A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, inVol. 17, No. 25                              Email us
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Incineration is a hot issue in some of the cantons
By the A.M. Cost Rica staff

Bad roads and local scandals overshadow other problems as Costa Ricans cast votes for municipal officials Sunday, but in some cantons there is another burning issue.

Candidates in six cantons have signed pledges to work against proposals to incinerate garbage. The candidates include some from national-level parties. The candidates are on record supporting what is being called integral management of waste. This is basically recycling.

Garbage is a major municipal problem in Costa Rica. Some cantons simply are running out of landfill space or the haulage costs are becoming prohibitive.

Incineration is not just about burning garbage. There are four proposals that are being considered now, and each includes plans to use the incinerator heat to generate electricity, which would be sold to the state power company, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

Four projects already are being considered for approval. They are in Carrillo and proposed by Coopeguanacaste, in El Coyol and proposed by Wastelectric, in León Cortes and proposed by Agropecuaria Setenta Cuarenta y Ocho and another in La Uruca, according to  Hacia Basura Cero-CR, which opposes them.

The U.S. firm Wastelectric says it is planning to invest $390 million.

Other projects may be officially proposed for Parrita, Coyol, La Carpio, Atenas and Pavas, the organization said.

The canton of León Cortés has been a battleground on this issue with the local  Grupo Ecologista opposing incineration.

The dispute now is more about land ownership than the benefits or perils of 

proposed plant
 Wastelectric has this photo on its Facebook page showing the proposed El Coyol plant.

incineration. The firm does not yet havetitle to the land it wants, according to environmentalists there. They seek to have the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental throw out the application. That agency has final approval.

The canton is in the coffee-growing Valle de los Santos south of Desamparados, north of  and east of Aserrí.

Candidates for mayor in León Cortés from Movimiento Libertario, the Partido Liberación Nacional and the local Pactico Acción Ciudadana have signed the pledge to oppose incineration, said Hacia Basura Cero-CR. Some of the candidates in Curridabat, Santo Domingo, Pococí, San Pedro and Belén also have pledged to oppose incineration, said the organization.

The Secretaría Técnica has frozen the applications it has until May. The incineration projects probably would not be successful without the support of the local municipality.

Much of the stated concern involves possible ill effects on the residents from incinerator emissions. There also is a dose of the philosophy to reduce consumption and promote recycling. There are a number of incineration technologies, and each proposal has to be considered independently.

Another windy and gusty weekend predicted
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The weekend will be another windy one, the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional predicts.

The weather agency said Thursday that an increase in atmospheric pressure in the Caribbean and Central America will generate gusts from over 50 to 80 kph on the north Pacific coast and the Central Valley. That's

about 30 to 50 mph.

Cloudiness and possible intermittent rain is expected along the Caribbean coast and in the northern zone with some of the same in higher elevations in the Central Valley and in the north Pacific, said the weather institute.

The institute suggested precautions and suggested that agricultural burning be halted.

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Florida State University photo
Mariana Fuentes at left and members of her team measure sand temperature in Brazil.

Warmer sand may reduce numbers
of male turtles, researchers fear

By the Florida State University news service

Rising global temperatures may skew gender imbalance among the marine turtle population, according to new Florida State University research.

Mariana Fuentes and a team of Brazilian researchers have been examining Brazilian loggerhead turtles to see how rising temperatures affect that species. She is an assistant professor of oceanography at Florida State University.

The sex of marine hatchlings is influenced by incubating temperatures, and warmer temperatures produce a higher number of female hatchlings.

Researchers believe projected increases in temperature will cause a gender imbalance in marine turtle populations and are trying to identify best practices to protect the species.

"We're concerned we're going to have a feminization of marine turtles," Professor Fuentes said. "This study came from the need to understand the current sex ratio being produced at loggerhead nesting grounds to establish baseline parameters as climate change progresses and to identify beaches that produce a higher proportion of males."

The professor and her team were specifically trying to identify beaches that produce higher numbers of male turtles, so they could get a broader view of areas where imbalances were already occurring.

