Vol. 3 • Edition 161 • Weekly • Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008 Costa Rica, Central America • $1ºº
Transition period toward dry season begins P. 4
World faces growing risk of conflict says U.S. intelligence P.20 The world faces a growing risk of conflict over the next 20 to 30 years amid an unprecedented transfer of wealth and power from West to East, the U.S. intelligence chief has said. (P. 20)
UN revises down Latin America growth prediction P.21
Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean will not rise above three percent of GDP in 2009, a UN regional economic body said, revising down a previous prediction of four percent. (P.21)
Jackson Five to reunite for new tour P.22
The Jackson Five, the group that launched the career of pop superstar Michael Jackson, are planning to reunite for a world tour next year, his older brother said, according to Australian media. (P.22)
sports The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) announced that the weather has begun its transition period toward the dry season. Now we have outstanding sunsets like this scene in Tamarindo. Photo Hotel Cala Luna.
Following an inclement rainy season that has battered the province of Guanacaste, the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) has indicated in a report that Costa Rica is finally entering a period of transition from wet to dry season.
In the Central Valley in particular, wind during this transition time becomes strong, generating rain in the mountains. Alternating dry and wet days is one of the main characteristics of this transition period.
This change in climatic conditions is caused by the incursion of cold fronts through the Caribbean Sea, coming from North America — which are typical of the boreal autumn and which generate moderate-tostrong cool north winds that cause periods of dry and decreased rain in the Central Valley and the Pacific, while they lead to strong rain in the Caribbean region and the Northern Zone.
However, weather experts warn, the hurricane and tropical storm season doesn’t end until Nov. 30, so up until then there’s a chance of tropical cyclones developing in the Caribbean Sea — which could affect the climate throughout the country, especially on the Pacific side, where period of heavy rain are still a possibility. (P.04)
Costa Rica’s dry season, or summer, typically runs from December to April, which coincides with the country’s “high” tourism season.
Playas del Coco, Guanacaste 506.2670.2212
According to the IMN, the 3-4 week transition period toward the dry season already began last week along the Pacific coast and in the mountainous Central Valley.
Philadelphia fans celebrate first title in quarter-century P.23 Hundreds of thousands of joyful sports fans in Philadelphia jammed the sidewalks to watch a celebration parade for the World Series champion Philadelphia. No major Philadelphia sports team in 25 years had won a U.S. league crown until the Phillies defeated Tampa Bay 4-3 last Wednesday to complete a four games to one triumph in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship final. (P. 23)
(506) 2653-202 s CrystalSandsCR.com
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
ALSO INSIDE Business & Economy Costa Rica to participate in international tourism fair
A group of 16 Costa Rican companies will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to represent the country at the Latin American International Tourism Fair (FIT), which is considered the most important event of its kind in the region. (P.8)
Society Luxury homes to pay higher taxes
A tax on luxury residences passed in first debate in Congress last week, with legislators unanimously voting to impose a special charge on houses whose market value is 100 million colones (approximately $182,000 at the current exchange rate) or more. Revenue from the tax will go toward the shantytown eradication program. (P13)
costa rica TIDES CHART Day
Information for Pacific Coast
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Dental modification in Greater Nicoya
My Guanacaste Journal articles often result from particular coincidences in my continually multi-tasking life, and this is another such effort. Some time ago, when I was still at the University of Colorado at Boulder, I had asked a colleague in physical anthropology what the life span of human dentition was, in evolutionary terms. His response was, â€œAbout 40 yearsâ€?; and after that, if not before, â€œit was all fillings and false choppers.â€? (P.14)
Canada to seek continent-wide approach to climate change
Canadaâ€™s Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for a North Americawide plan to curb CO2 emissions linked to warming, while jumbling his new cabinetâ€™s economic and environmental duties. (P. 21)
Europe Trilateral talks on Gibraltar end without agreements
Representatives from Britain, Spain and Gibraltar ended tw talks last week without agreement on any issues, including the thorny topic of maritime safety around the British territory. (P. 20)
Global Affairs UN rights panel urges Japan to scrap death penalty
The UN Human Rights Committee called on Japan to abolish the death penalty, just days after the country executed two people taking the annual level of deaths to a 30-year high. (P. 19)
Entertainment â€˜The Exorcistâ€™ tops poll of best-ever horror films
â€œThe Exorcist,â€? William Friedkinâ€™s 1973 iconic movie, has been voted the best horror film ever made, according to a new poll of British filmgoers published last week. (P. 21)
Sports New Cowboys stadium to host 2010 NBA All-Star Game
The 2010 National Basketball Association All-Star Game will be staged in the new retractable-roof stadium of American footballâ€™s Dallas Cowboys, the league announced last week. (P.23)
Contents P.04 Lead Story P.06 Business & Economy P.10 Society P.16 Week In Brief P.18 Health
P.19 Global Affairs P.20 Europe P.21 Americas P.22 Entertainment P.23 Sports
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Health Starting anti-retroviral treatment earlier sharply improves survival rates for people infected with HIV, according to a new study. Researchers say analysis of thousands of HIV-positive patients between 1996 and 2006 found a 71-percent higher risk of death for those who delayed treatment compared with those initiating early highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported last week. (P. 18)
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Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
Transition period toward dry season begins (Infocom) — Following an inclement rainy season that has battered the province of Guanacaste, the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) has indicated in a report that Costa Rica is finally entering a period of transition from wet to dry season. Costa Rica’s dry season, or summer, typically runs from December to April, which coincides with the country’s “high” tourism season.
This change in climatic conditions is caused by the incursion of cold fronts through the Caribbean Sea, coming from North America — which are typical of the boreal autumn and which generate moderateto-strong cool north winds that cause periods of dry and decreased rain in the Central Valley and the Pacific, while they lead to strong rain in the Caribbean region and the Northern Zone. In the Central Valley in particular, wind during this transition time becomes strong, generating rain in the mountains. Alternating dry and wet days is one of the main characteristics of this transition period.
ning to let up by Friday.
According to the IMN, the 3-4 week transition period toward the dry season already began last week along the Pacific coast and in the mountainous Central Valley.
Meanwhile, this same phenomenon dumped rain on the Caribbean coast and the Northern Zone. These parts of the country saw isolated, moderate-to-strong rains that peaked on Wednesday and Thursday. Additionally, the front brought cloudiness, cool temperatures and drizzle to the northern and eastern parts of the Central Valley. In the Central and South Pacific, atmospheric conditions were stable, with little rain reported.
However, weather experts warn, the hurricane and tropical storm season doesn’t end until Nov. 30, so up until then there’s a chance of tropical cyclones developing in the Caribbean Sea — which could affect the climate throughout the country, especially on the Pacific side, where period of heavy rain are still a possibility.
This season of climate changes will also bring about a rainy period in the Caribbean watershed, which could extend from November 2008 until February 2009. Costa Rica’s Caribbean region behaves different weather-wise from the rest of the country due to cold fronts that sweep through the area, sometimes even causing periods of constant downpours there for days at a time.
Last week, IMN experts explained, an increase in atmospheric pressure over Central America caused by a cold front generated windy conditions in Costa Rica. The stron-
The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) announced that the weather has begun its transition period toward the dry season. Now we have outstanding sunsets like this one in Tamarindo. Photo Hotel Cala Luna.
gest wind gusts were felt in the North Pacific area between Tuesday and Thursday, begin-
The “summer” that begins arriving in Guanacaste in late October to early November this year followed a tough winter in the province. As a result of multiple and strong precipitations, many communities were hit by flooding that left hundred of people stranded or in shelters. It wasn’t until Oct. 20 when the last emergency alert in the region was lifted, after many people who live on the banks of the Tempisque River had to be evacuated and taken to provisional shelters.
Local production sector needs credit in tough times: Business officials
(Infocom) — In the midst of the current economic and financial crisis sweeping across the globe, access to credit both for individuals and businesses has been seriously constricted — and that’s not good for the Costa Rican economy, according to government officials and business representatives. That’s why the local production sector is trying to attract more investment boost employment generation to weather the storm. Costa Rica’s commercial policy offers several advantages that should help the country cushion the impact of a worldwide recession, such as diversification of products and markets. “However, it’s important that the national financial system consider a policy that would guarantee availability of credit for the production sector, especially targeted at small and medium businesses, so that they can maintain their growth, continue to export and avoid the loss of jobs,” warned Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz. The official reiterated that for the local industry to be able to grow and generate more employment opportunities, access to credit is vital. Some efforts the government has put in place in this regard include the creation of the Small and Medium Business Development Fund (PYME Law) and, more recently, the approval of the Development Bank System
Law. Notwithstanding, Ruiz said, it’s necessary to foster a credit policy that would allow the fast flow of cash to exporters, which is key to keep a balanced trade activity and support small and medium businesses that are the backbone of Costa Rica’s exporting sector. An analysis of Costa Rica’s export sector found that sales abroad grew by 5 percent as of September of 2008. While the agricultural industry posted growth of nearly 12 percent so far this year and exports to some markets have increased by more than 14 percent (among them Central America and Panama, the Caribbean, and the European Union), it’s still worrisome that overall growth has been less than expected. That can be explained by the U.S. economic slowdown and possible recession, the fact that Costa Rica hasn’t ratified the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States, and the severe increase in the prices of raw materials and fuels — without forgetting the impact of adverse climate, the global financial crisis, and other factors. Any actions regarding the health of the local export sector should consider the importance of services within this industry. Last year, the export of services generated profits to the tune of $3.6 billion, growing by 20.5 percent in the first semester of 2008. These
Introducing Crystal Sands – The Finest Address in Guanacaste The Development Bank System’s goal is to strengthen small and medium businesses. Pictured here are the members of the Bank’s council. THE GUANACASTE JOURNAL/Infocom
figures have prompted the government to include in a revised version of the National Development Plan, a services-exporting goal of $6.5 billion by 2010.
In terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Costa Rica expects to clear $2 billion this year. The FDI figure was also revised in the National Development Plan, going from $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion annually for the 2008-2010 period.
As part of a strategy to promote investment that would improve the local business climate, government and private sectors are seek more transfer of technology and knowledge so that new investments and export growth would be complemented by a more dynamic local economy — this through the strengthening and development of production linkages and focusing more investment monies in regions of the country that are lagging in terms of relative development.
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Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
Costa Rica and Chile strengthen ties through Bachelet visit (Infocom) — The visit to Costa Rica by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet last week (Oct. 28-29) helped strengthened diplomatic and trade relations between the two nations, which have had a long history of favorable ties. Bachelet and her official delegation were received with honors at the Costa Rica Art Museum’s Sculptures Garden and later visited Casa Presidencial, where the South American leader and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias signed an “association agreement” — which, among other things, deals with issues such a social security and cooperation and exchange of information between the two nations’ civil registry services.
Following the signing of the accord, Bachelet and Arias held a private meeting, with both presidential delegations also meet at the Presidential Cabinet’s meeting hall. Bachelet was later treated to lunch by the Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP). Following a visit to the Supreme Court, the Legislative Assembly and the National Elections Tribunal, the Chilean President attended a dinner organizer in her honor. “This meeting has allowed us to review the situation of our countries and confirm,
once again, the tremendous similarities we have in perspectives and the priorities that we establish in our bilateral and multilateral agendas; and we believe that we are producing concrete results at the high level enjoyed by the excellent historical relations between Costa Rica and Chile,” Bachelet said.
Early on Wednesday, Oct. 29, Bachelet — Chile’s first female president — saluted the Chilean community in Costa Rica (many sought refuge here after the 1973 coup led by the late Gen. Augusto Pinochet) and then visited the San Jose headquarters of the Inter-American Human Rights Court. Accompanied by the Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS, of which the court is part), Bachelet participated in the inauguration of the court’s new building.
In her first visit to Costa Rica since her 2006 election, the 57-year-old center-left politician also toured the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) east of San Jose. Prior to Bachelet’s visit, the Chilean and Costa Rican delegations met on Oct. 24 to discuss bilateral affairs, approving a biennial cooperation program for 2009-2011 that will kick off with some 20 projects and which will cement both nations’ interest in maximizing the benefits of bilateral cooperation.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet met with her Costa Rican counterpart Oscar Arias during a visit here, during which they discussed issues of common interest, including better trade relations.
The meeting of the “Chile-Costa Rica Mixed Commission” brings about the reactivation of this group, which hadn’t met since 1999. The commission explored several initia-
tives, including citizen security, rural development, road infrastructure, production and competitiveness, gender equality, education, and science and technology.
Congress seeks to pardon debts by artisan fishermen (Infocom) — The Legislative Assembly’s Permanent Commission on Agricultural Affairs has begun working on a plan to condone debts incurred by struggling fishermen as part of the Costa Rican Fishing and Aquaculture Institute’s (INCOPESCA) Fishing Production Trust. One of the actions taken by members of Congress was to approve a motion seeking to consult the issue with representatives of the main artisan (small) fishermen organizations. Groups that are expected to present their views on the issue include the fishermen associations of Barrio El Carmen, Chomes, San Antonio (Nicoya Gulf’s Chira Island) and Puntarenitas (Golfito); the Artisan Fishermen Industry Union; Coope Puerto Thiel R.L.; CoopeTarcoles R.L; and the Chira Island Line Fishermen Association.
Congressman Marvin Rojas, of opposition Citizen Action Party (PAC), explained that because the artisan fishing industry is comprised of many groups — some organized, some not organized — legislators decided to make a selection of those who are better structured to make this consultation, so that the legislative commission studying the issue of debt forgiveness would have a general understanding of this sector’s problems because making any decisions.
“We are only going to do this consultation in writing, because there are more than 60 fishermen organizations that might be interested in providing their input on this issue,” Rojas said. The bill — introduced by Bienvenido Venegas, of minority Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) — is being studied in a subcommission right now, which includes Rojas, PUSC legislator Lorena Vasquez and
8643 of the Development Bank System — to forgive any remaining financial obligations from the INCOPESCA-Banco Popular Fishing Trust (which was created in March 16, 1994, through Law No. 7384).
A bill currently in Congress seeks to forgive debts incurred by artisan, or small, fishermen. THE GUANACASTE JOURNAL/Infocom
Saturnino Fonseca, of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN).
The changes proposed in the bill are contained in one single article, which would authorized the National Development Trust (FINADE) — which was created by Law No.
According to industry data, the artisan fishermen sector includes some 7,000 workers, who lack a comprehensive organization that would consolidate the many small associations that exist along Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
“We artisan fishermen have always been seen as the sector that has the least power in this industry, but the truth is we are a group with a lot of potential due to the large number of jobs we generate and the fact that we cause the least impact to marine ecosystems through our activities,” said David Chacon, president of the CoopeTarcoles R.L. (Central Pacific) administration council.
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
Potato variety research takes place in Abangares (Infocom) — As part celebrations on the occasion of the International Potato Year, Agriculture Minister Javier Flores Galarza, in coordination with experts from the National Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer Institute (INTA), recently unveiled three new promising potato clones at the Carlos Duran Experimental Station in Potrero Cerrado, Cartago (on the slopes of the Irazu Volcano).
flavor inside,” Aviles said. “These varieties provide a better yield with less use of agrochemicals, and that’s why they are a very promising option for organic producers.”
According to Carlos Alfaro Rodriguez, manager of the Ministry of Agriculture’s (MAG) Potato Program, these new varieties have a very high cooking quality and excellent flavor, plus their flesh is yellow — a color preferred by homemakers to prepare mashed potatoes and picadillos (diced potato dishes).
The head of MAG also said that the release of the varieties will take place during the first few months of 2009, once the requirements established by the National Seeds Office are met.
As part of this research effort, it is expected that the clones will soon be released and, once the seed reproduces, will be given to growers for cultivation.
Jeanette Aviles Chavez, who runs the Carlos Duran station, explained that this project lasted more than four years, with experimental plantings established in various potato-growing regions of the country, such as Zarcero (Northern Zone), Cartago (at medium and high altitude), and Abangares (Guanacaste). In all of these places, regardless of the local climates, the varieties yielded excellent results. “I believe it’s important that people begin to rate potatoes not only for their smooth skin, but that they consider the quality and
Green season’s sale
Minister Flores underscored that these new clones are the result of the vigorous technical exchange that goes on between MAG, INTA and the International Potato Center. He added that these varieties will play an important role in the government’s National Food Plan, because their tolerance to pests and diseases helps farmers reduce their production costs, yielding higher income in the process.
“In Costa Rica, there are more than 100 potato varieties that can be grown, but only six are properly registered and exploited commercially,” Flores said. “Nearly 1,000 small growers make a living from growing potatoes, and Costa Ricans eat about 11 kilos of potatoes per capita.” The ceremony in Potrero Cerrado was also attended by Martín Callisaya, the Bolivian ambassador to San Jose; Alberto Gutierrez, the Peruvian ambassador here; and Alan Bojanic, representative of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to Costa Rica. Also present were conventional and organic potato growers from throughout the country.
off In all our rates
Agriculture Minister Javier Flores Galarza provided information about the results of a research study on new potato varieties that were tested in Abangares, Guanacaste. Photo MAG
Costa Rica to participate in international tourism fair (Infocom) — A group of 16 Costa Rican companies will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to represent the country at the Latin American International Tourism Fair (FIT), which is considered the most important event of its kind in the region.
Tour operators, hotels and car rental businesses will set up their displays in the South American capital Nov. 1-4, vying to draw the attention of international wholesalers and travel agencies. For the past 12 years, FIT has gathered representatives from the Latin American tourism industry and other parts of the world, becoming a key platform to maximize the capacities of its participants. This year, there will be nearly 1,800 exhibitors at the fair, with the novelty of having South Korea, Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China joining the event for the first time.
“FIT is an attractive tool that allows to reach several key areas of the industry,” said Gonzalo Vargas, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR). “It offers a space for sharing the current options of the tourism industry, leading to the negotiation of new deals, making valuable investments and learning about trends in the market.”
Vargas explained that Costa Rica’s participation in this fair is very important due to the current global economic recession. “At this time it’s essential to strengthen our business,” he said. “Our presence at FIT is part of our strategy to seek better positioning of Costa Rica as a tourist destination by increasing our visibility. It’s also an opportunity to target the South American market, the Latin American region in general, and even the European market, on which we are focusing our efforts to counteract the effects of the financial crisis in the United States.” According to CANATUR data, the South American market is very important to Costa Rica. Only in 2007, nearly 110,000 tourists from this region visited the country, most of
Costa Rica seeks to maximize the potential of popular destinations such as Tamarindo Beach to better its tourism industry at the international level.
them from Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina.
Delegations from Latin American countries and from nations around the world attend FIT every year, exchanging experiences, contributing new products and services, and coming together to analyze trends in the international tourism market.
The fair attracts airlines and ground transportation companies, banks, financial entities, hotels and alternative lodging, rent-a-cars, private and state-sponsored tour operators. Two types of visitors attend FIT: professionals involved in the tourism and travel industries and the general public, who is anxious to get to know about new destinations and tour options.
The 1,760 exhibitors that attended FIT last year represented more than 50 countries, with some new faces in the crowd such as Thailand, the Seychelles Islands and Namibia. Dominating the exhibit area were MERCOSUR (South American Common Market) nations such as Uruguay and Brazil, which offered visitors a myriad tour packages and other novelties.
