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Vol. 3 • Edition 186 • Biweekly • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009 • Costa Rica, Central America •

global affairs

P. 20

31 cluster bomb treaty signatories still have stocks

Thirty-one countries still hold stockpiles of cluster munitions despite signing a treaty to ban them, according to a report by anti-arms lobby groups published last week.



U.S. economy shrank 5.7 pct in first quarter The embattled U.S. economy shrank at a 5.7 percent pace in the first quarter, the government said in a revised estimate that showed slower consumer spending, the key driver of growth.



‘Gay clocks third-fastest 200m in history

US sprinter Tyson Gay notched the third-fastest 200m in history Saturday, clocking 19.58sec to win the title at the Reebok Grand Prix athletics meeting.



India’s Congress party offers ‘Slumdog’ child stars new homes Two child actors from the Oscarwinning film “Slumdog Millionaire” have been offered new homes by the ruling Congress party of India’s western state of Maharashtra after their slum homes were torn down..

Tortuga Island is one of the most visited in the Gulf of Nicoya by tourists and sailors who arrive yachts. Photo Sylvia Guardia M.

Nicoya Gulf islands great tourist attraction

The beauty and exuberance of the Nicoya Gulf islands continue to attract tourists, both domestic and foreign.

Every day of the week, but especially on weekends, excursions are organized to the islands, with Tortuga (pictured here) being the most popular. Visitors enjoy white sand beaches, clear and turquoise waters ideal for diving and snorkeling.

Other islands that make up the Gulf chain are Chira, Costa Rica’s largest, which is inhabited by 3,000 people; Pajaros, so called due to the large number of birds that breed and roost there; and Venado, which houses attractive mangrove forests; and Bejuco, the smallest of them all.


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There are others islands, such as Caballo, covered in dry tropical forests and with some beaches; Guayabo, which is home to the maroon pelican and is a migration site for the peregrine falcon; and Gitana, where visitors can practice canoeing. Finally, there is Jesusita, which has beaches with palm trees; Negritos, where birds such as pelicans overnight; and San Lucas, infamous for having been a penitentiary center in the past.

A bill, No. 15.665, “Law for promoting the economic, social and tourist development of the Nicoya Gulf islands,” sought to reform articles 5, 37 and 42 of the Land Maritime Zone Law with the goal of allowing the construction of tourism infrastructure there, but the proposal has not received widespread support.

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Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Page two


Business & Economy

Guanacaste cattle ranchers to benefit from new credit fund

The national cattle ranching industry will benefit from a 6-billion colon new line of credit intended to help farmers deal with the current economic crisis. The funds are being made available through the “Program for Rescuing the Beef Cattle Industry MAG-BNCR-CORFOGA.”

P. 10


Guanacaste beach schools contribute to CR receiving world tourism award

Four beach-town schools in Guanacaste — those in Playa Panama, Hermosa, Brasilito, Grande and Carrillo — contributed to Costa Rica earning a recognition from the selection committee of the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 2009 Ulysses Awards. The country received the Judges Special Award for Innovation in Governance in Tourism for its program “School Tourism Culture Awareness: Costa Rica Adventure,” organized by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

P. 14


Guanacaste music yields two new disks

Guanacaste’s rich musical production has yielded two new collections: Ticolandia and Musica de Guanacaste. Ticolandia, by singer-songwriter Christian Porras, was officially presented March 7 at Liberia’s Casa Antigua. Porras is a young representative of the new generation of Guanacaste artists, which is interested in promoting the country from an artistic perspective that mixes tradition and contemporary styles.

P. 18


Excess cola can cause super-sized muscle trouble

A steady, liters-per-day diet of colas can cause serious muscle problems, doctors warned in a study.

P. 19


Spain predicts sharp drop in summer tourism

Spain, the world’s second largest holiday destination, forecast a 10-percent fall in tourist arrivals this summer as the economic crisis hits its main source markets.

P. 20

Global Affairs

G8 wants closer cooperation to fight terrorism, piracy

Fighting the global terrorism threat as well as the scourge of piracy calls for stronger cooperation among G8 nations, the group’s interior and justice ministers said last weekend.

P. 21


Ecuador wants billions to not drill in biosphere reserve

President Rafael Correa said that he wants the world to pay Ecuador some 5.2 billion dollars in exchange for not drilling for oil in the Yasuni National Park, a UNESCO world biosphere reserve.

P. 22


Serena accuses Spanish opponent of cheating

Serena Williams accused Spanish opponent Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of cheating after winning a bad-tempered French Open third round clash last Saturday.

P. 23


Susan Boyle’s dream collapses as she loses British talent show

Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle was dealt an unexpected blow Saturday when she lost out to a group of young street dancers in the final of the British talent show that made her a global star.

Costa rica tides chart Day


Tue 02 Wed 03 Thu 04 Fri 05 Sat 06 Sun 07 Mon 08 Tue 09 Wed 10 Thu 11 Fri 12 Sat 13 Sun 14 Mon 15

Low 03:53 / 1.12 ft 04:54 / 1.34 ft 05:52 / 1.45 ft 06:46 / 1.49 ft 07:35 / 1.48 ft 08:20 / 1.45 ft 09:03 / 1.43 ft 09:44 / 1.42 ft 10:24 / 1.44 ft 11:05 / 1.50 ft 11:46 / 1.58 ft 00:05 / 0.92 ft 00:44 / 1.17 ft 01:25 / 1.42 ft

00:50 / 7.67 ft 01:41 / 7.80 ft 02:27 / 7.94 ft 03:10 / 8.07 ft 03:51 / 8.18 ft 04:31 / 8.23 ft 05:11 / 8.23 ft 05:50 / 8.19 ft



10:22 / 8.62 ft 11:21 / 8.60 ft 12:16 / 8.63 ft 13:06 / 8.67 ft 13:52 / 8.72 ft 14:35 / 8.74 ft 15:17 / 8.72 ft 15:57 / 8.66 ft 16:36 / 8.53 ft 17:17 / 8.34 ft 17:57 / 8.09 ft 06:31 / 8.11 ft 07:11 / 8.03 ft 07:54 / 7.97 ft


16:42 / 1.16 ft 17:43 / 1.10 ft 18:38 / 0.97 ft 19:28 / 0.82 ft 20:13 / 0.68 ft 20:54 / 0.56 ft 21:33 / 0.50 ft 22:11 / 0.49 ft 22:49 / 0.56 ft 23:27 / 0.71 ft

22:54 / 7.62 ft 23:55 / 7.59 ft

12:28 / 1.69 ft 13:13 / 1.79 ft 13:59 / 1.86 ft

18:39 / 7.80 ft 19:23 / 7.51 ft 20:10 / 7.25 ft

Costa Rica Basics

Contents P.04 Lead Story P.06 Business & Economy P.10 Society P.14 Culture P.16 Week In Brief

Information for Pacific Coast

Area:  Population: Capital:  Language:  Time Zone:

P.18 Health P.19 Europe P.20 Global Affairs P.21 Americas P.22 Sports P.23 Entertainment

51,000 km2 4,509,290 (Nov 2008) 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 186 Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009 Costa Rica, Central America

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lead story

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Nacascolo’s Playa Iguanita will be a wildlife refuge

(InfoWebPress – — In order to protect the land and marine ecosystems of the Nacascolo Peninsula, the Legislative Assembly studied in first debate Bill No. 16.349, which seeks to give the legal status of wildlife refuge to Playa Iguanita — an area that includes primary forest, dry tropical forest, mangroves and important bay marine ecosystems. This region contains many tourism, educational and scientific attractions, and its proximity to communities in Liberia and Carrillo would allow for tourism development under a mode of sustainable use of natural and cultural resources — in a way that the refuge can be protected while maintaining the tradition of communal use of the beach.

Studies in the area have identified 67 marine species (including some of commercial importance such as lobster, pargo and cambute); 118 tree and shrub species; 100 species of birds, of which 27 percent are migratory; and 10 species of terrestrial mammals, including some threatened or endangered. Those were some of the reasons behind the effort to seek more protection for this region in the long term. The state, through the National Conservation Areas System (SINAC), the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and the municipalities of Liberia and Carrillo, will commit to guaranteeing that Playa Iguanita will still be available for tourism use by locals and visi-

tors, without becoming an obstacle to the development of the Papagayo Tourism Destination endeavor.

The bill seeks to ensure the adequate use of this beach by all Costa Ricans, but particularly for Guanacastecans.

The bill indicates that the state will commit to protecting, rescuing and using the pre-Hispanic cultural resources of the Iguanita area in their natural condition. These resources were essential elements of the social, economic and religious network that lined the more than 65 Indigenous settlements around the Bay of Culebra area with the pre-Columbian peoples of the Tempisque Valley and the Guanacaste Volcanic Cordillera. All of these resources, the bills states, must be protected and preserved according to the National Archaeological Heritage Law.

Meanwhile, the Tempisque Conservation Area and the management of the refuge will be expected to carry out all administrative and technical tasks to ensure broad participation by the surrounding communities, institutions and the private sector in the implementation of a management plan for the Iguanita National Wildlife Refuge — taking into consideration ICT’s Master Plan for the Papagayo Tourism Destination. The Iguanita bill was supported by community organizations in Guanacaste, such as the community development associations of Carrillo, Guardia, San Roque, Condega, Bar-

Playa Iguanita’s scenic beauty will now be protected by law. Photo Picassa

rio Los Angeles, Las Delicias, La Victoria and Guadalupe, as well as the Tilaran Neighbors Group. The new refuge is located in Iguanita Bay, deep into the Bay of Culebra, which is part of

the Quebrada Grade watershed and includes the districts of Nacascolo and Sardinal — which belong, respectively, to the cantons of Liberia and Carrillo.