In northern Brazil, an exceptionally strong female bias of 94 percent was observed in all nesting areas used by loggerhead turtles. But, scientists were also able to identify nesting beaches in southern Brazil that were producing a higher proportion of male hatchlings, about 47 percent, which is essential to sustain the population.

"It's worrying that you could have an extreme skew in gender one way," Professor Fuentes said. "Any changes in population structure can have real repercussions."

The research is published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

The sex of marine turtle hatchlings is influenced by temperature, with optimal hatching temperatures falling between 75.2 degrees to 93.2 degrees F. But, temperatures below 85.1 degrees tend to yield more male turtles and temperatures above that mark typically yield more female turtles.

Though Professor Fuentes and her team focused on Brazil, the results are applicable to other regions because all turtles have temperature-dependent sex determination.

Bids to be sought to design new airport

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Aviation officials are hoping to award a contract in April for a technical study of  a new airport in Orotina.

The country's Consejo Técnico de Aviación Civil said Thursday that the Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea would evaluate 10 proposals by as many major firms that are seeking to design the new facility. The candidates include European and North American firms.

The proposed airport is supposed to be big enough to handle wide-body passenger jets.

The Central American aviation safety entity will pay the $1.7 million that is allocated for a master plan for the new airport, said the Consejo. That job is supposed to take a year, and the start could be delayed if any bidders file objections to the final contract award, said the Consejo.

Cruz Roja tax bill back to committee

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The executive branch, which controls the legislative agenda until April 30 has downgraded a bill that would have given the Cruz Roja more money.

The rescue agency issued a press release Thursday lamenting the government decision. The Cruz Roja has a $2 million deficit, and the agency seeks more  operating money.

The bill, No. 19.234, won support in early January from Second Vice President Ana Helena Chacón, and it was included on the legislative agenda for action.

However, some amendments by the full legislature sent the bill back to the same committee, where the government's full set of tax proposals are being discussed. Consequently, the government positioned the Cruz Roja bill in a lower position behind the massive tax package.

The Cruz Roja wants the 1 percent tax it gets on telephone bills to be doubled and an increase in cost of the agency's stamp that is used on many legal documents from 200 colons to 500. The agency also wants 15 percent of money collected from traffic fines instead of the current 5 percent.

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Prison inmates seem to have no shortage of prohibited items
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Despite the security efforts at prisons, inmates seem to have no trouble obtaining prohibited items. Recent sweeps by the  Policía Penitenciaria turned up drugs, money, cell phones and homemade weaponry, said the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, which oversees the prisons.

Prison police are using dogs to find illegal items. At one prison, officers encountered an inmate with more than a million colons in his possession. That's about $1,900.  The 21 year old is doing four years for robbery. At another lockup, prison police said they found 20 liters of fermenting liquid.

The illegal items were not limited to prisons contained by male inmates. Officers said they found illegal cell telephones at Buen Pastor, the women's prison.

Prison rules allow inmates to have extensive contact with visitors, so many items and drugs are easily smuggled into the facilities. Investigators have linked a number of scams and other crimes to cell telephones that had been smuggled into inmates. Efforts to block the frequencies by prison officials have not been successful.

Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo
Trained dogs like this are not a prisoner's best friend.

Physicians from Miami are visiting to provide aid to Cubans
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Physicians from Miami, Florida, will be visiting some of the shelters housing Cubans here today and Saturday.  The national emergency commission said that Manuel Alzugaray and Jorge Beato will visit eight shelters in La Cruz. Alzugaray is president and Beato is treasurer of the medical non-profit Miami Medical Team Foundation, which has a history of helping Cubans and Central Americans in trouble.

The organization said that it originated in the early 1980s when refugees began piling in the borders between Nicaragua and Honduras.

“Since then, the group has been involved in many different scenarios of tragedy and despair in five continents of our planet, providing assistance to a total of nineteen countries,” it said on its Web site.

Alzugaray also traveled to Guantanamo in 1994 and 1996 to provide medical services when some 35,000 Cubans and Haitians who were trying to leave their home countries became stuck there.