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Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
Ad Astra’s plasma rocket engine achieves full power rating (Infocom) — Ad Astra Rocket Co. — with laboratories in Houston, Texas, and Liberia, Guanacaste — has made another stride in its race to develop a plasma-fueled engine that would revolutionize space travel.
witness to a rapid recovery of experimental operations by the Ad Astra team, after a major disruption caused by the storm.”
Founded by Costa Rican physicist and former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz, Ad Astra Rocket Co. is a privately-owned corporation established in 2005 to commercialize the technology of the VASIMR engine.
“We are elated with this achievement and exceptionally proud of the Ad Astra-Nautel team whose diligence and dedication made it possible, in spite of the disruption caused by the hurricane,” said Chang Diaz, Ad Astra’s chairman and CEO.
In the control of the plasma, the start-up phase was expected to be challenging, due to the extreme changes in electrical conditions that accompany the initial creation of the plasma. The new control algorithms, developed by the AD Astra team, successfully overcame these difficulties and enabled the power ramp to proceed. These advances in system control are also expected to play an important role in the operation of the 170 kW second stage, the next major objective in the VX-200 program.
The helicon first stage of Ad Astra’s VX200 VASIMR plasma rocket prototype has achieved its full power rating of 30 kW, with Argon propellant, in tests conducted last at the company’s Houston laboratory. The helicon first stage is an essential component of the VASIMR rocket and is responsible for generating the core plasma needed by the engine to operate, Ad Astra said in a press release.
Short for Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, VASIMR is a new highpower plasma-based space propulsion technology, initially studied by NASA and now being developed privately by Ad Astra. A VASIMR engine could maneuver payloads in space far more efficiently and with much less propellant than today’s chemical rockets. Ultimately, VASIMR engines could also greatly shorten robotic and human transit times for missions to Mars and beyond. According to Ad Astra, the successful
Meanwhile, Nautel congratulated Ad Astra on its “outstanding achievement.”
the 30 kW first-stage and the 170 kW second stage yields the rocket’s full rated power of 200 kW, the company explained.
“The ground breaking RF and plasma technology work resulting from the Nautel and Ad Astra collaboration is a testament to the engineering excellence of the two companies,” said Peter Conlon, president and CEO of Nautel.
“The achievement of the present milestone is the result of weeks of intense experimentation with the integrated first stage system and required the development of new proprietary algorithms to control a number of functions affecting the stability of the plasma source,” Ad Astra said in its release. “Coming on the aftermath of Hurricane Ike (which affected the Houston area in weeks past), the present result is particularly significant, as it bears
In rocket propulsion, the higher the temperature of the exhaust gases, the higher their velocity and hence the higher their fuel efficiency. Plasma rockets feature exhaust velocities far above those achievable by their chemical cousins, so their fuel consumption is extremely low and their fuel-related costs substantially reduced.
The VX-200i engine undergoing vacuum chamber tests at Ad Astra’s Houston facility. Photo courtesy of Ad Astra Rocket Co.
achievement of this full power rating milestone clears the way for the integration of the engine’s 170 kW ion cyclotron resonance heating (ICRH) second stage, which is responsible for accelerating and ejecting the plasma out of the rocket nozzle, thereby providing useful thrust. The combination of
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The present milestone also marks an absolute record for power, using the flight-like radio frequency (RF) solid state power generator developed in partnership with Nautel, Ltd. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Canadian company is also engaged in the final test phases of the similar but more powerful (170 kW) RF generator needed for the VASIMR second stage.
The VASIMR engine works with plasma, a very hot gas at temperatures close to the interior of the Sun. Plasmas are electrically charged fluids that can be heated to extreme temperatures by radio waves and controlled and guided by strong magnetic fields. The magnetic field also insulates any nearby structure; so temperatures well beyond the melting point of materials can be achieved and the resulting plasma can be harnessed to produce propulsion.
China leader to boost Costa Rica ties in November visit
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SAN JOSE (AFP) – Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Costa Rica on November 17 to boost bilateral ties established last year, the Chinese ambassador said here. Costa Rica is the only Central American country to hold diplomatic relations with China rather than Taiwan. The visit “has a very important and farreaching meaning and will surely be a big boost to continuing ties of friendship and cooperation we started a year ago,” Chinese ambassador Wang Xiaoyuan told.
In the highest-level visit by a Chinese official to the Central American country, Hu will meet Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to discuss bilateral issues. Costa Rica broke off more than 60 years of relations with Taiwan when it began diplomatic ties with China on June 1, 2007.
Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Costa Rica on November 17. AFP/
Taiwan has seen the number of its allies dwindle over the years, as competition for supporters with rival China heats up. Both Taiwan and China have been accused of using so-called “dollar diplomacy” to get nations to ally with them.
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
CCSS presents study on Guanacaste dengue outbreaks (Infocom) — Last Oct. 28, Dr. Francisco Paniagua of the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS) presented a study and analysis of the dengue outbreak that affected Guanacaste in 2007. The presentation also included a roundtable in which CCSS experts and consultants discussed strategies for dealing with this mosquito-borne, viral disease in the next few years.
among students about the disease by means of creative and interactive tools.
Additionally, a group of national and international experts participated in a seminar related to the potentially fatal disease — this with the goal of improving ways in which health officials are combating the spread and reoccurrence of dengue in different parts of the country.
While researchers and health officials look for more effective ways to fight this disease, private companies and public institutions have continued supporting several campaigns aimed at tackling the source of the epidemic throughout Costa Rica.
Moreover, last Oct. 26 there was another “Sweep against Dengue” cleanup day in the Caribbean province of Limon, organized by beer and soft drink manufacturer Florida Bebidas in collaboration with several community organizations throughout Limon.
Dengue fever is spread when virus-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bite humans. The impact of outbreaks is augmented by the abundance of mosquito-breeding grounds, including old tires, garbage and any container that can hold water for a few days.
For example, the program “United through Art against Dengue” — an initiative of CCSS and consumer products giant S.C. Johnson — has reached several schools in San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Liberia and Limon. The program seeks to raise awareness
There’s also an active campaign for collecting plastic containers and tires involving CCSS, HOLCIM and several municipalities. According to data provided by HOLCIM, the municipality that has collected the most materials is San Jose.
And there’s more coming up. Quesada explained that retailer Wal-Mart and S.C. Johnson, along with CCSS, are getting ready to launch four dengue awareness campaigns during the month of November in the communities of Pavas, San Sebastian, Heredia
p r e m i u m h om e l i f e s t y l e
Luxury homes to pay higher taxes
According to estimates by the Ministry of the Treasury, the tax could generate some 21 billion colones (some $38 million), although a study conducted by the Legislative Assembly indicated that revenue would be lower: about 10 billion colones ($18 million).
Guanacaste communities such as Santa Cruz have organized themselves to fight against dengue. THE GUANACASTE JOURNAL/Infocom
and Liberia so that citizens remember to take the necessary precautions to mosquitoes and the disease at bay.
Still ongoing is another campaign, “Putting the Brakes on Dengue,” promoted by tire manufacturer Bridgestone-Firestone in
20 schools throughout Costa Rica. It will finish in November.
According to Quesada, these efforts have a common objective: fighting against an enemy that continues to sicken many Costa Ricans and even threatens their lives.
Accountants association to open office in Liberia
(Infocom) — The Private Accountants Professional Association informed it will build a new office next year in the Liberia region, in an effort to assist members of this profession to better carry out their activities.
Association president Gustavo Flores Oviedo said that the new building will greatly benefit members in the Guanacaste region. The organization has budgeted a special earmark to cover all the costs of the new infrastructure. Plans call for the contractor in charge of the project to begin construction between the final quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2009 and have the building ready next year. A groundbreaking ceremony already took place in Liberia’s Barrio La Carreta.
Attending the ceremony were members of the association’s board of directors and many accountants who are part of this professional organization. Placing the symbolic first stone of the building were Gustavo Flores; Juan Antonio Flores, vice president of the InterAmerican Accountants Association (AIC); and Alberto Torres, president of the association’s Liberia regional council.
Torres said he was “very pleased with the support he has received from accountants in the Liberia region and with the board of directors for their support.” He added that the new building will help the accountants association become more visible in the community, while the building will be used as a training center so that accountants can continue to improve their knowledge. Authorized Distributor / Tel: 2260 2632 / Fax: 2260 2471 / e-mail: email@example.com
(Infocom) — A tax on luxury residences passed in first debate in Congress last week, with legislators unanimously voting to impose a special charge on houses whose market value is 100 million colones (approximately $182,000 at the current exchange rate) or more. Revenue from the tax will go toward the shantytown eradication program.
According to CCSS’ Marylene Quesada, this is one of several strategic alliances the institution has formalized with businesses to maximize exposure of citizens to dengueprevention messages. Other efforts include cleanup campaigns and recycling drives aimed at getting rid of potential mosquito breeding grounds. Last Oct. 17, for instance, vehicle-inspection company RITEVE finished its old tire collection drive, as several trucks from the HOLCIM group (a producer of construction materials) came to RITEVE stations to haul away the nearly 3,000 tires Costa Ricans recycled as part of this effort.
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
The Liberia “Accountant House” will become the sixth regional office of the Private Accountants Professional Association to have its own building — a key asset for
Members of the Liberia Regional Council of the Private Accountants Professional Organization participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new association building to be built in Guanacaste. Photo courtesy of Juan Alberto Castro
holding meetings, seminars and training sessions.
Additionally, the association recently held the Third International Accounting Congress, which took place both in San Jose and in Guanacaste. The congress’ conference cycle was conducted at a hotel in Playa Conchal, Guanacaste. The objective of the Congress was to provide accountants with the necessary knowledge to properly deal with fast changes in their profession, which are the result of a complex and sometimes volatile environment in today’s business world.
