A.M.  Costa Rica
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These news articles were published in November 2001

Chronological index for November 2001

Thurday, Nov. 1, 2001

Long-time resident makes news the hard way
Louis Charles, a long-time resident of Costa Rica, made the front page of Diario Extra and lived to tell about it.

Pacific coast battered by rains, high seas
The surf is really up along the north Pacific coast, thanks to Tropical Storm Octave, and the whole area is getting drenched.

Sex traffickers use marriage gimmick to legalize child prostitutes
Sex traffickers are bringing young girls into Costa Rica and then arranging marriages so as married women they can work legally as prostitutes.

Nicaraguan elections draw international observers
International observers are beginning to descend on Nicaragua to try to insure the honesty of presidential elections there Sunday.

Slain tourist kidnapped the evening before death
Colombian investigators say they have resolved the mystery surrounding a slain British tourist. Authorities say he was abducted by leftist rebels the night before his death. 

U.S. will bar members of 46 ‘terrorist’ groups
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says members  and supporters of 46 designated terrorist groups will not be allowed in the United States.

Four Latin Grammys go to singer Sanz
The Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz has earned four Latin Grammys.

White House criticizes Venezuela’s Chavez
The White House is criticizing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for comparing unintended civilian casualties in Afghanistan with the deaths of  thousands in the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes on the United States.

Ship discovered off Panama could be that of Columbus
Researchers in Panama are trying to determine if a sunken ship discovered off the country's Caribbean coast could have been used by Christopher  Columbus during his fourth and final voyage of exploration.

Friday, Nov. 2, 2001

It's a day to recall lost kin (photo)
Otto Hernandez considers his  floral selection carefully at a makeshift stand erected near the San José General Cemetery at Avenida 10 and Calle 24.

International aid sought for Central American tourism
The Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank are gearing up to help smaller countries, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean, ride out the recent economic blows.

Retirement is even better here in small pond Costa Rica
Weekly column by Jo Stuart

Measures against money laundering tighted up by major nations
An international bank watchdog group will expand its efforts to fight financing of terrorists.

Worldwide economic slowdown will be worse in Latin America
The worldwide economic slowdown, made worse by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, is expected to have dire consequences for emerging economies of Latin America.

Readers offer tips to help keep those computers humming
Two readers have suggested computer tips. One tip makes sure you get the most current copy of A.M. Costa Rica. The second tip is designed to frustrate e-mail viruses.

Ex-president Juan Bosch dies in Dominican Republic
The former President of the Dominican Republic, Juan Bosch, 92, died in Santo Domingo from an acute respiratory crisis.

Mexico’s Day of Dead includes Sept. 11 toll
Nov. 1 is celebrated in Mexico as the "Day of the Dead." This holiday, which mixes indigenous and Spanish colonial traditions, is a day to honor relatives and friends who have passed on to the world of the dead. This year there are special remembrances for those who died in the United States in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Guerrillas blame army for death of tourist
Leftist Colombian guerrillas have claimed responsibility for kidnapping a British tourist, but blame the army for the man's death.

U.S. pulls ambassador over remarks by Chavez
The United States has temporarily recalled its ambassador to Venezuela to protest recent criticism by Venezuela's president of the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan.

Monday, Nov. 5, 2001

Congressman says that Iraq has to be handled
A visiting Republican congressman said it is just a matter of time before the United States takes on Iraq.

Magnetic multilevel marketing firm expanding into Costa Rica
A major multilevel marketing company kicks off operations in Costa Rica this week. The company is Nikken, and the major products are magnetic devices to promote health. (related story follows)

Does it really work?
Medical researchers who once denigrated magnetism as quackery agree now that this is an area that should be studied.

Asian coalition scores victory over mocking ad
A coalition of Asian groups, galvanized by what they considered to be an offensive advertisement, has caused the company that used the ad to change it.

Coast Guard grabs cocaine off Costa Rica
Two U.S. Coast Guard boarding teams on two U.S. Navy ships recovered a total of 3,600 pounds of cocaine jettisoned from two boats approximately 200 miles southwest of Costa Rica, the U.S. Coast Guard reported Sunday.

