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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 32                             Email us
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Hot air lanterns join fireworks on prohibited list
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sky lanterns have joined fireworks and other fun stuff on the prohibited list. The Ministerio de Salud prohibited the devices via a decree.

That action was applauded by fire fighters, who blamed the lanterns for a fire affecting three homes in Purral de Goicoechea early Jan. 1.

The devices, which can be found online for about $10 are called globos del deseo in Spanish. There is a piece of paraffin that, when ignited, provides the hot air for the paper balloon to rise in the air.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos said it lobbied heavily for the restriction, which was contained in a decree published Monday. A typical device can stay aloft for 15 minutes or more out of control of whoever launched it.

The decree prohibits the sale, manufacture or use of the lanterns. Of course, there are criminal restrictions on fireworks, but the holiday skies are filled with rockets and the informal use of fireworks is frequent.


sky lanteran
Sky lanterns make a great display.


One of five murder victims reported to be U.S. citizen
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
(Posted at 3 p.m.)

A man identified as a U.S. citizen and his Costa Rican wife died Monday along with three other persons in a killing spree Monday.

The bodies were discovered today when neighbors heard two surviving  but injured children crying.

There were no identifications provided, but police are suggesting that this was some sort of vengeance massacre rather than a robbery. 

The murders were done with a machete.

The scene was at a home in Mata Palo de Santa Cruz. Investigators said they had a suspect. Child welfare officials said the children were 3 years and 3 months.


Visiting international official restates government line
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A former Mexican finance minster who now heads an international organization has reaffirmed that the country needs to take stronger action to reduce the national deficit.

He is Angel Gurria, who heads the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Costa Rican officials have been working through at least three administrations to become a member of the organization, which some call the rich nations club. There now are 34 member nations, mostly First World.

Gurria was visiting after his organization issued a detailed, 141-page economic assessment of the country.

Both he and the assessment said that the country has to reduce its fiscal deficit 2 percent in 2016 and 2017 and an additional 1.5 percent later. The deficit now is inching toward 6 percent of gross domestic product.

He also said that the country should approve the proposed fiscal reforms, fight tax evasion and eliminate tax exonerations that do not have a justification.

“The Costa Rican economy is gradually recovering from the global economic crisis, and is now expected to grow faster than most of the other countries in Latin America, as well as most of those in the OECD,” Gurría said in a prepared statement from the organization.

The organization quoted him as saying that putting the house in order will require raising more tax revenues, restraining public spending while improving its efficiency and ensuring that public finances are managed in an effective manner.

The organization's assessment, which is on its Web site, suggests that Costa Rica take immediate steps toward the consolidation of public finances, through programmed cuts to the government deficit over the coming three

Solis and Gurria
Casa Presidencial photo
President Solís appears with Angel Gurria for a formal photo.

years. Swift implementation of the proposed
tax reform, combating tax evasion, eliminating tax exemptions and curbing growth in
public spending will be critical, it said. Introduction of a medium-term fiscal framework, with a clear and verifiable expenditure rule, is also recommended, it added.

Vice President Helio Fallas, who also is minister of finance, said that the government would come forth with a verified expenditure rule by the end of the month.

Reforms for bringing about a stronger economy go hand-in-hand with efforts to make Costa Rica a more inclusive society, notably for informal workers and women, according to the assessment. Improving the quality of education and enhancing the effectiveness of cash transfers in reducing poverty would expand opportunities and share prosperity more widely, it said.

Gurria and the assessment basically said what everyone knows should be done. But the problem is political. President Luis Guillermo Solís has already warned of social unrest with budget cuts. And the president's political party does not control the legislature, so there is some resistance to the executive branch's proposals.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 32
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Professional Directory
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.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Psychotherapy

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Legal services

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Real estate agents and services

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colinadelsol022515c.gif
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Congrats,
Grandpa

Gasoline prices due to take sharp drop

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government regulating agency said Monday that the price of motor fuels would take a big drop in the beginning of March.