Iván Brenes Reyes reported Thursday that another group of 184 Cubans were scheduled to leave Thursday evening for El Salvador from the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia. He is president of the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias.

The air flight puts the Cubans on a path to reach the United States for residency.

Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias photo
Relocated Cubans move into their new home.

A number of organizations and church groups have been helping the stranded Cubans cope with their delays and boredom.

The emergency commission estimated that there still are about  4,440 Cubans housed in 41 shelters.

The commission also said that 1,981 Cubans had been relocated from educational institutions to make way for the start of school Tuesday.

The Cubans became stuck in mid-November when Nicaragua closed its land border to them.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 25
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Review study concludes organic farming has substantial benefits
By the Washington State University news staff

Researchers have concluded that feeding a growing global population with sustainability goals in mind is possible. Their review of hundreds of published studies provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment and be safer for farm workers.

The review study, “Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century,” is featured as the cover story for the February issue of the journal Nature Plants and was authored by John Reganold, Washington State University regents professor of soil science and agroecology, and doctoral candidate Jonathan Wachter.

It is the first study to analyze 40 years of science comparing organic and conventional agriculture across the four goals of sustainability identified by the National Academy of Sciences: productivity, economics, environment and community well being.

“Hundreds of scientific studies now show that organic agriculture should play a role in feeding the world” said lead author Reganold. “Thirty years ago, there were just a couple handfuls of studies comparing organic agriculture with conventional. In the last 15 years, these kinds of studies have skyrocketed.”

Organic production accounts for 1 percent of global agricultural land, despite rapid growth in the last two decades.

Critics have long argued that organic agriculture is inefficient, requiring more land to yield the same amount of food. The review paper describes cases where organic yields can be higher than conventional farming methods.

“In severe drought conditions, which are expected to increase with climate change, organic farms have the potential to produce high yields because of the higher water-holding capacity of organically farmed soils,” Reganold said.

However, even when yields may be lower, organic agriculture is more profitable for farmers because consumers are willing to pay more. Higher prices can be justified as a way to compensate farmers for providing ecosystem services and avoiding environmental damage or external costs.

Numerous studies in the review also prove the environmental benefits of organic production. Overall, organic farms tend to store more soil carbon, have better soil quality and reduce soil erosion. Organic agriculture creates less soil and water pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s more energy efficient because it doesn’t rely on synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

It is also associated with greater biodiversity of plants, animals, insects and microbes as well as genetic diversity. Biodiversity increases the services that nature provides, like pollination, and improves the ability of farming systems to adapt to changing conditions.

Reganold said that feeding the world is not only a matter of
orgnic benefits
Washington State University graphic
An assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming illustrates that organic systems better balance the four areas of sustainability.

yield but also requires examining food waste and the distribution of food.

“If you look at calorie production per capita we’re producing more than enough food for 7 billion people now, but we waste 30 to 40 percent of it,” he said. “It’s not just a matter of producing enough, but making agriculture environmentally friendly and making sure that food gets to those who need it.”

Reganold and Wachter suggest that no single type of farming can feed the world. Rather, what’s needed is a balance of systems, “a blend of organic and other innovative farming systems, including agroforestry, integrated farming, conservation agriculture, mixed crop/livestock and still undiscovered systems.”

Reganold and Wachter recommend policy changes to address the barriers that hinder the expansion of organic agriculture.

Such hurdles include the costs of transitioning to organic certification, lack of access to labor and markets and lack of appropriate infrastructure for storing and transporting food.

Legal and financial tools are necessary to encourage the adoption of innovative, sustainable farming practices, they said.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 25
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Axiom 890 pixels

Obama promises more cash
to support Colombian peace

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama promised Thursday to provide more financial aid and other support for Colombia as its government prepares to finalize a peace deal with left-wing guerrillas it has battled for more than 50 years.

After meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the White House, Obama announced additional funding and other measures he said would help Colombia rebuild after reaching a peace accord with the Marxist rebel group the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC.