Such changes, congress organizers said, often require new attitudes and competencies on the part of the professionals, which would allow them to anticipate abrupt variations and engage in adaptive practices that would lead to favorable situations. Also needed in today’s accounting environment are better research capabilities and constant updating of knowledge.
According to the bill, luxury home owners — some 6,500 in Costa Rica — will pay this tax for 10 consecutive years (only the homes will be taxed, not the lots). After this 10-year “probationary” period, the law will be evaluated and a decision will be made on whether the tax will be kept. The goal is to have precarious housing eliminated in the country during these 10 years. The percentage of tax paid depends on the market value of the residence. Those homes appraised at between 100 million and 250 million colones will pay 0.25 percent of their value; those worth between 250 million and 500 million colones will pay 0.3 percent; homes valued from 500 million to 750 million colones will be taxed 0.35 percent; between 750 million and 1 billion colones, 0.40 percent; between 1 billion and 1.25 billion colones, 0.45 percent; between 1.25 billion and 1.5 billion colones, 0.5 percent; and those houses appraised at over 1.5 bil-
The new luxury home tax seeks to collect funds that will be used in eradicating the many shantytowns present in the country.
lion colones will be taxed at the 0.55 percent of their value. Many legislators have expressed their support to this tax bill because of its spirit of
“solidarity,” that is, that those who have nicer homes to live in will help individuals who aspire to have a decent home of their own.
However, legislators with the Libertarian
Movement (ML) party, while voted for the tax, said on the record they oppose the idea of taking away from the rich to solve the problems of the poor.
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
culture / society
Dental modification in Greater Nicoya By Frederick W. Lange My Guanacaste Journal articles often result from particular coincidences in my continually multi-tasking life, and this is another such effort. Some time ago, when I was still at the University of Colorado at Boulder, I had asked a colleague in physical anthropology what the life span of human dentition was, in evolutionary terms. His response was, “About 40 years”; and after that, if not before, “it was all fillings and false choppers.”
In dental school, tomorrow’s dentists learn that the main functions of our teeth are for chewing, facilitating speech, and providing aesthetics. To this has been added the anthropological term “paramasticatory,” which is the alteration to our dentition by the daily use of our teeth as tools, or by intentional alteration. Among the daily use examples that come to mind are: When I was a kid I had the good fortune to spend a lot of time in Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. There, the rocks that were utilized to grind the corn (manos and metates) were so soft that it has been calculated that 30 percent of everything they ate that had been ground between two rocks was volcanic sand. From the human skulls I was able to look at in the storage areas of the monument, anyone over the age of 20 was lucky to have two teeth that still met, and those teeth that remained were sanded flat to the exposed tooth pulp by the continual chewing of sandy tortillas. Some years later as a young professional archaeologist, I had the opportunity to exca-
Mainieri’s contributions were highlighted by the Costa Rican Geologists Association. At a meeting of the board of directors of this professional organization, its president, Enid Gamboa, gave Mainieri a plaque that recognizes him as “Emeritus Member” of the association, of which he is a founding and active member since 1973.
Back in 1974, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) charged Mainieri with the tasks of finding places in the country that would meet the requirements for generating energy by harnessing the Earth’s internal heat.
Gamboa pointed out the commitment, talent and love for geothermal science that Mainieri has shown during the past 35 years. “The tenacity, consistency and scientific work of Don Alfredo fills us with great pride, and it’s even a bigger honor that you are a part of our organization,” Gamboa said.
Such endeavor led to the Miravalles Geothermal Field in Guayabo de Bagaces, Guanacaste, which consists of five plants that produce nearly 14 percent of the National Electrical System’s (SEN) capacity.
Upon receiving this recognition, Mainieri thanked the association’s board of directors, and said he accepted such distinction on behalf of all the ICE professionals who have contributed to the development of geothermal science in Costa Rica.
A career geologist, Mainieri said that the 1974 project meant not only his moving from San Jose to Guanacaste, but also a big challenge that ended up bearing important fruit for the SEN in the past few years. An ICE employee for the past 39 years, Mainieri now leads the government agency’s Geothermal Resources Division, is an international consultant on exploration and exploitation of this type of energy, and is a specialist on Italy. This image shows dental modification among ancient Guanacastecans, specifically inlays with filing, perhaps as the result of Mesoamerican cultural influence some 1,700 years ago.
vate burials in an Afro-American slave cemetery on the island of Barbados. There we could tell which deceased slaves had been pipe-smokers, since gradually a gap is worn between the two teeth where a pipe-smoker grips the mouth piece of the pipe. Interestingly, women as well as men had the tell-tale pipe-smoking gaps in their dentition. Among the European Neanderthals, whose reputation continues to be refurbished from brutish cavemen to heavy but enlightened ancestors (see, for example, the article in National Geographic magazine from October 2008). Their dentition reveals that they (both men and women) spent considerable time chewing hides to soften them for winter weather clothing. Refocusing this article on the intentional alteration or modification of teeth allows us to mention that there were three most common means of purposeful modification uti-
lized by Native Americans in Mesoamerica and, to a lesser extent, South America. These are filing, incising, and inlays. Inlays with filing is the technique shown in the Guinea Incised vessel image that accompanies this article. Human skeletal materials with filed teeth have been excavated from the Bay of Culebra and El Moral de San Blas areas of Guanacaste, so there is independent archaeological proof of the dental modification shown so vividly in the image. Many years ago, while living in Costa Rica, I was told of a burial that a pot-hunter had excavated, in which a ceramic vessel portraying filed teeth was found immediately next to a skeleton whose upper and lower jaws had filed teeth that matched the pattern shown on the pot. Dental modification was widely practiced in prehistoric times and in terms of the example illustrated here we can ask: Was the filing because of familiarity with a Mesoamerican
pattern or a South American custom? More research needs to be done, but I suspect the tooth filing in this specific case was a result of Mesoamerican influence somewhere around 1,700 ago. Dr. Frederick W. Lange has a doctoral degree in anthropology, awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971. He is the author of the recently published book BEFORE GUANACASTE, a popular account of the first 10,000 years of this wonderful place. BG is available at the Jaime Peligro Book Store in Tamarindo, the Café Britt Book Store at Peninsula de Papagayo, and in Libreria Internacional bookstores in San Jose and throughout Costa Rica. His e-mail address is: hormiga_1999@ yahoo.com
Organized crime law getting closer to legislative approval
(Inside Costa Rica) — The Legislative Assembly’s Special Commission on Public Security unanimously approved the Law to Combat Organized Crime, which has been in discussion at the commission level for the last two months. The law, if approved by Congress, would provide judicial officials and police the legal tools to investigate and pursue organized criminal gangs. The proposal defines as a criminal organization any group of three or more people, permanent or temporary, who conspire to commit a serious crime or a series of serious crimes. Among the crimes that would be considered organized crime are murders, crimes that result in serious injuries against journalists, law en-
forcement officials and members of the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government. Included in the provision are also crimes such as international trafficking of drugs, arms and people; sexual exploitation; and money laundering and corruption. Legislator Luis Barrantes, head of the Libertarian Movement (ML) Party legislative members and president of the security commission, said that the commission has taken seriously the points made by the Prosecutor General Francisco Dall’Anese. Another change expected by the new law, when passed, is the creation of a criminal database that will be shared by all police and judicial agencies.
Pioneer of geothermal energy in Guanacaste honored (Infocom) — Dr. Alfredo Mainieri, one of the pioneers of electricity generation from geothermal sources in Costa Rica, has been recognized for his contributions to energy security.
Now that I am safely on the other side of 40 years, and having had only moderately good dental habits as a child and adult, I have been spending a considerable amount of time undergoing dental and periodontal treatment. I also had been looking at the image that accompanies this article in the course of a study that required a review of dental modification in both Mesoamerica and South America (I had grown up referring to the filed treatment shown in the illustration as “mutilation,” but since the individual had actually requested the filing to enhance his appearance, “modification” seems to be a better term. This was not torture, but beautification!
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
Mainieri’s studies related to geothermal power began in 1975, when he and a group of ICE experts developed what was first called the Guanacaste Geothermal Project, capturing abundant natural heat produced by
Dr. Alfredo Mainieri was one of the pioneers of geothermal energy generation in Guanacaste. Photo ICE
the Miravalles Volcano. Later on, the group conducted feasibility studies that permitted the construction of the existing geothermal plants. The first of the group, Miravalles I, began operating in 1994. While his colleagues describe him as a
visionary individual who has devoted his life to finding renewable and clean sources of energy for Costa Rica’s benefit, Mainieri believes that “Miravalles is still in operation fundamentally because there’s a group of capable people who work in its evolution and
At 65, Mainieri is still leading teams that conduct studies to find new sites for development of additional geothermal projects. Las Pailas and Boriquen, located on the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, are two sites that, when operations, would significantly increase the production of this clean energy that has powered the long career of Alfredo Mainieri.
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
Politics Costa Rica gets close to APEC
(La Nacion) — Costa Rica has been included, along with seven other Latin American nations, in the so-called Pacific Arch, which seeks to consolidate trade relations with members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. The Arch also includes El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
Pacheco makes history as first Congress leader to serve as interim President
(La Nacion) — For the first time in Costa Rica’s history, the head of the Legislative Assembly has temporarily occupied the presidential seat, as Francisco Antonio Pacheco, 68, took over Casa Presidencial while President Oscar Arias traveled to the 18th IberoAmerican Summit in El Salvador last week. President Arias has been left without any of his two vice presidents — Kevin Casas resigned last year and Laura Chinchilla stepped down recently to run for president in 2010 — and, according to the country’s Constitution, the next person in line to replace the President when he is out of the country is the head of Congress.
week in brief Bill, the last of the “complimentary” laws required to be passed by the Legislative Assembly to ratify the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States. The court took only 10 days to resolve the matter, leaving plenty of time for legislators to debate the bill and approve it before the Dec. 31, 2008, deadline or be left out the trade agreement. Costa Rica is the only signatory country in the trade deal between the United States, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic which has not ratified the accord. Opponents to the trade deal have come under pressure for their stall tactics and for not bowing down to the “will of the people,” as a majority of Costa Ricans voted in favor of CAFTA in the country’s first-ever public referendum last October.