Hurricane Michelle  hitting Cuba hard
Hurricane Michelle is roaring over Cuba, lashing the island with high winds and heavy rains that threaten to cause extensive flooding and property damage.

Chavez says he didn’t want to offend the U.S.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he did not mean to offend the United States with his remarks about unintended civilians deaths in Afghanistan. 

Outcome awaiting for Nicaraguan voting
Nicaraguans are awaiting the results of Sunday's presidential election that puts former President Daniel Ortega in a close race with former Vice President Enrique Bolaños. 

Diamondbacks win World Series title
The Arizona Diamondbacks scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the New York Yankees 3-2, winning baseball's 97th World Series  in a deciding seventh game. 

Private bank held up 
Three men stuck up a Mutual de Alejuela branch in Curridabat Friday morning and shot a guard and an  employee. They got away with 500,000 colons (about $1,490).

Tuesday, Nov. 6

Big drug bust targets Costa Rica to Boston route for heroin
A drug arrest at Juan Santamaría Airport Sept. 7 has helped police here and in the United States nab 12 more persons and roll up what they said was a major cocaine and heroin smuggling operation.

Visiting artist just loves a face that's interesting
William Smith is a headhunter. Not the kind with the blowgun and poison darts. Not the kind with the great connections in Silicon Valley. He hunts interesting heads, photographs them and then labors long hours to draw them.

Ex-vice president seems to be Nicaraguan winner
Former Nicaraguan Vice President Enrique Bolaños is claiming victory over former President Daniel Ortega in Sunday's presidential elections.

Little Theatre Group readies for big sale Sunday
During its 52-year history, the Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica has entertained English-speakers with plays, musicals, one-acts and cabarets. Two years ago, thanks to the generosity of the club president at the time, Blanche Brown, the group found a permanent home.

Hurricane Michelle moving from the Bahamas after hitting Cuba
Weather forecasters say a weakened Hurricane Michelle is moving away from the Bahamas after pounding the country with strong winds and torrential rains.

A.M. Costa Rica posts 25 percent gain in readers for October
A.M. Costa Rica continues to grow. October statistics maintained by an independent Internet service provider show that the pages of the daily English-language newspaper received 55,696 electronic hits during October.

Wednesday, Nov. 7

Dinner-dance verifies that Christmas is coming
There’s no place like Costa Rica for the holidays, at least if you like your Santa and Christmas tree early. Some stores begin displaying in late August. But a sure sign of the holidays is the annual Christmas dinner dance hosted jointly by the Canadian Club and the Association of Residents of Costa Rica.

Latin confab seeks to tighten controls on tobacco
Latin American health officials and specialists are meeting in Brazil to discuss ways to curb the consumption of tobacco in their nations.

ARCR plans to hold first seminar in Guanacaste this Friday
The Association of Residents of Costa Rica plans its first orientation seminar in Guanacaste Friday.

U.S. welcome mat still out (with exceptions)
Foreign visitors remain welcome in the United States to vacation, study and work, despite U.S. efforts to implement tougher visa controls in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Visa requests here take a tumble
Applications for visas to enter the United States took a dive at the U.S. Embassy in San José.

Colin Powell says no plans exist for war with Iraq
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says there are no plans now to expand the U.S.-led war on terrorism to Iraq.

New president in Nicaragua vows that he will act quickly
Nicaraguan President-elect Enrique Bolaños is pledging to act quickly to solve the country's economic problems after his January inauguration.

Bush declines to put Costa Rica on U.S. drug-transit blacklist
Costa Rica once again has not been designated a major drug transit country by the U.S. president.

Thursday, Nov. 8

Eclipse promotion begins to pick up
The Costa Rican Tourism Institute has jumped on the eclipse bandwagon with a proposal for a postcard campaign to draw more tourists here for the Dec. 14 celestial event.

Dip in tourism was 7.7% for the month of October
Tourism in October was not the total disaster that those in the industry here expected. Nor was it bad enough to warrant the grimaces and negative responses from those on the front lines.

Bush negotiator promises to play leadership role
The U.S. negotiator at a climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, said that global climate change warrants real commitment, and that the Bush Administration will continue to play a leadership role in addressing the long-term challenge of climate change both at home and abroad.

