Vol. 3 • Edition 170 • Weekly • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009 • Costa Rica, Central America •
CERTIFICADA ISO 9001:2000
Nations demand climate plan from air, maritime industries
Representatives of 20 nations and the European Union called on the air and maritime industries to act on global warming and address carbon emissions from the unregulated sector by year-end..
Sharp slowdown for Latin America, Caribbean in 2009: UN
The global economic crisis will provoke a sharp slowdown in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2009, with GDP growth sliding to 2.3 percent after five years at over four percent, a UN report said.
‘Dogs don’t wear condoms’, says Baywatch star Anderson U.S. actress Pamela Anderson has appealed to the authorities in India’s financial capital Mumbai not to put down nuisance stray dogs, instead calling for them to be sterilized.
No more rain-shortened playoff games or tiebreak coin flips
– Major League Baseball owners rewrote their rule book to remove any chance of rain-shortened playoff games after a confusing situation in last year’s World Series.
New Beachfront Model Villa Open Daily
(506) 2653-2028 t CrystalSandsCR.com
Lead Story P. 4 The solidarity of Costa Ricans has come through once again by helping those affected by the Jan. 8 earthquake in the Poas area. Hundreds of families were left homeless due to landslides caused by the 6.2-magnitude temblor, losing all their belongings. TJ/InfoWebPress
Costa Ricans demonstrate unconditional support for the earthquake victims Costa Ricans have demonstrated their unconditional support for the victims of the Jan. 8 earthquake in Cinchona (north-central part of the country), helping out in a myriad of ways. For example, the campaign “I was born in this country,” conducted by Banco de Costa Rica, TV station Repretel and Central de Radios, organized a telethontype activity in front of the Monumental building in La Uruca (San Jose), with the goal of collecting funds that Banco de Costa Rica pledged to match one by one through its account BCR # 001-250-0. Several local artists joined the activity, including Jecsinior, Humberto Vargas, Figuras, Germain, Simba, Kalua, Azul Plata, Escats, Por Partes, Revelacion, Son Mayor, Tapon, Erick Sanchez, Madera Nueva and La Solucion.
goal of 250 million colones ($454,000), reaching 500 million colones thanks to the donations of thousands of Costa Ricans. Banco de Costa Rica then matched the donations, giving 1 billion colones ($1.8 million) to help those affected by the earthquake. Other campaigns have been organized to collect food and other basic items for displaced families who lost their homes. Items that are still being collected include non-perishable foods, canned items, water and milk, and personal care products such as soap, feminine pads, and baby diapers.
Donations to the bank account exceeded the initial
Playas del Coco, Guanacaste 506.2670.2212
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
ALSO INSIDE P. 6
Business & Economy
Experts explore trade opportunities between Costa Rica and Panama
The Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX), in coordination with the Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER), organized a session about the free trade agreement between Costa Rican and Panama, its guidelines regarding market access, origin standards, and trade promotion tools.
Construction permits halted within Las Baulas park in Guanacaste
The Constitutional Court ordered on Jan. 14, through resolution No. 2008-18529, to suspend environmental viability permits to properties located within the Las Baulas Marine National Park in Guanacaste.
science & technology
Martian methane, latest proof that ‘Red Planet’ is habitable?
Plumes of methane gas detected on Mars could be a sign of geological or biological activity – and possibly the latest indication that life can be sustained on the Red Planet, according to a new study.
Postnatal depression can be treated, prevented
Many women struggling with the post-baby blues may expect only a hug or a couple of pills, but in new studies published last week, doctors say counselling can not only treat this risky condition but prevent it, too.
EU-U.S. trade tensions flare as Washington opens WTO case
The outgoing U.S. administration fired a parting shot against Europe, opening a new WTO case against the EU a day after hiking tariffs on European products in an escalation of trade tensions.
Impact of global financial crisis on Africa underestimated
Representatives of 20 nations and the European Union called on the air and maritime industries to act on global warming and address carbon emissions from the unregulated sector by year-end.
New U.S. Security secretary would crack down on employers of illegals
New U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said the problem of illegal immigration can only be solved if employers are held accountable for hiring undocumented workers.
U.S. director Oliver Stone puts focus on Latin American left
U.S. director Oliver Stone has been traveling across Latin America recently, interviewing leaders for a documentary on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the rise of the left in the region.
Federer praises new ATP boss
Roger Federer welcomed the appointment of former Nike executive Adam Helfant to head the Association of Tennis Professionals, calling it a chance to “make tennis even better.”
Costa rica tides chart Day
Information for Pacific Coast
03:58 / 1.77 ft
10:14 / 6.71 ft
16:05 / 2.25 ft
22:37 / 7.54 ft
05:04 / 1.93 ft
11:22 / 6.56 ft
17:12 / 2.51 ft
23:39 / 7.41 ft
06:07 / 1.85 ft
12:25 / 6.67 ft
18:16 / 2.49 ft
00:36 / 7.49 ft
07:02 / 1.60 ft
13:20 / 6.98 ft
19:13 / 2.26 ft
01:27 / 7.72 ft
07:49 / 1.25 ft
14:06 / 7.39 ft
20:00 / 1.90 ft
02:12 / 8.01 ft
08:29 / 0.88 ft
14:46 / 7.82 ft
20:42 / 1.49 ft
02:53 / 8.30 ft
09:06 / 0.55 ft
15:24 / 8.22 ft
21:20 / 1.10 ft
Flamingo Marina Basin Starting at $306k
Titled Beachfront Living
Costa Rica Basics
Contents P.04 Lead Story P.06 Business & Economy P.10 Society P.14 Culture P.16 Week In Brief P.17 Science
On-Site Property Management 1 to 4 Bedroom Luxury Residences
Area: Population: Capital: Language: Time Zone:
& Technology P.18 Health P.19 Europe P.20 Global Affairs P.21 Americas P.22 Entertainment P.23 Sports
51,000 km2 4,075,261 (July 2006) San Jose Spanish UTC/GMT-6 hours
Useful Numbers Emergencies EMERGENCY SERVICES Fire Medical Alert (Ambulance) OIJ (Police Special Branch) Red Cross Hospital Liberia Hospital Nicoya Hospital San José Clinic (Coco) Clinic (Liberia) Emergency Medical Service Santa Monica Radialogy Center
911 2688-8918 2670-0258 2690-0128 2666-0994 2666-0011 2685-8400 2257-7922 2670-0987 2666-1881 8380 41 25 24 hrs. 2665-0704
Transport Central Line San José Central Line Liberia Interbus Pulmitan Liberia Tica Bus
2257-7214 2221-9115 2666-0085 2283-5573 Fax: 2283-7655 2666-0458 2666-3818 2666-0371
Lost credit cards American Express Mastercard Visa
0 800 012 3211 0 800 011 0184 0 800 011 0030
Emergency Medical Service Toll Free 800-EMS2000
Air and ground ambulance - Doctor - Paramedic
Call center 8380-4125 • 24hrs Quepos - Jaco - Cobano - Tamarindo Huacas - Sardinal - Liberia
Vol 3 • Edition 170 Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009 Costa Rica, Central America
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Edition 170 â€˘ Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Help pours out to help earthquake victims
feminine pads, and baby diapers.
(InfoWebPress â€” www.journalcr.com) â€“ Costa Ricans have demonstrated their unconditional support for the victims of the Jan. 8 earthquake in Cinchona (north-central part of the country), helping out in a myriad of ways.
Aid is being collected through local committees of the Red Cross throughout the country and through some other groups that have volunteered to receive donations. Such is the case of Obras del Espiritu Santo, the Lions Club, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Association.
For example, the campaign â€œI was born in this country,â€? conducted by Banco de Costa Rica, TV station Repretel and Central de Radios, organized a telethon-type activity in front of the Monumental building in La Uruca (San Jose), with the goal of collecting funds that Banco de Costa Rica pledged to match one by one through its account BCR # 001-250-0.
Additionally, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) activated text message numbers so that people could make donations for the victims. The numbers are 1423 to donate 1,000 colones, 2423 to give 2,000 colones, 5423 to donate 5,000, and 9423 to contribute 9,000 colones. For all of these numbers, the word â€œayudaâ€? (help) must be texted in the message. Donations via text message will be accepted until Jan. 25.
Several local artists joined the activity, including Jecsinior, Humberto Vargas, Figuras, Germain, Simba, Kalua, Azul Plata, Escats, Por Partes, Revelacion, Son Mayor, Tapon, Erick Sanchez, Madera Nueva and La Solucion.
Donations to the bank account exceeded the initial goal of 250 million colones ($454,000), reaching 500 million colones thanks to the donations of thousands of Costa Ricans. Banco de Costa Rica then matched the donations, giving 1 billion colones ($1.8 million) to help those affected by the earthquake.
The solidarity of Costa Ricans has come through once again by helping those affected by the Jan. 8 earthquake in the Poas area. Hundreds of families were left homeless due to landslides caused by the 6.2-magnitude temblor, losing all their belongings. TJ/InfoWebPress
Other campaigns have been organized to collect food and other basic items for displaced families who lost their homes. Items
that are still being collected include non-perishable foods, canned items, water and milk, and personal care products such as soap,
(InfoWebPress â€” www.journalcr.com) â€“ Last Jan. 14, the government of Costa Rica issued an international call for assistance through the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), based in Geneva, to be able to face the consequences of the devastating Jan. 8 earthquake that left death and destruction in its aftermath.
