noches Culturales on Avenida Central.  The cultural event will last for two weeks with performances in front of the Banco de Costa Rica. The events are a way to entice persons to come downtown.

Today begins with a show by professional clown, Payaso Mantequilla at 10 a.m. followed by a cimarrona traditional band with paper mache mascaradas at noon.  Concerts from Grupo Octavo and Son Mayor will last into the night.

Full listings of days, times and groups
are on the Calendar Page

Payaso Mantequilla has another show Thursday at the same time.  Son Mayor, the Costa Rican orchestra group, will give another performance in a week from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Switching from the Latin tones, Sasha Campbell, pioneer of American Latin jazz, soul and rhythm and blues in Costa Rica will perform on stage Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
The Costa Rican artist has performed with the Orquesta Filarmónica in Teatro Nacional, and has shared the stage internationally with Latin American artists such as José Luis Rodríguez and Sean Paul, according to her website.

Ms. Campbell's CD, "Soul Mate," was produced and directed by Oscar Marín and Walter Flores, who won a Grammy in 2002 for best music album.  It has songs in both English and Spanish.

Other concert performers include Grupo Octavo, Calipso Urbano, Los Legendarios, Madera y Son, Haury and Grupo Chiqui Chiqui.

Cultural nights was inaugurated Monday with a performance by Costa Rican group, Grupo Marfil.  The seven-member band made up of friends from Limón is known for its soca, reggae and Latina tunes.  Their most popular song is "Saca Boom Boom," which has more than 67,000 views on YouTube.

The activities will continue this week to Friday, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m.

After the weekend, the concerts will continue Monday until Dec. 21 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Red dot shows the estimated epicenter

Early morning quake jolts
Palmares and San Ramón area

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Residents in the Palmares-San Ramón area received a double shock early today when a 4.6 magnitude earthquake took place.

The Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica said that the shock was felt in most of the central area of the country.

The estimated epicenter was 2.7 kilometers north of Palmares Centro and 4.4 kilometers east southeast of San Ramón Centro.

The time was 12:55 a.m.

The shocks were felt strongly in the Central Valley and in San Pedro. The earthquake appeared to generate two waves a few seconds apart.

A 4.6-magnitude earthquake has the potential to jolt persons out of their bed but that magnitude is unlikely to cause major damage. There is a good chance that some articles were knocked to the floor and damaged near the epicenter.

The Facebook page of the Red Sismológica Nacional de Costa Rica quickly generated 560 messages from persons who felt the quake. Most described it as strong, but one person in Playa del Coco said the sensation was weak.

Lawmakers hear two in favor
of pact with European Union

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers heard favorable comments Tuesday on the proposal to approve an agreement with the European Union.

The European Parliament this week approved the agreement with the Central American states. The treaty still is in the process of evaluation in the legislature here.

Appearing before legislative committee Tuesday were representatives of the industrial chamber and the Universidad de Costa Rica. Both supported the agreement.

Both Juan Ramón Rivera, president of the Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica, and Henning Jensen Pennington, university rector, supported the agreement.

Ramón said that the European Union is the third biggest trading partner for the country with about $1.9 billion in exports in 2011 and that the majority of goods were industrial in nature. He cited electronics, chemicals, automobile parts and medical devices.

The university leader noted that the educational system in Costa Rica is based on the European model and that education would gain much from approval of the accord.

The agreement is in the Comisión Permanente Especial de Asuntos Internacionales y Comercio Exterior that will eventually give its opinion to the full legislature. Most lawmakers appear to favor the pact.

The European Parliament voted 557 to 100 with 21 abstentions to ratify the pact Tuesday.

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
From the Costa Rican press
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 247
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Hospitality survey seen as indicator of more holiday business
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Members of a chamber representing the tourism industry said that demand for lodgings will go up this holiday season, according to a survey.

Analysts at the Cámara Nacional de Turismo made this assessment based on the results of a survey the chamber gave to 141 hotel operators.

According to a press release from the chamber, the participants were asked what percentage of their rooms they expect will be occupied from Dec. 14 through New Year's Day.

Chamber analysts reported that the average of all eight regions is about a 76 percent occupancy rate, which they translate as almost eight out of 10 rooms filled.

They also said that this tops the period from December 2011 to this March during which the average hotel occupancy was 70.5 percent.

This prediction stands in contrast to the bleak picture painted by the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles which reported a drop to just 38 percent occupancy overall for hotels in October, down 4 percentage points from last year.

This hotel chamber also just announced that it is parting ways with the tourism chamber.

