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Published Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 27
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Scientists will try to find cause of whale beachings
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. scientists say they will try to find out if solar storms cause whales, dolphins and  porpoises to lose their orientation and beach themselves around the world.

These beachings happen several times a year in Costa Rica, mainly on the Pacific coast where such creatures are more populous.

The research will be done by a scientist, Antti Pulkkinen, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a facility of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Also participating will be the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Such events involving one or a number of  cetaceans have mystified researchers for years. Some blame human-produced noise in the oceans. Others say the animals suffer from illness.

“However, these human-made influences do not explain most of the strandings,” said Pulkkinen, an expert in space weather and its effect on Earth. “Theories as to the cause include magnetic anomalies and meteorological events, such as extreme tides during a new moon and coastal storms, which are thought to disorient the animals. It has been speculated that due to the possible magnetic-field sensing used by these animals

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Aleria Jensen
 Researchers study the body of a beached 
 humpback whale calf.

to navigate, magnetic anomalies could be at least partially responsible.”

Indeed, magnetic anomalies caused when the sun’s corona ejects gigantic bubbles of charged particles out into the solar system can cause problems for Earth-orbiting satellites and power grids when they slam into Earth’s protective magnetosphere. It’s possible they could affect animals, as well, Pulkkinen said. He was quoted by NASA.

The team will compare reports of sea animals being stranded with various solar weather conditions. A report said they plan to conclude the study in September.

“We estimate that records on the order of hundreds of cetacean mass strandings will be available for study, thus making our analyses statistically significant,” Pulkkinen said.

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This is what the bill would seek to eliminate.

Plastic bag bill approaches passage

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A bill to prohibit the free use of plastic bags at stores is among the priority measures on the legislative agenda. But proponents fear that the bill is being stalled by Movimiento Libertario, which has proposed a number of amendments.

The bill would take five years to go into effect, and stores would be fined if they gave their customers disposable plastic bags for their goods.

The measure is in tenth place on the legislative agenda and has been designated by the executive branch as a bill to be considered.

Proponents in Frente Amplio do not say specifically what would replace the plastic bags, although the use of fabric bags has been suggested in the past.

Otto Guevara of  Movimiento Libertario has presented 39 motions for consideration, proponents said.

Barrio Lujan project to last to March 20

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Repairs of the sanitary sewer line along what is known as Diagonal 10 will mean that a section of the two-way street in Barrio Lujan will be closed until March 20, said the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.

The closed portion runs from Avenida 14 to Avenida 18 in San José. Detours have been mapped out, and from a map released by the company, motorists will have only minor problems.

Barrio Lujan recently has been flooded by heavy rains. Although sanitary sewers do not carry runoff, the company is expected to make some changes in the storm sewers to mitigate the flooding.

Water outages due in three locations

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The state water company said it would interrupt service in Escazú, Desamparados and Moravia for maintenance today.

In Escazú it said about 2,500 persons would be affected in Barrio Corazón de Jesús, Alto Carrizal and Alto Raicero. The outage is planned from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In Desamparados about 5,000 persons will be affected from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Urbanización Las Rotondas, Urbanización La Constancia and part of San Antonio.

In Moravia, the outage is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. affecting 8,500 persons, said the company, the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.  The outage will be in André Chale, Los Sitios, La Torre, Colibrí, Unemopt, La Fabiola, Los Robles, Llanos de Toledo, Monteverde, Guayabal, Calle El Ruano, El Ciprés, Calle la Victoria, Parasito, Calle Manantial, El Orgullo and La Isla.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 27
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Finance minister tells lawmakers new taxes are not the solution
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The finance minister told lawmakers Monday that proposed increases in taxes would not solve the country’s unsustainable financial problems but that new levies would give some breathing space for more permanent action.

The minister, Helio Fallas, who also is first vice president, released a chart that showed the estimated national debt by 2020 to be 61 percent of gross domestic product without new taxes. Public officials use this way of talking about debt because the colon is expected to change in value over time. Plus the use of this abstraction does not give the public the full impact of the situation.