â€œI believe that the traditional solidarity of Costa Ricans has made itself known once again by providing aid and volunteering time. We are calling on people to not stop providing help and continue offering prayers, too,â€? said Mariangela Ortiz, director of President Oscar Ariasâ€™ Social Support Office.
assist in rescue operations; Colombia also sent a helicopter and rescue personnel; while Venezuela has announced assistance, including portable beds, camping tents, gas stoves, water, blankets and non-perishable foods. Meanwhile, the European Union and other states have announced that as soon as the National Emergency Commission (CNE) provides a list of needed items, they will send their aid packages.
The diplomatic request was aimed at receiving international financial assistance for reconstruction of roads, bridges and houses and the recovery of affected industries, particularly farming and dairy production, in the areas where the temblor generated the most destruction.
â€œCosta Rica thanks the solidarity, condolences, and the help offered and provided by the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China, the United States, Frances, Venezuela, Mexico, the neighboring Central American nations, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, as well as the European Union and the Group of Rio,
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At Casa Presidencial in San Jose, a collection center was established to receive donations, and several truckloads have already been sent to the disaster area.
Costa Rica issues international call for help following deadly earthquake
The government also thanked all those countries that have expressed solidarity with the victims and sent humanitarian assistance to help mitigate the impact of the natural disaster.
Edition 170 â€˘ Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
The government has signed a national emergency decree and declares five days of national mourning. It is estimated that material damage from the earthquake has reached $100 million. The national mourning declaration included the lowering of the flag from Jan. 12-16.
Costa Rica has made an international call for assistance to help victims of the earthquake and rebuild destroyed infrastructure. Photo TJ/InfoWebPress.
among others,â€? said a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Foreign Relations Minister Bruno Stagno said that the assistance that has already reached the country and more that has been pledged by different governments â€œis invalu-
able and opportune and helps deliver a message of encouragement to those affected.â€?
For example, China offered $100,000; the United States donated $50,000 and sent, two days after the earthquake, four Black Hawk helicopters along with military personnel to
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The Jan. 8 earthquake, which occurred on the Central Volcanic Cordillera, was confirmed at 6.2 degrees on the Richter scale, with its epicenter 10 kilometers east of the community of San Pedro de Poas, Alajuela province. It caused much destruction in the cantons of Alajuela, Grecia, Poas, Alfaro Ruiz and Valverde Vega (Alajuela province) and in Heredia, Barva,Â Santa Barbara and Sarapiqui (Heredia province).
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Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Experts explore trade opportunities between Costa Rica and Panama
(InfoWebPress — www.journalcr.com) – The Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX), in coordination with the Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER), organized a session about the free trade agreement between Costa Rican and Panama, its guidelines regarding market access, origin standards, and trade promotion tools.
The free trade deal between the neighboring Central American nations has already gone into effect, so the government is trying to inform the business sector (both exporters and importers) about the conditions that were negotiated. Participating in the event were the director of COMEX’s Trade Agreement Implementation Office, Laura Rodriguez, and Minor Corrales, advisor in issues of origin with the same office. Also present were the general manager and deputy manager of the National Products Market, S.A. (BAISA), Abelardo Alfredo Carles and Nilca Hurtado. They explained to the public the function of this organization and the system through which Panama makes available the import contingents negotiated in the bi-lateral trade accord and through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Meanwhile, the Central American region-
al director of PROCOMER, Alvaro Chain, spoke about trade promotion tools helpful for tying available Costa Rican goods with existing demand in various Central American markets, particularly Panama, in the context of the new trade deal. Chain also spoke about the upcoming unveiling of a PROCOMER office in Panama, which has been operating since last September, and the services it will provide to the exporting sector so it can better take advantage of the trade accord and fully insert itself in the growing Panamanian market. Some 100 people from various industries attended the event, mainly interested in learning about the conditions negotiated for different products within the agreement as well as origin standards that must be met to enjoy tariff benefits. Rodriguez highlighted the importance of this type of meetings, whose ultimate goal is that all industries involved in exporting or importing can take advantage of favorable conditions in negotiated free trade accords.
Panama is the fourth largest destination of Costa Rican exports and the country’s main market in Central America. Some 474 local companies sell 1,520 different products to the neighbors to the south.
Panama is the fourth largest destination of Costa Rican exports and the country’s main market in Central America. Some 474 local companies sell 1,520 different products to the neighbors to the south. TJ/InfoWebPress
As of November of 2008, Costa Rican exports to Panama had increased by 31.4 percent compared with the same period in 2007. It’s expected that sales will increase this year by a larger margin due to the trade deal going
Sales to Panama went from $302 million in 2007 to $393 million last year, making Panama a key market for Costa Rican exports.
outside the box
Refinance, that could be the key of your project’s survival Javier Segura M. General Manager-DCL Realty Consultants firstname.lastname@example.org
During the last few weeks, we have been talking about the ongoing global crisis; its causes and its worldwide repercussions. Last week we have talked about some personal business strategies that can help you to rise victorious after this mayhem. For real estate developers the situation is a little bit more complicated, because much of their situation is about being lucky. Some of them have been lucky enough to be caught by the crisis in the middle of the preliminary stage, or better, at the very beginning of the process. Some of them have been unlucky enough that the market downfall have shown up itself exactly when they are finishing their products; or worst, when their inventory is already for sale. No matter if your product is for sale already, or it is going to be for sale in June; what matters is that you are already feeling the pressure, and the nights are, probably, longer and lonelier than ever. When a human being is been challenged, he has two options, one is to duck and wait for the storm to be over; and the other is to face the storm and walk through it, with all the willpower, his faith, and other resources at his reach, expecting to overpower the elements. Some of you have decided to confront the crisis, some of you might want to duck and wait, some of you simply do not know exactly what to do. The problem is straight forward, projects have debts that must to be served, and there are no buyers at this point. In some cases, developers have decided to cut prices, more and more, hoping to attract the few buyers that still are out there. Other developers refuse to do that, because they have investors that expect some return over their investment, which prevent them from cutting prices.
In the last weeks we have seen several Developers take another course of action… refinance and wait. Basically, what they are doing, some of them with our help, is getting a new and fresh source of financing, a 2 or 3 years term loan; that will allow them to pay back all their debts; and wait for the market to bounce back. They do not want to fire sale their projects, all they need is time… time to wait for the market to come back. They will finish their projects calmly, devote the units not for sale, but to cover the increasingly big hotel room shortage that this country suffers; despite the slowdown on tourism. They will get some cash flow from those units, to cover the maintenance and the overhead of the project. Maybe explore some lateral business opportunities with those assets; opportunities that can open new doors for future ventures like time sharing, fractional ownership or condo-hotels. The point is that these developers know for certain that they can do nothing to stop the crisis, so, instead of running away from the situation, they’d rather get some financing that allows them to flow with the crisis, and implement an active strategy while the waters to return to their levels. From our point of view, as consultants and developers, this can be an effective strategy that can save many of the current projects. It is not the developers` fault that the market is falling; so, “covering your bases and wait” is an excellent option. This is not a solution for everybody, and we understand that; but for some projects, it may be just the answer in these hard times. In any case, keep your mind open to new ideas, one of them may be the perfect way for you to overcome the rough patch that we are living now.
Edition 170 â€˘ Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Guanacaste project benefits from â€˜Clean Travelâ€™ payments (InfoWebPress â€” www.journalcr.com) â€“ Some 125 hectares of national forests are currently being reforested with native species thanks to the â€œClean Travelâ€? payment program. One of the reforestation projects financed through this system is in Guanacaste, while there are four in Alajuela, one in Heredia, one in Limon, and another one in San Jose.
The program is voluntary and allows local or foreign tourists to travel by air and compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions generated by this type of transportation. Such a payment system is available since 2007, and itâ€™s coordinated in the country by the National Forest Financing Fund (FONAFIFO). Itâ€™s conducted through a special website at www.fonafifo.com, which calculates the amount or carbon dioxide produced by the trip and how much should be pay to mitigate it. According to Alberto Garcia Arguedas, a resource management official with FONAFIFO, this payment system had facilitated the realization of 615 â€œclean trips,â€? mitigating 2,165 tons of carbon dioxide. Among the users of the program so far are 213 Costa Ricans and 402 foreigners. Garcia said the amount of money collected by the program has reached $10,825. â€œThese funds are being invested in eight projects that include reforestation of both native and commercial species,â€? Garcia explained.
He added that clean traveling helps protect forests, water and biodiversity through the countryâ€™s Environmental Services Payment (PSA) initiative.
The Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE), through the PSA program, certifies that the monies collected through this initiative are invested in the way intended by the donor.
The Clean Travel mechanism is voluntary and simple to do: any individual or business that generates emissions by using air, land, sea or railroad transportation can compensate for such pollution by making the respective payment.
The transaction is done by obtaining Environmental Service Certificates (CSAs) for the amount equivalent to the tons of carbon emitted during the trip, or through a voluntary donation for the desired amount. Any local or foreign person, business, organization or group can obtain CSAs in the Clean Travel category, including airlines, airport companies and related businesses; shipping or port companies; bus and cargo transportation companies; hotels, travel agencies, tour operators and other tourism businesses; and tourists and other travelers or businesses interested in â€œcleaning upâ€? their trips. The money is used to support forest recovery projects, paying their owners for the environmental service they provide by leaving the forest undisturbed so it can capture carbon dioxide and clean the air.
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The â€œClean Travelâ€? program allows tourists to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and help clean the environment. TJ/InfoWebPress
Local tourists prefer Guanacaste for summer vacation
(InfoWebPress â€” www.journalcr.com) â€“ Despite the difficult economic situation, Costa Ricans are planning to go on vacation this coming summer and the province of Guanacaste remains their favorite destination.
