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(506) 2223-1327           Published Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 257       Email us
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Jo Stuart
American European Realty

A Tico-style new year's means sharing happiness
By Shahrazad Encinias Vela
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

How to celebrate the New Year Tico style? That is a frequent expat question this time of year.

Costa Ricans know that there is no party like a Tico party!

This is a guide to bring in the New Year like a local Costa Rican, according to a local custom and traditions’ expert.

In order to celebrate like a Tico there must be an understanding of what the new year means. Costa Ricans believe the end of the year party is a welcome party for the new year.

“The end of the year brings a fraternity and solidarity among the people. For the new year, there is more hope for a better life for the incoming year,” said Carlos Arauz, the Costa Rica customs and traditions expert.

The traditional final meal of the year consists of Costa Rican tamales and pork. Some places now celebrate with turkey, but that is a tradition new to the country, said Arauz. Pork is the main course for the night. And to accompany the late night meal there are the customary holiday alcoholic beverages of choice like ponche, rompope and chilchivi.

Ponche is a fruit liquor. Rompope is a yellow eggnog-like liquor that originates from the convents in Mexico and Guatemala. The nuns used to make it, hence the picture of the sister on the bottle produced by one maker.

And chilchivi is a local secret liquor that is similar to a ginger chicha, said Arauz. He has written many books on Costa Rican traditions and legends.

The traditional theme for a New Year party in Costa Rica is Carnival.

This means loud, colorful outfits, lots of dancing, boozing and, most importantly, having a good time. Also, the parties are an open invitation unless told otherwise. Costa Ricans have the cognitive mentality to be happy and share their happiness with others, said Arauz.
New Year's Eve
The theme is Carnival

Expats can find rompope at the supermarket as well as fairly good tamales. Although Costa Ricans have the tradition of having a party at a home, U.S. expats at least come from the tradition of going out on New Year's Eve.

The major San José entertainment centers plan New Year's parties.

The big warning for New Year's is that the traffic police will be out in force. They will have checkpoints set up at key locations just waiting for the foreigner who carries the faint scent of alcohol. Getting caught probably means waking up with a hangover in a holding cell. And say good-bye to the car because the police will confiscate it.

And a prison term is possible even without an accident.

Costa Rican police mean business now with drunk or almost drunk drivers. Fortunately, taxi drivers will be working.

Happy New Year to our readers and advertisers
The staff at A.M. Costa Rica wishes all our readers and advertisers a Happy New Year. The newspaper will not be published tomorrow, Friday.  There were 257 editions this year, and there will be 258 next year because 2012 is a leap year.

So the newspaper is on a three-day break. The next scheduled edition is early Monday.

But if anything major develops, the 
staff will keep readers informed.

The major news story this week was that President Laura Chinchilla signed into law a new tax on corporations. And today we report on Page 3 that the tax already has been increased!

So far there have not been any tragedies reported that involved expats. The staff urges readers to keep it that way with sober driving with a defensive posture.

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Our reader's opinion
Second-hand smoke claim
came from biased source

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I am assuming that Barry Schwartz must be a smoker, but it really doesn't matter if he is or not. To turn your back on all the studies that second-hand smoke is a real health hazard and rely on one doctor's opinion is clearly a self-serving, myopic view of the issues. I watched my mother die of lung cancer, and, yes, she smoked. My father quit 10 years before my mom did, had a clear lung xray, and 10 years later developed lung cancer and also died. My daughter kept developing pulmonary issues when my ex-wife's mother was staying with us and smoking in the house. The doctor told us to stop her from smoking, so we did and problem solved!

You talk about a money trail? Look up your good doctor's affiliations. He is with the Hearland Institute, which is a Libertarian organization with funding from Exxon/Mobil solely to garner evidence against climate change, and Phillip Morris, to develop a strategy to debunk the second-hand smoke issue. Heartland was hired to distribute Phillip Morris studies and just summarized what Phillip Morris developed. Not real scientific there, and certainly on Phillip Morris payroll.  They are and have been a major contributor to Heartland since the early 1990's.

