A.M. Costa Rica
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Published Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 34
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dead fish
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Crewman from the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas takes samples for analysis.
Tons of dead fish in Gulf of Nicoya still a mystery
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A major environmental disaster and a mystery have appeared at the northern beaches of the Gulf of Nicoya. Hundreds of thousands of fish have died and are now floating in the gulf or covering the beaches.

Fish, health and law enforcement officials are trying to figure out why the fish, mostly of the same species of anchovy sardine, died. They have tentatively discounted the blossoming of poisonous algae because of the concentration of one species. Usually dangerous red tides are called that because they usually are of that color. There is no sign of this in the gulf.

The economic loss, both to the fishing industry and tourism, is staggering.

Officers of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Servicio de Vigilancia Áerea of the Ministerio de Seguridad are participating in the investigation. The air service has done overflights to map the affected area. Some coastguard crewmen are on the ground taking samples for analysis at the

Universidad Nacional branch in Puntarenas Centro.

The coastguard is working mainly in the beaches at Ensenada de Abangaritos, district of Manzanillo, which is on the northeast shore of the gulf, north of the community of Puntarenas and east of the mouth of the Río Tempisque.

Dead fish have been reported at Playa Piedra Santa and at the mouth of  the Río Abangares, both across the line in Guanacaste, and in northern Puntarenas, including around the Las Moragas inlet. The dead fish were reported to be along about 8 kilometers of sea and beaches.

The Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura also has investigators on the scene to do analyses. The agency warned against consumption of the fish.

Initial reports said that the fish died from lack of oxygen, perhaps due to algae. Another possibility is some kind of poisoning from substances entering the gulf. The type of algae that kills fish with its toxins also makes certain types of shellfish poisonous.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 34
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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More funds sought for wiretapping center

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The court president called Wednesday for more money for the judicial wiretapping center.

Zarela Villanueva Monge, president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia, brought up the subject at a meeting with representatives of other government branches.

She said without further explanation that the Centro Judicial de Intervención de las Comunicaciones managed to save nine lives in 2016.

The center went into operations in the middle of 2015 in San Joaquín de Flores with funds from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Now the center is working at capacity handling just 23 percent of the phone lines to be monitored. The rest are being monitored under the previous system that was handled by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

Some 18 percent of the cases in 2016 were corruption crimes involving public employees, said the magistrate. She added that 46 percent of the cases were drug investigations.

The court president said the center needs more financial resources and cooperation. She suggested agreements with other countries to expand the scope in the fight against organized crime.

Motorcyclist dies in shooting on autopista

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Gunmen cut down a man on a motorcycle as he rode on the autopista Florencio del Castillo early Wednesday.

A 25-year old passenger accompanying the 27-year-old man suffered bullet wounds. The dead man was identified by the last name of  Santamaría.

The Florencio del Castillo is the highway between San José and Cartago. The Judicial Investigating Organization said the 1 a.m. shooting happened when the occupants of another motorcycle begin shooting.

Our reader's opinion
A new way exists to find places here

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The New York Times reported this week on Tonga’s adoption of the global addressing system known as What3Words. This system, available in at least 14 languages including English and Spanish, assigns a three-word address to every 10-meter by 10-meter square of the earth’s surface.

Expats, at least, are always amused and often befuddled by Costa Rica’s haphazard non-system of descriptive addresses, e.g., “From the church in San Isidro, 100 meters north, then 75 meters east, then 50 meters north, second brown house on the left (unless it’s been painted, of course).” From the Bar Don Pedro, also in San Isidro, the directions are entirely different. And I think there are seven San Isidros in Costa Rica to choose among. I suspect a lot of Costa Ricans struggle with the current system as well.

Instead, What3Words assigns each 10-meter by 10-meter square a three-word address that defines it uniquely. So if you want to find that house in San Isidro, you type “coatrack.mouse.shark” or some other unique three-word combination and What3Words pinpoints it on a map for you. It even works where there is no Internet connectivity.