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, said the decrease was a result of the world price of petroleum. The price now hovers around $31 a barrel.

The agency said that regular gasoline would go from 539 colons to 424 colons and that super would go from 559 to 446 colons. Diesel also would decline from 453 to 346 colons.

That would make regular gasoline about $3 a U.S. gallon.  Super would be about $3.19 a gallon, and diesel would be about $2.47.

The new prices will go into effect when they are published in the La Gaceta official newspaper.


Bull kills TV cameraman in Sarchí

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Journalists are mourning the death of  an Extra TV cameraman who died while shooting a bull-riding event in Sarchí Sunday.

The man was Édgar Calderón Quesada, who was in the bull ring shooting the bull and rider close up. Although he tried to avoid the animal, the bull trapped him against the metal bars of the arena enclosure even while the rider still was on his back.  The television station, Canal 42, is part of Grupo Extra, which also owned the daily newspaper.


State petroleum firm sets a sales record

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Maybe it is the freezing weather, but the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo said it dispensed a record amount of aviation fuel for aircraft that were using the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia.

The state monopoly said that the current high season has created a demand for jet fuel that is 38 percent greater than last year.

The majority of passengers who arrive and leave at the Liberia airport are tourists who are headed to the Pacific coast beach resorts.

The firm said it sold 407,040 liters of jet fuel Saturday. That is about 108,000 gallons. The firm is building a third storage tank at the airport to handle future demand.


Protest today opposes squatter evictions

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Protesters will be at Casa Presidencial this morning to support squatters who are being removed from land they do not own at Palma Sur.

The protesters identified themselves as the Coordinadora de Lucha Sur y el Comité de Solidaridad con el Sur. They said that 100 more families are about to be evicted from the land, and that a Sala IV appeal has failed.

This is land that is owned by Oscar Echeverria Heigold, who has been trying for years to get his farmland back from the squatters, many of them his former employees.

The squatters are the same individuals who camped out and sometimes blocked a key bridge on the Interamericana Sur.  They either would like the evictions to be stopped or for the government to give them free land.

The Luis Guillermo Solís administration is working to provide some government land to some of the former squatters. The evictions, however, are judicial actions over which the president has no control. The Defensoría de los Habitantes has intervened in the judicial process on behalf of the squatters.


Lamar and Taylor Swift have big nights

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Kendrick Lamar had quite a night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, winning best rap album, electrifying the crowd with a dramatic performance and getting a shoutout from the White House.

Lamar also won three other Grammys for songs off his album "To Pimp a Butterfly."

He met with President Barack Obama last month as they teamed up on Obama's program to help support young men of color, and on Monday night the White House saluted Lamar "and all the artists at the Grammys working to build a brighter future."

Lamar and pop star Taylor Swift won a Grammy for her video for the song "Bad Blood."

Ms. Swift opened the broadcast by taking the stage in front of the music industry's biggest stars to sing "Out of the Woods," and later won Grammys for album of the year and best pop vocal album.

The award show is as much about the performances as the trophies, and this year the audience was treated to a song from the smash Broadway musical "Hamilton," as well as one by Adele, and a collaboration by Demi Lovato, John Legend, Tyrese and Luke Bryan in honor of legend Lionel Richie.

Lady Gaga also channeled David Bowie in a sparkling tribute to the late performer. Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars won record of the year for their hit "Uptown Funk."

The Grammy for song of the year went to Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge for "Thinking Out Loud."  Sheeran also won a Grammy for best pop solo performance.

Pop singer Meghan Trainor won best new artist.  The group Alabama Shakes won best rock song, best rock performance and best alternative album. Chris Stapleton won the award for best country album for "Traveller." He also won the Grammy for best country solo performance.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 32
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Expotur this year will be uniting buyers and sellers in la Guacima
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expotur this year will be in Parque Viva in la Guacima, the sponsoring organization said Monday. The dates will be May 11 to 13.