Time to dig down again to pay for your car or truck
The time of the year is here to pay your vehicle insurance and taxes for the coming year, the so-called "marchamo."

Heredia language school heads for Samara beach
A Heredia language school is expanding to the beach. The Intercultura Language School has opened a new campus in Samara, which is on the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula.

U.S. acts to freeze more bank accounts linked to terrorists
President Bush says the Treasury Department will freeze the assets of an additional 62 individuals and organizations believed to be supporting international terrorism.

Venezuelan military denies coup rumors
The Venezuelan military is expressing its support for President Hugo Chavez, as he denies rumors of a coup attempt.

Argentine government, governors in agreement
Argentina's Federal government is close to reaching  an agreement with provincial governors over the reform of federal transfers to the provinces.

Missing girl is safe
A Pavas girl who ran away from home because she feared her school tests has called home.

Brazil will test vaccine for AIDS
Brazil says it has started testing an experimental AIDS vaccine on humans. A healthy, 38-year-old man was the first to be injected with the new drug.

Friday, Nov. 9

Earthquake in Caribbean rattles much of the country
A sea quake off the Caribbean coast near Sixaola in extreme southeast Costa Rica rattled homes all over the country Thursday night at 6:48 p.m.

Battle to save battered dolphin united the town
The El Velero Hotel in Playa Hermosa had an unexpected visitor check in Saturday. The unexpected guest was a female striped dolphin beaten up by 75 kilometer winds.

A well-deserved retreat into the pages of books
Jo Stuart’s weekly column

Bush says civilization is at stake in terrorism war
President Bush has again predicted victory in the battle against terrorism, which he calls a fight "to save civilization" itself.

Somali firm denies link with terrorists
The Somali-owned company al-Barakaat has denied U.S. claims that it is part of a global network financing terrorism. 

Costa Rica has role to play in terrorism fight, new ambassador says
The United States is counting on Costa Rica to search for and freeze any financial assets linked with terrorism, the new U.S. ambassador, John Danilovich, told businessmen Thursday.

He should have left his work at the office
Here’s another caution against taking your work home with you, particularly if you are a thief.

Professors coming here to study health system
Costa Rica’s health-care system will be on display for visiting academics this summer as the Monteverde Institute hosts another faculty development seminar.

Venzuelan oil workers plan to strike today
Venezuelan oil union leaders have called for a strike to protest the  government's plan to separate the gas industry from the state-owned oil company.

More bodies of women found near Ciudad Juárez
The remains of five young women were found Wednesday in the desert outside the northern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez following the discovery of three bodies one day earlier.

Monday, Nov. 12

Television viewers are being tempted to come here
Costa Rica is being featured in a new Fox Network reality show, and the exposure probably is worth millions to the struggling tourism industry.

Untouched limestone cave a great tourist attraction
The best part about the Venado Caves is that they are untouched. Unlike some similar tourist attractions, the heavy hand of man is not to be seen.

Dig they must to put in a long pedestrian promenade at the courts
Workmen really mess up the area between The Supreme Court building and the headquarters of the Judicial Investigating Organization. With photo.

Cuban refugee to show his pitching skills
Arian Cruz, 23, one of Cuba's top young left-handed pitchers, has been declared a free agent by major league baseball and will hold a showcase Tuesday for baseball scouts in San José, Costa Rica, his agent said

Freer trade hailed as economic boost
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman say that the launching of new global trade negotiations would help the world economy recover from the shock of the Sept. 11 terrorist actions in New York and Washington.

Court in Argentina rejects amnesty for military
A court in Argentina has declared unconstitutional two amnesty laws that protect a majority of the military from prosecution for human rights crimes

Chavez confident OPEC will cut oil production
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he is confident that OPEC will shore up sagging world oil prices.

Tuesday, Nov. 13

New York jet crash causes shudders in Costa Rica
Costa Ricans and expats alike held their breaths Monday as investigators worked to find the cause of a passenger jet crash during takeoff in New York.

Theater group auction earns enough for air conditioning
The Sunday auction and flea market held by the Little Theatre group, at the Little Theatre in Bello Horizonte, is being called a resounding success.