Negotiations have entered the final stages, and if an agreement is reached, it will end Latin America’s longest-running insurgency. White House officials predict a deal will be finalized in this first part of the year.

After meeting in the Oval Office, the two leaders spoke at a reception to mark the 15-year anniversary of Plan Colombia, a joint initiative started to help end the armed conflict and drug trade in Colombia.

The effort, which spanned presidencies and party lines, has reached a tipping point, Obama said. “A country that was on the brink of collapse is now on the brink of peace.”

He announced a framework, called Peace Colombia, marking a new era of partnership.

The U.S. leader proposed that more than $450 million be devoted to reinforcing security gains in Colombia, reintegrating former combatants into society and extending the rule of law and opportunities into areas where they had not existed. He also vowed to continue supporting efforts to fight drug trafficking and its effects in both countries.

As part of global de-mining efforts, the U.S. will also support Colombia as it works to remove every land mine in the country within five years, Obama said.

Santos told the audience, including members of the Colombian delegation and U.S. lawmakers from both parties, “Today, we see the future with hope.”

Santos recalled how 15 years ago, Colombia was in the throes of the worst economic recession in decades and had lost nearly two-thirds of its territory to paramilitary and guerrilla fighters, both supported by drug trafficking.

“We were very close to being declared a failed state,” the Colombian leader said. “We had a very dark and uncertain future.”

He thanked the U.S. for its partnership and noted that Colombia is enjoying economic growth, job creation, reduced poverty, a rising middle class and falling crime rates.

White House officials have said the U.S. still has concerns about human rights, justice for victims and the drug trade in Colombia.

The Obama administration has said it will ask Congress for additional funding in its 2017 budget to help Colombia recover after a peace accord is reached.

“This request will demonstrate our intention to help Colombia successfully implement its peace agreement,” said Mark Feierstein, the National Security Council senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs.

In Colombia, both government and rebel negotiators have been meeting in Havana for months to close in on a peace deal during talks sponsored by Norway and Cuba. Santos has set a March deadline for reaching a treaty.

The White House said the relationship developed under Plan Colombia had allowed the two nations to expand collaboration in new areas of mutual interest, including the fight against the spread of the zika virus.

The two nations agreed to intensify collaboration, speed up probes into the effects of the zika virus, and conduct joint research to help diagnose, treat and control the virus.

Mrs. Clinton and Sander
are starting to square off

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The two remaining Democratic presidential candidates, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, held a tense and angry debate Thursday night in New Hampshire, days before the northeastern state holds the nation's first presidential primary.

Mrs. Clinton trails Sanders by 16 percentage points in the polls after barely beating him in the Iowa caucuses. Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley dropped out of the race after a poor showing in Iowa.

Now that voter preference actually starts to count toward who gets nominated, the cordial campaign is becoming heated, with Mrs. Clinton and Sanders bickering over who is the true progressive in the race and who is beholden to big-money interests.

Mrs. Clinton called herself a progressive who gets things done, saying the senator's proposals for free college and health care are promises that cannot be kept. She said such ideas will raise taxes and make it hard for Americans to get ahead and stay ahead.

Sanders said these are not radical ideas. He said just about every other developed nation has free public college and single-payer health care for its citizens.

The senator said Mrs. Clinton once called herself a moderate. Sanders said no one can be a moderate and a progressive at the same time.

Mrs. Clinton seemed also genuinely offended when Sanders pointed out that she has received high speaking fees from large Wall Street financial firms. He said big money in politics and Congress is one major reason for high drug prices and energy policies that rely on fossil fuels and big oil.

Mrs. Clinton called it an artful smear and rejected accusations that anyone getting big money is being bought. She said she had never changed a view or a vote because of any donation.

Sanders again boasted that he had raised millions of dollars from small contributors and that he was the only candidate in the race, Democrat or Republican, without a super PAC, a political action committee that raises unlimited sums from mainly wealthy donors.

Voice of America photo 
 Sgt. Clayton Embre, far right, and Sgt. Devin
 Burgett, second from right, pose with comrades
 in Afghanistan.