The sponsor, the Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo, said that this year the environmental theme would be stressed. Among other measures, the organization will measure and report on the carbon emissions of foreign participants who come to the event. Last year visitors from 30 countries emitted 111.2 tons of carbon dioxide, said the organization.

Centro Kölbi in Parque Viva is a new location for the event where some 250 tourism operators are expected to host and make deals with an estimated 200 buyers.

The center is 9,000 square meters, some  96,875 square feet.

parque Viva
This is Centro Kölbi in Parque Viva

This is the 32nd annual edition of Expotur, which styles itself as the nation's principal tourism marketplace.

The organization noted that although the emphasis on sustainability is new this year, the event has received the blue flag for environmental consciousness two years in a row.


Bridge problem forces suspension of San José-Curridabat train service
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The valley train line has another problem. The rail institute said Monday that service is being suspended between the Estación Pacífico and Curridabat due to a derailment.

In fact, the bigger problem is the collapse of rail ties on a bridge over a roadway near the Tribunales de Justicia. The ties are wooden and have had many years of service. Workmen were pulling up the rails and removing the ties Monday afternoon.

Much of the right-of-way elsewhere has been rebuilt with concrete ties.

Service on the Heredia line is not affected, said the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, a state agency.

The valley line last had problems when land near the railway collapsed into a deep hole in Plaza Víques.  There also was a similar problem near the rail line on the Heredia route when a hole opened up adjacent to the track.


Hotel header

Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel

Croc's Valentine

Vista Ballena

La
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Hacienda
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Recreo
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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Scientists find ancient ancestor of poison-dart plants in amber
By the University of Oregon news staff

Researchers have announced in the journal Nature Plants the discovery of the first-ever fossil specimens of an asterid, a family of flowering plants that includes everything from the potato to tomatoes, tobacco, petunias and the morning cup of coffee.

But these two 20 to 30 million-year-old fossil flowers, found perfectly preserved in a piece of amber, came from the dark side of the asterid family. They belong to the genus Strychnos, which ultimately gave rise to some of the world’s most famous poisons, including strychnine and curare.

Poisons that would later find their way into blow-gun weapons, rat control, Sherlock Holmes stories and the movie “Psycho” appear to have had some of their ancestral and biological roots in the prehistoric jungles of what’s now the Dominican Republic, researchers say.

“The specimens are beautiful, perfectly preserved fossil flowers, which at one point in time were borne by plants that lived in a steamy tropical forest with both large and small trees, climbing vines, palms, grasses and other vegetation,” said George Poinar, Jr., a  professor at Oregon State University, and one of the world’s experts on plant and animal life forms preserved in amber.

“Specimens such as this are what give us insights into the ecology of ecosystems in the distant past,” Poinar said.  “It shows that the asterids, which later gave humans all types of foods and other products, were already evolving many millions of years ago.”

Asterids, the researchers noted in this study, are among Earth’s most important and diverse plants, with 10 orders, 98 families, and about 80,000 species. They represent about one-third of all the Earth’s diversity of angiosperms, or flowering plants.

And one ancient genus, which has now been shown to be inherently toxic, existed for millions of years before humans appeared on the planet.

“Species of the genus Strychnos are almost all toxic in some way,” Poinar said. “Each plant has its own alkaloids with varying effects. Some are more toxic than others, and it may be that they were successful because their poisons offered some defense against herbivores.

“Today some of these toxins have been shown to possess useful and even medicinal properties.”

As natural poisons that humans came to understand and use, two extracts from plants in the Strychnos genus ultimately became famous, strychnine and curare.

ancient plant
Oregon State University photo
This is the preserved ancient blossom in amber.


Strychnine had practical uses for decades as a pesticide and was often the deadly component of rat poison. But it also captured the imagination of writers, and was used by Norman Bates in the movie “Psycho” to kill his mother and her male companion. In small doses, it can increase mental and muscular activity.