Based on the exchange rate and the latest gross domestic product of about $54.14 billion, as estimated by the World Bank for 2015, the minister has suggested that the debt would be at least $33 billion in four years.

Fallas said that the country was committed to maintaining the  estado social de derecho that the government has done for decades. That term means the Costa Rica version of socialism.

Fallas did not present any new ideas except increases in taxes, and estimated that if lawmakers adopted the latest proposal, the national debt would be 60.6 percent of domestic product in 2021. That is about $32.8 billion.

So the tax proposals would save about $1.2 billion over the next four years.

Fallas also noted correctly that the executive branch is ordered by law and the Constitution to spend about 95 percent of the

budget. For example, he noted that education gets 8 percent of domestic product (about $4.3 billion) and there also is mandated spending for other agencies.

Current taxes were estimated to bring in about 13 percent of domestic product or about $7.3 billion. Under the proposed tax plan, the income to the government would be about 15 percent of domestic product in 2021. That would be about $8 billion.

Fallas also estimated that the external debt would decrease while more is picked up by investors within the country. That makes sense, because he also noted that international rating agencies are downgrading the country’s status.

The executive branch seeks a value-added tax to replace the current 13 percent sales tax. Originally, Fallas proposed a 15 percent value-added tax but last month dropped the percentage to 13 percent. The executive branch also seeks higher income tax rates.

Fallas was responding by letter to lawmakers who sought his estimates on how much money the new proposals would generate. President Luis Guillermo Solís has about 15 more months in office, and Fallas noted in his letter that a new administration might have to increase the value-added tax to 18 percent.

Despite the financial crisis, Solís has presented higher annual budgets and has been unable to make any major changes in expenses. A proposal to standardize public employee salaries was just withdrawn due to opposition.

Other proposals advanced in the past to save money, such as merging the national banks, also got nowhere.

Port concession at Caldera bought out by a firm from Chile
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The controlling interest of the concessionaire that runs the Puerto Caldera has been transferred to a Chilean firm.

The new owner is SAAM Operadora de Puertos de Estiba y Desestiba Costa Rica S.A. The parent firm has 50 years of experience and operates 11 ports in the United States, Chile and other parts of Latin America.

The announcement came from the government’s Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacífico, which had to approve the deal. The Caldera port is operated by Sociedad Portuaria Granelera de Caldera S.A., which has been run by the Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Buenaventura S.A.

The port at Puntarenas is where much of the nation’s grain imports take place.

Sociedad Anónima SAAM Costa Rica S.A. has operated at the Caldera port to a lesser degree since 2006.

Caldera was run directly by the government, but public

Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacífico photo
The Caldera port on the Gulf of Nicoya

employees there were offered a buyout when the concession was offered internationally. The change took place smoothly without the employee disruptions typical of the Limón ports on the Caribbean coast, which still are government-run.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 27
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Public school begins the year with nearly a million students
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Classes started Monday for 947,000 public school students, and education officials said that even those buildings damaged by Hurricane Otto were in service.

Officials said there were 176 schools in the areas hit by the hurricane in November. Seven in Upala need extensive work and 18 there at least need some repairs. In addition, one school in La Cruz, two in Osa, one in Tortuguero and one in Golfito still need repairs, they said.

New courses this year include a controversial auto mechanics program that may include up to 80 students. This is a form of cooperative education where students spend some of their class time on the job. Some lawmakers opposed this idea and were concerned the students would take jobs away from adult employees.

The school system also will have a pilot course in Portuguese. Mandarin already is taught to a small number of students. French and English are in many more schools.

The annual budget for the ministry is 2.5 trillion colons, about $4.5 billion

Sonia Marta Mora Escalante, the minster of  Educación, has dubbed this year to be the Año de la Ciudadanía Planetaria, which evokes a globalization theme.

There was a spike in minor vehicle accidents in the Central

school start
Ministerio de  Educación Pública photo
Students and staff at the Escuela Teodoro Picado in Upala hold a ceremony on the first day of classes.

Valley Monday, and some blamed this on parents taking youngsters to school. Attendance was marred by heavy traffic caused by highway restrictions.