Sanitary quality distinction given to 4 Guanacaste aqueducts (InfoWebPress – — Health Minister Dr. Maria Luisa Avila and the executive president of the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA), Ricardo Sancho Chavarria, presented the “White Flag” distinction to 135 aqueducts throughout the country operated by AyA, municipalities, rural aqueduct and sewer associations (ASADAS), hospitals and hotels. The “White Flag” is the equivalent of a sanitary quality seal. This incentive is presented every year to water administrators that meet AyA’s requirements and show interest in maintaining and improving the conditions of their delivery systems — so that the populations they serve can have good-quality water and experience good service. “We are recognizing the effort of all those people, entities or organizations which, in one way or another, have taken on the task of promoting and reinforcing actions to provide potable water for human consumption of the best possible quality, in a sustainable manner and in harmony with nature,” Minister Avila said.

ASADAS from Guanacaste that received the “White Flag” include those operating in the communities of Playa Tamarindo, Barrio Limon de Santa Cruz, and Zapote de San Antonio in Nicoya.

storage tanks, networks and other structures; residual chlorine in the network; environmental education and information about quality of the water; and the results of quality control measures undertaken by the National Water Laboratory or any other qualified lab.

Other organizations recognized throughout the country include Higuito de Desamparados, Tarbaca de Aserri, La Esperanza de San Pedro in Perez Zeledon, San Rafael de Alajuela, Urbanizacion Los Laureles in Desamparados de Alajuela, and Larga Distancia de Matina. Some AyA-run aqueducts also received distinctions, including those in Puriscal, Acosta, Peñas Blancas, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, Paso Canoas, San Vito de Coto Brus and Tilaran, among others.

The award also goes to recreational centers, hotels and restaurants that meet standards for sanitary conditions, particularly in relation to quality of drinking water, adequate management of solid and liquid waste, and the quality of the water in pools (meeting current chemical and microbiological standards).

Municipalities that receive the quality seal include Cartago (Rio Loro Ochomogo, Quircot, Loyola and Pedregal); Naranjo; Tarrazu; and Belen. Started in 2001, the Sanitary Quality Seal program of AyA takes into consideration aspects related to the protection of water sources; maintenance and cleaning of water-

The quality of the water being transported by aqueducts in Guanacaste was recognized with the “White Flag” distinction. Photo Comunicación Corporativa

“By extending the Sanitary Quality Seal program, we are sending the message that the provision of quality potable water, both in quantity and continuity, along with the correct disposal of solid waste, are essential to reducing waterborne diseases,” AyA’s Sancho said. “Such measures must be undertaken at restaurants, recreation centers and hotels, where not only Costa Ricans stay, but also foreign visitors.”



Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Guanacaste cattle ranchers to benefit from new credit fund (InfoWebPress – — The national cattle ranching industry will benefit from a 6-billion colon new line of credit intended to help farmers deal with the current economic crisis. The funds are being made available through the “Program for Rescuing the Beef Cattle Industry MAGBNCR-CORFOGA.” According to Juan Bautista Mendez Cruz, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) in Hojancha, Guanacaste, cattle ranching generates more than 6 million colones (little over $10,000) per family per year in Guanacaste.

Mendez Cruz added that in the Chorotega region there are some 377,000 hectares of land dedicated to cattle ranching, involving some 7,000 families. The average farm size is 57 hectares per producer, with 81 percent being owned by small and medium-size ranchers. As part of this program, state-owned Banco Nacional (BNCR) will open a line of credit, while MAG and the Cattle Ranching

a viable countrywide credit strategy, which will have much impact because it will involve nearly 1,200 small producers, who will also have the support of the Development Banking System for those who don’t have enough guarantees to access credit at the moment.”

Corporation (CORFOGA) will provide 250 million colones with the goal of providing temporary aid to debtors — to the tune of about 4 percent over the interest rate established by the bank during the first 18 months of the loan.

“This program seeks to provide a line of credit to cattle ranchers, which would allow them to retain and buy male and female calves for meat-production and double purpose. The program attempts to impact the market and improve prices,” said Aldo Mazzero, president CORFOGA. Mazzero underscored that the ultimate goal of this program is to promote the demand for cattle through purchasing, as well as to decrease the supply of cows via retention on farms — all of which is expected to stimulate the growth of cattle prices so that this industry can become more dynamic. The effort is also aimed at expanding the capacity for production of forages on farms through forage banks and promoting the adequate use of minerals.

About the program, Jose Antonio Vasquez, deputy manager of Banco Nacional, said:

The injection of 250 million colones to the loan fund will benefit some 1,200 cattle ranchers through retention and purchase of some 40,000 heads of cattle. Photo courtesy of MAG

“We know that credit is not the solution to all cattle ranching problems, but it positively contributes to dealing with the emergency at hand and softening the effects of the crisis on prices, by creating a more dynamic situation as far as demand for animals,” Agriculture Minister Javier Flores Galarza said. “This is

“This alliance with CORFOGA and MAG gives us much satisfaction, because during a time of crisis, when prices go down, there’s nothing better than working together so that the cattle industry can move forward with all its needs and can be more competitive. “Today we are offering the experience of Banco Nacional to be used in this program,” Vasquez added. “This effort will also be backed by BN Desarrollo (a development portfolio of Banco Nacional) so that the results will be those we are expecting, that is, the reactivation of the market under the principle of sustainability.”

Costa Rica hosts service providers summit

(InfoWebPress – — More than 200 companies from 22 countries will converge in Costa Rica June 3-4 to arrange business meetings as part of the 2009 Costa Rica Services Summit (CRSS).

The event aims to promote commercialization bonds within the services sectors and subsectors, particularly those related with medical and wellbeing tourism, engineering and architecture, audiovisuals and information and communication technology. CRSS is organized by the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Corporation (PROCOMER) in collaboration with the Costa Rican Chamber of Information and Communication Technologies (CAMTIC), PROMED, the Chamber of Construction, and the Center for Cinema. During the Costa Rica Services Summit, the technology sector will also hold the sixth edition of the Costa Rica Technology Insight, an international event that during five years has helped position Costa Rica as one of the most competitive destinations in Latin America for services companies.

omy and, according to estimated by the Central Bank, it currently represents two third of our Gross Domestic Product,” added Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz. “Without a doubt, the Costa Rica Services Summit will be a very important space for generating business and attracting foreign investment to our services sectors in the medical, architecture, audiovisual information technology fields.”

To support these events, CAMTIC has developed a technological platform through which participants can have total control of their business agendas directly, knowing every detail about registered attendees and set up their business meetings with complete flexibility and convenience. CRSS seeks to promote the exchange of trade opportunities and the development of novel strategic alliances between businesses, also providing business men and women the opportunity to know more about trends in the market and new practices and models in the worldwide services industry.

“For us, this event is a space that foments strategic alliances, especially with those participants that were identified by PROCOMER’s 15 trade promotion offices abroad, as this will allow for linkages between the local supply and the global demand in the services sector — which is one of the most dynamic, innovative and high value-added generators in the current economy,” said Emmanuel Hess, PROCOMER general manager.

Specific areas encompassed by the event will health and wellbeing tourism; the promotion of design and consultancies for engineering and architecture; natural locations, editing, logistics and postproduction in the audiovisual industry; competitiveness related to the business of outsourcing; and quality assurance for software and information and communication technologies. Technology services have positioned Costa Rica as an attractive destination for investors.

“The services sector is becoming a bigger and bigger protagonist each day in our econ-

There will also be business meeting geared specifically toward manager, directors, presidents and important decision makers, as well as specialized talks and conferences.



Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Central Bank offers economic forecast for second semester

(InfoWebPress – — The Costa Rican Central Bank presented its forecast for the second half of 2009, underscoring its commitment to gradually move toward a more flexible system that would give it more room to operate in terms of monetary policy. Additionally, the Central Bank said it would maintain an interest rate policy in accordance with its inflation goals and will try to keep the Costa Rican payment system working properly — this by keeping a close eye on the conditions of the national financial system and the effects the international recession could have on it.

The macroeconomic forecast for the 20092010 biennium was prepared based on criteria considered the most probable at the time. The macroeconomic program approved in January 2009 utilized the latest forecasts available at the time regarding economic growth of the world economy in general and of Costa Rica’s key trade partners in particular.

The deepening of the recession in the United States — Costa Rica’s main trade

General inflation, as measured by the inter-annual variation of the Consumer Prices Index (IPC), showed a trend of slowing down during the first four months of 2009 compared to December 2008 (13.9 percent). As of April, inter-annual inflation reach 11.8 percent, while accumulated inflation for 2009 only was 1.2 percent (it was 3.1 percent in that same period in 2008). The lighter inflationary pressure had to do with cheaper food, fuel and transportation costs, although other basic items did not fare as well.

partner — is expected to have an adverse impact higher than predicted on the behavior of capital flows, net exports of services and goods, external transactions, and expectations and confidence of the country’s economic players. As a result, it is expected that the global crisis, which has been affecting the Costa Rican economy since last year, will have an even stronger impact than what was anticipated earlier this year.

Consequently, it is estimated that the gross domestic product (GDP), if prices remain constant, will decrease in 2009 by 1.8 percent, lower than the January forecast ( a 2.2 percent growth) and the revised forecast for 2008 (2.6 percent growth). However, it is expected that the economy will begin to rebound in late 2009, if no other systemic problems get in the way of the current forecast. The worst part of the crisis, then, would hit during the first half of 2009. The Central Bank indicated that the country’s deficit would reach in 2009 4.9 percent of the GDP, which means an improvement of little more than four percentage points compared to 2008 (when it was 9 percent).