Costa Rican Correo, are you listening? See

David C. Murray
Grecia, Alajuela

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 34
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The thirst for a lottery windfall has kept this family in business for years
By Conor Golden
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lottery tickets and the vendors selling them are a common sight for expats and tourists in Costa Rica.

A person can see them in tiny booths, within shops, or walking in the streets shouting out the numbers and prices to passersby. Sometimes, the location is such a prime spot for the ticket-sellers that they will pass it down through the generations.

If a person walks through San José’s famous Mercado Central, there are a lot of things that they will notice from the get-go. What someone may pass by without a second glance are some of these ticket sellers including a little old lady on the southwest entrance of the market along Avenida Central. She is Wilma Piedra Castillo.

Doña Castillo has been selling lottery tickets at the same spot at Mercado Central for almost 55 years. She took over from her mother who had also been selling those lottery tickets at that very same spot since the 1930s. Now Victor Uhkol Carabjal, her 63-year old son, continues the profession spanning at least three generations in their family. Doña Castillo has not retired yet, however.

With a vivid red blanket draped across her lap and an umbrella providing some much needed shade for the 84-year old woman, Doña Castillo can be found every single day seated in the prime spot by one of the main entrances to the market.

Her hearing and sight may not be as good as it used to, but the handshake and knowledge of the ticket numbers is just as solid as ever.

She is at that place all the time, in fact. A mural of Doña Castillo painted around four years ago by a university artist covers the left side of the entry gate where she sets her lottery table every day from 7 in the morning until around 8 at night.

Both mother and son have seen their fair share of changes to San José and Avenida Central during the time they have worked. Her son recalled the time when the peatonal, or the pedestrian walkway that now dominates most of Avenida

lottery lady
A.M. Costa Rica/Connor Golden
Wilma Piedra Castillo and her son Victor on the job.

Central, did not exist yet and was a simple road. They have both seen different stores come and go from the buildings that they gaze at everyday.

They have witnessed an increase of cars flooding the city when more Costa Ricans obtained enough disposable income to purchase them. They have seen the value of the colon drop and plenty of losers buy their tickets in the hopes of hitting it big.

The big lottery drawings usually are Sundays, but the government agency that runs the weekly event also has all sorts of other ways for gamblers to spend their money.

New program will put street kids away for six months of rehabilitation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new government project is starting with the goal of taking at-risk youth off the streets of Desamparados and Guadelupe and placing them in a rehabilitation center for six months.

The project called Juntos por todos was announced Wednesday morning by government and non-profit representatives.

The organizations partnering up to do the program include: the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the Instituto sobre Alcoholismo y Farmacodependenica, the Insituto Costarricense sobre Drogas and the Fundación Génesis.

The aim of the project is to take adolescents off the streets for rehabilitation, organizers said. This will be conducted on the ground with members of the Fuerza Pública being the first to reach out to these minors, according to officials. The prevention of drugs, the strengthening of family ties and the rehabilitation back into society are also among the initiatives for this program.

The project is targeting the communities of Guadelupe and Desamparados based on data analyses from the government’s addiction institute back in 2014, organizers said. These minors will be treated for six months at a rehabilitation center in San Francisco de Dos Ríos, according to the report. Parents, psychologists and social workers will provide the main element of support.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 34
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Health ministry told to be more uniform and effective against noise
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Noise complaints are on the rise, but some people think that the orders are not being universally applied or enforced by the health ministry.

The Defensoría de los Habitantes released a statement saying that the Ministerio de Salud should issue a directive to ensure that all health authorities in the country universally comply with noise complaint procedures first established in 2015 as an executive order.

This 2015 decree deals in the definitions and procedures related to handling cases of noise pollution and pyrotechnic activities also, officials said.

These measures followed a Defensoría investigation in response to complaints of loud music and entertainment events including pyrotechnics at hotels close to homes. The investigation discovered that there did exist a series of inconsistencies, mismanagement, and even non-compliance with rules governing the health ministry’s authorizations and permits, according to the Defensoría.