Some cautions on doing business where the rules are different
Opinion by Sheldon Marshall So Paradise beckons. C’mon down. This is the Switzerland of America Central, what could be easier or more seductive? 

More bodies of young women continue to turn up in Ciudad Juarez
The Mexican border city of Juarez, across the Rio Grande River from El Paso, Texas, is once again being shaken by revelations of murderers stalking young women.

Three tourists from U.S. killed in crash
Three U.S. tourists died and a fourth suffered serious injuries Sunday when their vehicle plummeted off a road into a river on the Nicoya Peninsula north and west of Playa Naranjo.

Wednesday, Nov. 14

Costa Rica's lottery going electronic with help of Banco Nacional
The folks who bring you the many lottery and chance tickets are going electronic Thursday. This had been announced before, but the details were not clear until a meeting earlier this week.

Getting license is a breeze — if you have paperwork
A pleasant surprise in Costa Rica is how easy a foreigner may obtain a driver’s license.

Dominican Republic begins three days of mourning for NYC victims
The Dominican Republic has begun three days of official mourning to remember those killed when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed en route to Santo Domingo.

Mexico makes arrest in latest cases of murdered young women
Authorities in the northern Mexican State of Chihuahua have arrested two men believed to be responsible for the rape and murder of eight women whose bodies were found last week near the border city of Juarez.

U.S. citizens killed in crash identified
Three U.S. citizens who died while driving to Montezuma Sunday have been identified.

Thursday, Nov. 15

Salvation Army takes another hit on finances
The Salvation Army has been penalized for the alleged poor quality of its street children program, and has been docked 10 million colons, nearly $30,000.

Kitchen on wheels needed a little help
The mobile kitchen needed a brake job. And try to find front calipers for a Chevy in Costa Rica.

Animal Planet visiting Drake Bay
The Animal Planet show "The Jeff Corwin Experience" is in Costa Rica, filming in various locations around the country for upcoming episodes of  the popular show.

Bush sets up military tribunals to deal with non-citizen terrorists
President George Bush signed a military order that sets up possibly secret military tribunals for suspected terrorists and subjects them to the death penalty with a two-thirds vote of those military officers present.

U.S. never has abandoned its Bill of Rights
Opinion by By Peter Raven-Hansen, professor of law.  The history of lawless police states leaves little doubt how one would respond to a terrorist attack. The government would declare a national emergency to invoke new "emergency" powers and measures.

Military action releases eight aid workers in Afghanistan
Eight Western aid workers held by the Taliban are now free.

Two presidents still discuss arms cuts involving nuclear weapons
Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting President Bush's ranch here — a visit combining traditional Texas hospitality with serious talks on arms cuts and economics.

Fasting for Ramadan starts Friday for Muslims
Saturday will be the first day of fasting for Muslims in Costa Rica and elsewhere. That is the start of the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the time when God is believed to have sent the faith’s holy book, the Quran, to earth.

Court orders retrial for Colombian general
Colombia's highest court has ordered a civilian retrial for an army general convicted by the military in connection with a 1997 massacre.

Judges in Sinaloa placed under protection
Federal judges in Mexico's western Sinaloa state are under the protection of special state government agents following the slaying of two judges. 

Breakthrough hailed in world trade talks
Members of the World Trade Organization, meeting in Doha, Qatar, decided Wednesday to launch a new round of global trade negotiations.

Friday, Nov. 16

Manuel Antonio group plans major initiative starting with monkeys
A group of hotels and businesses in Manuel Antonio have banded together to save squirrel monkeys from modern electric lines.

Fear of flying and other airline opinions
Jo Stuart’s weekly column

Book lovers seek help for new library
Manuel Antonio-Quepos book lovers are looking for help to set up a drive to raise funds to fix up a building for a public library.

Starbucks has deal for Costa Rican coffee producers
A big U.S. coffee retailer will pay more cash per pound to coffee suppliers and producers who pay their workers minimum wage and stick to other worker safety laws and environmental practices

Canada and U.S. moving closer on border issues
The United States and Canada share the longest undefended border in the world. The two countries have been discussing ways to harmonize immigration laws and security on their border. Those talks have taken on new urgency in the wake of Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington.