Francisco de Paula Gutierrez, executive president of the Costa Rican Central Bank, presented a series of forecasts about the country’s economic growth. Photo Casa Presidencial

The inflation rhythm seen in the first four months of this year is not expected to keep during the rest of 2009, due to the presence of factors such as inflationary inertia, the effects of variations in exchange rates, a small increase in the price of some raw materials imported into the country, or the price hikes that some agricultural products tend to experience during the second half of the year because of seasonal factors. Despite all of this, internal demand conditions and the reduction of the inflation forecast are expected to provide opportunities for reducing inflation in 2009 and 2010.

Protected wildlife areas to receive financing (InfoWebPress – — Bill No. 17.128, or the “Loan Contract between the Government of Costa Rica and the Inter-American Development Bank” intended to finance tourism development programs in protected wildlife areas, was given the green light by a commission Congress in mid-May. The bill provides a loan fro $19.5 million that will be used to improve the infrastructure of several protected areas around the country in order to support tourism activity there. The success Costa Rica has attained in the tourism industry is due in great part to its national parks, said Tourism Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides as he gave his support to the bill before the Tourism Commission at the Legislative Assembly. “We couldn’t think about the success this country has had in the field of tourism if we didn’t have our national parks, and at the same time it’s worrisome that better maintenance is not given to the most visited areas,” Benavides pointed out. The loan initiative includes $6 million in matching funds, of which more than $1 million will be supplied by local governments benefitting from the program, with the other $5 million coming from the central government’s budget. The monies will go toward improving the

conditions of protected wildlife areas and give them maintenance, thus strengthening the tourism industry in those areas. Tourism is one of Costa Rica’s key sources of income. Benavides said the loan is urgent to inject resources into some regions of the country, which would make it possible to “re-launch protected wildlife areas.” The Minister added that the revenue generated by the tourism sector by both domestic and foreign tourists not only helps businesses but also rural communities nearby parks. “Every time a restaurant, a parking garage, an access street or a new trail comes online, a world of opportunities opens up for the communities, which will benefit all year round,” Benavides said. Meanwhile, legislator Ana Helena Chacon, president of the Tourism Commission, said the country needs this bill, adding that it has already been the subject of plenty of consultation among environment, tourism and treasury officials and those in charge of planning the initiative. “This bill seeks to provide better infrastructure and attention to 10 protected areas around the country, which are key to continuing attracting tourists,” Chacon explained. “We are convinced that the people who are going to take care of tourists not only need to

This injection of funds is expected to improve the infrastructure of national parks such as Santa Rosa, in Guanacaste. TJ/InfoWebPress

be prepared, but they should have adequate infrastructure so that tourists will feel like coming back.” Legislator Olivier Perez said it’s impor-

tant to provide financing for strengthening parks and conservation areas. However, he expressed some concerns about the consultancies included in the bill.



Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Ribbon-cutting for new music school takes place in Nicoya

(InfoWebPress – — During a recent visit to Nicoya, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and Culture and Youth Minister Maria Elena Carballo cut the ribbon at an inauguration ceremony for the New Nicoya Peninsular Music School — the result of efforts by the National Public Music Education System (SINEM) to promote art and culture through music in the country. The ceremony was held at the Nicoya Church. According to Minister Carballo, the new music school’s goal is to promote the formation of musicians based on symphonic music, but without forgetting cultural traditions of the region. “The progress of SINEM is impressive, not only because of governmental support, but because of the interest the community has demonstrated. In Nicoya, rescuing its musical tradition is essential, and this school will strengthen it, allowing new talent to sprout with its own traditions,” Carballo said. SINEM helps children and teenagers in communities that need priority attention to play a musical instrument; become part of youth orchestras, concert bands or choirs; and have the ability to take part in chamber music recitals and offer concerts as soloists. The New Nicoya Peninsular Music School opened its doors last September, and enrollment has reached 575 students raging from four to 19 years of age from communities such as Nosara, Nicoya and Santa Cruz.

“The creation of a music school is a great reason for happiness, but only because many kids will finally have the opportunity to study music, but also because we are helping them stay away from drugs, alcohol and crime,” Carballo pointed out.

Recently, Liberia’s public library also benefited from a donation from the cooperation program of the U.S. Embassy, thanks to which users of two public libraries and students with SINEM will enjoy new audiovisual equipment and musical instruments. In addition to the Liberia library, benefiting from the donation was also the library at Zaragoza in Palmares. It is estimated that the Liberia library annually serves 22,000 people, while the one in Zaragoza has some 45,000 users — among them elementary and secondary school students. Each of the libraries received 68 audiovisual items, a 42inch plasma TV and a DVD player to support the institutions’ film projects. The U.S. Embassy delivered the items through the Ministry of Culture and Youth. Also donated were a piano, microphones, a stereo, chairs, music stands, speakers, plus additional TV sets, DVD players and movies to support other libraries and cultural programs around the country. The total value of the donation is $9,000, which will support the National Development Plan’s culture component that seeks to democratize access to arts.

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009



Infrastructure projects to continue in Guanacaste

Also completed has been the 21-kilometer section between Puerto Carrillo and Lajas. Castro said this project had a cost of 4.2 billion colones ($7.5 million). This road allows the connection of communities that are very important to the region’s agricultural and tourist economies, such as Estrada, San Miguel and El Jobo, also facilitating access to Playa Carrillo, Samara, Punta Islita and other coastal destinations.

(InfoWebPress – – The Ministry of Transportation and Public Infrastructure (MOPT) provided updates on a number projects currently being done in Guanacaste. For example, MOPT informed that improvement works to the 13.9 kilometers of road between the communities of 27 de Abril and Paraiso, in the canton of Santa Cruz, have been completed. Once a gravel road, the two-lane route has been paved and now also has a bike path and sidewalks for the convenience and safety of pedestrians and bike riders, who are very common in this region. There is a guardrail separating the bike path from the main road to provide extra safety, while the sidewalks will be very beneficial for schoolchildren who walk this road to reach various schools in the area.

A large group of children was present at the unveiling of the Nicoya Peninsular Music School. Photo courtesy of Casa Presidencial

Guanacaste beach schools contribute to CR receiving world tourism award

(InfoWebPress – — Four beach-town schools in Guanacaste — those in Playa Panama, Hermosa, Brasilito, Grande and Carrillo — contributed to Costa Rica earning a recognition from the selection committee of the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 2009 Ulysses Awards. The country received the Judges Special Award for Innovation in Governance in Tourism for its program “School Tourism Culture Awareness: Costa Rica Adventure,” organized by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

The first phase of this program also took place at various schools throughout the country, including Mata de Limon, Caño Negro, San Juan de Chicua, La Marina, Ujarras, Jaco, Toro Amarillo, Caldera, Garabito, Miramar, Monteverde, Coronado, Playa Cocles, Manzanillo, Rio Negro, Moin, Monte de la Cruz, Santa Teresa, Montezuma, Playa Quitzales, Playa Tambor and Playa Hermosa (Puntarenas). The program also included training for teachers about the use of program manuals for continued learning by their students. The award by officially presented during a ceremony that took place at an international conference organized by UNWTO’s Education and Science Council, which was held May 27-28 in Madrid, Spain. The conference’s theme was “Innovation in Tourism Education.” The conference’s goal was to provide information about good innovation practices for tourism education, as well as to present examples and practical cases in which innovative research and education methods have been employed. The judges selecting award winners in the Ulysses program are part of the UNWTO Education and Science Council’s consultation committee.

The road has been adequately marked, which is expected to provide even more safety to drivers, particularly at night and during times of heavy rain. Residents living alongside this road will also benefit from the paving, which will eliminate the dust clouds that were common during the long and dry Guanacaste summers. Finally, the new road is expected to significantly contribute to the region’s tourism industry. Paving of the road had a cost of 4.97 billion colones ($8.8 million), including 690 million ($1.23 million) for construction of the bike path. Paving of the highway included installation of a 35-centimeter sub-foundation and 20-centimeter foundation to increase safety and durability. Sidewalks were built particularly in the community of Paraiso, with their respective curbs and gutters to drain storm-

Underway right now is the stretch of road between Tilaran and Libano. This project is key to facilitating transportation between Tilaran and Cañas, as drivers will be able to move between these two cities not only through Pueblo Nuevo and Los Angeles, but also via Libano. This road is 9.2 kilometers long and represents an investment of 2.4 billion colones ($4.2 million). Foundation material was installed recently, all earth movements have been made, and installation of box concrete culverts. Completion progress is estimated at 35 percent.

Road works in the 27 de Abril-Paraiso section in Santa Cruz have been finished, including the construction of a bike path. PHOTO courtesy of MOPT

water adequately away from the road.

As part of efforts to make roads in Guanacaste safer, a company hired by the National Roadways Commission fell trees that were too close to roads and obstructed construction, in addition to being a risk to bicyclists and drivers.

Meanwhile, the contract to pave a 9-kilometer stretch of road of National Route 21,

between Jicaral and Lepanto in the Nicoya Peninsula, has been awarded to the Hernan Solis Construction Company, for an amount of 5.3 billion colones ($9.4 million). The project also includes the construction of new bridges over the San Pedro and Tronconal creeks and the expansion of the bridge over the Lepanto River to two lanes, according to Transportation Vice Minister Pedro Castro.