Heartland is also a lobbyist in Phillip Morris' name in Washington to fight anything that has to do with anti-smoking, for example, excise taxes, etc.

Even divorcing oneself from the obvious money trail to Heartland, we all have certain rights. Smokers have a right to smoke, if they want, but non-smokers have rights to not have to be around the smoke. After all, smoking is a choice. Breathing is not. And the warnings on the cigarette packages are there to try to help protect people. It is information, nothing else. What the smokers do with it is their choice. But I, as a former smoker, do not have to be sitting enjoying a nice dinner and then have second-hand smoke wafting over my table ruining my meal.  And when I did smoke, that cigarette at the end of a meal, or with drinks was really good.  But when you don't smoke, it is way different.

Freedom to smoke is still a freedom you have, but others have freedoms as well.
Rob Balch
Nuevo Arenal.

Despite scientific dispute
smokers still are stinky

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In his letter published Dec. 28, Mr. Barry Schwartz cites the testimony of Dr. John Dale Dunn, a medical doctor who practices emergency medicine, who disputes the health risks of being exposed to second-hand smoke. Of course, Dr. Dunn may be right and the rest of the medical community may be wrong on this subject, just as the Catholic Church was wrong in the 16th century and Copernicus and Galileo were right in the matter of the earth being at the center of the universe and the sun orbiting around it. But with respect to second-hand smoke, what's the likelihood? What is the evidence that Dr. Dunn bases his testimony and upon which Mr. Schwartz bases his conviction? And just what evidence is it that they dispute. None is cited.

In the case to which Mr. Schwartz refers, Dr. Dunn acknowledged that he had no special standing to offer testimony and had no data of his own to share. And, by the way, this testimony was delivered to the Delaware County, Indiana, Circuit Court which was hearing an appeal of a local ordinance against smoking brought by bar owners and not in the State of Delaware. See HERE.

In the meantime, whether Dr. Dunn and Mr. Schwartz are right or wrong on the medical issues, one fact remains beyond any dispute: Smokers, and the environment they pollute, stink. That is reason enough to avoid them.
David C. Murray
Grecia, Alajuela

Singers got lung cancer
from smoke-filled clubs

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Yesterday, a letter writer claimed that one doctor who says that second-hand smoke isn't a health threat is correct, while the numerous studies that say it is are all part of a vast conspiracy. This same reader claims that one cigarette a day won't hurt you. Again, the studies disagree.

For a moment, let's forget the huge amounts of money that the tobacco industry has spent to create the aura of controversy around an issue on which there is scientific consensus. As a singer, I know of fellow singers who never smoked, but still died of lung cancer due to performing in smoke-filled clubs. But of course, that's not "objective" evidence. For that, see the National Institutes of Health Web page on the subject:

I realize that life would be easier for smokers if second-hand smoke wasn't dangerous, but it is.
Heidi Allen
Austin, Texas

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

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

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

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 257
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Instant increase will jack up new corporate tax to about $354.50
By the CR Business staff*

The ink was not even dry on the president's signature on a new corporation tax when word arrived that the amount was going up 14 percent.

President Laura Chinchilla signed the measure Tuesday. The law says that the tax will be 50 percent of what is called a base salary. This is the monthly pay of an auxiliar administrativo 1 who works in the Poder Judicial.

The original idea was to link the law, like many other laws, to an amount that would be increased with inflation as the salary of a mid-level employee was increased.

This is the same base salary referenced in a number of traffic and tax code laws.

When the president signed the bill, the base salary was  316,200 colons or about $622. So the tax on corporations, which is expected to go into force April 1 would have been $311. However, some increase was expected because salaries usually are increased every Jan. 1 and July 1.