Rich richer, poor poorer: State of the Nation report (Inside Costa Rica) — The fourteenth State of the Nation report revealed that the gap between those who have money and the poorest Costa Ricans have stretched further in the last year. The report indicates that the rich got richer in 2007, while the poor were just getting by, similar to the situation reported the previous year. Even though the government increased its investment in social programs and infrastructure, research shows that the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow. The research also indicates that earnings don’t go as far due to high inflation. Despite it all, the report considers 2007 a good year for the national economy, as for the third year in a row there has been a strong increase in the Gross National Production (more than 7 percent) and there was a reduction in the poverty rate to 16.2 percent.
led to higher household incomes this year. Planning Minister Roberto Gallardo said that without government assistance, poverty in Costa Rica would have been 20.2 percent, rather than 17.7 percent.
Costa Rica ask Spain to forgive debt in exchange for education programs
(La Republica) — Once again, the Costa Rican government has asked Spain to forgive its $56 million debt in exchange for the country investing such amount in educational programs. President Oscar Arias had made a similar request to Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in the past, but the petition didn’t work out then because Spain’s laws didn’t allow such a move. Now, Costa Rica seeks to be included in a program through which Spain has been conducting such kind of exchanges since 2003, but which currently excludes the Central American nation.
Fuel prices could go down significantly in December
(Al Dia) — Technicians with the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) said that if international crude oil prices continue to slide and the colon exchange rate doesn’t suffer any abrupt fluctuations, the regulatory agency would approve a fuel rate decrease in the middle of December. Expected rate cuts would be 108 colones per liter of super gasoline; 101 colones per liter of regular gasoline; and 63 colones per liter of diesel. This would great news for consumers, who are still waiting for ARESEP to authorize a reduction requested in October, and which is expected to go into effect in November (47 colones for regular gasoline; 39 colones for super gasoline; and 45 colones for diesel.
Costa Rica has almost 1 million poor people
Business & Economy Last of CAFTA bills given the goahead (Inside Costa Rica) — The Constitutional Court resolved in record time the appeal by legislative members of opposition Citizen Action (PAC) and Broad Front parties on the constitutionality of the Intellectual Property
(Inside Costa Rica) — The results of the latest Household Survey of the National Census and Statistics Institute (INEC) revealed that Costa Rica has 931,767 poor people — 95,400 more than last year. The survey was taken between July 7 and August 8 among 14,930 homes in various parts of the country. Elizabeth Solano, coordinator of surveys for INEC, said that the increase in the number of poor people was not as drastic as in previous years. Solano explained that income rose 16 percent on average, but taking into inflation into account, the real increase was only 2 percent. The effect of social support by organizations such as the IMAS, the noncontributory pension and student scholarships under the “Avancemos” program also
ños, who argued that Article 48, paragraph 7 of the Family Code deprived people of their liberty to rebuild their lives by imposing a constraint on the will of the parties to divorce by mutual consent if they do not have three years of marriage. The provision forced a person to maintain the “legal” bonds of matrimony although living separate lives, which many felt was an unreasonable time and unjust. Earlier this year, the Constitutional Court also struck down as unconstitutional the law that forced a woman to wait 300 days before being able to remarry after a divorce or submit herself to a pregnancy test.
ICE to deliver track and trace measurable mobile marketing platform (Inside Costa Rica) — The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), in partnership with NeoMedia Technologies, is planning to create a new measurable mobile marketing platform that will enable retailers, banks and other organizations to build a mobile marketing system that will drive innovative mobilebased marketing applications — which for the first time can track, trace and measure consumer activity. The NeoMedia platform will transform cellular phones into barcode readers that provide immediate access to Internet-based content and services. Consumers can use the phones to scan 2D barcodes on product packaging, advertisements, retail displays and publications. The codes open up a vast range of potential for product marketing, incentive-driven promotions, and value-added benefits to be offered to the consumer. Each scan that triggers a visit to a promotional site can be traced and tracked, enabling 100 percent measurable activity and feedback on the performance of the promotion, and therefore 100 percent measurable ROI on the mobile marketing spend. “Using the mobile as an effective and efficient marketing tool is the goal of every mobile operator,” said Orlando Cascante, ICE’s Customer Division director.
Percentage of older Costa Ricans growing at faster rate
3 days behind and your water service will be shut off
(La Nacion) — The Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) has announced that from now on, it will only give customers three days to pay their late bills because water service is shut off. In years pasts, consumers had up to three months to pay late bills. Recently, they had up to eight days. AyA officials said that if affected customers pay their bills in the morning, they will have their service restored in the afternoon.
Costa Ricans don’t have to wait to get divorced anymore (Inside Costa Rica) — The Constitutional Court has declared unconstitutional the requirement of having to be married at least three years before being able to file for a divorce. The unanimous vote means that a divorce can be filed at any time after tying the knot. The Court felt that the waiting period violated the rights of an individual. In addition, the Court struck down the requirement that a couple must be together at least two years before they can consent to a mutual separation. The Court’s decision stemmed from a suit filed by Mariano Castillo Bola-
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
science & technology
(ACAN-EFE) — In 15 to 20 years, Costa Rica will double its population of people 65 years and older, according to a study by the State University for Distance Education (UNED). Currently, Costa Rica has 278,000 seniors, but such a number would swell to 600,000 in the next two decades. The number of Ticos older than 80 would also double during this period, reaching 121,000 people. The study also indicates that of seniors 65 and older, only 11.2 percent are working, while 22 percent of those not employed don’t have any source of income.
U.S., Costa Rican police raid office in $100 million fraud investigation
(AFP) — U.S. and Costa Rican authorities last week raided the offices of Red Sea/ Sentry Global in downtown San Jose, seizing documents in an investigation of a $100 million fraud scheme. The raided offices house branches for the firms Red Sea Management, Sentry Global Trust, Sentry Global Securities and Global Financial Logistics. The raid is in connection with an FBI sting in New York that led to the arrest of Jonathan R. Curshen, who is the honorary consul to Costa Rica from the Caribbean island St. Kitts and Nevis, on fraud allegations in September.
Mummy’s not our daddy, says ‘Iceman’ study PARIS (AFP) – Gene scientists delving into the 5,300-year-old remains of Oetzi the Iceman, the mysterious mummified man found high in the Alps, say he most likely has no modern-day relatives. Italian and British experts looked into the mitochondrial DNA – genetic material handed on down the maternal line – teased from Oetzi’s body at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is very stable, changing only gradually as it is handed down the generations, which means it is an excellent yardstick for genealogy. Oetzi’s mtDNA belonged to a broad genetic category called K1, which is still common in Europe today, the investigators reported. However, modern Europeans today belong to three sub-lineages of K1, whereas Oetzi’s sub-lineage has most probably petered out. “Our analysis confirms that Oetzi belonged to a previously unidentified lineage of K1 that has not been seen to date in modern European populations,” said Martin Richards, a professor of biology at the University of Leeds in northern England. “The frequency of genetic lineages tends to change over time, due to random variations in the number of children people have – a process known as ‘genetic drift’ – and as a result, some variants die out. Our research
suggests that Oetzi’s lineage may indeed have become extinct.” Oetzi, found in the eastern Alps near the Austrian-Italian border in 1991, was preserved over the millennia thanks to deep chill and layers of snow. His body was found to be in an astonishing state of conservation, along with clothes and weapons that have given many clues into how people lived in the Late Neolithic age. Scientists believe Oetzi was around 46 when he died. He had been severely wounded by an arrow and possibly dispatched with a blow to the head by a cudgel. In 1994, a probe into his mtDNA suggested that descendants of Oetzi may be alive today in Europe, but Richards said that this was based only on a small section of the telltale gene sequence. Richards did not rule the possibility that the samples of mtDNA from contemporary Europeans had failed to provide a full picture, which meant that Oetzi’s lineage could still be around today. But only a fuller sampling among the inhabitants of the Alpine valleys where Oetzi was born could provide the answer. The latest investigation, led by Franco Rollo and Luca Ermini of the University of Camerino in Italy, was published in a British journal, Current Biology.
Oetzi, found in the eastern Alps near the Austrian-Italian border in 1991, was preserved over the millennia thanks to deep chill and layers of snow. pautadoit.pdf
Fearsome T-Rex was one nosy dinosaur
PARIS (AFP) – Tyrannosaurus Rex could sniff out distant prey even at night, yet another reason the flesh-ripping predator reigned supreme as king of the dinosaurs, according to a study published last week. Earlier research had shown that the towering T-rex could see better than an eagle and would have been able to run down the fastest of humans. The new study now unveils a previously unheralded weapon in the fearsome theropod’s arsenal: a dangerously keen sense of smell. Any trace of the brains of dinosaurs, which roamed Earth for tens of millions of years up to the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 million years ago, has long since disappeared. But a trio of scientists led by Darla Zelenitsky at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada found a novel way to gage the sniffing prowess of T-rex and a couple dozen other meat-eating dinosaurs and primitive birds. By examining fossil skull bones, the researchers were able to measure the size of indentations made by olfactory bulbs, the part of the brain associated with the sense of smell. “Living birds and mammals that rely heavily on smell to find meat have large olfactory bulbs,” Zelenitisky said in a statement. The same animals also tend to prowl for prey at night, and cover vast areas, he added. Of all the dinosaurs examined, the T-rex had the largest olfactory bulb relative to its overall size.