The tourism chamber's survey polled the operators of 141 hotels around the country, which the chamber equated to 5,550 rooms.

Like other chamber surveys this poll specifically asked what business owners expect in the future.

As for concrete reservations, hotels in the poll reported that only about 46.5 percent of rooms on average have already been booked for this period.

Still, the hotel operators have high expectations that more reservations will come in as they reportedly plan to fill 75.9 percent of their rooms.

Reservations and predictions
for the holidays*

Dec. 14 to Jan. 1
for holidays
Central pacific
Northern zone
Puntareans Sentro
and islands


Central Valley
South Pacific
*Source: Cámera Nacional de Turismo

Hotel owners with large establishments on the beach expect the best results this year, according to the survey.

Operators in Guanacaste expect 89.1 percent occupancy while those in northern Puntarenas expect  84.1 percent, the chamber said.

Owner's hotels with between 100 and 200 rooms expect a 92.7 percent occupancy rate. Analysts said that rooms at these hotels already have 71.9 percent of their rooms booked.  Also hotels on the beach and three-star hotels expect an average occupancy rate of 82.6 percent.

Unsurprisingly, hotels in the Central Valley and southern Pacific have the lowest expectations. The Central Valley operators reported 38.3 of their rooms had been reserved with an expectation of a 67.3 occupancy rate.

Those in the south Pacific reported a 32 percent occupancy rate with an expectation of 69.5 percent for the holidays.

Hotel chamber ends its affiliation with tourism chamber
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The board of directors at the Cámara de Hoteles decided last week to drop its relationship with the national tourism chamber. The board cited accounting problems and the resistance of the Cámara Nacional de Turismo to reforms worked on for months by the hotel chamber as reasons to become an independent entity. 

Members of the hotel chamber said that they established contact with organizations such as the Asociación de Líneas Aéreas and the Asociación Costarricense de Autorrentistas to decide if the reason for leaving the tourism chamber was justified.

This was done because the chamber realized its entrepreneurs are an important part of the tourism economy, spokespersons said.
The spokespersons said that research from June to September signified the need for the tourism chamber to become stronger, and the hotel chamber members submitted a request to the tourism chamber so that an internal commission could analyze and create a technical proposal to reform the bylaws related to the budget.

At the committee level it was concluded that a financial analysis was necessary before any big steps were taken, and it was more practical to make an amendment to the tourism chamber statutes that varied the different board of directors and removed permanent board members, said the hotel group. 

However, the board of directors of the tourism chamber rejected the recommendation and, when taken to the general assembly, the case was suspended, the hotel group said.   This led the hotel chamber to separate from the tourism chamber, the organization said.

Opponents of genetically modified corn will present appeal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents of genetically modified corn will march from the Plaza de la Cultural to the  Tribuales de Justicia this morning to deliver a constitutional challenge to the plan to introduce such seeds into Costa Rica.

An announcement said that the Sala IV constitutional court appeal will be filed by José María Villalta Florez-Estrada, the single legislative representative of the left-wing Frente Amplio.

Opposition to genetically modified corn is the most recent campaign for environmentalists and students. Opponents of the plan just marched some 200 kilometers to promote their cause.
 They oppose the introduction to Costa Rica of a modified corn strain that resists herbicides. Farmers who plant the modified corn can use certain chemicals on the fields to kill weeds without damaging the corn plants.

The proposal to use the modified corn seeds is before the agricultural ministry's Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad. A local subsidiary of Monsanto, Delta & Pine Land y Semillas del Trópico S.A., has sought permission to plant the modified corn.

Among other arguments by opponents is that the pollen of the modified plants will pollute other corn plants because the pollen is distributed by the air.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 247
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Judiciary urges caution with potential crooks on the Internet
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials from Poder Judicial Tuesday have called on citizens to be wary of scams that may steal their aguinaldos electronically through emails and Web sites.

In the announcement, officials warned that bank accounts are more vulnerable now because more people do their shopping and banking online. This means that bank account and credit card information are saved on a person’s computer and potentially on those Web sites.

One way that thieves can get this information is through emails that can download viruses onto a computer. They can contain such innocuous messages as “Merry Christmas” greetings as well as emails that say the recipient has won something, officials said.

Justice officials also recommended that people regard unsolicited emails asking for personal information with suspicion, such as emails from U.S. package delivery services  like Federal Express and United Parcel Service requiring
 people give personal information in order to receive a parcel. They also cautioned against giving information in response to emails claiming to be from charities.

When clicking on links from these emails, officials said to take precautions when the link takes users to Web sites with an error message “Error: the page that you have entered is false.”

