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(506) 2223-1327                     Published Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 10                Email us
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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute/Ruth Dickau
This stone stash
is from the past

Archaeologists found these stones at a rock shelter near Boquete, Panamá, and the adjacent carbon dates to at least 4,000 years ago.

Did they belong to a shaman or just some Ngäbe, Buglé, Bribri or Cabécar youngsters.

Our story is HERE!

Santa Cruz fiesta declared a national cultural event
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Monday marked the beginning of the Fiestas Típicas Nacionales de Santa Cruz 2013 in the Guanacaste canton.  The celebration came with an announcement from the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud that the event will now be categorized as a national cultural event, “Tope de Toros.”

Topes are Costa Rican versions of rodeos and are traditions from the Guanacaste region that have been passed down from generation to generation, said the cultural ministry. 

The most recent one was a horse tope last Thursday for the Fiestas de Palmares.

The declaration from Manuel Obregón, cultural minister, will be published in Costa Rica's official journal La Gaceta in the upcoming days, the ministry said.

“It is a pride for me, as a representative of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, to participate in the Fiestas Típicas Nacionales Santa Cruz 2013, which protects the traditions of one of the most emblematic cities of our country," said Obregon.

"This year is very special because we have important news: the Recorrido del Tope de Toros en las Fiestas Típicas Nacionales Santa Cruz 2013 will be declared
in the next few days as a cultural interest by the Dirección de Cultura del Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud." he continued.

According to the minister, the Tope de Toros is important because it preserves the traditions of Costa Ricans and motivates the new generations to know their roots.

It also will promote other cultural activities such as local art, literary works, handicrafts, the elements of the cattle ranch and the local “grito guanacasteco” which expresses the spirit of the province.  All these elements distinguishes and differentiates the region from the rest of the country, he said.

"So we celebrate together this declaration of cultural interest and are proud of who we are, our culture and our identity," Obregón said.

The Santa Cruz festivals will last until Sunday and will feature bull riding, running of the bulls, bull parades and cultural events in the town amphitheater.

Today is Día del Santo Patrono and there will be a special ceremony in honor of the day at 9 a.m. in the amphitheater and will conclude with a procession with a statue of the local patron, the Santo Cristo de Esquipulas to the local park.

Saturday is the Tope Típico de Caballos at 1 p.m.

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Our readers' opinions
Republicans stand for work
and not for getting free stuff

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In response to the opinions of Darlene Mokruycki and Mr. Barbour's statements regarding Republican's losing the elections I think they have omitted several crucial facts.

Obama won because he controlled the large urban areas, with major cities.  Chicago, as a prime example, is in shambles because of Democratic polices.  What major city that is controlled by Democrats isn't?  Why would Democratic policies work for the nation when they don't even work for the big cities?   Republicans won the rural areas hands down, and those are the areas that don't have the large numbers of people on the public dole, who know how to get up and work and be self sufficient.

While blaming Bush for the failed economy, they never mention the fact that the debt did not soar until Democrats controlled both the Senate and House after the 2006 elections.  They don't mention the fact that Jimmy Carter started the sub-prime mortgage mess, and Clinton threatened legal action against lenders that would not give sub-prime mortgages.  Bush tried to order an investigation into banking and sub-prime and investment issues on many occasions.  The Democrat response is highlighted by the infamous Barney Franks speech in which Franks told America that Freddie and Fannie were both solid. That was utter nonsense, but successfully thwarted the investigation.  The Democrats were also in the oversight positions, and totally dropped the ball in allowing the mess to continue which directly lead to the real estate crash and failed economy.

While Clinton brags about the great economy under his watch, nobody seems to remember that the stock market crashed shortly after because when investors realized that the "tech stocks" that had boosted the market, had no assets to back them, investors sold off and the market started it's crash. 

That was the economy that Bush inherited, one that had started it's downward plunge.

The GM bailout, resulted in thousands of GM workers who had invested in GM stock their entire lives, along with all the other GM stock holders losing everything when the stock was declared worthless. GM could have gone thru structured bankruptcy and come out of it. Banks had too much invested to have let them go down, and saying that was not possible is just not true.  