Other projects are in the design stage, including the 40-kilometer Samara-Nosara route. The cost of this project is estimated at $60 million, as it includes the construction of seven bridges. The blueprints for the 27 de Abril-Villa Real (25 kilometers, $9 million) are also being prepared. This project would complement the 27 de Abril-Paraiso, Santa Cruz-Tamarindo and Tamarindo-Paraiso of this road. Finally, the design for the 40kilometer Santa Cruz-Santa Barbara road is being currently done; and preliminary drawings for the Sardinal-Potrero section (Monkey Trail), which connects to the Papagayo Gulf, are underway.

UNBELIEVABLE PRICE FOR INCREDIBLE PROPERTY! • Asking 50% less than similar properties! ICT’s School Tourism Culture Program seeks to create awareness among students in grades 1-6 about the importance of sustainable tourism and the responsibilities that come with tourism development.

ICT’s School Tourism Culture Program seeks to create awareness among students in grades 1-6 about the importance of sustainable tourism and the responsibilities that come with tourism development. The program also aims to increase knowledge, understanding and a sense of value about the country’s tourism heritage and traditions. “This type of joint efforts show the firm desire of governmental institutions to create interest among our children so that they will learn in an attractive and fun way about the country’s tourism attractions and will participate in the promotion and protection of the national tourism heritage,” said Tourism Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides. Additionally, the initiative hopes to teach children — through the use of interactive materials, games and an accessible language — about the importance of sustainability, the tourism industry, the protection of natural resources, and the adequate management of solid and liquid waste.

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Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009




is very simple; you can select them by style, height or width, and can also make different combinations to add a touch of elegance to your project.

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CONCREDECO ® Moldings are made of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC). Through a high-speed precision cutting device, and laser made pantographs we accomplish to manufacture a wide range collection of moldings. AAC is a result of German technology


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Check tools, equipment and materials needed CONCREDECO ® Moldings can be easily installed using a high resistant adhesive mortar, same used to glue cantera stone according to wall specifications.

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The CONCREDECO ® decorative elements are the indispensable complement to any architectural project. These elements are small details that can give character and life to a façade. They are the personal touch that truly individualizes a project. Pergolas are elements that simulate columns and are usually installed in the lower part of an eave. They are typically elongated and the point ends with a shape or style. The maximum length of a pergola is 60 cm; however, longer

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CONCREDECO ® laminate applications are infinite. They can be used for framing or molding for doors and windows when the design calls for something simple and sober. They can also achieve overlapped ends at wall corners. They can also be used to cover whole facades or highlight certain surfaces of the façade. They are very useful to create valances or baseports to achieve a separation of finishes. In summary, their applications are very diverse, and in combination with other CONCREDECO ® products such as moldings, very interesting designs can be achieved.

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Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009


Printed version

Fish traps in California and Greater Nicoya By Frederick W. Lange Here’s another article for The Journal that ties together my previous research in Greater Nicoya (northwestern Pacific Costa Rica and Pacific Nicaragua) with my present research in southern California. A few weeks ago, as I was working on a report for a project in the Salton Sea area of Imperial County, the following words from Eric Stephen White’s M.A. thesis written at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in 2007 triggered this report: The unique fish traps found around the extant shorelines of Lake Cahuilla have

intrigued researchers for many years…In this thesis, I fit trap design to fish behavior, incorporate the ethnographic record, and use experimental archaeology to explain the manner in which the traps functioned…A main premise of the study is that any hunter, prehistoric or modern, must cater to the behavior of prey animals in order to be successful. Therefore, biology and anthropology are enmeshed in one another. Almost anywhere in the world where people lived along the coast, fish traps are commonly found, the Salton Sea and Bay of Culebra being the two examples utilized here. The words above describe their important to prehistoric Indians of southern California and now we look at a similar importance in Greater Nicoya. Coastal traps were an attractive alternative for coastal peoples — there

there, and we had missed them completely during our survey.

was no need to make a boat, weave a net, or make a fish-hook. The natural rhythm of the tides brought the fish in, and inevitably left some of them behind when they went back out again, and then it started all over again.

However, in Greater Nicoya, the choice between traps and the use of boats and nets was not entirely “Either-Or.” Faunal analyses carried out during excavations at the Vidor Site at Playa Panama on the Bay of Culebra in the 1970s, showed that Playa Panama fisher folk were capable of sailing in the open water, even into the open sea beyond the mouth of the bay, to catch species that were available there. Multiple traps were usually grouped together along a particularly area of rocky coast that would make building the traps relatively easy without having to transport stone from any distance.

In both the southern California and Greater Nicoya examples, the traps were made from rocks that were organized in the desired trap shape (from round to V-shaped), with the opening toward the water. In some fishing cultures the traps were made from woven rushes or branches, but both the examples discussed here are from stone. There has been a lot of research that shows that once within the trap, fish become dis-oriented and almost never find their way out.

This photo shows fish traps used by prehistoric Indians in the Salton Sea area of Imperial County, Calif. Similar fish traps have also been identified in the Bay of Culebra area of Guanacaste.

In the late 1970s, while I worked for the National Museum of Costa Rica, first under the administration of President Daniel Oduber Quiros and subsequently during the administration of President Rodrigo Carazo Odio, we had conducted a thorough inventory of the archaeological sites around the Bay of Culebra. Whether we only surveyed the shoreline on the north side of the bay during high tide, or whether we were too busy looking for shell middens, I don’t know. However, it was not until our report was published that a new visitor to the bay and part-time resident asked me one day, “Do you know you have fish traps over there by Nacascolo?” The honest truth was I had no idea they were

Even if you can find them, identification of “how old” the fish traps are is rather difficult. A number of years ago, I was involved in a project to assign a chronological age to fish traps on the Playa Nacascolo/Playa Manzanilla side of the Bay of Culebra. We were pretty sure they were prehistoric but they could have just as easily have been historic. We searched in vain for a piece of pottery wedged between the rocks, or a fragment of metate or some other carved stone, or some other prehistoric cultural artifact (or even a nail or other piece of metal that would definitely identify the traps as historic) but our examination was to no avail.

As I have often said in closing these articles, more work needs to be done!

Ticolandia, by singer-songwriter Christian Porras, was officially presented March 7 at Liberia’s Casa Antigua. Porras is a young representative of the new generation of Guanacaste artists, which is interested in promoting the country from an artistic perspective that mixes tradition and contemporary styles. Porras’s musical work, made evident in Ticolandia, or his daring and popular paintings, show his interest for exploring concepts where natural resources, ancestral legacies and cultural diversity made possible by constant migrations are the main feedstocks and motifs.

Production of the disk was supported by the company Dartempo and Vera Beatriz Vargas Leon, a promoter of Guanacaste’s art and culture whose goal has been to make possible an inclusive and formative cultural movement that would yield constant production. This effort began earlier in the decade through regional festivals, meetings, art and culture congresses, training workshops and tours, supported by her post as representative of the Ministry of Culture and Youth in Guanacaste. Being a university professor, choreographer, administrator, cultural promoter, and project manager has allowed Vargas Leon to combine the social sciences with artistic practice, generating a symbiosis of products and services that have contributed to strengthen-

ing the cultural development of Guanacaste and Costa Rica in general. The other disk, Musica de Guanacaste, was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Youth through its regional culture office in Guanacaste, the National University (UNA), and the Cultural Identity, Art and Technology Program (ICAT) of the Center for Research, Teaching and Artistic Extension (CIDEA).

The Musica de Guanacaste disk will be distributed to schools, art and cultural associations, collaborators, universities, libraries, municipalities and others. The production is

Web version

web banners available.

This production actually consists of two disks, one vocal and one instrumental.

“The goals of this disk are to compile musical production by Guanacaste artists of the past few decades in an effort to bring together instrumental and vocal pieces; generate a recorded, high-quality memory of the music performed at activities of the Guanacaste Regional Culture Office; include works of the popular domain, of national recognition, of recent creation and others that are in the way of being recognized by the general public, both local and international; and to distribute the disk free of charge to educational and artistic institutions with the objective of contributing to process of identity empowerment going on in Guanacaste,” Vargas Leon said.


Frederick W. Lange has a doctoral degree in anthropology, awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971. He is the author of the recently published book Before Guanacaste, a popular account of the first 10,000 years of this wonderful place. It is available through 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:

Guanacaste music yields two new disks

(InfoWebPress – – Guanacaste’s rich musical production has yielded two new collections: Ticolandia and Musica de Guanacaste.

Back Cover

Vera Vargas was in charge of presenting the new disk Musica de Guanacaste, a collection of original pieces from the province. TJ/ InfoWebPress

expected to reach some 1,000 people directly, and 10,000 others who will listen to this music indirectly as students, artists or general public throughout the province.

For more information, contact our sales department at or by phone at 905-JOURNAL.



Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

week in brief

Politics 4 new ambassadors present credentials in CR

(La Nacion) — Four new ambassadors have presented their diplomatic credentials to Foreign Relations Minister Bruno Stagno and President Oscar Arias. They are Moises Tambini of Peru, Alfredo Martinez of Belize, Hoang Cong Tuy of Vietnam, and Eija Rotinen of Finland.

Guatemala rejects SICA presidency belonging to Costa Rica (Inside Costa Rica) — Haroldo Rodas, Guatemala’s Foreign Relations Minister, confirmed last week that his country has refused the Central American Integration System’s (SICA) presidency, respecting that it’s Costa Rica’s turn to head the regional organization beginning July 1. Bruno Stagno, Costa Rica’s Foreign Relations Minister confirmed that he received a call from Rodas to tell him that his country would be respectful of the SICA protocol and the rotation of the presidency of the Central American agency, which would fall on the hands of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. The SICA presidency is currently in the hands of Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, who decided to by-pass the rotation and hand over the presidency to Guatemala’s Alvaro Colom — due to Costa Rica’s opposing positions regarding regional integration and the fact that Arias has skipped several SICA meetings held over the last six months, three of which were held in Managua.