The group also was made aware of complaints that the health ministry’s regional and local entities had a discrepancy in whether it enforced the regulations or not. This led to the ombudsman formally recommending the health ministry to issue orders to the localities to remind them of the necessity in

A.M. Costa Rica graphic

proceeding with these cases. Particularly of concern was the application of the eighth article in the executive order.

This article charges the Ministerio de Salud to carry out inspections and measure the level of noise inside the particular building in question, according to the legislation. The legislation also requires that each inspection report the date and number of the complaint in addition to formally responding to the complaint itself. The Defensoría also reminded the health ministry of that obligation.

The health ministry has accepted the recommendations of the Defensoría, according to officials. It will try to clarify the correct use of language in its reports defining the noise as pollution and provide a temporary authorization for pyrotechnics in place of a general and long-lasting operating permit, the ministry said.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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

George Lundquist

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 34
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Venezuela shuts down
CNN en Español channel

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Venezuelan government under Nicolás Maduro ordered the suspension of CNN's Spanish-language service from the country’s airwaves on Wednesday.

The Maduro regime is accusing the prominent United States-based cable news network, CNN en Español, of distorting the truth in their coverage of the country’s affairs and only offering a smear campaign against the country. The move has sparked outrage among members of the Spanish press.

The Inter American Press Association expressed its deep rejection of the determination of the Venezuelan government to cancel CNN en Español's programming.

Venezuela’s telecommunications commission, following the orders of Maduro, who had already expressed against CNN en Espanol on Sunday, arranged  the Wednesday afternoon cancellation after CNN aired one of its investigations called "Passports in the Shade." The program implicated government officials with the sale of passports to citizens of the Middle East.

The government's order, however, is part of the U.S. Treasury's decision to include Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami on the "Clinton List" accusing him of links to drug trafficking and international terrorism.

Roberto Rock, chairman of the association’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, condemned the measure against CNN en Español calling it a reprisal of the Venezuelan government. He added that it represents an attack on freedom of the press and unmasks the real purpose of the government to censor the press and dissident voices.

Rock, director of La Silla Rota, of México, recalled that this is not the first time CNN en Español has had problems in the country. Nor is it the only network that has undergone a witch hunt by the government.

The Colombian international network NTN24 was taken off the air in February 2014. The association also noted that very few newspapers are still being published because of the restrictions on the distribution of newsprint controlled by the government and the restrictions imposed on the independent media in general.

Conservative reps to offer
new Obamacare replacement

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Conservative lawmakers hoping to push the House of Representatives on a long-awaited vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act introduced their own plan Wednesday.

The bill would be a replacement for former president Barack Obama's controversial health care legislation. It was offered by members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and mirrors a similar piece of legislation introduced in the Senate by Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“The American people have had it,” Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the caucus, said, describing the Affordable Care Act. “They are frustrated and they're frustrated because you've got to remember the framework they were told nine different lies when this thing passed.”

The caucus said its bill addresses some of the problems in the Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare by offering tax incentives for health savings accounts that would help patients pay for their health care expenses, allowing for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, and allowing individuals to deduct the cost of health insurance from their income taxes.

The rallying cry of repeal and replace fueled the successful campaigns of many congressional Republicans during the 2016 election season.

But the planned strategy of repealing the old law and replacing it with improved legislation by mid-February never materialized even though House Speaker Paul Ryan continues to emphasize repeal and replace as one of the key items on Congress' agenda.

The new proposal from the House Freedom Caucus will put pressure on Ryan and more mainstream Republicans to accelerate the timetable for accomplishing that campaign promise.

“We're very serious about pursuing this agenda in a timely fashion,” said Rep. Dave Brat, a Republican from Virginia. “We put in place these measures in March in the first reconciliation, tax reform in the second reconciliation a few more months after that. By then the economy starts taking off and the American people will be happy again.”