But a 14 percent hike was not expected. The Consejo Superior del Poder Judicial approved the increase, which will take effect Jan. 1. The new base salary is 360,600 colons or about $709.  That means the corporate tax will be $354.50 or 180,000 colons when it takes effect April 1.

No mention of the jump in the base salary was made during the last day of legislative discussion when the law received final approval. Lawmakers probably did not know about the change.

Ms. Chinchilla never mentioned it either, but the increase means another small windfall for the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, which gets 95 percent of the tax money.

Of course, there are ways around the tax.  The law specifically exempts small- and medium-size enterprises, known as PYMES, an acronym based on the phrase in Spanish. The designation is awarded by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y  Comercio if the company meets certain requirements. The designation applies to firms with a small workforce and moderate incomes. The firms have to be at least 5 years old.

An inactive corporation, that is one without economic activity, only will be assessed half the tax or about 90,000 colons, according to the law. That is about $177. But there does not seem to be a way around not paying the tax.
Some expats will seek to disband their corporation and do business or hold property in their own names. The law allows this and even eliminates the need for some stamps and fees to do this. But there is a catch.

As Garland Baker pointed out in July, disbanding a corporation is costly, too, because the process requires the assistance of a notary. He said:

“The proper way to close an inactive company is to go before a notary and change the constitution.  Most companies are constituted for 99 years.  The notary would change the constitution of the company to only a few months into the future.  Once past, the company would be, in theory, dead.  The books then should go to the tax department for cancelation.

“Sounds easy, but this process is expensive.  Here is an estimation of the costs:

“A notary will charge around 20,000 colons ($40) for writing the change into the minute book and 60,000 colons ($120) to notarize the act.  To change the constitution of a company requires publication in “La Gaceta,” the official newspaper, which costs between 7,000 and 8,000 colons (up to $16).  To file the paperwork costs about 65,000 colons ($130).

“Add it all up and the result is 153,000 colons or $306. A lot of money just to kill an inactive company.”

Corporate owners have six months to complete the process, under the law.

Baker also warned about the dangers of expats holding property in their own name. One reason is the need for an expensive probate process if the expat dies holding property.

The tax in 2012 will be prorated for the remaining nine months and the first tax will be just 75 percent of the stated amount. The money must be paid within 30 days, that is by April 30. Subsequent tax payments will be due Jan. 1 each year and have to be paid by the end of that month. Those amounts will be increased, too, as the base salary is raised.

The text of the new tax law can be found in the Dec. 27 digital edition of the La Gaceta. It appears that the text was published even before President Chinchilla actually signed the bill to make it a law. It is HERE. The text is linked to “Alcance Digital Numero 111-A PDF” which can be found in the right hand column.

*A.M. Costa Rica's sister business publication HERE.

Tolerance will be the key for a more enjoyable coming year
I’ve been thinking about the movie title, “Back to the Future.”  Not about the movie, which I hardly remember, but the title.  I think we are at the point in history when the people of the world have to look backward to see what we have discarded at our own peril and what we cling to, also at our own peril.

In past years people were not very concerned about the environment. However, life was simpler and less cluttered with possessions that had the potential to permanently contaminate the world. Some of the habits and ways of life did do damage, but populations were smaller so there were fewer people to cause problems.  People automatically re-used what they had because it was not always that easy to replace an item.  This was especially so during times of economic hardship or isolation.

People are not going back to those days, but many are trying to live more simply and learning to recycle. A new phrase has emerged to indicate that you can reuse material to create something even better: So you can now use the word upcycle when you see something valuable made from what was waste. 

The world was actually smellier in years past when you consider the time of horse drawn carriages and the use of coal and wood almost exclusively to heat homes.  Or maybe we have just become accustomed to different smells.  Eric, our usual taxista, said that after the Tope, when the horse manure had not yet been removed from Paseo Colón, his older fares made no comments, but the younger ones were pulling out their hankies and telling him to close the windows and acting as if they were being physically assaulted. 