Technológico de Costa Rica, the Cartago university, also opened for classes Monday.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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.

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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.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 27
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Axiom new ad

Democratic senators protest
to block vote on Betsy DeVos

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate floor Monday for a planned 24-hour protest against President Donald Trump's education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos, in what has become a battle of competing visions for publicly-funded education in America.

Two Republicans have joined a united Democratic caucus in opposition to Ms. DeVos, a wealthy businesswoman who has never served as a teacher but is a leading proponent of forcing public schools to compete with private ones for resources by allowing families to use public funding vouchers to send their children to the school of their choice.

A split 50-50 Senate vote on Ms. DeVos is expected Tuesday. If that happens, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm Ms. DeVos — a development that would be unprecedented for a presidential Cabinet nomination.

"Democrats will hold the floor for the next 24 hours, until the final vote, to do everything we can to persuade just one more Republican to join us," announced Democrat Patty Murray of Washington state at the start of the extended talk-a-thon on the Senate floor.

The Democrats' quest is complicated, as dozens of Republican senators are on record supporting Ms. DeVos, and none are likely to change their minds based on pressure, however long-winded, from the opposing political party.

For instance, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a moderate Republican courted by Democrats to vote against Ms. DeVos, issued a statement last week praising the nominee for working to ensure "that poor children trapped in failing schools have the same opportunities that wealthy and middle-class kids already have."

But where Republicans see a pioneering champion for competition and free-market incentives in education, Democrats see the leader of a plot to siphon off already-scarce public funds and hollow out America's public education system, which currently serves roughly nine of every 10 students in the country.

"The response to a troubled school should not be to walk away from it in favor of sketchy voucher schemes," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat of Maryland. "Instead, we must work together to provide the necessary resources and interventions to help those schools and those students achieve success."

Capitol switchboards have been swamped by phone calls from voters across the country attempting to reach their senators and voice either opposition or support for Ms. DeVos. Van Hollen said his office has received 14,000 calls from Maryland, a relatively small state, on the education nominee. The majority have been against DeVos, according to the senator.

The 24-hour floor action is the latest attempt by Democrats to slow or derail Trump’s cabinet picks. Republicans can confirm them all, with or without Democratic support, so long as they remain united behind the nominees.

Last week, Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced their opposition to Ms. DeVos, the first crack in what has been unified Republican backing for the president's Cabinet choices.

Top British politician vows
to prevent Trump’s speech

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The speaker of Britain's lower house of parliament says he is strongly opposed to letting U.S. President Donald Trump address parliament during a state visit to Britain later this year.

John Bercow said Monday that a speech to parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor.

He said he would have opposed the invitation even before Trump's temporary ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

"After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed," he said.

Bercow said that while Britain values its relationship with the United States "our opposition to racism and to sexism, and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary, are hugely important considerations."

The House of Commons speaker is one of several people whose approval would be needed for any parliamentary address.

Trump is due to visit Britain later this year, but the date and details of the state visit are still being worked out. Trump has not yet been scheduled to address parliament, but such a speech has been a feature of many previous state visits, including one by former President Barack Obama in 2011.

British Prime Minister Theresa May extended the invitation for Trump to visit Britain while she was at the White House last month.

More than 1.8 million British citizens have signed a petition calling on ministers to cancel the visit. However, support for a counter petition supporting Trump's visit has been growing and now has a quarter of million people. Lawmakers are expected to debate the matter later this month.

Brain-computer link study
due as part of movie debut

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Imagine the possibilities that could be unlocked by hooking up a brain to a computer.

Science fiction has explored this idea in many films, including the upcoming movie “MindGamers,” in which students create a wireless neural network that can link people's minds through a quantum computer. It allows people to transfer motor skills from one brain to another, but also opens the door for mass mind control.

In the real world, research toward a brain-computer interface is under way, and one of the possible applications can help change lives.

"The most fundamental good is restoration of function for people who have limited capabilities," explained computational neuroscientist Tim Mullen. "Let's say a paraplegic can't move, allowing them to walk again."