House Freedom Caucus members believe that allowing the health care market to operate under free market principles will drive costs down for consumers and allow patients more control over their health care decisions. But the bill does not address a replacement for Medicaid expansion, and it takes a different approach to the difficult question of protections for pre-existing conditions.

“I think that's determined ultimately by a marketplace in terms of pre-existing conditions,” said Rep. Mark Sanford, one of the co-sponsors of the bill. He said the existing system is fundamentally flawed for the way that it drives costs and makes the overall system unsustainable.

Sanford, of South Carolina, said the bill addresses this question by making insurance portable from job to job and incentivizes good behavior for individuals staying on health insurance plans.

The caucus told reporters in a news conference Wednesday that they will seek a vote on their legislation within days of a vote repealing the Affordable Care Act. But after months of debate over repeal and replace, the members of the caucus acknowledge that putting a proposal forward will spark a new round of health care debates on Capitol Hill.

“The minute you put anything on paper now it won't be that you don't have a plan, it will be the merits of that plan and that's where the debate should be,” said Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina. He added that an earlier Senate proposal by Senators Bill Cassidy and Susan Collins did not align with conservative principles because it retained some of the more well-liked aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

Meadows said the House Freedom Caucus bill draws from many of the proposals put forward by recently confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, which means the chances for consensus are good.

Trump defends his adviser
days after forced resignation

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday staunchly defended the national security adviser he ousted earlier this week.

Trump said that Michael Flynn was the victim of illegal leaks from the country's intelligence community detailing his conversations with Russia's ambassador to Washington and had been treated very unfairly by the media.

Speaking at a White House news conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he made no mention of why he forced Flynn's resignation after just 24 days on the job, for what the White House described Tuesday as the president's eroding trust in the former Army general.

Trump suggested that officials leaking the documents about Flynn's calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials in the weeks before Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration in telling them that he had not talked with Kislyak about sanctions imposed on Moscow by former president Barack Obama in retaliation for Russia's meddling in the presidential election to help Trump win, when U.S. intercepts of their conversations showed that he had.

Trump's defense of Flynn came hours after he launched similar broadsides about the White House drama in a string of comments on his Twitter account.

The president, in office for less than a month, suggested news articles detailing links between him, his campaign aides and Flynn and Russian officials were aimed at undermining his victory over Clinton.

In one tweet, Trump said, “This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.”

He said, “The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred.” He said two U.S. cable news outlets, MSNBC and CNN, were unwatchable, while describing the Trump-friendly talk show “Fox & Friends” as great.

The Washington Post last week was the first newspaper to publish details about the phone conversations between Flynn and the Russian ambassador before Trump took office, while the New York Times in Wednesday's editions said Trump aides and associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

Russia dismissed the Times' report that members of Trump's campaign and other associates were in contact with senior Russian intelligence officials before the November U.S. election

The Times cited four current and former U.S. officials as saying law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted calls and had phone records involving Trump's one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and several other unnamed associates.

Manafort called the accounts absurd, the Times said. He also denied a similar CNN report that Trump associates, including Manafort and Flynn, were regularly communicating with Russian nationals before the election.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the report is not based on any facts, while Russian media quoted the country's foreign intelligence service saying reports about the contacts were unfounded.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing that Russian envoys acted within normal practice for diplomats of all countries.

Flynn was ousted Monday after information became public about contacts he had with Kislyak ahead of Trump's assumption of power.

The White House said Tuesday that Trump, based on intercepts of Flynn's calls with Kislyak, was advised nearly three weeks ago that Flynn had misled Pence.

White House spokesman Spicer said the president and his close advisers had been reviewing and evaluating that information on a daily basis for a few weeks before Trump forced Flynn's resignation.

Before Trump's inauguration, Pence told CBS News' Face the Nation that Flynn and Kislyak did not discuss the U.S. sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

Pence also said Flynn and Kislyak did not discuss anything having to do with the Obama administration's decision in late December to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. The Russians were sent home in response to allegations of Russian cyber-spying against Clinton's campaign chief during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Responding Tuesday to reporters' questions about the 18-day gap between the January 26 Trump briefing and Flynn's departure on Monday, Spicer said, “The president concluded he no longer had trust in his national security adviser.”