Curare has an even stranger history. Sir Walter Raleigh may have first encountered it in 1596 when he observed poison arrows in South America, where natives also developed the poison in blow-gun darts to paralyze hunted prey. Curare was featured as the murder weapon in one Sherlock Holmes novel, and in lower doses it has been used as a muscle relaxant in surgery.

There are now about 200 species of Strychnos plants around the world, in forms ranging from shrubs to trees and woody climbing vines, mostly in the tropics. They are still being studied for medicinal properties, such as for the treatment of parasitic worm infections and even as drugs to treat malaria.

The discovery of these two fossil flowers, researchers said, suggests that many other related plant families could have evolved in the Late Cretaceous in tropical forests. Their fossil remains, however, still await discovery.

The co-author of this study, Lena Struwe, is an expert on plants in the strychnine family, Loganaceae, and is a plant biologist at Rutgers University.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden
                        Garden 2016
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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:
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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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COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr
                                                      array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar
                                                    collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
Solar logo
CALL US TODAY!

Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090
OUR EMAIL: Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com

VISIT OUR WEB:
www.CR-Solar.com

Real estate rental services (paid category)

cafetal home
Beautiful house for rent
Will be Available March 15, 2-bedroom, 2-bath fully-furnished house inside gated property, Internet, Wifi, cable TV. $700 + utilities. Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. More information to my email: organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com.
8940-3/12/16

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
8766-7/30/16

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
tropical homes
of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
8784-2/19/16

Escazú
                                              rental
Escazú.
Fully furnished and equipped three-bedroom townhouse. Small, quiet, owner-administered complex. Terrace, balconies, and green area. Adults only. 6-month to one-year lease. $1,300 monthly. condorents44@gmail.com. 011 506 2228-0915.
8915-2/15/16

Real estate for rent (paid category)
Central
                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.
8921-3/25/16

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact: edificiomorazan@gmail.com  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.
8909-4/17/15




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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 32
Sports
Calendar
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Real Estate
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Axiom 890 pixels

Intense intrigue surrounds
court nomination in D.C.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two days after the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the path to installing a successor remains murky and a topic of intense intrigue in a nation where political divisions and polarization are magnified by a fierce presidential campaign.

The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama has started preliminary discussions about a nominee.

Spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama would look for a nominee who understands that justice is something that affects people's daily lives, and not just an abstract theory. Schultz added that it is wholly irresponsible for the Republican Congress to leave the Supreme Court short staffed by refusing to confirm an eventual nomination from Obama.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the chamber will not act to ratify any candidate named by Obama, preferring to leave the post open until a new president takes office in January 2017.

Obama could avoid that logjam by exercising his right to make a recess appointment, an option that exists while Congress is not in session as is the case this week. The White House signaled Monday that the president will not take that step, however, which would infuriate the Republican-led legislative branch.

Should Republicans hold firm to their pledge, the November elections could become a watershed moment for all three branches of government, determining not just control of the White House and Congress, but also shifting the Supreme Court's ideological makeup for decades to come.

With Congress adjourned and Obama hosting Southeast Asian leaders in California, speculation about next steps in the confirmation battle is running far ahead of real information.

Judicial watchers say Obama could nominate an Indian-American, Sri Srinivasan, whom the Senate confirmed to the next highest court by a vote of 97-0 in 2013. Srinivasan has worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations, and would be the first South Asian, as well as the first person of the Hindu faith, to serve on the Supreme Court.

Srinivasan has not publicized his ideological leanings, a fact that could make Republican opposition to his nomination less likely. But his selection could also disappoint members of Obama's Democratic Party, who are eager to replace the arch-conservative Scalia with a confirmed moderate-to-liberal jurist.

Also often mentioned are Attorney General Loretta Lynch, an African-American whom the Senate narrowly confirmed last year, and several Democratic senators, including Amy Klobuchar, who served as a prosecutor in her home state of Minnesota.