Business & Economy Comptroller authorizes transfer of Juan Santamaria airport management (Inside Costa Rica) — The Comptroller General’s Office last week approved the request for the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) International Airport to be managed by a private company, for up to 25 years. The original contract for the management of the country’s main international airport was for a period of 20 years. The Comptroller General authorized an additional five years, paving the way for the transfer of management of the airport from Alterra Partners to Houston Airport System Development Company (HASD). In anticipation of the approval, HASD resumed construction of the airport terminal a couple of weeks ago, using its own

funds, to advance the project.

Pessimism regarding economic crisis down

(La Nacion) — A recent Unimer poll shows that the pessimism of Costa Rican families regarding the current economic crisis is slightly down. In January, 57 percent of those polled said the country’s situation would be worse in a year, but in May that number fell to 53 percent. Meanwhile, those who believed their families’ situation would be worse off in a year went down from 30 percent in January to 26 percent in May.

Costa Rica offers tax incentives to foreigners buying, investing here

(Overseas Property Professional) — The Costa Rican government is trying to lure overseas nationals into buying and developing property in Costa Rica by introducing various tax breaks and trade agreements. Developers can now defer a greater chunk of their tax liability due to the increase of accelerated depreciation from 50 percent to 60 percent for assets purchased in 2009, effectively reducing the cost of buying construction equipment. “This tax change was brought in to try to get more international companies to invest in Costa Rica this year,” said James Cahill of Costa Rica Invest, which sells development land on timber plantations. “It’s just one of the ways that the government is trying to be proactive and think outside the box to encourage foreign investment. The country’s property market has ground to a virtual halt over the past year or so, following a sustained period of boom. Very few completed homes are currently selling, while a number of offplan residential projects have now been delayed or scrapped.

IDB loan still stuck in Congress

(La Nacion) — Despite the fact that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved an $850 million loan for Costa Rica, the bill that would make the transaction possible has not yet been passed by Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly due to delays in the naming of legislative commissions. The loan would be used for construction and maintenance of roads throughout the country. A few days ago, IDB’s president, Luis Alberto Moreno, said the Costa Rican Congress needs to hurry up if the country still wants the loan.

ICE to move forward with plans for Internet TV service (Inside Costa Rica) — The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) will soon be offering television programming by way of the Internet. IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)

is a system where a digital television service is delivered using IP over a broadband connection. According to an ICE spokesperson, national and international programming will be offered. Although details were not given, residential IPTV services are often provided in conjunction with Video on Demand and may be bundled with Internet services such as Web access and VoIP. Offering of the IPTV service is possible following the Comptroller General’s rejection of appeals against ICE awarding this contract to ITS Servicios de Infocomunicacion S.A for $19 million dollars. The companies ZTE Corporation and Consorcio DESCA-ATL appealed the awarding of the contract, stalling ICE’s implementation of the IPTV service.

reads that a man and a woman having legal capacity to marry, if living together for more than three years in a common-law union, have the same rights as if married. The intent of the action by lawyer Yashin Castrillo Fernandez was to eliminate the “man and woman” provisions of the Code, replacing it with “entre personas” (between persons). The magistrates not only refrained from making that change, but kept the phrase “having legal capacity to marry.” Castrillo believes the change would legitimize the common-law union for the enjoyment of a pension if the partner dies, and even social security, despite the fact that there is an impediment to the marriage. Castrillo is the same lawyer who in 2003 presented an action of unconstitutionality against the Family Code, which prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex.

82% of properties do not pay municipal property taxes

UNHCR creates awareness about refugees in CR

(Inside Costa Rica) — Treasury Minister Guillermo Zuñiga, during a cabinet session, urged reforms to property taxes, saying that 82 percent of properties in Costa Rica go without paying any municipal property taxes. Zuñiga said that land tax in Costa Rica was, by law, changed to municipalities charging the tax and after an assessment of how municipalities are faring in the collection of taxes, the Minister told fellow cabinet members “there are interesting facts on the subject”. According to a Treasury Ministry report, of the some 1.5 million properties in Costa Rica, only 6.13 percent actually pay municipal taxes, with the rest not paying any type of property tax, which leads Treasury officials to believe that municipalities need help in tax collection. The Minister said that municipalities can count on a modern system for property assessment and tax collections, which will help them assess property values and generate more revenue with the collection of the taxes.

Society Transportation Ministry could ‘forgive’ severe vehicular check penalties

(La Prensa Libre) – Due to the concerns expressed because of the potential increase in penalties regarding vehicular checks, Transportation Minister Karla Gonzalez said she’s willing to eliminate some of those sanctions, but remained firm on tougher penalties against those public transportation units that do not meet safety standards.

Actions to prevent human trafficking discussed in CR

(La Prensa Libre) – Costa Rica was the meeting place last week for a workshop on human trafficking from Asia into the Americas and the challenges of globalization in issues of immigration, which was attended by immigration authorities from the throughout the continent. In Costa Rica, for example, some 32 victims of human trafficking have been identified in the past year alone. Central America is a frequent stop not only for drugs and weapons being smuggled to other parts of the continent, but also for humans. Patricio Zuquilanda-Duque, head of the Organization for American States (OAS) in Costa Rica, said human trafficking (usually a south-to-north phenomenon) has shifted in the past few years as economic opportunities increase in Latin America, meaning people from the north are now being trafficked into the south.

Constitutional Court says no to common-law unions between homosexuals

(Inside Costa Rica) — The Constitutional Court has rejected the possibility of recognizing common-law unions between persons of the same sex. The ruling by the Court flatly rejected an action of unconstitutionality against the Family Code, which in actuality

(EFE) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that it will implement a TV, radio and bus billboard campaign in Costa Rica to create awareness about the issues facing refugees. The “They Run for their Life” campaign began June 1 and will run until June 22.

Costa Rica’s Immigration Law amendment continues in limbo

(Inside Costa Rica) — Once again the legislative reforms to the Immigration Law have taken a step back, this time because of legislators approving a motion to re-submit the draft amendment to the scrutiny of the justices of the Supreme Court. The reason for the new query is to find out whether there is any overlap between this project and Law on the Protection of Victims and Witnesses, which contains regulatory punishment against the trafficking of persons. The head of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) in Congress, Jorge Mendez, said that the problem is that the definition of crime is different in both laws, so legislators decided to go back to the criterion of the judges. Reforming the law on Immigration is among the three projects agreed upon by legislative party heads to take priority during the current legislative sessions. The reforms have been of concern to many expats living in Costa Rica and those who are thinking of moving and retiring here, fearing they may not qualify with the proposed hikes in residency requirements.




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Dengue fever and malaria cases drop in Costa Rica

(Inside Costa Rica) — Health authorities in Costa Rica report that in the first four months of this year, dengue cases have dropped by 46.7 percent and malaria cases by 65.3 percent, in comparison to this same period in 2008. Until now, 1,103 dengue cases have been reported, in comparison with 2,070 in 2008. The majority of the 2009 cases were discovered in the hot pockets along the coastline, such as the Central Pacific (668), the Caribbean (161), and the province of Guanacaste (99). There have been reports of seven cases of hemorrhagic dengue, but no deaths thus far. As for malaria, while 225 cases were registered in the first four months of 2008, only 78 were registered during the same time in 2009, the majority in the area of the Caribbean. The Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS) has assured that it will reinforce controls and disinfection throughout the country in order to eventually destroy the eggs of the mosquitoes that spread dengue and malaria.




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Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Excess cola can cause super-sized muscle trouble

PARIS (AFP) – A steady, liters-per-day diet of colas can cause serious muscle problems, doctors warned in a study.

A review of clinical cases showed that super-sized doses of soft drinks loaded with processed sugars and caffeine can cause potassium levels in the blood to plummet, giving rise to a condition known as hypokalaemia. Small changes in potassium levels can profoundly effect the functioning of the body’s cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems. Typical symptoms of hypokalaemia are decreased muscle strength, cramping, palpitations and nausea. In more extreme cases, potassium deficiency can lead to heart trouble and profound paralysis.

“We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before and a number of health issues have already been identified,” including tooth decay, loss of bone mass, and diabetes,

induced hypokalaemia has not been determined and may vary in different patients,” said Elisaf.

said Moses Elisaf, a doctor at the University of Ioannina in Greece and main architect of the study.

“However in most of the cases we looked at, caffeine intoxication was thought to play the most important role,” he added.

“Excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, causing an adverse effect on vital muscle functions,” he said in a statement.

The study reviewed cases studies in which patients drank two to nine liters of soda beverages per day, including two pregnant women admitted to hospital with dangerously low potassium levels.

One of the women complained of fatigue, appetite loss and vomiting, while the other – who had been drinking up to seven litres of cola per day over the previous 10 months – suffered from muscular weakness.

Both patients made a rapid and full recovery after they stopped drinking cola and took oral or intravenous potassium, reported the study, to be published in June in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

In a commentary, published in the same journal, Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio said doctors should take note. In 2007, worldwide annual consumption of soft drinks reached 552 billion litres, the equivalent of 83 liters per person per year, according to the study. That figure is expected to climb to 95 litres per day by 2012. Photo

The study suggests that hypokalaemia can be caused by excessive consumption of three of the most common ingredients in cola-type drinks – glucose, fructose and caffeine.