Those are some of the outcomes of a survey conducted by the University of Costa Ricaâ€™s School of Statistics for El Financiero newspaper. The study found that beaches are the favorite places to visit for Ticos, with Guanacaste in first place followed by Puntarenas and other places on the Pacific coast. Of the 34 percent of respondents who said they had plans to visit a tourist destination within the country, 26 percent said they would go to the beach, and 27 percent said they would go to Guanacaste specifically.
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The survey also found that 38 percent of Costa Ricans go on vacation 3-4 days, 20 percent do it 7-8 days, and that 64 percent go on vacation along with 2-4 family members. Of the survey participants, 60 percent responded that they would stay in cabins, hotels or villas (in that order of preference) while 20 percent said they would stay in a relativeâ€™s home or a borrowed home. Regarding transportation, most Costa Ricans said they prefer to use their own vehicles (65.9 percent), while 25 percent said they would get to their destinations by public transportation or in private excursion buses. Eight percent said they would be renting a car this summer.
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Another poll was conducted by the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR) between Dec. 2-9, 2008, regarding the â€œPerception of tourism businesses about the effects of the current economic recession on the national tourism sector.â€? Some 86 businesses â€” including tour operators, hotels, travel agencies and rent-a-cars â€” participated in the survey, which yielded important data about the expected behavior of the tourism industry in 2009. â€œThe surveyâ€™s goal was to learn about the effects of the current economic crisis on the employment, reservation levels and occupancy for the last quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009,â€? said Gonzalo Vargas,
The province of Guanacaste remains the favorite destinations of Costa Rican and foreign tourists, despite the effects of the economic recession. TJ/InfoWebPress
president of CANATUR.
Regarding reservations for the first quarter of 2009, more than half of the respondents (57 percent) said they fell by more 24. 5 percent, compared to the same quarter in 2008. Meanwhile, 9 percent of business owners said their reservations are actually greater (by 26.5 percent) compared with the first quarter of last year. Responding about their expectations for 2009, almost half of the businesses (47 percent) said tourism activity would be higher by approximately 23.8 percent this year. Regarding sales to the national tourism market in the last trimester of 2008 (compared with the same period in 2007) responses were mixed. Some 33 percent of the respondents said their sales declined, 32 percent said they were the same, and 22 percent said they increased. Three out of 10 business owners who said their sales went down saw a decline of about 28.3 percent, while those who said their sales actually grew reported an increase of 17.8 percent.
â€œWe know that this year will present many challenges to the sector. It will a year or rearrangements that will require concrete action and will force this industry to continue to work together to maintain the health of this economic activity,â€? Vargas concluded.
In celebration of
Valentine's Day THE JOURNAL will offer a 15% discount on all ads booked before Feb. 14. Applies to both print and online edition at www.journalcr.com.
For more information, contact our sales department at email@example.com or by phone at 905-JOURNAL.
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Construction permits halted within Las Baulas park in Guanacaste
(InfoWebPress — www.journalcr.com) – The Constitutional Court ordered on Jan. 14, through resolution No. 2008-18529, to suspend environmental viability permits to properties located within the Las Baulas Marine National Park in Guanacaste.
Through a writ of protection, the court annulled in this way all construction permits given to properties in the sea turtle sanctuary, ordering the Ministry of the Environment to immediately proceed with the expropriation of such properties. The resolution also ask Sonia Espinoza Valverde, secretary general of the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA), to issue orders within her office not to approve any new environmental viability studies in that protected area. Additionally, the Constitutional Court has asked the Ministry of the Environment, the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA), and the municipalities of Santa Cruz, Carrillo, Nandayure, Hojancha and Nicoya to jointly conduct a study on the impact constructions and tourism and real estate developments would have on the environment (particulatly on endangered leatherback turtles) in Las Baulas buffer zone — including issues such as noise, light pollution, use of water for human consumption, wastewater and human presence. The order also calls for these organizations to evaluate whether or not it would convenient to also expropriate properties located in this buffer zone.
The Constitutional Court resolution will pave the way to continue expropriation of properties inside the Las Baulas Marine National Park.
months to carry out these actions, beginning on the date the resolution was issued. Also ordered was the suspension of environment viability studies given to properties located within the park’s buffer zone (500 meters band) until the study requested by the court is completed. Finally, the Constitutional Court annulled
The court has given a deadline of six
all construction permits issued to properties within the park’s buffer zone that hadn’t completed an environmental viability study, even if the Municipality of Santa Cruz had done it in this way. It is now up to the Comptroller General’s Office to carry out the respective investigations into this case, with all institutions involved in the matter encouraged to take the
necessary measures to protect the Las Baulas park — one of the most important nesting sites for leatherbacks in the world. The court’s resolution also ordered “the sate and the Municipality of Santa Cruz to pay for the costs and damages caused, which will be determined and paid as dictated by administrative courts.”
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Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
English teachers seek to update skills at conference
(InfoWebPress — www.journalcr.com) – The XXV National Conference for Teachers of English (NCTE) will be held this Jan. 21-23 at the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center (CCCN) in San Pedro, east of San Jose. The conference, which theme is “Learning: Enlightening Our Inner Self, will kickoff on Wednesday, Jan. 21, with an opening ceremony hosted by Education Minister Leonardo Garnier, U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Peter Cianchette; Canadian Ambassador to Costa Rica Neil Reeder; and Great Britain’s Vice Consul, Sheila Pacheco.
One of the experts invited to this year’s conference is Dr. Spencer Kagan, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. Kagan will offer several lectures during the week and will direct the videoconference “The Instructional Revolution: Simple Strategies Radically Transform Classrooms and Improve Outcomes,” with participation of English teachers from Costa Rica and Honduras. More than 650 educators from around the country will share their experiences, strategies and research with colleagues, as the conference celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Guest speakers include Laura Alicia Meza, Oxford University Press, who will present “The Inner Light of the Learning Teacher.” Ricardo Romero, from Cambridge University Press, will give a presentation on “Lifelong Learning in Our Profession: I Grow, I Develop, while Joann Miller, from
MacMillan Publishing, will give the talk “Are You a Professional Or Is It Just Another Job?” CCCN’s Clare Goodman said that this year’s conference is organizing a special work session to share with Ministry of Education regional advisors.
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“As part of the program, on Friday the 23 rd, we will work with the advisors with the goal of establishments commitments that will be implemented in each of the regions,” Goodman explained.
NCTE is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to be a leader in the professional and personal development of educators by creating educational and innovative opportunities for the teaching of English.
During the past 25 years, the conference’s organizing committee has worked to include in the program presentations by some of the most influential professionals around the world in the field of English language teaching. For example, last year’s event had as keynote speaker Dr. Raouf Mama, a storyteller from Africa, who shared various techniques to tell stories that contribute to the learning of English through his workshop “Making the World a Better Place.” Also present in last year’s conference was Evelyn Smith, from Universidad del Valle in Guatemala, who contributed to the professional development of participants through her session entitled, “Preparing Today’s Teachers for Tomorrow’s Learning.”
p r e m i u m h om e l i f e s t y l e
We are now part of InfoWebPress, an online communication network that integrates digital solutions. We wish to have you be a part of this strategy. Through a Sponsored link annual membership on our site, you can get a FREE year on another section of your choice. The conference seeks to improve the quality of English language education in Costa Rica.
Herberger reaches Salinas Bay in swim along CR’s Pacific coast (InfoWebPress — www.journalcr.com) – La Cruz in Guanacaste will be the arrival point for Renate Herberger, the 53-year-old German native and Canadian resident who is attempting to swim more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast — from Burica Point on the Costa Rica-Panama border to Salinas Bay — to draw attention to the plight of marine species threatened by illegal fishing in the region. In June 2007, Herberger swam across the Dulce Gulf in southern Costa Rica, in an adventure that took her nine hours to complete. Back then, she swam in the open waters to draw attention to ocean pollution. Last year, she attempted to swim the extension of the country’s Pacific coast but had to suspend her challenge due to a mechanical malfunction in the boat that assisted her. Herberger’s new trip started on Jan. 17 and is scheduled to end on March 31, with daily stops to recover. Her daily swims will cover 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), with eight hours of swimming at about 500 meters (1,500 feet) from the shoreline.
“The purpose of this solo swimming voyage is to create awareness about the interconnection and fragility of marine ecosystems and inspire people to be passionately committed to the environment,” Herberger said. “A beautiful saying by Francis Thompson reminds us that “thou canst not stir a flower without disturbing a star.” A therapist, Herberger is married with two children. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.
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“I received my master’s in dance therapy in 1983 and have been working in this area since then,” she said in a press release. “In 2005, I suffered a massive thrombosis, and the only therapy and relief for this pain was swimming. Despite the fact that in the past two years I have moved my work in healing dance to the water, I hope to be able to share my work with as many people as possible on the coast.” “When a person has experienced a sense
Therapist and swimmer Renate Herberger will finish her solo swim along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast in Salinas Bay in Guanacaste, as she seeks to create awareness about the conservation of marine resources.
of profound communion with the sea, surely it will hard for that person to cut off a shark’s fin and then throw the animal into the sea to watch it die a slow and painful death. Through my workshops, I hope to continue engendering compassion and commitment to protecting the living creatures of the ocean. After all, we humans beings are 70 percent water,” Herberger added. This message from the “Costa Rica Mermaid” is mainly directed at the protection of turtles, whales, dolphins and sharks.
Herberger added that through this initiative, she seeks to touch everybody, so that they will want to help heal the world and their land. Her project is a strategy that involves several areas: physical, cultural, geographic, therapeutic, educational and spiritual. “We must take into consideration that life needs to be passed down to future generations,” she said.
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Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
El Respiradero—Volcano Symbolism in Greater Nicoya
the old woman’s cabin and the symbolic use of the cooking fire to represent the fumarole associated with the many Potosi Appliqué fragments create another element of continuity from the prehistoric past to modern folklore. There are also numerous volcanoes in Guanacaste that are easily visible from the Pan-American highway, but it is unknown whether or not similar legends exist with them.
