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(506) 223-1327         Publshed Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007, in Vol. 7, No. 256               E-mail us
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tope horses
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The Fuerza Pública color guard and mounted officers were at the head of the march
Once again Costa Rica celebrates its rural roots
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The San José horse parade took place under a hot, clear sky Wednesday, and the happiest folks around were the beer company executives.

As is the custom, it seemed that only kids and horses did not have a frothy can clenched in their hands. Even dancers on floats had a cold one.

More than 2,000 horses and riders were in the march from Parque la Sabana to Plaza Víquez, and the event kicked off more or less on time, led by the Fuerza Pública mounted contingent. The parade celebrates the day of the horse rider.

Early arrivals backed their pickups on side streets to Avenida 2 and with invited guests engaged in a four-hour picnic while the horses and riders passed.
One rider even had an insulated plastic chest strapped to the rear of his saddle.

The weather institute said that the temperature never got higher than 23.3 C. (74 F.) during the day, but Wednesday had one of those rare clear afternoons with the direct rays of the sun just looking for pale skin to trouble.

For Costa Ricans it was the first daytime public activity after the end of the rainy season. The evening telecasts concentrated on lightly dressed beautiful women.

And more than one must have a sunburn today.

Despite the presence of great quantities of beer (and perhaps stronger liquids), there did not seem to be any unpleasantness among the spectators. There have been incidents in previous years.
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Spectators in private grandstands had the best view and the coldest beer.



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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 256

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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Real estate agents and services

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7Legal services

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Ph/Fax: 221-9462, 841-0007
3437-4/1/08
Country establishes ties
with Sultanate of Oman


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The foreign ministry reported that the country has established diplomatic relations with the Sultanate of Oman.

The agreement, which took place in New York at the United Nations, continues the Arias administration policy of expanding relations regardless of the local politics. The sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, rules as an absolute monarch with an elected advisory council.

Costa Rica closed down its embassy in Jerusalem and moved its diplomatic outpost in Israel to Tel Aviv to eliminate Middle Eastern criticism. Then it embarked on an aggressive campaign to establish relations with countries there. Oman also is seeking more contacts and trade with the world. It is an oil-rich country on the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The country has allowed the U.S. military to establish bases for its war against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Victim stuck in trunk for 12 hours

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Bandits stuck up a man in San Ramón last week, stuck him in the trunk of his vehicle and then drove around for 12 hours.

Eventually the victim, identified by the Poder Judicial by the last names of Mora Villalobos, was left in the vehicle in la Garita de Alajuela where he was able to get free and inform authorities. Investigators detained two suspects, said the Poder Judicial.

Have you seen these stories?


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 256


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Sixaola area is the hardest hit Caribbean coast community
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Many Caribbean residents returned to their homes Wednesday to clean up the mud and other debris dumped by flood waters.

In hard-hit Sixaola near the border with Panamá, there still were problems, and hundreds remained in shelters Wednesday.

Marvin Pérez, head of the local emergency committee, said that flood waters reached 2 meters or more than six feet in the community. The water came from the Talamanca mountains where heavy rains fell Monday and Tuesday.

Some 328 persons were evacuated from Sixaola. Some went to the community hall in Cahuita. Others went to local churches and other local buildings. More than 100 ended up in tents.

The national emergency committee reported 234 separate incidents caused by the weather. These were in Siquirres, Matina, Limón Centro, Talamanca, Sarapiquí de Heredia and Turrialba. In Orosi de Paraíso de Cartago the Río Grande de Orosi undermined a string of homes perched on a hilltop, and parts of the homes began to fall several
 hundred feet into the river. The residents were evacuated.

Some of those affected blamed gravel mining in the riverbed for having disrupted the flow.

One bridge was reported damaged in 28 Millas in Valle La Estrella and a community was isolated. A river dike at el Carmen in Siquirres and a dike at Bajo Corina in Matina also suffered damage.

The flooding once again proved the worth of the Caribbean tradition of placing homes on stilts. Occupants of many homes so constructed simply waited out the high water. These were mostly in the Limón centro and Matina areas.

Sixaola is a frequent victim of heavy flows from the Talamanca mountains. The community was wiped out in January 2005. Community leaders were complaining recently that repairs had not been made from that flood.

The emergency commission will be doing a census of damage for the rest of the week.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that there is a high probability of more rain starting Friday afternoon, mainly on the Caribbean slope.


Traffic deaths dominate Cruz Roja list of holiday fatalilties
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The holiday toll of violent deaths has reached at least 10, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the Cruz Roja.

The most deaths, four, took place when a taxi ran off the road in La Perla de Pacuarito in Siquirres. Two of the six persons in the taxi, including the driver, escaped when the vehicle fell into a flooded depression and overturned.