Democrats just don't get simple economics involving debt, and since when should success be penalized by unfair taxation against those who are producing?  Funny that 93 percent of blacks and 71 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama, yet of those numbers, how many are producing to help society versus the number getting a free lunch from those that do produce?  Romney was correct in stating that he would never get that 47 percent of the vote, and it was not intended to be disrespectful, but a statement of fact.  Republicans stand for hard work and opportunity, not for buying votes based on people getting "free stuff," or for "growing government" and over regulating.

The middle class does not grow the economy and create most jobs other than the small companies. Small family-owned companies for the most part do not drive the jobs market.  Investors do, by taking risk, and creating jobs in manufacturing and such industries employing the majority of the middle class, other than the public employees.  The government does not create wealth. They take it from those that do. Without investment, the country can't grow and prosper, and the Democrats who want to tax investors at unreasonable capital gains rates will destroy the incentive for people to take risk when if they lose, their money is gone, and if they win they could be taxed at rates that have been proposed as high as 40 percent.   Without incentive to invest, the game is over.

Jim Day
Playa del Coco and Michigan   

Trying to help out the police
is a disheartening situation

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Despite the great financial rewards that Costa Rica enjoys from tourism, there seems to be few visible improvements to security.  It is very discouraging for tourism operators.  The main reason to make a police report, is so the government does understand the magnitude of the problem.  Without the police reports, there is no official data to make them aware.
We also live in a tourist area that is seeing more crime.   We hire our own guards, install bars and safes, and work together to try to make our area secure.  Often our local police do not have a working motorcycle or are called away to a different area and can't respond quickly to our needs.  Often they do not have enough staff to patrol at night.  There is seldom enough evidence to actually hold the criminal once they are off the property.
When a crime is reported, the police and Judicial Investigating Organization tell us about lack of staff, lack of equipment, lack of evidence.   They suggest that we live behind bars, and the thieves can roam free.  I am often helping non-Spanish-speaking people to make the police report, which takes about an hour, in the hot little police station.  Local expats often are not interested in making reports, as it seems to make little difference.   We have brainstormed about how we can secure ourselves, but it is very difficult.  The costs of hiring private security for a large, spread out area is too costly.  Helping to finance the police usually ends in disappointment.   A very disheartening situation.
Susan England
Playa Zancudo

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 10
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Beach assessments appear to be higher than originally thought
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Canadian has determined that his beach concession in Playa Matapalo is being assessed at 50,000 colons per square meter. That is more than he expected when he travelled to Costa Rica for his winter vacation.

The man, Greg Allen, complained in December that the rental or canon he will have to pay on the beach concession soared more than 515 percent. That was before he did the math.

Since he has a concession of 1,435 square meters, the base value on which the rental will be assessed is 71,750,000 colons or about $146,000. The rate is 4 percent for residential and tourist properties like Allen's, so he expected a bill for $5,839 or 2,870,000 colons.

Allen will be expected to pay that amount for five years until a new assessment is determined.

Depending on the location, other residents of the area will pay a lesser assessment per square meter. But commercial ventures have to pay 5 percent, Allen noted.

The previous year, Allen paid a rental of $700 on his property, which also includes a home.

Gustavo Álvarez, a lawyer in San José who has represented Playa Matapalo lot owners for years, will be attending a public meeting Jan. 30 at the municipal office in Quepos to discuss the issue, Allen said. The Canadian said he encourages anyone who has an interest in changing the maritime zone laws and assessments to attend. 

The Yukon resident said previously that the soaring taxes and
maritime rents appear to be a general problem among expats in Costa Rica. On his street there is a modest bed and breakfast where the annual tax is  $7,800, he added.

Allen said that when he visited the beach this holiday, he noticed that the area is becoming even more desolate and that there are no new businesses. The few that exist are having a difficult time staying afloat, he said.  There is no new construction, and many lot owners feel they have no choice but to look at selling.

"But we are all aware that no one is buying ocean front lots because of the maritime zone regulations," said Allen.  "There is little work available for the locals and everyone is suffering the economic crisis."