They also recommended that Internet users be suspicious of friendship requests on social media Web sites from persons unknown to the user, that persons with computers not use public wifi hotspots and that persons keep close track of their bank accounts and look for suspicious activity.

Officials admitted that rampant impunity for digital thievery crimes makes their overall impact hard to measure.

Still they urged people who are victims of these crimes to file a complaint with the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Private employees are receiving more than $2 billion in aguinaldos or Christmas bonuses this month.

New wind farm in Santa Ana will go into service Thursday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, S.A. will put into service Thursday its wind farm in Pabellón de Santa Ana with a ceremony involving dignitaries.

The 17 wind generators are designed to provide enough electricity to feed 5,700 homes.

The wind farm is part of a government strategy to use the windy months of the Costa Rican summer to augment the generating capacity of the various hydro plants when the water level is low. These would be from December until about May, depending on the year.

The turnkey project was done with a German firm and
financed by the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. The project has the support of the municipality of Santa Ana, said the electric company.

Officials also hope that by using wind instead of petroleum-fired generators during the dry season that amount of carbon dioxide released into the air will be lessened. Electric generation, mostly by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, known as ICE, has become expensive as the price of petroleum increases.

ICE has a large wind complex that has been in service for years at Tilarán in Guanacaste near Lake Arenal.

The government and the electrical utilities also are installing solar arrays to general power.

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North Korea launches
rocket despite warnings

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A defiant North Korea has launched a long range rocket, despite warnings from the international community against doing so.

South Korean defense officials say the rocket was fired from a west coast launch site at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday local time. Japanese authorities said the missile overflew Okinawa about 12 minutes after liftoff, and said the Japanese military did not attempt to intercept it.

Both South Korea and Japan called emergency meetings of their top security councils minutes after the launch. Japanese television said the second stage of the rocket fell into seas off the Philippines as planned.

In the runup to the launch, analysts described the rocket as a disguised ballistic missile, in violation of international regulations.

Pyongyang had vowed to proceed with the launch, despite bad weather and a series of technical difficulties.

North Korea is banned from carrying out any missile or nuclear-related tests by United Nations resolutions imposed in 2006 and 2009, after it conducted unsuccessful nuclear tests. A rocket launch in April also ended in failure.

Union workers in Michigan
rally over right-to-work bills

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In Lansing, Michigan, labor supporters held a major rally Tuesday at the state capitol to protest the passage of Republican-sponsored right-to-work legislation limiting the influence of organized labor, a key constituency of the Democratic Party. The legislation, in the state that was once the stronghold of the labor movement, could change the balance of power between workers and management in the entire country.
Michigan union workers came by the thousands to the state capitol building to protest legislation to ban unions from requiring workers to pay labor dues.
Right-to-work laws make it illegal to take away jobs from employees who refuse to join a labor union. It outlaws so-called closed shops, which require workers to join a union or pay a fee similar to union dues.
Those who favor right-to-work laws say they are not anti-union because they say the laws do not take away a worker's right to join a union, start one, or even go on strike. They say such laws defend an employee's freedom of choice. Supporters also say states with right-to-work laws attract more new businesses and jobs. But some economists dispute that.

Opponents argue that such laws strengthen management at the expense of unions who fight for better working conditions and fair wages. Opponents to right-to-work laws say such regulations are aimed at weakening unions and could lead to arbitrary pay cuts, firings, and fewer benefits. They also say such laws allow workers to enjoy the same benefits as unionized workers without having to pay union dues.
​​The two bills at the center of the debate were approved by the state House of Representatives Tuesday, following recent passage by the Senate.  The measures deal with public sector workers and the private sector.  Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, says he intends to sign these bills into law.
The laws would likely reduce the membership and influence of organized labor in the state that gave rise to modern industrial unions.  Michigan is the center of the U.S. automotive industry and unions like the United Auto Workers, which was founded in Detroit in 1935, are considered the heart of the nation's labor movement. 
Michigan union workers backed President Barack Obama overwhelmingly in his re-election bid, and the president spoke out against right-to-work measures when he visited a Detroit area auto plant.