Mullen said his company, Qusp Neurotechnologies, is working on a platform to digitally link a person to the cloud and, from there, to any internet-connected device, such as a multiplayer brain-controlled game.

Mullen said a type of mediated telepathy, or brain-to-brain communication, may also be in the future.

"Currently we can do this in rats. . . . First experiments in humans have been demonstrated, in a very limited way, and . . . in the coming decades we will actually be able to have brain-to-brain communication between humans," Mullen said.

Joanne Reay, writer and producer of “MindGamers,” sees connecting minds to the cloud as a good thing.

"The need of the ego to put oneself first is redundant in our society," she said. "And that would be a benefit if that could just fall away like a monkey tail."

But with the good comes the potential for bad, some say.

"This rosy picture, yes we can get there, but in doing so, we will enable this whole other dark side, and we need to plan for it and we need to have some mitigating strategies for it," said Todd Richmond, at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.

Richmond, director of the institute's Advanced Prototype Development, works with emerging disruptive technologies and warns that internet hacking and other criminal behaviors will be magnified as scientists pursue certain types of innovation.

"We have anonymity. We have online stalking. We have harassment. We have the capabilities of some kid in a country 5,000 miles away having a very real impact on society, hacking power grids, hacking monetary systems," Richmond said. "Part of the challenge is a lot of the innovation right now is driven by the commercial sector, and in that case their focus is on profitability and getting a product out there and getting the new capability, a new shiny object that they want to excite the consumer to buy. For them, moral and ethical repercussions are not necessarily part of their development timeline."

Mullen agreed, pointing out, "There is a very strong code of ethics that's inherent in our academic and scientific institutions to not do harm to people, to use our best judgement as we make discoveries. But that being said, science is a process of being on the edge. You don't know what the outcome is going to be of the technology you're building. You don't know how it will be used. The responsibility lies on society to use that technology for good."

Richmond added, "But technology has become so sophisticated and so complex that it's very difficult for members of society or policymakers to really understand what's going on inside the black box. So now, more than ever, it's really critical that the scientist and the technologist be part of that conversation about ethics and morals and where is this technology heading in society."

Through the movie, filmmakers present one possible view of a world in which this technology exists.

"We aren't perfect and we will make mistakes and the people who are designing the tech have to have the right mindset or they can take this in a direction we don't want to go," said Andrew Goth, director of “MindGamers.”

Scientists will soon be able to tell how audiences respond when 1,000 people watch the film on March 28, and participate in an experiment wearing cognition headbands. Cloud technology makes this mass mind-state experiment possible.

Mullen said that data gathered from the experiment will help scientists answer the questions of what makes people similar and different.

"We'll be looking at some interesting stuff, where we're looking at how the similarities in their brain activity map onto other aspects like their demographic groups or their socio-psychological traits," he said. "So if you're an extrovert, is your brain like another extrovert in some way? Do you tend to respond in the same way when you're watching a movie?"

But whether brain-computer interface technology will be a blessing or a curse to society is yet to be determined.

Languages and other studies
found to fight mild dementia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Because of a looming global epidemic of dementia, scientists the world over are looking for ways to preserve the memories of older adults.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health project that one out of every 85 older adults worldwide will develop Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia.

With aging on the rise globally, the big question becomes how can people preserve their thinking skills and memory?

Some research shows that staying physically active helps the brain stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

Other studies look at challenging the brain's thought processes: by studying languages, doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles and the like.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, found that mentally stimulating activities help reduce the chance of developing mild dementia or mild cognitive impairment.

Mild dementia doesn't interfere with everyday life, but those who have are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer's.

Mayo Clinic psychiatrist Yonas Geda co-authored a study published in JAMA Neurology. Nearly 2,000 adults without memory issues, aged 70 and older, participated in the study. The research went on for 10 years, from 2006 to 2016, but the average participant was followed for four years.

“This study is very important because dementia, MCI, these conditions are really common as we get older," Geda said, "We need to find out non-pharmacological approaches to decrease the risk of MCI or dementia.”