Spicer also said the White House decided there was nothing wrong that Flynn had talked with the Russian diplomat, even though Flynn was a private citizen at the time.

Flynn acknowledged in his resignation letter that he had “inadvertently briefed” Pence and others with “incomplete information” regarding his phone calls with Kislyak.

Key opposition Democratic lawmakers, and some Republicans, are calling for expanded investigations into links between Russia and key Trump aides.

Trump named another retired Army general, Keith Kellogg, as his acting national security adviser.

Man pleads guilty to fraud
targeting elderly victims

By the U.S. Department of Justice press staff

A South Los Angeles man has pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and wire fraud charges for his role in a lottery scam that targeted elderly victims with false promises of large cash prizes and cars that would be delivered when victims paid taxes, fees or insurance.

65-year old Carl Bullock entered his guilty pleas to the two felony counts on Monday before United States District Judge George Wu.

According to a plea agreement filed in the case, the lottery scam defrauded victims who were falsely told they had won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or other lottery prizes, but they needed to pay some sort of fee or tax to collect the winnings.

In his plea agreement, Bullock admitted participating in a lottery scam in which he and other members of the scheme collected money via Western Union and MoneyGram wire transfers, money orders sent through the U.S. Mail and direct cash payments. Bullock personally received at least $45,000, some of which he shared with his co-schemers, most of whom were in Jamaica.

Judge Wu is scheduled to sentence Bullock April 17. The wire fraud and mail fraud charges each carry a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Indian Space Research Organization Photo  
This one launch blasted record 104 satellites into space

India sends in single launch 104 satellites to break record

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An Indian rocket blasted off Wednesday morning from Sriharikota in eastern India putting a record 104 satellites into space in a single launch, surpassing Russia’s previous feat of launching 37 satellites one year ago, according to India’s space agency.

The launch also marked a milestone in the country’s efforts to emerge as a serious contender in the multi-billion dollar global commercial space industry by slashing costs.

Besides a 714 kilogram earth observation satellite, the others were mostly nano satellites — those weighing up to 10 kilograms. A majority of these small satellites came from customers in the United States, others from countries such as Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

The nationally televised launch showed scientists applauding successive stages in the mission control room. B Jayakumar, the associate project director, called it a great moment for the Indian Space Research Organization.

India’s space program has focused heavily on low-cost access to space. The ability to put a larger number of satellites in space in a single launch brings down the cost significantly, which could help the country grab a larger slice of the commercial launch market, analysts say.

“Doing record-breaking launches in one go does clearly highlight India’s advancement as well as the sophistication to do a lot more maneuvering in India’s space program,” said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, a space analyst from New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation.

Pointing out that it will inspire more confidence in India’s space program, she said, “Many more countries could be approaching India to do their own space launches.”

The growing demand for more high-tech communication by countries, as well as by private telephone, Internet and other companies, has hugely boosted the demand for such launches. Last year, India launched 75 satellites for foreign customers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted “This remarkable feat by ISRO is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists.”

India increased the budget for its space program this year and allocated resources for a potential second mission to Mars and its first to Venus in the coming years.

India’s ambitious space program got international attention after a successful mission to Mars in 2014, whose price tag of $74 million, compared to $670 million outlay of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars mission a few months later, was hailed as an indication that its frugal space program has achieved technological prowess.

The Indian space agency plans to send a second mission to study the surface of the Moon next year and is also eyeing a second mission to Mars and its first to Venus in the years to come.

Many see India’s foray into interplanetary missions as part of its ambitions to be seen as one of the world’s leading countries.

“One of the factors is also Asian nationalism and the competition. There are also lot of things being planned to also show that India is an advanced technology power in this regard,” said Rajagoplanan.