Women no longer strive for hour glass figures, but it seems the economy has taken that shape in many countries.  We have returned to the once familiar conspicuous consumption times of the high-living and high spending rich and the economizing careful spending poor, and even the new poor.  And we once more have food lines and the homeless in great numbers.

According to economist, Paul Solomon, stores selling brands like Dior, Channel and Gucci are doing a land-office business.  In Costa Rica I have seen new upscale stores with foreign name brands open and blossom.  At the other extreme, the business at discount and low-end outlets like Dollar Store, and in Costa Rica, customers at Pali, at ferias and second-hand stores, have also increased.  Meanwhile, stores that cater to the middle classes are suffering low sales or even closing. They just don’t have the customers.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the governments of many countries were under the control of the Catholic Church.  Perhaps that is why it was also called the Dark Ages.  Later that church marched into Latin and South America with the Spaniards.  The East Coast of North America was settled by Puritanical Christians who believed in a vengeful God, or in some colonies, Catholics who believed the Pope was infallible.  Later Protestant and Catholic missionaries took their messages to distant parts of the world.  Today Europe is more secular than it has ever been (even those countries that have an official religion have become more tolerant).  There are more atheists and non-deists in the U.S. than at the beginning of the last century. 
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

There has also been an impressive increase in religious fundamentalism, whether adhering to their interpretation of the Old Testament of the Bible or the Koran. Tolerance has been replaced by a demand that everyone conform to the strictures of each.  Both of these religions want to gain control of governments and the lives of people, according to their theologies. 

This is a scary time, and if these trends materialize, we may find ourselves in another Dark Age. 

On the other hand, there are many countries (including Costa Rica) that recognize a state religion yet are more tolerant of individual freedoms than countries that don’t. Maybe the secret is to make a religion official so it can be temporized.

Whatever the future holds, on Wednesday Costa Ricans continued their partying and celebration of this important Christian holiday with a carnival in Zapote where they have a yearly variation of the Minoan and Spanish customs of the running of the bulls.  In this case, it is the running of one bull and no intentional acrobatics by the runners.  After the 31st we can watch the world unfold its surprises in the coming year.  I hope it is a good one for everyone. 

Of course, without tolerance, that is impossible.

Teatro Jaco

Del Rey green season

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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About us
Jo Stuart
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fourth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 257
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Experts to monitor more closely quake-prone southern zone
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Emergency commission and earthquake experts are stepping up their watch on the southwest part of the Central Valley which has been the location of 18 felt quakes since Dec. 22.

The quakes ranged from a magnitude 2.8 to 3.8.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias convened a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the events. Experts are a little puzzled because the quakes do not correspond to the location of the three known faults there. However, they said these type of quakes have been seen for years.

The epicenters have been centered in the communities of San Miguel and San Antonio de Desamparados and Tobosi. The area is near the boundary between the provinces of San José and Cartago.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico at Universidad Nacional reported that throughout the year there were at least 200 similar quakes in that area.

Also at the meeting were the Red Sismológica and the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica, both of the Universidad de Costa Rica. The experts agreed that more sensor stations will be installed in the zone in order to track future quakes
Epicenter of quake
Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica graphic
Star marks epicenter of a 2.4 magnitude quake that took place at 10:25 p.m. Wednesday at San Miguel. Red lines are known faults. Another quake took place four minutes earlier at the same spot.

with more precision. The emergency commission will provide the operational structure for the oversight.

The commission noted that the area has a high population and vulnerability due to potential for slides due to unstable slopes and constructions that are not rated for quakes.

Although the flurry of quakes appear to be normal for the zone, the commission urged residents to make preparations because they live in a zone of high earthquake potential.

Two men, one a U.S. citizen,
held in downtown pot bust

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers in San José detained a U.S. citizen and a Colombian Wednesday with suspected marijuana and more than one million colons. The arrest was near the Hotel Europa in the downtown.

The Fuerza Pública identified the U. S. citizen by the last name of Pontz and the Colombian by the last name of Osorio. Both are also nationalized Costa Ricans, according to police reports.