Much may depend on the White House's reading of resolve among Senate Republicans. If Obama believes he can cajole the Senate to vote on a nominee, the case for a consensus candidate with bipartisan support grows stronger. If the president takes McConnell at his word, he may be more inclined to nominate a liberal trailblazer who will excite and rally progressive, Democratic constituencies ahead of the November elections.

A few Republican senators facing tough re-election battles in November, such as Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rob Portman of Ohio, have yet to endorse McConnell's call for delay. Also withholding any firm commitment are Republican senators who buck their party's opposition to abortion rights, like Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Even so, the hurdles for an Obama Supreme Court pick remain formidable. That nominee would need 14 Republican senators to join with Democrats in order to advance to a final confirmation vote. And full Senate consideration would occur after the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee vetted and confirmed the nominee with a majority vote.

The committee's chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, is backing the majority leader's call to await a new president before considering Scalia's successor.

"The fact of the matter is that it's been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year," Grassley said in a statement. "It only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice."

Democrats argue that Obama has almost a full year left in his presidency and is duty-bound to put forward nominees for judicial vacancies.

"The president can and should send the Senate a nominee right away," said the Senate's minority leader, Democrat Harry Reid. "It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate's most essential constitutional responsibilities."

The U.S. Constitution calls for the president to nominate judges and for the Senate to render its advice and consent. But the founding document establishes no deadlines or time limits, neither on how late in his tenure a president may nominate nor how long the Senate may take to confirm or reject a nominee.


Probe launched over body
found in U.S. cargo aircraft

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Authorities in Zimbabwe are holding a cargo plane registered by a U.S. company after it was found with a bloody corpse on board when it stopped for refueling Sunday in Harare. The company, Western Global Airlines, said the situation was currently under review. 

Zimbabwean authorities impounded the Western Global Airlines cargo jet after a dead body believed to be a stowaway and millions of South African rand were found on board.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe spokeswoman Anna-Julia Hungwe said the South Africa-bound cargo plane was coming from Germany with what she said was diplomatic cargo when it landed Sunday in Harare for refueling, but it was not allowed to take off after a bleeding corpse was discovered to be on board.

"The reason for the grounding was to facilitate further investigations, which is now being done by the home affairs," she said.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said all state security agencies are at the airport.

"Investigations are still continuing, the team is firm on the ground since yesterday," said Charamba. "So normally when they are investigating they do not give updates because they have to tie up some loose ends."

News reports say it appears the dead person had sneaked into the plane's landing gear.

The South African Reserve Bank says the aircraft was carrying a bank consignment and it is working with authorities to ensure the cargo is released and transported to South Africa.


srab online
National History Museum of Los Angeles County photo
A crab is put online during a digitizing blitz at the Marine Biodiversity Center of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Museums make a big push
to put specimens online


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Technology may be advancing rapidly in many fields, but many museums worldwide still do not have their collections of fossils easily searchable online. Specimens, called dark data are left in drawers, hidden. There is an effort in the U.S. to bring this dark data, as it's called, into the light through digitizing museum collections.

Paleontologist Torrey Nyborg is helping with the digitization process by going through drawers filled with fossil crabs and making sure they are identified properly before the specimens are entered into a database at the National History Museum of Los Angeles County. In the process, he may have discovered a new species of crab.

“It’s a treasure hunt when you’re trying to find something new,” Nyborg said.

A treasure hunt is how some researchers describe finding specimens stored in many museums. Nyborg said there is no easy way to find a specific specimen hidden in the many drawers of museum collections.

“Right now it’s a crap shoot," he said. You don’t know. It’s a matter of just looking through the drawers and spending the time and doing the treasure hunt at this point in time."

With funding from the National Science Foundation, many museums are moving into the digital age, but it will not happen overnight said Austin Hendy of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

“I think there’s been a bit of a lag for the museum community to catch onto the availability of that technology but also to realize that there is a need for it,” Hendy said.

A grant from the National Science Foundation has allowed the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to enter information and even photos of some of its specimens into a database so they can be easily searched online. Hendy said if museum collections across the U.S. and around the world can collaborate and add to the database, scientists will be able to get a critical mass of data for their research. He said it will help scientists see the bigger picture, such as how climate change in the past affected life forms.