Frederick W. Lange, PhD¹ The site of El Respiradero is a Pre-Columbian offering site near a still active fumarole halfway up the Concepcion volcano. A large number of broken ceramics that archaeologists call “Potosi Appliqué” were found there. This ceramic type may be intimately connected with volcanoes, since it seems, with its domed cover, to imitate the shape of a volcano, with the smoke hole in the top of the two-part (base and lid) incensario (incense burner) creating the impression of an erupting volcano. The bottom half of this kind of ceramic is often decorated with clay pellets meant to represent the underbelly of a crocodile. There are many folk legends from the region that the crocodile supports the world and its back, and this adds another layer of symbolic meaning to these two-part ceramic “storybooks with out words.”
Nonetheless, for Ometepe Island, the hunter, the old woman, and her son-deer, it is enticing to speculate that the pots and the oral tradition may be linked across the centuries. If you want to mount your own expedition to search for the old woman and the fumarole shrine site there are many trained guides on the island who can lead you, and even more importantly, back down again. This would also provide the opportunity to visit the museum in Alta Gracia, the petroglyphs at the Finca Magdalena the slopes of the adjacent Madres volcano, and the Ometepe Biological Research Station (also on Maderas).
These vessels recall a folk legend told on Ometepe Island of an old woman who lives on the side of the Concepcion volcano where the fumarolic smoke from a vent on the side of the volcano is said to be the smoke from her cooking fire.
In the 1960s, the rural inhabitants of Ometepe Island still related the legend of the old woman and of a hunter who went up the side of the Concepcion volcano to hunt deer; he got off a shot at a deer, wounding it. Climbing above the tree line on the flanks of the volcano was generally forbidden, but the hunter’s family was hungry and he pursued the drops of blood onto the loose rock, just above the densest part of the forest; here, the trees were smaller, bent by the wind, and dispersed. He soon smelled smoke and saw the flickering light of a cooking fire near a small,
thatched roof structure.
There was the old lady of the legend, and in the hammock strung between two of the small trees and groaning in pain was her son, bleeding from his side in the exact same location between his ribs where the hunter had
shot the deer half an hour previously. The legend is that the son was able to transform himself into a deer, and back again. This legend preserves the prehistoric behavior of the shamans (both male and female shaman existed) who changed themselves from humans to animals, and back. The location of
¹Dr. Frederick W. Lange has a doctoral degree in anthropology, awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971. He is the author of the 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.. Fred’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st International Astronomy Congress held in Liberia
(InfoWebPress — www.journalcr.com) – The First International Astronomy Congress was held in the city of Liberia Jan. 18-20 on the University of Costa Rica’s (UCR) campus.
ing about the cosmos.
Congress activities included a series of sessions and panels with presenters as well as a tour of Ad Astra Rocket Laboratory, plus sky observation on the La Flor campus of EARTH University in Liberia.
Another goal of the First International Astronomy Congress was to encourage institutions and organizations from the region, both public and private, to become interested in promoting astronomy-related activities in Guanacaste as a tourism attraction; build a planetarium and exhibit center with astronomy themes at the Liberia Historical Center, especially considering the presence of hightech companies in the Guanacaste capital and its strategic location in the region.
Additionally, the congress intended to foment the growth of astronomical communities in developing countries by stimulating international collaboration and supporting science education at elementary and secondary schools and universities — and through research centers, planetariums and museums.
The event, dedicated to M.Sc. Jose Alberto Villalobos, was targeted to astronomy aficionados, science educators and science communicators.
The congress brought to Guanacaste international specialists such as Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and mission scientist, MOST Space Telescope Project; Dr. David Hiriart, Sierra de San Pedro Martir National Astronomical Observatory, Astronomy Institute, National Autonomous University (UNAM) of Mexico; Dr. Yolanda Gomez Castellanos, Radioastronomy and Astrophysics Center, UNAM, Morelia, Mexico; and Dr. Jesus Galindo Trejo, astrophysics researcher, UNAM; and Edgar Castro, Guatemalan Astronomy Association. The event’s main goal was to kick off local and Central American activities for celebrating the International Astronomy Year. In addition to the sharing of information between experts and attendees, the congress also included outreach efforts aimed at benefiting
The city of Liberia hosted an international astronomy meeting attended by scientists from several countries.
hundreds of youths and their families, opening a window for them into astronomy and its discoveries as a way to learn more about the university and the role the Earth plays in it. The congress also sought to increase scientific knowledge among members of the
society through the dissemination of information on astronomy and related sciences, in addition to boosting the processes of research and critical thinking. At the core of the event was the idea that access to the vast knowledge generated by science can occur via the excitement produced by observing and learn-
The congress and the group behind this effort also have in mind the construction of an astronomical observatory somewhere in Guanacaste, which would allow astronomical research and scientific outreach activities for students and the general public. Congress organizers included the PROMETEO ELC Project, the Costa Rican Technology Institute (ITEC); the Costa Rican Astronomy Association (ACODEA); UCR’s Guanacaste campus, Education College and Planetarium; the National University for Distance Education (UNED) — Liberia University Center and CIENTEC.
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Guanacaste ethanol pilot plan to go national
(InfoWebPress — www.journalcr.com) – The sale of biofuels will begin countrywide during March following the evaluation of a pilot plan conducted in Guanacaste. In this manner, all gasoline sold in the country will have 7 percent ethanol content.
Ethanol is made here from sugarcane and yuca (cassava), while biodiesel is extracted from oil-producing plants such as higuerilla (castor bean), tempate (Jatropha) or oil palm. However, the latter fuel won’t be commercialized in the country due to its high production cost. Roberto Dobles, minister of the environment and energy, said he expects that the purchase of ethanol to be mixed with regular and super gasoline will be adjudicated by March. However, a decree will have to be signed first for establishing the legal framework of a biofuels industry in the country.
For strategic reasons, the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery (RECOPE) chose for the ethanol pilot plan the Barranca (Puntarenas) Depot, which supplies 64 fuel stations in Guanacaste and the Central Pacific region. RECOPE organized two educational sessions to explain to customers the objectives of the pilot plan, inform them about the physical-chemical characteristics of gasoline mixed with ethanol, and hear concerns and suggestions on the project. This initiative began with presidential order No. 041-MP-H-MOPT-MINAE, which
The ethanol pilot plan conducted in Guanacaste was so successful that the government will now implement it throughout the country. TJ/InfoWebPress
instructed the Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE), the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) and RECOPE to give priority to studies and any necessary actions to begin using, as soon as possible, biofuels in the country, with emphasis on offering gasolineethanol mixes. In this way, the National Alcohol Commission set as one of its priorities the establishment of a pilot plan that included 30 vehicles
owned by RECOPE. Later on, the state company set the goal of “evaluating the logistics and handling of gasoline mixed with ethanol, from the mixing at RECOPE facilities to the distribution at sale points.” To accomplish this goal, a commission with representatives from MAG, MINAE, RECOPE and the President’s Office was formed, which analyzed the results of the pilot plan in Guanacaste and the Central Pa-
cific and made recommendations for the second phase of the palan, which is the sale of gasoline-ethanol mixes countrywide.
Other goals of the overall effort include evaluating the logistics of buying, mixing and distributing ethanol to fuel stations; generating trust in this product; and training the personnel who will be in charge of administrative contractual, operational and logistical tasks in the offering of this new fuel.
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
week in brief
Politics Obama raises Costa Rican hopes of renegotiating trade deal (Inside Costa Rica) — The change promised by the incoming Obama administration has raised hopes not just in the United States but throughout the world. In Latin America, the winds of change have been blowing for several years with electoral victories by progressive candidates across South America. Central America is much more conservative, but even there hopes for change are high. In Costa Rica, a national survey conducted by the University of Costa Rica in December revealed that 62.5 percent of Costa Ricans believe that relations with the U.S. will improve under an Obama presidency. An astounding 76.5% said that with an Obama administration in Washington it would be a positive move to renegotiate the controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009. While Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has said that renegotiating the trade agreement is impossible, opposition Citizen Action Party (PAC) and labor unions have been saying that renegotiation is vital. During the U.S. presidential campaign, Obama promised to address demands of workers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Workers in Costa Rica hope that Obama includes CAFTA as well.
Business & Economy Government finished 2008 with $66 million surplus
(AFP) —Costa Rica closed its books in 2008 with a $66.1 million surplus, thanks to the reduction by 19 percent of interest payments due to governmental debt. Treasury Minister Guillermo Zuñiga said the surplus is the results of a “solid” collection of taxes, a public spending policy focuses on prioritizing social and public works investment, policies for better managing public debt, and decreases in the cost of financing. This is the second straight year the country has had a surplus in its budget, despite the fact that expenses increased 21.2 percent compared to 2007.
Public workers to receive 6.9% salary increase
(Al Dia) — Some 180,000 public employees will receive a 6.9 percent salary hike during the first quarter of 2009. The increase will become effective during the second half of January, retroactive to the first two weeks of the year. The increase will cost the government 90 billion colones (some $163.6 million) this year.
Car dealerships say many of them will be forced to shut down
(La Prensa Libre) — The Costa Rica Automobile Chamber informed that sales of used cars have decreased by 50 percent due to the economic crisis and the lack of credit from financial institutions for vehicle purchases. According to chamber members, some 2,000 businesses involved in this industry will be forced to close, which will lead to more unemployment. The organization also reported that since August 2008 members have struggled to break even. The chamber said that 83,000 used vehicles were sold in 2007, while this number decreased to 53,000 vehicles in 2008 — a 35 percent drop.