On the positive side, Allen said there appears to be a lot more awareness being expressed by the government at the municipal level and at the government offices in San José.  Mr. Allen said he has started speaking to anyone in government who will listen and is hopeful that he can get the support of the locals and concessions holders in the area to take formal legal action to change the law. 

Municipal officials are talking about the issue and acknowledging that this is a big problem for Matapalo, so Mr. Allen said he feels that residents have to act now. Otherwise, the issue will be forgotten once again and nothing will get done and everyone will go bankrupt, he said.

Part of the problem that is affecting beach dwellers is the way the Dirección General de Tributación attempts to compute the value of land. A chain hotel that agrees to pay a large amount for a beach concession to a third party can drastically increase the perceived value of all the nearby land.

Road officials reverse themselves on plan to close Ruta 32
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Painting highway lines is always a big deal in Costa Rica.

Generally, the road agency, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, waits until nearly every line has been erased from major highways. Then a contract is issued to paint all the lines at once. Naturally there are times when expats are driving at night in rainy weather when they can only discern the general direction of the highway. Those lines at the side of the highway generally are absent, too, in Costa Rica.

The Consejo planned to close Ruta 32 for five daylight hours for a week so that a crew could paint lines. That was announced Friday, and the main highway was closed Monday.

By midday, the Consejo had reversed itself and said that officials wanted to affect highway users as little as possible. So the highway will be open but perhaps just one lane at times. The work is being done between the toll booths and the bridge over the Río Sucio. Traffic police will be involved.

In the second stage of the work, lines will be put down between Tibás and the toll station. The final job is between the Río Sucio and Río Frío de Sarapiquí, said the Consejo. The route between Río Frío and Guácimo was painted last year and no work will be done there, said the Consejo.

The Consejo is promising sidelines on the highway, a yellow center line and even those plastic reflectors that are imbedded into the roadway.
road lines
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
  This was the work Monday on Ruta 32, the main highway
 from San José north and eventually to the Caribbean coast.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 10
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After 4,000 years, a stash of stones comes to light in Panamá
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
news staff

Archaeologists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panamá have discovered a cluster of 12 unusual stones in the back of a small, prehistoric rock shelter near the town of Boquete. The cache represents the earliest material evidence of shamanistic practice in lower Central America.

Ruth Dickau, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Exeter in England, unearthed the cache of stones in the Casita de Piedra rock shelter in 2007. A piece of charcoal found directly underneath the cache was radiocarbon dated to 4,800 years ago. A second fragment of charcoal in a level above the cache was dated to 4,000 years ago.

"There was no evidence of a disturbance or pit feature to suggest someone had come along, dug a hole and buried the stones at a later date," Ms. Dickau said. "The fact that the stones were found in a tight pile suggests they were probably deposited inside a bag or basket, which subsequently decomposed."

Based on the placement and the unusual composition of the stones in the cache, Richard Cooke, research institute staff scientist, suggested they were used by a shaman or healer. Consulting geologist Stewart Redwood determined that the cache consists of a small dacite stone fashioned into a cylindrical tool, a small flake of white, translucent quartz, a bladed quartz and jarosite aggregate, a quartz crystal aggregate, several pyrite nodules that showed evidence of use, a small, worn and abraded piece of chalcedony, a magnetic andesite flake, a large chalcedony vein stone and a small magnetic kaolinite stone naturally eroded into an unusual shape, similar to a flower.

"A fascinating aspect of this find is that these are not ordinary stones but are rocks and crystals commonly associated with gold deposits in the Central Cordillera of Panamá and Central America," Redwood said. "However, there are no gold artifacts in the rock shelter, and there's no evidence that the stones were collected in the course of gold prospecting as the age of the cache pre-dates the earliest known gold artifacts from Panamá by more than 2,000 years. But the collector of the stones clearly had an eye for unusual stones and crystals with a special significance whose meaning is lost to us."

Those who lived near this site include the Ngäbe, Buglé, Bribri, Cabécar and the now-extinct Dorasque peoples. Shamans or healers (curanderos) belonging to these and other
rock shelter
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute/Eduardo Bejerano
 This is the Casita de Piedra rock shelters near, Panamá,
 that yielded the stash of stones. The lowest level of
 habitation dates to more than 9,000 years ago.

present-day native peoples in Central and South America often include special stones among the objects they use for ritual practices. Stones containing crystal structures are linked to transformative experiences in many of their stories.