U.S. Immigration Service will be split in two parts
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has announced a major restructuring of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to separate its law enforcement function and service to immigrants.

Reader troubled by essay and 'dictatorial powers'
By Edward B. Winslow:In his rambling and contradictory essay Peter Raven-Hansen concludes that the U.S. will never give up the protection of the law. But he describes activities recently undertaken by the U.S. government as those that might appear in a police state.

IMF reduced projection on eve of big meeting
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reduced its projections for global economic growth for the second time since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

U.S. House, Senate in air safety accord
U.S. lawmakers are expected to vote as early today on a compromise bill to make flying safer in the United States following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Shots targeting lawyer who defends drug lords
A Mexican lawyer who has defended several accused drug lords has survived the fourth attempt on her life since 1998.

Four gunmen hijacked small plane in Guyana
Officials in Guyana say four armed men have hijacked a small commercial aircraft to neighboring Brazil. 

Protestors in Mexico oppose new airport
Thousands of protesters blocked major avenues in Mexico City Wednesday, and clashed with police before moving peacefully to the city's central plaza to establish a camp.

Confidence in Argentina continues free fall
Confidence in Argentina's economy continues to fall, despite a breakthrough agreement reached late Wednesday on the government's deficit reduction plan.

Brazil will not be punished for environmental record
A top U.S. trade official says the Bush Administration will not impose trade sanctions against Brazil and other nations based on their labor and environmental records. 

Monday, Nov. 19-20

National Museum sounds warning bell on pollution
You won’t have to bring boots, but the theme of the National Museum’s new exhibit is the wetlands of western Costa Rica and the water birds that live there. Far from being simply an up-beat look at wetlands and the birds they harbor, the exhibit also hopes to raise the consciousness of the public about pollution.

Double issue of A.M. Costa Rica
This is a double issue of A.M. Costa Rica because both of us are off to find more news in the area between Puntarenas and Manuel Antonio.

Surprise! Crouse expects to get out of jail this week
Roger Crouse is upbeat these days. In a telephone call from his prison in Liberia, the Playas del Coco bar owner said that he expected to be released in a couple of days.

Fulbrighters focus on language study as 'patriotic'
There is a greater need for American universities to diversify modern language study for not only academic reasons, but also now for "patriotic" reasons. That was one of the conclusions of a panel assembled at George Washington University last week.

Argentina might begin to use the dollar bill
Argentine Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo says his country would adopt the euro or U.S. dollar if the economic crisis worsens, rather than devalue its currency, the peso.

Wednesday, Nov. 21

Major bridge work will improve travel to the south
Big construction is going on from south of Parrita to Quepos. Four bridges are being replaced. 

Hotel business seems improved for Thanksgiving
Tourism seems to have snapped back in San José after some declines and considerable hand-wringing among hotel operators.

Closed for Thanksgiving
The U.S. Embassy will be closed for Thanksgiving Thursday, and the section that issues tourist visas will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Benefit concert here for abandoned seniors is set for Dec. 2
More than 100 persons are expected for a concert Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. to benefit a home for abandoned adults.

Noriega praises role of OAS in ensuring safety
The role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in ensuring the safety and stability of the Western Hemisphere has been amplified by its swift response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said Roger Noriega, U.S. ambassador to the OAS.

Former ombudswoman will talk to Democrats
This year’s annual Holiday Fiesta for members and friends of Democrats Abroad will be held at the Hotel Villa Tournon Saturday afternoon, Dec. 8, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Menem set at liberty in arms smuggling case
Former Argentine President Carlos Menem  has been freed from house arrest and cleared of charges he ran an arms smuggling ring while in office.

New anthrax letter shows up in Chile
A letter containing the deadly anthrax bacteria has been discovered in Chile.

Colombian rightists set mayoral hostages free
Colombian paramilitary forces have released six local mayors after holding them for two days to protest their contacts with leftist rebels.

Venezuela expects to get zinged by U.S.
Venezuela's foreign minister says he expects his country will not be granted duty-free trading privileges by the United States as it has requested. 