The men were apprehended with two bags of suspected marijuana and currency worth more than 1,600,000 colons composed of Costa Rican and foreign currencies such as dollars. The contraband was being held in a bag police said they suspect belonged to the Colombian.

The police report indicates that officials were alerted to the whereabouts of the two men and were able to find them shortly thereafter in the central district of San José. Police confiscated the money and the drugs when they apprehended the men.

Although police said that Pontz was a Costa Rican citizen, no person with that name showed up on the Web site of the Registro Civil. That would not be unusual because local police frequently are challenged by North American names.

The men were to be presented to prosecutors for interrogation and processing.

Ministerio de Gobernación Policía
y Seguridad Pública/Paul Gamboa
Police place one suspect in a vehicle for transportation.

Fuerza Pública rounds up suspects at events for the holidays
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Between the Carnival in Desamparados, the Tope Nacional in downtown San José and the festivities in Zapote, officials with the Fuerza Pública have had their hands full trying to keep the massive gathering safe. The police reported the success of their saturation patrols in terms of suspects detained, drugs apprehended and weapons seized.

For the Carnival in Desamparados Tuesday, marked by widespread public drinking and a street parade, officials claim to have detained 35 suspects. Five of them were for property crimes, one for a crime against persons, 17 for disorderly conduct in public and several others for drugs and weapons or explosives violations.

Along with the suspects came marijuana, cocaine and in one bust 40 pills of Lorazepam, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety but also recreationally and sometimes as a date-rape drug.

The Cruz Roja reports it helped to 30 people in need of medical attention at that same gathering but only one patient had to be transported to a hospital.
Of the more notable police activities in downtown San José during the Tope horse parade Monday, police claim to have stopped a man trying to steal a woman’s purse and apprehended another suspect wanted for domestic violence. Police also confiscated marijuana and 1,382,980 colons during the event, officials report.

So far in Zapote, police have apprehended 36 suspects for drug use, robbery and familial violence. Two of the men captured were wanted for previous counts of aggravated robbery, police said. They also have confiscated 31 doses of marijuana and two street weapons, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the Cruz Roja reported the number of violent deaths arrived at 76 Tuesday for the month of December. And an active search for three suspected drowning victims continued in the Pacific waters.  Tuesday a 27-year-old man and a 13-year-old went missing in the water around noon in Mata Palo on the central Pacific coast when they were overtaken by the current. The organization reports that the search for a 25-year-old man who went missing earlier in La Cruz, Guanacaste, continues.

So far in December there have been eight water deaths, the Cruz Roja said.

Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2011 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

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Fifth news page
Fashion CR
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 257
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Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Russia issues rights report
that is critical of the U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russia's foreign ministry is accusing the United States of human rights violations both at home and abroad, in its first-ever report on the state of human rights in other countries.

The report, released Wednesday, criticizes the United States for the continued operation of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and accuses the White House of sheltering officials and CIA operatives from prosecution.

The report also laments what it calls U.S. prying into citizens' private lives and says the situation in the United States is far from the ideals proclaimed by Washington.

In the past, the Russian foreign ministry has strongly slammed U.S. accusations of Russian rights violations in the State Department's annual reports on human rights worldwide.

Russia's Interfax news agency says a Russian foreign ministry representative on human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, speaking at a briefing on the report, also accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of committing human rights violations during the conflict this year in Libya.

Interfax quotes the official as saying Russia believes there is a need for an unbiased investigation into all violations of international humanitarian law in Libya.

Brazil's economy becomes
the world's sixth largest

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A leading economic research group says Brazil has overtaken Britain as the world's sixth-largest economy. The London-based Center for Economics and Business Research says Britain lost out to the South American country in 2011 and will likely slide further as faster-growing economies such as Russia and India surge ahead.

After a tough recession and a banking crash, Great Britain has fallen to 7th place, behind larger and faster-growing Brazil.

