IN THE NEWS
4Did You Feel That?
Earthquake experts recorded 32 quakes from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday along the slopes of Irazú volcano east of San José, of which only three were noticeable. Coupled with a 4.0 magnitude jolt at 1:45 a.m. near the central Pacific town of Quepos that was felt as far as the Central Valley, Wednesday was one of the shakiest days this year. Scientists said there was no relation between the Irazú and Quepos quakes. Quepos had a feisty June with at least seven noticeable tremors.
4Noriega Upbeat in France
An “animated” Gen. Manuel Noriega relished the chance to defend himself, reported The Associated Press, as his trial began this week in Paris, France. The former Panamanian dictator claimed Tuesday that the French money laundering charges against him are part of the same “conspiracy” that kept him behind bars in the United States for 20 years. In April, Noriega was extradited to France for allegedly laundering cocaine money through French banks in the 1980s, a story he called an “imaginary financial setup.” Noriega faces 10 years in French prison if convicted. His defense lawyers criticized the U.S. government’s surprise decision to extradite him as a violation of international law and a suspicious indication of a backroom deal (TT, April 30).
4Zelaya: US Toppled Me
Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya re-ruffled Washington’s feathers on the one-year anniversary of his ouster in a June 28 letter that read, “We can affirm categorically that the United States was behind the coup d’etat and continues harboring those who by force usurped the civil power of the nation,” the news wire Europa Press reported. U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens called the allegation “absurd,” according to The Associated Press. The embassy said the U.S. “had no prior knowledge or participation.”
4Ferry Adjusts for Tourist Swell
The ferry between the Pacific port of Puntarenas and Paquera, on the NicoyaPeninsula, will run 14 trips a day – seven in each direction – in a new schedule until Aug. 2, to accommodate an expected increase in passengers. The ferry cuts an hour off the trip between Puntarenas and the Guanacaste beaches. The ferries can accommodate all types of vehicles, from motorcycles and bikes to cars and buses. For more information call 2523-2061.
4Consular Fee to Rise
The U.S. Embassy will increase consular service fees starting July 13. Notary fees will be $50, up from $30, adult passport renewals will be $110 (currently $75), children’s passports will be $105 (currently $60) and registering a birth will be $100 (currently $65). The adjustments are based on a June 2009 consular cost of service study, according to the U.S. State Department.