Coast guard seeks Cubans in mishap
The U.S. Coast Guard has spotted an overturned speedboat in the Florida Straits believed to have been transporting some 30 illegal immigrants from Cuba. No survivors have been found so far. 

Brazil’s president stresses poverty
Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso says the war on terrorism should not be allowed to overshadow the war against poverty. 

Earthquake hits Colombia
An earthquake has hit parts of northeastern Colombia. It measured 6.0 on the Richter scale.

Thursday, Nov. 22

THANKSGIVING: Time to consider what is and what is not important
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, and it is a good time for English-speakers to reflect on what is important, what is not important and for what we should give thanks.

Police detain a woman in the case of the slain university student
Police have taken into custody a 27-year-old female suspect in the murder of Shannon Martin.

Effort for horseshoe pitch begins for fans in Heredia
It is not exactly a groundswell yet, but some sports types near Heredia are trying to put together a horseshoe association.

Government and rebels agree to open peace talks
The Colombian government and the country's  second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), have agreed to open formal peace negotiations.

Gunmen die in heist at Pavas highway bank
Three gunmen tried to stick up the crew of an armored car about 8:40 a.m. Wednesday in front of the bank BanCrecen on the Pavas highway less than a mile west of the west border of La Sabana Park.

Powell promises to work with Nicaragua's Bolaños
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States will work with international financial institutions to promote investment and economic growth in Nicaragua.

U.S.-Mexican pact faces delays due to attacks
U.S. officials say an immigration agreement between the United States and Mexico will be delayed due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Friday, Nov. 23

Even a candidate takes to Internet to deliver message
RACSA, the government Internet provider, has been under fire in Costa Rica and beyond, for allowing customers to send massive numbers of unsolicited e-mail ads. But now Liberation presidential candidat Rolando Araya Monge has sent messages to account holders.

Everyone Should have Someone at Thanksgiving
Weekly column by Jo Stuart

So what will you do with 280 computer cases?
When employees of a computer assembly firm went to inspect a newly arrived shipment ofcomputer cases, they found that someone had made off with 280 of them.

Mud buries many at illegal strip mine
Emergency workers in western Colombia are digging through tons of mud after the rain-softened walls of a condemned strip mine crashed down on scores of trespassers digging for gold.

Rio parliamentarians want votes on FTAA
Western Hemisphere lawmakers meeting in Rio de Janeiro have approved a resolution calling on nations to discuss holding referendums on whether to join the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA.

Latin leaders and a king gather to talk terrorism
Leaders from Latin America and former colonial powers, Spain and Portugal, gather Friday in Peru for an Ibero-American summit on terrorism, the world economy and other issues.

Police in Caracas fire on rioters
Venezuelan riot police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas to break up clashes between thousands of pro- and anti-government demonstrators.

Embassy representative plans Guanacaste trip
A representative of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy will be in Flamingo next Friday to help U.S. citizens in the Guanacaste area. 

Monday, Nov. 26

The Tico tradition lives again to herald holidays
The official beginning of the holiday season took place Sunday when about 70 two-wheeled oxcarts, carved saints, oxen in training and their handlers paraded down Paseo Colon into the downtown.

This is something that's downright un-American
Patricia Martin commnetary on use of the word "American" for U.S. citizens.

Opposition candidate claims victory in Honduras
The main opposition candidate in Honduras has claimed victory in Sunday's presidential election.

Senate wants to hear Ashcroft discuss views
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to testify about controversial legal measures in the anti-terrorism campaign.

Latin summit in Lima condemns terror 
Leaders from Latin America, Spain and Portugal have wrapped up a two-day summit in Lima, Peru, by condemning terrorism and pledging increased cooperation against it.

Fujimori says Montesinos was an error
Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori said he made what he calls a "grave political error" in hiring former spychief Vladimiro Montesinos as his top aide.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

A young Tica finds reality on the San José streets
The young Tica has been abroad for some time, so the conditions of the San José streets were a little shocking: Homeless children

Planning a little Yule trip?
In case you were planning a little Christmas vacation to an undisturbed, Central Asian country where you could kick back and enjoy the climate,  not have to worry about television and maybe explore some mountain caves, the U.S. government has issued a travel warning for Afghanistan.