“The data that we have in these collections allow us to actually see how whole communities have changed,” Hendy said, giving scientists clues of how life on Earth will respond to current changes in the climate.

Hendy said the ability to share specimens and data will change how scientists operate around the world.

“That has bound to increase research opportunities, foster collaborations across geographic, political and even language boundaries.” Hendy added, “that’s one of the exciting aspects of what we’re doing with the digitizing process.”

Carlos Jaramillo who is conducting research in Panamá for the Smithsonian Institution said having specimens available on-line will also help save time and money.

”It really has transformed the way we do research because otherwise it would be very difficult to access most of the collections that there are worldwide,” Jaramillo said.

Integrated Digitized Biocollections or iDigBio is the central portal that digitally collects biodiversity data from museums. iDigBio’s Gil Nelson said there is a change in philosophy among scientists.

“I think the idea of open access data and data availability is becoming a little more common. There are still folks who would rather not share their data, but I think those are becoming fewer and fewer, and I think open access is becoming more and more the mode of operation these days,” Nelson said.

The trend of entering specimen records into a data is turning into an international effort. The U.S., China, Australia and European countries are sharing information on the best way of digitizing specimens so researchers from around the world can have access to specimens that span the globe.


Scary research sees millions
dying early from air pollution

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Air pollution is responsible for more than 5.5 million premature deaths every year, with more than half of those deaths coming in China and India, according to new research presented Friday.

Scientists warn the early death toll will climb over the next 20 years unless the world does more to fight the problem.

The new study was carried out by researchers from China, India, the United States and Canada, who assembled estimates of air pollution levels in China and India and determined their impact on health.

"Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease," a University of British Columbia professor, Michael Brauer, said Friday. "Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population."

The report concludes that China and India, two of the world's most populous countries, also have the filthiest air in the world.

Experts say small particulate matter emitted into the atmosphere in those countries causes a whopping 55 percent of air pollution-related deaths worldwide.

Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute in Boston, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the health effects from different sources of air pollution, said that "living in areas with higher pollution can cause people to have increased heart and lung disease, and to die prematurely as a result."

Greenbaum noted that indoor cooking contributed significantly to air pollution and the cost in human lives.

“That is a very important issue in both China and India, somewhat less though in China, where they have started to move people on to propane and natural gas to get them away from using coal," he said. "But in India, a very significant number of the people still burn very poor wood and biomass fuels, cow dung and other sources. And that creates major exposures indoors to the mothers and children, for example, who are cooking or are near the stove.”

In China, meanwhile, the biggest source of air pollution is burning coal, although Greenbaum said the Chinese were starting to do something about the overall problem.

“They’ve tightened their standards for new vehicles, they’ve cleaned up their fuel, and they’ve actually committed to capping and reducing their coal," he said. "But the levels in China in a place like Beijing today are eight to 10 times higher than the healthy standards set by the World Health Organization, so they have a long way to go.”

Unless China adopts more stringent air pollution standards, limiting coal combustion and particulate emissions from factories and power plants, the report estimated that more than 1 million people would die prematurely by 2030.

Economic progress in the United States, Western Europe and Japan also contributed to high levels of air pollution, according to the report.

Medical experts say air pollution leads to heart disease, lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.

Only high blood pressure, poor diet, and cigarettes kill more people every year than air pollution.

The latest research on air pollution was presented at the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.


EU forms medical brigade
to prompt crisis responses


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The European Union announced Monday the launch of a new medical body aimed at responding to health crises more quickly and more efficiently.

The European Union's Medical Corps will be able to act within Europe and outside it, according to Christos Stylianides, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid.

The new body was developed after the ebola outbreak that ravaged West Africa. Its creation underscores the problems of quickly responding to the crisis, and coping with logistical and other challenges that ebola raised. Today, another virus, zika, is alarming the international health community.

