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Iberoamérica Summit Begins Tomorrow
Costa Rica is all set to host the XIV Cumbre Iberoaméricana (14th Ibero American Summit), to be held at the Herrardura Hotel beginning tomorrow and conclude Saturday with the signing of the San José Declaration, about 20 special statements and the formal creation of the Ibero American General Secretariat.

Fifteen presidents, the King and Queen of Spain, Juan Carlos I y Sofía de Grecia, and two prime ministers head the list of international representatives along with 800 news reporters that will be Costa Rica.

Presidents not attending the event are; Fidel Castro from Cuba; Ricardo Lagos, of Chile; Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, from Brasil; Alejandro Toledo, of Perú; Jorge Sampaio, from Portugal and Portugal's prime minister, Pedro Santana.

President Pacheco, who as host, will be heading the summit, said that no Cumbre has had a full attendance by all it's members. The theme of this summit will be "Educar para progresar" - education for progress.

The Cumbre will kick off  Friday at 7m at the Teatro Nacional in downtown San José. The first meetings of the heads of government will be Saturday morning at the Herradura Conference Centre.

Roberto Tovar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, says that this week all eyes will be on Costa Rica again and not only for the recent political scandals, which will not be part of the "official" discussions.

Enrique Iglesias, president of the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica (BCIE) is the only candidate whose names is on the list for post of General Secretariat, when the elections will be held in March of 2005.
The summit is expected to also see a meeting of the foreign ministers in an attempt to come to an agreement on a candidate for the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), a post held until October 15 by former Costa Rican president, Miguel Angel Rodríguez, who will be learning of the news of the event from his jail cell in La Reforma prison not too far from the location of the summit.
 

Iberoamérica Summit participants Condemn U.S. Blockade of Cuba
The 14th Ibero American Summit participants advance in a statement condemning the US blockade on Cuba as part of the San José Declaration, rejecting Washington´s inhumane action.

The draft final declaration to be signed by 21 Heads of State and Government reiterates a strong rejection of laws and measures contrary to international law like the Helms-Burton Bill imposed by the White House to attempt smothering trade, economy and finances of the Caribbean island.

The Ibero American Summit summons the US government to cease the application of this unilateral policy, according to the text signed by the dignitaries next Saturday. The final document upholds international law, the objectives and principles of the UN Charter, the respect to sovereignty, legal equality of states and non intervention.

They also oppose the use of force in international relations and support the respect to territorial integrity and peaceful solution of controversies.


Little Kattia's Killer to Face 35 Years in Prison
The Fiscalía is asking for the maximum penalty of 35 years in prison for Jorge Sánchez Madrigal, accused of kiling 9 year old Kattia Vanesa González Juárez last year.

Prosecutor, Héctor Chacón, spent two hours reminding the justices the list of crimes against minors, where predators have used gifts of candy and animals to lure children and committing hanious acts.

Chacón went into details of some of the past occurrences, including the case where a young girl was coerced into believing that she had "fleas" in her panties, so that the accuser can could rub her intimately.

The prosecutor told the court how Sánchez abused women to prove his "manhood". The worst is that that he abused young girls and then killed them if necessary. Chacón, in his statement to the court, said that Sánchez needed to posess young girls to hide his homosexuality. The prosecutor told the court how Sánchez would then visit the families of the young girls to assist them, including helping to find them when they went missing.

Little Kattia's body was found under the floor boards in Sánchez's home following an intense search of the neighbourhood. Police overlooked the place where little Kattia was found on their first visit to the home only a short distance from where little Kattia lived.

Sánchez tried to fool court psychologists into thinking that he was mentally unfit to avoid being tried for the crime. The trial is expected to conclude in the next coming days.


Rodríguez Asks Wife Not To Come; Forgives Lobo
Former president Miguel Angel Rodríguez has asked that his wife. Lorena Clare Facio, not come to Costa Rica as the "circus" surrounding his detention and jailing in La Reforma will only hurt her more.

In an interview with journalist Amelia Rueda, director of Radio Monumental, Rodríguez said that his wife is not "here" because he has asked her not to come. "It is enough what she is going through", were the words of the former president.

Rodríguez also said he forgives his former "great friend" and Minister of Housing during his administration, José Antonio Lobo, who "sang" to prosecutors which saw the detention of Rodríguez, as the Fiscalía builds its case against the former president.