The researchers found that playing games, doing crafts, using a computer and staying socially active could reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment even for those with a genetic risk for dementia.

The researchers were interested in the research because so far, few studies have investigated whether keeping the mind busy is related to the outcome of mild dementia, the intermediate zone between normal cognitive aging and dementia.

The results found that only 15 percent of the participants developed mild dementia over an average of four years, although not all activities were equal.

Those who used a computer and those who participated in crafting activities saw their risk decrease by 30 and 28 percent respectively. Social activity and playing games reduced the risk by 23 and 22 percent.

The researchers found that reading didn’t seem to provide the same protection for thinking and memory.

The mental activity doesn't have to become a chore, Geda said. Just participating in something mentally stimulating two to three times a week helped, and that seemed to be the key. The study showed this group significantly decreased their risk of developing new-onset mild dementia compared with people who participated in fewer mentally stimulating activities.

Tech firms expect visa order
to restrict foreign workers

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The tech industry is bracing itself for an expected Trump administration executive order that will most likely limit U.S. employers’ use of a set of visas for skilled foreign workers.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump criticized visa programs that allow U.S. employers to bring skilled foreign workers into the country. He promised to make changes to ensure more of those jobs go to Americans, not foreigners.

The tech industry has relied on temporary visas such as the H-1B to bring in workers with skills it says are hard to find in the U.S. Each April 1, the U.S. holds a lottery for 65,000 of these visas and 20,000 additional visas for foreign students with master’s degrees. Last year, there were requests for more than 200,000, a record figure.

But critics say skilled-worker visa programs have hurt American workers. Companies have used them, they say, to hire foreign workers who are not highly skilled and who are paid lower than market rate wages. The biggest users of the H-1B program have been outsourcing firms that do IT consulting.

A draft executive order that has been circulating among tech firms would not immediately impose new requirements. Many of the changes would rely on specific agencies and Congress.

For example, one draft document says the secretary of Homeland Security will have 90 days to review all regulations allowing foreign workers to come to the U.S., and the Department of Homeland Security shall consider ways that the visas could be better allocated. “It’s vague,” said one person who works for a tech industry group.

But Ron Hira, an associate professor at Howard University and a critic of the foreign worker visa programs, said that the draft executive order he has seen would be a good first step.

“If we got good reform, it would save and create tens of thousands of jobs and it would increase the standard of living for hundreds of thousands of American workers,” he said. “And it would free H-1B visas for the true best and brightest.”

The first place where the effects of the order could be felt will be the annual H-1B application window on April 1. At the moment, the visas are issued by a lottery system, but the Trump administration could choose to favor visas for positions that offer to pay higher wages, Hira said.

Some in the tech industry say that some reform has long been needed, but dramatically tightening down on the visas, or restricting U.S. immigration laws, could have unintended consequences.

Jonathan Nelson, chief executive of Hackers/Founders, a tech startup accelerator in San Jose, said he has worried about whether the H-1B visa program has been used to bring in cheap engineering labor, suppressing wages.

But he said most of the entrepreneurs he works with are foreign-born, some waiting for years to get a H-1B or stand in line for a green card. If there are new limits on visas or regulations that lengthen the time workers must wait for one, he said he would open up centers in places such as Vancouver or Guadalajara, Mexico.

“If they can’t come to Silicon Valley, let’s get them in the same time zone,” he said. “I’ll invest in them there instead of here.”

Others in the tech industry argue that barriers to visas, already so scarce, could hurt the U.S.’s competitive edge as an innovation center.

“We should harness the talents of foreign-born entrepreneurs and students to benefit our economy and our communities, rather than pushing them to other countries to compete against us,” said Leezia Dhalla, a spokesperson with, an issues advocacy group funded by tech industry leaders that focuses on immigration.

Google Home devices jump
to respond to television voices

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Super Bowl advertisement for digital home assistant caused problems for many who already owned the device.

During Super Bowl LI Sunday, Google touted its Google Home device, which uses voice commands to perform various tasks around the house such as playing music or turning lights off and on.

But the commercial showed people actually using their devices which, apparently, caused current owners’ devices to go crazy.