The Cruz Roja said the victims were Ismael Rosales Ruiz, 62, Minor Rosales Fajardo, 17, Jennifer Rosales Fajardo, 12, and Meyling Gómez Dávila, 24.

The accident may have been due to the rainy weather on the Caribbean coast, and the large ditch into which the taxi fell was full of water because of the local runoff. The accident happened about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Christmas Day.

The Cruz Roja started keeping track of holiday deaths early Monday. Just 38 minutes into Monday rescue workers were at the scene of a pedestrian hit by a car, also in Siquirres, Dead was Alberto Ruid Taylor, 57. At 1:53 a.m. Cruz Roja workers went to San Jose's Avenida 10 where a man had been shot fatally.
The bulk of the deaths were from vehicle accidents.

However, in San Miguel de Naranjo a man died of alcohol intoxication, and another person, Carlos Salas Vargas, 38, died of multiple gunshots at the Discoteca Arco Iris in Quepos, said the Cruz Roja. The shooting was about 4 a.m. Christmas Day.

The Cruz Roja also said that it was busy at the Festejos San José 2007 in Zapote where it provided care to 28 patients.

Some 17 suffered injuries or bruises from falls or other medical problems, but 11 were injured in the Costa Rican bull fights.

Among these was a man identified as William Ramírez Villalobos, 23, who took the horn of a bull in the center of the buttock. He went to Hospital Calderón Guardia in delicate condition.

He also made television news shows where repeated replays pictured him running from the bull but then the animal lifting him in the air with a single horn.

The bull fights are where 100 or more individuals enter a ring with a bull and tease and slap the creature until the animal is worn out.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 256

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Venezuela poised to extract three hostages from Colombia
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services   

Colombia's government has accepted a Venezuelan operation to receive three hostages to be freed by Colombian rebels. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez says he has planes and helicopters ready to fly into Colombia to pick up the hostages.

Colombia's government gave its approval to the Venezuelan plan to recover three hostages held by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. The group is on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo announced the decision and thanked Chávez for his government's efforts. He said the Colombian government authorized the humanitarian operation and delegated Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo to join the mission.

Earlier, Chávez said he had airplanes and helicopters ready to depart from Venezuelan airports to carry out the operation at a moment's notice. Chávez said the aircraft will
fly across the border where they will receive instructions from rebel leaders about where to pick up the three hostages.

He said the helicopters have been marked with the symbol of the International Committee of the Red Cross and will be carrying extra fuel for the mission.

Rebel leaders say the three hostages include a former congresswoman, an aide to former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and the woman's son, who was born in captivity.

Chávez said he hopes to continue working to negotiate the release of all rebel hostages, which include three American contractors seized nearly five years ago.

In August, Colombia's government asked Chávez to negotiate with rebel leaders for a deal to exchange hostages for jailed rebels. President Álvaro Uribe ended  participation by Chávez last month, saying he had improper contact with Colombia's army chief.


U.S. teen who survived plane crash in Panamá reported to be in hospital
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Panamanian officials say a 13-year-old American girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash in a mountainous part of the country is now being treated at a local hospital.

The girl, Francesca Lewis, suffered a broken arm and hypothermia in Sunday's crash, which killed two other Americans and the pilot. The wreckage was located about 400 kms (248 miles) west of Panama City.

The girl's mother, Valery Lewis, said that rescuers found the teenager Tuesday under the wing of the downed aircraft
and that her daughter appeared to be delirious. Ms. Lewis said it took rescuers three-and-a-half hours to get the girl to a helicopter.
The plane crashed during what was supposed to be a brief flight that originated in the Secas Islands in the Pacific.

The crash killed the girl's friend, 13-year-old Talia Klein, Talia's father, California businessman Michael Klein, and the pilot, Edwin Lasso.

Rain and fog hampered the search for the plane. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Michael Klein and the two girls were on vacation in Panama. Klein was the chief executive officer of Pacificor, a Santa Barbara, California, investment company that manages hedge funds. The company's Web site said he acquired the firm in 2002 and was responsible for its investment strategy and operations.


Quake in Chile listed at 5.7 magnitude but there are no reports of damages
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 5.7 magnitude earthquake has shaken northern Chile.

Authorities say the quake struck late Wednesday and was centered 65 kms (40 miles) east-northeast of the Calama area.  A spokesman for a copper mine in the area said the
quake had no impact.

Last month, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake damaged homes and buildings in northern Chile, leaving two people dead, dozens injured and 15,000 people displaced. 

The tremor was felt as far away as the capital, Santiago, as well as neighboring Perú and Bolivia.


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