Lobo told prosecutors that Rodríguez had asked him for 60% of the take from the ICE-Alcatel "prize" which was for us$2 million dollars, with respect to the contract that Alcatel won from ICE for installing 400.000 GSM cellular telephone lines.

Rodríguez avoided answering the journalists' question if he felt "betrayed" by Lobo, only saying that "I pray to God every day for only He knows what Lobo is living with every day to have done such a thing".


ELCA Managers To Remain In Jail
The president and managers of failed Banco ELCA will remain in preventive detention the appeals court has declared, following an appeal of the court decision of October 22.

Carlos Alvarado Moya, Javier Filloy and Hernán González will remain guests of the state at the Unidad de Admisión de San Sebastián (San Sebastain detention centre) while banking authorities decided on the future of Banco ELCA.

Banco ELCA was intervened by the Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras (SUGEF) for irregularities and Alvarado and his two managers were arrested a few weeks later. Banking officials found some 30 companies tied to Alvarado with irregular loans and credit. Only a few months earlier the banking regulator has given ELCA the green light following the bank's regular report on the state of affairs at the bank.

SUGEF is investigating the "back to back" operations that left the insitution in a poor economic condition and placed depositors at risk. The bank was intervened by SUGEF on June 29.

Small depositors of less than ¢4.500.000 colones or almost $10.000 got paid in the past month, leaving larger depositors in limbo, while the SUGEF and other banking officials make a decision of what to do with Banco ELCA.

In the past, when SUGEF intervened, the banks were eventually closed and depositors were able to recover only a percentage of their deposits, as in the cases Banco Germano, Bancoop, Banco Federado, Bantec and now Banco ELCA.

SUGEF has been called the "great terminator". Critics say the banking authority is not doing it's job by allowing banks to go "too far" before it steps in and then it's always been too late, no chance of saving the institutions.

A decision on the fate of Banco ELCA is expected by the end of the month


Italy Offers Compromise on Costa Rica's Proposal to Ban Cloning
Italy has offered a compromise on human cloning that seeks common ground among U.N. member states who are sharply divided over competing treaties to ban the practice, diplomats said.

It was too early to say whether the compromise will help settle the dispute before Friday, when the U.N. General Assembly's legal committee had planned to vote on the two offers if the sides couldn't agree on one text, Belgian diplomat Marc Pecsteen said.

The issue of a global treaty on human cloning has exposed a stark rift in member states' attitudes. A proposal from Costa Rica would ban all human cloning, while the other, from Belgium, would ban reproductive cloning but allow countries to use embryos for stem cell and other research.

The Costa Rican document has 62 co-sponsors including the United States and Italy, while the Belgian offer is supported by 22 mostly European countries. Many Muslim countries are undecided and were courted by both sides Wednesday.

The Italian offer is a modified version of an old Belgian text, Pecsteen said. He said the Italian changes were not acceptable to the Belgians, but talks were continuing.

The document, calls on nations to ban attempts to create "human life" through cloning. That's a revision of the old text, which called on nations to prohibit creating "human beings" through cloning.

That change is key because it gets to the heart of the dispute over cloning: Many opponents argue that an embryo is human life, while fewer see it as a human being. This sleight of hand on the wording could help everyone to agree on a treaty.

Pecsteen acknowledged that at this point, the sides appeared to be seeking something they could interpret how they want to.

"That's what were trying to find, a constrictive ambiguity that could allow both sides to live with one text," Pecsteen said. "Unfortunately, 'human life' is not ambiguous enough in a way and that's why we have a problem with it."

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, viewed the Italian offer favorably but said a vote on the two treaty proposals was still possible.

"If there were to be a compromise text, I think that would probably be very interesting to most parties, but at the same time I think we're pretty confident" in the Costa Rican offer, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.

Either way, observers said the Italian offer may be a sign that the two sides have all but given up trying to agree and are seeking a way to save face and drop the issue.

That's because the Costa Rican and Belgian documents, if passed, would seek a world treaty on cloning. The Italian offer, on the other hand, is only a declaration outlining U.N. member states' stance and would not call for a treaty.

"Declarations are so broad. They can be interpreted in dozens of different ways," said Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, which supports cloning for research. "So in a way, this would be the U.N.'s way of punting this so it's not longer a U.N. matter."