Industries make proposals to government to deal with crisis
(La Nacion) — The 850 companies that make up the Chamber of Industries made a six-item proposal to the government in an attempt to mitigate the current economic crisis. Suggestion include having the government make all its purchases or goods and services from local companies and small and medium businesses. They are also asking supermarkets to slash the time it takes them to pay invoices in half so that suppliers have better liquidity. Another proposal include a tax reduction for companies operating in areas of the country that are less developed.
State banks begin lending again
(La Nacion) — Following the recent $117.5 million capitalization from the government, the three state-owned banks (Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica, and Bancredito) announced they have reactivated their credit portfolios. Banco de Costa Rica has made available since the last week in December a total of 8 billion colones ($14.5 million) in loans. Banco Nacional President William Hayden said his institution has loaned some 5 billion colones (over $9 million).
Huawei finally wins Costa-Rican 3G Contract (Cellular News) — Huawei has won a $235 million contract to build a 3G network in Costa Rica. Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) deputy manager Claudio Bermudez said the 3G network should be operational throughout the Central American nation by the end of 2009. ICE is currently the monopoly mobile operator in the country, although moves to liberalize the market were passed into law last year. Last August, ICE had decided not to accept a sole bid from China’s Huawei for the supply of a 3G network. The company had come under political pressure from Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to reject the contract. Both Nokia and ZTE withdrew from the original tender process and Huawei’s own bid was roughly double the estimate that ICE had proposed. ICE
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had expected to spend around $225 million on the 3G upgrade — but Huawei tendered a contract costing nearly $583 million for 1.5 million 3G lines. The new 3G contract calls for network capacity for 935,000 3G lines.
(Inside Costa Rica) — The National Emergency Commission (CNE) said last week that there are 812 homes damaged by the Jan. 8 earthquake, 360 of which are totally destroyed. The Housing Ministry estimates that it will be necessary to build some 500 new homes in the affected area. The reason for the building of new homes is that, even though the damage is partial, the families cannot return to them as there still exists a high risk of more damage during the aftershocks.
the Witch’s Rock Tournament, the standout performance was from Jason Torres, who claimed victory in the men’s Open category with some smooth tricks in less than favorable conditions. It was Torres’ second victory in the tournament that so far has already completed three of its six legs and sets him up well for a shot at the national title. Torres managed to claim victory over second placed Federico Pilurzu, the most internationally renowned Costa Rican surfer. Before Torres can claim top spot, he and his competitors must visit three more locations that steadily get harder as more points are allocated. Playa Nosara is the next port of call before a visit to Santa Teresa ahead of the final in Playa Hermosa. The weekend event in Tamarindo also saw Nataly Bernold of Jaco win first place in the women’s event as she beat her mentor and six time Costa Rican Women’s surf champion Lisbeth Vindas, who finished in second place. Meanwhile, 12 year old Noe Mar Gonnagle of Pavones took top spot in the Junior male category after beating a number of older competitors.
Poas Volcano Park opens to the public following earthquake
F-1 pilot Schumacher visits CR, shares with earthquake victims
Society 500 new homes need to be built following earthquake: Housing Minister
The Poas Volcano National Park opened to visitors on Monday, Jan. 19, after being closed a week and half due to the earthquake that rattled Costa Rican on Jan. 8 and whose epicenter was only 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the park. Poas, located only 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital of San Jose, is one of Costa Rica’s main tourist attractions. Following the 6.2 Richter scale temblor, experts have monitored the volcano’s activity to determine if an eruption might ensue, but it seems the mountain is not a threat to visitors.
Court pulls the stops on El CocoOcotal aqueduct
(La Republica) — The Constitutional Court has halted construction of the controversial El Coco-Ocotal aqueduct, which seeks to carry water to these coastal communities from Sardinal de Carrillo, in Guanacaste. Court magistrates accepted a writ of protection filed by the Confraternidad Guanacasteca group, ordering that the works be discontinued until certains aspects of the project are corrected. The court’s decision indicates that the project “violates the right to a healthy environment, because no technical certainty exists with respect to the water exploitation capacity of the Sardinal aquifer or the availability of water to satisfy the needs of this community, which have precedence.” The Comptroller General’s Office had previously found deficiencies with the project, which the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) said are being corrected.
First drop in gasoline prices this year approved
(Inside Costa Rica) — The first drop in the prices of gasoline will occur this week when the lower prices approved by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (Aresep) take effect. Regular or “plus” gasoline will drop by 66 colones per liter, super gasoline will drop by 75 colones, and diesel by 95 colones. With the price drop, the prices at the pump will be 408 colones down from 474 colones for a liter of regular; 416 colones down from 488 colones for super; and 427 colones down from 522 colones for diesel. Cooking gas and aviation fuels will also drop.
Costa Rica’s National Surf Circuit creates waves in Tamarindo
(Costa Rica Pages) — While much of Costa Rica was focusing on the aftermath of the Jan. 8 earthquake, attentions were turned elsewhere in Tamarindo where the 3rd event of the National Surf Circuit 2008-2009 took place. The national competition takes competitors across Costa Rica to hot surf spots where they duck and dive among the waves in front of judges in hope of winning the national title. At the latest 4-star event named
Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher last week toured the disaster zone in Costa Rica following the Central American nation’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake that shook the country early this month. The 40-year-old German, a renowned humanitarian donor, noted that “so many families have lost their homes.” Schumacher was already in Costa Rica for an appearance for traffic road safety, but he diverted his tour to survey the worst-affected region near the epicenter around Poas Volcano. Schumacher was invited by Costa Rica’s transportation officials to be part of the international campaign “Safe Highways,” which seeks to reduce the number of accidents on the roads. Representing the International Automobile Federation, the ex-champ donated $1 million to be used in campaigns to prevent traffic accidents.
Here’s how to help earthquake victims
(Inside Costa Rica) — The Costa Rican Red Cross (2542-5000), as well as the Ombudswoman’s Office (2248-2374) and the National Emergency Commision, or CNE, (2210-2828) are coordinating donations for the Jan. 8 earthquake victims. The CNE has set up the following back accounts for donations: Banco de Costa Rica (BCR): 91100-3 (colones) and 118281-1 (dollars); Banco Nacional (BN): 911-8. Banco de Costa Rica has pledged to match donations colon for colon up to 250 million colones (around $400,000). BCR customers can made donations online at www.bancobcr.com by clicking on the menu button at the top of the page or by phoning (506) 2258-9191. The CostaRican-American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) is also accepting donations to its colones account at the Banco Nacional (100 01 000 043517-2) and dollars account (100 02 000 616147-5). For more information, contact AMCHAM at (506) 2220-2800.
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Martian methane, latest proof that ‘Red Planet’ is habitable? WASHINGTON (AFP) – Plumes of methane gas detected on Mars could be a sign of geological or biological activity – and possibly the latest indication that life can be sustained on the Red Planet, according to a new study. The presence of methane implies active geological, or possibly even biological, processes on Mars, and the amount of methane observed on the ‘Red Planet’ is comparable to some active sites on Earth, the study published in the journal Science found. “This is exciting because we have evidence that we need to think about in terms of the possibilities of life on Mars,” said Lisa Pratt, Professor of geological sciences, Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. “It’s prudent that we begin to explore Mars looking for the possibility of a life form that’s exhaling methane,” she told a press conference. “Right now, we do not have enough information to tell whether biology or geology – or both – is producing the methane on Mars,”
chemical in origin.
said principal researcher Michael Mumma of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Researchers said that one primary plume of Martian methane contained an estimated 19,000 metric tons of the gas – about as much as is produced at a massive hydrocarbon seep at Coal Oil Point in Santa Barbara, California.
“But it does tell us the planet is still alive, at least in a geologic sense. It is as if Mars is challenging us, saying, ‘hey, find out what this means.’ On the planet Earth, microorganisms thrive in unlikely places like up to two miles (three kilometers) beneath the Witwatersrand basin of South Africa, “where natural radioactivity splits water molecules into molecular hydrogen and oxygen,” Mumma said.
The scientists said they have detected seasonal variations of methane emissions over some locations on Mars, but remain uncertain about the source of the gas. “The methane we detected is of unknown age. Its origin could be ancient or perhaps recent,” wrote Mumma and his co-authors.
“The organisms use the hydrogen for energy. It might be possible for similar organisms to survive for billions of years below the permafrost layer on Mars, where water is liquid, radiation supplies energy, and carbon dioxide provides carbon.” Mumma said he believed the finding increases the prospects for finding life on Mars.
Researchers noted that living systems produce more than 90 percent of Earth’s methane, with the other 10 percent being geo-
“Both geochemical and biological origins have been explored, but no consensus has emerged.” The presence of methane implies active geological, or possibly even biological, processes on Mars, and the amount of methane observed on the ‘Red Planet’ is comparable to some active sites on Earth, the study published in the journal Science found.
Mumma and a team of researchers used high-dispersion infrared spectrometers to monitor about 90 percent of the planet’s surface for three Martian years (the equivalent of seven Earth years) for their study.