Speaking in Brussels, World Health Organization head Margaret Chan discussed how efforts to contain zika, which is spread by mosquitos, are different than those focused on ebola.

"Mosquito controls rests with every household,” Dr. Chan said.  “. . .  The government cannot do it all."

Commissioner Stylianides said that, so far, nine EU states have pledged teams and equipment for the medical body, which will be linked with World Health. He called on other member states to join.


End of European Union seen
due to UK demands, refugees

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European Council leader Donald Tusk said there is a real danger of the European Union breaking up over a deal to keep Britain in the union, as well as the strain of mass migration.

"This is a critical moment," Tusk said in Bucharest, Romania, just days ahead of a key EU summit.

"It is high time we started listening to each other's arguments more than our own. The risk of a break-up is real because this process is indeed very fragile and must be handled with care," Tusk said.

"What is broken cannot be mended," he added.

Tusk was in Bucharest as part of a tour of key EU capitals in an effort to bring about consensus at a crucial EU summit on Thursday and Friday.

The summit is expected to focus on Britain's demands to renegotiate its terms of membership with the European Union.

Also on the agenda is the wave of migrants that has arrived on the European continent in the past year. Tusk said the mass influx is "stretching our union to its limits."


Pope Frances issues apology
over treatment of natives

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of Mexicans gathered in a sports field in the impoverished southern state of Chiapas for an open-air Mass Pope Francis conducted in three native languages, Chol, Tzotzil and Tzeltal. 

Pope Francis asked Mexico's native population Monday for forgiveness for the exclusion they have suffered by society.

"On many occasions, in a systematic and organized way, your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society," the pope said. 

"Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them."

During the service, Francis issued a decree allowing indigenous languages to be used during Catholic masses.

He also warned that the Earth faces "one of the greatest environmental crises in world history."

"The Earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she groans in travail," he said, adding that "the environmental challenge that we are experiencing and its human causes, affect us all and demand our response."

Francis arrived by aircraft Monday in the Mexican mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas, a center of Mayan culture.

San Cristobal is home to two of the most famed religious defenders of native people in Mexican history: Bishops Bartolome de las Casas in the 16th century and Samuel Ruiz, who died in 2011.

Many officials accused Ruiz, who evangelized many natives, of acting on behalf of Zapatista rebels in their 1994 uprising for greater rights. He was bishop of Chiapas.

From San Cristobal, the pope visits Morelia, the capital of the western state of Michoacan where farmers in 2013 took up arms to battle the so-called Knights Templar drug cartel.

On Sunday, Francis held an open-air Mass for some 300,000 Roman Catholic faithful in Mexico City's gritty suburb of Ecatepec.

The pontiff spoke out against the drug trade and associated violence; a central theme of his five-day visit.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
Solar logo
CALL US TODAY!

Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090
OUR EMAIL: Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com

VISIT OUR WEB: www.CR-Solar.com

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Re-Max
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.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

8935-2/7/17

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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 sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
8927-1/28/17

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
For more i
nformation 

Click
HERE!
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
Click HERE!

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:

AXIOM DEVELOPMENT GROUP SRL
Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579
sales@axiomcostarica.com
www.axiomcostarica.com
8906-2/21/16

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

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
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
8790-2/28/15

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you tired of wasting time searching for your home…..with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!


Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
           furnished.
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
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
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Email: mfiatt@mafirealestate.com 
Web Page: www.mafirealestate.com
8609-2/20/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


updated
                                  photo
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 goodbuyflorida@yahoo.com.
8933-5/2/16

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 www.highdreamscr.com). 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: brooke@godutchrealty.com. 506 8311-5336 or U.S. 719-821-2210.
8923-2/26/16

La Uruca condo
FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA,
OUTSKIRTS of SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA,
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
Email:  BORISKOPIT@YAHOO.COM
8914-2/13/16

ocean-view home
GREAT DEAL $250,000. NICE OCEAN VIEW
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: quadtours@yahoo.ca
8910-1/28/15

Cohen
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.
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
8916-7/22/16

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
e-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es 
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408
Web   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com
8902-3/4/16

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:  osaroger@gmail.com. Watch this video for full details.
8898-xxxx

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: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
8897-3/2/15

Lantz
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:  angelsdad@me.com
8883-2/26/16

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:   djake888@yahoo.com
8846-4/10/16

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
       door.
- 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
     planted.