Another quake in area
An earthquake hit off the coast of Nicaragua near the Costa Rican border Monday about 4:13 a.m.  The quake was 33 kilometers (about 20 miles) deep.

Bush issues a warning to Iraq
Iraq's Saddam Hussein will "find out" the consequences if he does not permit international inspectors back into Iraq in order to prove to the world that he's not developing weapons of mass destruction, President Bush said Monday.

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear challenge to NAFTA accord
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge brought by the U.S. steelworkers union to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed in 1992 by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Peace journalism course planned for Costa Rica
What better place to learn to promote peace through journalism than Costa Rica. That’s what Radio for Peace international suggests as it offers a 10-week course in "peace journalism" for foreign students.

Official results show Maduro won Honduras
The main opposition candidate in Honduras has won Sunday's presidential election. Official results released Monday declared Ricardo Maduro, the  candidate of the National Party,  the winner over Rafael Pineda of the ruling Liberal Party.

Colombia to restart talks with rebel group
The Colombian government and the country's second largest Marxist rebel group have agreed to restart peace talks next month.

Police said Cartago gang held up couples in cars
Five persons whom investigators said may have been responsible for sticking up many couples were arrested Sunday in Cartago.

Wednesday, Nov. 28

Five persons arrested as major coke source
Anti-drug investigators have arrested five persons they claim brought in and distributed about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine to the Central Valley each week.

Details are released for electronic lottery
The people who bring you the national lottery have come forth with details of their new electronic system that includes lotto and sports betting.

Man, 29, faces crack charge
Investigators arrested a 29-year-old man Friday in Barrio Santa Rita de Poás de Aserri, south of San José and said he was a distributor of crack cocaine and marijuana.

A little brain teaser
The Costa Rican lottery requires someone to pick six  correct, two-digit numbers. 36x36x36x36x36x36 = 21,76,782,336. Yet the real odds for the Costa Rica lotto are much smaller, less than 2 million to 1: 1,947,792 to 1. Why is this so?

Yet another e-mail virus on the loose in Costa Rica
A new computer virus has been launched on the world, and computers in Costa Rica are showing signs of infection. The virus is the W32.Badtrans.B@mm.

Dummy address will not help
When a computer virus last swept through Costa Rica, a reader suggested that users insert a dummy address at the start of their address file. The theorywas that the virus would try to send an e-mail to a bad address, and the computer would recognize the address as bad and freeze the mailing process. But current viruses randomly select addresses.

Nation readies for strike by 5,000 taxi drivers
Taxi drivers and their passengers are on tenterhooks today waiting for the outcome of a meeting between taxi representatives and those of the Ministry of Public Works and transportation.

Baseball pitcher ready for delayed display
Arian Cruz, 23, one of Cuba's top young left-handed pitchers, will be back on the mound again this morning showing his stuff to scouts at Estadio Antonio Escarre in San José.

U.S. officials will tie up those on uncooperating airlines
U.S. customs officials are demanding that foreign airlines hand over advance information on arriving passengers to screen for possible terrorists on  board.

Cubans rally in Havana for end to trade ban
Tens of thousands of Cubans have rallied in Havana, hours after the United Nations called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo against the island.

Cayman Islands OKs tax pact with U.S.
The United States and the United  Kingdom have signed an agreement that allows for the exchange of information on tax matters between the Cayman Islands — a British dependency in the Caribbean — and the United States, according to a Treasury Department press release.

Ashcroft said 600 suspects include al Qaeda members
Attorney General John Ashcroft said Tuesday that about 600 suspects have been detained in the investigation of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Scientists playing tag with albacore in Pacific
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the first time is tagging Pacific albacore tuna to track their migratory habits.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Five passengers survive crash of plane near Quepos
The two pilots died as did a Costa Rican passenger when a Sansa passenger plane crashed into heavy jungle while trying to land at Quepos Wednesday.

On the trail with his really good homemade bread
Canadian Bruce Babcock is gaining a reputation for himself as the Downtown Breadman. The sometimes construction worker can be seen afternoons lugging around a canvas bag of his homemade banana bread, a business he has done off and on for nearly eight years.