“The individual role of each of these ingredients in the pathophysiology of cola-

“Cola drinks need to be added to the physician’s checklist of drugs and substances that can cause hypokalaemia,” he said. In 2007, worldwide annual consumption of soft drinks reached 552 billion litres, the equivalent of 83 liters per person per year, according to the study. That figure is expected to climb to 95 litres per day by 2012.

“We had a theme at the meeting this year: personalizing cancer care, ranging from using molecular analysis to select the most appropriate treatment for patients through developing personalized survivalship care plans for cancer survivors,” said Richard Schilsky, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which is holding its annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. Worldwide, about 13 percent of deaths are caused by cancer. Results from dozens of clinical studies released at the gathering opening last Friday. Some 30,000 people are expected to take part. “I think it’s clear to all of us who are treating cancer patients that oncology is no longer one-sided; it’s all medicine,” Schilsky said, noting that great strides had been made in selecting the best treatments for a given patient. “We are increasingly able to tailor treatment to an individual,” such as their particular tumor biology, “matching the right treatment to the right patient at the right time allowing patients to avoid unnecessary cost and side effects from therapy that won’t help them,” Schilsky stressed. “It’s very clear to me that is the future of cancer medicine.” In total, 4,000 research works were accepted by ASCO on a broad range of topics in oncology, said Eric Winer, a Harvard University professor associated with the group. Among the clinical results due out are phase two trial results on Nexavar, made by

“Today, WHO urged governments to require that all tobacco packages include pictorial warnings to show the sickness and suffering caused by tobacco use,” said the UN health agency in a statement. Cancer is a leading cause of death in the world, blamed for 7.4 million deaths in 2004, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Germany’s Bayer for advanced lung cancer treatment. Nexavar, which works by blocking the growth of blood vessels feeding a tumor, leading to the death of some cancer cells, already is marketed in more than 70 countries as a liver cancer treatment. Results are also awaited with interest on Avastin, a breast cancer treatment by U.S. firm Genentech, which has been bought by Switzerland’s Roche. Cancer is a leading cause of death in the world, blamed for 7.4 million deaths in 2004, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The deadliest cancers are lung, stomach, colon, liver and breast cancer. About 30 percent of cancer deaths could be avoided, the WHO says, with smoking the leading lifestyle risk. Cancer begins with the modification of a single cell – and can be caused by external, genetic or hereditary factors, or a combination of these.

And it asked countries not to shy away from using shocking images. “More graphic images are considered to have a greater impact and to be more likely to lead to behavioral change,” it said. Graphic warnings showing illnesses caused by tobacco have been put on cigarette packs in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Thailand. Studies have indicated that they help smokers to quit and also prevent others from picking up the habit, according to the UN health agency, which launched its own explicit poster campaign for World No Tobacco Day on May 31. One WHO poster combined the picture of bleeding brains with the warning “smoking causes brain strokes” while the picture of rotting gums comes with the warning “tobacco causes mouth diseases.” “Effective health warnings, especially

EU nations vow to respect rules in GM Europe crisis

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Representatives from 18 European Union nations agreed to avoid unilateral action and respect EU state aid laws in their handling of the auto crisis hitting General Motors subsidiaries.

“EU rules must be fully respected and... no national measures should be taken without prior information and coordination with other involved countries and the (European) Commission,” a statement said after the informal talks. The nations – meeting in Brussels – concurred that any financial support should be based on economic criteria and not “the location of investments and/or the geographic distribution of restructuring measures”.

And they decided to set up a “supportive working structure to ensure information and

coordination on both industrial and competition issues”.

1,800 in Italy.

As they met, Canadian auto parts maker Magna put an eleventh-hour takeover plan for Opel on the table ahead of a crunch meeting on the fate of the European car maker and its 25,000 employees in Germany.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure from all sides to find a solution for Opel just four months before a national election.

The U.S. giant was widely expected to file for bankruptcy protection ahead of a June 1 deadline imposed by the administration of President Barack Obama, which has provided the automaker with billions of dollars in emergency loans.

Germany has led the search for a buyer of GM’s Opel subsidiary in Europe, and the participants acknowledged that Berlin should play “a leading role in this respect in the first stage of the rescue process”.

The meeting, aimed at selecting a suitable new parent for General Motors’ Opel unit and to agree billions of euros (dollars) in temporary loans and guarantees, was delayed two hours as officials studied Magna’s new proposals.

GM employs about 55,000 people Europewide, including around 7,000 in Spain, 4,700 in Britain at Vauxhall, 4,000 in Sweden at Saab, 3,600 in Poland, 2,600 in Belgium and

Friday’s talks in Berlin were also meant to be about creating a trusteeship model that would keep Opel operating in the event of a GM bankruptcy with the help of a 1.5-billion-euro government loan.

Spain predicts sharp drop EU carbon emissions in summer tourism tracked downwards in 2007 PARIS (AFP) – Europe’s emissions of greenhouse-gas emissions fell in 2007 for the third year running as warmer weather cut into consumption of oil, coal and gas to heat homes, the European Environment Agency (EAA) said last week.

MADRID (AFP) – Spain, the world’s second largest holiday destination, forecast a 10-percent fall in tourist arrivals this summer as the economic crisis hits its main source markets.

The government also announced that funding for a loan scheme announced in January to upgrade tourist infrastructure would be increased from 400 million to one billion euros (563 million to 1.4 billion dollars) in a bid to “soften” the impact.

GENEVA (AFP) - Pictures of rotting lungs, miscarried fetuses and bleeding brains should be put on all tobacco packages as they are effective in preventing tobacco use, the World Health Organization said.

It asked for the pictorial warnings to be plastered on “all main faces of the pack so that the warnings will be visible no matter which side of the pack is displayed at retail.”



In the United States, average consumption last year was 212 liters.

U.S. cancer care: treatment WHO backs gruesome picture choices are all about you warnings on cigarette packs WASHINGTON (AFP) – U.S. cancer experts are preparing to focus on new developments in making treatment ever more personalized, right down to the molecular level, at their main annual gathering last weekend.

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Domestic emissions of six greenhouse gases by the 27-nation European Union (EU) fell by 1.2 percent, or the equivalent of 59 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), in 2007 over 2006, the Copenhagen-based agency said.

The scheme is aimed at hotels and other tourist sector establishments to help them modernise and face up to growing competition from cheaper sunshine destinations.

Graphic warnings showing illnesses caused by tobacco have been put on cigarette packs in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Thailand. Photo

those that include pictures, have been proven to motivate users to quit and to reduce the appeal of tobacco for those who are not yet addicted,” said the WHO. However, the health agency complained that nine out of 10 people in the world have no access to such warnings. “This represents a tragic underuse of a simple, cost-effective strategy that can vastly reduce tobacco use and save lives,” said Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

“The tourist sector is not immune to the international economic crisis. Countries from which we receive tourists are also suffering, and there is an inevitable effect on the sector,” Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said.

In particular, she said unemployment had risen sharply in the European Union, Spain’s main source market for tourists. She said the government has forecast 23.3 million tourist arrivals this year, 10 percent fewer than in 2008.

For the first four months of the year, tourist arrivals were already down 12 percent from last year at 13.4 million. Domestic tourism was up for the period however, helping to compensate for the drop

The EU-27 emitted 9.3 percent less gas than in 1990, the base year for the Kyoto Protocol.

Spain is the world’s second biggest tourist destination after France. The tourism sector accounts for about 11 percent of the country’s jobs and gross domestic product.

in international arrivals.

Spain is the world’s second biggest tourist destination after France. The tourism sector accounts for about 11 percent of the country’s jobs and gross domestic product.

The 15 older members of the EU saw a year-on-year decrease in emissions of 1.6 percent. Under Kyoto, the EU-15 signed up to an overall reduction of eight percent according to a timeframe of 2008-2012. By the end of 2007, the Fifteen were 5.0 percent below the 1990 benchmark, the EAA said. The big laggards are Spain, Denmark,

Ireland, Austria and Finland.

These figures do not take into account “forest sinks,” by which Kyoto signatures can include the carbon-absorbing capacity of woodlands in their emissions targets. In a press release, EAA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said billions of euros (dollars) earmarked to ease the economic crisis in Europe would have a beneficial spinoff in carbon emissions. The next step is agreement at UN talks in Copenhagen this year that will deepen commitments beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol’s provisions expire, McGlade said. “The economic stimulus packages that governments are currently adopting represent a crucial opportunity to address the climate crisis and the financial crisis simultaneously,” she said. “A strong Copenhagen agreement later this year would drive forward investments vital to our future prosperity.”

In 2007, it reported a record 59.2 million visitors, before the global economic crisis. But this fell 2.6 percent to 57.41 million in 2008.

The WHO estimates that tobacco kills more than five million people every year, but that such deaths could be prevented. “In order to survive, the tobacco industry needs to divert attention from the deadly effects of its products,” said Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative.


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Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

31 cluster bomb treaty signatories G8 wants closer cooperation to still have stocks fight terrorism, piracy

GENEVA (AFP) – Thirty-one countries still hold stockpiles of cluster munitions despite signing a treaty to ban them, according to a report by anti-arms lobby groups published last week. Britain, Germany and the Netherlands hold the largest stocks, said the report by Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action. Britain has 38.7 million submunitions which are used in cluster bombs, Germany holds 33 million and the Netherlands has 26 million, the report said. The three count among 96 countries that have inked the Convention on Cluster Munitions since it opened for signing last December. Seven countries have since ratified the treaty, which needs 30 ratifications to come into force. Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch, highlighted the changes in countries’ attitudes towards cluster munitions and said he expected the necessary ratifications this year. “We’re confident that we will get 30 ratifications during 2009... there are six or seven lined up now that are likely to come on board within the next month or so,” he said, citing Spain, Germany and Japan as examples. But while the signatory states have committed to destroying the stockpiles, other countries that hold significant stockpiles have not, according to campaign groups. According to the report, the total global stockpile of submunitions contained in the cluster bombs “likely number into the billions.”