Obama, House Republican
confer on finances by phone

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama and the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner conferred by telephone late Tuesday.  The conversation came as the White House and congressional Republicans exchanged new offers and counter-offers in fiscal negotiations.
White House officials confirmed the conversation after details emerged of a new administration offer to try to move negotiations forward.
A White House aide said the offer went to Capitol Hill on Monday, a day after the president and Boehner had their first face-to-face talks in a month.
House Republicans responded with a counteroffer, leading to the conversation Obama and Boehner had Tuesday evening.
The latest exchanges came amid increasing urgency for a deficit reduction deal to avert $600 billion of expiring tax cuts, and government spending cuts mandated by a deficit and tax deal in 2011.
Tuesday began with Boehner's remarks on Capitol Hill accusing President Obama of dragging out the negotiations.
“A lot of people know that the president and I met on Sunday.  It was a nice meeting.  It was cordial.  But we are still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make, as part of the balanced approach that he promised the American people," he said.
But at Tuesday's White House news briefing, press secretary Jay Carney asserted it was Obama who has made specific proposals for budget reductions, not the Republicans.
“The president, unlike any other party to these negotiations, has put forward detailed spending cuts, as well as detailed revenue proposals," he said.
Congressional aides said the latest White House offer involved $1.4 trillion in new revenue.  That is a $200-billion decrease from the figure President Obama put on the negotiating table a month ago.
Republicans had earlier countered with an $800-billion offer.  Boehner has been insisting that higher taxes President Obama wants wealthy Americans to pay for deficit reduction would stifle job creation and slow economic growth.
In an interview with Barbara Walters of ABC News, Obama said he is pretty confident that Republicans will agree on a plan that will extend tax cuts for middle class Americans, saying the framework of a potential deal is pretty straightforward.

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Three men gunned down
in Curridabat shooting

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two young men were found shot to death in a car and a third mortally wounded outside the vehicle Monday night in Tirrases, according to a bulletin from the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Judicial agents said they believe that the murders were related to a territorial dispute between rival drug gangs, the bulletin said.

The two men that agents found in the car were 20-year-old Jean Paul Ulloa Jiménez and 22-year-old Kenneth Josue Rodríguez Arrones, said a judicial spokesperson.

The third man was identified as 18-year-old Gabriel Alejandro Solís López, who died soon after being admitted to Hospital Calderón Guardia, the bulletin said.

According to the report,Cruz Roja workers arrived at the scene at around 11 p.m. Monday night at the crossroads in front of a place called La Poderosa, in Tirrases de Curridabat. 

There they found a Honda Civic containing the corpses of Ulloa and Rodríguez, the bulletin said. They found Solís just outside of the car with gunshot wounds to different parts of his body.

According to the report, agents suspect members of a drug gang drove past the car firing shots as they went. Agents said that Solís had a 9-mm. pistol, which they said indicates that he attempted to return fire.

Immigration will close
service to public Friday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The immigration agency said Tuesday that it would close its services for foreigners Friday. Most of the government agencies are closing their offices Dec. 21.

The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería  said that this was being done because so many persons have made applications under the limited amnesty that the agency concluded last month. It said that 70,000 persons made filings.

Even though the section called the Plataforma de Servicios is closed to the public, employees still will be working to make some order out of the pending files, the agency said.

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A.M. Costa Rica
Seventh Newspage

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 247
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China tops in 2011 patent applications

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

China registered the most patent applications globally last year, leading the world in an indicator that the United Nations intellectual property agency uses to measure innovation.

China received 526,412 applications compared to 503,582 for the United States and 342,610 for Japan, according to the latest report from the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization.

The report, "World Intellectual Property Indicators 2012," also said that global patent filings passed the two-million mark for the first time – despite the sluggish global economy.

“Sustained growth in IP filings indicates that companies continue to innovate despite weak economic conditions,” said the agency's  director general, Francis Gurry. “This is good news, as it lays the foundation for the world economy to generate growth and prosperity in the future.”

As part of its mandate to encourage intellectual property in order to stimulate creativity, the World Intellectual Property Organization monitors global registration of patents, copyright, trademarks, designs and utility models – the latter being instruments that protect inventions for a limited period of time.

Ahead of 2011, China had already been the world’s largest processor of utility models, the agency  reported.

In the report, the U.N. agency notes that China’s State Intellectual Property Office became the largest patent office in the world after overtaking the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2011 and the Japan Patent Office in 2010.

Only Germany, Japan and the United States had held the top spot during the 100 years before 2011, with China accounting for 72 per cent of the almost 294,000 increase in patent filings worldwide between 2009 and 2011.

“Even though caution is required in directly comparing IP filing figures across countries, these trends nevertheless reflect how the geography of innovation has shifted,” Gurry said in the report’s foreword.

Ex-congressman sentenced for tax fraud

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A former U. S. congressman has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison in a tax fraud case related to his failure to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service nearly $500,000 of investor funds he received from a $10 million investment fraud scheme.