Earlier research had shown that the towering CM T-rex could see better than an eagle and would have been able to run down the fastest of MY humans. CY
The study, published in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also found that primitive birds had highperformance odor detectors, challenging a long-held assumption about the evolution of winged vertebrates. “It has been previously suggested that smell had become less important than eye sight in the ancestors of birds, but we have shown that this wasn’t so,” said Zelenitsky. Archaeopteryx, for example, which took to the skies during the Jurassic Period some 150 million years ago, had a sense of smell comparable to meat-eating dinosaurs along with excellent eye sight, the study said. Somewhere along the way birds began to lose their sense of smell, but the decline probably happened far later than previously thought, the study concludes.
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
HIV treatment should begin earlier
Total artificial heart to be ready by 2011 PARIS (AFP) – A fully implantable artificial heart designed to overcome the worldwide shortage of transplant donors will be ready for clinical trial by 2011, the French professor behind the prototype said.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Starting antiretroviral treatment earlier sharply improves survival rates for people infected with HIV, according to a new study. Researchers say analysis of thousands of HIV-positive patients between 1996 and 2006 found a 71-percent higher risk of death for those who delayed treatment compared with those initiating early highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported last week. The study, led by Mari Kitahata of the University of Washington-Seattle, looked at 8,374 patients whose CD4+ T-cells – key “helper” cells in the body’s immune system – were between 351 and 500 cells per square millimeter in blood. Thirty percent of subjects in the study began taking HAART right away, while 70 percent waited until their T-cell count dropped below 350, when the immune system is considered seriously compromised.
“The researchers found a 71 percent higher risk of death for patients who deferred treatment rather than initiating HAART, suggesting that therapy should begin at an earlier stage of HIV disease than currently recommended,” NIH said in a statement.
The optimal timing for the introduction of HAART therapy – a combination of at least three HIV medicines – has been a point of contention for more than a decade, with some doctors suggesting holding off treatment as long as possible in order to spare patients the side effects of AIDS drugs.
Up to now, guidelines had recommended that HIV treatment begin when a person’s T-
cell count dropped below 350.
“The data are rather compelling that the risk of death appears to be higher if you wait than if you treat,” Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which sponsored part of the research. The findings were presented Sunday at the 48th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Washington.
Lead researcher Kitahata said the findings were striking because of the “magnitude” of the difference in survival rate between the two groups, according to USA Today. “Seventy percent is a significant and substantial increase in the risk of death,” the daily quoted Kitahata as saying.
According to the World Health Organization, 33 million people around the world are infected with the AIDS virus, mostly in subSaharan Africa. One million HIV-infected people live in the United States. Some two million people died worldwide of AIDS in 2007.
“We are moving from pure research to clinical applications. After 15 years of work, we are handing over to industry to produce an artificial heart usable by man,” Carpentier told AFP. Several teams around the world are racing to develop a total artificial organ able to permanently replace the human heart, in answer to a worldwide shortage of heart donors estimated at 20,000 each year. Carpentier developed his prototype in association with a team of aerospace engineers seconded to the project by EADS.
Shaped like a real heart, with the same blood flow rythms, the prototype uses the same technology as prosthetic heart valves developed by Carpentier and already used around the world. Made from chemically treated animal tissues, these “biomaterials” are designed to avoid rejection by the patient’s immune system or blood clotting, a recurrent problem with existing artificial hearts, Carpentier said. It is aimed at patients suffering after a massive heart attack or with late-stage heart failure, for whom drug therapy, ventricular assistance or heart transplant have failed or are not available. Up until now, the heart has been tested via digital simulation as well as on animals, with trials revealing “no complications”, Carpen-
“The marked deterioration of international financial markets since mid-September has exacerbated the prevailing uncertainty ... and has given rise to a further tightening of financing conditions.
Shaped like a real heart, with the same blood flow rythms, the prototype uses the same technology as prosthetic heart valves developed by Carpentier and already used around the world.
Today’s generation of artificial heart is a thumb-sized device implanted in the chest that sucks blood from the heart and pumps it into the aorta, and which has to be recharged every four hours using an external battery. Surgeons in the United States and Europe have implanted such ventricular assistance devices (VAD) in 220 patients since 2000. A further type of artificial heart works as a “bridge” until a suitable donor organ can be found.
Rival prototypes for a fully implantable artificial heart include the AbioCor – developed by U.S. firm Abiomed – which was used in 14 trials between 2001 and 2004, with patients surviving an average of 5.3 months. Another U.S. team is working on a prototype called MagScrew Total Artificial Heart, which was trialled on calves in 2005, while researchers in Japan and South Korea are working on similar projects.
Lst week, the world body sharply cut an earlier mortality forecast, saying the latest forecast now expects deaths to rise from 2.2 million in 2008 to a maximum of 2.4 million in 2012, before declining to 1.2 million in 2030.
“Under these circumstances, the estimates ... suggest that the year-on-year growth rate of GDP (gross domestic product) in the third quarter declined by 0.9 percentage points to
ropean countries because of the boom in the housing sector that the country has experienced,” the director of the IMF’s research department, Olivier Blanchard, said on October 8.
0.9 percent, a figure representing a slightly negative quarter-on-quarter rate of 0.2 percent.”
The central bank’s figure was worse than that forecast by the government, which last month predicted third-quarter growth of between 0.1 percent and minus 0.1 percent.
Spain’s Socialist government disputed the IMF forecast, saying it did not take into account recent interest rate cuts and the drop in oil prices.
The Spanish economy, the fifth-biggest in the European Union, expanded by 3.7 percent last year but it began to slow as higher interest rates and oversupply put an end to a decade-long property boom. The global financial crisis has worsened the situation.
The government estimates the economy will expand 1.6 percent this year and 1.0 percent in 2009.
The Bank of Spain’s forecast bears out widespread expectations that the once fastgrowing economy is now flirting with recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of falling output. Growth slipped to just 0.1 percent in the second quarter from 0.3 percent in the previous three months as domestic consumption faltered, according to the INE, which will publish its provisional growth figures for the third quarter on November 13.
The Bank of Spain’s forecast bears out widespread expectations that the once fastgrowing economy is now flirting with recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of falling output.
The International Monetary Fund predicted earlier this month that Spain’s economy would expand just 1.4 percent this year and then shrink 0.2 percent in 2009. “Spain will be harder hit than other Eu-
It also predicts an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent in 2009, which the IMF puts at 14.7 percent.
The rate had dipped to 7.95 percent in the second quarter of 2007, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 1978. “For the first time in the last 14 years, total economy-wide employment fell relative to the same quarter a year earlier, more markedly in the market economy and, above all, in construction,” the Bank of Spain said.
Trilateral talks on Gibraltar end without agreements GIBRALTAR (AFP) – Representatives from Britain, Spain and Gibraltar ended tw talks last week without agreement on any issues, including the thorny topic of maritime safety around the British territory.
With environmental groups on both sides of the frontier urging cooperation on maritime safety, following a number of shipping incidents in the bay separating Gibraltar from Spain, there had been some expectation that some concrete progress may be announced on this issue. Maritime cooperation is wrapped into larger sovereignty considerations, as Madrid
considers Gibraltar does not have territorial waters. London and Gibraltar disagree.
“Participants worked intensively on the drafting of documents setting out specific objectives and methodology for cooperation,” participants at the non-ministerial “Trilateral Forum of Dialogue on Gibraltar” said in a statement. The participants decided to meet again to try to finalise agreements ahead of a ministerial round of talks due next year.
Aside from maritime safety and the environment, other areas of possible cooperation include financial services and taxation, ju-
dicial, police and customs issues, education and visa-related issues.
The talks were at a non-ministerial level, with Britain’s senior foreign office diplomat with responsibility for Gibraltar Tim Hitchens, his Spanish counterpart Luis Fernandez de la Pena and Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana leading the delegations. The talks have no implication on the prickly issue of sovereignty.
The forum was set up in 2004 to discuss issues related to the rocky outcrop at the foot of Spain. The first meeting was held in the southern Spanish city of Cordoba in 2006,
and the second in London in July.
Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht but has retained a constitutional claim should Britain renounce sovereignty. The territory, which lies off southern Spain at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, has long been of military interest.
Now a haven for tourism, shipping and offshore banking because of its favourable tax laws, its people overwhelmingly rejected an Anglo-Spanish proposal for co-sovereignty in a referendum in 2002.
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MADRID (AFP) – Spain’s economy shrank 0.2 percent in the third quarter, the central bank said, leaving the country on the brink of recession, pummelled by a property slump and the global financial crisis.
“In 2008 to date, the adjustment of the Spanish economy that began last year has continued intensifying in a climate of heightened international financial instability which has come to a head in October,” the Bank of Spain said.
Biomedical firm Carmat, a start-up funded by the European space and defence group EADS, France’s state innovation agency, venture capital firm Truffle and Carpentier himself, is to produce the heart at a site near Paris.
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If confirmed by the National Statistics Institute (INE), it would be the first negative growth in output since the second quarter of 1993.
Leading heart transplant specialist Alain Carpentier, head of the European research team behind the project, said the prosthetic heart was ready to be manufactured and should be ready for human use “within two and half years”.
The optimal timing for the introduction of HAART therapy – a combination of at least three HIV medicines – has been a point of contention for more than a decade, with some doctors suggesting holding off treatment as long as possible in order to spare patients the side effects of AIDS drugs.
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World faces growing risk of conflict says U.S. intelligence
Canada to seek continent-wide approach to climate change
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The world faces a growing risk of conflict over the next 20 to 30 years amid an unprecedented transfer of wealth and power from West to East, the U.S. intelligence chief has said.
Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, predicted rising demand for scarce supplies of food and fuel, strategic competition over new technologies, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. “What I’m suggesting – there’s an increased potential for conflict,” McConnell said in a speech to intelligence professionals in Nashville, Tennessee.