Anthony Ranere from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, first identified and excavated Casita de Piedra in an archaeological survey of western Panamá in the early 1970s. He found that the small rock shelter had been repeatedly occupied over thousands of years and used for a variety of domestic activities such as food processing and cooking, stone tool manufacture and retouch, and possibly woodworking.

Ms. Dickau returned to the site to expand excavations from December 2006 to January 2007.

Ms. Dickau's group radiocarbon dated charcoal from the base levels of the shelter and discovered it was first occupied more than 9,000 years ago, much earlier than Ranere originally proposed. Her research also showed that the people who would have benefitted from the shaman's knowledge practiced small-scale farming of maize, manioc and arrowroot and collected palm nuts, tree fruits and wild tubers. They also probably hunted and fished in the nearby hills and streams, but the humid soils in the shelter destroyed any evidence of animal bones. Other preceramic peoples in Panama who lived in small, dispersed communities across the isthmus by 4,000 years ago commonly practiced these activities.

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D.C. souvenir shops prepare
for second inauguration

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Souvenir shops in the nation's capital are gearing up for President Barack Obama's second inauguration Monday.

Store operators expect it to be the second largest inauguration in history, second only to Mr. Obama’s first one.

One souvenir shop, conveniently named White House Gifts, offers free photos with any purchase in an Oval Office replica. But this week the Oval Office set will be moved out to make room for more keepsake-hunting tourists.

People like customer Karen Smeltzer, who says she'll spend $3500 on a hotel, food and gifts. “I think the second term is just as important, if not more important than the first term, because he was re-elected as our president.”

General manager Andy Gallagher oversees what he says is the largest souvenir warehouse in Washington. It's full of inauguration-themed items like candy, snow globes, bobble heads, key chains, coins, toys, plates, hats, mugs and lots of t-shirts.

Preparations for the inauguration began election night. Just after 11 p.m.. Gallagher says he called his vendors and said, “'It’s Obama and Biden. Start printing,' and we had the full set up the following morning when we opened the stores.” 

Then, they hired "Bertha," a custom-made electric cart which maneuvers through downtown Washington and delivers merchandise to the company's retail stores. Bertha beats any car stuck in rush hour traffic.

But sales aren’t up at the sidewalk vendors. The District of Columbia government says fewer than one-fourth of them applied for an inaugural permit this time.

But for others, an inauguration holds promise. 

“Twice as nice, only because he won twice, you know?” says Domingo Canate, who designed his own inaugural shirt and is hawking it to stores. "America’s all about opportunities and creating opportunities for oneself, and this inauguration is an ideal opportunity to create a business around a shirt.”

All aimed at commemorating a day which will make history as the president is sworn in for a second term.

Vegas tech show highlight
connectivity and amazing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One of the world's most glamorous and most important technology shows has wrapped up in Las Vegas, and one thing is clear.  The future is all about bigger, better and more connected than ever.
Technology enthusiasts gathered by the thousands for CES 2013.  And what they got was eye-opening.
Bigger TVs.  3-D TVs.  TV screens that are curved.
LG's Pete Hollenhorst says curved is better. “It eliminates any distortion that you see.  I’m seeing with both eyes in a very natural environment, that same 180 degrees that we normally see," he said.
Tablet computers are also getting bigger, like one from Lenovo, which can replace the traditional family board game.
Other video screens are designed to look and feel more like paper.
Products are getting tougher, too.  Kip Walls with Panasonic said of the new ToughPad B-1, “This machine is rated for a five-foot drop to a hard surface.  You can use it in the shower.”
Because in the end, says LG's Katie Krauss, technology is becoming all about the convenience of being constantly connected.
“Allowing our consumers to live without boundaries.  Essentially, do things on a smartphone they never thought possible," he said.
Even in the kitchen, where the new refrigerator can send a shopping list to the phone, get discounts, plan the meal and tell the stove to start cooking.
Of course, for those tempted to eat too much, there's Hapi Fork, which can tell a smartphone if there is too much eating too fast.
Phillipe Montiero, cofounder of Hapi Labs said, “The slower you eat, the less you eat, as a matter of fact.  You give time to your brain to send the message, 'oh, I’m full. I don’t need to eat anymore.'”