The man, Wester Shadric Cooley, 80, a native of Los Angeles who now lives in Bend, Oregon, was sentenced Monday afternoon by U. S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson. In addition to the prison term, which Cooley was ordered to begin serving by March 11, Pregerson directed Cooley to pay $3.5 million in restitution to the victim-investors and another $138,470 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

Cooley, who represented Oregon’s Second Congressional District during a two-year term that began in January 1995, was sentenced after pleading guilty in November 2011 to subscribing to a false tax return, admitting that he received approximately $1.1 million during the scheme and that he failed to report approximately $494,000 on his 2002 tax return. The tax fraud case relates to a mail fraud and wire fraud scheme that defrauded more than 400 victim-investors out of over $10 million.

In the investment fraud scheme, former Internal Revenue Agent George Tannous and convicted felon De Elroy Beeler Jr. solicited hundreds of victims across the country to purchase unregistered stock in, Inc., a company that was later known as, Inc., and related companies and Rose Laboratories. Cooley was the vice president of Bidbay and an executive of and Rose Laboratories.

Victim-investors were enticed to put money into the companies by several false statements, including that the companies would conduct initial public offerings, and that and/or the shell companies would soon be acquired by Ebay, Inc. for $20 per share. Ebay never had any intention of acquiring and had even sued for trademark infringement over the use of “bay” in its name, said prosecutors.

Tannous pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of subscribing to a false tax return in 2008. Pregerson sentenced Tannous in March to 33 months in prison. Beeler pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of mail fraud in late 2008. Beeler is scheduled for sentencing  Feb. 4.

Record number of newspeople in jail

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A record number of journalists were imprisoned in 2012, and there are concerns it could be even worse in the New Year. The Committee to Protect Journalists has released its annual report listing the top jailers of members of the media.

The committee's Mohamed Keita says attacks on the press have steadily grown. He is advocacy coordinator for the organization's African program.

“232 journalists were jailed in 27 nations around the world as of December 1st, 2012, surpassing the 1996 record of 185. And out of all these journalists, only three were international journalists. The vast majority were local journalists,” he said.

Keita called it an alarming trend that began with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“In our analysis, we’ve seen that terrorism, treason and subversion were the most common charges and allegations used by governments, such as Turkey, Iran, China to jail journalists. Anti-state charges and terrorist labels have just become the preferred means that many governments use to intimidate and detain journalists and critical reporters,” he said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported Turkey as the top offender with 49 imprisoned journalists, followed by Iran with 45 and China with 32. Eritrea, Syria, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan round out the top 10.

“In Africa, Ethiopia is a prime example of a nation that is using a very vaguely worded anti-terrorism law to jail and prosecute critical journalists and dissidents,” Keita said.

Ethiopia is eighth on the list with six imprisoned journalists. Its neighbor, Eritrea, has jailed 28 journalists.

Chávez reported recuperating in Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has undergone cancer surgery and is recuperating in Cuba at a hospital in Havana.
His vice president, Nicolas Maduro, made the announcement Tuesday, adding the surgery was successful.
Chávez returned to Cuba Monday for more cancer surgery, after a recurrence of the disease led him to name his vice president as his chosen successor should he be forced from office.
His friend, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, said earlier that Chávez was undergoing a very delicate operation.  Correa, who spoke in Ecuador, had visited Chávez in Cuba Monday.
Chávez, who was re-elected in October, acknowledged the seriousness of his situation in a televised address late Saturday.  He said Vice President Maduro would take over if he is incapacitated, and he urged supporters to vote for Maduro if an election were held.
The South American leader said his Cuban medical team told him it is absolutely necessary that he undergo the new operation.
More than 1,000 supporters of the 58-year-old Chávez gathered Sunday in downtown Caracas to show solidarity, while lawmakers unanimously agreed to grant him permission to leave the country for treatment. 
While lacking the president's charisma, Maduro is popular among Chavez's supporters because of his close ties to the president.  The 50-year-old former bus driver and trade unionist has been foreign minister since 2006 and was named vice president in October.
Chávez, who had just returned from Cuba early Friday, said tests had found a return of some malignant cells in the same area where tumors were previously removed.  He said his doctors had recommended he have the surgery right away, but that he had told them he wanted to return to Venezuela first.
The socialist leader had undergone operations in Cuba to remove tumors from his pelvic region.  He has also had chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  The president has never disclosed the type or severity of the cancer.
Chávez is scheduled to be sworn in for a new six-year term Jan. 10.  He has been in office for nearly 14 years, since 1999.
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