“During the period of this assessment, out to 2025, the probability for conflict between nations and within nation-state entities will be greater,” he said. Conditions for “large casualty terrorist attacks using chemical, biological, or less likely, nuclear materials” also will increase during that period, he said.
McConnell described a multi-polar world in 2025 shaped by the rise of China, India and Brazil, whose economies will by then match those of the western industrial states. “In terms of size, speed, and directional flow, the transfer of global wealth and economic power, now underway, as noted from West to East is without precedent in modern history,” McConnell said.
Territorial expansion and military rivalries are not likely, but cannot be ruled out, and the perception that oil is scarce could trigger conflicts between states, he said. “We judge these sweeping changes will not trigger a complete breakdown of the current international system, but the next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks and many, many challenges,” he said. By 2025, China is likely to have the world’s second largest economy and to have emerged as a major military power, the largest importer of natural resources and the largest contributor to world pollution.
“China is poised to have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country,” he said. India will have either the third or second largest economy and will press to become “one of the significant poles of this new world,” he said.
Russia also will be part of that group, but only if it expands and diversifies its economy and integrates it with the world global economy, he said. “Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade, demographics, access to natural resources, investments and technological innovation. There will be a struggle to acquire technology advantage as the key enabler for dominance,” he said.
Unless economic and political opportunities improve, conditions in the Middle East will be ripe for growing radicalism and recruitment of youths into terrorist groups, he said.
“The expansion of technologies and scientific knowledge by 2025 will place some of the world’s most dangerous capabilities within the reach of terrorist organizations, whatever their cause,” he said. “One of our greatest concerns continues to be that a terrorist group or ... some other dangerous group might acquire and employ biological agents or less likely a radiological device to create casualties greater than 9/11,” he said.
Other parts of the world face a more vulnerable future as rising demand for food, fuel and other resources outstrip supply. McConnell said U.S. intelligence estimates that 1.4 billion people in 36 countries are likely to suffer from a lack of access to water for drinking and agriculture. “Now, just think about it: 1.4 billion people without these basic necessities will create significant tensions on the globe, tensions that world bodies and larger states will have to contend,” he said.
“Based on the many estimates, climate change is expected to exacerbate these resource scarcities,” he said.
Lack of access to water will be “devastating for many of the countries because agricultural (output) accounts for a large share of their economies and many of these citizens live close to the subsistence level.”
The economy will be in the midst of a transition from oil by 2025 but moving in the direction of natural gas and coal, according to McConnell.
New technologies and innovations could provide solutions but existing technologies “are inadequate for replacing the traditional energy architecture on the large scale in which it’s needed,” he said.
OTTAWA (AFP) – Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for a North America-wide plan to curb CO2 emissions linked to warming, while jumbling his new cabinet’s economic and environmental duties.
“We want to work with the Americans on regulatory systems relating to greenhouse gas emissions in order that we can work toward the same goals,” said Harper.
“We want to work with the next U.S. administration and we hope that there will be a continental approach in the future,” he told reporters. Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, predicted rising demand for scarce supplies of food and fuel, strategic competition over new technologies, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
UN rights panel urges Japan to scrap death penalty GENEVA (AFP) – The UN Human Rights Committee called on Japan to abolish the death penalty, just days after the country executed two people taking the annual level of deaths to a 30-year high. Japan “should favourably consider abolishing the death penalty and inform the public, as necessary, about the desirability of abolition,” the committee said in a report. The country, which has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, is the only major industrial nation other than the United States to use the death penalty. Its use is widely supported among the Japanese public. Tuesday’s executions were the first since conservative Prime Minister Taro Aso took office last month, and brought to 15 the number of people executed this year, the highest total since 1975. The UN rights committee made a similar call in its last review of Japan’s record 10 years ago but to no avail.
It also on Friday expressed concern at the conditions in which prisoners on death row are held and urged a “more humane approach”. The committee said it was “concerned that death row prisoners were kept in solitary confinement, often for protracted periods, and were executed without prior notice before the day of execution”. Japan informs inmates of their impending executions only shortly before taking them to the gallows, as part of its effort to ward off last-minute appeals. The country had a de facto moratorium on executions for 15 months until 2006 because the then justice minister, Seiken Sugiura, said the death penalty went against his Buddhist beliefs. Aso, who took office on September 24, is a member of Japan’s small Roman Catholic community. The Roman Catholic Church opposes capital punishment.
Emerging economies to be next victims in crisis says IMF chief VIENNA (AFP) – Emerging economies will be the next to topple in the global financial crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn wrote in article published last week. Emerging countries are facing additional problems, Strauss-Kahn wrote in a guest commentary for the daily Der Standard. Their economies “aren’t just facing falling exports and tumbling confidence,” he said. “They’re the latest victims of a financial crisis that started in the United States and spread to Europe and is now moving beyond Europe’s borders.” Ironically, the measures taken in highly industrialised countries to resolve the crisis – such as banking bailouts – “make it more attractive for investors to recall their money back home. But it is precisely that which is making life so difficult for the emerging countries,” Strauss-Kahn argued.
In order to support their financial systems and overall economic demand, emerging countries also needed to take similar measures. “But the newly acquired prosperity of many of these countries relies on access to global capital. And when this suddenly dries up, it deals a heavy blow to those countries and brings with it very major challenges, which they can’t overcome on their own,” the IMF chief wrote. Highly developed countries must be prepared to take over the responsibility of financing the measures “in proportions never seen before,” he said. The alternative, Strauss-Kahn warned, would be widespread payment default, protectionism and banking controls. “That will set not only these countries, but the entire world economy back years,” he argued.
Earlier, Harper appointed his former industry minister Jim Prentice as environment minister in a post-election cabinet shuffle. In his first scrum with reporters as environment minister, Prentice said the “environment is now an economic portfolio,” explaining that his new responsibility is to balance energy security, the economy and environment.
“One of the most difficult challenges that we face is the responsibility to be stewards of the environment and at the same time protect our economy and advance our economic interests,” he said. Climate change has been a contentious issue in U.S. politics since President George W. Bush took office nearly eight years ago. Bush remains the only leader of a major industrialized nation to have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the most far-reaching international treaty on climate change. Unlike Bush, presidential hopeful Republican John McCain has demanded binding cuts to emissions of warming gases while his rival Democrat Barack Obama has said he wants to invest 150 billion dollars over 10 years in alternative energy like wind and solar power.
Harper’s Conservatives meanwhile were harshly criticized for failing to meet Canada’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to
cut greenhouse gas emissions six percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Former environment minister John Baird had maintained that the target negotiated by a previous Liberal administration was unattainable, and unveiled a plan last year to instead cut emissions by 20 percent based on 2006 levels, by 2020. In the recent October 14 election, the Conservatives stuck to this plan and trounced the opposition Liberals who campaigned for the introduction of a carbon tax.
Prentice, as part of his ministerial duties, also joined a cabinet committee on the environment and energy security with several key economic ministers, such as National Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt. The committee is to be chaired by Baird, now transport minister. A self-described conservationist and pas-
sionate outdoorsman, Prentice said the committee’s task of safeguarding the environment and cutting Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, among others, was “rendered more difficult by an economic slowdown.” “Dealing with the important issues of energy security, the environment, and the economy are, I think, some of the most challenging issues that we face,” he said. “I think that, as more and more countries are coming to realize, we cannot separate environmental and economic policy,” said Harper. “We have to consider these things in balance.” “We have, obviously, an important environmental program, but we also have important decisions to be taken on various aspects of our policies like the framework for greenhouse gas emissions that have enormous consequences for progress and economic growth.”
Colombian lawmakers reject UN revises down Latin America President Uribe’s reelection efforts growth prediction
MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean will not rise above three percent of GDP in 2009, a UN regional economic body said, revising down a previous prediction of four percent. “For next year the region will not go above three percent,” said Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at a news conference here. Predicted growth for 2008 was 4.5 percent, but Barcena said “the most likely is that it is a little less.” ECLAC warned in a study that Latin America would suffer the worldwide economic crisis through a drop in investments, remittances and demand for its raw material exports. Regional governments will have “less access to external financing, higher interest rates, stock exchanges hit by worldwide fluctuations and a redirection of capital and assets to more secure destinations,” said the report. “In 2009, the exports sector could stop being a factor of affluence for the region,” due to falling prices for raw materials, it said. It also warned that less money would be sent home from families living abroad, particularly in the United States. Latin American stock exchanges registered sharp falls in the last 12 months, led by Argentina with a 63 percent drop, ECLAC said.
Brazil fell by 57 percent, in second place, followed by a 48 percent drop in Mexico. However, the body praised the region for its response to the crisis so far. The governments of Brazil and Mexico in particular have taken aggressive measures to try to stop the long slide of their currencies against the dollar. “Most emerging countries are better prepared than in previous crises to resist external blows given their ample foreign reserves, organized fiscal accounts and reduced external debts,” the report said. But it also warned: “this drastic change in the external scenario will have negative consequences on growth and employment in the region and therefore on the evolution of poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean.” ECLAC, headquartered in Santiago, Chile, urged the region’s countries to work together, and to maintain their policies of fiscal responsibility, inflation control, market diversification, reduced foreign debt, and accumulation of foreign reserves. Inter-regional trade, at around 19 percent in 2007, could help counteract the drop in sales to the United States, the report added. Latin American companies had increased investment within in the region – particularly Brazil, Chile and Mexico – to total eight percent of all foreign investment. The report urged for more diversification in exports, particularly to Asia, following the examples of Chile, Cuba and Peru.