Former president Bush leaves
hospital after two months

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush has been released from a Houston, Texas, hospital, after nearly two months.

He was treated for bronchitis and other health issues.

A statement from his doctor said, "Mr. Bush has improved to the point that he will not need any special medication when he goes home, but he will continue physical therapy.''

Bush, 88, is the oldest living former U.S. president. He spent a week in intensive care last month.

In a statement, Bush said he was touched by "the many get-well messages we received from our friends and fellow Americans." 

Bush was elected the nation's 41st president in 1988.

He and his wife, Barbara, live in Houston during the winter and spend summers in Kennebunkport, Maine. They celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary last week. They are the longest-married presidential couple and the parents of the 43rd president, George W. Bush.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 10
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Doing business ranking
improves by 12 positions

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country has raised it ranking by 12 places in the World Bank Doing Business Index.

The economics ministry credited the achievements of the Laura Chinchilla Miranda administration for the improvement. The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio announced the improvement Monday but did not mention the overall ranking.

Costa Rica was put in 110th place of 185 countries by the World Bank. That is up 12 from 2012.

The major increases were in dealing with construction permits, dealing across borders, paying taxes and the availability of credit.

The country declined slightly in starting a business, which the World Bank estimated to take 60 days. That process involves registering a company and even opening a bank account.

The World Bank gives the complete report HERE!

The World Bank said that Costa Rica had cut the time required to obtain a construction permit to 160 days. The process requires 18 procedures, the World Bank said. That is less than the 225-day average for Latin America but more than in First World countries.

The score for tax payment was improved because electronic filing has been instituted by the Dirección General de Tributación.

Costa Rica recently also has created a unified system for creating a business. Someone can obtain a municipal business license and other approvals quickly, the government has said. The system is based on a pilot project in San José.

The ministry said that the country hopes to move into the double digits on the index in the next year. To do that Luis Guillermo Plata has been hired. He is a former economics minister from Colombia and served in the Álvaro Uribe government. He now runs a consulting company.

The ministry said that there are plans to improve a number of government agencies and that the unified system for creating a business is expected to lower the time to about 20 days, it said.

Police officers find body

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judicial Investigating Organization said the body of a man was located in the sewer around the San Diego sports plaza in Tres Rios.

Two Fuerza Pública officers found the body at around 6 a.m.  At first look they said they thought the man was asleep, but realized when they got closer that there was blood around the man's head from what is suspected to be a bullet wound in the face, said a report.

The man has been identified by the last name Rodríguez and was 28 years old.  His last known address was Hatillo Centro, said spokespersons

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A.M. Costa Rica
Seventh Newspage

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 10
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Obama reviewing gun control plans

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama is reviewing proposals to curb gun violence in the United States.  The move comes a month after a shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 children and six school staffers.
A major political battle is brewing in the United States over gun control.
Obama is expected to propose legislation designed to reduce firearm violence that kills an average of 34 Americans every day.
“The belief that we have to have stronger background checks, that we can do a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of folks who shouldn’t have them, an assault weapons ban that is meaningful," he said.
Last month’s massacre in Newtown stunned the nation and led to renewed calls for tougher laws on gun ownership.
Winnie Stachelberg is with the Center for American Progress.
“You know the Newtown tragedy that sadly we are marking the one month anniversary of has changed the nature of the discussion around gun violence in this country.  There is no doubt about it.  There is a new paradigm," she said.
Vice President Joe Biden has been leading a task force on preventing gun violence.
He has met with a number of groups interested in the gun-control debate, including gun rights advocates.
President Obama says action is needed to protect the most vulnerable Americans. “If there is a step we can take that will save even one child from what happened in Newtown we should take that step," he said.
However, gun-control legislation is very controversial in the U.S., where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution.
Firearms sales have spiked as people rush to buy guns out of concern that stricter laws may be enacted.
Gun owner Bruce Bumgarner said, “Gun control: all it is going to do is take the guns out of the people that obey the law.  It is not going to control the outlaws that take the guns to do crimes with them.”
Any new gun control legislation is expected to face fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association and its four-million members. 