Iowa's Afghanistan veterans
judge candidates differently

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

While polls show that most Iowans had the U.S. economy on their minds when they participated in Monday's caucuses to choose a candidate for president, one group of caucus watchers was picking candidates with a different issue in mind.

Five thousand of Iowa's National Guard troops have served in Afghanistan since the U.S. went to war there after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And it has changed the perspective of many of them.

Sgt. Devin Burgett served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 with Company B, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment of the Iowa National Guard. He was stationed in the east of the country in Torkham Gate, an area close to the Pakistani border. He also served in eastern Laghman province.  

Burgett, who lives in Iowa City, said he would back a candidate who supports staying in Afghanistan to try to help the Afghan people. 

“I would be happy to see a candidate who would win that shows appreciation to Afghans," he said, "because a lot of Afghans helped the U.S., and I think we owe it to them. I would be happy to see someone who would show a little gratitude to the people who fought alongside us in Afghanistan.”

Last year in October, President Barack Obama announced that American troops would remain in Afghanistan at the current level of 9,800 throughout 2016 as part of Resolute Support Mission. The plan had been to reduce that number this year, but because of Taliban advances, Obama postponed cutting troops to 5,500 until 2017.

Sgt. Clayton Embre, who served alongside Burgett in Afghanistan, identified himself as a Republican.

“I am a Republican and will vote for the Republican Party. I like John Kasich and Ben Carson,” Embre said.

He said national security and the economy were the most important things for him during the election season. On the issue of fighting the Islamic State group and terrorism, he said neither of his favorite GOP candidates has the necessary solutions to deal with that problem.    

“Neither one of them knows exactly what to do and what they should do,” Embre said. “Obviously, they are smart enough to listen to generals and other people, and they will surround themselves with intelligent and smart people and do what they say.”

Sayed Monib, an Afghan interpreter who served with Embre’s unit in Afghanistan, lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He found the primary process in Iowa interesting and said that he was looking forward to being able to vote one day. 

Only U.S. citizens can vote, and it can be a long process to become a citizen. Serving with the National Guard offers expedited citizenship.

Another interpreter who served with Iowa National Guard’s 168th Infantry Regiment said that he is closely following the elections in the U.S. 

“I would like to vote as an American one day. I consider myself part of America and am looking forward to my citizenship. I have a green card now and will soon vote,” Nabi Mohammadi said.

He drew a comparison between U.S. and Afghan elections: “Unlike Afghanistan, it’s a very transparent and clear process here. You get the results quicker here.”

Mohammadi has survived four attacks on his life, two improvised explosive device attacks and two rocket attacks, while serving with the U.S military in Afghanistan.  He was in short-term disability for four months when the vehicle he was traveling in ran over an explosive device in Afghanistan.

Now he is living what he considers the American dream in Des Moines, Iowa, with his two kids and wife. He bought a house and studies information technology at Des Moines Area Community College. 

Another Afghan, Sayed Mansoor Afzali, is a Fulbright student at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he now lives. He said that he was very excited about the primary process as voters’ energy and enthusiasm reminded him of Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential elections, where he said Afghanistan demonstrated the same level of passion. 

Afzali added that “I am truly lucky to be living in the U.S. at such an important and eventful time.”

State Department reveals
server lapses by GOP, too

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department has determined that emails containing classified information were sent to the personal email accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice.

Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server has dogged her presidential campaign, and news that her predecessors in a Republican administration might have received such information on nonsecure servers could help her blunt the criticism that Republicans have leveled at her, hoping to impede her presidential campaign.

The State Department inspector general has determined that two emails sent to Powell and 10 others sent to Rice's staff also contained classified national security information. Those emails have now been classified as confidential or secret as part of a review process that has resulted in similar upgrades of information sent through the personal email server that Mrs. Clinton used while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Powell and Rice were top diplomats under Republican President George W. Bush.

In a statement, Powell said the emails in question were not judged to contain confidential information at the time they were sent to him. A representative for Rice said the emails sent to her aide did not contain intelligence information.

