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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

The sweet, small taste of Costa Rica

By Cameron Cope

December 15, 2006 | Costa Rica is located in Central America between Nicaragua and Panama and is smaller than West Virginia. With the Pacific coast to the west and the Caribbean to the east, the country is mostly all coastlines. Costa Rica is located about eight degrees north of the equator, making the climate tropical year round. This means great surfing, beaches, and tropical weather.

Having the greatest density of species in the world, Costa Rica protects over 25 percent of its land within national parks. Costa Rica has only about 0.1 percent of the world's land mass, but contains 5 percent of the world's biodiversity. The country contains over 800 types of birds and over 100 species of mammals. The lush jungles are home to monkeys, lizards, crocodiles, languid sloths, poisoning dart frogs, exotic birds, insects and butterflies.

Costa Rica's seasons are split into two; verano (summer) and invierno (winter). Opposite of the United States, their winter is from May to November, constantly raining. Summer, the dryer season, is from December to May. The average annual temperature is 27 degrees Celsius. Deforestation and land use change, largely as a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution.

Arenal is one of four volcanoes located in Costa Rica. With the slow, steady, erupting, the volcano is an attraction for all to see. At night, the glowing red lava can be seen climbing down the mountain.

The phrase "Pura Vida" (pure life), can be seen and heard everywhere as it is a motto ubiquitous in Costa Rica. In summarizes the ideology of living in peace in a calm, unflustered manner, appreciating a life surrounded by nature, family and friends.

Costa Rica's economy is stable. Originally, it was based on agriculture including coffee, bananas, pineapples, and ornamentals. Recently, however, ecotourism, electronics, pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing and software development have become the prime industries. With the government offering tax exemptions for those who invest within the country, high education levels, and the growing tourism attraction, foreign investors remain attracted. Although poverty still existing, it has been decreasing for the last 15 years.

Costa Rica is a Democratic Republic, has a population of nearly 4 million people, and is 92 percent Christian. Settlement of Costa Rica began in 1522 after Christopher Columbus arrived. Spain called the country "Rich Coast", even though little gold was ever discovered.

Costa Rica declared its independence from Spain in 1821, becoming one of several Central American Provinces. In 1823, they joined the United Provinces of Central America, but disintegrated in 1838, where they proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have hindered the country's democratic development. The standard of living is relatively high compared to other Central American and South American Countries.

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