No changes in China's forced labor

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Local officials in charge of China's controversial forced labor camps say they are operating as usual and have not received any word from Beijing about a possible end to the system.

The state-run Global Times Tuesday said officials in at least six regions across China have received no information about proposed changes to the so-called re-education through labor system.

Last week, state media quoted Politburo member Meng Jianzhu as saying China will stop using the decades-old labor camp system later this year. Those reports were later removed without explanation. Officials later said the system will be reformed.

Beijing for years has discussed possible changes to the system, which has long been criticized by rights groups that say it does not meet international standards.

Chinese authorities use the labor camps to detain prostitutes, drug addicts and other petty criminals for up to four years without putting them on trial in the country's overloaded courts.

Opponents of the system say Beijing also uses it to silence government critics and dissidents, and they claim torture and other abuses are common in the camps.

Rights groups have welcomed talk of scrapping the system. But many are worried it will be replaced by a similar detention system that will not allow people to defend themselves.

The Global Times, which often reflects official opinion, quoted legal experts as saying the re-education through labor system most likely will be replaced by a rectification through education system.

The report said four cities in China have begun undertaking pilot schemes for the new rectification program. It said the program would entitle offenders to defend themselves with the help of lawyers at courts and appeal their sentences.

The paper also quoted a lawyer and National People's Congress official as saying offenders would be allowed to stay at home and receive education from community organizations rather than serving terms at re-education facilities.

Any significant reforms to the system could be viewed as a possible indication of new Chinese leader Xi Jinping's desire to carry out moderate political and legal reform.

Study says half of food is wasted

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
Up to half of the food the world produces goes to waste, according to a new report. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Britain says cutting waste is vital if the world is to meet food demand as the global population soars.
Every year the world produces around four billion tons of food. And between a third and half of it goes to waste, according to the report from the institution.
The group says that in Southeast Asian countries for example, losses of rice can range from 37 percent to 80 percent of total production. Much of this can be traced to how it is harvested, stored and transported, says report co-author Colin Brown.
“Food is trying to rot all the time, so you’ve got to keep it dry, you’ve got to keep it cool and you’ve got to transport it and use it as quickly as possible. So I think when you haven’t got the infrastructure, you haven’t got the railways, you haven’t got the shipping, you’re doing damage to it every time you move it," he said.
In developed economies such as in Europe and the United States, the report says more efficient farming practices ensure that more of the food produced reaches consumers. But it claims millions of tons of food is thrown away because it’s past its sell-by date, or sometimes because it doesn’t reach the supermarket shelves at all.
“Certainly once you get it to the supermarket, they have very high standards about what it ought to look like, never mind about how it ought to taste or whether it’s edible or valuable. But exactly how it ought to look. And so we throw a lot away just because it’s not cosmetically attractive," he said.
That’s not the fault of the stores, says Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets.
“In fact, these are EU marketing rules and the retailers have been at the forefront of pushing for a relaxation in them. And that has happened. Back in 2009, 26 different items of produce were taken off those lists," he said.
Many aid agencies and charities welcomed the report for highlighting the huge amount of waste at a time when millions of people suffer from malnutrition.
Aid agency Save the Children says there is enough food in the world to feed every child but still 2.3 million children die as a result of hunger every year.

Director of policy Brendan Cox said, “Families are having to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their children and nobody should have to make that choice."
Large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers and water are also lost in the production of food which simply end up as waste, according to the report authors. But they say there is another message in the figures.
“The very positive message here is that while we’re losing so much in waste, the population growth and the demand for food across the world — we can meet it if we just reduce the waste. We don’t need to cut down lots more forests and plant a lot more crops," he said.
And with the global population predicted to peak at 9.5 billion people by 2075, the report concludes that reducing wastage must be part of the plan to meet that demand.
Useful links
Foreign Embassies
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Pavas, San José. 920-1200
San José, Costa Rica
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