The biggest volume of 730 million submunitions is held by the United States, which has not joined the treaty and is therefore not obliged to eliminate its stock. Goose told journalists in Geneva however that there was some “progress” on the issue from the United States. Since March, Washington has halted the export of cluster munitions. “We are optimistic that the United States is going to review its policy on cluster munitions with the objective of being able to join this convention,” said Goose. “The fact that we already have an export ban in place... we think that’s a strong indicator that there’s acceptance on the part of the government and even the US military that this weapon has to be dealt with.” Cluster munitions spread bomblets over a wide area from a single shell or bomb. The bomblets often do not explode on impact, but can do so later at the slightest touch. Therefore, they are just as deadly after a conflict as during. Seventeen countries including the United States, China and Russia are still producing cluster munitions this year. “In 2009, it appears that cluster munitions are being produced to some degree in 17 states,” said the report. “Cluster munitions continue to be publicly listed as available products on the international arms market and continue to be displayed at some arms fairs,” it added.

ROME (AFP) - Fighting the global terrorism threat as well as the scourge of piracy calls for stronger cooperation among G8 nations, the group’s interior and justice ministers said last weekend. Despite some successes, “terrorism is still one of the most serious threats to international security,” the ministers from the Group of Eight rich nations said in a final statement after three days of talks near Rome. Extremists have shown a “significant offensive capability” and “organisational flexibility,” they said, along with an ability to recruit and radicalise their followers, which is “a cause of great concern.”

“The counter-terrorism cooperation between G8 nations is essential” to stop the spread of such radicalism, stressed the justice chiefs of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. “The exchange of information on the movement of funding to finance terrorist groups is a major example” of such cooperation, said Italy Justice Minister Angelino Alfano when presenting the final communique.

According to Interpol’s special anti-terrorism taskforce, there is a database of more than 8,000 suspects linked to terrorist activists and a network of nearly 200 contact officers in more than 100 countries. The head of the global police organisation spoke to the G8 ministers Friday on the rising attacks of piracy on the seas, especially off the east African coast of Somalia, saying law enforcement was the missing link in combatting this organised crime. “There is clearly a need for a common international strategy that includes a law enforcement element to combat maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea,” said Interpol Secretary General Robert K. Noble in a statement.

“Right now, we are in a situation in which there are pirates in custody while others have been arrested and released, but there is no central system in place for collecting, exchanging and processing data to help connect the dots,” Noble said, suggesting creating an investigative prosecutorial taskforce.

“These pirates are organized criminals targeting victims, taking them hostage and using extortion to get money – we must therefore follow the money trail to strike a blow at the economic interests of this type of organized crime,” he added.

The G8 justice ministers agreed that steps must be taken “to deprive the pirates of the proceeds of their criminal activity,” their statement said. They also encouraged countries affected by piracy – either due to ships flying their flag being targeted, or their nationals being crew members or passengers on held ships. It noted that cooperation between states capturing pirates and those able to prosecute them plays “a valuable role in counter-piracy efforts.” According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks off Somalia in the first quarter of this year surged tenfold to 61, compared with the same period in 2008. A total of 114 attempted attacks have occurred since the start of the year, and pirates have seized 29 ships.

On the sidelines of the G8 ministers’ meeting, anti-globisation and far left groups organised a demonstration that drew some 4,000 people, according to police, the ANSA news agency reported. Many protesters brandished signs demanding rights for immigrants, including those that read “papers for all.” A flood of illegal immigration from Africa to southern Europe has led countries such as Italy to take tougher measures on repatriation and turn back boatloads of would-be immigrants to their home ports.

The justice ministers condemned illegal immigration and migrant smuggling, “which feeds the transnational criminal organisations and hampers the integration of legal migrants,” their final statement said. In a separate declaration, the ministers urged tougher measures to combat the “heinous crime” of the sexual exploitation of children such as a blacklist of Internet websites containing child pornography and blocking navigation to paedophile sites.

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009



U.S. economy shrank 5.7 pct in first quarter

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The embattled U.S. economy shrank at a 5.7 percent pace in the first quarter, the government said in a revised estimate that showed slower consumer spending, the key driver of growth.

The Commerce Department revised the decline in the January-March period from the fourth quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.7 percent, from an initial estimate of 6.1 percent last month.

Most analysts had anticipated a better reading of a 5.5 percent decline in gross domestic product, the nation’s output of goods and services. “Still, it stands as a reminder that the worst of the economic downturn seems to be behind the US. Even though growth remains elusive, the trend is at least headed in the right direction,” said Patrick O’Hare at The world’s largest economy contracted a brutal 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter and is battling a global financial and economic crisis as it struggles to emerge from the most severe recession since the 1930s Great Depression.

US authorities and some economists say the economy could emerge from the recession that began in December 2007 by yearend. Federal Reserve policymakers say they

see “tentative evidence” the US economy is emerging from the recession and could show modest growth in the second half of the year.

The government has poured more than one trillion dollars into the economy to battle the crisis, including a 787-billion-dollar stimulus passed in February.

A recent rash of positive U.S. economic data stoking hopes for recovery has lifted Wall Street stocks from their March lows. “All the incoming data suggest that the rate of decline in economic activity is decelerating,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.

Andrew Busch at BMO Capital Markets agreed that the second quarter should show improvement.

“We’ve come a long way since the first quarter ... the economic news for April/May is showing the effects of coming from ridiculously low levels of industrial production, consumer confidence, and stock markets,” Busch said. “The rebounds are still surprising to the upside and that’s helping to keep the optimism going,” he added. The revised GDP mainly reflects upward estimates on inventory investment and ex-

ports, the Commerce Department said.

That was partly offset, however, by revision that showed more sluggishness in critical consumer spending, which drives twothirds of the country’s economic growth. The department slashed its estimate on consumer spending to a rise of 1.5 percent from 2.2 percent, after it fell for two quarters, including a savage 4.3 percent decline during the fourth quarter holiday shopping season.

As a result, consumer spending added only 1.08 percentage points to growth in the first three months of the year.

Inflation was unrevised, at a decline of 1.0 percent in the price index for GDP purchases. Exports, housing and business investment, including inventory investment, continued to decline sharply.

A bright spot was corporate profits, which rose 3.4, after falling 16.5 percent in the prior quarter.

But that was due exclusively to an eyepopping 94.9 percent rise in profits in the financial sector, where the government has injected billions of capital to stabilize the sector. Profits in the nonfinancial sector slid 8.6 percent.

UNITED STATES, Los Angeles : A sign for an appartment to lease is seen in Los Angeles. Federal Reserve bank policymakers are seeing “tentative evidence” the U.S. economy is emerging from recession and could show modest growth in the second half of 2009. Consumer purchases also appeared to have stabilized after falling in the second half of 2008, and the steep decline in the housing sector seemed to be abating.

US sets conditions for Cuba’s return to Americas bloc

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States said on Friday it would not back Cuba’s full participation in the Organization of American States until the communist island nation makes democratic reforms.

“It’s really up to Cuba whether or not they join the OAS,” said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, as the 35-nation body revisits a ban on Cuba participating in its meetings. Although Cuba is still a member of the organization, the United Sates has effectively vetoed Havana’s active role since 1962.

“They have to take certain concrete steps, in order to meet democratic principles that define OAS membership,” said Kelly. Various Latin American countries have backed a resolution to re-admit Cuba ahead of the OAS’ general assembly in Honduras this week.

But the move is running up against strong U.S. opposition. “We would welcome the day when Cuba is able to join the OAS. But our position is very clear on that,” Kelly said.

“They have to make more moves towards a – towards democratic pluralism. They have to release political prisoners and respect fundamental freedoms.” Even with U.S. backing, Cuba has indicated it does not want to return to the OAS fold.

Granma, an official communist party newspaper, on Friday said that Cuba would “never” return to the “pestilent corpse” that is the OAS. Still, the United States faces pressure from

Latin American countries who are keen to thaw the Cold War diplomatic deep freeze between the two countries, which still bedevils continental ties. “The great majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries want Cuba to be reincorporated immediately with no conditions,” said Peter Hakim of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank

“The United Sates, and perhaps Canada and a few others, want Cuba to open its politics and meet OAS standards regarding democracy and human rights,” he said.

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ITALY, Rome : Italian Justice minister Angelino Alfano and Italian interior minister Roberto Maroni (not pictured) give a joint press conference at the end of a meeting of the Group of eight (G8) Justice and Interior ministers at the Italian Higher School of Police in Rome. Ministers from the G8 were meeting for talks about the fight against organized crime, terrorism, ilegal immigration and improving security in urban areas. AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO

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Serena accuses Spanish opponent of cheating

PARIS (AFP) – Serena Williams accused Spanish opponent Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of cheating after winning a badtempered French Open third round clash last Saturday.

“I put the racquet up. The ball was in and it was a point for me. It didn’t hit me or my body,” said the 26-year-old who refused to be drawn into a slanging match with the American. “To say I’m a ‘cheat’ is stupid. I’m not going to comment on it.”