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Postnatal depression can be treated, prevented
PARIS (AFP) – Many women struggling with the post-baby blues may expect only a hug or a couple of pills, but in new studies published last week, doctors say counselling can not only treat this risky condition but prevent it, too. Professional counsellors can reduce rates of postnatal depression by 40 percent, while support from fellow mothers can reduce the risk of developing this dangerous disorder by half, they say. In one paper, a team led by Jane Morrell of the University of Sheffield, northern England, divided more than 4,000 new mothers into three groups. In the first two groups, the volunteers each received a weekly session of psychological counselling over eight weeks, using either of two techniques. The so-called “cognitive behaviour approach” focuses on unhelpful behaviour patterns and thoughts in the mother, and helps overcome them by pointing out that these reflexes are a common part of the post-natal experience. The “person-centered approach” emphasizes empathy and unconditional support for the mother’s feelings. The third group was a “control” group of women who received standard health care treatment. Women who were diagnosed with depres-
sion six weeks after giving birth were 40 percent less likely to have the same symptoms six months later if they had either form of counselling, the investigators found. The second trial, likewise published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), identified 701 pregnant women in Ontario, Canada, who were estimated to be at risk of developing postnatal depression. Half of the group were given standard post-natal care while the other half were given telephone support by a peer volunteer – a woman with first-hand knowledge of postbaby blues. Getting this peer support halved the risk of depression at 12 weeks after birth, the report said. “These trials add to the growing evidence that postnatal depression can be effectively treated and possibly prevented,” said lead researcher Cindy-Lee Dennis of the University of Toronto. The barriers to treatment, however, remain high, she said. Women are often unaware of the syndrome and are apt to deny or minimise its symptoms. And even when they do feel they need help, they may be unaware of treatment options or unwilling to reveal emotional distress. “They fear being labelled mentally ill, having their children taken away, or being perceived as not fulfilling their maternal
Postnatal depression affects one in eight women in diverse cultures around the world, and is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, usually through suicide. www.sxc. hu
role,” she said. Postnatal depression affects one in eight women in diverse cultures around the world, and is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, usually through suicide. The generally short-term but devastating mental disorder can also have a serious impact on infants and children, affecting cognitive, emotional and social development.
Genes remember sugar hit SYDNEY (AFP) – Human genes remember a sugar hit for two weeks, with prolonged poor eating habits capable of permanently altering DNA, Australian research has found. A team studying the impact of diet on human heart tissue and mice found that cells showed the effects of a one-off sugar hit for a fortnight, by switching off genetic controls designed to protect the body against diabetes and heart disease. “We now know that chocolate bar you had this morning can have very acute effects, and those effects can continue for up to two weeks,” said lead researcher Sam El-Osta, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. “These changes continue beyond the meal itself and have the ability to alter natural metabolic responses to diet,” he told Australian Associated Press. Regular poor eating would amplify the effect, said El-Osta, with genetic damage lasting months or years, and potentially passing through bloodlines. The study’s findings were reported in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Childbirth 300 times riskier in poor countries than in rich: UNICEF JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Women living in poor countries are 300 times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than if they lived in rich countries, UNICEF said in a report released last week in Johannesburg. “The divide between industrialized countries and developing regions – particularly the least developed countries – is perhaps greater on maternal mortality than on almost any other issue,” the UN Children’s Fund said. “No other mortality rate is so unequal,” it added.
The lifetime risk of a maternal death for a woman is one in seven in Niger, compared to one in 47,600 in Iceland, the agency said in its annual report on the world’s children, this year focusing on health for mothers and newborns. “It is such a staggering figure,” UNICEF executive director Ann Veneman told AFP in an interview. On average, 1,500 women die every day during pregnancy or childbirth, or about half a million per year, with 95 percent of them in
The agency’s report calls for systems of lifelong care for women and greater access to education for girls, as well as fighting gender discrimination.
Africa or Asia. India alone accounts for 22 percent of the global total.
One quarter of these women die from post-partum haemorrhage, 15 percent from infections, 13 percent from complication in an abortion, 12 percent from eclampsia (a metabolism problem that causes hypertension and convulsions) and eight percent from obstructed labour. “For each woman that dies, you’ve got 20 others who get serious complications resulting in lasting consequences,” such as fistules, which damage the reproductive organs and is debilitating for a lifetime, Veneman said. Maternal deaths also affect the mortality rate among newborns, especially when infants are at greatest risk in the first 28 days of life. About 9.2 million children under five die every year, Veneman said.
“Forty percent die in their first 28 days. A lot of that is linked to the mother’s health,” she added. The report found that babies whose mother died during the first six weeks of their life are much more likely to die before their
“Saving the lives of mothers and their newborns requires more than just medical intervention,” Veneman said. “Educating girls is pivotal to improving maternal and neonatal health and also benefits families and societies.”
UNICEF said that about 80 percent of maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to primary health care or basic obstetrics. www.sxc.hu
second birthday than infants whose mother survives.
In an extreme case, 75 percent of babies in Afghanistan whose mothers die in childbirth do not live more than one month, it added.
UNICEF said that about 80 percent of maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to primary health care or basic obstetrics.
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Training also needs to be provided to health workers and midwives to improve the care that they provide, she added.
The report noted that educated women generally have children later in life. The risk of dying during pregnancy is five times higher for women under 15 than for women older than 20, it added. “Many women in developing countries have no say in their own health-care needs,” the report said, noting that in Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, more than 70 percent of women said their husbands made their medical decisions for them.
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Germany to suffer worst postwar recession, minister predicts
BERLIN (AFP) – The German economy is set to suffer its deepest recession since World War II, with growth in Europe’s biggest economy to slump by as much as 2.5 percent this year, Economy Minister Michael Glos said.
“This year, economic output is expected to fall by between two and 2.5 percent,” Glos said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag released and set to be published in full on Sunday. Germany entered a recession in the third quarter with two successive three-month periods of shrinking economic output.
Preliminary official figures showed that the slowdown accelerated sharply in the final part of the year, contracting by between 1.5 and two percent – the sharpest fall in two decades. The new figures represent a huge downward revision to Berlin’s previous estimate of small, but positive, growth this year of 0.2 percent.
The world’s largest exporter has been hit hard by a slump in global demand as the world economy nosedives amid the worst
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financial crisis since the 1930s.
Recent data have made it clear that Europe’s biggest economy is going south, with industrial orders and output falling off a cliff and unemployment on the rise in December for the first time in 33 months to stand at over three million.
In a bid to stave off the slowdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “grand coalition” government last week agreed a stimulus package worth 50 billion euros (66 billion dollars) to give the economy a much-needed shot in the arm.
Figures from the German industrial federation last week showed foreign orders slumping almost 30 percent in November. Deutsche Bank, meanwhile, the country’s biggest bank, unveiled a loss of almost five billion euros for the fourth quarter.
The main thrust of the new package is a huge increase in spending on roads, railways, hospitals and schools.
Other elements include cuts in tax and social security contributions, as well as incentives for consumers to buy new “greener” cars to boost Germany’s ailing auto sector.
Merkel also plans to set up a 100-billioneuro fund to help out firms struggling to secure sufficient credit – or at least loans without painful interest rates – from hard-up banks still reluctant to dole out cash despite Berlin’s 480-billion-euro banking package rushed through last year. But her efforts will also lead to a huge increase in Germany’s public deficit to the point that it is set to breach EU rules in 2010, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck told the Financial Times Deutschland last week.
Commerzbank, the second largest lender, is set to be part nationalised with Berlin taking a 25 percent plus one share stake in return for 10 billion euro in desperately needed fresh capital.
In a bid to stave off the slowdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “grand coalition” government last week agreed a stimulus package worth 50 billion euros (66 billion dollars) to give the economy a much-needed shot in the arm. AFP/
And the government could buy one third or more of troubled property lender Hypo Real Estate (HRE), Germany’s biggest credit crunch casualty, a lawmaker from Merkel’s CDU party told AFP. A total of 50 billion euros in cash and another 30 billion euros in loan guarantees already provided to HRE have not been enough to get it back on its feet.
EU-U.S. trade tensions flare as Washington opens WTO case
BRUSSELS (AFP) – The outgoing U.S. administration fired a parting shot against Europe, opening a new WTO case against the EU a day after hiking tariffs on European products in an escalation of trade tensions.
Days before the Bush administrations steps down, the United States filed a WTO complaint challenging the European Union’s restrictions on U.S. poultry treated with chlorine to prevent contamination, officials said.
United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab said Washington was requesting World Trade Organization dispute settlement consultations on the EU ban on poultry processed with “pathogen reduction treatments.” “The poultry treatments at issue have been widely and safely used in the United States for many years,” Schwab said.
“The EU’s own scientists have repeatedly
found these treatments not only to be safe, but effective.
“We have tried to address this issue through dialogue with the EU for more than eleven years, and neither the European Commission nor EU member states have offered any legitimate, science-based reason for continuing to block our poultry.”
In May last year, EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen proposed lifting the long-standing restrictions on U.S. poultry under certain conditions, including special labels identifying the process and guarantees the meat would be rinsed.
But veterinarians, EU governments and the European Parliament could not be convinced and EU farm ministers rejected in December attempts to lift the restrictions U.S. poultry. In reaction to the U.S. move, European Commission spokesman for trade issues Pe-
ter Power said: “We regret the U.S. decision to resort to WTO dispute settlement on this issue.”
attempt to escalate” the dispute.
The U.S. food industry uses the chlorine washing process on its poultry to kill off bacteria, including salmonella, before it reaches consumers’ plates.
“I am very shocked that one of the last moves by the outgoing Bush administration is this increase in customs duties,” fumed French secretary of state for trade AnneMarie Idrac.
“We will carefully study the U.S. claims and will engage in consultations in good faith,” he added.
The practice is banned in the EU where veterinary experts favour hygiene controls throughout the hatching and rearing cycle to better ensure that the bacteria does not develop in the first place.
The U.S. move came a day after the Bush administration imposed new tariffs on European products in retaliation for an EU ban on U.S. hormone-treated beef, in what the European Commission described as “a clear
U.S. penalties tripled in one case, on French Roquefort cheese, triggering an avalanche of outrage from France where the pungent, mouldy delicacy is considered a national icon.