The other option, Pecsteen said, was to simply postpone the issue until next year. Last November, the legal committee voted to delay consideration of a cloning treaty for two years. But in December, the General Assembly decided without a vote to delay the discussion of a global treaty for a year, which led to this year's discussion.


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Restaurant Announces World Wall of Peace
In a world torn by the ravages of war, Costa Rica abolished their military forces over 50 years ago and has remained at peace ever since. According the to U.S. State Department web site, “Costa Rica has exercised an international influence well beyond its relatively small size. Consecutive administrations have participated in a number of initiatives to promote human rights and democracy within the region and around the world.”

The newly reopened El Rey Largo Restaurant Bar, located near the Juan Santamaria Airport, announced their “World Wall of Peace” as a monument to those who have suffered the ravages of war in their own countries.

This location had previously been operated under such names as "Chitos Bar and Mexican Restaurant," "Adolpho Sur's" and "Tiki Matambre." It is now under solid American/Italian management.

The idea sprang from a combination of factors including dissatisfaction over the recent presidential election in the United States which seems to offered a choice between war or war, and learning how many from the war torn countries have coped with their situations through art. It became clear that they use their art to express the positive side of life even though their daily lives were subjected to the ravages of war.

“One of the best parts of opening this establishment was meeting the great variety of people from around Costa Rica and the World,” said Glen Roberts one of the developers of El Rey Largo. “We started thinking about using the restaurant as a gallery where local artists could display their work for members of the community and tourists to enjoy.”

However, Roberts noted, “other aspects of the project have been much more difficult and involved various attempts of harassment, intimidation, extortion and assault against the owners, investors and staff.”

Costa Rica is one of the few countries of the world that has stayed out of the cycle of war, as noted on the U.S. State Department web site, “Costa Ricans pride themselves on the country’s abolition of its standing military in late 1948, a concept enshrined in the 1949 Constitution.”

The “World Wall of Peace” will be a monument to those who have suffered through years of war around the world. Our goal is to have one artist from every country of the world which is involved in war create a section of the wall.

El Rey Largo Restaurant and Bar is located just a few kilometers from the San Jose International Airport and all tourists are encouraged to watch the artists’ work and at work while the “World Wall of Peace”  is being built.

Artists from other countries may submit samples of their work and a commentary on why they should represent their country on our web site. We are also looking for attorneys that are interested in assisting the artists selected obtain visas and those who would like to help contribute financial assistance for the artists travel expenses.

For those who cannot visit Costa Rica their web site will be regularly updated with the progress of the wall and samples from artists who want to participate will also be available on the web at: http://www.elreylargo.com

 

CONCACAF SOCCER:
Costa Rica Reaches Next Round of World Cup Qualifiers

Costa Rica progressed to the final stage of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers while Honduras were knocked out after a tense goalless draw on Wednesday.

Honduras, needing a win to finish above Costa Rica on their head-to-head record in Group B, dominated the tie. But, with leading scorer David Suazo missing through injury, they were unable to find a way past goalkeeper Alvaro Messen.

The Ticos finished the group with 10 points and Honduras seven. Guatemala, already qualified with 10 points, play eliminated Canada later on Wednesday.

Honduras began their campaign with a 5-2 win in Costa Rica. However, they failed to win a match after that and fired coach Raul Martinez, who was replaced by Jose de la Paz Herrera for Wednesday's game

 

 
NATIONAL NEWS  
Thurs
day 18 November 2004 

Today's Stories:
Iberoamérica Summit Begins Tomorrow
Iberoamérica Summit participants Condemn U.S. Blockade of Cuba
Little Kattia's Killer to Face 35 Years in Prison
Rodríguez Asks Wife Not To Come; Forgives Lobo
ELCA Managers To Remain In Jail
Italy Offers Compromise on Costa Rica's Proposal to Ban Cloning
Restaurant Announces World Wall of Peace
CONCACAF SOCCER: Costa Rica Reaches Next Round of World Cup Qualifiers
 



Sex Guides Morally Unacceptable
Honduran Cardinal, Oscar Arnulfo Rodríguez Maradiaga, will assist in the "Secretariado Episcopal de América Central" which will be held in Costa Rica Monday 22 November. In the past, the bishops have denounced the programs for "Sexula Education" in the classrooms by the governments of Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, saying the contenct of the sex guides are "morally unacceptable". More than 50 Bishops and Cardinals will attend the meeting. [Foto: Diario Extra]
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