During the commercial, users were shown saying "OK Google, turn on the hall lights." "OK Google, turn off the music." "OK Google, what sound does a whale make?"

Those commands seem to have caused many devices to spring into action in homes across the country.

“That Google Home commercial had my Google Home going crazy”, wrote one person on Twitter.

Voice-activated personal assistants are growing in popularity, with online retailing giant Amazon also fielding a similar device called Echo.

Google has yet to comment on the commercial.

Man who set fire to mosque
gets 30 years in Florida prison

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Florida man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for setting fire to a mosque that the Orlando nightclub killer attended.

The man, Joseph Schreiber pleaded no contest at a hearing in Fort Pierce, Florida. In addition to jail time, Schreiber was sentenced to pay $10,000 in restitution.

A no-contest plea is similar to a guilty plea in that the defendant gives up his right to a trial. Prosecutors say Schreiber, who is Jewish, confessed to authorities that he set the fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce last Sept. 11, on the 15th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

In a written statement read to the court, Schreiber said the fire was not caused by hatred, but rather by his anxiety. He said he feared there could be more terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims.

Schreiber posted on Facebook last July that "All Islam is radical."

Leaders at the Fort Pierce mosque say the damage from the fire was so great that they will change locations. No one was injured in the blaze.

The Orlando nightclub killer, Omar Mateen, occasionally attended the mosque. Mateen's father was a regular member.

Mateen was killed by police after opening fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last June, killing 49 people. He declared his alliance to the Islamic State group before the shooting.
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                                  Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

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Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 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, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  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:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

San Rmon
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: 
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Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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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, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 27
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pitcher plant
University of Buffalo /Mitsuyasu Hasebe
Cephalotus follicularis, the Australian pitcher plant, photographed here in its native range in Western Australia.

Scary plants developed the same way

By the University of Buffalo news staff

To the average plant-eating human, the thought of a plant turning the tables to feast on an animal might seem like a lurid novelty.

Now, science is showing just how remarkable these macabre traits really are.

A new study probes the origins of carnivory in several distantly related plants, including the Australian, Asian and American pitcher plants, which appear strikingly similar to the human (or insect) eye. Although each species developed carnivory independently, the research concludes that the biological machinery required for digesting insects evolved in a strikingly similar fashion in all three.

The findings hint that for a plant, the evolutionary routes to carnivory may be few and far between.

“It suggests that there are only limited pathways for becoming a carnivorous plant,” says University at Buffalo biologist Victor A. Albert. “These plants have a genetic tool kit, and they’re trying to come up with an answer to the problem of how to become carnivorous. And in the end, they all come up with the same solution.”

The research is being published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Pitcher plants capture insects by luring them into a pitfall trap, a cupped leaf with a waxy, slippery interior that makes it difficult to climb out. A soup of digestive fluids sits at the bottom of this chamber and breaks down the flesh and exoskeletons of prey.

Australian, Asian and American pitcher plants possess these features despite having evolved independently to become carnivores, as Albert and colleagues discovered in a 1992 study published in the journal Science.

The new paper builds on this older work, conducting a deeper investigation into how unrelated pitcher plants came to share so much in common.

As it turns out, the path to carnivory was remarkably similar for the three species examined, Cephalotus follicularis (the Australian pitcher plant, related to starfruit), Nepenthes alata (an Asian pitcher plant related to buckweat) and Sarracenia purpurea (an American pitcher plant related to kiwifruit). A genetic analysis, which included sequencing the entire genome of Cephalotus, found strong evidence that during their evolution into carnivores, each of these plants co-opted many of the same ancient proteins to create enzymes for digesting prey.

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From Page 7:

Tourism firms urged to comply with new rules

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Adventure tourism firms have been put on notice that they must now comply with a year-old decree that addresses sanitation and security issues.

The Cámara Nacional de Turismo reminded its members that the regulations went into effect Jan. 6, a year after they were issued.

The regulations not only cover activities that most consider adventure tourism, like zip lines and bungee jumping but also horseback riding, jet skiing and even hiking.

The regulations are HERE!