The European Commission was quick to respond with plans to launch WTO action against the tariffs. Describing the tariffs as “illegal sanctions,” EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said: “We look forward to working with the new administration to address this situation.”
The deadline for each edition is the Wednesday preceding publication.
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Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Impact of global financial Nations demand climate plan crisis on Africa underestimated, from air, maritime industries AfDB says JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – African Development Bank (AfDB) president Donald Kaberuka said the impact of the global financial crisis on the continent had been “seriously underestimated.”
“The fear now from the numbers we are hearing is that almost all the benefits of two decades of growth could be compromised,” he told journalists in Cape Town at the end of a meeting of the Committee of 10 of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (C10). The Committee met to reviw the impact of the crisis on the continent. South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel called for closer collaboration among African countries to enable them to tackle the crisis, SAPA news agency reported. Manuel said the global economic down-
turn had brought about the collapse of commodity and equity prices.
“We have seen since then the collapse of commodity prices. We have seen huge currency volatility, the collapse of equity prices across stock markets and the virtual inability of most of our firms to access trade finance,” he said. He said Africa was at “the dawn of a period when capital markets are effectively closed to all developing countries.”
“We have also witnessed how the rich world has speedily moved to reflate their financial sectors, with most G7 countries now in an environment of negative real interest rates – the United Kingdom, for example, now has interest rates at the lowest level in the 315-year history of the Bank of England, while we remain trapped in poverty,” Manuel said.
TOKYO (AFP) – Representatives of 20 nations and the European Union called on the air and maritime industries to act on global warming and address carbon emissions from the unregulated sector by year-end. Transport ministers and envoys from the nations, including the Group of Eight major economies, held two days of talks in Tokyo as part of efforts to meet a goal of drafting a new climate change treaty by December. In a joint statement, the nations said that while transport was “an important foundation of our society” it was responsible for “considerable emissions of carbon dioxide,” affecting the climate and public health. “Urgent actions are required to address these issues while ensuring sustainable development,” the statement said. They called on the International Maritime Organization to “deliver a package of appropriate mechanisms for reducing emissions, preferably by the end of 2009.” The countries also said they would support the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to come up with technology, standards and market-based measures by the end of the year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The aviation industry group had agreed in 2007 to come up with ways to reduce the environmental impact of airplanes. But ICAO chief Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, speaking afterwards to reporters, said he did not expect moves to slap a carbon tax on airlines to force them to curb emissions. The transport industry has been badly hit by the global economic crisis, with fewer people taking to the air, shipping merchandise or buying new cars. Antonio Tajani, the European commissioner for transport, said the Tokyo declaration was “a very important signal of our common strategy for sustainable development.” “We have to build a type of economic growth that does not put at risk health or the environment,” Tajani told AFP. Transport accounts for some 23 percent of carbon emissions blamed for global warming, more than any other sector other than electricity generation and indoor heating, according to the International Energy Agency. Nations have been imposing stricter standards on automobile emissions. But the Kyo-
JAPAN, Tokyo : French Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau (L) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Igor Levitin (R) after the joint press conference of the Ministerial Conference on Global Environment and Energy in Trnasport in Tokyo. Officials from 20 nations met in Japan to find ways to tackle global warming related to transport, which causes nearly one-quarter of carbon emissions but has partly evaded strict regulation. AFP / Yoshikazu TSUNO
to Protocol makes no demands of the airline and shipping industries due to their international nature. A conference in December in Copenhagen is set to approve a new climate treaty for the period after 2012, when Kyoto’s obligations on emission cuts expire. The Tokyo conference included ministers or officials from the Group of Eight and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with Australia, India and South Korea. China was invited but did not come, while ASEAN member Malaysia took part as an observer as a senior official could not attend. Japan’s transport minister, Kazuyoshi Kaneko, said it was “regrettable” that China did not take part but said its absence “did not prevent a fruitful discussion.” Asked why China did not attend, Kaneko said Beijing “had wanted for there to be more consideration for developing countries.” China, which by some estimates has surpassed the United States as the world’s top polluter, recently unveiled a major bailout for its troubled aviation industry.
nomic summit on January 19-20 will discuss the impact of the worldwide economic meltdown on the 22 Arab countries. The biggest loss was an estimated 40 percent drop in the value of Arab investments abroad, which previously totalled around 2.5 trillion dollars. Falls on stock markets contributed more than 600 billion dollars to the losses, while Arab investors were further affected by a sharp decline in oil revenues, the declining value of property investments and other repercussions of the global downturn. This week’s summit will also discuss the Gaza war but leaders are still intent on agreeing a joint response to the financial crisis.
Sharp slowdown for Latin America, Caribbean in 2009: UN
MEXICO CITY (AFP) – The global economic crisis will provoke a sharp slowdown in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2009, with GDP growth sliding to 2.3 percent after five years at over four percent, a UN report said. “In the fallout from the global financial crisis, financial flows are expected to exhibit a reversal in the region,” said the UN report presented by lead author Rob Vos, from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in Mexico City.
Sinking commodity prices, weaker external demand and tighter financial conditions would impact the region, said the global economic outlook.
Arabs lost 2.5 trillion dollars from credit crunch: Kuwait
KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Arab investors have lost 2.5 trillion dollars from the credit crunch, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah, whose country hosts an Arab economic summit this week, said. “The Arab world has lost 2.5 trillion dollars in the past four months” as a result of the global financial crisis, Sheikh Mohammad told a press conference following a joint meeting of Arab foreign and finance ministers in Kuwait. He also said that about 60 percent of development projects “have either been postponed or cancelled” by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states because of the global meltdown. Arab leaders who hold their first ever eco-
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
Regional GDP growth was at 4.3 percent in 2008 and 5.5 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, a six-year appreciation trend
for Latin American currencies had also ended, the report said.
It noted a regional drop of around 23 percent against the U.S. dollar between endJune and October 2008, with Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico badly hit. Growth prospects varied, with South American countries – where export revenues are mostly derived from oil, metal or mineral products – to feel the impact of lower commodity prices, as well as a drop in domestic demand.
Central America and Mexico would be directly hit by the recession in the United States, which provides the market for most of their manufactured exports and jobs for their migrant workers.
Inflation, which soared in 2008, was expected to be lower in 2009.
But unemployment rates were predicted to rise above eight percent and remittances were expected to drop with the declining U.S. labor market. “Yet, the region is better equipped to deal with the crisis than it has been in the past, owing to lower external debt and the large accumulation of foreign reserves,” the report added. Caribbean countries would also suffer but, being net importers of commodities, were expected to see some compensation through better terms of trade, the report said.
Caribbean countries would also suffer but, being net importers of commodities, were
New U.S. Security secretary would crack down on employers of illegals WASHINGTON (AFP) – New U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said the problem of illegal immigration can only be solved if employers are held accountable for hiring undocumented workers. “My experience is that you have to deal with illegal immigration from the demand side, as well as the supply side,” said the Arizona governor at her confirmation hearing before the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee. As the chief executive of a U.S. state bordering Mexico, Napolitano has won kudos for her handling of the highly contentious issue of illegal immigrants, who currently number some 12 million in the United States, most from Latin America. On the national level, securing America’s porous borders “requires manpower and technology and a good system at the border
expected to see some compensation through better terms of trade, the report said.
itself,” she said. Among the complex nexus of reasons “drawing people illegally across the border and – particularly with respect to the southern border – to make that very tortuous and dangerous journey,” Napolitano said, “is the prospect of a job.” She acknowledged that some employers in the United States draw on the illegal job market due to lax enforcement of laws relating to undocumented workers. Immigration reform was thrust into the spotlight in the 2008 presidential campaign, with Republican John McCain and eventual winner Barack Obama both expressing the need for an immigration overhaul after Congress failed to enact reforms in 2006 and 2007. Napolitano also vowed to boost transportation security in “not just aviation but sur-
face transportation as well ... that is a work in progress; we haven’t done as much there as we have done on aviation.” She said she would also work “with the private sector on the private infrastructure” to address chemical and biological threats. Many biological facilities “are on universities who don’t necessarily view themselves as a security risk the same way, say, a nuclear plant might,” she warned. Napolitano responded to criticism of her lack of counterterrorism experience by noting that she had addressed related issues as Arizona governor since 2002. In order to tackle the botched interoperability of federal agencies leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks and during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she said she wanted to bring in technological expertise. The technological know-how would help “make sure that we’re getting the kind of system we really need, with the best and most current technology available,” she said. Questioned by Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, the state hardesthit by Hurricane Katrina, Napolitano said “a number of changes on FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) post-Katrina
New Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill Napolitano said one of her priorities would be to fix the broken immigration system. Chip Somodevilla/AFP
have been made ... but there still work to be done.” The sprawling Department of Homeland Security, created after 9/11, now has the third-largest budget of all federal agencies, after the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
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Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
‘Dogs don’t wear condoms’, says Baywatch star Anderson
MUMBAI (AFP) – U.S. actress Pamela Anderson has appealed to the authorities in India’s financial capital Mumbai not to put down nuisance stray dogs, instead calling for them to be sterilized. “It is well established that killing stray dogs is not a permanent solution to controlling their populations,” the former “Baywatch” star said in a letter to the municipal commission of Greater Mumbai. “Dogs cannot use condoms, but with the municipality’s help, they can be ‘fixed’ – painlessly, quickly and permanently,” she added in the letter made public by activist group the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). There are thought to be some 70,000 stray dogs in India’s financial and entertainment capital and there are widespread concerns about their role in spreading disease, including deadly rabies. Anderson’s letter, which cited World Health Organization and Animal Health Board of India support for mass sterilisation, comes after a legal ruling here to destroy nuisance dogs.