The news came less than a week after the Obama administration confirmed for the first time that Mrs. Clinton's unsecured home server when she was secretary of State contained 22 top-secret emails, which the State Department said would not be released.

State Department officials have said that using a private email account was not prohibited, and that Clinton never shared classified information over the account. But critics said the private account might have permitted her to hide her communications and that use of the unsecured server at her home outside New York City left it vulnerable to overseas hackers.

Mrs. Clinton initially said that setting up the private server was a matter of convenience, but later conceded it was a mistake.

sonar rig
Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. photo 
  The Phoenix Synthetic Aperture Sonar, or
  ProSAS-60, provides a higher resolution,
  especially at the outer ranges of sonar.

Better sonar device joining
search for missing aircraft

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nearly two years have passed since the disappearance of MH-370, the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

A U.S. firm, Phoenix International, will rejoin the search next week aboard a Chinese vessel, which will join three Dutch ships in scouring the Indian Ocean. The underwater search will take place in the southern Indian Ocean, off the west coast of Australia.

Phoenix International's side scan sonar, which can create an image of large areas of the sea floor, will be towed from the Chinese Rescue Ship Dong Hai Jiu 101.

Experts say the Phoenix Synthetic Aperture Sonar is more accurate than the traditional 75 kHz side sonars that were previously used. According to Phoenix officials, the device provides a higher degree of resolution, especially at the outer ranges of sonar.

It also allows 24-hour access to instant data with less need for battery replacement.

"We fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of this effort, and we look forward to assisting the ATSB in finding MH370 and bringing closure to those impacted by this tragic event," said Mike Kutzleb, president of Phoenix, referring to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.   

Phoenix has assisted in the search before. It was first contracted three months after the plane disappeared.

MH-370 is thought to have gone down in some of the most remote ocean stretches in the world. Numerous underwater searches have failed to locate debris on areas of the ocean floor that are yet unmapped and up to 6,000 meters deep. 

The area is fraught with unforeseen danger. An Australian search report mentions underwater mountains, crevasses, ridges and 2,000-meter sheer cliffs.

Last month, an underwater sonar device, called a towfish, slammed into a 2,200-meter high mud volcano. The cable snapped and the towfish along with 4,500 meters of cable plummeted to the ocean floor. Experts say it is possible to recover the equipment at a later date.

Over the course of the search, two previously unknown shipwrecks have been found.

In January, sonar photos revealed a strange object. The Shipwreck Galleries of the Western Australian Museum determined the object was a ship made of steel or iron from the turn of the 19th century.

Last May, debris was located from the wreck of another ship. The largest object in the shape of a box was about six meters.

Without any substantial debris to study, the Australian Defense Science and Technology Group says the most likely cause of the plane crash was a right engine flame-out, followed by a left engine flame-out.

The analysis took into account the amount of fuel loaded in Kuala Lumpur and the amount used in each engine before the plane's final transmission.

Flame-outs occur when jet fuel in a tank is depleted.

The report continues, "It is estimated that the left engine could have continued to run for up to 15 minutes after the right engine flamed out."

The only confirmed wreckage of Flight 370 to be recovered was a flaperon that washed up on Reunion Island in July of last year.

Last month, a large portion of plane wreckage was found off the coast of Thailand, igniting speculation that it could be from MH370. But Malaysian investigators said the debris was not from the same type of Boeing 777 as the mysteriously missing aircraft.

The complete search area is 120 square kilometers with less than 40 percent left to go off the west coast of Australia. 

“Recent commitments by the People's Republic of China to provide funding and equipment, coupled with Malaysia's ongoing financial contributions, will ensure the thorough completion of the remaining 45,000 square kilometers of the search area," according to a statement from Australian officials leading the search effort.

Investigators say they will end all search efforts in June 2016.

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or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
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Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
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Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

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Photo montage of penthouse
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Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

Lee Lot
Panoramic Home Site.
Panoramic, rural mountain lot in Rosario, outside of Grecia in Central Valley. 25 minutes from San José and international airport. One hour from coast. Includes paved roads, electrical and water. In a development of 28 hectares, most planted in coffee. Lot is 7,300 square meters. Located adjacent to High Dreams Club, Hotel & Spa (Adults/couples Excellent climate. Lot size large enough for home, garage & guesthouse/casita. Home site cleared & includes 10 maturing palm trees, with coffee trees at the base of the lot. Views to San José and include canyons. $24,900 USD. Contact: 506 8311-5336 or U.S. 719-821-2210.