While India has developed the capability of putting smaller satellites in space, it still has some way to go before it can launch heavier ones, according to scientists.

Group sues White House
for dropping bee protections

By the National Resources Defense Council
press staff

The Natural Resources Defense Council today sued the Trump Administration for illegally suspending the rule to put the rusty patched bumble bee on the endangered species list.

The rusty patched bumble bee has lost approximately 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. It is the first bumble bee ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.

In the case filed in the U.S. District Court in New York City, the organization asked the court to stop the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing and enforcing the bumble bee delay order.

The White House instructed agencies to withdraw or freeze a broad array of rules issued by the Obama administration to protect public health and the environment.

The suit claims the agencies broke the law by freezing the bumble bee’s endangered species listing without public notice or an opportunity for comment.  In its complaint, the non-profit contends the agencies cannot suspend the listing because the rule was final when published in the Federal Register.

This is the third lawsuit that the organization has filed against the Trump administration for its attacks on regulation. In response to the same regulatory freeze directive, the council is also suing the Environmental Protection Agency for illegally rescinding a rule that would protect the public from more than five tons of mercury discharges each year.  And last week, the group joined Public Citizen and Communications Workers of America in seeking to block a January 30 executive order requiring agencies to repeal two existing regulations for each new regulation it puts in place.
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San José, Costa Thursday Rica, Feb. 16, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 34
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Municipalidad de Nicoya photo
What they do with bikes borders on the impossible.

Bike acrobats return to Nicoya Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

BMX War Jam returns to Nicoya, Guanacaste, again this Sunday.

This is a competition where bicyclists do tricks and acrobatics for prizes. The competition is open to anyone in the country.

The Municipalidad de Nicoya sponsors the event. This year the competition will be at the Centro Educativo San Ambrosio in Barrio San Martín starting at 9 a.m.

The entry fee is 10,000 colons and some 50 competitors are expected, said municipal officials. Spectators can attend free.

Raids net shooting suspects in La Carpio

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents conducted at least seven raids early Wednesday morning in the La Carpio area of Uruca to capture two minors and five adults.

The group is suspected of attempted murder, murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated threats and property damage among other charges, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. The catalyst for this raid was over an incident that occurred this past December near the fourth bus stop at La Carpio.

According to the official report, a 16-year old boy got into a verbal dispute at a party with an apparent known gang member. The minor decided to leave for his house half a block away, the agency said.

Shortly after midnight, individuals arrived outside the boy’s house and began throwing stones and insults. The residents, including the minor, went out to confront the group. That is when one man stabbed the boy in the left hand, according to the report. When the victim’s relatives left the house on their way to Hospital México where the victim was transferred, the gang intercepted them.

Another victim, the uncle of the minor, was shot five times and died in the hospital, according to the agency.

The suspects were arrested following raids on their homes at 4 a.m. Agents said they found a .38-caliber pistol, which will be submitted for tests.

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From Page 7:

Cementerio Calvo project generates questions

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

San José Mayor Johnny Araya's plan for a technological park generated questions in a legislative committee Wednesday.

The technological park and a university center is the latest proposal advanced by Araya to eliminate the Cementerio Calvo. Removing the cemetery has become an emotional issue for some in the capital. The cemetery is near the municipal building off Avenida 10.

Marcelo Jenkins discussed the request by the municipality to change the use of the property before the Comisión de Gobierno y Administración. He is minister of  Ciencia y Tecnología.

Jenkins and others noted that there is not enough information yet to make an informed decision.

For example, Jenkins asked exactly what would be constructed there and from where would come the funds. He suggested a joint venture with a public university, although whether the proposed university center would be public or private has not yet been stated.

Araya has proposed uses for the land earlier, including housing for the Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos in 2013. That last proposal went to the Sala IV constitutional court. So there are some official suspicions about the motives. Araya already has said he wants to put a municipal parking lot on part of the 100-year-old cemetery. The cemetery is partly a potter’s field where unidentified bodies and those of the poor are put to rest.