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 indyj5vw@yahoo.com or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album
8844-5/11/16

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A.M.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 32
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
U.S. firm will assemble tractors in Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. has approved construction of the first American factory in Cuba in more than 50 years, a two-man business that hopes to hire Cuban workers to assemble as many as 1,000 small tractors a year to sell to private farmers in Cuba.

Cuban officials have already endorsed the $5 million to $10 million project, to be located in an economic zone near Havana, the Cuban capital.

It is the first significant American business investment in the Communist nation since 1959, when long-time Cuban dictator Fidel Castro seized power and nationalized billions of dollars' worth of U.S. corporate and private property.

The new investment comes in the aftermath of the renewal of U.S. and Cuba diplomatic relations and the gradual opening of economic links. The U.S. still maintains a trade embargo against Cuba, but President Barack Obama has been making exceptions to it through executive orders.

Today Cuban and American officials expect to sign an agreement that will open airline flights between the countries for the first time since 1959. Last weekend, Cuba returned a U.S. Hellfire missile that it said was mistakenly shipped to Havana from Paris in 2014.

Business partners Horace Clemmons and Saul Berenthal of the Cleber company in the southern U.S. state of Alabama said they plan to have the tractor factory in operation a year from now. 

"Everybody wants to go to Cuba to sell something and that's not what we're trying to do," Clemmons said. "We're looking at the problem and how do we help Cuba solve the problems that they consider are the most important problems for them to solve. It's our belief that in the long run we both win if we do things that are beneficial to both countries."

Berenthal said being the first company to open in Cuba "is great. But for certain, we should not be the only ones. We're hoping and expecting many more will follow."


Another taxi protest against Uber

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Licensed taxi drivers say they plan another protest Thursday afternoon against the unlicensed Uber.

The target of the protest will be Casa Presidencial, although there might be problems generated by the taxi drivers elsewhere in the Central Valley.

The U.S. firm Uber has enrolled individuals with private vehicles to haul passengers on contract. Uber is using the Internet to assign drivers.  The licensed drivers want the executive branch to crack down, something Casa Presidencial seems hesitant to do.


Teen, 15, accused of drug trafficking

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fuerza Pública said that its officers detained a 15 year old in  Guadalupe and said he was a drug dealer. The teen had 36 doses of crack cocaine in his possession, said police.

The youth will be treated as a juvenile offender.


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From Page 7:

Chinese exports reported to have fallen 11.2%

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

Costa Rican officials probably are not going to be getting any financial help from the People's Republic anytime soon. And the latest economic report puts the Nicaraguan canal in doubt.

The country’s exports fell 11.2 percent from a year earlier in January, a seventh consecutive month of declines, while imports tumbled for the 15th straight month, 18.8 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs Monday.

That means the world’s second largest economy posted a record trade surplus of $63.3 billion last month, compared to $60.09 billion in December last year, partly due to tepid demand and falling commodities prices.

Exports continued their downward trend despite China having allowed its currency to depreciate almost 6 percent since last August in order to make exports cheaper, which indicates the extent to which the global demand has weakened.

Costa Rican officials were hoping that the Chinese would pick up about $1 billion in bonds. In addition, the country was expected to provide the nearly half a billion dollars in financing for the project to widen Ruta 32 from Moín to Río Frio.

Although the Ruta 32 project seems to be moving along in the paperwork and legislative phases, the Chinese companies involved do not seem to be pushing as strongly as they once did.

The Nicaragua canal was purportedly the idea of a Chinese billionaire, but the real promoter of the project was widely believed to be the Chinese government.