Expressing her concern at the court decision, the 41-year-old star called instead for civic authorities to promote a sterilisation programme for stray dogs as well as those adopted and bought from animal shelters and pet shops. Anderson’s stance was supported by the Mumbai-based charity Welfare of Stray Dogs, which has been carrying out mass sterilisation of stray dogs since 1989. Its chief executive, Abodh Aras, told AFP: “It’s not only Pamela Anderson but a lot of children have also been writing to the commission saying that one should have the policy of sterilisation rather than killing stray dogs. “Killing has proved to be ineffective in terms of bringing down the stray dog population and human rabies death. It’s not just from the dog point of view but also from the human point of view.” Mass killing of stray dogs was implemented by India’s British colonial rulers in the 19th century. But by the early 1990s the policy was
stopped as it was found to be ineffective in controlling the dog population and reducing human rabies deaths. An attempt was made to revive the practice in 1998 but was rejected while the latest bid is currently subject to an Indian Supreme Court ruling due in the coming weeks. India has so many dogs roaming its streets because of its high numbers of slum and street dwellers, who often keep the animals as pets, plus a large amount of garbage, which provides readily accessible food for scavenging mutts.
Stone was in Argentina on Wednesday for an interview with President Cristina Kirchner. Kirchner and Stone walked the garden of the presidential residence of Los Olivos, in Buenos Aires, and stopped to examine a black Cadillac convertible used by populist president Juan Domingo Peron and his famous wife Evita in the 1940s. Kirchner, who spoke to Stone through a translator, said after the meeting that the U.S. director would seek in his documentary to
show “what is happening in a world in which what seemed to be unchangeable universally held truths just are not any more, and in fact they are being questioned.”
“I think that the most forceful thing that will happen to Americans when they see the film is that they are going to realize that everything they have been told is not true: that when people were telling them one thing about populist governments in Latin America, other (strictly market-minded) people were creating the disaster that the United States is going through today,” said Kirchner, a populist Peronist.
“It’s great to see the result of all the hard work that’s gone on.”
Of the revolutionary KERS system, which is based around a battery which will recharge during braking before boosting acceleration after corners, McLaren’s number one driver was enthusisatic.
“You can’t live in the past,” said the English driver, who at 23 years old became the youngest ever Formula One world champion in the final race of the 2008 season at Brazil’s Interlagos circuit.
“I’ve always liked gadgets so now I’ll have more buttons to play with!
“I’ve driven on slicks in GP2 before so I know how they feel,” said Hamilton, referring to the second tier championship he won in 2006.
“Going into my third F1 season I’ve had to reset my targets to what they were in 2007.
“I don’t say ‘I am world champion’, I say ‘I want to be world champion.”
Cuba to interview President Raul Castro, in Bolivia to meet President Evo Morales, and in Paraguay to interview President Fernando Lugo. Stone’s latest movie was “W,” his take on
“Every day it begins to sink in a little more – but I don’t think it will fully sink in until I am sitting on the grid for the first race.
“There are some very proud moments for me from last year – you do reminisce but you also try to move on.”
the life of President George W. Bush.
The director has won Oscars for his work in “Midnight Express” (1978), “Platoon” (1986) and “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989).
The Stevenage-born racer denied that he would feel more pressure in the upcoming drivers’ championship as a result of his success. “I feel more relaxed as I’ve just come off a great season – winning has given me extra confidence.
“We want to win both championships this
The statesmanlike world number two dealt with Helfant on multi-million dollar clothing contract negotiations, and as president of the ATP Player Council will again find himself across the table from the 44-year-old. “His view is great, he has been in sports big time,” said Federer. “He deals with Brazil (national team) and FC Barcelona and all the basketball players.
“I even had something going on with him at Nike when I was negotiating my contract, so I saw what kind of a man he was. He is very honest, and I think that is a very good thing.”
Federer said finance would be among the issues on the table as the governing body of world tennis works to get tournaments to increase prize money. “I think tournaments have done really well over the years,” he said. “At the moment it is a bit of a crunch obviously, so we are sensitive to that issue, but I think now having a new CEO, the chance is to make tennis even better.”
Each column, row and box must contain each number from 1 to 9. There is only one solution, wich is shown here.
“With all the new regulations it’s certainly going to be the toughest year I’ve faced.” McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen (L) takes a photograph on his phone of team-mate Lewis Hamilton (R) during the launch of the new MP4-24 Formula 1 car at the teams’ headquarters in Woking. The MP4-24, the machine in which Lewis Hamilton will defend his Formula One drivers’ title, was unveiled at the McLaren Technology Center in Woking. The new machine will embody 2009’s radical rule changes, including slick tyres, reduced aerodynamics and a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). AFP/Adrian Dennis
coming year, the drivers’ and the constructors’.”
The car Hamilton will be sitting in throughout the upcoming season has come straight from the drawing board after a raft of new technological regulations were put in place. Featuring heavily-revised bodywork, re-
sculpted front and rear wings, slick tyres and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), the young world champion will face an entirely different driving experience in 2009. “This is the first time I’ve seen it but I think it looks very elegant,” said Hamilton. “It’s different with the smaller wings at the back.
On racing Ferrari rival Felipe Massa for the title again this year, Hamilton added:
“I’m looking forward to racing against him – it should be an interesting battle.”
McLaren’s new car will face its first track test over the next week with test driver Pedro De La Rosa at the wheel at the Parque Algarve circuit in Portimao, Portugal. The first race of the 2009 Formula One season takes place at Melbourne, Australia, on March 29.
Federer praises new ATP boss No more rain-shortened playoff games or tiebreak coin flips
MELBOURNE (AFP) – Roger Federer welcomed the appointment of former Nike executive Adam Helfant to head the Association of Tennis Professionals, calling it a chance to “make tennis even better.”
Over the past week Stone has stopped in Venezuela for an interview with Chavez, in
“I can’t confirm that it will be easier to overtake as I haven’t driven with the new system.
Speaking after the unveiling of the silvery Vodafone Mercedes McLaren MP4-24 at the McLaren Technology Centre, south of London, Hamilton added:
This undated handout photograph shows former Baywatch TV star Pamela Anderson of the U.S. at an undisclosed location for a postcard campaign for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). U.S. actress Pamela Anderson has appealed to the authorities in India’s financial capital Mumbai not to put down nuisance stray dogs, instead calling for them to be sterilized. AFP
F1 champion Hamilton refusing to rest on his laurels WOKING (AFP) – Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton pledged not to dwell on his record-breaking achievements of last year at the launch of McLaren’s brand new car for 2009.
U.S. director Oliver Stone puts focus on Latin American left BUENOS AIRES (AFP) – U.S. director Oliver Stone has been traveling across Latin America recently, interviewing leaders for a documentary on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the rise of the left in the region.
Edition 170 • Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2009
The state of the annual calendar will also likely be among the issues the pair discuss when they meet.
There are calls for the Open to be pushed back by a few weeks, sending the first Grand Slam of the season into February, because the rise of big-money events in the Gulf are draining player fields at Australian warm-up events. “Definitely the calendar is always something we do talk about,” said the Swiss play-
er. “I guess (the way) to fix the Australian Open problem – having more tournaments beforehand – is to move it backwards a couple of weeks.
“You would have more of an Australian swing coming, and maybe also the Middle Eastern tournaments. It would maybe be better to have Doha (early January) and Abu Dhabi (late February) back-to-back.” “There are a whole lot of issues we are trying to solve, we are trying to make it as good as we can for everybody.”
Helfant took over from South African Etienne de Villiers, who decided not to renew his mandate after coming under attack from several top players, including world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, over the ATP tournament schedule. He was a senior executive with Nike for 12 years and spent three years with the National Hockey League as an attorney. Federer said Helfant flew out to visit him as well as Nadal and Novak Djokovic, all Council members elected last year, when he was on the shortlist for the post. There had been calls for a European to be named to the top ATP post, but Federer said nationality was not an issue.
“For me it doesn’t matter where in the world he comes from. I remember Rafa saying he would like to have a European one. I spoke to him and he also said as long as he is a good man, at the end of the day that is what matters. “It’s important that the CEO we have spends significant amount of time as well in Europe because that is a driving force from the players’ side at the moment. “But I still think it is important not to forget the rest of the world, especially America as well, because America is a huge market.”
PARADISE VALLEY (AFP) – Major League Baseball owners rewrote their rule book to remove any chance of rain-shortened playoff games after a confusing situation in last year’s World Series. An amendment approved by club owners requires all playoff and World Series games be played to a full conclusion of at least nine innings regardless of how many innings might be complete and no matter the score when play is halted. Owners also voted to have head-to-head records replace coin flips when it comes to deciding a home-field advantage for extra tie-breaker games should they be needed to determine division titles or wild-card playoff berths. The decision to resume and play suspended games to completion at the same site comes three months after the first rain-suspended game in World Series history brought an odd climax to the deciding game of the championship final. The Philadelphia Phillies were leading the fifth game of the best-of seven final 2-1 after five innings in a pouring rain. In regular-season games, a team leading after five innings is awarded a victory if bad weather prevents completion of a game. The Rays equalized at 2-2 and the game was halted after 5 1/2 innings with many people thinking Tampa Bay had barely es-
In regular-season games, a team leading after five innings is awarded a victory if bad weather prevents completion of a game. AFP
caped elimination in an unprecedented rainshortened decider. But after the game was halted and its finish postponed, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said he would not have seen the crown awarded in such a manner. Now the rules spell out what was Selig’s interpretation. Two days later, the showers subsided and the game resumed for the final regulation innings with the Phillies defeating the Rays 4-3 to claim the first sports crown by any team from Philadelphia in a quarter-century.
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