BOGOTA (AFP) – Colombian lawmakers struck down a measure that would have allowed President Alvaro Uribe to run for reelection to a third term in office in 2014. By 75 votes to 40, a full session of the House of Representatives rejected a paragraph proposing additional term limits included in a political reform bill aimed at combating corruption, said the legislature in a statement. Uribe can still be eligible to stand for a third term as president if Congress approves a call for a referendum on the proposal and Colombians then vote it into law. Currently, presidents are limited to two consecutive terms under an earlier reform proposed by Uribe and approved by Congress. Uribe, who took office in August 2002 and has a popularity rating of 78 percent, has refused to disclose whether he would seek a third term. The amendment to the anti-corruption bill was rejected despite the fact that Congress is controlled by Uribe’s ruling coalition, some members of which on Tuesday had already stalled a vote on the political reform bill.
Uribe, who took office in August 2002 and has a popularity rating of 78 percent, has refused to disclose whether he would seek a third term. AFP/Miguel Solano
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‘The Exorcist’ tops poll of best-ever horror films LONDON, October 30, 2008 (AFP) - “The Exorcist,” William Friedkin’s 1973 iconic movie, has been voted the best horror film ever made, according to a new poll of British filmgoers published last week.
More than 6,000 people were surveyed by entertainment retailer HMV on its website between September 19 and October 20 for the poll. The top 10:
1. “The Exorcist” (1973) – William Friedkin 2. “The Shining” (1980) – Stanley Kubrick 3. “Alien” (1979) – Ridley Scott
“The Exorcist has been voted the best horror film ever made.
4. “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) – Jonathan Demme 5. “Saw” (2004) – James Wan
6. “Halloween” (1978) – John Carpenter
7. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) – Wes Craven 8. “Ring (Ringu)” (1998) – Hideo Nakata
9. “The Wicker Man” (1973) – Robin Hardy 10. “The Omen” (1976) – Richard Donner
“It is just the timing, so what we’ve been doing is working on the music and all the logistics.” Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael last toured together in 1984 as The Jacksons – with six members, including Randy Jackson – having originally formed the Jackson Five in 1965. The group stopped touring together as Michael and Janet became international music superstars on their own, and the Jackson Five formally disbanded in 1990. “It is going to be more like a family affair, Janet’s going to open and, of course, the original Jackson 5 ... Michael, Randy and the whole family ... we’re in the studio, we’re
The group stopped touring together as Michael and Janet became international music superstars on their own, and the Jackson Five formally disbanded in 1990.
planning on being out there next year,” Jermaine was quoted by AAP as saying. Jermaine was the guest of honour at the Multi Channel Network’s 2009 launch to advertisers in Sydney. Other guests included U.S. actor Jenna Elfman, Sarah Murdoch and Olympian Ian Thorpe.
SINGAPORE (AFP) – With the U.S. golf industry “stagnant,” Phil Mickelson revealed Wednesday that he may start playing in Europe where prize money will be significantly boosted next year in the “Race to Dubai.”
European Tour member.
wealth being created,” he said.
“As a professional golfer we have to adapt to that by playing more internationally because that is where the opportunities are and that’s where they will continue to grow.
With this in mind, the world number two has his sights set on the European Tour, where he needs to play 12 events to become a member.
The European Tour’s reorganization of its schedule next year, which culminates in Dubai, is aimed at redressing the balance of the world’s biggest names playing on the USPGA Tour.
The key to this is the “Race to Dubai” format whereby the top 60 will qualify for what is billed as the richest tournament in the world and held at the Jumeirah Golf Estates course from November 19-22.
This will give him the chance to qualify for the season-ending Dubai World Championship tournament, where 20 million dollars will be at stake.
“This has been a long time coming for the Jackson family to get back together,” Jermaine Jackson told AAP.
Nov 4 - Nov 10, 2008
Mickelson considers Europe, with U.S. golf ‘stagnant’ The American three-time Major winner said the game was not growing in the United States and professional golfers needed to adapt by playing more internationally.
Jermaine Jackson said his siblings, including Michael and Janet, were on board as he attended a pay TV launch in Sydney Wednesday, the national AAP news agency reported.
Four other films in the top 10 were released between 1970 and 1984 – “Halloween” (1978), “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), “The Wicker Man” (1973), and “The Omen” (1976).
FW Murnau’s “Nosferatu” is the oldest film on the list, having been released in 1922, while “The Mist” and “Shutter,” the DVD versions of which were released this year, are the most recent.
Jackson Five to reunite for new tour SYDNEY (AFP) – The Jackson Five, the group that launched the career of pop superstar Michael Jackson, are planning to reunite for a world tour next year, his older brother said, according to Australian media.
Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” the 1980 film remake of Stephen King’s classic novel, was placed second in the survey, followed by Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie “Alien.”
The three others featuring at the top of the list were “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “Saw” (2004), and “Ring” (1998).
Mickleson, who is preparing to defend his HSBC Champions title in Shanghai next week, made the comment when asked if he would like to see next month’s Singapore Open become a European Tour event, as has been suggested.
“It would be very helpful for me because I love playing in Singapore,” he said in a telephone interview. “Because of that ... if it were to become a European Tour event it would be great for me as it would be included as one of the now 12 events that you need to play to become a
“The U.S. golf industry has been stagnant for quite some time so all of our growth has been occurring on a global basis.
“Although I haven’t yet joined (the European Tour), it is something I am certainly considering.”
“So I look forward to having opportunities to continue to play more internationally and I understand that that is going to be an important part of being an international golfer.” The 38-year-old, who has won twice on the U.S. Tour this year, added that he hoped other golfers recognised the importance of not just playing more overseas but helping popularise the game in under-exploited markets.
It will have a prize fund of 10 million dollars and a first prize of 1.6 million dollars.
A bonus pool of 10 million dollars will also be shared by the top 15 players in the Race to Dubai after the tournament, with the winner taking away another two million dollars. “I think Dubai has taken one of the giant leaps to making the game of golf more global in the quality of events,” said Mickelson, adding that there had been a number of contributing factors that made international golf more attractive. “Certainly, the dollar weakening over the past few years has made foreign currencies much stronger, which makes the purses much larger, so there’s been a lot of international
“The States’ market is stagnant so the more opportunities we can have where top players play throughout the world and expose those places to golf I think will help grow the game,” he said.
The 38-year-old, who has won twice on the U.S. Tour this year, added that he hoped other golfers recognised the importance of not just playing more overseas but helping popularise the game in under-exploited markets. AFP
“That’s an important part of what we do. The (season-ending) FedEx Cup ending in September has given us much more opportunity to do that now.”
New Cowboys stadium to Philadelphia fans celebrate host 2010 NBA All-Star Game first title in quarter-century DALLAS (AFP) – The 2010 National Basketball Association All-Star Game will be staged in the new retractable-roof stadium of American football’s Dallas Cowboys, the league announced last week. NBA commissioner David Stern, flanked by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones, owner of the National Football League’s Cowboys, announced the news at a press conference outside the Mavericks’ American Airlines Center. “Dallas is a vibrant city with a passionate sports fan base that will embrace the NBA All-Star experience,” Stern predicted. “We appreciate the collaborative efforts of Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones on what will surely be one of the most memorable basketball events of all time.” The Cowboys’ new stadium in suburban Arlington, also slated to host the NFL’s 2011 Super Bowl, will have a seating capacity in excess of 80,000.
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Cuban said holding the mid-season exhbition there would create “amazing” excitement “with the pinnacle being the NBA AllStar Game in front of the largest crowd to ever see a basketball game.” The Dallas Morning News reported that if weather conditions and league officials allow, the under-construction stadium could open the roof and have the game played under the stars. Other events of All-Star weekend, includ-
ing the Rookie Challenge and NBA All-Star Saturday Night festivities, will take place at American Airlines Center. It will mark the first time All-Star competitions have been split between two venues since Houston in 1989, when the Rockets’ arena hosted some events and the game itself was played at the Astrodome. “The NBA All-Star Game coming to the Cowboys’ new stadium is a testament to the vision and passion that Mark Cuban brings to sports,” Jones said. “We’re proud to be partners with Mark, the Mavericks and the NBA, and we know that North Texas will be a firstclass host for this world class event.” German star Dirk Nowitzki was excited by the prospect of playing in the massive stadium. “All-Star is always a special event for the city it’s in,” Nowitzki told the Dallas Morning News. “If it’s really going to happen, it’s going to be something special in that super dome they’re building out there.” The last football stadium to host the NBA All-Star Game was the Alamodome in San Antonio, where the Michael Jordan-led Eastern squad notched a 129-118 victory in front of 36,037 fans in 1996. The largest crowd ever to watch an NBA All-Star Game was in 1989 when the Western Conference posted a 143-134 victory at the Astrodome in front of 44,735 fans.
PHILADELPHIA (AFP) – Hundreds of thousands of joyful sports fans in Philadelphia jammed the sidewalks to watch a celebration parade for the World Series champion Philadelphia. No major Philadelphia sports team in 25 years had won a U.S. league crown until the Phillies defeated Tampa Bay 4-3 last Wednesday to complete a four games to one triumph in Major League Baseball’s best-ofseven championship final. Red-clad Phillies supporters lined the city streets to watch a 90-minute afternoon march that included bands, players driven past in cars and on floats and holding aloft the Series championship trophy. Some fans got their spot before dawn along the route from Broad Street in the downtown area, south of the historic spots where 18th century U.S. patriots declared their independence from England, to stadiums on the city’s south side. Police expected almost one million people to view the parade, which was set to wind through the city’s American football stadium and then conclude across the street at the Phillies’ home ballpark. Nearly one million people watched the Phillies’ victory parade in 1980, the only other Series title for the team, which was formed in 1889. But Philadelphia fans, known for their passion and willingness to boo the home
UNITED STATES, Philadelphia: Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate during the World Championship Parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays to win their first World Series in 28 years. AFP/William Thomas Cain
side should they arouse the ire, have waited a long time for a title. The most recent crown until this week was by the basketball 76ers in 1983.
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