Williams said she was stunned by her opponent’s actions and that she had protested to chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph.

“I said, ‘Did you ask her?’ He said: ‘Well, she’s saying that it didn’t happen’,” explained the American.

“I looked at her dead in the eye. I said: ‘Why? Just be honest if the ball hit you or not. I mean, Hello. It totally hit her. “She wouldn’t even look at me. She looked down, and I just have no respect for anybody who can’t play a professional game.”

PARIS (AFP) – Prodrive submitted an application to world motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, for entry in the 2010 Formula One championship.

Last week, Williams broke ranks with the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) by announcing that they intend to enter.

The nine remaining FOTA members are expected to make a united decision on whether to follow suit last Friday.

“The ball did touch her 100 percent on her arm. The rules of tennis are when the ball hits your body, then it’s out of play,” said Williams.

However, Martinez Sanchez insisted the ball did not hit her.

Prodrive apply for entry to 2010 Formula One

Any teams that want to fill one of the 13 available places must inform the FIA last Friday.

Williams’s 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory was overshadowed by an incident in the first set when the 43rd-ranked Martinez Sanchez broke serve to lead 3-2, but only after the crucial point-winning shot appeared to rebound off her arm.

“You lose a point automatically. So the ball hit her body, and therefore, she should have lost the point instead of cheating. I hit that ball rather hard. She knew that ball hit her.”

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

FRANCE, Paris : U.S. Serena Williams returns a ball to Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez during a French Open tennis third round match at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. AFP / PATRICK KOVARIK

In her anger, Williams was even picked up by the TV microphones telling the umpire: “She better not come to the net again.”

Williams, the 2002 champion, who now faces Alexsandra Wozniak, the first Canadian to make the last 16, also survived a worrying health scare early in the third set when she appeared to struggle with her breathing. The world number two explained she was feeling the effects of a cold, the last thing she needed after coming into Roland Garros not having won a claycourt match all spring because of a knee injury.

“I’ve been fighting a cold and I’ve been fighting sickness, and I didn’t have a voice at all yesterday. Today it’s a lot better,” she said.

“My pulse rate was a little high. I thought I was going to cough up a lung or something.”

Prodrive could have a team Formula One championship.

in the 2010

FOTA are in the middle of a heated row with the sports’ rulers over FIA president Max Mosley’s intention to introduce a voluntary 40 million pound budget cap from 2010.

“With the help of Dar Capital, in raising the finance, coupled with our understanding of the latest proposals to assist new teams, we now feel the conditions are right to formally request the FIA for an entry,” he said.

Both sides met on the sidelines of last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix with Mosley afterwards suggesting a compromise was in the air.

“However everyone appears committed to major reductions in future years and when one takes into account the transition proposals for new teams we are confident that we now have the opportunity to be both commercially viable and competitive.

Ferrari, who have been a feature of every season since F1 was launched in 1950, are threatening to pull out unless Mosley backs down on his controversial plans.

Prodrive chairman David Richards meanwhile promised that his team would not just be there to make up the numbers.

“The level of next year’s cost cap has risen substantially since we originally considered entering.

“As we have said all along, we don’t want to be in Formula One just to make up the numbers.”

Gay clocks third-fastest 200m in history

NEW YORK (AFP) – US sprinter Tyson Gay notched the third-fastest 200m in history Saturday, clocking 19.58sec to win the title at the Reebok Grand Prix athletics meeting. Gay finished ahead of Americans Wallace Spearmon (19.98) and Jeremy Wariner (20.30) with a legal win of 1.3 meters per second.

Gay came within 28-hundredths of a second of the world record of 19.30sec set by Jamaican Usain Bolt at the Beijing Olympics

last August.

He was 26-hundredths outside the American record of Michael Johnson, the former world record of 19.32 which dated from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Gay was already the owner of the thirdfastest 200m in history - his 19.62sec posted at the US world championship trials in June of 2007, the year that he captured three world titles in Osaka - in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

Edition 186 • Jun 2 - Jun 15, 2009

Susan Boyle’s dream collapses as she loses British talent show LONDON (AFP) – Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle was dealt an unexpected blow Saturday when she lost out to a group of young street dancers in the final of the British talent show that made her a global star. The 48-year-old looked surprised when the result was announced but graciously accepted the runners-up place saying the “best people won” and wishing the group “all the best.” Boyle enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame over the past two months after video footage of her audition piece for the show, “I Dreamed A Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables,” was posted on video-sharing website YouTube. It has had around 100 million hits, brought her celebrity fans including actress Demi Moore and rock star Jon Bon Jovi and seen her feted in the media from the United Sates to China, Japan and Australia. The bookmakers made her the favorite to win, although after an unconvincing performance in the semi-final there were fears that the pressure for the church volunteer, who lives alone with her cat outside Edinburgh, was becoming too much. But in a live performance in the “Britain’s Got Talent” final on Saturday, Boyle proved the critics wrong and repeated her audition

piece with gusto. Judge Piers Morgan said it was the “greatest performance I’ve seen on the history of Britain’s Got Talent – you should win the competition, I loved it.” Boyle was up against nine other acts to win the competition, which brings with it a cheque for 100,000 pounds (115,000 euros, 160,000 dollars) and the chance to perform for Queen Elizabeth II. All the acts performed before a public vote, in which millions of people called in to cast their ballots. Boyle lost out to the group of ten dancers, named Diversity, while saxophonist Julian Smith came in third place. After singing earlier in the evening, Boyle, wearing a grey-blue, long sequinned dress, thanked all her fans. “I want to thank people for all the support they’ve given me,” she said. Asked if it was worth all the media pressure, she replied emphatically: “Well worth it!... I really feel at home on stage, I’m among friends.” Boyle put in a shaky performance of “Memory” in the show’s semi-finals, singing occasionally out of tune and out of time, and some fans on YouTube had questioned whether she could handle the weight of ex-

India’s Congress party offers ‘Slumdog’ child stars new homes

Boyle enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame over the past two months after video footage of her audition piece for the show, “I Dreamed A Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables,” was posted on video-sharing website YouTube. AFP/

pectations on her. The British media had also reported some erratic behavior over the previous days, including how she had lost her temper in the foyer of the London hotel where she was staying prompting police to intervene. Morgan said that such was the pressure that she even considered quitting, describing her in his blog as a “frightened rabbit in headlights.” But his fellow judge Amanda Holden said after Saturday’s performance: “I have never heard such powerful confident vocals.” In a Daily Mail interview Saturday, Boyle said she had used singing as a way of “boosting my confidence” and insisted she was still

MUMBAI (AFP) – Two child actors from the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” have been offered new homes by the ruling Congress party of India’s western state of Maharashtra after their slum homes were torn down. The offer on Saturday came days after a private trust said it was replacing the demolished shantytown dwellings of nine-year-old Rubina Ali and 11-year-old Azharuddin Ismail. The flats offered by the Congress party in the western part of Mumbai cost around 400,000 rupees each (8,500 dollars) and were earmarked for low-income families.

The move to house the youngsters comes amid huge publicity over the demolition of their houses in a drive earlier in the month by Mumbai civic authorities to get rid of illegal shanty dwellings.

“The chief minister has approved flats in the names of Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail,” said Gautam Chatterjee, vice president of the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority, which built the apartments. “The Mumbai Regional Congress Committee has agreed to pay the price of the flats,” he added.

Amarjit Singh Manhas, a treasurer with the Mumbai Congress committee, told The Times of India that the flats were the children’s reward “for doing the country proud by their role in the film.” The team behind the hit film has said they will provide for the pair and set up a trust fund for them until they are 18. The children currently receive a undisclosed monthly stipend and attend an English-medium school. UNITED STATES, New York : Tyson Gay (R) of the US races in the men’s 200 meter race during the Reebok Grand Prix on Randall’s Island in New York. AFP /DON EMMERT



“Slumdog” director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson, who set up the trust for youngsters, said earlier this week the trust for the children had bought a flat for Ismail

INDIA, Mumbai : Director of Oscar winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, Danny Boyle (R), producer Christian Colson (L), child stars of the film, Mohammad Azharuddin (2R) and Rubina Ali listen during a press conference in Mumbai. Boyle announced that the two stars Azharuddin and Rubina Ali are to get new permanent homes in the city after both of their illegal shanties were recently razed by the civic authorities as a routine illegal encroachment clean-up drive. AFP/Sajjad HUSSAIN

and was finalising the purchase of one for Ali.

Last month, the film’s producers donated 500,000 pounds (755,000 dollars) to a charity dedicated to helping slum children in Mumbai where the film was based. Chatterjee said the children’s parents have 15 days to decide whether to accept the offer of state housing.

More than half of Mumbai’s estimated 18 million residents live in either designated slums or in illegal shantytowns. Ali played the younger Latika, the key female character in the hit film, and co-star Ismail played the elder brother of the film’s central character, Jamal. “Slumdog Millionaire,” a feel-good drama about a Mumbai tea boy who rises from poverty and enters a television quiz show to win millions and find the love of his life, won eight Oscars.

Each column, row and box must contain each number from 1 to 9. There is only one solution, wich is shown here.

enjoying the experience. “I’ve found the whole thing quite amazing and overwhelming. The attention’s odd and it takes some getting used to, but it’s nice,” she said. Hoards of fans had gathered in her hometown of Blackburn near Edinburgh to watch the final and support Boyle, on what she described in a television interview as “the most important night of my life.” After the result was announced, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond praised the singer, saying that despite her defeat she had given some “outstanding performances” and could “hold her head up high.”

The Journal Edition # 186  

The Journal Edition # 186

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