The South American country expanded at a 3 percent rate in 2011 and is projected to grow 5 percent in 2012.

Economist Armando Castelar says the new ranking is unimportant, but he adds it is a confidence builder for Brazil.

"The position is more about statistics than economics," he says.  "The economy is what really matters.  "But," he adds, "it has a psychological effect that helps with attracting investments," Castelar said.

Brazil, one of the so-called BRIC countries, which includes Russia, India and China, is an economic success due largely to exports of manufactured goods, iron ore and agricultural products to the Far East.  But Brazil has big plans.

Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega says Brazil hopes to become the fifth largest economy by 2015, surpassing France.

Brazil's rise has been relatively swift, taking seventh place from Italy in 2010.  The United States, China, Japan and Germany are the four biggest national economies.  But with Europe struggling to contain a raging debt crisis, some economists say Russia and India could overtake Germany and France in the next 10 years.

México announces capture
of suspected drug kingpin

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexico says it has arrested a suspected drug trafficking kingpin who also is wanted in the United States.

Mexican federal police Wednesday said they detained Luis Rodríguez Olivera, known as “El Guero,” at Mexico City's international airport the day before. The U.S. had offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to his capture.

Rodríguez Olivera is accused of trafficking massive quantities of cocaine into the U.S. between 1996 and 2008. He also has been charged with money laundering.

The arrest is Mexico's second major blow against drug trafficking cartels in two weeks.

Last week, Mexican authorities captured a suspected lieutenant to the elusive leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

Felipe Cabrera, also known as “The Engineer,” was said to be a top aide to the head of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. Officials said Cabrera rose through the ranks by using violence against his rivals.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón has deployed thousands of troops across Mexico to fight the country's drug cartels. The spiraling violence has left at least 50,000 people dead.
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Anti-whaling vessel hit,
damaged by rogue wave

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

While fighting heavy seas in pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Sea Shepherd scout vessel Brigitte Bardot was struck by a rogue wave that has cracked the hull and severely damaged one of the pontoons on the vessel, the anti-whaling organization said early today.

Capt. Paul Watson, onboard the Sea Shepherd flagship Steve Irwin, reports that they are fighting heavy seas to reach the position of the Brigitte Bardot some 240 miles to the southeast. It is expected to take twenty hours to reach the damaged vessel.

The Brigitte Bardot is 1,500 miles southwest of Fremantle, Western Australia.

The Brigitte Bardot captain, Jonathan Miles Renecle of South Africa, was pursuing the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru in six-meter swells when the wave slammed into the port side of the vessel cracking the hull. The crack has been getting wider as the seas continue to pound the vessel.

Captain Renecle is confident that the ship will stay afloat until the Steve Irwin arrives, the organization reported. The Brigitte Bardot has a crew of 10: three British, three American, one Australian, one Canadian, one Belgian and one South African.

The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker will continue in pursuit of the whaling fleet. The Steve Irwin will assist the Brigitte Bardot, first to see to the safety of the crew, and then to escort the vessel to Fremantle for repairs.

“This is disappointing but these are hostile seas and we have always been prepared for situations like this,” said Watson from the Steve Irwin. “Right now the safety of my crew on the Brigitte Bardot is our priority and we intend to reach the crew and then do what we can to save our ship.”

Watson is well-known in Costa Rica because of his opposition to shark finners. His encounter at sea with a Costa Rican shark fishing boat is documented in the film “Sharkwater.”

Nosara charity plans meeting

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Friends of Nosara, the Pacific coast community's umbrella charity, plans its annual meeting Jan. 8 in Marlin Bill's Restaurant at 10 a.m.

The organization reports that it is a public charity that provides fund-raising support for 12 local organizations. The annual meeting presents these organizations an opportunity to review with those who attend the work they have done over the past year and to look into the future, said an announcement of the meeting.

Friends of Nosara said it transferred more than $100,000 to the organizations in 2011 alone.

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