Three readers accept our math challenge and win our praise
The question was how come the odds in Costa Rica’s new electronic lottery was a mere 1,947,792 to 1 when some math approaches would suggest that the odds would be a lot higher.

Funny U.S. money detected in Quepos, La Fortuna
Police arrested three Spanish tourists in Quepos this week to face allegations that they passed phony U.S. $100 bills.

U.N. report on AIDS is pessimistic at best
The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is worsening, according to a new U.N. report Thursday.

Woman presses her case with public exhibit
A Cartago woman took to the streets Wednesday to generate support in her long and complex fight with agencies of the Costa Rica government.

Police probe two shootings 
In Aurora de Heredia four young men suffered wounds in a home Tuesday night when another person showed up and began shooting. The four men went to the hospital, each wounded by a bullet.

Fox promises justice for 'dirty war' victims
Mexican President Vicente Fox has vowed to seek justice for the families and victims of those abducted, tortured and killed during Mexico's so-called "dirty war" in the 1970s.

Young girl gets wish in visit to Costa Rica
A young Minnesota girl, Nicol Hoffman, visited Costa Rica as a guest of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that tries to advance the desires of sick children.

Amazon monitoring aimed at drug flights
Work is proceeding quickly on installing an advanced electronic surveillance system in Brazil's vast Amazon basin to monitor activities ranging from air traffic control and drug trafficking to changes in water quality. 

International cricket comes to Costa Rica
The ground of the Humbolt School in Pavas was the scene of a cricket match Saturday. A team assembled from several parts of Costa Rica went against a team from Hollywood, Calif.

Still no sign found of missing U.S. citizen
Fliers have been posted as far away as the San José  area in the search for a missing elderly U.S. citizen who is said to have walked away from his tourgroup Nov. 19 at Tabacón Resort near La Fortuna de 

You won’t need to walk to work
Taxi drivers did not go on strike Wednesday as they had threatened. San Carlos and the Arenal Volcano.

Friday, Nov. 30

The Christmas season really gets started tomorrow night
The official holiday kickoff is Saturday when there will be a full day of activities centered around the National Theater.

Foreign confidence seems to be recovering well
Foreign interest in Costa Rica is looking up again — if participation in a free introductory seminar is any gauge.

There’s some good news for tourism sector, too
Most of those who become involved with the residents association are seeking permanent relocation at least part of the time each year. But there was some good news Thursday on the tourism front. The Costa Rican Tourism Institute said that $9 million would be earmarked for promoting the country as a tourism  destination.

Watch Out! Women Marching
Weekly column by Jo Stuart

Five plane survivors brought to San José for aid, observation
Five passengers rescued from the wreckage of a Sansa passenger plane near Quepos ended up in Clinica Biblica late Thursday for a stay of up to five days.

A happy New York story
In these days of declining tourism one bright spot for the future is Costa Rica as a golf destination. Plans for more golf courses are being realized with more in the planning stages. 

Former Mexican president deny ‘dirty war’ involvement
Two former Mexican presidents who served in the 1970s and early 1980s have denied any involvement in what was called the "dirty war" against political dissent.

Brazil shows tiny economic expansion
Brazil's economy expanded by just a third of a percent in the third-quarter compared to a year ago, according to preliminary figures by the Brazilian Institute of Statistics and Geography.

Compromise reached on Mexican trucking
Negotiators from the Senate and House of Representatives have reached agreement  on legislation that would give Mexican trucks open access to U.S. highways as long as they pass regular safety inspections.

Senate committee votes to keep Andean deal
The Senate Finance Committee has voted to extend and expand an expiring U.S. preferential trade program for Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, but included a provision limiting duty-free tuna imports from the Andean region.

Venezuelan business plan anti-Chavez strike
Venezuela's largest business federation, Fedecamaras, has voted unanimously to stage a12-hour strike next month to protest President Hugo Chavez's economic laws.

Ashcroft offers deal to non-citizen informants
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced a new initiative that would give non- citizens U.S. immigration benefits if they provide the U.S. government with credible information about terrorists.

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