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F. Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors. Spacious living room-dining area, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware, silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes. Price $120,000. Available for viewing:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

ocean-view home
Property size: 3,405.14 sq. mts. or 37,000 sq. ft.   Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft. titled property. This home (240 sq. mtrs or 2,600 sq. ft) has 360-degree ocean and mountain views and electric gated private road access. The large open style home has soaring teak ceillings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a double-car electric garage door. Their is also a beautiful, large swimming pool surrounded by exotic garden, laundry room and bodega. This is a very special and rare property because of the incredible view and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must to see. all custom built furnitures included. Photo gallery:  CLICK HERE!  Please contact Jack, Cell phone number  (506) 8812-1789.  Contact email:

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

Blakesmore one

Blakemoret two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

Tropical five-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, south Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.  Located 8 kms. south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $750,000. Contact Roger. Phone number  (506) 6142-7228   Email: Watch this video for full details.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff:  8725-8176.  Email:

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 25
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
The Centers for Disease Control Web site shows an image of a baby with a small head. The dashes show how big a normal baby's head should be.

Zika and its effects still a mystery

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it. About 80 percent don't show any symptoms. Others might have a rash or a slight fever. The disease seems insignificant, but it also seems to be having a devastating effect on babies whose mothers are infected with the virus.

The zika virus erupted in Brazil last May, and now more than 4,000 babies born there are suspected of having microcephaly, an abnormally small head.

The link between zika and microcephaly has not been proven, but the World Health Organization says that until scientists come up with a better explanation, they believe the zika virus is the cause.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the condition is unusual.  Between two and 12 babies out of every 10,000 live births in the U.S. have microcephaly. The Centers say microcephaly can occur when a baby's brain doesn't develop properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth.

Babies with this disorder can have a range of other problems, depending on the severity of the condition. Microcephaly has been linked to problems with speech, standing and walking, balance, hearing and vision.

But, in an interview, Edward McCabe from the March of Dimes said it doesn't always have devastating consequences.

"Ten to 15 percent of American babies with microcephaly are completely normal,” he said. “The concern is how these babies are going to develop as they get older."

The key is to get the babies properly evaluated by the appropriate professionals. Intervention might include physical or speech therapy.

McCabe also said not every baby will have the same outcome.

"Our knowledge of microcephaly prior to the zika virus association is that there is a spectrum that stretches from normal, even high intelligence, through the spectrum in terms of developmental delay," he said.

Not much is known about zika, including when it is most likely to cause a fetal brain to stop developing, assuming that is true. But doctors suspect the most dangerous time for a woman to acquire the zika virus is in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Like other scientists, McCabe is frustrated by the lack of scientific information available on the zika virus and its link to microcephaly.

"We need more data," he said.

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From Page 7:

Drug exec stays mum at congressional probe

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A former U.S. business executive, who abruptly raised the price of a life-saving drug by more than 5,000 percent, refused to answer questions when he appeared before Congress Thursday.

Martin Shkreli's appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was a chance for lawmakers to sound off on the case, which drew widespread criticism.

But the 32-year-old, who received a subpoena to appear before the hearing, said he was exercising his Fifth Amendment right against incriminating himself.

While he didn't speak at the hearing, he took to Twitter to criticize the lawmakers who were questioning him.

Before stepping down as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used by patients with AIDS and certain types of cancer, from $13.50 to $700 a pill.

Shkreli has defended the price hike as legal, saying he was just trying to maximize profits for investors. U.S. political leaders in both parties have criticized the move, calling it an example of price-gouging.

Separately, Shkreli faces criminal charges of securities fraud related to his leadership role at two other companies: hedge fund MSMB Capital Management and biopharmaceutical firm Retrophin.